Transformational Teacher - Ms. Sujata Dash

Music has the power to transform us. Whether it be the thrashing of guitars, the celebratory horns of mirachi or the gentle humming of a loved one, all people are familiar with music in some form. Even the pitter-patter of falling rain is considered music by some. And perhaps, it is the endless, intricate ways in which, Ms. Sujata Dash, music teacher at Mount Litera Zee School, finds her way into the lives of her students and has continued to influence them through music.

For her ceaseless efforts in instilling the essence of music, since the last five years, we asked Ms. Sujata Dash, what she had to say about Mount Litera Zee School, HSR Extension:-

 1. Why did you choose teaching as a career?

Ans: I chose teaching as a career because it is the platform through which I can implement my ideas and thoughts among the children. It provides me an opportunity to work with people and make a difference in their lives. We, as teachers, have the power to inspire and motivate children to become what they love to become. 

 2. Why/How did you come across/join MLZS?

Ans: My journey with MLZS started on 4th July 2011. I remember walking into the campus listening to the melodious and spirited rendition of the "National Anthem" at the morning assembly. The spirit of the song evoked a sense of responsibility in me and has been motivating me ever since.

 3. What do you like about MLZS?

Ans: MLZS is one of the best CBSE Schools in Bangalore. This school provides all kinds of activities like Sports, Yoga, Music, Art & Craft, Dance etc. The academic curriculum is taught very creatively here. The classrooms are very interesting with teacher-driven facilitations,  audio-visuals and activities catering to all kinds of learners, which help children comprehend the subjects/topics. Teachers, here, are very friendly and co-operative. I am extremely proud to be a part of this Samsidh MLZS family, which has played a vital role in sculpting me as a 21st century teacher.

 4. What are the changes that you have brought into a child?

Ans: Being a music teacher at this Institution, I help impart the knowledge of Hindustani vocal music and have taught various genres of songs to all classes.  I am aware that music helps students relax their mind and improve their memory power and become invigorated so that they can tackle any work.  I’m glad that I play a role in this process.

5. Why is MLZS better than the other schools?

Ans: Samsidh MLZS is better than other schools because we offer a comprehensive and holistic education to students.  The students are not judged merely on the grades that they score in various subjects. The academic and co-curricular activities are designed in such a way that children develop life-skills and learn how to collaborate, communicate and co-operate to work as a team. The value system, which they inculcate within the school, is second to none. The friendly atmosphere of the school, the camaraderie among the staff, allows me to a member of this big family.

 6. What are the achievements in your teaching career?

Ans: The school has provided me with ample opportunities to hone my skills in teaching  music formally, by allowing me to attend various external workshops like SUBLIME, TFAI etc. These workshops have empowered me to improve my style in teaching music. Also, I also had the chance of becoming an External Examiner of Gandharv University, for Classical examinations.

 7. How long do you wish to work for this school?

Ans: I wish to be an integral part of this family forever.  I cannot envisage myself going anywhere else.  Who likes leaving home?

 8. What do you think is the role of a teacher  in MLZS?

Ans: We are the facilitators and mentors, rather than  teachers.  The adage of a teacher being the “Friend, Philosopher and Guide” holds true for each and every teacher at Samsidh MLZS.

 9. If you need to describe MLZS in one word, what would it be?

Ans: Innovator 

 10. Out of the six values of the School, which value is the closest to your heart?

Ans: Compassion

 She concluded in the words of Robert Frost - “I have promises to keep and  miles to go before I sleep,” and wishes the best for the school and the students to reach their true potential. We thank Ms. Sujata Dash for her relentless endeavours in creating a magical world for her students through music.

Everyone Loves A Good Story

To be able to use one's imagination to entertain others is a great skill to master -- our parents and grandparents used bedtime stories to great effect in our childhood.

Storytelling is an art: it educates, it entertains, and it enthralls. It encourages us to be creative. It can even lull us into a good night's sleep. It helped preserve different cultures and traditions across the world before the printed word was invented.

The word 'story' can attain a slightly negative connotation with such English-language phrases as ‘cook up a story’ (invent a story or alibi), or ‘spin a yarn’ (tell a long, far- fetched story). Were you aware that ‘old wives tale’ is a widely held traditional belief that is now thought to be unscientific or incorrect, while ‘a tall tale’ is a hard to believe story?

Those who always tell a ‘cock and bull story’(an obviously untrue story) to their parents, teachers or classmates will find it difficult to convince them they are actually telling the truth and are likely be dismissed with a shake of the head and a “Don’t trust him/her, we are sure it's the ‘same old story’(a bad situation that has happened many times before)”

A story can make us warm and fuzzy inside like a success story, a heartwarming story, a bedtime story or a rags-to-riches story.

Moreover, a good story can fire up our imagination and everybody loves a good story! Therefore, being able to tell a story well can keep your audience spellbound; it is an art worth mastering.

In recent times, the practice of storytelling at home and in schools has declined due to the popularity of video games and social media networks. However, scientists and educators recommend that, this tradition should be made a part of family time and school curriculum.

Storytelling helps students in many ways:

  • Level-playing field: Every child is gifted, but in a different way. Storytelling gives an alternative to children who are unable to cope with traditional learning methods.
  • Job opportunities: The ability to express our ideas and vision clearly and imaginatively is a key to be a part of the 21st century workforce.
  • Networking: The power of oral expression can help students create effective networks -- the lifeline of modern living.

Teachers, on the other hand, can benefit from:

  • Increased reach: They can reach out to every student in the class and keep them interested for longer periods of time.
  • Less stress: By introducing an element of fun, teachers can communicate with students with less effort.
  • Renewed creativity: Educators can broaden their own horizons by effective and creative use of storytelling.

Finally, storytelling is an effective method of communication that has been in existence for thousands of years. In case you are interested, here is a link to some interesting variations of the word story/tale/yarn at http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/story)

International Students' Day - The Role of Education in Social Transformation

According to Wikipedia, International Students' Day is an international observance of student community, held annually on November 17.

The day was originally started as a commemoration of 100's of University of Prague students who lost their lives during WWII, but is now an occasion for universities the world over to celebrate multiculturalism, diversity and cooperation among their students.

It is also an occasion for the worldwide student community to celebrate their acts of social responsibility through gatherings, competitions, food fests and charity events organized on the campus on the day.

In India, we observe October 15 as the ‘World Student’s Day’ (which was declared by the United Nations in 2010) in appreciation of our former president’s contribution to education.

Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam in addition to being a scientist who played a stellar role in India's missile defence programme, and was also fond of teaching. He is remembered for his love for interaction with students at schools and universities across India and even internationally.

Dr. Kalam popularized the movement to spread awareness about the importance of education by highlighting the role of education as a tool of transformation. We will now look at the social impact of the initiative led by our former president:

  • Role of Teachers: It reinforced the traditionally held belief that teaching is the most noble of all professions and teachers need our support to effectively handle the enormous responsibility of creating the citizens of tomorrow.
  • Importance of Education: It informed people that the only way to change their lives for the better is through education as it is capable of  providing the children from the underprivileged classes with a chance to be a part of the mainstream of the society.
  • Healthcare Awareness: It highlighted the fact that providing healthcare to millions is an enormous task in India but it is possible to make people more aware about diseases and therefore spend less on medical treatment through access to education.
  • Social Harmony: It reminded us that accepting differences and celebrating similarities in the community is key to achieving social harmony and education is the best means to ensure it with active participation from students.

On the occasion of celebrations dedicated to students, let us also thank our teachers for guiding us and take a pledge to help others to gain access to quality education.

Mount Litera Zee School wishes the student community a Happy International Students’ Day.

What values do festivals teach us?

India is a vast country where the landscape – along with language and customs – changes every few kilometers. We are the most diverse country in the world by far!

Festivals are an integral part of a country: There is not a single community, or country in the world that does not celebrate some festival associated with seasons, religion or a day that holds special significance to the people of that country.

In India, we celebrate Diwali, Ramzan, Christmas, Guru Poornima (and many others) which have their origins in religion, while Bihu, Pongal and Sankranti are about celebrating nature.

There has been a welcome trend in our country in recent times that can go a long way in further strengthening relationship between different communities. We now celebrate most festivals which were earlier considered as being specific to a community cutting across divisions – religious, ethnic and linguistic. This is unsurprising and is consistent with our national ethos.

Are you surprised at the emerging trend? If you are not, it is clear the thought never crossed your mind. It is also possible that you did not think it was worth looking for differences when finding similarities with fellow human beings made more sense to you. It reaffirmed your belief that all festivals are a celebration of Unity – the oneness of mankind.

We are born equal and we must live as equals. We have no adversaries but in disease, poverty, and illiteracy and we must be united in our fight against them.

The world belongs to all of us, but so does the responsibility of keeping it the way our forefathers found it many moons ago.

We should strive to leave the world in a better shape for our future generations. Harvest festivals across the world are celebrated with this specific purpose in mind. Our ancestors realized that Nature is the supreme force that rewards us for our good deeds, and punishes us for the bad ones.

Festivals are celebrated with another purpose in mind; to reaffirm our commitment to our family, friends and the community we live in. It is also a happy occasion for making new pledges.

Finally, conservation of nature and promotion of unity among the inhabitants of our planet should be our top priority and festivals help us achieve both the objectives in a fun way.

Value Education and Parenting - Importance of Inculcating Right Values in Children

We often find ourselves vulnerable to enticements and temptations. The true test of our integrity is dependent on how our core set of values inculcated by our parents and nurtured by our teachers can withstand the challenges posed by our environment.

For example, most of us are law-abiding citizens. But, many of us will admit to driving down a one-way street in a moment of weakness only to end up running into a police officer.

Oh, the ignominy!

Moral of the story is, our core set of values are non-negotiable and we must remain true to ourselves regardless of the circumstances.

Our education begins from the day we are born. We continue to learn all our life, with parents and educators sharing the great responsibility of shaping our future.

The world around us is changing rapidly with the advancement in technology and we must adapt ourselves to our new environment. However, it is equally important to preserve our core value system. Teachers and parents need to work together to shape the youth of today into responsible citizens of tomorrow.

Incorporating value education in schools and greater involvement from parents could provide the answers to the issues like social alienation and antisocial behaviour faced by our society.

School environment is ideal for developing traits like growth mindset in children. Let's see what other values children can develop in school with the help of their teachers:

  • Creativity: Encouraging children to be creative boosts their sense of self-worth.

 

  • Collaboration: Teamwork is the ability to work across barriers and is a highly valued quality in the 21st century work culture.

 

  • Growth mindset: A ‘fixed’ mindset makes children believe their talent is a fixed trait, whereas a growth mindset encourages them to further develop that talent.

Home environment provides a natural space for parents to inculcate values like compassion in children. Let's see how it can benefit a child's growth:

  • Family Values: Spending more time with children is a great way to teach them the importance of family life.
  • Compassion: Teaching children to have concern for all living things goes a long way in making the world a better place.
  • Sharing: Teaching children the joy of sharing with the less fortunate is a great way to get them to place others’ interests before their own.

 

Finally, children may not always be forthcoming with their problems. For this reason, it is important to create a support system based on value education and responsible parenting to help them deal effectively with their anxieties and concerns.

Festivals Food and Family

Most parents have two preoccupations: the first is to keep their children out of mischief; and the second is to ensure the children eat well and eat right.

Children typically have short attention spans. Keeping them interested in any activity for long periods of time is an art and requires ingenuity and patience on the parents' part. And keeping children away from unhealthy food and persuading them to eat right requires a miracle!

Celebration of festivals is a family affair in India and food plays an important role in the festivities, and Navratri is no exception.

Navaratri ('nine nights' in Sanskrit) is a festival dedicated to the Hindu deity Durga, and celebrated over nine nights, during which the goddess is worshipped in nine forms. The tenth day is referred to as Vijayadashami or "Dussehra."

So why not combine the two goals this season to keep your kids engaged? First, let us look at some simple recipes for you to try out with your children. It is important for you to supervise your kids’ activities in the kitchen at all times.

Since our main objective is to involve children to help us around the kitchen, let’s keep our recipes simple. (Source: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/)

  1. Banana Milkshake: Simple, yet delicious and healthful. Blend bananas, vanilla and coconut milk in the blender. Add sugar (optional) and sprinkle cardamom powder on top.
  2. Sweet Lime (Mosambi) Juice: Slightly labour-intensive, but useful to get the children to help you peel and remove the seeds from the fruit. Blend the fruit in a juicer, add honey or sugar, add ice cubes and serve.
  3. Cucumber Raita: Chop or grate the cucumber, add it to the beaten curd, and garnish the mixture with coriander or mint leaves.

The essence of celebrating festivals is to strengthen family bonds. Festivals are also a great time to teach our children the importance of money and the joy of lending a helping hand in household chores.

Grocery shopping with your children is a great way to teach them about the value of money. Getting them to help you around the kitchen will help them to learn about the importance of teamwork.

Finally, children expect their parents to spend quality time with them and they consider parental attention as the greatest gift they could ever hope to receive.

Mount Litera Zee school wishes you a happy Navratri. May you be blessed with a life full of happiness and good fortune.

How Antioxidants Can Keep You Healthy

What is the secret to a long and healthy life? Medical science believes that leading an active lifestyle with plenty of outdoor activities and exercise, and eating responsibly can substantially increase our life expectancy. There are other factors, of course, like genetics, that also play a role.

 

Food is essential for our survival and eating right is important to keep away diseases. Eating in moderation is one way of ensuring good health, and eating the right kind of food is another.

 

We know deep-fried items, canned food and fizzy drinks, collectively known as junk food, are ‘bad’ food if consumed frequently. Is there anything good to counteract the bad food?

 

Our body molecules are made up of one or more atoms joined by chemical bonds. When a weak bond splits, molecules known as free radicals, which have lost an electron and become unstable, are produced. These free radicals attack other body cells in their bid to become stable again by stealing an electron, but end up damaging healthy cells of the body.

 

Free radicals are also formed from use of tobacco and through exposure to radiation, and are believed to cause heart disease and cancer.

 

So how do antioxidants protect us against free radicals? By contributing their own electron to the free radicals to make them stable and thus help prevent tissue damage caused by free radicals. Remember, this theory is yet to be proved through clinical trials and other scientific tests. But consuming food with antioxidant properties is good for our immune system and if it can also protect us against free radicals which can only benefit our overall health.

 

There is a category of food items known as antioxidants which scientists believe may be termed as ‘superfoods’ for their ability to protect our cells from free radicals.

 

Let us see which food are good sources of antioxidants and food items containing them (Source: www.verywell.com/)

 

  • Vitamin A: Milk and eggs.
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and tomatoes.
  • Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Beta-Carotene: Carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, papaya, mango, and peas.
  • Lutein: Green leafy vegetables and oranges.
  • Lycopene: Red Tomatoes and watermelon.
  • Selenium:  Chicken, garlic, and brown rice.

 

These food items are not to be taken as vitamin supplements but to be made a part of your daily diet. For best results, though, physical exercise such as aerobics, brisk walk and Yoga for at least 30 minutes a day and 5-6 times a week is recommended.

 

Disclaimer: This is an overview of antioxidants and free radicals. Consult a dietician or a doctor for expert advice.

 

Father's Day Activities to show your affection for your father

He is addressed as Babba (Arabic), pai (Brazilian Portuguese), táta (Czech), pappie (Dutch), isa (Estonian), abba (Hebrew), apa(Hungarian), otec(Slovak), tata (Spanish), tad (Welsh) and also using a host of other names in other parts of the world.

 

In India, pitaji (Hindi), appa (Tamil), tandri (Telugu), pitav (Malayalam), appa/anna (Kannada) and aanu/bappa in Konkani are used. Regardless of the word used, he is the single most important man in our lives. He is loved, respected, and sometimes even feared.

 

We hero worship our father. Haven’t most of us fought with other boys in our childhood to settle the issue as to whose father is the strongest one?

 

We look up to the man for practically every single thing in our life. But we also fear him as he is often an enforcer of discipline, or at least his name is regularly invoked by mothers as a last resort to calm things down when things get unruly at home.

 

Here is an attempt to describe the man:

 

A father is someone who comforts you when you are in distress, disciplines you when you get unruly, beams with pride when you succeed, and never loses faith in you even when you fail.

 

Do we ever take time to appreciate what he does for us? We all do, in our own way. But should we do more?

 

Probably not, considering our parents do not expect anything in return from their offspring except respect and good behaviour. On the other hand, any celebration or activity involving the entire family is a good thing. We just need a good pretext or an excuse and here is a good one.

 

Father’s day is celebrated on the 19th of June. Let us see how kids can make their fathers feel special:

 

    • Spend time with dad: Dads are busy people who are always on the move, working hard to make sure their family is well looked after. Show your appreciation by spending time with your dad - bring him up-to-date about your school, your friends, and bring to his notice any important issues.

 

  • Come up with an amusing slogan: Show your creativity by coining a slogan about how special your dad is. Here is a sample: “Some people don’t believe in Superheroes. I say, they’ve not met my dad.” Be creative and be bold.

 

    • Help cook your dad’s favourite food: Taking a leaf out of the old saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,’ you can help your mother to cook his favourite food. But make sure you do not try to do things on your own in the kitchen without your mother’s knowledge.

 

  • Buy dad something special: Our parents always put off buying things for themselves so that children’s needs are met first. If your dad has been wanting to buy something, say, a belt or a pair of jogging shoes, but keeps postponing it, you can help your mother to buy it for him with a part of your own savings.

 

  • Take up a small project: There is nothing like having your dad to guide you in a project. He has done it all and he has the expertise.

 

You can also solve a puzzle, play board games, go to beach, go hiking, go for a long walk, go to the movies, go through the family album together or do things which you know he likes doing.

 

You can even give him the choice of deciding what he would like to do!

 

Finally, make a pledge to yourself on Father’s Day that you will always do things that will make him proud of you. That’s probably the greatest gift children can give to their parents.

Engaging Parents with Social Media

Education in 21st century is a whole new ball game, a fact accepted by students and educators as inevitable. Both have risen to face the challenge in their own way and are making all out efforts to adapt to the demands of the new developments.

 

Technology helped convert the world into a global village a few years ago, breaking down barriers and helping to connect people and cultures, as physical distances became irrelevant.

 

New opportunities became available and new markets opened up. There was a free exchange of ideas and thoughts, benefiting even the hitherto neglected sections of society. The ball had been set in motion which would only gain greater momentum with time.

 

Following in the footsteps of the concept of global village, the world is fast headed towards a digital revolution, affecting the way in which we think, learn, and communicate.

 

Technology is becoming more prevalent, resulting in a great churning. The outcome this time may have more far-reaching consequences, especially in the employment sector. Employment opportunities are likely to shrink further as more processes are automated.

 

So what needs to be done? Quick adoption of technology and evolutionary learning methodology is essential to survive in this new world order.

 

However, for schools who are in the forefront of overseeing the transition, it is imperative to keep the parents informed about the need to introduce newer methods and how these methods are important for their children to keep pace with technology and improve their chances at employment and entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

 

Schools must engage with parents in order to get them on board to make the transition painless and effective.

 

Adjusting to the changes is a collective effort involving students, teachers and parents. This is where Social Media (SM) tools come in handy.

 

School website, discussion forums, blogs, facebook, and twitter are some of the tools which can be effectively leveraged to:

 

  • Encourage parents and teachers to adopt Social Media as a productivity tool.
  • Create an interactive communication platform - complete with school’s user policy which defines standards, protocols, and net etiquettes - to address concerns and answer queries in a timely manner.
  • Highlight students’ activities and achievements.
  • Highlight the reach and influence of social media in creating favourable impressions and opinions.

 

Finally, Social Media is not to be feared, but to be adopted judiciously. Something parents need to learn in order to monitor their children’s online activity. When they understand the medium, they can take effective measures to keep their children safe on the internet.

 

There are other benefits too. Social Media is the way forward and it provides us with the means to communicate effectively and unambiguously, share ideas, approach influential people, build networks - the very qualities needed to be successful in the 21st century.

The Biggest Contribution of Children to Humanity

Most of us have noticed infants smiling - apparently to themselves - in their sleep and wondered about it. Finally, my grandmother, a pious and upright lady solved the mystery for me.

 

“They are in conversation with God,” my granny said softly. Now, I respected the dear old lady enormously. She was known to be traditional in her ways, but completely free of prejudice and totally modern in her outlook. She was our family matriarch and our guiding spirit.

 

I waited for her to burst out laughing for having pulled out a fast one on me. I looked her in the eye for a twinkle that might give away her real intentions. There was none.

 

For some reason, she fell silent without attempting to shed more light on the matter nor did I press her for further explanations.

 

I never stopped thinking about what she said, and it was years later it struck me what she meant - we are born godlike, and it is external influences that corrupt us and convert us into individuals with our share of faults and imperfections.

 

Children’s contribution to humanity is a masterclass in hope, tolerance, sharing and loving that needs to be emulated by others.

 

  • Seeing hope: Life depends on hope for it sustenance, Without hope, there is no life. In children, we find hope that spurs us to do good things.

 

  • Being tolerant: Tolerance is key to our progress. Let us learn it from our children.

 

  • Ignoring differences: Children neither notice nor care for the colour of skin or something as trivial, until it is pointed out to them by adults.

 

  • Sharing with others: Haven’t we seen little children going around and offering to share their chocolate with others?

 

  • Loving unconditionally: Unconditional service, love, and commitment are the need of the hour for humanity. Our children show us the way.

 

There is plenty adults can learn from children - the closest one can come to experiencing divinity on this earth. The future of humanity depends on inculcating these values to lead a peaceful life full of harmony, spirit of coexistence and respect and concern for others.

 

Children lead the way for the better future of humanity. It is time for the rest of us to follow their path. Therein lies the hope for humanity.

 

Teaching Entrepreneurship To Children: Should We Do It?

According to Wikipedia, entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, often a small business, popularly known as a ‘startup.’  It typically involves development of a product or a process or even offering of a certain service. Entrepreneurship requires capacity and willingness to develop, organize, and manage a business venture with the associated risks, with the eventual goal being the generation of healthy profits.

 

Not all startups are destined to be successes. In fact the rate of failure in this field is very high, owing to a number of factors. Inadequate funding, lack of market demand, bad business decisions, and economic crisis can all play a part, either individually or collectively, and make the venture a non-productive enterprise.

 

Not a viable career option for an aspiring young hopeful then? Not really. The rate of failure in this field is not radically different from any other activity.

 

Risks are realities that cannot be wished away but need to be dealt with effectively. However, we can certainly reduce the impact of those risks by taking some prudent decisions.

 

There is an ongoing debate about introducing children to entrepreneurship. But opinion is equally divided with one school of thought fearing for the impact of failure on young minds, while the other is of the opinion that there is a lot more to be learnt from one’s failures than successes.

 

However, one can learn from both - one’s successes and failures. We can use the context of a startup venture to help us learn some valuable lessons.

 

Let us look at what failure can teach us:

 

  • Lack of or inadequate funding: The lesson on offer here is to have respect for money. Money management is an important skill that can help kids to understand and appreciate what it takes to earn money and how hard their parents are working to provide for them.

 

  • Lack of market demand: Do your research thoroughly, study the current trends and patterns and make allowances for future contingencies.

 

  • Economic crises: Be disciplined in your approach to spending money. Do not spend your money before you have earned it. Strong emphasis on savings helped India to tide over the crises of global economic recession, financial meltdowns and economic downturns.

 

  • Bad business decisions: Teaches children to base their decisions on facts, research and common sense as opposed to taking chances, depending on hearsay and having unrealistic expectations.

 

Nothing succeeds like success, they say. Success can teach the children the virtues of being resilient, patient, and organized, the very qualities required for effective management of resources, people and business.

 

Teaching children about entrepreneurship is a win-win situation. There are lessons to be learnt in both our failures and successes. And that is a valuable lesson to learn.

 

Samsidh Group: Our Vision and Mission for the 21st Century

Interaction with visionaries who are dedicated to the cause they so passionately believe in is an enriching experience. We present the contents of such an interaction for the benefit of our readers. We spoke to Ms. Veni, Head of Education, Samsidh Group of Schools about the group’s vision for the 21st century.

 

Vision statement for Samsidh Group of schools

Samsidh Group was founded with the objective of creating leaders for the 21st century, and our mission is to empower 80% of people to achieve their true potential, and also ensuring the youngsters grow into humane and ethical adults. All of us who serve in the organization are dedicated to making the vision our tour de force.

 

How the long involvement in the field of education has helped shape Samsidh’s vision

An association of a quarter of century in the education realm has helped us to acquire deeper understanding of the system. During this period, a number of significant changes have taken place. Education has moved away from mere rote learning to learning with reasoning.

 

We have realised that mere knowledge will not make one successful, one needs to acquire the relevant skills to utilize this knowledge. Our group of schools adhere to the teaching through a concept based methodology which gives equal importance to knowledge, skills and values - a vision that will help take forward our mission.

 

Contribution of Samsidh Group of schools to education

Teaching our children the importance of learning to keep fighting despite failure. Making our students realize trial and learn is our truly learning process. We have tried to eliminate the stigma attached to failure and encourage to view it as an important aspect of the learning process. We believe one can learn a lot more from one’s failure than from one’s successes.

 

Association with ZEE, incorporation of integrated methodology, and the way forward

Zee were one of the the first to understood the need for a change in the current education system. It is a well known fact that 80% of graduates in India are not employable. The only way forward is to, therefore, revolutionise the education system and help make our country produce creators and innovators rather than a workforce that works hard.

 

Zee has begun this revolution through its concept based methodology and it will be our endeavour to take it forward and make it an effective tool to bring about the change.

 

Challenges faced in incorporating Integrated methodology when compared to the conventional teaching methodology and Samsidh’s plans for training and development of  the teaching professionals a painless process

We recognize change is the only constant and real growth occurs when we adapt easily. With relevant and regular training and handholding, our teachers are capable of doing wonders.

 

We are helping our teachers to understand the need for this change. The process becomes easier once they understand and embrace the need for change wholeheartedly.

 

We also hold regular training sessions for our staff throughout the year, both through the external and internal facilitators, which helps them take that additional step forward.

 

Other  important skills for teachers and steps taken to empower Samsidh Group teachers

What differentiates an extraordinary teacher from an ordinary one, is the presence of 7E’s – being energetic, enthusiastic, effective, ego-less, empathetic, engaging and entertaining.

 

There are two types of teachers – those who have taken this up as their chosen profession and those who were forced to take it up for a variety of reasons.

 

To the former, it has to be our goal to keep fuelling their choice as the right one and to the latter, we need to see that they never regret their second choice.

 

Impact of CBSE and CCE pattern of education and assessments

The current system is designed in favour of rote learners who are adept at reproducing verbatim what they have memorized. But such learning methodology does not ensure success in a real-life situation. In fact, there are reports of students ending their life due to failure in the examination. Such senseless deaths of students can be directly attributed to overemphasis on marks, ranks and the related stress.

 

On a positive note, we are happy CBSE has taken note of this and bringing in the much needed change. The CCE helps us assess the children everyday through a plethora of activities and not only through a pen-paper test. The assessments are now all round and not a one-time affair.

 

Differentiated teaching/learning and its incorporation at Samsidh Group of Schools

Human beings are not assembly line products and therefore, are not identical. Each individual is distinctive and has his/her own style of learning. So using one method for all, will not help. The teacher should have a complete grasp of the students and mould his/her teaching to cater to not only the audio, video and kinaesthetic learners but also to learners with different grasping abilities.

We have a streamlined Enrichment Curriculum which aims at helping the students move one level up, regardless of the level.

 

We are also planning on having differentiated worksheets to help the children overcome their subject/exam related phobia and be able to learn at their own pace.

 

Role of parents in child’s education and plans on involving parents in the teaching- learning process

Parents are a child's first teachers. Every parent wants to ensure their child is given access to best education. In the days gone by, mothers generally tended to be homemakers and monitored their children’s  progress constantly. The present scenario is that, more often than not, both the parents are busy professionals and hence anxious about their children’s education, on account of  being not being able to devote as much time to their children as they would ideally like to.

 

An ideal approach for modern parents would be to lay more emphasis on meaningful interactions with their children to learn about their progress.

 

Parents and teachers have an equally important role to play and we urge parents to be connected with us in every aspect of their children’s learning at our schools.

 

Identifying the unique potential of a child and steps taken to prepare the children for future challenges with this mission

At Samsidh, we strive to make each student feel that he/she is a winner and that a winner isn’t necessarily the one who scores a centum.

 

Every activity of the student is analysed and we help him/her to hone that uniqueness. The choice of profession is no longer limited to only two. The world outside offers a variety of options and we help the children choose wisely and judiciously.

 

The children are exposed  to the real world through various activities, competitions and projects which help them to identify their inner potential. We believe in helping the children become independent, pro active and capable through these activities.

 

Significance of the educational program and philosophy of Samsidh Group, say, three years down the line

Samsidh Group believes in not merely creating 21st Century leaders, but leaders with conscience, with values, with ethics and empathy.

 

Three years down the line, people will be certainly seeing a set of youngsters who have a sensible head on their shoulders and for whom material acquisitions will be of secondary importance.

 

We have made a great beginning and hope to see it gathering further momentum in the coming days.

Samsidh Group of Schools: Meeting the 21st Century Challenge

Dear parents,

 

The 21st century is all about the relentless pace of change, advances made in the field of technology and its impact on our lives.

 

Just in the last decade and a half, the way we communicate, the way conduct our business, or even the way we live has undergone a complete change. To compound matters, technology which is considered advanced today may not remain so for long.

 

Education and learning methodologies have not been immune to the effect of advancing technology, making introduction of modern methodology and advanced learning techniques in the field of education a matter of priority because education is the glue that binds technology, economy and society into a cohesive and well-functioning unit.

 

Let us look at some of the trends and qualities required to be a part of the 21st century workforce, where traditional jobs are on the way out and automation is gaining ground.

 

We will also look at the qualities required to be successful in the new century:

 

Being innovative and and creative, being a team player, being a good communicator, being disciplined, being morally and ethically sound, and being physically  fit and healthy.

 

At Samsidh Group we anticipated the changes and their impact early and responded with the introduction of the concept based methodology in association with Zee Education, the pioneers in the field, which gives equal importance to knowledge, skills and values.

 

Our mission is to make our students ready to face the challenges of the new century - they can be leaders, job creators, educators or employees with exceptional skills. Our goal is to see them grow into exceptionally skilled humane and ethical individuals.

 

Our alumni today is 1500+ strong and made up of exceptional individuals whom we consider ourselves fortunate to have been associated with. Their success is our true reward.

 

This would not have been possible without the unwavering support from Samsidh Management who have ensured the infrastructure and facilities at all our schools meet the best quality standards, unflinching commitment from our teaching staff and their enthusiasm for learning new methodologies, parents who have had the foresight to anticipate changes as well as we did, and for entrusting us with the responsibility of shaping their children’s future.

 

Last but not least, our students deserve our appreciation for recognising the power of the new approach to learning and adapting to it effortlessly.

 

However, the most defining feature of our schools in Horamavu and Electronic City is the emphasis we place on sporting activities and cultural activities, in addition to academics.

 

These activities  are now a part of the curriculum and the necessary infrastructure, safety features and highly-trained support staff is in place to support activities like taekwondo, cricket, tennis, in addition to regular sports activity. The aim is to encourage a sporting culture.

 

We have also incorporated dance, music, and yoga in our school curriculum to provide our students a way of showcasing their talent and creativity. Yoga classes are designed to help them to calm their minds and to face any situation with confidence.

Packing school lunch the right way and making sure your kids are eating right

Most children tend to have a short attention span and one of the greatest challenges is to keep them alert, active and attentive in class.

 

Teachers know from experience that one of the ways to keep them energetic all day is by getting them to eat nutritious and wholesome food.

 

However, the task is a delicate one. Get the children to eat well and you will have half the children trying hard to keep their eyes open in the post lunch session. Get them to eat a little less and you will have them looking restless and impatient to go home. The trick is to get them to eat nutritious food in right quantities so that they are energetic but not lethargic.

 

This seemingly mundane everyday job is very important for children’s development. Eat right is a concept that advocates right eating habits in children and is attracting a lot of attention, in the developed nations. Schools in the West have been running Eat right campaigns with considerable success for some time now.

 

In the West, managing children’s diet is often a part of a school’s many responsibilities. But in India, by and large, the norm is for parents to pack school lunch. That being the case, how can we ensure our children eat a healthful, well-balanced diet? Let us find out:

 

  • First rule of the thumb is, junk food is not an option: Many schools have come down  heavily on junk food and rightly so. Junk food is rich in calories but are devoid of any nutritional value and is not acceptable as the main item of school lunchboxes. It is extremely harmful for the children’s growth - both mental and physical. Think of the preservatives, additives and artificial colours in the junk food and you get the picture.

 

  • So what constitutes a well-balanced diet?  According to Wikipedia “A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts.” A great definition which gives us a good idea about what should be a part of our child’s lunchbox.

 

 

  • Packing the lunch box: Let us look at some of the essential nutrients that should be a part of your child’s lunch box and their source.

 

 

 

  • Amino acids: Nuts like almonds, peanut butter, cheese, soybeans.

 

    • Essential fatty acids: Walnut, leafy vegetables, fish, olive oil
    • Vitamins: Milk, butter, eggs, chicken
    • Minerals: Our body needs Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Sodium and Potassium. Some of the sources are : tofu, apricots, yoghurt, bananas, orange juice.
    • Fresh fruits: Always include fresh fruit but make sure they are free of traces of pesticide by washing them thoroughly.
    • Water: Boiled and cooled water should always be a part of the lunchbox and children should be encouraged to drink water regularly.

 

The ingredients listed above are the essential dietary elements around which you can improvise using your knowledge of your child's likes and dislikes and also your culinary skills.

 

Disclaimer: This write-up is to only serve as a general guide. Consult your doctor or dietician for expert advice.

Protecting Your Child's Health During the Monsoons

Summers appear to be getting harsher with every passing year, and this year was no exception, with mercury touching high 40s in most parts of the country. But mercifully, the relief from the relentless heat seems to be around the corner.

 

The southern part of the country has already experienced pre-monsoon showers, bringing the temperatures down. Finally, the famed Indian Summer is giving way to the famous Indian Monsoons.

 

The Monsoons this year are expected to be normal by Met Department and one hopes it comes true. We just cannot afford one more deficient monsoons after successive years of scanty rainfall.

 

The Monsoons, while providing the much needed relief from the physical discomforts and ailments associated with the summer, bring their own set of problems. Commuting to work, attending school, and even shopping assumes additional levels of difficulty, with waterlogging, falling tree branches and chaotic vehicular traffic, adding to our woes.

 

During the monsoons, our health can be adversely affected if we are not careful. But rains can be good fun too, if you take a few precautionary measures:

 

  • Indigestion: Eat moderately and stick to fruits and vegetables. But make sure you wash them thoroughly as they are apt to be a little less cleaner during the rains. Boiled vegetables are a safe bet as they are high on nutrition and germs-free.

 

  • Dehydration: Contrary to the general belief, on can get dehydrated during the rains, causing indigestion. Encourage your children to carry a water bottle at all times to stay hydrated and to make sure they are protected against water-borne diseases.

 

  • Food contamination: This is probably the number one reason for illness during the monsoons. Advise your children to avoid eating at roadside eateries and always stick to the nutritious and hygienically prepared homemade food prepared by you.

 

  • Mosquito control: Make sure there are no breeding space for mosquitoes. Malaria, Chikungunya and Dengue are not only dangerous but also have a long recovery period. Make sure there is no stagnant water around your homes and schools.

 

  • Avoid puddles: Children and adults alike cannot resist the temptation to step and splash into a puddle. Not a good idea as the stagnant water may be home to insect and worm larvae and can enter our body through cuts and bruises on our legs.

 

Finally, get the children to wash their hands and feet thoroughly after a visit outdoors. If they get soaked in the rain, get them to change into warm and dry clothes.

 

In addition, also make sure your children are watch out for fallen live power transmission lines, overflowing stormwater drains and falling tree branches. They also need to be told to be extra careful while getting on and off school bus or other modes of transport.

 

Now that we have taken all the necessary precautions, let’s welcome and enjoy the Monsoons!

Writing by Hand: Encourage Children to Take up Cursive Writing

Now that two weeks worth of holidays are behind us, it is time to make the best use of the remainder of the summer vacation. It is hoped that our students’ time has been well spent, and they are thoroughly enjoying themselves in the company of friends and family.
We had previously discussed about ways to protect ourselves from dehydration and heat strokes in the summer, which pose great and sudden danger to the people exposed to the sun when it is hottest and when adequate precautions have not been taken.
We had also talked about the prudency of staying indoors when it is really hot and doing small projects like the family photo album to help children to put their time to good use.
Here’s one more addition to the list - cursive writing.
Encourage your children to take up cursive writing this summer as the benefits are immense.
With the advent of computer-based technology in the field of education, writing in general is slowly being replaced by typing. It may be noted that typing as a skill is important too, but from the point of view of the overall development of the child, writing by hand is priceless.
What is cursive writing and why it is important?
According to Wikipedia, “Cursive, also known as longhand, script, handwriting, looped writing, joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing is any style of penmanship in which the symbols of the language are written in a conjoined and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster.”
Educational experts and researchers opine that writing by hand with the characters joined, otherwise known as cursive writing, has the following benefits:
      Think and write: Writing cursively by hand using pen and paper gives students the time and space to ponder what they have learnt.
      Less distraction: Improves concentration levels in children who sometimes tend to play games or surf the internet while using a computer.
      Greater satisfaction: As it takes greater effort to pen one’s thought, end result is far superior and more clear. The sense of fulfillment and pride in children is greater when they write a piece of poetry or verse in their own hand.
      Mental alertness: Writing longhand sharpens memory as repeated reading of what we write improves our memory and keeps us mentally alert.
      Clarity of thought: Helps children to learn to use their own ability to organize their thoughts and present the information in a coherent manner instead of relying on pre-defined and standard templates designed by others for the purpose.
      Promoting individuality and creativity:Cursive writing is all about expressing one’s thoughts through writing, and helping children to find their own niche and develop their individuality.
To conclude, there are many screenwriters, journalists, and authors who still write in the traditional way and they also encourage others to do so.
Jhumpa Lahiri, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Indian origin, prefers writing using longhand. The eminent writer says that she feels “freer when she writes by hand,” thus strengthening the case for the use of cursive writing as an important educational and child development tool.

Education: Role of Technology and Teachers

Has introduction of technology in education diminished the role of teachers?
Early humans learnt by experience, usually through a process of trial and error.

The learning process involved observation, experimentation, and finally documentation for the benefit of later generations.
The method worked exceptionally well for millennia. Discoveries and inventions changed the fortunes of humans - the last century being an exceptional one. As the technologies evolved, the kind of expertise expected of humans also underwent a change.
Horse-drawn carts were replaced by automobile, typewriters were replaced by computers, and even humans were replaced by robots. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are the name of the game now and the world needs a new workforce capable of taking our legacy forward.
Technology is all-pervasive, and in the field of education, increasingly so. Analog has been replaced by digital and books by the World Wide Web. Google is the new equivalent of the famed libraries of yore, providing access to a wealth of information, mostly for free.
What is the role of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) in the field of education? According to Wikipedia, “(it) can contribute to universal access to education, equity in education, the delivery of quality learning and teaching, teachers’ professional development and more efficient education management, governance and administration.”
With wide adaptation of technology in education, what role do teachers play? Students are ‘connected’ all the time, with access to information at their fingertips. Does all this information gathering amount to real education? Have teachers been rendered obsolete by technology?
Absolutely not. Technology and teachers complement each other. For teachers, it is just an enabling tool to harness the learnings - at home, classroom, and increasingly, online.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) takes a holistic and comprehensive approach to promoting ICT in education, and are of the view that access, inclusion and quality are among the main challenges they can address.
Teachers figure prominently in UN body’s mission of A Teacher for Every Child: Projecting Global Teacher Needs from 2015 to 2030
To read the full report, click here
Technology has its place, but teachers have a greater role to play. The mode of education may have changed or changing, but the spirit of learning remains the same, with the teacher playing a central role in the moulding of character and building of moral and ethical values.
And that’s fact that is never likely to change, ever.
“Every child should have a caring adult in their lives. And that's not always a biological parent or family member. It may be a friend or neighbor. Often times it is a teacher.”

-       Joe Manchin, US Senator

What Kind of Education do we Need in the Future

Key to success is often keeping pace with the present so that we are ready to face the challenges posed by an uncertain future.
Technology is ever-evolving and constantly influencing our lives and means of livelihood. But we can rest assured technology will play a major role in shaping the future of mankind.
To quote an authoritative source, Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys, “Emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, deep neural networking, and machine learning (will) enable us to reimagine the possibilities of human creativity, innovation and productivity.”
However, Dr. Sikka is deeply concerned about the current system of education. Says he, “Our educational system was built more than 300 years ago when farmers composed the majority of our society; when memorization was rewarded more than curiosity and experimentation; when getting something right outweighed learning through failure.”
He adds: “We must transition away from our past; shift the focus from learning what we already know to an education focused on exploring what hasn’t happened yet. This system would resemble an ecology – constant, small adjustments made by independent actors inside of a cohesive whole.”
The analysis by Infosys CEO is fascinating. It offers definitive solutions and charts out a clear road map to overhaul our education system and to transform our learning methods:
      It is very important for every individual to find their niche to learn. When a balance is found between high level of skill and challenge at a personal level, then the scope for our potential is limitless.
      Mother Nature’s most disruptive innovation is human mind. It enables us to analyze, understand, evaluate, communicate, empathize, collaborate; imagine, dream, and create.
      But these capabilities have a pre-requisite - our fundamental ability to understand and to learn. This is what transforms raw data and information into true knowledge.
      Public policy must be transformed at all levels, starting with Governments, through modern, responsive IT infrastructure. It must help create a conducive environment for our students to become fluent in technology. The education systems must keep pace with the latest trends in technology.
      The new reality is our educational systems must modernize to keep pace with the rapid technological changes, a fact corroborated by the  results of a recent Infosys survey of 9,000 16-28 year olds worldwide. (see graph below)
      Our education systems must teach the ability to learn, not the ability to memorise.

      Computers should be made available to all. With a word of encouragement from an instructor, a friend or a relative, students will self-organize around the devices. The result is emergence of natural leaders and also the curiosity of children, and subsequently, their willingness to share new ideas, and the solutions.
      The best way to take away students’ fear or timidity is by familiarizing them with technology at a young age and by encouraging a more inclusive and open debate about the role of tools and technologies in finding solutions for the great problems of our time.
But, Dr Sikka also cautions that in order for these new educational systems to be successful, we must re-examine our own approaches. All of us can help to transform the context around us - the context which limits our potential.
He continues, “These are times of great transformation; a period when I believe the technologies around us will alter all aspects of life. Education has the unique and unassailable opportunity in our society to prepare us for such a change.”
Dr. Sikka concludes with a note of optimism: “It is precisely our human ability to learn, to harness our minds and to apply creative thought to new problems that will allow us to adapt and overcome any future technology or transition, as it has so many times in the past. Undoubtedly, the next industrial revolution will amplify our humanity, but we must also bring a new context, to make it as adaptable, curious, collaborative, engaging and powerful as our own minds.”
(Thanks to Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, whose article ‘What kind of education do we need in the future?’ for the World Economic Forum (WEF), which appears on their website https://www.weforum.org/ and has been condensed for the benefit of our readers)
Note: The graph is not part of the original article and has been created using the data provided in the article.
 

Summer Holidays : Protect Yourself from Heat Strokes & Dehydration

These days, kids tend to spend a lot less time than their counterparts from a generation ago due to a variety of factors, mainly change in our lifestyles.
In our overcrowded cities, concrete, steel, and automobiles rule, while lung spaces are shrinking and playgrounds are disappearing.
Generally speaking, the attention has shifted to excelling at academics, with sports and physical education taking a backseat. It is also true that kids today are exposed to far more dangers than the children from previous generations, making the parents weary about encouraging their kids to spend more time outdoors.
However, it is essential that children are encouraged to lead an active lifestyle and spend a reasonable amount of time being themselves. The advantages are many:
      Increased interactions with outside world boost children’s confidence levels.
      Keeps them away from TV and gadgets.
      Improves health and reduces risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
      Broadens horizons and contributes to the overall development of the child.
However, summer is a cruel month, especially in a tropical country like India. Heat strokes and dehydration are common occurrences. Therefore, before we do anything else, let us make safety our top priority and learn more about the dangers of overexposure to the summer sun.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion
Symptoms and signs of heatstroke may differ from person to person. It is not uncommon for the symptoms to manifest themselves suddenly and without warning. That is what makes the heatstrokes dangerous, especially to the aged and small children.
However, following are some common symptoms and signs of heat stroke:
      Nausea and vomiting
      Fatigue and weakness
      Headache, muscle cramps and aches
      Dizziness
      High body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin
      Rapid pulse, difficulty breathing
      strange behavior, hallucinations
      Confusion, agitation, disorientation
      Seizure
Treating a heat stroke victim
There is not a moment to lose and victims must be get immediate medical attention. Any delay could result in permanent organ damage.
Immediate medical help may not be readily available in some cases. In in the meantime, you can do the following until help arrives.
      First up, cool the victim by shifting him to a shady area. 
      Loosen/ remove clothing and fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation. This procedure helps cool down the body naturally.
      If ice packs are available, place them under the armpits and groin.
      Drinking water, and liquids that do not contain caffeine is helpful.
Prevention is always better than cure
      Stay hydrated and encourage children to drink water frequently.
      Avoid strenuous physical activity when it is hot and humid.
      Always insist on carrying an umbrella/hat, and a water bottle, if you must venture out.
      Use a good quality sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburns.
      In summer, cars can get really hot and suffocating. Keep them locked so that children and pets are not locked in accidentally.
      Never leave your kids or pets in a locked car when you go shopping.
The best of all is to stay indoors, from around 11 AM to late afternoon when it is hottest, in well ventilated rooms, It is a good time for indoor games and activities too.
Have fun in summer holidays, but take a few basic precautions to stay safe.
Happy Holidays!

(Source: medicinenet.com)

Indoor Fun and Games for Kids this Summer

The eagerly awaited summer holidays are finally here. The holidays always evoke mixed emotions, depending on whom you are speaking to.
Speak to kids and they can’t seem to wipe the huge grin off their face. They do feel a little nervous at the end of each day, but then they remind themselves that a good part of the holidays is still ahead of them and cheer up quickly.
Speak to parents and they are at their wits end as hordes of kids - their own, kids’ friends, and those from the neighbourhood suddenly start acting their age. Their energy and enthusiasm levels are so high that grown-ups struggle to keep up with them.
It is said that, summer is the time when the parents feel the teachers are grossly underpaid!
This summer, get your kids to do something interesting indoors in the afternoons, when heat can be intense, and even dangerous.
Let us also pledge to stay away from the usual TV and gadgets and do something different.
      Monopoly: The board game is an eternal family favourite and is a mixture of fun and education. It is great for some good old fashioned family bonding. You can also train your kids about money management, investment, and risk analysis.
      Magic Tricks: There are good books and online resources that teach kids to perform some cool tricks. Good for kids to improve their reflexes. Being able to perform at a birthday party can be a great confidence booster for your kid.
      Scrapbook: A scrapbook is a great way to help your children to be creative and learn to implement ideas. This book provides a great template of blank pages for sticking cuttings, drawings and pictures. It is all about researching.
      Family Album: Every home has its share of old and crumbling photo albums and fading photographs. Those precious memories from the past need to be preserved and cherished. Get your kids to catalogue them and also explore options to digitise them.
      Cooking: Old-fashioned home science classes are a great way to cook together as a family. Being able to cook some basic food is a great asset when the kids are on their own. Getting your kids to share some of the work will make them appreciate the labour that goes into the household chores.
      Comic Books: Get a bunch of old comic books from your neighbourhood library. Visiting such old classics as Archie, Tintin,  Asterix, Phantom, Amar Chitra Katha from your own childhood with your children will help you bridge the gap between the two generations. It will also allow your children a glimpse into your own childhood.
Summertime is family time. It is a chance to set aside our worries and concerns for those two wonderful months. Let your children have as much fun as they can.
Dear parents, don’t forget to take an active part in the fun and games. Time flies and before you know your kids will be all grown up.
Dear students, ‘Have great vacations with family and friends. Have loads of fun!’