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February 16, 2016

Primer of the New Series "The magical Journey from A to Z - A Game changer " Published in THE HANS INDIA on 26-01-2016

 "The magical Journey from A to Z - A Game changer" Published in THE HANS INDIA on 26-01-2016 

Ask degree students to recite ABC and most would be able to recite them without difficultly. And with a smile on their face. Ask the same student about something very basic in their subject and they would struggle to come out with logical answers. The question “how is that you are able to remember ABCs taught more than 15 years ago and have already forgotten things taught in the last year” stumps them and they are speech less.

That is the power of learning through music and dance. What we leant in innocently stays indelibly printed in our mind. This series strives to imprint your mind with the ABC of qualities needed to be successful. And the qualities are simple to remember. So simple that any one should be able to remember them and recite just like the ABC!

This series has been a work in progress for more than two decades and a half. Very early in my academic career I had realized that teaching is all about inspiring, being up to date and being as interesting as possible for the student. The first aim is to attract. Once the seed of interest is planted the plant of knowledge would sprout by itself. Rather the student will learn by himself. Inculcate the interest and let him explore and find out things for himself.

During the seventies and the eighties the interviewer was expecting subject knowledge and passable soft skills (Communication, body language, team building skills, group dynamics, attitude etc) from a candidate. The opening up of the economy and of the service sector has unleased new challenges and new forces.

Knowledge has become passé. Anyone with a smart phone has access to an enormous vault of knowledge. So much so that rote memorization of number tables has almost disappeared. Students rely on technology for queries so much that the smart phone has become an extended arm in itself! In the changed scenario, soft skills have become omnipresent and the order of the day.

The paradox is most institutes do not teach soft skills. It is up to the students to lean the nuances. A new employee not having soft skills is seen as ‘raw, wet behind the ears, sheep lost in the woods or in simple terms as referred to in Hyderabad as a red bus traveler’ Red bus traveler being a simpleton who travels by the red bus (rural) service operated by the travel corporation.

The soft skills needed to succeed in the real world include good communication which includes spoken communication, (verbal), Written communication, non-verbal communication (body language), good behaviour, good attitude, proven leadership qualities, ability to be a part of the group, and many others.

The transition from good to better to best has to be deliberate and well thought over. The need of the hour is to have model citizens who can propel India into the forefront of development and prosperity.  Into a bright future where that we all can proudly say “yes I too have contributed, in a very small way”.

As mentioned we all remember the English alphabets without any strain and the alphabet are deeply entrenched in our memory. So I hit upon an idea of developing a series where I could identity 26 qualities that a good student, a great manager and the best human being should possess.  And all the 26 qualities are words in English starting with the letter A, then  B and so on.

The qualities choose are necessary and quite frankly hygiene factors. Hygiene factors being factors that if present are not noticed and appreciated but if absent the absence is noticed and commented upon, in many cases adversely. Case in point being the attribute of punctuality. If a person is punctual it is taken for granted, but if the same person is late and tardy, the same would noticed and he/she would get a reprimand.

Next I hit upon the idea of driving the message through using the audio visual media.  I chose the media of television commercials. I am fascinated by TV commercials. They are magical, small, sweet, and pack quite a punch! Oh yes then can be irritating, repetitive and in the face! They are easily available and accessible (thanks to YouTube). They can tell a story dramatically, appealingly and in a very short duration! A story well told,   is difficult to forget.

Once the attributes have been identified the process of selecting a suitable advertisement/movie clipping to explain the attribute was undertaken. I will explain the advertisement and detail the importance of commercials/clipping. Great advertisements like the hostel advertisement, Cadbury cricket advertisement too would be discussed. Cadbury’s cricket advertisement is a 60 second encapsulement of the 3 hour 40 minute saga of a movie – Lagaan. The storylines are the same!

I would start with the letter A and would take you through a magical journey till the letter Z. Young readers should collect all the 26 articles. They would get dual benefits, the first being the excitement of collecting the news articles and filing them for future reference and the second and the most important being the internalization of qualities that might be the difference between a winner and an also run! 

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