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!

 

 

 


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. 

Whiteboard-Mobile

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.

 


My Journey with Vedantu so far…

Via this blog I would like to share my experience as a teacher/educator/mentor on Vedantu.

For quite some time in my career, I worked as a full-time researcher and teacher. The amalgamation of both jobs was exciting, as well as demanding. Research has my heart while teaching has my soul. As both of them are my favorites, I wanted to pursue both of them, but time forced me to make a choice and I chose to follow my soul – I chose to be a teacher!

During my stint at research projects, I learnt a lot about my subject but the growth in my career was stifled and painfully slow. Since I  made my mind to teach, I joined as a Biology teacher in a school in Andhra Pradesh and as the time passed, I realized I am more content in the profession than everything I did before. I enjoyed teaching and it was a pleasure to solve problems of my students. I always made it a point that I clear their doubts and they enjoy my classes and eventually, learn about the subject. Realizing some shortcomings that the brick & mortar/classroom teaching has, I decided to move out of the school teacher’s job and took up more compelling online tutoring.

Since 2013, I have worked for quite some online platforms as a Biology tutor. Online tutoring not only gave me the flexibility, freedom and convenience to work from home as per my convenience; I could dodge the mad traffic, workplace stress, and travel tiredness and enjoy my time doing what I love, right from my ‘home sweet home.’

I joined Vedantu in Jan’15 and have been working as an online biology tutor since then. Vedantu not only reinforced my self-confidence and teaching skills but elevated my growth & earning potential as well. Their continuous support for tutoring sessions whether it is related to content, students or any other issues is outstanding!

The foremost thing that attracted me towards the platform was their respect for teachers. I have seen a lot of online tutoring firms not giving the due respect to the teachers on their platforms & treating them as mere revenue generators. But I must say that Vedantu understands the value of teachers and gives them the due respect.

I am sure you’ll agree with me, teachers work relentlessly to impart right education         and life skills to their students and all they want in return is to see their students             grow  and an acknowledgment of their efforts in making a great nation.

Secondly, I am a very fair person who loves thing black & white. The transparency that I have seen so far in Vedantu’s system is definitely worth praising. Tutors can talk to the parents or students at any time of the day and help them out with their problems, which I feel  lacks in a lot of other companies in the industry. A lot of companies don’t even share the details of the student and they mediate each communication between the tutor and the student.

Isn’t it the ‘trust’ that we all crave for? Somewhere I believe, a transparent system reflects higher degrees of trust that the management & system have in you – that of course boosts your confidence!

Before joining Vedantu, I was always skeptical of online tutoring & thought it would be a mundane and not-so-interactive work, but Vedantu has negated all my notions and proved me wrong by offering the best possible means to interact & engage with a student that a teacher can have.

Although I have talked a lot about my journey at vedantu already, but if I don’t mention these few incidences, I wouldn’t  be doing justice to this post.   

one day I got a call from a parent at 10 PM and he was jubilant that his kid scored very good marks in her SA1 exams. Now he makes sure to take my suggestions for preparing his daughter to score better in all her exams. I must admit, the bond that has developed over a short period of time and with just the virtual mode of communication is beyond comparison to any offline interaction with the students and parents. Also, quite a times I have felt that sense of pride of being a teacher and being recognized for what I love doing.

In another incidence, I got a call from a parent whose appreciation gave me a lot of confidence. She said, “ wouldn’t it be nice if you have your clones to teach other subjects.” She thanked me for my patience and was really happy with the improvement she saw in her kid.

A positive feedback from students/parents always encourages and motivates me to improve and contribute to their learnings at my best. The entire coterie of students and parents now gives me a homely feel and is more like a family to me.

I am thankful to the entire team of Vedantu for putting up a great platform and giving me this wonderful opportunity. I am thoroughly enjoying my work and appreciating every bit of it.  

The post is contributed by Mrs. Manisha Bhala, a Biology tutor at Vedantu.

Mrs. Manisha Bhala has been teaching since last 6 years. She is a postgraduate in Medical Genetics and actively pursued research during the initial phase of her career. Apart from teaching, she enjoys gardening and exploring the roads driving.


How Can You Help Your Students be Exam Ready?

Year tab on the calendar has already moved on and the cold air has started warming up a little. Suddenly there is a buildup of a dreadful, irky and gloomy environ around our students’ minds in the preview of examinations.

Let’s get along and help clear this stress and darkness around their minds to let them excel in the exams.

Below are some points we must take care to help students walk towards the path of success without being overburdened with tasks and preparatory jitters.

1 – Assess the academic weak areas of your students and take sessions to improve. Conducting tests, evaluating carefully and providing constructive feedback are the key. Keep the parents informed about ward’s progress.

Weak Link

2- Revision plays an important role during this period, keep enough time for recapitulatory classes and don’t forget to share your own tips & tricks to revise quickly.

Revision

3- Discuss the blueprint and marking scheme with your students. Many a time students do not answer as per marks allotted for question, awareness will surely improve the performance.

Exam-Blue-print-1

4- Do emphasize on exam and study planning, this would definitely help them be more prepared and confident of their preparation for the D-day. Don’t forget to mention the importance of double-checking attempted answers.

Exam study plan

5- Encourage your students to attempt mock tests within the stipulated time, this would help them introspect their preparedness. Sample papers will be shared with you for CBSE and ICSE classes 6 to 10, feel free to share these with your students.

mock test

6- Involve & educate parents. In many a cases, parents add on to the pressure the child is going through. Help them understand their children are already on the course to reach their potential and they should support them in reaching the pinnacle.

Involve Parents in education

We are sure, you are already preparing your students for the upcoming examinations full-throttle and these tiny tips will come handy to you.

Happy teaching and exam preparation!

Image Courtesy – Google Images.


5 Powerful Tips for Teachers to Teach Right

Teaching and teaching it right is a tough job in itself, and when you have a few difficult kids to deal with, it becomes even tougher.  Worry not, today in this post, you will see 5 powerful tips that will help you teach more effectively. These tips will not only help professional teachers to teach better, but also homemakers, mothers and tutors to deal with children more effectively.

1- Mind Your Tone & Voice

The general course of action followed for handling difficult kids is to shut them up with a huge shout or lecture them for their misbehavior or lack of attention. You Shouldn’t! The more you shout on, yell at or lecture a child, it is more likely that the child will dislike you and become resentful.

Rule of thumb is to NEVER ever lose your cool! If students discover a few of your pain points that raises your tension, they’ll keep triggering it time and again. The more calmly you handle the situation, the easier it becomes for the child to build the rapport with you.

Also, don’t shower them with false praises it’ll do more bad than good, instead give them targets to accomplish and praise them on real achievements.

2- Build the Foundation Right

Talk to your students, understand their requirements, counsel them whenever needed and be with them as their mentor and friend. Keeping some pre-conceived notions regarding your students would be the last thing to do as a teacher. Completely avoid being judgmental, let your students feel at ease, greet them with a smile and let them know you are really happy to teach them. To teach effectively, striking the right cord with students is really important.

Set the expectations right with the students and let them know of the consequences in both positive and negative scenario. Stick to your rules, the child should be convinced of the same consequences every time he/she fulfills the expectation. This would motivate them to meet the expectations most of the times.

3- Be Positive, Proactive & a Good Mentor

Being positive is something every teacher should follow and follow it very religiously. Being positive not only gives you strength to deal with everyday hurdles in dealing with difficult kids, but also lifts you up along with kids and people surrounding you. Proactively monitor the entire set of students and figure out the ones who need your attention most. Make them sit near you or make sure you stay near them during the teaching hours – this ensures the child is attentive during learning.

Try to be their friend, appreciate them for their achievements in front of everyone, but don’t shout on them publically, shaming in front of everyone doesn’t work at all. Share with them your own anecdotes – this will inspire them.

4- Make Learning Interactive and Interesting

Gone are the days when teachers used to stand at a podium and deliver the lecture and pupil used to jot down from the little written on the blackboard. These days’ students are more informed and resist boring lecture methodology of teaching. To keep the interest alive, use activities, give examples from day-to-day life and involve them as much as you can in the teaching.

Try ‘gamifying’ the lessons, this builds healthy competition among the students and make it more interesting for kids to understand the concept. Also, make use of ‘peer instruction’ in your sessions – this encourages direct participation of students in learning. Studies have proven that peer instruction harnesses pupils’ collective knowledge to deliver measurable improvements in learning.

5- Build relationship with students & Parents

Have you heard of teaching or learning happening in silo? It never happens! Try connecting with your students at a personal level. Know their interests, ask them about their family, relate with them on common grounds. Take out some time for interacting – talk with their peer, involve parents, and take help from your colleagues to know about the student better. Appreciate them for their achievements in co-curricular activities, including sports, choir singing, theater performance, etc. Regularly follow-up with parents for keeping a tab on child’s improvement on the behavioral front at home.  Educate parent and involve them in corrective steps.

We believe with these few handy tips, you’ll be able to handle your students more effectively and teach them more efficiently. We would love to read more about your experiences, don’t forget to share them with us in the comment section.