Saturday, January 24, 2009

Story on poverty and richness

Our first GD topis is Poverty and Richness. I happened to come across a story on this topic and would like to share it with you. Some of you may have heard this before, but it is worth reading it once again.

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On the return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked. "Oh yeah," said the son. "So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them." The boy's father was speechless. Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are."

GD Part 2: Tips for you

In our Feb 1 class, we’ll formulate few objectives around our GD topic. Some of you may have little or no experience with GD. All of you have heard stories about our church General Body - it’s a sort of GD where church elders take part discussing a particular topic.

For our class discussion, I encourage you to read on the topic so that you have adequate material to talk about, rather than being passive listeners. In our class setting, all of you are free to talk and nobody will be ridiculed at what you say. I bet these skills will come handy several times in your life, either at a school workshop, job interview, graduate school admission, meetings at work, church general body, etc.. I have summarized few tips points for your easy reference.

1. A good leader acts as the initiator and concluder of the GD.

2. You have to be a good participant by presenting key points on the topic.

3. Once you present your points firmly, try to get the support of your peers.

4. Watch out if the discussion goes off-track and bring it back to the mainstream topic.

5. It’s always a good idea to present the latest information on the topic.

6. Maintain your coolness and be very polite. A GD can get into heated arguments and you need to control yourself (This is one area where our church elders needs attention while attending church General Body).

7. If you sit around, you’ll find that nobody is giving you a chance to speak. Learn how to interrupt politely and present your point.

8. Keep track of the time.

9. End with a note of conclusion.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

GD Part 1: Researching Online

These days I am researching articles for our group discussion. Thought of sharing with you the mode in which I am searching articles. This is analogous to giving you a fish versus teaching you how to fish. Typically when we need to look up something online, most of us Google it and click on the first few ‘hits’ that come up, and limit our searches to those articles.

I recently met Jimmy Wales, the founder of the free online encyclopedia. Jimmy is dubbed to be ‘Google’s worst nightmare’. He was demonstrating the difference between googling and using wikia – the search engine they have put together. Google certainly does a very good job of displaying search results. However, if you are looking for excellence then you need to know what other options are out there. Wikia is one of them. Jimmy and his team claims that if Google is a propeller plane, then wikia is a jet plane. I am not going to get into the technicality of how each search engine works since it is beyond the scope of our discussion. Remember, there are advertisers who pay for their website to show up in Google results.

Coming back, while comparing search results from these two sites, I make a list of top hits and have often discovered that if some particular links shows up on these two sites, then they are certainly good results that we can count on.

In the next few days, I’ll post my summarized findings for our group discussion. Meanwhile, get familiar with wikia and it'll come handy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Modified roadmap

There is a slight change in our class schedule for the next few weeks. We have to juggle the dates a bit. Our next big thing is the Group Discussion in chapter 13. There are 2 topics to cover and I'll leave it to you to discuss on the topic. Every member will be participating in this event and contribute his/her viewpoint/opinion on the subject matter. There could be two or 3 winners (no prize money) out of this discussion, based on how well you do. I'll be the audience member and a mute listner.

Jan 25th: - We will cover chapters 9, 10, 11 & 12. Please come to class early on this day and we have to get through these chapters fast. In my opinion, chapter 9 should have been positioned just before chapter 13. Does anyone think that way too?

Feb 1st: - Bala Balika Samajam (BBS) will be held on this day for grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 11. We are required to be participating as spectators/audience members. Let's observe how other classes perform and learn a lesson or two. According to the scheudle, our class will have our next BBS on Feb 22nd. From my past experience I have learned that we will not have the luxury of holding a full lenght class on days when BBS is held. Therefore, in class that day let's go over the basic principles of Group Discussion (GD). I can give you pointers on how to participate in GD and share some of my past experiences. You can ask me questions/doubts on GD. This will aid you in your prep for the following Sunday.

Feb 8th: - Let's do our first round of GD on this day. Topic: Poverty and Richness

Feb 15th: - Our final round of GD on the topic: Modern Youth and Society.

Feb 22nd: - If we do not have BBS on this day, we'll cover chapters 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18. Else, we'll make adjustments accordingly, and I'll update you when I find out more.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Class Accounts

On Jan 20th, it'll be 30 days since we held our Christmas program. We still have to settle the program accounts and many of you still owe me money.

If we calculate based on a 0.25% monthly interest, after 30 days the original $8.00 will be $10.00, after 60 days it'll become $12.50 and after 90 days that will be $15.63. I hope none of you are interested in paying me the interest.

Let's clear off the payments and close the file. I can accept either cash or check.