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Artist Conducts Online Session For Kids to Save Goa’s Wildlife

A graphic artist from Goa is actively teaching children how to draw wildlife on Instagram.

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We like how all the significant subjects are being taught online this dreadful year. This includes teaching children about the importance of wildlife and conservation.

Goa’s Mollem National Park is under an urbanisation threat at present, a huge portion of the forest is about to get cut down for projects that are to be sanctioned by the govt. Goans, along with thousands of people from around the country, are currently supporting #SaveMollem, an online protest to protect nature.

Towards the same, a Goa-born artist named Danica Da Silva Pereira, who resides in Cambridge, UK, is showing children on Instagram how to draw wildlife and take interest in their environment. Her online event took place on 16 Nov 2020. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Amche Mollem (@mymollem.goa)

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Instagram’s channel mymollem.goa held online learning with Ms. Pereira for children to learn how to draw wild animals with ease and precision. Ms. Pereira told TOI, “Art visualises information. With so much technical information being put out about the Mollem issue, there are people of various age groups consuming that information.

The artists that have made visuals in support of this campaign have made it easier for us to understand the problems and the long term effects of the three projects. Art is therefore a huge tool to spread the message.”

The young artist is an illustrator and visual artist, whose artwork reveals a unique and imaginative way of portraying stories that envelop nature.

 

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The page also posted that they will be inviting more artists for the cause in the coming days – ‘Every month, we'll be inviting an artist to conduct a live stream session to demonstrate a simple way to draw an animal! Join us and encourage children and youth around you too as we embark on a creative journey as we learn, play and grow.’

What a beneficial initiative for our kids! 

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Connecting Two Hemispheres: Qualitative Teaching & Effective Learning

An expert article on effective teaching-learning techniques that engages the whole intellect of students

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The left and right side of the brain serve different functions. But both are just as important to learning as the other. No part of the brain works independently. Therefore, teaching to both sides of the brain is a great practice, and educators must think of ways to bring in the context of what is taught and introduced to the students for the learning to be relevant. 

For the children to learn to their maximum potential and achieve goals, teaching methods that educate both sides of the brain are of the utmost importance. Effective learning no longer focuses simply on analysis and memorization; creativity and visualization are also equally important. The left and the right sides of the brain often have to work together and share many functions. This is why it is so important to teach both sides of the brain in the classroom. 

Learning builds neural networks in the brain, and the strongest ones are built via concrete experiences. Therefore, most effective teaching happens with concrete experiences. With clear insight, many educators should focus on how to connect the academic content to the child's real-life and bring about the usage and application of the content at hand. 

As teachers, the more we have students utilize BOTH the brain's hemispheres, the more engaged and learning is taking place. Processing, problem-solving, recalling and evaluating require both sides of the brain to connect to get the job done well. In doing so, the educator truly hooks the child's attention, and the child is ready for learning. 

Both sides of the brain must be stimulated during the educational process for the children to need to develop analytical, logical, language and problem-solving skills. In addition, children also need to develop spatial awareness, emoting skills, and creativity. Therefore, a teacher who educates by teaching both sides of the brain will significantly help with a child's development. 

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Teaching both sides of the brain allows the educator to push the student into a motivated state by linking academic content to students past experiences. The positive emotions associated with these experiences are now associated with learning. This allows students to have a clear cognitive focus. 

As an educator, it becomes imperative to connect the context while teaching content. Also, research suggests that the early development of the child's brain is twice as active as the brains

of adults and experiences of this period are determined by the brain's capacity. The brain integration or connection of the two sides of the brain means that certain areas with their unique features become connected through synaptic connections. These integrated connections allow more complex functions, such as awareness, empathy, intuition, and morals. 

A significant challenge that can be seen in teaching in schools over the past years is the lack of time. Therefore, time and its optimum utilization, becomes critical, especially for the schools. Many times to complete the vast syllabus, teachers tend to skip the context part. It is essential as educators to find a solution and strategies to effectively allow the kids to use both sides of the brain – creative and analytical for effective and quality learning. 

As with a muscle, the more the brain is exercised, the more it develops, leading to an increase in learning and remembering. Therefore, if we educators can exercise the entire brain, the student should learn and remember more. Learning and knowledge, after all, isn't just about information; it's about understanding.

Author: Siddharth Rajgarhia, Chief Learner-Director, Delhi Public School, Nashik, Varanasi & Lava Nagpur

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Pedagogy Of Teaching History & Heritage In Schools In The 21st century

In her article, a Delhi History & Heritage expert talks about her experiences and the work her organisation has been doing in teaching children about history

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When we began doing the heritage walks across different monuments of Delhi, with an intention to focus specially on the lesser known sites, the Roshanara Bagh was one of our initial destinations. We experimented here with bringing in elements of theatre into the guided tour of the monument. The experience turned out to be very interesting and enriching both for us as performers as well as for our audiences. Audience’s overwhelming responses ranged from “we’ve never seen something like this before in a heritage walk”, to “the theatrical performance made the whole monument come alive with its history and the characters who inhabited it at one point in time” to “oh I wish we were taught history like this when we were in school” . The last comment of history being taught in schools this way stayed with us and drove us to do more such theatre based heritage walks (eg Tughlaq walk, Zebunissa walk, Massaqali & the Empress walk) and also bring in elements of drama based strategies in our heritage tours and sessions for children.

In 2017, I found myself working in a school setup and also engaging in post school classes with children where I began keenly observing how history and heritage is being taught in classrooms. Although a lot has improved in the teaching methodologies since we were in school in the 1980’s & the 90’s, but still a lot more can be done to advance historical thinking skills in our 21st century classroom.

Working as a history and heritage researcher and a walk curator cum leader, for both adults as well as children, I have come to observe that visit to the historical sites can be extremely stimulating for the children (it’s a visceral experience involving all the senses) & it really brings their imagination alive. In addition to that a theatrical performance or even simple storytelling makes the whole monument come to life. Stories being shared in the historical site help to engage the child emotionally and create opportunities for imagination vis-a-vis the space, thus making the child an active participant in the whole process of learning rather than a passive one as in a typical classroom setup. Active engagement with history in turn always helps in better retention of the historical concepts studied in the class.

Our heritage walks for Children:

In our heritage walks for children we encourage enquiry based learning, so we support them to observe, to question and share their findings with us. We always follow that up with a reflection process through group discussions to inculcate critical thinking & independent decision making. Our role is more of process facilitation rather than of spoon feeding the child. For making the children more observant of the whole place we also try to engage them in sketching intricate details of the building, or take photographs to record the key elements of the structures and the space around. This is followed up with post visit assignments to help the children engage with the whole experience more creatively (i.e. poetry writing, creative writing, sketching, 3D model making). Community engagement is also encouraged through interaction with the people residing around the monument, so as to help the children have a more holistic sense of the place, its history, its present and the future vis-à-vis the world around it, instead of looking at the monument in isolation.

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In our experience the whole learning process can actually become cross curricular (i.e. in addition to history elements of art, design, architecture, literature, anthropology, economics, sociology & environment are also there), so all subjects can be addressed in the process of examining the past events with their Whys and Hows. (Example- when we visit the 4th city of Delhi Jahanpanah built by Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq, in addition to the historical accounts we also share excerpts/scenes from the famous play based on Tughlaq’s life).

Theatre in Education:

Being a trained theatre maker & an actor myself, working in the area of theater-in-education I have come to believe that Drama based role play methods can really help children to step into the shoes of historical figures and examine the situations and decisions made from their perspective, which in turn helps the children to develop historical empathy.

In my classes I have experimented with process drama to work with history and literature and have found the following set of drama strategies very useful.

Understanding the historical characters in depth using hot seating – a drama technique in which a character is questioned by the group about his or her background, behaviour and motivations. (example- Jinnah, Nehru, Noorjahan, Razia Sultan, Guru Tegh Bahadur all these characters and their far reaching decisions and actions can be explored using the above mentioned drama tool).

Thought tracking can be a very effective tool to explore artworks and vintage photographs (example exploring photographs of partition refugees in the camps in 1947-48 trying to understand their state of mind and their plight). Mantle of the Expert (a technique which involves creation of a fictional world where students assume the roles of experts in a designated field) can help students to behave and think like historians.

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Conscience Alley invites students to explore multiple facets of a character's decision in any kind of dilemma (Example- to explore Tughlaq’s decision to shift the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad or Gandhi’s decision to withdraw the Non Cooperation movement).

“Being able to live history allows students to immerse themselves in a particular place & time and take on the mindset of someone who lived then. In this way students are engaged and interacting with the material rather than passively watching & listening”- Karen Andrus Tollafield

Adopt a monument:

History & Heritage education can easily be made action oriented. A positive step in this direction came few years back from the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) which issued a recommendation to schools to adopt a monument. As a part of this process students would be involved in knowing about the monument and its significance, followed by keeping it clean (i.e. removal of vegetation around it and dusting it). In addition they would be engaged in creative activities like clay modeling, photo exhibitions, storytelling and creative writing about the monument and in conducting guided tours of the place for tourists & general public. I personally undertook a workshop with the history students of grade 11th & 12th of a leading school in Delhi on “how to curate & conduct a heritage walk”. In my experience once the students are convinced about the significance of a place the desire to preserve & protect it comes rather naturally to them.

Exploring Personal History:

Another significant area of engagement wrt to history is to encourage children to explore their own personal/family history (it can approached through eliciting stories from family elders, through personal objects that have been passed down in the family for generations and intangible cultural practices). Bruce Feiler in an article for the New York Times summarizes a study about the resilience of children “the more children knew about their family history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned”.  Students can also create a museum of personal objects, with brief write-ups about their significance, thereby understanding that these objects can very well become history, down the road for our future generations.

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Author: Ms. Nitika

History & Heritage Researcher, Co-founder of Darwesh (a heritage walks based organization). [email protected]

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World Press Freedom Day 2021: Information As A Public Good

The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Information as a Public Good”, underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. 

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Freedom of the press is something of an immortal debate, it stirs up every now and then, especially when there is an incident that brings forth how this right has been snatched away. To honour the freedom of the press and the ability to bring all sorts of information forward without having to the United Nations declared 3rd May of every year to be celebrated as the World Press Freedom Day. 

In  December 1993 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 3rd to be observed as the World Press Freedom Day in honour of the Declaration of Windhoek. The Declaration was produced at the UNESCO seminar, "Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press," held in Windhoek, Namibia in 1992, from 29 April to 3 May. This declaration was the first in a series of such declarations around the world, and as a crucial affirmation of the international community's commitment to freedom of the press. 

This World Press Freedom Day of 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek. This year’s theme is Information As A Public Good, which, taking the current scenario under consideration, maybe one of the most beneficial entitlements. 

“The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Information as a Public Good", underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information.  It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.” — Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Apart from the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference, which is held every year on this occasion, the United Nations also recognizes the efforts of one individual or organisation who worked for the freedom of the press. A Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, in 1997, in honour of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. Its purpose is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved.

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Maria Ressa, an investigative journalist and media executive from the Philippines was named the laureate of the 2021 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The Award Ceremony took place on 2 May 2021 in Windhoek, Namibia, during the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference, and was streamed online. 

ScooNews congratulates Maria Ressa on receiving the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and feels proud to be of the same fraternity!

 

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Appreciating Great Dance Teachers Of India On This International Dance Day

Remembering some Indian dancers who spent their lives teaching dance

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Since 1982, 29 April of every year has been dedicated in celebration of International Dance Day. This day was created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute in collaboration with the United Nations to celebrate the birth anniversary of Jean-Georges Noverre, who is known as the creator of modern ballet. 

Dance is a form of expressing the deepest feelings that can not be given appropriate words, dance is also a form of treatment to the soul and the body. In many ways, International Dance Day also celebrates the unity amongst the dancer’s community along with all the good that dance brings. Perhaps, this is what we need in this time of great peril.

Here are some of the greatest Indian Dancer who taught dance to many and became the greatest dance teachers, the world has ever seen:

Mrinalini Sarabhai

She was highly trained in the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. She is the founder of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts that is situated in Ahmedabad. Her dance academy has been considered one of the best in the country since its inception. She was married to the great Indian Scientist Vikram Sarabhai. Her daughter, Mallika Sarabhai who is a well-renowned dancer herself, manages the academy after her mother Mrinalini.

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Meenakshisundaram Pillai 

Dance Guru Pillai is considered as the prominent founder of the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, Pandanallur style gives a lot of importance to ‘Abinayaha’. He is the one who taught Bharatanatyam to Mrinalini Sarabhai in his ‘Gurukul’. He has taught many prominent dancers of Indian history, in his lifetime. 

Brijmohan Mishra

Pandit Briju Maharaj a descendant from a family of Kathak dancers of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Kathak in India. Apart from dancing he also practices vocal classical music. Barely at the age of thirteen Pandit Briju Maharaj began his teaching career in Kathak, he has taught many legends like Madhuri Dixit and Shovana Narayan.

Pandit Rajendra Kumar Gangani

He is the present Guru of the Jaipur Gharana, which is one of the three distinct forms of classical dance Kathak. Pandit Rajendra Kumar is widely known for his innovative style and contribution to the dance form of Kathak. 

Some immortal quotes on dance:

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“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” – Martha Graham

“Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

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22 April 2021 International Mother Earth Day: Restore Our Earth

This International Mother Earth Day, tell your students why COVID is not the only enemy of the planet

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“The Earth is what we all have in common” — Wendell Berry

But we take our planet for granted, why? Because somehow over the generations, in the pursuit of development we forgot a crucial truth, ‘some damages can not be repaired.’

The United Nations announced many observing days since its conception. One of them being 22 April, every year on the same day the whole world comes together to recognize, International Mother Earth Day.

The first International Mother Earth Day was observed in 1970. Since then, with new themes to focus on, we have been celebrating Mother Earth in all its glory. "Restore Our Earth" is the theme for the year 2021.

“Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Australian fires, heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya. Now we face COVID -19, a worldwide health pandemic link to the health of our ecosystem. This International Mother Earth Day, we need a shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.” — The United Nations

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We have to keep learning and teaching about our planet, especially to the younger generations. Just like ‘A small pebble in the water can create the ripple effect’ similarly, teaching the children today about the atrocities of humans against nature, might help build a better tomorrow.

It is the teachings of the teacher who went the extra mile to explain something, that stays with the students. This International Mother Earth Day, do not just tell students what day it is but take some time to explain the changes Earth has been going through and what might happen if we do not restore the balance.

earthday.org has been having a 3 day (20-22 April) online event for the citizens of Earth to participate and learn more about our planet.

Check out their event at https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/

 

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World Water Day 2021: Teaching Kids The Value Of Water With Fun Activities

On World Water Day, here are some fun activities to teach children the value of freshwater on our planet.

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World Water Day is celebrated every year on 22 March to observe the importance of fresh water and its conservation. The theme of the 2021 World Water Day is “Valuing Water.” 

Teaching children about water is important – not just for academic purposes but also in order to expose them to its valuable resources. It’s nothing but another step in the direction to slow down numerous threats to our environment. Here are some interesting educational activities that will help educators and parents teach children about fresh water available on the Earth, its value and its preservation: 

Ocean vs Freshwater

The Earth is majorly covered by water, and it is saltwater that’s present in the oceans. To help children understand the fact that there is a difference between the salty water and freshwater, take the help of the gustatory system or sense of taste. To explain that the taste, turbidity and density of both types of water vary, you may try this simple activity.

Take two transparent glasses and add salt to one of them, add until the water is turbid. Ask the children the physical difference they see and then ask them to drop an egg in each of the glasses (saltwater & freshwater). The egg in freshwater should sink immediately while the egg in saltwater will not. Explain the science behind this activity to them. This way, they will realise that though there is an abundance of water on Earth, there is only a finite source of freshwater which is usable and wasting it shall prove irreversibly catastrophic.

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Water Cycle

Teaching children about the four stages of the water cycle namely ‘collection, evaporation, condensation and precipitation’ shall be easier if they can witness the process happening. The water cycle is an important aspect of our environment and several other topics like weather change, rainwater conservation, etc. can be taught along with the water cycle.

To explain the water cycle in a fun way, ask them to take a transparent zip-lock bag and draw Sun, clouds and surface water on it. Now, fill the bag with a little water without getting the sides wet. To give it a more dramatic look, add some blue food colour. Hang the bag on a sunny porch/window for a few hours. Next, ask the children if they see condensation droplets like rain on the surface. It is fun to hear a child’s thought on a matter-of-fact kind of topic, as kids tend to give it a whimsical creative twist in their mind. 

How Much Water Do You Use?

Talk to children about freshwater percentage and the total population on the planet. Then tell them about the water wastage percentage that is deduced per year. Ask the children why wasting water should be counted as a big NO-NO. Then ask them to chart out how they use water per day, what all they do that requires water and if there is a way to reduce this usage/wastage. Teach them various ways of using and reusing water in small amounts that may ultimately help our planet. Talk to them about all the water conservation movements that have happened around the world and their significance.

Wax Paper Landscape

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When talking about the water cycle, the topic of ‘where does water collect’ is inevitable. To teach children about the rivers, lakes and ponds that collect water from rain, you may perform a simple experiment like this. 

Take wax paper and crumple it, then straighten it out a bit. Now ask the children to circle those areas with a marker where they think the water might collect from the rain. Explain to them that the crumples on the wax paper represent our planet’s geographical features. 

Take some water in a spray bottle and add blue food colour to it. Spray on the wax paper evenly. Ask the children to check where all the water gets collected. To explain rainwater conservation, place a plastic cap from a bottle in the middle of the wax paper and spray again. Talk to the children about how much water did the plastic cap collect and how this cap represents the roof part of the rainwater conservation system.

We hope you will try these ideas in your classroom or while homeschooling. Tell us how you like them! 

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Top Motivational Social Media Accounts That Educators Should Follow

We often set goals but lack the determination to achieve them. As a result, our mind starts seeking guidance from those more experienced and enlightened. Good for us, a little scrolling on the internet can actually help us get through everyday obstacles. We’ve compiled a list of motivational……..

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We often set goals but lack the determination to achieve them. As a result, our mind starts seeking guidance from those more experienced and enlightened. Good for us, a little scrolling on the internet can actually help us get through everyday obstacles. We’ve compiled a list of motivational people and pages on social media that can become an encouraging voice telling you that you’re capable, beautiful, strong and simply enough to achieve what you’ve in mind. Meet Jay Shetty, Azul Torronez, Ferose V R, Rujuta Diwekar, Sugata Mitra, The Dalai Lama, Humans of New York, Sadhguru, Susan Newman, Oprah, Vishen Lakhiani and Lina Ashar.

Who: Jay Shetty

Bio says: Former Monk, purpose coach & author. Creator of Genius Coaching & Jay Shetty Certification School

ScooNews Loves: Originally from India, he spent three years across India, England, and Europe to study, meditate, teach and build shelter and food programs for people in need. He left his lucrative corporate job in London to become a monk and later, convert into a full-time motivational speaker. His daily interaction on social media teaches how we can practice gratitude, discipline and empathy in life while learning the art of mastering the mind.

Famous quote: Many of us are experiencing setbacks and failures in everyday life. Eventually, we get emotionally drained, tired, unmotivated and we stop trying. We believe that because we’ve been unsuccessful in the past that that barrier still exists even for new ventures.

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Must-read: His blog on 'How to teach your body to focus on healing'

Current take-on: His book ‘Think Like a Monk’

Don’t miss: His Podcast #OnPurpose

Top accounts followed: GoodPods, Pencils of Promise, Allan Kilner-Johnson, Nikhil Taneja, Kelsey & Becky

Follow at: @Jayshetty (IG), @JayShettyIW (Twitter & FB), Jay Shetty (YouTube)

Who: Azul Terronez

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Bio says: Author, TEDx speaker, book coach, and strategist. CEO and Co-Founder at ‘Authors Who Lead’ and the host of ‘Authors Who Lead’ Podcast

ScooNews Loves: He has enabled Wall Street CEOs, health and wellness gurus, NFL players, professional athletes, and Emmy Award-winning producers to sell tens of thousands of books

Famous quote: We need to listen to our students. In our classrooms are the future The Maya Angelous, the Mother Theresas, the Elon Musks of the world. And can you imagine if we took the time to ask those students, “What would make a good teacher great?” and then we actually listened, we could transform schools and education.

Must-listen: His conversations with various authors on ‘Born to Write’ Podcast discussing how they turned their ideas into books

Don’t miss: His TEDx talk “What Makes a Good Teacher Great”

Top accounts followed: Avanti Kumar Singh, Jodi Okun, Dionne Lew, Harley Finkelstein, Nicholas Ferroni

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Follow at: @AzulTerronez (IG & Twitter)

Who: Ferose V R

Bio says: With passion and compassion, you can change the world

ScooNews Loves: Currently the Senior Vice President and Head of SAP Academy, he’s a staunch advocate of inclusion in daily life. He founded SAP’s award-winning “Autism at Work” (inspired by his son Vivaan who is autistic) campaign. He is also a Motivational Speaker, Columnist, Author and the founder of India Inclusion Summit.

Famous quote: You have to create your own path, look for the right opportunities and continuously prepare for those opportunities. You cannot plan for when the right opportunity will come knocking.

Must-read: His blog on ‘How Augmented Reality can make education truly inclusive’ (on https://ferosevr.medium.com/)

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Don’t miss: Annual conferences of India Inclusion Summit where specially-abled people share their victory stories. India Inclusion Summit is an inspirational platform that brings awareness and drives the inclusion of specially-abled people at Corporates, Schools, Policymaking bodies, NGO’s and Parent Associations. This summit has been conceptualized to drive inclusiveness everywhere and it’s a free summit to participate in.

Top accounts followed: Judy Heumann, Malala, Seth Godin, Haben Girma, Swarajya Magazine

Follow at: we_are_ferose (IG), @IndiaInclusionSummit (FB), @VRFerose (Twitter)

Who: Rujuta Diwekar

Bio says: Farms not malls. Gratitude, not guilt. Fit not thin. Open declaration: NO – Paid campaigns, Brand endorsements, Collaborations or Products to sell.

ScooNews Loves: She doesn’t do paid promotions just to promote any brand she doesn’t believe in. This leading sports science and nutrition expert and author believes in eating locally-grown food. We like it when she says – Eat deep-fried, not air-fryed.

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Famous quote: Look at food as a blessing. Eat with gratitude, not guilt. 

Must-read: Topics like – Fears & Facts about pickles, why one must eat Modak laddoos, why it is good to add a pinch of sugar in your poha, and much more that can be found on her Instagram feed

Current take-on: Her new book ‘Eating in the age of dieting’ 

Don’t miss: Her ‘Fit India Dialogue’ e-meet with the Indian PM, Narendra Modi

Top accounts followed: Kino MacGregor, Shheethal Robin Uthappa, Thomas Zacharias, Debjani Ghosh, Dipika Bajpai

Follow at: @rujuta.diwekar (IG), @RujutaDiwekar (Twitter & FB)

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Who: Dr. Sugata Mitra

Bio says: Why are we the way we are?

ScooNews loves: His child-like curious nature to come up with new ideas making education more accessible and fun. He's known for his radical ideas and experiments like ‘The Hole in the wall’ which is still revolutionising the education sector.

Famous quote: Learning is the new skill. Imagination, creation and asking new questions are at its core.

Must-read: His books ‘The School in the Cloud: The Emerging Future of Learning,’ ‘The Hole in the Wall: Self-organising Systems in Education’ and ‘Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning

Current take-on: Technology is the new normal for schools

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Don’t miss: His TED Talk ‘The Future of Learning’

Top accounts followed: Elon Musk, Futurism, Sole Central, New Scientist, TEDTalks

Follow at: @Sugatam (IG & Twitter)

Who: His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Bio says: His Holiness is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He frequently states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the preservation of Tibet's Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence.

ScooNews loves: His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama is loved worldwide, his teachings give a sense of calm to the listeners

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Famous quote: When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts

Must-read: His books – The Art of Happiness, The Book of Joy, Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, How to See Yourself as You Really Are, My Spiritual Autobiography, The Power of Compassion

Current take-on: Compassion that one must develop during the pandemic

Don’t miss: Video on 'This is how you calm your mind'

Follow at: @DalaiLama (IG, FB, Twitter & YouTube)

Who: Humans of New York

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Bio says: HONY now has over twenty million followers on social media, and provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.

ScooNews Loves: HONY’s creator, Brandon Stanton, and his perseverance. It began as a photography project 10 years ago and along the way, he started talking to these strangers he would photograph on the streets.

Famous quote: Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you're grown up. Growing up means being patient, holding your temper, cutting out the self-pity, and quitting with the righteous indignation.

Must-read: His book ‘Humans of New York’

Current take-on: His new book ‘Humans’

Don’t miss: ‘This Is The Human Behind "Humans Of New York”’ on Mashable’s Youtube channel

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Top accounts followed: Alzheimer's Association, Seth Godin, Nicholas Kristof, How I Built This, Joanna Goddard

Follow at: @humansofny (IG & Twitter), @humansofnewyork (FB)

Who: Jaggi Vasudev/Sadhguru

Bio says: A Yogi, Mystic & Visionary

ScooNews Loves: His yogic and spiritual teachings that vary from religion, spirituality to education and worldwide human conditions

Famous quote: Learning to listen is the essence of intelligent living

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Must-read: His books ‘Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga,’ ‘Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy,’ ‘Don’t Polish Your Ignorance …It May Shine,’ ‘Joy 24 X 7’ and ‘Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Own Destiny’

Current take-on: India’s agriculture and farmers

Don’t miss: His videos on ‘What decides our success’ and ‘The mark of great men’

Top accounts followed: Isha Foundation, Rally For Rivers, Technologies of Wellbeing

Follow at: @sadhguru (IG, FB & YouTube), @SadhguruJV (Twitter)

Who: Susan Newman

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Bio says: Social psychologist, Author, Psychology Today

ScooNews loves: She’s authored over 15 books on relationship and parenting, exploring topics like building strong family bonds, raising only children, grandparenting and interactions between adult children and their parents and in-laws, as well as the difficulties of raising a family and working. 

Famous quote: They've been taught since childhood to be more docile while boys tend to be more rebellious and rambunctious. We're always wanting to make people happy.

Must-read: Her books ‘Little Things Shared: Lasting Connections Between Family and Friends,’ ‘Little Things Mean a Lot: Creating Happy Memories with Your Grandchildren’ and ‘The Land Beyond . . . in His Footsteps: A True Story’

Current take-on: Parental anxiety

Don’t miss: Monthly newsletter by Dr. Newman

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Top accounts followed: The Creativity Post, Friendshipping, Raising Great Kids, Randi Weingarten, Popular Science

Follow at: @SusanNewmanPhD (Twitter), @SusanNewman (FB)

Who: Oprah Winfrey

Bio says: Books To Give, Books To Receive for @oprahsbookclub

ScooNews loves: How Oprah has risen from a very impoverish living to one of the top celebrities in the world. Her life-story is motivational in itself.

Famous quote: Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment

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Must-read: Her books ‘The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose,’ ‘Oprah: The Soul and Spirit of a Superstar,’ ‘Food, Health, and Happiness’ and ‘What I Know For Sure’

Current take-on: Helping and supporting those who are working at the frontline of COVID-19

Don’t miss: The Oprah Conversations

Top accounts followed: Oprah’s Book Club, People vs Oil, I AM THAT GIRL, SuperSoul Sunday, The Daily Love

Follow at: @Oprah (IG & Twitter), @oprahwinfrey (FB), @OWN (YouTube)

Who: Vishen Lakhiani

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Bio says: Reinventing Education

ScooNews loves: CEO of Mindvalley, Vishen has helped millions around the world to learn, grow, work, and co-create. He's also a New York Times Bestselling Author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.

Famous quote: Hack your past with forgiveness. Hack your present with mindfulness. And hack your future with ‘I AM ENOUGH”

Must-read: His books ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ and ‘The Buddha and the Badass’

Current take-on: Goal Setting Tools

Don’t miss: Regular video updates like ‘Learn to unlock your superbrain’

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Top accounts followed: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Kornfield, Deepak Chopra, Brian Tracy, Robin Sharma

Follow at: @vishen (IG & Twitter), @vishenlakhiani (FB)

Who: Lina Ashar

Bio says: Inspired and excited about expanding human potential

ScooNews loves: Being an Eduprenuer and Founder Emeritus, Kangaroo Preschool and Billabong High International School, she doesn’t just support the teaching community and students but also shares effective parenting tips with the guardians. Lina believes a child must not be robbed of childhood in the name of ‘education’ which makes her a great educator.

Famous quote: One's sense of self-esteem and self-fulfilment will only depend on how much you are growing emotionally and mentally

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Must-read: Her books ‘Who Do You Think You're Kidding?’ and ‘Drama Teen: A Cool-Headed Guide for Parents and Teenagers’

Current take-on: Inner motivation in children

Don’t miss: Live conversations on her brand’s (Korroboree) social media pages

Top accounts followed: MindShift, Parenting Success, Brainstorming Network, Elon Musk, Brene Brown

Follow at: @asharlina (IG), @linaashar (Twitter), @linaashar10 (FB)

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Learning

Top Online Learning Resources That Educators Should Follow On Social Media

In 2020, we’ve got at least one clarity – learning can happen online. Here, we talk about the online presence of brands/people like Mad Over Marketing, Seth Godin, Faye Dsouza, Reese’s Bookclub, Nas Daily, Bar & Bench, Maker’s Asylum and Roshni Mukherjee who’re your sure-shot online resources to lea

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In 2020, we've got at least one clarity – learning can happen online. Here, we talk about the online presence of brands/people like Mad Over Marketing, Seth Godin, Faye Dsouza, Reese's Bookclub, Nas Daily, Bar & Bench, Maker's Asylum and Roshni Mukherjee who're your sure-shot online resources to learn about advertising, marketing, education, law, news, politics, technology, environment, sustainability, books, cultures, skill development and much more! 

Who: Mad Over Marketing

Bio says: Mad Over Marketing (M.O.M) is a marketing media company, which creates and curates content covering global advertising, latest campaigns and brand-related news

Who are they: MOM is not country/brand-specific. It publishes content covering global advertising, brands, marketing, digital, media and more (read: viral communications memes). Plus, they also discuss with their followers famous/new mascots, characters and celebrities signed up for creative campaigns. 

Punch line: The good, bad and ugly of Advertising! We applaud the best and make fun of the rest.

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ScooNews Loves: Their brand puns and Podcasts (both featured on the website https://mad-over-marketing.com/)

Best post: Pretty much everything 

Don’t miss: The MOMmy Awards 

Top 5 accounts followed: AdWeek, Campaign Magazine, Elon Musk, Morning Brew, Creative Review

Follow at: @madovermarketing_mom (IG), @MadOMarketing (Twitter), @madovermarketing (FB)

Who: Seth Godin

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Bio says: Author, blogger, a lifetime of projects. This is a retweet of my blog.

ScooNews Loves: His thoughts are always focusing on effective marketing and leadership and teaching people how their ideas can bring upon a positive and impactful change in any sector

Best post: His blogpost on ‘What is viral marketing’

Don’t miss: His Instagram Live sessions discussing everyday topics like education vs learning and the future of leadership, dealing with writer’s block, how freelancers can get better clients, etc. 

Famous quote: In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

Top accounts followed: Brian Koppelman, altMBA

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Follow at: @sethgodin (IG & FB), @ThisIsSethsBlog (Twitter)

Who: Faye Dsouza

Bio says: Journalist. Entrepreneur. Tree Hugger. Equal Rights-Equal Opportunity-Equal pay. 

ScooNews loves: Her honest and straightforward nature. The way she is hell-bent about proving that ‘journalism is not dead’ and one can do true journalism without selling themselves.

Best post: Her discussion on YouTube with Dr. Shahid Jameel, Dr. Rakesh Mishra, Dr. Tanmay Mohapatra regarding the UK’s New COVID Variant reached thousands of views overnight

Don’t miss: Faye Dsouza’s YouTube channel where she talks about the most pressing topics. She also invites (virtually) significant people on her show to speak to them one on one. We loved her conversation with Arvind Subramanian and Shoumitro Chatterjee regarding the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ plan.

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Famous quote: There's more respect for people who are brave, who take a stand, than someone sitting in big offices in big organisations

Top 5 accounts followed: The Caravan, Goodera, Things From The Past, Bar & Bench, Rega Jha

Follow at: @fayedsouza (IG & Twitter), @FayeD'Souza (FB & YouTube)

Who: Reese's Bookclub

Bio says: Every month, Reese picks one book she loves with a woman at the centre of the story and shares it with her book club.

Who are they: Hollywood’s darling actress Reese Witherspoon founded this Reading Club in 2017 and has been picking titles for members to enjoy every month since

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Punch line: Read with Reese

ScooNews Loves: Their giveaways and routine drives to distribute books among children, foster care centres, hospitals, homeless people, emergency shelters, etc.

Best post: Where Reese herself appears and reviews her favourite picks

Don’t miss: Live sessions with authors whose books get chosen for the month, they talk about their inspiration and give members a scoop of the story inside

Top 5 accounts followed: Literati Kids, Wednesday Books, Avid Reader Press, Fierce Reads, Vintage & Anchor Books

Follow at: @reesesbookclub (IG, FB & Twitter) 

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Who: Nas Daily

Bio says: I make videos. Lots of videos.

Who are they: Nuseir Yassin, known as Nas, is an Israeli-Palestinian Harvard graduate who quit his job to travel the world. He began sharing one-minute clips of his travel on social media and subsequently became one of the top vloggers of the decade. He’s quit his cushy New York tech job and now travels the world full-time. 

Punch line: We’re a force for good

ScooNews Loves: His name ‘Nuseir’ means ‘people’ in Arabic and he’s clearly living up to that repute by exploring new cultures and meeting interesting people to educate the world about them in the most interactive and passionate style

Best post: Video on 'My Habits of Success'

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Don’t miss: Video on '10 Amazing People from 10 Countries'

Top 5 accounts followed: Rick Wilson, Influencers in the Wild, Parag Khanna, Russell Roberts, Wes Kao

Follow at: @nasdaily (IG, FB & Twitter)

Who: Bar & Bench

Bio says: Nationwide news & analysis on the legal industry, breaking news, live news from Supreme Court, High Courts and important judgments from courts across India

Who are they: Bar & Bench is a media company and an online portal for Indian legal news 

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Punch line: BREAKING (of course!)

ScooNews Loves: The Live update of important cases, as well as the judgement passed, are immediately made public because of Bar & Bench

Best post: When they shared Justice Natraj Rangaswamy’s remark in the Karnataka High Court – “Ours is a patriarchal society which does not know how to treat an empowered woman.”

Don’t miss: The witty, snappy comments of advocates regarding the cases you are looking forward to

Top 5 accounts followed: Twitter Gov, Lok Sabha, Pen Pencil, CBSE HQ, Sadhguru

Follow at: @barandbench (IG, FB & Twitter)

Who: Makers Asylum

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Bio says: Maker’s Asylum is a community makerspace. We offer shared equipment, education, space, and a great environment to get you making, for work or play!

Who are they:  In 2013, a nascent community of enthusiastic DIY artists came together to create and build because of shared interest. They soon started to volunteer their tools and quickly ran out of space in the back room. They called that room the Asylum.

Punch line: Makers Gonna Make

ScooNews Loves: They grew from one room into multiple chapters across India in seven years, fostering innovation via hands-on learning

Best post(s): When Makers Asylum decided to make Halloween Special M19 Super Hero Face Shield to keep safe from COVID-19

Don’t miss: Videos wherein MA is building something from scratch

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Top 5 accounts followed: Open Source Medical Supply, InnoFrugal, Sustainable Development Goals, UnBox Cultural Futures Society, iFixit

Follow at: @makersasylum (IG, FB & Twitter) 

Who: Roshni Mukherjee

Bio says: Founder @ExamFearvideos Free Education platform | Educationist | CoFounder @ Nishulk Foundation| @TEDx speaker @MWCD 100 Women Achievers India @LimcaBookRecords

ScooNews loves: Her perseverance and foresightedness to teach school students on Youtube that began a decade ago. She teaches Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics to classes 9th to 12th. She was recognized as one of the “100 women achievers” by the Ministry of Women and Child Development Government of India.

Favourite hashtag: #SabkoSamajhAayega

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Don’t miss: The story of LernoHub on Youtube where Roshni speaks about the inspiration behind creating this free learning online platform for school students. It was her maid’s dilemma, who couldn’t afford after-school tuitions for her children, that encouraged her to take this prosperous step. 

Famous quote: Today, I teach millions of students through my Youtube channel. That’s the power of a good teacher.  

Top 5 accounts followed: TED Talks, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Barack Obama, Mohandas Pai, YouTube India

Follow at: roshni_learnohub (IG), @EducatorRoshni (Twitter), LearnoHub (YouTube)

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Learning

Psychologist-Approved Toys For 6/7 Y.O Kids Who Have Trouble Expressing

Here is something to look forward to when schools reopen. Use these toys that are psychologist-approved for play therapy.

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Based on the 1930s Play Therapy, which is a method of meeting the child’s individual needs and responding to mental health, world-renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud had asserted that play could reveal unconscious processes, even as it accommodates mutual relating between a child and a therapist. 

Play Therapy these days is also used for working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

As noted by the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), “children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace, without feeling interrogated or threatened.”

If playing is so important in the eyes of psychologist and professional, it is imperative to provide children with the right kind of toys that are age-appropriate, educational and neuro stimulating for overall development. 

Here are some toys for age 6-7 kids:

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Thinkfun's Invasion of The Cow Snatchers – STEM Toy and Logic Game

This game develops critical thinking and builds logic and problem-solving skills through fun gameplay. It provides a step by step instruction manual to help the child walk through the ways to play the game.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R5Q7P69?ots=1&slotNum=3&imprToken=4cbb01b4-461b-cdfb-3a9&ascsubtag=[]st[p]cj4u2qbjo0000z6yebzu44bc8[i]akePER[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]google.com&tag=thestrategistsite-20

Crayola's Color Chemistry Lab Set

It has STEAM & STEM educational toys and activities that bring colourful fun to learning. It includes 16 out-of-the-box experiments and instructions for 34 more. All science projects have been developed and approved by real Crayola scientists

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B958BPR?ots=1&slotNum=7&imprToken=4cbb01b4-461b-cdfb-3a9&ascsubtag=[]st[p]cj4u2qbjo0000z6yebzu44bc8[i]8ywBx7[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]google.com&tag=thestrategistsite-20

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AMEROUS' 4 Players Shut The Box Dice Game

Classic 4-sided wooden board game with 10 dice and Shut-The-Box instructions for kids and adults alike. Made of actual wood, no chemicals added, perfect organic products for kids, it is based on the mythical times of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It's highly stimulating and increases calculative powers of the brain.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XDTHNQY?ots=1&slotNum=10&imprToken=4cbb01b4-461b-cdfb-3a9&ascsubtag=[]st[p]cj4u2qbjo0000z6yebzu44bc8[i]jUMzfv[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]google.com&tag=thestrategistsite-20

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

Fun Robot Building Set and Educational Coding Kit for Kids, this Award-Winning STEM Learning introduces kids to the creative world of coding with the best educational STEM toys to foster their curiosities. It involves building, learning, and programming the robots. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MK1PDV?ots=1&slotNum=29&imprToken=4cbb01b4-461b-cdfb-3a9&ascsubtag=[]st[p]cj4u2qbjo0000z6yebzu44bc8[i]o3lu1A[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]google.com&tag=thestrategistsite-20

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Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Blocks

Building blocks for children which comprises of 60 all-natural wooden blocks, inspiring screen-free play, this game is good for imaginative play, introducing early math concepts, including shapes, parts-to-whole, and sorting. It also helps develop hand-eye coordination and teach patience.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00008W72D?ots=1&slotNum=39&imprToken=4cbb01b4-461b-cdfb-3a9&ascsubtag=[]st[p]cj4u2qbjo0000z6yebzu44bc8[i]tO8D0k[d]D[z]m[t]w[r]google.com&tag=thestrategistsite-20

Educators may recommend these toys for kids to play at home as well. Teachers or parents can choose to sit with the children while they play, in case they've trouble grasping the concepts.

All the toy kits are available on Amazon.

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Learning

Educationist Kanak Gupta Shares Lessons Learnt On School Reopening From Around The World

The case for blended learning: the importance of social development

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“We are going to deny kids the full school experience, social interactions and that would be a regrettable travesty I feel. The lessons part of it can be tackled with technology, and have been done so wonderfully well. However, games, sports, extra-curricular, togetherness – may be next-gen kids will have much lower human interactions. Moreover, it’s just the school buildings that are closed. School teachers and administrators are working harder than ever before to ensure that teaching-learning is not compromised with at all” stated my friend Jimmy Lucknowwala as I engaged him in a dialogue about ground realities with reopening of schools in the country. There is no denying that school teachers, students, and families have faced unique challenges this year, including balancing of ‘work-from-home’ parents and teachers, ever-shifting schedules and hundreds and thousands of children who did not have access to reliable gadgets and/or faced hardships with technology. As we moved from extreme caution of closing everything down, most of us were well aware that school buildings would probably be last after even the last to reopen. Whilst online classes and interactions have proven to be a boon, the recent reopening of schools have proven an expected mixed bag, worldwide.

Preparations made at school levels

The school administrators and other stakeholders have continued to try to make sense of the challenging logistics of the reopening, despite the fact that there are detailed SOPs issued not only by the Government(s) but schools have worked hard to customize SOPs for their individual facilities.

Reduced class sizes, rotational school shifts, social distancing measures with sanitization tunnels and what not- wonderful and at times, many out-of-the-box solutions – by schools to ensure that the COVID-19 spread can be controlled at schools as and when the buildings re-open. In most places, kids were sectioned off into “micro-groups”, arrive at school at staggered times, eat lunch separately and have their own zones in the playground. All students are required to wash their hands every hour or so, carrying their own sanitizers and wearing masks. Desks are divided two meters apart, all education material must be cleaned twice a day and when possible, classes held in a hybrid fashion. Parents and visitors not allowed on school property.  

And, we have seen a mixed bag of places where there has been good attendance after school reopening without a massive increase in positive cases, whilst there are undeniably many locations where cases have seen an upswing. The decision to send their children “back to school” wouldn’t have been easy for parents. As the online classes have been going well at most places, the reasons for sending kids back to school would’ve been a no-brainer, and perhaps rightly so. Where technology and access have proven to be a task, of course, parents have welcomed reopening.

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Reopening for in-person teaching across the world

By the beginning of April 2020, 185 countries had shut down their schools because of COVID-19, affecting 89 per cent of the world’s children. Many developed countries have since reopened schools without experiencing significant outbreaks of COVID. There has been significant evidence from scientists finding showing that children are at lower risk of severity of the illness, or even death linked to COVID-19. In addition, time spent away from in-person classes, particularly for younger students, can lead to academic regression as well as reduced access to critical services, such as school meals, that could have short- and long-term effects. School staff has shown an increase in the detection of the virus, and that is something that was being anticipated as well.

School re-openings for in-person teaching have been and perhaps would be successful in locations where testing, tracing and treatment of infected people is on an upswing, so as to help flatten the curve of new cases. Unless there is a spike of cases spiralling out of control, it has been possible to reopen schools for in-person teaching with calm and intent. Let us take a quick look at what has happened in many parts of the world since the reopening of schools.

Schools in most countries have had social distancing norms in place, and many countries such as China and Thailand have insisted on bubbles for children to be in. Denmark, Israel, New Zealand, and South Korea started reopening of schools after a couple of months of lockdown. The modus operandi had been pretty much similar as described above, and school timings drastically came down. Canada differed from the province, but Toronto most successfully had schools functioning without much turmoil. Of course, the big challenge was in the USA, where the cases have been on the upswing and the President himself talked about cutting off funds of public schools that do not open up. The many States offered up options to parents of going fully “on remote” where learning would be online only, hybrid where there would be a mixed bag, or coming to school for learning. The pressures on the teachers for managing the options has been tremendous, but everyone has been trying to crack the right formula for making the best of the given situation. And there have been cases in Bolivia, Kenya, and many countries where there has been a spike in the number of cases, and the decision of reopening of schools has been rolled back. The Philippines too announced that there would be remote learning continuing till the rollout of a vaccine. Many European countries are advocating testing of students every three to four days to be sure. I strongly feel that the impact on the mental well-being of students being subject to such frequent tests is also something that has to be looked into.

The case for reopening of school buildings in India

In our country, India, I think we have done exceedingly well in ensuring that learning has continued online despite the fact that roughly 11-12% of households have had gadgets and online access. Even our teachers have upgraded almost overnight and this has now become common tales about how the pandemic brought forward the tech prowess by at least a decade. States are still undecided about when to bring students back into classrooms, particularly as the country recorded and keeps exceeding its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases (around November pollution season in North India). The states advocated opening up for senior grades for doubt clarification and preparation of Board exams, but the attendance for in-person classrooms as of now isn’t at the highest levels. Whilst European countries reversed with reopening for smaller grades (given the youngest have more immunity against the virus), in India perhaps there is a case to aggressively advocate for continuing online learning and as we move towards herd immunity, work on examinations for equal opportunities to one and all.  

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There has been a massive logistics and financial challenge schools have had to endure to ensure that there is safety and satisfaction for all concerned. It has been expensive. Making social distancing circles, providing masks and shields and PPEs to staff and teachers, deep cleaning of school buildings, tripling up on cleaning supplies, safety materials, the appointment of proper sanitization chambers, medical rooms, constructing of barriers, sanitizers and hand-wash, having backup first aid and breathing equipment, RFID thermometers – the list is long and endless and has kept administrators vigilant. Many countries such as the USA, Singapore and Australia have given funding to schools to buckle up and ensure that all facilities have been available. Such funding and support would be great for schools in India, too.

Student and parent feedback

Emboldened by a persistent drop in new cases and enthusiasm for restarting the nation’s economy, many countries have advocated reopening with caveats. There has been initial anxiety and apprehension, however, as the experts talk about living with the virus, perhaps sequential and easy-reopening is the baby step required in the right direction. In countries where there is an influx of foreign students, especially for higher education, there has been student feedback that on-campus experience is more important than the content learning by itself, and many students have deferred plans accordingly as well. Students have shown tremendous love for online classes, given the flexibility and comfort and access to modern tools such as flipped learning, collaborative projects and inquiry led classes, however, social aspects do show slight challenges. Parents, of course, have transgressed now from being questioning of online classes to now true partners in the teaching-learning process. The transaction can happen only when all stakeholders are tied-in together.

“I was getting stuck at home looking at the same routine things, the same people, and my friends only online. Even though I am not taking my mask off, I am getting fresh air. I’m able to be more open and spacious, instead of being crammed up” echoed a student I recently interacted with who has opted for in-person learning and happy about school reopening.

Of course, there is a fear that my child will encounter the virus. However, you and I are as likely to get infected any which way if we are callous. Important therefore to be careful” said mother of the student above.

Firefighting and mental well-being

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Of course, this has been one of the most demanding challenges on school management: what to do once a child or staff tests positive or shows symptoms after reopening. Whilst there is no right answer, the best way forward has been to face it head-on, follow all Government advisory which would mean isolation of the detected case, deep cleaning and most importantly, transparent and quick dispersal of information across the board. For instance, after reopening, countries such as the USA and Israel have seen some start-stop and jerked off-road for the schools. However, now there are more definitive actions taken by the school management. In Germany and Sweden, where infections are comparative now lower, classes are kept running and only those who have had direct contact with the infected student and/or staff have been sent to quarantine. 

Given the anxiety and uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought about, I also firmly believe that each of us would react differently to the circumstances. Being indoors and isolated has impacted students, and it is unfortunate that whatever little time schools reopened, children have shown bouts of mental stress. Natural irritations, disturbances and changes in their body.

Conclusion

It is a crazy reality that when the dust does settle, education, on the whole, will emerge stronger than it was ever before, with more access for all towards education equality thanks to technology, and frankly, lack of an alternative. As our teachers innovate with new tools, so is the society at large; this is so heartening to see that real issues are being faced, tackled and discussed without inhibition. It is not unheard of where teachers are sharing ways of implementation with other members of the family of their students. Remember, teachers had to jump into the line of fire without prior warning or training, and have faced it head-on. Innovation does not stop with synchronous or asynchronous classes and even pedagogy has seen massive improvements despite the limitations.  Kudos to schools and authorities as well who have braved the situation and synergistically looked at progress instead of being bogged down by the dawn of the pandemic. Thus far, the reopening of schools for in-person schooling has been a mixed bag. Nonetheless, slowly but surely we will need to come back to physical spaces and social proximity. It will take tremendous acclimatization, but I am confident this would step in the right direction for one and all. 

Although Governments and education authorities have been amazingly progressive with suggestions and guidelines, ultimately, the decision of reopening of schools will depend on how well we, the people can maintain social distancing norms. A simple rule of the thumb should be – you should not suffer because I am stupid. Therefore, the onus has to be on every individual to defeat COVID-19 and maintain caution, no matter what. There is evidence now that closure of any establishment for an extended period of time takes that much longer to get back on track. Slowly, but surely, reopening of schools for in-person learning would help. A blended model of education is here to stay, and we will have to wait and watch trends on the number of cases, with a hand on the heart that a vaccine and cure medicine comes to us as a Diwali gift. 

About the author: Kanak Gupta, Director, Seth M R Jaipuria Schools

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