Francis DSilva's blog

Kickstarting the 160th anniversary celebrations - with teachers past and present.

The feast celebrating St. Ignatius of Loyola (31st July) signalled the start of the celebrations of the school’s 160th anniversary. This event was marked with a church service and a lunch get-together for the teachers and some ex-students.

This photograph - taken in St Peter's Church - with some of the school's teachers - past and present brought back some fond memories.



Top Row (L->R):  Pius, Angelo, Fr. Frazer, Fr. Baptist, Fr. Dudlee, Br. Conrad, Bishop John, Fr. Assis, Fr. Felix, Fr. Fabian, Fr. Angelus, and Fr. Praful.

2nd Row (L->R):  Trs. Judy, Wendy, Mary, Ulka, Vivian, Lynette, Eugene, Carol, Leena, Thelma, Sr.Arockia (Present Principal)

3rd Row: Trs. Anna (M), Merlyn, Philu, Cynthia, Lily, Gladys, Drusilla, Daphne, Lynette, Gladys, Millie, Borges, Veera.

4th Row: Rebecca (L) and Anita.

 

Onward to the next decades...

And you! Keep your mouth shut, you idiot!

I picked this YT-video from a Facebook post (thanks Lee!), that is evidently choreographed to drive home an anti-bullying message. A great show, however the message is not so evident from the dance alone. So I decided to mash-up this with an article written by Editor-in-chief Trine Eilertsen at Bergens Tidende. I believe there is a fine line between a prank and what can escalate  to plain terror. I think it is worth making a point about of bullying and why it needs more attention. I believe bullying exists in the workplace too -- but we probably learn this at school first!

Teacher Bjørndal's method

And you! Keep your mouth shut, you idiot! 

Original (Norwegian). My translation with Trine's permission.  

There is a knock on the classroom door of Class 9B. They are about halfway through a Norwegian class. Outside is the class teacher. When the class sees him, they sit up in their seats. He has that effect on them, and they realize that this must be serious when he interrupts them in the middle of another teacher’s class.

- I want to talk with Arne, Per, Lise, Ingrid, Gunnar and Tone. You will join me in the group room now!

The students look at each other questioningly, get up and go out of the class.

- “Sit down”, says the class teacher tersely, after he has closed the door behind them in the group room. “And listen carefully”

Who do you call? The caste busters!

I would recommend reading this article "The caste busters" that appeared in New York Times recently (The article is based on a theme from the author's book). What fascinated me, was the sense of ambition and ability that Misal demonstrates -- to be able to exploit the medium of TV to its maximum. I wonder what social media and mobile broadband could do in the years to come. Besides Misal, it was also the sense of development and innovation emerging at the "bottom of the pyramid" -- probably the place to watch for exciting business opportunities?

It was the article's closing paragraphs that stuck most in my head  "... a generation being trained rather than educated. They knew nothing about industry, art, history, literature, science". And then the dilemma that "...Misal did not have the luxury of broadening his vision, because if he lost focus, the world of degradations that he had escaped would be delighted to take him back".

Great insights as to why we should change ....

..... our attitudes to education today. How we encourage our children and push them. Even more so on how we work with students who are not the "brightest" according the systems we measure.

Sir Ken Robinson is a well-known educator and speaker at TED and other forums. This talk is an abridged video of a longer lecture. It is very creatively animated and worth the 12mins needed to get this message. (If you have more time, I recommend the longer version (55 mins) here http://youtu.be/mCbdS4hSa0s)

Looks like something can be done after all...

In my previous post I asked the question if "anything can be done at all" to improve local governance. And this post is provides a seed for thought. In various email exchanges and wanderings in the blogosphere I was made aware of this effort driven by concerned citizens of Mumbai – www.votemumbai.org (Thanks to Prakash Thadani!).

I went through this site briefly and can see that Vote Mumbai is an “umbrella” under which neighbourhoods can drive change. Evidently a huge amount of thinking and hard work has gone into shaping this community governance idea. See these 3 links to judge for yourself:
www.votemumbai.org/areasabha.asp , www.votemumbai.org/functions.asp and www.votemumbai.org/dem.asp

This idea is in the public domain and open to alternative viewpoints and constructive criticism. It would be worth putting all strength behind this one “arrow”. I understand that much of the thinking started in 2005! and is derived from “The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission” see - http://jnnurm.nic.in

Can anything be done at all?

I just read Sir Mark Tully's "Will India heed the wake-up call? and cannot help sharing his scepticism as to whether politicians will stop interfering in creating institutions for security and intelligence. I am hoping that public interest groups will issue a clarion call to action. An action where ideological differences are put to the side and these groups collaborate to relentlessly drive politicians and public servants in taking concrete, measurable steps for a safer Mumbai.

And while there are a number of Facebook groups on the Mumbai terror events, we also need local action that can be backed up by virtual groups on FB, Orkut or others. It is about time Mumbai created something like www.theyworkforyou.com that can be used to raise awareness among citizens and to let politicians know they are being followed. Because they need to get their act together.

Updated 9.14 CET, 3.12.08: A few typos corrected - Francis

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