It is during childhood that as parents you can give your child the right set of moral values to live by the entire life. Even current behavioral research shows that childhood plays the most important role in developing essential qualities that will determine later how successful or unsuccessful in life he turns out to be.
And experience says that while children hate being preached to, they respond very well to the influence of stories and other indirect mediums. Reason? Because these stories entertain them and stimulate their imaginations, they are more likely to adopt the morals presented.
Here are some of the Indian stories that are extremely interesting and educational for children:
- Birbal: The wit of Birbal—one of the nine courtesans of Emperor Akbar—is very well known and loved in India. These stories are almost always humorous, and are also know for their very own brand of suspense. Birbal is shown battling against the wrong decisions or perceptions of the emperor or some other person in the court, and uses his brains to correct the situation and make the other realize his mistake. The stories always have a powerful moral at the end, which stays with the reader because of the huge impact it makes on young minds.
- Panchatantra: Famous world-wide, the Panchatantra is a collection of Sanskrit verses that narrate animal fables in the form of very short stories. The animals in these stories can speak, which allows them to express dilemmas and form plans. Modern renderings of these can often be found in beautifully illustrated editions, and your child will love to devour them. At the same time, these stories contain positive moral instruction, which makes them a must to read.
- Stories of famous people: Children are inspired by and learn quickly from the lives of ancient heroes and luminaries. Stories of the Buddha, freedom fighters, ancient travelers, etc., are already popular among children. Since different people from the past had different things to say about the world, this helps in the mental development of the child. They are fascinated by the larger than life image of these people, and try to emulate them in a positive manner.
There are many more books you can refer to when looking for moral stories for your child. Do take a look at our store and browse through the collection of many useful books we have catalogued for your child.
Preparing for the Olympiad is no easy task. For one thing, the syllabus is not very well defined; and second, the problems can be extremely hard to crack at times. All this calls for a very different approach than what a student might adopt for conventional competitive exams. This means not only being in the right mindset and maintaining the right temperament from day one, but also picking your resources with extreme care. Because the amount of time you spend drilling has not much to do with your chances of success, a deep, intuitive understanding is what the exam calls for.
This applies to the books as well. If you are not careful, you could end up spending a lot of time with no returns. This is the reason why we bring to you some pointers on selecting the right book for your Olympiad exam.
- Wide coverage: The book should cover a wide range of topics, and not just one or two of those required. The reason for this is simple: you don’t win the Olympiad by being very good in only one area. It is only by casting your net wider and studying all the areas involved, that you can hope for success.
- Depth of topics covered: As crucial as covering the full range of topics is, it is also very important that the subject matter is not given a shallow treatment. The reason is that the Olympiad depends fully on the extent of the student’s understanding of the topic, and that can be achieved only when the subject has been studied deeply.
- Reviews: What are the other students saying about the book? Check out the reviews and see what the strong and weak points of the book are. Read not only the good reviews, but also the bad ones, as these sometimes offer truly helpful insight. However, always take things with a pinch of salt, as most of the negative reviews are emotionally charged and devoid of sound reasoning.
There’s no better way than checking out the book yourself. Go to a bookstore and see what the book is like. Check if you like the writing style and approach of the authors, as these will have a lot of say in your interest-levels and success. To make things easier for you, we have come up with a special range of books directed at students preparing for the Olympiad. Don’t forget to have a look!
English is an indispensable language if one wants to survive and excel in today’s environment. From research to business, governance to broadcasting, English is being increasingly adopted across the world. However, countries where English is a second language face a special challenge – while students are able to understand and write English well, they are not very fluent in spoken English. The reasons for this are twofold: not being able to think in English directly, and not being familiar with the numerous expressions in English that collectively add up to a natural speaking style.
Can anything be done about this? Absolutely, which is why we thought we should share these tips for improving spoken English with you:
- Watch the accent: People from different geographies have a characteristic accent. This accent is easily identifiable, and makes its way effortlessly into spoken English as well. For example, English spoken in the United Kingdom has a very different flavor than English spoken in the United States. In any case, it’s a good idea to work on neutralizing your accent, which means getting it in line with the native English speakers. You can do this easily by going through a good course.
- Study pronunciations: English is not a phonetic friendly language. This means that there is no direct relation between groups of words as they are spoken and as they are written. For instance, we all know that “gut” and “put” are to be spoken differently, even though they are written in the same pattern. These were simple examples, but there are many more important words that are poorly pronounced by many people. And this can become embarrassing for you, unless you pay special attention to it and work on it consciously.
- Listen to spoken English: Just as you learn your native language by listening to people around you, you can learn spoken English by listening to the native English speakers. If that is not possible, watch TV programs in English, radio broadcasts specially BBC, and whatever else you can lay your hands on. The more you come in contact with it, the sooner your spoken English will take a turn for the better.
Working on spoken English needs effort. This means following a trusted plan and sticking to it. We have selected some very helpful books for you to improve your spoken English skills. Have a look; you’ll definitely find something that you like.
With changing times, the possible career opportunities are also undergoing changes. Newer avenues are opening up, and there is a persistent shortage of good talent. This makes an ideal case for considering starting your career right after high school. In no way are we saying schooling or college is not important but to be able to figure what your area of interest is early in life and pursuing your studies in that field is what is becoming the mantra of today. “Your interest”, we say, because this is a path that demands dedication and is not going to work otherwise. Marks are only going to play a limited role.
So without further ado, here are some examples of avenues open to you after high school, and the challenges they carry:
- Gaming: Do you love games? That’s very nice, because there’s a very demanding, very rewarding industry out there. You can opt to become a game programmer, texture artist, sound artist, level designer, project manager, and what not! This will require some knowledge of advanced mathematics and physics (which is introduced in senior secondary schooling), but is nothing you can’t master with a little hard work and proper training.
- Designing: Designing is not only limited to advertisements and websites. These days, aesthetics has found its way into jewelry, footwear, textile, interiors, and so on. There are specialized designing courses for all of these. The only challenge is that there are a lot of creative people out there, so you should practice really hard!
- Medicine: Medicine is now not just the five year program that it used to be. It involves some exciting fields like biotechnology, clinical research, pharmaceutics, cosmetology, physiotherapy, lab technology, etc. All these are wonderful fields with plenty of scope.
- Writing: Thanks to the Internet, more good writers are required now than ever. You’ll need a deep interest in books and writing, and would have to undergo a copywriting course to be able to use your words creatively. After that, the world is yours!
- Food technology: This involves knowledge of the various food and packaging processes followed in the industry, and can open up career options such as that of a dietician, food inspector, etc.
Don’t let anything restrict you. You can go for sports, music, and just about anything else you want. Be brave and work hard. Success is bound to come!
The amount of success you obtain in the first few entrance exams right after your schooling will go a long way in determining your future and confidence levels. This makes it important that you are fully prepared and in the right frame of mind for this tough battle. And the biggest role played in your success is that of your coaching institute. More than your school, more than your reference material, it’s the institute that will help you save time and spot weakness quickly.
But the more important question is, how do you go about selecting the best coaching institute? We now offer some advice on this:
- Past record: Does the institute have a good past record? The percentage of students who manage to clear the entrance exams is a good indicator of the quality of coaching offered. But don’t go purely by the advertisements in the newspapers. Ask as many people as you can, and only then make up your mind. It is best if you can reach some of the ex-students or current students of the institute, and get to know insider’s perspective.
- The faculty: Along with the past record, another important thing about an institute is the faculty. This will require some more effort, but is nevertheless very important. You can ask the institute to provide you a profile of its teachers, and scan them on the basis of experience and how successful they have been. You might also like to meet them beforehand to figure out if you are really going to be able to establish a connect with them. Also, do some asking around and try to find out the teaching style of the teachers. You ideally want someone energetic, sympathetic, and with a bent towards practical demonstration of the concepts.
- Course material: The course material is difficult to evaluate because you are yet to gain any experience in that area. But don’t lose hope; there are alot of ways to assess this. The first thing to do is search forums and reviews on the Internet, and call up the references you find there. They’ll be more than happy to share their experiences. Also, try to talk to some seniors or toppers and ask them what they feel about the course material.
These are broad guidelines and do keep that in mind. Sometimes there is a lot of difference between two branches of the same institute, so make sure your research and feedback pertains to the institute you want to enroll with. We wish you all the best in your search for a good coaching institute, and to a successful life ahead!
The debate on the effectiveness of schools and grading system is never ending. While some argue that high scores are a direct representation of academic knowledge, some say that knowledge has absolutely nothing to do with results. Which one of these is the correct perspective? To arrive at an answer, we need to look a little deeper at what led to these beliefs.
Most opportunities of earning better depend on clearing certain competitive exams, such as the IIT, the CAT, etc., and getting admission in a good college. One then has to work through college to get better grades, and after that try to find a well paying job. Good or bad, this is a fact of life. And once we look at it closely, it makes a lot of sense. There are very few opportunities out there, and a lot more number of people competing for them. How do you know who is the best fit? Grades then become the deciding factor for organizations going for recruitments.
Almost all of the gifted thinkers and inventors of the world were not very good in their school studies, and dropped out early to devote themselves to “knowledge” or higher pursuits of learning. These are the people who brought forth radical and revolutionary ideas that changed the world, and we owe all progress and material comforts to them. This makes you wonder that good scores or being a good student is not the sole criteria for doing well in life. Knowledge is equally important and need not be bookish all the time. It also comes with experience, dedication and hard work.
Now that we have pondered on both, it’s time to announce the verdict. High scores or knowledge? Well, frankly, we feel that both of these have their rightful place. The world is run by two kinds of people – those who align themselves with a system and rise within it, and those who like to learn new things all the time and keep looking for more. Both the approaches are fine, really, and depend on the personality of the individual.
An ideal scenario would be a combination of both, high scores and knowledge but as we know it is not very realistic. Does not mean, it is not achievable. It definitely is! You need to strive towards obtaining high scores because that helps you establish yourself in this competitive world and at the same time not limit yourself to what you learn within the four walls of your classroom. Look beyond, keep your eyes and mind open and you are sure to achieve success.
The importance of elementary education cannot be denied. It lays the foundation for an individual’s development and growth. Most of what we turn out to be in life, and the extent to which we take interest in different areas, depends on the education we receive in the early years of life. However till quite some time, elementary education followed a more or less a strict study plan, the shortcomings of which were starting to become apparent. With changing times though, elementary education now is undergoing some important fundamental changes. Let’s look at those in detail.
- A growing need for interactivity: It is now commonly agreed upon that studies need to be interactive and should result in active participation from the students. A common complaint made earlier by students was that they found mathematics extremely dry and abstract, which is now being addressed through the introduction of interactive exercises and “brain laboratories” in schools. Books are being replaced and/or supplemented with worksheets to help students understand concepts better.
- Content goes digital: Perhaps the most exciting development is the introduction of digital content in the field of education, which helps expand a student’s understanding of a given topic. Schools are quickly shifting to the use of computers and better communication networks such as smart class, so that learning can be enhanced through webinars, animations, simulations etc.
- Train the Trainer: As a result of the digitization, it has become vital to train teachers on newer platforms. Some teachers feel a little nervous in stepping out of their comfort zone, but this collaborative learning model is essentially what new age education is all about.
- Better evaluation systems: Should students study for obtaining good scores, or for acquiring knowledge? What is more important – information or skill? Or can these be combined together to deliver a more effective learning platform? Such questions are now being pondered over by policymakers, and the result is experimentation with the existing systems of evaluation and curriculum. Students are now being assessed through the year and studies are becoming less exam oriented. However, it is too early to say which method is going to deliver the best results, but the developments are surely exciting and encouraging.
Therefore, it can be safely said that elementary education is undergoing a sea change in all areas and it is only for a better and brighter future.
Board exams is when it all gets serious. You are anxious to score good marks and try your level best – after all, your future depends on it. However, contrary to popular belief, the most important skill when it comes to scoring well in the board exams is not the amount of learning material you refer to—although that too has its special place—it’s the art of managing your time well.
So how can you go about managing your time effectively? Here are some suggestions we offer:
- Stick to a time table: It might sounds like an age old advice, but preparing a time table is a very good idea. Even very organized people find it difficult to maintain a balance in life unless some external agency is regulating them. This is neither good nor bad but just part of human nature. That means having a planned schedule for your day in advance helps you start your day with a focus on doing the important things right away. This takes away the nervousness associated with time spent thinking and worrying about studies.
- Theory vs. solving problems: Some students are weak in grasping theory, and so end up spending all their time reading up a lot of material and holding long discussions. That can be a big mistake, as your exam results are not going to depend on any single concept. At the same time, getting stuck with solving problems without fully understanding the theory also harms the performance. Try to strike a balance between study and practice, and get help from your teachers or tutors if you are really stuck for long.
- Take a break: Your mind works better when it takes frequent breaks from routine. Therefore, long sessions of study is not a very good idea if you want to assimilate the study material and do well in the exams. You should take a break every now and then and go for a walk, do some cycling, etc. Getting involved with your hobbies is also a good idea to divert your mind and refresh it.
The closer your exams are, the stricter you should be with your time management, but don’t forget to start unwinding when it is only 3-4 days to go. The reason is that any preparation done in the crunch time does nothing but makes a person more nervous and that can result in silly mistakes.
While we are able to easily converse in English, the real test of our understanding lies in comprehension. That is why comprehension is a must in almost all exams for higher education. This section tests whether you have more than a passing command over the English language, and how much you can understand and infer from a passage.
Why is comprehension tested?
English comprehension becomes important because most of these exams prepare students for a fast-paced corporate environment, where extensive written communication is being done daily. This makes it important for them to have the ability to quickly scan through the text and extract the gist. If a person lacks this ability, a message can be misunderstood and can cause a lot of trouble.
How to ace the comprehension test?
This brings us to the all-important question. How do you ace the English comprehension test? Let’s look at what it takes:
- Speed reading: It doesn’t help at all if you take about fifteen minutes to read a small passage. Time is everything in these exams, and letting such roadblocks get the best of you can harm your overall performance. Therefore, we advise that you purchase a book on speed reading and work on getting rid of bad reading habits that slow you down. The good thing is these books actually work!
- Serious reading: The problem with English comprehension passages is that they are usually dense and academic in approach. We are used to reading novels, blogs, and magazine articles, which try their best to be reader friendly. Therefore, it is important to train your mind to concentrate on written material that might be boring. Try to read and understand a portion of research reports, academic books, etc., every day to cultivate this habit.
- Practice! – The next step is obvious. Once you are able to concentrate on information-dense writing, it is time to consult some mock tests and drill yourself to perform at your level-best within the time constraints. It is also a good idea to join a coaching institute in order to practice these in exam-like situations. The competition and guidance provided will force you to beat yourself and do better.
Despite your best efforts, you might not get everything right the first time. Don’t panic in such cases. Comprehension in exams is also about experience and knowing what types of questions can be expected. Your results will surely improve if you keep working towards it!
Academics is becoming more and more competitive with each passing year. Newer teaching methods are being introduced, and students are expected to do better than ever before. And what with the coaching classes, endless reference material, innumerable concepts and problems, the uncertainty – all this can add up and take a toll on the student’s mental makeup. It’s not uncommon to find oneself stressed out and always on the edge in this competitive atmosphere. But with a little finesse, you can stay fresh and protect yourself from all the negative energy and possible nervousness.
Here’s how you can really maintain your calm:
- Take time out for your hobbies: While it is understandable that you have to cover a lot of study material and work out a lot of problems, it does not mean you should sacrifice your hobbies. Taking some time out on a daily basis—even if it be half an hour—reconnects you with what you truly love doing and takes away the stress. It’s like a battery recharging itself. So don’t neglect the importance of hobbies and get refreshed instantly.
- Physical activity is a must: Research has proved that there is a direct connection between fitness and the mind. Unless you engage in some physical activity daily, pleasant hormones will not be released in your body and the mental stress will keep building up.
- Do something constructive: Learn something entirely new, an unrelated skill that requires you to use your hands. It can be learning to play a music instrument, wood carving, or something else. This will take your mind off academics for a while and induce instant freshness. Try it right away if you have not already, but make sure you choose something totally unrelated to your studies, otherwise you’ll keep thinking about it and the freshness will be lost.
- Help someone: A time-tested remedy to forget about your troubles is to help someone. Do an act of charity, be kind to the strangers, or maybe even go out and plant a tree! These activities appeal to the nobler human emotions and make us feel good.
- Meditate: Meditation is known to slow down heartbeat, relax the body, and improve concentration. Learn how to meditate and practice for 5-10 minutes daily.
Finally, relax! While it’s definitely desirable to always be on the top, it’s not the only criteria for success in life. Talk to some well-established people and they’ll be happy to tell you otherwise.