Education needs to change!!!

March 10th, 2014 -- Posted in General | No Comments »

With the world changing rapidly it is creating unknown challenges, opportunity and unpredictability. We as educators are trying to educate a generation without being aware of the different kind of jobs which will be available 10 years hence, what are the skills needed to survive in the globalized world yet we are trying to reform, improve and work on an attainable solution. We are well aware that these challenges will require new thinking and collective action.

Schools of tomorrow need to be different… even at the present moment one can see students struggling at school, though we have progressed but still the focus in schools of student excellence is by  what a child scores in his tests/exams.

If I look back at my own school days and the teaching style that existed then and compare it to now not much has changed except the fact that the classrooms are swankier with smart boards/projectors/computers/tablets etc continue reading »

Social Networking sites a boon or a menace for children!!!!

October 1st, 2013 -- Posted in General, life, My Classroom Experiences, News, Teachers | 1 Comment »

We are living in the 21st century and today’s child is far more intelligent, aware, more traveled [I am talking here of the city kids]. Social networking sites especially face book has become an important part of our lives. Whatever one may say the children are always one step ahead of us so how should we tackle this issue?

Face book, twitter etc etc are a part of everyone’s life and most of the discussions are focused towards keeping them away from the children..Can you do it? Can you justify that to yourself when you yourself are using these sites?

We in India love living with double standards where what is good for me is not good for the children. That is the reason that more and more children are addicted to this without even understanding the consequence. We behave more like an ostrich that ducks every time faced with a question that we feel is not appropriate for the kids to know. At least 70% parents I have met want to be friends with their children on FB just to keep a track on them …Tell me who will like being stalked by their parents …..Parents are scared to have an open discussion and would try and keep a tab on them like this …

We need to keep ourselves updated with the latest and instead of restricting the kids my advice is let us be open and explain to them it’s advantages and disadvantages. There is no use blocking them as they will discover newer ways of reaching there. Human psychology is such that whatever is restricted is always more tempting not only for children but adults too. My views might sound radical to many but then I like to be forward thinking and believe very strongly that children understand logical reasons.

Social media present risks and benefits to children but parents who try to secretly monitor their kids’ activities online are wasting their time, according to a presentation at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Thus have an open discussion with the children as they love it when we instead of advising them show them that we trust them and whatever we are saying is for their benefit. Restrictions never work.

 My strong recommendation to parents, that if you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child’s social networking, you are wasting your time. Your child will find a workaround in a matter of minutes. You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it

I encourage parents to assess their child’s activities on social networking sites, and discuss removing inappropriate content or connections to people who appear problematic. Parents also need to pay attention to the online trends and the latest technologies, websites and applications children are using.

  Below is some information for parents about social networking sites: what they are and how they are accessed, potential dangers to be aware of and how to protect your child while they visit such websites.

Bullying, wrong doings are more common amongst children who do not have an open atmosphere at home.

Privacy

Privacy                                                                            

Privacy is always a concern for any communication exchange carried out online and children often do not understand the risks involved in giving out too much personal information on the Internet. This is of particular worry when such information is given to an individual who your child does not know personally to; they may argue that someone is an online ‘friend’ but to all intents and purposes that person is effectively a stranger. To many children the online world isn’t the same as the real world and they can often behave in a way they would never do face to face, and say things they would never say, leaving them much more vulnerable in an online environment. They may also be less protective of personal details such as their mobile phone number or address, which could have undesirable implications for them.

Cyber-bullying

Unfortunately some users can harness social networking sites to carry out ‘cyber-bullying’ where malicious comments are posted online about an individual and/or that user receives abusive messages or other content. Some tech-savvy users may even be able to hack into another user’s account to harass them so it’s important your child is aware of these dangers and understands they must be reported as soon as possible. As social networking allows people to take on a different online persona, this can encourage individuals who wouldn’t be a bully in the real world to take part in unpleasant activities because their real identity can be covered up.

Cyber-stalking

Another risk is that of cyber-stalking, or harassment on the Internet.

Age-inappropriate content

The Internet provides access to all kinds of content at the click of a mouse – but not all of that content is suitable for children and young people to see. While you may have the appropriate parental controls set up on your computer your child may still be able to access inappropriate material if someone in their social networking circle makes it available to them.

Online grooming

The most distressing threat to a young person’s safety on social networking sites is that of online grooming. Sadly the possibilities for anonymity that the Internet offers means that pedophiles use social networking sites and chat rooms to befriend children and teenagers, gaining their trust online with a view to then making actual physical contact with that child. By using highly deceptive means, i.e pretending they are the same age as the child they are communicating with, they will find out information about that child – where they hang out, which school they attend etc. Once a predator has gained the trust of a child they morph from ‘buddy to bully’, exposing children to inappropriate sexual imagery and content, and manipulating them into doing what they want.

Identity theft

Identity theft isn’t limited to adults and now that more and more children and young people are using the Internet regularly they are becoming more vulnerable to this very serious crime. The naive posting of personal details on your child’s social networking profile leaves them open to online identity theft so it’s absolutely vital your child never gives out personal details in any online context, including their address, phone numbers, email, and, if they are older, any bank or credit card information.

Emotional implications

In addition to the above it’s worth considering how your child may be impacted emotionally by frequent usage of social networking sites. Some experts have warned that sites such as Facebook can have a negative effect on children who are less confident and self-assured, as they can equate their happiness and success as individuals with how many friends they have on Facebook. Even if a child isn’t being bullied as such, they can experience self-esteem issues if their online network isn’t as big as their friends, or they have been excluded from a certain online group.

There are also concerns that young people are substituting their online relationships for physical ones, by spending more time in front of the computer than they do in the real world. And by not having to work at friendships, ironing out problems together when they arise - as is the case in the real world (on social networking sites you simply delete someone from your list of friends) - there is a worry that young people are losing their empathy and not developing the social and emotional skills necessary they’ll need as adults.

My serious advice to parents is setting some ground rules on home internet usage and showing some interest and understanding of your child’s online activities you’ll be helping to ensure their online experiences are as safe and happy as possible.

General tips for parents

  • Take a look at or sign up for some of the social networking sites yourself to get a feel for what they’re all about. It’s important that parents don’t feel left behind by new technologies, or intimidated by them because they think they’re not aimed at an older user. You’ll feel much more comfortable about your child using social networking sites if you understand some of the terminology and how they work.
  • It’s also a good idea to take a look at the privacy information or safety tips provided on the social networking sites themselves. You’ll then have a clear idea about how each site would help you if your child was the victim of online bullying, for example, or what measures they have taken to protect your child’s privacy.
  • Engage with your children about their experiences on the Internet, without making it seem like you’re snooping on them. Show interest in their online activities so they feel comfortable about sharing experiences with you. This way your child will not feel worried about speaking to you should any issue or problem arise, such as online bullying or being sent inappropriate content.
  • Try to set limits on Internet usage at home. It’s not a good idea for children to spend inordinate amounts of time in front of a screen, be it TV, games console or computer so make sure you set house rules on how the Internet is to be used at home: which sites can be visited, how long each member can spend on the computer, etc..

 

  • Help your child to feel confident about their place in the online community. Make sure that, just as in the real world, it’s important they never follow the herd if they’re uncomfortable about doing something. Peer pressure can make children publish information they may not wish to broadcast,.

Social media present risks and benefits to children but parents who try to secretly monitor their kids’ activities online are wasting their time.

Communication is the crux of parenting. You need to talk to your kids, or rather, listen to them. The ratio of parent listen to parent talk should be at least five-to-one. Talk one minute and listen for five.

 Yep, the bottom line is that technology is here to stay and in fact will only get faster and more complex. By parents giving their children the best gift… the power to relate, they may not stop the technology train but they will give them back what we as human beings were born to do… relate to one another in loving, caring, compassionate ways building real connections. 

Shalini Nambiar

Director

Excelsior American School

 

BECOME A TEACHER ONLY IF YOU LOVE THE PROFESSION…….

August 15th, 2012 -- Posted in General, life, My Classroom Experiences, Teachers | 3 Comments »

BECOME  A TEACHER ONLY IF YOU LOVE THE PROFESSION…

Teacher affects eternity… I really wish the teachers realize it. Over the last few months newspapers have been screaming about the atrocities conducted by the teacher… It is indeed a shame and being a true teacher my heart pains that why do such people take up this profession? Why? Why they want to spoil an innocent child’s life? How can some teachers scream at children, humiliate them? Can’t they feel the labor pain which a mom goes through?  Can’t they realize how an innocent parent trusts her with their child’s whole life? Why she does not realize that as a teacher she plays an important role in setting the attitude and behavior which when the child grows up will display? Why?

I get this sick feeling many times to give up this profession which is so close to my heart as sometimes I am unable to change people …I mean teacher s. My heart pains and I spend sleepless nights as to how a teacher can hurt a child……Why can’t they just make their classes interesting? Why can’t they just think from a child’s point of view ?… Why are they always blaming a child for their failure?

Please do evaluate yourself as it is not a 0800am to 02000pm  job as many of you perceive… A teacher can make or break a person’s whole life so tread on this profession only if you really have a burning desire to be… otherwise why not take up a corporate job. continue reading »

I have a Dream….

March 26th, 2012 -- Posted in Teachers | 4 Comments »

As an educationist I want to write about my dream about that little child who walks in with hopes and dreams in his eyes, my dream to make him a happy human being and successful in whatever he ventures in life.

Education is incomplete if it does not enable a child to have faith in himself, to dream big, to work hard to realize that dream. I still get tears in my eyes when I recall what I went through when I was in school for almost 6 years. I, as a child was extremely shy and a feeling of insecurity was there since I was always a plump child… I was nicknamed Fatty by all and how it use to hurt, I am sure you can imagine But My Mom gave me the courage and supported me throughout, taught me how important it is to face the world and listen to one’s heart.

There are hundreds of examples of people in this world who have believed what others have said about them and failed and there are just as many people who have refused to be influenced by the opinion of others and have been successful. Whatever I am today I owe it to my Mom… continue reading »

Real education…… Being a Super Mom and Dad today!!!!

October 11th, 2011 -- Posted in life | 2 Comments »

Yesterday the Australian newspaper while interviewing me asked me a question which made me really think and reflect. It was a simple question asking me the difference between the education imparted when I was in school and now? It sent me back to those moments when I was in school.

How was my school day different than it is now… I realized there is a marked difference? My Mom did not even know what homework I got, once a while would ask me which teacher and what they did but it was not like a daily ritual when I got back from the school. Coming back from school, throwing my bag on the well made bed which I was supposed to do before I left for the school… the fun was enjoying what was cooked in the house and relishing each bite I took. I was not forced the minute I landed back home to show my parents what homework I had got. The conversation was more on laying the table and getting ready for a sumptuous meal. Then since I-Pod /Mobiles not being there it was a fight with my sister or just having fun. The only thing parents said was ‘Life main kuch ban jana parh likh kar’. She was not aware of which teacher said what as she was not interested. She was interested more in giving us real education which will help us to imbibe all those skills needed for survival in this big bad world. continue reading »

Understanding the child!!!

September 22nd, 2009 -- Posted in life | 3 Comments »

‘Take care of your children as they will decide your nursing home’

Often in my career I come across parents who have problems dealing with their own child… this happens because in this super age we all want to be what is called..’Super-Mom and Dad’. Rules of this is very clear… My child must do what I tell him or her… My Child cannot fail… and an endless list of do’s and don’ts…

I feel like asking them have they actually understood the child… every parent forgets their own childhood and want to adorn their own children with a wide variety of do’s and don’ts

Let’s deal with some of the issues…
 
Teach Your Child Independence

When my son was a day or two old, my Mom said to me, “You have to realize that your goal as you raise him is to become independent of you. You are preparing him to be able to leave you someday and take care of himself.” It’s a well known fact of science that seeds which are dispersed farthest from the main plant grow up healthier than the one which fall under the mother tree. continue reading »

A token of Appreciation for Teachers!!

September 6th, 2008 -- Posted in Teachers | 20 Comments »

On this Teacher’s day, when the role of the teacher is recognized as a noble and honorable profession, it is important to remember how easily we affect the lives of our children. I know that a teacher meets a challenge each and everyday in his or her classroom. Please accept this small token of appreciation for your significant contribution to the lives of the children.
The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.”

We are heading into an age in which jobs are likely to be invented and made obsolete faster and faster. The chances of today’s college kids working in the same jobs for the same companies for their whole careers are about zero. In such an age, the greatest survival skill you can have is the ability to learn how to learn. The best way to learn how to learn is to love to learn, and the best way to love to learn is to have great teachers who inspire. continue reading »

Teaching is a passion

April 9th, 2008 -- Posted in General | 11 Comments »

‘I love to teach, I love to see minds opening up, to participate in the excitement of learning and to help people progress from frustration to accomplishment’…

Good teaching is as much about passion as it is about reason. It’s about not only motivating students to learn, but also teaching them how to learn, and doing so in a manner that is relevant, meaningful, and memorable. It’s about caring for your craft, having a passion for it, and conveying that passion to everyone, most importantly to your students. It’s about doing your best to keep on top of your field, reading sources, inside and outside of your areas of expertise, and being at the leading edge as often as possible. But knowledge is not confined to scholarly journals. It’s about leaving the ivory tower and immersing oneself in the field. Good teaching is about listening, questioning, being responsive, and remembering that each student and class is different. continue reading »

Education in the 21st century

February 20th, 2008 -- Posted in General | 1 Comment »

As we examine different national solutions to familiar issues in school and post-school education, including teaching methods, curricula and resourcing; the main focus remains on the ‘external’ challenges, which all educational systems must confront, above all globalization, the communications revolution and the changing nature of work. These challenges require education at successive stages in life and not just for the young; with the increasing rapidity of economic and social change ‘lifelong learning’ has become an almost universal slogan.

In an era of expanding choice and risk how can students be best equipped to lead the good life and the life of a citizen as well as that of a worker? What we teach is sometimes dictated to us. How we teach though, should never be dictated to us. Many have heard the term in relation to teaching students “Engage me or enrage me.” What can we do that will engage students and what can we make sure we do not do in order to avoid enraging them. Regarding the use of different technologies in the school,
1) The tools are not the things that have the power to change education, it is the teachers that have the passion and ability to use the tools effectively that will make the difference.
2) What is the tool we will be using in the future? Furthermore, should we be concerned with what the next gadget will be or should we simply utilize what we have today effectively?

I am still getting my head around the concept of students becoming more than just consumers of information but also becoming producers of information. As soon as they sense that they have the ability to have ownership of the information they embrace the change immediately. Students have more ideas on the ways the information can be produced than adults do.

continue reading »

  • Shalini Nambiar,


     Shalini Nambiar