036: Education and Skills
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036: Education and Skills

Hi All, In today’s episode, my school Director Mrs Archana Vishwanathan explains to us, why we need to develop so many different skills as part of our education. She speaks to us about soft skills like socials skills like empathy, caring, sharing and technical skills which could be learnt on the go. How reading good books could change our character and then our behaviour. Being positive in our lives has a great impact on our life she explains… The ultimate goal like she mentions is to be future good citizens in our country and ultimately in the world I hope you all enjoy listening and learning from her experiences and advices.




[0.01] {Background Music}

[0.08] Siyona: Hello everyone. Welcome to my podcast Little Mind Chats. Minds are little, not our thoughts. I’m your host Siyona. I hope you all had a great children’s day yesterday. As you all know, we are now in season-3, Education. In episode 34, we heard to Dr. Uday Balakrishnan explain to us on “why education was important?” But if anyone of us gave it a further thought, we’d realize that a lot of times we see that education is linked to skills. What are skills? Do we really understand the importance of it? Even the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi speaks of skill India.

[0.57] Siyona: Today, I am so very happy because my own school director, Mrs. Archana Vishwanath was kind enough and agreed to answer my questions on skills. Mrs. Archana has been serving as the director of my prestigious school, Jain Heritage, Hebbal from the last 9years. She played a major role in designing and scheduling an integrated curriculum for my school. Out of the many awards she received, she was conferred the best principal award in 2018 and the third national education award conducted by Bombay Stock Exchange Institute Limited. That sure makes me proud to be in this school. If you are wondering what she had been doing until she became the director, hold your breath!! She has been an international table tennis player. That’s super cool! Don’t you think?

[2.01] Siyona: She has proudly represented our country in a huge number of international tournaments and she has won more than 400 titles in the states and national level. I hope you understand now on why she is the best person to answer to these questions for us. Hello Mrs. Archana, thanks for being the first guest in my studio. I really appreciate you taking time and coming down. I feel very encouraged. Welcome to my show.

[2.32] Mrs. Archana: Hi. I’m extremely privileged to be a part of your show, to come here to your studio and be a part of this wonderful chat show. It’s my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

[2.46] Siyona: You’re welcome and thank you. First question is, “what exactly are skills? How do they help me in the future?”

[2.55] Mrs. Archana: Well, that’s a very good question. Being a sportsman myself, I realized that skills were so important not only in sports, also in our daily lives. So, “What exactly are skills?” Skills are a set of behavioural patterns that we build over a period of our lives. There are a different set of skills. You know right from our communication, to empathy, to be positive, respect. You know this is a whole set of attributes that we build over a period of our lives and that exactly happens when you put your first step in school. That’s where you start building your skills. When you start sharing, when you start conversing with your friends, caring for others, developing friendship, these are all your steps towards building different skill sets and that’s something that we have to strongly build in our lives. And that can only happen during our early childhood. It might be respecting your teachers, respecting your friends, caring for them, building your communication skills. It’s a whole set of values. That’s where your school plays such an important role in laying the foundation or building strong skills in children. And that’s one thing that I’ve learnt while playing sports. And that’s the reason that we support sports in our school with other co-curricular activities.  That’s the place where you build your skills as a person. As you know, one is your soft skills and the other is your technical skills that are required for your growth in your career. So, you integrate both and become a better person. 

[4.51] Siyona: Oh. Okay. I didn’t realize playing sports could give us such good skills. Point noted. My next question is, “Are there any skills you think are missing in the current education system?”

[5.07] Mrs. Archana: You mean to say in the present generation? Or in general are there any skills missing?

[5.12] Siyona: Well, what I meant to ask was if our education system could include more skills apart from the current academic skills.

[5.23] Mrs. Archana: Certain skills, certain values, certain behavioural patterns are something that comes within us. Few topics are very close to my heart. When you look at respect, when you look at empathy, these two points which I would like to share with you. These are so important in our lives. And I find that people have become so business minded now a day even in the education sector. We find that there are certain skills and behavioural patterns that are missing in adults and in children. I’ll give you a small example. When something happens on the road, probably an accident, how many of us volunteer to help who is in distress? Not many of us, right? I find that missing in today’s world and that’s something that we all have to reflect upon. See, you can be really successful in your career. Technical skills can be built over a period of time. And you can be best in your field, but these skills which we require as an individual, as a human being, is really important. Crucial life saving skills have to be incorporated at a very young age. Even simple things, got forbid when something happens at home, we are clueless and we get panicky and we really do not know what to do. That can be factor in saving lives. That’s something that sometimes we neglect. Schools also will have to incorporate in the education sector. In fact, this is very important across sectors. 

[6.52] Siyona: Also, I was just about to say in these days’ online classes, when the online classes are happening, the children are all the way individually at home. So, they don’t have any partners. Sometimes their parents might be busy if they want to do something with their parents. So, kind of gets lonely to do their projects and that’s where we use new skills. 

[7.20] Mrs. Archana: Yes. I do agree with you. Especially in the last 6 to 7 months after the online classes, things have become very different and one needs to motivate self all the time. Isn’t it? Because as you rightly said, it can get very lonely. Each person is busy with their own work. So, I think that’s when you need to connect. You always need to be very social. Whether it’s with your family members, with your cousins or with your friends. And self-motivation is really important. In fact, they are all exploring like you’ve done. And we are extremely proud of you, you know at a very young age you’ve developed your skills, it amazes me that you’ve already interviewed 20 achievers since last two three months. And I think that’s happened because of your parents. And that’s when during this period, you’ve developed, explored, found ways of honing your skills and it’s great to know at such a young age you already have your studio. It’s a big achievement. And that’s something to be proud of. Yes!

[8.28] Siyona: Oh. Thank you. “What’s your advice to the children on the skills needed to become a good citizen?”

[8.37] Mrs. Archana: We just had the elections, right?

[8.39] Siyona: Yeah. In Bihar and Karnataka.

[8.42] Mrs. Archana: It’s fascinating when you get to know things around us. When it comes to the elections in India, right? We just had elections in Karnataka.

[8.51] Siyona: Yeah. 

[8.53] Mrs. Archana: So, we need to know because you are the person who votes, who brings in the leaders of our country. So, it’s a birth right of every citizen to get to know about the facts, about the candidates. That’s something that makes a difference to the functioning of our country. We see lot of violence; we see lot of aggression in our country. Why is that? That’s because there is a change in the way we think. Probably, some of your friends get angry very fast.

[9.23] Siyona: Yeah.

[9.24] Mrs. Archana: you know they just get angry and they are really aggressive. That has to be changed. Bring about changes in their thinking. Making them think on a positive note. After a certain age, you really cannot change the way people think. So, if any changes have to be brought in, it’s only at a young age. And that can make a huge difference in their lives. And in our system, in our society, in the larger sense our country and the world that we live in, it can make a big difference.

[9.57] Siyona: Yeah. Well, I do agree. In UK, if we had a fight, the teachers would say that “please don’t do that”, “you know you are a good kid”, “sharing is caring.”

[10.08] Mrs. Archana: so, they would try and make sure you become friends. Isn’t it?

[10.11] Siyona: Yeah.

[10.12] Mrs. Archana: That’s where you make a difference in your thinking. See, when you get into a larger working environment, you need to work together as a team. There might be differences, but you need to be a team player. In the sense, you need to adapt yourselves to changes. Probably, if your teacher has given you a project, you might disagree on certain things, but you still want to be the best and work with her. Isn’t it?

[10.39] Siyona: Yeah.

[10.40] Mrs. Archana: That’s where you adapt to her thinking. You might be correct, but you work together as a team. Be positive in your mind set. The moment you are positive, lot of things can happen.

[10.52] Siyona: Yeah. I agree.

[10.54] Mrs. Archana: I would like to proudly say that, I’m a proud citizen of our country. That is something that is close to my heart. And of course, on a larger note citizen of the world which is very important. 

[11.07] Siyona: “What is the difference between behaviour and character? Why are they emphasized?”

[11.14] Mrs. Archana:  These two go hand in hand, behaviour and character. It’s extremely important for you to build your character on a very positive note. Behaviour is something that is exhibited visibly. It shows, I think reading specially that makes a big difference in our lives. Whether it is the books or you read newspaper, know about our culture. When you start reading, you develop a different perspective towards life and that’s something that, it’s very close to my heart. Because, I have been a Horatius reader and it has helped me develop a broader perspective to things around me. So reading is something that has to be inculcated strongly at a very early age. 

[12.07] Siyona: Yeah. I agree. I do read sometimes.

[12.10] Mrs. Archana: It should be done regularly. You should develop a fascination. You know any subject. Space is something that is close to your heart. So, you must just pick up a book and just start reading. It’s really fascinating. One book per week. I think that is something that you should set a target to yourself. And then it’s like you get addicted to books. You just cannot do a… see, I cannot sleep without reading.

[12.34] Siyona: Well, in UK I did use to read a lot. At least some two books a day. 

[12.41] Mrs. Archana: Wow. That’s really nice. So, why not now?

[12.45] Siyona: Well, I don’t read now because of the home work and when my family comes around like, for example like the cousins, when they come around I enjoy with them and also in UK when I used to read a lot, everyone would be like, “why always with books? Enjoy for some time.” 

[13.08] Mrs. Archana: (laughs) No. But then, sometime, you know in the afternoon or sometime if you can get into a habit of reading books, it’ll be really nice. Where there is a will, there’s always a way. Isn’t it? Sometime. Just ten minutes. That’s enough.

[13.21] Siyona: Yes. I will sure start reading more books.

[13.26] Mrs. Archana: And knowing things around us. Specially you know the political scenarios in country or across the world, flipping through the newspaper or watching television, it’s not only about Indian news channels also you know the other news channels. You get to develop so much. Once in a while, so reading is really important along with other technical skills which are very important. So, it has to be integrated. When we look at the soft skills, the technical skills, the life saving skills, so like this we have a whole series of skill sets which helps you build a strong character specially at a young age. And that’s when you become a strong individual full of positivity ready to take on. And you would never say that I cannot do things. You are ready to face any situation in your lives.

[14.21] Siyona: “What skills have you learnt as a child that you are still using until today?” 

[14.27] Mrs. Archana: Oh. There have been few skills which has helped me so much through out my journey till now in my life. When we talk about soft skills, being positive has helped me largely as a person. That’s something that sets you ahead of others in your thinking. And where others think that certain things are not possible, you would think that it is possible. Even when you deal with people. When you look at it on a positive note, it can make a difference. See, each one of us has a certain set of inherent behavioural patterns which cannot be changed at all come what may. So, you accept the person as is, and look at the only his or her positive points and work with them or go ahead whether it’s in your family circles or society or elsewhere. That’s when you don’t become judgemental towards people around you. You make sure that you walk along the path with everyone. That’s a key factor that I have learnt especially playing sports has made me get into kind of a thinking. Then comes technical skills, the reading part. Reading is something that is very close to my heart. I used to read books on the success stories of people, sportsmen that inspired me so much. Robert H. Schuller’s book, “tough times do not last, but tough people do”. That’s something that’s very close to my heart. You know, you can probably read it little later. The success stories of sports men who’ve achieved, it’s made a big difference in my life, the way I think. And even the impossible looks possible to achieve your dreams. And goal setting is something that I have done when I was very early. You know achievable goals. We need to set in our goals. That’s something that my parents have taught me. Your short-term goals and your long-term goals. And those are skills that even now I incorporate in my professional life or elsewhere. Setting in short term goals. Because, long term goals, yes you need to have that insight. But work on your short-term goals which are very important. And one way of doing that was, the New Year resolutions. Even today, I don’t know, you’ve not heard me in the school. Always make sure that the children write in their new year resolution and put it up and that has to stay through out the year. And that’s in part of your skill. That’s something that I’ve learnt through out my journey till now. And accepting defeat, trying to pass through that win over again. Then sometimes you know you are disappointed, but it doesn’t end there. You move on. You overcome those challenges and try and work towards your goal. That’s something that I have learnt to overcome the challenges and not get mocked down. See, sometimes it’s disheartening when things don’t work your way. But that’s not the end of it. Try to overcome those challenges. So, as a person I’ve learnt through this journey till now as of the worst, these are things that have helped me and that’s something that as children you could always do. 

[17.46] Siyona: Yeah. I agree. I’ve learnt so much in today’s episode on why skills are absolutely necessary to be better citizens of tomorrow. Thanks a ton for coming to my show Mrs. Archana.

[18.03] Mrs. Archana: Thank you so much and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

[18.08] Siyona: Thank you. So, friends I hope you have been able to learn just like me from Mrs. Archana on why we need to develop so many different skills. She spoke to us about social skills like empathy, caring, sharing, technical skills which could be learnt on the go. How reading books could change our character and then our behaviour. The ultimate goal like she mentioned was to be good future citizens of our country and ultimately in the world. That was a great episode. Don’t you think? For those of you who are not yet aware of this month’s competition, it’s “Best out of waste”. Use your creativity while saving the environment. Just pick up some stuff you normally throw away, create something useful out of it and send me pictures on your creations to siyona@littlemindchats.com by Thursday, 26th November. Please do follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to share this podcast with your friends. Wishing you all a very happy Diwali. Thanks a ton for listening. Bye!

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