Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I contributed to…

Hold on! Before you even think of me contributing to a charity or for some fund raiser, let me clear that first. It wasn't my contribution at all. Or perhaps! yes. I think even i contributed my bit to the same.

If someone tells me that I have improved on some aspect when compared to my past, I feel a bit guilty saying did I delay it for this long. At the same time, I also feel that there is someone who is tracking me for my own good. Well, I need that badly. But at the same time, improving over what I am is what we all need to look forward to in this competitive world. And when I hear, ‘you need to improve on this, much more’, I feel I am being challenged. Everything, in a way, is good for me and my environment around.

Alright! Let me explain what I am trying to share. Today, after much expectation and delays, we had our annual ‘Future Leaders’ competition at our Prasiddhi School. Like every year, we give some interesting topic for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th standard students asking them to prepare a power point presentation to present in front of us. The whole objective is not just to assess them on their knowledge, but to develop their presentation skills, creativity, lateral thinking, and team spirits and bring them up to the acceptable standards. Students were supposed to present about the interesting topics given to them in a specified period of time under the specified criteria. Based on their performance, we select the two best teams and give away prizes (usually books).

I used to hear from one of my colleague that her son, being in the 1st standard, but in a very good residential ‘international’ school, participates in debates on topics like IT, corruption, politics etc. I am still unable to digest over the fact that a 1st standard kid can talk about such serious issues and able to give presentations. So, while assigning the topics at Prasiddhi School, I had this in mind and decided on some tough topics like, Influence of IT in Bangalore Traffic Management; Role of IT in reducing Corruption, Use of IT knowledge in Political campaigns and the like. I was not really sure about how students approach towards such challenges. They were divided into groups of 6 students each and asked to work on a power point presentation with a given deadline.

Now, I was really not sure on how they will collect the content for the presentation but we were sure of the students taking their parents help. As per the dead line, all of them had submitted their presentations to our faculty and were getting geared to present it in front of us. We had scheduled the presentations for all the classes today. And we started with the 7th standard and continued with all others.

Today, my intention was not to focus on the content much as we were very sure that the contents would’ve come from many sources including their parents. So what we were concerned was to look at the attitude of the students compared to their competitions in the previous academic year. I always feel like talking before they start their presentation. So I tried to crack some jokes in front of them and kept them occupied with some silly questions that I always ask. By then Sup was getting ready with the machine and the marks sheet.

It was one of the touchy and moving experiences for me and Sup today; specifically with the 8th standard students. Before they started their presentation, I asked them few questions based on their previous year’s presentation. I asked them who won the competition, a few hands showed up on air and then I asked why others didn’t win. They came up with their own analysis. And then I asked what were the learning from previous experience and how will it be useful to adopt the same here. I was surprised to hear the responses that I never expected and was dumbstruck. One by one, they answered these points:

  1. Participation is what is important and we win because we participate
  2. We have more knowledge compared to the previous year and hence we can do much better this year.
  3. We also know how to work on collecting the information better.
  4. We were not good at preparing presentations last year and now we are better.
  5. We are more creative in presenting the data this time.
  6. We have improved compared to our previous year presentations.
  7. We will do much better this time.
  8. We all are winners because we all are participating in this.

Wow! After listening to such strong bullet firing over my thoughts, I was feeling proud and thankful to our own little act of conducting the competition every year. And it is very hard to believe that they delivered on their promise much beyond our expectations. They did not make much noise while others were presenting and they respected all the team members. And we did not get the same feeling with other class presentations. 8th standard students were on high today I guess.

My name is Chirag and I am from the team ‘Jaago re’, I am going to present about the “role of IT in …” and my contribution to the presentation is ‘I helped the team with formatting text’. Every student was very confident and to the point and introduced themselves in the way I have written and they had the perfect eye contact with us and the audience and delivered their speeches. Some of the analysis and suggestions they came up with were truly outstanding. It can be directly implemented by BBMP and the BMTC without even thinking. They all came up with real facts and workable ideas. For an hour or so, we felt like we are in a serious discussion with the government about the ‘Traffic problems in Bengaluru’.

My point again is not the content, but their attitude. They learned from their past experience and they improved themselves on certain aspects and delivered their best by contributing their bit. They made our job complicated as we had to give them the scores and chose the best two teams for the class. We were delighted by their presentations and it also made me believe that it is not difficult to talk over any of such topics. 1st standard kid can do wonders if given an opportunity.

It was a mixture of cute smiles, anxious faces, fearful gestures, confident looks, funny presenting styles, futuristic thoughts, dedication for the community and the unimaginable competitiveness of these students made our day. They are our future leaders who can and will ‘contribute to’ the society and developments for sure.



Unknown said...

It is indeed heartening to know that these students are developing their presentation skills and learning so quickly from past mistakes/pit-falls...

The most important point i noted was that the students spoke "to the point"....if all us in India learn to do this 50% of our resources can be saved instantly!!!

Keep up the good work Srikant & team!


Hari said...

"Future Leaders" is an apt title.Our responsibility towards our next generation is to make them think independently,make opinions ,make decisions on their own.If this is done than every other thing will be in its way.Good to hear that you contributed towards it.Cheers to you and Sup!!!!

Narasim said...

The President of Harvard, Elliot (I think) was once asked something like: how come Harvard is so well endowed? He replied, "The incoming class bring so much with them and the outgoing class take so little with them"

Aside from the self deprecating humour of a member of the ruling elite, the fact remains that schools generally tend to transform the young bubbling with ideas into the old burbling with received wisdom.

It is wonderful to see that your e-school is attempting to inculcate a culture of original thinking. The rapid response answers by the young give hope for the future.

Maybe, after 3,500 years of a culture of rote learning Indians are breaking free. I can only express admiration for the young and the faculty who have made this possible.

Unknown said...

hey Shrik,
This was one of the best of the info that I have recieved from your posts. It feels really good that these kids are exposed to so much of corporate/ professional culture in understanding and percieving things. In contrary I still remember one of your previous posts where the village kids in Rakkasatangadi who had shown their ignorance towards their own futures! I believe our country is a place where we will find happiness in islands
However, great feat of your e-school in organizing such events to improve the fundamental traits in kids


Unknown said...

One thing is evident... they are getting the basics dead right. Be confident, compliment each other; Team work... most of it all - Participation is important than winning or losing.

For sure these "fresh legs" will have the courage to walk the path towards better future.

Finally you did the "kirik" Sri...all he best to you & your TEAM OF FUTURE LEADERS...

If feasible share these blogs with them (not sure if you have already done)

Manjunath Byadigere said...

Hi Srik,

It is very much fascinating and also satisfying to see what you people are doing at Prasiddhis.As you have demonstrated here most of the times it is 'why' and 'how' which matter more than 'what'.Very nice to see you people making kids think in their own ways.Please keep us informed on such events and discussions so that as audience, we can learn from the kids.Also please send us some good presentations, if possible.

T S said...

"Hey, Congrats..!Srik and Sup.."

Really your team is building good future for the leaders at prasiddi.. Every child will dream about their future and they want to fulfill it but they need guidance and support from their parents and teachers at the basic level.

If these two were good rest will come on their own way.. Your team is doing really what they need..!!

Keep going..!! All the best for next activity..!!


Raghu said...

Well, it is good to hear that "Future Leaders" is bringing some change.

As you rightly pointed out in your post, it is not just the knowledge which is important as it can be acquired easily in today's world. Rather, it is the attitude which shapes "Future Leaders".

Nice initiative Sri and Sup.

Vaishnavi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vaishnavi said...

I wish more parents could read your blog post. This is the kind of education that really matters at the end of the day. It's not about the destination, as much as it is about journey. When I was in high school, I wouldn't have had a clue about IT in traffic management (don't know if I still do!).But man, I miss school. That's when such opportunities arise!

I also hope more schools learn from activities such as this.

Thanks for such a positive read! Please let me know the next time such events take place, I would like to try and attend as well.

Srik said...

Thank you all for your encouraging words as always.

@Vaish and @Doc, Since this was planned as a class event, we could not invite anyone (even parents). But, we are thinking of organizing an event where the best presentations from each class can be showcased in front of larger audience. We will try to organize it for the coming academic year. Will keep you posted on the same. Thanks for your interest in attending the event. :)