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Is Higher Education Necessary to Achieve Financial Success?

Perspective of a student –

During our childhood, we all must have heard from our parents and elders that if we study hard during our childhood, we will reap the sweet fruit of it during our later years of life, but we have many examples in front of us like Mark Zuckerberg who left the Harvard University without even completing his degree but still, he has a net worth of 10,680 crores US $. And one of the greatest examples will be of Steve Jobs, so today most of us will be proud and feel self-satisfied of having the latest model of i-phone with us but this couldn’t have been possible if back in 1997 a college dropout wouldn’t have “THINK DIFFERENTLY” approach and launched an entire series of iMac, iTunesiTunes StoreApple StoreiPodiPhoneApp Store, and the iPad.

Education is one of the important factors which might help us to decide our future goals and career paths to lead towards financial success in the future but it is surely not the most necessary component for creativity, innovation, and constructive disruption in society and most importantly for our financial success. The era of Industry 4.0 has demanded an immense need of technical skills which were not there in the existing fundamental formal education structure but since the New Education Policy 2020 came in, it signifies that how important IT and technical skills are, that the government has to include it in the basic curriculum of primary and elementary school children.

The current digital era has brought many new professions that do not require higher education. So even if we consider time duration of the long back but just recently a decade ago, people would have never believed that “vlogging” – making videos and posting them online – would be a future career option. Now, some vloggers pay the bills uploading YouTube videos alone which have given rise to an entirely new segment of “social media influencers”. Irrespective of whether you hold any degree or not it has no impact on your popularity.

Having a formal degree does not directly lead to a successful career. If we look into the current scenario most of the employers place a higher value on experience, which could mean volunteering, work experience, or general experience of life for selecting the best fit for their organization. With a mixture of skills, hard work, and luck, people will do just fine even without degrees.

Even in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a sudden higher drift in the demand of online Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning based technical and behavioral competency-based skill-courses which are quoted as vital to survive and compete in the current job market. As been quoted in one of the recent advertisements that to progress in career, continuous learning and skill-building are also important apart from basic institutional education.

One thing is also clear that most people do not land up working in their dream job aligned with their education even if they have enough skills for such a job or work. Intensive research should also be a mandatory part of the curriculum to reduce the current skill market gap and make our present and future workforce being ready for jobs in the upcoming digital era which will ensure financial stability along with a wider knowledge base as well.

As per an article in Financial Express dated December 26, 2018, India had only twenty- one thousand publications during the last decade which seemed to stand nowhere in the global mark. India holds its heads high in some of the key areas like traditional healthcare facilities existing in Ayurveda and other ancient histories. To survive and get successful in the current globally cut-throat competitive market, we should try to adopt an appropriate mix and balance of our ancestral knowledge along with adding technological aspects to the same.

And all these courses demand deep learning and research on the subject area which can be learned through various sources but just limiting ourselves to textbook knowledge or few restricted sources will never help us in attaining the right results rather we should focus more towards attaining a proper balance of theoretical knowledge along with practical aspect into the same.

So to conclude we can say that formal education should be made mandatory but then it should be flexible enough to let a student explore the creativity, innovation, and technological aspects of themselves. At IILM where I study for my higher education, the nurturing environment has given me the flexibility and freedom to choose from a wide array of electives and soft skills to pursue my passion and creativity and be future ready.

Author – Harshita Jain

MBA, Year II – IILM University Gurugram

 

 

What is Toxic Empathy and How to Emotionally Protect Yourself?

What is Toxic Empathy?

Toxic empathy is when a person over-identifies with someone emotions, feelings and takes them on as their own personal. Although, if the other individual’s anxiety and stress keep you from your current tasks and responsibilities, it is called toxic empathy.

Toxic empathy is when you do not just replicate and reflect another person’s emotions or feelings, you also experience and consume them. Consuming someone else’s problems can cause you to become equally overwhelmed or even more so. When you replicate another person’s emotions as your own, you make them your emotions too even though you are only empathizing or putting yourself in that person’s shoes.

People who are overly-empathetic or hyper-empathetic may gradually lose their own wants, needs as the feeling when overshadowed by another person’s emotions. These people experience others’ emotions to an extent where they lose themselves and feel the pain or negativity and in some cases positivity of another person. This diverts them from their own path and their life and onto someone else’s.

Regular over empathizing can lead to a reduced capacity of making one’s own decisions as per their best interest. They may also experience draining feelings physically and mentally since they draw away from their own feelings. People who give greater importance to others’ lives and needs above their own experience general anxiety and even mild depression at times. They don’t think of themselves often and are fully consumed by others’ sentiments they report feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness. They mostly look at situations from another person’s perspective rather than their own.

Some signs you may be experiencing toxic empathy are:

  1. Pitying others’ situations often and use it as a justification if they are mean and unpleasant towards you.
  2. Giving in to others’ demands easily and find it hard to say no or refuse.
  3. Unintentionally physically replicate another person’s stress i.e, feeling like you have a knot in your stomach, clammy hands, etc.
  4. Emotionally mirroring another individual’s pain and feeling persistent emotions of sadness and suffering for a prolonged period of time.
  5. Feeling exhausted physically and psychologically after interacting with people.
  6. Being unable to complete or fulfil your own responsibilities because you feel overwhelmed by your feelings.

Managing toxic empathy

Emotional Hijacking

Emotional hijacking is when another person’s thoughts and feelings have control over your emotions and feelings. People who have a high empathic quotient and are prone to toxic empathy may experience emotional hijacking during a process like venting. They can absorb the other’s frustrations and replicate them. To prevent this, you must observe what emotions you feel when someone is expressing their feeling to you and remain calm, relax. Composing yourself later on and relaxing gradually will allow you to release the other individual’s emotions and empathise in a healthy way.

Healthy relationships

In mutually healthy relations both parties’ emotional needs are given proportionate importance. It uses the give and take method where both parties act as listeners and speakers as well. Every healthy relationship has a well defined boundary where everyone’s needs are met and an equal amount of support is given to both individuals. Communication is key and is necessary in order to fully express and let go or relive yourself from some of the negative emotions you are feeling. Communication in a healthy relationship would make you feel heard, lighten your mood and deepen your connection with the other individual.

In a healthy relationship, boundaries are extremely important since they help you distinguish between your own needs and the other person’s needs which allows you to shield yourself from toxic empathy.

Psychologists near me

If you feel that you are always overwhelmed with your emotions, listening to others’ problems causes you to stress, seek the help of distinguished Psychologists at IILM would be happy to guide and counsel you. Our faculties can help you understand the causes and help you balance empathizing with others, managing your own emotions and forming healthy relationships.

Please feel free to write to us at megha.pushkarna@iilm.edu The distinguished Psychologists at IILM would be happy to guide and counsel you.

 

 

 

ANANYA PANDEY FROM BA YR II Batch 2019

Reforming our Education System- Student Blog (Kirti Manektala B.A(Hons)Psychology Year II)

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in school” -Einstein

Introduction

The Indian education system is largely based on rote learning. Students focus more on memorizing the facts rather than understanding. This creates a bridge between education and knowledge. UGC even during the pandemic amidst the lockdown announced exams stating that exams are linked directly to academic credibility, career opportunities and future progress.

The question remains why are exams so important that even during the course of a pandemic which is causing a physical and a mental toll on people; UGC considers exams as an essential? Exams are built to test the rote learning capacity of a student rather than their actual conceptual understanding. In the real world, understanding the practical application is what comes in handy rather than mugged-up concepts.

Are marks so crucial for our future?

Marks still continue to be the most important factor in deciding the future of children. College cut offs, choice of streams, career choices, etc are all dependent on the marks a student score. 90% plus students choose the science stream, an 80% plus gets math, etc. The streams aren’t governed by choice but rather by 10th marks.

A 3-hour paper evaluates the individual’s potential, future and career choices. Evaluations should be based on real life skills as well as practical skills such as leadership, extra curricular, etc but rather they are based on a person’s ability to memorize provided content.

Subjects are also given different priorities for example: science students are given a priority over students with commerce or arts. Languages, communication, arts etc in the subject hierarchy are not considered as important as sciences.

Maths and science marks always determine a student’s overall capability. Students good in social sciences but lacking in math and science often find themselves condemned for their science and math marks despite their capabilities in other fields.

Similarly, students good at extracurricular such as sports, drama or dance but not above average in marks often face academic judgement.

Practical Knowledge over Rote Learning

A student’s potential to excel in subjects, academics and extracurricular often depends on their aptitude which is largely genetic. For example: a student with logical mathematical aptitude would excel in math, a student with linguistic aptitude would excel in languages and one with bodily kinaesthetic aptitude would excel in sports or dance. Education needs to be personalized according to the student’s aptitude. Similarly, our education system needs to focus on practical learning rather than rote memorization of textbook content. Students need to be taught practical applications of the knowledge provided in their books.

Media overemphasizes on excellence

Oftentimes news reporters are seen interviewing board toppers where they ask them the most basic general knowledge questions and the toppers are unable to answer the same. Similarly, reporters also interview school teachers who are unable to answer the basic general knowledge questions.

This showcases a large loophole of our education system where students are aware of what’s written in the book due to their memorization capacity but they are unaware of basic general knowledge required in real world settings.

An 18-year-old student coming out of school is incapable to engage in basic banking, healthcare, investment, etc. Students are unaware of basic necessities such as how to wire money, how to write checks, how to file FIRs, how to file a PIL, how to write actual formal letters and emails, create CVS and resumes, how to check taxes, etc which makes them incapable of dealing with real life tasks which are rather important.

Different learning styles

Every human being has varying learning styles- visual, oral, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary i.e. everyone has different ways of acquiring information. Our education system doesn’t take into consideration the difference in learning styles.

Education system needs to be moulded according to the learning needs of each and every individual. This would increase the effectiveness of the learning provided to each and every student. Rather than focusing on group learning where every student is supposed to acquire the information in the same way, education should focus on the strengths and weaknesses of every individual.

Similarly, the assessment types are again generalized rather than subjective for example: personality types- students who are introverted often find it uncomfortable to participate in group projects or present yet every student regardless of their individual differences are boxed up into the same type of learning as well as the same types of assessment. Every learner, every individual, etc is unique and that is something which education system needs to seriously consider.

Education is a journey to development

Education is an important part of an individuals’ growth and development. To create human resources, which would actually contribute to the resource pool of the economy we need to reconsider our methods of teaching. Adding technology to the equation doesn’t resolve the outdatedness of our education system. It is important that as we evolve our education system also evolves. It is important that education considers neuroscience, cognitive psychology and education psychology and creates a framework which is effective.

Conclusion

Education should focus on growth but shouldn’t create pressure. We need to consider where we are going wrong. Change is the only constant and our education system needs some serious change.  What are your views on the Indian Education System and how do you think National Education Policy 2020 would help in bridging the gap between education and employability?

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Einstein

https://blog.iilm.edu/kya-result-aaya-boards-2020/

The Research Mindset

 

Research in its real essence calls for unbiased analysis of problems, scenarios, and situations using scientific tools, to get answers and solutions to questions and generate perspectives. Research aids and gives direction to progress and growth. People and economies thrive when in a habit of research. The freedom to explore and analyze any topic under the sun that intrigues the human mind is essential for the growth of human intellect and human capital development. Good research is a good investment. Therefore, it is essential and wise for nations to invest in developing an atmosphere of research and analytical contributions to keep alive the discourse of development and freedom.

“Research is to see what everybody else has seen.

And to think what nobody else has thought.”- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Good research is research done in the context of a problem at hand. The research process involves observations, background study, hypothesizing alternative situations, experimentation or data collection, and analysis which brings out the results of the research to make new decisions or recommendations. Quality of any research must be maintained at every step to get useful results that can further aid policy-making and strategizing of plans.

The bounties of modern and civilized life, be it good concrete buildings to live, good food to eat and experience, clothing, transportation, education, healthcare, social work, governance, etc. have been a result of somebody’s research work at some point of time. There are many small countries like Israel, which give a lot of importance to research and development and have risen as the great economic power of influence in the world today with their products and expertise in healthcare, warfare, digital technology, and banking.

The research acumen and interest should be developed quite early, in fact from childhood itself. Children and youth should be encouraged to read, think, and question, analyze problems and think of solutions. The Indian education system is also making efforts to be research and researcher friendly and develop an ethos wherein an analytical mind thrives, but it is yet to make substantial progress in this direction. The education system should be inherently inclined towards a research mindset wherein good funding is provided to research projects and programs in schools, colleges, and universities. More and more national excellent research journals on the levels of the Management of Information System Quarterly (MIS Quarterly) should be established to aid quality research in the country. Also, educational institutions must stress on rewarding and recognizing quality doctoral degrees and research papers. This will prepare the students for the challenging job market ahead and land them their dream jobs.

IILM University is one such premier educational institution of the country that emphasizes research recognition and practice in its graduate and postgraduate programs. Research methodology subject is taught across all programs to inculcate analytical and scientific thinking in students and make them competent with research work and statistical tools that are very much in demand in jobs these days. Students read and discuss research papers, present their project thesis, give presentations of their research, etc. Students are busy with projects the year-round that involve deep analysis of case studies, products, and ideas in detail. This is one of the major reasons for IILM students always bagging top placements.  Besides the regular graduate and undergraduate programs, IILM University takes pride in its robust doctoral program that attracts candidates from across corporate and academic fields. The 6-month mandatory course work in the Ph.D. program prepares the candidates in the research process and research tools and develops their perspective in the right direction. The guidance provided to the researchers is immense and constant. The faculty, regular students, and doctoral candidates have published their research articles in top journals. IILM University International Conference held once every year is another very commendable effort by the University in its endeavour to promote a research mindset that contributes to the progress of the nation.

For all the aspiring candidates of degree programs in Management, Psychology, Law, etc., and PhD., IILM University offers a great environment to learn and grow, research, and develop. The learnings will remain with you and help you grow in your space long after one leaves the University.

The admission team or the author of this blog can be contacted freely for any queries related to admissions and programs. Let us be busy with research to always be at the front of the game.

 

P.S.: The author is a Ph.D. scholar at IILM University and can be contacted on email: Shahana.qutab.phd2019@iilm.edu

Blog on medium: https://medium.com/@shahanafatima/research-in-its-real-essence-calls-for-unbiased-analysis-of-problems-scenarios-and-situations-a108dc06fef?sk=e5295cffd3bb2800e7f62ce1f7b612e3

blog on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-mindset-shahana-qutab/?published=t

A HEALTHY MIND IS THE GREATEST TREASURE TO FIND (Student Blog B.A. Hons. Psychology)

 

Conversations around mental health have always been a taboo in our Indian society. It has been related to how a person might be possessed or simply is dysfunctional to be ever cured; thus not be able to work in an environment to sustain oneself. People in our country are struggling with varied psychological issues that have a direct impact on their overall well-being. There is a tremendous mental health crisis that has been brewing in our society ever since 2015. The problem is aggravated as people believe that mental health issues can be cured by visiting religious centres where God is the only source of direction and solution to cure such problems. Even today, such belief systems have a found place in people’s life which is quite far off from logic and rationality.

Rural areas perceive mental illness very differently. They consider mental illness equal, to be possessed by some evil soul under which individuals facing problems are many times handled quite harshly which leaves a long lasting impact on their mental health & well being. Many times patients whose families are totally unaware of their condition end up abandoning their family members considering them mentally unfit, which leaves a long lasting scar in the life of the suffering person. Lack of mental health awareness has many a time led people from backward areas to a wrong diagnosis which worsens the mental condition of the person, leaving him in a situation where they may have no door to knock.

There is a great need to create awareness about mental health in rural areas, as compared to the urban sector where acceptance and initiative for treatment has taken a positive turn over the years, where mental illness is not seen or considered a taboo to talk and discuss.

Cases of mental illness in urban areas are increasing as people face daily pressures in work and personal lives. Working hours that go beyond the schedule of 9-5, has left people with no time for themselves. Ambitions have over-taken the need for personal care, healthy diet, appropriate sleep and even family time has been compromised giving an open entry to multiple mental health related issues.

Addressing mental health is very important. Once we understand and open up about our struggles we would be in a position to see what awaits us. Living with stress is equal to letting a cancer slowly but steadily grow to eventually harm us one day. Opening up about one’s feeling, emotions, physical symptoms, or lifestyle can be a great start. This will bring focus on the prospects of managing one’s well being. It is like healing a wound which might initially seem quite painful, but with the right diagnosis can cure you to be your wholesome self again pretty soon. The more one explores, the better one feels about his/her mental health condition. Just accepting one’s problem, living with it and not taking corrective action is not a good idea.

One must be very careful, attentive and address any problem they might face. Some symptoms are:

  • Confused thinking.
  • Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows.
  • Excessive fears, worries, and anxieties.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Strange thoughts (delusions)

It is imperative for a person to seek the help of a professional psychologist, and get the right treatment. People should be made more aware of what mental illness is, through campaigns and workshops.

The first step should be taken by schools to create awareness amongst children and adults of all age groups explaining that “it’s okay not to be okay” and that it’s absolutely normal for boys to cry and experience emotions like pain. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Dedicated counsellors and special educators should be hired in schools, to help people know about mental health issues. Workshops for teachers, parents, and students can be organised to understand how to deal with stress and day- to-day pressures of life. Talking to a therapist should be emphasized upon.

In the end, always remember that mental health issues are never something to be ashamed of. Only when awareness increases in society, will we be able help each other in times of stress and emotional instability because as the saying goes – a healthy mind is the greatest treasure to find.

At IILM University, our Psychology faculty members are trained psychologists and you are welcome to reach out to us for free counselling sessions. Please visit www.iilm.edu.

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close

“Kya Result Aaya?” #Boards 2020

Introduction:

Board results are the quintessential discussion for parents and students which also becomes the most discussed topic amongst family. Unfortunately, it’s marking a child’s future with the percentage for the rest of their lives and not to mention labelling them.

The amount of pressure that board classes bring with them has been accounted in various studies, clearly signifying, inverse correlation of stress and marks in board exams, even though we continue to pressurize students to attain, at times, the impossible.

Expectations (from parents, teachers, peer and self) may crumble the self-esteem, as well as performance in boards and can have devastating effects on students and their career options.

100% Board results-2020

In 2019, as many as 17,693 students scored more than 95% in CBSE XII and the numbers increased to 38,686 students in 2020. Board results 2020 have raised the bar for students, who will be giving exams from here on. To compete with 100% marks can have challenges in plenty. Not to downsize the student who made that effort and actually got those brilliant marks; the discussion is about students who got a distinction (above 75%) and still feel “not good enough”.

This unfortunate inadequacy of “could get better marks” is a dilemma any student scoring marks from 70-90% category feels, especially when the choice of subjects in a prestigious university looks bleak. Not that the ones who make it over 90% waltz through the top universities. They also struggle and at some point “have to compromise” on the course or a college.

Can you accept your marks and not label it as destiny?

My observation while looking at board results- Yes, it is the highlight of your life and will be compared in galore with cousins, friends and any known person who got better marks than you. However, could we stop putting the blame on either teachers, Corona or pressure from known and accept what we scored gracefully?

Can we find jubilance in clearing class XII and being ready for applying in colleges rather than whining of what could happen if we scored better? Acceptance of board results brings inner peace and reduces comparisons which clearly isn’t helpful. I believe board results don’t shape your destiny and that only if you are ready to believe in yourself, can life offer opportunities for you to carve out the best in self.

If we can make a reality check and be honest with oneself, as to what are the strengths and to work on them, we may find our success, even if it feels inadequate to others. The key to convince parents and friends is when you, yourself can accept what you want to do, or reach out for counselling, if unable to make career choices.

Try reducing those mountains of expectation or mirages of “what I should be” to “what I can be” for a better career path and at the same time enjoy the journey of becoming your own person.

Experience the “Joy in Learning at IILM”

With newer opportunities coming up every day like School of Humanities at IILM University, Gurugram, we encourage students from varied fields to open their minds to choose a trending subject and experience the joy in learning. With latest pedagogy in teaching, faculties at IILM strive to help students create a niche for themselves and prepare themselves for better career opportunities.

Conclusion:

Board results could have brought tears of joy or disappointment given what you were expecting and what was received as results. See this as an opportunity to explore and search what and where you want to take your college education. Comparisons and expectations can be hurtful, so try avoiding them by focusing on “what you think you want” than “what you should be”.

 

“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try”

Winning through the Art of Communication

 

‘Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.’  – Rudyard Kipling

 Communication is central to the very existence of humans. Man has been communicating since time immemorial. Communication is the lifeblood of our whole being. In every age of man’s existence on earth, communication has acted as an agent of facilitation, social life, and development. Cavemen developed their own lingua franca to make meanings out of things and send meaningful messages. They also communicated through art. As the importance of communication is second only to oxygen for humans, the importance never lost its sheen throughout homo sapiens journey in the historical chapters of planet earth. In the modern ages or in other words, the competitive world, which is, even more, a world of survival of the fittest, every day demands constant steadfastness in the face of challenges and opportunities, both in personal and professional arenas. Nobody wants to lose the opportunity to fair well or make better of it. 

Present times are fraught with people battling stress. Resultant of the busy competitive world we live in, stress eats away on our happiness and well-being like a termite which is evident in high divorce rates, dysfunctional parenting, on-job burnout, boss-conflicts at the workplace, joblessness, violence, depression, increasing suicide rates, etc.  There is a continuous nag that ‘nothing is ever going to be enough’ constantly nudges at you. Communication helps to combat stress as we learn to express ourselves, thereby clearing doubts and confusion, and building valuable connections. But communication must be effective so as to be of any use in delivering the right message, to the right audience at the right time and make a fruitful impact. ‘Effective communication’, remains the no.1 skill to lead and manage a successful life.

The Communication Gap

Today the world is impatient, does not wait for anybody. Everyone wants to grab that chance to a better life, job, or income. This demands us to constantly up-skilling ourselves, and being in the right circles, aka, effective networking. But, even here, to be successful, we need an empathetic human to human connection. Communication gaps can hinder relationships between boss-employee, teacher-student, parent-child, siblings, and friends. Married couples ought to work on their marriage by constantly enhancing communication and listening.

Effective communication can act as a glue and heals discord, builds bridges, which is good both for business and personal life. While everyone starts their professional life equipped with in-demand degrees or skill certifications it is the skill of effective communication that decides who will sustain in the race and be the best or among the best, to succeed, to grow, and to enjoy the journey that life presents.

Tools for Effective Communication

Good communication is a crowd puller. Imagine a leader without the art of communication. As simple as it may seem, communication to be effective is still a challenge for many. The ways of what is good in oral communication differ from what makes an impression in written form. Also, styles and techniques of communication differ from person to person, situation to situation, and medium of communication.

Oral Communication: When it comes to improvement in oral communication to become good public speakers, orators or impress in meetings and interviews, skills can be honed by listening to good speakers, study their body language and use of vocabulary as much as possible. It is very important to understand aspects of the speech like tone, fluency, eye contact, pauses, use of space, gestures, etc. Using anecdotes, emotional stories, poetry, couplets, and humor enhances oral communication by helping build connections with the audience. The only thing to be kept in mind is to not over-do these tools and use them appropriately. Regular practice and proper planning help sharpening the oration skills immensely.

Written Communication: Written communication is very important from documentation and legality perspective. Academic teaching and learning, business transactions, print media, legal issues, emailing, etc. depend on written communication. It is very important for a writer to write and convey their thoughts clearly. The inability to write what one wants to express will be an impediment to one’s success. Tools like using the right approach, style, and words help in creating powerful, meaningful messages for the readers. practicing the use of correct grammar and spelling (Grammarly app is one such tool) and setting the right tone in the writing is very important. If not drafted well, written communication can fail or backfire due to misunderstanding, as it does not have the advantage of being face-to-face.

Visual Communication: Pictures, graphs, charts, and all kinds of imagery are part of visual communication. Pictures/images speak a thousand words, have the power to set the tone of communication, leave an impact, and project the intended message without hours of speech or pages and pages of writings. The presenter must have the skill to navigate the mind and eyes of the audience to create an impactful visual presentation with the right captions, slogans, etc. Learning visual arts professionally or with practice and guidance can tremendously help a communicator.

Overall, for effective communication, it is very important to know the mind of the audience and shape the message accordingly by appropriate use of communication tools.

Communication Skills in Education 

A good communication course or certification is an added advantage but not enough to become a real good communicator. Life experiences and good education teach us that indispensable skill. Not many organizations especially educational institutions, present an education rigor that makes one an effective communicator. But there are some which do.  World-class educational institutions like IILM in the Delhi NCR region, have a brilliant history of producing positive minded and competent professionals with excellent communication skills. Such institutions are known to lay stress on creating a learning ethos with communication skill development at its core. Students hone their oral and written communication through impactful and professionally designed study programs including active and participatory classwork, club activities, dissertation, outreach projects, competitions, events, etc. Every student comes out of their shell, gains the confidence to stand up in face of an audience, learns skills to lead, collaborate and connect through good verbal and non-verbal skills and shun negativity from their life.

For students, as college years are formative years of their personality and crucial years for building their career base, IILM is a great investment for those years and emerges confident and competent.

The Future of Education: The Flipped Classroom or Blended Learning?

We are into week 11 of the lockdown and as educators, we have seen days which we never imagined in the wildest of our dreams. The entire experience of education changed overnight. Educators became learners and students were suddenly given those very gadgets (read smartphones and laptops) for which they were earlier cajoled for constant usage. Online education suddenly became the new normal. Many of the faculty adapted very quickly to the situation and got their act together to conduct classes from their homes. The students on the other hand, geared themselves to studying in the comfort zones of their homes. Zoom, Teams, WhatsApp, WebEx, Skype, Google Meet, etc – all possible platforms were explored, and a new classroom was created.

IILM University also swiftly adopted technology to ensure that the learning did not stop, irrespective of the lockdown. In fact, IILM went a step further to ensure that almost all the scheduled activities other than teaching were also conducted online, viz mentoring, dissertation guidance, Club activities and placement preparation workshops for the students. The Placement Cell at IILM University leveraged their strong industry connect to get virtual summer internships for their undergraduate and postgraduate students. Faculty mentors at IILM have been continuously guiding and hand-holding these interning students to keep up their motivation levels while working for home.

The Way Forward

As the pandemic situation gets critical, experts around the world are deliberating on the way forward for higher education, anticipating online education to assume greater significance in the coming years. Academicians are exploring the options of the flipped classroom and blended learning to offer an effective learning environment for the students. The author discusses here the case of these two trending topics which are likely to show us the direction, as we prepare ourselves for the forthcoming semesters to welcome the existing and new batches of students.

The Flipped Classroom

Let us take the case of a flipped classroom first. Based on my experience and having heard several online discussions, I feel that the success of the implementation of the flipped classroom lies not only in the orientation of the faculty but also on the ownership of the student in his learning. Until now we as faculty majorly adopted a passive learning approach which was faculty-centric in a lecture mode with the objective of content dissemination. What is required is an active learning approach that is student-centric and works on a collaborative model with the objective of content creation. The flip of the traditional classroom works on this principle. An element of experiential learning is brought in along with academic learning. A robust LMS makes it possible to create a flipped classroom. The conceptual learning is done by the students through the LMS and in the class they are given pedagogical tools to apply that learning – whether it is through a project or a case or a simulation.

This sounds exciting, but how many of our students would seriously come prepared for the class and contribute to the classroom discussion? Given the fact that most of them look forward to an exhilarating experience in college and campus life, academics is the last thing on their mind. Forget students, will we able to orient and motivate our faculty to create a flipped classroom? Moreover, the perception of undergraduate students towards education is different in comparison to post-graduate students. Also, there is a huge effort that is required on part of the faculty for creating online content for the LMS. And last but not the least, LMS comes at an enormous cost. Will institutions be able to afford this massive investment at a time when student recruitments look bleak? Will we be able to restructure our infrastructure for creating this learning environment?

I feel that the answers to these questions will tell us whether we should head in the direction towards flipped classrooms or not.

Blended Learning

Blended learning according to me is a healthy mix of the traditional classroom and online teaching. Technology cannot replace educators – it is an undisputed fact because interaction with the students is a must for learning to be effective. And for this, student engagement in class is particularly important. In fact, for blended learning to be successful, the end objective should be participative learning. Given the low levels of the attention span of our students, it would certainly be a Herculean task in online teaching.

Blended learning is possible if we change some of our existing teaching practices. A differential pedagogy is the need of the hour. An increased use of simulation, gamification, role plays, and case studies in the online classroom setting are foreseen. Faculty preparedness with respect to the design of the course, course learning outcomes, course content, and pre-class groundwork will be of utmost importance. The focus would be on curated content and overload of reading material would become passé. Increased usage of audio and multimedia material by the faculty in the new age online classroom is likely to make the sessions interesting for the students. Faculty would have to design the communication plan for each course and establish certain norms for their class. Class time management would be of great significance. The duration of the classes will also have to carefully deliberated. The planning of the timetables and the schedules will have to be done in such a way that students are excited to attend their classes, rather than feeling compelled.

Whether the future lies in the flipped classroom or blended learning, I believe that facilitators are required to be academically, physically and mentally prepared for their classes going forward. The old teaching practices will have to be done away with. In fact, faculty preparation for each class would decide how effective their session would be. And it is not just about digital literacy, but also the online behaviour while conducting the classes in the new-age classroom. Their mannerisms, their involvement and conduct would decide if students attending are mentally present or only logged in to show their online presence in the class.

Conclusion

Rote learning and the traditional learning approach need to be replaced with a student-centric learning approach while making best use of technology. A hybrid model of teaching is the need of the hour. A meticulous planning is required to ensure that students enjoy their online learning journey rather than feel disinterested. The time has come to innovate the learning pedagogy and create an ocean of new knowledge. It is time to rethink, plan, and prepare.

The Power of Poetry

Poetry has survived and survived really well…It is one of the finest and powerful forms of writing. In short, poetry is creativity in disguise. It teaches us to communicate in a compelling way, thereby enhance learning. Poetry is about expressing those thoughts and emotions we keep the most suppressed. An integral part of writing poetry is to be honest with ourselves about what we feel in order to write anything worth reading. It’s about connecting our hearts and our minds to ourselves and our environs. It’s about finding peace.

Poetry is one of those skills that will remain in use for your entire life no matter what you end up doing professionally. It gives us a salubrious outlet for pouring our emotions. Reading original poetry aloud can foster trust and empathy in a community, while also accentuating speaking and listening skills. There are many of us  who don’t like writing essays but may like poetry, with its dearth of fixed rules and its kinship with rap. For such people, poetry can become a doorway to other forms of writing. All forms of writing benefits from the powerful and succinct phrases found in poems.

Additionally, poetry can help us to learn how to utilize grammar in our own writing by studying how poets do—and do not—abide by conventional writing rules in their work. Poetry can teach writing and grammar rules by showing what happens when poets strip them away or distort them for effect for example; Dickinson often capitalizes common nouns and uses dashes instead of commas to show sudden shifts in focus in his poetry, similarly, Agee uses colons to create dramatic, speech-like pauses. The more we read different poets, the more we can carve out our own style. The point of reading a poem is not to try to decipher it. Still, that quantifiable process of elucidation is precisely what needs to be encouraged often in lieu of curating a powerful experience through literature.

So, don’t wait…reach for the pen, and let go of those things that have been encumbering your freedom. Read poetry with your heart and let it affect you in one of the most defining ways.

 

 

 

Reinventing Pedagogy

Reinventing  Pedagogy

Every challenge is an opportunity, they say. I cannot begin to imagine how a deadly virus could be a game-changer for the humanity at large. These are trying times for all of us, but we need to accept that what began as an alternative approach to ensure business continuity is most likely to become the new normal. COVID-19 has brought along a reality check – that education technology that delivers prodigious content and engages students and teachers has never been more vital.

Corporates have been using online video collaboration platforms to keep business going, but for an industry like Education, this is the time for upskilling in a way that we continue to provide learning opportunities and other critical services to our students. This is the time to reflect and think beyond the challenges of the next few weeks.

Today there is an application for just about anything in education. A lot of us are deploying the best in AI, VR and AR and they are demonstrating the power to serve as a teacher in cases where students need to be isolated. However, we should not need a crisis like COVID 19 to rethink how education can functionbecause students, no matter where they are and how old they are should be able to make their way through their education and work journeys with the benefit of superior technical innovations that can more seamlessly identify, respond, correct and expose them to deep learning.

Let’s hope that when COVID-19 is in our rear-view mirrors, the innovations and technology that is helping our students today, continue to offer adaptable, online formats to educate our bright young minds. We should focus on developing our online infrastructure and have everything available to us and also because it’s not complicated. We need to change the age-old structure of imparting high-quality education that requires a face-to-face format.

While we wait with a lot of uncertainty for now, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s keep moving forward with all the resources that we, fortunately, have with us. Let’s together fight and emerge more stronger and consistent, because this too shall pass…