31 August, 2008

Working with Disruptive Students

By C.Radhakrishnan

As teachers, we often work with students who are uncooperative or disrupt other students. If you do not address this type of behavior quickly, it can lead to many problems. Here are some quick tips when confronted with disruptive students.
1. Know Your Students- Events outside of the classroom are the cause of most problems.
2. Use a Team Approach- Talk to other staff members that work with the student. See what works for them.
3. Don't Embarrass Students- This will only lead to more problems.
4. Model Behavior- Model the behavior you expect from your students.
5. Speak with Students Privately- It's best to approach students outside of the places they are seeking attention or being disruptive.

29 August, 2008


From: www.selfimprovementsguide.com

Creativity is not something that can be taught. Many individuals say that creativity is a trait only a selected few are born with, that it is not something taught because, like physical beauty, it is a gift, a privilege, something that is influence and born by circumstance and other positive preceding factors, instead of something that is introduced only after a person is born.

However, there are different schools of thought to this matter, especially as the world advances and we begin to see people develop their creative faculties and excel only later in life, when they haven't shown any tinge of creativity at all in their earlier days.

Some proponents of the idea that creativity is something that can be taught and learned assert that a person's environment, orientation and background are the ones responsible for diminishing or enhancing one's creativity.

On the other hand, fans of the conservative idea that creativity is innate say that such factors like orientation and environment are merely tools to enhance creativity and that their presence would amount to nothing if there is no creativity to hone in the first place.

This issue has long been the topic of debate among many scientific and social experts all over the world. Some people say perhaps the differences lie in the fact that creativity is an all too general concept that encompasses a variety of ideas and occurences that people have varying definitions for it. What may be an indication of creativity for one may not be so for another.

For this article, however, for the sake of uniformity, we will be tackling creativity as a factor of imagination and innovation.

If creativity, then, is a component of innovation, then perhaps it is something that can be taught and learned in schools and at home. This is because it is seen as an ability to adapt to changes and adjust to them.

When we were born, while we had been equipped with rational faculties, none of these would have been of any use had we not been taught how to use them properly. Therefore, while we were born with certain traits that would make us creative, they would be for naught if no form of education or teaching were involved in the process.

Upon birth, we were unaware of what the future held for us. Because of this lack of knowledge about future occurrences, all our parents and schools could do was to teach us to be resilient and how to think for ourselves, in order to have the ability to make unique decisions when the need arises. We were not taught early on how to respond to changes. What we taught then was how to be creative and innovative amid behavioural and environment shifts. That being said, yes, creativity can be taught after all.

Today's trend of using standardized tests to determine a person's creativity is not only very wrong, but actually very limiting and stifling. This is because nobody can really measure how creative a person can be, because this faculty only surfaces when particular situations come up. And because incidents do not happen to everyone, creativity is difficult to measure. So, given this, who is to say who is creative and who is not?

The argument on whether creativity can or cannot be taught is a bottomless pit. For some, education has worked. For others, education is seen as merely a tool.

However which way you choose to see it, you should appreciate that you were born human and given the ability to understand and engage in such debates. It can go on forever. It may not even eventually find a consensus. Ironically, that's where your creativity comes in – in your response to the issue and your decision on how to deal with it. Confusing, isn't it?

Christine P Gray is a recognized authority on the subject of creativity. Her website www.selfimprovementsguide.com provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on everything you will need to know about self improvement.

20 August, 2008

Thoughts of an ex kerala syllabus student on textbook controversy and strikes!

By C. Radhakrishnan

So the 7th standard textbook controversy in Kerala seems to have come to an end. The Communist government has agreed to change the contents of the controversial 7th standard social science chapter. The Congress and Muslim League also seems to have mellowed down their tones against the textbook, after an innocent school teacher lost his life during a protest by Muslim Youth League in a cluster training session. But Arch Bishops are still not cooled down as they would be losing a chance to bring down the Communist government, after the call for second liberation struggle had failed (they do not see that the Communists are already bringing themselves down from the power).

So what do we have after all said and done, after all “for” and “against” textbook speeches? We have the ordinary children going to the state-sponsored educational labs called “state-syllabus schools”. The rich and the elite can afford to give good education to their children at ICSE and CBSE schools while the ordinary people have to resort to state-syllabus schools. What most of us do not see is the plight of these children. Be it DPEP, or such controversial textbooks and such controversial educational reforms, it is these children who have to suffer. And what does await them when they complete their higher secondary education and go to college? They have to compete with the children who comes from the elite CBSE and ICSE schools who are better educated and who speak better English. Many of the kids who come from state-syllabus schools begin to feel inferior at this point and for many, it affects their studies.

Many of us Keralites are not bothered about this poor situation that exists in our state-syllabus schools even if we have studied in such schools. Because those among us who have fought with the environmental challenges in such schools and have succeeded to overcome it’s limitations, send our children to CBSE or ICSE schools for better education. So the matter again concerns the lowest strata of the society and thus go un-noticed.

Skills Needed for Today’s Workplacace

Source: www.shrm.org

Employers often feel workforce readiness deficiencies as talent shortages, particularly when it comes to locating candidates with the necessary skills. According to the executive summary report of the Society for Human Resources Management 2007 Symposium on the Workforce Readiness of the Future, “employers have not clearly stated the skills and capabilities they desire, and educational system is not producing the quantity and quality of graduates needed.” Understanding what employers need is imperative for making useful recommendations for changes to education policy and curriculum in order to produce graduates that are well equipped for the workplace. What, then, are the skills, activities and content areas that are most urgently needed in the workplace today? Do beliefs about the workplace skills, activities and content areas that are most important differ between HR professionals and employees themselves?
How Has the Importance of Various Employee Skills/Practices Changed in the Past Two Years? (HR Professionals)
  1. The top skills rated as much more important today compared with two years ago for both experienced workers and new entrants to the workforce were adaptability/flexibility (47% and 46%, respectively) and critical thinking/problem solving (41% and 35%, respectively).
  2. Other top-rated skills for experienced workers were leadership (37%), professionalism/work ethic (37%) and teamwork/collaboration (35%).
  3. For new entrants to the workforce, other top-rated skills were professionalism/work nnethic (31%), information technology application (30%), teamwork/collaboration (26%) and diversity (26%).
  4. For experienced workers, the least important skill was mathematics (7%), and for new entrants to the workforce it was entrepreneurship (4%), according to HR professionals.
Points To Ponder: 'Does our educational system cater to these new trends in the job market? Do we fail to impart life skills needed for success in life for our students in schools and colleges?'

18 August, 2008


By Cassie

Empathy - A Powerful Tool You Can Use to Boost Your Child's Self-Esteem

We all know what empathy is, but did you realize that there are some really easy, simple ways you can incorporate using it in your day-to-day interactions with your child, to powerfully build their self-esteem?

Your child looks to you for approval - and one of the crucial things a child learns is whether or not you, his parents, accept ALL aspects of himself or only some. If, for example, a parent is extremely non-confrontational and believes that anger should never be expressed between loved ones, a child is likely to pick up on this belief and start to suppress his normal, healthy feelings of anger. When this suppression goes too far, psychologists call the effect "splitting" - the child partitions off the portion of his personality that wants to express anger, because it is too risky. He fears he will incur the parent's disapproval and may be rejected if he allows his anger to be expressed freely.

We'll look at anger specifically in more detail in another article, but the same applies to all the important emotions. Children need the freedom to express happiness, fear, anger and sadness, and a key job of the parent is to teach the child appropriate ways to express these emotions.

The most important step in giving your child the freedom, or permission, to express his emotions is to make it clear to him that any emotions he experiences are okay. No emotions are wrong, and it is always okay to express them in appropriate ways.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate how you can do this in a very simple, straightforward way is to give a couple of examples.

Example 1

The family is discussing their day at the dinner table.

Daughter: "Margie and I fell out at school today."

Father: "Gosh! Was that very upsetting?"

Daughter: "No, I'm just really mad at her."

Father: "You felt very angry."

Daughter (in an angry tone of voice): "Yeah! She's just SO stupid and annoying sometimes."

Father: "I can see you still feel annoyed with her. We all get angry with our friends on occasion."

Daughter: Tells the story in more detail, expressing her emotions with her tone of voice and facial expressions.

Father: Listens carefully and gives her feedback to mirror her emotions with body language and "uh-huh" type sounds. Continues to use brief phrases like "I see that made you are mad," to show he understands the emotions she felt/is feeling.

Outcome: The girl is able to fully express her emotions. The father can then gently lead her into talking about forgiveness and similar "solutions", but not at the expense of allowing her to express her anger first.

Why? It is normal to have angry emotions and children should not be taught to suppress them.

Example 2

It is time to leave the park and go home, and your four-year-old son doesn't want to go. He is about to throw a tantrum in the sandbox.

Son (angrily): "No! Not going home!" (Scowls and starts to kick sand at you)

You (deciding to take the time to handle this calmly rather than trying to rush, you sit down near him): "I can see you feel angry that it's time to stop playing." (You are acknowledging his feelings)

Son: (sits back down in the sand and grabs his truck): "I'm PLAYING!" (Very firmly)

You: "Are you feeling like you want to carry on playing?"

Son: Ignores you and makes playing sounds.

You: "I can tell you're enjoying your game. It would be nice to stay and play, but it's time for us to go home now."

Son: "NO!"

You: "It makes you feel angry that we have to stop playing for today. I understand."

This isn't a magic bullet to suddenly make your child compliant. You still have to get him out of the sandbox and he doesn't want that. But empathy can diffuse a situation and calm a child down (giving you more room to negotiate calmly with him, etc) And in the long term, it helps him grow up much more healthily from an emotional point of view.

This may all sound too simple and obvious but the truth is that many parents don't show empathy for ALL of their child's emotions. Some are empathetic about sadness but not anger, for example. Others are not at all empathetic about sadness, telling their child to "be a big boy," "don't cry," etc.

By giving your child the space to describe his emotions, and demonstrating over and over that you accept him and love him when he is feeling sad, angry or fearful as well as when he is happy, you are practicing real empathy, and giving him a powerful gift of self-esteem.

Source: http://www.kidsgoals.com/

New educational website

New educational website offers one-stop solar power resource
Source: SMA America, Inc.
Published Aug. 18, 2008

MA America, Inc., the United States division of global solar technology giant SMA Solar Technology AG, has launched www.Solar-is-Future.com. This user-friendly, educational Web site explains how solar energy can be harvested and utilized via animation, illustrations and descriptions in easy-to-understand language. At Solar-is-Future.com, visitors can research the benefits of solar power and how the sun’s abundant, clean energy can be collected through active and passive solar power systems.

“SMA America is very excited about the launch of Solar-is-Future.com,” says Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America. “Now there is a one-stop, online solar resource where visitors can learn everything there is to know about solar energy and solar power systems.”

In addition to various illustrations explaining solar radiation, solar power systems and solar thermal energy, Solar-is-Future.com features an animated grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system, which comprises the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. solar market. The animation clearly shows how PV system components are connected and examples of where the components would be installed in a residential system. Basic components include a solar array, inverter and meter. By clicking on a component, a box appears that explains the component and its function.

Elsewhere on the Solar-is-Future site is a Solar Power Professional Search where visitors can locate solar power system installers by zip code. There is also an extensive Frequently Asked Questions section that covers common concerns such as whether a building permit is required when installing a solar power system. The site’s comprehensive glossary defines the solar power industry’s most-used terms, including alternating current, grid-connected system and kilowatt hour.

The Six Hats to Your Students

How to teach the Six Hats to your students?
Workshop Handout - Bharat Vidya Bhavan, Payyanur
By C. Radhakrishnan


1.White, red, yellow, black, green, blue poster board for Six Hats

Getting Started:

  1. Before teaching the hats, you need to construct all of your hats.Cut out six hats from the poster board.
  2. Write the words below on the hats:(I found these words to be the easiest for the students to understand.)
  • White hat-Facts
  • Yellow hat- Good
  • Red hat-Feelings
  • Green hat-Create
  • Black hat-Caution
  • Blue hat- Understanding
Day One:

  1. Pick a topic in which the entire class is interested. (movies, cricket, songs, toys, candy, etc.) I used movies/sport. What child does not like sport?
  2. Introduce a new hat to the children each day.This way they won’t be overwhelmed.
  3. Begin by holding up the white hat.Ask the children, what word is on the white hat? Tell the children you are going to ask them all white hat questions. For example, Who throws the football during a football game? What is it called when you score a point in football? Every time a child answers the questions correctly, tell them to come stand on the hat with you.
  4. Next, tell the children that they need to ask the questions now.Tell them they can only ask white hat questions.Have them ask to one another.Once they ask a white hat question they can come up on the hat. (Continue until everyone has a turn.)
Day Two:
  1. Review the white hat. Ask the students white hat questions and have them ask white hat questions. Introduce the red hat. Hold up the hat and ask the students what word is on the red hat? Tell the children all of these questions are red hat questions. Begin asking questions.
  2. For example, How do you feel when you are hit with a ball in dodge ball? How do you feel after music class? Continue asking questions. If the children seem to understand, let them begin asking questions.Every time a child answers a question correctly, they can stand on that hat.
  3. When dismissing the children to retrieve their things for home, review the hats. Ask them red and white hat questions and have them tell you if it is a red hat or white hat question.This helps to see if children truly understand.
Day Three:
  1. Review the white and red hats. Next, ask the students to tell you if you are asking them white or red hat questions and have them ask you questions.
  2. Hold up the black hat. Ask the children what the black hat means. Then begin asking black hat questions. For example, why should you be cautious while playing cricket? What should you be careful about when running with your shoes untied? After asking the students questions, if they understand move onto letting them ask the questions.Every time a child asks or answers a question, they may come and stand on that hat.
  3. When dismissing the children, ask them white, red, and black hat questions to see if they can say which colour hat question that is.
Day Four:
  1. Review the white, red, and black hats.Ask the students to tell you if you are asking white, red, or black hat questions.
  2. Hold up the yellow hat and ask the students what the yellow hat means.Begin by asking all yellow hat questions. (Inform the students that this is the opposite of the black hat.) For example, What do you like about a particular movie? Why do you like playing football? Etc.Keep asking questions until students appear to understand.Then allow them to ask the questions. Every time they ask or answer a question, they can stand on the hat.
  3. When finishing the review of all of the previous hats, ask questions to see if they know what color hat question you are asking; however, this time tell them that they have to answer the question and tell the colour of the hat.
Day Five:
  1. Review the white, red, black, and yellow hats. Have the students ask questions and tell what hat question they asked.
  2. Hold up the green hat and ask the students what the green hat means. This hat is more difficult to understand, but keep on and they will comprehend the process of creativity. Ask only green hat questions. For example, how could you create your own bat for a cricket match? What if I was running around during dance class and my friend pushed me, what should I do? (Ask plenty of green hat questions to make sure the children understand.) Make sure the students are coming up to stand on the hat when they answer or ask a question.
  3. Have the children begin asking green hat questions to their classmates.
  4. Finish by asking the students hat questions.Tell the students you are going to ask them questions, and they have to first answer it and then tell what colour hat question it is.Ask white, red, black, yellow, and green hat questions.
Day Six:
  1. Review all of the previous hats. Ask the students a few questions and have them answer.Ask a few students to ask questions and have fellow classmates answer.
  2. Move to the last hat, the blue hat.This is the most complicated hat, so just go slowly.Hold up the blue hat as you stand on a chair/table.Ask the children what I may see that is different now? You are trying to get the students to look at things from another perspective, nicknamed out of the box.Tell them to pretend they are a bird in the sky looking down.Get them to look at things deeply and differently. If desired, stand next to a child and let them stand on the chair to experience looking at things differently.
  3. Ask the children what the blue hat means. Begin blue hat questions. For example, explain to me how to play chess? Ask them to sequence the events in their dance class.Continue asking them questions, and then let them proceed with the questioning.
  4. When dismissing the class, ask a few students to create a blue hat question.
Day Seven: Culminating Experience
  1. Review six hats by asking the students all different coloured hat questions. (Make sure you cover all of them.)Have the students answer and tell which colour hat it is.
  2. Pick a student and tell him/her to ask a particular colour hat question. For example, Ask a green hat question? This will also check for complete understanding.
  3. After reviewing, tell the children we are going to have a topic quiz.Call six children up and have them pretend they are quiz masters.They can only speak/ask questions being the particular colour hat that they received.They are not limited to questions; they can make statements as well.
  4. Continue this with other children. Have the children who have had a turn hand their hat off to someone new and pick a new topic.
  5. Everyone should have a turn.Let the children know that if they are struggling, they can ask for help.
  1. Do this at the end of the day.The children get very excited and motivated.
  2. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes at the end of the day for the HATS.
  3. Suggested time is about seven days, one hat per day and a culminating experience.
  4. Ask about five questions when teaching each hat.If they do not seem to understand, wait and ask more questions.
  5. If you have a large area, put all six hats out, present a question, and have the children run to the corresponding question.
  6. This works with any age level.
  7. Have fun, and do not be afraid! Jump right in!

14 August, 2008

Fish Philosophy - My Views

By Radhakrishnan

Part of what I read in the book is as follows:

The FISH! Philosophy is a life-long learning approach that inspires us to feel alive and engaged in the work we do.

FISH! is an invitation to re-awaken the self-trusting, creative spirit within all of us. To start new conversations about what’s possible. To develop new attitudes.

A global phenomenon.

FISH! is alive in organizations throughout the world — large and small, in all industries — championed by business leaders and owners, HR and training professionals and individuals committed to creating a culture of trust, accountability and innovation.

The universal appeal of FISH!

The FISH! Philosophy has been embraced around the world. There are many reasons FISH! is welcomed by so many in so many organizations:

FISH! is a philosophy, not a program. You implement a program to change or fix people, but there’s nothing inspiring about being “programmed.” You can’t implement a philosophy. Instead you explore it, try it out and decide if it’s right for you. If it is, you live it because you believe in it.

FISH! is an invitation. The quickest way to kill FISH! is to mandate it. You can, however, invite people to be part of an environment in which people care about each other and their commitments. When people see these qualities flourishing in others, they want to join in because they want to improve their own lives, too.

FISH! creates a common language. Language changes everything. To begin to change anything, we have to change the way we speak about things, the way feel about things, and definitely the way we act about things day in and day out. The four principles of FISH! — Be There, Play, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude — are the basis of a new language everyone can understand and connect to instantly.

FISH! is genuine. Originally modeled by fishmongers who decided to choose their attitude and become world famous, The FISH! Philosophy gets into the hearts of minds of everyone at work. Focused on the individual first, FISH! is simple, common wisdom that everyone can embrace.

FISH! is playful. Creativity, inspiration and innovation are directly disproportionate to how tightly we’re wound! Nobody’s talking about throwing patients, spreadsheets, or hamburgers at one another like the guys throw fish in the original film. What we are talking about is throwing yourself into your work in a wholehearted and lighthearted way.

FISH! is an ongoing journey. FISH! cuts across all industries and all organizational departments, functions, goals and objectives. As a philosophy that’s infused into a culture over time, you can’t “do” FISH! and be done with it. It’s not the newest motivational fad. It’s not the flavor of the month. It’s an opportunity to create and be part of a group that honors individual spirit and the right to choose.

FISH! isn’t “something else” you have to do. In most cases, FISH! complements what you’re already doing — whether it’s launching a new company, new customer service initiative, new leadership style or any number of other learning programs tailored to specific organizational goals. Because FISH! is focused on “who you’re being while you’re doing what you’re doing,” The FISH! Philosophy is a powerful, flexible platform that can help spike and support many of your other goals and programs.

“Fish!” Resources

1. Books: Fish!; Fish! Tales; and Fish! Sticks

All three titles by Stephen C. Lundin, John Christensen, and Harry Paul

  1. Web Address; www.fishphilosophy.com

13 August, 2008

Learn to say "Very Good"

By C. Radhakrishnan

Dear educators, please make it a habit to encourage students by giving positive remarks on students works and accomplishments. Here I can provide you hundred ways to say "Very Good" to your students.

1. You're on the right track now!

2. You've got it made.

3. Super!

4. That's right!

5. That's good.

6. You're really working hard today.

7. You are very good at that.

8. That's coming along nicely.

9. Good work!

10. I'm happy to see you working like that.

11. That's much, much better!

12. Exactly right.

13. I'm proud of the way you worked today.

14. You're doing that much better today.

15. You've just about got it.

16. That's the best you've ever done.

17. You're doing a good job.

18. That's it!

19. Now you've figured it out.

20. That's quite an improvement.

21. Great!

22. I knew you could do it.

23. Congratulations!

24. Not bad.

25. Keep working on it. You're improving.

26. Now you have it!

27. You are learning fast.

28. Good for you!

29. Couldn't have done it better myself.

30. Aren't you proud of yourself?

31. One more time and you'll have it.

32. You really make my job fun.

33. That's the right way to do it.

34. You're getting better every day.

35. You did it that time!

36. That's not half bad.

37. Nice going.

38. You haven't missed a thing!

39. Wow!

40. That's the way!

41. Keep up the good work.

42. Terrific!

43. Nothing can stop you now.

44. That's the way to do it.

45. Sensational!

46. You've got your brain in gear today.

47. That's better.

48. That was first class work.

49. Excellent!

50. That's the best ever.

51. You've just about mastered it.

52. Perfect!

53. That's better than ever.

54. Much better!

55. Wonderful!

56. You must have been practicing.

57. You did that very well.

58. Fine!

59. Nice going.

60. You're really going to town.

61. Outstanding!

62. Fantastic!

63. Tremendous!

64. That's how to handle that.

65. Now that's what I call a fine job.

66. That's great.

67. Right on!

68. You're really improving.

69. You're doing beautifully!

70. Superb!

71. Good remembering.

72. You've got that down pat.

73. You certainly did well today.

74. Keep it up!

75. Congratulations. You got it right!

76. You did a lot of work today.

77. Well, look at you go.

78. That's it.

79. I'm very proud of you.

80. Marvelous!

81. I like that.

82. Way to go!

83. Now you have the hang of it.

84. You're doing fine!

85. Good thinking.

86. You are really learning a lot.

87. Good going.

88. I've never seen anyone do it better.

89. Keep on trying.

90. You outdid yourself today!

91. Good for you!

92. I think you've got it now.

93. That's a good (boy/girl).

94. Good job, (person's name).

95. You figured that out fast.

96. You remembered!

97. That's really nice.

98. That kind of work makes me happy.

99. It's such a pleasure to teach when you work like that.

100. I think you're doing the right thing.

Note: Collected from different internet sources.