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SAMR- Meeting needs

Most often two processes, auditory and visual come into play for learning to take place. The information is received and processed cognitively to create knowledge structures. With the past paced growth of technology in the field of education, it is now becoming more and more important to decide and select the ed tech tools that…… Continue Reading →

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Cognitive load

I have always found the experience of conducting lesson observations and class walkthru’s a learning experience full of insight and an opportunity for engaging in action research. For me lesson observation is not necessarily about observing the teacher but largely about observing the students. After all that is why it is called lesson observation. I…… Continue Reading →

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What do you do for free?

There are things that you have to do. Then there are things that you don’t have to do, yet you do. You do them, not to talk about it or to show it to someone but because you enjoy doing them.  It could be doodling, taking photographs of food or sunsets, beat boxing, participating in…… Continue Reading →

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A lost opportunity

The recent news of parents paying bribes to get their children into top colleges was shocking and indicative of their strong desire for ‘brands’ which is not just restricted to fashion but also to the kind of school that they want their children to go to. The US Justice Department charged dozens of parents of sneaking their…… Continue Reading →

Ready mentally and ready physically

A common question that parents ask is, how much play time is good for their children as they approach assessment cycle in schools. It is no surprise that the student and the parent have two different opinions on it. But what is important is to understand that both physical and mental activity helps in thinking…… Continue Reading →

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Information literacy- Critical Evaluation

One of the issues that I have often encountered in my students writing is their ability to critically evaluate text. Everything written as a news report or a published article may not necessarily be valuable or considered a great piece of writing. As most students are not clear about what critical evaluation is, one can…… Continue Reading →

Measuring impact of learning

Recently I attended a Cambridge workshop on educational leadership and now, am in the process of planning one for teachers. The one big learning that I have gained in the past few years, which has been further reinforced by this workshop, is the importance and need for measuring impact. Impact of what we teach in…… Continue Reading →

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Seasoning

The other day, a parent used, ‘seasoning’  as a metaphor  for bringing up children. I don’t remember the sentence in its entirety now, but I have tried to capture the essence of it here. The conversation was largely about formulating a road map for their child through the last five years of school. What I realized…… Continue Reading →

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Direct experiences-Anecdotal records

Regular classroom teaching throws up innumerable direct experiences that are priceless opportunities for us to understand student learning and behavior. Just observing those and not recording them for better planning and preparation is very often a lost opportunity. Anecdotal records are one such method that I have often used when teaching. Observing the students working on…… Continue Reading →

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Daily Sponge Activities

Sponge activities are great fillers and intentional activities, for that time in the class when you still have some minutes to spare or are at that juncture where you wish to capture the thoughts of the students to evaluate their learning. Sponge activities work brilliantly for reflection time and critical thinking. As teachers, depending on…… Continue Reading →

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Why facts don’t always change thinking- The Backfire Effect

Our experiences help us develop our own world view or beliefs. New experiences not only help us strengthen that same world view but also at times help us modify the existing. But seldom so. When an argument, rationale, information, data is given to us as evidence that contradicts our belief, we very often, instead of…… Continue Reading →

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College Readiness Skills: Ability to Think, Read, Write and Present

Many times, teachers assume that the students are skilled in reading a text, understanding the same and critically analyzing it to draw their conclusions. However, what they can do is basically just read the text and develop some basic understanding of what the writer is saying. I have seen students struggle to analyze poetry and…… Continue Reading →

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Learning for learning’s sake

Recently read somewhere (can’t remember where though), how parent’s role has changed over the past few decades. The article stated that parents must love and discipline their children, but more recently they have also taken the responsibility of entertaining them. That thought has lingered on with me and made me reflect on how I have…… Continue Reading →

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Teaching ‘search’ literacy skills to students

Asking a student to go home and research on a topic taught in class is like taking her to the door of the library and asking her to go in and start researching for the assignment that you have set for her. She may need to be guided to begin her search first by locating…… Continue Reading →

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Push, Pull and Nudge

Action should lead to movement from point A to point B. It must break the status quo. When it comes to children or colleagues  it is important that we engage in proactive action. As Michael Fullan describes, action can be a pull, a push, a nudge, or a combination of all three. Push is when you are…… Continue Reading →

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Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning

As I read about theories in education, I feel that teaching is, to quite an extent intuitive. Perhaps it would be safer to say that we do follow the process of teaching even though we  may not know the research behind why we do, what we do.  Therefore, theories create a shared common language for…… Continue Reading →

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How many is too many…

How many is too many… It would make the title boring and obvious, but a part of me wants to add how little is acceptable. Let me give you a little context on where this is coming from. I have a seven years old son who has been engaged in basketball coaching thrice a week…… Continue Reading →

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Unintended Learning

A couple of months back, I was conducting a session with students of Grade IX and X in a school on Study Skills and Time Management. In the course of one of the activities, students were asked, ‘reasons that affect their study time at home’. I have tried to group them here for better clarity…… Continue Reading →

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Strength, Courage and Speed

A visit to the Hoysala temples bring forth the architectural wonder of the 11th and 14th century. The language of art is used to depict the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The striking decoration of the molding comprising of figures of elephants, tigers and horses, depict strength, courage and speed respectively. Not only were these three attributes…… Continue Reading →

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Writing Style- PEEL

One of the challenges that I face with students is to get them to write an essay. While essay writing is taught in school from junior school, somehow students always find it a challenge because they do not understand and implement a ‘writing structure’. Pattern and symmetry do not exist only in math or arts……. Continue Reading →

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Financial literacy for students

As early as 2005, the OECD recommendation advised that “financial education should start at school. People should be educated about financial matters as early as possible in their lives” (OECD, 2005a). It is important to establish early foundation in financial literacy as children today will not only experience complexity in financial products but also bear…… Continue Reading →

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Book Review- The fault in our stars

“The fault in our stars” by John Green narrates a story about darkness, sorrow, warmth and tears. It tells us about Hazel Grace, a teenage girl who is just like any other girl except the fact that her “lungs suck at being lungs” she moves around dragging her oxygen tank along since she was diagnosed with…… Continue Reading →

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Received Wisdom- Can it get restrictive?

We go about our day and tasks based on our knowledge of what we need to get done through the day. Some of these tasks are where we apply our thinking, but many are routine, and we get conditioned into doing them. Conditioned to the point that we believe them to be true and have…… Continue Reading →

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Barriers to Student Learning

  No student gets up in the morning and comes to school with the intention of not learning anything. No teacher comes to school with the intention of teaching but with no student learning. Yet, many hours are spent with either one of them or both, not succeeding in their attempt. There are two things…… Continue Reading →

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What we measure is a reflection of what we value

In schools we measure student achievement in academics, sports and co-curricular. We measure number of admissions in an year. All this data gives you a good indication of perhaps how effective the school is. But does this indicate how successful the school is? To measure how successful a school is, should we not be looking…… Continue Reading →

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Develop the attitude of a winner

The tennis match started dot on time. The two teams start with warm up as the spectators settled down to a match of tennis. Each of the four players have their distinct style and presence on court. They are being observed by every one and they know it. Yet, there is something absolutely honest about…… Continue Reading →

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Reasons why we procrastinate

Some traits or behaviors transcend boundaries of color, caste, creed and age. Procrastination happens to be one of them. Why do we procrastinate? For me what works is to identify all the reasons and then keep them in check. Smash them when they rear their head to bite. I may not always be successful but…… Continue Reading →

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Organize like a Chef

There is much to learn from observation. I have always liked to give the analogy of a chef to students when it comes to organization, attention to detail, creativity, stamina, patience and quick decision making. Habits that will help us succeed in whatever we wish to do. Organization is a habit that children must learn…… Continue Reading →

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Expectations from monthly review meetings

I have always wondered if every one who attends a review meeting has a common understanding of the purpose of it? What are the expectations from these meetings?  My experience of working in schools and working in corporate have been similar in some ways and different in many. In schools, it is more about what…… Continue Reading →

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Fake environment

Candor is a virtue not respected enough. In our desire to be nice, polite or protective, we miss out on the opportunity to be honest, frank and helpful. Nothing is more dangerous to a students’ /child’s well being or ability to improve than creating a fake environment around them. An environment that screams, you are…… Continue Reading →

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What can middle school students do to be college ready?

You don’t prepare for college when in college. Most often than not, students , parents and schools, start their career counselling programme from Grade XI. Some schools focus from Grade X. However, the right time to engage students in a meaningful dialogue about their aspirations is in the middle school. Here are our 10 suggestions…… Continue Reading →

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How strong are my aspirations

Aspirations give us the motivation to do something. Aspirations come from our dreams and unmet drams can lead to frustrations. The question therefore is what are we doing to fulfill our dreams? Research suggests that our aspirations go through a U-phase. As we reach mid twenties our aspiration peak and sometime during our fifties it hits the…… Continue Reading →

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Existing ideas are as powerful as the next new

Why are we so quick to denounce a new idea, a new initiative, a new thought when it does not come from us? Do we fear the idea itself or the thought, that the person who came up with the idea would gain acclaim and attention? Complex question, but easy answers. We definitely fear the…… Continue Reading →

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Digital Dilemma

Research indicates that cellphones cause distraction leading to stress and frustration as students loose valuable time. Humans tend to calculate or observe small shifts as manageable. Something that can be controlled or rectified when ever we want to. It is when a dramatic, unannounced (really?) gigantic shift occurs and kicks us in the stomach that…… Continue Reading →

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We don’t have to be just sheep

Possibilities are endless and limitless. That is the way a two year sees the world. What happens when they enter school or more importantly when they start to ‘listen’ to the adults? I am reminded of an interesting fable here. It goes something like this: A mother could not get her young son to come…… Continue Reading →

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Progress or perfection

The sense of ownership is liberating. It fuels creativity and purpose. This is what we try and build in you as you engage with your research work. But sometimes, the desire to write that perfect lab report or the most earth-shattering extended essay may cloud your judgement of time. Don’t get me wrong, it is…… Continue Reading →

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The tickle is not in the feather

You go with the intention of window shopping, enter a shop and casually pick up a shirt that you like. It is blue in color and a quick mental check confirms that you already have 4 blue shirts in your wardrobe. You decide to hang it back. And just then you notice another shopper eyeing…… Continue Reading →

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Manage your exam health

Exam time can be stressful no matter what age you are at. It is not uncommon, AND it can be managed. What you can do: Understand yourself and know your limits. Target setting early in the year can give you that clarity. Ensure that you have all the resources you need to prepare for the…… Continue Reading →

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Right thinking matters

A farmer when asked why he shared his best corn seeds with all the other farmers in the neighborhood, said, ‘If my neighbors grow poor corn, through wind dispersal the pollen from their poor crop will get carried to my field. This cross pollination will in turn bring down the quality of my crop.  To…… Continue Reading →

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Wake up and smell the coffee-‘REMAIN TEACHABLE’

This one comes straight from my experience. I believe that pressures, hardships, austerity and challenges only make us better and more resilient. They help us grow. Today one of the pressures that teachers face is that of how to continue to stay relevant. The students siting in our classroom no longer need to be there…… Continue Reading →

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Storm in a Teacup

Yes, deadlines have a habit of creating that. The art of managing deadlines is prioritization. A skill students must be introduced to in school from the time (at least) they learn to pronounce it. Important and urgent. Essential Time allotment 5 % Important but not urgent. Necessity Time allotment 75% Urgent but not important. Distractions Time…… Continue Reading →

The Tribe: Talent, Skill and Knowledge

Knowledge you receive. It could come from anywhere and anyone. Be on the lookout. Knowledge can be gained and developed through personal and shared knowledge. Skill is developed with practice. It is teachable and can be learnt. You have to invest time, be intentional and gritty. Remember, the bottom line is, it can be learnt!…… Continue Reading →

E-Mail Etiquettes

Being inundated with countless emails daily is in itself a challenge. Coupled with that, what can be most frustrating is, receiving emails that one has nothing to do with or that which requires a couple of reads to understand what it means! A simple checklist that can come handy:  State a meaningful subject line. It…… Continue Reading →

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DRAW YOUR THINKING

I got introduced to ‘sketchnoting’ fairly recently. However, as I investigated and practiced, I realized that I had actually been doing sketch noting from childhood. Writing small notes for myself in the margins of my notebook in school or making a square or a circle around the text that I wanted to highlight, or simply…… Continue Reading →

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6 Reasons why we must teach digital citizenship to students

When asked, most teachers talk about how they encourage young learners to research for their projects, assignments and home work. But how many of us first teach our students appropriate behavior when using digital media and more specifically the social media.

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Padlet For Collaborative Learning

While I have been using padlet in my classroom teaching, I was only recently introduced to it being used for teacher training when I did my Cambridge Professional Development Qualification training recently. Padlet is one of the easiest tech tool to use in a classroom or a training programme. Let me share some of the ways…… Continue Reading →

THE VALUE OF RECESS

From 30 minutes to an hour, schools provide free play time to the students during the day. Some schools also incorporate a short recess of 10 to 30 minutes is provided in addition to the lunch recess for students to have a quick breakfast or water or just rest before they head to their next…… Continue Reading →

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ONE MINUTE PAPER

“Do not forget the child in the assessment” The Minute Paper or the One Minute Paper is a technique that teachers can use to assess their own teaching and student learning. The Minute Paper can be introduced at any time during your class time (Davis, Wood, & Wilson, 1983). It can be used at the…… Continue Reading →

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Book Review: Teach Like A PIRATE

Writing a Book Review is a piece of cake only if you have devoured a book because you couldn’t put it down!  The book is a must read for teachers old or new to the profession. For experienced teachers, it helps in ‘sharpening the axe’ and for the new, a treasure that will ignite the…… Continue Reading →

5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN APPLYING TO COLLEGES

The clear answer to this is to ensure that you apply to the college that not only matches your aspirations but also is the right fit for you. Be realistic and be aware. Many students believe that one way of securing a seat is to apply to many colleges. Not only do they end up…… Continue Reading →

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Feedback or Feed-Forward

While driving on the road, the driver checks in the rear view window to see the approaching traffic. An important activity if the driver wishes to take a turn or brake. However, for driving forward, he looks forward through the windscreen. He looks at possibilities and opportunities ahead. While feedback is important, it is feed-forward…… Continue Reading →

Learning style- Metacognition

The process of learning is very unique to each of us. While we may all use the technique of metacognition, it is important to understand what it means so that we can use it as an effective tool to modify our own learning behavior. Many people think of metacognition as a process of thinking about thinking…… Continue Reading →

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26th January Reflections:

“Am I learning to teach as fast as the world is changing?” In this fast changing world, where a thought today, before even getting verbalized can become a thing of the past or obsolete, there is always this one question that buzzes around in my head. “Am I learning to teach as fast as the…… Continue Reading →

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Our V.U.C.A World

Our complex world these days is often explained by the acronym V.U.C.A. Meaning, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. The four different types of challenge demand four distinct types of approach (HBR 2014). The acronym was introduced by the US American army war college to describe the world after the end of cold war. The word gained accepted…… Continue Reading →

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Beautiful, My #OneWord for 2018

  ‘It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must feel and be affected by it.’ Voltaire. This year’s #OneWord2018 for me would be ‘BEAUTIFUL’. Beautiful in every aspect. Be it work, cultivating friendships, nurturing family, building my learning community etc. Whatever I do, I will ensure that…… Continue Reading →

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Benefits of recess in school

          How often do we think about recess time while structuring the school time-table? Most go with a 30-min block that serves as lunch time for all students, be it the J-school or the S-school. Have always wondered, what should be an ideal length of recess in a school? The Centers…… Continue Reading →

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FLIP CLASSROOM

Learning is very individualistic. We all learn at our own pace, when we want to learn and have different styles for learning. Given these challenges how can we then enhance the learning experience of our students. Almost all schools follow a structured timetable and therefore this is one challenge that cannot be overcome easily, but… Continue Reading →

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Sustainability is about simple understandings

For schools education should not just be about strategy but also about content. As rightly said, strategy can only help in the process of communication. Content on the other hand is about introducing concepts and building knowledge through them to create new knowledge. Resources, that enable learning to take place, technology that motivates young learner…… Continue Reading →

The Ethics of Trust in Teaching- Part 1

“A sense of responsibility in teaching pushes us constantly to think about and promote the best interests of our students. In contrast, the demand for accountability often induces mere compliance.” Nel Noddings The teacher-learner relationship is fragile in nature. It is based on trust and empathy. Pupils learn best when they feel cared, protected and…… Continue Reading →

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The Skill-Development Initiative

The recent report published by FICCI (2013-2014), states that the percentage of formally skilled workforce available in India stands at 2% vis-e-vie n 96% for South Korea, 80% for Japan, 75% for Germany and 68% for UK. The initiative taken by the central government and by the state governments is commendable. It is forecasted that…… Continue Reading →

How parents feel about their children’s transition to college

When my older son started with his college applications in the Year 2008, I was intrigued with the whole process, as he had decided to choose a university abroad for his undergrad. The process was very different from what I had experienced in my time! Yet, I was curious to know if my parents went…… Continue Reading →

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Teaching and Learning with Technology

How can one define technology? Dictionary meaning of technology refers to development of apparatus and equipment using scientific method for human use. If that the case, why are teachers so uncomfortable with the notion of use of technology in teaching? have teachers not always used technology to transfer information to their pupils? The use of…… Continue Reading →

To use the same methods and expect a different result would support the definition of insanity

Why are we as teachers reluctant to change? Considering the fact that the pupils in our care are exposed to the same content today as we are, should we not be more open to learning and innovations ourselves?  

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