Saturday, 12 March 2016

Literature: What, Why and How

What, Why and How of Studying Literature

As a part of student-reflection on learning, they are asked to add a page on their Digital Portfolio about:
  • What is Literature?
  • Why study Literature?
  • How difference does it make?
To help students in this process of reflective learning, some useful blogs, vidoes, web-articles are shared here. As it is necessary to give line of thought or some starting points, so that students can realise what is expected, here are some resources:


  • What Literature is for?



Thursday, 10 March 2016

Memorabilia 2016

Memorabilia 2016

The publication of Memorabilia2016 is one of the many traditions of the Department of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University. For last five years, students are publishing this booklet.
Memorabilia2016 released by Dr. Jayant Vyas
and Prof. Vinod Joshi
 The booklet is collection of creative and critical writings of the students. Poems, short stories, paintings, pencil sketches, cartoons, posters, abstracts of research papers published by students, reviews of books / movies, critical observations of current affairs etc are some regular columns in this booklet. The Compilation and Editing, which is very difficult task, is also carried out by a group of students. They have to collect contents from students, compile it, edit it (where ever necessary), convert into common format and make it ready for publication on the Annual Function Day. The Memorabilia is released by the guest on this day.  The Memorabilia is one of the many ways to evaluate students' creativity and critical acumen. It gives platform to students to publish their critical thoughts and creativity. That's fine. But what is more important is the ability of the chief editor and the team working for the Memorabilia. It is ultimate test of this group of students. From working in team (getting works done by each other, persistently requesting classmates to give their contributions, managing time from regular lectures and other learning assignments) to 
solving problems of compilation, editing and working on front page design to people-problems which are the most toughest nut to crack, these students have wonderful learning of 21st century skills. Yes, we, at Dept. of English, believe that the students in today's classrooms are going to work and live in 21st Century. Hence, the learning of these skills should be incorporated in daily activities and routine teachings at the Department. For this purpose, we have identified the 21st Century Skills Map which is the result of hundreds of hours of research, development and feedback from educators and business leaders across the nation (USA). The Partnership between 21stcenturyskills.org and National Council of Teachers of English has come up with interesting map of these skills. They are: 

  1. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving 
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Information Literacy
  5. Media Literacy
  6. ICT Literacy
  7. Flexibility and Adaptability
  8. Initiative & Self-direction
  9. Social & Cross-cultural Skills
  10. Productivity & Accountability
  11. Leadership & Responsibility. (Curios to know more about these skills, click here)
It is this group of students who work on this Memorabilia, who are not only tested on these skills, but it also provides them to hone these skills. This year, Poojaba Jadeja and group of students have done quite satisfactory work. You can have a look at Memorabilia 2015 here under. As it is embedded from slideshare.net, if it takes time in loading, you can click here to open Memorabilia 2015 in new window. 


Memorabilia 2016 from Dilip Barad

                        v  From The Desk of The Department

None of the monks can teach concentration better than the cat-family-animal-in-wait-for-prey. The task to edit this Memorabilia 2016 is not even an iota less than this.
The Concentration of the Cat is worth learning.
 It requires similar sort of concentration, and that too for quite a prolonged time. The persistence and perseverance with which Bhumi Joshi and Pritiba Gohil have worked is amazing. Not only the number of pages has crossed 100 but also the richness of content speaks for the dedication of both of them. A special thanks to Ravi Bhaliya and Milan Parmar for organizing content and printing this Memorabilia.
Having birds-eye view of this Memorabilia is like walking back on the memory lane. Not all revisits of memory are traumatic. There are sweet fragrance of flowery incidents and event which are yet not grown into anecdotes. Not even it is true to say that for teachers, the batches of students is like a rock rolled over the mountain by Sisyphus, just to see that it rolled down, again and again. The journey of walking with various batches of students is like pilgrim’s progress. The journey may not be strictly religious or spiritual, or may be it is quite opposite of it, but it is surely academic, intellectual and enlightening. The ‘progression’ of thoughts, the widening of mental horizons, understanding the universality of ideas are some of the key things which remain as a memory of teaching various batches.
Same is true about batch 2014-16. It was yet another enriching experience. One of the best experiences was to see Vanita Tadha gaining tremendous confidence to perform in Daily Schedule as well as in project work. Along with her, the way Asmita Gond, Sonal Baraiya, Neha Mehta and Jayshree Solanki improved their level of academic involvement which got manifested in their project on Reading Habit is the real gain of education.
Vanita Baldania and Daya Gohel’s participating in Mountaineering tracking at Junagadh was quite unique. Both of them shall be commended for this. I do not recall in last 7-8 years if any girl-student has participated in such ‘so-called-tough’ adventure sport events. The best of the human character is displayed when one stands with other human in their down moments. Vanita Baldania has displayed this unique aspect of human character. I hope the Department will see many such participation in coming years. This surely will be an example to be shared with upcoming batches to inspire them to participate in adventure sports. Such events play very important role in building human of great character and indomitable spirit.
It was great to have creative poems from Ravi Bhaliya which enlivened Daily Schedule on several occasions. It would be great to see all poems compiled and published in book form. He along with Nikunj Bhatti, Kishan Kubavat and Sagar Ladhva has taken very good care of Laptop bank and all matters related to ICT. Their hard work shall be remembered by all as they took extra care for internet connectivity for other students and also managed things on public holidays.
Every year, we are fortunate to have a few students who take care of Library books with utmost care. If we get the student who really loves the books, we need not worry about library. This year, Nimesh Dave and his team managed library with extra care and consideration.
Daily Schedule is yet another very important feature of life at Department. Urvi Dave and her team, this year, looked after it with great affection. Baring a few days, the daily schedule was full of wonderful presentations.
Ranjan Velari and Urvi worked on very interesting projects also. They participated in Global Conference and presented their research. It is such researches and participation of students in academic events that give academic acknowledgement to the Department as the hub of academic activities.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of other students, there are many who silently worked for others. They are always ready to help the needy. They help and do not expect any recognition. I would like to put Radha Ghevariay, Devikaba Gohil, Vaishali Jasolia, Krupali Lewade, Pritiba Gohil, Nidhi Jasani (her winning position in Youth Festival for Mimicry was unique as it only she who got rank in this Rajatrang 2015)  and Deepika Vaza in this type of students. This is not insignificant or trivial thing to have. Normally, people crave for recognition even if they have done nothing. To help and not to crave for recognition is ‘something’ really great.
We can’t forget beautiful identity cards for which Sagar Ladhwa and his team worked very hard. Sagar should also be remembered for enriching general knowledge in Daily Schedule on new schemes of Government of India. That is something very important.
Looking back in the memory gives some moments of regrets as well. It is remorseful when some students with talent do not perform owing to circumstances beyond their control or sometimes they themselves are the biggest hurdle for them, Jankiba Rana was toubled by her health and her mother’s and that resisted her from performing at her level best. Praful, Mayuri, Nisha and Hitesh should have been actively and willingly involved in academic and co-curricular activities. Even a single student left out unmotivated and not involved in academic activity is a failure of a teacher, in particular and of academic institute, in general. 
Well, the golden moments of any education system is live interaction of students with teachers. Though the class did not have many students who participated in discussions or raised disturbing questions, yet the contribution of Nimesh Dave, Dipti Vaghela, Milan Parmar and Bhumi Joshi cannot be ignored. They were ready to respond to the questions tossed in the class or were ready to ask the questions which were deeply inquisitive in nature and displayed curiosity of an ideal learner.
Bhumi Joshi needs special mention for her participation is co-curricular activities, performing at her best in these activities, winning a few laurels and earning good name of the Department and leading with great conviction. She proved that the ‘leaders never complain’, leader see to it that the tasks on hand, however, difficult it may sound, must be completed. Along with it, her presence in classroom, active participation in discussion also makes stand apart, and well ahead of others.
The real education is the one which stands by this stanza from Brihadaranyaka Upanishads (1.3.28):
असतोमा सद्गमय From ignorance, lead me to truth
तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय From darkness, lead me to light.

The mark of such an enlightened and truthful mind, the educated mind (in real sense), is the mind that stands nor for but against hegemony, against power, against privilege positions. The mind which is not ignorant and as such not in metaphorical darkness, is the mind which stands for powerless, poor and the underprivileged.

With the sense of an ending of the journey of Batch 2014-16, I stand satisfied for, if not in all, at least in a few of students, this has been realised.
Needless to say that I wish for the better future of the students and it goes without saying that I hope for the life full of restlessness and agitation, as it is in such struggles that we enjoy the life, the most!
~ Dilip Barad

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Webquest: Harry Potter: Think and Write

Harry Potter: Think and Write



What is Webquest?

"A WebQuest," according to Bernie Dodge, the originator of the WebQuest concept, "is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than on looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation." (Linda Starr)

Activity


Web quest: Harry Potter (Students’ Handout)


Wwyp, carry out following tasks with the help of internet search engines:

1)      Find at least three good web resources for the following topic/s.
2)      Find key arguments for the discourse on the given topic/s
3)      Note down illustrations from Harry Potter for the arguments

Blog Task: With the help of web resources and arguments worked out by various group, you shall think critically to develop an argument on any three of the following topics. Give your response in the 'Comment' section under this blog post.



Topics for web quest:

Think critically and develop an argument on any three of the following topics.
1)      Feminist reading of Harmione’s character in Harry Potter: How do the character portrayal of Harmione and other female characters support feminist discourse?
2)      Discourse on the purity of Blood and Harry Potter: How do the novels play with the thesis of pure blood (Master Race) giving an anti-thesis by belonging protagonists to half-blood / Mud-blood? What sort of synthesis is sought in this discourse in Harry Potter series?
3)      Confronting reality by reading fantasy: How does reading Harry Potter make us confront the reality of our everyday existence?
4)      Self-Help culture and Harry Potter: How does it stand by an argument that Self-Help Culture serves as a tool of social control: it sooths political unrest . . . one blames oneself for not getting better off is society and remains in one's own pursuit of self-invention, blaming oneself for the failure rather than the systems?
5)      The discourse of Power and Politics in Harry Potter: How does Ministry of Magic control the resistance? How do they prosecute the ‘Other’?
6)      Children’s Literature and Harry Potter: How far does J K Rowling transcends the canonical confines of children’s literature and claims the heights of ‘real’ literature?
7)      Speculative literature and Harry Potter: What is speculative literature? How far Harry Potter qualifies for the same? Does J K Rowling transcends the confines of speculative literature and claim the heights of ‘real’ literature?
8)      The theme of Choice and Chance: How does Harry Potter discusses the antithetical concepts of ‘choice’ and ‘chance’?
9)      The theme of Love and Death: How does Harry Potter make use of age old theme of Love of the dead as well as living as protecting armour? How does Harry Potter deal with the concept of Death as something inevitable?
10)   Moral and Philosophical reading of Harry Potter: How does the concept of ‘evil breeds evil’ unfold in Harry Potter? What is the significance of Harry being one of the Horcruxes?
11) What is your opinion on this:


How to self-assess my webquest activity?

A Rubric for Evaluating WebQuests
The WebQuest format can be applied to a variety of teaching situations. If you take advantage of all the possibilities inherent in the format, your students will have a rich and powerful experience. This rubric will help you pinpoint the ways in which your WebQuest isn't doing everything it could do. If a page seems to fall between categories, feel free to score it with in-between points.
This rubric is modified from Original WebQuest rubric by Bernie Dodge.
This is Version 1.03. Modified by Laura Bellofatto, Nick Bohl, Mike Casey, Marsha Krill, and Bernie Dodge and last updated on June 19, 2001.