26 February 2013

Arts and Music

Thanks to satellite technology and TV, we can watch shows of events from around the world without leaving our homes. It was a joy to watch a nice program from Kharjuraho Dance Festival 2013 during lunch time this afternoon. (As a person who has made it a habit to watch a spiritual program as the last program before bed time prayer every night, I derive joy watching KDF 2013). This afternoon's programme involved artistes of different classical dance forms performing simultaneously. The synchronization of individual dance styles with one another and with that of the melodious acoustic background was superb. The program was a marvelous illustration of unity in national diversity!

At these times, one cannot forget the contributions of legendary artistes such as Dr L Subramaniam who has been giving us joyful world music fusion treats via his Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival. A marvelous illustration of unity in global diversity!    

Let me leave you with one of Dr Subramaniam's classical renderings

Isn't it true that music is a universal language?      

25 February 2013

Chaganti Koteswara Rao Garu to Collaborative Classrooms

I am one among the large majority of people used to watching favourite TV programmes whenever at the dining table. Spiritual programs are usually on top of my priority list at these times. If spiritual programs tend to bore me (because of the way in which these are presented with a lot of inappropriate commercial interruptions) I switch over to good documentaries. 

This afternoon, I had the joy of watching  a discourse on the epic `Sampoorna Raamaayanam' by Shree Chaganti Koteswara Rao Garu. When explaining some events that took place on the eve of the day fixed for Shree Raamaa's Coronation, he mentioned as to how important it is for a disciple to keep his/her mind focussed on what the Guru teaches. 

As behaviour patterns are developed from attitudes, it is very important to ensure that classroom processes have a significant influence in attitudinal development in the right direction. (But oddly enough, our syllabus and exam boards do not seem to consider this important dimension of learning at all).

Whether it is an elite school or a modest school, its quality is reflected in how effectively children learn in their classrooms. Good schools are those in which all children across barriers learn from empathizing teachers in a child friendly atmosphere without losing grip on discipline.

19 February 2013

Madhwa Navami

People who basically believe in Dvaita School of Vaishnavism observe today as Madhwa Navami.


Yesterday was an important day for Hindus. It  was on this day in Dwaapara Yuga that Bheeshmacharyaa passed away. As one of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna, he is said to have composed the great Vishnu Sahasranaamam (One thousand Names of  Shree Vishnu). As a mark of respect and gratitude to Bheeshmachaarya, this day is observed as Bheeshmaashtami. It falls on Maagha Shukla Ashtami (Eighth day of the first half of the month of Maagha) every year.

Let us enjoy an hour of virtual journey with some ISKCON devotees and learn how they spend their time in the service of Shree Hari.

17 February 2013

Ratha Sapthami

Hindus all over the world celebrate today as Ratha Sapthami. It is interesting to know from the write up that something related to this festival took place in Cambodia (when it was ruled by kings of southern Indian origin). 

13 February 2013

World Radio Day

Today is World Radio Day. When we look at the metamorphosis of communication devices from crystal radio sets to valve radios to digital receivers to current mobile radios, we cannot forget  the role played by simple desktop radio receivers (fondly known as `radio') in the lives of people of my generation.  Many radios carried short as well as medium wave bands. Besides being a reliable information source and an entertainment medium, the radio used to serve as a `time keeper'. (I have seen my father and mother setting their wrist watch and wall clock respectively based on programs aired on radio. In many households, radio was used like a family clock. If a program was scheduled to begin at 8.30 AM, according to the program schedule it began exactly at 8.30, unlike today when many of our TV programs here in India aren't telecast at scheduled times).

Besides being a time setter and information source, the radio had been immensely useful in my DXing for many years until around 1992. 

Let me leave you with 2 photographs (from my archives of late '80s and early '90s) in which you can see car stickers, QSL cards (from my favourite broadcasters) and my `best' friend: the radio!

08 February 2013

Floating Schools of Bangladesh

It is not uncommon to find Government Systems and NGOs bringing in innovations as they try to make rural schools to be child (as well as parent and teacher) friendly. One such is the concept of Flotating Schools of Bangladesh. The video shows as to how we can help kids in unconventional ways. This brief 3 min 30 s video shows how solar power can be used to run fully equipped digitally driven classrooms even on boats. (In perfect sync with the contents of the video is Southern Indian Classical Music known locally as Carnatic Music, as the acoustic background). 

04 February 2013

Choreography, Concepts and the Collaborative Classroom

It was a delight to watch an interesting program on Gyan Dharshan  TV channel during lunch this afternoon. It featured a Physics Professor (from some North American University) giving a lec-dem on how Physics concepts can be taught using dance forms including ballet. (I tried to provide a link to the program but was not able to access it from the website easily). 

It reminded me of my (i) Physics classrooms in different countries and (ii) Teacher Development Workshops which I used to conduct when I worked in the Southern India Regional Office of Macmillan India Limited.

Choreography can be a very effective resource in teaching not only Physics but also other subjects across the curriculum including Mathematics.  It is important that our teacher training programs include informal resources such as dignified dance forms, sports, stories etc . Hope you like this article.  
(I'm experiencing a problem in formatting the last paragraph. Please bear with it).

About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.