Storytelling – An Effective Learning Method

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All of us have fond memories of being told stories in our childhood in order to learn morels and values. Some stories motivated us to try better when we failed to achieve and to stay humble when we did achieve while some others told us about the mistakes committed by our kings and ancestors and their consequences. These stores, be it true time stories or fictitious, have played a role in our lives in the process of learning ways of living and behaving. Some of them also have impacted our learning of concepts and theories. For instance – we remember Newton’s Theory of Gravity through the story of the apple falling and Aristotle’s theory through the famous “Eureka” story.

Stories are one of the forms of communication that bring in a personalized touch to the  learners. This form can be used by teachers, trainers and learners themselves to inculcate ownership of subject/ concept. Storytelling in the context of training and learning does not mean an elaborate fairy-tale starting with “once upon a time…” and ending with “…happily ever after”. Being able to relating to stories that are commonly known to understand/ apply a concept or to create stories that can make application of concepts easier is a vital role of storytelling in the world of learning.

It can be kept in mind that the climax of the story should be able to provide opportunity for the learners to relate themselves as a hero of their own stories in similar situation. Situation based teaching and learning methods such as role plays, case studies or even inviting renowned people in the study field to share the stories of their journey could play a role in enhancing teaching-learning processes and enable learners to think and apply what they are learning in a more effective way.

 

 

 

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Learn from Hobbies

There are lots of hobbies that we all possess and lot of things we learn from each of the hobbies.

This article features a few of the hobbies and the life lessons we can learn from them.

Firstly, let’s consider Painting – Painting teaches us that some times accidents and mistakes can add unexpected beauty to life. However it also teaches us to aim at inticrate perfection and in case of getting stuck in a place, step back and take a break, rather than messing things up. Every phase of life is beautiful, and painting teaches us to enjoy and value each moment of the experience. Life comes with many shades and colours and painting teaches us to keep going with the flow and appreciate strokes. Another thing that we learn from painting is making something out of nothing, it’s in our hands to convert a plane white canvas into a colourful master piece by taking risks and experimenting with colourful experiences. One’s experiences might not be fascinating to everybody just like how not all types of paintings are appropriated by all. By this we learn that one can’t impress everyone.

Then let us talk about Dancing – Dance is a beautiful form of hobby which involves expression, setting goals, determination, team work, self confidence, posture, flexibility/ moving out of comfort zones, time management, practice makes perfect, rising after a fall. These are some of the most important qualities one must possess to grow and develop in both personal and professional life.

Dramatics teaches us many important aspects of life such as letting go of ego. One needs to be humble enough to take roles of characters who might be totally different from their real self for which they need to let go of their egos. Living a characters role also teaches us the skill of standing in somebody else’s shoe and teaches us to understand human emotions and behaviour. Through acting skills, one also learns the key aspects of maintaining relationships ie knowing the difference between reaction and response, active listening, breaking ice between two different individuals, interpersonal skills, communication skills, self confidence and appreciating others’ feelings and points of view.

Another creative hobby includes clay modelling. One most important thing we learn from this hobby is that dirtying hands sometimes lead to creating beautiful things. While making the model, be it of a put or a doll or an idol of god, balance is critical. This teaches us that even in life balancing between different aspects is very important. Experimenting with new models teaches us try out new things and to take risks. The hobby also teaches us the importance of perfection in little things which needs concentration, determination, constant trying and practice. Overall the form of art helps training ourselves in Moulding life and making decisions, creativity and innovation and appreciation of environment.

Another beautiful form of art that people enjoy is Singing/ Music. One of the biggest learnings that we got from it is not to expect instant gratification. New forms of music, new musicians are not always immediately accepted and appreciated. Some other learning we get from music (and any kind of art/hobby) is to appropriate others’ work, challenging oneself and keeping an open mind. When things get tough take a deep breath and move on at the same time it is important to keep in mind time management as you would mess it up if you skip a beat in the song and so in life. Most important thing to keep in mind are to believe in self and remember that you are your toughest critic and self reflection is an essential aspect learning.

There are many more hobbies and many more things that can be learnt through them. One most common one is to step out of comfort zone and going beyond one’s experienced areas.

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences and learnings from your hobbies!

Life lessons from learning a new language

In the process of learning the language where the pronunciation and way of spelling words are so different from English, there are a lot more than just the language that we learn.

Some of the major lessons that I feel that learning a language can teach us are:

1. Master the basics first

To master in any learning, a strong foundation of the basics of the subject is very important. That is one thing that we do the best when we’re learning a new language. We automatically go in for understand basics such as the alphabets, numbers, the pronunciations, basic greetings like hello, hi, how are you etc. and then slowly go in for the further intricacies in the language. The same patience to learn step by step can be applied in learning other things as well where we generally tend to hurry the learning process

2. Sincere practice makes perfect

It applies the most in learning a language and also obvious in the process of learning in general… practice as a part of learning process is something very essential to head towards perfection. Like we practice conversing, and pronouncing the new words we learn to attain perfection in the language we are learning, applying the same in learning general aspects would help in mastering in whatever knowledge to aim to acquire.

3. Listening  is a key to succeed

As mentioned earlier too Learning a new language requires understanding the sounds, phonetics and pronunciation that are specific to that language. We listen to experts of that language or native speakers and learn to say the words accordingly (be it on google translate or YouTube lessons or a native speaker or even using apps that support language learning). This applies well even for learning in general. Listening to ideas of peers, talks by experts or just giving an empathetic ear to a friend in need gives a way towards a next step towards learning and expertise.

4. Mistakes make you better

Take risks, give it a first try! No learning comes with success in the first attempt! This is another important thing that we can learn when we learn a new language. It takes a lot of chances to converse right sentences with right accent and pronunciation. We make mistakes and listen, practice more and learn. The same would apply to anything else that we are aiming at mastering! Learners should realise the positive impact of mistakes on their learning process and not get disheartened by them.

5. Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s not very easy to learn a language with different accents and pronunciation. There is always an influence of English and our mother tongues. For certain language we might have to unlearn and relearn a few phonetics. The same applies in the process of learning anything that is totally new and challenging! Once we have taken up the challenge of enhancing a new skill or knowledge, we should be ready to stretch a little bit from our comfort zone to attain excellence.

6. Creating Time

In case of learning a new language, we generally dedicate around 30 minuets daily to learn new words/phrases/sentences. In fact, during learning anything, making dedicated time everyday for quality learning is very important. All of us have busy schedule but when we have made up our minds to learn something, it’s necessary for us to set priorities and find time on a regular basis for learning with determination and motivation.

7. Having Fun / Experimenting

When learning something new, it could get a bit stressful, to get that accent, pronunciation etc. making it fun is a beautiful experience learning the language like listening to audios and experimenting to pronounce that way and laugh at your pronunciation and practice more and learn in a fun way!

Isn’t it the best way to learn even your theories and other technical concepts or even other day to day activities?

8. Develop self-determination

Being determined and setting goals for ourselves is another aspect we learn while seriously learning a new language. We could show determination by dedicating fixed time every day do learn a set of words and phrases aim to deliver a basic conversation in the language. Along with the fun a little bit of seriousness could help in learning faster and more effectively in any learning situation.

These are a some aspects that I felt I (and other learner’s) could learn from learning a new languages. There could be many more aspects that people grasp and learn along with learning a language. If you have any more aspects to add to the list please to comment on the article. Any other feedback is also welcome and accepted 🙂

Preparation: Key to respect

We all have come across incidences where we or people around us had to give a presentation and went to the Dias with minimal presentation due to either over confidence or lack of time, the presentation had gone a mess. Well these incidents from our own lives could work as learnings for all of us on the importance of preparation before working however ‘mastered’ we think we are in the subject. We have also observed that even during impromptu sessions or competitions, the participants are given some preparation time before the presentation. Of course there are techniques to prepare effectively in the given time and it also required prior knowledge on the topic that would enable us to think on the right lines for a quick preparation but preparation for that particular speech is necessary.

Even great orators and motivators prefer preparation before motivating youngsters. Sir M Vishweshwariya, who’s been known for his extraordinary brilliance and inventions once visited the school he studied where he was asked to motivate the students with his speech. He spoke very briefly was disappointed with his unprepared speech. Wanting to make up for it, he prepared a effective motivating speech and visited the school after a few days again and delivered it in more details. People with great thinking like him always make sure to be well prepared before their meetings, appointments and speeches and that is an attribute of many successful people.

To conclude, I would also like to quote a motivational line by Dr. Abdul Kalam, “To be like Sun, you need to burn like Sun” for which we need to warm up with preparation!!

Learning from Procrastination

Another day, not now, some other time… these are some thoughts that come to our mind when we think of working on something that we perceive are not that important at that moment. But is it always the perceived importance? It could be a task that is perceived too easy or too difficult. If too easy then it can wait till the last minute and if too difficult, it’s the fear if achieving the expected quality of the task.

Well I have been procrastinating to write this article for a couple of weeks just a thinking how can I write on this topic in an interesting way without making the readers procrastinate to read further 😛 I finally want to take up the challenge and will learn through the feedback I receive on this article.

The most common idea we get when we hear the word “procrastination” is that it’s a bane and displays laziness. It need not be so in every situation. Procrastinating can also be a boon in some circumstances where it depicts our wisdom. For instance procrastinating on spending on an expensive car we dream to own could help you make a right decision to save the money for our ‘needs’ more than your ‘wants’.

Procrastinating can also be perceived as a signal for our mind that we are stressed and don’t want to take more tasks in hand. This might help in setting priorities if we figured ways to choose which task we want to keep aside for later and what needs more attention right now and hence leading to learning ways to prioritising and managing time.

Perfectionism is another cause for procrastination as the expected perfection might usually results in failure and we don’t want to work on that again. Unrealistic expectations could lead to hampering of self esteem and lead to low self- confidence and depression. To learn from procrastination in this case, it is necessary to accept the failure as a part of learning and developing, not focusing too much on set backs and limitations (except for to learn from them) and to set goals that are easier to achieve and SMART in nature.