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May 2013

Volume# 7 Issue# 5

Inspiring Teachers
Human Excellence

Updates from the academy!
Welcome to a new format of the newsletter. I trust you will like it since it makes us forget the scorching summer! At least in the south, we have another six weeks to tolerate this heat and then the hustle of reopening schools and colleges begins. We just finished doing a pre-retirement workshop at DRDL for about 25 technical and administrative assistants. The two day workshop aims to help people retiring in the next few months with plan for a happy retirement. With the increasing longevity in India, now we have almost 30 years of life after retiring. It is necessary to plan to lead that life happily. We dealt with psycho-social aspects of retirement, financial planning and will making, health and nutrition, spiritual and emotional wellbeing and keeping oneself busy with meaningful activities. The response was very good and already DMRL has asked for a similar program. Zero Option IIT is an article written in the year 2007 by Prof. C. Amarnath, sent by his brother Dr Sridhar Chitta. It was when the Government of India announced the establishment of more new IITs. The Japanese had shown interest in assisting the establishment of new institutions. Prof. Amarnath is a visionary academician with a great sense of humour. He retired from IITB in Dec 2012 as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. The person “Bapu” he refers to in this article does exist on IITB campus!

In this issue: Faculty of the month Dr P Aparna The Zero Option IIT by Prof C Amarnath Must Read Links, and Updates from Teacher’s Academy

Two day workshop at CBIT, Hyderabad consisted of topics like perspectives, attitude, time management. Emotional Intelligence, Personality types and careers, Communication basics. MTech students and faculty were the participants. The facilitators are Akila Jaikumar, Urjita Deshpande and Uma Garimella.

Contact us:,

May 2013

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Volume# 7 Issue# 5

Faculty of the Month
Dr Palle Aparna, Head, Dept of Humanities and Basic Sciences, GNITS Read full text at
What influenced your choice to take teaching as career?

Getting into a ‘Service Sector’ was my broad career choice. An incidental offer by a Kendriya Vidyalaya to take up a job against a “leave vacancy” was my first feel and taste for teaching. This led to my first realization that “Teaching is Learning” “The better you teach the greater is your learning process” There was no looking back after this realization. As opportunities came my way, I took up one after the other as a teacher in KV to Lecturer in a Junior and

Her specialization in M.Phil and Ph.D was on Jewish American and Afro American comparative studies and her areas of interest include English Language Teaching, Soft Skills training, Cross cultural communications and developing course materials and resources to enhance communication skills in English Language through Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). She has 15 years of teaching experience to undergraduate engineering students. She takes the credit of organizing 5th International Congress on English Grammar in Hyderabad, the first of its kind hosted by a private engineering college in the state of Andhra Pradesh. As Member, Board of Studies, Humanities and Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, Dr.P.Aparna played a leading role in the curricular reforms in English studies for professional graduates. She was instrumental in the development of English Language Laboratories for the Engineering graduates in the state of Andhra Pradesh. She is a Life Member of English Language Teachers Association of India, (ELTAI) Dr.P.Aparna was one among the 4 Indian counterparts to take part in the workshop on “Strengthening the Teacher Associations among the South Asian countries” at Dhaka conducted by Hornby School. UK. She is a recipient of Academic Excellence Award in English Language Teaching instituted by Indus Foundation.

a Degree College to Associate Professor in an Engineering College.
What kind of teaching methods do you use for different types of learners - urban, rural etc?

The class rooms in an Engineering college are mostly heterogeneous in nature with wide range of abilities, skills and behavioral attitudes exhibited by the students. The rural-urban divide is very obvious especially in case of lateral entries joining in the second year of the B.Tech programme. The rural students, depending on the geographical, social, economic factors need a little more informal interaction to lead them to interact with their peer group and the teachers, with no reservations and inhibitions. This takes some time. And at times it is not “easy”. They live in their own comfort zone of not interacting with anyone. They are called for special classes and teacher interactions. In fact, working through Lead India programmes helped me a lot to understand rural students professionally and to help them to learn and unlearn the factors to communicate well.
Tell us something about your Lead India 2020 program

This is a Second National Movement to ignite young minds to transform “developing country” to a

May 2013

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Volume# 7 Issue# 5

FoM Cont’d
“developed country.” The motto is “Aap Bado Desh Ko Badhao.” Nation building can happen only when the individuals are morally and ethically responsible. To achieve this, course modules are designed for the holistic development of an individual as envisioned by Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam, conceptualized by Dr.NB Sudharshancharya. It is an experiential learning enabling the participant to understand the significance of each of the module that includes Physical, Mental, Social, Spiritual and National Development and how each is interlinked with the other. My understanding of Lead India 2020 concepts and modules tremendously made an impact in my class room teaching to understand the significance of quality education and how this can be a tremendous source of empowerment for the youth for nation building. Does this experience benefit your students, when you teach? Lead India uses interactions, narratives, group discussions, mentoring and counseling as the methods for exploring the concepts to be dealt with. This makes the sessions highly interesting, involving and interactive leading to an experiential learning for every individual learner. I personally and professionally gained great strength in integrating these techniques and methods in my own classroom teaching. What are your other interests? Crafts and Arts. I engage myself in learning certain skills through various crafts and art classes like painting, calligraphy, paper molding that excites me to be highly creative and entertaining & engaging. Reading good books, collecting short stories and anecdotes, pinning up paper clippings from day-to-day newspaper readings are few of my authentic sources/materials that help me with my add-ons to my course plans and lesson plans.

The ZERO option IIT
Prof C Amarnath (see note in editorial)
"I want to give the Japanese a run for their Yen." I told them, my four colleagues and friends. "I am setting up an IIT all by myself. Mine would be an IIT of the new millennium, an IIT with a difference". That these four, who had rarely greeted the rising sun were standing in my garden at an early hour, was a fair indicator of the upheaval the media reports about my intention to set an IIT had caused. "And what would those differentiators be, Anna" they asked. "Well the first would be that there would be no teaching at my IIT, as opposed to there being little or no learning these days". Their collective gasp told me that I had begun on the right note. "You are out of your mind Anna" one of them said. "A knock on the head, or a visit to the shrink is perhaps in order." "Why the shrink, to get me certified as loony. And talking of certificates do you realize that one can afford to walk off from an institution without any "knowledge" but not without a certificate. Today "certiculture" prevails everywhere and you are merely an embodiment of the several certificates you clutch. There will hence be no certificates at my IIT. Let characters flower on their own." "O.K. permit us to humour you, what about examinations Anna" said one. I had to be careful further on, as my answers would remove any lingering doubts about the necessity of an audience with the shrink. "No certificates - no exams. Elementary logic, my friends! Exams train you to dodge challenges through means fair or foul. Given so many exams this planet will inherit those bereft of courage”

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Volume# 7 Issue# 5

Must See Links
Self Development (youtube videos)

Articles, Teaching Resources,Videos

The ZERO option IIT (Cont’d) "Any more USPs, Anna" "No textbooks. Textbooks have increasingly been reckoned to

The Power of Intention I & II by Wayne Dyer Short videos by Eckhart Tolle From Ambition to Meaning by Wayne Dyer The eighth habit by Stephen Covey Physical Healing and Emotional Wellbeing by Deepak Chopra

be the prime sources of knowledge, to an extent that this "source" is being mistaken for "knowledge" itself. Mere chronicles of success stories, failures being ignored, one is led to believe that life is one grand success story!." "You are going nuts Anna - all this is Utopian nonsense" "Utopian nonsense ? - anything Utopian has this hallmark of simplicity. Buckminister Fuller, you might recall, had described an ideal airport terminal as one that has no building, one purchases a ticket at the foot of the ladder and clambers aboard. This is what I would term as a "solution based upon zeroas an option" or more simply "the Zero

Sites for team building activities: General:

Option Solution"- an Utopia solution if I may call it so, my friends" I knew I had their full attention now. "Zero, though signifying non-existence" I continued grandiosely, "is part of the continuum, and when opted for, has the remarkable ability to return simple solutions. Many a pragmatic solution lies at or close to this point." "Anna, your lucid math escapes us, well let me guess further, no students, no curriculum or departments or disciplines and so on - am I right Anna" "You are right, such classifications are for the unenlightened, mere "Maya". Unshackled thus, my IIT would continuously reinvent, redesign and reorganize itself and like a chameleon would unobtrusively merge with society and meet its ever changing needs." "Anna, having known you for several years we are loath to drag you to a shrink, but nothing could stop us from bringing one here."

Teaching and Learning:
Project Based Learning Case Based teaching

Team Based Learning icle1.htm Collaborative Learning Medical Courses:

May 2013

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Volume# 7 Issue# 5

The Zero option IIT (cont’d)
There was a rustle of leaves and young Bapu appeared holding a banana leaf plucked from my garden. This Huckleberry Finn of the campus with an enchanting and perpetual smile, often drops in uninvited and offers to tend to the garden or undertake any sundry task that he has decided needs to be done at your home. "Uncle," he says "I heard all you said. You are starting an IIT, are you its director" in a tone that made it a presumptive statement rather than a question. I knew what was coming next, the famous offer cum order from Bapu, "I think I would like to join your IIT." "You are welcome Bapu, there are no barriers for entry to my IIT nor are there any for exit". I turn around to watch the reaction of my friends but none is around. "Your friends leaped across the garden fence and vanished" says Bapu. "Well, the honour of being the first to step into the portals of my IIT, shall be yours Bapu - my friends being leap years away. Let me find a suitable location for the campus." "I have a better idea uncle, why not turn this campus into your IIT" "You are a genius Bapu, that never occurred to me." "Uncle, pardon me for saying so, but like several on this campus, you speak faster than you think, think faster than you comprehend and rarely ponder, if at all." "That is unfair Bapu, considering that it was I who had conceived this Zero Option IIT, believe me, it was no easy task"

"Even that is no big deal uncle - any place in India with no schools is a zero option IIT – did that not strike you." "Ok Bapu, I did not think so far out, but Bapu they have never gone places like the IITs, have they? They have remained suspended in time! Change is permanent you know. What have they ever achieved" "Achieved ? Uncle, all your daily needs are met by them and what do you produce for them - nothing, yet you choose to judge and question them ?. I winced at this "You are daft Bapu, all of us do support them – let us not forget the massive funding (for them) in the recent central government budget." "Whatever little support you extend them is merely to save your precious hide which would wilt within days should they choose to abandon you. Nature cannot sustain this exponential growth of yours. The decay of this planet would have been exponential, but for them. When one takes out of a system a lot more than he/she puts in, the system will eventually run down. That is the tragedy our nation and increasingly our planet faces. Sleep over these thoughts uncle. The door swung open and Vijaya barged in. "Oh, what are you dreaming about, it is time you got out of the bed and got ready. Have you forgotten about your JEE duties" "Ji" I said. "Not "Ji" it is "JEE" the exalted IIT admission test." I shot out of my bed, promptly.