30 December, 2008

The Five Minds - Howard Gardner

1. The Disciplined Mind:

I was asked in the year 2000, “what was the greatest invention of the last two thousand years?” My answer was classical music. The real reason I gave that answer is because I wanted to be quoted, and I knew if I said something such as ‘the wheel, the pill, or nuclear energy”, many other people would have said the same thing and I might have been quoted. But, if I say classical music, I would have the prospect of being cited in a magazine.

A better answer, and an answer which I think we can all feel at home with, are the scholarly disciplines. I would include: Classical Music, Science, History, Economics, etc. Those of us in academia take these disciplines so much for granted, that we forget they are all human inventions. It took hundreds of years to invent Experimental Science, Classical Music, linear Perspective, and Calculus. And they might well never have been invented. Often, when tyrants come to power, they try to eliminate the disciplines and the disciplinarians because they/we get in tyrant’s way. Therefore, I believe that one needs to begin with disciplinary thinking.

When I use the term disciplinary thinking I am playing on three connotations of the English word discipline. Firstly, what our grand-parents knew — you should work regularly and steadily on things and eventually you will get better. Indeed, any practice will build up disciplinary muscle.

The second—is the heart of what happens in middle and secondary school—is mastering the major ways of thinking. Before university, they are Science, History, Mathematics, and one or more art forms. I make a very sharp distinction between discipline (a powerful but typically non-intuitive way of thinking) and subject matter (facts, information).

The third connotation, which is so important if we want our children to be gainfully employed and have a full life is becoming an expert in at least one thing. Because if you are not an expert, you will not be able to work in the world of the future, or you will work for somebody else who is an expert. And that is so different from two hundred years ago during agricultural times and a hundred years ago during industrial times. Now, we are really in a knowledge era, and expertise is the only thing which will take forward real value.

Now, I just introduced a distinction between discipline and subject matter. In most schools, in most parts of the world, though probably not in your schools, we “do” subject matter. Subject matter means information and facts. Things like, “Which king followed which queen? What was the year that something happened? What’s the atomic weight of lead? How many planets are there in the Solar System?” But that has nothing to do with disciplinary thinking. Disciplinary thinking is the deeply different ways in which scientists or historians or artists approach their daily work.

To illustrate this point, I’ll compare Science and History. Scientists create models of the world; they try to explain the physical, biological, psychological worlds. They develop theories, they carry out experiments, or they do observations—and when those empirical works are carried out, the theories are revised in light of the outcome.

Historians on the other hand, try to figure out what happened in the past. They primarily use written documents, more recently graphic documents, and in some ways human beings are no different from how they were three thousand years ago. Historians have to understand the missions, fears, and purposes of human agency. But in other respects, over time and across cultures, people are very different. Historians always have to play with that antinomy.

Finally, every generation has to rewrite history. If you are an American, when you write the history of the Roman Empire today, it is totally different than it was fifty years ago. Not because we know so much more about Rome, but because the United States today is the Roman Empire, for good and for ill; not to think about that state of affairs is to be in outer space.

Those are the things which you can’t just pass on to people. In contrast if I want to pass on a list of American presidents, I can carry that around in my hand and pass it on. And so disciplined thinking is very different from subject matter thinking. It is our responsibility to our middle and secondary schools to engender the disciplinary habits of mind of the major disciplines. Because otherwise, we won’t be able to make sense of what is happening in our world in terms of current events and new discoveries—whether good or ill. This is what history has needed, and we won’t be able to make decisions about health and about policy unless we have cultivated those ways of thinking. The more international comparisons (like the PISA rankings) focus on subject matter rather than on disciplinary thinking, the more anachronistic they will be.

No cigar. When I was a young boy we used to go to Carnivals and they would have Kewpie-dolls on a ledge. You would be given a ball and your job was to throw the ball and knock down a doll. If you got the doll you could keep it, but if you missed the barker would say “close, but no cigar”. So, in each case of each of the minds I am going to talk about false or faux examples.

One example of the poorly disciplined mind is when people see everything through one discipline: economists who see the whole world through rational choice; psychologists who see the whole world through evolutionary psychology; the lawyer who sits down with his children who are two and three years old and writes down a constitution which gives the children their rights and their responsibilities. That is hyper disciplinarity.

The second example comes from the life of Arthur Rubinstein. He was a world famous pianist. From the age of twenty, he gave concerts which had an enormous reception, but then he became lazy and he relied on pyro-techniques rather than careful practice. But, he came to realize that if he didn’t practice for a day he knew it; if he didn’t practice for a week the orchestra knew it; and if he didn’t practice for a month, the audience knew it. Therefore, he stopped his wild and carousing ways and began to practice each day and essentially recovered his discipline. The lesson here is that you can think disciplinarily for a while but ultimately you have to keep up the disciplinary muscle if you want to be taken seriously by those ‘in the know’.

2. The Synthesizing Mind:

I began to think about the Synthesizing Mind when the great physicist Murray Gell-Mann made an off handed remark. He opined that in the twenty-first century, the most important mind will be the synthesizing mind. A great example of a synthesizer is Charles Darwin. He travelled for five years aboard the Beagle, and collected a huge amount of information about the flora and fauna of the world. He did his own experiments and observations of the world, corresponded with everybody who was a naturalist, and then twenty years later put forth one of the great intellectual syntheses “On the Origin of the Species.”

The Synthesizing Mind realizes that nowadays, we are all inundated with information. If you looked up the word “evolution” on your search engine, you could spend the rest of your life just reading secondary sources. Many of them are of questionable value and you need criteria for deciding what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Additionally, to synthesize for yourself, you have to put information together in ways which cohere, which make sense for you. And if you are involved in communication, as every teacher, parent, and professional is, the synthesis has to be transmittable to other people.

I thought that psychology would have something to say about synthesizing because it is so important, but my research revealed that in fact psychology doesn’t have much to say. Some of you are thinking: “well, isn’t synthesizing what teachers have always done?” But let me introduce Monsieur Jourdain from the Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière. M. Jourdain got very excited in middle age because he found out that he was speaking prose all his life without realizing it. I think we have been in the business of synthesizing, but we haven’t been aware of how important it is and how we might help other people to become better synthesizers.

How one might be more reflective about synthesizing? The answer is: looking for the current best synthesis, deciding what our ultimate synthesis should look like, picking a method, deciding what are we going to look at, listen to and why, examining what are we going to ignore and why, and importantly, how are we going to record information, using equations, mind maps, stories, formulas, taxonomies, or whatever. Again, the kind of things that most of us do already, but we aren’t really reflective about it, we don’t spend much time explicitly transmitting that lore to people who are less experienced in synthesizing. Life is short, syntheses are due, term papers are due, lectures are due, but you want to finish the proto-synthesis some time beforehand, so that you can get informed reactions. Not only from people who know a lot but also from people who don’t know so much.

Finally, “no cigar” syntheses which try to do too much, which are too narrow, or which are eccentric are not adequate.

3. The Creative Mind:

The Creative Mind is embodied by Einstein in the Sciences and by Virginia Woolf in the Arts. People who are creative are those who come up with new things which eventually get accepted. If an idea or product is too easily accepted, it is not creative; if it is never accepted, it is just a false example. And acceptance can happen quickly or it can take a long time.

I believe that you cannot be creative unless you have mastered at least one discipline, art or craft. And cognitive science teaches us that on the average, it takes about ten years to master a craft. So, Mozart was writing great music when he was fifteen and sixteen, but that is because he started when he was four or five. Same story, with the prodigious Picasso. Creativity is always called “thinking outside the box.” But I order my quintet of minds in the way that I do because you can’t think outside of the box unless you have a box.

As a psychologist, I thought that creativity was mostly an issue of how good your mental computers were. But my own studies and those of others have convinced me of two other things. First, personality and temperament are at least as important as cognitive powers. People who are judged creative take chances, take risks, are not afraid to fall down, and pick themselves up, they say “what can I learn from this?” and they go on.

The other day I was giving a talk and the first question asked was “How do we make people creative”? And I answered that “It’s much easier to prevent it than to make it”. You prevent it by saying that there is only one right answer and by punishing the student if she offers the wrong answer. That never fosters creativity.
Second: People think of creativity as a property of the individual and therefore they say “I am creative”, but that doesn’t work. The only way that creativity can be judged is, if over the long run, the creators works change how other people think and behave. That is the only criterion for creativity. Therefore, the bad news is that you could die without knowing that you are creative, but the good news is that you will never know for sure that you are not creative. Because maybe after you die, people will make a big fuss about you and then, post-mortem, you will be creative. That’s what happened to Emily Dickinson and Vincent van Gogh. We call that the judgment of the field.

There are many examples of false, or no cigar creativity. In the eighteenth century people thought materials burned because of a substance called phlogiston, but it turns out that there is no phlogiston. In the nineteenth century people thought that we all existed in something called the Ether but there is no Ether. In the twentieth century, people thought you could produce virtually infinite amounts of energy by passing some electric current through water, but cold fusion didn’t work. And if you go through most best-selling books and most art shows, in ten or twenty years they will be forgotten. Consequently, there are alas a lot more examples of failed/no cigar creativity than there are of what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “Big C” creativity.

If I had given this talk ten years go, I would have stopped here, because my work as a cognitive psychologist has been about thinking, problem solving, and intelligence. Also, there is a natural progression from having a discipline, to being able to synthesize, to creating something new. But for the last dozen years, I have been working chiefly in the human sphere, relations of people in groups and to one another, and thus the last two kinds of minds deal with this human sphere. They are called the Respectful Mind and the Ethical Mind.

4. The Respectful Mind:

The Respectful Mind is quite easy to explain, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve. The Ethical Mind, as I think about it, is more complex. The respectful mind is no more or no less than what gave rise to the League of Nations and the United Nations. It is recognizing that the world is composed of people who look different, think differently, have different belief and value systems, and that we can no longer be hermits and live in complete isolation. Therefore, our initial choices are to make war, (which is what we did in a tribal society), or to hold our nose and tolerate others. But we can be more ambitious.

We can try to understand better, make common cause with, and give the benefit of the doubt to other people. This process begins with birth. It is how the father, mother or care-taker treats the child; how parents treat one another, how siblings treat one another, etc. I can go to a school in the United States and I can determine within minutes whether there is a respectful atmosphere. You can observe it in the ordinary interactions between teachers, staff, kids and so on.

Here are some examples of no cigar: respect with too many conditions, mere tolerance, bad jokes (jokes at the expense of others), and then something which we are all becoming familiar with: Kiss up or kick down. Kiss up is when you flatter people who are more powerful than you, people that you want something from, and once that dynamic stops, you ignore or give them a kick. There are plenty of examples of disrespect anywhere.

There are promising examples of those who try to institute respect in the world: Commissions in peace and reconciliation which take formerly warring groups, the victims and victimizers, and try to arrive at an understanding which can include forgiveness. As a music lover, I am interested in those musical efforts, such as the Middle Eastern Orchestra (associated with Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said) and The Silk Road Project (associated with Yo-Yo Ma). These are efforts to get people from different societies and cultures to make music together to understand their relationship to music, and to use this kind of “aesthetic ping pong” to break down barriers. And we need to be very much on the look out for whenever institutions and practices can enhance respect.

I actually changed my own mind as a result of this work on respect. Concerning the Danish cartoons that mocked Islam in 2005, my initial reaction as a civil libertarian was to think of free press; people should be able to say and draw what they want. But, I’ve changed my mind about that. I think it was a mistake to publish the cartoons. I wouldn’t put anybody in jail and indeed with blogging nowadays you cannot prevent anybody from transmitting anything on the internet. But I make a distinction between the respectable press and the not respectable press. I think the respectable press should say what it wishes to say clearly—in plain natural language, be it Danish or English– but not inflammatorily. And I think the Danish cartoons were unnecessarily inflammatory.

5. The Ethical Mind:

The Ethical Mind involves a higher level of abstraction. Being in the world involves a higher level of thinking. Because the Ethical Mind does not say, “how should Howard Gardner behave towards others?” But rather, it says, “I am a worker, in my case a teacher, writer, scientist and I am a citizen, in my case of my university, my community, my nation, the wider world—how should I behave?.” Not in terms of what my rights are, but what are my responsibilities as a citizen, as a worker, within the school context, what are my responsibilities as a student and as a member of a school community? And of course it’s great to know your responsibilities but it is not sufficient; to be sufficient you have to act on the basis of responsibility. Thus, the Ethical Mind reflects on different roles that we fulfil and talks about what are the proper ways to fulfil those roles and tries, though not always successfully, but at least makes the effort, to fulfil those responsibilities.

The work that I have done has been in collaboration with many scholars, particularly William Damon and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is called “The Good Work” project. We define good work as a work that embodies three Es: excellence in a technical way; engagement—that people are meaningfully involved with what they are doing and they find it motivating. They look forward to Monday and are even willing to come to the meetings on Saturday! and ethical, behaving responsibly in your world as a worker. I think of these three Es as a triple helix. And interestingly these three Es don’t necessarily coexist. You could be excellent but not ethical. You could be ethical but not engaged.

The challenge of good work is to intertwine those three Es. And we have carried out a very large scale and careful project over twelve years, almost entirely in the United States, trying to understand what makes for good work and how one carries out good work at present. Things are changing very quickly, our whole sense of time and space is being altered by technology, markets are very powerful, and especially in the United States there are no forces able to mediate or moderate or modulate the markets. Therein lies the challenge of good work.

My colleagues and I did a study of good work in young people from the ages of 15-35. Wendy Fischman and others wrote a book called Making Good: How do Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work and we found a very disturbing picture. I give you this picture although it may not exist in your country. But alas just as in the United States what starts in California ultimately tends to make its way across the country, often in the world what starts in the United States travels all too quickly elsewhere.

We found that the best and brightest, those young people who are the elite of your schools and are already winning awards, knew what good work was. Some of them tried to be excellent and ethical and engaged, but many of them told us that they could not afford to be ethical. Because, they said, it was very important for them to succeed, to have money, power, prestige, prominence. Since they were in competition with their peers, they suspected that their peers were cutting corners and they were not going to be upright, if that meant that they were going to lose to somebody who was less ethical. And so they told us that someday they would be ethical, that they would be the cream of their community, serve as a role model, support good causes, and hire ethical people. But they couldn’t afford to do it now. We are reminded of what Saint Augustine said “Oh Lord, make me chaste, but not quite yet”.

And that is what these young workers were telling us. They were not typically bad workers since they weren’t doing things that were illegal, but they were doing compromised work. They were doing journalism and making things up, or taking things from the web and not verifying the source. They were doing science but not running the extra control or not sharing the data with people who share the data with them. They were compromising.

This finding has changed my life. I am now spending my time with people in secondary school and colleges. We are exposing young people to ethical dilemmas and having them think about them, as well as role playing, and essentially trying to make them carry out what we call meaningful work and a meaningful life. Not focussing so much on the next prize, but thinking in the long run what kinds of human beings we want to be and what kind of world we want to live in.

An example: Marilee Jones was a very successful Dean of Admissions at MIT for many years, but it turned out last year that she had faked her own resumé by inventing the degrees that she didn’t have. And MIT had no choice but to fire her, because how can you judge other people’s records and ask for their honesty when you yourself have lied about your past? There were only two reactions among students whom I was teaching: one reaction was that she was doing a good job so why was there a problem? The second reaction was “well, everybody lies on their resumé, right?”

I want to close with two interesting quotations from Americans who have a deep sense of what is important. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character— that’s the goal of true education”. And philosopher Ralph Emerson said, “Character is more important than intellect”. You are all in the business of educating young people and there are enormous pressures to make them excellent and especially IB schools which are good at achieving that end. I have nothing against excellence, but at the end of the day we do not need more of the best and the brightest, but we need more of those who have good character. That is why the issues of respect and ethics, which are hard to measure objectively, are so terribly important. In conclusion, these are the main elements of my Five Minds.

Speech by Howard Gardner

APJ Abdul Kalam's Inspirational Speech

Address during the inauguration of 15th National Conference of Sahodaya School Complexes 2008 by CBSE, Bhopal

11/Dec/2008: Bhopal

My School will transform my Students with Knowledge and Value Systems

Knowledge makes you Great

I am delighted to participate in the 15th National Conference of Sahodaya School Complexes 2008 organised by Central Board of Secondary Education at Bhopal. I am happy that Sahodaya movement is nurturing, caring and sharing initiative which is aimed towards enhancing the academic quality of constituent schools. During the last 22 years, number of initiatives has been taken by the Sahodaya partners in improving the quality of assessment and application of technology in schools. I consider that the Principals are the leaders who transform the children into enlightened citizens through the provision of good educational practices.

I greet all the pioneers who have contributed in establishing and growing the Sahodaya movement. My greetings to all of you. When I am in the midst of the teachers of teachers, I would like to talk on the topic “My School will transform my Students with Knowledge and Value Systems”.

Dear Principals, let us discuss for few minutes on dynamic school. Please look at the various dimensions and add or modify the dimensions based on your experience and requirement. Now, let me visualize a dynamic school system, how will it be?

Dynamic school
1. A school that radiates greatness by teaching capacity of the teachers.
2. A school is great because creativity is bubbling everywhere.
3. A school is great, because it cherishes the learning environment with library, internet, e-learning and creative laboratories.
4. A School is great, because it creates and generate students with confidence that “I can do it” that in-turn will generate the team spirit that “We will do it” and “India will do it”.
5. A School is great because it has teachers who lead a unique way of life with purity and become role models for the students and develop them as enlightened citizens.
6. A School is great because it has the capacity to teach all students to succeed.
7. A School that generates creativity among all students irrespective of whether they belong to arts or science stream.
8. A school is great, that generates alumni who cherish that they belong to this school.

Teacher of Teachers
When I see the principals from different parts of the country, I look at you dear friends, as one integrated system of education, system of learning and system of knowledge. The seeds of peace in the world have their origin in the righteousness in the heart of every individual. Such righteous citizens lead to the evolution of enlightened society.

Education with value system has to be so designed that the righteousness in the heart is developed in young minds. That should be the mission of education. The prime learning environment is five to seventeen years of age for over 25,000 hours. This reminds me of an ancient Greek teacher’s saying, “Give me a child for seven years; afterwards, let God or devil take the child. They cannot change the child“. This indicates the power of great teachers and teacher of teachers. True education is the acquisition of enlightened feelings and enlightened powers to understand daily events and to understand the permanent truth by linking citizen, to his environment, human and planetary.

I would like to quote from the great philosopher Dr. S. Radhakrishnan particularly for the benefit of students and teachers - “The sense of human need is there and the teacher can satisfy it by giving to the youth an idea of the fundamental power and worth of man, his spiritual dignity as man, a supra-national culture and an all embracing humanity.”

Let us now hear the tribute given by the great teacher Albert Einstein to his teacher: “The ideals which have lighted my way, time after time, have given new course to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty and truth”. This is the mission of teacher. By nature if the student has studied in a particular school they cherish the memories. For example, in the institution the teacher belongs, have created 100s and 1000s of alumni depending upon the school strength. The successful alumni remembers the school with veneration and desires to give back. The schools need to create an opportunity, like IIT and other institutions.

Teachers who love teaching
I just see a scene in a school having about 50 teachers and 750 students headed by a Principal. It is simply a place of beauty for creativity and learning. How is it possible? It is because the school management and the Principal selected the teachers who love teaching, who treat the students as their sons, daughters, grand-sons or grand-daughters. The children see the teacher, as a role model in teaching and how always they look pious through their daily way of life. Above all I see an environment in which there is nothing like a good student, average student or poor student. The whole school and teacher system is involved in generating students who perform the best. As an example, I recall my teacher Shri Sivasubramania Iyer who taught me, when I was ten year old boy, how the birds fly, in the class room and later by taking us to the sea shore to give practical example. The way he taught, gave me what to dream in life and what should be the pattern of education which I have to follow. And above all what should be the traits I should possess based on teachers life both inside the class room and in the village. This race of teachers and teacher of teachers should multiply.

Vision for the School
Vision does it reflect a school having a big building, having a big laboratory or having a big infrastructure? Not at all. Great schools will have great teachers who loves teaching and with great vision. The vision should be to make a beautiful school, generating righteous youth, happy youth who are professionally sound and morally upright. Hence, it should generate quality youth who are an asset to the nation. Can the Schools create a Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Nobel Laureate CV Raman, a great mathematician Ramanujan, a great pain remover Mother Theresa, a great economist Amarthya Sen or a Poet Bharathiar? Can we generate the environment needed for promoting the creativity leading to development of such type of personalities by the school?

I visualize a principal in Sahodaya School far away from the city from district headquarters - close to the village panchayats. As soon as the principal takes over the school, Principal has to plan with the assumption that he is going to be in the school for at least 7 years. Principal has to decide the positive changes that he would like to be bring about for the development of the school into a great institution within that period. Normally people will be discussing the performance of the school in terms of percentage of passes with distinction. 100% will be considered outstanding. 90% very good, 80% good. This is the present method of evaluation of the schools by the parents, by the govt by the management. I feel that there is a need for paradigm shift in thinking in the evaluation process.

According to me, the best school is one where the students complete the school up to 10+2 after 25000 hours of education in the campus. The student has to become full-fledged responsible citizen for the nation who will be able to realize his dreams and not be frightened of any problem. He should be groomed to be physically fit, academically sound with capacities for research and inquiry, innovation, use of high technology, moral and entrepreneurial leadership. He should be emotionally mature and spiritually awakened. For nurturing such an individual, what is the role and what should be the vision of the principals. Principals should have a one line statement of vision “my vision is to give to the student’s all-round capability that is always creative, observant, aim to acquire knowledge continuously leading to the generation of an excellent performer with sterling character built with the unique tradition of the school”. In this process, the education system has to develop the five minds as described in the book “Five Minds” for the future by Howard Gardner.

a) The disciplinary mind: mastery of mind in different schools of thought including science mathematics and history and proficiency in at least one professional craft.
b) The synthesizing mind: ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines or spheres into a coherent whole and to communicate to others.
c) The creative mind: capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions and phenomenon.
d) The respectful mind: awareness of and application for differences among human beings.
e) The ethical mind: fulfilment of one’s responsibility as a worker and a citizen.

To develop these five minds, one need not change the syllabus of the school. The culture of the school and vision of the school and the teacher’s way of life will imbibe these five minds among the students.

Dynamics of Smile
When we see a child, we see the innocent smile of the child. When we come across, the child in the Primary School, the smile is reduced, since the child has to carry a heavy school bag. When we see the child in their teens, their smile slowly fades away and the sign of concern appears. This is because of the anxiety about the future. When they complete their education, the question uppermost in their mind is, what will I do after my education? Will I get an employment? Will I get a proper employment? Can the Principals see this dynamics of smiles of the child and preserve the smile in their faces when they complete their school education. The Student should be confident that “he can do it”, the student should have the self esteem and the capability to become an employment generator rather being an employment seeker. This transformation can only be brought about by a Principal who has a vision to transform, who has the ability to take risk against all challenges, who is a good listener, who is a good innovator, who maintains a cordial inter-personal or intrapersonal relationship and who has the ability to carry the parents, community, media and the teachers for accomplishing the vision of generating an enlightened citizen for the nation. Now let me share my views of an ideal principal.

An ideal principal
Some time back, I met a principal who have become a role model to all his students. I asked the Principal what was the secret of his success. He told me the following:
a) He has been able to adopt himself to the age of the student.
b) As a principal, he makes sure that he also takes two to three classes per week.
c) He considers that he is a teacher first and a principal later.
d) He practices everything he expects his students to do. His real life itself is a medium to the students.
e) He ensures transparency in all his transactions and treats all students alike, irrespective of their religion, caste, language and economic status.
f) He has a foresight and visualizes the student’s growth in long term perspective.
g) During the 11 years of his tenure, he has ensured that at least 2000 students who were average performers have been groomed to excel in their studies.

I am sure many principals assembled here would reflect these characteristics and also add few more important traits.

Let me now discuss with you about the importance of Knowledge.

Knowledge and its components
Principals have to consider at the end of the education what the students will be carrying with them. They should carry knowledge. Knowledge has three components, creativity, righteousness and courage. That the combination of these characteristics can generate enlightened citizens. Let us look at the first component creativity:

“Learning gives creativity
Creativity leads to thinking
Thinking provides knowledge
Knowledge makes you great”

The next component of knowledge is righteousness. The power of Righteousness is described in a divine hymn, which is as follows:

“Where there is righteousness in the heart
There is beauty in the character.
When there is beauty in the character,
There is harmony in the home.
When there is harmony in the home.
There is order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation,
There is peace in the world.”

Who will give the righteousness, only three people can give. Who are they? They are: Father, Mother and a primary school teacher.

The third component is courage, which is defined as follows:

“Courage to think different,
Courage to invent,
Courage to travel into an unexplored path,
Courage to discover the impossible,
Courage to combat the problems
And Succeed, Are the unique qualities of the youth.
As a youth of my nation, I will work and work with courage to achieve success in all the missions.”

As Principals, you have to ensure that the system instils the courage in the minds of students. Hence friends, now you realize, knowledge is equal to creativity + righteousness + Courage. Now the Principals may like to see, how they can impart real knowledge among the students.

Mission in Life

Dear friends, when I visualize the students whom you are grooming, I see in them great teachers, great principals great doctors, great engineers, great social workers, great judges, and great political leaders. Let me share with you, what are the traits needed to accomplish these goals based on my experience.

I have seen three dreams which have taken shape as vision, mission and realization. Firstly, space programme of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), AGNI programme of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) becoming the National Mission. Of course these three programmes succeeded in the midst of many challenges and problems. I have worked in these areas. I want to convey to you what I have learnt from these three programmes based on my personal experience.

a) Wherever there is a dream in life, that transforms into a vision and vision takes shape as many missions.
b) The necessity of high level thinking to transform the Vision into Missions.
c) Acquisition of knowledge from all sources.
d) Working and working without boundary conditions till the realization of the mission.
e) Leader absorbs the failure and takes the responsibility and gives the credit for success to his team while executing the Mission.

I am sure, the principals assembled here will create leaders with these qualities from their schools which will be the greatest contribution of the principals in our national development missions.

I have designed an eleven point oath for the teachers which I would like to administer to this important gathering of teachers of teachers.

Eleven Point Oath for Teachers

1. First and foremost, I will love teaching. Teaching will be my soul.
2. I realize that I am responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youths who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. I will be fully committed for the great mission of teaching.
3. I will consider myself to be a great teacher for I can lift the average to the best performance by way of my special teaching.
4. All my actions with my students will be with kindness and affection like a mother, sister, father or brother.
5. I will organize and conduct my life, in such a way that my life itself is a message for my students.
6. I will encourage my students to ask questions and develop the spirit of enquiry, so that they blossom into creative enlightened citizens.
7. I will treat all the students equally and will not support any differentiation on account of religion, community or language.
8. I will continuously build the capacities in teaching so that I can impart quality education to my students.
9. I will celebrate the success of my students, with great élan.
10. I realize by being a teacher, I am making an important contribution to all the national development initiatives.
11. I will constantly Endeavour to fill my mind, with great thoughts and spread the nobility in thinking and action.

My greetings to all the members of Sahodaya community. I would suggest the Principals of Sahodaya Schools to adopt at least one government school in the region and provide them with quality education using the technological infrastructure and quality human resource during the off time or holidays of the school. My best wishes to all of you for success in your mission of developing enlightened citizens for the nation through good educational practices.

May God Bless You!

APJ Abdul Kalam

Introduction to Soft Skills

Mila IT Centre - Workshop 4 Executives
Handout - C. Radhakrishnan

“We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also how well we handle ourselves and each other.”
Daniel Goleman, PhD.

Attributes of a person with “Good personality”?
 Good physique
 Pleasing manners
 Personal and Professional integrity
 Trustworthiness and reliability
 Good control over body and mind


 Greater career success
 Stronger personal relationships
 Increased optimism and confidence
 Better health

 Effective leadership skills
 Improved communication
 Less workplace conflict
 Better problem solving skills
 Increased likelihood of promotion


A) Relate to Ourselves – 1) Self-Awareness – 2) Self-Regulation – 3) Self-Motivation
B) Relate to Others – 1) Empathy - 2) Effective Relationship

 Use visual motivators: Inspirational quote or poster - Cartoon or joke
 Keep positive friends: Those support and build you up
 Read and listen well: Books and tapes
 Positive self-talk: Be your own best encourager
 Life can be tough -get used to it: Life is not always fair; it’s rarely easy. Stop thinking life should be easy.
 Keep a positive attitude: Choose your attitude towards your circumstances.
 Take a break: Take some time to re-charge your emotional and spiritual batteries.
 Share with others: Once you are motivated yourself, start motivating others. It will drive you to new heights of accomplishment!

Ten Commandments of Human Relationships

1. Speak to People
2. Smile at People
3. Call People by Name
4. Be Friendly and Helpful
5. Be Cordial
6. Be Genuinely Interested In People
7. Be Generous With Praise
8. Be Considerate
9. Be Alert
10. Have a Good Sense of Humour
 Don't take yourself too seriously. When you add lots of patience, and humility, you will have a recipe for enduring success.

Emotional Awareness
Accurate Self-Assessment
Self Management
Self Control
Achievement Drive
Developing Others
Service Orientation
Leveraging Diversity
Political Awareness
Social Skills (Relationships)
Conflict Management
Change Catalyst
Building Bonds
Collaboration & Cooperation
Team Capabilities


 #1 = Interpersonal Skills
 #2 = Ethics and Integrity 80%
 #3 = Leadership
 #4 = Perseverance
 #5 = Knowledge ------------- 20%

You can always email me for clarification or assistance.

Is your Company ready for ‘One to One Marketing’?

Mila IT Centre - Workshop 4 Marketing Executives
Handout - By C. Radhakrishnan

For some companies, being ready simply means being prepared to launch a limited initiative. PRACTICED CORRECTLY, One-to-one marketing can increase the value of your customer base. The idea is simple: one-to-one marketing (also called relationship marketing or customer-relationship management) means, being able to change your behaviour towards an individual customer based on what the customer tells you and what else you know about that customer.

Why One-to-One?
Initial benefits can be gained from taking steps-even small ones-towards one to one marketing in specific areas. Relationship marketing is grounded in the idea of establishing a learning relationship with each customer, starting with your most valuable ones.

Think of a learning relationship as one that gets smarter with each interaction. The customer tells you of some need, and you customize your product or service to meet it. Every interaction and modification improves your ability to fit your product to this particular customer. Eventually, even if a competitor offers the same type of customization and interaction, your customer won't be able to enjoy the same level of convenience without taking the time to teach the competitor the lessons your company has already learned. There are four key steps for putting a one-to-one marketing program to work: identifying your customers, differentiating among them, interacting with them, and customizing your product or service to fit each individual customer's needs.

Getting Started
The following activities are keyed to the four steps of a one-to-one marketing program: identifying customers, differentiating among them, interacting with them, and customizing your product or service to meet each customer's needs. Most companies should be able to accomplish these activities fairly readily. If you have not yet identified your end-user customers, you can apply these suggestions to your channel partners. At some point, however, you will need to identify and interact with your end-user customers to get the most out of your relationship-marketing program.

Identifying your customers
To launch a one-to-one initiative, your company must be able to locate and contact a fair number of its customers directly, or at least a substantial portion of its most valuable customers. It's critical to know customers in as much detail as possible: not just their names and addressable characteristics (such as addresses, phone numbers, or account codes), but their habits, preferences, and so forth. And not just a snapshot - a one-time questionnaire.
 Collect and enter more customer names into the existing database
 Collect additional information about your customers
 Verify and update customer data and delete outdated information
 Ask your customers one or two questions every time you are in touch with them.
 Put your customer files in a systematic way - easily accessible way.

Differentiating your customers
Broadly speaking, customers are different in two principal ways: they represent different levels of value and they have different needs. Once you identify your customers, differentiating them will help you to focus your efforts so as to gain the most advantage with the most valuable customers. You will then be able to tailor your company's behaviour to each customer in order to reflect that customer's value and needs. The degree and type of differentiation in a company's customer base will also help you decide on the appropriate strategy for a given business situation.
 Identify your organization's top customers.
 Using last year's sales or other simple, readily available data, take your best guess at identifying the top 25% of your customers.
 Determine which customers cost your organization money.
 Look for simple rules to isolate the bottom 20% of your customers (such as customers who haven't ordered in more than a year or those who always bid you out) and reduce the amount of mail you send them.
 Select several institutions or individual customers you really want to do business with next year.
 Add them to your database, and record at least three contact names per institution.
 Find higher-value customers who have complained about your product or service more than once in the last year.
 'Baby-sit their orders: put a product or quality-assurance person in touch with them - check on your progress.
 Look for last year's large customers who have ordered half as much or less this year 'Go visit them now, before your competitor does.
 Find customers who buy only one or two products from your company but a lot from others.
 Make them an offer they can't refuse to try several more items from you.
 Rank customers into A, B, and C categories, roughly based on their value to your company. (Don't try to isolate the top 25% or bottom 20%-any "blunt instrument" criterion such as annual spending or years doing business with the company will work.)
 Decrease marketing activities and spending for the C's and use the savings to fund increased activities for the A's.

Interacting with your customers

Improving both the cost-efficiency and the effectiveness of your interactions with customers is a critical component of a one-to-one marketing program. Cost-efficiency improves by directing customer interactions toward more automated and therefore less costly channels. For example, a company that provides helpful, up to-date information at its Web site won't need to spend as much as it once did supporting a more expensive call centre. Effectiveness improves by generating timely, relevant information, providing either better insight into a customer's needs or a more accurate picture of a customer's value. Every interaction with a customer should take place in the context of all previous interactions with that customer. A conversation should pick up where the last one left off, whether the previous interaction occurred last night or last month, at the call centre or on the company’s reception.
 If you are focusing on channel members, call the top three people at your top 5% of customers.
 Don't try to sell-just talk and make sure they are happy.
 Call your own friends and ask questions; see how hard it is to get through and get answers.
 Test eight to ten different scenarios as a "mystery shopper." Record the calls and criticise them.
 Call your competitors to compare their customer service with yours.
 Repeat the above activity.
 Use incoming calls as selling opportunities.
 Offer specials, dose-outs, and trial offers.
 Evaluate the voice response unit at your customer information centre.
 Make the call centre/recordings sound friendlier, be more helpful, and move customers through the system faster.
 Follow the interaction paper trail through your organization
 Seek to eliminate steps: reduce cycle times to speed up your response times to customers.
 Initiate more dialogue with valuable customers
 Use technology to make doing business with your company easier
 Print personalized messages on invoices, statements, and envelopes.
 Have sales reps sign personal letters rather than mass-mailing letters signed by a senior manager.
 Have the right people in your organization - call the right customer executives. (That is, have your CEO call another CEO, or have the VP of marketing call the business owner.)
 Call every valuable customer your company has lost in the last two years and give them a reason to return.
 Gather the e-mail addresses of your customers in order to follow up with them.
 Offer alternative means of communication.
 Scan customer information into the database.
 Improve complaint management system - Plot how many complaints you receive each handling day and work to improve the ratio of complaints handled on the first call.

Customizing your enterprise's behaviour
Ultimately, to lock a customer into a learning relationship, a company must adapt some aspect of its behaviour to meet that customer's individually expressed needs. This might mean mass-customizing a manufactured product, or it could involve tailoring some aspect of the services surrounding a product-perhaps the way the invoice is rendered or how the product is packaged. In any case, the production or service delivery end of your business has to be able to treat a particular customer differently based on what was learned about that customer by the sales, marketing, or any other department. In rushing to reap the rewards of relationship marketing, it's easy for a business to overlook this critical fourth step, leading many to misunderstand the entire discipline as simply an excuse for direct mail and telemarketing.
 Customize paperwork to save your customers time and your company money
 Use regional and subject-specific versions of catalogues.
 Personalize your direct mail
 Use customer information to individualize offers.
 Keep the mailings simple.
 Fill out forms for your customers
 Ask customers how, and how often, they want to hear from you
 Use laser equipment to save time and make you look smarter.
 ‘Use fax, e-mail, postal mail, or personal visits as the customer specifies.
 Find out what your customers want
 Ask your top ten customers what you can do differently to improve your product or service 'invite customers to focus groups or discussion meetings to solicit their reactions to your products, policies, and procedures.
 Respond to their suggestions.
 Follow up and repeat the process.
 Involve top management in customer relations
 Give them lists of questions to ask based on the history of individual customers.

These four implementation steps overlap considerably. Nevertheless, they are roughly in order of increasing complexity and increasing benefit for a company. Identifying and differentiating customers, the first two steps, are largely internal "analysis" steps, whereas interacting with your customers and customizing products and services are external "action" steps, visible to the consumer.

From that perspective, the four steps can he used as a kind of general checklist to guide your efforts in implementing a one-to-one marketing program. If you can't identify your individual customers, you have no hope of differentiating them, much less adapting your behaviour to address each one's needs.

Good luck to your new endeavour in marketing!

You can always email me for clarification or assistance.


Workshop Handout - By C. Radhakrishnan

1. Clarity of Explanations and Directions.
2. Establishing a task-oriented classroom climate.
3. Making use of variety of learning activities.
4. Establishing and maintaining momentum and pace for the lesson.
5. Encouraging students’ participation and getting every one involved.
6. Monitoring students’ progress and attending quickly to students needs.
7. Delivering a well structured and well organised lesson.
8. Providing students with positive and constructive feedback.
9. Ensuring coverage of the learning objective.
10. Making good use of questioning techniques.

Self Evaluation Questionnaire for Teachers

This assessment will help you determine your teaching style.
1. Do you find your teaching style:
• may lead to an inflexibility for managing the concerns of students.
• may cause students to feel inadequate when they can't follow your example.
• works well for most students but is very time consuming.
• may leave students feeling anxious about their ability to meet your expectations.
2. Which of the following do you like to use for evaluating student learning?
• teacher made tests.
• student self-assessment tests.
• performance based criteria.
• problem solving and critical thinking.
3. When planning lessons, you prefer to have:
• whole class lessons.
• role playing.
• peer tutoring.
• Brain storming.
4. When you teach face to face, your instructional time includes:
• lectures.
• demonstrations.
• films/videos.
• class discussion/brainstorming.
5. You believe in teaching by:
• being the source of information.
• personal example and establishing a prototype.
• emphasizing student-teacher interactions.
• being a resource person as needed by the student.
6. One of your goals is to have your student:
• function well within the learning structures needed.
• observe and emulate what was observed.
• able to work independently and under his/her own initiative.
• able to work in an autonomous manner.
7. One advantage of your teaching style is that it:
• focuses on clear expectations.
• emphasizes direct observation.
• allows students personal flexibility.
• helps students see themselves as independent learners.
8. Assignments given to students are usually based on:
• your personal preferences or on specific instructional models.
• a sequence of steps leading to mastery but which you organize.
• a student portfolio or learning log which has a self assessment component.
• problem solving based on research of course material.
9. Your teaching style develops a rhythm which contains:
• four steps: content selection, presentation/reception, reflection, application.
• three steps: selection, skill development, mastery performance.
• five steps: creating awareness, collecting data, choosing innovation, implementing a plan, reviewing results.
• twelve steps: ranging from pose and reflect on a problem, skill development exercises to interim evaluation, learner responses and development of solutions.

You can always email me for clarification or assistance.

Managing Study Stress among the Students

Tips to Stay Relaxed and Remember More
By C. Radhakrishnan

First of all, let me tell you the best ‘Study Stress Management’ tip is to be confident and prepared, and to stay cool. If you have mastered learning and study, then you should never feel anxious, tense, or nervous in an examination.

Stress can be both a help and an obstacle to study and the development of Memory.
This write up will help you understand what stress is, why and how stress is created, and how it is controlled at the optimum levels for study and for examinations.

Every year, as examinations time approaches, in our country generally February, March and April, the question of student examination stress is raised in the press, on TV programs, and by students themselves. An article in a weekend newspaper during these months was no exception: ‘Teenagers approaching 10th, 12th, CET or University Exams in the coming months are looking to doctors to help them cope with tension…Increasingly, academic stress is affecting younger and younger children as there is more pressure for academic achievement, especially from the parents and school authorities.’

This problem applies particularly to 10th and 12th students. In many cases this is a once-only chance to gain access to a University and a selected career. Once this hurdle is jumped – successfully – the same pressure does not apply to examinations at University. The stress arises mainly because the number of University seats is limited, and students are selected on the basis of their marks and entrance exam performance so the examination becomes a competition. Worry about how they will be able to pay for their studies, or repay the loans afterwards, also adds to the stress.

Students, who have developed a proper attitude to learning, memory and study, and learned good techniques and habits, should not have to worry about stress. Stress is essential for effective study and memory, but it is the excess stress – anxiety, worry, fear of failure etc. – which creates a level of stress high enough to cause loss of memory and memory blocks in examinations. This is what students fear, that they will not remember what they have learned. Of course, if they haven’t learned the work in first place, stress or no stress will make no difference.

Naturally, all of us have moments of self-doubt, but it is when self-doubt becomes more than momentary that it becomes a problem. Almost everyone feels worried before an exam, suppose it is board exam, the nervousness is double. Butterflies in the stomach and worrying thoughts - 'Will I be able to answer the questions?' 'Have I done enough revision?' - are indications of exam anxiety that are probably familiar to all students. In fact, a certain amount of nervous tension probably helps us perform to the best of our ability and helps us to feel alert and focused. But too much anxiety can obstruct thoughts, create a negative frame of mind, and lead to panic and poor performance in the exam.

Howard Bloom in his book on evolution, ‘Global Brain’, says, ‘Humans who can solve a problem remain vigorous. But, those who cannot get a grip on their dilemma become victims of self-destruct mechanisms.’ This applies to students – those who are on top of their work and see no problem they cannot deal with are successful, those who feel they have lost their grip, and let self-doubt take control of their thinking, generally fail.

Self-doubt can lead to depression. This will have serious consequences for health, mental stability, and for the ability to study successfully. No one can see into your mind and read your thoughts, so don’t expect anyone to offer help. You have to seek help, and it is important that you do so early. Go to someone you can trust, and who is mature enough to understand your problem, and talk it through with them, and ask for advice.

Drugs to relieve stress, such as anti-depressants, can be dangerous and may make the condition worse instead of better, and the side effects can be quite serious.

It is very important that parents and teachers should also be sensitive to this problem, and be aware that it is likely to affect some students more than others. Keeping a watchful eye on any change of mood or activities may help to head off a potential problem, even a disaster, or tragedy.

There are a lot of things you can do to help manage exam anxiety and twist painful, anxious thoughts into more creative pressure. First let us see what we can do before the exam to reduce stress.

1. It's hard to panic if you are feeling relaxed. Try to make a system of revision that gives you time to relax, especially last thing at night. Experiment until you find the best way of relaxing to suit you - a long bath, exercise, listening to music, watching a dance or prayer or even chatting some time with the most attached friend, either directly or over phone (avoid using computers).

2. Relaxation and positive stress management techniques can be learned and acquired with practice. Knowing how to relax is very important in the pre exam days, and on the day itself. If you think you are under-performing in exams due to exam anxiety or panic, do think ahead and seek help.

3. It helps to feel as well-prepared as possible. As well as thinking about the subjects you are revising, it can be useful to pay attention to practical aspects of the exam. Find out where it is scheduled to take place and how long it will take you to get there. It's a good idea to go and look at the room/building so that it feels more familiar. Make sure you know the rules and regulations about what you can take into the exam room etc.

4. Put yourself into a positive frame of mind by imagining how you would like things to go. Imagine/visualise yourself going for the exam feeling confident and comfortable - try to portray it in as much detail as possible. Rather like dress rehearsing for a part in a play, this can replace negative, anxious thoughts with more positive ones.

5. Don't work to the last minute on the night or morning before the exam. Last-minute revision may leave you feeling messed up and anxious.

Now we can move on to the exam day. Here are some tried and tested solutions to the 'I can't answer anything' feeling and other upsetting thoughts about exams.

When you get into the exam room and sit down, the following approach can help settle your tension:

1. Take a deep breath in and a long breath out.

2. Breathe in again and straighten your back.

3. Look straight ahead at something inanimate (the wall, a picture, the clock...) and focus your mind on the positive thought 'I CAN DO this exam' as you breathe out.

4. Take another deep breath in and a long breath out. Then breathe normally.

5. CBSE have given you 15 minutes to read the question paper, so do so thoroughly. If you begin to feel nervousness again, repeat the focusing exercise. Nervousness will stop you reading carefully, so it is important to keep yourself focused and positive. Read the whole paper once, then read it again and mark the questions you think you can answer. Then read those questions carefully - make sure you understand what is required - and select the ones you are going to answer.

6. Decide on the order in which you'll answer the questions. It is usually best to begin with the one you feel most confident about. Think about how you will plan your time, and stick to your plan.

7. Plan out your answer for each question as you go. If you find that thoughts or ideas about other questions come into your head, write them down on a rough paper - don't spend time thinking about them now.

8. If your concentration weakens or you begin to feel anxious, you could try the focusing exercise again, or use one of the following techniques to help you overcome anxious thoughts. If you are worried that you haven't got time to spare on this, remember that taking 5 or 10 minutes now may save you spending the rest of the exam in a state of fear.

Here it’s relevant to brief you on some anxiety management techniques.

1. Negative thought-blocking
When we become worried we begin to have negative thoughts ('I can't answer anything', 'I'm going to panic' etc). If this is happening, arrest these thoughts by mentally shouting 'STOP!’ Once you have literally stopped the thoughts, you can continue planning, or practise a relaxation technique.

2. Creating gentle pain
Pain effectively overrides all other thoughts and impulses. Even very gentle pain - such as lightly pressing your fingernails into your palm - can block feelings of nervousness. Some people find it helpful to place an elastic band around one finger, and lightly twang it when they are becoming anxious.

3. Focusing
Looking out of the window, noticing the number of people with white hair, counting the number of desks in each row... all help to distract your attention from anxious thoughts and keep your mind busy. Mental games such as making words out of another word, using alphabetical lists etc are all good forms of distraction.

4. Practice a mantra
Derived from meditation, a mantra is a word or phrase which you repeat to yourself. Saying something like 'calm' or 'relax' under your breath or in your head, over and over again, can help reduce anxiety.

5. Positive Association
It can help to carry or wear something with positive associations with another person or place. Touching this object can be consoling in its own right, then allow yourself a few minutes to think about the person or situation which makes you feel good. This can have a really calming effect.

6. Self-talk
In exam anxiety we often give ourselves negative messages, 'I can't do this' 'I'm going to fail' 'I'm useless'. Try to consciously replace these with positive, encouraging thoughts: 'This is just anxiety, it can't harm me', 'Relax, concentrate, it's going to be OK', 'I'm getting there, nearly over'.

From the above mentioned distraction techniques whichever has worked for you, finish by going through the refocusing exercise. Remember, it only takes 30 seconds or so, but may have a great effect on your ability to believe in yourself and the task in hand. Different techniques work for different people, so it's worth experimenting to find the ones that are suitable for you. Developing techniques for managing tension/anxiety can take time, so it pays to keep practising.

To me, learning to control stress, and adjusting it to the optimum level for successful learning, is something students should practice throughout the year, not just a few weeks before the examinations.

In this context it’s worth mentioning what Mental Health Ireland has said on managing exam stress (18 May 2006): “It is perfectly normal to feel some stress, it can keep you focused, but too much will reduce your effectiveness. First, plan your time and keep to a reasonable timetable, create a routine, don't panic. Work now to avoid last minute cramming. Think positively and recall past successes and how you achieved them Concentrate on strengths rather than weaknesses. Do your best: Don't try to be perfect, that will lead to stress. Be realistic, seek help if necessary, and avoid bottling things up. Eat, sleep and exercise normally and well. Use relaxation techniques. The Exam: Use your relaxation method. Slow deep breaths and repeating 'I am calm and relaxed'”.

Print & Online References:
1. Goleman, Daniel – Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1996
2. Ravi, Meera – Teaching through the Heart: Action Plan for Better Teaching, Viva books Pvt Ltd, 2005
3. Adams, Kathleen – Journal to the Self: Twenty-two Paths to Personal Growth, Warner Books, 1990
4. http://www.danielgoleman.info/blog/
5. http://www.acu.edu.au/acu_national/
6. http://mentalhealthireland.ie/index.php

11 December, 2008


E.M. Intl School & KAPTA District Teachers Conference - Digital Workshop Handout - By C. Radhakrishnan

Key Advocates:

“Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behaviour.” - Watson, 1913.

What is learned?
All behaviour is learnt and can be determined.
Environment shapes behaviour.
Four key principles according to James Hartley (1998):
• Activity is important
• Repetition, generalisation and discrimination are important notions
• Reinforcement is the cardinal motivator
• Learning is helped when objectives are clear
• Learning process takes place through the connection of stimuli and response (S - R)
• Importance of contiguity and reinforcement.

Goal of education:
• To produce behavioural change that will ensure survival of human species, societies and individuals. (Merriam & Cafarella, 1999: 252).

Main principles:
Behavioural objectives (which would demonstrate the students’ understanding).
• Competency-based education.
• Skill development and training.
• Importance of feedback.
• Active and experiential learning (learning by doing).
• ‘Deterministic’ problem solving.
• Student is not responsible for his/her learning; environment is.
• Computerised and programmed instruction.
• Teacher facilitates environment, stimuli and reinforcement.

Key advocates:

Humanism is a movement in psychology which emerged in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Humanism has its roots in counselling psychology and focuses its attention on how individuals acquire emotions, attitudes, values and interpersonal skills. Humanist perspectives tend to be grounded more in philosophy than in research. (Ormrod 1999)

What is learning?
Intrinsic motivation of learner influences what is learned
The learning which occurs is dependent on self actualizing tendency of the individual
“The motivation for learning and change springs from the self-actualizing tendency of life itself, the tendency for the organism to flow into all the differentiated channels of potential development, insofar as these are experienced as enhancing.” (Rogers 1967)

(Source: http://www.ais.msstate.edu/TALS/unit3/3moduleB.html)

Goal of education:
Aim of humanistic educational strategies is to lead out the potential of the student to assist them in their quest for self-actualisation. (Stapleton 2001)
The major characteristics of human nature according to Rogers (1951) adapted from Lefrancois (1997) p. 243
• Reality is phenomenological
• Behaviour is motivated by the need to self-actualise.
• Behaviour occurs within the context of personal realities.
• The self is constructed by the individual
• Our behaviours conform with our notions of self.

Main principles:

• Experiential learning
• Student centred approach
• Teachers as facilitators of student learning
• Focus on the process of learning rather than the
• Acquisition of facts.
• Problem solving
• Education system should fit the student (Stapleton, 2001)
• Holistic education


Key Advocates:

“Learning is something that takes place inside a person’s head – in the brain.” (Robert Gagne)

What is learning?
However, even while accepting such behaviourist concepts, cognitive theorist view learning as involving the acquisition or reorganisation of the cognitive structures through which humans process and store information.” (Good and Brophy 1990)

Goal of education:

• To bring about learning through thought process.

Main principles:

• Memory
• Perceptions
• Emotions
• Experience
• Language

Social Learning:
Key advocates:

“Bandura’s social learning theory is referred to as observational learning, which implies that new responses are learned through observing the behaviours of others. Rather than experiencing reinforcement for them, people can learn through vicarious reinforcement, which means that we internalize the consequences of other peoples’ actions, and thus adjust our behaviours as functions of those consequences.” (http://www.ubishops.ca/index.asp)

What is learning?
Learning is interaction with and observation of others in a social context / interaction between person and society/environment.
Theorists may view the learner as not being in control in this relationship (behaviourist) or as active (humanist).

Goals of education:
• The purpose of education is to model new roles and behaviour / to teach people how to act in a social context.

Main principles:
• Social roles
• Mentoring
• Group work and team work
• Collaborative learning
• Experiential learning
• Informal learning
• Lifelong learning
• Any theory of andragogy must take account of the relationship between the person and society
• Adult education is often seen as a vehicle for addressing social issues

Key Advocates:

‘Give a person a fish and you give him a meal; teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.’

What is learning?
Constructivist theory refers to the learner’s ability to construct knowledge through active engagement with their environment.
“…meaningful learning relies on active engagement in planning, problem-solving, communicating, and creating, rather than rote memorisation and repetition. Learning is a process by which people make sense of their environment and personal history. The acquisition of new knowledge is affected and shaped by prior knowledge, interaction with others, experience, and inherited predispositions. Our ability to learn is also influenced by logic, emotion, intuition, and motivation.” (Malone, 2003)

Goal of education:
• Focus is on the student – the approach is student centred. The student(s) interacts with environment with the aim of constructing new meanings, understanding, or experiences of the world.

Main principles:

• Co-operative problem solving
• Experiential Learning
• Peer tutoring
• Self-directed learning
• Group work
• Learning to learn
• Situated learning
• Social learning
• Learning is shared and negotiated
• Reflective practice
• Guided discovery

Print & Online References:
Corey, G. (2001). Theory and practices of counseling and psychotherapy (6th Ed.). California. Brooks/Cole.
Schultz, D. & Schultz, S.E. (1998). Theories of personality (6th Ed.). California. Brooks/Cole.
Rathus, S.A. (1995). Psychologie generale (3th Ed.). Laval, Quebec. Editions Etudes Vivantes.
Miller, H. (2001). Stanley Milgram, 1933-1984. Available at: www.fates.cns.muskingum.edu/~psych/psychweb/history/milgram.htm
Reyes, M. (2001). Class bio of Leon Festinger. Available at: www.utexas.edu/coc/journalism/SOURCES/j363/festinger/html
Zimbardo, P.G. (2002). Welcome to the homepage of professor Philip G. Zimbardo. Available at: www.zimbardo.com

Copyright: Horizons

03 December, 2008

Education for Life – Meaningful and Productive Learning

BY Neha Gehlot (Faculty,ERD)

The dilemma that has persisted since the earliest days of formal education is whether the foundation of curriculum and instruction in schools be child initiated or teacher initiated, in order to meet the needs of society by preparing learners for life. Getting to a clear answer is the necessary first step in designing a meaningful and productive learning experience. But to commit oneself, to only one of the above approaches for designing such a learning experience is to take a deceptive step in overhauling our entire system of education. Each of these approaches for education for life is important in their own way. An ideal curriculum design, development and implementation should include a blend of both the approaches to enable learners assume the responsibility of informed and enlightened citizenship.

Each learner is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. In order to cater to this, a learning experience should aim at (1) the teacher acting as a guide (connecting the learning experience to academic content/subject matter), (2) allowing the learner's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all forms of life.

The learning experience is organized in a way that the learners' instead of merely 'covering' material, uncover and recover important ideas in the context of real life situations. For learners to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. But simply placing learners in authentic situations is not enough. Such situations provide an opportunity to "try things out". However, there are two things to consider here. The first is where a learner learns independently by exploring around and seeing what happens, and the second is, where a learner is supervised or monitored by a teacher, advisor, or mentor. This allows others to interrupt him and give perspective on what he is doing, sharing with him the experiences of those who have preceded him. The second approach allows a learner to gain from the experiences and observations of others. In such "mentored role play," the learner might never need to ask a question. His actions will precipitate answers. His mentor will wait until the right moment to tell the learner what he needs to hear. Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests.

Every classroom presents a unique community of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles. Designing and organizing a learning experience around learners' interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to learner interest is to invite dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, they generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer and relevant learning experiences. Providing ownership of learning will tie learning into world community and help learners' become sensitive, responsible and productive members of society.