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Education General

Student’s dreams and parents: Who should be in control?

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Can you recall the gap between clearing 12th and joining a college? I mean, of course, you can but would you? For some students, that gap turned out to be the most frustrating time of their lives. But for others, who planned and knew their next step, that gap was nothing but an exciting break between them and their dream.

Thanks to all these modern movies, school is now portrayed as a place where you create memories; create a healthy relationship with teachers and fellow classmates; bunk classes; hide in the bathrooms; skip morning assemblies (this is okay only if your school is frying you under the sun, not-really-kidding); laugh at the wrong moment, etc. But do these reasons justify the entire significance of schools?

Student’s dreams: An ignored concept

The reasons I mentioned above, popularized by movies, are all valid. But there is one thing/question that isn’t popularized enough by both movies and teachers. What about after school? And the answer cannot be an astronaut or a pilot or a bus conductor (the last one belongs to me) just because these professions are famous.

The technique, importance, and planning in choosing one’s career path aren’t popularized enough. It usually gets pushed under a pile of reasons; as a result, most of us fail to see it until the last minute and that gives parents the power to decide the future dream of their child.

Student’s dreams crushed by parents

Parents want what’s best for their child but sometimes this concern breaks certain barriers and forms dark goggles in front of their eyes and conscience. They forget or overlook what exactly their child dreams about doing in the future. This is a very common problem in eastern style upbringing—a much underrated, toxic, and deteriorating issue.

If we compare the eastern style of upbringing children adapted by parents to that of western, we’ll observe that the eastern style leans towards the authoritarian side. On the other hand, the western style of upbringing children is more on the liberal side.

Parents who adopt the eastern style of upbringing are very strict and tend to pressure their children when it comes to grades. Their expectations from their kids are set at such levels that the child fails to touch, which results in his/her self-esteem getting seriously damaged. The concept of ‘dream job’ or ‘doing something which makes the person happy’ gets thrown under the bus.

Note: I’m not criticizing or favoring either of the styles but if you’re a parent who’s reading this, please remember that concepts like Intelligence Quotient (IQ) depends on the genetic and environmental factors influencing from the prenatal period itself. In short, you cannot force it on your child.

It’s not yours but your kid’s future!

Parents tend to force their children towards fields they like. It’s either because they couldn’t fulfill their dreams in the field or the family has been in that particular field for a long time. What about your kids’ future? What do they want? Are you sure you are not projecting your own dreams onto your children? If you are, do you realize the effect of this on their self-esteem and development as individuals? Lastly, do you really want to preach the ‘follow the crowd’ philosophy to your kid? These are some questions parents must ask themselves when parenting.

While it’s natural to have dreams for your children, don’t forget to take into account that ultimately it is their life and future. Children are taught that ‘consent is the key’. Don’t they get a say in what mould they want their future to take shape into? That’s something I leave you to answer by yourself.

Conclusion

Parenting can be hard, especially when you have had a vision for your family. To all the parents out there, I understand you must’ve dreamt of your child in certain uniforms or on a rolling chair. But remember the fact that it’s their future. Isn’t having a say in their future their fundamental right to have a say in it?

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Education Learning

Search Engines and Students: Understanding the Dependency

The human race has traveled a long way. From caves to well-built houses; from merely surviving to survive lavishly; and from respecting nature to exploiting nature—well the list goes on. Among these inventions lies something which is now a crucial part of all of our lives. I won’t expect you to guess because several unnecessary things are also crucial for us now, but presently, I’m talking about search engines.

It’s AIY as in ‘answer this to yourself’ time. When was the last time you looked up a word’s meaning in a dictionary? Or should I ask, do you even possess a dictionary? (If you do then great if you don’t then please get your hands on one) Do you remember using tangible books or research papers for completing an assignment instead of searching on search engines like Google or Yahoo? Have you ever used carbon paper, specifically the blue one, instead of printers?

Can you see the point or the pattern I’m trying to portray? It’s a little sad, isn’t it?

Why am I talking about search engines?

Internet and search engine software is something most of us are familiar with, even those who are suffering and fighting against poverty and an ascetic on the Himalayas. Every day, instead of rubbing our eyes and drinking water, we tend to look for our phones first to check missed texts or headlines or maybe to check if the zombies now rule the world or not.

Can you recall a day where you haven’t used any search engine (let’s say Google)? If your answer is yes, I hope you remember that date because it’s worth remembering; consider it your flex. Google is the most used search engine across the globe; then comes Microsoft Bing then Yahoo and so on. It’s an estimate that Google processes approximately 63,000 queries every second, which tells us that on average, an individual uses the application at least 3 to 4 times a day.

As per the statistics taken in 2014, there were 1.29 billion students globally, which makes 17% of the population worldwide. Most of them use cell phones (the size doesn’t matter), with at least one search engine pre-installed on every device. Presently it’s 2021, the numbers are obviously not the same, and technology is not at the stage where it was in 2014. Out of 63,000 searches, how many searches do you think are proposed by students? There’s no correct answer to this question yet but try to guess (I think at least 85% but not less than that).

The impact

One can agree on missing meals like breakfast or dinner but not on refrained use of search engines, especially students. The constant and unmonitored use of search engines gave birth to new problems to not just students but to every frequent user of this software. Let me point some out for you.

Am I correct?  

My mother has a habit that whenever she is cooking something (like some particular items), she goes through its recipe on Google or YouTube once even though she is familiar with all the ingredients, the process and has cooked it in the past 50 times (a little hyperbole never hurts). Why do you think she does that?

I observed myself searching for a question’s solution even though I already knew the answer. You must’ve done that too, right? As human beings, we seek validation. We desperately want someone or something to confirm that we are right.

With time, search engines made us their prey. The degree of our dependence on search engines made the ‘validation aspect’ of our personalities a little too strong, resulting in self-doubts. Due to COVID-19, as real classes transformed into virtual lectures and online exams, the graph of the degree of dependence on search engines just took a hike.

Once I even saw someone Googling the spelling of ‘spelling’ in a cyber café. That’s the level of trust we have in ourselves nowadays.

Shortcuts

There’s nothing wrong with taking shortcuts. But when the proportion between shortcuts and long cuts becomes highly disproportionate (several shortcuts compared to 2-3 long cuts), that’s probably the time you need to start worrying.

Researches of search engine dependency

Several researchers published papers on this topic that is worth reading. The angle differs in each research paper, making all of them enlightening and something that makes one wonder.

One research paper by Sara Salehi, Jia Tina Du & Helen Ashman ponders over this dependency of students on search engines. A detailed study was published in 2018. Do go through it with the help of a search engine!

Conclusion

Search engines made our lives a lot easier like it was supposed to do. The main motto of inventions is to make humans comfortable. But slipping or not slipping into that comfort valley is something that will always be under your control. It’s time for a short search engine detox, don’t you agree? Hit us with your comments below!

Categories
Education

Psychological impacts of virtual learning

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It still is hard to believe how our lives took such a dynamic turn. 31st December 2019, the day the Coronavirus officially hijacked our lives. Do you remember what your life was like before the pandemic? You have to think hard, don’t you? A wave of changes took over our lives and since then we are trying to survive in this unpredictable current. One of those changes is virtual learning.

This is not a new concept for us, but still, here I am writing about this. No one thought that one day, virtual schooling would take over real school experience, but that’s life (let’s leave it at that).

Do you remember the time when your professor didn’t ask you to open your cameras? I bet you do. Who would’ve thought you’d be video calling your teacher five times a week. Anyway, just like the saying goes, “a coin has two sides” and so does virtual learning. On the one hand, where virtual learning saved our lives and time, we did lose some things too. Let’s look at those before it’s too late.

Personality Types

Personality is one of the major things that constitute our very foundation. It is nothing but the differences in the way you think, feel, and behave. It is also, the thing that decides how many humans dislike you (a not-so-laughable joke). Now, let’s look at how virtual learning affects the most basic 2 personality types by Carl Jung:

Note: the traditional and not so open-minded characteristics are taken over here as a base because this is a very subjective concept divided into subcategories. So, I request you, the reader, to not take anything personally.

a] Introverts

Introverts are those who have a personality type called introversion. These are humans who are more comfortable around selective people, who may seem shy at first but are not. They prefer select individuals compared to larger groups, texts compared to calls, the stay-at-home types over party-people types. Or as Jung said, those who turn to their minds to recharge.

For people who are introverts, COVID poses as a magic wand. Virtual learning was just the option they would have chosen over real classes. It helped them minimize human contact, small talks in the hallways, teachers making them complete work in groups, and students sitting beside them during lunch because they seemed lonely when in reality loneliness was just peace for them.

If you’re an introvert, am I correct? Did this sound familiar? Were you smiling while reading this? Just one more question. Don’t you think that it’s time to adopt a different perspective towards virtual learning? Isn’t your current perspective making you too comfortable in your comfort zone? Self-reflecting is a key trait of introversion; it’s time to engage in that. Also, a quick reminder: you’ll be in social situations again someday.

b] Extroverts

Extroverts are those who have a personality type called extroversion. Humans who are people-person, prefer calls over texts (or at least don’t avoid calls), enjoy group tasks, and being alone mostly makes them feel isolated. Or as Jung said, those who seek other people for a recharge.

COVID posed a challenge for all the extroverts out there. For them, it was nothing but being trapped at home. Virtual learning just made them yearn for actual human contact. It also may have increased their vulnerability to anxiety or depression.

No matter what personality type you are, it’s hard for both introverts and extroverts. Just try to modify your perspectives a bit (and let the writer know if that helps).

Anxiety and Stress

When there’s virtual learning involved, glitches and technical issues are the uninvited guests. Did your wifi ever break up with you in the middle of an exam? I’m guessing that situation wasn’t pleasant. This invoked a whole other level of stress in students.

How many times have you avoided turning on your microphone and camera?  For some people, the statement ‘turn on your cameras’ worked as a stimulus for anxiety. Things and opinions which were easy to convey in real-life classes just transformed into a mission of GTA (video game) in virtual classes.

Concentration in Lying

Isn’t it a little easy to fall asleep while attending a lecture? C’mon, be honest! Virtual learning just made it easier for us students to take a break; even in an ongoing lecture. The degree of concentration and focus is now friends with lies. This is the perfect example of why every parent says, “choose your company carefully.”

Faith in Google

As I mentioned earlier as well, virtual learning makes deceiving easier, quicker, handy, and comfortable. I bet the frequent users of Google have taken a hike now. Students got a new cheating partner. This is something that is self-explanatory, so I think you need to think now.

Conclusion

The word ‘change’ is a definition in itself, and virtual learning is a major change. So, take your time and don’t let this new normal affect you drastically.   

Categories
Learning

The World of Cramming: Should You Enter It?

Reader, it’s the rapid-fire time! How many glasses of water can you have in 1 hour? How many days can you go without junk food? What’s your maximum time to binge on Netflix? (Uh, wrong question)

As humans, we’ve our respective capabilities and limitations. In this lifetime, we try to push those limitations to get our potential to its best use. But when we exert ourselves or even get tired of trying, we immediately go towards the shortcut lane. And most of the time, ‘shortcuts don’t help in the long run’ just like Cramming.

‘Cram‘ what?

Cramming also known as maintenance rehearsal in the psychological world is swallowing large amounts of information in a short period. The thing which shouldn’t be, done but we’ve made it doable. Cramming is generally performed by students for an upcoming semester exam or maybe even for a class test. That’s the initial acquisition stage of this virus. And with time, it infects the learning technique of a student’s mind.   

Have you ever eaten something even though you were full? Consider cramming like that; pleasant in the beginning but sufferable towards the end.

Let me create a scenario for you. You have 10 days until your exams begin. But your mind, polluted with laziness, has convinced you that it’s not ‘just 10 days’ but ‘I HAVE 10 DAYS.’ Each day passes because, well, time waits for no one, and now it’s the 9th day. You haven’t studied anything but you still have 24 hours. And finally, you set up your books at night time and plan to chew a bunch of information like Nobita did (by imprinting notes on a piece of bread; you need to watch that episode). Now ask yourself, is it a logical picture? 

Cramming (trust me) is not the need of any hour; failing might be more logical than cramming. It is nothing but a byproduct of our laziness.

But cramming works for me *-*?

Sometimes we perceive things as not what they actually are (example- a rope for a snake). This is what’s happening if you think cramming is working for you. You’re being driven by nothing other than illusions. Let’s understand the how.

There are two types of rehearsals we engage into:

  • Maintenance rehearsal is repeating the exact same thing until our working memory or short-term memory (STM) registers it.                                 and,
  • Elaborative rehearsal, meaning, understanding the material from its core, which automatically opens the gate leading towards long-term memory (LTM).            

Now, take your time and decide which one of the two is better. It’s absolutely upon you; either to go with 2-3 weeks of the warranty card (sounds like a tagline for cramming) or a warranty card that lasts for a lifetime.

Why not do it?

Cramming is not an advisable option because of the following:

  • The brain is like a train; just as a train changes engines, different parts of it work shift-wise. If you won’t let the parts work as per their cycle, it will disturb your cycle naturally.
  • As per Miller’s theory, our short-term memory can only hold 5-9 (seven plus minus two) chunks of information, where a chunk means any meaningful information. While cramming, the doer is just memorizing information so some of it doesn’t get registered even for a short period because the ‘meaningful’ part is absent.
  • As I mentioned earlier, as well, pulling an all-nighter is not healthy plus not so helpful.
  • Why choose a platter full of extra worries and stress when you can opt to not have unnecessary stress?

UCLA psychologist Robert Bjork has conducted a thorough study on learning, which includes cramming or maintenance rehearsal. A quick perusal can help you further understand why cramming is not a lifesaver.

What to do?

Let’s go down the nostalgia lane. We used to get up early; go to school; come back and have lunch; a little afternoon sleep; hitting the grounds and then the books in the evening; and finally by 10 or 11, entering the dreamland. 

I’m not painting a picture for you; this is the answer to the question ‘what to do instead’. It is time to adopt the old fashion way. Things in one’s life are not that complicated as we make them just by thinking. Designing and adapting the old-fashioned way in this crazy and busy time is something that only you can do.

Conclusion

Learning in the last minute
Image by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Isn’t it a little sad that all of us have this one thing in common? We all used this shortcut of cramming at some point in our lives. But for what, really—Good grades, good reputation, the title of intelligence, acquiring badges? Do you think, professionally, this is worth even 1% of the effort we put in it? 

The other name for cramming is maintenance rehearsal. Its name is literal, not metaphorical, please get the hint. It’s decision time!