Some Fun with Studies

English in India has never felt more necessary than that last few years. Even though the regional languages are also having their influence with the support of state governments, coming up with new ways to promote them, trying to make sure that they are doing well, English has been increasing its hold on the students as well as the parents. Hindi also has its say, but it is English that is having an even bigger say in the nation as a whole at one point or the other, as it is having all around the world. With an influence that only gets better, learning the basics of English has been a need, more than a desire these days.

It is here that Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla comes to the picture with its Pathshala Funwala initiative that provides the option of good and smarter education everywhere, making it more accessible, and without discrimination, also possessing a special charm. It is more than just a need during these times, especially in those remote places far away from those cities and towns. But it is not just that, which Pathshala Funwala makes sure about, as they provide a unique toll free number, 8055667788 to help children who have no chance, but really wishes to learn English language.

A long time ago, when I was a child, I wasn’t that good at English either. My interest in the subject came only in the later high school, when I had a good teacher, Miss. Aleyamma Varghese, who happens to be one of the best teachers I ever had – she also went on to become the headmistress of the school later. Your desire to learn a language, especially a language which is not spoken widely among your people, only comes to us when we have good teachers, and Nihar Shanti Amla’s Pathshala Funwala’s toll free number becomes the right teacher, giving children the tips.

Yes, you can have the child sit in a classroom if there is such an option available. But you can be certain that this option could be rather better. Children want some fun to go with learning, and if the studies can connect with them really well, it will feel simple and a lot interesting. It is one way to make sure that they don’t forget the lessons that easily – during our times, they had the rod, they made us stand outside the classroom, they came up with those impositions which increased in number and they even asked us to bring our parents, especially father to meet the class teacher; but those times were different.

I know a number of people who make the excuses for not learning English, as their learning process was just too boring and forced upon them – never did they want to learn the language because they didn’t need to, and never really had to speak in English. Right after they get out of the school or college, they just let the language, along with its literature vanish into thin air. There is the exception of having Hollywood movies which you will feel the need to watch, but most of the movies are about visual extravaganze – at least those which gets wide release in India belong to that category and got less to contribute to the language.

Well, English is a lot of fun. Sooner or later, more and more people will realize that and work accordingly. So, it is up-to all children, including that child you know, who is not getting access to good English education, or even education as a whole, to get back to the track. It is a fast moving world, and we don’t want any child to be falling behind because he or she, or the father or mother never really knew that there was another option. We need them to know, and we need them to move forward, and not sink in the muddy place which is always there to take people in there instead of letting them fly.

The Tea Cerebration(s) recommend you to share this special service to the needy ones who can get the best out of this simple and fun way of learning the language. It is for us to be part of a change, which could make a difference in our world. When you can make a cause work, it is something that adds to your list of virtuous deeds rather than to that resume which you send to make a few thousands of money every month. In making the world around us better, starting with the children, we have the right thing to do for a group of future citizens who are capable of more than they seem to be. So, do keep the number in mind – 8055667788

I am blogging about Pathshala Funwala by Nihar Shanti Amla Oil in association with BlogAdda.

TeNy

The Banana Pedagogy

There is something about the new generation parents. There is usually no time for everyone these days, and for the rest of them, there are just instructions. It is a busy world and they are caught in that web of timelessness which runs through modernity. They work as if the life is based on a book, and also comes with a list of things to do and not to do. Even with all their lack of experience and time, they feel that they could do good, but it is nowhere close to being true.

What we see is a reflection of the method of teaching which is used in the schools and colleges, to teach and to consider the receiver as the one to just hear and obey what all are told to them. But with this lack of experience and time, one has to wonder if parents of this age can really afford to do that. The education system itself is already messed up due to the same. The solution is to be the one to care, and establish that connection with the children just like how a teacher-student should work.

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In a world where teachers are chosen from an outdated BEd course or a ridiculous question paper which tests luck in the form of test supported by reservations based on caste, community and religion, the education level is already going down, and so the goodness has to begin at home. You can’t trust what is taught anymore, because it is just forced down your throats. You can’t be sure about how well your child undergoes the thing which is called education even though a better and more suitable name should be something else.

This is the time when anyone and everyone passes the State Board Exams with free A+ and also with all the available vanity, envy and avarice, as you can see flux boards everywhere shamelessly boasting about the same. I have known many kinds of boasting, but what we see here is boasting from the government about more students passing, and from those related to the students about the number of A+. It is a clear case of the lack of values and the reflection of the fact that A+ doesn’t give one a better standard.

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In this age when students don’t even get their text books at the right time, the parents’ support is more important than ever. You can’t trust the internet with the pedagogy, as you end up being a dumb student from IIN believing everything which is seen on internet remains true throughout life. Yes, everyone passes the tenth from the state without studying anything these days, compared to that struggle which the students had to go through at the time when our generation studied. But what do they gain?

The students are left with no values or even less wisdom and there is more chance of going the wrong path with inappropriate friends, and so buddy parents become very important in the present world of chaos. They have to make learning fun and make sure that their children don’t deviate from the path which is the best for them. It is more of a need rather than what is wanted. There are a few such responsible parents in the present world, and some children are born blessed.

A parent can easily help a child in building a fine vocabulary and improving the knowledge in history depending on the knowledge of the person. There are also chances in the basic science and Mathematics. Childhood should be fun as well as informative. It can’t be forced like some other things. Children got to grow up, and it has to happen well; for the same, the skills of the parents and the approach which they follow, become very significant. It is based on the childhood that the rest are built.

Also look out for ‘Khuljyaye Bachpan’ from Kellogg’s: https://www.facebook.com/mychocos

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Kellogg’s Chocos which can be accessed through the above link.

TeNy

Five Colours of UCC

This is the time of Holi and it has brought us the season of colours again. India has won the fourth match in a row in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, defeating West Indies chasing an easy target. Even the Undertaker seems to be making a return to the WWE. Therefore, it is time to bring back the colours of life too, and in my case, it is clear that they are part of my time in Union Christian College at Aluva.

1. White: The first colour easily visible at UCC is white, which is part of almost every building there, and also visible through the first rays of the sun which was often witnessed by me who reached there as one of the first students of the day, very early morning. I would like to remember my friend and classmate Vysakhi who gave some competition on reaching the college first, but no, I was there first to witness the white light, except for the cats and dogs which wandered around at times.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday, and there was a good start.

2. Brown: Not really the exact colour for everything, but this symbolizes the time of study; it is not only the colour of the desks and chair, but also of tea and the beautiful lands of UC College after the rain. UCC is too beautiful to describe on a beautiful rainy day of the lovely monsoon, and this is when you look outside from the college canteen with a glass of tea with cutlet or onion vada. Tea, classes and the land during the rain makes the second colour, or what made this universe so colourful.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need – no modernity needed.

3. Green: Here is the colour of the campus which is more green than anything else with its trees and all the blessed greenery of nature just adds to our need to study at the college. It is indeed a green campus – once I had the photo of my car parked around the college as the desktop wallpaper, and one of my friend asked me if I park the car in a forest or wildlife sanctuary. I take that as a compliment, and unlike some of those concrete college worlds, each and every campus should be like the UC College campus.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily from this photo.

4. Blue: This one comes later. Even though it does show me being rather clueless with a few film theories and big critical theories in the final year and looking at the blue sky, there is more to this side. Phonetics and Linguistics had disappeared and I had the opportunity to do the seminars with the aid of PowerPoint presentations. Blue was the usual colour of the wallpapers of my Netbook, and my favourite background colour for slides. It felt good to bring the vampiric ideas out there.

Vampires have been mostly associated with blood red, but not this time.

Vampires have been mostly associated with some bloody red, but not this time.

5. Silver: The great silver lining follows the darkest of clouds, and by the end of the college, the happy ending was that I could finally submit this thesis on “Vampire as a Cultural Construct”. This didn’t really work out that well with the viva, but I got caught up with that silver lining and realized that the scores don’t define me, and I still did good. The cover of the thesis work was chosen by me to be silver despite most of the others preferring the golden cover.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

I am glad to have had colours in my college life, even though it has never been like what many people would define an eventful life of college. It was different and it was surely serene. The colours of that part of life were not those which were visible to everyone. They were mine, and there were five. May be there could have been subdivisions, but I am contented with these which have come to my mind. After all, life needs its colour, and nostalgia is a good provider of the same even after the best of times move away. Happy Holi!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The photos used in this blog post are from my time at Union Christian College, taken on my Sony camera and Samsung mobile phone.

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TeNy

Tribute to the Teachers

My time at the Union Christian College was very good, and each of the lecturers at the English Department has played a big role in defining me – it is something that I can never forget. I have already written about my days at the college (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/the-college-days-at-ucc/) which won a contest too, and I might come with a detailed tribute later. But for now, I would like to remember those teachers who defined my earlier days of studies at the school level. My memories about that time period remains less clear, but it is worth a try.

Among my favourite teachers, there are two who helped me with my English. One is Aleyamma teacher who was my all-time favourite teacher – I would give her credit for myself scoring very high in English for my tenth board exams. She was strict with her class, and always hesitated to give marks, and the best one could score for the English paper if it was evaluated by her – it was around eighty two out of hundred and sometimes nobody scored an eighty; not really inspiring the students to choose English as the favourite subject, but her level of teaching and valuation compared to the others was clear when the scores reached near cent percent for the board exams while the students who scored high in the local test papers and examinations got low marks.

Just reminding myself that I used to win prizes, even at state level :D

Just reminding myself that I used to win some big prizes, even at state level 😀

I have had the opportunity to stand outside the class during her classes, but that only inspired me to work harder – from the way she managed the classes, it was all so clear to me. I tried to read more and make things work better, and I wished she had taught me English for a longer period of time. No longer being in her classes was the biggest miss for me after the tenth standard. Joseph sir who gave me tutions for English also provided the same, and he played a big role in making the English language and grammar interesting. As long as he taught me, I never had any doubt about which subject to study more than the others. But all subjects other than English were made so boring in comparison.

Another love for a subject goes to History, and the credit for that goes to Laila teacher who could come up with least boring History class that I have ever known. She had a special style of saying “Mao Tse-tung” and “Chiang Kai-shek” which made sure that the Chinese Revolution was never forgotten. I remember that I had once topped History for the first time and she was like “what took you so long?”. I could score high for the subject during the board exams too, and I was actually blessed with the certain fact that she was the one who taught me History throughout high school, a memory that I cherish. I don’t even remember seeing her in anger when teaching or dealing with matters of the class.

Then there was Uma teacher, who made the subject of Geography have any value. She also used to teach some English when there was the need, and I did feel that she made her points so clear with the class. If I have something of the subject remaining inside my brain, it is because she make me relate well with that subject which was never among my stronger areas. It is the base for Geography that she had provided, just like that base for History and English which were established. I managed to do fine with the subject for the tenth board exams, and make Social Science look nice in totality.

A portion of the scanned image - favourite teachers are third from left and first from right.

A portion of the scanned image – favourite teachers are third from left and first from right.

Then there was Martin sir who made an impression for my Plus Two, but the major problem there was that, as a Mathematics teacher, he came too late to make a big impact – there was no love left for me with Maths, and even for the Science subject, the lack of good teachers during the earlier periods of schooling deprived me of any love for those subjects. My favourite subjects were formed due to the presence of some good teachers during the school days, and they were English, History and Geography – those were the three subjects which made me interested due to having the best teachers, the four whom I salute, and my respect for the fifth who tried so hard to make my Maths better, but couldn’t 😀

This blog post is inspired by Sucheta’s writing (https://suchetabiswas.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/we-the-people-and-the-teachers-we-have), and reminds me that I should have carried over the inspiration and knowledge which were provided by these teachers. But unfortunately, I did lose most of it for some time, and could only partially gain a part of it back. It was rather a near-impossible task because of my certain inabilities. ***The images used in this blog post are scanned and cropped photos from my distant past – the schooldays.

TeNy

Of Knights and Wizards

[The story so far: The wizards join in the grand tower to make sure that the sons and daughters choose nothing other than the Dwarven engineering or the Elven healing. The Wizard of Wind takes another step towards the same as he receives the book “Guide to Destroying the Hopes of Others” and advice from the Dwarven Eldar which he takes to The Wizard of Life. For previous episodes, check https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/the-wizards-choice/ and https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/choice-of-eternal-dislike/ *The images used in this blog post are screenshots from my time spent in the games, Oblivion and Overlord.]

“Rise, Knight of the Void” said the Wizard of Life as he raised the sword and presented the Wizard of Wind with knighthood. “You are such a gentleman” he said.

The Wizard of Wind had not only returned with the book and advice. He had also captured the Orb of Negativity. It was not really a capture to be exact. He had threatened a little wizard who had created one as part of his assignment for the School of Wizardry, and forced the kid to give it up. He also used his old age to his advantage, as he always did. The book and orb were going to work so fine for them. They could just unleash the negativity with the orb as it could collect as much as possible through a connection to the spirit world.

About the newly acquired title, it was something that had evaded the Wizard of Wind for a very long time. He never practiced what he said, but can we really blame him, as he had almost no idea about all those things he talked about? But he wanted to show everyone that he was so awesome and knew everything. For the same, he had chosen to fill all the voids with meaninglessness, and this doing was actually a positive thing for the wizards.

The Wizard of Wind wanted to keep the hammer instead of the sword.

The Wizard of Wind wanted to keep the hammer instead of the sword to hit random people.

The Wizard of Wind nicely managed what seemed to be an eternal void, as he made it certain that he had that quality. He used to fill all the voids in his life and make it seem awesome, but at the same time make the lives of others seem bad. If he said something, it was knowledge and if someone else said the same, it was ignorance. If his son said a lie, it was smartness, but if someone else said that, it was blasphemy. If his son loved someone, it was because he was too good, but otherwise, it was a dirty thing to do, and the culprit should be quickly married to some random person.

“I am deeply honoured by this title. I would like to thank my uncle’s wife’s cousin brother’s neighbour’s only son who has been an encouragement for me as he was always there listening to my wonderful ideas” said the Wizard of Wind.

“Yes, you are supposed to be honoured, as I am the one giving it. But isn’t that guy dead?” asked the Wizard of Life.

“Yes, that should be why he listens without saying even one word to me. Now, you can advice me whats next. What would that be?” asked the Wizard of Wind.

“You should visit the place. Then you can start advising him. Come when he is not spending time with the hobbits. Just visit when he is studying at home. Destroy his momentum. You are very good at that” advised the Orb of Negativity which had made a connection to the world of evil spirits.

“But I am busy tomorrow. I have to tell twenty five people about the greatness of me and my family along with degrading a few others. Otherwise I will be very unhappy. After all, the wind is blowing in the right direction these days, and this Wizard of the Wind doesn’t have a job”.

“You are the Wizard of Wind. Just use your wind power to spread the tales. Also add the copyright details with special thanks to the spirits from the Ninth Circle of Hell” said the voice from the orb.

The Wizard of Wind had no idea what evil he was turning into.

The Wizard of Wind had absolutely no idea what kind of terrible evil he was turning into.

“Oh God. I am so much more interested in money these days. I can’t even bear to see these people who don’t earn enough money. I need to destroy his hopes as soon as possible because his happiness will give me blood pressure. Why would he be happy? I mean, I have so much money and I am unhappy, always hoping to make more money” said the Wizard of Wind to himself.

“I don’t know about that, but all non-Engineers and non-Healers shall suffer. By the way, when you come back, do buy some crocodiles for our magic pond. It looks like Mountain Dew without Salman Khan” said the Wizard of Life.

The Wizard of Wind went home with happiness like never before. He had made things possible, those which he thought was not anywhere near happening. He felt that he had grown wings, and those dark wings of maleficence were larger than he thought they were. It had the strength of a Minotaur and the regenerating power of a Hydra. It was also as venomous as the tail of a Manticore. Tough in the skin like the Nemean lion and most of the random Rhinoceros, the two wizards considered themselves so cool that they ended up frozen in the brain by their own magic wands.

[The saga continues…]

TeNy

Knowledge: Where it Stands

How often do we hear the phrase “knowledge is power”? It has been known to us for such a long time that it comes to mind for no reason, again and again. It was with us during our childhood and stays now too. Based on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the Malayalam TV show Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran also makes multiple references to the importance of knowing and learning through its anchor Suresh Gopi, who has been among my favourite actors.

The show has been a good knowledge booster, and becoming what is to Malayalam like Kaun Banega Crorepati was to Hindi speakers, this show has been something worth the watch due to the knowledge content as well as the way in which Suresh Gopi was presenting the whole thing. It was all about the value of gaining knowledge, and how important it was to read and learn things, something which was reiterated. It was a great relief at a time when depressing serials and stupid reality shows were ruling the channels.

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But as much as the show has money associated with it, people would surely choose money instead of knowledge on any day. It has been the thing guiding people, and in the outside world, people would choose money if it was placed with knowledge on a table. Yes, there is the need for money, but this is a greedy world – just money might not be enough in this case. There is the need for more and more.

The more saddening thing is when teachers say so. Is this what they are taught with BEd? If it is so, what is the value of education. There have been people who wanted to live forever. But if someone wants to learn at least for some more years, it becomes a hideous crime. Yes, after finishing the necessary course, go and do some job because there is the need for so much money – it should keep coming in bigger quantities.

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More tha anyone else, the teachers should know the value of knowledge, and if those from the school level can’t realize it, there is no point in education. Yes, we have a flawed system. Just getting the BEd degree doesn’t make one a good teacher. Just learning things by-heart and vomitting them at the UGC NET exams can’t make a good professor. We need better things – we need good men and women, and not those who memorize or can score marks.

A flawed system of selection is what has lead to the new generation having even less hope. Already the relatives try to stop students from learning more and force them to earn money against their wishes. Then there are the teachers who think the same. When there are relatives who are teachers, it is even more horror. Why would they stop someone who wants to learn more, when lots of people hates that process? Shouldn’t those who want to learn be allowed to do so?

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We have got lots of quotes about learning and power of knowledge and some people keep saying them. But does anybody care about that? Why are they often used, but why not when a real life situation comes? Why is the same applicable to only some people and not the others? Society makes us do things, but does it really know that we can do better even without crossing the limits? Is there the right to learn and acquire knowledge? Am I supposed to be money making machine or the knowledge seeker? Truth can only get further bitter.

*The television show says that one question can change one’s life, but I am left with all questions and no real change 😀 **All images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television show, Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeshwaran (https://www.facebook.com/Kodeeshwaran). For further reference, the Facebook page of the 1997 National Award winner, Suresh Gopi – https://www.facebook.com/ActorSureshGopi.

TeNy