Showing posts from 2017

Patterns for bad practices of teaching

1) Teaching whiteboard not students
Students work is only to nod head to say yes most of the time even if they understood nothing, disagreement is remarkably uncommon. Teachers don't inquire about student comprehension. Some teachers do inquire but by asking a dichotomous answer of yes or no.
But to know the comprehension level, one has to test it by asking questions to students or to explain the concept.
2) Not answering means insult
If students don't give the right answer, they are insulted in front of whole class. Students are completely responsible for not knowing the answer. "Kya tum gharme padthe nahi ho" (Don't you study at home?). So everything you have to study at home. School is not a place for learning.
3) Personal attack when you ask too much question
Again students are insulted if they ask too many questions.
4) Target only to finish syllabus
The syllabus is paramount, not students. Why are teachers going so fast that students are unable to grasp? An…

Practicing one component in one time to learn the whole

Most often questions are designed that tests the understanding of whole instead of its components. Students miserably fail to solve these problems due to lack of enough practice of its components.

So systematically breaking down the whole concept into its required components is important. e.g. Take this question:
[Cr(NH3)6]3+ is paramagnetic while [Ni(CN)4]2- is diamagnetic. Explain why?

To start solving this question you have to know the following components:
1) You have to know the atomic number of Cr and Ni. If you have forgotten the atomic number or not memorized it, you are out of luck to solve it.
So, has the teacher or the book has given memory tricks to memorize the periodic table.
2) After you know the atomic number, do you know the electronic configuration of the metal atom?
3) Then, can you determine the electronic configuration of metal ion?
4) Do you know how to calculate the oxidation state, because you need to calculate the charge of metal ion?
5) Have you memorized the…

If all content (subject matter) are alike, how can we expect innovation?

Problems with alike content:

1) Homogenization of skills
When a finished product reaches the market, the product development cycle goes through the touch of many divergent skilled peoples. A product can have many components which require different skill sets of different people.

For example, Website Development:
When you begin to develop a website, you start with designing a prototype of how it will look, which requires the expertise of graphic designers, you need the skill of programmer to code for the website, you need to be a webmaster to host your website.
If you look into the depth, there is much more complexity to it. Each website has its own requirements. A prototype can be designed by using different software, such as Inkscape, illustrator and many others. Each software requires a different kind of learning and experience. Similarly, from programmer side, which language you will be using, which framework, based upon your website requirements such as speed of development, scala…

Solving with formula without intuitive method makes student mindless.

Solving by intuitive methods helps students to understand the working of the formula, which is most important to build strategies for different problems.

But our books and entrances only give most leverage to formula part without the intuitive part. Take it physics, chemistry or mathematics. Students in coaching centers are mindlessly taught short cut formulas so that they can solve the problem in short time, as there is time limitation in entrances.

Example of Intuitive vs Formula Based in probability (Addition Rule):

Book: Elementary Statistics (Mario F. Triola)

Effortful Playing


Alternate thinking, there is no one 'correct' answer.

How education hinders alternate way of thinking?

A teacher gave the following question in MCQs:
If you add some dissolving solute to water, does there is a change in total mass i.e. ([mass of water + mass of sugar]) changes?
a) There is no change in total mass
b) There is change in total mass
Student wrote:
Teacher gave the mark: zero

What if the student thought the following deeper idea to answer the question. When we add a solute to water, the reaction can be endothermic or exothermic,  so if heat is released in case of exothermic, an amount of mass is converted to heat, so there is little decrease in mass that is difficult to measure. For an endothermic reaction, some amount of heat is absorbed, so there is little increase in mass.

So the answer can depend on scientific theory, concepts, inductive or deductive reasoning, premise, and method or procedure used.

There are no one 'correct' answer, the answer can depend on the process of thinking and context.

Public-private partnership schools and its implementation

Benefits of  this model:

1) No much reliance on government for the safeguarding of the quality education. Teachers as an entrepreneur will take care of it because it will bring competition for quality.
2) Teachers income depends on the ability to bring students. So they are solely responsible for their income. They will work for themselves, instead of doing just an obligatory job for a monthly salary.
3) Students will have the freedom to choose a class, not just school. (Funding children not school)

The process of the model:
1) Govt may provide infrastructure. 

2) Teachers as Entrepreneurs with coaching center business model
Why coaching center business model is effective?
Teachers should run the schools, instead of any building owner. Each teacher will have its share of the money produced. A govt website can me made that will help in collaboration of teachers for becoming partners. Teachers should …

Allowing mediocre colleges to provide degree certificate is degrading the education system

IITians, doctors, and most desired teachers try to join coaching institute instead of colleges.

If you run a coaching institute, teachers are heavily paid, because about 70-80% of students money goes into the pocket of teachers, but no matter how much students pay to college, teachers are given fixed and very low salary. Also, brilliant students don't aim to join as a teacher, as pay scale is too low.

Coaching institute business model works best to provide quality education as teachers have the complete sole responsibility about their amount of income and autonomy to provide quality. If teachers don't perform well, their pay scale will be low, so it creates a subconscious pressure to compete for quality. But this doesn't happen in schools or colleges.

How allowing mediocre colleges to provide degree certification creates a problem?

Allowing them to provide certificate enables them to bring students despite not providing quality.

What could be done?

Mediocre colleges…

Occupation as Teachers in India


0        Andhra Pradesh
1     Arunachal Pradesh
2                 Assam
3                 Bihar
4          Chhattisgarh
5                   Goa
6               Gujarat
7               Haryana
8      Himachal Pradesh
9     Jammu and Kashmir
10            Jharkhand
11            Karnataka
12               Kerala
13       Madhya Pradesh
14          Maharashtra
15              Manipur
16            Meghalaya
17              Mizoram
18             Nagaland
19               Odisha
20               Punjab
21            Rajasthan
22               Sikkim
23           Tamil Nadu
24              Tripura
25        Uttar Pradesh
26          Uttarakhand
27          West Bengal
28    A. and N. Islands
29           Chandigarh
30     D. and N. Haveli
31        Daman and Diu
32                Delhi
33          Lakshadweep

As per 2010-11 report total number of teachers: 6554246

India Total population: 1,340,708,984

% of teachers of total population: 0.49%

41% of the population are be…

Why convert everything to rat race?

Instead of having cut off marks based on students scoring, we can have minimum high pass marks that check if the student has enough knowledge to study medical including checking the projects they have done (it checks whether the student is exceptionally excellent for the work). Then lottery system can be done if we have a fewer number of seats.
The proposal can also include girls and other vulnerable social class under reservation.
This will reduce the too much of unnecessary burden on the student, also they needn't have to join coaching centers for getting the seats. No more sky touching marks, and no more importance of special coaching.
Scientifically speaking luck do play a role in the entrance exam, it's not all about merit.  How luck plays the role? Students who score 2000 rank is not necessarily better than 3000 rank. Parents can't afford the coaching institute. Not knowing the pattern of exams, such as e.g. following Campbell book instead of NCERT, even though you m…

Suggestions for changes in lessons of NCERT Chemistry book

Chemistry Book:

NCERT Chemistry book requires a complete reinvention, with eliminating most units that are unrequired at the higher secondary level and making it more systematic with the flow of information and building new connections by using prior information.
e.g. How quantum mechanical model is linked with explaining the properties of elements and molecules? And before explaining the quantum mechanical model, it's needed to explain what are model and theories.
From Britannica:
Scientific modeling, the generation of a physical, conceptual, or mathematical representation of a real phenomenon that is difficult to observe directly. Scientific models are used to explain and predict the behavior of real objects or systems and are used in a variety of scientific disciplines.

The Higher secondary level is meant to know the basics first with the foundational understanding of the mechanism of concepts in detail. It should be relevant to students day to day life to know their surrounding…

Why there is nature tendency to mix?

Link to the book for image

If information is binary (e.g. 0,1) what is disorderliness (or entropy)?

If two objects have similar properties or pattern, each object position is replaceable by the other object, is this the actual reason for spontaneous mixing or nature tendency to mix?

Like dissolves like