30 January, 2009

Brief Introduction to ‘Create Your Own Future’ by Brian Tracy

By C. Radhakrishnan

Today while browsing, I got a chance to peep into some of the major extracts from Brian Tracy’s latest release ‘Create Your Own Future: How to Master the 12 Critical Factors of Unlimited Success.' Here is a very brief introduction to ‘Create Your Own Future.’

Brian Tracy is known for his simple, concise, easy to understand books based on self-help classics. ‘Create Your Own Future’ is no exception. He has included materials from his other works and the likes of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie for one reason, it works. I am very optimistic that people who read this book would experience a wonderful life-change.

There are five chapters of interest to people who want to improve their communication: chapter 1 (Success Is Predictable), chapter 5 (Attitude Is Everything), chapter 7 (Relationships Are Essential), and chapter 13 (Fortune Favours the Brave). This isn’t to say that these are the only significant chapters to communication, but they are the most powerful.

In chapter 7, Brian Tracy shares effective principles on how you can successfully network with the big players in your career and industry. He shares the secrets of how you can get influential people on your side to help you succeed in your chosen career path. If you don’t already know, networking is the key to most people’s success. Having the people and resources available to you at your request helps you overcome problems they have already solved.

The focus of ‘Create Your Own Future’ appears to spotlight on succeeding in your career; through the principles like attitude, clarity, and knowledge are tailored to many situations. Tracy provides interesting insight into the conscious, subconscious, and super conscious mind and how you can use each mind to improve various areas of your life.

If you have not read other books of Brian Tracy on personal development, you will find a lot of new teachings in this book for your growth. There are few repetitions of principles and points from his other well known books. However, you are bound to learn a few life-changing principles from the many in this book.

With the many easy to understand and brief personal development principles in ‘Create Your Own Future’, it is a book worth reading to improve yourself. So go for it.

Happy Reading!

29 January, 2009

Cooperative Learning - Theory and Practice

By C. Radhakrishnan
Workshop Handout - 06

Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it.

Cooperative efforts result in participants striving for mutual benefit so that all group members:

• gain from each other's efforts. (Your success benefits me and my success benefits you.)

• recognize that all group members share a common fate. (We all sink or swim together here.)

• know that one's performance is mutually caused by oneself and one's team members. (We can not do it without you.)

• feel proud and jointly celebrate when a group member is recognized for achievement. (We all congratulate you on your accomplishment!).

Why use Cooperative Learning?

Research has shown that cooperative learning techniques:
• promote student learning and academic achievement
• increase student retention
• enhance student satisfaction with their learning experience
• help students develop skills in oral communication
• develop students' social skills
• promote student self-esteem
• help to promote positive race relations

5 Elements of Cooperative Learning

It is only under certain conditions that cooperative efforts may be expected to be more productive than competitive and individualistic efforts. Those conditions are:

1. Positive Interdependence
(sink or swim together)

• Each group member's efforts are required and indispensable for group success
• Each group member has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his or her resources and/or role and task responsibilities

2. Face-to-Face Interaction
(promote each other's success)

• Orally explaining how to solve problems
• Teaching one's knowledge to other
• Checking for understanding
• Discussing concepts being learned
• Connecting present with past learning

3. Individual & Group Accountability( no hitchhiking! no social loafing)

• Keeping the size of the group small. The smaller the size of the group, the greater the individual accountability may be.
• Giving an individual test to each student.
• Randomly examining students orally by calling on one student to present his or her group's work to the teacher (in the presence of the group) or to the entire class.
• Observing each group and recording the frequency with which each member-contributes to the group's work.
• Assigning one student in each group the role of checker. The checker asks other group members to explain the reasoning and rationale underlying group answers.
• Having students teach what they learned to someone else.

4. Interpersonal & Small-Group Skills

Social skills must be taught:
o Leadership
o Decision-making
o Trust-building
o Communication
o Conflict-management skills

5. Group Processing

• Group members discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships
• Describe what member actions are helpful and not helpful

Make decisions about what behaviors to continue or change

Class Activities that use Cooperative Learning

Most of these structures are developed by Dr. Spencer Kagan and his associates at Kagan Publishing and Professional Development. For resources and professional development information on Kagan Structures, please visit: www.KaganOnline.com

1. Jigsaw - Groups with five students are set up. Each group member is assigned some unique material to learn and then to teach to his group members. To help in the learning students across the class working on the same sub-section get together to decide what is important and how to teach it. After practice in these "expert" groups the original groups reform and students teach each other. (Wood, p. 17) Tests or assessment follows.

2. Think-Pair-Share - Involves a three step cooperative structure. During the first step individuals think silently about a question posed by the instructor. Individuals pair up during the second step and exchange thoughts. In the third step, the pairs share their responses with other pairs, other teams, or the entire group.

3. Three-Step Interview (Kagan)
- Each member of a team chooses another member to be a partner. During the first step individuals interview their partners by asking clarifying questions. During the second step partners reverse the roles. For the final step, members share their partner's response with the team.

4. RoundRobin Brainstorming (Kagan)- Class is divided into small groups (4 to 6) with one person appointed as the recorder. A question is posed with many answers and students are given time to think about answers. After the "think time," members of the team share responses with one another round robin style. The recorder writes down the answers of the group members. The person next to the recorder starts and each person in the group in order gives an answer until time is called.

5. Three-minute review - Teachers stop any time during a lecture or discussion and give teams three minutes to review what has been said, ask clarifying questions or answer questions.

6. Numbered Heads Together (Kagan)
- A team of four is established. Each member is given numbers of 1, 2, 3, 4. Questions are asked of the group. Groups work together to answer the question so that all can verbally answer the question. Teacher calls out a number (two) and each two is asked to give the answer.

7. Team Pair Solo (Kagan)- Students do problems first as a team, then with a partner, and finally on their own. It is designed to motivate students to tackle and succeed at problems which initially are beyond their ability. It is based on a simple notion of mediated learning. Students can do more things with help (mediation) than they can do alone. By allowing them to work on problems they could not do alone, first as a team and then with a partner, they progress to a point they can do alone that which at first they could do only with help.

8. Circle the Sage (Kagan)
- First the teacher polls the class to see which students have a special knowledge to share. For example the teacher may ask who in the class was able to solve a difficult math homework question, who had visited Mexico, who knows the chemical reactions involved in how salting the streets help dissipate snow. Those students (the sages) stand and spread out in the room. The teacher then has the rest of the classmates each surround a sage, with no two members of the same team going to the same sage. The sage explains what they know while the classmates listen, ask questions, and take notes. All students then return to their teams. Each in turn, explains what they learned. Because each one has gone to a different sage, they compare notes. If there is disagreement, they stand up as a team. Finally, the disagreements are aired and resolved.

9. Partners (Kagan) - The class is divided into teams of four. Partners move to one side of the room. Half of each team is given an assignment to master to be able to teach the other half. Partners work to learn and can consult with other partners working on the same material. Teams go back together with each set of partners teaching the other set. Partners quiz and tutor teammates. Team reviews how well they learned and taught and how they might improve the process.

1.David and Roger Johnson. "Cooperative Learning." [Online] www.clcrc.com/pages/cl.html>.
2.David and Roger Johnson. "An Overview of Cooperative Learning." [Online] www.clcrc.com/pages/overviewpaper.html>.
3.Howard Community College's Teaching Resources. "Ideas on Cooperative Learning and the use of Small Groups." [Online] www.howardcc.edu/profdev/resources/learning/groups1.htm>.
4.Kagan, S. Kagan Structures for Emotional Intelligence. Kagan Online Magazine. http://www.kaganonline.com/Newsletter/index.html

Kagan, Spencer. Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing, 1994. www.KaganOnline.com

24 January, 2009

Change and the Profession of Teaching

By C. Radhakrishnan

There is always a very close relationship between the concept of ‘change’ and the profession of teaching. Change is very essential for becoming a successful teacher. Teaching is a profession that needs up gradation on a daily basis. But in reality, we teachers have some kind of grudge towards new ideologies and methodologies. We always remain our self in a narrow shell and feel comfortable and think every thing is perfect. However we fail to understand the minds of children who are under our care. These children evaluate and observe things or facts from an entirely different angle. Once we fail to understand that angle, our teaching would not have any effect on these learners.

Let’s ponder over these questions – How many of us like to watch a 1970’s or 80’s action movie every day on a black and white television? I am sure; majority would answer in the negative. Why don’t we like to watch? We don’t want because in these movies we can’t find any variety, modernity, colour, pace or relevance. Now introspect your teaching, it would be very clear that our teaching also resembles for the children like 1970’s or 80’s movies on a black and white television. Really, you feel how these children bear with us every day, not for half an hour but for five to six hours.

Let me come to the point, many of our students actually want to learn, for a better future, but some how they are not able to. The reason is they are unmotivated through our traditional black and white classroom environment. Many educationists argue that it is the teachers’ attitude that effects their motivation. Teachers must understand that students cannot be motivated by the same old message of sit down, shut up and listen so that you can memorise facts to write on to the test paper. It seems obvious that they are not necessarily unmotivated or unwilling learners. They are simply uninvolved in the depersonalisation of the traditional classroom. They are ready to learn, but simply may not be able to cope up with the way they are taught.

Thus it is we, not the students have to change. Making a change requires a great deal of soul searching and rethinking by each one of us. Remember the words of Barrack Obama; if we want change, we have to change ourselves. If we wait for others it will never happen. So let’s take a pledge, “I will change my self into a most modern plasma television set which has clarity, brightness, modernity, variety, pace and all other features that the present generation of students are much fond off”.

As teachers/educators we should have a paradigm change to become a real ‘Guru’ from the status of a mere teacher. Evidently, according to the Indian tradition the Guru is not just a teacher but much more. A teacher teaches but a Guru dispels darkness. This indicates the close relationship between the teacher and the taught. So it is the responsibility of each one of us to make necessary changes in our mindset for dispelling darkness and to bring new rays of hope and light into the minds of children under our care. To conclude, ‘a teacher, who is attempting to teach without inspiring the students with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron’.

23 January, 2009

Whom Should He Be Made..... My Dream.....

By Mr. O. T. Remanan, Art Teacher, HRS, TTL, Munnar.

“Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”
- Swami Vivekananda.

When we think of children, we think of the mother’s love. The selfless prayers in the minds of mothers and their untiring efforts help the children to become good human beings.

As far as a teacher is concerned, children are like clay in the hands of a sculptor. A sculptor can make anything out of clay, according to his imagination. God has decided something special in every child. That something special is flowering through his life.

We cannot predict a child lying in the cradle, what he will become in the future. Perhaps in the future this child will become a Tagore or a Gandhi or a Tolstoy and so on. Education is drawing out what is special from the child. As teachers, it is our challenge and responsibility to explore the real instincts and find in the best in a child. This will help the child to discover himself and also become a worthy citizen. Let us pray to God to give us the intelligence and strength to mould our children in to a valuable human being.

21 January, 2009


(Preparing the student’s mind for learning)

The following 21 brain-compatible teaching practices offer teachers specific strategies to maximize their students’ learning:

1. Immediately engage the attention of learners when they come into the classroom. The activities need to be of high interest and anchored in benchmarks or standard. They can be used to build readiness for a lesson about to be taught or review a previously taught concept. (The brain remembers best what comes first and next what comes last. Information lingers in the sensory memory only ¾ of a second. Then information is either forgotten or sent to short term memory. If the teacher does not engage the attention of the learner, something else will!)

2. Routinely post lesson outcomes, benchmarks, or standards in a specific place on the chalkboard so students can refer to these. An agenda for the day and homework assignments should also have a regular place on the board. (Advance organizers trigger attention and are linked to promoting memory.)

3. Use state standards to design curriculum and instruction and assess student work. (Research indicates that high performing, high poverty schools implemented this practice with notable results. Making the brain aware of performance targets increases attention.)

4. Involve students in active learning experiences that engage a variety of learning channels: auditory, visual, kinesthetic. Seek ways to structure activities so that students may have an opportunity to use a variety of “intelligences” (visual-spatial, mathematical-logical, verbal-linguistic, musical, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.) (we remember only 10% to 20% of what we hear. Active involvement focuses attention and increase the probability that students will remember what they have “rehearsed.”)

5. Engage students in learning tasks, such as experiments or experiential activities that require them to actively construct meaning. (The brain actually forms new neural connections when it is actively engaged in meaning “meaning making” based on experiences.)

6. Chunk curriculum content appropriate to the developmental age of the learner. (The capacity of short-term memory appears to develop with developmental age. This understanding has major implications for the design and delivery of curriculum.)

7. Change activities for at least 4 or 5 times within the context of a lesson. For example, students may be first be actively engaged in a warm-up activity, report out, experience direct instruction , create a graphic organizer to summarize learning, stand, pair and share their work (with other students), and respond to a prompt in their learning journals. (The more “firsts” and “lasts” within a lesson, the more memorable its content.)

8. Provide opportunities for meaningful “rehearsal” or practice after initial content has been introduced. Periodically provide review activities to distribute rehearsal opportunities over time. (The more opportunities a student has to meaningfully rehearse, the greater the chance that information will move from short-term to long-term memory. Providing rehearsal opportunities using a variety of learning channels will maximize the probability that long-term retention will occur.)

9. Structure opportunities for movement during learning experiences. (Movement provides oxygen to the brain, increases attention, and in some cases, integrates communication between the right and left hemispheres.)

10. Seek opportunities to integrate the curriculum. For example, in the Dear America series, students read autobiographical accounts written by fictional characters based on actual historical events. So history comes alive in a language-arts context. (Subjects are not found in isolation in the real world. Long-term memory stores information in networks of association. The more “associations” or connections a student has with a particular fact or concept, the more easily that information can be recalled.)

11. Use humour related to content. For example, concepts may be taught using a cartoon lecture. (Humour increases retention up to 15 %!)

12. Engage students in a variety of tasks that require higher order thinking skills. (Analysis, synthesis, and evaluation tasks require students to access and use remembered information to foster new neural connections in the brain.)

13. Provide for a variety of flexible grouping contexts that engage students in working with different classmates. (Much learning occurs through social interaction. Students can receive instruction appropriate to their learning needs and pace in small group settings. As students master academic content, they simultaneously develop skills in working with, and appreciating, others. For many students, a small group setting reduces anxiety.)

14. Assign and grade relevant homework that extends rehearsal opportunities and reflects how content will ultimately be assessed. (Students learn more when they complete homework that is graded, commented upon, and discussed by their teachers.) Whenever possible, engage students in developing rubrics to assess their work. This increase their awareness of key attributes of quality work, and lends credibility and authenticity to the grading process.

15. Match instruction and assessment practices consistent with how standards and bench marks ultimately will be assessed and the setting in which assessment will occur. (Research on “state dependence” indicates that the content will be most easily recalled when it is assessed under the same conditions as when it was originally learned.)

16. Use authentic and assessment measures. Engage students in applying new and recent learning in a real world context. (The brain remembers based on what is embedded in a particular context. For example, to remember what one had for dinner last Saturday night, most people will have to first remember where they were.)

17. Provide opportunities for students to summarize their learning in written or verbal form and communicate them to others. (Summarizing strengthens neural connections. When students “rehearse” through reciprocal teaching, retention is enhanced 65% to 90 %!)

18. Monitor and invite students to monitor their own progress. (Self-monitoring and feedback can be a source for intrinsic motivation and may increase attention and focus.)

19. Select assignments that are challenging and interesting. Provide a support to help students achieve success in a psychologically safe environment. (The brain learns best in an atmosphere of “high challenge and low threat”.)

20. Create a learning environment where students perceive that they are:

1. Safe from physical, verbal, or psychological harm;
2. Free to experiment and take risks when learning;
3. “connected” in their relationships with others –including the teachers and other students; and
4. Valued members of the class.

(Emotions drive attention which drives learning and memory. If students feel safe and cared for, if teachers and others are responsive to their needs, their ability to focus and learn will be enhanced.)

21. Encourage parents to stimulate their children’s intellectual development and to provide a caring, responsive climate in the home. For instance, teachers can ask parents to help their child rehearse a report presentation to be given in a class, or discuss the results of a recent class science experiment. (Environment plays a key role in development and intelligence. Verbal interaction with children, for example, has a direct impact on language and vocabulary development. A caring responsive climate contributes to the development of a child’s sense of self-esteem.)



The best way of dealing with school misbehavior is by preventing it. Schools with good discipline not only correct misbehavior but also teach appropriate behavior and coping skills.

Prevention strategies include:
• Establishing clear behavior expectations and guidelines.
• Focusing on student success and self-esteem.
• Seeking student input on discipline rules.
• Using a “systems approach” for prevention, intervention and resolution and developing levels of incremental consequences.
• Enforcing rules with consistency, fairness, and calmness.
• Planning lessons that provide realistic opportunities for success for all students.
• Monitoring the classroom environment continuously to prevent off-task behavior, and student disruptions, and for providing help to students who are having difficulty and supplemental tasks to students who finish work early.

There are a number of programs that have proven effective:

Social Skills Instruction

There are many commercially available programs that teach social skills. These programs help students learn how to make good choices and teach them the social skills they need to behave appropriately such as listening, asking questions politely, cooperation and sharing. Social skills are described in behavioral terms. The skills are modeled and practiced. Students are provided reinforcement and feedback and are taught self-monitoring skills.

Character Education Program

The curriculum includes teaching children to think about how their actions affect others, how to manage anger, and how to make good choices. Example: Community of Caring Program (Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation l994)

Student Recognition Program Commonly held values are taught and recognized including pride, respect, responsibility, caring and honesty. An awards assembly is held periodically to honor students who demonstrate these values and an attempt is made to make sure all students are honored sometime during the year.

Peer Mediation

Students are given specific instruction in active listening, restating problem situations from their own and disputants’ perspectives, anger management, identifying feelings, brainstorming and developing solutions to problems. Peer mediators are trained to help disputants solve problems that might otherwise escalate into conflict and result in punitive actions against the disputants.

Internet Resource: OSEP Technical Assistance Center of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

This program gives schools assistance in identifying, adapting and sustaining effective school wide disciplinary practices. http://www.pbis.org

Second Step Violence Prevention Program

“The award-winning SECOND STEP violence prevention program integrates academics with social and emotional learning. Kids from preschool through Grade 8 learn and practice vital social skills, such as empathy, emotion management, problem solving, and cooperation. These essential life skills help students in the classroom, on the playground, and at home.

The SECOND STEP program is research-based and approved for funding on many federal agency lists. It has been shown to reduce discipline referrals, improve school climate by building feelings of inclusiveness and respect, and increase the sense of confidence and responsibility in students.

The program includes teacher-friendly lessons, training for educators, and parent-education tools.”

FAST Track Program

“FAST Track is a comprehensive and long-term prevention program that aims to prevent chronic and severe conduct problems for high-risk children. It is based on the view that antisocial behavior stems from the interaction of multiple influences, and it includes the school, the home, and the individual in its intervention. FAST Track’s main goals are to increase communication and bonds between these three domains, enhance children’s social, cognitive, and problem-solving skills, improve peer relationships, and ultimately decrease disruptive behavior in the home and school.
FAST Track is an intervention that can be implemented in rural and urban areas for boys and girls of varying ethnicity, social class, and family composition (i.e., the primary intervention is designed for all youth in a school setting). It specifically targets children identified in kindergarten for disruptive behavior and poor peer relations.”

Other alternatives and punishments

Restorative Justice Conferences

This is part of a process developed by the Colorado School Mediation Project which helps students learn to be accountable for their actions. These often involve conferences of the offender, persons offended, the parents, and school representatives who have an opportunity to tell the offender how they were affected and what they need to happen to go on. The object is for the offender to act to correct the situation: restore relationships, apologize, pay back, clean up, do community service, etc.

Other alternatives include:

Use of discipline codes which are fair and consistently enforced, emphasizing positive behaviors of students, use of school psychologists and school counselors and use of community mental health professionals and agencies.

Punishments include:

In-school and out-of-school suspension programs, expulsion, Saturday Schools, restitution, detention and parent pick-up programs.

Dealing with Students’ Misbehaviour

By C. Radhakrishnan

Of course, all teachers no matter how excellent will need to deal with students’ misbehaviour from time to time. Being able to deal with such behaviour is extremely important in complementing their ability to create and maintain effective learning experiences. Effective techniques and skills needed to combat misbehaviour should be accompanied by excellent and interesting learning experiences otherwise we cannot expect the right kind of attitudinal or behavioural change in the child. Experienced teachers understand that the key to success is not how you deal with misbehaviour but rather how you prevent misbehaviour happening to start with. The most significant advice in this context is to try and think why the problem arose in the first place.

Any behaviour by a student that undermines the teacher’s ability to establish and retain effective learning experiences in the classroom can be considered as student misbehaviour. However, as teachers, we must accept that student misbehaviour originates from some psychological need. Robertson in his book ‘Effective Classroom Control’ has argued that when considering the cause of misbehaviour it is useful to identify what the motive of the student might be. He has identified four such common motives - attention seeking, causing excitement, malicious teasing and avoiding work.

The proverb ‘prevention is better than cure’ applies very well to dealing with student misbehaviour. The greatness and effectiveness of the teacher lies entirely with how the teacher prevents recurrence of misbehaviour among the students. Chris Kyriacou (Effective Teaching in Schools – Theory and Practice) says “the key skill of pre-empting misbehaviour resides in vigilance plus action.” ‘Vigilance’ involves the teacher monitoring the students’ behaviour (their attentiveness and receptiveness) and the appropriateness of the learning activities. ‘Action’ is what the teacher does to sustain students’ academic engagement in the learning experience whenever it appears to be slipping. Besides this, it is very important from the part of the teacher to establish clear rules and expectations with regard to classroom behaviour. Above all teachers should have the ability to anticipate problems and need to take necessary steps to prevent students’ misbehaviour.

Another important aspect in dealing with students’ misbehaviour is reprimands and punishments. Before we turn into that aspect I want to emphasise that reprimands and punishments must be accompanied by encouragement and support of desirable behaviour (praise, awards, positive remarks, etc.). Over emphasis on reprimands and punishments would certainly undermine the quality of the working relationship between teacher and students.

In essence a reprimand embodies a warning aimed to stop the misbehaviour and prevents its future recurrence while a punishment embodies a statement that the misbehaviour is so serious that formal action is required which is intended to be unpleasant in order to emphasise the severity of the situation. Such a formal action should have:

1. Retribution: Justice requires that bad acts are followed by morally deserved punishment.

2. Deterrence: The punishment is aimed to put off the student or other students from similar misbehaviour in the future through fear of consequences.

3. Rehabilitation: The punishment is aimed to assist the student in understanding the moral wrongdoing of the misbehaviour and desiring not to repeat it again.

Finally, let us look into some actions that help to make reprimands and punishments effective in dealing with student misbehaviour.


• Target Correctly: Correctly identify the student instigating or engaged in the misbehaviour.

• Be Firm: A verbal reprimand should be clear and firm and the tone should be authoritative and induce compliance.

• Build on Mutual Rapport and Mutual Respect: Understand the children and they should feel that teacher is not targeting the individual but the misbehaviour. Avoid mockery and ridicule.

• Emphasise the Positive: Emphasise what student should be doing rather than complain about what they are doing. ‘Pay attention’ is better than ‘stop looking out of the window’.

• Follow through Psychologically: Reprimand should be accompanied by a momentary prolonging of eye contact together with a slight pause before continuing the lesson increases the force of the exchange.

• Avoid Confrontations: Do not force the student into a situation where an emotional or heated exchange results, in such a case postpone the exchange by asking the student to stay behind and resume the lesson.

• Use Private rather than Public Reprimands: A quiet word, eye contact, physical proximity and asking a question.

• Avoid Making Hostile Remarks: Once a student personally disliked, disaffection and alienation may quickly follow.

• Avoid Unfair Comparisons: Stereotyping, labelling or comparisons with other students.

• Avoid Idle Threats: Threats of consequences which can not be carried out must not be made.

• Avoid Reprimanding the Whole Class: Reprimanding the whole class means we are unable to find and stop the individual act of misbehaviour.


• Judicious Use: Punishment should be used sparingly, only after other ways of dealing (such as changing teaching strategies, counselling and reprimands).

• Timing: Immediately after the offence if there is a long delay the link should be re-established at the time of punishment.

• Tone: Punishment should not be given as a result of a teacher losing his or her temper rather it should be an expression of just and severe disapproval of the misbehaviour and given because it is in the interest of the student and the class as a whole.

• Fitting the Crime: The type and severity of the punishment must fit the offence.

• Due Process: Fair warning and consistency must be applied; in addition, students should be given an opportunity to defend their behaviour, and encouraged to understand and accept why the punishment is just, deserved and appropriate.

• Relating to School Policy: The punishment must relate to the overall policy of the school towards discipline. (All the points mentioned under reprimands and also apply to punishments.)

Print References:

1. Fontana, D. - Managing Classroom Behaviour

2. Robertson, J. – Effective Classroom Control

3. Kyriacou, Chris – Effective Teaching in Schools – Theory and Practice

Positive Discipline Guidelines

From the book Positive Discipline
by Jane Nelsen

1. Misbehaving children are “discouraged children” who have mistaken ideas on how to achieve their primary goal—to belong. Their mistaken ideas lead them to misbehavior. We cannot be effective unless we address the mistaken beliefs rather than just the misbehavior.

2. Use encouragement to help children feel “belonging” so the motivation for misbehaving will be eliminated. Celebrate each step in the direction of improvement rather than focusing on mistakes.

3. A great way to help children feel encouraged is to spend special time “being with them.” Many teachers have noticed a dramatic change in a “problem child” after spending five minutes simply sharing what they both like to do for fun.

4. When tucking children into bed, ask them to share with you their “saddest time” during the day and their “happiest time” during the day. Then you share with them. You will be surprised what you learn.

5. Have family meetings or class meetings to solve problems with cooperation and mutual respect. This is the key to creating a loving, respectful atmosphere while helping children develop self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation, and problem-solving skills.

6. Give children meaningful jobs. In the name of expediency, many parents and teachers do things that children could do for themselves and one another. Children feel belonging when they know they can make a real contribution.

7. Decide together what jobs need to be done. Put them all in a jar and let each child draw out a few each week; that way no one is stuck with the same jobs all the time. Teachers can invite children to help them make class rules and list them on a chart titled, “We decided:”. Children have ownership, motivation, and enthusiasm when they are included in the decisions.

8. Take time for training. Make sure children understand what “clean the kitchen” means to you. To them it may mean simply putting the dishes in the sink. Parents and teachers may ask, “What is your understanding of what is expected?”

9. Teach and model mutual respect. One way is to be kind and firm at the same time—kind to show respect for the child, and firm to show respect for yourself and “the needs of the situation.” This is difficult during conflict, so use the next guideline whenever you can.

10. Proper timing will improve your effectiveness tenfold. It does not “work” to deal with a problem at the time of conflict—emotions get in the way. Teach children about cooling-off periods. You (or the children) can go to a separate room and do something to make yourself feel better—and then work on the problem with mutual respect.

11. Get rid of the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first you have to make them feel worse. Do you feel like doing better when you feel humiliated? This suggests a whole new look at
“time out.”

12. Use Positive Time Out. Let your children help you design a pleasant area (cushions, books, music, stuffed animals) that will help them feel better. Remember that children do better when they feel better. Then you can ask your children, when they are upset, “Do you think it would help you to take some positive time out?”

13. Punishment may “work” if all you are interested in is stopping misbehavior for “the moment.” Sometimes we must beware of what works when the long range results are negative—resentment, rebellion, revenge, or retreat.

14. Teach children that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn! A great way to teach children that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn is to model this yourself by using the Three Rs of Recovery after you have made a mistake:
(1) Recognize your mistake.
(2) Reconcile: Be willing to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t like the way I handled that.”
(3) Resolve: Focus on solutions rather than blame.
(#3 is effective only if you do #1 & #2 first.)

15. Focus on solutions instead of consequences. Many parents and teachers try to disguise punishment by calling it a logical consequence. Get children involved in finding solutions that are
(1) related
(2) respectful
(3) reasonable

16. Make sure the message of love and respect gets through. Start with “I care about you. I am concerned about this situation. Will you work with me on a solution?”

17. Have fun!
Bring joy into homes and classrooms.

Some practical ideas for working learning into your life

Principals expect teachers and students to take ownership of their learning. They must expect no less of themselves as they continually seek to improve their professional knowledge and skills.

Consider this scenario: A new federal law obligates each public school principal to take an annual standardized test, with questions based on national standards of leadership. Schools must analyze principals’ scores- disaggregated for demographic characteristics- and examine whether their leaders are making “adequate yearly progress.”

Foolish we say. Yet we hold each teacher in a school community accountable for student achievement, and we hold students responsible for their own learning. Isn’t principals’ learning part of this chain? Can we ask more of others than of ourselves?

On the Cutting Edge

Good principals provide multiple opportunities for teacher learning because we believe that having skilled teachers correlates with strong student learning. But how often do we rely on information we recall from distant coursework, superficial mandated workshops, or district presentations?

Often, we neglect our own learning because we are too busy “working”. Yet we hold doctors, lawyers and car mechanics accountable for updating their knowledge and skills. Who would put their health in the hands of a doctor who relied on knowledge gained in medical college 25 years ago? Principals need to remain on the cutting edge of professional learning.

Many administrators do return to school. Doctoral programs for school leaders proliferate and provide great depth for principals’ learning. States demand compliance with a variety of standards for certification renewal, but complying with such laws differs significantly from personal efforts to maintain and improve professional expertise. True learning is job embedded, shared with other principals, and rooted in deeply considered ideas about leadership and schools.

Taking hold of our own learning requires more than compliance. It requires each of us to pursue knowledge voraciously.

Here are some practical ideas for working learning into your life:

ü Read everything you can that relate to schools, teaching and leadership. Professional journals proliferate. Subscribe to several and read them religiously. Skim some articles and study others, looking for the ideas of fellow practitioners as well as those of thoughtful academics who push your thinking. Take time during the day to read- with the office door open. This action will speak louder than any words to encourage students and teachers to learn.

ü Become informed about any programs your school is considering adopting or has initiated. Research them thoroughly and insist that teachers do the same. Avoid the pitfall of adopting silver bullets of educational reform. Easily accessible online resources provide extensive information about any creditable program.

ü Attend professional meetings-and tell teachers you are “out learning.”

ü Intentionally pursue conversations with other practitioners about the craft of leadership; listen to your colleagues and learn from them. Schedule and commit to these conversations as you would any other appointment.

ü Reflect often and deeply about your effectiveness as a principal. View your work through the eyes of those you serve. If those you work with see no congruity between their core values and yours, they will simply wait out your tenure in the building. Teachers stay, but principals move on.

ü Show by your actions that growth means more than complying with directives of the central office, the school board, or others. When our professional growth consists of superficial compliance, our teachers will practice without reflection as well. Professional learning communities hold learning and community, not fulfilling a prescribed role, as their primary core values.

ü Seek feedback about your work. Ask teachers and others to give you feedback so that you can bring some change to mitigate hurt feelings, confusion, or a mistaken perception teachers had of you that you are unaware of. Teachers have a different perspective on principals’ effectiveness.

ü Listen to books on tape or podcasts when driving. Good literature or public media broadcasts broaden our thinking and enrich us.

School leadership is not our job; it’s our profession. Some see school leaders as a profound calling; for most of us, principalship is at the core of our being and gives meaning to our lives. Surely the work we do calls us to place learning at the heart of our actions.

13 January, 2009

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ - Daniel Goleman

Reviewed by C. Radhakrishnan

Is having a high IQ indicative of future success?
Not necessarily.

Goleman's research studies the factors at work when those with high IQs struggle and those with only modest IQs excel. These factors represent another way of being smart - one Goleman refers to as "Emotional Intelligence".

Daniel Goleman's 1995 bestseller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ has managed an achievement not many bestsellers can generally boast: it has influenced society and public policy -- from business practices to teaching pedagogy to parenting techniques.

You might even say Emotional Intelligence has started a small revolution ‘the revolution of emotional awareness’. The focus of Emotional Intelligence is on a series of skills, mostly having to do with social interaction and self-knowledge, that Goleman and plenty of other persons argue make up a neglected sort of smarts. The argument running throughout the book is that to be intelligent in the ways that schools and colleges measure such things is certainly advantageous, but it's much more important to your general success in life-and health and happiness - to be emotionally intelligent: to be able to do things like identify and label your feelings, to be empathic, to delay gratification, and to be able to read and interpret social signs.

This book focuses its attention on that most indefinable of human theatres of emotions - leads one to imagine that it is perhaps a self-help guide, full of half-cooked ideas and feel-good philosophy. But, pleasingly, it is a book that in its best moments is firmly rooted in psychology and neuroscience research findings, and by and large it is a book that makes sound sense. In its not-so-enjoyable moments, incidentally, it sometimes slips over research implications, fails to define its terms, and relies, in places, too heavily on unsubstantiated story. But these shortcomings are largely the result of the huge ambition of the book and should by no means prevent anyone from picking it up.

What has made Emotional Intelligence possible are the amazing advancements made in the brain sciences in the last few decades of the twentieth century? The human brain, like some newly discovered continent, has rapidly been brought into focus in recent years and the process of mapping every circuit of its immensely complicated system is underway. Daniel Goleman has capitalised on all these developments beautifully.

The most compelling parts of Emotional Intelligence are the result of Goleman's bringing scientific research to bear on the questions of emotions and on what an early researcher in the field, Eileen Rockefeller Growald, first called "emotional literacy," a phrase that suggests the importance of these skills to get on in the world. In Part One, Goleman explains in detail what is included in the functional emotional brain -- particularly, the limbic system's amygdala and its interface with the prefrontal lobes -- how the emotional brain evolved, and why it still plays such a dominant part in our lives despite the ability of the neo-cortex-what Goleman calles "the thinking brain" -- to reason. This part of the book, being a student of history, I felt very boring and difficult to understand even though he explained it very well.

The concept of emotional intelligence, we come to understand, is surprisingly far reaching - it is not, as one would expect, just the ability to get along well with others. Goleman includes sections on the emotional differences between men and women in relationship with one another (and the fascinating physiological-based testing methods used to define them), on the neuroscience of post-traumatic stress disorder (an emotional brain illness, of sorts), and the way emotional deficiencies are passed down through families by example. One of the most appealing chapters of Emotional Intelligence handles the role of emotions in medical health. He writes that "People who experienced chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness and pessimism, unremitting tension or incessant hostility, relentless cynicism or suspiciousness, were found to have double the risk of disease-including asthma, arthritis, headaches, peptic ulcers, and heart disease."

The argument of the book - that emotional intelligence is a real if not wholly solid thing and that it is likely more important than current methods of weighing potential success - is a compelling one. Everyone, after all, knew someone growing up who was "booksmart," who may be toped the Entrance exams and marched through a college engineering curricula as if asleep, but whose success in the workplace has been moderate, and who never really learned how to participate in a conversation. These are the people we might say are "poorly adjusted." Goleman argues that these people have a deficiency in emotional intelligence.

After all the bad news ... there is some good. Goleman believes that emotional intelligence is not "fixed at birth". He gives instructions and examples on how we can as parents and teachers help our children improve their emotional intelligence thereby improving their lives and opportunities. For those of us past the age of adolescence, it is also possible to make improvements and changes in our lives.

The identification of emotional intelligence and the implementation of emotional intelligence courses into our schools and jobs will undoubtedly not be the answer that Goleman and others hope it to be, our emotional life certainly seems like something most of us could stand to think a little more about. But one thing I am very sure as an educator, after reading the chapters related to learning and emotional intelligence; some drastic changes must be introduced into our curriculum to impart some training to our children to develop this new arena of intelligence, otherwise the whole exercise we carry out in K-12 system may go in vain.

This book gives other qualities besides just intelligence recognition for their importance. Keep reading!

Positive Emotions Are the Key to Life

By Brian Tracy
(Brian is one of America’s leading authorities on the development of the human potential. He is the best selling author of 23 books, has trained 2 million people in 23 countries and his clients include IBM, Verizon Wireless, Bank of America and thousands of people just like you.)

Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.

Your Main Energy Source
Here’s the important point. Positive emotions give you energy, while negative emotions deplete your energy. When you are excited and happy and are interacting with people you love and enjoy, you sparkle with energy and enthusiasm. When you are angry or depressed, or negative for any reason, you feel tired and frustrated and, eventually, burned out.

You Burn A Lot of Energy
It takes 1,000 units of physical energy to operate your body and you do not do physical labor, that physical energy can be refined in your body to produce 100 units of emotional energy. Emotional energy is a far more refined form of energy, and it is absolutely essential to healthy emotional functioning.

Creating Mental Energy
If you do not consume all your energy units in the _expression of negative emotions, such as fear, doubt, anger, and resentment, your emotional energies are conserved. If your energy is conserved at one level, your body continues to refine it into higher and better energy. 100 units of emotional energy thus conserved will be refined by your body into 10 units of mental energy.

Anger Is A Killer
You’ve probably heard someone described as “shaking with anger.” When a person is shaking with anger, it is an indication that he has burned up the glucose or sugar-based energy in his system, and he is actually weak from his angry outburst.

Keep Yourself Calm
Another characteristic of very successful people is that they keep themselves calm much longer than the average person does. They are more relaxed, more genial, and more in control of their emotions. They are very aware that expressions of negative emotion deprive them of the energy they need to be effective in the more important things they do. They don’t allow themselves to become upset or angry over little things, or even over large things. They remain objective and detached.

They stand back and refuse to take things personally. They do not allow themselves to get drawn into arguments or other people’s problems. They save their energy for more productive purposes. The whole purpose of physical relaxation is to allow yourself to recharge your emotional and mental batteries.

You don’t engage in physical relaxation so much to relax your physical body because it’s likely you don’t work that hard with your body. The aim of rest and relaxation is more to build up your mental and emotional energies and thereby improve the overall quality of your life.

Action Exercises
Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:
1. Keep your thoughts on your dreams and goals, and keep them off of the things and people that cause you stress and negative emotions. This is not easy, but it’s very important.
2. Preserve your emotional energy by staying calm and positive in difficult situations rather than allowing yourself to be upset or angry.
3. Take ample time to rest completely so you can recharge your physical and emotional batteries. The better rested you are, the more effective you will be.

Frames Of Mind: Theory of Multiple Intelligences - Howard Gardner

Target Readers: Teachers, trainers, coaches, parents, students of psychology - those people who have an interest in defining, understanding and exploring the concept of intelligence/intelligences and its place within the learning arena.

Summary of the Book: Howard Gardner's 'Frames of Mind' - The theory of multiple intelligences challenges the traditional views of "IQ", in which intelligence testing is solely on specific measurable traits; like general problem solving skill and comprehension. He puts forward the idea that there are seven or more intelligences and that it is not 'if you are smart' but how you are smart.

The book has been written in three parts. Part one summarises the principle themes of frames of mind and explains where multiple intelligences is situated within the history of intelligence and he then reviews 'what is intelligence?’.

Then in part two of the book he describes in details each of the 7 intelligences: the 'Linguistic', 'Logical', 'Mathematical', 'Musical', 'Spatial', 'Bodily, 'Kinaesthetic' and the 'Personal Intelligence'. Following the introduction of the intelligences and a description of their perspective 'modes of operations', he presents a critique of the theory in terms of "those deficiencies most evident at the time of writing this book"

In part three of the book Howard Gardner concludes with some considerations of how intelligence can and does develop within a culture, and how they can be utilised in various educational settings.

Must Read Lessons:
Howard Gardner's theory on 'Multiple Intelligences'.
Chapter 5 Linguistic Intelligence
Chapter 6 Musical Intelligence
Chapter 7 Logical Mathematical Intelligence
Chapter 8 Spatial Intelligence
Chapter 9 Bodily Kinaesthetic Intelligence
Chapter 10 The Personal Intelligences
Chapter 14 The application of Intelligences

My Views:
This excellent book really opens up the world of so called 'Intelligence' and how the educational world appears to evolve around one or two intelligences. It looks at how the world could look if we were to consider the idea that there may be more than a couple of intelligences. This book requires time and concentration to read but is well worth it.

If you want to know only 'What are Multiple Intelligences then I would suggest only must chapters above. If you are someone who also needs to know what has led Howard Gardner to 'Frames of Minds' then it is important to read the first four chapters. This is one of the books from which 'Accelerated Learning' has been developed. Therefore, knowledge of 'Multiple Intelligence' could answer some of the questions that we have as teachers, trainers, coaches and managers and as parents.

Wish you happy reading!

By C. Radhakrishnan

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is still on the bestseller lists having sold some fifteen million copies. And, people want to know more about Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. So, I decided to review The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in more detail.

Borrowing slightly from the concepts of Quantum Mechanics, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People begins with the astute observation that people perceive the world differently, and because we view the world with our own unique "lens," it is difficult to separate the observation from the observer.

Covey says that we all have our own paradigm, which is our own map of how we perceive the world and how we think the world should be in our ideal view. Covey writes, "The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act."

Covey goes on to explain: "...[T]hese paradigms are the source of our attitudes and behaviors. We cannot act with integrity outside of them. We simply cannot maintain wholeness if we talk and walk differently than we see. ... To try to change outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow."

So, part of achieving insight involves making a "paradigm shift" which causes us to perceive things differently. Covey notes that life threatening experiences or a major role change in a person's life can change a person's paradigm. Sometimes, just a little more knowledge might help us examine our paradigms.

Covey says that although many people want to be effective in their lives and achieve certain goals or dreams, they are unwilling to honestly examine their own paradigms. They are unwilling to look at the way they look at things.

Among his many examples, Covey tells the story of a manager who has taken management training classes and seminars and who is friendly to his employees. Yet, he doesn't feel that his employees have any loyalty toward him. He feels they lack independence and responsibility. If he took a day off, he believes his employees would goof off and stand around the water cooler talking all day.

Covey suggests the manager ask himself, "But is it possible that under that apparent disloyal behavior, these employees question whether I really act in their best interest? Do they feel like I'm treating them as mechanical objects? ..."

Our paradigms will affect how we interact with others, which in turn will affect how they interact with us. So, Covey argues, any effective self-help program must begin with an "inside-out" approach, rather than looking at our problems as "being out there" (an inside-out approach). We must start by examining our own character, paradigms, and motives.

Covey writes that the inside-out approach says "[I]f you want to have a happy marriage, be the kind of person who generates positive energy and sidesteps negative energy rather than empowering it. If you want to have a more pleasant, cooperative teenager, be a more understanding, empathic, consistent, loving parent. If you want to have more freedom, more latitude in your job, be a more responsible, a more helpful, a more contributing employee. If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy. If you want the secondary greatness of recognized talent, focus first on primary greatness of character."

Hence, character and principles are keys to success, effectiveness, and happiness in life. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People points out: "Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value. ...One way to quickly grasp the self-evident nature of principles is to simply consider the absurdity of attempting to live an effective life based on their opposites. I doubt that anyone would seriously consider unfairness, deceit, baseness, uselessness, mediocrity, or degeneration to be a solid foundation for lasting happiness and success."

After discussing the importance of character, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People jumps into the habits you should work toward creating as a part of your life. The first three habits, Covey says, are habits of independence. They will help you achieve a private victory of being more personally effective and independent.
Stephen Covey's Habits of Independence:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Covey says you must use your resourcefulness and your initiative to work toward your personal goals. In particular, each person has both a circle of influence and a circle of concern. Worrying endlessly about things outside of your circle of influence isn't particularly productive. Working within your circle of influence is productive. Further, the more effective you become, the more your circle of influence will expand.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Covey starts with the extreme example of considering your death. What do you want people to say about you at your funeral? How will you be remembered? Note to budding, self-help writers: Leave the funeral spiel out. It's not particularly motivating!
Covey says that many people climb the ladder of success only to find the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. He writes, "We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind."

To succeed, Covey suggests visualization. He points out many peak, athletic performers are visualizers. Covey writes: "You can do it [visualization] in any area of your life. Before a performance, a sales presentation, a difficult confrontation, or the daily challenge of meeting a goal, see it clearly, vividly, relentlessly, over and over again. Create an internal "comfort zone." Then, when you get into the situation, it isn't foreign. It doesn't scare you."

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Put First Things First is the habit that became a book. But, we'll wait for the movie. While we strongly recommend The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the book, First Things First, didn't really seem to add any significant insight to the basic theme. Big rocks, sand, jar. Put the big rocks in the jar first, so they will fit. Same old, same old.

The key to putting first things first is to understand that you have many things you can do which will have a significant, positive impact on your life. But, you probably don't do them, because they aren't urgent. They can be delayed. Of course, so will your success.

Covey stresses that you must balance Production (P) with Productive Capability (PC). You must keep the engine producing, but also maintain the engine. You must allocate time to improve your Productive Capability. You shouldn't spend time doing unimportant things.

Covey says that all time management can be summed up by one short line: "Organize and execute around priorities." He's correct. And, that's why you don't need to read First Things First! The first-things-first chapter in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People will teach you all you need to know about time management.

The remaining habits in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are habits of interdependence. Rather than being dependent upon other people, or trying to be totally independent, we learn how to be more effective by effectively working with others.

Covey writes: "Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won't be good leaders or team players. They're not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organizational reality."
Stephen Covey's Habits of Interdependence.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Thinking Win/Win means seeking mutual benefit in your human interactions. Covey points out that many people think Win/Lose. They internally believe, "If I win, you lose." Such people focus upon power and credentials, but have trouble building meaningful relationships. Such people drive other people away and are seldom extremely effective. Such Win/Lose thinking is encouraged and programmed into us by society.

Covey writes: "[A] ...powerful programming agent is athletics, particularly for young men in their high school or college years. Often they develop the basic paradigm that life is a big game, a zero sum game where some win and some lose. 'Winning' is 'beating' ... ."

To be successful you should learn to leverage the strengths of others. To do this effectively involves being able to find Win/Win deals. No deal is better than any non-Win/Win deal.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

Covey observes that few people have training in listening. Most people don't listen. They wait to talk. But, how can you discover Win/Win deals, if you aren't even listening to the other party? Covey also suggests that you don't read your own personal autobiography into the lives of other people. Listening shouldn't be selective listening. Nor should we only pretend to listen to others.

Covey writes: "Communication experts estimate, in fact, that only 10 percent of our communication by the words we say. Another 30 percent is represented by our sounds [tone? Or, does he mean "sounds" like chortle, chortle, grunt, grunt ?], and 60 percent by our body language. In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior. You use your right brain as well as your left. You sense, you intuit, you feel."

Habit 6: Synergize
Covey writes: "What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Covey goes on to discuss synergy in the classroom and synergy in business.

To be effective, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People emphasizes that we must value the differences between people and how they view the world. That difference can be used as a source of insight.

Covey says: "Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy-the mental, the emotional, the psychological differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are."

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
The final habit discussed in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is "Sharpen the Saw," which focuses upon self-renewal. There is an analogy with Habit 3: Put First Things First, where we learned that we must balance Productivity (P) with future Productive Capability (PC). Just as a machine will wear out quickly if not properly maintained, the same is true for your own personal productivity. You must take care of yourself.

Covey breaks personal renewal into four dimensions:

• Physical Renewal covers topics such as exercise and stress management.
• Mental Renewal discusses the need to read, visualize, and plan.
• Social/Emotional Renewal involves interacting with others to build our own sense of well-being.
• Spiritual Renewal involves possible religion, study, and meditation.

School Education and Globalisation – Problems and Prospects

By C. Radhakrishnan
A paper submitted & presented at Vidyodaya Institute of Education and Management, Cochin for Award for Excellence in Teaching - 2008 (Final Round)


Globalisation is no more a recent phenomenon in the world's socio-economic system. In popular discourse, it is often synonymous with internationalisation, referring to the growing interconnectedness and interdependence of people and institutions throughout the world. Influences of a global scale touch aspects of everyday life. For example, the spread of democracy as part of globalization, giving more people access to the political processes that affect their lives, but also, in many places, concealing deeply rooted socioeconomic inequities as well as areas of policy over which very few individuals have a voice. Influences of globalisation are multi-dimensional, having large social, economic, and political implications.

A massive spread of education and of Western oriented norms of learning at all levels at present and the consequences of widely available schooling are a large part of the globalisation process. With regard to the role of schools, globalisation has become a major topic of study.

The Role of Education
As the major formal agency for conveying knowledge, the school features prominently in the process and theory of globalisation. In globalisation, it is not simply the ties of economic exchange and political agreement that bind nations and societies, but also the shared consciousness of being part of a global system. That consciousness is conveyed through ever larger transnational movements of people and an array of different media, but most systematically through formal education. The inexorable transformation of consciousness brought on by globalisation alters the content and contours of education, as schools take on an increasingly important role in the process.

Indian Perspective
The impact of globalisation has been uneven and responses to it are varied in terms of its positive and negative dimensions the world over. While it has speeded up the pace of development in some areas, it has led to certain absurdities in others. Therefore, it is necessary that steps should be taken to reduce, if not remove, its baneful fall out. Globalisation has a multi-dimensional impact on the system of education. It has underlined the need for reforms in the educational system with particular reference to the wider utilisation of information technology, giving productivity dimension to education and emphasis on its research and development activities.

Education is an important investment in building human capital that is a driver for technological innovation and economic growth. It is only through improving the educational status of a society that the multi-faceted development of its people can be ensured. In the post-industrialised world, the advanced countries used to derive the major proportion of their national income not from agriculture and industry but from the service sector. Since the service sector is based on imparting skills or training to the students and youth, the education sector is the most sought after. It must provide gainful employment so that the sector is developed in a big way. It has advocated privatisation of school and college education without realising the danger of making the system a commercial enterprise.

Market driven schooling:
Much of the focus on the role of school education in globalisation has been in terms of the structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and other international lending organisations in developing countries like India. These organisations push cuts in government expenditures and user charges for and privatisation of public services such as education. Consequently, changes in schooling are increasingly driven largely by financial forces and gradually school education gets neglected in the government sector.

In regard to schools, these market driven policies apparently reduce public bureaucracies that obstruct the delivery of more and better education. By reducing wasteful expenditures and increasing responsiveness to demand, these policies promote schooling more efficiently. However, this policy denies standard schooling for millions of students in our country and widens the social gap between English educated with others. The question we have to ponder again and again is; for how many children is it possible to afford costly CBSE, ICSE, IB or IGCSE schooling?


As part of the globalisation process, the spread of education is widely viewed as contributing to democratisation throughout the world. Schools prepare people for participation in the economy and polity, giving them the knowledge to make responsible judgments, the motivation to make appropriate contributions to the well being of society, and a consciousness about the consequences of their behaviour. Along with mass provision of schools, technological advances have permitted distance education to convey modern concepts to the extreme margins of society, exposing new regions and populations to knowledge generated by culturally dominant groups and helping to absorb them into the consumer society.

A policy of using schools as part of the democratisation process often accompanies structural adjustment measures. However, encouraging user fees to help finance schooling has meant a reduced ability of people in some economically backward areas in our country and of the world to buy books and school materials and even attend school, thus enlarging the gap between rich and poor and impeding democracy. Even in areas displaying a rise in educational participation, observers have reported a reduction in civic participation. Increased privatisation of education in the name of capitalist democratisation could invite greater participation of corporate entities, with the prospect of commercialising schools and reducing their service on behalf of the public interest.

Ground Realities: Sadly, the Human Development Report of UNDP indicates that India had the largest national population of illiterates in the world. Even the Article 45 of the Indian Constitution that promised for free and compulsory education within the first decade of our Independence, achieved very little, partly due to its non-judicial character. The simple calculations of free and compulsory education were never gone into though all realized that the total cost would be enormous. Obviously, the Indian Education Commission (1964-66) under the leadership of D. S. Kothari and J. P. Naik as the Chairman and Member-Secretary that laid the foundation of post-Independent India’s national education policy. Thus, the Commission had recommended that 6%, as against 3%, of the national income be allotted as government expenditure on education.

Decades of under-investment in education have created shocking shortages of quality teachers, buildings, laboratories, libraries, sanitary facilities and even drinking water and sanitation facilities in the nation’s decaying school education sector. Though the finance minister cites shortage of investible resources for implementing the 6 percent proposal, it is common knowledge that given political will, additional resources can be deployed into education only by trimming non-merit subsidies to the middle class, and reducing defence expenditure. In the final analysis a national consensus has to be built immediately by the Union ministry on the premise that school and higher education outlays are important investments in the nation’s future. Besides, the emerging political consensus that seeks to reform India’s traditional education, based on mere memorization rather than development of problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills requires immediate attention in the current globalised world.

Recent Trends:
In the wake of globalisation process and to cope up with the changing priorities of the people, the planners are bound to revise their strategies in the education sector. Thus, several specialist committees, involving the elites and captains of industry and education, constituted by the Union ministry are engaged in the process. Whereas, the public interest demands a wider domain for the national debate on syllabus and curriculum reform among other related aspects. The common educational reforms that were endorsed by some of the eminent industrialists and academics include:

Liberalise and deregulate the education system to encourage promotion of new schools and decentralize syllabus design. Central and state governments should change their roles within the education system, re-inventing themselves as facilitating and supervisory organisations. Teacher training, infrastructure and syllabuses need to be urgently upgraded.

Further, because of strong hold of the English language in MNCs and corporate circles, the divide between rural and urban is almost complete in the field of education. In consequence, this great reservoir of skills and expertise offers the opportunity to utilize them for the spread of quality education through several technologies. Again the pace is set by a variety of private ‘educational entrepreneurs’, otherwise known as, ‘edupreneurs’, who have promoted internationally recognized schools such as the Ambani International, Mumbai; Indus International, Bangalore; Birla Schools; Park-wood International, among others. Besides, some Indian ‘edupreneur’ are venturing overseas. These are all certain recent trends that undermine the very social obligations of our governments.

Initiatives of Central Government:
This urgent flood of activity within the existing lethargic education sector has ensured that the vital importance of qualitative education has permeated down to the lowest income groups across the country. Incidentally it was Rajiv Gandhi who was instrumental in laying the foundations of a scheme known as the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. Simultaneously it has focused public attention upon hitherto mysterious subjects such as syllabus design and curriculum development and shifted national attention from ritual to really quality education. Suddenly mere degrees are not as important as skills that school leavers and college graduates must acquire within their institutions of learning.

However, official indifference and unwillingness to engage in constructive debate, a characteristic of our governments is glaring. But there is a glaring evidence of the rising tide of anxiety about the quantity and quality of education being noticeable, as is indicated by the unprecedented provision made in the Union budget in the last two years. Thus, Union finance minister P. Chidambaram committed to imposing a two percent cess on all Central taxes and by promising to raise the annual education outlay to 6 percent of GDP. This may help to raise the additional funds for education. The additional revenue expected this year seems to be used to upgrade education levels in the country. Additional safeguards that the ministry taking to ensure optimal deployment of the incremental revenue for primary education are still mysterious.

Social Obligations:
In fact, the economic reforms have resulted in freezing the public funds to many institutions and in stagnating, the expenditure on education. Thus, educational sector has been more commonly described as, not service sector, but education industry. The free market philosophy has already entered the educational sphere in a big way. Commercialisation of education is the order of the day. Commercial schools have come up everywhere. In view of globalisation, many corporate schools, both foreign and Indian, are encroaching upon our government schools. Once these schools get foothold, their prices would be benchmarked against their global counterparts, which would be affordable to the same top layer of the society. As the job markets become acutely narrow, the polarisation between the elite and non-elite would be clearly noticeable. Meanwhile, various kinds of price barriers would be imposed to prevent the entry of the non-elite like the downtrodden and poor communities.Further, Corporatisation has transformed the schools into an enterprise for profits.

Thanks to Dr. Ambedkar, the government policy of reservations in education and employment spheres has played a remarkable role for Dalits and Adivasis. Now, due to the globalisation policies the winds of change in the name of ‘Economic Reforms’ has slowly shaken the very foundations of the Dalits. In consequence, more than any one else it is Dalits who would be the first ones to be affected very adversely in terms of ‘no reservation in private sector’.

Conclusion: Finally, these reforms envisage the withdrawal of state from its social obligations once for all. Thus, each country should decide about the nature and extent of globalization that can be constructively introduced in their socio-economic and educational systems. While it is difficult to resist the temptation of falling in line with the international community, it is necessary that while doing so, the paramountcy of national interests should be kept in view. This is more so in the field of education, which is intimately connected with the development of human capital. Ultimately, any hasty involvement in the global educational market can end up in harming the vital interests of students, and particularly of poor and downtrodden for generations to come.

Make Room for Your Big Rocks

Source: familyeducation.com

A popular story describes a time-management professor who demonstrates the importance of prioritizing by filling a five-gallon mason jar with fist-size rocks and asking the class if the jar is full. Since another big rock wouldn't fit, the class answers, "yes." However, the professor proceeds to pour a pitcher of gravel, then sand, and finally water into the jar before it is finally full. The point of the story is not that you can cram much more than you ever dreamed into any given day. The point is this: "If you don't put your big rocks in first, the fillers of life will take up your day and you won't fit your big rocks in at all."

* Take a minute to jot down five areas of your life that are most important to you at this time. You might consider financial security, career, health, spouse, family, friends, emotional well-being, continued learning, spirituality, community service, fun, travel, or anything that you think of as a priority.
* Of your five most important life areas, which one needs more attention at this time? Do one thing related to your "big rock" right now.

Do something you choose to do early each day — for yourself or someone else. When you do what is meaningful to you, you heighten your personal integrity.

Some Keys to Time Management

The secret to time management isn't more time management tools at all. Here are few keys I have found:
• Manage energy not time.
• Make room for your big rocks.
• Use anticipation to drive versus reacts.

I often here the argument, "if I had more time for this or that, I could ..." Well, unfortunately, having more time doesn't always mean getting more done. It doesn't guarantee getting the right things done either. Sometimes I get more done in an hour than I can sometimes get done in a week. Why is that? For me, it's actually about energy. There are only so many hours in a day. While I can't make more hours in a day, I can use my energy better. Sure there's lots of interesting little time savers, but there's plenty of time wasters too. I find the force that makes the most measurable difference is the energy and engagement I bring to the table.

Assuming I have all my energy ready to tackle my day, I need to distinguish between urgent and important. If I'm only reacting to urgent, then I'm missing out on opportunity to deal with important, whether that's job impact or personal growth. The moral of the story is, if I don't make time for the big rocks, the fillers in my day won't leave room. I like Steven Covey's perspective on urgent vs. important in his First Thing's First book. Here's a nice summary of the popular Make Room for the Big Rocks story.

Anticipation is actually a skill that I haven't worked. It is interesting how many habitual things happen each year that takes me by surprise -Birthdays, Holidays, festivals, Reviews, Events, etc…

I have seen the system of me reacting to events I don't anticipate. While the friends expect the unexpected, I also find that with a little anticipation, a stitch in time saves nine. If I make some plans, and there is a major event I didn't account for, I should not be surprised when suddenly nobody around. At the same time, I am sure I can find a way to influence the sudden surge of energy some individuals have right after a discussion.

C Radhakrishnan

12 January, 2009

Some Lessons From Stephen R Covey

By C. Radhakrishnan

Keys to Effective Large Team

Covey outlined the keys for effective large teams::
• Psychologically committed.
• Accountable to the team / everybody.
• Culture of results.

One person may represent the group, but accountability is to the team versus the boss. Accountability to the team versus an individual is a knowledge worker concept.

How To Find the Win / Win Performance Agreement

Covey suggested an approach for finding the Win/Win for teams and organizations in terms of performance:
1. Help them find their voice.
2. Find out what individuals are good at and like doing and serves the needs of the business.

When you have that, you have a win-win. The key is to have a win/win performance agreement where it is mutually beneficial between the individual and the organization. The individual should be able to use their full talent and passion (there voice.)

Information is the Knowledge Worker's Disinfectant
Covey mentioned that light is the greatest disinfectant in nature. For the knowledge worker, it’s information. For a knowledge worker to be effective in a team, they need information, they need the criteria for success and they need to be accountable to the group.

The Whole Person

According to Covey, the whole person includes four parts:
• Body
• Mind
• Heart
• Spirit

Control-Paradigm to a Whole Person Paradigm

Covey reminded us that today’s workforce is about directed autonomy. You manage (things) that can’t choose. You lead people. People have the ability to choose.

The points are:
• Today’s world is about breaking away from a control paradigm and shifting to one of directed autonomy.
• Help people find their voice.
• You can’t buy the mind, body, heart, and spirit – they are volunteered.
• Use all four parts of your nature. If you take one away, then you’re treating a person as a “thing” that you control and manage.

Keeping Top Talent

Covey mentions about how Admirals in the Pacific were losing people to better paying jobs. There was an exception. Covey got to meet the group that kept their top talent. The keys to a committed group included:
• The culture was committed in hearts and minds.
• The job was fulfilling and meaningful.

Indian Talking Stick Communication
Covey shared a technique for improving empathic listening. It’s the Indian Talking Stick:
• You give the stick to the other person first.
• You don’t get the stick back until the other person feels they are understood.
• The purpose is not to agree, or disagree, but only to understand the speaker.
You don’t need to use an Indian talking stick. You can use any object. The value of the object is that you don’t get it back until the other person feels understood.

Industrial Age Concepts

Covey makes reference to some "industrial age concepts":
• People are an expense, tools and machines are assets.
• Supervision is an industrial age concept.
• One-on-one accountability to a boss.
• Comparison systems for the basis of collaboration.

Lighthouse Principles
Covey refers to some lighthouse principles that govern behaviour:
• Cultivate an abundance mentality.
• There are four parts to our nature: body, mind, heart, and spirit
• The whole is greater than the parts
• Develop integrity; avoid duplicity (Don’t say one thing, but do another and if you make a promise, keep it.)

Continuum of Communication
A continuum of communication that moves from hostility and transaction-based communication to transformation:
1. Hostility
2. Defensive Communication (Transaction)
3. Respectful Communication (Transaction)
4. Synergy, Third Alternative (Transformation)

Empathic Listening is the No. 1 Communication Skill

Covey stated that communication is the number one skill in life. He went on to say that empathic listening is the number one communication skill. Covey explained that empathic listening is listening within the other person’s frame of skills. Listening empathically is listening with the other person’s frame of reference. The key is to listen until the other person feels heard and understood.

Empathic Listening Over Telling and Selling
A satisfied need, no longer motivates. Covey used the example of air – it’s a satisfied need. When the other person feels heard and understood, it’s more likely they will listen to you and that you can seek a better solution, that’s mutually beneficial. You are no longer telling and selling.

Resolving Conflict By Finding the Third Alternative
In one of his interview Covey shared a technique for resolving conflict that works for him in 95% of the cases he runs into around the world. Here’s the key steps:
1. Put up the two points.
2. Ask the question, “would you be willing to search for a solution that would be better than what either of us has proposed?”
The key here is to listen to the other person first and listen empathically. The proactive part here is that you can choose to listen to the other person first (seek first to understand, then to be understood.)

Listening to Loved Ones
Once during a session, one person asked for advice on counselling a loved one. Covey responded with the following solution:
1. Start by saying, “Honey, I have not spent the time to listen to you, all I’ve done is tell you and evaluate.”
2. Listen in depth; restate to their satisfaction. (Empathic listening)
3. After they feel understood, you ask, “Have I listened to you? Are you willing to listen to me, as I have listened to you?”
4. Find a 3rd alternative.
The key here that Covey mentioned is that most people will not pay the price of listening empathically.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Now let us look at the seven habits of highly effective people in terms of private victory, public victory, dependence, independence, and interdependence.
1. Be proactive.
2. Begin with the end in mind.
3. Put first things first.
4. Think win-win.
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
6. Synergize.
7. Sharpen the saw.

Habits 1,2 and 3 are the foundation for private victories and integrity. Habits 4, 5, and 6 are the keys to public victories.

Peace of Conscience Over Peace of Mind

Covey made a distinction between peace of mind and peace of conscience. He explained that integrity is more than honesty. Integrity means that if you make a promise, you keep it. If you’re honest, you might have peace of mind, but if you don’t have integrity, then you won’t have peace of conscience. You have peace of conscience by avoiding duplicity.

Loyalty to the Absent
Covey made his point very simply – only talk about people as if they are there. You can be critical, but speak as if they were there in front of you. Don’t bad mouth them behind their back and then sweet talk them to their face. This is a lack of integrity and creates deep duplicity inside you. This inhibits your ability to have peace of conscience.

Use I Messages Over You Messages
Meet with the people you have a problem with directly. Practice the following:
1. Let me listen to you first.
2. Use “I” messages vs. “you” messages. I messages are “It’s my perception,” “in my experience,” … etc. You messages are “you are …”
Genuine Happiness

Covey said the key to genuine happiness is to develop integrity. The key to developing integrity is the first three habits (your Private Victories):
1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first.

Greek Philosophy of Influence
Covey shares the three parts of the Greek philosophy of influence:
1. Ethos – credibility, model trust.
2. Pathos – restate the point of view. (Seek first to understand …)
3. Logos – Make your presentation. (… Then to be understood.)

You Are the Creative Force of Your Life
Covey challenged us to be a creative force:
1. Get out of victimism – You’re not a victim of your circumstances.
2. You are the creative force of your life.

Empathize first. Grow your circle of influence. Make tremendous impact.

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Do

One most powerful message from Covey we could take:

The most important thing you’ll ever do is in the four walls of your own home.