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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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Problem Solver

Hubby - You always carry my photo in your handbag to the office. Why?

Wife - When there is a problem, no matter how impossible, I look at your picture and the problem disappears.

Hubby - You see, how miraculous and powerful I am for you?

Wife - Yes, I see your picture and say to myself, "What other problem can there be greater than this one?" continue reading...


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Thought for the day!

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.”


-Dalai Lama

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Monday, September 01st, 2014
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Monday, September 01st, 2014

The energy today may bring out the more thrifty side of your nature. People can be a problem, and someone could accuse you of meddling when you are only being helpful. Keep your sense of humor. Sudden surprises may shake your confidence. Patience and faith in yourself will bring back the Sun.

You might come across strong opposition today from someone who seems to want to cut straight through to your heart. In reality, this is a message reminding you to think about things in terms of the collective – the oneness of us all. Be aware of a greater perspective in which you see more than just your side of the issue. Talk to people you trust before making any major decisions.

The energy today encourages team efforts and shared goals. People will support your plans if you present them in a sincere and nonthreatening way. If you love to shop, it will be wise to set a spending limit before you make any planned purchases. Plan a gathering with friends soon.

Once you have decided your path, you naturally want to walk down it. However, it’s not wise to carry out this process in reverse. It doesn’t make sense to start a journey without any sense of direction. The path may be hidden now, but with patience, it will come into your view. It’s quite futile to learn how to walk when you don’t know which path to walk upon. Desire is what creates aptitude, not the reverse.

Career responsibilities may require a temporary separation from a love partner today. This is apt to be upsetting and rather disheartening, but there’s likely nothing you can do about it except work as quickly as you can so that you can finish and get back to your partner. Make sure your friend knows what’s going on. You don’t want to cause any more upset.

Today calls for grabbing of opportunities! You might hit upon the right moment to ask for a raise or a promotion, so make sure to make the most of it. There is also a chance for a romantic meeting. However these things may simply pass by without your notice if you are not alert.

Social events could put you in touch with a lot of interesting people, some in fields such as law, education, or the ministry. Expect at some point to be treated to a monologue on social and ecological responsibilities. You’ll have a lot of definite ideas on those subjects, but you’ll be more likely to listen than talk for most of the day. Enjoy your day.

Your charm can be used to advance any interest early today. The more you can find creative ways to help others, the better your chances of getting what you want as well. Communication is likely to be flying in all directions. Make as many contacts as possible for the best results.

You’ve got a lot on your mind right now and others might be interpreting your quiet behavior as your being aloof. Go right ahead and let them think whatever they want. You’ve got some real issues to think through, and decisions with important consequences to come up with. You’ll be able to smooth their ruffled feathers later. Right now, just focus on taking care of yourself.

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