Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Cynical Permission

The other day, out of curiosity I typed my name on Google and I was surprised to see so many Lobsang Nima’s and this made me conclude my brother’s Facebook update some years ago, “Google is God; Answers everything.” Looking closely at the search results I found two results that caught me.

I wasn’t aware that my blog posts, two updates in particular were featured by Business Bhutan in their columns and editorials. Further browsing down the links, I got my posts in Business Bhutan website. There were articles by other prominent bloggers like Yeshey Dorji and Passang Passu. I don’t know whether they are aware of this or not. For me, I am not aware of this and no one from the paper ever asked. Not that I don’t want to share what I have written but shouldn’t I know where on earth my posts are being featured.

Some years ago, Bhutan Observer did the same but they asked me if I agree to let some of my blogs be featured in their online paper. I am happy that my articles are being read but at the same time a little cynical on whether or not permission must be sought.
Until my blogger mates put down their opinions on this, this shall be an update like any other.

Good day folks. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Good morning isn’t always good

We talk of our lofty vision of GNH and place a higher degree of importance to our schools in imparting education. GNH, I am sure will be infused even more this time not forgetting the happiness cream. Curriculum is going to change; at least that is what I hear. No matter what is changed, if the ego of the teacher is before everything else, it’s like saying, “Unless your government increases my salary the earth will remain flat”. A teacher who was working in some remote school back then told this to some education inspectors.

I am living the moment of how irritating can Mondays be and the Monday sets the cornerstone for how the rest of the days would go. OK like every Mondays, there’s morning hassles, cook, eat, pack, get dressed and off to school in my case. Reaching school, greet friends and children, sign and off to the morning assembly.

The retention of children is at stake here. Just recently, in groups all teachers underwent the ‘Transformative Pedagogy’ training and we were amazed to learn that a child’s retention and learning can only go beyond their age with one addition. Confused! A Child is 7 years old, his/her retention and concentration, is 7+1=8. A child of 7 years can learn and listen to 8 minutes. And these eight minutes is again difficult at a stretch. This is what research has found out.

Contrary to this finding, the morning assembly in any centre of learning goes beyond an adult’s retention. Imagine the plight of hundreds of faces in the sun looking at the teachers. Point is, say things that is important and inevitable. You do not need the brains of an all knowing saint to deliver the intended messages. Sometimes, listening can be so monotonous that you begin to doubt the speaker’s credibility. One can see the frustration on our children’s faces as well. Such uneasy can the sight sometimes be in the mornings.

These centres of learning must be the place where the value of time must be taught and instilled. The next time you greet someone good morning, although a good morning from the other end, may not have had a ‘good’ morning. Think again.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Brush up your Shakespeare

A souvenir remembering Shakespeare this year 
Reinstating Shakespeare in the English curriculum from next year came as good news at least to me. I positively hope children will enjoy it as much as I did in my schooling. May be the gods are with us because this year the bard is celebrated around the world and the playwright’s home town this year has seen thousands of visitors from around the world. This is the popularity of William Shakespeare and this year the world celebrates his 400th death anniversary. 

William Shakespeare's known portrait 
When it was removed I was in my 1st year in college and I was not in favor of this move and it broke my heart. May be the all-knowing people who thought of changing the English curriculum then, were too naïve to think out of the box-"Lord, what fools these mortals be." This is midsummer madness.

Shakespeare’s plays have everything we need to learn in literature. This obvious reason must have skipped from the minds of the curriculum saints back then. Of course the language written dates to the Renaissance England. Shakespeare plays to me is " I am one who loved not wisely but too well"-Othello.

However, after one and half decade of teaching the so called ‘modern curriculum’, people must have realized we are going awry somewhere with the English delivery in the classrooms. With this not so modern curriculum, I raised up an issue sometime in 2008. The contents and the activities although modern, dictionaries were provided obsolete with archaic words. This still happens in schools. The text is new and the words are new. Dictionaries provided are some 18th or 19th imprint dating back to 70’s. Of course one need not rely on the dictionaries these days with the internet. Retention is the proceeds that we expect from children after teaching and learning. Learning by doing is so fundamental for children to keep their learning retained for a longer period of time and there is a charm to it. Today with internet how many of our children learn academically. Instead I see children fond of online games and songs, adults included sadly.
Google Images

Children may find William Shakespeare alien but believe me, after they have gone through his plays I am sure they will begin to like and love him. Such is the appeal of literature to its readers. I am very sure the working committee of this move would like to begin with some romantic comedies rather than the fierce tragedies. I don’t know how you all across the country might take it but I am definitely overjoyed with the news. I feel there will be some real literature in our classrooms. I am euphoric. This is surely coming of better days.

Come next year, literature in higher classes will have some spice and good luck to you English teachers. Will you brush up your Shakespeare? I am sure you will. I also know it's easier said than done but "If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottage princes’ palaces." -The Merchant of Venice. 

Until Shakespeare comes next year, "To thine own self be true"-Hamlet.