An Academic Exercise of Learning by Teaching

Teaching is not a unilateral affair at all. We, the teachers know the essence of the issue emerges when the stakeholders from the other side of table also make their presence felt. This blog records here about those teacher-student learning and teaching moments which enrich the whole process with more meaningful way.

Come and Cheer the learning by teaching and sharing.


Sunday 2 April 2017

शिक्षण, शिक्षक एवं शिक्षा: Teaching, Teacher and Education

I am most proud of the moments when I know for a fact that I have helped a student learn.

Teacher, a word of German background always gives me a source of energy and glory. This is a word derived from the verb teach is having its own history in the world’s context. The journey from a guru to a facilitator is quite interesting and thematic. In this journey, along with the naming, the role of a teacher also keeps changing. Guru a Sanskrit word from gu (darkness), and ru (light)- is a person who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and uses it to guide others. According to Cambridge English dictionary, someone whose job is to teach in a school is called a teacher. A guru, teacher, instructor, or even a facilitator, the key role is to guide with their knowledge, experience, and wisdom. 
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A guru (teacher) is given great respect, even to the point of offering worship (guru puja). One full-moon each year during July/August is even called the Guru Purnima and is dedicated to worship of guru. In Vedas, there are different kinds of gurus (teachers) like: initiating guru (diksha guru), an instructing guru (Shiksha guru), the guru within (Chaitya guru), and the eternal guru (Sat guru i.e. god).

Those kinds of gurus in Vedic yug (Vedic period) have taken the attire of a friend, philosopher and a guide in Kalyug (Self-Centred Period). The commercialization of education with the developed tendency to be competitive for materialism on the place of morality has completely changed the teacher-student relationship. The globalized era has created confusion in the minds of the student either to judge the teacher as an instructor/facilitator/friend or a guru. The emotional or better to say soul-soul relations among teacher and students transformed its relation to a new utopian world where the capability of a teacher is being judged by electronic feedback, and the knowledge of the students with the percentage of marks or the latest grading system. Due to this temporal development in education, the literal meaning of the cluster of the word guru- gu (darkness) and ru (light) is in the process of transition to get reversed. Not only the teachers but many of the students are also the victim of this transition. The eternal judgment competency among the students is decreasing day by day. The revolutionary shift in the mind of the teachers from a moulder to a silent observer is symptom of downfall of education and morality.

Teacher’s education is one of the prime concern not only for the government but also of the society. On the basis of Western educational pattern, several variants have been included to judge the teaching ability like- use of language, technicality (use of power point slides, software based learning), academic background (the university that a teacher opted for his/her throughout higher education), and the self representation (dressing sense like corporate). I am not against all these, but, how much it helps to the learners- neither having the academic nor the societal association with all these latest urbanized parameters. The utilization of the funds given by the governing body to conduct seminar, workshop, conference, and the FDP is only limited in papers or for the purpose of affiliation or advertisement.

Many of the great thinkers have different opinions for the teachers and their teaching. Swami Vivekananda observes that no one can teach anybody. According to him a teacher spoils everything by thinking that he is teaching because “within man is all knowledge, and requires only an awakening, that much is the work of a teacher.” The good teacher will seek to awaken than to instruct; s/he will aim at the growth of the faculties and the experiences by a natural process and free expansion. Teaching lessons in class and giving lectures on ideals and principles is not real education. In the 21st century, especially in the context of an emerging urbanized society, great responsibilities are on teachers whose duty is to sculpt the character and dignity of the student. 

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the whole world.  

Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher.

Understanding the Creativity behind Optimism

“I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.” 
-Rabindranath Tagore.

Life throws challenges in the face of every individual, notwithstanding his personal standing or attributes. There is no doubt about the fact that even the simplest of men are capable of overcoming the struggles in life with decency, dignity and within courage.

Several situations confront individuals during the course of life. The better option is always to take it as a challenge and not as a burden. Man is a social being and is mostly surrounded by people who lend support, cooperate and walk hand in hand.

However, during the moments of trail each individual is usually all alone and has to muster up courage and determination. It is only by individual effort that much is overcome or accomplished, battles are won, personal success is ensured and challenges are surmounted. Optimism is the biggest aide on one’s side. It is the art of acceptance of what is and what best can be made out of it. It is easy to get into the fault of finding business, to play the blame game. But the most fruitful approach is that of optimism where time is not wasted in futile work and best is made out of what is in front.

The power of positive thinking is tremendous and can affect the life in incredible ways. Optimism is essentially the bedrock of all success. It is the mind that takes the first steps towards killing an idea can be shot down with a “what if it goes wrong”, or it can assume real dimensions with “what if it’s a total sell-out?” The problem with the former approach is that though there is an element of caution reflective in it, for most part it is likely to axe the thought before it can be moved any further to realization. But that is definitely not how decisions are taken. Every single decisions that has the chance of being a masterstroke or backfiring. However, one cannot possible stay away from taking decisions for the fear of the latter.

Today’s age is largely marked by high levels of anxiety, work-related stress, discontentment, doubt, despair, dishonesty and above all a nagging sense of unhappiness. The malady is the same and the symptoms are the same too – excessive sadness, frustration, loneliness, a sinking heart and a flagging spirit in the face of a toughie called life. The remedy is simple.

Every individual needs to remind oneself gently that this too shall pass and tomorrow is just another day. Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America and the most discussed personality presently once famously said, “Is there a wall in your way? That’s not unusual. But you have a choice. You can walk away from the wall. You can go over the wall. You can go under the wall; you can go around the wall. You can also obliterate the wall. In other words, don’t let anything get into your way.”

Most people would admit that certain hard experiences have done much to teach and equip them better facing the challenges of life. Failures in relationships teach how to relate to people better. Failures in academics and work experiences teach how to approach certain hard experiences have done much to teach types of work effectively. Failures in parenting teach how to better encourage and guide children. Business failures impart a wiser approach to investment.

All it takes, is to discipline the mind and emotions. Negative way of thinking is a habit and can be quite tough to break, but persistence in this area is completely worthwhile. To pack more punch in the recipe for success, a little bit of persistence and some dose of realism.

W. Beran Wolfe reasoned that men are miserable because they think too much about themselves, instead of things outside themselves. They worry too much about what they lack, about circumstances they cannot change, about things they feel must have or must be before they can lead fall and satisfying lives. He concluded that happiness is not having or being; it is in doing. The optimist never gets bogged and sits down. He believes such a man can be beaten physically  and will still not give up. But he cannot be defeated because he will not stop until he gets what he wants.
The other day I was reading a research after coming back from the college on how happy the population of world is? I was shocked to find out that only 12% of the total population feels that they are happy, strange isn’t? Many researchers have found that we indeed live happier, healthier and more successful lives if we learn to discover opportunities in problems. Due to optimistic positive thinking, problems will become merely challenging opportunities that you can turn to your advantage. They provide opportunities for personal growth and can stimulate creativity for finding better ways to live. One has the license to dream but a head in the cloud will only cause accidents!

Looking on the bright side is not merely a question of smiling and staying cheerful in adverse circumstances.
There has to be something more solid than that beind our attitude.  Here are a few practical suggestions:-
Whenever you are depressed or frightened; control the impulse to act hurriedly.

Try not to hurry unpleasant things up with the idea of getting them over and behind you. Give them a fair chance to sort themselves out and give the other people concerned time to sort out their attitudes. Part of the discipline of keeping cheerful and in control of you is not to allow yourself to give away to blind impulse. Think again. Think carefully. Weigh it up before attempting to act.
Take advantage of any help, advice and sympathy, people offer. Sometimes, we put on a controlled cheerful front because, otherwise, we fear we would go all to pieces. This is fine as long  as it does not mean withdrawing yourself from those who want to help you.

If, underneath that big brave smile, you feel a terrible need to unburden yourself, pick the kindest person available and get on with it. He or she will not mind as long as you do not make a habit of it. Once you rid yourself of all that pent up tension and emotion, you will feel better and the smile will feel better and the smile will be genuine.

If you want to look on the bright side, you will have to make a habit of being practical sensible and down to earth about yourself and your troubles. This means not blowing up-minor setbacks into major catastrophes. It is equally important to see yourself in the right proportion and not so important that you regard the mildest criticism as a personal affront. You need a sense of humour which is big enough to be amused by yourself as well as other people.

You will live sensibly, looking after your health and being wise about your diet. One thing is sure. You can be a success. Put this thought in your mind. This is applicable whether you are a freelancer struggling to get into print or a student who is trying to work in the direction of his goals. Success doesn’t mean plucking stars from sky. Success is reaching these immediate and small goals that come on the way. They lead to big success.

These suggestions are compiled after my face-off with every phases of life which I have faced till date. If one is optimist about anything, then it becomes reality not today or the very next day but surely someday but only with proper optimist steps taken towards attaining it.