Tag Archives: technology

Power of Character

Power of Character

Priya, a girl living in Chennai stayed in the 2nd floor of her building. She loved to play with her dolls like if she was a doctor. Priya was eight years old, an incredible girl, very kind, patient, playful and loving.She studied at a well-known school in the city and travelled by school bus. Priya had lot of friends at school.

One day, miss Shanthi, her English teacher, asked priya and her classmates to write an essay on what they wanted to be when they grow up and why.

Priya got home from school, had some rice and started doing her homework. She told herself,” let me work on the essay that Shanthi Miss asked us to do.”

Priya, started working on the essay. She started fantasizing on the person she wanted to be. She said to herself, “what if I am a sweet seller? I love sweets! I can make some yummy sweets and sell!” And then she realized,” oh! But I have to go out in the sun and sell! It will be so tiring! I cannot be a sweet seller!”

Next she thought,” I can be a dancer! I will look so pretty! I will have so many fans! I will be asked to perform everywhere! And oh! My poor feet, they will be so tired! So, no! I cannot be a dancer.

She was so tired of thinking; she decided to go play with her dolls. She started playing her favourite doctor game. And there she had it! A doctor! She would love to be one!

The next day she told the teacher that she wanted to be a doctor because she liked healing people.

That was the start to priya’s journey. During her journey priya was supported by her mother who used to motivate and help her achieve her goals. 38 years later, today, Priya is a doctor. Extremely disciplined, studied very hard, got many congratulations, hugs and kisses from parents.

Before you smile and finish reading, let us rewind this story a bit!

……………………

Priya decided she wanted to be a doctor.

The next day she told the teacher that she wanted to be a doctor because she liked healing people.

Today, 38 years later, Priya is working in a software company.

What happened to the dream of being a doctor? Did her ambition change? Well, how can we tell unless we have a good understanding of Priya?

Is it possible for teachers, parents to help children achieve their goals just as Priya did as a doctor? Is it possible to track this progress as a child right from the time they start school? What if, Priya lost track on her goal of being a doctor sometime that made her be software engineer today? Is it possible to track this change?

Yes! We at Report Bee bring to you the power of Character all the way from New York to help schools understand particular character strengths in children, work on them and help them flourish!

According to Dr Martin Seligman, who identified the various character strengths that can exist in children, he says character strengths can be taught to children and has identified 7 Particular strengths that can be taught right from school. These 7 Characters are:

  1. Grit – finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles; a combination of persistence and resilience.
  2. Optimism – being hopeful about future outcomes combined with the agency to shape that future.
  3. Self-control: regulating what one feels and does; being self-disciplined
  4. Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen
  5. Social intelligence: being aware of motives and feelings of other people and oneself
  6. Curiosity: taking an interest in experience for its own sake; finding things fascinating
  7. Zest – approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated

According to Dr Seligman, these 7 character strengths will help children have the perfect scenario to learn. Children will exhibit Positive emotions, Engage in activities well, have good Relationships, have a Meaning and purpose and get a sense of Accomplishment! (PERMA)

Hear Dr Martin Seligman talk about Character Strength and PERMA :

Priya, who became the doctor just the way she aspired, created and had a positive institution. It was a place that helped her identify, use and grow her characters strengths to flourish.

Positive institutions facilitate the development of individual character strengths which, in turn, facilitate positive subjective experiences which are essential for PERMA. Potential positive institutions are everywhere, schools, classrooms, community organization. Our job is to make these institutions positive.

We, at Report Bee, know that every school here is a potential positive institution. With a little help to each of you to help track the character strength, we will be able to accomplish the goals set by all the children.

Sign up here, to start tracking your students’ character strengths!

Reflections: There’s More than Meets the Eye

 

A teacher’s concern, love, thoughts, and actions that nurture children are rarely ever ‘captured’. Goes without saying that stories have forever been instrumental in moulding cultures and societies! Reflections- Teachers’ Stories in their own Words, launched in February 2015, is a space where teachers can speak their minds, share tales from their lives and their classrooms so that everyone can appreciate what they do and learn.

Why Care?

  • Teacher-to-Teacher Connect: Personal stories foster learning from each other’s examples, enable exchange of ideas and establish deeper connection with teaching.
  • Adds depth: Researchers get in-depth knowledge. We can perhaps hope to get a more representative realistic image of the teachers.
  • Improve PTA Experiences: Parents could appreciate what some teachers do. It is heartening to learn that some teachers do go to great lengths to ensure a joyful learning experience.
  • Surprise for everyone else who has any pre-set notions about teachers.

Come to think of it, there isn’t quite anyone like the teachers! Teachers are the frontrunners in our education system; the progresses our children make in schools (and beyond) are solely dependent on the quality of our communication with them. They have a huge task and tremendous pressure under which to deliver upon their responsibilities. Yet we know so little about them and their views. To top this lack of knowledge, little do we know that there are heroes and role models in the teaching fraternity who successfully defy the prevalent wisdom of the day, which portrays teachers as overburdened, de-motivated and passive recipients of information. It is only reasonable for us – educationists, researchers, parents, individuals, civil society- to know the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of what they do:

How to Capture these Reflections?

That’s a good question! Teachers have no time; why would they care to share their stories with us, that too via a medium (technology) they don’t much like? Hence, the apparent challenge was in getting ‘the powerhouse of knowledge’ to write. With minimal chance of receiving even a handful of stories, we doubled the challenge by launching Reflections at the worst possible time- Final Exams!! Thankfully, this round was a pilot. We were so sure of receiving a scanty response that we were thrilled with just about 10 odd entries!

Lo and behold, they just kept trickling in by the dozen. Reflections stopped at 52 beautiful stories/essays from teachers’ lives, written by them. No, these were not just from the English language teachers but also from the teachers of Hindi, Sanskrit, Maths, Chemistry, Social Sciences, Geography, and Biology.  Obviously, we were overwhelmed and encouraged by their beautiful stories.

The stories were then evaluated to arrive at the winners (remember, it’s a writing contest). Nectar is proud to publish these unique stories under a special sub-category for them, obviously by the name Reflections. It is as heartening to read each of these real stories from real teachers, as it is to read some fantastic comments by other teachers. This is the true power of technology! It makes boundaries non-existent, renders physical connect obsolete in the path of learning and paves the way for a virtual community from the so-called tech-averse group.

Day 1 of Result Announcement: 3 of top-10
Day 1 of Result Announcement: 3 of top-10

 

In summary, Reflections:

  1. Gets us some great stories of change: Everyday problems need simple actions to solve; teachers do that all the time; we just don’t know what they do. Story of Little Johnny, of ALICE, passion for Psychology, compassion for slow learners, their appreciation of exam fevers, and of little innovations, use of technology to name just a few.
  2. Offers a platform for the Teachers to speak their minds, inspire and network: Healthy constructive communication among the teaching fraternity implies a deeper connection with the process of teaching.
  3. Helps empathise with the Teachers: Gives us a glimpse into their minds and lives so we can see what drives them or the challenges they face (for those who care).
  4. Enliven moments and live forever, in the hearts of others!
  5. Shows how savvy the teachers really are! The real handicap is lies around the right motivation.
  6. Shows their sense of commitment: They deliver on their responsibilities by sometimes going out of their way.

Teachers, keep sharing! We love your stories.

 

Creation Cricket League

We do love cricket. Just like Obama worries why US productivity goes down by 5% when Sachin bats, our productivity too goes down when some tournament is going on. We may be so-called nerds, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t having any coffee-break talks on cricket. But, if you are expecting this article to be some “pure cricket” article about Sachin’s paddle-sweep or Dhoni’s helicopter-shot or some cricket matches that are played by the RB Creation Team, then you will be disappointed.

This article is purely on how we leverage the sport to keep ourselves (Creation Team) creative, motivated and inspired. Above all, it keeps us in love with what we do.

As a Creation Team member, nothing is more exciting than:

  • Solving challenging problems with software programming (or)
  • Observing our customers consume our freshly brewed coffee … er,  code (or)
  • Getting into new challenges (projects).

Usually, by the general psychology of a developer, their motivation, interest or productivity reduces when a project duration increases. The project may become big or tasks may become monotonous.

All Project Managers, remember the formula: Productivity is inversely proportional to project duration or monolithicity of project.

Project vs Productivity

To avoid this we came up with three ideologies for approaching new projects.

“Test Match” Projects

These generally take 10-14 days for completion.

Any big project which we do – we logically separate it to smaller projects in such a way that the longest small project won’t exceed a duration which will make the developers lose interest. Instead of bombarding developers with the entire mission impossible target, we set smaller targets for the metaphorical morning session, post-lunch session and post-tea session. This keeps the developer’s mindset focused and clear. Generally, one to three Creation Team members are involved in these projects.

“The ODI” Projects

These generally take one to three days for completion.

These are usually small enhancements or feature requests from the customers or internal requirements. We sometimes take up these projects between Test Match projects so that the developers get an opportunity to refresh their minds for the next one. Generally, one to two Creation Team members are involved in these projects.

“The T20” Projects

We call these 111 Projects: One Day, One Team, One Challenge.

We sometimes stop all regular projects for a day. On that day, we take up one fresh project that would normally take around 14 days to one month for completion by a small team. The entire Creation Team sits together at the start of the day (we start really early on that day 🙂 ) and does everything.

  • Ideation.
  • Features brainstorming and freezing.
  • Wireframe.
  • Design.
  • Dev plan; smart task separation / delegation.
  • Front end architecture and development.
  • Back end architecture and development.

That is pretty much everything related to a project execution. It’s kind of a pure fun slogging where we might face unexpected turns and bounces in the wickets. We keep this project a secret from the other teams (Happiness and Growth). At the end of the day (a really looong day), we have something to surprise them and our customers with.

The “Practice Sessions”

Do we only play matches? No! Along with these projects, support tickets and small bugs are bound to come along. Usually, these won’t take more than one to two hours for completion. All developers are bound to work on such tickets along with their regular matches. They do these ticket/bug fixes either at the start or end of the day so that they can stay focused on their important match.

Till now, we are happy with this approach and the team is winning matches. All this can be brought down to one quote by God:

Any active sportsman has to be very focused; you’ve got to be in the right frame of mind. If your energy is diverted in various directions, you do not achieve the results. I need to know when to switch on and switch off: and the rest of the things happen around that.” – Sachin Tendulkar

Do you follow something different at your workplace? Do you have suggestions for us? Let us know below.