What does it mean?

A friend of mine forwarded this image to me. It’s an interesting piece of material for a creative writing exercise. Can you write a couple of lines on what the sculptor might have tried to convey?

H. M. Patel Memorial Lecture

H. M. Patel Memorial Lecture on 27 August 2018 by Dr Dharmendra Sheth Founder, Fluentlingua, Surat on Becoming an effective English Language Teaching (ELT) Professional in Gujarat. If one keeps the international scene in mind, the knowledge of English is inevitable for intellectual growth and technological development. Along with the increasing use of regional language, a sound study of English needs to be encouraged as an instrument of acquiring knowledge.  —Dr. H. M. Patel I feel privileged to have been asked to deliver the H. M. Patel Memorial Lecture. For this honour, I must thank the organisers of this event in general and the Principal of H. M. Patel Institute of English Training & Research, Dr. N. V. Bose, in particular. I consider it my privilege and duty to invoke the name of Dr. H. M. Patel, a senior ICS officer, whose visionary guidance led to the inception of this Institute 53 years ago in 1965, three years before I was born. Well, I have fond memories of this Institute and of working in close association with ELT stalwarts like the late Dr Subhash Jain, and my well-wisher Dr Jadeja, the previous Director of this institute. I have had excellent discussions with …

Duties of a Listener

Be a Good Listner

Why? Why are you reading this? Because you find the topic interesting, or perhaps you are curious to know why someone writes on such an obvious topic. Or perhaps you know meand you believe that I usually talk and write sensibly. In any case, there’s a purpose behind everything you do. Similarly, when you attend a talk or a lecture, you must have a clear purpose in mind. And that purpose, to my mind, should be to a) learn how the speaker or presenter has understood and presented the main subject, topic or ideas, and b) form, confirm or modify your thoughts and opinions about the topic. Now that the purpose is clear, the second step is preparation. It is advisable to prepare well for the topic (as if you are going to be the speaker). Why? So that you get maximum out of your listening experience. However, while preparing, do not form rigid ideas about the topic. Any preconceived notions about the topic will hinder your ability to take in and process the speaker’s views. Remember, your mind, like a parachute, works best when it is open. Remember your role as a listener throughout the speech. You might have a …

Please stop glorifying failure!

Please stop glorifying failure!These days, quite a few so called academicians, motivational speakers, and materially successful people directly or indirectly glorify failure. To my mind, it has a devastating effect on young minds.“He failed in grade 5, left study and became a business tycoon”, “I never attended college, and now I run five educational institutes”, “I don’t mind if my children never get top scores in this or that”, “Do what your heart says”, “Remember those three idiots”, “Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Asia, had to quit school at 15”, “Steve Jobs this and Dhirubhai Ambani that”, and so on and so forth. All this is fine for a tiny TINY “tiny” (bold, capital, italic) group of students who really have massive talents, but are somehow not able to shine at school or college. However, for majority of students, such glorification of failure might be dangerous. Instead of motivating them to work harder, such glorification can make them find ways, read excuses, to justify their failure.Learning to accept failure is fine, but that has to be after one has tried one’s best. That should be the message. Majority, yes majority, of successful people in any society such as bright scientists, technocrats …

Why conferences or seminars!

Every once in a while, conscientious professionals check whether what they are doing is up to the mark and worthwhile. This forms a vital component of continuing professional development (CPD). After a conference a few months ago, some colleagues gave vent to their frustration in a violent outburst. They grumbled to me about some of the most obvious pitfalls in our field—the poor quality of presentations, lack of sincerity, widespread apathy among the new generation of teachers, abysmally poor command of the English language and so on. They were of the opinion that we should do away with professional events such as seminars and conferences. To my mind, seminars and conferences are crucial to professional development. Let me share with you just a few of the reasons why we need conferences.Indeed, first of all, every conference is a success. For conferences provide opportunities for networking, sharing experiences, raising issues, resolving issues and, and, most importantly, for professional development. I am sure that during every conference, some idea, some activity, some expression sticks in your mind, and that makes a difference in your teaching, in your students’ communication skills, in your students’ lives. Ultimately, we are teachers, and teachers are transformative intellectuals, …

Listening to Podcasts

Dear English language learner, Many English language learners study hard, but do not get desired results. One of the problems could be lack of exposure to authentic English. That’s why I keep telling them to listen to good quality English on a regular basis, and for an extended period of time. To my mind, listening plays a crucial role in one’s language learning and development. It is possible to acquire a good command of spoken English by listening to lots of English and taking part in meaningful interaction in real-life situations. The first is possible in the comfort of your own home, with absolutely no help from anyone. Well, you might ask: where can I get the right material from? Here’s the answer. Do you know “podcasts”? A podcast is basically an audio file, and is usually free. The dictionary definition of a podcast is: a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. Moreover, you can choose a topic from practically hundreds and thousands. The following are just a few of the links you might like …

Towards a better society

Hello All, I’m Anupama. I’m a proud Gujarati. I’m from Surat and I’m proud of that, too. I believe nobody can beat our Surti food and Surti spirit. I’ve heard that even during the floods, people ate Ganthiya, Khaman, and Locho! They’re real Surti Lalas. And of course, we can’t forget generosity of the people of Surat. I earned my first university degree from Ahmedabad. My father and uncles studied there, too. My mother is also from the same city. So I got to hear and learn a lot about Ahmedabad. Because of my 5-year stint with the city, I am lucky to have firsthand experience of the city. I must praise Amdavadi culture. There, even during a street fight, they’ll address each other with respect – “Shun bhai tame pan, jara juvo to khara! Tamari bhul chhe toye pachha mane kahesho!” Well, this was a scenario a long time ago – almost 17-18 years back. I hope this culture is still intact. Now, I’m in the southern part of India – Bangalore. This city too has a charm of its own. Apart from pleasant weather, we must appreciate people’s accommodativeness. So, basically whether it’s a place or people, we …

Forgive yourself!

We all know how difficult it is to forgive. During our interaction with our friends, family, colleagues, boss, subordinates, organisations we often perceive wrong done towards us. This wrong can be on mental, physical, emotional, material level. Yet, we have been told that it’s best to forgive and move on. Not for them but for our own peace and benefit. Let’s face it, forgiving someone makes us feel better- about ourselves. We find ourselves in a position of power and generosity. It generates a feel good factor. Especially, when we are able to tell that other person that we are forgiving him or her. But we use this power of forgiveness as a favour. We judge the other person, observe him or her, decide if their conduct is worthy of forgiveness or not and then only hand them forgiveness. So often, we are also concerned that he or she may repeat the same mistake over and over again. We wonder if he or she repeats the same mistake, where will that leave our forgiveness? Are we supposed to forgive endlessly? We are afraid of being judged by others as foolish and too soft. These are some of the thought processes …