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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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Who's the Boss?

A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a perch and says:

"The parrot to the left costs 500 dollars".

"Why does the parrot cost so much?" the customer asks.

The owner says, "Well, it knows how to use a computer."

The customer asks about the next parrot and is told "That one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to continue reading...


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“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”


-Langston Hughes

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Saturday, October 25th, 2014
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Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Energetic people are your best friends today. Reach out and ask for any help you might need. This is no time to go it alone. With emotions running high, arguments are possible, but they are not likely to be serious. As much as possible, channel your energy into physical outlets.

Don’t be surprised if things don’t go exactly according to plan today. Unexpected events are likely to pop up and disturb the course of action. Realize that these disruptions have a place in your life and that they’re occurring for a reason. You might not understand exactly how or why, but that’s OK. You don’t need to know. Welcome these new energies into your life.

Today is no time for dreaming! It’s actually quite the contrary. You can expect to have to settle a number of minor technical problems involving communications or transmissions. On the whole, it will be a somewhat trying day, but at least your mind will be occupied, leaving no room for the difficult internal questions that have been bothering you so much lately.

It could be hard for you to get a handle on things today as your focus seems to jump from one subject to the next without finding resolution for any. This isn’t a day to find solutions. You’re better off researching, asking questions, and gathering facts. Keep the channels of communication open, and don’t try to pin anyone down for a solid answer. You’ll accomplish a great deal by keeping things active and light.

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.

Time spent in nature or quietly alone can recharge your batteries today. Do what you can to get away and listen to your heart. You have a wonderful, natural sense of style that need not mean spending big money. Focus more attention on being well dressed and making a good presentation.

A male friend could introduce you to people from foreign countries or people who have traveled a lot. They might have valuable information that you could use later. This information could also help you finish old projects that have been waiting to be done. Your eye for detail is especially acute. Make notes of interesting facts even if they don’t apply right now. You’ll make good use of them later.

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Optimism can open doors today. Avoid being judgmental about past disappointments. Trust yourself. This is the time to take action and speak up for any idea close to your heart. The future is being born now. You have the determination and willingness to do work that will make things better.

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