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 …

Why Self-Affirmation is Important to Support Struggling Adults and Students

Why Self-Affirmation is Important to Support Struggling Adults and Students
By Ahmad Amirali

Yesterday, I had a small conversation with one of my colleagues, discussing her future career goals she is looking out nowadays. As discussion precedes, I observe that she is too insecure and unmotivated for her future goals. She kept criticising her skills, education, things that turned around in her life and the way she is living her life right now. I confess that I’ve been observing her since months that something bothering her, even she looks normal to people, but her daily routine keeps on saying that she might be depressed or something. The similar kind of behaviours can also be found in students as well. Throughout the term, students come and discuss their anxiety and the way they feel when they encounter some sort of failures in their daily lives (Previous article: Why Should We Celebrate Our Failures?). The question is why such thoughts sometimes overcome our all the abilities and our achievements of our lives? Why do we start forgetting all our struggles whenever we encounter any drawback in our lives? Why suddenly we start feeling to end this life due to any failure? Read More …

Are You Alone in Your Loneliness?

Are You Alone in Your Loneliness?
By Ahmad Amirali

Humans are roaming on this planned for about billions of years along with all the different types of species. Every single being is connected through many facets, ecologically, and one of the aspects is ‘Emotions’. We do have emotions because we feel, just as everything else does – trees, animals, insects everything felt in some way, and that’s how we all connected with each other. However, I am leaving some room here for critics, as some people might not agree with me. Talking about emotions, have you ever found yourselves alone in a room full of people? Have you ever felt invisible in the middle of a conversation with your friends or family members? Have you ever felt lonely even you’re surrounded by your loved ones? You know what, you might not be alone in your loneliness. Read More …

Why Some Students Seem Smarter Than Others?

Why Some Students Seem Smarter Than Others?
By Ahmad Amirali

Finally, the new term started last week, and I welcomed the fresh batch of students. What motivates teachers to achieve their new term’s goals is the curiosity students brought with them in the form questions. However, not all students show curiosity or even show any interest to participate in classroom activities. I believe, every teacher encountered similarly kind of experience as I do every year that some students perform well, engages and achieve good grades in assessments but some perform brilliantly and show remarkable development in learning skills. However, last week one of my students didn’t respond to the puzzle quest for which she replied ‘Sir,  I am not smarter than Ali (another student) who can solve any puzzle’. That was the moment when a question struck my mind that why some students seem so smart and perform well than other students in the classroom? Or it is just a myth that existed only in kids mind as an excuse to any problem they encounter? Read More …

What Is the Scariest Thought Student Might Have During the Whole School Term?

What Is the Scariest Thought Student Might Have During the Whole Term?
By Ahmad Amirali

The summer vacations are over, and students are all setting their new aspirations for the new journey which is about to start or for some already started at the beginning of August. Besides the usual term classes and assessments, some things that motivate students to work hard and perform well such as new classmates, favourite teachers, reasonable classrooms compare to last years (in most cases) etc. similarly there are things that slow down students’ performance engine. In the majority of schools in Pakistan, the term started in August and most probably every school has their midterm examinations in December. The question that almost every student asks in these four months is ‘how much time left for me in this semester to improve my grades?’ Read More …

Why Suicidal Thoughts Are Appeared to Be Common Among Teens?

Why Suicidal Thoughts Are Appeared to Be Common Among Teens?
By Ahmad Amirali

Almost every year, I observe adolescents who struggled with trauma and anxiety due to social and academic pressures. The most common among all is the suicidal thoughts that are now becoming more common nowadays among teens. Last year alone, two of my previous students attempted suicide; luckily, they both survived. The underlying reasons behind these disturbing behaviours are more or less same, i.e. anxiety, peer or academic pressure etc. Family involvement and social support might help affected teens to recover from their depression, but the road to recovery can be rocky, and therefore, most of the time, adolescents find it hard to recover from their traumatic past. The question is Why the teen’s suicidal rate astonishingly increased since the past decade? Read More …

Is the Late-Night Smartphone Use turning Teenagers into Daytime Zombies?

Is the Late-Night Smartphone Use turning Teenagers into Daytime Zombies?
By Ahmad Amirali

I usually work late at night and my friends, school colleagues and even my students mostly aware of my schedule. As a result of which my ex-students mostly approach me at night even after midnight. Yesterday, a similar kind of thing happened and one of my previous year students texted me, asking my suggestions about his career choice. It was quite late at night, and unintentionally I asked him, ‘don’t you want to sleep it’s quite late?’ He replied with a usual excuse, ‘Sir, I normally sleep that late’. This reminds me of the whole term experience which I had with this kid. His class performance was above average; however, he always looks like a Somnambulist (walking in one’s sleep or under hypnosis) even during the day time in school. As children grow and move to teenage level, they become at the significant stage of their growth and development that they need more sleep than adults. (Previous Article: Sleep and Teenagers: Why Teens Need More Sleep Than Adults). The result of not having enough sleep can be devastating to teen’s mental and physical health – making them a walking ‘Daytime Zombie’. There are many factors that keep teens from getting enough sleep – one of the factors is the use of late-night smartphones. Read More …