Importance of Holistic Education

Teachers have multiple roles. They teach, they inspire and they motivate children. Often, all these functions are concentrated towards achieving higher marks in exams. This often burdens those children who are capable of being creative and are skilled at pursuits that are not examined through report cards. There is a famous TED Talk by Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity.

Among his musings is one that has stuck profoundly, which we paraphrase: “teachers try to create more teachers”, not dancers, not singers, or not even engineers! We were therefore inspired to create this post, to remind our teachers the importance of activities that fall outside the curriculum.

Schools typically have two classes for co-curricular activities. Even that is often cut short on, during exam days, citing the need to ‘completing portions’ and for ‘course revision’. This has a debilitating effect on the children’s perspective on education. When the fun in school is taken out, education systems stand as roadblocks to children’s creativity. We must work towards bringing down those barriers. Let’s examine why, and how.

Co-curricular activities make education delightful!

What is the point of reciting a poem, if children are unable to create some of their own? Co-curricular activity should invigorate and stir the creative conscious of children. What is the use of knowing different forms of speech, if children are unable to piece together their opinions in debates? Co-curricular activity should make use of the curriculum at hand. Introduce poetry in English class, encourage children to write stories, ignite debates in class, and watch as children pick up the art of speaking boldly, clearly and smartly.

Extracurricular activities are a window to the world out there.

What would school be without a science exhibition? A shell, that’s what! Science exhibitions, English plays, Olympiads are wonderful ways of exposing students to greater heights in fields of their interest. To this end, we must also consider scholarships, which not only are the result of extracurricular interests shown by the students but something that will also help them in their higher studies. For example, prestigious scholarships such as Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) are awarded to students who take the time out to pursue extracurricular studies in basic sciences.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Playing a sport, dancing to the tunes of classical and/or popular music, singing soulfully, drawing caricatures, enacting plays, and so much more are activities that jolt children into the wonderland of studying the world around them! The pursuing hobbies is a lifestyle choice for people, and it would best be realized when encouraged throughout childhood. Hobbies such as dancing, sometimes, can even lead to careers in dance! Such offbeat careers are very much possible today, with guaranteed success. Similarly, our classrooms are probably hosting little Tendulkars who are discouraged from taking up a hobby they love. It’s the duty of us, the teachers, therefore, to allow children space and time to explore their interests and to pursue it with all their heart.

The best kind of education for the children should be a holistic one. Every child has an all-rounder in him/her. It is up to the teacher to harness the talents hidden in the children, without rules or prejudices about what constitutes education and what doesn’t. We aren’t saying all-rounders are those who can extempore with flair, who can read fiction for hours together, who can enact Shakespeare with panache, and who can score a goal in a football match are rare to come by. All-rounders are those who can enjoy all these activities, without feeling in any way less smart than children who can score centum in exams!

Let’s celebrate ALL our children; the painters and debaters alike, the toppers and footballers alike. Let’s ensure our children grow into excellent adults, with the education that’s holistic and well rounded. Let’s always remember that every child is a shining star in his/her own right. Let’s celebrate that awesomeness!

 

 

 


What to Expect on Your First Day

Tomorrow is the first day with a new organisation, and I carry a lot of dreams with me. The dreams to flourish with prosperity & growth.

But still there are a lot of questions unanswered : How is the culture of the company, what are the people like, who will be my boss & how is he as a person, what will be my roles & responsibilities? Is there a friendly environment, do people respect each other’s thought process & welcome the differences? We are sure that all of us have been through such anxieties on our first day with any organisation.

Then, why not design an orientation program that is welcoming, that reinforces a newcomer’s belief that she/he has taken a correct career decision of choosing the organisation?

We a Vedantu believe the orientation process should be designed to cater one simple need for the employees– “I want to belong to.”  

For us, the orientation process starts way before the employee joins in. we feel, that it’s essential to share a regular update regarding the business via emails, company newsletters, etc. Also, once the offer letter is accepted, within the first 24 hours, the new employee’s manager should call, congratulate & welcome the new team member and send some sort of personalised goodies, which the manager should have enquired during the interview. (For ex.: Kindle for those who are fond of reading). This will not only surprise the newcomer but will also show a lot of personalised attention. Also, the appointment letter & the other written formalities should be sent via email, to not only save the time post joining, but also the boredom attached to it.

Be ready to make the first day as the most seamless and most memorable day for a newcomer: (the first & the last day of any employee creates the brand of any organisation)

To create a collaborative, fast-paced, innovative & fun culture – educate the newcomer with the vision & history of the company. Develop short stories about the core values of the company and help the newcomer to participate through some interesting games & quizzes about the cultural pillars of the company.

Run him/her through the various departments & the organisational hierarchical chart. Make him/her understand the cutting-edge technologies (in the case of a tech company) that are essentially being used in the organisation.

Each new member’s immediate team lead should be his/her mentor for the coming week. The lead should take complete responsibility to mentor him/her to achieve great clarity and results. The HR should present him/her a welcome kit, comprising of customised company products like a diary, bag, pen, t-shirt, etc. Assist him/her in adjusting & resolve any questions or concerns in an informal environment. Also, help him/her define the goals & development plans. The HR should take a regular feedback from the newcomer.

Capture the voice of the new joinee & analyse it at regular intervals to initiate process improvements.

  • Day 1: Take a feedback to understand the onboarding experience of the employee ( about his comfort level)
  • Day 7 : take a feedback with the aim to understand how well has the employee settled in the organization.
  • Day 15 : This feedback would allow you to understand – how well the employee understands the overall functioning of the organization and how will he/she like to execute his/her KRAs
  • Day 30 : The employee completely settles in the organization. A feedback at this point takes input on work environment, supervisor, communication & work culture.

At Vedantu we think, if we can act robust and pro-active, we can gauge a lot of openness, alignment & innovation in organizational culture. We constantly strive to achieve healthy work-life balance for all Vedans and are very sure your comments would help us do something even better. Do comment your suggestions.

 

 

This post is contributed by Garima Bhandari

Garima Bhandari  is working as Manager – HR & People Strategy at Vedantu and strongly believes in nurturing leaders to create a strong organizational culture. During her free time, she likes to read and hone her blogging skills.


Do Students Look up to Your Assignments?

Assignments are usually dreaded by students, be it at the primary school level or during postgraduation. Few teachers manage to make their assignments interesting enough for students. Such a trend has made plagiarism rampant in many submissions. It is also not uncommon for children to seek the help of older members in their family to submit the assignment on time.

 

The top complaint from most children is that assignments are akin to copying texts from reference books. Most students wish for assignments that are not time-consuming and do not require lots of expertise. They also fervently wish that assignments ultimately ‘mean’ something and are not just given for the heck of it. Perhaps it is time for us teachers who have trouble with late or incomplete assignments submissions to have our assignments relooked at.

Here’s a checklist to find out if the quality of assignments given is good, bad or otherwise:

Is the assignment personalized?

Children love to give a personal touch to assignments. Hence, assignments that ask for their point of view on topics, or assignments that ask them to write a poem or story tend to arouse interest in the students. The assignments that require students to conduct home experiments are considered some of the best, as these have a personalized touch and incite learning by doing.

Are the assignments the same for all students?

Students are smart. Often, they are smarter than the teachers expect. Common assignments are thus easily copied by everyone in the class, without any regrets. Such a habit must not be encouraged through assignments that are given en masse. Students should be given different topics as assignments. This may even prompt a discussion among them, on the given topics.

Do students learn from each other during assignments?

Two minds are better than one. Therefore, when more than one student works on a given problem statement, the solutions are noticeably better. Teachers must hence try to involve as many students as possible in the projects assigned to the class. Examples are science projects, plays, etc., which require a group effort. If this is not possible, teachers can also give marks to groups, according to the aggregate marks secured by the members of the group. This will encourage students to peer review their assignments and projects, something that’s very effective in the learning process.

Are assignments time consuming?

Assignments should not come in the way of daily studies and daily play. They should be a healthy part of the day, and should typically be around a half hour to one hour long. Beyond that, the tired minds of students will not work at their optimum capacity. But that’s not to be the case for secondary classes, where assignments are week-long. In such cases, time management is up to the children themselves. But even then, students must not be burdened, lest they grow a dislike to the subject itself!

 

 

 

Are they meant for students or experts?

Science experiments and projects are the usual suspects for an involvement of outside hands in the students’ assignments. This is simply because the expectations of the teachers from these projects are too high. Gone are the days when a student could bring lenses to class to explain phenomena of light, now the student has to come equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, a huge chart with explanations, and thankfully the lenses too. Such work requires expertise, which is expected of graduate students, not primary or secondary class goers.

 

 

To sum it up, assignments should be in the interest of students. They should not overburden them, and neither should they pressurize the children to stretch beyond their capacity. Also, assignments should be made more fun, so that the children respond to the demands of the class in a way that is encouraging to the teacher as well as fun for the children! Assignments are not meant to be dreary. They are a way to take back the fun and warmth of classrooms to home, in keeping with the fact that education is a never ending process.

 

 


Summer Camp@Your Home!

Yeah!!! It is summer time again, but a very hot summer, this time, the temperature is already hitting 38°C and above already, at least here at our place.

Summer vacations always bring a smile on my face with all memories of my childhood. It used to be a great time of visiting grandma’s house, swimming sessions, family trips, circus shows, magic shows, movies, cricket, house parties and what not!

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Yes, this is how a summer vacation looked back in the 90’s and I am sure, most of my generation folks will connect with this.

Time has evolved over past few years and so are the options to spend summer vacations. academic camps and sports preseasons have become more popular and efficient way of spending summers nowadays.

Academic camps are great, as they prepare a child for upcoming classes. But personally, we feel, we should let kids take a rest from academia, at least during summers. They too deserve a break after all!! Sports preseasons is undoubtedly a great way to spend time and remain physically & mentally fit, but it may become very straining in this scorching sunlight for our kids.

Ahhh! So what to do during this Summer?  

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We believe, a summer camp must develop all the skill sets that a student needs to excel in upcoming classes and stand out in his/her group. While being a part of sports is a good option, students can also spend time into adding new skills in their skill sets.

This very thought of helping students to learn new skills apart from academia and sports made us at Vedantu to innovate a set of creative courses, which a student can learn without going out in the hot sun. Yes, when you are indoors during this hot season,  get connected with experts right from your personal computer or mobile and add new skills to your  kitty.

What’s better than to Improvising your calculation speed by learning Vedic maths; tackle mathematical word problems easily by visualizing via Singapore model method; mastering chess skills; learning problem-solving and stimulating logical thinking by taking up a course on logical thinking and puzzles; building an Android App and learn a programming language. There is so much more to explore, choose one of your favorite course and start learning from the comfort of your home. We wish you loads of luck!

 

 

This post is contributed by Sridhar R

Sridhar R is DGM – Academic operations and takes care of day-to-day academic functionalities at Vedantu. He likes to travel, read fictions and watch documentaries on ancient history and alien theories. In his free time, he also loves to hangout with friends and go on long trekking expeditions.

P.S – image source: Pixabay.com


New Academic Year Brings New Goals & Means to Achieve Them

The new academic year brings new hopes and a lot of new stationary (isn’t that the most exciting part of being promoted to the new class). Along with it, there comes a daunting task of searching for the best tutor who can help you achieve your learning goals for the new academic year. At Vedantu, we want to flip this daunting experience to an awesome one. We have some of the India’s best tutors on our platform who can help you be a better student and a better human being with their experience in teaching and mentoring young kids.

We like improvements and growing with the growing needs of our students and thus with the new academic year, we have made some changes to our website that would help students schedule the learning subscriptions more systematically and hassle free. Booking a subscription, whether a monthly subscription or subscribing to a teacher for specific academic needs, will be a simple 5-step process –

How to subscribe: A step-by-step guide

New Subscription

Step-By-Step Guide to Subscribe

1 – Click on ‘monthly tuitions’ tab under offerings or ‘view teachers’ to browse teacher list

2 – Choose the teacher you want to subscribe with

3 – Hit the ‘subscribe/book teacher’ button to see the teacher’s calendar

4 – Select the start date and duration (in months) for the subscription

5 – Choose from the available slot and fix the schedule on a weekly basis

6 – Pay and book the subscription, check your scheduled sessions under ‘My Subscriptions’ section and start taking sessions with the teacher of your choice at the time scheduled by you.

We have also made an explainer video that would help you understand the whole process of subscription seamlessly, have a look –

We are sure you are excited for the new academic year and resolved already to perform better than before. You can count on Vedantu to help you reach your academic goals quicker than ever with its handpicked teachers. Don’t wait anymore now, go ahead and book your subscription with the teacher of your choice and start with your personalized learning sessions.

 


5 Things Not to Miss This Summer Vacation

Summers have arrived and the best part about it is – summer holidays. You must have got your summer holiday calendars already and started with building the plans to enjoy it.  We have listed 5 things you must do this summer to make it unforgettable.

1 – Enjoy Watersports

The water looks no sweeter in any other season than summers. Make sure you plan a pool party or visit the nearest water park. Splash some water and cool off the summer heat. In case you are planning a beach holiday, do include boating, canoeing, waterskiing, snorkeling or diving on your list or simply add swimming, water aerobics, aqua jogging to your fitness regime.

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2- Read your Favorite Book

Summer break is the time of the year that gives you plenty of ‘me time’ for yourself. Use it wisely to pick up a relaxing spot and read all that you couldn’t because of the hectic school-home-tuition-school routine. Start with books from your favorite authors or indulge in reading the newspaper every day to better your vocab and reading skills. Also, summer reading would give you the calmness you were missing during all those busy days.

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3- Make a Fitness Regime

You always blamed the hectic schedule for not working out, didn’t you? Now is the time to take out some time and dedicate it to your fitness. Join a Yoga class, do some meditation or simply go for a brisk walk/jog early in the morning. You can also indulge in dancing, synchronized swimming, aerobics or gymnastics to enjoy while you work out to keep yourself fit.

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4- Go Crafty

Summers bring along a lot of creativity with itself. Also, you have a lot of time to explore your creative side during this time. Do plan on creating or recreating something by putting your creative cap on. Try upcycling some old and discarded stuff to give them a new look and make them decorative!

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5 – Enrich Your Skills

Summer is a good time to learn something extra. Enroll yourself at a hobby center to learn a new skill or just hone your skills a bit more. We understand summer makes you lazy of going out of your home, why to worry in this era of WWW. Take up an online summer course that would not only help you learn something new but would be a good utilization of lazy summer days. Vedantu is offering some interesting online summer courses that you can enroll for and get course completion certificate. Hundreds of students have already enrolled for these courses and are reaping the benefits.

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So, don’t let this time slip from your hands, use it wisely to enrich yourself and beat the heat. Don’t forget to comment your summer plans.


Will Online Education change the face of India?

It was just another awesome day at Vedantu. We were working continuously for one vision of making Education Democratized and I was planning to take some carbohydrates and proteins which will ultimately give me energy and keep me healthy to contribute in this one and ultimate vision of all Vedans. I was about to leave my desk and suddenly I heard something very familiar… 

दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

नज़र में ख्वाबों की बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो ज़िंदा हो तुम…

Ohhh! Suddenly I realized that  it’s my ringtone. A call was coming from an unknown number.

I received the call and the conversation got started.

Me: Hello…Good Afternoon…Abhishek here.

Student:  Hello Sir, I am Vikas Dewangan. You remember ???

Me: Dear, I am really sorry…but can you tell me a little more about you?

Student: Sir, I am Vikas from Raipur (Raipur is the capital of Chhattisgarh). Actually, just few days back I took few sessions on Vedantu. You taught me Inorganic Chemistry and important problems in General Organic Chemistry…

Me: Ohhh…Okkk…So how’s your preparation going on? (I was not even aware about the date of JEE Examination. Can’t believe on my own stupidity)

Student: Sir, JEE mains are over. I just left the examination hall. I just want to say you Thank you Sir, Thanks a lot. I am very positive for JEE advance and sir, definitely those 6 hours will have some contribution in this.

Me: (I was very happy, It was probably one of the best moments in my life. Thanks to Vedantu for giving me such a beautiful opportunity) Hey….it’s too good to hear that. I’m very happy for you. All the very best !!

I wished him all the best for his dreams and moved on for lunch. During my lunch, I just kept thinking about how much powerful this idea can be! If we harness the true potential of online learning, we can bring a lot of change in our society.

Let’s accept this bitter truth that a very few people in our country want to become a teacher. In our society, it is neither a highly paid job nor it is considered to be a very respectful one. Isn’t it an irony that we all want an extremely qualified teacher for our kids but we don’t want our kids to be a teacher?

In urban areas,  the situation is a little better but in rural areas we are facing a huge shortage of quality teachers.  We all have a teacher inside us and online education platforms can be used to connect the rural India with plenty of these awesome teachers across the country. They may be working professional or government employees elsewhere, but they can use their free time for the benefit of the society by imparting quality education sitting at their homes.

Definitely there are few hurdles in the conceptualization of online education. The biggest hurdle is of the infrastructure that includes a Computer/Mobile, Internet access and Power supply. Let’s take them one by one –  If we talk about computer, it is not readily available for rural/urban students in our country. Mobile is a beautiful solution to this problem. 

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Also, mobile is cost effective and portable over a computer any day. Vedantu has worked relentlessly to bring the whole online education concept on mobile. Download the app and experience the comfort of learning on the go, specially enjoy one-of-its-kind whiteboard which is a shared interface between the student and the teacher. Now let s discuss about the internet access. As far as the internet accessibility is concerned, Internet users are growing day by day. If you see the data of last 3 years, it is indeed encouraging. In 2014, 18% of the total population was using internet which increased to 27 % in 2015 and in 2016, the penetration is near 35% of the total population. As the population is also increasing every year by 1.2-1.3 %, the growth is really humongous. In this image you may see a comparison in between rural and urban internet users:

Another big challenge is Electricity, but there is a good news too for all of us. In order to address the lack of adequate electricity availability in the country by the platinum jubilee (2022) year of India’s independence, Government of India has launched a scheme called ‘Power for All’. This scheme will ensure that there is 24/7 continuous electricity supply provided to all households, industries and commercial establishments by creating and improving necessary infrastructures. It’s a joint collaboration of center with states to share funding and create overall economic growth. Currently 18 states have joined this scheme.

Now here are a few more facts to justify why online education can go a long way to educate not only rural India but it can change the face of whole education:

  1. Literacy rate in India – Approx 75% (Still we are far behind the world’s average that is 84%)
  1. 79.39% of the population access mobile in our country (although not all of them are using a smartphone but the way technology is evolving and smartphones are getting cheaper, in near future a substantive population will be using a smartphone)
  1. Unavailability of good teachers in rural areas: As I mentioned earlier, we all have a wonderful teacher inside us. We all were good in at least one subject during our school or college time. We can teach those subjects. Also, we have world’s largest youth population, and we can harness this underlying potential for educating all. Through an active participation from all the sections of the society and with the help of online education, we can create a revolution in the field of education. Let’s spread the idea  ‘Each one teach one’ which is a very famous phrase originated in the United States where African slaves were denied education. In the first half of the 20th century. Dr. Frank Laubach utilized the same concept to help address poverty and illiteracy in the Philippines.

According to me the whole purpose of education is to uplift the society. Education (Includes moral education too) is a powerful  blow on awful, cheap and atrocious cruelties present  in our society. Through online education and the inherent teacher within us, We can teach from anywhere to anyone sitting in any part of the country – All we’ll have to do is, believe in ourselves and have that confidence to change the world.

Ohhh! Why only India and  not Pakistan or any other country? Why not, online education can really go beyond geographical boundaries and that is one of the most beautiful aspect of this concept. I am pretty sure, soon we’ll hear some heartwarming stories of Indian teachers imparting the elixir of knowledge to millions of kids deprived of education due to poverty or terrorism worldwide. I believe the scope is infinite. You may call me ‘too optimistic,’ but you’ll agree, harnessing the true potential of online education can bring a substantial change in our societal conditions.

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I want to conclude my thoughts on high hopes by  quoting a few lines written by Harivansh Rai Bachhan.

“लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

….

कुछ किये बिना ही जय जय कार नहीं होती,

कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।”

Let’s DEMOCRATIZE EDUCATION together.

 
This post is contributed by Abhishek Kumar. Abhishek Kumar is a dreamer, a poet, an avid music listener and a Chemistry enthusiast. He works with Vedantu as Manager-Academic Research and makes students fall in love with Chemistry.