Friday, October 24, 2014

TFI Pune 's Mid Year 2014 retreat at Ahmedabad


Thoughts by the various Dreamers/Innovators/Creators that we met:
  1. On inspiration
    1. "Inspiration has a shelf life of only one week"
      - Kiran Bir Sethi (Director, Riverside School)
  2. On hard work and perseverance
    1. Be consistent, day in and day out - kids are very receptive and would appreciate seeing you there in the class every morning no matter how the day ended the evening before.
    2. "You can't live on the legacy of what you did yesterday"
      - Dev Tayde (formerly of Indicorps)
  3. On finding "your Why"
    1. If you are doing what you love, there won't be any burn out because doing what you are doing is no longer optional - you have no choice.
      - Dev Tayde (formerly of Indicorps)
    2. Most of us know our "why" we just struggle to convert our thoughts to action - that is what requires courage.
      - Dev Tayde (formerly of Indicorps)
  4. On intentions
    1. "Do right by your children, not what may be right by you"
      - Kiran Bir Sethi (Director, Riverside School) while talking about how confident she was about raising her students that will become good humans - good citizens and good husbands & wives.
  5. On living in the now
    1. Since you do not know when in the future TeachForIndia's vision "one day all children in the world will attain an excellent education" is going to come alive, just focus on your vision for today : "today my classroom will get an excellent educator"
      - Kiran Bir Sethi (Director, Riverside School)
    2. "Our minds are full that's why we aren't mindful"
      - Jayesh Bhai
  6. On religion
    1. "All religions are ecologically taxing"
      - Dev Tayde (formerly of Indicorps)


Finally my own thoughts:
  1. I was like let's do "seva"
    She was like "say wha????"
  2. My advice/inspiration for people
    If you don't know what to do with your life on any morning when you get up, just look up the meaning of your solid Indian name and think of its deeper meaning..and then spend the day justifying having that name. Continue doing that for the rest of your life and you will be fine.
  3. Thoughts about Narayanan Krishnan (Akshaya Trust):
    What I now appreciate about him is how comfortable he is in his own skin regardless of what strata of society he may be in - whether with the rich and privileged or with the destitute/old/mentally handicapped. Whenever he is, whatever moment he is in, he makes the lives of the people he is with better.
  4. You will start doing things because of your nurturing/upbringing your "crisp strong Why statement (your purpose)" may come later during the course of your work and that will fuel you further for the rest of your life.
  5. Its easy to overlook the small things! (We learnt this while cleaning up the Gandhi Ashram)
  6. My kind of seva is to nurture - help people grow - help them learn new things - things they cannot do yet! focus on "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" and "let the butterfly struggle"
  7. My purpose (Theory of Change)
    Our society is inflicted with lots of problems - pollution, poverty, population. I used to think that science and technology would help us eradicate those problems. But now I believe that science and technology by themselves are not enough. We need to build a country of conscientious, aware and educated citizens who can use science and technology to solve the problems that our society faces and will face as it evolves.

    I am passionate about nurturing individuals to find their own passions and strengths and lead them to do things that they never thought they could do. I would lead them to realize and accept that life is difficult but that there is immense pleasure and satisfaction in persevering and building things that one always dreams of.

    Finally, by leveraging my skills in manipulating technology, I would guide the individuals that I nurture to use science and technology ethically to enhance and improve their work and life.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance for 7th Graders

Here is the content from a presentation on cognitive dissonance that I delivered in my class of 7th graders

Cognitive Dissonance - What makes me sad?

What makes me sad?
अज्ञान (ignorance)
अभाव (absence)
अन्याय (injustice)
अफसोस (regret)
असमंजस (dilemma)

What is the reason for irresolution or dilemma?

Answer: Cognitive Dissonance.

Meaning of the words

Cognition
the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Dissonance
lack of harmony among musical notes.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

The conflict:
Roma knows that smoking causes cancer.
She still smokes because she enjoys it.

…what will Roma do?

The conflict:
Neeta loves Raj
But Raj does not love Neeta

…what will Neeta do?

Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:
  1. "The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance“
  2. "When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance"

Some Cartoons/Images:

Example 1:
Attitude: “I am going on a diet and will avoid high fat food”
Behaviour: Eating a pizza or some other high fat food

Reducing Cognitive Dissonance:
  1. Change behaviour/cognition
    (Example: Stop eating the pizza)
  2. Justify behaviour/cognition by changing the conflicting cognition
    (Example: "I'm allowed to cheat every once in a while")
  3. Justify behaviour/cognition by adding new cognitions
    (Example: "I'll spend 30 extra minutes at the gym to work it off")
  4. Ignore/Deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs
    (Example: "I did not eat that pizza. I always eat healthy.")

Example 2:
Attitude: “I got below average marks in maths, I need to study hard and practice more”
Behaviour: Watching TV

Reducing Cognitive Dissonance:
  1. Change behaviour/cognition
    (Example: Stop watching TV and start studying)
  2. Justify behaviour/cognition by changing the conflicting cognition
    (Example: "I'm allowed to cheat every once in a while")
  3. Justify behaviour/cognition by adding new cognitions
    (Example: "I'll spend 30 extra minutes studying and sleep less")
  4. Ignore/Deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs
    (Example: "Main toh jyaada TV nahin dekhta")

Example 3:
Attitude: “Bhaiya is a new teacher and is struggling to teach us better”
Behaviour: Fighting in the class, making noise, teasing others, not paying attention

Reducing Cognitive Dissonance:
  1. Change behaviour/cognition
    (Example: Stop disrupting the class and stay quite and pay attention)
  2. Justify behaviour/cognition by changing the conflicting cognition
    (Example: "I'm allowed have fun in the class every now and then")
  3. Justify behaviour/cognition by adding new cognitions
    (Example: "I will study on my own at home or during tuitions.")
  4. Ignore/Deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs
    (Example: "I am not making noise, Bhaiya is a bad teacher")

Don’t Justify or Ignore…. Change behavior – the choice is yours!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Value Education for Secondary Grade Students

Collection of content resources for use during value education sessions for secondary grader. I used these in my 7th grade class.

  1. What makes me sad?
    1. अज्ञान (ignorance)
    2. अभाव (absence)
    3. अन्याय (injustice)
    4. अफसोस (regret)
    5. असमंजस (dilemma - maybe due to Cognitive Dissonance - refer presentation here)
  2. What stops me from hurting anyone?
    1. Lack of Reason
    2. Conscience/Empathy
    3. Surveillance
    4. Punishment
  3. Growth, Care, Nurture and Love
    Philosophy outlined in M Scott Peck - The Road Less Traveled 
    1. Growth - when a person gains new skills and knowledge and becomes better as compared to what s/he was yesterday
    2. Care - When someone makes provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.
    3. Nurture - When someone facilitates the growth of another person.
    4. Love - Nurturing someone even when it comes at a cost to the nurturer.
    5. Kissanpur - Real Joy Of Togetherness - TVC
  4. Belief versus Faith
    1. Alan Watts on the Difference Between Belief and Faith
    2. Do Scientists Pray? Einstein Answers a Little Girl’s Question about Science vs. Religion
    3. Faith and Belief Are Not the Same
  5. Frugal Innovation (Jugaad) and Perseverance
    1. Panyee Football Club - Short Film
    2. Tubelight ka Chaand - Short Film by Anurag Kashyap
  6. Giving & Paying It Forward
    1. Naik Foundation - TVC
    2. Narayanan Krishnan - To give without a reason - TEDTalk
    3. Unsung Hero - TVC (Thai Life Insurance) (Explain the meaning of "unsung" - no poems written about this warrior)
    4. Share my Dabba - Initiative
    5. The Joy of Giving - Short Film
    6. This Is How A Single Good Deed Can Change The World
    7. Start a Ripple Today - Care and Share Movement
  7. Parents
    1. The Father - Short Film (Explain "Metaphor" to students)
    2. Silence of Love - TVC (Thai Life Insurance)
    3. A Family is Forever - TVC (Bernas group of companies, Malaysia)
    4. Sharman Joshi Speaks The Truth
  8. Friendship
    1. On the eve of Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr) - TVC (Bernas group of companies, Malaysia)
  9. Child-abuse (good touch / bad touch)
    1. Komal - A film on Child Sexual Abuse  by Childline India
  10. Eve-teasing
    1. Slap - A Short Film
    2. That Day After Everyday - A Short film on eve-teasing by Anurag Kashyap
    3. Stop Eve Teasing - A Short Film
  11. Drug Abuse
    1. Nuggets - Animated video explaining "Addiction"
  12. Women Empowerment
    1. Girl Rising is a global movement for girls' education, based primarily around a 2013 feature film, Girl Rising.
  13. Patriotism and Unity
    1. 'A for Anthem' - A short film by kids impacted by Akansha Foundation explaining the meaning of the Indian national anthem.
    2. Roobaroo - Micromax Unite Anthem (Explain "Face to face with light" as a metaphor)
  14. Leadership
    1. The Tree - TVC Lead India
  15. Dedication and Karma
    1. The Man Who Planted Trees (PDF is here)
  16. Attitudes and Choices
    1. My Shoes - Short Film
    2. Salt 'N' Pepper - Short Film
    3. This is water - Talk by the late David Foster Wallace
  17. Find your Light
    1. Metaphor - Comparing light to knowledge and ignorance to darkness
    2. Knowledge vs. Skills
    3. This little light of mine
  18. Work Ethics
    1. A Mother, A Daughter and A Pineapple - TVC (AIS Thai)
  19. Classroom Behaviour
    1. Class of Rowdies - Short Film
  20. Inclusion
    1. The Lemon Tree - Initiative
  21. United Nations's Millennium Development Goals
    1. How does the United Nations work?
    2. United Nations Explained
    3. United Nations for kids - Episode 1
    4. United Nations for kids - Episode 2
    5. Millennium Development Goals for 2015
    6. Millennium Development Goals - The Lancet
    7. Let's Step Up #MDGMomentum
    8. News on Millennium Development Goals Website
  22. Politics
    1. The Political Spectrum - Left Wing vs Right Wing
    2. Left Wing vs Right Wing - Information is Beautiful
  23. WHO Life Skills
    1. Skills for Health - PDF
    2. CBSE - Life Skills and CCE - PDF
  24. Sustenance and Environment
    1. The Fence by Daniel Quinn
  25. Music Videos
    1. The Script ft. will.i.am - Hall of Fame
    2. Nimesh 'Nemo' Patel - Being Kind - The Music Video That Circled The World
    3. Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Turtle Wax ClearVue and Indian Monsoons


The other day we drove over the Mumbai-Pune Expressway with rain coming at us with full force!
But with our windscreen polished with Turtle Wax Clear Vue Rain Repellent, we didn't even need to use the wipers! I am not really sure where to get a bottle of these in India, but I keep looking and trying out all kinds of rain repellents I can get my hands on locally. For reference, here is a list/survey of similar products. I tried Rain X which is is available in Pune, but it was totally useless!

Here is a video of Turtle Wax ClearVue Rain Repellent in action!! Oh the Awesomeness!!
Been meaning to shoot such a video for 3 years now. Finally got to do it, thanks to that special someone with whom I shared the journey!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's that?

Son: Hey dad what's that those people are drinking? Is it making them go mad? they are laughing so much!

Dad: Those drinks they are having have alcohol in them. Alcohol makes people act crazy. Actually it makes them feel as if they are kids again. Like you are now. As people grow up, they forget how to be kids - the playfulness, the innocence, no worries - all that. So they drink alcohol to feel like that again.

Son: How come you and mom never drink that stuff? Is it dangerous? What will happen if I drink some? Will I start feeling like a baby?

Dad: Wow! (Smiling) See you are so curious, all these questions. Maybe as adults we also lose our ability to question question question - those that don't lose that ability, go on to become scientists, and go on to discover great things! do you want to be a scientist when you grow up?

Son: Yes!!

Dad: haha. So the reason your mom and I don't drink is that we haven't forgotten how to be kids

Son: Huh?

Dad: (tickles his kiddo)

Son: hahahahaha ok ok. You are still kids... ok stop stop

Dad: So to answer your question, yes alcohol also has its bad effects. If you drink a lot of it, your senses are dulled and you can't one thing from another. You can concentrate of work or play and you start being mad at everyone and everything. You sleep most of the day and your organs start getting effected. Its like when you are down with fever and you are so irritable and lazy. Imagine being like that everyday.
In small quantities, its ok to drink some. The body can handle it. In fact in cold countries people drink a little bit because it keeps the body warm - releases energy.
Children shouldn't drink alcohol because their bodies are small and are still growing. Alcohol can interfere with proper growth and you might develop some disease when you have grown up.
It doesn't taste so good. So people mix juices and cold drinks in it to make it taste better.
When you are a bit older, you can try some and see if you like it. But make sure you don't get addicted to it. It's dangerous.

Son: Ah! But what if I remember how to be a kid when I grow up, then I wouldn't need alcohol. Like you and mom

Dad: Yes, that's a very good idea. Its always important to have fun. Otherwise life will be boring. But yes you have to be responsible too. People get into a lot of accidents after having a few drinks. Some people who drive cars after drinking end up hurting themselves as well as others. That's why its not legal to drink before driving. You become drowsy and lose your concentration. So even if you ever want to try some, make sure you remember all these things. You can try some on your 18th birthday with mom and me and see how you feel after that!

Son: Nah! I don't think I ever want to have some. How come Neena Aunty and Rahul Uncle don't have alcohol? They don't seem like fun people - I think they have forgotten how to be kids. Don't they want to drink alcohol and be kids again?

Dad: Neena Aunty and Rahul Uncle's think that their God doesn't want them to drink alcohol. So they avoid it.

Son: God told them that? How come God never speaks to me? Does he speak to you and mom? Home come he never visits us?

Dad: God is not a real person. Let me explain. You know how you get scared sometimes - like when you are in trouble or when you want something to happen badly. At those time how do you feel? You start wishing that there was someone who would listen to you and come and help you. When you are young, me and mom try to be there for you whenever such things happen - except for when you break something in the house and mom gets mad hehehe - but think of the time when you grow up and you have to be there for your kids. That means before that you will need to become strong and brave so that you can face any situation when you become scared. You will need to be smart and intelligent to think of ways out of the problem that you are in. But sometimes it is not easy. So what some people do is they talk to God in their minds and that calms them down and makes them feel less scared and then they are able to get enough strength to fight the problem. They think God is the one who created the whole universe with all the planets and plants and animals and even us. They think that if God created us, he would be so powerful that he could hear us from inside our minds and would give us strength if we pray to him sincerely. We have never seen God or talked to him. But some people believe that he must be there.

Son: Do you and mom pray to God?

Dad: Me and mom believe that we all have bravery and strength in us. If we are sincere in everything we do and keep learning to do new things, we will never feel scared. Sometimes some of those things might scare us - remember the first time you went swimming, you were scared and kept crying - you were scared of drowning. But you stopped being fearful and now look at you, you cant go a week without swimming. That day you gave swimming a chance, you were scared but you did try it and slowly you weren't scared any more. So if you keep learning new things, you will never be scared and become stronger each day. Remember the other day you fell down and a dirty rusted nailed poked you and we had to get you tetanus shots - you didn't cry at the doctor's office - you were so brave, you learnt to bear the pain. There will be times in your life when you will need to bear even pain to get to something you like and want badly. That day you must be strong and bear the pain and get to what you want. Like Batman!