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Question: Do you feel that students today are more or less motivated or skilled than ten years ago?

Asked by Kaija Kocak

Answer:
“Dear Kaija, I am afraid that while answering your question, I might not generalise without any research evidence or survey. At the same time I feel that one can say what one has observed and experienced.
Students nowadays are ten times more precocious. They are definitely more motivated and skilled. The society today is not what it was ten years back. Students today have received greater parental care, better exposure to the media and other environmental influences. They suffer from lesser deprivations. They are conscious of the competitive forces within the society and they are eager to prove themselves than their counterparts ten years ago did or were. The number of students with special needs has increased with increase in student population as also the awareness within us of the needs and the spread of humanistic approach, social responsibility and evangelical faith.
In India we have Special institutions as also programmes of inclusive education. Learning needs are identified by trained Counsellors and special intervention programmes devised and implemented. If the needs are such as can not be catered to within a formal school system for normal children, then the students are sent to special schools meant for children with specific needs.”

Question: What technology has made the biggest impact on your life?

Asked by Jerry Edwards

Answer:
“Dear Jerry, As a Teacher and later as a Teacher Educator; the biggest impact on me has been of the Written Word (Printing Press) and later of Educational Technology- both the use of Laws of Learning, Psychological Principles, Micro Teaching, Programmed Learning, Simulation, Cybernetics- in the Teaching Learning Process and the use of Hardware of Technology- use of Audio-Video, TV, Computers, Computer Aided Learning, Computer Based Learning and finally the Internet as a potent source of information and Knowledge. That is my experience.”

Question: How much does religious based education institutions contributes to the education lavel of the nation/world ?

Asked by Caswell Johannes Ntseno

Answer:
“We need to differentiate between Religious-Based Institutions and Institutions that impart religious instruction of one form or the other.
In India, we can not undermine the contribution of Missionary Organisations, be it the Christian Missionaries, the Aurobindo Ashram run schools, the DAV's, the Chinnmaya Mission Schools and many others. All these Institutions have added a value to education by imparting education for character development side by side with education in Science & Technology. Besides the quality of instruction, the spread of co-curricular activities, the grooming of each chid through LOVE and CARE has been phenomenal. The other example is of Religious Denominational Schools, which teach hatred for other Faiths and create individuals who become fanatics, diehards, religious bigots and do more harm than good. We have examples of such schools in a secular country like India and the world is a witness to the repercussions of educating children in such Schools.
Religion is and has to be left to one's choice and educational institutions should neither meddle with religious education nor dare teach any religion.
Institutions of Higher Education may take up Study of Comparative Religions. Religion is opium for the masses and education has to develop reason, rationality, creativity and the scientific temper; which is not in consonance with any religion-based education.”

Question: How would you spend your final hours?

Asked by Nick Battaglia

Answer:
“If I am sure it is going to be the Final Hour, then nothing can be more ecstatic than re-living in my memory how I lived my life and waited for Him. I will be excited, agog with joy since what I had cherished all my Life- to look at His Radiant face, to be beside Him and to embrace Him- that hour has come at last. I will die a hundred Deaths in that Hour to be nearer to Him,”

Question: Coke in school canteens? - Comment

Asked by Bharat Bhushan

Answer:
“Schools are miniature societies and we have to realise that besides Transmission of culture, building personalities and ensuring social progress, we in schools have to exercise social control. Our students have to learn restraint.
When we know that Coke or something else is not good for our kids, we should avoid its use and schools should not have in their canteens anything that we do not want our kids to use.
No coke please.”
Question: For School Administrators: What would cause you to hire an outside person or firm to create curriculum?

Asked by Jared Wexler

Answer:
“Dear Jared Wexler, you are aware that Curriculum Development is a Professional Area requiring Expertise and Training besides experience. This task needs to be done by Professionals and hence the need for calling in an Expert or hiring a Firm.
Curriculum Development needs understanding of the Mission Statement of the School, framing Objectives to be achieved, choosing Content elements from a vast storehouse of available knowledge, selecting Curriculum Transaction Strategies, designing Activities and Projects, as also designing Assessment Techniques to find whether the Learning Outcomes have been attained. It is advisable that teachers join the expert in deliberations and due care is taken of their views and concerns.
We in India have the National Council of Education Training & Research (NCERT), as a National Body engaged in Framing Curriculum and Training Teachers in transacting it. Every State has a SCERT: State Council of Education Training & Research to support this and even at the grassroots level, every District has an Institute (DIET). NCERT involves Academicians, Teacher Educators, Curriculum Planners and Senior Professors from various Universities to perform this task. Sometimes there is a National Debate on the Curriculum changes etc.
I am of the opinion that the School Administrator should get an Expert to help them in this work. Besides, it is better to have shared experiences from experts from other Districts.”

Question: Teachers and Social Workers and Parents...After much consideration...I've decided to give away some great resource material.

Asked by Kelly Karius

Answer:
“Thanks Kelly. The article was informative and useful. We have problems of bullying and use of violence on the increase and it is taking ugly shapes. We need to understand that preventive measures have to be taken rather than fire-fighting.
The tendency of bullying is basically a behaviour management problem and all of us engaged in the task of educating children have to teach them what constitutes good behaviour. Social control is one of the major functions of education and juvenile delinquency can be prevented. We need to model good behaviour and provide enough examples of positive behaviour.Our Counsellor and the Director of Schools at DEF. Delhi; had devised Four Agreements into which each child had to enter with his/her teacher. These were: Be Safe, Be Kind, Be Dedicated to Truth and Be Respectful. Sign Language was used to remind children of deviant behaviour and we succeeded in preventing disruptive behaviour by making children Meditate for a short while, try to abide by the Agreements, introspect and write why they acted or behaved in a particular way, why they violated the Agreement and if given a chance how would they act in future. We found wonderful results and a marked improvement in the behaviour of students. Keep writing such wonderful articles. We all will be benefitted.”

Question: Are Scholars for Rent?

Asked by Sathianantha Thilagar T

Answer:
“Scholars! Did you really mean that? I am reminded of the words of Kahlil Gibran: "Pity the Nation whose sages are dumb and the brave are yet in the cradle."
Where are the Scholars of yore? We do not have them any longer. We have a breed of mercenary chatter-boxes. True scholars follow Truth and are engaged in pursuit of knowledge. Learning is a passion with them and livelihood is of no concern.
People talk of striking a balance. I disagree. Either be an apprentice in pursuit of Knowledge and Wisdom or don the robes of a clown and chase Mammon.

"To shine in use and not to rust unburnished........
.To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield".”

Question: How to rate a school?

Asked by Brijesh Shukla

Answer:
“Schools in India are predominantly rated as per the Brand Name they carry. Majority of these are commercial enterprises and very few are concerned with educating children for life.
In such a scenario, you should look for a School in the neighbourhood. It should have an aesthetic design, ample space for play-fields, good infrastructure, well equipped labs & library, trained teachers with good communication skills, an innovative curriculum transaction strategy, proper Health care policy, a Teachers Resource Centre, a Counsellor to help children and parents and above all a Management that is receptive, responsive and has a Mission and a Vision.
The list may seem long but do meet a few teachers, a few parents and a cross section of students and you will get the whole picture. I suggest observing the arrival & departure of students and teachers at a school for a couple of days. Please do look at the achievements of the School in academics as well as in co-curricular areas. Ask parents, teachers and children from other schools about the school.”