Self Help

A week into 2019 now – how does it feel? Have you noticed the newness all around?
Self help books, podcasts, online courses and videos, retreats that promise a better version of your self this year. I have been enrolling for many of these courses, where the content gives you few tips but then urges you to sign up (read ‘pay’) for the next level of training. Or, there are these five or maybe seven things you need to do every day to see results of whatever project you are working on. Now let me tell you this – it is not that these courses, posts, videos or books have not helped me. They have. Every time I read, it acts as a trigger to refine my thoughts. But there is also a sense of overwhelm. I signup for so many of these, that I sometimes only skim through the content.


I sign up for a 21 day meditation course that just requires 20 minutes of my time, but fail to turn up. Some how those three weeks turn out to be the most hectic, that whatever free time I get, I would rather curl up and sleep.

The reason I am sharing this? Well, as educators, we know that the year goes by as fast as we celebrate the New Year. Can we think of going through this year in a mindful manner? Was just reading about fixing our mind on one word – say “great” or maybe “compassion”.  

Focus your mind on one word that you want in your life now. -journal jotting
You can then come back to this word whenever any event/situation/student’s behaviour upsets you. It’s been close to a week and it is helping me be a little less worried, and be more present with my students.


Find your inner voice – read/sign up for self-development if you want. Post that, reflect on any one positive quality that you want to work upon .Philosophers, saints, healers and management gurus stress that we offer our best, when we work upon our ‘self’. 
And life need not be spent looking inward all the time – it is equally important that we share what we learn with peers, and our students. – journal jotting


There are plenty of resources that promote development of self and well being.
And books by Swami Vivekananda,Bhagvad Gita and many more.
Make one small, do able, positive change and sustain this through the year. This shift will definitely make you feel better.-journal jotting





Vision Board


It’s the last month of the year 2018 – and most of us are fond of making new resolutions for the new year or maybe, re work on our old resolutions, our ‘old’ selves. We all accept this underlying fact -change is a constant.How different and wonderful will it be if we envision beautiful changes in a creative way ! We can first attempt this and then share it with students. All of us are aware of the stress, the unwanted pressure that students are exposed to. We can probably offer this as a tool to mitigate that stress .Students can make their imagination to create something beautiful and meaningful.

Here are few prompts – you can cut these / write down :









Quiet time





These are just few prompts – you can create a positive affirmation vision board with these words.

Notes to self  for the New Year – sample vision board
This is a simple vision board. You can make a large or a small board. You can use pictures or photos of yourself or the places that you want to see. The possibilities are many -this is a great learning tool for students as well to cope with stress and enjoy life. 
The most important observation is :
Vision, by itself does not manifest results.  Actions along with vision shall bring in results. It is better to keep our imagination fertile with positive thoughts even as we work. Work can eventually be for the upliftment or empowerment of others, rather than being centered around the self – journal jotting

There are many online resources  and few sites that sell vision boards. But I think the best way is to make your own – keep the design simple or funky – it’s your creativity at work 🙂

Thinkers who Shaped India’s Education

There were many thinkers, philosophers and educators who uplifted the education system in India. Here’s a glimpse into the lives of these great people.
There are many more who have had a major role to play and thousands more today who are tirelessly working for improving the standard of education.
These people care little for rewards or recognition, as they are driven by a sense of purpose – the soul’s purpose.
 Aurobindo Ghosh
Sri Aurobindo is a spiritual guru , a national leader and a progressive educator. He proposed the importance of spiritual practices in human transformation into a divine entity.
15th Aug 1872  
Aurobindo Ghose was born on August 15, 1872 to Krishna Dhun Ghose, and his wife Swarnalotta Devi in Kolkata (Bengal Presidency), India. 
Starting from St. Pauls School (1884), he attained scholarship and made it to King’s College, Cambridge (1890). His dedication and sharp intellect helped him clear the Indian Civil Service exam too. 
Aurobindo Ghose came back to India in 1893 after getting a job with the royal family of Baroda (Gaekwad). He was fluent with many foreign languages but less familiar with Indian culture. 
At the age of 28, Aurobindo Ghosee married Mrinalini, daughter of Bhupal Chandra Bose, a senior government official, in 1901. 
He finally moved to Kolkata in the year 1906 after the announcement of the partition of Bengal. Publicly, Aurobindo supported non-co-operation and passive resistance to the British rule but in private he was involved in secret revolutionary activities and helped build the revolutionary atmosphere in the country. 
In 1906, he participated in the Indian National Congress annual session, which was headed by Dadabhai Naoroji. He helped in building the fourfold objectives of the national movement – Swaraj, Swadesh, Boycott and national education. He started a daily newspaper Bande Mataram in 1907. 
In 1907, the congress split due to a showdown between moderates and extremists. Aurobindo sided with extremists and supported Bal Gangadhar Tilak. After this, he travelled extensively across Pune, Baroda and Bombay to educate people and get support for national movement. 
May 1908  
In May 1908, the British arrested him in connection with the Alipore Bomb Case. He was subsequently released after one year of solitary confinement. 
Post his release in 1909, he started new publications – Karmayogin (English) and Dharma (Bengali). 
Apr 1910  
In April 1910, Aurobindo Ghoseh secretly moved to Pondicherry (which was then a French Colony) to start a new life. 
After settling in Pondicherry, he dedicated himself to his spiritual and philosophical pursuits. In 1914, he started a monthly philosophical magazine ‘Arya’. 
The foundation of the Ashram was laid with the help of Mirra Richard (a French national and the spiritual collaborator of Aurobindo Ghoseh) who came to Pondicherry in 1914. 
Dec 1918  
Mrinalini died in December 1918 during the influenza pandemic. 
Slowly and gradually Sri Aurobindo began to attract followers and the number kept increasing, resulting in the formation of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. 
He started his journey in Pondicherry with a few followers, but that increased rapidly and ultimately led to the establishment of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. 
Mirra Richard  took charge of the management of Ashram after he went into seclusion in 1926. She began to be known as ‘The Mother’ and was considered and equal to Aurobindo in spiritual wisdom and knowledge. 
1943 To 1950  
He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature (1943) and Nobel Prize for Peace (1950) for his innumerable contributions in the field of poetry, spiritualism and philosophical literature. 
5th Dec 1950  
Sri Aurobindo passed away on December 5, 1950. 
Article Title- Sri Aurobindo Biography
Author – Editors,
Website –
Last Updated- October 25, 2017
 Rabindranath Tagore

A child prodigy, Tagore, showed a penchant for literature, art and music from a very young age and in due course of time, produced an extraordinary body of work which changed the face of Indian literature. However, he was not just a mere poet or writer; he was the harbinger of an era of literature which elevated him to the stature of the cultural ambassador of India. Even today, decades after his death, this saint-like man, lives through his works in the hearts of the people of Bengal who are forever indebted to him for enriching their heritage.
·         He was the most admired Indian writer who introduced India’s rich cultural heritage to the West and was the first non-European to be bestowed the prestigious Nobel Prize. Rabindranath Tagore wrote his first poem at the tender age of eight!
·         He hated the structured education system and dropped out of college in frustration.
·         Tagore was granted a knighthood by the British Crown in 1915 which he renounced after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
·         He revolutionized Indian literature and art, and is credited to have started the Bengal Renaissance Movement.
·         He maintained correspondence with the eminent German scientist Albert Einstein and the two Nobel laureates greatly admired each other.
·         Film-maker Satyajit Ray was deeply influenced by Tagore’s works and the iconic train scene in Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ was inspired from an incident in Tagore’s ‘Chokher Bali’.
·         He was a prolific composer with over 2,000 songs to his credit.
·         While it is common knowledge that Tagore wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh, few know that Sri Lanka’s national anthem is based on a Bengali song originally written by Tagore in 1938.
·         Tagore took up drawing and painting at the age of sixty, and went on to hold several successful exhibitions throughout Europe!
·         He was a widely traveled man and had visited more than thirty countries on five continents.
Article Title- Rabindranath Tagore Biography
Author – Editors,
Website –
Last Updated- July 21, 2017
Savitribai Jyotirao Phule

Savitribai Jyotirao Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer, educationalist and poet. She is regarded as the first lady teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during British rule.[1] Phule, along with her husband founded the first girls’ school in Pune run by native Indians at Bhide Wada in 1848.[a] She worked to abolish discrimination and unfair
treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.

J Krishnamurti

There are many Krishnamurti Foundation schools in India that have produced influential thinkers in today’s times.
Jiddu Krishnamurti was born on 11 May 1895 in Madanapalle, a small town in south India. He and his brother were adopted in their youth by Dr Annie Besant, then president of the Theosophical Society. Dr Besant and others proclaimed that Krishnamurti was to be a world teacher whose coming the Theosophists had predicted. To prepare the world for this coming, a world-wide organization called the Order of the Star in the East was formed and the young Krishnamurti was made its head.
In 1929, however, Krishnamurti renounced the role that he was expected to play, dissolved the Order with its huge following, and returned all the money and property that had been donated for this work.
From then, for nearly sixty years until his death on 17 February 1986, he travelled throughout the world talking to large audiences and to individuals about the need for a radical change in mankind.
Krishnamurti is regarded globally as one of the greatest thinkers and religious teachers of all time. He did not expound any philosophy or religion, but rather talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday lives, of the problems of living in modern society with its violence and corruption, of the individual’s search for security and happiness, and the need for mankind to free itself from inner burdens of fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow. He explained with great precision the subtle workings of the human mind, and pointed to the need for bringing to our daily life a deeply meditative and spiritual quality.
Krishnamurti belonged to no religious organization, sect or country, nor did he subscribe to any school of political or ideological thought. On the contrary, he maintained that these are the very factors that divide human beings and bring about conflict and war. He reminded his listeners again and again that we are all human beings first and not Hindus, Muslims or Christians, that we are like the rest of humanity and are not different from one another. He asked that we tread lightly on this earth without destroying ourselves or the environment. He communicated to his listeners a deep sense of respect for nature. His teachings transcend man-made belief systems, nationalistic sentiment and sectarianism. At the same time, they give new meaning and direction to mankind’s search for truth. His teaching, besides being relevant to the modern age, is timeless and universal.
Krishnamurti spoke not as a guru but as a friend, and his talks and discussions are based not on tradition-based knowledge but on his own insights into the human mind and his vision of the sacred, so he always communicates a sense of freshness and directness although the essence of his message remained unchanged over the years. When he addressed large audiences, people felt that Krishnamurti was talking to each of them personally, addressing his or her particular problem. In his private interviews, he was a compassionate teacher, listening attentively to the man or woman who came to him in sorrow, and encouraging them to heal themselves through their own understanding. Religious scholars found that his words threw new light on traditional concepts. Krishnamurti took on the challenge of modern scientists and psychologists and went with them step by step, discussed their theories and sometimes enabled them to discern the limitations of those theories. Krishnamurti left a large body of literature in the form of public talks, writings, discussions with teachers and students, with scientists and religious figures, conversations with individuals, television and radio interviews, and letters. Many of these have been published as books, and audio and video recordings.

Dr S Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, (born Sept. 5, 1888, Tiruttani, India—died April 16, 1975, Madras [now Chennai]), scholar and statesman who was president of India from 1962 to 1967. He served as professor of philosophy at Mysore (1918–21) and Calcutta (1921–31; 1937–41) universities and as vice chancellor of Andhra University (1931–36). He was professor of Eastern religions and ethics at the University of Oxford in England (1936–52) and vice chancellor of Benares Hindu University (1939–48) in India. From 1953 to 1962 he was chancellor of the University of Delhi.

Radhakrishnan led the Indian delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; 1946–52) and was elected chairman of UNESCO’s executive board (1948–49). From 1949 to 1952 he served as Indian ambassador to the Soviet Union. On his return to India in 1952 he was elected vice president, and on May 11, 1962, he was elected president, succeeding Rajendra Prasad, who was the first president of independent India. Radhakrishnan retired from politics five years later.

C. Rajagopalachari

C. Rajagopalachari was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician and writer. He was the first and last Indian Governor General of India after Lord Mountbatten left India in 1948. Although Sardar Patel was the initial choice but on the insistence of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, he was made the Governor General. He was the one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress during the pre-independence era. He held many other positions like: Premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister of the Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of the Madras State. Out of all the things that Rajagopalachari did to serve the country, pre and post independence, he is most remembered for the work that he did in Madras while he was the Chief Minister of the state from 1952–54. He passed the legislation to create Andhra state, put an end to sugar rationing, and introduced the ‘Modified System of Elementary Education’. He was one of the first recipients of India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
Article Title- C. Rajagopalachari Biography
Author – Editors,
Website –
Last Updated- November 02, 2017

We have the opportunity to bring in positive change. How are we using that opportunity?

Taking the Class Outdoors

Is it possible to step out of the classroom and take a class outside, in natural spaces? Well, the answer is ‘YES’. Our ancient Gurus practiced “Gurukula” way of imparting ‘holistic’ education. And now studies by educators and researchers prove that learning outdoors is very effective and meaningful.

Benefits of conducting a class outdoors

Children respond better, slow down and become more mindful when taken outdoors. With regular outdoor sessions, children become more observant and more receptive. If we can also inculcate good habits and manners into our sessions, children are more likely to listen and comprehend. It might actually be more effective to do this in Nature than trying to teach manners inside a closed classroom space.

“Kids are so starved for nature that you can take them out into a not-very-natural area, give them a lesson without really engaging much with nature, and even this pretty small, pathetic dose helps them function remarkably better.”—Ming Kuo
These two sites elaborate on the same observations : 
Few activities that can be conducted outdoors 
Lower classes
a)Once a week, walking on the ground bare feet and then sitting down
b)Playing with sand/mud/clay
c)Story telling
d)Watching clouds move
e)Answering ” I wonder…….”
Higher classes
a)Sitting in a circle, sitting below a large tree
b)Playing with pebbles – pebble art /making patterns/solving problems
c)Feeling the elements of Nature – use that as a prompt just before beginning your lesson – can be for an English poem or a lesson on humidity in Social Science. Let your creativity flow!!
d)Observe the Golden Ratio in Nature and explain Math concepts – flowers, shells and more.
e)Using natural colors to represent their learning, in the form of illustrations

Adult or child, we learn better in the lap of Nature – journal jotting

Do try this and share your comments below!


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Easy Craft for children – Madhubani Art

There are so many different ways to keep children engaged and happy. And,there are so many creative people doing just that! To teach children a craft that is unique to India, and making them aware of the country’s sustainable,rich art  is true learning, don’t you think? I have enjoyed my conversations with Ihitashri, founder of MITHILAsmita, an organization that promotes Madhubani artists. I have always felt that students should be encouraged to present their projects using traditional folk art, rather than standard PowerPoint Presentations.So,today am sharing a step-by step tutorial on creating a simple,Madhubani art.

Please check out :
Special thanks to Ms.Shruti for giving me the permission to share this resource.
If some of you take up this activity with your students, do share your experience here (below this post.)

There are some more resources for this activity :

And this one, if you would rather watch a video

Learn and promote native art forms.Children learn to appreciate their culture better and develop a strong connection with Nature as most native art forms use natural colours and  imagery drawn from Nature – journal jotting 

Let’s get Creative

I often wonder how the days fly by and so many things in my task list remain incomplete. One afternoon, I spent more than an hour painting pots and seedpods to make rustic art pieces – this was  totally satisfying and boosted creativity ! Just realized – the energy  you get out of doing anything you enjoy – small or big, helps you re look at your to-do list and complete tasks with renewed enthusiasm.
Do spend few minutes on your less work days and feel the energy that flows in you 🙂 Get creative, feel happy. When we are happy and energetic , we do carry that spirit into our classrooms 🙂 – journal jotting
Painted leaf design on pot
The leaf that was used as an imprint
Seed pod painted as a backdrop to the beautiful Buddha statue
Proteinex tin got a makeover 🙂 – wrapped in handmade paper, sits pretty as a planter

Beat Plastic Pollution

Conversations around environment and sustainability are more relevant than ever. I was just telling my students last week that becoming completely  eco-friendly will be the only way out pretty soon.

We cannot be ignorant or indifferent to the challenges that are self made.
In this context, it is also important that those of us who are earth sensitive do not become judgmental and insensitive – journal jotting

Let us start by reducing plastics. You can initiate a conversation with students. The following links might help you  plan better.
Take a look at the section Discussion on the usage of plastic under

Click on this link to view a Presentation I made on Reducing Plastic
The theme for the world environment day 2018 is Beat Plastic Pollution.
Here’s an introductory video :

In our attempts to become earth sensitive, let us also become more kind in our interaction with others. After all, every one is here on a unique journey and we should support each other as much as we can – journal jotting

Additional Resources :

Do share your experience in the classroom in the comments section below.

How Teachers in Remote Areas Inspire their Students

A news snippet about a teacher caught my interest. I then went online to read more about this teacher from Ghana – Richard Appiah Akoto. Many schools across the globe do not have access to many facilities that we take for granted. That, however, does not deter good,dedicated  teachers who make use of the blackboard to explain and reach out to every child in the class. It is heartening to note that this teacher has caught the attention of Microsoft too. Read the full article by clicking on the link against the source.


A teacher from Ghana  posted photos of his classroom drawing on a blackboard with colored chalk, the features of a Microsoft Word processing window. The students in his class can also be seen drawing it into their notebooks.
People on social media were impressed and posted comments,praising the work of this teacher.
Richard Appiah Akoto, is working at Betenase M/A Junior High School in the town of Sekyedomase, the last six years. The school does not have computers Yet sudents are expected to write and pass a national exam (without which students cannot progress to high school) with ICT being one of the subjects.
On Facebook, Akoto goes by the nickname “Owura Kwadwo Hottish” which was the name that went viral on both Facebook and Twitter.Quartz reports,” While Akoto has been described as an inspiration for teachers in Africa, what he does is symptomatic of an under-resourced dysfunctional public school system.
Across the continent, many poor parents are forced to choose private schools over free public primary schools due to this lack of resources in government-owned schools. In Ghana, there have also been calls for a national conversation about a fairer distribution of educational resources as many rural schools like Betenase struggle with infrastructure and teaching logistics challenges”.

I am sure there are many more who go the extra mile to reach out to students.Stories like these should inspire us too.Do share your story with us!!Your story might be the motivation for someone like you,you never know….

Talking about Topics Outside the Curriculum

There are days when you are eager to share what we have read and we want to talk about a different topic,that makes children wonder and reflect.It can be something spontaneous though I find it useful to have some points / mental notes.

Giving students a refreshing perspective about global issues with an example that triggers thinking is an activity that can be conducted regularly, apart from what is there in the prescribed syllabus.
This is an example that talks about Gross National Happiness. 

Ask these two very important questions,as a prelude to the topic:

What if happiness is an index to measure a country’s prosperity?
Will this make the world a better  place?

Narrate the story of Bhutan


The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia at the eastern end of the Himalayas. It is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. To the west, it is separated from Nepal by the Indian state of Sikkim, while farther south it is separated from Bangladesh by the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan’s capital and largest city is Thimphu.

“Gross  National Happiness is more important  than  Gross  Domestic  Product”
– His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck,  4th King of Bhutan
With his famous  declaration, the former King of Bhutan  challenged conventional, narrow and materialistic notions  of human  progress. He realized and declared that  the existing development paradigm  – GNP (or GDP) – did not consider the ultimate  goal of every human  being: happiness.

Perhaps inspired by age-old wisdom in the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, the fourth King
concluded that GDP was neither an equitable nor a meaningful measurement for human happiness, nor should it be the primary focus for governance; and thus the philosophy of Gross National Happiness: GNH is born.

Since that  time this pioneering  vision of GNH has  guided Bhutan’s  development and policy formation.  Unique among the community of nations, it is a balanced ‘middle path’ in which equitable socio-economic development is integrated with environmental conservation, cultural promotion  and good governance.

Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation.

Bhutan’s Honorable Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay

Share this TED talk with your students


In a world where uncertainties loom large, it is time to redefine the lessons being taught to children of today. Let us share the right kind of stories that are thought provoking and spur the young minds to enhance the beauty and glory of the world.

– journal jotting

Students can be encouraged to talk or write their responses to the following questions:

Are we progressing as a civilization?

What does progress mean to you?

How do you think a country should progress?

If this post resonates with you, do write in your comments. If you implement this in your classroom, please do let us know your experience and students’ response by mail : write to