Archive for January, 2013

Why do we fall asleep during lectures?

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Answer by Robert Frost:

John Medina, in his book Brain Rules, introduces data that forms the following graph:

The data shows that student attention level takes a dive, approximately 10 minutes into a lesson.  This is a natural occurrence (and I believe the reason YouTube videos were initially limited to <9 minutes), but can be dealt with by a good instructor.  The problem is most instructors (particularly at the university level) know next to nothing about the learning process and instructional theory.  A good instructor will introduce variation into a lesson every 10 minutes to regain the students' attention (as depicted in the below graph).

This variation can be accomplished in many ways – from inserting a student activity to asking questions or otherwise soliciting involvement from the students to changing the delivery style or mechanism.

The problem is that so many instructors see instructing as a one-way communication.  If a student is not contributing to the communication, they lose focus and many literally go to sleep.

There are other triggers for sleeping during lessons, such as eating a large meal immediately before the lesson, poor ventilation in the classroom, and tired students.

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Categories: Books

Are we communicating enough?

January 27, 2013 6 comments

We have come a long way since that first call by Alexander Graham Bell that revolutionized communication.  Today the mobile phone has become a ubiquitous medium of communication so much so that the vegetable seller, the milkman, the cleaner and everyone else are dependent on it for their daily livelihood.

Starting with the newspapers, television, mobile phone, smart phone, personal computer, laptops and tablets – today instead of people looking out for information we have an information overload.  Today, we have a plethora of choices and our time is spent in discerning as to what we need to do.

But this gadget-craze has had an impact on our face-to-face communication.  Today, we find very little time to share thoughts over a cup of coffee or to spend time having a conversation with our family.  This is the form of communication that is of vital importance.  Speaking is important as it helps us to bridge barriers and understand each other better.  It helps to connect, resolve conflicts and strengthen bonds.

What are some of the ways that we can keep our face-to-face communication alive?

1)      Join a Toastmasters Club – A toastmasters club is a wonderful avenue to meet after work and improve on speaking, listening and leadership traits.  It is a great place to network with people of diverse backgrounds and get diverse perspectives on current events, topics of interest and have fun.    It also helps to develop our leadership abilities by way of taking up roles at meetings within the club and networking with other clubs.

2)      Join a Special Interest Group – We all have interests – related to our work or outside be it. IEEE, Project Management, Quality, DIY, singing, guitar, cycling etc.  Joining these groups is a great way to network with like-minded people and learn a lot more.  This is also a great way to find a job in your area of interest.

3)      Meetups – Social media enthusiasts on twitter organise twestivals or meetups where people get to know each other and also gather to discuss about causes that concern the world.  It is also a great way  for entrepreneurs to network for youngsters to find their partners in life or just have fun.

4)      Volunteering – Many volunteer groups spend time training kids or engaging with old folks or the disabled.  Doing such work gives one an opportunity to network with  a lot of volunteers and make friends.

Communication is slowly proving to be a lost art.  People hardly find time to exchange pleasantries or chat over a cup of coffee.  Written communication like letter writing is already obsolete and is today replaced by email.  Technology has simplified our lives but it has also made us a lazy lot switching from one gadget to another in a different virtual world.

Do you feel that you are spending too much time online or with gadgets?  Are you missing out on networking with friends and face-to-face communication?

5 Lessons that we can Learn from our Children

January 26, 2013 3 comments


(This post appeared first on ModernLifeBlogs.)

As parents we are always concerned about inculcating the right values in our children but have you wondered what we can learn from our children?


Children do not bring any preconceived notions or prejudices to the classroom.  So they are always full of wonder and curiosity.   As adults we have to learn to unlearn.  Our false notions and egoistic beliefs stand in the way of our quest for truth.


A child is a bundle of energy jumping from task to task with effortless ease.  Even after hours of play they do not want to stop.  The reason is they are lost in the present moment and fully enjoy whatever they do.   Children play like there is no tomorrow.


Who  does not love an innocent child?  They have no qualms about the future.  They are always honest and say what is on their mind.  They also do not build walls of discrimination based on colour, caste or creed.  Their love is unconditional.

Sunny Smiles

Have you seen a child cry one moment and burst into laughter the very next moment?  They do not brood over trivial quarrels or misunderstandings.  They are able to forgive and forget.  This is one important lesson that we can learn from children.


Children are known to laugh a great deal more than adults.  Cartoons, comic books, jokes and mimicking are the best part of childhood. This keeps them intrinsically motivated and it also inspires and changes the mood of all around them.

What are the lessons that you have learnt from your child?

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”  – Aldous Huxley

5 Ways to Brighten your day

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

(This was first posted in Modern Life Blogs  – )

We all have ups and downs in life.  But, if we know how to maintain our equipoise when turbulent waters rock our boat, then we understand that  life is all about embracing our true nature and living and cherishing each experience.

What are some of the ways that we can add life to our days?

1). Early to rise

The early morning is an ideal time for starting your day.  Either by taking a long walk in the outdoors, spending time in prayer or meditation, yoga, jogging, planning the day ahead.  The sound of the birds, the sunrise, and the serene atmosphere are ideal for these activities.

2). Enjoy breakfast with fresh juice

Breakfast is acknowledged by many to be the most important meal of the day.  So instead of rushing to work, make sufficient time to enjoy a good breakfast with your family.  A glass of fresh juice in the morning is very refreshing.

3). Take  a break

If you have a sedentary job, it is important to take a break to stretch your legs or relax your hands and eyes.  Looking at the monitor for long hours or typing at a keyboard for long can be strenuous.

4). Pursue your interest

All of us have a passion, an interest or a hobby.  Be it playing soccer, reading, writing playing soccer or badminton, music, toastmasters etc.   Making time for these activities is important as they fire up our passion and keep us motivated.

5). Bonding with family

With the advent of social media, technological gadgetry like smartphones, tablets and the like, we find no time for face-to-face communication.  After work, we have to spend some time with our loved ones to strengthen our bonds.

By cherishing and expressing gratitude for the things that we have, we can add so much more meaning to our lives.

I am Me

January 13, 2013 2 comments

I’m just another person
Living a happy life
I have my quirks
And can be quite a jerk

Can’t juggle with balls
Or pull a rabbit out of a hat
But I’m simple and friendly
If that’s what you seek

I have dreams and hopes
And I do set goals
But I’m thankful I’m blessed
With more than I need

I love to wonder
Laugh and cry
And look at nature
With an innocent eye

Don’t ask for perfection
If you find me clumsy
I wear no mask
I am Me


© copyright skm, 13th January, 2013

Categories: Poetry Tags: , , , ,

13 goals for 2013

January 13, 2013 Leave a comment

The new year 2013 has set in and with it hopes of new challenges, wish lists and resolutions.   I would like to embark on some new endeavours, travels and also some soul searching.  So I just thought of putting down 13 wish lists or resolutions that I would like to achieve this year!

1)      Travel to some new destination – perhaps HongKong, Australia, Bali besides India

2)       Climb up the career ladder

3)       Spend quality time with family

4)       Read many more books

5)       Doing blogposts more regularly

6)       Taking out my bicycle which has been lying unused for some time

7)       Progress on my toastmasters journey

8)       Making time to coach my daughter in her studies

9)      Continue to attend events by Chinmaya mission

10)    Doing some volunteer work more often

11)   Spend wisely and save for travel, family treats, really important stuff etc

12)   Learn something new eg. Sanskrit, EMBA etc.

13)   Keep fit and healthy


Have you made any resolutions for this year?  What are your immediate and long-term goals?  What is that dream thing that you want to accomplish and have been putting off for too long?


Categories: General Tags: , , ,

2012 Blogging report from WordPress

January 1, 2013 Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Categories: Books
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