Monday, December 19, 2011

Save children from cyber crimes

The debate raised by the statement of the telecom minister seems to be settling down with a feeling that the government does not intend to censor social networking sites. This can be called a welcome move by most of the people who advocate the freedom of expression and speech. But the question that arises here is regarding the extent of  freedom. Do the people have the right to say and write anything they want even though it may be derogatory to others? All, whether using social networking sites or print media should realize to self regulate and follow the idea of live and let live and not only live in context of self. Let us leave the broader issue of the social networking sites and think about what is the right age to express the views in the public? Should it also be decided as we have the minimum age to obtain driving license or have a voting right? This seems to be a slightly tricky and confusing question but it does need to be deliberated upon and then reach to a decision. In the first instance, it appears as there can be any age decided for this because even a newly born child should have the freedom of expression and if it is so then the people of other age group are also free to express their views. But do the parents at home and teachers in the school not expect and teach their children to have sympathy and healthy feelings for others in the family and the society? Do they not teach their children to extend a helping hand to   the ones who need the help? Is it good to display humour which humiliates others? Should the people be not dignified in expressing their views for anything they think differently? There are many more such questions which should be discussed and answered. The platform available to the people should be such that it does not become the means to propagate hatred in the society. Many people might argue that all human beings are matured enough and they have a right to think and speak as they feel. True, but it may not be so for all and especially in case of the kids. If all views are to be expressed freely then why should there be cyber crime branch to tackle such issues? Why a former minister should be filing a report in the police for an email received by him which is treated as abusive and vulgar.
We all know that the children, as small as the age of seven or eight years are using the internet and social networking sites. They are the most vulnerable lot to wrong doings of the people misusing this platform to lure the impressionable mind and then victimizing them. There have been number of cases in the other countries in which the children have been driven to situation when they are forced to take extreme steps. Some children have lost their life because of the problem faced by them due to the invasion into their life by the criminals using cyber media. This has been attributed to the reasons because the children are at times alone and the parents and the teachers are not able to know about the problem faced by the child. If the children are bullied or pressurized by some person in the real life, the parents can come to know about the same and help the children though it may not be possible all the time. But in case of the cyber crime even the parents and the teachers do not come to know the problem faced by their children. The cyber crime branches have been setup in most of the countries by the government but this comes into picture when some case is reported. By the time a case is reported, maximum harm to the child is already done. In USA and other countries, the parents are being made aware of the problems which their children might face because of the cyber space criminals in regard to the safety of their children. In our country most of the parents and the teachers find themselves not fully equipped to tackle such problems and help their children and that is one of the reasons that most of the cases are not reported. By the time the parents and the teachers realize about the problem it is already too late and the child finds it very difficult to come out of the shock.
 We know it very well that it is almost impossible to stop such incidents but the parents and the teachers should make themselves aware of the problems their children might face. If they can anticipate about the problems then there is a possibility that they can help their children and protect them from such evil happenings. The parents and teachers should be as close to their children as possible without intruding too much in their life so that the children could be warned of the problems and the danger of going too far in disclosing their personal information to the unknown person on the websites. They should not be encouraged to interact with the people of unknown identity. The young children do get influenced by the heroic acts and thoughts of the people who may even not be known to them. The role of the parents has become more important because the children are exposed to lot many things which at times might prove detrimental to the safety and security of the children. They should share their thoughts and the feelings with their children. The children should also be talked about the possible dangers of their being so much exposed on the internet. The parents and teachers should work together to ensure safe and smooth growth of the children. If anything unusual is noticed the same should be paid attention and if required, an immediate positive interference is very important. This should not be taken as the interference in the personal life but an important responsibility of the parents and the teachers to save the life of the children.A united and consistent effort by all the stakeholders will ensure a safe existence of our own children.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Should social networking sites be censored?

The proposed initiative by the union communication and IT minister to put the social networking sites under the scanner has raised heated debate through out the country. The government is worried due to the misuse of these sites by some perturbed minded individuals who use them to play with the emotions of the people. The government and the people of the country will have to think seriously before forming their opinion regarding the use and misuse of these sites. Some people are calling it as the attack on the freedom of expression and there is another group who endorse the idea of the minister as to be a step thought of in the right direction. The arguments given by both the sides seem to be correct from their perspective and that is the reason we should be very careful and control our emotions before criticizing others. We have a right to express our views but at the same time the other people are also equally eligible and free to express their views. Sometimes we get so much blinded by our own thoughts that others point of view does not remain within our reach. Let us try to understand it in context of our education and the rights and duties defined for the people in the constitution of the country.
We are proud of the vision of our forefathers who envisaged such a wonderful and elaborate constitution which is appreciated by all nations of the world. The balance drawn between the rights and duties is so clear and written in such a beautiful way that all the pillars of the society are free to work without interfering in the functioning of the others. This has been working effectively and the people of the country enjoyed their rights as given by the constitution. The upsurge of the communication through electromagnetic waves, specially the Internet, has brought the people of the country and the world very close to each other. This was welcomed by all and even those who were not very comfortable with the use of the technology. Over a period of time, I feel, this has taken over the other aspects of communication and the interaction with the people. In this age of  machines, the emotions and sentiments of life were left behind and now it seems to have been further lost because of the onslaught of too much information at the click of a button. Earlier the people of the country used to discuss and debate upon various issues face to face and then take a decision based on the outcome of the debate. The feelings of each other were understood better then, than now. The use of Internet and other such mode is not always negative but at the same time the other side is also not true. Social networking sites seem to have brought people closer but the fact is that they have been driven further away physically. The use of different kinds of words for the children and the youth of the country has not done much of good to them and the nation. I do not understand why children and the youth should not be allowed to grow in a natural environment than exposing them to so many artificial things in the form of machines or gizmos. All know it well why these social networking sites came into existence. This is also clear that these were born in those countries where the people had been staying away from each other due to their social fabric. It was good for those people who were not able to see each other on regular basis even if this was a close family relationship. The small thing which was started by someone for his personal use now has become the means of interaction for the billions of the people around the globe. This is being used and enjoyed by all but at the same time people have been raising their voice against the negative impact of the same on the society at large and the children in particular. They have become addicted to such sites and the ill-effects of the same are very much visible to many of us. Those people who think this way may be labelled as conservative or someone who did not like the progress and the change. But we should not forget that if there are some uses of these social networking sites,there are certain drawbacks too. If there is no regulation for the same, this might prove to be very dangerous for the people of the country. Most of the parents and the teachers of the school going children are aware about the problems being faced by them. The mind of children is very pure but also get influenced by the external environment very quickly. The parents are struggling with the misuse of these sites which probably are not meant for the children of less than eighteen years of age. Though these sites can be used for the ulterior motives by the grown up people also and the government must ensure that this does not happen to avoid making the country susceptible to the danger of being driven towards  instability. I think some control (self or the external) is necessary to keep the things in the right direction. If it is not so then there is always a possibility of  disorder and chaos in the society. For instance,if water is given a free-flow or is untamed, then everyone knows that this can wipe out anything on its way. Similarly,the youth of the country is the powerhouse of energy and if the energy of the children and the youth is not directed properly there may be more problems and difficult situations created.
The government seems to be right while asking the social networking sites to self regulate themselves and filter the information which can be obscene and derogatory in terms of the language and hurt the feelings and the sentiments of other people. If something is shared by a small or large group of the people which does not use derogatory and  foul language, it should not be interfered with. The people are free to express their opinion but hurting the religious or social feelings of others should not be allowed and encouraged in the name of freedom of expression. All of us should understand and appreciate the views of others in an appropriate manner but the use of the language should be as dignified as possible. The government should also be clear and make people of the country believe that such control or restriction on the social networking sites will never be used for the benefit of an individual or the party or the government in power but for the good and safety of all the people and the country. Well defined boundaries should be drawn so that all know that the government did not take this step for the personal reasons but in the interest of the country. They should also define that how much is too much. The social networking sites have done a lot of good and the people should not be deprived of such platform from where they can portray their feelings and learn from each other in a more comfortable way. The social networking sites should evolve the ways in which abusive language or the things which hurt religious feelings and beliefs of people are censored and blocked. This may seem to be a difficult task today, but if tried that is seems possible because of the progress being made by the software and hardware wings of the engineers in this field. The government should also be very careful because excess of anything will have serious repercussions.The great physicist Albert Eintein once said,"Innovation is not the product of logical thought, although the result is tied to logical structure". How very true it is in this context. Only if the pros and cons are evaluated and a proper debate is held taking the views of the people from all walks of life,then a decision should be taken,accepting the change as an opportunity and ability to do better in future.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Is it good to learn too much too early?

Few days back when I was in a function and was talking to some friends while having food.when our attention was drawn by a child who was about four years of age and he was also having food on another table. He was quite free to talk to everyone around him whether known or unknown to him. Initially, I was impressed by the confidence and the behavior of the child and really wanted to talk to him about his family and the school he was studying in. I moved to his table and was about to talk to him when he asked me (without looking at me) to get some water for him. The waiter around so I asked him for water for the child. He brought a bottle of water and placed it on the table and the child immediately asked him to open the same. His parents were not around him but he was not bothered about anything. I stood there for a while and in the meantime the child finished his food and left the table without bothering about the used plate or the half filled water bottle left lying on the table. My enthusiasm to meet the child was cut short by his leaving the place even without looking at me. This made me think whether the child`s behavior and the action should be appreciated or something was not really right with him. I would like to share my opinion and then look forward for your feedback. Another question which triggered my thoughts was- if the children of the day had become too intelligent, too early with respect to their age? Or should we understand  that the schools are also responsible to make children learn or know certain things which are beyond their comprehension and  age? The other question that came to my mind was for certain activities which are done in the school to make the children aware about various concepts that do not seem age appropriate. One activity related to the mode of transport, was done for the children of the age group three to four years.  The teachers were very happy with the manner in which the activity was done and as per their thinking and the children also enjoyed the activity. But my worry is that, would the children of the age group mentioned above were mature enough to understand and comprehend the whole activity or was there really any need to teach them about the mode of transport ? Another activity done for the same age group was based on milk and milk products and how were these produced. This was practically done and shown to the children. This activity, to me, also seemed to be inappropriate for this age group. I must be corrected, if I am wrong.
The two examples stated above are the ones which make us to believe that our children are learning certain things and also are exposed to them,quite early in life. Also, the first example makes me to believe that the child was very confident who could eat food without the parents being around and could ask for  help from others wherever he needed that.  But my worry is his attitude. Being confident and self dependent is very good but then behavior with other people is also equally important. This boy was not bothered to look at the person to whom he was talking and also was not probably taught by the elders to say thanks to someone who had done something for him. He was also not taught to remove the used plates and keep them at the place specified for them. I think he was taught everything else but the dignity of labour and respect for the others perhaps was a miss somewhere. We should be careful while we teach our children etiquette and manners which make us feel proud in front of the relatives and the friends. As mentioned above, being confident and knowing things more than anybody else might be alright but knowing too much before time would not be good for the child in the long run. I guess that the child probably must have been flooded with all the facilities and he was not exposed to manage his own tasks and there must be many helping hands available to him at home that he did not learn the most basic thing of demeanour and that is courtesy. I am still not able to understand whether I should feel happy for the child or should be worried about his future.
In the other case, it has been found that the children are being forced to learn certain concepts which do not seem to be age appropriate. They might have felt happy because the activity was planned well but that activity would not have taught them to retain the concept for  future. The same activity could have been very good for the children of the age group of seven to eight years. Similarly, the other activity was also good for this age group. This should also be considered by the educators; what to teach and when to teach, so that the children learn it without any stress and are not forced to do the rote learning of remembering the things for the sake of doing that. The topics and the activities should be such that the same help the children as per the age group. The children who are in pre-primary classes should be exposed to more auditory and psycho motor activities. They should be made to learn to communicate in a more effective manner and the same should be done first in their own language and then in English, but they may not learn the language not spoken at home so easily,so consistent  efforts should be made. Though most of the public schools are English medium but that should not mean that the children should not be good at their own language. If they are good at the basic language, then I am sure they will learn the other language also,easily . For this, more of storytelling (which should be related to the things and the people around the children and not the ones from some other culture or the land) should be taken up in different ways. This I am talking in relation to the children of pre-primary schools. In the name of making them learn too much too early, irrelevant things should not be taught. The children should be exposed to good environment both at home and in the school. They should be left to learn naturally and all activities should be planned in a manner so that they even do not feel that some efforts are being made to teach them something different. This should be the part of their daily routine. The children in this age are really innocent and let us try our level best to keep that innocence intact for as long a period as possible. Let us make them learn to be confident and self reliant but at the same time the chapters on compassion,love,respect,honesty etc, should not be forgotten. This will help them become better human beings who would help the people around them and also others. Let the children learn the lesson of universal brotherhood and not of selfishness. The parents and teachers both can help the children in this endeavour to a great extent. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Concentrate on your strengths

This is the month of December which is known to us not with the help of the calendar but evidently by giving a close look at the faces of the school going students, specially the students who will appear in class XII board and other competitive examination. The faces have become slightly stressed and this is likely to escalate in the days and the months to come.The reason certainly is the fast approaching board exams that they write in the month of march. The parents of the children studying in class XII have restricted their outings for the functions of even close relatives because they feel that their child`s studies will get disturbed. The mothers always want to be with the child and motivate him /her to study hard. Every statement of advice has some impression in the mind of the child that this is the most important examination and if he /she performs well in that, then the life ahead will be very easy. Not only the parents, the school teachers are also giving the same kind of understanding to the children which seems to be alright in this world of competition. Not only this, the near and distant relatives also come and take part in this important and serious discussion that the child has to appear in the board examination and the future will depend upon the performance in this examination. All those who are concerned  for the children are getting stressed and this stress keeps on increasing every day.
At the same time, we come across those children also who despite being in the same situation are quite relaxed but focused. They are taking their studies seriously but at the same time not letting studies overpower them. Though the parents of such children are by and large happy with the efforts of their children but some of them also behave exactly in the same manner as the parents of the children discussed before. The difference between these two groups of the students is one and that is – those who are not much stressed have been studying well throughout the year while the other group has started feeling the burden of studies because they were not serious about the same till now. Those who were not regular and did not work as per the schedule will find themselves tensed and this tension may not do any good to them but further disturb and disrupt their studies. So this is very important for the teachers and the parents that the children are given positive environment at school and also at home. They should be guided and counselled so that they realize and understand their strengths because there is no fun in highlighting what went wrong in the past. That will further add to the already increasing stress. Some parents force their children to compensate for the loss of time in the past by increasing the study hours. This is genuine till it is done as per the potential of the child but if pressurized too much then it might prove counterproductive. So, the parents should take the things in such a manner so that the children do not feel let down though the same is because of their own fault for not having studied well from the beginning of the session.
The children still have about three months and all should try their level best so that they make proper use of the time left at their disposal. The time to talk about the shortcomings in the children or their pattern of studies is past and now all must concentrate only on the strengths of the children as per their individual potential. There should be no comparison with the performance of other children because that at times might have a negative effect. Individual child should be treated and handled individually and should be encouraged that he/she can do better. The most important thing is to build up the confidence of the children. Some people might find it difficult to apply in it all cases because still few students do not realize that they should study well. But the teachers and the parents should also realize that after all they are children and should be treated accordingly. They may not perceive the things as the teachers and parents do. I am happy to note many of the students are quite clear about their goals and they work accordingly to achieve the same. This could be possible due to the career counselling facility available to them. I always feel that career is important but at the same time the real learning related to the subject and also regarding life is equally important. There is no fun in choosing a career which gives you the materialistic gains and not the happiness. And happiness not only in the field of work which is applicable to all aspects of the life. The same applies to the learning process in the schools also. Some children feel that they are interested in one or more than one subject and hence they ignore them. This is not the right approach and they should understand that they will be examined in all the subjects. So they are advised to study those subjects also and with a positive frame of mind because if you want to develop interests in a subject, then first you have to force yourself to develop liking a few aspects and chapters of the same. This is true that all topics of a subject cannot be disliked by anybody though in totality the child might feel not interested in a particular subject. In this case, think and select those topics which you may like and learn more about them. Once you develop some interest in that topic you will find a change in your attitude towards that subject. Take a simple example from daily life. A doctor told the patient that he should stop having food which he liked the most and should eat something which he did not like at all. Initially, the patient was very uncomfortable with the same. He could manage not to eat something that he liked but had some problems in starting to eat the other food item. After a few months he was very comfortable with the food item he had started eating because of the doctor`s advice. Initially it might be difficult for some of the students but they will develop liking and interest in those subjects also by which they were by and large repelled. This is also understood that all topics of the same subjects may not be done so well as the other topic are read and comprehended.But,there has to be a beginning that will initiate an interested in a subject.
I would like to advise all the students that they should allow the stress to overpower them and their determination to do well (most of them are now determined to do well) and have faith and confidence in their ability. They must persevere hard (no substitute and escape from that) but should enjoy that hard work also. If done so they will definitely be able to learn and perform better than even their own expectations. Prepare a schedule for yourself and follow that religiously and not just for a show off to anybody at home or in the school. The parents and teachers can play a significant role in helping the children to exploit their potential up to optimum.Remember that yesterday is not ours to recover,but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.If you want the come out with the rainbow colours,you have to put-up with the rain and storm. So,work hard to design a better tomorrow,I wish all the children happy learning days ahead.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hard work always pay a good dividend


While attending a workshop conducted to make the new educational leaders aware about the methods which will help them to perform better in their respective schools in the interest of the students and the teachers, they were given a case study in which the head of a school was told to have taken the help of the students and the staff of the school for the purpose of doing some work in the school, because the school was short of funds. Most of the participants applauded the efforts of the head and all the people involved in the noble task which helped many students later on. Many people felt that it served two purposes. One, it helped the school to manage the deficit of the funds and second the children learnt dignity of labour. In our city itself we have one great educationist and human being who changed the concept of education by introducing an idea of self help which leads to helping others. The people who studied there and are doing very well in their profession, give credit to this concept which made them not only disciplined but also to work as a team and not to feel shy of doing any work when there was a need.  Both the examples reflect the thoughts of our father of nation, who did everything possible to remove the inequality from the society and he was the one who introduced the concept of doing the work self and not necessarily depend upon others.
But at the same time look at today’s situation. Most of the people are dependent on others help and they are finding it difficult to do their own work either due to the paucity of the time or they consider the work to be menial to do the same themselves. Whatever is the situation but that definitely does not help the individual. One great person (I think he was Einstein)  wrote once that he felt very happy when he was not extended  any help by other people because that forced him to do the work himself and during the process he himself learnt more than what he would have done otherwise. In the present day scenario, the things are altogether different. In one particular section of the society, the children are born with all the facilities available to them. Right from the childhood they are extended all possible help and over a period of time they become habitual of that. The parents of such children feel that when they have all the resources, then why their children should not get any advantage of that. They may be right but this does not really do good to the children because the habit of doing work self does not get developed and also they do not learn the importance of such work. This  puts the children in mental set-up of superiority over others because they might not have the help of others to get their work done. I agree that the children should not be exposed too much to the hazardous work which might be harmful to their health and growth. But this is true for all the children and not only for a particular class. Some people ask that they are not allowed to do difficult task then how will they learn to face such tasks in future? In this dilemma, the children of the present age are finding themselves inadequate to efface such challenges and whenever they come across they feel defeated to face the same. Also this dependency is making to seek help of others at the earliest possible opportunity because they do not even try something found difficult by them. In the schools also the same is being felt by many parents and the teachers but as the attitude and the meaning of education to have changing for most due to the free market and economy driven attitude of all this is ignored either directly or is done through the media by citing the examples which might not be quoted in the right context. The reach of media is such that any report makes an immediate impact and the reactions flow in plenty. The children have started seeking the help of the tutors even for completing their home assignment. The home assignment is an activity given to the children so that they can make use the learning accomplished during the school hours. But here also they are not allowed to learn to do the work self. I do not know how much this does to the children but, the parents feel great the work of the child is complete and there would be no remark or call from the teacher or the school. When it comes to after school tuitions, this has become almost the fashion and the people feel proud of sharing that their child was going for so many tuitions. More is the number, better would be the reputation of the parents and the family. This helps very few children but harms most of them because this tendency makes them to be casual in the class. This culture of the tuitions is harming the children and parents both. Though no proper study has been done but if the same is carried out, I think major cause of indiscipline among the children would be tuition or the coaching centers. I understand some people may not agree but ,a few children shared with their teachers that they remain casual in the class because they feel the same will be done in the tuition center in the evening. It is not only the discipline which gets affected in the process but also the habit of facing the problems self. They become dependent on the tutors and the teachers so much that they hardly solve any problem themselves. This is once again due to the two reasons; I mentioned above, paucity of the time and the easy help available to them. The teachings pertaining to face the hard task is not done in isolation or in a few days or months but is life long process right from the childhood till the end of the life. Those who develop a positive attitude of facing the challenges themselves, succeed in life more than the other group of the people. The children should be exposed to all kinds of the opportunities to learn the lessons to face the life in a more confident manner. They should not be made into passive human beings, who succumb to small pressures. This should start from the family and the schools should continue the same. The children should be extended help and the support at the right time and to the right extent only. Let us really help our children by making them strong enough to fight for themselves. All those people who became great were not because of the help of the parents and teachers only but because of their hard work and habit of taking calculated risks and facing the consequences boldly. This will be a great service to the cause of better future of our children in this ever growing and challenging world.There is nothing in the world that cannot be conquered through grit and determination.So,we as the elders of the society should teach our children the lessons of self-reliance.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Learn the lesson of peace


The violent incidents taking place in the country seems to be on the increase in the recent past. Earlier it used to be either the terrorists or the extremist who would indulge in such activities which were designed to create panic among the people of the country. By and large our nation has been peace loving and it has been rare that we provoked somebody or got provoked. The problems related to one of our neighbours have been created more by the circumstances of the partition and the attitude of the British Empire during the time when freedom was achieved by the two nations. Disgruntled group of the people helped the ill design of the neighbouring country and we did manage to control it in one of the major states but there are still some states badly affected by the activities of the people who are against the country or are otherwise unhappy with the government policies or unequal opportunities available to different people in the country based on caste or the region. The democratic approach has done a lot of good to the people and the country but in some areas, inherent problems could not be solved to the fullest. One of them being the education which remained elusive to majority of the people till the recent past. Those who got educated in some of the clusters and the castes, used that in their own interest and in that manner the ones who remained uneducated played in the hands of the few so called educated ones. This happened even in the political class and this led to further divide among the people. Most of the people are still fighting for "roti, kapda and makaan, "in addition to the problem of the education. This gap is causing a lot of stress in the society and if it is not taken care of at the earliest, then things might become difficult to control.
 Any kind of violence is bad and that should be condemned by everyone. What happened in the recent past with our leaders is utterly disgraceful because our father of nation did not let it  happen even with the foreigners what some of our people are doing with their own leaders. The difference of opinion is expected in all societies and more so in a democratic setup. So, even if somebody is not happy with certain policies or decisions then there is a different way of putting that across to the other people. Using foul or abusive language is not appropriate on the part of the people or the leaders. One of the most senior leaders and the minister was physically and verbally abused by one of the angry youth of the nation. Before that also such things happened with other leaders and members of the civil society which were not taken very seriously by the states and the individuals who were the target of the violent act. To forgive somebody is great but letting somebody repeat the wrong and offending act is not at all good for the people of the country. The children and the youth of the country are being exposed to such incidents quite often and that does not teach the right lesson to them. In the schools and the colleges, the lesson of  peace is taught to all and the same behavior is expected from them when they grow and take the responsibility in one or the other area of the development which help the country to come in the group of developed nations.
 Our country has rich culture and traditions and we should be proud of that and cherish the same. One of them is the respect for the elders and the love and affection for the younger ones. There are numerous examples where the elders were followed by the younger and they did not raise any voice. Some people may not agree with that situation to be followed in today’s` time but the other extreme of the same is also not permissible. The elders must be given due respect and if we do not agree on certain issues (which is quite possible and acceptable) then also there is a way of conveying one`s point of view in a dignified manner. Some might call, it as an ideal situation but at the same time this is the most appropriate way of dialogue in the society. All can take part in the debate and put forward their views but some consensus is to be reached so that all can abide by the decision taken. Nobody should try to bully their ideas on others. This man seemed to be angry with the inflation and the problem of the common people which again is quite genuine but the means employed to convey or raise the point were not appropriate. The elders have also to understand the feelings of the youth and the children and act in a manner that nobody gets an opportunity to learn the wrong way of having their say. The people who are in position should not try to save the chair only and look for their party or alliance interest, but the main concern should be for the problems of the people of the country and that is what seems to be missing somewhere. The aspirations and the views of the people of the country should be heard even without protest. The TV channels should also resist from showing such acts again and again because that flares up the anger of the people on both sides. All those who are at responsible position should ensure that their statements are balanced and should not aim to get any political mileage from such incidents. They should understand that people have started to resort to negative means for expressing their anger and immediate steps should be taken to understand the reason behind the same and corrective measures should be taken so that such incidents of indignities are stopped.
 The children in the schools do question their teachers regarding such incidents. These innocent minds are influenced by such acts and that definitely cannot be a positive impact. They learn all negatives and might get influenced so much that even the teachings of the family and the school may not have much of the effect on them. As I always say the best lesson learnt is not necessarily in the classrooms but outside the classrooms. This is true in case of the lessons of the life and the values imbibed by the individuals. So, all must resolve including the political leaders that no derogatory remarks will ever be passed by them for anybody and even when we do not agree with somebody that will be conveyed in a positive and dignified way. This will be the best way of letting our children carry forward the message of  non violence given by our father of the nation. Let us work together for the peace of mind and the actions of self and our fellow beings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Anxiety of the parents


In the last days, I came across two important issues raised/shared by the parents of the children studying in the school and the one who passed out from the school last year. In the first incident, the child was admitted in the school this year and had come from other school from a different city. The child had been doing all right but somehow the parents were not happy with the way the teacher had handled the newly admitted child. This is a genuine problem with the parents of the children who are frequently transferred from one place to another due to the nature of their job. The children of such parents have to re-root themselves in the school having new students and almost unknown teachers. This is natural that they take some time to adjust to the new environment and the teachers also need some time to understand the child and the way he/she is to be integrated in the class. This is not an easy task, neither for the teacher nor for the children. In this situation, the experience and the maturity level of the teachers help him/her the most. Understanding the child psychology is very important because the teacher would not know what might impact in a positive way or vice-versa. But one thing all teachers know that they have to possess a sympathetic attitude towards such children who come in the mid of the session from other schools due to varied reasons. In this particular case, the teacher was probably not that effective in understanding the need of the child due to which parents were feeling a bit uneasy. They approached the in-charge and discussed their problem and were satisfied with the solution which was offered to them. The in-charge was quite happy trying to help the child and the parents so that the child adjusts to the school environment easily and start enjoying coming to the school. In between, parents once again felt that the child was probably not comfortable in the class. They approached the head of the school and discussed the problem with him. When the file of the child and his achievement of the previous class were discussed, the father was rightly very happy to share the same. I would like to share it with you all that the child is in one of the junior classes. What the head could understand and analyze that the parents were too much worried for the future of the child. They wanted him to know everything so well so that he does not lag behind in the life ever. This is the anxiety and the ambition of most of the parents of the day. But the problem is that some of them are so much involved in the life of their children that the children do not have any space left for anything else but parents desires and on the other hand,there is another group of the parents who do not at all bother what and how the child is performing,that means, there is all the space to be filled by other people in such cases. Both the conditions are very good for the proper growth of the children. But the head of the schools do worry about the real concern of the parents who have transferrable job and have to search and plead for the admission of their children after every one to two years in a different school. When this father was told about the way the children learn the most, he agreed but at the same time questioned about the admission policy of the schools in the country.  He said that if his son did not do very well in academics then the admission in the new school would not be easy because most of the good schools select the children based on the merit prepared as per the performance of the children in the entrance examination. We hope this problem will be taken care of as per the provision of the right to education act which will be implemented across the country. The head of the school did feel the pain and the problem of the parent but still advised him not to push the child so much so that when needed he would not be able to perform because it would have been a 'burn out' stage. Let the children be at their pace of learning and we should not force them to do which is beyond their capacity and is not age appropriate.
In the other case, the head of the school met the child and her mother in one of the social gatherings. The head could very easily identify the child and the mother both because the same child had been one of the most disciplined child and had performed very well in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. The teachers found her an obedient, hard working and a sincere student all through her stay in the school. But due to some reasons she could not get into the college of her choice nor in the college of her parent’s choice and due that she was felling low. When the head met her, her first question was whether the head recognized her or not. The fact is that she did not expect the head to remember her and her mother. When the reason for this feeling was asked that as she had done nothing great in the school so why should have the head remembered her. While she was saying this the pains in her eyes could be felt so easily. The head of the school was slightly worried as to why the girl was saying that. As mentioned before, she was a disciplined child who took part in many activities in the school and did perform well in her class XII board examination as well. Then what made her feel so low? Was it that some of her classmates had done better than her or some other pressure. Why did she have this feeling in her mind that all those who perform well academically are remembered? This has left a question mark for all concerned and they must make sure that such feelings do not come in the mind of our children. She did feel little comfortable when the head said that the best thing she had done was that she was a well behaved child who was never involved in anything negative which could have harmed and disturbed anybody. She was the one who would take care of her juniors so well and was always there to help them if they had some difficulty. So for the head she was one of those children who would always be remembered because they will definitely do well in their life irrespective of the standard of the college she might have got into or whatever she will do in future. The parents and the teachers will have to work harder to remove the phobia of the marks from the mind of the children and encourage them to learn effectively in whatever field they are good.
Look at the two examples and you will find in one case the child in class II or III whereas in the second case the child has passed out from the school but both are suffering from the pressure. This is not a good or a happy situation for the children, parents and teachers at all. All have to work hard in such a manner that our children fell happy and proud of whatever they are able to achieve. Let us also teach them to derive happiness from small achievements and not feel depressed or low if they could not get or achieve something big. This will be real education and the efforts of the government will yield good result to make education a joyful exercise for the children.    

I

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Assessing assessment

1) Understanding Assessment

Assessment and knowledge are the heart and soul of education.And education is the bedrock of society without which there is no progress.The root of the term assessment is "assidere",that means 'to set'; used in the primitive period to measure the growth in business.Apropos education,assessment is used interchangeably for evaluation.The history of this techniques is glorious and in the early societies,assessment not only indicated the educational emergence,but also the social and moral uprising.It assessed the different facets like, if the student is ready for advancement,the epicentre of his/her potential,level of competence and measure of intelligence along with social,cultural,moral and spiritual traits of the learner. Assessment is an integral part of any system if the improvement or the progress is to be made. It has different meaning in different context but educational assessment can be referred to as the learning outcome of the students in the class, outside the class and the outcome of the training programmes or the workshops conducted. Assessment can be done by an individual (self assessment), by other person and by group of the people expert in different areas of learning or administration. When we talk about assessment it should not be confined to the learning by the school or the college students but that applies to all of us irrespective of teacher or taught. The same will be discussed in the following paragraphs. But first, let us confine to the students` learning and try to understand the meaning of the word assessment in context of the education. Assessment can be defined as the process of putting on record the progress made by the individual or the class or the group of the people which is usually in measurable terms like, knowledge, skills, understanding and attitude etc. Any assessment which cannot be expressed in measurable terms may not be very effective and would not serve the purpose of giving right feedback for the improvement of a particular skill or the progress made. Even in case of the companies ,assessment is very important. Take an example where one businessman wants to set up a factory in a particular region. Then it is very important for him or his group to do preliminary survey whether that place is suitable for the kind of the factory they wish to set up. This survey prior to setting up the factory is also a kind of assessment and if can be done objectively, the businessman will be able to get a fair idea and then take a decision whether to set up the factory or not. Similarly, when somebody tries to change from one area of work to another then he/ she has to assess his/ her potential in that field and also will it be worthwhile to do better in the other field being considered to be changed to. We may take many such examples from our day to day life.
In context of the assessment of the students we have to be clear about the objectives of the assessment. There are two types of assessment one formative and the other one is summative. The formative assessment is used to understand the understanding level of the students while teaching learning process is on. This can be done at the end of topic, unit, chapter or while teaching the class. When I say teaching that means the students might have been doing individual work, group activity or the teacher might have discussed some topic and then thought of understanding whether the students have understood the content of what was taught. This can be very simple as well as little tough also. I take an example of my own class. When I had the last period in any class then it was important for me to ensure that the children who were already tired did not miss on anything discussed or done in the class. So while teaching I would speak either incomplete statement or incorrect statement and that would make me to understand who the children were listening and actively participating in the learning process or who were otherwise and then accordingly I would change my approach and the make sure that even those children who were tired also get involved in the learning process. Formative assessment can be an effective method of understanding the effect of the teaching and its outcome even while teaching. Most of the teachers plan the assessment after they have completed the topic. This is not wrong but why to wait for that long when you have freedom and the tool to know that before it was too late. The formative assessment is also said to be assessment for learning and that is why it is important that this helps the teacher and the taught both to take corrective measures at the earliest possible opportunity. The formative assessment does not help the students only but the educators as well because they also learn in the process what is the better way they should adopt to make learning a pleasure for both, students as well the educators, to me the formative assessment is wonderful way of making the learning and studies a joyful experience for the students. But for that the educators will have to work very hard even before they go their class and the pre-assessment of the knowledge level of the children is very important because based on that only they can plan their strategy of instruction and the activities. If this assessment is done properly then formative assessment will be very effective in making the things better in the class.
 The other form of the assessment is summative assessment which has been in the practice for quite long. Most of the people know it by the name of terminal examination, half yearly examination or the annual examination. We have been following the process of the summative assessment and are very much used to the same and that is the reason some educators are taking even the formative assessment in the same way. Not only the educators even the board has also projected formative assessment almost in the same manner. As per the board`s guidelines the four formative assessments are to be conducted during the year and the achievement of the students in the same is reflected in the progress report card. I differ on this point and fell that the formative assessment should be the tool in the hand of the teachers to improve the leaning level on daily basis, weekly basis or monthly basis whatever is the requirement. A teacher assesses the students on daily basis while interacting with them in the class and let this assessment be used for the purpose of improving the instructional methodology or the activities or any other way of doing better. Some children can do better with little efforts while the others may require consistent efforts on the part of the teacher as well as the students. So the formative assessment should be left for the purpose of the improvement of different areas of the children`s personality and this should be continuous and not ones or twice in or two months. The summative assessment can be used for the information of the parents and other people that after a particular period and sincere efforts of both the educators and the learners this is the level of the learning. This may be a kind of certification of the learning achievement level of the students and further course of action can be decided based on that. The formative assessment is very important because that gives many opportunities for the improvement while summative assessment gives the final verdict. Formative assessment gives complete liberty to improve while summative assessment gives limited opportunity to improve the lack of learning level. Robert Stake has very well differentiated between the formative and summative assessment. He says that when the cook tastes the soup this may be called formative assessment and when the guests taste the same that may be called as the summative assessment. This should also be remembered that the formative assessment is for the learning and the summative assessment is of the learning. I think this explains the difference between the two so clearly in the context of education.
The summative assessment is also important because that makes the parents and other people to understand the strengths and weak area s of the child and accordingly the strength of the children can be exploited for the benefit of the children and also the society. We can work more on the strengths and that will automatically take care of the other areas of the weakness. The assessment can be of two types objective as well subjective and they both are important, the objective type assessment is usually closed ended and the children do not get much opportunity to express or showcase their creative thinking. Subjective assessment gives more freedom to the students to express themselves and do not restrict them to some expected answers only. These assessments can further be classified as formal and informal assessments. The formative assessment can be both formal as well informal while summative assessments are usually formal. Formal assessment may include written tests, structured quiz etc. while informal assessment is bit casual and may include the observation, checklist and inventories etc. Formal and informal assessment both are important if understood and taken in the right spirit because if there is trust between the teacher and the taught then even informal assessment is also taken very seriously and that will help the learning of the students . This is absolutely true that the purpose of the assessment formative or summative is to improve the learning level and not to label the child intelligent or otherwise. The assessment is the tool which helps everyone to diagnose and improve the areas where there is need. Assessment should be considered as to be the phobia or some stressful exercise but should be enjoyed both by the educators and the learners. This should be enjoyed as to be the integral part of the teaching learning process and not as something different which may is done in isolation.
But to make to be so the educators must be very careful while designing the assessment tolls. They should be very clear of the objectives to be achieved and the learner should also know beforehand what is expected of them after the completion of a particular topic. The learner should be made aware that by this exercise their listening or reading skills will improve. They should whether they are going to be taught for the knowledge, application, skill or application. I f they know all this they will be bettered prepared for the learning and the assessment process. Not only this but the educators must be very clear about the reliability and the validity of the assessment. Reliability means that there is consistency in the assessment. A reliable assessment means the assessment consistently achieves the same result for the same level of the children. Reliability of the assessment is very important if the faith of the learner and other stakeholders is to be maintains. An unreliable assessment shall destroy the whole concept of teaching learning process.
Similarly the validity of the assessment is also very important. Validity of the assessment means that the assessment tests the same what it is intended to assess. For example a question can be framed which will assess the writing skill of the children but if the this has not been worded carefully then it might confuse the child and the assessment may not give the correct result what it was intended for. The assessment related to practical skills cannot be assessed by the written test only and for that practical situation will have to create.
 In the end I would like to submit that the assessment process is equally important as the teaching learning process, rather is the integral part of teaching learning process so the testers have got to be properly trained so that they do not compromise on the validity and the reliability of the assessment. Central board of secondary education have come out with very good textual materials in the name of teachers manual but a lot more is to be done for making the learning of the children a joyful exercise and not a cause of stress of completing the project or any other work given by the teachers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Parents of different nature


The teachers have to perform many important duties in and outside the school and the most important of all is the interaction and proper guidance to the children being taught by them. In addition to this, the teachers in government schools are engaged in some other works also which may not really be helping them to learn for the benefit of the students in terms of effective class room environment. Most of the class teachers are responsible for the collection of the fees or such tasks which are primarily of clerical nature. Proper record of the children including their family background (this is necessary for the teachers to know) and the caste and the religion they belong to is also expected from the teacher. Then the preparation of the result and the report cards etc is also to be done by the teachers in most of the schools, Not only they are responsible for the bus duties etc. so that the children are transported to and from the schools safely. We can list many more which are equally important for the safety and growth of the children and the teachers are expected to perform all these tasks very well. In addition to all this the discipline in and outside the school is of paramount importance and the school teachers are to look after that also. Fortunately the teachers` training institutes do cater to such areas and prepare the teacher for tackling such situations and the tasks. But the other important areas which remain almost untouched during the training programme are interaction and managing the parents and the very active social organization including the media. This is also very important role to be played by the teachers in the interest of the children because the parents and the society plays significant role in the development of the children`s personality. They also contribute in the learning and future planning of the students so that they prove to be an asset to the society. In this group media comes into picture not very regularly but the parents are the integral part of the day to day happening in the school. The mode of the communication, courtesy technology is very fast, and sometimes even those things are conveyed to the parents which were not worth mentioning. Though it is always good that the children are so open to their parents that they discus everything which takes place in the school. But the important thing for the parents to understand is when to get involved and come into the picture which will really help the children and the teacher both. We come across different type of parents who behave differently in the same situation. There are some who don’t have time to interact with their children and have left everything to the school and the teachers. They consider that once the child has been admitted to a school their role becomes insignificant. The extreme group of the teachers is that of those parents who are too much involved in everything the children do. They will nag them to know about everything right from boarding the bus till they come back home. Questions asked by them are like who was the child sitting by your side, was he/she disturbing you, did the teacher scold you, was there any other child who was praised and not you, was the teacher rude to you, did she appreciate you for the home work or the project done by you, did the other children ate your tiffin, why did teacher taste a bite from your food and so many more things. This becomes little too much and the child find self a bit suffocated and the independent thinking rarely develops in such children. The other category of the parents is those who do keep an eye what their children are doing but do not get in their personal life too often. They do discus about their activity in the school but would encourage the children to talk of good things which the child might have done or some other people including the children and the other children might have done to him/her. Some parents interact with the children rarely and mostly related to the academic achievement and if by chance the child had not been able to perform well they express their unhappiness in no uncertain terms. If it continues for few months then the children develop habit of telling a lie to save self from getting the scolding from the parents. Some parents are very honest in admitting the weakness of their child while others try to find fault in the schools or other children. We come many cases where it is very clear that the statement given by the parent is not correct but the teachers will have to listen to that and they are supposed not to counter that immediately. Some parents are very polite while talking to the teachers and other children and there are a few who shout on everyone. The psychologists have said those people who do not have conversation with the other person in a congenial atmosphere suffer from some disease. Some parents want to dominate on the other people particularly the teachers by shouting and alleging with all those things which have no base. I remember a case where a child told the teacher that as she was not keeping well so she can be excused from a particular activity and the teacher believed the child and allowed as desired. This happened two three times and the teacher tried to motivate the child not to miss the activity so often, the parents were angry that why the teacher was forcing the child to do something which she was not keen. The teacher agreed to the request of the parents. Now when it was the assessment time all children did their project or the assignment and the child in thecase said she could not do because she was never taught by the teacher. The parents also came and shouted on the teacher for negligent attitude towards their daughter which was not the truth. The teacher tried to convince them but they did not listen. The child was given another date for the assessment test and on that day also she told the teacher that her mother told her not to appear in the test as she was not prepared. The teacher does not want to have unpleasant argument with the parents because this does not help the child in any way. There is another case in which the parent knows the problems of his son who keep disturbing other children I the class but would always blame other children and the teachers only. When he is called to the school he does not do anything but shout so that nobody talks about the problems of his son. These are few cases and there are many more like those. One parent does not want her daughter to have internet access because he has the fear that she will get spoiled because of so much negative material available on the net. He has told teachers that her daughter should not be given any project which requires outdoor activities or the use of net. But at the same time there are large numbers of parents who are always willing to help the teachers so that their children perform better that what they have been doing. They give a lot of respect to the teachers and always appreciate the sacrifice made by the teachers. Now this is a very important task for teachers to take care of all kinds o f the parent in a manner so that the children improve and they do not suffer because of the attitude and the behavior of the parents. In this media can play important role by playing unbiased role. We must t understand that the children do not tell a lie but some disgruntled people can make to do so. Similarly all teachers also do not tell a lie and we should have faith in them and believe them until prove otherwise. The major problems faced by the teacher as on today is that they are labeled as to be telling a lie though he/ she may be absolutely true.
So what is the solution? What I feel is that we have to accept parents of our children as they are and if possible sit with them and try to counsel in a conducive environment because negative tit for tat would not solve the problem. The teachers are to be trained that they are responsible for the children under their charge irrespective of the behavior of the parents of the children. The parents’ negative behavior should not change our behavior towards them and the children should not be allowed to suffer at all. The teachers` training institutes should also include the parents counseling and handling in their curriculum. This aspect of the teachers job profile is also as important as others because if the teacher gets demoralized by the actions and the comments of few disturbed parents than it would affect all the children and not only the teachers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Children`s day celebrations


The birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is celebrated as the children`s day also and on this day every year many programmes are organized in the schools and competitions are held at different places. The children are made to understand that they are the most important entity in the life of the parents and the schools. The future of the country lies in their future. This is very true but the question which comes to the mind of many people is that what role such celebrations play in the improvement of the life of the children. If we try to understand the change from the day in the year 2010 and 2011, not much improvement can be noticed. I do not think the number of the children involved in child labour has reduced. Though we do not have any scientific data or survey done during the said period but there seems to be no improvement in the condition of the children specially the ones from rural and economically poor background. Most of our children do not have access to healthy food, good education and proper sanitation etc. But there have been quite a discussion in the newspapers and on TV channels regarding right to education act. This was considered to be one very effective way of improving the life of our children but last two years have not been witness to the desired result or the progress. This is true that initial inertia does play negative role in not letting the progress fast but the plan of the future also does not show happy path except that the private schools will be forced to admit twenty five percent children from the economically poor background. We hope that the private schools will take this responsibility willingly and not as a punishment because any work done willingly will yield better result. In this case the schools deal with the future of the children hence it becomes very important that they participate in this noble cause voluntarily and the government is not forced to use force to get the act implemented. At the same time the government agency should also act proactively and do everything possible to improve the facility in the government schools.  Only providing mid day meal will not help children and the parents but the real pleasure of coming to the schools. The teachers and the schools should be welcoming to the children so that they feel happy and come to the school willingly to learn and not to eat one time food. The teachers should be evenly distributed and the culture of "Sifarish and the desire should be done away immediately so that all children get access to quality teachers whether they belong to village schools or urban schools. The teachers also should understand that they are required by all kinds of the children and by good ones only. The children in the villages are equally intelligent as the children from the urban areas. The only problem is that they do not those opportunities which are available the other group of the children. The country cannot progress by having two opposite way of caring for our children. As per the right to education act also schools should have minimum infrastructure by the year 2013. That means very short time is at our disposal and task is quite big. Next fourteen months will decide the real intent of all concerned and whether we really care for our children or not. This has been made compulsory that all parents must send their children to schools so that they complete elementary education. This should not remain in papers only but should be ensured that all children go to schools. In some cases the parents want their children help in their agriculture task also. This may be required in some cases and to cater to such cases we should introduce the concept of the flexible schools. What I mean by flexible schools is that there can be two shifts run one in the morning and the second in the evening. In most cases the agriculture work is done in the morning hours and even if the children are required to help their parents in that then they can join the school in the second shift. Those children who are not able to go to schools can be provided some basic education in the evenings or whenever they have time as per their convenience. If they are treated and taught properly some of them would definitely join regular schools. This may seem to be ideal situation but if implemented will prove to be a success. Other important thing which should be done by the parents, teachers and the society is to have positive attitude towards our children. We must remember that even so called worst of the child has pure heart and degree of creativity to do good for the society. The degree of creativity and so called disciplined may differ from individual to individual but they all are capable of doing well for the parents and the society. The children should not be condemned for the sake satisfying one`s ego or prove self better than them but even while saying harsh words to the child we should have positive feelings for him/her. They are innocent souls which can be moulded for the good and if by chance exposed to negative would become like that not because of their fault but some problem on the part of the adults. We would be happy if this day is observed on daily basis and not only once in a year. That will be real tribute to our beloved first prime minister of the country who loved the children always and not only on his birthday. He had tremendous belief in the intelligence and innocence of the children of the country which is very proved but his habit of writing to his daughter Indiara JiPandit Nehru always thought that his daughter was intelligent and very good in many areas. The countries where the children are paid maximum attention have progressed faster than others and china and Japan are two examples. This does not mean we do not expose our children to hard work and provide them all things without efforts. What I mean to say that let them be exposed to difficult tasks but we should have faith in their potential. They should also be heard and not to be dictated all the time. We may be hard from outside but from inside should always be soft so that no negative thought are radiated which might harm our children. Let us consider that our children are goo even if at times they behave in a manner which may not be as per the norms of the society but they can be counseled and guided what is expected of them. Let all of us work so that no child indulged in child labour and due to which is deprived of the place where he/ she should be every day. The celebrations will have some meaning when we are able to provide all our children food .clothing and proper education so that they can make full use of the creativity possessed by them.          

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Classroom teaching - learning process

The role of a teacher is considered to be the most important in the life of a student and this has been true from the ancient times. Also education formal and informal is very important in the life of an individual and this is a proven fact that good education can change the person for the good to self and also the society. The right to education act which has been implemented by the government of India recognizes the same fact. A report says that eighty per cent of the primary schools are run either by the government or are partly funded and rest twenty percent are run by private sector. The twenty five percent reservations in the private schools for the economically backward children is a good idea but when eighty percent of the children are to be educated at government schools then so much talk and hype of twenty five percent reservations only may not yield desired results. The infrastructure in government schools must be improved along with asking the private schools to extend full support to government`s efforts to teach every child irrespective of the financial condition of their parents. The teachers should be encouraged more time with the students so that they understand each other better. The teacher is not supposed to teach the subject/ subjects only but also help the children develop values and good character. If the teachers have to engage themselves in other works then the children will naturally suffer. The other important issue which should be paid immediate attention is the training of the teachers. The world is changing fast and so is the exposure of the children to the world. There are new challenges faced by the teachers every day.
The knowledge of the subject is important but the transmission of the same is also equally important. The teachers need to spend quite a time in the planning of the lesson and then only the teaching learning will be effective. There are three important steps which can further be divided smaller steps as per the requirement of the topic and the level of the class. The broad steps are planning, presentation and the evaluation. The teachers must plan the lesson in a manner that all students are benefitted by the teaching in the class. The teacher must have knowledge about the class and their level of attainment in regard to the topic to be discussed. The presentation should be such that all the children are involved and none of them feel ignored or bored while the teacher is teaching the topic. After smooth and effective completion of the topic the teacher should be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the topic taught.  Just completing the topics or the syllabus does not make any sense until the children learn what they were supposed to do. The teachers must make the children the objective of the topic and not only the teacher but the students should also know what changes are expected once they learn the topic. For this proper planning and understanding of the topic is very important and if the teacher is clear about that then the children will definitely be learning in a better way. If the teachers do not devote time to prepare for the next day’s teaching learning process then the teaching would never be very effective even if the teacher has been teaching the same subject for many years. The children today have an access to so much information that the teachers will have to work very hard to keep the interest of the children in the topic/subject at the same high level. Sometimes it is found that teachers do not prepare any lesson plan and go to the class. It can be understood very easily that in such case the teaching learning process may not produce that good result as expected by the children. We all know that planning process is very important because the presentation or the execution will depend upon the planning. And if there is no planning the presentation will not be organized and hence ineffective. If it is so then the evaluation will be further erratic or maybe there will be no evaluation.
So what should a teacher do before the lesson, during and after the lesson has been completed? There simple steps which should be followed. First the teacher must know every student of the clad not only by name but by nature and level of intelligence and motivation to learn in the class. Second the teacher should understand the limitations within which he / she has to work. For example every school may not have smart class or many teaching aids or there may be problem of reelection of light. The teacher should also know what the time of his /her class is. Is it in the morning, after the recess or at the end of the school because the teacher has to plan the introduction of the topic based on the mental status of the children. Third important thing is that introduce the topic in a simple manner and the concept of known to unknown is well advised by all. Fourth important thing is that the teacher should not pay attention to one group of the children only. It has been observed that some teachers interact with intelligent children only and others pay attention to the ones who were not doing well. In this other group of the children feel left out and then involve in certain things teachers do not like. That means the teachers should address the needs of all the teachers by using differential method of teaching. Fifth, they should involve the children in the discussion and assess whether they are paying proper attention to what is being discussed or not. In some cases though the children look at the teacher but have their attention somewhere else. If the teacher will ask some questions in between then all children will remain alert. Sometimes stating something which is not correct will help the teacher to know whether all children are involved in teaching learning or not. At the end the teacher should ask some questions to evaluate the impact of the lesson delivered to the class. The questions can be multiple choice, short answer type so that all children get chance to answer. This will help the teacher to plan next day’s lesson accordingly and more effectively. The homework given should be such that the children use the learning of the class also gets an opportunity to think beyond what was discussed by the teacher. This will increase the creativity and the children will develop habit of learning and doing self also. The homework is not always the written work but the same can be in quiz form, project or getting additional information to what was done in the class.
To achieve all the teachers will have to plan the things and spend as much time as possible so that the life in the class is enjoyable by both the teachers as well as the children. Some people find it difficult to get that much time but if the justice is to be done to the aspirations of the children then this is the best way that teachers get involved in the planning as enthusiastically as in the teaching in the class. Initially it might appear to be tough task but eventually it will be the habit and the teachers will enjoy doing the same and will feel satisfied when their children do better than what they have been doing before.  

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Festival of sacrifice Id Ul Juha

Id Ul Juha was celebrated in our country on 7th November 2011 with great enthusiasm. The Muslim brothers and sisters offered their prayers early in the morning and remembered the Almighty God and expressed their feelings and gratitude for all the blessing of their life. As all of us know that Id means festival and Juha means sacrifice. Many of us would be aware that Abraham (Ibrahim) offered his son Ishmael to God as was expected from him. At the last minute, his son was replaced by a goat and since then this festival of sacrifice is celebrated worldwide every year, after about two months and ten days of the end of Holy month of Ramadan and at the end of the Hajj which is celebrated in Mecca in Saudi Arabia every year. Though all the festivals and celebrations have one or the other significance and they always teach us something good but this festival of sacrifice is one of the most important reminders for the human beings and not only for the Muslim brother and sisters. This teaches us to sacrifice even the most important and beloved thing to God without any hesitation because whatever we possess does not belong to us. All know it well that we came in this world empty handed and will leave as we came. Whatever has been gained by us is by the grace of God and other people around us. On this day of Id ul Juha all people try to make sure that nobody remains hungry and they share whatever they cook at their home. The sacrifice made is always pious and supreme and cannot be measured in terms of more or less. Again I ask the same question that should it be the celebration of the day to eat well and wear new clothes and exchange messages and wish each other and then forget the importance of this day as it happens in most of the cases. We should understand the importance of celebrating this festival of sacrifice and follow what the Almighty expects and asks us to do. We should also understand that He does not want anything for self but for the mankind and the human race irrespective of the religion and the caste.
If we see the world around then such festivals become all the more important because most of the people have become so selfish that they are blinded of their duty defined by God towards other fellow beings. The relationships have become completely materialistic which does not have space for the emotional feelings. What does it teach our children? They at times, doubt our exploitations regarding the importance of such celebrations because most of the time they observe absolutely opposite to what is talked on this day. The other thing which has been disturbing many of us is that the festivals have been converted into the business opportunities. If we read the newspapers and analyzes the news channel reports, then it is found that no festival has remained unaffected by the influence of the market. I would like to know which TV channels and the newspapers carry the reports regarding the importance of the day in detail so that the people can remind themselves of their duties and our children also learn the importance of the day. You will be finding very few which have discussions so that our youth is given the right message on such important days. This is true that change will affect all the aspects of the life and even the festivals will not be spared by that but the essence of the festivals and good teachings given by the celebrations should not be forgotten and missed in the name of change. This day does not make us only to sacrifice for the sake of pleasing God but if we can do some good to His creation that will be the best way of doing our duty towards Him. He does not want anything for self but for the people and that what God has taught us through His desire of asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. This is the day which a is reminder to us to make us aware of our duty towards other human beings and do everything possible to make their life happy and comfortable. This is the day which reminds us for the sacrifice to be made for the happiness of others. When we talk of the word sacrifice that does not necessarily means giving up your life for others but help others at the cost of your own things. We have many examples where the people serve the poor every day before they eat anything themselves. They may remain hungry for the days together but would not let the other people suffer. That is what this festival teaches us. We should not try to gain things at the cost of the other people. But the problem is that nobody remembers the real lesson taught by such celebrations after a few days and we start behaving in a very strange manner. If the lesson of the sacrifice is learnt by all of us then most of the problems of the human race will automatically be solved. We should not forget that the things which we possess today are not ours but are given to us by some supreme power. If that becomes clear to all, then Id ul Juha will have the real meaning of the celebrations not annually but daily. I may not be very correct in explaining to all about the other important lessons which can be learn from Id Ul Juha, but I believe whatever we teach the children through  our words and actions,it lives on forever in their heart and mind.Thus we must enlighten them about each and every religion and festival.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Importance of supervision


We all know that the role of a teacher is very important in the life of the students. Getting a good teacher is a boon to anyone and that will largely decide the future of the children. It has been found that the children tend to study that subject more which is taught by a good teacher. When I say good teachers that does not mean good in the subject only but in all respect, including their behavior and the values. The teachers are the motivator and counselor for the students and their direction to the students decide the result for their students. When we go back to our school and college days it is realized that some of the teachers are remembered by us more than others. The teachers whom we remember are the ones who showed us the right path in most difficult times. They were not concerned about their problems but did everything possible for their students. So if the future of the children is to be secured we must expose them to good teachers only. But is it easy to find good teachers in today`s time when not many people want to be teacher for different reasons known to all of us. I do not say that all the new teachers are the ones who were unwilling for the profession because there are many who came to this field by choice and are happy with their choice. But they also need to be trained and taught the way they are expected to teach the students. The schools have either in house training programme or they outsource the same. Most of the organizations do not call it as the training programme but development programme. The reason for the same is that training programme may seem to be for limited staff whereas the development progrrame is for the entire staff. Let us try to understand the logic behind the same.
In a school there will be two categories of the teachers. One those who are new and inexperienced and the second those who have been in the profession for more than two to three years and are considered as experienced. Experienced as well as inexperienced teachers need to be supervised and the development programme to be planned accordingly. Some people argue that why an experienced teacher should be supervised? They say that the teacher has been doing the job for many years and that is why does not need any help. CPD department should utilize their resources and energy to develop the skills of the new teachers. Some supervisors also echo the same feelings because they find it easy to supervise and guide the new teachers then the so called experienced teachers. This made me to realize to think whether old and experienced teachers are good enough in motivating their students and make their children things easily. The experienced teachers can also be divided in two groups. First the ones who subject centered and care very little for the learner. They consider the subject to be the most important and if they are at that then learner should be able to do well. The second category is of those teachers who consider the learner to be the most important and the rest of the things are secondary. The same may be true for some inexperienced teachers also but then it is easier to change their approach in comparison to the experienced teachers. As I mentioned before also that subject knowledge is important but that cannot be the focal point. The learner is the centre and rests of the things revolve around him/her. Te supervisors always find it easy to deal with the new teachers than the old ones because the new ones have just come out o the teachers` training institutes.
The teachers can be classified in one more way. There are some teachers who are ineffective but they do not know it. In this case the supervisor can play a significant role to make the teacher aware of the problems and counsel and guide how to take care of the problems. Such teachers are very likely to improve with the help of the supervisors. There is another group of the experienced teachers who know that they re not effective but they do not admit it to anybody. They are really very difficult for the supervisors. At time the supervisors give them up by saying that why to waste their time and energy for such cases. But will leaving such cases be helping the cause of the future of the children being taught t by such teachers. This is difficult question but needs the attention of all the responsible people particularly the supervisors. Another problem with such teachers is that they do not show any enthusiasm to participate in the teachers` training or the professional development programme. They always blame the children for everything whether it is the discipline in the class or the children not performing well in the test or examination. The other category of the teachers who must be handled on priority is the bunt out ones. These are the teachers who have been in this profession for long time and are tired and have no enthusiasm and will to enjoy what they are doing. Such teachers will also be doing a lot of harm to the children. Some educationists and psychologists feel that if you try to make all good then there is a possibility that the ones who can be made better will also be not being reaching to that level.
This is true that all schools and the colleges have the above mentioned category and all of them are to be helped so that the learners do not suffer because of the fault of somebody else. It may be difficult to improve the ineffective teachers who know this very well or the burned out teachers but we cannot afford to let them ruin the future of the children. The head of the institution and the board of governors should ensure that such teachers are ether improved or made to leave the job so that no child suffers at the hand of such people but that should be the last resort. First they should be counseled and made to realize that they needed to improve not only for their sake but for the sake of the children exposed to them. At the same time the new and other category of teachers should not be ignored because most of the time of the management and the supervisors is spent on the other category. The experienced teachers should also realize that they can learn every moment and everyday from everyone around them including their students.  The management and the head of the school are responsible for every child of the school and not only for few ones so they must try that has no teacher in their organization remained ineffective. The professional development programme should be compulsory in all the schools and all the teachers should be the part of the same. Nobody is perfect but at the same time nobody can stop us from moving towards the perfection. This is all the more true for the teaching community because that deals with human beings and not with machines.  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Seven billion mark

The world population has reached the mark of seven billion. There is confusion all over the world who is the seven billionth child, Nargis from India or somebody from Russia or Philippines? Many people are trying to understand the reason behind so much of the talk for the seven million mark. We did not know much when the population reached four billion or five billion mark. So much hype for the last few days makes us to understand whether it is an achievement or sign of future problems?  The china is still number one in terms of the population in the world and we are very closely following that country which has taken some concrete steps to reduce the rate of population growth. Our government also talks sometimes about the need of the population control but the efforts made in that direction do not convey the same. Though the rate of population growth has gone down but this has not been so because of the efforts of the government but many other reasons known to most of us. If we see the number in our country this should be around 1.25 billion which comes out to be approximately eighteen percent of the world population. Out of this number approximately thirty five percent are in that age group who might be responsible for adding to the number of more people of the country. The rate of population increase might have gone down but absolute number of the people adding to the already existing number is increasing. We are likely to become number one by the year 2025. We do not know whether it is something we should be proud of or try to do something so that the population growth is controlled so that the economic growth does not crumble under the number of the people to be fed or provided things of daily need. Many people see well in the human resource available to the country but we should not forget that we need other resources also for keeping the human resource worth doing that. The natural resources are limited and the human resource increasing will disturb the equilibrium and consequent to that all will suffer. So if we have to balance then we should control the population growth. Our country has progressed very well in the past sixty years and the life of the people has become better than before. We know that many people in the list of the richest people in the world. This all could be possible due to the efforts of politicians, scientists, farmers, industrialists, soldiers, teachers, technocrats, all the people working in different area like fields, factories and in other countries also. Everyone has contributed in the growth and the progress of the country. The road network and other facilities which have been taken even to the remotest places are worth appreciating and to be acknowledged by all of us. The world community is seen our country as potential world power of the future in terms of its economic growth. But then why are we not able to make everyone in the country happy and provide him/ the things required as the basic needs namely food, clothing and the housing facilities. There are large numbers of the citizens of the country who find it difficult to send their children to the school because the child is required to go to work so that some amount can be earned for the family. There is still large number of children working as the child labour in the factories or domestic help because they need to do the same for helping their parents to earn two ends meals. The government is taking some corrective measures by providing them free education along with midday meals but hat has not attracted many children to come to the schools. The corruption, as reported in the media. has become serious problem and such schemes may not be helping the ones for whom launched but other people do get benefited by that and sue this reason only correct picture is not brought to the notice of the state or the central government. Some people argue that citizens should be made capable of proving to an asset to the nation and not the liability. If we provide them everything without hard work then that may not do much good. This may be a short term remedy but in long term it will be to be a disaster.
This can be realized if the number of the people to be fed is more hence there is going to be a problem in handling them because the natural resources are limited. We are not able to provide education to all because not adequate number of schools and other educational institutes are available. If we need one hundred schools today and the government is able to create fifty only then by the time they think of more number of schools the requirement will grow further because of the increase in the population. We are seeing that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing day by day and if it is not controlled it will take us to a dangerous situation. The government will have to fight on two fronts, one to slow the population growth and second reduce the gap between rich and the poor. The other thing which should be kept in mind is that never try to make poor as rich at the cost of the rich. This will be as we are trying to make two lines equal by reducing the length of the longer line. Better idea would be if we can help the smaller line to become equal to the bigger line without really disturbing the bigger line. If done otherwise that will cause friction in the society and we all understand that will not be good for the country because if the country has to grow then the contribution from everyone is required. We should try to make all the citizens worth contributing to the development of the nation and then enjoy the fruits of this development. The government must realize that providing facility without hard work does not do well to any. All the citizens of the country must get education and opportunity to work so that they not only get to eat and live but also contribute in the growth of the nation.
Let seven billion mark be taken as the warning signal by us and do something which will to control the population growth so that we are able to after the welfare of the people of the country. We should concentrate towards proper utilization of the natural resources so that the future generation can live in peace and do not fight with each other over little things left for them.