Thursday, October 21, 2021

What is a typical day for a teacher?

All our experience of school and our teachers are unique to us - yet there are some things which are common to all. As students, we only see the weird things that teachers do from our own, small prism. As teachers, we know that a lot goes on behind the scenes.  The time spent in front of our students is only a small portion of the time that goes into our work day. Check this clip below from the Jimmy Kimmel show highlighting some of the weird things that students tweeted about their teachers and then take the short 5 question quiz to see if you know some very basic information that goes into the work day of a teacher.


Friday, October 15, 2021

Why kids should stay in School

In this episode of the Jimmy Kimmel Show, adults, while trying to boast of their not having to go to school, actually prove why kids(and some adults) should definitely be in school. At the same time - this interaction shows us that everything that is taught in school needs to be relevant and kids need to know how to relate what they learn to the real world. 


Monday, October 11, 2021

The necessity of Discrimination and Detachment for Students (Part 2)

Many years ago in the USA, an experiment was conducted which is popularly known as the 'marshmallow' experiment. A marshmallow can be thought of as a small piece of candy. Small children were brought to a room and offered a single marshmallow by researchers which if they chose could be eaten immediately.

If they agreed to wait alone with the marshmallow for some predetermined period of time without eating it (while the researcher was away), they would get an extra marshmallow once the researcher returned. Most children wanted the extra marshmallow and agreed to wait for some time in order to get this.

After the researcher left the room and the children were alone with the single marshmallow, in most cases, they succumbed to the temptation and ate the marshmallow, knowing full well that they would not be able to get one more when the researcher returned. The temptation of the instant gratification was too strong for the child to resist. 


The researchers of this study closely followed the subjects of this experiment during their school career and also in later life. One interesting outcome of this study was that those few students who were successful in waiting for the researcher to return before eating the marshmallow – knowing that in doing so they would earn an extra one, vastly outperformed their 'unsuccessful' friends in terms of educational levels, interpersonal skills, job success, wealth etc.

The reason is because these students were able to sacrifice their immediate gratification of taste, knowing that by doing so they would get something even better, albeit later.

Most sophisticated crimes including those of stock market fraud, bribery and corruption are undertaken by persons who are extremely intelligent and whose minds must have been highly concentrated in order to conceive of and implement their plans of deception.

This form of concentration exhibited is nothing to be in awe of and shows us that concentration alone is not enough. Certain other values are necessary for students to learn. 

By developing the power of detachment along with the power of concentration, a few things become clear:

Firstly, as mentioned earlier, detachment cannot come without discrimination which is based on some ethics or values that has been imbibed by us.

Secondly, if these two qualities of concentration and detachment are developed simultaneously, there will be no negative side-effects arising from some desired outcome which happens to get frustrated.

We often hear of incidents where brilliant students commit suicide after hearing of examination results that were not what they expected. They might have developed the power of concentration but were not able to develop the value of detachment.

Finally, detachment will set the foundation for the concept of sacrifice which is an essential value of any person living in society.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The necessity of Discrimination and Detachment for Students (Part 1)

Concentration is a term that most people think they understand. With regards to normal, everyday life, this may be true. Everyone has certain likes and dislikes, inclinations and fears and are generally attracted by their likes and inclinations and repelled by their dislikes and fears. This is  the prime motivating factor in the lives of most people.

A young boy who loves the game of golf will find little difficulty in spending hours concentrating his mind in order to hit the perfect shot. The same boy may have difficulty in spending even a few minutes in helping with household chores.

Similar is the case with someone who has a great interest in science and technology. He may be able to make tremendous sacrifices in studying to become an engineer but may find it very difficult to become engrossed in a book about art or culture.

We find it easy to concentrate upon that which our mind is positively drawn towards and difficult to apply our minds to issues in which we have no interest. But, if we are able to practice concentration according to our liking and are able to achieve some measure of success in this regard, why should we bother about 'detachment' at all? The aim of this article is to show why some form of detachment is a necessity for each and every student. 

A precursor to detachment is discrimination. In this context we can understand discrimination in a very simple sense to mean making a value judgment based on a particular scenario. For example, suppose a child has been taught the moral that theft is wrong.

Following this, if the child is left alone in a room full of toys that he likes, he will not be tempted to steal them – or if he is tempted, he will not succumb to the temptation to do so. This is because of the value that has been instilled in him.

(Let us assume for the sake of simplicity that there is no fear of punishment in this situation.)
He disregards the immediate joy/gains that he might get from stealing the toys in favor of the joy the obtains from fulfilling this value which he cherishes. 

(to be continued)

Saturday, October 9, 2021

People apologize to their Teachers

Teachers are the backbone of society and the sad part is that, for the work that we do, we are sadly underpaid, under-appreciated and always under stress (not under-stressed). But the chance that we get to leave a positive impact on society through a generation of learners gives comfort and solace to a lot of teachers and leaves them with a sense of satisfaction when it is time to retire. When I think back at all the crazy students I have had in my classes and the multitude of pranks that they played on me and my fellow teachers - in most cases I have a hearty laugh. In some of my other memories, I am horrified.


Thursday, October 7, 2021

What is the difference between eLearning and mLearning?

What are the differences and similarities between eLearning and mLearning? As can be seen from this graphic, there are elements of learning which are common to both eLearning and mLearning. 


What is a typical day for a teacher?

All our experience of school and our teachers are unique to us - yet there are some things which are common to all. As students, we only see...