Talk to Students:
Makrand Dekhane is an IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta alumnus. He started by talking about how he lived in a hostel in his education from 4th standard onwards. Students somehow did not find hostel life too exciting – so there was no major discussion on that. He then moved on to discuss how important it is to have a plan for careers. That did not cut too much ice either. He then moved on to his work. His second job at RPG Cellular attracted students quite a bit. There was a volley of questions:
- Why does a phone hang?
- What is software?
- How does a mobile work?
- Why does it stop working when it falls?
- What is Gorilla Glass?
- Why is a battery required in a mobile? In a remote?
- How is a mobile made?
- Why can’t we call without a SIM card?
- How does Shareit work?
- Why does it cost money to make a call?
- How are cars and trains made?
- What is the biggest dinosaur?
He got stumped by the last question by an over-smart student, who already knew the answer, and was intent on testing the guest’s GK.
Chat with Teachers:
Mak talked about his own schooling days at Rajghat Besant School. https://www.rajghatbesantschool.org
The school was started by J Krishnamurti in 1928. The underlying philosophy is ‘More cooperation, less competition.’ The belief is that competition that arises within onself is always healthier than that with others. Being first in class was never considered an achievement at the Rajghat school. This led to some teething troubles for Mak when he joined IITK. But he overcome those by the end of the first year.
He talked fondly of one teacher – Kiran Khalap. A pioneer in the ad industry, Kiran was a teacher for 3 years at the school. Kiran runs a brand consultancy – http://www.chlorophyll.in From Kiran, the kids learnt the importance of discipline and physical fitness. Kiran used to be there for the 6 am run, much before the students. He continues rock climbing till today. His clarity in thinking helped develop the thinking skills of students of the batch. He is still in touch with the 300 odd students he interacted with during his teaching days at Rajghat.
We ended with a Q and A session. Swati wanted to know Mak’s views on competitive exams. Did his school end up neglecting them? His answer was simple. The aim is to be the best in whatever you do. For a school, rather than herd all students into the mundane engg-medical crowds, it is better that they realise what are they good at? What are they attracted to? Is the attraction genuine? Potential alone is not enough, liking has to be there.
Dhanashree wanted to know what happens to you if you don’t ace the board exams. Are we not known by the degrees and certificates we keep? Mak talked about many people who when they realise they have work to do, take a sabbatical of a year. In a 40 year career, 1 year is not as significant as it looks to a 15 or 17 year old.
Rohini wanted to know what he thought was the best method of teaching. Mak believes that teachers end up crushing students by not encouraging questions in class. Not only should they ask a lot of questions, but they should find answers to the majority of them. Methods are more important than answers. Emotional intellect always beats intelligence in teaching and learning.
Rashmi wanted to know about career awareness. Mak believes that the process should start as early as Grade 6. He believes that it is best to get students and parents exposed to a variety of speakers who can share their professional experiences. It is better to have speakers who are in their twenties – as students can relate better to people who are closer to their age.
Like in the student session, we ended with yet another bouncer. Nidhi wanted to know the difference between BSIII and BSIV norms for motor vehicle emissions. Mak called it a day, after that!