Are you taking the right steps to measure your child’s academic progress?

Are you taking the right steps to measure your child’s academic progress?

How do you measure your child’s progress in school?

We asked the same question to 500+ parents across schools and here’s what we found:

  • More than 60%analyse their child’s progress based on school report cards
  • Only 25-30% of the parents actively track the time their child invests in studies
  • A mere 15% of the parents get involved in understanding the child’s learning style

Experts say that the right way to measure your child’s progress is by mixing all of the above, in the following order:

Step 1: Understand and measure your child’s unique learning style

  • What are his subject level preferences?
    For example, he may hate Maths but love History.
  • What is his unique  learning style?
    Example: Does he prefer traditional methods like reading a textbook or does he like to watch videos or use the internet?
  • How much does he understand what is taught in school?
    What are the major problems or gaps in comprehending what the teacher says?

THE GOAL: To broadly understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Step 2: Track the time and effort your child puts into each subject

  • How much effort does he put into every subject?
    Students often get demotivated when they do not enjoy a subject or see no results in their exams and do not spend enough time on it.
  • What study techniques is he using to study each subject?
    It’s not just the amount of time spent studying that matters – it’s the quality too. Ensure your child uses enjoyable and interesting study techniques.

THE GOAL: To plan your child’s study calendar based on his strengths and weaknesses.

Step 3: Measure the impact of Step 1 and Step 2 in his exam performance – the report card

The report card is the final outcome. While you shouldn’t judge your child’s academic progress on the report card alone, you must ensure you track his scores after you have completed Step 1 and Step 2.

The right question to ask would be – Given my child’s unique learning style and the effort he has put in, how much has translated into his scores in each subject?

THE GOAL: To understand what factors help him score and how you can improve steps 1 and 2.

To know more about helping your child score, call us at 080-33013095 or write to us at support@vidyartha.com.

We would also love to know your suggestions and help in any way we can!

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13 Must-Watch Movies if You’re Figuring What You Want to Do in Life

13 Must-Watch Movies if You’re Figuring What You Want to Do in Life

Science or humanities? Business or politics? We have movie suggestions for students of all interests. These should help you decide what you want to pursue.

For Science and Math Lovers

#1 – The Theory of Everything
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Adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking, the movie directed by James Marsh deals with the relationship between Jane and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, his diagnosis of motor neurone disease, and his success in the world of physics.
Watch the trailer here.

#2 – The Man Who Knew Infinity
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The movie is based on a true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, renowned self-taught Indian mathematics genius Srinivasa Ramanujan travelled to Trinity College in Cambridge and made friends with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor G.H. Hardy. He overcame the prejudice he faced to reveal his mathematical genius to the world and this movie shows Ramanujan’s story through Hardy’s eyes.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Tech Ninjas

#3 – The Imitation Game
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This movie is based on the life of Alan Turing, father of computer science. During the second world war, he was known to have cracked codes produced by the German miltary’s Enigma machine, which seemed unbreakable, using maths, engineering and yet-to-be-evolved computer science. But almost all documents tracing his work for the British government have been destroyed and nothing is known about his personal life.
Watch the trailer here.

#4 – Steve Jobs
22684666199_e42442eafd_bThis fast-paced movie offers a complete view of Steve Jobs’s life from 1984-1998, including three distinct product launches and plenty of flashbacks. Both his work and his personal relationships are examined through the course of the movie. The audience is left to judge the impact of these on his life as well as those of others who were close to him.
Watch the trailer here.

#5 – The Social Network
hqdefault_liveIn 2003, Harvard undergrad and programming whiz Mark Zuckerberg is struck by an idea and begins to work hard on it. Soon, Facebook is born and Zuckerberg becomes the youngest billionaire in history. But this accomplishment leads to both personal and legal problems for this entrepreneur.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Business Tycoons of Tomorrow

#6 – The Pursuit of Happyness
the-pursuit-of-happyness-2006-download-movie-free-full-hdThis story is based on the true story of a man named Christopher Gardner, who invests heavily in”Bone Density scanners” and feels like he has made these devices. But he is unable to sell them and as he tries to figure out how he can change that, he loses his money, house, credit cards and even his wife, who leaves him. He is then pushed into living on the streets with his son and takes on a job as a stockbroker. But before he can receive his pay, he must go through 6 months of training, and also sell his devices.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Historians and the Politicians

#7 – Schindler’s List
Schindler's ListGreedy and vain German businessman Oskar Schindler transforms into a humanitarian during the barbaric German Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Having managed to save 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, this true story is a testament to the good in all of us.
Watch the trailer here.

#8 – Gandhi
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Based on Mahatma Gandhi’s story, this movie showcases how British officials, including the influential Lord Irwin, ignored his non violent movements at the beginning. But then, that is just what earned their country the freedom.
Watch the trailer here.

For Aspirants in Humanities and Social Sciences

#9 – A Beautiful Mind
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Based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, the story of this American biographical drama film begins in Nash’s days as a graduate student at Princeton University. Nash develops paranoid schizophrenia and has delusional episodes, which brings much pain to his wife Alicia and their friends.
Watch the trailer here.

For the Lawyers of Tomorrow

#10 – Erin Brockovich
f100ernbrockErin Brockovich-Ellis is a woman in a fix. After a car accident in which she is not at fault, Erin pleads with her attorney Ed Masry to hire her at his law firm. Once she accidentally comes across a few medical records placed in real estate files, she convinces Ed to allow her to investigate and discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water in a local community that’s causing devastating illnesses among its residents.
Watch the trailer here.

If You Want to Build a Career in Sports

#11 – Million Dollar Arm
million-dollar-arm-welivefilm-movie-reviewIn 2008, sports agent J. B. Bernstein finds that he is unable to run his business well because of his competitors. On watching reality shows and Indian cricket games on TV, he decides to find cricket players in India and train them to become pro baseball players in America. After a long search, Bernstein finds two talented, but non-cricket playing young men, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. Together, Bernstein, Rinku and Dinesh strive to make their dreams come true despite the challenges they face. In the process, Bernstein finds a deeper humanity and forms friendships he never expected he’d have.
Watch the trailer here.

And finally…

To inspire you to believe in yourself

#12 – Taare Zameen Par
13oct_fm25-taarezameenpar01Art teacher Ram Shankar Nikumbh believes every child has a unique and has great potential. He teaches at a local boarding school and breaks all rules governing ‘how things are done’ or taught at school and every child responds to him with joy, except an eight-year-old boy named Ishaan Awasthi, who seems to be in a world of his own all the time. Nikumbh soon finds out that Ishaan is unhappy and with time, patience and care, he ultimately helps Ishaan find joy in both life and learning.
Watch the trailer here.

#13 – Dead Poets Society
lead_largeA painfully shy young boy named Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his older brother was a popular student and valedictorian. His room-mate Neil Perry is bright and popular, yet under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, learn of “Dead Poets Society” from their new English lecturer, Professor Keating, who encourages them to go against the status quo. The movie shows how each of them does this and is changed for life.
Watch the trailer here.

Have fun as you enjoy these movies and learn from them. Let us know if you have more suggestions on what movies should be watched!

10 Things That Need to Change About the Indian Education System

10 Things That Need to Change About the Indian Education System

Our country is changing everyday. In fact, areas such as economy and technology are so dynamic that they are growing at an overwhelmingly rapid pace.

Why then has the education system barely evolved? Why haven’t we seen any significant improvements?

Sure, the recent growth of alternative schools is a ray of hope, but let’s face it. Such schools are a luxury. Largely, the Indian education system continues to revolve around three things – science, mathematics and basic English – all of which are tested in age old formats.

All of us do know that the system needs to change. And at Vidyartha, we’ve made a list of 10 things that have got to see a turnaround.

#1 – Out with rote learning, in with skill-based education
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Every year, Indian teachers, students and parents are focused on cramming information. The best students are considered to be ace crammers. This is a fundamental flaw in our system, and the only way to rectify it is by teaching students skills. That way, we add value to them for a lifetime. After all, it isn’t knowledge when almost everything is forgotten right after the exams are over.

#2 – Valuing the teaching profession and getting smart ones
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Why do so many “bad teachers” exist? Why do most smart people choose other career paths? The answer is simple – teaching as a profession is not valued. That needs to change so that we begin to see more and more smart teachers. Teachers ought to be competent, inspiring and energetic, not the face that students want to avoid.

#3 – Help! It’s the grading system
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Evaluating students merely based their performance in a three-hour exam driven by mugging is not a great idea. What were we thinking? Parroting a bunch of theories don’t teach them anything about the subject. The axis of grading needs to be revamped to also include classroom participation, project/practical work, communication skills, leadership traits and extracurricular performance. It is only then that genuine talent will be recognised.

#4 – Embrace technology in education
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Sure, technology is just a tool – and it is ultimately the teacher that counts. But imagine what we can do with technology in the classrooms! It does not have to be full of hassles – that’s a wrong notion. What’s more, technology makes learning engaging and is thus a handy guide for every teacher. It’s no competitor or replacement – it just makes the teacher’s job more exciting.

#5 – Emphasise on creativity, research and originality
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Our education system usually disregards that factor which deserves the biggest accolades. Students are taught to mindlessly obey the rules and follow orders without questioning. Being different or taking risks is discouraged. Once our education system is built to recognize original contributions, problem solving, research and innovation, we can say that the Indian education system has successfully changed for the better.

#6 – Eradicate excuses for an external tutor
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With the rise in the number of children taking up tuition since a young age, brain drains, aversion towards learning and poor performance are common. If learning is revolutionised in school, there won’t be a need for all of this. Plus, the child gets a break!

#7 – Respect for all subjects, courses and careers
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How long are we going to keep being obsessed with engineering, medicine and MBA? Is it sensible to drool over the IIMs and IITs alone, when the diverse streams and fields we have are just as important? The moment we stop this discrimination, we can proudly showcase talent from across streams – and students’ lives will be much brighter.

#8 – Change the basis and methods of handling rewards and punishments
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We need to revise our basic values. Rewarding blind obedience while punishing students who are quick-witted and think out of the box is the worst thing we can do. Also, the modes of reward and punishment need to be relooked at. Corporal punishment is obsolete. Let’s look at students as responsible individuals and reason out with them rather thank talk down to or dismiss them.

#9 – Promote collaboration
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Teaching students to work together towards a common goal is the best thing for their future – because that’s exactly what they’ll have to do at work. It strengthens initiative, people skills, problem solving, strategising and leadership skills while promoting teamwork.

#10 – Personalise learning
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No two learners are the same. As cliched as it may sound: no one size fits all. Tailoring learning to suit each individual’s unique strengths, interests and gaps can make the process engaging as well as more effective.

And we are certainly evolving. Over 3,000 schools have taken a step in the right direction with Vidyartha. If you’d like to do that too, fill in your details and we will give you a call to tell you more.

Or give us a missed call at 080-33013095.

We’d also love to know if you have anything to add to this article. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

11 Traits that Every Software Engineer Should Have

11 Traits that Every Software Engineer Should Have

Being a software engineer looks like the coolest thing ever. Or maybe not. If you’re one of those who wants to become one just for the money, rethink. On the other hand, if you’re somebody who thinks software engineers are people with no personal life and barely existent social skills, you need some fresh perspective.

Check out these 11 key traits that are a must to become a software engineer who’s a cut above the rest:

#1 – A passion for technology
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A software engineer should be in love with coding. Doing some research on the latest apps or gadgets should be a hobby. If you are a software engineer, you’re valuable only as long as you’re abreast of all developments going on in the field of technology – and we know how dynamic the field is!

#2 – Versatility
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The ability to code in multiple languages and reuse and maintain code effectively helps a software engineer shine as an efficient employee. It is important for every coder to update himself/herself with new skills on a broader range as time flies.

#3 – Curiosity
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The best of software engineers are always never at rest when they think about why something is done in a particular way or when they think of how something works. In fact, this is a trait they have from childhood – usually breaking things just to find out how they work. Yet, they are objective about solutions. Putting together software is creative, and plenty of software engineers have artistic hobbies.

#4 – Vision
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There is no use developing code if it won’t be applicable in a few years down the road. As a software engineer, you’ve got to be a visionary and create code and libraries that are open to being used and reused in all code languages. Being able to see the impacts of current decisions is important so you can build great software.

#5 – Business acumen
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A software engineer needs to understand why what he has developed matters to the other departments and to the client. Only if they understand the business that they’re working for can they develop software with the desired features. Understanding the market and working towards scaling the product should be a key consideration for any software engineer.

#6 – Attention to detail
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If you’re someone who seeks perfection in every detail of your work, you’re already halfway there. Be serious about checking your work and you’re sure to become a software star! Remember, one silly error can ruin the entire system.

#7 – Discipline
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You might love your job and all the projects you take care of, but being sloppy is a huge no-no. Apart from attention to detail, it is important to stay organized. So much bad code is a product of those developers who don’t do what they know ought to be done.

#8 – Patience
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It’s natural for a few bugs to occur and for design glitches to delay the process you had in mind. And of course, you will have to deal with a variety of people who may not match your working style. But you have got to work towards the problem patiently. Nothing else will help.

#9 – The ability and willingness to learn
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A great software engineer does not know everything. Instead, he/she is always eager to learn more and capable of easily adding it to his/her vast knowledge base. Learning and adapting are core skills.

#10 – Problem solving
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Finding problems is easy. Pointing out what’s wrong with a system serves no purpose – a software engineer must think of different ways to resolve the issues found. They need to think on their feet and arrive at a variety of potential solutions to a problem and then work towards it.

#11 – Teamwork
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Myth busted! Coders cannot be socially awkward. They must be fully capable of working in a team with different kinds of people.

Got anything more you’d like to know? Let us know in the comment’s section below.

And sign up with Vidyartha to check out what you need to become a software engineer.

12 Signs that Scream Student Depression

12 Signs that Scream Student Depression

Dear parent, teacher, or student;

First things first. Before you read this article, we at Vidyartha would like to tell you that there is no need to be afraid or hesitate. Depression is not something to be shunned and pushed aside. The world is growing to understand that it is a problem that can be solved and it doesn’t reflect on your sanity or your capabilities as a person in any way. It isn’t uncommon to find adolescents facing a few problems as they transition into the next phase. Don’t let societal stigmas hold you back from getting things right.

Now that we have that clear, let’s see whether your gut feeling was right. Find out if you, your child, student or friend is depressed with these 12 signs:

#1 – Feelings of vacancy
Feelings of sadness, teary outbursts, thoughts of emptiness and hopelessness can signify depression. If you hear your child or student saying “I can’t do this, I want to give up” way too often, it’s a sign that he or she is depressed.

#2 – Making mountains out of molehills
People are usually contemptuous of that. But if you see a student expressing frustration and rage over the tiniest of things, don’t just scold them or laugh it off. It can mean that the anger is just a mask over the sadness that lies within.

#3 – Loss of interest in everything
Do they no longer enjoy the things that they used to before? Don’t shrug it off as “just a moody phase”. If they’re like this for too long, it may mean that depression has kicked in.

#4 – Trouble with sleep
Whether it’s insomnia or sleeping for too long, continuous trouble with sleeping patterns indicates depression.

#5 – Lack of energy
A very sad mistake most parents and teachers make is assuming that a kid is lazy when he or she shows constant slack at doing even the most simple tasks. But if this is a daily thing, the problem isn’t laziness. It’s depression.

#6 – Change in appetite
If you notice too many cravings or absolute lack of interest in food, depression has set in. Sometimes, you will be shocked to find him/her gobbling up foods he/she never used to like. Or maybe they’ll push away a dish they always loved. Weight gain or weight loss is a natural consequence.

#7 – Unnatural and persistent restlessness
Never get used to seeing them anxious, agitated or restless almost all the time. No, that’s not them “becoming more responsible”or “taking their marks seriously”. Constant fears and panic attacks symbolise depression.

#8 – Being way too slow
If their thinking, speech and movement have become a lot slower and duller than before, it may mean depression.

#9 – Poor self-esteem
Being plagued by guilt and worthlessness for no reason or for trivial matters show that they have a deeper problem than just “taking account for their actions”.

#10 – Cognitive problems
If you now find them not scoring as well as they used to before and if they have this new-found problem of forgetting things or being unable to think, they’re depressed.

#11 – Frequent negative and harmful thoughts
They might not have attempted self-harm or suicide. But the very act of thinking about such things constantly signify depression.

#12 – Unexplained aches and pains
Everything is alright, but they get sudden pangs of pain in their back, neck, head, shoulder or limbs. You get it checked, but there is no apparent reason. Well, the amount of pressure and sadness they’re facing can result in this.

Hope this helped. If you would like to know how this can be solved, stay tuned for our next article. Feel free to leave comments below regarding any questions you may have.

Sail Through the JEE with These 7 Superb Tips!

Sail Through the JEE with These 7 Superb Tips!

The JEE is a supremely competitive exam, to say the least. Everybody wants a great rank – but getting there requires you to battle all the pressure and rise above the rest. No one said it was easy, but hey – you can make it with these 7 great tips!

#1 – Get your math skills sharpened
We’re talking at least 40 numerical problems to be solved in a day. More, if you can and feel the need to. Until the day of the exam, incorporate this into your routine so that solving mathematical problems will become second nature to you.

#2 – Work by the watch
Set time limits for your self so you can simulate the pressure of time constraints that you’ll be facing during the day of the exam. Push yourself, but of course, don’t drain yourself out. You can answer all questions quickly if you do so.

#3 – Polish off the toughies first
While you begin your preparations, it’s best to tame the beast first. Start off with the difficult topics and prioritise according to your learning style, so you can later find that studying becomes really simple!

#4 – Be your own critic
Analyse the mistakes you’re making. Spot where you’re going wrong. And then work on it as hard as you can. After all, you’ve got to prove your critic wrong!

#5 – Make logic your way of life
Practise how to think logically. This is an aspect most often ignored because it’s taken for granted. When you’re attempting JEE problems, logical thinking is the core of arriving at your solution. Go step by step and do not entertain stray thoughts or haphazard methods.

#6 – Board Exam Syllabus to the rescue!
Thought you’d never have any use for those textbooks? Well, you’re wrong. Both the JEE Main and the JEE Advanced exams use material from your very own board exam syllabus. So brush up all that knowledge you already have!

#7 – Get the wisdom of the years
Get all those JEE question papers from the past 10 or 15 years. Stack them up. Attempt them one by one. You’ll be all set to go!

Let us know if these tips helped by leaving a comment below. We’re sure that if you follow these steps, you will find the exam a breeze! All the best.

4 Great Ways to Make Your Students Want to Come Back to Class

4 Great Ways to Make Your Students Want to Come Back to Class

There are two types of teachers – good and bad. There is no in-between, and that’s the harsh truth we all have to live with. If we support our students educationally and emotionally, we are great teachers – and if we fail in even one of these forms of support, we’re bad.

Now don’t go harsh on yourself. This only means you should get better at your job – and it really isn’t hard. Consider your student a logical human being first, forget the fact that he/she is a few decades younger.

Now that you have that in mind, let’s go on to the 4 ways you can make a class so engaging that students will look forward to it every single time:

#1 – Begin with a short warm-up session
Remember that your students are just like you – they need to refresh their minds after work. They’re in class all day and have their brains drained out. Also remember that each student has a different learning type. Prepare an engaging warm-up that activates all ways of learning and perception – visual, auditory, verbal, logical, kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. That should get them set!

#2 – Value collaboration
You’ve got to teach your students the power of collaboration – make your entire class a collaborative effort – collaborate with your students and encourage them to collaborate with one another through project work. This will also help them understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses and thus work together as a team, cultivating ownership and confidence. Involve with them to ensure things are going smoothly and intervene if necessary to show that they ought to value each other – but do not interfere. There’s a difference!

#3 – Keep your communication crisp
When your communication is precise and concise, it encourages students to develop clear communication and also keeps them engaged. Crisp communication indicates that you have clarity of thought and that you value time (yours and that of your students), so it increases your credibility as a teacher! Besides, when you’re to-the-point, you’re more impactful and interesting. Now which student doesn’t want a teacher like that?

#4 – Encourage free discussions
If you’ve got a one-hour period, don’t spend all of it in lecturing the class solo. 5 minutes of warm up, 35 minutes of lecture, 10 minutes of collaborative project work related to the previous topic and 10 minutes of free discussion regarding the current topic would be the ideal distribution of time. Let students ask their doubts, clarify in a friendly, helpful manner. Allow their imaginations to run wild and never laugh at them. Treat them as mature adults and you will find respect and admiration coming your way!

Got more tips or have something to ask? Post your suggestions or questions in the comments’ section below.