English As A Medium of Instruction

English is a language that is frequently used in everyday lives. It is the world’s most accessible language today. As the world becomes more interconnected, the importance of being able to read, write, and speak English will only increase. The rising demand for English as the medium of instruction in school gives rise to questions of access, exclusion, and affordability. In a system of instruction that is usually centered upon the teaching of the first, second, and third languages, robust lessons in all of them will not only help students learn to move easily among different registers of language early on but will also further India’s most valuable heritage – pluralism.

Any language that is used constantly while teaching, speaking, or for educational purposes is said to be the Medium of Instruction. It increases students’ exposure to the specific language and enhances their command over it. Governments argue in favor of having the English language as the medium of instruction in schools due to “the near-necessity of English proficiency for graduate employability”.

What are the benefits and challenges of having English as a medium of instruction?

English is a universal language spoken in every corner of the world. So students with the ability to speak in English – 

  • Find it easy to settle and move around in any part of the world
  • Will be able to access better job opportunities and advanced career development.
  • Will experience positive influence which adds value to one’s personality. 

In an IT developed country like India, fluency in English is very important to be able to work around with the technology.

Having English as a medium of instruction had resulted in a class disparity among urban and rural populations. Those who study in the English medium were often the ones qualified for the “white-collar jobs”. Imparting English on children from the onset of education might also lead to loss of mother tongue or culture. This is also in conflict with the ideals of the Constitution of India as the fundamental right provided – Freedom of speech – doesn’t allow for English to be the official teaching language in schools.

The pros and cons of having English as the medium of teaching in schools are predominantly balanced. Learning English increases one’s chances of succeeding in career aspects by providing them with more opportunities. But the importance of the mother tongue can not be denied; rather conscious efforts must be made to ensure that it is not marginalized. UNESCO considers that “providing education in a child’s mother tongue is indeed a critical issue”. To reap the benefits of cultivating a universal language, we must strive to learn English without losing the essence of our language and culture.

A Mental Guide to Time Management

In the previous article on time management, we have learned the different ways to physically cope with tasks through managing time. Preparing physically is just not enough to have proper management skills. Physical and mental preparedness is equally important when it comes to performing a task. So, let us understand ways to mentally prepare oneself for the efficient completion of a task.  

FOCUS

  • Set up a virtual office. To concentrate and avoid distractions, allocate a space specifically for you to get in the mood to study.
  • Set an agenda. Track your time, understand how you spend every minute of your day. 
  • Write down your priorities weekly. Go back to review it and see how effective you are in managing time.
  • Optimize your study time; only do one thing at a time. Do not multi-task, it limits your attention span.
  • Take breaks at the right time. Discontinue whatever you are doing, take your eyes off your screen, go out for some fresh air, and refuel with the right food.
  • Keep your desk free of clutter. A physical clutter makes it harder for you to concentrate.
  • Eliminate your main distractions and time-wasters. Turn off the notification on your phone or computer to avoid pop-ups and calls that can tempt you. 
  • Make it a habit to check your email and text messages just 3-4 times a day. 

MOTIVATION

  • Set goals for each study session. Use a checklist, so you can tick off every goal achieved.
  • Make time to reflect on topics taught, your goals to reach, and the assignments you got.
  • Get rid of procrastination. Break big projects into small actionable tasks. Beat it by using the 5-minute rule. 
  • If you’re feeling mentally stressed, change your studying environment that helps your head to cool off.
  • Reward yourself. Set goals for yourself and when you accomplish them, give yourself the treat you deserve.
  • Hang out with people who are motivated and productive to draw from their motivation.

HEALTH

  • Take breaks in between your study time. Your brain needs its rest amidst the study steam. Take that rest to avoid breaking down.
  • Get eight hours of sleep every night. Your sleep hours are crucial. 
  • Exercise at least three times a week. This keeps your brain and body alert and smart for any task. 
  • Eat a healthy breakfast for enhanced focus and mental performance, healthy balanced meals are a huge contribution.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises for 2-3 minutes a day to improve focus and reduce stress. 

In general, create a balance in every aspect of your everyday life. Hang out with friends when you have to; go on a walk when you need to ease out; set a time to end your day after the hassles, and retire to the comfort of your bed. Scheduling works well in doing this, but a determined drive to stick to the routine works even better.

Appreciate your brain for this 2 minutes read! Fuel your mind more here

A Physical Guide to Time Management

As an online learner, you do not want to be worn out anytime you sit in front of your computer screen to take a lesson. Being a student, the stress would get to you faster. With time, you would find out you have achieved nothing. So, let us take a quick look at how to manage our time effectively and efficiently.  

SCHEDULING

The good aspect of online learning is that you can be in control of your timing, by taking classes when it is convenient for you. Every day, your lesson is dropped for you, and you can use your discretion to choose when you are capable of viewing it. However, most times people tend to see that as an opportunity to lag and end up missing out on the entire program. This is where scheduling plays a role. Your time has to be planned, not just by envisioning it, but by putting it down on paper. Following these simple steps would ensure the completion of tasks at hand.

  • Create a monthly and/or weekly plan depending on the syllabus for the online program you have enrolled in. This gives you a general overview of how your month and/or week should run per your study sessions.
  • Create a daily schedule to not be thrown off-balance in trying to catch up with the weekly plans when unexpected tasks come up. Since your monthly/weekly routine is meant to give a general overview of what your study hours should be, a daily routine/to-do list would put things more into perspective.
  • Set aside time for important activities and create a realistic schedule by putting in time for breaks.
  • Plan ahead and keep a list of everything you have to do. Prepare for your online sessions every day. In your schedule, block out time for homework and studying.
  • Create a study plan for every test and exam. Make a list of the specific things you will prepare for, to keep you on track.
  • Put a clock on your study table. Let it serve as a continuous reminder of the time and keep you on track.

TASK

  • Never skip a session as it might be hard to go back and review it the next day. Slowly, lessons will begin piling up as your procrastination sets in.
  • Review every new information you’ve learned within 24 hours as your understanding of the topic is still fresh.
  • For every assignment, note the deadline and when you have to submit it. Make sure to finish up before a day or two.
  • For projects and big assignments, always be clear about what the next step is. Break them down into smaller actions, writing the steps, so you can have a clear picture of what is next.
  • Determine when you’re most productive, and work on your hardest assignments during that time.
  • If a task or assignment requires just a few minutes to complete, do it right away. This will ensure that tasks don’t pile up and become exhausting.

Follow these methods to complete your tasks on time with quality results. These are the physical ways through which one can equip their body to be highly productive within a short period. The next article will be guiding you on mentally preparing yourself for tasks through time management. 

Why is Time Management Important for Online Learning?

Some of the problems we face while trying to study are distractions, activities that pop up whenever we decide to dedicate time to learning. For online learners, this becomes harder, because they lack the sanctum of a classroom to keep them motivated and committed. How many times have you wanted to study, and suddenly a chat message popped up, and the next moment your attention was turned to texting back and forth? How many times have you had to keep your assignments aside, just because a call from a friend came in, and you needed to answer? How many times have you slept off, forgetting your study time because you’re just too worn out to give it time? How many times have you felt too lazy to learn?

So, what happens when you have just you and your computer or gadget, where you have no physical entity to report to, but have to make a sacrifice to devote your time to an online environment? How well would you be able to utilize your time and do what is required of you? This is where Time Management comes in.

Why is Time Management Important?

Every minute spent meaningfully, leaves you no feeling of emptiness. Once you feel like you have done nothing with your day, that means you had an unresourceful day. Managing your time helps you put things into perspective. You know what is crucial at the moment, and what is not worth spending your time on. You set a scale of preference and highlight your priorities, instead of giving too much into aspects that yield little. Once you begin organizing and setting a scale on every part of your day, you will maintain a sense of coordination in all your activities.

This applies to a learning environment; proper management of your time can help lessen the workload, by making you do more tasks in less time. It instills self-discipline and fights off procrastination. It can help you achieve faster and better results in a shorter time, having you free up your schedule for a time to relax, ease out stress, and giving you so much fulfillment you can revel in forever.  We will be discussing the Physical Guide and Mental Guide for managing time in detail in the upcoming blogs.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health is a huge concern worldwide that is taking a turn for the worse with the increasing chaos in the lives of people. Despite the growing economies, the developmental goals are unachievable if the mental health of the citizens is kept on the back burner.

Mental illness affects about 19% of the adults, 46% of the teenagers, and 13% of the children every year. However, only half of them receive proper care and treatment, leaving the rest to face discrimination and stigma from the people around them.

In recent years, the perception of mental health has improved, but not the stigma around it. Studies show that the stigma against mental illness is still powerful, mostly due to the lack of education and the existing stereotypes from before. Therefore, the prevailing scenario highlights the importance of having Mental Health Awareness. It is crucial to acknowledge that being mentally sound is essential for the overall well-being of a person.

Mental Health Awareness stands for combating stigma, ensuring early recognition of depression or other conditions in patients, and giving them proper treatment while educating the people around them. Just understanding the concept will do no good in the long run. Many campaigns are being organized worldwide to spread awareness among people. The objectives of these campaigns are educating people and raising awareness while breaking stereotypes and prejudices. The lack of education is the biggest challenge to these campaigns because awareness and literacy are two sides of the same coin. The programs conducted for this purpose had a favorable impact, however, the long term impact of such programs is yet to be evaluated.

Initiatives are being taken up by the governments and self-help groups to combat the problems related to mental health because awareness is the only way to end this problem. A WHO report shows that about 87% of the countries have at least two functioning mental health awareness and prevention programs.

Everyone needs to look for the symptoms of mental illness in people around them and provide them with proper medication and care to save a life from the verge of reaching depression eventually leading to suicide.

Rural Education in India during COVID-19 Pandemic

As Jimmy Carter said, “No poor, rural, weak or black person should
ever again bear the additional burden of being deprived of the
opportunity for an education, job, or simple justice”. In this article, let
us see how rural education was affected during the Covid-19 pandemic
and how it has created inequality in education in India.

As online classes became the only mode of learning in India, many
students in rural areas who don’t even have sufficient food to eat during
this crisis, are facing problems accessing digital education. These issues range from the inability to buy gadgets to watch videos for studying, a stable internet connection, and the lack of digital infrastructure such as feeble internet connection. Even in cities, not everyone can access these digitalized classes. Parents are also worried about the health of their children due to spending long hours in front of these gadgets.

To combat this inequality, many steps were being taken by the government as well as the citizens. A person from Haryana attached a
loudspeaker to the cart to impart lessons for the students. This arrangement was done so that children would not drop out of a school which might affect the future condition of the whole nation.

Teachers often encourage village panchayat to share stories, songs, and awareness to parents on how to deal with children during the lockdown period. In some villages, teachers have identified students who have access to smartphones forming groups clubbing them with students without any access.

E-learning content is also available to students from both Government and government-aided schools for grades I to IX. It’s hosted on the
DIKSHA app – e-learning platform of the Ministry of Human
Resource Development.

These times call for a dedicated effort on part of everyone to take education forward. By coming up with new and creative methods to impart knowledge, we are helping shape our country for a post-pandemic world. This might be the new normal for quite some time as there is no going back to the old normal.

Unfolding the Magic of Literature

We often ask ourselves, why do we need to study literature? We perpetually neglect this subject before our exams. We do not give much importance to it. That is not all. Students who pursue literature for higher studies are often looked down upon by the other streams, but we keep forgetting that a part of what we are today is because of literature. Outside our boring syllabus lagged stories and poems, there is a whole new world, that when explored will make you fall in love with literature. That being said let’s move on to, why we should study literature and how it helps us.

Studying literature opens up a world of inspiration and creativity along with developing skills that are essential for communication in today’s global environment. It makes us discover how literature makes sense of the whole world through stories, poems, novels, and plays. It also sharpens one’s ability to read, write, analyze, and persuade. Studying literature refines our day-to-day skills by expanding our vocabulary and enhancing our ability to communicate with people from different walks of life. For example, when we read a story or novel written by an African author, we become familiar with African culture, people, traditions, and history. We learn their way of life through their literature, as literature is nothing but a product or a representation of a particular timeline and its environment. Our horizons are broadened. We learn to understand people who are different from us from different communities.

When reading something, we come across and discover a variety of characters that we identify and relate with. This is a very exciting and validating process, to know that our exact thoughts and feelings have also been experienced by someone else. In other words, we find a friend in literature. It encourages us to be sensitive to different human experiences and to consider this while making decisions in our daily lives. It has a civilizing effect on people.

Literature through its forms makes us familiar with all kinds of worldly problems and pleasures. It takes the readers on a roller-coaster ride. You may read about anything and everything under the sun and hence, literature provides you with an overall knowledge of the world. While history tells us what people did; literature tells us what they were thinking. Poets and authors capture the universal human experience in their books. Literature unites readers with the universe.

Did you know that literature is used as a therapy? I bet you did not. Well, Bibliotherapy (also known as developmental Bibliotherapy) is the process of using books to help those suffering from mental disorders. Literature is often described as a form of art that disturbs the peace-minded and brings peace to the disturbed. Storybooks are known as great levelers and great healers. It allows one to experience situations vicariously, and compassionately think of a solution by putting themselves in the character’s place. Sympathy is merely emotional but empathy is highly intellectual. And literature evokes such human emotions.

Think of any great novel: Pride and Prejudice, David Copperfield, The Namesake – in all of these excellent novels we need empathy to fully appreciate them. It is this perception and insight that makes studying literature worthwhile. If a person can go beyond their own experiences and draw inspiration from literature, he/she will have better abilities to navigate in the real world. Therefore studying literature is equivalent to studying life.

Celtic to English: A Trace of the Global Perception on English Language

The 21st century is a time for growing communication and traffic at its peak. Technology is constantly updating. The world views the English language as a language with a global impact. English is the first choice of foreign language in most countries of the world, and it is used as the global international language. It is estimated that almost a third of the world’s population uses English as their international communication language. English is seen as a language with global scope as implicated in the history and present-day existence of societies all around the world.

How did the English language obtain global importance?

History is not simply about the passage of time. It is what people do, and the changes that occur in society as a result of people’s actions over time. The history of English can therefore be seen as a record of the changes that occurred in the populations of those who speak the language. 

The English language started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD. These tribes, the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, crossed the North Sea from what is now Denmark and Northern Germany. At that time the inhabitants of Britain spoke Celtic language. But most of the Celtic speakers were pushed to the west and north by the invaders – mainly into what is now Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The Angles came from “Englaland” and they spoke “Englisc” from which the words English and England were derived. The period of the development of English was divided into three periods – Old English (450-1100 AD), Middle English (1100-1500 AD), and Modern English (1500 AD – now). However, the period of Modern English is again classified as Early and Late Modern English periods. 

Language plays a very prominent role in peoples’ identities. The attitude of people towards a particular language is part of their personal history. There might be so many reasons why English is considered to be an international language. The book ‘English as a World Language‘ states that English has become a world language because of its establishment as a mother tongue outside England, in parts of all the continents of the world.

John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher, said that Language is the light of the mind. With over 6000 languages spoken across the globe, languages are undoubtedly the most important part of our being; they form an integral part of our identity. Languages serve as the best channels to understand and explore the nuances of different cultures and traditions. New words come into being as time passes and old words acquire changed meanings rendering a dynamic touch to the world of languages.

Global Climate Strikes

Global Climate Strikes or Global Week for Future, is celebrated from 20-27th September across the globe. Global Climate Strikes is a series of international strikes and protests carried out by activists to force the governments to take much-needed action against the rising decline in climatic conditions.

The first set of Global Climate Strikes was organized in 2019, and the week was chosen in a climate summit hosted by the United Nations. These strikes, conducted by a school, became an international movement insured by Greta Thunberg who is a very well-known climate activist. Around a hundred and fifty nations took part in these strikes. A study revealed that roughly 7.6 million people were part of these protests across the world. These strikes were conducted to raise awareness among the citizens who could further force the governments in taking immediate measures.

For the Global Climate Strikes of 2020, Canada is the important center of action since the Canadian President will be delivering a speech from the throne. On the 25th of September, demonstrations and manifestations will take place demanding the declaration of Climate Emergency. This year’s strikes amidst the global pandemic have forced the activists to come up with new ideas to protest and therefore introduced digital activism over different platforms. The continuous burning of the Californian forests left the activists agitated giving them a stronger reason to take this movement forward.

The climate has been undergoing a rapid decline all around the globe. With each passing second, it is going to worsen creating a need for urgent actions to be taken by the governments and citizens together. Conducting the strikes and protests alone will do no good to the climate. There is a need to tackle this issue from the core in a step-by-step manner.

Being the citizens of today and ancestors of tomorrow, let us promise to take the matter into our hands and contribute as much to the climate as we possibly can.

The Magic of Communication

What do lightning and thundering indicate? Isn’t it giving you an indication of the coming of rain soon? That is how nature communicates with us.

Communication is a magical bridge that connects two living beings emotionally. All living beings communicate in some way or the other, which is proof to show that communication needs no language. For speechless creatures, communication is limited to understanding each other’s emotions to survive in this world whereas, for human beings, it is a lot more than that. It’s their bread and butter.

Humans have been communicating ever since the stone-age. That time, it was needed to survive in the world. It started as signs, symbols, lines, and shapes later evolving into a full-fledged language to speak and to calculate.

With this, the concept of Verbal and Non-Verbal communication emerged. Now, let me explain in brief what these are.

Verbal Communication is using language as a medium to communicate while NonVerbal Communication involves sign language, body language, tone of voice, expressions, etc.

What is the scope of communication?

The scope of communication is much wider than one can think. It is very important in our day-to-day life, for both personal and professional purposes. It plays a major role in building and maintaining social relations. 

Careers in Communication

Students looking for a career in the communications field can find these following opportunities in different media sectors:

Radio – Voice over artist, Radio Jockey, Announcer, Script Writer, Production Manager, etc.

Theatre, Television & Film – Script Writer, Screen Writer, Photographer, Art Director, Assistant Director, Film Director, etc.

Journalism – Anchor, Announcer, Correspondent, Reporter, Camera Person, Production Manager, News Writer, Editor, Proof Reader, Web Content Writer, etc. 

Advertising – Story Developer, Content Writer, Creative Writer, Screen Writer, Digital Media & Social media Handler, Marketing and Communications Manager, Media Manager, etc.

Public Relations – Public Relations Officer, PR Advisor, PR Manager, Communication Expert, Information Officer, etc.

Communication exists everywhere. It is just an act of expressing one’s thoughts or emotions to the other, whether it be a person, an animal, or nature itself. To understand more about communication and its scope as a career, click here