5 More Ways to Use Social Media in Classrooms (Session 2)

5 More Ways to Use Social Media in Classrooms (Session 2)
By Ahmad Amirali

In my previous post, 5 Ways to Use Social Media in Classrooms (Session 1), I shared 5 ways through which I used social media to involve and engage my students with the lesson. In this post, I will share 5 more ideas of creative use of social media in the classroom. However, before discussing these ideas, I would like to share and answer some of the concerns my colleagues asked me about using social media in the classroom. Their queries helped me to understand better why some teachers feel reluctant to use technologies in their classrooms and believe me, this behaviour shows the level of vigilance and cautiousness teachers follow while planning their lessons.

Question 1: How the use of social media helped student’s participation?

Nowadays, social media now become an essential tool/activity for every individual, including our students. These platforms encourage students who do not usually participate actively in the classroom to participate in their own way. Read More …

Why Is It Necessary for Teens to Set Emotional Boundaries?

Why Is It Necessary for Teens to Set Emotional Boundaries?
By Ahmad Amirali

Being emotional is necessary for kids, especially for their personality grooming (Previous Article: Why Is Being Emotional Necessary for Our Children Better Future?). However, it is also essential for teens to maintain some emotional boundaries as they are entering the practical phase of their lives. Every year one of the parent’s most severe concerns consist of their child’s sensitive behaviour towards their social, religious or academic circle. Parents concerns make perfect sense to me because, being an adult, they themselves finding it difficult setting their own emotional boundaries and therefore they consider being emotional is kind of a weakness which is not true.  Let’s get through it with an example; you living in a big house with your family and a huge barn with a horse stable.  Every morning you wake to witness this remarkable peaceful site where everyone, human and animal, loves each other. However, the whole area where you are living has no fence in it or a ‘boundary’ that mark your territory. What would be the repercussions of not having a fence? Yes, the security of loved ones, kids, wife, parents, animals and the beautiful, peaceful life will be on stake because its ‘open to anyone who wants to come’. Now put your teen’s emotions in place of this remarkable site and repeat the situation and you will find ‘having fences’ will come handy. The solution is ‘having fences’ not to get rid of this peaceful site and to shift somewhere else. So, the question is what is an emotional fence or a boundary and how we can manage to put it in our life? Read More …

Why Do Teens Shut Themselves Away from Their Family and Friends?

Why do Teens Shut Themselves away from their Family and Friends?
By Ahmad Amirali

There are times when students find it difficult to express their stressed-out feelings to anyone. In this case, they simply isolate themselves from their families and friends to sort out available solutions for their problems.  Similar kind of behaviour I witnessed the day before yesterday, in one of my students when she appeared late in my session. She was quite all the time and hardly even participating in any activities. She is one of the active students and therefore her behaviour was quite suspicious to me. When class concluded she simply come to me and handed over her worksheet and the moment she starts bursting in tears, crying out loud. Some students who were there simply have no idea what had just happened or why it was happening. I asked other students to leave the classroom. I didn’t say any word, and after a while, when she realised about her situation, she stops crying. I offered her a glass of water, upon asking she reluctantly shared that her sister’s marriage and her midterm exams are falling on the same week and she did not do well in her previous year’s tests. So, her parents are quite pissed this time. But She also does not want to miss all the shenanigans and memorable events of her sister’s marriage. She is not performing wholeheartedly for her exams as well as not able to enjoy her sister’s wedding. I counsel her, sort out her timetable, and talk to her parents about it. However, I wondered why she decided to shut herself down when she starts encountering the issue in the first place? Is shutting herself down helped her to sort out the solutions? Or sharing her concerns basically makes a difference? Read More …

4 Career Challenges Students Will Face as A Recent College Graduate

4 Career Challenges Students Will Face as A Recent College Graduate
By Ahmad Amirali

Some of the memorable times which I still remember are of my school and college days when I was free and different. I bet the majority of you all will feel the same whenever you rejoice your college days with your family and friends. Now the time is changed and so the priorities of our teens. The term ‘memorable’ might have a new meaning to most of our new generation. However, one thing is still a matter of concern to all teens is ‘what can I do after graduation? Surely, there are some pre-planners most significant who might have already decided everything about their future career and what they would like to reach in a year. However, the rest of the graduates feel stressed when it comes to their future. Read More …

How Do We see Autistic People in Our Daily Lives?

How Do We see Autistic People in Our Daily Lives?
By Ahmad Amirali

Sunday is the day of relaxation for many people, including myself. So, I had nothing to do except surfing the internet this Sunday, and there I found a topic for this article. I was surfing randomly on websites where I found an interesting article on Autism. It was full of information and recent researches, and I found it fascinating. But after reading it, a random thought struck my mind, and I wrote ‘Autistic people’ in the google search panel. In Images, the very first picture I saw was Donald Trump (I laughed out loud). However, the very thing that made me question people awareness about this disease was the picture of a devil or a demon, and then I just scrolled down and found funny pictures about autism and autistic people. This made me wonder How we see Autism and Autistic children in our daily lives?

Generally, people tend to establish an opinion about autism with really specific ‘check-box’ descriptions. For example, autistic people are nonverbal, autistic people always like Math and science and nothing else, autistic people do not feel emotions, or they don’t know how to reciprocate empathy or love. However, the real picture is far more different than these ‘STEREOTYPICAL MYTHS’. I know many kids with autism who love being creative like drawing and painting (I mean serious painting), poetry, pottery etc. Long story short, many autistic people consider autism as an ability rather than a disability. Read More …

Why Students Sometimes Fear to Speak Out Their Minds in The Classroom? | Reasons and Remedies

Why Students Sometimes Fear to Speak Out Their Minds in The Classroom? | Reasons and Remedies
By Ahmad Amirali

Have you ever wondered sometimes a teacher plan a fascinating topic for his/her class and despite witnessing the students’ interest in the subject, they simply avoid participating in classroom discussion or even sharing their opinion? Every year I encountered such student behaviour in my classroom, and upon counselling the students, I hear the same excuse; ‘I was silent because I was worried to share my opinion, what if someone rejects or laugh at my point’. Interestingly, this year I found the same issue with a number of students in my classroom. But this time not one or two, but majority share the same concern that they fear of being singled out or accidentally saying something offensive. Let’s explore what makes students fear to speak out their minds in front of their peers? Read More …

How Our Simple Habits Become A Rite of Passage for Later Life

How Our Simple Habits Become A Rite of Passage for Later Life
By Ahmad Amirali

Last week, my students and I engaged in an open discussion on rituals and habits that how habits and rituals are different and sometimes we start considering some of our practices as rituals. While the conversation went further, one of my students asked ‘Sir, why certain habits become so important for some people that they start taking them as ritual?’ the question was valid at some points, however, I counter question him ‘Is it habits or the stories and feelings related to these habits which makes people to consider them as rituals?’ Throughout our life, whether we follow any religion or not, we involve with many rituals individually as well as communally. For example, holding hands before dinner or saying specific prayers before meal etc. These habits eventually become a sacred part of our lives and even pass on from generation to generations. The question is How Our simple Habits become a rite of passage for later life?

The same question was asked by an activist and tech enthusiast, Bob Stein who has long been in the vanguard: immersed in radical politics as a young man, he grew into one of the founding fathers of new media. He’s wondering what sorts of new rituals and traditions might emerge as society expands to include increasing numbers of people in their eighties and nineties. Read More …

5 Ways to Use Social Media in Classrooms (Session 1)

5 Ways to Use Social Media in Classrooms (Session 1)
By Ahmad Amirali

This year, I am experimenting and have introduced ‘Online Discussion Forums’ in my classroom to help my kids reflect and personalise whatever they’ve been taught at the school (Previous Article: The Online Discussion Boards – A Classroom Pedagogical Tool | How to Use Guide | Pros & Cons). Similarly, there are number of ways through which teacher can involve students in personalisation mode and using social media as a pedagogy for student learning and engagement is one of them. One may ask ‘Why social media?’, Well, It’s not a secret that today’s students are hooked-up with social media due to its popularity and the sense of communal belongingness. Therefore, many teachers are incorporating social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook into their curriculum. From ‘bulletin boards’ to ‘fake Facebook profiles’ for historical figures, teachers are turning what students post on social media into classroom assignments. Read More …

Why Students Try To ‘Negotiate’ Their Assessment Grades?

Why Students Try To ‘Negotiate’ Their Assessment Grades?
By Ahmad Amirali

I still remember when I was in school and get average grades in my class tests. I try to ask the teacher why I got these marks, even the checked paper in front of me was full teacher’s comments. Nowadays the same anxiety now taking a new shape in the form of students complains which they do in a variety of creative ways after they receive their tests grades. Now students not only share their concerns regarding their grades with their teachers and parents but also start appealing over social media like Facebook and WhatsApp. The reasons can be anything from convincing oneself that they did their level best; still, they got these marks, or they try to maintain their social reputation or even some only wat sympathising words that might cheer them up. However, they matter of concern to me are not the channels students used when they are in distress but their behaviour of appealing and complain. Why students even want to negotiate or try to request for their assessment re-grading? Read More …

The Online Discussion Boards – A Classroom Pedagogical Tool | How to Use Guide | Pros & Cons

The Online Discussion Boards – A Classroom Pedagogical Tool | How to Use Guide | Pros & Cons
By Ahmad Amirali

Since we are living in an advanced ‘Space-age’ where ICT (Information Communication Technology) is now becoming an integral part of our lives. Therefore, the ethical use of technology as part of the lesson plan provides a paperless and collaborative learning experience for students. However, in developing countries like India and Pakistan, the use of virtual tools usually discouraged by teachers in the classroom due to lack of professional development and in some regional context the lack of resources like multimedia projectors or even cellular devices. It is essential first to reflect how, as a teacher, I perceive the idea of using technology in the classroom? Do I believe that using technology means the use of heavy tech-gear in my classroom as a pedagogy? This perception not only limits the idea of a technology-engaged class but also discourage teachers even from getting involved in this process. Read More …