Quote of the Week
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”
- Peggy O’Mara, Award Winning Writer and Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine
Hi, this is the GenWise team- we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and collaborating on this.
In this week’s main post, GenWise Mentor, Ramgopal Vallath, talks about his framework of ‘Active Parenting’ and elaborates on the role of storytelling in parenting.
You are invited to be an early member and beta-tester of the GenWise Club (ages 13-90), a community of interested students, parents, and educators. Check out this link for more about the club and how to join it. It is open to all in the current beta phase.
Join this conversation on learning, by commenting on our posts, or joining our club community for more regular and closer interactions.
Storytelling and Active Parenting
Upcoming Courses @GenWise
Upcoming External Events
Storytelling and Active Parenting
In this post, GenWise Mentor, Ramgopal Vallath (RamG), talks about his framework of ‘Active Parenting’ and elaborates on the role of storytelling in parenting. RamG’s course on the GenWise platform, ‘Hardwiring Positivity’ has been very popular with teenage children.
The Active Parenting Framework
Active Parenting is a framework that took 42 months in the making. During this time, I coached thousands of students and adults and tried to understand what attributes made people successful. I waded through dozens of research papers on child psychology, contributing factors of success, and also how to inculcate those in children. I conducted dozens of personal interviews with parents, figuring out what attributes they wanted in their children and I interviewed dozens of leaders from all walks of life to understand what attributes, traits and values made them successful and what their parents did to inculcate these qualities in them from childhood. The result of all this work was the Active Parenting framework.
The book itself contains the following
5 key attributes for success13 qualities that contribute to these attributes
5 broad approaches to build these attributes
Dozens of age-appropriate techniques to instill these qualities
Numerous real-life illustrative examples
At its core, Active Parenting is about proactively building the attributes and qualities, using every interaction as an opportunity and ensuring that children take ownership for their own lives.
The Power of Storytelling
One of the key strategies for building these attributes, values and traits that I have shared is story-telling. It is one of the most powerful tools parents can use. And this strategy is applicable for infants to toddlers to little children to tweens to teens.
What makes stories so powerful? They can build creativity, imagination, vocabulary, communication skills, empathy, humour, and a wider perspective, apart from story-specific positive traits and values such as gratitude, compassion, ownership, grit, respect, or civic sense. And the best part is that children do not even realise they are absorbing all these while listening to stories. They are just enjoying the stories. Imagine if parents tried to instil all the above qualities through lecturing the children. It will be enough to put them off completely. Instead, stories provide a frictionless way to subconsciously provide the learning and attitude fine-tuning.
Apart from the above advantage, story-telling has other positive outcomes. It builds tremendous family bonding. Story-telling is one of the best ways to spend quality family-time. Story telling sessions also build the ability to tell stories in the listeners. Today, we know that one of the most coveted competencies for success in almost any role as a professional is the ability to tell a riveting story— the ability to paint a compelling vision. CEOs pay lacs of rupees to get trained on story-telling skills. If only their parents had spent time, telling them stories! They could have become far more effective CEOs.
So what kind of stories should parents tell their children? Parents can enhance the emotional and cognitive abilities of infants just by talking to them — even if it is just meaningless chatter. When parents respond by replying to gurgles and coos, the same happens. It also helps in enhancing language skills. As children grow older, the stories can also evolve — absurd stories, funny stories, fairy tales, mythologies, magical stories, adventure stories, mysteries. And for slightly older children, biographies, stories with morals, stories of good triumphing over evil, stories of the triumph of human spirit etc. Parents can also tell children about their childhood, the struggles and challenges they faced etc. It is important also for parents to have many story books available at home. It can start with board books for toddlers, moving on to picture books and then to chapter books. It would be good if every night parents can either tell a story or read out a story. This is likely to help inculcate a reading habit.
When children reach their tweens and teens, the stories can move to what is happening in the parents’ workplace. Challenges, struggles, difficulties faced, decisions taken, reasons for these decisions etc. Parents can also tell stories about socially relevant topics such as current affairs or historical events.
Personally, as a child, I enjoyed many story sessions from my parents. I believe they helped develop many strong values and traits in me. I believe it was these stories that paved the way for the resilience and sense of humour that helped me convert a crippling autoimmune disorder into an advantage and completely reinvent my life as a bestselling author and keynote speaker. These stories paved the foundation for making me the happiest person I have ever met.
RamG’s book Active Parenting is being released shortly and you can place orders here.
Upcoming Courses @GenWise
Details of upcoming GenWise courses are available here. The next few courses are listed below.
Upcoming External Events
The below events are free to attend, though registration may be required.
Let’s Move to the Sunny Side is part of the highly popular Chai and Why series from the cool TIFR outreach team and is scheduled on Sunday, Sep 19, 2021 at 11 AM. Zoom, YouTube & FBLive links available here. Here’s what the session blurb says-
With the impact of climate change becoming more severe by passing time, it is high time that we change our energy source. What could be better than the Sun which provides all the energy for free? Scientists have been developing new types of inexpensive devices that can harness sunlight. Come and learn about the exciting class of materials that can provide a better future to our next generation.
About the Speaker: Pabitra is a faculty member in TIFR-Hyderabad. His research interests are developing next-generation semiconductor materials and their applications in electronic devices, especially in solar cells
The Art and Science of Secret Messages (some glimpses) is part of the Kuriosity During Quarantine (KDK) series and is scheduled on Sun, Sep 19, from 4 to 530 PM IST. Geetha Venkataraman, a Professor of Mathematics and Dean, Research and Consultancy at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) will be speaking on this topic. She has an MA and DPhil (doctorate) in Mathematics from the University of Oxford. The session blurb says-
In the modern world with so much of our exchanges, commerce and communications taking place digitally, it has become imperative to ensure that all these are secure. Cryptography is the art and science of keeping `messages’ secure from eavesdroppers or unintended audiences. However, keeping messages secret is not just an issue during our time period but has been important historically. In this talk, we will discuss some simple encryption systems that were used. This will help us formulate the `key’ ingredients that any encryption method needs to possess. We will also discuss the famous RSA public key encryption system which is essentially based on the fact that it is easy to multiply two numbers but difficult to factorise a given number.
You can register for the session here.
Computational Thinking in Schools Conference (CTiS): Our friends at CSpathshala proudly announce the third edition of this conference CTiS2021, The conference is from 29th September to 2nd October 2021 at School of Scholars, Nagpur. Owing to the pandemic the conference will be held in the virtual format. Here’s what they have to say about the conference-
CTiS (Computational Thinking in Schools) conference is an annual event organised by ACM India (Association of Computing Machinery) and the CSpathshala community. It aims to bring together teachers, educators and researchers to discuss issues of curriculum, pedagogy, policy and implementation, related to bringing computational thinking to schools.
Our 4-day conference features keynote speakers, Hal Abelson, MIT, USA, Manish Jain, IIT Gandhinagar, Patricia Ordóñez, University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras and Wolfgang Slany, TU Gratz, Austria. The conference also features a workshop on CT and inclusion, conducted by Supriya Dey, Vision Empower and Manohar Swaminathan, Microsoft Research, Bengaluru and presentations of selected abstracts with sessions on implementation of computational thinking, fun activities and innovative examples used by teachers in classrooms!
For Program and registration details please visit: CTiS2021 Conference Page
The event is open to all educators as well as those involved and interested in computing education. Registration is free. Registration Link