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Active listening skills

While in school, staff rooms, workshops, every where teachers talk about education, there is a growing understanding of active teaching and active learning. But both cannot happen if there is no active listening skill. People may hear but not necessarily listen. Hearing is the receiving of aural stimuli and listening is receiving and interpreting that…… Continue Reading →

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Informational interviews

Students get the opportunity to take interviews while in school for school magazine or a newsletter report, but by and large this opportunity is restricted to only a select few, unless or until it is part of an academic assignment. In high school as students prepare for their college admissions, and attend college or career…… Continue Reading →

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Study skills: How much is enough?

A common question I hear from parents is, ‘how many hours should my child study at home?’ Of course there is a direct correlation between the child’s age and the number of hours so there cannot be a standard response. I once asked this question to two of  my most academically bright students. The answer was…… Continue Reading →

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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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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 →

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 →

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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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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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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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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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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