Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Most unusual expressions

Some interesting words that describe people engaging in fraud or cheating in someway by Nilesh Jahagirdar.

Shill: One time I was at a train station, where I was approached by someone who was offering to sell branded, expensive sunglasses for next to nothing. I’m sure we have encountered such fraudulent offers. As it happens, even as I refused, this seller was approached by a ‘customer’ who was interested in buying, and was praising the quality of the sunglasses loudly enough for me to hear. We know the routine with these things. The ‘customer’ who showed interest was a ‘shill’--a person who was in league with the seller, and was trying to get him business by tricking other people.
The job of a shill is to pretend to be a customer, lend legitimacy to the business or the seller by pretending to like and buy the product, and thus trick other people around into buying the product too.
As you can tell, this is an unflattering way to describe someone who is putting on an act, being dishonest, and essentially trying to defraud others. The meaning of the word is often extended to describe people who are known apologists or unreasonably strong supporters of political parties, politicians, etc.
For example, you might say: ‘Although the government has failed to implement any welfare policies, this prominent journalist--who is perhaps a government shill--continues to praise it.’ Here is another example: ‘The mining activities have damaged our forests and hurt the local people, but the media, which is basically a shill for large corporations, has failed to take the issue seriously.’

Charlatan: Let’s deal with the pronunciation first. ‘Charlatan’ is pronounced--to indicate very roughly-- as ‘shaar-la-tan’. This is a word of French origin, that again means ‘a fraud’ or ‘a trickster.’ The precise usage is important though. A charlatan is someone who fakes a specific skill, or knowledge of a particular profession in order to cheat people and make some quick money. For example, you would frequently come across news items about charlatans who go from town to town pretending to be spiritual guides, and in the process steal money from people.
The word is perhaps most commonly used to describe people who pretend to have professional medical expertise, but are actually not qualified doctors at all. If you are angry at a doctor and believe him to be extremely incompetent, you might call him a ‘charlatan’--which would definitely be an insult--even though you are aware that he has a medical degree.

This article was originally posted in The Hindu 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

EFF is back again with assorted team: motivating the students

Finally yes!we are here this year to discuss with you about the EFF trip to country side, Gandweed ZPH School. Once in every three months we visit the school to check the over all development and progress among the students, but this time we were late by one month because of the formation of Telangana and Andhra states and hours of power cuts especially in villages. Due to which we could not take the virtual classes regularly.
Every visit of ours, we introduce new set of volunteers from various professions, by doing so, students, get excited to see new faces who could express their intentions, motivating and encouraging the pupils by inserting corporate play schools methods of teaching, rather than the routine presentation teaching.

Volunteers from different backgrounds implant their teaching skills and involve the students in activities such as classroom games, speaking activities, quiz competition, reading, social issues etc... This time we have concentrated only the speaking skills of the students because we wanted to evaluate how well they are able to cope up with English and in their communication skills. The topics that we have emphasized this time were; Role of News paper in our life, what is your aim in life, Story telling and above all last not the least, Eradication of child marriage etc....


At the end of the day, when we took the summary class wise, it was impressive! The virtual classroom teaching helped most of the students to perform well in all categories of subjects, social issues, general knowledge, speaking activities, current affairs, and English grammar and so on. Over all it was amazing to learn that students have put in lot of interest in learning to speak in English. The different methods of teaching especially, to those vernacular medium students of classes VI and a very small number of students from other classes needs an extra concentration individually, to help them shine like other students. Who are already in that stream, in a nut shell, lots of efforts to be put in with students to overcome the fear of stage and speech. Perhaps help them to take daring steps to disclose their talents standing in front of the class and audience.
Vehemently speaking, while the presentation of Hockey Sticks along with items relating to them and some Educational Literature books were awarded for the students for the excellent performance in the activities that were conducted by the EFF.We noticed that there were lot of people standing  at the school main gate and some of them sitting on the walls while others standing witnessing the proceedings taking place in the school premises. Out of their anxiety and excitement, we could hear  them clapping in joy along with the students cheering the students who are presented with gifts. We the EFF are happy to bring this awareness among the residents of Gandweed Village and are very pleased with the encouragement they offered to the students.

This school visit has created awareness: In student's performances, and how we need to work with them in the areas they need to be polished to make an improvement in their progress.

On behalf of EFF, we sincerely thank all the Purpletalk employees and others who supported the achievers and made the children happy at the end of the day. We hope to get the same support and encouragement from all of you, in the future too. We thank the school management for cooperating with us in all errands.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sun raha hai na tum...(Are you listening!)

There are so many things we need to check in classroom instruction. For example, listening. Every teacher expects 100% attention from every student in his/her class. All the students in the class hear to the teacher, but only few pupils listen. There is a huge difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical activity while listening is a skill. Someone who is physical impaired can be a great listener if he or she pays attention to the information someone conveys to them regardless of how it is conveyed to them. Likewise someone with very sharp hearing may be a poor listener.
Pupils these days are unable to focus in the class. My niece, studying in eighth standard, very smart and active in studies but zero in Mathematics. She said, "I pretend to listen to the teacher, it's really tough to focus and follow his instruction". Reason - friends disturb her, or she will be in her replay of daily soaps. Pupils of all ages are backward in listening to the teacher's instruction. Need of the hour is to help the pupils to improve their listening skills by any means.

Few activities to improve listening skills in pupils - 
  • Play games like 'Simon-says'
  • Play listening games to identify animal and environmental sounds
  • Play news and other programmes in radio 
  • Engage your child in conversation
  • Narrate stories (instead of playing CD or YouTube videos). 

Happy listening!


Related links:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sneak peak of a primary school

I went on a holiday to my husband’s home town. It’s a remote village at Komorole Mandal, Prakasham District, in A.P. There are around 70 to 80 houses in that village. The unique thing in this hamlet is, all are Muslim families. You can't see any other religion except Islam in this village.

Daily I used to see some guys hanging out at a place. It was govt. Primary School. The guys sit on the compound wall of the school to chit-chat, it's like a time pass center for them.

I peeped into the school on a fine day. The total strength of the school was 10 pupils; they included 1st to 4th standard students. It was Saturday, and the strength on that day was just seven (out of ten). All the four classes have to sit together in a single room. And its a single teacher school.  

I got to spend some time with the pupils in the class. I interacted with the kids through some games and activities.
First I conducted a vocabulary game in their native language. It was not going good with their vocabulary knowledge. 
Then I tried a simple game, recognizing colors. Hardly, one or two pupils named the colors I displayed. But when asked for examples for the color I displayed, they gave plenty of examples. 
I started rewarding the pupils with chocolates for correct answers to boost their enthusiasm.

Basically, the students in the school are Muslims, they speak a kind of Urdu in their homes. But at school, they were taught in Telugu medium. For an average student it takes one year to learn the alphabets of the target language. The school teacher is concentrating only on alphabets the whole year for all the four standards.

Asad Wali, Std I, drawing model of bangle, an example of circle shape.

Kausar, Std III, drawing model of face, an example of circle shape.

From left, Jilani, Std III. He is good and active in studies. But lack of cleanliness, he takes bath or changes his dress once in two weeks.From right, Rasool Std III, he can't speak properly, tongue twisting issue.  
"I never beat my students, if I do so pupils will drop out. Earlier the strength in the school was 18 to 20 pupils. But now, it got reduced to 10 pupils. Teachers won't get interest to teach less strength. Even though I am trying my best to teach them"
"Parents in the village are not willing to send their kids to government schools. As a result, private schools are popping up in every village.Now a days, parents are leaned to English medium schools than native language schools. Hence government schools are becoming empty." explained the school teacher, Mr.Satyanarayana, when asked the reason for depleting strength.

There are so many government schools in the states of Telangana and A.P. running with less than 10 pupils in a school. The new government has decided to shut down the schools with less than 20 pupils and merge these school to near by schools. According to the the present records there are around 2000 schools in the state of Telangana come under this category which are going to shut down in this academic year.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A teacher tap the fertile mind of young children

Teacher's day is celebrated on 5th September every year throughout the country. On this day we gratefully remember Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishna, who believed that "Teachers should be the best minds in the country". Along with  being a great teacher, he was also the president of India, a stanch believer of education and was the well known diplomat and a scholar.
The word teacher in Sanskrit is "GURU". "GU" means the darkness and "RU" the remover of darkness. Hence, a teacher is called a torchbearer. Teaching is not a job, but a noble calling. A teacher is a source of information a guide, a mentor,  motivator and above all they are the back bone for our country.
Teacher is the essence of education and it is only through their guidance we are accomplished in our field today. The first teachers are our parents: they teach us, care for us and nurture us to be capable people. Our parents meet all our physical needs but teachers motivate us with the  light of knowledge and remove the ignorance. Above all life is the biggest teacher.
Teachers are the pillars of our success: therefore let us salute all our teachers who have become beacon of light, guiding us throughout the journey of life.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

School timings

In our neighborhood we hardly see any school going kids in the evening. "Our children go to school early in the morning at 7 am and return to home after 6 pm", said their parents. 11 hours schedule includes - travelling, special coaching for IIT, remedial teaching, preparation for exams, tuitions, extra curricular activities etc decks up the whole day. Private schools in the state are working hard to get good ranks.. These schools are working more than ten hours to withstand in the market of education business. On the other side, we see the govt school kids running on the streets early by 2.30 in the post noon. Schools run by Govt. run till 3 pm. In the state every school follow their own timings.
The new T-government have come up with a new timing for all the schools. From now on  all the schools in the state should run from 9am to 4.30pm. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Learn, grow and have fun in a safe environment

As the old saying,“All the work and no play make a dull boy”is very apt in present generation. 
With the rise of the corporate schools and colleges, all that kids are allowed to do is study. 
They hear a “No” to everything they want to do other than study.  With this in mind, it’s no wonder that children so eagerly anticipate  summer camps as this is the only “Yes” they hear from elders. Summer Camps also give children the freedom to do what they desire.
Children learn many positive skills from summer camps. Along with that, they also spend their day being physically active, experience success and become more confident, develop decision making abilities, make new friends, develop leadership qualities and much more. Above all, summer camps are a great way for children to learn and how to be independent.
There are a lot of places in Hyderabad that have initiated summer camps for kids. Below are the list of camps in Hyderabad, where your kids can have a fun summer!
Age Group: 4 to 15yrs
Activities :Activity Centres, Musical Instruments, Personality Development, Western Dance
Timings: 09:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Contact: Mr. Bikash, 07569719128
Email ID: 
Web site: www.soundkraft.inAddress: Plot no - 108, 3rd Floor, SSRGI Arcade, Opp. Al Saba Restaurant Telecom Nagar, Gachibowli, Hyderabad


Age Group: 2 to 7yrs
Activities : Art & Craft, Communication Skills, Personality Development, Plays, Storytelling
Timings: 09:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Contact: Ms. Rosy, 8099717283
Address: Plot No.35, Dollars Hill Colony, Pragathi Nagar, Kukatpally, Hyderabad


Age Group: 4 to 7yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Music Session, Personality Development, Singing, Storytelling
Timings: 09:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Contact: Team Beyond Books, 9703579000 / 9885906353/ 9966012928
Email ID:
Address: 13/2 HUDA Techno Enclave, Sector One, Madhapur, Hyderabad 500081


  Age Group: 2 to 14yrs
 Activities : Art & Craft, Cooking & Baking,  Western Dance
 Timings: 10:30 AM - 01:00 PM
Contact Person: Team PamperedKidz, 7731040404
Email ID: 
Address: Plot No C22 , Road No 1 , Beside FilmNagar, Hyderabad


Age Group: 1.50 to 5yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Clay Modelling, Communication Skills , Musical Instruments, Physical Fitness, Storytelling,  Tennis
Timings: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Contact: Team Gymboree07306168219
Email ID: 
Address: 1057 PBN Center, 2nd floor Road no. 45 Above Coffee Day, Hyderabad - 500003


Age Group: 6 to 15yrs
Activities : Abacus, Mental Maths
Timings: 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Contact: Ms. S. Srikala, 9959910111
Email ID:
Website: www.geniusvedicmaths.comAddress: Plot No.18, Lepakshi Colony, Hyderabad


Age group:  6-16yrs
Activities: Swimming, Tennis, Foot ball, Basket ball, Skating, Athletics, Cricket, Music, Table Tennis, Chess, Dance, Art, yoga.
Timings: 8.00 am to 11.00 am
Contact No: 64611938, 9849444128,
Email ID:
Address: Near Artillery Centre Gate, Golconda, Hyderabad,


Age Group: 3 to 12yrs
Activities : Academic Enrichment, Art & Craft, Clay Modelling, Gym, Martial Arts, Mental Maths, Music Session, SkatingWestern Dance, Yoga
Timings: 08:00 am - 11:30 am
Contact: Team Bachpan PlayschoolNo: 9912349908
Email ID: 
Address: H.No:24-36/1/5, Shivpuri Colony, Lane Opp. Bank of Maharashtra, Nr.
Anandbhag X Road, Malkajgiri, Secunderabad


Age Group: 6 to 20yrs
Activities : Chess
Timings: 09:00 am - 01:00 pm
Batch Size - 15
Contact: Mr Anvesh, 9951946791
Email ID: 
Address: Plot No-60 , Loyola College Road , Trimulgherry,Secundarabad


Age Group: 7yrs and above
Activities : Calligraphy
Timings: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Contact: Mrs. Maya Ravinder, 9908125126
Email ID: 
Address: 15 , Little millenium preschool, 16 Bapu Bagh, Near Foodworld, P J Road Begumpet, Hyderabad

Friday, April 4, 2014

Election Fever

With the 16th general elections coming ahead, every party is busy to raise their flag as high as they can. Media is working on the exit polls, airing big fights and debates to increase their TRPs. Farmers and daily labours gave a short break for their work to campaign with the party members. Of course, they are getting good pay package from each party. Senior citizens are debating on – is it BJP or Congress or AAP or something else who is going to rule our 1.2 billion people… This summer is heating up more with the election fever everywhere.

Election manifesto is the key thing in any election campaign. Parties are working hard on their manifestos to woo the voters. Sometime ago, I heard that in Tamilnadu, a party’s manifesto include ‘free color TV’ for every family. In A.P. a party has come up with Rs.1000 salary/month to the economically backward families in their manifesto. Isn't it crazy! whatever, the party needs votes and get into the seat to rule.

To catch-up this heat, I tried a small activity on ‘Elections’ with the middle school pupils of Red Cross Govt Girls High School at Masab Tank, Hyd. Each student has to come up with a unique party name, symbol and manifesto to contest in the elections. 
Here are some nominees -

Name: Sirisha
Class: 7
Party name: M.G. Party
Party symbol: Tree
Manifesto: Free electricity for every family, provides pensions for senior citizens, jobs for 10th pass pupils, free medical treatment for the poor, scholarships for the economically backward.

Name: Keerthi Priya
Class: 7
Party name: Praja Yudham (Public War)
Party symbol: Girl and boy symbol
Manifesto: Mineral water supply for every family. A cycle for every student to go to school. Special act on girl protection. Free education in private schools. One TV per family. Will stop corruption and ban alcohol.

Name: Zaitoon 
Class : 7
Party name: Rythu Seva (Farmers service)
Party symbol: Rice
Manifesto: Free houses, medicines, education, a salary of Rs.200/month to farmers.

Name: Nikitha
Class : 7
Party name: Please save plant
Party symbol: Plant
Manifesto: Free - ration, drinking water supply, electricity, admission, bags & books for the poor. Renovate roads and maintain it regularly.

Name: G. Pooja
Class: 7
Party name: Water party
Party symbol: Rose
Manifesto: Free rice, 11 hours electricity for farmers, free jobs, a salary of Rs.5000/month to the economically backward families.

Every contestant is wooing their voter with freebies. Obviously, Indian mentality has tuned to Free goods, subsidized services, reservations for caste and creed etc etc. We see our country's progress until or unless our rigid mind set transforms.

Education For Free team wishes every nominee a big luck! Public will decide the fate of each candidate.
Cast your vote for a better governance.
Happy vote day to all the citizens of India.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Annual Visit

This time the visit to ZPH School, Gandweed came after a long wait as the dates kept changing due to certain circumstances. Finally we left on a very special day, Valentine’s Day! Until the last moment, we weren't sure how many volunteers were accompanying us to the school but to our surprise, we had 7 volunteers who were willing to take part in it and celebrate Valentine’s Day with the children. And that made this trip even more special. We as a team were able to make a fun filled educational day for the kids. For a change, they were not bored about having to sit in the classroom but were rather excited about the activities and the learning time.
When we made our first visit to this school, we had noticed that the students were very poor in speaking and reading English, but after a year of tutoring them through the Virtual Classroom we noticed that there is a lot of improvement in their speaking, reading and writing skills now. It was really amazing to see the growth in the students. In fact each of the volunteers report regarding the performance of the students development was satisfactory. Most of the students this time volunteered to participate in all the activities including giving little speeches on the stage.
But there were still a few students who needed personal care and individual attention to overcome their fear and shyness, at least for that day. We are hoping that the schools would continue to encourage the students to be aware and eager to learn.
Volunteers Report:
This was my second trip to this School. The first time I was accompanying the team but this time I was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the standard 9th EM students. To my surprise the topic was on “DOWRY”. In response to the teaching, I got wonderful opinions of various kinds from the students but most importantly their opinion on how the Dowry system might be gradually going away from their homes and the society. The students participated in different activities like quiz, speeches, writing and reading. Most of them performed very well and were very well behaved as well. I had a wonderful time and experience with the students and the team of volunteers too.-         Vinai David
This was my first visit to the school and without a thought it was amazing trip and I had a good time with the kids. I was given class 8th EM and a few activities like a written test, discussion about the Dowry system, running dictation and storytelling. It was a fun time and also very educational for them. Few of the kids especially among the boys were gems! They were very active and enthusiastic especially Vinay, Bharath and Manikanta. Girls on the other side, with a little more encouragement and support can perform very well too.

One request is that teachers should encourage the kids in their respective area of interests as I had come across one boy, Rama Krishna who was very talented in drawing. There might be a lot of hidden talents among the kids. Few were very excited about rendering the movie dialogues as well which proves their confidence and no stage fear, such people should be encouraged too. On the whole it was a fun time for me too as a volunteer. I would love to be a part of more such activities.-         Hephzibah
Pursuing my B. Tech final year in JNAFAU spa, this was my first visit to the school and I loved it a lot and I really loved the views of EFF and proud to say that I’m part of it. I really had a good time with the children. I attended 7th EM, the children in the class were really talented –Honestly I was expecting it. I began by conducting an exam in which few children had problems in understanding the question, some of them performed well. After the exam the next activity was “act out an activity, child labor, chain spelling and word game. The children were really good at this chain spelling I really enjoyed the time spent with the class and certainly would want to continue my contribution to EFF.

Few girls in the class were really active: Akhila, Anusha, Shreshta except a few boys remaining all were good as well- They just needed a little push. I loved being a part of it and would love to continue being a part of it.

-  Dinesh
I’m a degree final year student at Nizam’s Degree College. I really like the efforts being made by EFF to provide education for children in remote areas. It was really great that I was part of it, even if it was just for a day! And I would like to be part of it for many more events. I went to two classes and the children were very well behaved.  I was asked to conduct written test and some other activities. The students responded to the best of their ability, though there were many mistakes grammatically while communicating in English, yet they tried to speak in English. So as a whole all of them need to make a lot of improvement in learning the English language and I feel they are all have enough enthusiasm not just to learn the language but to do so much in life.  -      Abhinay
I attended Classes 9th TM, 8th TM, 7th TM, and 6th TM. Students were asked to pick up a chit from a set of scheduled topics and Draw on the topic. The students were explained about the purpose of studying, drawing and its use for the academic purposes and career prospects. I Efforts was made towards developing their drawing skills using basic shapes and perspective techniques. It was good to see the progress from my last visit.-      Santosh
This was my second trip to the School. I went to 7th class and conducted many activities like quiz, speaking skills and reading skills, each student has a vision to improve themselves, but most of the pupils are having stage fear. I felt that an extra attention towards the students will help them train well to be free from stage fear and perform their best in speaking English. If the students are provided with English to Telugu and Telugu to English dictionaries they would perhaps put extra interest in learning and knowing the meaning of the new words and formation of sentences. -       Anupama
This was my first visit and it was a wonderful experience with the kids of class VI EM. Since they are from Telugu medium back ground it was very hard for them to speak and write in English, however they did to the best of their abilities. According to my observation, since they are beginners to English medium, students need to put extra interest especially in learning English language. -     Rakesh
I began my session with 9th TM students with different activities like: Dowry system, storytelling, running dictation, ‘what is your aim in life’ and G.K. Most of the students were very active in the class and each one tried to speak in English. It was surprising for me to see Telugu medium students speaking in English. During our first visit to this school, after EFF adopted it, the most kids would respond Madam don’t speak to us in English we don’t understand”. But today I’m proud of their progress.
A huge thank you from EFF  to  our wonderful volunteers for coming with us all the way and doing what you did there! The students were charmed and motivated and we are sure, they will start to dream bigger. Thank you once again for making the first Valentine’s Day so special for the kids!
Dictionaries and general knowledge books were given as gifts  to the students who performed well in the class room activities.
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