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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

College Degree

Possibility of a free education abroad... German, Finland, France, Sweden, Brazil ... take your pick. Traveling to another country is an amazing learning experience.

Now when you reduce the burden of student loans while getting a good education makes it a very interesting option for higher education. Its obvious that some of these options would require you to step out of your comfort zone ..

Ref: Get a Free College Degree by Studying Abroad
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Joanne's First Day at Pre-school

Today was Joe's first day at pre-school !! A day to remember. It seems she was crying a lot initially but slowly picked up that she was not the only one who was all alone.

Jenny received a lot of kisses after reaching home ... Away and missing the excitement of experiencing Joe's first step of classroom learning.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud

Sugata Mitra discusses his concept of a school in the cloud at TED.
He has been awarded the 2013 TED Prize Winner of 1 million USD.

Here are Sugata's 5 favorite talks at TED.

Monday, January 14, 2013

School Re-formed

Looking at this blog titled - "School Re-formed" and particularly at the article that describes a unique learning program - "Shikhantar and Swaraj", it seems to ring a bell on alternative education very loudly for learners today.

If you want pure learning without worrying about - exams, peer pressure, learning disabilities, high expectations, this seems to be a real-life example of how its done.

Read through the entire article, to understand how some of life lessons are learnt through experiences as a khoji !

Introduction text from the article :
What does “school” look like when we throw out the grades, the classes, the teachers (the competition, the tests, the authority from above)? 
This one-of-a-kind organization in India offers a compelling picture for what learning could be.
Kudos to the founders & visionaries, for having started  Swaraj and Shikshantar. Do check out the blog which documents the learnings & doings of  Khojis/Students online.

If you are contemplating a Gap year and want to do something you are passionate about, there is nothing like trying something with such organizations !

Can we have more such organizations like these in 2013 please ?

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to deal with bullying & ragging ?

Bullying or Ragging could lead to deep mental depression ! Here are some snippets from a few online references (verbatim) to understand the lesser spoken evil :

What is Ragging ?
  • Playing practical jokes on somebody, teasing someone" is how the dictionary defines it. But in the Indian context, it meaning is somewhat different, somewhat more inhuman.
Bullying in Resindential Schools
  • In my opinion, bullying in boarding residential schools are far far worse than the ragging that happens in colleges. Ragging lasts for a few weeks or at most a few months and ends with the “freshers night”, while bullying leads to juniors living under fear for years and then waiting for their turn to become seniors so that they can find their “slaves”. Further the victims of bullying are often younger in age too.
Bullying a school teachers' perspective
  • The role of parents, therefore, has to be seriously evaluated. What kind of role-models are they at home? What is their reaction when their children do something horribly wrong? My own experience tells me that many parents when confronted with something wicked their child has done, just go into denial, or worse, into outright aggression. 
  • The biggest challenge for schools is to provide an atmosphere that is free of fear. They must create an ethos and an environment where the persecuted can speak out. A clear message must go out that certain forms of behaviour are just not acceptable. There will be times when harsh decisions will have to be taken. In our country there will inevitably be pressures political, bureaucratic and others but an institution has to stand firm. 
My 2 Cents 
  • I've seen and experienced both ragging in a boarding school as well as at college.
  • Bullying at the school hostel has been by far a more harrowing experience, since you tend to live in the same dorm room as your tormentors and don't want to rub them the wrong way.
    • You may have to compromise talking to any of the authorities if you want peace for the rest of the term. If it does not bother you, go all out to the house master.
    • There are many opportunities / activities at school that can help earn the respect of your seniors. Take up something you can excel at and keep improving yourself.
    • Being a honor student helps keeping these tormentors at bay.
    • Sports is another miracle worker (never excelled at any myself), but I've analyzed others who have broken the victim mold by re-inventing themselves.
  • At college, I've been able to escape the cycle of living in the same hostel or environment as the rag-pickers. In fact I've even had the choice of calling the cops without attracting attention.
    • A tougher nut than ragging at school, since there is a more hardened group that's out for blood.
    • Keep your cool and also assert your limits to keep the fun at a mature level.
    • Band up with your brothers at class as much as possible to ensure you have backup when required.
    • Keep your cool and try to escalate your woes to the ragging cell on campus.
    • Focus on your studies and the career you want. Form a support group with good friends to help overcome any depression.
    • Most important talk openly with someone who knows you well - parents / siblings / friends / teachers ...
References :

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Toddler Years

Thoughts :
  1. Amazing insight provided in each chapter for both moms & dads !
  2. Chapters are chronologically arranged per toddler month so you know what to expect & when.
  3. A pdf of the book would be handy to carry. Pretty heavy book.  Makes you look geeky.
  4. Other similar "What to Expect" titles available for toddlers.
  5. Worthy purchase from Broadway, Panaji, Goa (on sale).
Read the reviews at GoodReads & Amazon.

Joe loves the toddler pic on the cover. She was expecting more pics within the book. Nonetheless I have her blessing to read the book and experiment on her :)

Credits : Samsung Android Mobile Camera

Thursday, December 20, 2012


While reading through this article - "Some Thoughts on Dyslexia", I was compelled to think about a movie "Tare Zameen Par" (Stars on Earth) which also deals with Dyslexia.

This article by Mike (your man in the hammock), describes his experiences with learning disabilities due to Dyslexia and how he managed to get through his schooling years.
Quote : Having Dyslexia does not mean that your child is doomed to go through life unable to spell or read. It normally improves over time. As time goes by your child will develop strategies for dealing with certain problems.  
There are many different perspectives of how to deal with a learning disability. The teacher in the movie per-se illustrates a different approach namely - harnessing the child's creative tendencies which could be art forms like painting, building stuff, photography etc.

Each and every one is born with some form of learning pattern and may not fit the general mold ! We need to be patient with children who find themselves struggling with an approved teaching method.

References :
  1. Some Thoughts on Dyslexia
  2. Tare Zameen Par

Credits : Image Downloaded from Wikipedia article on Tare Zameen Par