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Showing posts from 2016

Better classrooms for introverted kids

Here is an interview with Susan Cain the author of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. The interview focuses on how we could make classroom better for introverted kids.  This topic is close to my heart because I was always on the introverted end of the spectrum. I did/ do well in small groups and was/ am pretty terrible in large group settings.  Some of the most important things that stood out for me in this article:  1. How we structure groups is important in group learning/ project based classes. I think asking kids to think of roles and have each person be responsible for a major part of the project would help each one be responsible for a role. We could even do lead and co-lead for each role, where each kid gets at least one lead role and at least one co-lead role. This way, a hard task won't be just upto one person. I think this is important for any project based learning classroom for young adults.  2. I really liked the idea that the teachers gi

Three sources of inspiration

A few weeks ago, a series of three unrelated things came together to form a fiercely inspiring moment for me. I heard a talk by an investor and holocaust survivor, Arnold Van Den Berg.  He spoke about focus and how his father espoused it as being the essential element of having survived the death march. A 24 hour, 20 mile walk between concentration camps, on a couple of slices of bread, when he was malnourished and weak to start with. He said the only thing that got him through that was a faultless focus on putting one leg in front of the other and locking the knee each time. If *any* other thought entered his mind, the knee would have given way. A fall would have followed. And, falling was not an option because you got whipped and shot if you couldn't continue walking. If you wanted to survive, you focussed one hundred percent on your knee. I need focus. I met an entrepreneur who works a fulltime job. She said she doesn't hesitate to invest in herself and never fails t

Hire the best candidate! Gender no bar.

Suppose you have 5 super talented people in your pool of applicants for a critical position. Would you be ok with someone saying you can only look at 3 of them? Would you not want to look at all 5 in a rational and impartial manner? What if this is your own brain telling you incorrect information about half of the people in your pool, and you pass them up for stereotypes that you think they fit? Or for reasons that is true for all other candidates as well, but you just aren't trained to look that way? Many people who run small businesses and many hiring managers from companies of all sizes worry about hiring women when they are of child bearing and child rearing age. Even if they are more than qualified for the roles they are applying for. This seems to be true across male and female managers I spoke to, so I'm not complaining about men in this post, I understand the completely patriarchal society I live in. The worry seems to stem from the short term loss in professional

Day 3: Parting Guidance from a Psychotherapist

Domestic abuse Before I left the hostel I stayed in, I happened to meet a retired psychotherapist at the lounge where I was chatting with a bunch of girls who've been traveling. I asked about his work and he said he worked with violent men who had abused or assaulted their partners or ex-partners. He mentioned that according to a CDC study his work led to men not going back to violence 75% of the time. That is, if a man court ordered to do this 3 to 6 month long program, stayed in it, he did not go back to violence 75% of the time. The ones who went back typically belonged in 2 categories: 1. the ones who had been extremely violent before the program, and 2. the ones who binge drank (> 5 beers, or 5 shots of hard alcohol at one time) Since this was a bunch of young girls, he asked: "So, do you know who to stay away from?". "Who?" "Men with control issues and men who drink too much". I asked for clarification about how young girls would i

Day 3: United State of Women Summit

Gender Based Violence Thursday, the final day of the ‪#‎ Gender360Summit‬ , was about how to prevent gender based violence (GBV) on adolescents and the challenges in doing that. It was stated that violence against women and girls was ultimate abuse of power is one of the most heinous and prevalent human rights abuses. Some drivers of gender based violence: 1. Patriarchy, resulting in practices such as female foeticide and infanticide 2. Gender norms: needing to preserve culture and tradition with dehumanizing norms such as early marriage, female genital mutilation 3. Masculine norms of behavior: dominance and control There was a talk about violence against children in schools and how this could be changed by changing the way we speak about schools: RaisingVoices There was a lot of discussion about how to bring adolescents to the table to design, run, evaluate and improve their programs. I found this hard to imagine doing well in a context where adolescent girls are hidd

Day 2: United State of Women Summit

Programming for Adolescents I was at the ‪#‎ Gender360Summit‬ today, on Engaging Adolescent Girls and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality and Combating Gender-based Violence. This was a side summit to the ‪#‎ StateOfWomen‬ summit I attended yesterday. I met a wide variety of people today. Folks who work on dealing with victims of gender based violence, folks who work in refugee camps and in an oppressed border city, to provide services to children and prevent evils like child marriage and female genital mutilation. This is super hard work in super hard circumstances. I heard folks talk about adolescent education and how it was crucial for adolescent programs to be designed by them, and keep them involved them in every step of the way. Even in monitoring and evaluation, they know the best questions that need to be asked to see if change was being made in the right directions. Folks who worked in economics and said that one way to sell the idea of women working on the national

Day 1: The United State of Women Summit

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I heard Warren Buffett, President Obama, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden speak today, live at the first ever United State of Women Summit. A special mention of the two eleven-year old girls who are changing the world Marley Dias and Mikaila Ulmer. Each of these and so many others spoke with utmost clarity and conviction about their causes, dreams and realities. Here's what I remember from each talk... Joe Biden said that his dad told him that the cardinal sin was to lift a hand to hurt a women, and that it was the worst kind of abuse of power. He said it is the culture needs to change, since the laws were in place and not enough. He said his work would be done when not one woman who was assaulted ever felt guilty that it may have been her fault and not one man ever thought that a woman "had it coming". Mikaila urged us all to dream like a kid and introduced President Obama. President Obama said he knew we were all there to see Michelle, that birth control