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Teaching Through Lateral Inputs

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Teaching, Parenthood, School, Knowledge

I am a staunch follower of dynamic parenthood, and a liberal, maybe, somewhat unstructured and experimental approach to learning. And I feel the facility with the language and the capability to give life to words comes with experimenting, expanding, and exploring the world of words.

Contextual Learning

To begin with, a parent should be open to create an environment of contextual learning.

For example, every five year old child knows the meaning of the word Fire. When I saw my son using the word fire for the first time—I took the opportunity and asked him to say four words that rhyme with fire. And the words that came forth are – tire, liar, wire et all. However what he did not say was the word ‘pyre’ which not only rhymed with fire but also symbolically meant fire and there I prevailed on him to include ‘pyre’ in his vocabulary. Now when he is 12, I found it so much easier to introduce to him the phrase ‘pyrrhic victory’—and he actually used the phrase in his class room discussion.

This new phrase made it so easy for him to understand the destructive nature of the wars and fights that happened in the past and hence could be called pyrrhic victories. And then he said one day that Mahabharata was actually a pyrrhic victory!

Don’t Compartmentalize

I always emphasize on contextual learning and therefore never compartmentalize it in the context of history, geography, science, or language categories. For me knowing something has a universal appeal and utility and will expose the person to different contexts. Just now, our journey to Mahabharata through the word fire says it all.

While exploring the word pyre further, my son discovered about the bird phoenix which is a unique bird of classical mythology of the Arabian desert that burned itself on a funeral pyre every five or six centuries and rose from the ashes with renewed youth.

And one day when he lost a very important match in school he inadvertently quipped –“well,maa, I, like a phoenix,  know how to rise from my own ashes.”

It was quite a pleasant surprise for me.

Joy of Learning

This process breeds in children what you may call the Joy of Learning, through which one feels the real empowerment that knowledge provides –and more a child knows , more self confident she becomes. Also, there is only so much that school and other structured processes of learning can achieve due to the constraints of time, or of a set curriculum or due to fear of resistance to change but if we as parents can sow the seed of ‘Lets Expand –Not for Exams but for Entertainment’..I assure you that the synergic effect will be for all to see.

The beauty of this process of learning and teaching is that it is never overbearing or boring yet so enriching and encompassing certain unknown phrases and words which are not taught in the usual course of learning. The process is so exhilarating that you can easily call it Yoga through words—it will be as energizing as the practice of regular yoga.

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About Ritu Garg

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Little Johny Knows it All

TEACHER: Why are you late?
L-JOHNY: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign?
L-JOHNY: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow."

TEACHER: Johny, why are you doing your maths sums on the floor?
L-JOHNY: You told me to do it without using tables!

TEACHER: Johny, name one important thing we have today that we
didn't have ten years ago.
L-JOHNY: Me!

TEACHER: Johny, why do you always get so dirty?
L-JOHNY: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground continue reading...


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Thought for the day!

“Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.”


-Horace

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014
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Sunday, September 21st, 2014

You may be scheming behind the scenes to get your way. Just focusing on your own needs can be a mistake. Make sure your choices aren’t manipulative. You may be defensive and unwilling to talk about your thoughts. Focus on achieving the greatest good for all. You’re difficult to stop when you know what you want.

Ideas for creative, artistic, or service-oriented work might be coming thick and fast, although you could be torn between different possibilities. All your ideas seem workable, yet you feel you should settle on one for the moment. It might be a good idea to ask the advice of others. Even if you don’t do exactly what they suggest, the advice might show you new options. Hang in there.

The day will be fairly quiet for you. You’re likely to yoke yourself to a task and continue working on it until evening. If someone tries to persuade you to take a break, it won’t be all that difficult to resist. This is one day when you should follow your instincts, keep your head down, and focus on the task at hand.

Today you might find yourself more inclined than usual to actively explore your interests in the arts. You might want to stroll through an art gallery or attend a concert or play. Your interest could be in the motivations of the artists as much as the works themselves. Don’t be surprised if you’re especially drawn to the more tormented great artists like Beethoven or Van Gogh.

OK, up and at ‘em! You might feel like you’re walking through sand today, but you really need to shake your booty and get the blood flowing. If you don’t get up and do something, you’ll be a slug all day. You need to clear your head and cast off that bloated feeling. Most importantly, you want to get a good start to the day so you can accomplish everything that awaits you.

This is a high-energy day and there is no reason for hesitation. Hurry to finish projects already in progress. You’ll have more fun and get more done working with a partner. If you’ve been thinking romantically about someone, this is a lucky night to get more involved.

You may encounter forces that challenge you to defend what you’re doing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may be time to make a course correction. If you’re doing something that no longer nurtures your spirit, now is the time to move in a new direction.

Today relationships will be flexible and easygoing. It will be easier for you and those closest to you to laugh at yourselves instead of getting too serious about anything. It is time to do something special although you need not spend more than you can afford.

This may be one of those days when feeling anxious is the norm. Although you tend to be a worrier, it’s important to remember that only about two percent of what you fear is actually going to come true. Make a resolution to look on the positive side.

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