Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 29, Tuesday July 29, 2008




Lessons learnt

I still remember my kindergarten teacher. Beady eyes glaring from behind a pair of spectacles, with a single, thick braid of hair falling to her slender waist, she surveyed the five-year-old that had been foisted on her in mid-semester without even a rudimentary knowledge about spelling. Planting her hands on her hips, she got to work. Tiffin breaks became tutorial classes, and free periods were banned in favour of extra assignments. She'd drill the rules of phonetics into me, rapping me across the palm with a plastic ruler every time my attention wavered. She was the perfect ogre. By the end of the year, though, I could not only spell right, I was already stringing words to form sentences and composing my own 'stories' while my classmates were still learning to 'sing the letter song'.

I've encountered different kinds of teachers during my student years. I've loved some, been indifferent to others, and there were some that made me consider giving up education altogether. They all had different approaches towards their work, but somehow the ones that stick in my mind, all share some qualities.

And no one else has ever shown me how
To see the world the way I see it now
"What do you see?" said Dinesh Allirajah, jazz poet, and currently our workshop facilitator, pointing to an empty chair. The obvious answer would be 'chair', but experience had taught us that he was expecting more from us. Surprisingly enough, once we looked beyond the obvious, a wealth of possibilities welled up. The same chair became an object of utility, a symbol of authority, a source of respite, and more.

In a country where 'learning' means memorising by rote, a teacher that actually compels students to think outside the box, to stop and make sense of all the facts before them, and learn to apply them, is a rare thing indeed.

There can be miracles when you believe
The dojo was abuzz with excitement as news of the tournament filtered through. The adrenaline during the classes bumped up a notch as everyone practiced their kicks, punches and blocks. I watched with envy as some of the more seasoned performers showed off their sharp katas and routines.

"I wish I could participate."
"You should."

Until my sensei had answered me, I hadn't even been aware that I had vocalised my wish. I was dead sure I would embarrass myself if I even tried to take part, and I was about to tell him that, when he beat me to it with a counter. "You have to want it, and then you have to work for it. If you believe you can do it, you will find that you can do it." I signed up for the tournament. I was a little skeptical, but if sensei believed I wouldn't be a disaster, then there had to be something to it. When I received a medal for my jump kicks, I turned towards sensei, disbelief written plainly across my face. He just smiled. A little faith works wonders.

The greatest of teachers won't hesitate to leave you there by yourself
The little thatch-roofed huts stood in a circle in the clearing, as alien as they could get to our city-bred eyes. The thami-clad, slant-eyed woman sweeping the courtyard could have been a different species altogether. We stared helplessly at our sociology teacher for tips. She yawned, folded her arms and said. "Okay, kids. I'm off for a cup of tea. You go talk to that lady and fill up your questionnaire." With that, she was gone.

Left with no option, my partner and I inched up to our respondent, introduced ourselves as we had been instructed to do, and proceeded with our research questions. It was surprisingly easy, and before our time was up, we had learned a lot about field research.

You can't learn to swim unless you get into the water, and an effective teacher knows just when to give that shove.

As I waited in line for an interview for a teaching post, there was a voice in my head asking me if I was prepared to undertake such a responsibility. All the lessons, big and small, from these teachers and several others; wonderful mentors that shaped me in their own way, came flooding back to reassure me. I knew then, that I was prepared. After all, I had great teachers.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


Cyber radio

Radio has managed to grow into one of the most popular media of entertainment since its invention over a hundred years ago. Many things have changed but millions of people still remain glued to it, listening to their favourite music, health shows, talk shows or sport broadcasts. And as the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular medium for radio transmission, the term 'Internet Radio' is also gaining popularity and has managed to make a mark. Also known as web radio, net radio, streaming radio and e-radio, Internet Radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet.

A group of development workers tapped the Internet with a view to bring people together via the radio and created the first 'Internet Radio' in our country known as the Net Betar. This net casting audio channel is in Bangla, catering to the needs of not only the urbanites but also the non-resident Bangladeshis pining for a touch of their golden Bengal. This exciting new development works easily and all you have to do is click on the link www.netbetar.com and you will be connected to the Internet Radio in less than a minute. All you need is a standard computer with an Internet connection, a sound card and an Internet web browser. The best part about Internet Radio is that it is has no geographic limitations. The Bangladeshis scattered around the world will be able to be in touch with their country with a few clicks of their mouse while working, doing an assignment, at home or at the office.

People today are constantly searching for diversity in their lives, and the newly launched Internet Radio in town has a lot of potential and many things to offer! In the years to come the Internet radio will become a bigger force in the society taking the first giant step toward world integration and globally-minded content. It can also be said that, while the terrestrial radio tries to nationalise networks; the Internet radio tries to internationalise the mindset of the common people.

Net Betar is still in its rudimentary stage; with adequate support form the community people, it sure has a bright future where it can reach a significant and extensive level by providing quality entertainment and by taking a visibly leading role in tackling the various social problems in our country.

By Syeda Shamin Mortada


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