Ms. Sneha Chetan, Editor-In-Chief is on a mission to make today's children future ready by creating awareness among both children and parents about the importance of education outside academics by bringing together the knowledge, wisdom and experience of India's most successful people and how their education outside academics has helped them handle their challenges gracefully and made them who they are today.
Dr. Mahendra S. Kanthi, PH.D Economics, retired as the Professor in economics at Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, USA. Dr. Kanthi is highly respected by his colleagues for his dedication to other activities which have strengthened educational and cultural relationships at SVSU. He is currently the Chairman of Kittur Rani Chennamma Memorial Committee, Kittur.
The reason for going to school is to acquire knowledge and apply the gained knowledge correctly to the required field. This motive has changed over time as students are not being taught for understanding but for the sake of memorising which is wrong. Teaching should not be based only on the teacher’s knowledge as the students should be allowed to think and express their view on what is being taught and not just accept it as it is.
Teaching should be an interaction between the students and the teachers, and this can be achieved when the students are being taught how to critically think, analyse and find the best solution in numerous ways. The psychology of teachers has to be moved from teaching students how to memorise to the impact of knowledge and the understanding of such knowledge in the students. Some of the ways it can be achieved are:
1. Involvement of students in more practical works: It is widely known and often said that practice makes the man perfect. Knowledge can be impacted theoretically but what is knowledge if not given the opportunity to apply what was learned in the class. If not backed up with practical understanding in the areas needed, what was learned can quickly be forgotten. And even without this, proper understanding cannot be achieved if everything taught is just within the four walls of the classroom. Using the engineering students as an example, we would realize that teaching in this field cannot be complete without practical works, and if all that is taught is how to memorise, then we would only be producing Engineers that are below standard.
2. Use technology: Since we are in the days of technology, teachers need to use this to the advantage of the student. Technology is here and has come to stay. Therefore, teachers need to use this technology to teach the students in the classroom and beyond. With this, the knowledge of the students will be broadened, and at the same time they will be familiar with the technological instruments useful to their field of study, and that’s like killing two birds with one stone.
3. Exams are useful as it is a way of testing the knowledge of the students but education should not be based on examination alone, and this is a mistake that most teachers make. Teachers teach students these days more on how to pass an exam rather than how to understand the course of study which should be rectified as soon as possible.
In conclusion, knowledge should be applied and not memorised, and teachers should be encouraged to make this happen.
Dr. V. M. Patil, Ph.D. Synthetic Studies in Benzofurans from Gulbarga University. He has a total of 39 years of research and teaching experience. He is currently the principal of Rural Engineering College, Hulkoti.
Failure means not getting the desired outcome from actions taken. I know this word sounds very scary and no one ever wants to fail, but shouldn’t this be something we should all be prepared for?
Success comes at a cost, but failure is the driver for that cost. Breaking it down, this simply means failure is what drives one to want to succeed if such failure is handled correctly. And handling failure properly can and should be taught to our children at the early stages of their lives.
An overwhelming feeling comes with failure and this feeling, if not careful has the power to shred a person’s self-esteem but on the bright side of it, this can be a stepping stone to achieving greater things. Failure is bad and could be worse if not properly taken care of, but handling it correctly can lead to various things that will change a person’s life for the better.
Parents also have a significant part to play in their children’s lives in the aspect of failure and how children handle it. Though no one wants their children to fail, it is important to be by our children’s side when they do. Being by their side in this context does not mean nagging regularly and reminding them how much of a disappointment they are to you for failing. Instead, we can encourage them with our support, help them in changing their strategies and the way of approach to problems and this act will boost their self-confidence to make them face any challenges the world throws at them.
Some parents love to compare their kids with that of their friends’ or neighbors’. This is not encouraging. Because their children passed an exam or interview and yours didn’t, does not mean your child will not do other things better than the other kids.
Parents should also learn to respect their children’s opinion no matter the urge to disagree. This does not mean we should not advise them, but your will shouldn’t be imposed on them when it comes to making a big decision for their lives like choosing a course of study. We might be successful in forcefully imposing a career path for them, but the aftermath might turn out worse. Either they do what they do not enjoy which leads to reading for grades and not knowledge or they fail woefully at it.
This is not an excuse to fail, but if we ever find ourselves in that position the best ways to handle it are:
Like it is popularly said if the world throws you a lemon, make lemonade out of it: This means a good thing can be made out of a bad experience. Failure is bad in its way but also functional as it reduces overconfidence and gives us the chance to try a different approach.
Learn from the mistakes: we learn every day and mistakes is one of the things we learn from to avoid making them again in the future. Failing an exam or interview is a mistake due to whatever reasons that shouldn’t be made the next time when such exam or interview will be retaken.
3. Parents can try to influence their children’s opinion but not impose their’s on the children.
Dr. Prasad Roodagi, Ph. D. in Small Scale Industries – Problems and Prospects. He has a total of 3 yrs of industry experience and 20 years of teaching and administrative experience. He served as the principal of BBA programs for 5 years. He was also the member of Board of Studies where he was instrumental in designing management courses in Karnatak University. He is currently the Director of K.L.E. IMSR, Hubli.
Parenting is a very complicated thing that if not careful one can be caught up in between spoiling the child and being too strict with him. Children these days are susceptible and might get offended at tiny things, but we as parents should be able to use that to our advantage by getting them to do what we want, when and how we want them done. There are some things that the child must have, that is, a necessity and there are some that they feel they want.
Knowing this, though providing the basic needs for them we can make them work for the ones that are not a necessity. And by work, we don’t mean going to work for money under an employee, but we mean letting them do something to earn what they want. This act will teach them values.
They will grow with the mindset of working for money. Our children have lots of demands and as parent it is our duty to provide for them. But even if we parents do have excess and wish not to spoil our children with the money, we should not fall into the trap of giving into all of their demands regularly as this will only make them lazy and they will grow with the mindset that the world is always rosy. But giving them assignments and making them accomplish it before their wants are granted will not only make them eager to do more but will also teach them to value what they have.
Money earned is wisely and consciously spent than money gifted. If they are consistently being given things immediately they are asked for, the things given won’t have any value to them. Because they will believe that if it gets broken or lost they can always get another just by asking. But if they earned what was given to them by working for it, it will last longer than expected.
They will learn to be satisfied with what they have. Contentment is a good trait that one should possess and this can be developed in a child’s life at an early stage by making them earn some of the things they request. When they are satisfied with what they have, they tend to appreciate when more is given to them, and this will reduce the possibility of taking someone else’s properties.
If they didn’t get it right the first time, they would be eager to try again, and this will make them learn from their mistakes
Doing this is great as it helps train our children for being responsible for their actions. But this does not mean we should not give them gifts occasionally or at least give into few of their demands as excess of the act of them working for their money may lead them to be stingy, which am sure we wouldn’t want our children to be.
There might be difficulty in striking a balance between providing for our kids and training them but, teaching our children to manage what they have and share their things with the less privileged will go a long way and this will become a habit they will pass on to their children.
1. We should teach our children how to appreciate, even when little is given to them.
2. We should learn how to be contented with what we have.
3. Our children should be taught how to be responsible for their actions.
In this article, read about the thoughts of Dr. S. V. Gorbal – Principal, Jain College of Engineering and Research, Belgaum. He talks about how one can craft ones own life and how a person’s financial background should not be the determinant factor of one’s destiny.
Dr. S. V. Gorbal completed his Ph.D – Mechanical Engineering, From Vishweshwarya Technological University, Belgaum. He started his career with academics as a lecturer in engineering college, and now has 22yrs of teaching experience. He previously worked with BOE – Board of Examiners, VTU and currently nominated as Academic Senate Member of VTU.
We are all born with different status. Like it is popularly said that all fingers are not equal. The “fingers” used in this statement is just a figure of speech as its meaning goes beyond just fingers. This simply means that everyone has a different background, different status and different connections to the opportunities of life. (The word poor is not limited to financial status alone)
But having all these opportunities and connections or not having from birth doesn’t fully define your future (take note of the word ‘fully’). It all depends on the individual. Because we are born to a rich family does not mean we cannot die poor and because we are given birth to in a poor family does not mean we have to die poor. In fact, I will say if you are born poor it is not your fault, but dying poor is totally your fault and no one else’s. Many of us blame our parents for not being able to give us the life we want, not being rich enough to quench our taste for a good life, but instead of dwelling on this blame, it can be channelled into doing great things so that our own children would not feel the same way about us.
Changing our lives is totally dependent on us. The actions we take, the company we keep and the will to actually want this change and actualize it. There is a popular saying that goes like “study the conventional way and dump it”. This implies that we should learn the way things worked in the past, learn the mistakes made by our parents (not limited to them though), then after learning it you dump it. How do you learn the conventional way? No matter the experience we claim to have, we cannot know it all, learning is a process that is perpetual.
There are new things we learn every day and thanks to the available resources and technology of this generation, there are provisions for books, videos and even electronic books by successful people that give insights on how they transformed their lives from being an ordinary citizen to people we all look up to. These books should be read on a regular basis in order to enable us to have the kind of mind-set they had that changed their lives.
The thought of being poor alone should be a drive to succeed not an excuse to remain poor. Consider the lives of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and even Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani who happens to be the richest man in India currently. These people listed above were not born into a wealthy family, but they strived against all odds and made themselves big enough to have an economy of a country at their fingertip, so if they could make it from their backgrounds, what will be your excuse not to?
Our mind is embedded with ideas, all we need to do is fill it with enough information, train ourselves to manipulate these ideas into realities and trying to make the connections required to make this happen. Though some of us may find it difficult to motivate ourselves that’s why it is mostly advised to have a mentor.
So who is a mentor? A mentor is someone we trust enough to want to emulate, a person we run to for advice. These people help make us better, when we are confused, they help put us on the right path, and they don’t necessarily have to be our parents. If you are born poor it means you have to work twice as hard as the rich kids will. So ask yourself this, do you want to keep being a victim of what the world throws at you or you want to assume responsibility for your life?
“Remember it is not your mistake if you are born poor but it is your mistake if you die poor”
Dr. Arun Patil Ph.D (Tech) Chemical – Tech, From University of Bombay. He worked in the industry for 7 years then moved to academics as a professor in engineering college with 35 yrs of teaching experience in university level, college level and school level . During his tenure he helped establish three other engineering colleges.
Dr. Arun Patil has rich experience in the teaching industry. Read the views of Dr. Arun Patil on his view
on what should be ones point of focus during student days. He also talks about how are life and education different now compared to his times.
Q. What was your main point of focus during your student days?
My education started in a rural setup with Kannada as a medium of instruction. Two things happened to me during the 7yrs of my rural study.
- I gained immense confidence in myself.
- I was allowed to articulate my views. Not only in home environment but also in school
Teachers of those day have helped me immensely to focus on my views. By a narrow miss in the
medical rankings, I chose B.Sc for my under grad studies. i wasn’t really much focused on my career until my final year. Since I wanted to do my further studies, I started applying to many courses. Information was not readily available in those days as it is now. Finally got selected in three institutions. One was University of Bombay, second was IIT Kanpur for a special program and the third was Baba Atomic Research Centre. I was not sure on where I should go. And nobody in the local were knowledgeable enough to help me understand which one to choose. First interview was on 6th of July in Bombay. (He remembers the date very well). There was a selection procedure and I was selected. The director of the institute Prof. Khane, called me and congratulated. But I hovered around and he asked me what the problem was. I candidly told him that I have these three admissions and I don’t know where to go? He told me to show all the three letters. He kept aside
the letter of University of Bombay and the other two he tore and threw them away. And that was the turning point in my life.
Q. How education is different now compared to your time?
It was a totally academically loaded environment. We were constantly thinking of new things
focusing on research. During that period as a part of technological association, Tata and Godrej had initiated lecture series where two noble laureates would come and address us. I was the chairman for that association for 8 yrs. I had a lot of opportunity to interact with about 10 global laureates. We had that kind of a charged atmosphere that emphasized a lot on thinking, research and development. In spite of being just a student, I got such huge opportunity. And that’s because I could talk. I could express my views freely. All thanks to my primary education for letting me do that. In fact I was picked up by the Chairman of Tata Chemicals. The experience taught me to look at problems in a holistic way. Also the professors there were of such high caliber. There was one professor called Prof. Iyer who’s one of the noble laureates. That percolated down to students and inspired them to aim high. This was one of the greatest things that i achieved which gave me immense confidence in myself. And that confidence allowed me to do all kinds of unrelated things
like cloud seeding, water purification which I was not exposed to earlier. I had confidence that I could technically succeed though I was not familiar with that particular technology.
Q. Taking a cue from the experience you just mention, for students, parents and teachers who think that during education days, all students have to do is focus on academics and the rest follows later, what have you got to say?
Focusing only on academics during student years is wrong. Academics and other related experiences go hand in hand. Because according to me a doctor is known by his stethoscope, a lawyer is known by his black coat. An engineer should be known by his ability to solve problems. Engineer is a problem solver and for this to happen he has to have 2 basic things. One, he needs to have a broad based understanding of basic engineering and second, build on that what his interests and specialization is. Once this combination comes into play, he is confident to tackle any problem. Not necessarily that he has to do it by himself all the time. He can approach others and take help. But it is his responsibility to get it solved.
- Let children express their views freely without being judged.
- That in turn helps them to articulate well.
- Take help of a mentor to make decisions.
- Student days are not only about academics.
- Extra circular activities and participation in other related school programs help gain immense confidence in a student.
Watch out for more insights by Dr. Arun Patil.
- EDUCATION IS ABOUT UNDERSTANDING AND NOT MEMORISING. September 26, 2018
- FAILURE – The stepping stone July 25, 2018
- The Perfect Balance July 18, 2018
- BEING BORN POOR IS NOT A FREE TICKET TO DIE POOR June 3, 2018
- Dr. Arun Patil May 17, 2018