Thursday, May 18, 2006

Think different! The Sikh way!

Here is an news story I found on internet and would like to share about a Principal who taught his kids to think different. Hey isn't it what Sikh gurus did throughout their life times and beyond? There would not have been any Sikhs without the great foundation laid out by great Gurus and saints of Sikhs. With Guru Nanak questioning empty rituals that Hindus, Moslems, and humans in general were (and some still are) doing and logic behind them. Anyways, it just reminded me of the "Think Different" marketing campaign by Apple computer and thought I should share:

His radical teaching methods have won Mr. Singh (centre) the respect of his colleagues and students.
In his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said Singapore needs "revolutionaries" and "insurgents" to win the new economy battle. DEBBIE GOH and LAUREL TEO spoke with some Singaporeans who struck out from the tried-and-tested route to make a difference in their respective fields.The first time Mr Harphal Singh met his top Secondary 3 class in Chinese High School, he asked the quietest boy in the room to scream.
"In polished English, he told me, 'I do not do that, Sir'," said Mr Singh.
"I refused to move on with the lesson until he screamed, so after 40 minutes, he managed a squawk. I then told the students to write an essay about the purpose of the lesson and they wrote about how I should not be trifled with.
"But that was not the lesson. The lesson, I told them, was this: If you dare not do things differently, and you are the best, you will never be great."
That happened in 1990.
Eight years later, Mr Singh, 43, now vice-principal of Buona Vista Secondary School, received a phone call from a student of that class of high achievers.
The boy had become one of Stanford University's top engineering students and he wanted Mr Singh to travel to the United States for an award ceremony.
But the award recipient was not the scholar. It was Mr Singh.
The students had nominated him for an award, which honours teachers who have had an exceptional influence on Stanford's engineering students.
In his 20 years of teaching, Mr Singh's radical teaching methods have won him the love of his students and respect of his peers.
He never used textbooks for his English class. Instead, he grabbed every opportunity that came his way and turned it into a lesson
Witnessing a student killing a red ant, he gathered the class for a funeral.
Everyone had a great time decorating the grave and inventing eulogies. The lesson ended with a two-day discussion on human and animal rights, he said.
Mr Singh said the conventional method of teaching was boring. he knew this from his days as a student.
He told The Straits Times proudly that he had failed in Secondary 1, 2 and 3, and barely scraped through his O-levels as he found his lessons too dull.
"Teaching the conventional way was very limiting, so I decided to interest my students in things that interested me. This way, I could teach with greater passion."
In a sense, he was lucky. His school principals let him get away with it.
Once, a principal saw him perched cross-legged and barefooted on the teacher's table, discussing philosophy with his class.
"He didn't call me up so I went to ask him why and he said, 'Harphal, you must be doing the right thing'."
He must have been, for his students were producing the best results in the school.Mr Singh's unconventional approach to teaching and learning has not prevented him from winning traditional career rewards.
He was recently named principal-designate of West Spring Secondary, which will open in year 2002.
He said: "I understand students and the pain of acquiring knowledge. So we need to have more fun. Too much obedience kills creativity, so we must allow students to do things they want.
"But we need to teach them basic social values and to be gracious as well. You can be a rebel, but not a rebel without a cause."


Blogger upinder kaur said...

Manjit Singh ji, there is a Kirtan darbar on 28th May in Delhi. There is going to be live telecast by Aastha channel.If you have someone in India who can record it from TV directly then please get it done.I don't think you have this channel's telecast in USA but you can find out if any other channel would be doing it.
Gur Fateh.

10:10 PM, May 21, 2006  
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