Tuesday, 31 January 2017

More... by Aditi Agarwal, Student, Economics (H), Kamla Nehru College, Delhi University


Lying under the blanket of stars,
I see so much more.
I see myself riding the horse past the full moon 
On a clear starlit night. 
I see the possibilities of tomorrow, 
Shining bright.
I see myself running alive amongst those yellow daffodils, 
With the joy bursting forth.
Listening to the waterfall, 
Gushing right outside my window
I hear so much more.
I hear the sounds of happiness,
A melody that’s rare.
I hear the song of the wind, 
Distinctive in my ears.
I hear tomorrow calling for me to
Take a step.
One step.

Feeling the sense of completeness overtake me,
I feel so much more.
I feel the need to smile without a reason.
I feel the need to let go of all the digressions.
I feel the need to write.
I feel the need to write,
with the essence of my soul as the ink, 
And my life as the paper.
I feel the need to bleed with my words
All over the blank canvas of time.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Storytelling, an Art of Teaching and Learning! by Uma Narayanan, NSH, Delhi

Storytelling, an Art of Teaching and Learning!

An old proverb says, "Tell me a fact, I'll learn. Tell me the truth, I'll believe. Tell me a story, it will stay in my heart forever."
Long ago, as toddlers and school-goers, the best leisure activity that we could recall is undoubtedly the story time around grandpas and grandmas. Even if we had heard a story several times before, we listened to it eagerly yet again. Many a time, we were able to say what happened next or recite the dialogue word-to-word! That is the power of storytelling! Stories can help us visualize, perceive and share our thoughts to the world in an inspiring, interesting manner. Stories also enhance listening capability which is a very important skill in the process of learning.
Storytelling is a well-recognised medium to inculcate knowledge, improve thinking and ignite one’s imagination. While a storytelling session keeps the child engaged, it also educates and entertains. It makes the child curious and boosts his memory power alongside! Much before learning how to read and write, a pre-schooler is able to narrate his best-loved story because---it interests him! It catches his attention, enables him to listen carefully and to memorise!
In olden days, we did not have computers, power-point presentations or digital classes, but still teachers were effective in teaching concepts. Wonder how? Through stories! Teachers shared their knowledge with students in an easy-to-understand story format. A story-like class on a seashore by a teacher to a 10-year old boy on How Birds Fly made him inquisitive to learn more and understand better. Later, the small boy grew up to become a famous scientist in Rocket Engineering and Space Flight. This is a personal experience shared by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in his book “Wings of Fire”. Here, he described how his teacher Sivasubramania Iyer enthralled his students by his method of teaching.
All of us grow old, but some memories stay afresh, especially those of a favourite teacher, their unforgettable lectures, amazing techniques that helped us to learn better, some humour and dramatics in class and personal anecdotes that linked to concepts and definitions of Maths, Physics or Chemistry.
A lot of researchers have found that course material, if delivered in a story format, helps students to understand and recall concepts as they remain in their mind for a long time. A connect is mentally envisaged by children between real-life events and lessons learnt. Just like a song, learning through stories make the lesson familiar and with one part of the story, students are able to recollect the rest of the lesson---even the dreaded definitions and derivations.
Passion is the keyword to enhance the teaching-learning activity. While teacher ought to be passionate about imparting knowledge, children ought to be passionate to learn and acquire them thoroughly. An interactive class is sure to create an indelible impression on the minds of the children. Encouraging questions, however trivial, and trying to find solutions will enable students to think beyond their lessons. This way, the children work under a good pressure to raise their potential to explore new avenues.

Narrating stories, sharing real-life anecdotes, reading autobiographies of great men in class, group activities and discussions, study trips -- all these will lead to a perfect ambience to teach and learn, establish a healthy, positive relationship between teacher and the pupil and in turn create aware citizens who are more willing to share their opinions and experiences to the future generation. Classrooms are not just places of learning books alone but are places where young minds imbibe essential skills for a life time! Happy learning!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

'One Earth, One Humankind' by Kinni Jana, NSH, Chennai

One Earth, One Humankind                       
May I have the privilege and honour of sharing this thought with you today..
Imagine What if...
What if, we categorise the Human race based only on their intellectual knowledge and skill? Could we see this as a possibility... Let me re-wipe our lenses and lets look deeper.
Today we have the Watsup community / FB community, where people think alike and share alike.. That’s a good news..! So, we all seem to blend under one profile or one thought.
Similarly let’s try n bind the Human community on a much wider and higher scale than this.
Rather than we going about creating barriers between religion/ race/ language / class / creed / minority / majority and so on....
We could re-look and strategise the whole concept at an Universal level based on the individual's set of skills possesed by each of us .

Can we raise the bar above the barriers and walls built around us???
Most of us are engaged in either one of these following professions, namely,
Agricultural / Manufacturing / Service oriented sectors
I guess it would be easier, if we match our skills/profession to relate/ assess ourselves closer to these sectors (rather than relating ourselves to the deep rooted religious faith/ class-creed /dialect etc.) We need to get rid of the religious barriers and invisible walls around us.

We all are familiar with this adage- Dood ka Dood and Pani ka Pani. What does this specify?
i.e. may we let Milk remain as Milk and may H2O remain as H2O in their purest form..
Both posses their own importance and values. Let's not adulterate Milk with Water and vice- versa... This would dilute the power of productivity, within both the products. Agreed?

So, when this is the outcome for milk and water, imagine what would we as humans face when confronted with day to day adulterations and unwanted thoughts in our minds. Won't our level of productivity be hampered and scattered. Please do think for a moment...

The level of productivity possessed within each of us is compromised when we mix religion / language / faith/ culture/ creed etc. to our day to day professional affairs. The root of all the confusion begins from here, when our inner properties possessed by our minds begin diluting with our day to day life affairs and importantly with that of our fellow beings. For, on many occasions, we distract our thoughts and question our own abilities along with those working with us. 
Let's not mix religion/ race/ language with that of our profession/ abilities and aspirations (Doodh ka doodh / Pani ka pani). 
I would like to site few examples to highlight the bottom line of my article, we could club the varied community of professionals (unlike all agriculturists across nations as one community & class/ can all the engineers across nations be considered as one community and class/ can all doctors be considered as one community and class/ people from different educational, academic streams to be considered as one community/ we require one community of teachers /we require one community of artists / we require one community of the labour & work force....and so on. This will help us channelize our resources in one direction.
After all, its only when you hold the magnifying glass under the Sun , can you concentrate all the energy and light of the mighty Sun to generate the required heat and kindle a flame! Agreed?

We all need that similar magnifying glass in our lives today. This would further help us converge together at one point on various aspects and issues we face in our day to day professions, it will help us bring about positive solutions, assess our progress/ efficiency and oneness in life.
I don’t think that we have the right or wrong side to our lives, the good or bad shades in our lives, the pretty or ugly images in anyone's lives, the bright or dark phases in our lives. All that matters is our perception/balance towards this one and unique life form, along with our maturity and the sound understanding or scientific knowledge that each one posses.

We all interpret various events happening around us everyday. You may interpret better because you posses better understanding of that event, on the other hand I may not interpret as good as you due to my lack of my understanding or the knowledge of that event.
We are loosing out of precious time and the energy within each of us. We have to adapt to a newer perception, for our better tomorrow.
Do you agree?
The scientific skills possessed by an Engineer in our country, would match with the skill sets of other Engineers outside our country. The scientific skills possessed by a good teacher in our country, would match with those good teachers of other countries. (We all begin by learning A,B,C and 1,2,3... isn't it? ) The political power of our politicians would equal to those belonging to different countries. So where exactly is the difference occurring in whose mind is the difference occurring? It's a well known mystery. We need to stop feeding the ego in us and begin nurturing the hopes within us.
It's not sufficient alone to harvest the natural resources of this planet.
We do also require harnessing of human resources throughout this planet... Please do think once again. Where are we heading from here.
After all, we live on the same planet! and not on different planets...
So, why not live as one...

'Original' by Arti Makhija, NSH, Delhi


ORIGINAL! Do you think anything in these times is original? Whatever comes to your mind also comes from something you thought earlier somewhere, somehow. Start from the very basic necessity of all living beings, i.e. food. Think about any new dish that your mother must have tried at home when she was experimenting in the kitchen. She took the recipe of one of the common dish she used to make every second day of her cooking life and added or deleted some of the ingredients, increased or decreased the degree of flame required and served a new dish, garnished it with some new topping. Can somebody say that this dish is original? Things which were worn by the celebrities in the 70’s are again worn with little more mix and match, is it original? Even an idea that comes to your mind is originated from some experience or idea generated by somebody in the past, so even the great ideas can also be not called as fully original. So next time you come across with somebody who says to be original, give it a minute to think, is it really ORIGINAL!

'Current Education System' by Arti Makhija, NSH, Delhi

Current Education System

Education system in India has gone through a number of changes since past few years. In the ancient times education was based more on religious and cultural issues and was imparted orally by the sages through the Gurukul system. The present system of education was introduced and founded by the British in the 20th century.

As per the present education system, the biggest challenge is to give the children education that helps in an overall development of the child to enable him to survive in this competitive world. A number of problems are still prevailing in the education system of which we all are a part. The normal school hours are six hours, but, the actual learning takes place for around two hours. Teachers spend too much time assigning work that requires no real thought and teaches no real lesson.  In spite of the implementation of CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation system) in most of the schools, the schools still follow rote learning methods rather than imparting practical knowledge to students. Emphasis on memorizing certain paragraphs from books and evaluation on the basis of "bookish knowledge" still persist. The examination system induces the students to prepare them for certain subjects but real talent of students cannot be assessed. The learners who are research minded are not able to perform well in the examinations even if they are more intellectual than the rest who are good in cramming. Another imperative problem prevailing in our education system is regarding homework which is totally based on just copying answers and definitions from the textbook.

Teaching in schools should be such, where the learner is not given knowledge; instead, knowledge should be taken out from him/her. The word Education itself comes from the word "Educere" which means to bring out what is already in and not just blindly stuff in. Education should be based on application and intelligence instead of trying to test memory of knowledge. Imagination is more important than knowledge and a child should be given freedom to imagine and think of creative ways of learning. Each child should be guided correctly to choose an occupation in life where he/she is going to spend majority of waking hours in future. Real education is the education that enables an individual to take out what is unique in him/her. Education must impart vocational knowledge and inculcate values to respect all vocations. Homework given should be something which is more research based rather than just copying and writing.

To summarise, present education system has gone through lot of improvements but, still a more practical approach is required for the overall development of the child. It is the responsibility of each individual who is a part of the education system to actively contribute towards this common goal because as each seed grows into a tree, each child grows into an individual helping the society in their own unique way.