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Your words can dig into your childs mindset June 7, 2012

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, parenting.
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Success Byte :

Recently I read in the newspaper about a few students committing suicide since they could not secure decent grades in their 10th or 12th class school / board examinations. I was deeply grieved to read about such incidents. After all why does the child get into such a cowardly act? Why does the child give it up and withdraw from life all together? In my attempt to research for the reason behind this, I discussed the issue with a few parent and teachers. The reason behind such acts could be many and case specific. However one common finding is lack of right communication, which makes a deep impact in the child’s mindset.

To elucidate this I share a story here. Once a fortune teller ( an astrologer) landed in the durbar of King Akbar. The king had a very special habit, he would entertain the first visitor in his court with full devotion. If the visitor was a seeker and if the king was convinced with the query / problem presented by this seeker, he would go all out to assuage the petitioner. In case the visitor was an artist, he was given an opportunity to demonstrate the art in front of the nine ministers in the court ( often called navratna – the nine gems). The fortune teller had learned the art from his guru after investing long years of penance and sacrifice. He knew that the king was bighearted and rewarded the visitors benevolently. He was an honest person and wanted to meet the King in order to earn some riches in the form of reward. The king asked him to study the horoscope of all his family members and read his report card. He would be awarded with 100 gold coins if he gave a nice forecast. After doing the necessary calculations and in-depth analysis the fortune teller presented his prediction to the King : My Lord, “you will see the dead faces of all your family members.”… the king was shocked at such a harsh remark and went berserk. He was highly agitated and ordered the fortune teller to leave his kingdom in no time or else he would be relegated to the death chamber.

The fortune teller was scared to see the kings fury and ran out of the hall to escape any further castigation. He straightaway went to Birbal. Birbal was a minister known for his extreme intelligence. After listening to his story, Birbal asked the fortune teller to change his lookout and dress-up like a saint. This saint was then presented before the king the next day. Birbal informed the king that this saint was the best fortune reader in the region. The king was apprehensive and admonished the saint to speak good words and also be honest. This time the fortune teller, guised as a saint, read the horoscope in a different manner. He told the King, “My Lord, you are so lucky, you will have the longest life in the whole of your family!” The King was so happy he presented the saint with 100 gold coins and also many more gems!

Friends, in both the cases the prediction was the same, the manner in which it was communicated made all the difference. There is a hitopedesh in Sanskrit which says, “Sada satyam bhruyat, satyam api apriyam na bhruyat” This means always speak the truth; don’t speak the truth in a manner which would sound unpleasant to the listener. Adopting the proper communication strategy plays a very big role in leading an individual towards success or failure. This applies to schools and students as well.

Say for example, “when the student does not perform well in the class examination” what does most of the parent’s / teachers invariably tell her?

SET I :

The common reprimanding statements are :

1. You are a dumb fool / duffer?

2. You cannot even answer such an easy question paper?

3. You are a failure

4. It is so tough to teach you; you idiot.

5. You are a bad boy. Etcetera.

Such harsh words said by some of the teachers & parent’s make a long sketched indent in the minds of our students. In place of making such a communication I suggest the communication should be this way :

SET II :

1. You have to become still more intelligent.

2. You could have solved this easy question had you paid attention.

3. You are yet to be a winner.

4. I will make more efforts and try to be a better teacher.

5. You are not a good boy.

When you compare the statements in both the sets I & II above, the meaning conveyed by the statements are same but the set of words used is different. When such statements repeatedly hit the eardrums of the young generation they start getting a subconscious conviction about whatever is being communicated to them. When the repeated communication received is “you are a bad boy” ultimately the child gets convinced that yes, he is a bad boy. On the contrary if the repeated communication would have been “You are not a good boy” at least the aspirational longing of being good some day would have survived in the boys mind. Through this write-up I request all those who are parent’s and/or teacher’s in this society to be sanguine in their communications with children. You may forget what you said but the impact of your words would have already started precipitating in those innocent minds.

Do’s & Don’ts : • As a parent / teacher be very selective in using words, for they might become the judgment for the student. Think over it . Your words can dig into your child’s mindset, use those astutely.

Good to Read :

Pick of the week : “”Failure Is Not an Option” by Alan M. Blankstein “Failure Is Not an Option is a deeply inspiring and practical work. The book puts students first as a moral issue and then examines all the systems and processes that need to be in place to help them. In the book six practical and useful principles have been excellently articulated. A very inspiring book and can serve as a handbook for teachers and society for teaching learning process re-engineering. Any administrator who truly wishes to change his or her school can use this book as a manual from which to design every aspect of the change process.” (Robert W. Cole.). The book speaks to the spark of caring, generosity, and greatness in every child and provides caring adults with ideas and tools to unleash this potential. It leaves no part of the child behind, and leaves no adult on the sidelines.” (Maurice J. Elias, Professor of Psychology )

Feedback : Ajit Varwandkar ( Employability Coach)

Email : ajitvarwandkar@gmail.com

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Current Success is always Small February 18, 2012

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, Management.
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Current Success is always Small

National Talent Search Examination, popularly known as NTSE, has always been an aspiration mark for school students. Recently results were declared for the first level examination of NTSE 2011. Approximately 13,000 students appeared for this test in Chhattisgarh. My daughter Mahima, who is a Class VIII student at Krishna Public School Raipur also appeared for this examination and secured a slot in the first 90 odd students to get through. We all in the family were overwhelmed with this success and surely this was an occasion for celebration.

Immediately after the results we went to meet the director of her school, Mr. Ashutosh Tripathi to convey our gratitude for extending the best academic support. He was elated with his student’s success and it was all showing on his face. He luxuriously lauded Mahima for the feet and expressed his happiness in smile studded words of praise. His words of wisdom were highly inspirational. What came thereafter from his coffer of knowledge is absolutely rich and valuable life skill. I take this opportunity to share his success sutras with all the readers of “The Hitavada”.

One step of praise and two stages of admonition was his strategy. Suddenly after the dose of appreciation the director made us wary and suggested no party for this success. We all were surprised, why no party when there is such a relevant occasion to celebrate! To elucidate further, Mr. Tripathi shared two success secrets with Mahima :

  1. Remember this for lifetime that “current success is always small”

                      &

  1. Make success a habit.

These are so powerful advises I feel every person on the universe should take cognizance of it. Let’s try and understand the depth of these sutra’s. Qualifying for NTSE Level is a recognizable achievement though it is just half the way through. The ultimate victory happens when the student qualifies in the final (national) level examination! Being selected in the first stage and becoming eligible for appearing in the national level NTSE examination is similar to having qualified in the league matches before the semi finals and the final match. When you have a larger goal in front of you, it is a vital success habit to always consider the current success to be small. Current success should be used as an inspiration to achieve bigger victories. Current success should enable an individual to steer aggressively towards higher goals.

It surly makes sense to target partying at a higher achievement point and not get complacent by celebrating the smaller success. Success at every stage should be treated as an investment bank account. To en-cash the current success you should only withdraw confidence from the bank of success.  Where is the time to rest when there are bigger challenges to test! A cricket enthusiast once asked Sachin Tendulkar “How do you celebrate every six that you hit in a match?” Came the reply, “I celebrate by focusing on the next incoming ball!”

Success breeds success. Getting habituated to success is good but getting into the habit of failure is worst! One should have the passion to be successful. When you do not make success as a natural tendency it becomes tough to align the mindset even when you are close to success. Here is an illustration from the world of cricket to put forth the point. The national cricket team of Bangladesh was in a phase of poor performance. They had lost a few matches in a row and the overall moral was very low in the team. At such a juncture they had to play a match with the then world champion Australia. To the shock and surprise of the cricketing world one new find bowler in the Bangladesh team spelled doom for the rival batsmen. The Aussies somehow managed to be at the crease at stumps. In the evening television journalist interviewed both the captain’s. The Aussie captain said, “To be in the game and to WIN it we will have to add 250 more runs tomorrow”. In the same interview the Bangladesh team’s captain said, “ we will have to ensure that we take all the wickets before lunch if we have to save this match!      Pl re-read the words… “if we have to save this match”!!! Where is the question of saving a match when you are in a favorable match winning situation? What went wrong with the Bangladesh team was that they got habituated to loosing matches. Due to this negative habit they missed to recognize the visiting victory. On the contrary the Australian team was in the winning habit and even in a stressful situation they were thinking of victory!

We all know that it takes no time for the current to become past. With every passing moment, the current success tacitly gets buried into history and future unfolds with more demands for success. Winning should then become a way of life. We should allow our thoughts and design our actions to be governed by the habit of success.

Lessons for Excellence :

  • Like failure, success should also not be counted as final
  • Milestones of smaller success should never tempt you to rest till you achieve the bigger targets.
  • Make wining a habit and you will never get distracted on the way.
  • Current success should lay the carpet to welcome the next success.
  • Always think success, to achieve success.

Feedback : Ajit Varwandkar

Email : md@fsindia.in

परीक्षा की तैयारी January 23, 2012

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, parenting.
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परीक्षा का मनोविज्ञान

परीक्षा मतलब पर +  इच्छा

–परीक्षा में हमेशा दूसरे व्यक्ति  की ही इच्छा का महत्व रहता है ,बच्चे साल भर पढते है ,लेकिन पेपर कोई दूसरा बनाता है ओर जांचता भी है   कोई और |परीक्षा का भय तो ऐसा है कि बड़े बड़े व्यक्ति भी परीक्षा के नाम से भागते है |अगर हम परीक्षा के मनोविज्ञान को समझने की कोशिश करे तो हम पाते है कि एक नियत समय में ,साल भर की पढाई की जाँच सिर्फ तीन घंटे में की जाएगी |तो इस     समय में जरुरी है कि बच्चे अपना आत्म विश्वास बनाये रखे और एकदम शांत और संतुलित रह कर परीक्षा की तैयारी करे| परीक्षा का तनाव क्या होता है ?यह सवाल आप किसी भी छात्र से करे ,तो उसके हिसाब से दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा तनाव यही है पूरे साल मेहनत की है .पर अब हताश हो रहे है |पता नहीं क्या होगा ?  अब जबकि परीक्षाएं करीब आ चुकी हैं और कुछ ही दिन शेष रह गएँ हैं,स्वाभाविक है  कि बच्चों  और पालकों में  उत्सुकता ,घबराहट  एवं तनाव की स्तिथियाँ निर्मित हो जाती हैं | वैसे तो कम वक़्त बचा हो और लम्बा रास्ता तय करना हो तो वाहन चालक को गति बढ़ानी  पढ़ती है , मगर यह सावधानी भी रखनी पढ़ती है कि कहीं एक्सीडेंट न हो जाए | यह भी पक्का कर लेना होता है कि उतनी क्षमता है जितनी से आप उसे चलाना चाहते हैं | समय कम बचा है और कोर्स ज्यादा, ऐसेमें क्या करें और क्या न करें यह एक अहम विषय होता    है|

और अगर यह बोर्ड परीक्षा है ,तो तनाव होना असामान्य बात नहीं है |लेकिन कुछ बातो का ध्यान रख कर बच्चे तनाव से बच सकते है और अपनी परीक्षा में अच्छा प्रदर्शन कर सकते है

<क्या करें छात्र

1*परीक्षा के लिए लक्ष्य तय करना जरूरी है। अपनी क्षमता देखकर ही अपना लक्ष्य तय करें। वरना बाद में निराशा होगी। अगर आप 9वीं कक्षा तक 65 प्रश अंक लेकर पास होते रहे हैं तो अपना लक्ष्य भी 65 से 75 प्रश अंकों का ही रखें। 85 या 90 प्रश अंकों का लक्ष्य रखने से आप भटक जाएँगे।

2* ध्यान रहे, लगातार कई घंटों तक पढ़कर कोई बच्चा अच्छे अंक प्राप्त नहीं कर सकता। किताबी कीड़ा बनने की जरूरत नहीं। पढ़ाई के साथ थोड़ा समय बाकी कामों के लिए भी निकालें। परीक्षा के वक़्त तनाव होना जरूरी भी है, लेकिन इतना नहीं की पढ़ा हुआ याद ही न हो पाए| हर स्टुडेंट्स का अपना बॉडी क्लोक होता है | किसी को रात में पढना  अच्छा लगता है, तो किसी को सुबह | आप भी अपना बॉडी क्लोक समझे और उसके अनुसार काम करें | यह सोचकर कभी नहीं पढ़े कि आपका दोस्त ज्यादा देर तक पढ़ता है, आप तो बस यह सोचे की आप कब तक पढ़ सकतें हैं ? 45  से 50  मिनट लगातार पढ़ने के बाद 5  से 10 मिनट का ब्रेक जरूर लें |

3* सुबह की सैर के साथ-साथ थोड़ा-बहुत व्यायाम व खेलकूद भी जरूरी है। इससे शरीर को नई चुस्ती-फुर्ती मिलती है, जो कि शारीरिक व मानसिक विकास के लिए बहुत जरूरी है।

4* मनोरंजन हमारे जीवन का जरूरी हिस्सा है। परीक्षा के दिनों में मनोरंजन का समय घटा दें, लेकिन खुद को मनोरंजन की दुनिया से पूरी तरह अलग न करें। थोड़ा समय निकालकर हल्का-फुल्का संगीत, हल्की-फुल्की कॉमेडी फिल्म या धारावाहिक अवश्य देखें। याद रखें की मनोरंजन का समय खाने में नमक की तरह होनी चाहिए, न तो बहुत ज्यादा न बहुत कम | शरीर के लिए 6 घंटे की नींद बहुत जरूरी है | इसलिए शरीर को प्रोपर रेस्ट भी दें

5* अगर माता-पिता ने आपके सामने बहुत कठिन लक्ष्य रख दिया है, आपको लगता है कि आप उसे हासिल नहीं कर पाएँगे, तो उनसे स्पष्ट शब्दों में कहें कि आप कोशिश करेंगे लेकिन आपकी क्षमता से यह लक्ष्य बड़ा है। अगर वे फिर भी उसे बार-बार आप पर थोपते हैं तो इसे इज्जत का   प्रश्न न बनाएँ। धैर्यपूर्वक उतना करें, जितना आप कर सकते हैं। अनावश्यक तनाव न पालें।

 6  *     स्टुडेंट्स परीक्षा के तनाव को कम करें और सकारात्मक सोच  अपनाएं | परीक्षा को अब कम ही समय रह गया है | ऐसे में किसी नए चैप्टर कि शुरुआत करने कि बजाय, जो पढ़ा है, उसे ही अच्छे से पढ़ें | पढ़ाई के साथ ही खान – पान का भी बराबर ध्यान दें |    लाख समझाने पर भी स्टुडेंट्स के मन में परीक्षा को लेकर तनाव तो रहता ही हैं | इस स्थिति में दिमाग को ज्यादा ऑक्सिजन कि जरुरत होती है, जो उचित खानपान से ही संभव है |

  खाना  सिर्फ दो  बार न  खाकर कुछ अंतराल में कई बार में खाएं | हर एक घंटे में पानी जरूर पियें और अंगूर, सेब, मुनक्का, मूंगफली, संतरा, सोयाबीन, पालक, खजूर, शहद और गुढ़ भी खाएं | मसालेदार खाने से बचें |

चिंता करें, लेकिन इतनी नहीं कि सब कुछ भूल जाएँ | पढ़ाई को यदि बोझ समझेंगे, तो कभी सार्थक फल नहीं मिलेगा

7** अगर आप तनाव में हैं या फिर आपको किसी तरह की घबराहट या बेचैनी हो रही है तो जल्दी ही घर के किसी सदस्य को या फिर करीबी मित्र को बताएँ। अगर आपको लगता है कि आपकी बात कोई नहीं सुनेगा तो किसी हेल्पलाइन पर फोन करें। वे आपका मार्गदर्शन करेंगे। परीक्षा के दिनों में बच्चों के लिए विशेष हेल्पलाइन शुरू की जाती हैं। इनकी जानकारी सभी अखबारों में मिल जाती है।

 8*पढाई करते वक्त अपने टेबल में   – स्माईल के साथ पढाई करें, ऐसा करने से मस्तिष्क में ब्लड सरकुलेशन तेज हो जाता हैं | दिमाग और मन दोनों ही आपके नियंत्रण में रहते हैं और वह दोगुनी तेजी से काम करेंगे | जब हम खुश होतें हैं तो सब कुछ अच्छा लगता है | इसी तरह परीक्षा को  भी ख़ुशी – ख़ुशी लें | यह समझे कि सालभर जो कुछ सिखा है उसे दिखाने का समय आ गया है अगर फिर भी मन न माने तो तो दिल पर हाथ रखे और बोले आल इज वेल |

वर्षा अजित वरवंडकर,

मनोवैज्ञानिक करियर सलाहकार ,

अगलाकदम .काम,रायपुर  ,98261-32982

How much homework is enough for students? August 7, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, National Issues.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
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What is your homework policy?

I happened to be discussing about school education and child upbringing with one senior bureaucrat recently. The officer’s son was studying in one of the most prestigious ( & costly too!) school in the town, however he was still seemingly unhappy about his child’s performance at school and at home. He said, “Ajit Ji, readymade Maggy ko pani mein ubal ke agar gharwali khana parosegi to usne khana banaya bolenge kya?” ( If the housewife buys a ready to eat food, just boil’s it and arranges it for you to eat, will she be given the credit of preparing a good food?). I said, Not really. That’s what is happening to our children today. His complaint was that for every home work assignment which his son gets, he prefers to surf the internet, download the data, do a bit of copy-paste-reformat and finish the homework. I am afraid tomorrow he may upload his homework on face book and update the status!

When parent’s meet what they most of the time discuss and speak is about their children. A variety of ideas and information gets churned out in such discussions. One lady who shifted her son to a new school, feels it’s a very good school only because back home she had never seen her son so immoderately busy with his homework. In her words, “Now a day’s my son ‘studies’ a lot!” Actually her son is most of the times busy completing his homework.  On the contrary here is one senior banker who curses his son’s school like anything. What they tell the child to do at home is only to copy down the matter from textbook to homework copy. Worst is this that most of the time his son is on a multitasking mode. He does all his topo job (copy work) simultaneously while he is watching those film fare awards or other reality shows on the idiot box ( television). When cross questioned his son has a logical explanation “ Dad, till date not even a single such assignment has been checked by our teacher. She will only put a red colour mark to fulfill her statutory responsibility. Even if I write down the story of DON 2 in between the notes still I can get the “red colour OK mark and signature” from my teacher on the home work submission!”

Friends won’t you agree that doing such homework is just like eating a heavy dose of junk food which has no nourishment but only satisfies the sense of having eaten something!” If there is zero importance to homework given to children, it will only kill the students productive time and make him dull. I recall my school days when if I were to prepare for a debate on any topic first I used to use all my available information in the memory bank to scribble the preliminary framework. Then discuss it with parents and friends to make it more relevant ( obviously we did not have search engines those days!). Finally our teacher used to do the final cut and approve or disapprove the content. On the contrary in today’s era  if a student has to prepare for a debate, I can bet, 95 out of 100 students will log on to google.com and download the content (rest 5 might not have the  “right to internet” at home!)

In the current schooling system I have observed a gross disconnect between school homework and its expected output. Students from various schools share that they get homework from various subject teachers in different periods. Sometimes the summation of homework given by all the subject teachers in a particular day grossly surpasses the students capacity to accommodate. Students from lower classes are sometimes given assignments and projects which are very difficult for them to execute. In one school a class II student got an assignment to make a model of Roads and Buildings. This child has not been prepared to take on such an assignment on his own and as such the project gets outsourced to the kids parents or brother-sisters. This is a typical case of a fruitless home work. In the process the child learns to daringly fake in front of the world when she proclaims that she has done that project on her own! 

Be it an essay contest preparation or any kind of a project work submission there are off line and online companies which offer a readymade solution. This should not sound like news that there are various homework vendors available in big markets who offer to do your child’s homework in exchange of a few rupees! Home work is a booming business in a few metro’s now a days, specially the ‘bulk home work’s’ like summer home work or the winter homework!

Homework is defined as out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom lessons. In effect I think, there could be three main purposes of  homework:

  1. Make the student practice at home what has been taught in school.
  2. Make her to prepare for the examinations.
  3. As an extended learning ( skill development and extra curriculum)

A lot of research has been done on the need and relevance of home work given to school children and its relevance in the current context. It has been found that homework is a largely effective in enhancing the student’s performance but only when it is executed by the student in the intended manner. According to a Duke professor of psychology Mr. Harris Cooper, there is a positive correlation between home work and student performance specially for secondary school students. Too much or too little home work, both work against the students learning aptitude. The research suggests assigning of 10 minutes of homework per day per grade-level. Accordingly class I students should get 10 minutes worth of homework while 9th graders can accommodate 90 minutes of homework.

Assigning homework should have educational value and should serve to enhance the learning. It should not attempt to supplement the time constraint in school in order to cover up the full course curriculum.  Homework is a tool which should be effectively and intelligently used by the school administration to leverage intellectual discipline and establishes desirable study habits. It should reinforce the lessons studied in school. As a by-product home work should bring the home and the school as well as the teacher and the parent close to each other.

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Every school should have a well discussed and properly designed homework policy.
  • Before going for the internet resources, students should be educated and encouraged to at least attempt the first level of assignment with the available resource with him in his mind.
  • Feedback improves the effectiveness of homework, especially when the homework submission is genuinely reviewed and feedback given in a timely manner.
  • Attempt should be made to limit after school activities so that student has enough time to manage various other activities like sports, social networking, relationships etc.
  • Homework should entice the parents to monitor the child’s work at home, but it should not compel them to get into “on the job” execution support at home.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Birth of an Unemployable Engineer July 16, 2011

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Admission session is back on cards. Various academic institutes across India are into the refilling mode. Recently we had the news from Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi about the mind shattering 100% cut-off marks for admission. The demand supply imbalance of seats versus prospective students has surfaced yet again. Engineering has traditionally been the most preferred & “rest assured” choice of professional career for students and parent’s alike. Getting an Engineering degree is like a dream achieved. However the story post engineering is not all that encouraging these days. We have seen a large mass of unemployed engineering students struggling hard, unsuccessfully, to get into employment.

Time and again we get to see those enticing advertisements from various colleges imparting professional education. We also come to understand that India is on the path of exponential industrial growth & that industry would be requiring thousands and lacks of qualified manpower in years to come. A very important question which one thinks of is “In spite of seemingly win-win scenario for students and industry both, why is there a situation where thousands of unemployed engineers flock on the roads every year? There has to be some remarkably important phenomenon responsible to catalyze this situation. To my understanding the main reason behind this situation is that some of the institutions are giving birth to unemployable engineers. The obvious blame flame targets the mushrooming of engineering institutes, short sighted policies, lack of vision etc. On the contrary I think there is one more factor responsible for this imbalance. You would agree with me that it is the input which justifies the output. We need to take a serious look into the kind of students intake today’s institutes of excellence are forced to acquire. A few of real life experiences will elucidate my views in the next paragraph.

A parent visited us last week and wanted career counseling for their child. Father is a reputed builder and desperately wanted his son to join his business. Sir please guide my son to become a Civil Engineer. It was a close ended request. Father had not given any alternates to his son. On the first place I had doubts if the young lad even had an aptitude for engineering, leave aside civil engineering. The kid confessed, he wanted to become a stage artist. In spite of all the guidance and counseling efforts, the psychometric assessments et al, I know the boy will have to digest the qualification of Civil Engineering.

In yet another real life experience a girl child spoils her career because her parent’s are too liberal. They not only assured her to give her the financial support to visit a career counselor and get the most professional advise but also to arrange for the best education infrastructure for her. “Do what you want to & we shall support you financially” goes their words. The girl got all the more confused. All choices and no signboards from parent! Which way should I go?

Choices are the hinges of destiny, said Pythagorus. Surely so and very true also. More so when one is on cross roads of career and the decision taken today will decide the direction of the future life. With thousands and lacs of engineering seats available in India getting admission to an Engineering College is not much an issue. Any institute is as good or as bad as its faculty, campus placements and students provided the Institute is statutorily accredited and recognized.

Friends, students & parents let me share a secret with you. “Just like all medicines are helpful to cure some or the other illness but this happens only when the doctor reads the symptoms rightly and prescribe the right medicine, likewise all Engineering Branches lead to success – what is required is to have the right match.” To select the right branch is a very serious decision. This shall define the course of your career. In the process of making this decision students get strongly influenced by parents, peers and people in general. The opinion of every person you meet contributes in creating thought ripples. In the field of engineering there are immense opportunities for those with the right attitude, skills. The need is to choose the right branch as per the interest and aptitude parameter of ones personality. Opportunities will definitely follow those students who select the right academic slot for themselves. Even in times of recent recession, exciting opportunities were available for technically qualified & EMPLOYABLE manpower.

Making a BRANCH SELECTION is all the more tough when the choices are more. Before taking the right decision students should necessarily meet and discuss with at least two on job working engineers from every stream of engineering and get their opinions about the particular branch. Selecting a branch of engineering also depends on the students career planning. It is must that students should be able to evaluate their inherent personality traits and match it against those which may be the mandatory determinants for any particular branch of engineering. Not all branches of engineering may be suitable to every student. For example if you have a extremely introvert personality and you desire to become a civil engineer or get into construction activities in your life, it may not be really the right decision for you since civil engineering on field ( mostly) requires the traits of extrovert personality.

Every engineering field has its own set of challenges and opportunities. The student should first logically establish the best preferred stream of engineering by getting a. professional psychometric consultation. Having established the best branches the student should introspect and reflect about his/ her aptitude, interest and personality, the strength areas and match it with the career goal.  A lot of material is available on the internet which can be surfed to get a glimpse into the engineering branch selection subject. Its however wise & fruitful to consult seniors in the industry, teachers & placement managers, counselors & education coaches before jumping on to the final decision.

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

1. All branches of engineering have the potential to deliver a great future to the student.

2. More than selection of the institute it is the selection of the right branch which is more critical.

3. Before finalizing on any institute a student should necessarily be satisfied with the institutes accreditation status. You have all the rights to ask for these details.

4. Understand & analyse your aptitude, interest & skills and use this report to select the right branch of engineering.

5. It pays to discuss with senior / just pass-out students & relevant working professionals in the industry to get more insight about the institute and the various streams of education in engineering.

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Quench your thirst or cut your throat? July 9, 2011

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Can you be the friend of your enemy? Think twice? It’s a request – read this question thrice & then answer: is it possible for you to be the friend of your enemy? In most probability you would reply in “a big NO”. It’s comprehensible, how can one befriend an enemy? This is sure shot impossible. Going further here is one more question “When did we first learn about friends and foes in life?” Was it at school or at home or while playing with friends on the playground?

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT ! May 28, 2011

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4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT !

“Sir, my son is average in studies, he is not an extra ordinary student. Can you please help us suggest him the right career?” Working as a career counselor we come across such statements from accompanying parent’s more often than less. It is really heartening to see parents de-motivating their ward when it is their responsibility to be the source of inspiration for them. Most of the times this happens unintentionally but it surely devaluates the self esteem of the child.

IIT Jee results are out. Almost five lac students participated in this engineering race and less than ten thousand students qualified to get admission into India’s best engineering institutes. As per statistics out of every 200 student only 1 got to enter the prestigious institutes! By all means this is a very tough competition. I read in newspaper that son of a vegetable vendor qualified for IIT Jee in Chhattisgarh. In Bangalore a student who works part time as a bartender in a wine shop got through in the examination. These are those special cases where the hard work and preparation got an opportunity to meet success.

Almost every school in India had a list of few students qualifying in the tests. For the school authorities and management the success of their students in similar examinations becomes a matter of pride and fuel for their growth & prosperity in future. Appreciation goes only to those who get the winning certificate. Students who qualify in the entrance examination get a lot of accolades. It’s like a festival of congratulations where the whole world wants to hug the winners. The school teachers, the coaching institutes, parents, friends and seniors – all clamor around the winners to claim their share of the credit in making the student a success. Banners, Posters and Media play a prominent role in glamorizing the success of these successful students. 

I sit back to think about the state of mind of the majority.  When the demand supply is lopsided & there is a rush to get the best, majority never wins. In any such competitive examination the majority lies with those who could not cross the barrier. What about the balance nine lakh ninety thousand students? Are they good for nothing? Are they not worth making a great career for themselves? Had there been 1000 more seats available in the education system, may be those borderline thousand students would also have got an opportunity to celebrate success.  Tragedy happens when many parent’s forget that these examinations are just a means of eliminating applicants in order to offer admission to selected students in their institutes. Parent’s forget the fact that these examinations are not to identify how dumb or how intelligent their ward is.

Father of a meritorious student informed me that his daughter did not qualify for JEE. This was a rude shock for the school, the teacher & for the friends. While the father was demonstrating absolute cool de-mean-our I could see dejection on the face of the kid. Sometimes there are no answers to questions in life. May be the child did not fill up the answer sheet properly, may be the answer sheet got mixed up, maybe she did not write the roll number correctly or maybe she did not understand the negative marking pattern of the examinations. Something surely went wrong somewhere.  It was time for the family and friends to accept the result and move ahead. What the father further said was heart stimulating “There is nothing to be shocked about failures in life. I do not take this as a heart break. My daughter has many other options for success and we are going party today!”  I recalled the proverb “Failure is nothing but a delayed success!”

Not all children are lucky to have so considerate & thoughtful parent.  It is the responsibility of biological parents to evolve into matured parent. Examinations like IIT JEE or any other engineering / medical examinations actually put the parent of contesting students to test. It is their natural anxiety to ensure that they want their ward to get the best. Many parent sacrifice their happiness and wealth to ensure that the child gets the best academic infrastructure.  I know of a father who sold of his only property to get his son educated at one of the best coaching institute in Rajasthan last season. In spite of his inputs his son did not qualify. As a result the whole family got mentally derailed and went into psychological disorder.  There are many such examples in the country. Out of the 4,90,000 families of students who did not qualify for IIT JEE this year, I am sure majority won’t be prepared to take the negative results. Dejections in life should as well be taken with dignity. Rejection does not mean the end of life, it only means there is an area of improvement.

Recently in a leading national daily there was a news item which said that a few students from IIM Ahemdabad and Bangalore were asked to tell what part of their childhood they would like to change given they had such an opportunity. A few students cried and said they wanted to become something else in their career and definitely not a management graduate! Their parent’s coerced them into the management education! One family came to us for guidance & psychometric career assessment. They were taken aback & broken down when we informed that their child has an aptitude into fine arts. Engineering or medical might not be the most apt career for the kid. The father was a senior PSU officer and desperately wanted to father an engineering student. Reason being he missed the engineering race in his career trajectory. In most of the family’s parent inflict their children with their unfulfilled career desires. A father – mother combine can become the best counselor for the child. They should properly access the strength areas of the child and direct the child into similar directions.

My dear parent’s, it’s not your children alone who face the examinations, it is you who have to actually pass or fail. It’s time to take responsibility and show reasonable upbringing ability at home.  It is vital for today’s parent to create the right atmosphere at home. It is their responsibility to prepare children to take on the challenges & examinations in life. Majority of the parent’s will have to learn to hold their anxiety and control their emotions. Do not just scold your child for his / her not performing upto expectations. Show them the varied options for the future and appraise them on the opportunities for improvement. If you feel you are not really competent to do this, hire professional services but please do not mess up with the mindset of your child. Believe me your kid takes your words very seriously. Your words can make him / her a leader or a laggard. In private or in public, always use positive adjectives for your children. You may not see immediate results of positive affirmations but negative words will surely kill the motivation instantly.

Lessons for Excellence :

  1. Results of any academic examination should never be treated as the ultimate result. The menu card in the restaurant of Life will have much more to offer beyond these results!
  2. Children should always have fallback options in place. If career plan A does not work, Plan B might! In-fact one should have a career plan C also in place.   
  3. Parent’s please note: your words and actions are being watched by your children. Please demonstrate absolute maturity when addressing the child’s performance ( or non performance ) in public or at home.
  4. Parent’s – never push your unfulfilled career aspirations down the throat of your child. Let her personality evolve in tune with her strengths.
  5. Finally, if the child fails in any examination   – he/she should not be blamed alone for it. Parent, School & society should take the collective responsibility.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

I don’t – NO April 23, 2011

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To pretend what you are not is a fetal error. It has been my conviction that “pretend” is a word which suites only those who are on the path to success. It is said that if you think you are not successful, does not matter, just pretend in front of the world that you are successful. Alternately when you are sad, pretend to yourself that “you are happy”, after some time the feeling of sadness will dilute. It works. It actually works wonders, take this tip and try once if you need to. Other than this anywhere else in life pretend is not a useful word / behavior. Life is not a fancy dress show where one pretends something or someone else. I quote a few observations where pretention is wrongly used by people in day to day life.
This starts right from the school days.

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar
Email : info@fsindia.in

Papa Don’t Preach February 19, 2011

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If there was a stress barometer to read family stress, the mercury would have shot up very high these days because a lot of examination borne stress is showing in families. Where there are children, there ought to be schools and where there are schools, examinations are must! Come March – April and most of the schools in India shall be conducting the final / yearly evaluation examinations.

Most of the students are worried about the exams. They go through phases of sleepless nights or peace less sleep. They don’t feel like eating well and constantly keep feeling irritable. Irony is that their parent as well experiences almost similar symptoms. To add to the impact they are emotionally stressed too! Students are worried because they have to “face” the examinations and their parents are bothered about their performance.

Students are the only ones who actually are aware on their level of preparations for the examinations. Some students may have well prepared and would be in the final lap of revision while many others would not be so lucky! But the common factor for both the category of students, those who are prepared for examinations and those not prepared for exams, is that “stress” attacks all of them!

These are the days when students spend most of the time at home preparing for their next test. Parents are not far behind, I have seen many parents take leave from their office and sit along with their children while he/she is studying. Some of the parents care too much for their children and continuously keep following it up with them for completion of course curriculum. Some such parent even extend support to their children in finishing up with their subject practical’s or assignments. Parents would getup early morning along with the children to help them in studies and won’t part till they see off them the into the examination hall!

While examination season is actually the time when the kid requires absolutely stress free atmosphere, the over indulgence of parent sometimes makes the situation further complicated. The parent has all good intentions to support their children but generally what evolves out of their sudden involvement is additional stress and irritation to the children.
“All study and no play makes Jack a dull guy” – we tend to forget this knowingly. While the examination days when the student needs to concentrates better on the learning process they are not allowed to play or turn on the music. In the guise of studies there is an atmosphere of gloom & panic at home. Students are not exposed to such restrictions, extra attention and it finally distracts them.

Competition is tough and peer pressure is already very high for the student; under such situation the otherwise dormant parent makes a mistake to suddenly start over discussing the syllabus with their children. Parent does not realize that their emotional outburst invariably affect their children directly. The child is not really prepared to take on the fresh set of expectations. With so much of hi definition emotions & complex stress at home, every individual in the house needs to support the examinee by taking proper care of his or her own emotions on their own. Child’s emotional need should be allocated the highest priority and parents should not allow their emotional state to disturb their child’s routine. When a parent gets into the trap of emotional examination stress, the child is likely to experience one or more of the following symptoms: disappointment & lack of confidence, apathy to study & appear for examinations, unable to learn because of memory lapse, heath disorders like headache, fever, irritable bowl, nervousness & temptation to end life etc.

Parents I suggest you to please relax & not over react at this juncture when the student is on the verge of examinations. Behave very normal and let the child follow the normal course of his day routine. Be like a genie & a guide post for your student. My prescription is be affectionate and never make the child uncomfortable with over-attention. A dose of zappi ( hug ) an hour would work wonders.

As the final countdown for the examinations starts for the students here are a few more suggestions for the parents to de-stress their children :
• Try to have least one meal with the family and spend some light moments with children.
• If the student does not perform well in one test allow him to forget about it and plan for the next paper. Ruminating over the failure is never fruitful.
• Apart from examinations, discuss about other interests and hobbies of your child. This will help him / her to relax.
• Do not set fresh examination rules for your child, examination timetable should be made well in advance. “Revision timetable” should be decided only by the student. However the parent could always assist the child in coming up with a routine, if the child so desires.
• Take care of the child’s nutrition & health.
• Sometimes children are not able to cope up with their social network (friends and internet sites), you can help the student to shield these pressures.
• Be a good listener, never react without understanding the complete story from your child. It may just be that the child is reacting out of some situation but actually addressing a different stress.
• Motivate the child, he/she may not show but could be disheartened within. Help your child with positive thoughts.
• Last but not the least, Parent should consult a counselor if the child is experiencing alarming stress or behaving abnormally.

Parenting is a very responsible art. Parenting decision should be made in mutual consultation by mother and father. As a parent you are best positioned to understand the aptitude and ability of your child. Accordingly ensure that the child goes through the process of examination freely and smoothly. My dear parents, do not just preach but also teach your child to be positive about examinations because this exam is not the end of the journey. Life is much more beyond these examinations.

Ajit Varwandkar
http://www.aglakadam.com
Email : info@fsindia.in

HONESTY is just a POLICY! October 23, 2010

Posted by aglakadam in career guidance and counselling, Children n Students, Life and all, National Issues, parenting, Social Casue.
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We do teach school students morals in life. Honesty is the best policy was one of the first phrases I learned in my life. Moral Science was a very important subject in school curriculum. We were taught moral science in school which we not only learnt by heart but also assimilated in our character in life. I remember those days when at home we used to get additional lessons on values in life skills by way of Panchatantra Stories etc. But it seems civilization has changed drastically and so have social values.

It was one of those days when Common Wealth Games was making the news headlines ( for Gold reasons!) One morning while reading newspaper my daughter asked me a question which triggered various thought processes very vital for today’s society in general and the education policy makers in specific. Here is sharing it all with you ….

The news goes like this : India bags 6 more Gold medal’s in the Common Wealth Games…. My daughter Mahima, who is a class VIIth school student, reads it loud for all of us around to listen & then remarks.. “looks like something is wrong…” I questioned her : “What is wrong about this? India gets Gold Medals & this is a reason for us to cheer and be happy…!” No Papa I didn’t mean that, yes I am happy with the Gold medals and the achievements but I never saw India getting so many Gold medals so I thought something was fishy! I asked her about her perceived apprehension, the answer was startling : She said : I think the game is fixed, India being the host country we are getting more medals then what we deserve… I snapped back : What nonsense dear, the players have practiced and performed ..hence they are winning and the reward follows…. You should not think negative.

Yes dad, I know that its not good to be negative.. but is there anything negative in suspecting that a game is fixed? In the previous few months we have been reading in news paper that various cricket games are fixed! Even in the school assembly when children have to read news, they have orated such news at times! Dad looks like you are not aware, there is a lot going wrong about these Common Wealth Games.. I read so much about one minister called Kamadi who is being blamed for so many mistakes in the CWG stadium!

With such a reply from a class seven student I got dumb stuck. What morals should we teach our children? More important how do we justify them what we teach? When we tell our children that it’s a bad habit to abuse, why does the next person on the street do so? why does the actor in the movie does so on a cinemascope screen or a TV show? We teach children about hygiene habits then why does we see so many people easing off by the street? What ever we teach them they try to correlate it with the world around them. It is getting increasingly a challange to teach & inculcate values in today’s generation. Today’s children demand that whatever is preached should be practiced also, not just by the teachers and the parents but by the society in general! When they do not find a synchronization they get confused. This is where their personality shatters.

One more reason is the excessive exposure to media – our children are exposed to the good as well as the bad in the society. You pick up a television sop and mostly you will find that it the story is based on some plot of a never ending conspiracy! Worst, invariably the conspiracy is played in between relationships and not enemies! You can see stories where a brother conspires against a brother or a mother in law is secretly working against the daughter in law, husband wife & the third relation stories are a common place now a days. Even the kids can guess such connections in a television sop while we teach them at home not to tell lies, be honest. Sorry sir, honesty does not deliver the desired results in today’s world always.. I was shocked when a parent informed me that their seven year old kid is used to telling a lie just for the sake of evading homework!

When we look deep into the evolution of all this, it seems as if the excess of exposure to our kids either through media or other wise is the culprit. Evil was always there in life, there has been no generation without a immoral clan around in the society. The only difference was that earlier the children then were not exposed to all that. The only information about bad person was in fairy tales. The question is what ever we teach our children at home or at school, if the society does not endorse it will the teaching get assimilated? Will we then have a valid stand to stand by our teachings in front of these students? Today do we have the answers to the questioning eyes of our young generation. Ethics & ethical behavior is not the agenda of today’s children, they are getting exposed to the latest in the technology but surely their value system is getting degraded day by day.

The real world is day by day becoming a rough & tough place to be. Today’s student have to be fully prepared to face it. Classroom education in itself does not make our students better prepared to face the world. It is the responsibility of us citizens of the country to take on this responsibility and behave in a balanced manner in public at least. A lot needs to be done on this. Come lets start thinking and as they say austerity starts at home, lets be a responsible parent at home in every wake of our life.

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
http://www.aglakadam.com