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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Back to Dancing

In Art, My Files on June 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I danced on stage after three years. I had almost forgotten what it felt like being on stage. The performance was so much fun! I wouldn’t call it a satisfying performance though, maybe because the process was devoid of the intension to excel and at the same time I had not painted a picture of what the final product should look like. The reason I began the jig was to go back and check if I really liked dancing they way I did in school. On second thought, it was getting increasingly difficult to distinguish between me and the couch. We were almost done blending into each other.

Just to set the record straight, I am not a phenomenal dancer. This experiment was not done to test whether I could move my limbs efficiently but whether I enjoyed moving them in the first place. So, a friend and I randomly joined a beginner’s batch. The batch had an assortment of people – teens, young office goers, mums and dads and so on. I walked in with no expectations but I was mildly excited at being choreographed again.  As always, I positioned myself in the last row. It’s a position I am most loyal to – last bench, last row. If found lurking in the front rows, I am parceled to the last row corner positions, benches and so on. Fair enough. I tend to block views vertically; not so much laterally. Anyway, I took the center, last row so I could watch and ape as instructed.

The first few days were like regular drills, not too exciting, not too boring. The workout sessions were challenging but not exhausting enough. So it was not quite the stress buster I was hoping it would be. I was bored. A few sessions later I learnt that it was very obvious from the way I conducted myself that I was uninterested. But by then the sessions had started gathering momentum. The workouts were more tiring and the dance more enjoyable. Yet, in the last few days the energy fizzled out. But communications between new friends were at its peak. There was more talking, planning, evaluating than dancing along with excitement about the final stage performance.

Come the final day, the performance was a pleasant breeze. The dance was short, simple and enjoyable. With about twenty five dancers occupying the stage, I was glad I was positioned in the second row mid-area. Yet, I had my doubts that my folks would spot me from their far-away seats. Honestly, I didn’t want them to attend the show but mum and dad seemed to want to watch it and my sis and bf seemed pretty excited about the performance. Well, they spotted me! Yayy!

Verdict: The more I dance, the more I enjoy it. If I were to rate this experience, I’d give it a 3/5.

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New Age Education

In Education on April 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

 

There has been a little shift in the mindset today. You are encouraged to take up jobs that you are “passionate” about. You are encouraged to pursue your hobbies or fields that you have an aptitude for or “love”. We believe it will do us good. But, whom are we kidding? You can’t be a dancer who enjoys dancing. You need to be an expert at it. You can’t be average at your own hobbies, you need to constantly improve, compete and excel at it. Some may enjoy the challenge, most won’t. So, following your passion doesn’t really make the journey easier or eradicate pressures and stress. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether you are a dancer or an engineer.

Now that we are here and most of us are chasing the same things, we can probably make the journey more interesting. For that we need to begin with education. We need just enough education to regulate ourselves efficiently and ensure that we cannot be fooled. We need to make life an honest system.

I’ve made a list of things that (IMO) are a must in our education system.

  1. Early education should be free and standardized.
    There should be no such thing as ‘Top 10 Universities’. It should be “normal” to have knowledge (awareness). I am, however, not sure how this will be achieved.
  2. We need to make a student’s grade independent of an individual’s mood swings and opinions.
    Today, a student’s grade is the result of his/her teacher’s temperament. We’ve had our share of good and bad teachers and we have several tales to tell about what they did wrong. What we need now is an army of unbiased, loving, understanding human beings teamed with child psychologists to handle young minds and their parents. 
  3. We need to eradicate the grade system.
    Our aim should be to ensure that once a student walks out of the class, he knows, understands and is capable of applying all that he has learned. This way we shift the responsibility to the teachers and release the unnecessary pressure on students.
  4. We need to replace labour with fun.
    I look at education as child labour. The kids learn nothing and they earn nothing. We say that children must enjoy their childhood but this can only be done if we replace labour with fun and on-the-job learning.  It is also important to understand that there is nothing wrong with a child working. We broadcast working as ‘not done by kids’ which, I guess, eventually leads to most adults hating their jobs.
  5. We need an Open Classroom Policy
    A student must have the liberty to walk into any classroom, anytime and learn any subject he wishes to learn. If he wants to improvise, he must be given enough support to do so. How this will be executed needs to be looked into.

I’ve made a list of things that (IMO) an individual must develop or learn in their school life.

  1. A student must develop a healthy attitude towards money.
    This can be developed by providing good, basic financial education- saving, investing, accounting and regulating money. This involves knowledge of basic mathematics. If he gets the money right, half his life is sorted.
  2. A student must know his/her body.
    Here, I am not talking about the number of bones and detailed analysis of hormones. It’s about explaining the body and the way it functions in the simplest language possible.
    Let’s face it, our health education is limited to ‘eat good food’, nutrition charts, and exercise. Our sex education alerts women that it is time to wear sanitary napkins, describes copulation is scientific terms and sometimes encourages men to wear condoms.
    It is time to understand one’s body as a whole. At the same time it is important to understand that this cannot be explained with jargons. We must understand why our body functions the way it does and what can go wrong by citing real life examples- visual analysis of healthy and crippled organs. If you’ve seen The Dr. Oz Show, you will know exactly what I mean.
    My point is you may not know which side the liver is situated but you need to know how you can ruin it.
  3. A student must know the laws and the law makers.
    Since our aim is to be aware and develop an honest society, you need to know the people who run it and you need to know your rights. If you know the rules, you can bend them, modify them, and break them to upgrade your system. If you can’t be fooled to begin with, you don’t have to take to the streets with candles each time a man, forced by circumstances, takes an extreme step to fix the system.
  4. A student must have basic knowledge about technology, medicine and farming.
    The aim is to make one’s survival independent of money. You must know how to generate energy, grow your own food and know about natural medicines such as basic foods and herbs that can cure your ailments and cleanse your system. In other words, you shouldn’t have to pay for simple, basic information on how to run your home or pay visits to doctors who earn commissions out of prescribing unnecessary pills to you.
  5. A student must learn about defense and safety.
    We’ve already entered the era where diseases and mishaps are common and where streets can kill. Considering help will not arrive on time, worse still, never arrive, you must know how to keep yourself safe and deal with emergencies. In other words, taking Scouts and Guides more seriously.

     

By mid-school a child will have learned everything needed for survival. He can simultaneously pursue his interests and follow his passion. This way he doesn’t have to study complex mathematics, technology, medicine, literature, business or complicated dance moves for that matter, just to run a family but study just for the thrill of learning. This does not mean he will not crave luxury but it will at least ensure that he does not die of starvation, a cardiac arrest or poverty. He won’t be fooled by advertisers if he knows about natural skin bleaching agents. He won’t be fooled by politicians if he knows what he wants and what he can have. He will know how to make money work for him.