09 March, 2018

Syllabus Reduction – Are We Aiming Creation of Brainless Data Banks?

By Radhakrishnan C

Most of us felt much relieved when we heard about government’s decision to reduce the syllabus. I have a different take on this. I don’t think syllabus or curriculum is the root cause of learner stress. More than syllabus, how we approach syllabus or curriculum must be looked into. The current curriculum or syllabus is driven by learning outcomes, and if we are able to focus on this, there is no need to cut. Reducing the content becomes a right approach only if the outcome we expect is mugging up and presenting it as it is in a standardized assessment. To survive in the current world, learners need to go even beyond the current curriculum or syllabus, and understand how to apply the theories learned in day to day life and real life situations. Learners must be able to innovate to improve upon the current practices and solve the issues coming up, to create a better tomorrow for all.

The challenge is – in our traditional classrooms, every page and every word in textbooks is expected to be taught and mugged by students. Nobody is bothered about its applicability and practical skills. Assessment is standardized, hence all must mug up to have a better score. In this assessment system there is no chance for individualized leaning based on the interest or aptitude of the learner. This creates stress and makes people feel that content is heavy. We must first focus and build an attitude on what to teach and what to achieve as learning outcome? Our focus must be on balancing the school calendar events, providing sufficient weightage for co-scholastic – sports, literary, cultural and life skill activities along with individualized learning and assessment practices to strengthen academic foundation. I do not believe cutting syllabus will help us to have more experiential learning, co-scholastic activities and life skill oriented programs in schools. We need to restructure our approach on lesson delivery and assessment. Actually, by withdrawing the CCE, without having a better system, we pushed back the system to a more traditional one.

If CBSE continues the present confusing and frequent altering of policies, parents may move to some other international boards, which would cater to the needs of learners in a better manner and prepare them for the future. Policy makers must reform the system to alleviate the root causes rather than looking for a peripheral change just to prove someone in the past was wrong. Changes we implement must be to improve the learning outcomes. It shouldn’t be for producing more certificate holders who are incapable to convert the knowledge they gained into wisdom and apply in real day to day situations. Hence, we need to look for a curriculum which can really bring forth the hidden talents in learners and prepare them with the much needed life skills to be successful. In short, creating ‘data bank brains’ won’t help our current school going generation to thrive in the future.

Your comments after introspection are most welcome…..

07 June, 2017

Look what a speech Pope Francis gave in yesterday's homily / sermon! It's to read and reread several times ...
This is the Pope with the greatest spirituality since Peter.

"You can have flaws, be anxious, and ever angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness.It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures.It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny's author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life. Being happy is not beig afraid of your own feelings. It's to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a "no". It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us. To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: "I made mistakes". It is to have the courage to say "I am sorry". It is to have the sensitivity to say, "I need you". It is to have the ability to say "I love you". May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness ... That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculpter serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up .... Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show. "
(Pope Francisco).

16 November, 2014

Traditional Leaders Vs Collaborative Leaders

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What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most

By Todd Whitaker

1. Great teachers never forget that it is people, not programs that determine the quality of a school.

2. Great teachers establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses.

3. When a student misbehaves, great teachers have one goal: to keep that behavior from happening again.

4. Great teachers have high expectations for students, but even higher expectations for themselves.

5. Great teachers know who is the variable in the classroom: THEY are.

6. Great teachers create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools.

7. Great teachers consistently filter out the negatives that don't matter and share a positive attitude.

8. Great teachers work hard to keep their relationships in good repair--to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage.

9. Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.

10. Great teachers have a plan and purpose for everything they do.

11. Before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change, great teachers ask themselves one central question: "What will the best people think?"

12. Great teachers treat everyone as if they were good.

13. Great teachers keep standardized testing in perspective.

14. Great teachers care about their students, and understand the power of emotion to jump-start change.

Adopted from:
What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most
By Todd Whitaker

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Grow, Glow & be great!

What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter

By Todd Whitaker

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Grow, Glow and be Great! 

05 October, 2014

Showing empathy in your leadership

By Dan McCarthy

Empathy among corporate managers is in short supply, according to a survey of more than 600 employees by talent mobility consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison. The survey found that 58% of managers fail to show the right level of understanding toward their employees.

“Empathy isn’t a weakness, but fundamental to good management,” said Kristen Leverone, senior vice president for Lee Hecht Harrison’s Global Talent Development Practice. “It means being able to understand and relate to others’ feelings. After all, if a supervisor or manager can’t tune into the feelings of employees, it’s going to be very difficult to motivate or engage them. The survey seems to have struck a chord, and the findings should raise concerns for management.”

What is empathy? It’s an understanding of someone else’s world, and showing the person that you understand.

Empathy is not agreement — and it’s not sympathy (“oh, you poor thing”) — it’s simply understanding something from the other person’s perspective.

So how can you be a more empathetic leader? Here are five ways:

1. Get to know your employees.
How well do you really know your employees? Try this test: take out a piece of paper, and for each employee, see if you can name their spouse or significant other, names of their kids, where they live, where they went to college and where their parents live.

If you came up with a lot of blanks, I’d recommend spending a little more time in your one-on-ones asking and sharing before you jump right into status reports. It’s how relationships and trust are built, and demonstrates that you are interested and care.

2. One-on-ones?
You are having regular one-one-ones with each of your employees, aren’t you? If you’re not, its kind and hard to be empathetic if you don’t have a clue what your employees are doing.

3. Show interest in your employee’s day-to-day work.
A lot of managers like to think of themselves as big-picture managers, with little interest in knowing the gory details of every aspect of their employee’s jobs. While no employee wants to be micro-managed, employees do appreciate it when their managers show an interest and appreciation for what they do. Who knows, you might even learn something.

4. Listen — and respond with empathy.
Responding with empathy means letting your employee know you heard and understood both what they said, as well as how they feel. It’s harder than it sounds, and will take some practice, but people will appreciate even the clumsiest of efforts.

Example: “So Jane, let me see if I understand — you’ve been frustrated at the lack of support that you are getting from IT? Is that is?”

Listening not only shows people you care, and that you “get it”, it also often allows people to solve their own problems, just from being able to talk it out with someone.

5. Lend a hand.
Lending a hand, removing roadblocks, providing support and/or resources — that’s what managers are supposed to do, right? When someone is having a problem, they are stuck, or just can’t figure it out on their own; “Figure it out, that’s what you’re paid to do” isn’t very empathetic. You may not come right and say that, but you may be coming across that way.

I had the opportunity to listen to a CEO talk about his company culture at a presentation lately. He took a lot of pride in making sure he knew every employee’s name (about 300 employees), and liked to wander around chatting with each of them, asking about their jobs, their families, etc.

During one of these chats, one of his plant managers let him know that his son had been recently arrested — he made a stupid mistake. Needless to say, this was weighing heavily on the manager’s mind. The CEO asked him if he had an attorney — and he didn’t. That day, the CEO found an attorney for him and paid for it. Turns out the CEO had a similar experience with his own son.

While this may be an extreme example of empathy and lending a hand, can you imagine the impact that gesture had on that plant manager’s commitment to his company and his motivation? Priceless.

About the author: Dan McCarthy is the director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire. He writes the award-winning leadership development blog Great Leadership and is consistently ranked as one of the top digital influencers in leadership and talent management. He’s a regular contributor to SmartBrief and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board. E-mail McCarthy.

Source Courtesy: http://smartblogs.com/

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Ten silly management games

By Dan McCarthy 

Most managers are rationale, logical, practical problem solvers when they first get promoted. Then, through organizational conditioning, they learn to play silly games. They are like the frog in a pan of boiling water. The change is so gradual; these silly games eventually begin to feel like “real world management.”

How many of these silly management games do you play? More importantly, do you have the courage to speak up and stop the insanity?

We’ll start with some silly budgeting games:

1.      “Use it or lose it budgeting.” This is when you are getting close to the end of the year and your budget is running under your forecast. In previous years, when you under spent, your next year’s budget was set based on that year’s actual. So, in order not to have your budget cut again, you go on a shopping spree — buying stuff you really don’t need or stocking up just in case you might need it.
2.     “Lowballing your forecast.” This one is kind of the opposite of No. 1. In this game, the idea if to “sandbag,” or undercommit to what you think you can actually do. That way, then the powers above ask you to increase your goal, you know you can do it. Then, you look even better for exceeding your target.
3.     “The shell game.” This is when orders are given to cut expenses in one category, i.e., travel, so you increase spending in another catalog, i.e., conferences, and bury the costs. Or, management says to reduce money spent on postage, so you spend more money on bike couriers. There is a net gain of zero, perhaps even an increase in spending.

Human resources’ silly games (a category with infinite possibilities!):

4.     “Pass the trash.” This is when you “encourage” an underperforming employee to apply for other jobs within the company. When you are asked for a reference, you give glowing reviews, or use code word phrases like “Oh, Wally is a great guy! He just needs an opportunity to leverage his skills in a new environment more suited to his strengths.”
5.     “A warm body is better than no body.” Hiring freezes bring out a lot of silly management gamesmanship. This one is when you have an underperforming employee, but you won’t take action because you’re afraid you won’t be able to replace the headcount. So the rest of your employees get to suffer the consequences.
6.     “Gladiators.” This is when you ask two employees to work on the same problem. Let ‘em duke it out and let the best solution emerge!

Organizational silly games:

7.      Risk” (empire building). “Risk” is the game of conquest, where one army invades another country and captures the land in order to build up an empire. I’ve heard managers also call this game “a land grab.” The idea is to lobby to your boss and anyone that will listen that your department can do the other department’s job better than they can, so you should take it over.
8.     “Shaking the bird cage.” Some employees call frequent, questionable reorganizations “shaking up the bird cage.” You get a lot of noisy chaos and ruffled feathers flying, and at the end of the day, the same bunch are sitting on different perches, albeit a little dizzy from all of the cage-rattling. Nothing else seems to change.

Strategy silly games:

9.     “Trivial Pursuit.” This is when the company has no strategy, so the manager keeps everyone busy fighting day-today fires, jumping from one hot priority to the next.
10. “Clue.” This is when the company does have a strategy, but it’s such a secret or so high level and vague that the manager has to guess what it is or make up their own.

How about you? Any to add to the list?

Source Courtesy: http://smartblogs.com/

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