Wednesday, 31 August 2011


"Look Beyond Prizes

While external rewards are often helpful, sometimes students benefit just as much from the sense of personal satisfaction experienced following a job well done.

“I believe there is too much focus on extrinsic rewards,” said Dr. Greg Taranto, principal of Canonsburg Middle School in Pennsylvania. “Rather than focusing on gimmicks, teachers need to focus on learning. When we place the focus on achieving a prize, the student strives for that prize.” In contrast, he said, “By creating dynamic learning environments with interesting and engaging lessons, the focus stays on the learning process.” "

..........and, if the external rewards are disproportionately large, I think it gets counterproductive.

It is very important for us to have that sense of satisfaction due to a job well done.......... even when we do something small.

This should be inculcated in children early in their lives. This is what should be their motivation-- not someone else's appreciation, not some monetary reward.

Now ask me how is "this inculcation" done?

I don't know!

Any concrete ideas are welcome!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Assuming the new lokpal eradicates corruption, how will we have elctions? No funds -- no campaign-- no elections.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


The TV channels are full of the drama of Anna Hazare's fast. No one discusses the contents, its merits/otherwise of the bill they have proposed. I am happy to see some small peek of other viewpoints ...Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander have commented and that is seen at least as a scroll on our TV screens........the TV channels really need to learn some journalism.

Friday, 12 August 2011

MSc and self confidence

A student who passed out from our college couple of years back, came to meet me the other day. He said he had finished his MSc in Organic Chemistry from one of the smaller universities in Maharashtra,
"Good to see you. So what are you planning to do now?"
"I wish to get into drug design, but I am not getting an opening in that area. I have a few offers for QC work, but my prof said I should do drug design."
"Good to see you are clear about what you want to do, but since you say you need a job urgently, why don't you take up the QC job and then shift to a drug design job whenever you get an opening?"
"No ma'm my prof said I must not take up QC jobs but must get into drug design"
"OK, that's good if you are so passionate about it, you must stick to it. What is it about drug design that you like?"
"Oh you know, like parenterals, formulations etc what we were taught in BSc"..he said this condescendingly to me if he was enlightening me on the concept of drug design.
I was speechless after that.
Maybe he thought that drug design is making nice designs on capsules....shall we make the chloramphenicol pink and blue instead of the horrible green................The story is really tragic. We give very high degrees to students and make them believe they are now experts in the area of study. We do not give them any basic training in the subject, and worse, we do not evoke in them any desire to learn further.
Many students who are now pursuing a post graduate degree in state universities believe that since they have cleared the PG entrance exams, they are now experts. Their confidence in themselves is very high...much higher than what I had when I was 22. Is this a good thing or not? I am unable to decide.
Their confidence is really misplaced and prevents them from learning more. But on the other hand, lack of confidence is paralysing and leads to a lot of bad career choices.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


There is a serious mismatch between the calendar year and the academic year. At the end of the last calendar year, we had thought we would do something to popularise Chemistry amongst the students and teachers in other departments during this year of Chemistry. However, Jan is not a good time for anything since there is a race on to complete the syllabus before the exams start ......internals in Feb and University exams in March. Then come the vacations.
In the next academic year, before we settle down with our admissions etc, it's the end of July.
So we have just started putting our plan in motion for what's left of the year.
The year has just begun for us!