Subroto Cup: Update

The competition semi-finals were played today.

In the first, Mizoram beat Chandigarh 1-0 and in the second game SAI beat Orissa 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

So, the final on Monday will feature two teams both from the group that TSRS played in. Our boys can feel proud that, whichever team wins the competition, they held their heads up against the eventual winners. It also puts in to perspective how good the performance was, going down just 2-0 against Mizoram.

As far as prediction for the final – in the first round Mizoram beat SAI 1-0.

Detective Divij

Divij is in class VI at Senior School, Phase III. This week, he got the chance to appear on Barkha Dutt’s programme, ‘The Buck Stops Here’ in an entertining piece related to some materful deductive reasoning he had applied to figure out what Archie is up to in the Archie’s comic series.

Check it out:

NDTV

What Makes TSRS Special?

Here’s an interview given by Ms Komal Sood, Principal, Senior School, DLF Phase III in connection with the recent award from Education World magazine:

Komal Interview

Government & Education

What should be the role of government in education? Do politicians and civil servants have any special skills or abilities that makes them uniquely well placed to determine what’s right for the education of a nation’s children? When governments do run education, do they do a good job of it? What would be the results if they let educators get on with education without hindrance?

These are all questions that would probably see the majority of people concluding that government should get out of the way. However, instead the world over they continue to behave as though the citizenry are dangerously misguided fools whose children need the protection of their wisdom and involvement. Along with that, they plainly think that educators are a bunch of dangerous reactionaries who need to be kept under very firm control.

A classic example of the problems has appeared in the last few days in England. The Cambridge Primary Review has been carrying out vigorous research over the last 6 years. I’ve met a couple of the educators involved – certainly no reactionary fools, these. Amongst the conclusions of their report are that ‘formal teaching’ of younger children should not commence until they are 6 years of age. This would bring England in to line with much of Europe, where young children only commence formal schooling at age 6 or 7.

However, the immediate response of the British government has been a telling one;

“England’s schools minister Vernon Coaker said the government was already reforming primary education to make the curriculum less prescriptive and free it up for teachers.

He added: “A school starting age of six would be completely counter-productive – we want to make sure children are playing and learning from an early age and to give parents the choice for their child to start in the September following their fourth birthday.”

The review also questioned the educational values of SATs – regular tests taken by children at the ages of 7, 11 and 14 in England, but their reason for doubting was fascinating;
“Our expert group on assessment said it would be a backward step to scrap English and maths tests at 11 and we are piloting a School Report Card, which will give parents a far broader picture of how schools are doing.”

In other words, in the eyes of the Minister testing of children and producing report cards has nothing to do with partners working together to enable each child to fulfil their potential. Oh no, these are to check up on the schools and make sure they’re doing their job properly. Which job are they to be doing and what does ‘properly’ look like? Well, it’s the job the government says they are supposed to be doing and the measures that work will only be the ones that they can test for easily and do comparisons.

So, sorry children, but you have to keep taking these tests because government doesn’t trust educators. They must be checked and regulated as a bunch of reactionary trouble makers and if the children doing tests is the only way, then so be it!

So, is there any evidence that these approaches are producing great education and young people emerging in to the world after education well prepared to contribute to the world, to be and to do all they are capable of? Irrelevant question, apparently.

There are many things which result from such approaches; teachers teach to the assessment process, especially when that’s the basis on which they and their school will be judged. Teachers push through every means possible to make these assessments easy so that they increase their chances of success. Never mind that this fails to stretch the most gifted of students.

Here in India right now these are very valid questions to be talking about. We have an HRD Minister in Mr Kapil Sibal who is prepared to open up the debates nationally about what kind of an education system we need in the twenty first century. I am often saddened that here in India there are painfully few people engaged in the kind of rigorous research represented by the Cambridge Primary Review in an Indian context.

However, if we can build such a high quality research base in India it will be vitally important that we give the findings of such research their due respect. Not, like the government in England, reject it all because it doesn’t fit with their ways of working.

There is an old saying that “If they can’t learn the way we teach, then we must teach the way they learn.” Maybe we can make a new version of this, “If they can’t educate the way we govern, then we must govern to suit the way they educate.”

BBC Article
CWE-briefing

Could We Do This?

I’ve always been a firm believer that for the problems and ills of our world to get solved the people who have shared in the creation of those problems have to be a part of the solution. Also, sometimes big audacious symbolic acts have far more impact on the citizens than incremental requests for change.

Like this:

Honest Education

Man is responsible for increased carbon emissions. Increased carbon emissions are warming the planet. The planet warming up is going to be disastrous. Man is heading towards creation of a calamity.

I believe anyone who sells such simplistic understanding of a scientifically complex world, especially as educators working with children is engaging in a deception at least as bad as the fundamentalists in America who demand the teaching of creationism and rejection of evolution.

The fact is that education should not be afraid to open even quite young children up to an understanding that humans are very complex beings living in an infinitely complex world governed by science wherein there are vast realms where we do not have all the answers.

Further, an understanding of science’s past should lead all learners to contemplate on how much they should trust today’s certainties. it is not enough to just enjoy a smug titter over the fact that people once believed the earth was flat or that illness could be eliminated through the letting of blood.

Education is not a ‘sales job’ whereby we tout today’s simplicities and quick recipes as blocks of digestable knowledge, (tested through a simple regurgitation process called exams!) Young learners should be actively encouraged to question anything and everything, building their awareness and skills for how to question and how new possibilities are postulated, researched and affirmed or rejected.

Returning to where i started with global warming here are two fascinating articles from the BBC. The first opens up for the learner many of the complexities of the issue that are so often left out, especially in material written for children. The second article is an editorial piece explaining some of the controversy resulting from the first.

BBC Article 1

BBC Article 2

Napoleon Hill – Wise Words for Career Success

“Before worrying about how to get more pay, try thinking how you can do a better job and you may not need to worry.”

When you devote your time and efforts to doing your best at every job you do, instead of developing persuasive arguments why you should be paid more for what you do, the pay raises will take care of themselves. When you approach every job enthusiastically in a spirit of friendly cooperation, you distinguish yourself from the vast majority of people whose primary concerns include breaks, benefits, paychecks, and quitting time. Don’t complain about your status or your pay to anyone, not even to your best friend. Word will eventually get back to the boss. Which type of worker would you rather have on your team: one who complains constantly or one who is always helpful, cheerful, and reliable?

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