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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

Learning without Schools

Nicholas Negroponte, Founder of One Laptop Per Child presents “Learning without Schools” at FOSI’s 6th Annual Conference titled ‘A Safer Internet for All’ that took place November 14-15, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Big Book of Unschooling

Sandra Dodd's book on Unschooling is a great resource for parents who are delighted to know how to help connected with their children rather than controlling them.

I have yet to read the book, but to tell you the truth, I'm a bit excited to use it from the massive positive feedback all round from practicing home schoolers.

Here is the article@homeschoolers.in that led me to investigate more about the book.

Hope to share some of our (Jenny's & myself) experiences from using the material.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Home Schooling

The topic has been on my research list for about a year now. I've slowly been able to ask questions and dialogue with a few folks involved in home schooling.

I believe until this becomes a more accepted and advertised way of educating a child, it would still be something of pink elephant.

I've come across atleast 2 parents in flesh who are actively home schooling their children.
Some may be able to do it with a lot of help with their spouses and some may have to manage alone.

Recently joined a group (indialearning) on facebook related to home schooling and was quite impressed with the discussions and content generated here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oxford of the East

Today I overheard 2 of my colleagues debating about school admission for their daughters in Pune.The whole discussion was more about why schools charge so much admission fees these days.

Their kids are just 3 or 4 years old , but the amount of time and energy that they expend to evaluate and pursue the admission process reminds me of my college admission days.

The irony was that earlier on my way to office, I happen to listen to 2 folks on a bike having the same discussion at a traffic signal.

Seems that education has become hackneyed as any other developing city in India. But considering Pune being fondly called as the Oxford of the East, one would expect more revolutionary schools.

This brings me to some earlier research from TED recommending that children need to find a good learning process that lets them evolve into great learners.

Is Home schooling the answer ?  Definitely an alternative to traditional schooling.
Needs a lot of time & commitment (Jennifer is a bit iffy on this topic).

Prof. Sugata Mitra has delivered a TED talk about the self-learning process of children from various age groups across diverse cultures/continents.

He evidently began the research in India through the The-Hole-In-The-Wall Experiment.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Home Schooling Conference

Home Schooling Conference coming up at Lonavla (enroute Mumbai-Pune Highway), Maharashtra, India in Feb 2013. RSVP.

A lot of networking with other like minded parents ; who are looking at alternate schooling methods. The presentation & event management takes the participation to a whole new level.

Take a look at how hasgeek.in has got participants, speakers & sponsorships participating in this barcamp offshoot.