I drew these for my friend’s sister who teaches the first grade. It’s for her classroom! It was fun to draw these and reminded me of all the lovely colourful posters and things in class when I was a kid. As we grow older, our classrooms become more bland which I despise. This year at uni, I’ve been stuck in a room with a ceaseless noisy fan and cramped space so I guess I took all those nice and spacious rooms for granted 😦
i. In my old house, I didn’t have room for a bookshelf because of all the built-in closet space. One time, a friend came over, saw it and said, “Wow, you must have a lot of clothes.” Another friend who knew me better corrected, “No, half of it’s purely for her books.” What’s in your closet speaks volumes; it’s like compartments of you in physical space. And books may as well be half of me.
ii. I love flipping pages of books. Admittedly, half the time I’m reading, I’ll stop, look at my progress and just flip to my hearts content. That feeling of paper brushing fingertips is incomparable. (And the habit is contagious, just ask some of my friends.)
iii. I’ll never succumb in the argument of paperbacks/hardcovers versus e-books. I know e-books are so much more portable and don’t take up any physical space but isn’t that the point? I want something to take up space in my life, whether it’s in a bookshelf or on a coffee table, I want it there. It’s better than being littered with charger wires.
iv. But in the battle of hardcover versus paperback, I always choose paperback.
v. This summer I’d gone back to my old house to find termites festering in my bookshelf, eating away at the pages and crumbling the spines of my books. My heart broke and I mean that. They weren’t just material possessions. Those books were pieces of me, memories, emotions and gifts from people in my life especially my dad and I felt shattered at the prospect that they could be taken away. Paper perishes. Just like people.
vi. My fondest memory of my dad was going to stores and getting so engrossed in the book sections. I’d show him which ones I liked and never even needed to ask for them. He’d buy it no matter what. He’d never say no to buying me a book. To me, that says everything about his character.
vii. In elementary school in Ottawa, I was that kid who’d get extremely excited about the Scholastic flyers and ordering books off it. I’d count down for the book fairs and don’t even get me started on how awesome the Bibliobus was.
viii. Libraries, to me, are more beautiful than monuments. They’re invaluable and that feeling of walking along the many, many aisles of bookshelves is almost like walking between worlds. They’re right there for you to discover. Plus, they’re so peaceful it’s like time has slowed down or even stopped, in the most wonderful way imaginable.
ix. I really liked the way my teacher in 3rd grade labelled all her books and did the same with mine. One nasty boy in my class ridiculed it.I was quite angry and went into Hermione Granger mode all over him. It’s funny to think about now. ( I was quite the Monica Gellar as a child…I still am now, actually.)
x. In my fourth semester of college I discovered that the most satisfying time to read a new book is during exams. I’d study faster (improperly sometimes) just to settle into bed and read. It really helped take my mind off the tedium of writing those ridiculously long papers.
xi. It doesn’t matter how long my TBR list is, I’ll keep adding to it. It doesn’t matter if I have a lot of unread books sitting at home. I’ll still buy a dozen more.
xii. I enjoy owning books more than borrowing them.
xiii. If my worst enemy gave me a book that I’d love, I’d melt like Olaf in Frozen. Because some books are worth melting for. And I’d have no room left for enmity.
xiv. In rough times, I turn to books. They’re a solace and oh so safe. It’s lovely to be wrapped up in between pages just as you would be in your bed sheets.
xv. The success of finding a new book that doesn’t disappoint is worth celebrating. Usually with another book.
xvi. Re-reading is re-living.
xvii. In the 5th grade, I was in a book club that would read newly published books in the library during recess. It was just as enjoyable as playing outside
xviii. My dad was the one who got me interested in reading and I’ll always have him to thank for the person I am today i.e a bibliophile.
xix. Since I was a child, I always read beyond my age. By the time I was ten, I’d begun reading adult novels. Now that I’m an adult, I so enjoy reading books aimed at younger readers. The grass is always greener on the other side, I suppose.
xx. I don’t mind dog-earing pages and I hate books that have been read and still look brand new. It’s eerie.
When teachers sit down to plan out their course syllabus, they always undoubtedly include a group grading component, either oblivious to the fact that group work is never done in equal contributions and they genuinely believe it teaches students to work cooperatively and effectively in a group or they do it in spite of that just to make us sweat while they enjoy the chaos. That was a long rant-like sentence, I know. But that’s just how frustrating it is to work in a group.
We all know how hassling it can be when your group is a panorama of different types of members and we’ve all encountered at least a few of these:
The Idea (Wo)man
This is the guy or girl who comes up with an idea and designates work to every other member in order to get it done. Once the idea is put out there, they won’t lift a finger to execute it.
The earnest group member who works really hard to make everything a success. Their responsibility and honesty are their own worst qualities since they’d have to carry the group on their shoulders because of these traits.
The group member who digs his or her claws into into a worker bee type group member in order to maintain the illusion that he or she is contributing something when in actuality they are not.
The group member who insists they don’t know anything in order to escape work being thrust on them. They really know how to play the ignorance card but don’t be fooled. They definitely know more than they let on.
That lazy group member who everyone else knows won’t contribute so no one assigns them work. Their standards of laziness foster super low expectations which they bask in and take advantage of.
That group leader who refuses to listen to their group members opinion and almost single handedly calls the shots.
The select few members who ‘the Hitler’ confides in and whose viewpoints are considered. In return for this special privilege they enforce whatever the Hitler says upon the rest of the group members.
That group member who isn’t the leader but wants to be and plans the way to claim the position for themselves. If they have good intentions, they do better than the original leader, but if their lustful for power then they don’t.
Those who nod along when ideas are bounced around instead of contributing their own even though they may not be a 100% sold. Later when plans are built around this idea they agreed to, they voice concerns and begin questioning it. They tend to have clashes with the idea m (wo)men.
The Invisible (Wo)man
That group member who always disappears when everyone gets down to work and magically comes back once everything’s done.
That group member who absolutely needs everything just right and usually does all the work alone.They resents other group members for it but won’t relinquish control either.
The Ticking Timer
That guy or girl who insists on counting down the days until the official deadline, attempting to instill fear in the rest of the group to get everything finished.
The Drama Queens/Kings
That group member who has no idea what damage control is when shit hits the fan. You’ll be surprised how they handle crises and it’s better to avoid their hysterics if you want anything to get done.
And just think,your grade depends on these people.
I’m not saying there aren’t pros to group work, I’ve just done enough of it to know the cons definitely outweigh them. It’s not fun and cooperative and anyone who spouts out praise for such assignments lives in a world of rainbows and unicorns.
But then again, a world of rainbows and unicorns wouldn’t have any group assignments 🙂
I believe the best teachers are those that inspire you to dream and to think outside the box. I’ve luckily had a few teachers who’ve shown me how powerful that type of interaction can be. So I’d like to thank all the teachers who shaped me to be the person I am today. From my mom who taught me phonetics and how to read at an early age, to my dad who gave me spelling tests at home and the handful of school teachers who made me love and respect my education, they’re all dream teachers to someone, somewhere in the world. It is easy to forget that education, while being a right, is still a privilege in our world where children are sent to factories instead of a classroom.
Moving on to the dream teacher part of this post…. it would have to be Sigmund Freud, hands down, what with my rather geekish fascination with the field of psychology. Although his chauvinistic belief that women have less complex minds than men is something I would disagree with as his student, I’d have been able to learn so much about the methods and research that went into his psychodynamic approach to psychology including his exploration into the dream world and its meanings, the components of our personality and various ego defense mechanisms.
I do agree with him on some level that human beings are aggressive and sexual oriented beings and while many consider him a perverse proponent of the Oedipus and Electra complex developed in the phallic stage of psychosexual development (where boys demonstrate latent sexual attraction to their mothers and daughters towards their fathers), I believe his reputation as the father of psychology is undisputed and I’d gladly, if it were possible, jump at the chance to be his student.
As an adult you get paid for the work that you do but in school or college you don’t. Do you know anyone who wishes their school or university paid them for performing well academically? That’s the dream, right?
Although it is a hypothetical situation, the consequences are not what you’d expect. While many may think that they would do much better if they were paid for school work, since a monetary incentive is provided, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Opportunity NYC, a privately funded program in New York city, paid parents of low-income families to be more involved in their childrens lives (eg. They were paid $200 for taking their child to a medical check-up) and paid high school students if they took precollege standardised tests or accumulated enough credits to graduate. Although the program has the best intentions, it doesn’t work like you’d think.
From a psychological viewpoint, here are some reasons why:
Focus shifts from academics to money: Students will have their eye on their pay more than their grade. Of course they will hope to do well and get a good grade but this will more likely be because they want money for it, valuing the monetary reward than the sense of self-satisfaction after an achievement. They will no longer seek to learn for learning’s sake which is a dangerous thing. Once you get a job, there will be time to worry about paychecks and raises but those are concerns that should stay out of educational institutions. The world is money-minded enough as it is.
Learning styles are taken advantage of: Operant conditioning is a type of learning where a voluntary response is strengthened or weakened depending on its favourable or unfavourable consequences. In this case, the voluntary response is studying better and the favourable consequence is getting paid. In this way, opportunity NYC intentionally takes advantage of operant conditioning principles like reinforcement to change people’s behavior for the better.
Wrong Type of Motivation: There are two types of motivation according to cognitive theorists, i.e intrinsic and extrinsic. Suppose you draw as a form of relaxation then you are intrinsically motivated to do so, coming from inner factors. If you walk dogs only because of the money, then you are extrinsically motivated in this regard. Extrinsic motivation involves some sort of outer reward you would recieve. Typically it is best to have a safe balance between the two but better performance is associated with intrinsic motivation tasks.
So, if you pay a student to do well in tests and hand in their assignments on time, then their academic performance and behaviour will more likely turn from intrinsically( if already existent) to extrinsically motivated.
Academic performance may not last post monetary benefits: As I’ve already established, tasks performed with extrinsic motivation are less likely to result in long-lasting performance since some form of reward or benefit is necessary for its continuance over a period of time. Once the money flow comes to an end, so will determination to perform at school.
If I were asked about the most important part of a nation, my answer would be education.
When I attended the Lead India 2020 initiative programme in Hyderabad where A.P.J Abdul Kalam addressed the students from various schools, I could see what he envisioned. I fully agree that the future of our nation is in the hands of the younger generations and education is the concrete upon which we can develop our country.
The 11th plan lays more emphasis on education with almost one fifth of the budget allocated to it. In the coming years this percentage can increase seeing as India is doing its level best to invest in intellect.
Before discussing the positive curve, education in India has its share of voids and cracks.
Indian universities, unfortunately, are found in the heart of cut throat politics, a position they should not be in.
India is the second largest producer of engineers per annum in the world. This accomplishment may seem staggering but the underlying explanation takes away its shine. For example, in the state of Andhra Pradesh the number of engineering colleges far exceeds the number of applicants writing the engineering entrance exam (EAMCET). This example clearly shows the boom in the engineering sector in India. However, unfortunately importance is given to quantity not quality. In years to come I can easily see India on a fast track to the number one spot in engineer production, the situation barely changing.
IITs are slightly malnourished in terms of innovation since the inception of educational institutes such as Narayana and Sri Chaitanya where scores are more important than originality or innovative thinking. I have briefly attended such institutes and can speak from personal experience.
These flaws have the potential ability to corrode the educational system in the future and are difficult to eradicate but will most definitely be nullified by the educational advancements yet to be made like:
Private schools surged in the 1990’s to relieve the pressure faced by the public schools in catering to educational demand. It has been seen that performance in private schools is beyond that of public schools. Now, private schools are not necessarily meant for the well endowed. A brilliant concept of branded chains of $2 schools have been launched called Sparks School in a Box which are owned and operated by entrepreneurs. They serve the dual purpose of providing quality and low cost education to the poorer sections of society and furthering the shift of students to private schools. If successful, then such schools can be established across the country and provide a step forward for the less privileged in the next decade.
On June 25th, 2013 at the India- US Higher Education Dialogue the two countries agreed to further strengthen their cooperation for higher education. It has been said that India will embark on a venture to start community colleges in the near future, borrowing the concept from the US’ experience with such colleges. This is a significant step forward and also is beneficial in terms of international relations.
Since 2009 it has been in the talks to set up foreign universities in India and slowly it is possible that foreign universities can take a baby step by establishing partnerships with existing Indian institutions. Once this has been done, foreign institutes can then prepare to set up their own branch campuses. This endeavour can open the gate to true international schooling right here in the country, saving students the trip abroad.
It has been observed that many students study abroad but if India can continue to progress, this trend can visibly decline in the coming decade. Once our educational standards improve this will automatically have a positive effect on our Human Development Index (HDI) which can help transform India from a newly industrialised country (NIC) into a developed nation. I sincerely believe Indian education has a great deal of potential.