What Now? After class XII results : On Zee Business Panel

Every year, this time of the year is a challenging time for most students who are graduating from school. The expectation that is thrust on each by the families and society really takes toll on every child.

It is very important to understand the child and help the child have confidence in himself or herself, in their capabilities. Through the school, facilitate the child to understand self and the world around, by exposing, exploring, experimenting, experiencing, imbibing in many contexts, across a variety of spaces in those eight intelligence dimensions – linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, nature, kinesthetic, Musical (read the article Every child is gifted).

The world is looking for problem solvers and shall dish out anything to have such on their board. Money is never a problem. Be a learner for life time, have courage to push boundaries, to discover what more you are; Be humble in any given situation… So much more in this panel discussion with renowned career counsellor, Ms Pravin Malhotra.

If you have any more thoughts or doubts can surely write to me sreeni@careerlauncher.com

H H Dalai Lama – ‘Love and Compassion make all the difference’

It has always been a pleasure contributing to the spaces where children observe, introspect, participate, engage, discuss, debate and learn. One such movement that I have been part of as a volunteer, contributor and advisor has been ITIHAAS, an endeavor by a team of strong-willed and highly capable youth lead by Smita Vats and Shivani, has been doing a yeoman service for over 15 years now, in the space of Heritage Education for children. The movement now addresses children and institutions in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh while children from across the country travel to these states to soak in and also learn the heritage of our rich, composite nation.

dalai_lama_25

There are many initiatives by ITIHAAS, year around, that engage the children, schools and the entire education community not only through their walks but also through facilitation of research in literature, music, traditions, livelihoods that are integral to Heritage.

As part of the latest initiative, first in the series of Changemakers talk, His Holiness Dalai Lama delivered the ITIHAAS ANNUAL ADDRESS to the school fraternity… What an interaction, it was !!  Always a pleasure listening to His Holiness. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with him too. Just observing him silently is good enough to absorb so much about purposefulness towards humanity…

As he was addressing the children, teachers and education community, laced with his inimitable humour, I made it point to tweet whatever I could gather. Here I collate my tweets and share for posterity. Each of the points that he shares are invaluable –

  • Every #child receiving #love, affection, hugs of #parents in #childhood, will grow to be a confident and compassionate adult
  • we, generation of 20th century created a lot of problems, your gen of 21st century, has to solve. Solve Disagreement by talking
  • Young generation, #brothers and #sisters, think how to build a happy and compassionate world, through education and learning
  • Through warm heartedness you will be able to resolve every issue in the world; love, forgiveness will help you to bring peace
  • Anger brings violence; conflicts need to be solved through dialogue; love others and respect them to facilitate. Create peace
  • Non violence, peaceful dialogue by you will create a peaceful and happy family, society and world228
  • #Secular #education needs to include moral #values, ethics; value of warm heartedness makes the difference to humanity
  • fear is part of human being; I train my mind through analytical #meditation; analyse the source of anger; you will solve
  • Positivity begets positivity, creates peace; work towards eliminating negativity; Ahimsa and Karuna can solve all problems
  • without inner #peace we cannot develop world peace? #Trust & #affection will beget happiness & peace at home and society
  • As an youngster, I can contribute to solving every problem with my small actions with awareness; environmental issues, example
  • People’s movement – I must think, I must talk, I must work – our vision, on sharing, can gather mass to bring change
  • All religions, all traditions talk of love, harmony. #India needs to take lead in promoting tolerance, forgiveness and peace
  • Different #religions may have different approaches for different people, but the final purpose is #oneness and #love
  • Be a kind-hearted and #compassionate person. #Education needs to just contribute for this one purpose. That is the basic value
  • I never saw my mother angry. Not just me, she cared for every child ….First teacher of love and compassion is my mother
  • Every teacher has responsibility towards every child.Yr love helps every child understand whatever U impart. Infuses Happiness
  • Secret of my youth. 9 hrs of sleep and rest of 15 hours with peaceful thoughts. Have healthy mind. Smile adds to handsomeness

He also interacted with students by taking their questions and responding. I shall get the complete video across soon…

I have not done justice to this event if I do not speak about the Live painting by Artist Vilas Nayak that mesmerized His Holiness The Dalai Lama Dalai Lama. I consciously did not do, as I felt I need to write a separate story on it. I shall.

 

Inspiring Excellence of Families and School : DPS Patna

It was a pleasure facilitating both teachers and families in separate sessions at DPS Patna. Each session was of over two hours, though short, were very invigorating and inspiring.

Can we enable ourselves, our children, our families and communities to be –

a. Eager learners,

b. Have courage to push the boundaries, not worried about “failing” and

c. Be humble whatever we achieve

If we are able to instill these three values, then our job is done…

Glad to have parents getting out of car on their way back when they spotted me by the drive way to say, “I came with a very different intention to talk to the Principal about future of my son, I am going away completely transformed. I will make sure that I invest at home and also with the parents work with school to make all the difference to every child”

 DPS Patna - Facilitating families excel

One of the teachers said, “I have been struggling with a challenge for the last six months, I found the reason and solution to it in these two hours. Thanks”

 DPS Patna, workshop for teachers - Striving for Excellence, Realizing potential

It was one of those days where I had to touch down at 8am and take off at 3pm, for I had another session with art world in Delhi, as my baby SPANDAN festival of Performing Arts has been underway at India Habitat Centre, with large format exhibition paying tribute to Iconic Institutions, movements and Gurus.

Thanks to Anup and Ragini of Career Launcher Patna, for facilitating and inspiring families in Patna to EXCEL.

Inculcating the passion for reading, stoking imagination, building linguistic excellence

Our daughter, Svwara, yesterday came to me at night, when I came back home and said that she had a surprise for me. The games of surprise keep happening at our home, all the time. It is a way of enthusing one another.

Svwara said that she would read four books to me that night before she went to bed. “Wow!,” was my response. As this is the reverse of the usual exercise. Every night before she hits the bed she wants either Indira or me read four to five books, that she would select.

Here are a couple of books that she read to me that night. I wanted to record for this article.

Yes, she is able to recognize the letters of language, at times she may even write the letters that is a mirror image of the letter. This may happen till the age of six.

But, she reads every book verbatim, without knowing the words!! Its just like any other rhyme that she learnt. The entire book is a rhyme. She remembers every word and sentence there in. Simply because these books have been read umpteen number of times, as part of her ritual every night.

For a four-year-old, Svwara’s vocabulary and expression in the English is way beyond her years. Many an elder is startled at her ability to construct complex sentences with vocabulary that even I may not use. Her ability to imagine and draw a visual in a context of a story, is fascinating.

All these have happened because of one and only one activity since her childhood – reading that Indira has imbibed in her since Svwara’s infancy, more than me.

Our elder daughter, Mallika (12) who is a voracious reader herself, who finishes big tomes every week, is surprised at Svwara’s ability to articulate such complex thoughts with great felicity. Mallika has been a precocious child herself and now she is enamoured of Svwara’s.

The greatest gift each one of us can really bestow to any child is reading. Hope this journey is just a beginning of an exciting journey of discovering the world through books and much much more.

Parenting – Ancient wisdom for modern parents : Thirukkural

Tirukkural  by Tiruvalluvar ( a Tamil  poet/writer) was written more than 5000 yrs ago. It’s one of the ancient science on Human behaviour, which has not changed inspite of modern education  & technology !

Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Evolving child being facilitated by family, school and the experiences in the world

SOME GOLDEN THOUGHTS OF THIRUKKURAL

  1. If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.
  2. If your child does not explore new ideas, it is because you have never encouraged her making mistakes
  3. If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advice them more than you encourage them.
  4. If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public.
  5. If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want.
  6. If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.
  7. If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order and command them.
  8. If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour and you give little attention to good behaviour.
  9. If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something and not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it.
  10. If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.
  11. If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.
  12. If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.
  13. If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others and think its normal behaviour.
  14. If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions
  15. If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right

Please share this article to more parents, in the hope that we will have more responsible citizens!

E to the power of 6 – Yadavindra Public School, Patiala – A compelling workshop by Sreeni

Chilly morning of Jan 14th, Sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated across India, also saw the first day of the new academic year at Yadavindra Public School, Patiala. All staff assembled for the initiation into the new year with a magical and compelling workshop by me (Sreeni), E to the power of 6.

Sreeni's workshop, E to the power of 6 at Yadavindra Public School, Patiala

The light drizzle on the already foggy, cold morning, made all members of staff, over hundred of them, huddle inside the dance room of the middle school, that was equipped with hot blowers and heaters. I, with my personification of energy and child-like spirit, sent a shocker when I asked all of them to assemble in the well of the amphitheatre. They expressed quite a few reasons why they should not be in the rain. I wanted them to be children and not teachers, and do what children would do. Finally, with great reluctance, they made it to the well of the amphithetre.

They must have wondered what this crazy, monkish creature is up to. I could see the quizzical faces, and in the few smirks. A few shared that I looked like a musician. We all carry our own perceptions! for good of course 😉 What happened for the next hour or so, in the light drizzle (smiling sun peeping from behind the dark clouds at times) has been magical. The discussion that followed about the trust walk, made them realize a lot about what it means to be visually-challenged, being a facilitator to one, feeling of responsibility, the role of trust etc. etc…

Sreeni's workshop, E to the power of 6 at Yadavindra Public School, Patiala

The real import of the exercise dawned upon them, when I asked them to appreciate the situation of the child (ren) that they are guiding in the class, in the school or at home, to that of the visually challenged that they guided for a while, during the exercise. It was a bolt out of blue. A few were dumbstruck, quite a few very intensely lost, and a couple could not even fathom!

The whole of five hours passed by, with a few more exercises of self-introspection, each facilitating them to peal their own layers, each helping them to show the mirror for the participants to reflect and introspect. What was more heartening was that they did not want to leave without watching a few videos of lateral thinking on academic curriculum design and pedagogy. The session had to be extended beyond the time, at their insistence. Quite a few of the teachers and also the leadership team shared that, it was for the first time such a thing happened.

Sreeni's workshop, E to the power of 6 at Yadavindra Public School, Patiala

I had asked, the headmaster, Mr. Stanley Vinod Kumar and the coordinator, Ms. Sangeeta, a day before that I needed at least six hours to have a meaningful session. Stanley, with his sagacity and understanding of the mindset of the participants, asked me not to exceed four and half hours. He was delighted, so were the dean and the leadership, that teachers insisted on watching more and staying beyond.

As a facilitator, of course, I am always hungry for more. It is a ‘nasha’ – addiction – to facilitate more and more, for I always feel that I have not done justice to all that I wanted to facilitate, for the long travel that I undertook to conduct the workshop.

It was indeed a pleasure to be at this institution with about 70 years of legacy; the grand stadium that it is integral to, the rich sporting heritage with legendary alumni like Milkha Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu etc to name a few. Got to know that their students this year also have won laurels in sixteen different sports at the national level.

The institution is keenly  looking forward to becoming a full-fledged boarding school, that will enable them to make the whole environment an exciting 24 X 7 learning space. I too am looking forward to my next workshop at YPS, as much as Mr Stanley and the school leadership want me to.

I am waiting for the feedback forms to reach me from Bharat, the CL warrior at Patiala, who, in the first place, was instrumental in pulling me to the workshop at YPS. I am glad that Bharat did. It has been a very enriching experience learning during the workshop as well as visiting every nook and corner of the YPS, inhaling the air and imbibing the spirit of excellence it stands for!

DU first cut-off list…… Was on DD News Night : What should be the way ahead for INDIA?

Sreeni was in the panel discussion on Delhi University cut-offs of 2014 and way ahead …

Once again it was that time of year when the Delhi University announced the first cut-offs for various colleges under it, late last night and was made public this morning by the newspapers.

This year was more special because the date for announcing was deferred following the chaos created by the UGC vs DU wrangle on scrapping Four YEAR undergrad prog! UGC under the very same Chairperson who was praising the FYUP last year, did a volte-face on FYUP this year. The govt changed and so did the sing-song! When will our ‘EDUCATION LEADERS’ and ‘POLITICAL LEADERS’ see education as key to eradication of all ills? As long as education system is a tool in their hands for personal fights and glory, nothing can improve.

Anyways, after the roll back of FYUP, the cut-offs were announced and lo behold, again 100% was the cut-off for a few courses in a couple of not so sought-after colleges! How? Why?

Doordarshan had called me to be on the panel to discuss the issue of DU cut-off list this year. In the DD studios I was with Dr. Pradhyuman Sharma, Principal, The Hindu college in the Hindi news bulletin, while I was with Dr. Varshney, Dean, Student affairs, South Campus of Delhi University in the English bulletin; while Mr. Ashok Ganguli, ex-chairperson, CBSE linked from Lucknow; We also had a student, who have had tough times in the DU admission process, in each of the bulletin, in the studios.

Issues discussed –

High cut-offs? When students get 100% in Psychology and English, obviously the colleges have to keep the cut-offs at the maximum. Otherwise they may be inundated with so many forms and if they have to accept all of those who apply, then they had it. I got to know during the interactions, that a couple colleges were at the receiving end last year – over 1200 had to be admitted, when they thought an in-take of 180 for a particular course, as the college’s cutoff was low! So colleges are playing safe this year.

Mr Ashok Ganguli spoke – in the CBSE results, over 60000 student scored more than 92% in Maths; many got 100% in English! He was talking about the grace marks being given, liberal corrections etc that has made it worse..

Education and Curriculum! Should our school education not orient towards skills and problem solving than rote learning and re-production. That is the only way to get out of this madness of 100% scores and Merit lists!! And get students with capabilities into higher education..

Applications : Every student hedges. Most students do not really know what they want to do in life. Hence they apply to inexplicable number of courses in as many colleges..This year there were 2,75,000+ applications for mere 54000 seats…. In all possibility the number of applicants may be 1.5 lakh, if we consider each one applying for multiple courses / colleges!

Elimination vs Selection Why should the DU admissions be an elimination process? why cannot it be a selection process? why should it not have entrance exams for every course? In fact, the existing entrance exams for courses in English, Journalism too got abolished!! The entrance exams may get even not so high-scorers in board, but better off for the course!

Why only Delhi? Why should DU get applicants from Dibrugarh, Ladakh, Pondicherry, chennai, Bangalore……. Is Delhi University, only centre for excellence? Do we as a nation lack any other centre of excellence?

  • In the nation rankings of colleges, about only 20% of the colleges from DU come in the list, eighty percent are from other centres of excellence. Then why such a rush to Delhi? Should we convert a few of those outstanding colleges across the country to convert into universities with a few more colleges under their wings to mentor to increase their quality and standings.
  • Is it the eco-system around the Delhi University that is most attractive and productive? or Is it a life-style choice? Is it the centre-of-power of the nation….Is there more opportunities here for student?

More colleges? Is having more colleges in Delhi university the solution? How many more colleges will we have? Should you convert top colleges into universities with multiple campuses across the country?

Why only a few courses?  Do only these courses offer potential employment? Is it a flock mindset? How do we counsel and mentor students, their parents and families to opt for those courses and subjects that the students have natural flair for? Can the universities / colleges work with schools to help them facilitate this process? Should it not be the role of every faculty / professor to mentor students in the class?

Entry of TOP foreign universities a solution? This has been lying in the cold storage for a long time. With middle-class families having more and more disposal income in their hand, with crunch of quality colleges, are looking at top universities of the world. Indians spend about $20 billion annually to get their education abroad! The universities abroad are eyeing Indians along with Chinese to fill their coffers! Will these families look at the best of the colleges setting up campuses in India? Of course, there are issues of – which universities will come to India? What is the pricing point at which families lap it up? How will we ensure quality of world standard? How will we attract the FACULTY of that caliber?

Is TECHNOLOGY the way ahead? The numbers in the future are going to increase for sure, with 75% of the population expected to be under the age of 24 by 2020! The problem is going to get compounded as we go along. Should as a nation we not look for solutions that will address this issue. This can be addressed with a two pronged approach –

Can we not lay emphasis on exit exams than the entrance gates?

  • Can we not allow students to apply for any course of his or her choice irrespective of what scores they get?
  • Can we not create Exit examination tough enough to award only those who are really good.
  • Let the duration of the program be decided by the quality of the student… one may finish the program in two years, while a few may take even 7-10 years

Can we have an outstanding HYBRID model (BEAM-CLICK-Brick & Mortar) with a huge emphasis in virtual facilitation

  • Pool the outstanding faculty talent from across the country to create / can video sessions on every subject and upload on the web to access
  • Have all the contents / notes online for students to peruse and study
  • Have doubt clearing sessions live with faculty to interact ; thousands can attend these sessions at one go, with a good mechanism
  • Have surprise tests, short and long tests, and track performances
  • Unsatisfactory performances should compel the student to repeat that segment/course of the programme
  • There can be a few contact sessions with eminent faculty…

For me it will not be a wonder if quite a few who undergo the technology-facilitated programme out-perform those who are admitted to campus-based  programmes. I have had an exposure of over 14 years in this space of tech-facilitated learning and I can vouch for this way! Indeed there will be a great opposition for this model – one of the co-panelist was very vehement! But that is the way… Best of the world universities (MIT, Stanford, Harvard…) are going on to this platform, launching their MOOCs – ….. Phoenix set the tone!

Our own IITs and IISc came together to initiate NPTEL (https://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd) to provide learning resources to Engineering students from those engineering colleges across the country that lack quality faculty and learning resources. This can be made more interesting and compelling…… by integrating with compulsory hands-on-learning with SMEs in such a way that the students get practical exposure while the SMEs get keen manpower….

We certainly need someone at the HRD ministry with a grand vision for our nation! Else we will be doing the delta changes and will go back and forth with protestations coming from all directions. This government has a mandate, it needs to take those bold steps to make a bit difference to the real driver – EDUCATION – for the nation’s excellence in every space.

I rest my thoughts here…..kindly share your thoughts here …

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