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Showing posts from 2016

The "Big Goals" Sessions

During my 2 year long Teach For India fellowship, I designed and delivered 2 interesting courses. The first one was centered around "self" and the other was to do with "technology". Like everything else at TFI, these courses took root when I asked myself certain questions. These courses were my answers to these questions. The "Big Goals" course was the one centered on self where I tried to come up with a better question that "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I have often wondered why do we ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up. Little kids keep changing their minds all the time - astronaut, scientist, footballer, dancer, teacher etc. And older kids set them up for disappointment if they fixate on one thing and aren't able to achieve it later on in life - think IIT and MBA aspirants, competitive exams, pressure of studies and in some cases even suicide. There was something amiss in

What I learnt from George Joseph's "Feature Article" on TFI and Apoorv Shah's response to it

When I was in school, I was never told the difference between a 'feature article' and a 'news story'. It's only today that I cared enough to understand the difference between the two. The purpose of a 'news story' is to relay  only the facts  about a particular incident through a particular style of writing. An author may paraphrase some lines from interviews that s/he conducts with people without changing the meaning. It seems to me that the author must practice  Epistemic Responsibility  while writing such an article - suspending all personal opinions and judgement for the purpose of the story. On the other hand, the purpose of a 'feature article' is to bring out the  human experience  from a particular angle chosen by the author. The author is free to forgo his/her epistemic responsibility. In fact, while reading a feature article, a reader expects to glean an insight via the author's point of view, his beliefs and judgement about th

TFI vs. Religion vs. Amway

Basic strategy for world domination is to be a good public speaker/effective trainer/manipulator so that you can invest others in your idea and create clones of yourselves to multiply your impact. Humans are wired (genetically evolved ) to seek out groups to belong to - safety in numbers. I am a 2014 Teach For India fellow.I have tried to be objective here, but I am sure my biases against ponzi schemes and religion would have crept in (although I know that direct selling and ponzi are not the same thing) Parameter Teach For India Direct Selling (Amway, Tupperware, Oriflame) Impact parameter Reach as many children as possible Convert as many people (as customers and as representatives in the pyramid) as possible Appeals to Person's humanity Person's greed Key player Fellow Amway Business Owner Benefits Children Amway Business Owner Leadership development opportunity for key player? Yes Yes Training methodology Seniors trains junior, specialists train juniors Seniors

Modern Day Caste System

He: "Did you know that I am Kshatriya - I belong to warrior caste" Me: "To TCS mein kya kar raha hai?" He: "I fight and kill bugs. Software bugs" Me: "That explains the pot belly on your warrior body" Me: "Who are your friends?" He: "I have three friends. This guy is a Brahmin - he designs the architecture and writes code. That guy is Vaishya caste, he has telecon with the client. Me: "What does that fourth guy do?" He: "He is Shudra caste. He updates he documentation whenever I kill a bug. Also he is the mandatory D bander during appraisal season. We need to adhere to the bell curve you know" Me: "Ya the Ghanta curve"

Algebra - Your first chance to show grit

Algebra is the new caste barrier. Arithmetic is easy every child gets it. Algebra is abstract and hard. Those kids who fail to surmount the mountain that is algebra will be left behind and end up doing what most of us now perceive as 'menial' jobs. (They are menial because they pay less and don't require higher order thinking skills) So, all the math teachers of students in 7th grade and above, push your kids to work hard and practise practise practise until they get algebra right - integer operations, distributive property, exponents, division and factorization. BECAUSE IF THESE KIDS ARE LEFT AT THE BASE OF MOUNT ALGEBRA, THEY WILL FLUNK IN 10TH AND END UP DOING MENIAL JOBS AND NEVER REALIZE THEIR POTENTIAL. TAKE IT PERSONALLY. RIGHT.NOW.

The struggle

I think we are running after the wrong thing. In stead of striving for a life with fewer struggles, we need to strive for a life with more meaningful struggles, equip our selves to handle that struggle better - increase impact and efficiency of our efforts. We must focus on increasing the quality of the the fight instead of tying to decrease the quantity of the fight.

School Science Education Workshop at IISER Pune

The following blog post is a compilation of notes by Ridhi Agarwal, TeachForIndia Pune Fellow 2014 M r. Kamal Mahendroo spoke about the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme, which is under Eklavya < > The three pillars of the HSTP were: Development of Scientific Temper. (Scientific temper is the implementation of scientific method in every problem in our life.) The modern times need technical and scientific literacy. Science education is the foundation of the technological or scientific development of the society. Some thoughts and questions he posed in front of the group were as follows: How do we build scientific temper? What are you teaching them and what is being assessed in science assessments? Joy of learning vs Joy in learning. This was to stress upon doing activities and experiments for entertainment and engagement during lessons as opposed to doing activities and experiments to attain deeper learning and work on deeper

Some articles on parenting and teaching

No, honey, you can’t be anything you want to be. And that’s okay. The Washington Post Link Manipulative Child Behavior? My Kids Are “Too Smart for Their Own Good” Empowering Parents Link (Related video ad -  Kissanpur - Real Joy Of Togetherness ) Indian Women Are Never Taught How To Be Alone, And That’s A Problem BuzzFeed Link Five fail-safe ways to silence a noisy class TES Link