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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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The Good Old Days

An elderly man remembers the good old days:

“When I was young, my mom could send me to a shop with a single $, and I would bring back 5 pounds of potatoes,  2 breads, a bottle of milk, a piece of cheese and 10 eggs.

Nowadays that’s impossible – there are simply to many security cameras!" continue reading...


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Thought for the day!

“Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.”


-Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Saturday, August 30th, 2014
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Saturday, August 30th, 2014

A friend who lives far away might call or email you today. Your friend may be planning to visit your area and want to get together with you. This should make you very happy, although at first you may worry that job responsibilities will interfere. You can work around it. Mark the date of your friend’s arrival on your calendar and look forward to it. Enjoy your day!

Today you may find yourself evaluating earlier made vacation plans. It will be best to get all information and think logically rather than emotionally, especially if a lot of money is involved. Make sure to include your vacationing partners as well in any decision change.

New friends bring exciting new possibilities today. This is a busy time. With so much going on, be cautious about jumping into something without careful consideration. It is especially important to carefully review any legal agreement. Ask advice from down-to-earth people you trust before making a major change.

A temporary delay in receiving some expected funds might force you to postpone a much-needed purchase. Don’t make yourself crazy over this. It isn’t worth the stress. The delay is disheartening, but it isn’t a cancellation. Your money will arrive and you’ll be able to go ahead with your plans. In the meantime, keep yourself busy. Hang in there.

You have an incredibly strong influence on others just by virtue of the fact of your fun-loving, peaceful, and harmonious nature. Your natural charm will take you any place you want to go today, so feel free to use it at will. Accentuate the positive and make sure you’re walking on the sunny side of the street. Whistle as you walk down the sidewalk and get out into the light.

It’s an expansive day to pursue fine things and enjoy yourself. It’s lucky for travel, window shopping, and upgrading your wardrobe or hair. Look for bargains in fine places. Just being in a quality environment can improve your spirits. Have high standards, but avoid being unpleasant with the people who serve you.

Oppressive stress on you or those close to you could cause disconcerting upsets within your relationships today. Try to be objective and work things out rationally instead of going to pieces. Avoid being sucked into quarrels where you might say things you’ll regret. Don’t let this temporary situation get the best of you. Make the effort to stay focused and relaxed. Tomorrow all should be back to normal.

You should be happier than usual with what you see in the mirror, because your inner beauty is more visible than usual. You could also feel especially sociable. Both old friends and new should find your company especially congenial. Romance blossoms, although there’s a slight tendency today to see partners through rose-colored glasses. Hang onto your common sense, but not too tightly. Days like this don’t come around that often!

You are likely to be feeling at the top of your game today. The cosmic energy encourages you to follow your passions, have fun with friends, and make extravagant plans. This is a great time to recruit helpers for any interest. Other people appreciate your concentration and attention to detail.

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