Monthly Archives: August 2012

Being role models

One of the unintended consequences of bootstrapping our way through a start-up is that I get to travel by train now and then. This gives me some long hours to both catch up on reading and writing as well as the often insightful activity of observing your fellow passengers.

This last week my train trip provided me the opportunity to watch two small children from different families. One, the completely spoilt and riotous type, the ones we sometimes call ‘shark-food kids’. She was hardly off the ground but had the whole compartment to ransom with some loud tantrums and screaming fits. A little while of watching the parents and the child was enough to deduce where she had learned that behaviour. The mother spent most of her time screaming at the child at the top of her voice to keep quiet!! And if it wasn’t so annoying it would have been amusing to see mother and daughter go at each other in a decibel topping match.

Right in the next cubicle was a little boy. Entirely the opposite – quiet and cheerful- he spent his time reading and playing with his Mum. Again it was easy to deduce where he had learned his behaviour. His Mum spoke quietly and cheerfully with him. Encouraging him in his little games and enjoying his presence. For me the whole experience was reinforcement of what we’ve been trying to work on with both teachers and parents through our TalentEase initiative. That children follow what they see you do rather than what they hear you say.

A scene in a recent Bollywood movie (Ferrari Ki Sawari or The Guy who rides a Ferrari) showed a father and his son on a scooter accidentally run a red light. There was no cop around to catch and fine them. Surprisingly, the father rides on till he finds a cop – explains that he ran a red light and pays the fine. To the massively perplexed cop he explains that while you didn’t see me run that red light, my son saw me and whatever I chose to do after that would be a lesson he learnt for life.

For schools this means teachers going beyond just teaching to being role models. As we continue our work with schools the insight we keep gaining is simple and powerful. Better teachers make for better schools and eventually a better world. Late last month, we launched –
a social network exclusively for teachers. To help them connect, collaborate and continuously learn on getting better at making today’s children really future ready.

Do send on the link to any teachers you know. They could gain by both getting and giving to what we hope will become a meaningful and growing online community. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome.

Do write in and let me know.

Until next time.

Warm Regards,