Dear Exams|Please be nice.

Introduction

“Exams and grades are temporary, but education is permanent.” Education is an important medium for the development of any country. India being a part of it is moving forward towards globalization, which has proved to have a positive effect on the education system, in a way making it simpler and easier. The advent of technology has steadily digitized all services and offerings, taking them to the online platform and examination has been no exception. Is it better to test it on bamboo paper or a digital page?  In my opinion, the benefits of e-examinations exceed their drawbacks.

It’s all about Exams…!!!

Why is it beneficial?

The traditional pen-and-paper exams not only affect the surroundings but also come at a high cost as far as institutions are concerned. The climate change crisis being the foremost priority forces an individual to make efforts for the reduction of natural resources. The adverse environmental impact of mercilessly cutting down trees for paper is evident. However, as far as administrative costs are concerned, it proves to be an economical way to conduct examinations on a large scale. For instance, there is no need to have spacious classrooms to fit in students, the flexibility of time and checking without glitches impels efficiency for examiners as well as examinees. Altogether, it helps education centers to go paper-free and eliminate expensive processes.

 

Don’t strive for high grades,

But always for higher learning.

Motivation hard work always leads to success.

A secured, simple, and auto-graded system has been possible, due to the advancements in technology. It has enhanced the privacy of students, reducing the risk of any malicious activities such as cheating or paper leaks. Further, the ease of setting up questionnaires, procedures, and access proves it to be reliable. Also, the automatic scoring by computers mandates flawless marking, decreases teacher’s burden, saves time, and ensures fairness. According to a survey was done by A.P Barkley, the potential for student learning is growing because of frequent assessment and reduced plagiarism. Overall, it builds mutual trust between the two, providing transparency and bias-free results. 

Let’s look at it’s demerits

When looking at the other side of the coin, we come across a few disadvantages as well. Firstly, poor internet connection can hamper the student’s possibility to attempt the examination and in turn the grades. Secondly, it does not accommodate all exam modes like long answers, letters, essays, etc. Teachers have to stick to either multiple choice or short answer questions. On the whole, two of them have to compromise their comforts. 

In conclusion, online exams have it’s own strengths and flaws, meanwhile, the pros outshine the cons. In an ever-changing world, online tests and e-assessment are at the center of it. It can be a powerful tool to educate students from diverse backgrounds and places. 

Note: students often get nervous and it, in turn, affects their results. Here are some tips to remember before appearing a test.

  • Have a thorough revision of the syllabus.
  • Take a five-minute break in between every hour and refresh yourself with some fun activity.
  • A healthy diet and sleep are necessary one day before an examination. It helps maintain the metabolism.
  • The last day should not be stressful but carefree.
  • Recheck the materials before going to the assessment hall.
  • Last but not least, believe in yourself and tick the answers in God’s name!!

7 important tips to manage aggression in children

Manage child aggression: To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six, it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people.

child, who wanted to be perceived as the strongest of all, would speak loudly, look angry and hit everyone to prove his strength. When his grandfather came to visit, he behaved in the same way with him. However, his grandpa was never agitated and just smiled at his actions. The child was bewildered as he was only used to getting yelled at for what he did. The more he was yelled at, the stronger he would become, is what he thought!

Grandpa shares the Buddha story

The grandfather asked him if he would like to hear a story and the boy agreed. “Once upon a time, there was an enlightened master called Buddha. He travelled across the country teaching people how to be peaceful. Once while he was going through a forest, a tribesman called Angulimala came to him. He was a frightening man. He wore a garland of fingers of people whom he had sacrificed so he would be the strongest and feared the most. He wanted to have Buddha’s finger as the hundredth and complete his sacrificing ritual. Buddha smiled at him and said, “I am happy to be of use to you”. There was no trace of fear in him. Nobody had ever smiled at Angulimala. No one had ever spoken to him so kindly. The very presence of Buddha did something to him. Angulimala felt very weak for the first time in his life. He felt like a feather in front of a mountain. He realised that real strength is in having unshakable calmness, peace, and in compassion. He fell at Buddha’s feet. He was changed completely.” The child listened to every word from his grandpa with rapt attention.

Look out for the media children are exposed to

When you feel helpless or weak, the need to assert your strength comes out as violence. Where do children get the idea of violence? They see their parents, neighbours, friends, so many programmes on TV or videos on the mobile phone — all this exposure leaves impressions and has a strong impact on the minds of children, more than we know. They are sensitive even to suppressed violence. If you are angry inside but still act as if everything is okay, children will know it.

Handling aggression

Children get angry or show aggression for seemingly very silly reasons. But the real reason is something else, a sense of insecurity that has crept in somehow. That is why in olden days, parents would never show anger in front of a child. They would not even argue or use harsh words. Public display of anger was considered a weakness. Today, anger and aggression comes up at the drop of a hat. Any minor difference of opinion is enough to prompt the arrows to fly. We don’t know how to draw a line between expressing a difference of opinion and displaying aggression. If your child is aggressive, look into your own lifestyle. What are you doing? Are you yelling at your housekeeper or at your pet? Are you yelling at your own spouse? Or any one for that matter in front of the child? Are you sad? What is your reaction? And it does not matter that out of the 365 days, you have acted in aggression may be only a couple of times. Those few days are equally important for the child. This is why we need to meditate and practice pranayama or deep breathing techniques. Heyum Dukham Anagatam — stopping the misery before it comes — that is the benefit of yoga, because in life prevention is better than cure.

Engaging children in meaningful activities

The other important thing is to engage them in meaningful activities, and sports that allow them to channel their energy constructively. Just playing video games or watching TV with no physical activity only increases restlessness and makes them prone to aggression. You will notice that the day your child has more screen time, the more difficult he or she becomes to handle. Encourage them to go out and play, engage with real people, run and fill their lungs with some fresh air. In the olden days, movies were classified as suitable for watching only under parental guidance. Parents would control what a child can see. Today, it is a common occurrence that the elders are all engrossed in watching soaps on TV and are oblivious to the child who is also watching and taking in all the exaggerated emotions that are projected. It is very important to be sensitive about what their tender senses are exposed to. They should not be bombarded with heavy impressions.

What kind of stories are we telling our children?

To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, perhaps around three or four, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people. Every culture has its stories of heroes who protected the innocent and fought villains who were up to no good. Through these stories they understand that the purpose of strength is to protect and not to hurt. They learn that the hero, the stronger one, is calm and collected.

While it is important to reprimand anger, it is equally important to recognise when they are gentle and appreciate them. When I was a child and would sometimes get angry, my grandmother would ask me to go to a certain corner of the house and leave my anger there. She would say that the angel in that corner would take the anger from me and go far, far away. I would believe her, go stand there and in a minute, come back smiling! Schools today don’t teach children how to deal with negative emotions. This is an important aspect of moulding the character of the child. Teachers should be strict about encouraging the right attitude in children. They should recognise the strength of a child who is able to walk away from a fight and not just react and hit back. They should reward and give attention to calmness in a child. Many times, an aggressive attitude in a child comes out from simply wanting attention. So, you can teach them by ignoring their sulking or shouting, and praising them and giving extra attention when they are well-mannered. And parents should give teachers the space to discipline the child if necessary. It is okay if your child has been naughty and the teacher has disciplined him or her. Parents must encourage reverence towards the teacher. If they say, “Who is he or she to tell my child what to do!” the child will not listen or respect the teacher anymore. When this happens, learning stops.

Food is important

The food that we give to our children also has a role to play. Too many sweets, fried food (like chips) and oily food increase restlessness in a child. Also, their food must be freshly cooked as far as possible and not packaged items kept in cold storage. Encourage them to enjoy fruits as much as chips; perhaps one chip-one fruit can be the deal! Where possible, it is advisable to avoid food products made from genetically modified grains and vegetables. The food has a direct impact on the mind and when consumed over a period of time, has a definite impact on the nature or attitude of the child.

Above all this, as parents, it is important to spend quality time doing ‘nothing’ with your child. Just sitting with them without looking at our mobile phones, giving complete attention to what they have to say, just being with them 100 per cent gives a great sense of security to the child. An insecure child is more likely to succumb to aggression than one who feels secure and attended to.

Teach children that the one who smiles come-what-may is stronger.

Show them when to stand up for what is right, and when to walk away from a fight.

As much as you can, protect their innocence.

As much as you can, give them pride in non-violence.

Suicide effects

Suicide affects all people. Within the past year, about 41,000 individuals died by suicide, 1.3 million adults have attempted suicide, 2.7 million adults have had a plan to attempt suicide and 9.3 million adults have had suicidal thoughts. 

Unfortunately, our society often paints suicide the way they would a prison sentence—a permanent situation that brands an individual. However, suicidal ideation is not a brand or a label, it is a sign that an individual is suffering deeply and must seek treatment. And it is falsehoods like these that can prevent people from getting the help they need to get better.

Debunking the common myths associated with suicide can help society realize the importance of helping others seek treatment and show individuals the importance of addressing their mental health challenges. 

Myth: Suicide only affects individuals with a mental health condition.

Fact: Many individuals with mental illness are not affected by suicidal thoughts and not all people who attempt or die by suicide have mental illness. Relationship problems and other life stressors such as criminal/legal matters, persecution, eviction/loss of home, death of a loved one, a devastating or debilitating illness, trauma, sexual abuse, rejection, and recent or impending crises are also associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Myth: Once an individual is suicidal, he or she will always remain suicidal.

Fact: Active suicidal ideation is often short-term and situation-specific. Studies have shown that approximately 54% of individuals who have died by suicide did not have a diagnosable mental health disorder. And for those with mental illness, the proper treatment can help to reduce symptoms. 

The act of suicide is often an attempt to control deep, painful emotions and thoughts an individual is experiencing. Once these thoughts dissipate, so will the suicidal ideation. While suicidal thoughts can return, they are not permanent. An individual with suicidal thoughts and attempts can live a long, successful life. 

Myth: Most suicides happen suddenly without warning.

Fact: Warning signs—verbally or behaviorally—precede most suicides. Therefore, it’s important to learn and understand the warnings signs associated with suicide. Many individuals who are suicidal may only show warning signs to those closest to them. These loved ones may not recognize what’s going on, which is how it may seem like the suicide was sudden or without warning.

Myth: People who die by suicide are selfish and take the easy way out.

Fact: Typically, people do not die by suicide because they do not want to live—people die by suicide because they want to end their suffering. These individuals are suffering so deeply that they feel helpless and hopeless. Individuals who experience suicidal ideations do not do so by choice. They are not simply, “thinking of themselves,” but rather they are going through a very serious mental health symptom due to either mental illness or a difficult life situation.   

Myth: Talking about suicide will lead to and encourage suicide.

Fact: There is a widespread stigma associated with suicide and as a result, many people are afraid to speak about it. Talking about suicide not only reduces the stigma, but also allows individuals to seek help, rethink their opinions and share their story with others. We all need to talk more about suicide. 

Debunking these common myths about suicide can hopefully allow individuals to look at suicide from a different angle—one of understanding and compassion for an individual who is internally struggling. Maybe they are struggling with a mental illness or maybe they are under extreme pressure and do not have healthy coping skills or a strong support system. 

As a society, we should not be afraid to speak up about suicide, to speak up about mental illness or to seek out treatment for an individual who is in need. Eliminating the stigma starts by understanding why suicide occurs and advocating for mental health awareness within our communities. There are suicide hotlines, mental health support groups, online community resources and many mental health professionals who can help any individual who is struggling with unhealthy thoughts and emotions. 

Good and Bad effects of competition in Life

Winner Winner Confidence booster!

Get set go!! What do you make of that? If you think its competition, you are absolutely right! In Today’s fast moving life,this phrase makes sense most of the time in every field. Yes, competition,the act of trying tobwin or gain something by defeating others, is the policy we bear in mind in completing any task how much ever minute it may be.

One of the main advantages of competition is, it provides purpose and firmness to the mind. It gives us an impetus to pursue our goal, despite the difficulties that comes along the way. Here, ego also plays a major part as losing means one is inferior to the other. This might help in increasing confidence level. If its a challenge, why not gain the pleasure by surmounting it?

Even for a trifle task, one thinks that he must be the first one to finish it, thereby forcing each one to give their level best into it, yielding a better result altogether. This trait can be observed in children too. They try to compete in any task given to them and feel very good about themselves once they finish it. This simple instance shows the infuence of competition.

Now-a-days, children are very witty, which increases the level of competition.With numerous opportunities and resources come greater competition. This can be observed in various competitive exams. The cut off marks are such that, by a point difference people lose.This induces more stress in people which might be positive or negative, depending on each individual and circumtances.

Competition provides the opportunity to select the best among the bests. It is the best way to analyze ourselves and keep a track of where we stand among our peers. It also gives us chance to improve ourselves and achieve better when the next opportunity knocks our doors.

The monthly or annual exams students face is a trailor to the future competitions we might encounter. Many children as well as adults bear the opinion that exams are unnecessary and irrelevant. On the contrary, without a definite reason, it is highly unlikely that people learn what is to be learnt.

The importance of competition is such that we must always engage in improving ourselves to be on par with the bustling world. Only when we compare and compete with people, our areas of strength and weakness is revealed to us. This is help in finding direction to move forward in life.

Coming to the disadvantages, it depends on one’s mentality and view point. If one is pessimistic, the idea of competition might be discouraging to him. Whereas, if he is optimistic and ready to take on challenges, it might actually help in pushing oneself to improvise on all levels. The reality stands that competition is everywhere. One can either moan about or make the best out of it.

In conclusion, one musy always try to have healty competition in mind. Especially in this competitive world, competition is a must and the one conpeting with full determination will be the winner of the competition called life.

Exams might be stressful, but they improve learning

Country's biggest examination center to come up in Patna with ...

Examinations are important but increase the stress level of students, this is further compounded by parental and teachers expectations.  Examinations are a necessary evil, with Examination fever, being a reality.  Examinations confine teachers and students to the syllabus defined at the beginning of the year.

Teachers are under compulsion to complete the same timely and for students the syllabus is the goal for doing well in the examination. They determine whether a student is fit for promotion to the next class or not.

Students are thus under a lot of stress to perform well in examinations.

Stress increases because of parental expectations, too. Every parent wants his child to be the best and ignores the fact that each child is born with different abilities. Some students with high intelligence are able to comprehend and remember things faster than those whose level of intelligence is less. But parents and teachers fail to accept this and put a lot of pressure on the child to be at the top of the class.

The tendency to compare one’s child with the children of relatives, friends, and neighbors also adds to this pressure.Close to examinations, most children are stressed out as they are trying to meet the aspirations of their parents and teachers.

The fear of failure and poor performance gives them nightmares. They are afraid of the wrath of their parents and humiliation which they may have to face if performance is not up to the mark. Failure has become a social stigma for students and parents, alike.

It would not be wrong to say that examinations are a hurdy in making a child actualize his true potential. They are rightly denounced as a system which encourages only rote memory and are not a true test of ones knowledge, potential and ability.

A child, who may be good in music, may not be able to devote enough time to excel in it as he is always under the pressure of studying so that he can perform well in the examination; the result is that talent is nipped in the bud.

The examination is a part of excelling in the academic process. It is the way which helps in the evaluation and assessment of the students’ progression. It brings along with it stress, anxiety, and fear in the students. The major reason for the stress of the examination is because of the notion that attaining good marks is the only way to judge the students. In order to beat the stress of the examination, the student needs to be prepared for it from beforehand. The student must take the examination as a process of evaluating himself and not as a burden.

In recent weeks, students across high school and university classrooms have been breathing sighs of relief. Exams are officially over, and celebrations have begun.

For many students, exams seem a necessary evil. Time-consuming yet inevitable. But are exams really necessary? And are they evil?

In 2011, Macquarie University was the first Australian university to debate the abolition of exams. No exams in any subject, at any year level. At the time it was suggested that exams fail to develop “questioning, self sufficient learners”. Critics also often argue that exams promote a superficial understanding of topics, and that they are inauthentic: that is, they fail to represent the kinds of things students will be asked to do “in the real world”.

However, this is taking a narrow view of the benefits of exams. Exams include many of the aspects we want from assessment.

What do we want from assessment?

Good assessment programs aim to provide a balanced, fair evaluation of each student. They achieve this in two ways. First, they use of a variety of strategies and tasks. This gives students multiple opportunities, in varying contexts, to demonstrate what they know and can do. It also enables teachers to be confident in the accuracy of their judgements about each student.

Second, tasks must be “fit for purpose”. Assuming a subject has a number of goals (knowledge to learn, skills to acquire), each task should be appropriate to the specific goal or goals it is assessing. This means that a task assessing base knowledge will look different to one assessing creativity.

Rather than abolishing exams, we should instead be asking what mix of assessment tasks is most appropriate for each subject. Where might exams fit? And what are their benefits?

Exams focus on breadth

In most disciplines, there are specific bodies of knowledge that students are expected to learn. Physics students might learn about thermodynamics, while history students might learn about the cold war. Exams enable us to accurately test students’ breadth of understanding of these topics.

Critics of exams often instead promote “deep”, “rich”, and “authentic” assessment tasks. These are typically project-based tasks that draw on students’ creativity and interest. For example, history students might be asked to choose and research a historical character in depth. Business studies students might be asked to design the pitch for a new business seeking venture capital.

These tasks develop several important higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis and decision-making. However, they’re not alternatives to exams. They do different things. And this is exactly what we want: multiple, different tasks to maximise students’ opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do.

We also want fit-for-purpose. Where breadth of knowledge is important, we want assessment tasks that target this breadth. We want our future doctors to know of the entire human body. We want our future teachers to know a full repertoire of teaching and learning approaches. Exams can help achieve this.

Exams are harder to cheat on

Exams are also useful for a very different reason: they are harder than essays to cheat on. In light of the recent “MyMaster” ghost-writing scandal, it is clear that plagiarism is a serious problem for universities.

Drawing on our characteristics of good assessment, it is impossible to provide a balanced, fair evaluation of a student’s performance if the student has paid someone else to complete their work for them.

Are we being defeatist in suggesting exams as a solution to plagiarism? Perhaps. We would like our schools and universities to be about discovery and exploration: not compliance. To date, however, essay mills have consistently remained one step ahead of academia.

While creative tasks may be one alternative solution, ghostwriter Dave Tomar writes in his book, The Shadow Scholar, that all sorts of tasks are ghost-written. More difficult tasks simply cost more. Tasks that cannot be purchased or copy-and-pasted must be integrated into the mix.

Exams do enhance learning

Finally, and on a more positive note, there is evidence that both studying for and sitting exams deepens learning.

Studying is like exercising. When one exercises, the muscles in use grow stronger. Likewise, the process of searching through ones memory and retrieving the relevant information strengthens that memory pathway for future uses. This means that when newly qualified teachers, doctors, lawyers, or accountants come to retrieve information they need, it is – as a consequence of having been practised previously – now easier to access.

So, how can we best make use of this “practice effect” for memory? Research tells us that learning is particularly strong when students self-test. Rather than passively reading and remembering by rote, we want our students to study by forming appropriate questions, searching memory for relevant responses, and knitting this information together into an appropriate answer.

We think this third benefit of exams is the most exciting. Exams don’t just provide a targeted, fit-for-purpose opportunity for students to demonstrate what they know: they also have the power to enhance what students know.