Page 1

Happy Diwali & New Year!

The monthly newsletter

Issue 98 | November 2013 |

This Month’s Issue Things Teachers Can Do .. 01 ASSET ............................. 02 Emotional Benefits ......... 03 Failure is an Option ........ 04 10 Ways to Encourage .... 05 Encourage Healthy ......... 06 Teacher’s Bite ................. 07 Mindspark Poster ........... 08

Things Teachers Can Do To Prevent Bullying Bullying has become a worldwide epidemic, and it needs to be prevented as much as possible. All you need to do is a quick internet search to find horrific stories of how bullies have devastated the lives of students and their families. Educators and teachers need to know how to prevent bullying and stop it immediately. Bullying is a senseless act, and it will continue to haunt people for the rest of their lives. The main thing that teachers need to do to prevent bullying is be proactive. Every

single day, the teacher should have some sort of community building activity that is designed to demonstrate care, concern, compassion and friendship for one another. Most bullies do what they do because they lack friendship and companionship. When the bully becomes threatening to another student, the bully gains confidence that he or she is better

them, and the bullies need to be punished swiftly the first time. School leaders must engage in this battle and punish bullies without backing down to social issues that may result from the punishment.

than that person. This self-esteem boost will continue to grow unless it is stopped. The teacher needs to teach everyone in the room to get along with each other, and they must teach children alternative things to do instead of bullying. A great article at shows how we can use shared decision- making to encourage more cooperation and participation in solving such problems. It is a good idea for educators to pair up people that do not regularly spend time together. In many cases, this is all that it takes to build a partnership and mutual respect for one another. Bullies typically bully children that they are jealous of or not strong enough to fight back. Teachers should take a common sense approach to this by also teaching each child to stand strong in the face of adversity. The children that are bullied need to know that there are people available to help Source:

Another way to prevent bullying is by having children interact with other children that are not in the same classroom. Teachers should try to find times when larger groups of children can interact with each other, rather than at recess. It is not wasted time because this time together can build social and

emotional strength and understanding in all the students. There’s not one-size-fitsall solution to bullying, but that should never stop us from doing our part to make a difference in the world.

The word ‘ASSET’ itself is a reminder of the fact that if one wants to, one can prove and make oneself an asset by imbibing qualities of perseverance, confidence, dexterity and thinking out of the box. The ASSET examinations have helped the students of Navrachana Vidyani Vidyalaya, realise the capabilities they were unaware of. These exams have instilled and channelized the thought processes in an extended degree that enables students think and work to go out of their comfort zone. The school modifies the entire teaching learning process on the basis of the results and the feedback of this diagnostic test. It helps us to know our strengths as well as the shortcomings. It’s a great tool used by individual students, teachers and the school as a whole. I congratulate the entire team of ASSET for their endeavours.

Ms. Sonal Verma, Head Mistress, Navrachana Vidyani Vidyalaya, Vadodara

News Bite The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched its first Career Counseling and Guidance Centre at Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, on 15 October 2013. The centre is aimed to assist students of Classes X and XII, especially those in rural areas, in choosing and pursuing the right career. The Minister of State for Human Resource Development Jitin Prasada had inaugurated this career counseling centre of CBSE. The best news is that this CBSE centre is open for students of all Boards in the country. CBSE chairman, Vineet Joshi, stated about the centre, the "vision behind setting up such a centre is to enable access to quality education with equity." The CBSE envisages that this centre will help students "understand their forte, interests, knowledge and capability." Though the counseling and guidance at the centre is free of cost, Rs 50 will be charged for taking the SGAI test at the center, results of which would be accessed within a day. According to sources, at least six camps would be organized between the months of October and December in various districts of Uttar Pradesh to spread awareness about the centre. The idea to launch such a counseling centre came up when

Prasada asked Joshi this June, to set up a student support centre and a teacher training institute in Lucknow as the region has no mark for CBSE to say that it has done something valuable for it. The teacher training centre is under an "internal approval" process, said Joshi. As suggested by CBSE that the students should opt for subjects based on their evaluation provided by the Student's Global Aptitude Index (SGAI), Prasada and Joshi also unveiled the SGAI kit, containing all the essential paraphernalia to gain clarity on the concept.

Emotional Benefits of School Uniforms for Young Children Reduced Focus on Clothing When schools require uniforms, students are less likely to focus on clothing as a means for determining status. In public schools where uniforms are not required, lower income students may face ridicule over the lessexpensive clothing options they wear, compared to the more expensive clothes their peers wear. When schools require uniforms, this competition does not exist and students exist on a more level playing field. This enables students to shift their focus towards schoolwork and away from clothing concerns. Greater Self-Confidence When schools require uniforms, students are required to take care of their appearance. Dressing in a uniform each day helps children take pride in

how they present themselves to the world. This greater self-confidence can then translate into better academic performance and reduced social anxiety. A child who is attending a school that requires uniforms may be more comfortable expressing her unique gifts without focusing so much on outward appearance. Sense of Belonging Uniforms can help to unite a school population and increase a sense of belonging among students. Just as team uniforms do the same in sporting, school uniforms help students to feel like part of a group, without needing to set themselves apart by focusing on outward appearances. An additional benefit is that it is easy to recognize outsiders on campus quickly in a sea of uniforms.

India – MY Country Uttar Pradesh – The Political and Cultural Heartland of India Sufi Kathak – a Unique Synthesis of Mystic Sufi Poetry and Classical Indian Dance Kathak Sufi Kathak is a new experiment in the North Indian classical dance form. It blends the depth of Sufi poetry with the beauty and grace of classical Indian dance forms. It uses dance to narrate and interpret Sufi poetry. Sufi poetry was always sung, never danced to. Its purpose was never literary, but the poems are filled with implicit messages, which can be interpreted differently by the dancer. The dance has acquired its own identity recently. The dominant thoughts of the dance is the formless almighty, the nirgun brahma and poetry are different in Sufi Kathak from classical dance, as are the aesthetics, the use of language, movements, music and costume. Sufi Kathak, is not Sufism alone, the entire Subcontinent provides a reference point. Each Sufi saint brings with him a different language of expression. The dance styles associated with Sufism over this region are spontaneous, and do not follow a classical format. More information on:

Failure is an Option: Helping Students Learn from Mistakes By: John Orlando, PhD in Teaching and Learning


Failure is one of the best teachers. Most of what I learned about home maintenance, I learned from my mistakes. The military understands the benefits of failure and actually gives soldiers tasks that they know will lead to failure at some point as a part of their training. Similarly, pilots are trained on simulators and are given a variety of emergency situations until they fail. But instead of using failure as a valuable teaching tool, education discourages it as, well, a sign of failure. A student is measured at various points along a course on how well they have mastered the material. Since each assignment is graded based on its proximity to success, and the final grade is determined by the aggregate of each individual grade, failure is preserved and carried with the student throughout the course. The result is that students become failure-adverse, demoralized by failure, and focus more on grades than education. One way to reverse this trend is by using gaming in education. Students who fail in video games do not suffer the same blow to their self-esteem as those who receive a low grade on an exam or report card. They simply try it again. I’ve previously written about this topic in the article ‘What Games Teach Us about Learning’. We must also rethink the purpose of grading itself. Too many teachers have the “apple sorting” view of grading as a process

of separating the good students from the poor students. But consider the conversation that I had with a teacher many years ago. I had just started teaching at a college and was told that this particular teacher was widely considered the best in the school, as well as the toughest. Stopping at his office one day I asked him about his reputation as both the best and toughest teacher in the school. I made the comment that he must not give many A’s, but he responded by saying that everyone in his class gets an A. I asked him how this could square with this reputation for toughness. He replied that when a student hands in a paper he is given comments and told to rewrite it, and must rewrite it over and over until it is an A-quality paper. Only then it is accepted. This story proves wrong the view that low grades are a sign of rigor. This teacher expects great work among his students and requires them to keep working to improve the paper until it reaches that level. We learn to write by making mistakes and correcting our mistakes. Teachers who hand back an assignment with comments and a grade only encourage students to leaf through the grade and store it away. Expecting them to correct their failures is genuine education. Consider how to incorporate failure into your teaching in order to generate success.

10 Ways to Encourage Students to Take Responsibility for Their Learning 1. Don’t Make all the Decisions Allow choice. Encourage students to make decisions about how they learn best. Create opportunities for them to pursue their own interests and practise skills in a variety of ways. Cater for different learning styles. Don’t expect everyone to respond in the same way. Integrate technology to encourage creative expression of learning. 2. Don’t Play ‘Guess What’s in my Head? Ask open-ended questions, with plenty of possible answers which lead to further questions. Acknowledge all responses equally. Use Thinking Routines to provide a framework for students to engage with new learning by making connections, thinking critically and exploring possibilities. 3. Talk Less Minimise standing out in front and talking to them. Don’t have rows of learners facing the front of the class. Arrange the seats so that students can communicate, think together, share ideas and construct meaning by discussing and collaborating. Every exchange doesn’t need to go through the teacher or get the teacher’s approval, encourage students to respond directly to each other. 4. Model Behaviors and Attitudes that Promote Learning Talk about your own learning. Be an inquirer. Make your thinking process explicit. Be an active participant in the learning community. Model and encourage enthusiasm, open-mindedness, curiosity and reflection. Show that you value initiative above compliance. 5. Ask for Feedback Get your students to write down what they learned, whether they enjoyed a particular learning experience, what helped their learning, what hindered their learning and what might help them the next time. Use a Thinking Routine like ‘Connect, extend, challenge’. Take notice of what they write and build learning experiences based on it. 6. Test Less Record student thinking and track development over time. Provide opportunities for applying learning in a variety of ways. Create meaningful assessment tasks that allow transfer of learning to other contexts. Have students publish expressions of their learning on the internet for an authentic

audience. Place as much value on process and progress as on the final product. 7. Encourage Goal Setting and Reflection Help students to define goals for their learning. Provide opportunities for ongoing self-evaluation and reflection. Provide constructive, specific feedback. Student blogs are great tools for reflecting on learning and responding to their peers. 8. Don’t Over Plan If you know exactly where the lesson is heading and what you want the kids to think, then you‘re controlling the learning. Plan a strong provocation that will ‘invite the students in’ and get them excited to explore the topic further. But don’t plan in too much detail where it will go from there. 9. Focus on Learning, not Work Make sure you and your students know the reason for every learning experience. Don’t give ‘busy work’. Avoid worksheets where possible. Don’t start by planning activities, start with the ‘why‘ and then develop learning experiences which will support independent learning. Include appropriate tech tools to support the learning. 10.Organise Student Led Conferences Rather than reporting to parents about their children’s learning, have student led 3-way conferences, with teachers and parents. Students talk about strengths and weaknesses, how learning has progressed and specific areas for improvement. They can share the process and the product of learning.

Fun Zone Teacher: “How can you prove that the Earth is round?” Raju: “I can’t. Besides, I never said it was.”

You can share your favourite joke/s at We will be glad to publish it.

Encourage Healthy Eating in Schools

School communities are increasingly becoming places where healthy habits can flourish. The responsibility for teaching children healthy habits does not fall only on teachers though. A healthy school community involves all partners and sends children the same message to the home, school, and community. Children who attend a healthy school can make informed, healthy decisions that affect their own lives and the lives of their families.

that feature different topics that can relate to a topic students may already be learning about. For young students, teach colours with fruits and vegetables. Take field trips to the cafeteria. Letting the students explore where the food is made and see the food being prepared can be rewarding for the food service workers and pique the students interest to try more food at school.

Choose a health coordinator for the school. If it is a large school, more than one may be needed.

Start an after-school cooking club. Enlist a local chef, culinary student, or parent to teach students basic cooking skills. Children are more likely to eat healthy foods if the presentation is appetizing and if they have a hand in preparation.

The health coordinator can work with the students on personal habits. This can involve BMI monitoring and evaluating eating habits to help establish healthy goals.

Encourage your children to drink more water. Over consumption of sweetened drinks and sodas has been linked to increased rates of obesity in children

It doesn’t take a lot to create a healthier school. Some changes could include:

The health coordinator can also have a hand in preparing short lessons in nutrition that will relate to school meals. The lessons can coincide with the lunch or breakfast menu and be taught by teachers or cafeteria staff. Have the health coordinator evaluate school meals for nutritional content and suggest changes if needed. Establish a nutrition curriculum. This can be incorporated into existing or new health and physical education programs. Create nutrition handouts

Talk to Your Children About Nurtition Children are smarter than we think. Even very young children can begin to understand the basic concepts behind good nutrition. Teach them about the different food groups. Tell them that it makes our bodies happy when we fill up with wholesome foods that have lots of vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients. Help them understand that although sugary, salty, chemicalladen treats may taste good, they are not good for us.

Teacher’s Bite Mrs. Punita Nehru, Principal, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Indore


Who has most influenced you to become an educator, and how did they influence you?

It was by the divine blessings of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba that I became a teacher. He made me realize the significance of being a teacher and what makes a teacher so sacred and revered. He influenced me by being the supreme teacher. He was, who taught by example.


What is your approach to classroom management and student discipline?

It is important for a teacher to manage the class well and keep a check on student discipline. The way I can perceive it happening is by balancing love and law while dealing with the

children. Further, it is important for a teacher not only to have a firm grip on her subject but also to apply effective interactive teaching methodologies to keep the children actively involved.


What are your views regarding the 'Importance of Teacher Training and Development' in educating Students?

The training of the teachers is of paramount importance as the teachers have to be continuously oriented with the latest developments in educational fields as well as should be equipped with the right teaching methodologies to deliver well. A good teacher influences scores of children which is why it is important for her to learn and unlearn at every step. Thus, the exposure given to a teacher directly influences the children and they earn the benefit from it.


What is your view regarding the ASSET Test?

It is a very competitive test which helps the child to test herself extensively in a very scientific way. It is interesting and very child friendly too.

Book Review ‘Green Boy and Stories of Other Creators’ by Anjali Khandwalla, translated from Gujarati into English by Pradip Khandwalla (published by Partridge, a subsidiary of Penguin) ‘Green Boy and Stories of Other Creators’ is a book for inspiring teenagers and young adults to live life and make their careers according to their deepest yearnings. It is a collection of eight stories about a special breed of young, resourceful, and energetic Indian men and women with a powerful commitment to their way of life. What is common between a youthful Canadian of Indian origin, who sets off for India to discover himself, and a lower middle class schoolgirl whose yearning for expressing herself through painting is choked by her parents? Or, between a botanist’s son who can communicate with plants, an adolescent small town Brahmin boy who loves to dissect dead animals, and a child-servant who wants passionately to be an innovative farmer? Or, between a youthful female mountaineer who lands herself into a world a thousand years in the future, a girl terrified of ghosts, and the son of a temple priest who is fascinated more by the rocks in riverside caverns than the idol in the temple? Passion for achieving something personally meaningful and creativity are the traits common to these young Indians, in short supply in contemporary Indian youth. They fight successfully for the freedom to pursue what moves them, and succeeds in carving out astonishing niches. Multiply such dynamos a million-fold, and you have a vibrant, pre-eminent Indian civilization. The book’s message for the young is: respond creatively and resourcefully to what you really want to do in life and you can succeed even in such off-beat careers as farming, botany, painting, starting a school and organ transplanting. The rearing in many Indian families and the teaching in most

Indian schools are such that youngsters develop serious psychological blocks: excessive fear of failure that saps initiative; lack of confidence in dealing with the members of the opposite sex; an immobilizing conformity to social or parental norms; stereotyped perceptions of people of other communities; extreme dependency on ‘elders’; social prestige driven choice of careers rather than a choice based on one’s strengths and deepest yearnings, and risk aversion. The stories take head on the hang-ups from which many Indians suffer, and provide fresh ways of breaking out of these shackles. These stories paint a variety of Indian contexts. India is a collage of diverse lifestyles, and these stories vividly conjure them up. While one story is set in a lower middle class household, others are set in an upper class joint family, a Canadian Indian home, in the humble quarters of an abandoned countryside temple, in the farmhouse of an urbane scientist, and so forth. The characters are imaginary; but the stories seek to capture for the reader the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary India. Anjali Khandwalla, the authoress, has been an acclaimed writer of short stories in Gujarati with many literary awards to her credit. Pradip Khandwalla, the translator, is a poet and a translator of literary works. He is a former director of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.


Educational Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. 302 & 613, J. B. Towers, Opp. Doordarshan Tower, Drive-In Road, Ahmedabad - 380054 Phone : 91-079- 40269696 Fax : 91-079-26841400 Email : Website :

We would like to receive your feedback on the contents of ASSETScope and the activities of EI. Please send your comments / opinions / suggestions to, or to the postal address mentioned on the left. This is a platform meant for you and it would be great to exchange ideas with you.

ASSETScope November  

A monthly newsletter for schools

ASSETScope November  

A monthly newsletter for schools