Saturday, February 29, 2020

Only those people get it- Joke of the day

"Sir is a christian. Am I right sir?" asked a volunteer. 

"On what basis, you came to this confirmation," I asked. 

"You speak great english. Only chrisitans here get that English," he said. 

It's interesting how stereotypes are formed.  No one thought in this way. 

Rhymes and those times

The session was started by the recitation of a Marwari lullaby, ’Yelo Keeka,’ I learned a few hours ago. Working on the rhymes, I believed that I should pick up the local and contextual rhymes rather than the textbook rhymes. I took the help of the volunteers. Thanks, Som, Khangar, Mamta for helping out with the lullabies.   I sang the song and shared the experience of learning the Marwari. I talked about my learning process and the journey of learning the new language. 

‘I didn’t know anything when I started but, I was confident. I didn’t know what I was confident about........................ How does this confidence works,’ I posed a question to the audience?

“If I relied my confidence and strength on what I knew. My confidence would have stayed for a day or a moment because, I had the world to show me that I know nothing of what I was learning.

If I relied my confidence on my understanding of ‘what I don’t know’ I can work out in many ways to learn and keep learning.”

Emphasizing on confidence, I shared the anecdote of my student who displayed both the mind-sets in her learning. I briefed on the growth mindset and a fixed mindset. 

Explaining confidence and intelligence through mind-set, I shared the characteristics of the mindset.  Emphasizing confidence and the theme of the session, ‘rhymes,’ I encouraged the audience to share and recite the rhymes they know.

Many didn’t come forward and I changed the question.  I requested the audience to reflect on why the language used with 1-year-old babies are always sounds which almost rhymes.
‘Because kids cannot understand our language,’ ‘To create an interest and grab the attention,’ said another participant.
Receiving the varied answers, I requested the participants to recollect the lullabies they heard, they sang to their children. Everyone took their time in recollecting and a participant sang a lullaby explaining the meaning of it. I noted down the rhyming words from the lullaby. Further, I sang a rhyme in Telugu and asked the audience to repeat with me. I asked Dyu to share a Odiya rhyme and everyone repeated with him. Kaveri recited a Tamil rhyme and everyone repeated with her.
To talk and discuss  languages is different to listen and speak a new language. We can talk a lot about language learning without experiencing the process of learning the language.
Participants cried out that the Tamil and Telugu rhymes were mere sounds to them. They were mumbling out the words questioning the meaning.

‘It’s the same with us. I didn’t know what keeka meant a year back. It was a mere sound. Now,  I can associate the sound with meaning because of usage and exposure.’ I said talking about how sounds are perceived as language. 

Continuing the discussion on rhymes, I questioned the purpose of lullabies and also questioned the structure of it. ‘Why the rhymes are lyrical?’ 

The obvious answer to the question, I explained the rhymes and the forms of poetry. I shared the history of lullabies and the role it played in the lives. I also shared my story of how I felt that every poem needs to be a rhyme.  
Leaving the lullabies at home, I questioned the existence of rhymes in the textbooks. ‘To express, to enjoy, to learn,’ were few responses given by the participants.
Nodding to every answer, I indicated the ‘pre-reading objective’ of rhymes. ‘Rhymes are also used to introduce the concept of rhymes. Dwelling in many objectives, we often neglect the objective that acts as a foundation block to the reading,’ I explained.
Making the audience listen a Telugu song, we as a group performed the three processes of learning a rhyme.
We heard the song at first. We recognized the rhyme for the second time and produced the rhyme at third time. Making the audience listen to a Telugu song, they could understand how tough it was to perform these processes.
‘Same with the child. Our language is as foreign as Telugu is to us,’ I said trying to let the audience experience what a child goes through in language learning.
The group learned the processes of learning the ‘rhymes.’ The checklist was shared with the audience. 

1. Hearing the rhyme
2. Recognizing the rhyme
3.Producing the rhyme

‘Giving out space to children to express and creating an opportunity to learn through the stages mentioned seemed to be effective,’ I opinionated
Stating the purpose of the rhymes, I discussed the content. ‘Where should we pick these rhymes from? What kind of rhymes should be used?’ were a few questions.  
Discussing on contextual rhymes, I shared the dark theories behind a few familiar texts which surprised the audience. Discussing one rhyme after another, the group recited many rhymes.
Group decided on what kind of rhymes needs to be recited and went on with the next topic of the session.  The HOW.

 ‘How do children listen to rhymes these days,’ asked the facilitator.

‘Youtube. TV. Audio’ is the response given by the audience. 

I shared how the culture of singing songs to the children has declined and how we are relying on the media for lullabies or rhymes. 

A TED Talk by Patricia Kuhl was shown where she talks about the linguistic genius of the babies. After the talk, I explained why human interaction is important over the other mediums. The session was ended on a note to interact more rather than giving out phones to the children. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Quote of the day- Communication

"If all of my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for, with it, I would regain all the rest."

                                                                                                                                  -Daniel Webster

A word game to communicate in any language- TED TALK

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Factfulness is one of the most educational books I read after a long time.
Starting with the fact-based quiz, the author challenged to take the quiz and showed where we stand on our world view. This book is a must-read to know how we commit mistakes in knowing our world. 

If we are not informed rightly about the world we live in, we tend to make decisions based on the distorted knowledge we have about the world. The author mentions about the general instincts we rely on, that distorts our world view. He provided a world view with the help of facts that are totally different to what we feel rather than think. 

The author also gave a few tools to view the world so that we do not rely on our instincts which deceive us to see the progress of the world. 

The Gap Instinct.
Shattering the stereotypical terms like developed countries and developing countries, Hans, the author termed the countries in four income levels. Level1, Level2, Level3, Level4. Levels created based on the income of the countries. 

Explaining the world through income levels, Hans also cautioned about the average and the illusion it creates. 

Attending a class in ISB, I got to know how an ‘average’ can mislead at times. An example was given by considering Rahul Dravid’s and VVS Laxman’s stats and working through them. It was interesting to know how we should rely on numbers as well as how we shouldn’t rely on numbers alone. 

The author mentions the same, “The world cannot be understood without numbers, and it cannot be understood with numbers alone.”

 The Negativity Instinct
There are a few times we get to see the worst through our unreliable, distorted lens of the world and tend to believe that the world is becoming worst. Hans mentioned how there’s immense progress in various countries through data. Using Statistics as therapy, Hans showed all the improvements in the world and why we should celebrate the growth. 

Acknowledging the bad situations that are present, Hans reminds the readers to compare the situation and see the better side of it. ‘Things are both bad and better,’ says Hans showing the reality but also displaying that things are getting better. 

Whenever someone says, things are getting better, we tend to hear the message as, ‘Don’t worry relax,’ but, the author mentions how things can be both bad and better.   

The Straight Line Instinct
I caught myself misinterpreting a lot about this world while I was reading this chapter. This chapter also deals with a mega misconception of how the population is increasing and increasing. In fact, the world population is not increasing like a straight line in the graph. It has its own balance. 

The author showed the ‘bad and better’ picture of population control. In previous generations, the infant mortality rate was high and the fertility rate was high. There was a control in the population overall but, thanks to a lot of improvements in the world, there was an out of balance situation in the past (the 1900s) and now we got the new balance with low infant mortality rate and controlled fertility rate. 

Falling away from extreme poverty, sex education, freedom of choice to girls through their education seemed to be the keys to control the population curve.

Without much thought or fact check, we tend to create an opinion on population, thanks to the media who continuously show the news that’s worse than what’s good in the world. Author mentions, how media does not do it with bad intentions but work through instinctive mind-set.  

This chapter challenges everyone through data and it’s interesting to how a lot of socio factors influence the other factors. 

Factfulness by Hans Rosling

The Fear Instinct.
We do not work effectively in fear. Period. There are a lot of anecdotes and data on how fear worsens our work rather than make it better. There are also stories author mentioned how fear worked in searching for solutions. ‘Fear’ helped organizations to be meticulous in their operations at times. In contrast, there are stories on chemophobia that don’t allow us to make decisions through data-driven arguments. 

The size instinct is explained ‘80/20,’ Pareto principle that explains where we need to focus on, to solve the world problems. The classic example to talk about this instinct is the accusation on India for polluting the world by Level 4 countries. 

To work on the Generalization instinct, the author talked about the dollar street project, a project that displays the differences within the groups and differences across the groups based on the income levels. Interesting project. 

Every chapter has a set of tools that helps us to be more factual rather than instinctive in looking at the situations. That makes this book to take its permanent place in the bookshelf for quick references, if we are panicked of any world problem that’s shown to us. 

The Destiny Instinct seemed to apply in the place I work in. Many teachers I knew, trying to decide and teach the children assuming their destiny is fixed. With such instincts on the stake holder’s destiny, they do not try the alternatives to work. We are no good. We tend to decide that ‘govt teachers are destined to relax’ and do not try to find the alternatives in the work.

The author mentioned and explained this instinct by how wealthy powerful banker relies on destiny instinct and decides that Africa is always an underdeveloped country. This instinct deprives them of tapping the great potential. 

Talking about How to Control the Destiny Instinct, the author stated, “How can we help our brains to see that rocks move; that the way things are now is neither how they have always been nor how they are always meant to be?” Thought-provoking!
Another tool to come over the destiny instinct is to update our knowledge and know our past and collect the examples of cultural change.

The Single Perspective Instinct
When we all got is a hammer, everything looks like nails in the world. ‘There’s no single solution,’ says the author challenging many ideas. A single perspective can limit our imagination.

The Blame Instinct
Reading the refugee story was eye-opening how the system seemed to be a villain rather than any single authority.  Blaming an individual for the problem would never help us to think about the solution. Praising an individual for the solution would also not help us to look at the system behind the success. Reflecting on systems would make a difference. 

The Urgency Instinct.
‘Now or never’ is the situation we are put into often. It’s true about climate change though but, we need to pull up our socks and be attentive while we are trying to solve the problem. Being in the rapidly changing world, one way to not get panicked through this instinct is to insist on the data and look out for the problem. Data that’s relevant and accurate but not the other way.
This book is a lifesaver to stay away from worrying about the world unnecessarily. This attitude does not make the problems vanish but, the tools mentioned in the book help us to look at the problem in different ways and decide for our own good. 

A must-read!

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...