Category Archives: Learning

teacher and kid

A teacher’s day starts with the alarm chiming early in the morning. She shuts it down so that it does not jostle other family members fast asleep beneath warm comforters. She has a lot to accomplish before getting ready for school – it begins with collecting the newspaper and milk from the doorstep, making breakfast and lunch for the entire family and scrubbing the kitchen platform clean before gulping down some coffee and cold breakfast.

In this super marathon, she even manages to pull out an attractive dress to wear for the day, streaks her eyes with the remaining stub of the eyeliner – it needs to be replaced. Fixes stray locks of hair as the elevator descends and sometimes also takes time to smear the lipstick she carries in her ‘Super Purse’. Super, because it holds anything and everything one can imagine from pens, lipsticks to staplers! As she reaches school, there are duties to discharge and classes to take.

This is my usual morning routine too!

As I entered the staff room, I checked the timetable and made note of my classes. Then I casually walked towards the staff room notice board.

Surreptitiously, I checked the notices making sure there was no one around me.There, it was pinned right on top. This was what I had been dreading. ‘My class’ had earned the designation of being the ‘Dirtiest Class’ of the week.

 Again.

This was the seventh consecutive week it had been declared as the dirtiest class in school.

I walked back to my place with a heavy heart!

Everything had failed. Talking, counseling, mentoring and as the last resort, imposing penalty for littering the class with pencil shaving. Everyday, there were masses and masses of them. In spite of many warnings, someone was deliberately and relentlessly sharpening pencils and leaving all the shavings – fine wooden ones with coloured edges of red, blue, green and orange under the desks.

It was innocent mischief I knew but I didn’t know how to identify the culprit.

He or she was obviously very smart. And class unity was so strong that nobody revealed to me who was responsible for our class being nominated as the dirtiest class in school, week after week.

Every time I asked, ‘Who is doing it? Why don’t you dispose the pencil shaving in the dustbin of the classroom?’ The answer was, ‘Not we. It’s someone from the other class!’

This happened when I had to go to take lessons in other classes.

Fortunately, that day I didn’t have a class in the first hour and thought of some way… I could find the mischief-maker. I racked by brain….

Was there no way I could find my mischief-maker? Peacefully?
Is it possible to outsmart my little ones? I asked myself, almost pulling my hair.

And then I decided whatever had to be done, it was that day.
But, I didn’t know how I would do it!

I had a class in the second hour and I knew my naughty pencil-shaver would get into action after my class was over.

That day, I didn’t as usual tell my students to keep the class clean.

I didn’t say a word. I didn’t make any comment.

During the lunch hour, I peeped into the class when it was empty.

The shavings were back. They were all there, scattered in abundance under most of the desks.

I collected all the shavings, wrapped them in a piece of newspaper and kept it in my bag.Then I left, keeping my fingers crossed.

After lunch I went to my class, with a sheaf of white paper and announced that they weren’t going to study Science. Instead, they were going to draw and colour something very interesting for a competition.

The class was ecstatic… so thrilled they were that they did not even guess that something was wrong.I was so excited that I had trouble controlling my smile.

As the class started drawing, I pulled out the crushed paper from my purse. I placed it on the teacher’s desk and spread it out so that I could see the pencil shavings clearly.

And then I walked up and down the aisle, carefully scrutinizing every student colouring the picture they had made very enthusiastically.

The first one was colouring with red. It needed to be sharpened. It wasn’t him.

The third one was outlining the leaves with a darker shade of green. It, too, needed to be sharpened. It wasn’t her.

I walked past four more. And then I found my little culprit…!

He was a little fellow with the face of an angel!
His red pencil was sharpened very well.
Then I picked up his blue, green and orange pencils. They were all freshly sharpened and quite small in size.

As I stood next to him without a word, he looked at me innocently.
Giving me a huge smile, he said. ‘Hello Miss! Aren’t my mountains the highest in the whole world?’ he asked running a finger over one mountain peak proudly.

‘Yes, your mountains are the highest. But don’t you think the lines could be neater if your pencil was sharpened? The pencil point needs to be sharper. Don’t you think so?’ I asked looking at him expressionlessly.

‘Well, yes. I think you are right,’ he said looking at his pencil.
I noticed everyone had stopped drawing and were looking at us curiously.

‘And please use the bin when you want to sharpen your pencils and not the classroom floor.’ I said gently as I walked further down the aisle.

‘How did you find that out,’ he asked in bewilderment.

I controlled the smile again. He hadn’t realized that he had revealed the secret.

I turned to look at him with a secret smile.

‘Because once upon a time I was a student too!’ I said smiling wider. ‘Use the bin the next time and let’s try to win the Best Class award next month,’ I urged.

‘Sure Miss. Why not?’ he replied smiling back.

A look passed between us. There was respect and admiration in those eyes.

I celebrated that evening because I had been able to solve the mystery of the pencil shavings.

When everything fails in classrooms, teachers have to learn to think like students! And also listen to inanimate objects in the classroom.

Everything talks in a classroom from a blackboard to a chalk piece. We just have to learn to listen to them – like the way the pencil shavings told me who my little culprit was……

And the result is sheer magic!

Special Thanks to Kavita Bhupta Ghosh , teacher of DPS, Bangalore South, for sharing her thoughts. This Guest Post has been written by Kavita Ghosh.

teacher and kid

Peekaboo with Teacher

technology teacher and taught

I believe that we teachers live in the most exciting of times EVER. From lesson plans to content and the way we transact the same in the classroom can be different for every section and for every class that we teach. My teachers however had to depend on a few books and their notes which were handed down from generation to generation.

The student today, no longer has just two sources of information, the sage on the stage (us teachers) and textbooks. She has this boundless space called the Internet. I remember my days in school when getting a project or an assignment done with extra information was nearly impossible. Everyone waited for the few reference books/encyclopedias in the school library . Assignments done with parental help got the grades while those coming from less privileged homes had to resign themselves to lower grades.

For this and many other reasons, technology has come to be the great equalizer. Research after research from different corners of the world (my favourites being Dr.Sugata Mitra’s TED talks –A hole in the wall and A school in the cloud) has shown that all children can learn !!!!!

Now isn’t this the BEST news for someone whose vocation is teaching and for someone whose prayer every night is for her/his student to achieve their highest potential. While it is often thought that teachers perceive technology as threat, my experience leads me to believe that increasingly and at quite an astonishing pace teachers are adapting and adopting technology (in their classrooms and their lives).

The excitement with which I see teachers, both urban and rural using whatsapp, viber, youtube and many other apps with ease is heartwarming. Similarly in the classroom the teacher and the taught are sitting together learning with technology. Video conferencing or a Skype IIT JEE session in a remote village, SMART classrooms in towns, individual tablets/Laptops in cities and the Smart phone, everyone is using technology to LEARN and that is a FACT.

As technology evolves and gets embedded with accessibility features, it also becomes a Universal Design Platform. Assistive Technology will ensure ‘No Child is Left Behind’ in the true sense, which means that the future of India and the world will have more human resource than ever before because the marginalized will join the mainstream and walk together hand in hand into a brighter world for mankind.

This Guest Post has been written by Manju Balasubramanyam, DPS North Bangalore Principal

Read Manju’s other blog: Technology and me … and the learning continuum 

technology teacher and taught

Teacher, Technology and the Taught

Indian Education System

The Indian Education System is definitely a highly developed system that offers a plethora of avenues for students to pursue their preferred creative and intellectual courses. However, like with most other education formats, this system too has a mixture of loopholes. There are still various parts of the country where the quality and standards of education are absolutely abysmal. There are also a series of other inconsistencies of the education system. Due to such hiccups, students fail to secure their desired jobs even after scoring great marks in their academics. The schools, colleges and Universities have been reduced to mere examining bodies. Thus, it is pretty evident that our country needs a complete reboot. Take a look at the following aspects that help in this reboot.

Improving the quality of Education

When most parents force their kids to study engineering, management or medical, there’s something seriously wrong with the system. Yes! There’s a huge lack of creativity in our educational system. Besides a few top notch institutes, almost all the institutes want their students to fare well in the examination. Thus, ‘examination oriented studies’ are imparted to the students and the students too are quite satisfied with learning and studying the probable questions that may come in their upcoming examinations. This is creating a huge skills gap between the educational and the professional world. Instead of learning the soft skills or the basic communication skills, these students are pursuing education which is not education in its true sense. This can be evaded only when the quality and standards of education are improved.

Changing the syllabus

One of the major shortcomings of the Indian Education system is the syllabus that has not been updated for long. Most school, colleges and universities still follow the archaic syllabus which hardly has any practical or modern day application. Thus, instead of confining the books with theories practical applications should be incorporated whenever possible.

The syllabus should be made relevant enough for the present day. It should stress more on holistic learning than on examination based studies. The courses too should be made more diverse. These features will collectively make the educational system of our country, one of the best systems of the world.

Embracing technology

In order to reboot the Indian education system, we have to embrace technology. Instead of confining the curriculum of the students to books, emphasis should be made on incorporating technical modes. For instance, audio visual methods of teaching turn out to be way better than the conventional method of cramming books. Here, the students come closer to their subject and they also get to grasp a better insight on it.

What the Indian Education system needs today is sync with the developed countries, and it essentially doesn’t mean aping the west. Every education format needs to develop, better and take the good things for blending a complete system that works for the youth and young minds. That itself needs some governmental and school level changes, with clear on distinct goals.

Indian Education System

Indian Education System Needs a Reboot for Future

Student Motivation

Every student has hope attached to him/her. There are many teachers who strongly feel that their students should learn and have high ambitions. But with the growing pressures of school, highly indulging technology culture and busy lifestyle, it is a little difficult to keep students interested in school or at home.

But there are some simple things that teachers can do to motivate students which have worked wonders.

Plan to innovate

Plan each class in a different manner. Innovative measures to convey your subject matter will always keep your students motivated to learn more and be excited about what is coming next. This curiosity is one of the greatest attributes of a student and if you’re able to stimulate that, you will have a bunch of highly motivated students who’re willing to take what you offer.

Set examples

Screening of movies with a motivational protagonist or reading biographies or books related to successful people in the world, taking examples of high achieving seniors is one of the best ways to motivate students. Every child has a role model. If you help them choose an inspiring role model and keep providing new examples, your students would discover motivation for themselves.

Explore the unique

Every student has his/her specific likes and dislikes. Based on every child’s interest, give them an independent or a group project to explore something regarding what they like. Ask them to come up with a presentation and tell everyone what they found. Knowing they are the only ones to have this information, they would be highly excited and motivated to share it with their peers.

Give them control

Hand over certain responsibility to your students in the classroom as well as their day today life. You can assign a new student every day to take the class attendance or to handover and collect notebooks or to write the date and name of the subject of the board and you can keep rotating these responsibility to keep them involved with their own class.

Sometimes it is good to know let them decide what they want to do. Put the topic in front of them and ask them to give you ideas in which they can do their homework with a new method.

Motivation outside of classroom

Students need motivation not only in school, but outside of school too. Give them various personal tasks to keep them interested in various things. Ask them to help their parents cook at home and come and share the experience with their class. They can also be asked to give a short speech about the news item they like which they’ve seen on the television or read in the newspaper. You can ask them to plant a seed in their house and give a regular update about it to the class. The children can accompany their parents to their workplace to understand the process and share experiences with other children.

Thus, children will be motivated in all spheres of life and not just at school.


Above all, if teachers and parents themselves are motivated to enhance the lives of students, it is not a challenging task to make the students feel the same way.

Student Motivation

How to Motivate Students – 5 Simple Ideas

life skills for children

Your children tend to learn not only from their text books, but from everything around them. Everything they learn in this period shapes them into an independent human being. They will make career choices depending on what they learn. They will make life choices based on the ideology they develop during their upbringing.

An ever naughty girl can become a disciplined professional. A shy boy can grow up to be a motivational speaker. And as parents, you can make such a difference for your child. That of course, will not happen if you make decisions for them. A better approach is to inculcate certain life skills to mould them into self-sufficient human beings who can confidently build a remarkable future for themselves.

The best part is you don’t have to make them sit and listen to a big lecture about life. That will only make them uninterested and sleepy. All you have to do is have them participate in various fun and innovative activities exposing them to these life skills. You just need to nurture them further.

Interaction and team work

Survival for the human race is social relations. Your child should know how to make a friend, how to interact with people and how to be a team player.

You can start with simple things like letting your child answer the phone and speaking politely with the person that is calling. Let them answer the door and talk to the courier delivery man, the man collecting newspaper or telephone bills, etc.

Have your child invite his/her friends from school or the neighborhood. Let them do a puzzle together, paint a wall together, create decorations for festivals, create a map of the neighborhood etc. You child will learn to make decisions along with a team, taking the opinion of others into consideration, voicing their own opinion and backing their team up.

This life skill would benefit when they meet new people, when they’re made to work with people they are not fond of or when they’re working with a team at their workplace. With your assistance, testing the water and acting accordingly will come naturally to them.

Problem solving

Conflicts and problems are an unavoidable part of life. Rationally look at something, analyze it and come up with a solution is rare in people.

Ask your child the question “why” whenever possible and have them find the answer. Avoid hiding mild family problems from children, rather discuss with them and ask for their opinion.

If they have a fight with someone, let them tell you about the background and the reason behind the argument. Discuss it with them and encourage them to discuss this with the person they have had a fight.

When the sugar in the house gets over have them run to the store to buy some, make them change the batteries of the remote as soon as they die. Let them fix something that is broken under your supervision and let them make mistakes. Once they make a mistake they will try a different approach. This will enhance quick thinking and trying to find a solution in more than one ways.

Independence

You don’t want a child who calls you every time something goes wrong, who makes you serve them dinner every night neither you want to be the parent who’s doing bank work or paper work for your child forever. Your job is to make sure that your child can do everything on their own in a timely manner.

Get them in the habit of making their bed every morning; have them make their own milk / cereal; have them go to their classes or school by themselves. Daily tasks will lead to them taking bigger things under control too.

Take them with you to the bank, to pay the bills, to buy groceries and let them take over after a few times. Have them fill their own forms for school or insurance etc.

The sooner your child learns to take control of things, the more independent he/she will be.

Basic life skills go a long way. You are making their future look good already by finding innovative ways to inculcate life skills. You can become a very proud parent when you see your child follow the learning acquired by their own experiences.

life skills for children

3 Life Skills For Children – Let Us Make Our Kids Ready For The Future

successful teacher do differently

All of us had that one teacher in school that we loved and that made a difference in our life. He/she was everything the other teachers were not! We got inspired, engaged and most importantly we learnt something valuable from that teacher.

What is that makes such teachers stand out? They are successful for a reason and they make it a point to do everything differently to get through to each child.

Goodbye boredom

Unlike many teachers, successful teachers give no room for boredom. Everything you teach can be made into a fun learning activity, which is called active learning. Cognitive studies have shown that children learn better by doing rather than watching and listening. Successful teacher take advantage of this fact and assign projects to ensure complete understanding of the subject matter whilst enjoying.

A science teacher creates an experiment of a certain principle; a math teacher creates sums based on the students or uses tools to solve math problems; an English teacher creates assignments like writing a book or a movie review, conversing with your parents in English or conduct interview of someone in English etc.

Depending on the objective of each topic, great teachers have created real life examples out of it to enhance holistic perception.

Student-centric approach

The most successful teachers are those who put the needs of the students before all. Every day is a new day and you have to evolve with it. You can’t be doing the same thing, the same way everyday just because you have to finish something.

The mood of the students, the previous class they attended, the weather outside can require you to alter your plans and go with the flow. If the students are bored, you may need an activity to stimulate their brain cells. If the students are energetic, you may need to channel those energies into a project that intensifies their curiosity. Small decisions such as, letting students sit in a circle instead of on benches, changing the arrangement of benches, sitting under a tree on a chilly day can help students get out of their rut.

Successful teachers know when to encourage students to do better. In a student-centric approach, negative feedback is never an option. Discussion of failures with a positive approach is much needed tool and they always give a constructive feedback to encourage students to try harder.

Consistent learners

The greatest teachers in the world are consistent learners. They never stop learning and exploring their subject matter. When they teach something they’ve learnt, they will not shy away from sharing all their knowledge. The only way they can keep inspiring their students is if they’re inspired to learn themselves.

Successful teachers purposely take help of their students to learn something outside of his/her expertise. This shows the students that their teacher can also be a student sometimes and they feel motivated to explore new topics.

Respect and consideration

Successful teachers respect the students for their opinions even though they may not agree. They find a way of discussing a few things other than the subject they teach and get to know the thoughts and ideas of their students. Every student is unique and every student must be appreciated and respected for what they are. Successful teachers don’t have favorites. All their students are their favorite!

A successful teacher feels that the learning of the students is the greatest success and takes the responsibility to make a difference. We salute the successful teachers who teach differently.

successful teacher do differently

4 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently

holistic learning

Your kids are going to schools, following a proper lifestyle and doing everything that they should do, but is that all they necessitate? Experts are saying no. Your kids need an extra edge. They need holistic development. Wondering what this development is about? Well, this development refers to the complete development of your little ones, where they are physically, emotionally and educationally developed. Childhood is one of the most remarkable phases in your kid’s lives. Thus, in order to shape their childhood well and prepare them as good and extremely competent adults it should be your responsibility to ensure that they are taking part in holistic learning. Read on, for a better insight on this advanced method of learning.

What does holistic development mean?

Holistic child development is the process where your child’s physical, emotional and intellectual aspects are addressed.  This development ensures that your child is completely developed without any scopes of inconsistency. Thus, with time, holistic development shapes your kids and helps them become responsible adults in the long run. This approach is extremely viable in letting your kids learn the different things in the different stages of their life. The approach speeds up the overall development of your children.

Why is holistic development important for your kids?

Your kids are not divided into various domains of specific learning styles, areas of learning, intelligence or creativities; they are rather all of these domains piled up in one. However, if they learn about the various aspects of life at the right stages, they turn out to be more mature and competent individuals in the long run. The educators promoting holistic learning know this fact and they thus ensure that this holistic approach is incorporated in your kids’ complete development. Thus, if you want your little ones to grow up as mature and responsible adults it is your responsibility to promote these holistic learning approaches.

The different aspects of holistic development

Physical development- This is one of the most remarkable aspects of holistic development. Your kids need proper support in their nutrition and basic hygiene with tons of physical activity. This will foster a healthy holistic development, which is more

Development in emotions– With the constant upsurges in our society, many kids live with a big emotional trauma. Certain kids may develop this trauma due to serious family problems. Now, with a holistic learning approach, they learn to control and cope with their emotions. This also improves their self control.

Development in relations– With proper relational development your kids learn how to handle the various relations, make friends and work together in a group, which certainly adds to their humanitarian kills.

Intellectual development– Proper education fosters the intellectual development of your child and provides opportunities for education in the long run.

With this exceptional developmental approach, your kids turn to enjoy a complete development that fosters their growth as responsible adults in the long run. Parents, who are yet to understand holistic approach, need to take professional counseling for holding the idea right and imparting the same in the little ones.

holistic learning

Holistic Learning For Overall Child Development

technology and meThe year 1996, the place Bangalore city, the person me, the object-our first computer and desktop. My kids were jumping with excitement and my husband the IT genius was assembling the device. As for me, I pretended to busy with my household chores, while I was actually anxious.

My anxiety soon turned into fear as my children aged 4 and 5 were playing games the very same day.They invited me to join them, but I was scared. How could, I the adult not be able to do something , the kids seemed to work on as pros. I accepted the offer and sat down at the console, my fingers on the mouse and lo behold !!!!!! The cursor ran all over the screen and disappeared, no amount of cajoling would bring it back . My kids sensed my utter helplessness and saved me the ordeal.

I decided , I had get a grip on that silly mouse and my life . It was now or never. The very next day with husband at work and the kids at school , I sat down to discover this mystery box called computer that only people with logical minds were supposed to excel at. As I struggled and eventually managed to tame the mouse, I started to marvel at the the things this ‘thing’ could do . I lost count of the hours spent only to realize that it was almost 2.00pm and it was time to pick the kids up . AsI tried to close the system, I realised that like Abhimanyu , of the Mahabharata, I had learnt how to enter the CHakravyuh but not to exit….I had no idea how to Shut the system down . I tried all that I had learnt in the last few hours, but to no avail. I left the system as it was and went to bring the children home. On returning home my son all of 4 years , ran to the system and just clicked the mouse and hey Presto ! the system SHUT Down.My little PC Sarkar had done the trick !

The year 2014, the place Bangalore, the person me, the objects my smart phone, my tablet, my laptop and my SMART TV …I am forever networked, the world is at my finger tips. I am not an IT expert…I never will be, but I am glad that I am always curious to know and always eager to explore.

Thank you Technology for turning me into a life long learner -teacher !!!!


Do follow me on my blog as I continue to discover, unlearn and relearn with technology everyday !

– This Guest Post has been written by Manju Balasubramanyam, DPS North Bangalore Principal

technology and me

Technology and me … and the learning continuum

vedic maths

Does your kid dread math? Does he have serious issues in memorizing the mathematical tables? Well, math might be an intriguing subject, yet, some kids may find it baffling because of the super long formula charts and tables. For these kids, Vedic math can be a new way to get acquainted with numbers.

With Vedic way, kids learn to remember the formulae and table charts tad quicker. It also reduces their pressure of calculation and helps them get the sums done quickly. Sounds interesting? Vedic math is indeed one of the most interesting genres of math. So, if you want your kids to understand math better and buck up in their calculations Vedic math can be your answer. Take a look at the benefits of Vedic math.

Reduces the burden of memorizing tables

Very often, kids find it tremendously difficult to learn the complete tables in math. However, with Vedic math, they don’t have to remember much. Here, they have to memorize only up to the tables of 9. It reduces their burden of memorizing and helps them calculate faster than the conventional method. In fact, they no longer need finger counting or scratch work in Vedic math. Thus, a huge chunk of their time is saved in this way.

Increases concentration and confidence

To make faster mental calculations, your kids need more attentiveness. Thus, Vedic math fosters concentration in your little ones. With this branch of math, they concentrate more on studies and their confidence too boosts up. Thus, the simple, direct, unconventional and easy methods of Vedic math help your kids be confident in completing their calculations quickly.

Enriches your kids

If you want your kids to have a holistic understanding of math and its roots, Vedic math can be the best option. This branch of math keeps the mind alert for your little ones. It also bucks up their flexibility in calculations. Your kids are completely enriched by this unconventional branch of math.

Effective for both slow and quick learners

The best part of Vedic math is that the branch is pretty handy for both quick and slow learners. It helps improving the creativity and intelligence of the quick learners. They become even more efficient in calculations with Vedic math. On the other hand, this stream of math is also great for the slow learners. It helps them understand and grasp the concept of math faster, than any other conventional method. Therefore, irrespective of the learning tendency of the student, Vedic math works for all.

Speedy one line solutions

Vedic math is a kind of mental math. Here, unlike the conventional methods, kids get a speedy one line solution for even difficult math problems. This branch of mathematics also has a complete link and continuity, between the types of mathematics from kindergarten to the University levels. Kids get to understand complete math better with their holistic enrichment and speedy calculations. This saves ample time at competitive exams. With Vedic math, kids get the time to re-check the calculations they have completed.

All in all, with the plethora of benefits, Vedic math is indeed an amazing way of learning math. Encourage your kids to try Vedic math which in turn will help them with speedy calculations and better understanding of the subject.

vedic maths

Vedic math for kids – How could it be useful?