Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Interpretations and Experimentation on Knowledge Transfusion

Last few years Kaleidoscope keeps on working for transmitting his hodgepodge knowledge to his disciples. It has to be done in a concrete and meaningful way, so he has taken several resolutions with consequences:

First phase resolutions:

a) Make a list of items to be delivered.
b) Make a list of books to be referred to.
c) Make a list of handouts for them to ease their endeavour.
d) Deliver lectures with an attempt of making them understand what otherwise seems difficult.

Result of the first phase:

Kaleidoscope did not get any return of this endeavour. His disciples were reluctant to study those handouts written in English. They did not care for the list of books, or materials made available to them. The cheaper way was to seek private tuition from outside where pretty bad study materials on Bengali is made available.

Several seasonal birds called Kaleidoscope hours before examination, because they did not have study materials.

Second phase resolutions:
a) Make the study materials available online, hence was formed.
b) Write on board whatever you are planning to present so that disciples can write them on their class note books and feel "ok this is important!"

c) Their weakness of English language has to have some solutions. Therefore, Kaleidoscope starts taking extra care and asked them to use dictionary and translate the words by themselves. Whatever seems difficult must be discussed in the class room.

Result of the second phase:

The blog has more viewer from United States than India.

Students rarely visit the blog posts. After a quick look at the class notes Kaleidoscope is awestruck. They are filled with incomplete sentences, frequent spelling mistakes, and often with sequential mistakes, i.e. diagrams meant for Evolutionsim falls under the heading of Diffusionism! None of the earlier disciples using Bengali as their medium of representations have changed, they kept representing cheap and often mistake filled private tuition notes in the examinations. Not much interactive sessions are evident.

Third phase resolutions:
Kaleidoscope increasingly understands two things, first, the impossibility of pulling out the entire bunch of disciples from their idiocracy. Some of his colleagues find Kaleidoscope as living in a idiocratic life as he can even think of doing that. The second thing, is that he is trying to transmit knowledge regarding the social - cultural world which is always taken for granted. Therefore, Kaleidoscope has to take some radical steps:
a) Make a list of movies, and movie clippings to be shown during the classes, which required preparation of the clippings.
b) Identify better performers and give them more material inputs. Hence, Kaleidoscope has to prepare a general handout for everybody, and then make photocopies of book chapters, books and ebooks available to them. So, along with the immense help from the HoD, the department now has a dedicated computer for students to use ebooks.
c) Kaleidoscope has to buy a USB speaker to show the movie clippings.

Result of the third phase:

Kaleidoscope wishes to mention two incidents:

Incident - I: e-mail from a student (improvement of language)

I mate (read: meet) Nandini. She told me to mate (meet) her NGO workers so that I can initiate my intercourse (read: interaction) with the actual beneficiaries. Please help!

Warm regards,

Incident - II: discussion with other teachers regarding "Gods Must be Crazy" (improvement of perceptions)

When one of Kaleidoscope's colleagues asked whether they have watched the movie "Gods Must be Crazy" or not. They replied "yes sir! SN sir showed us, the jeep which could not be stopped... the girl who was dropped to the water by the hero... the half naked group of people who were laughing meaninglessly!" None of them mentions about the originally intended comparison between Band (Gods Must be Crazy), Tribe (Apokalypto, hunting and ritual scenene), and urban life (Pursuit of Happyness).

The ray of hope:
A few disciples have started interacting, preparing list of unknown words and sentences. They are demanding more time and attention. Kaleidoscope, once again crosses his fingers.

See, if you are interested:

Carey, B. (May 12, 2011). Less talk, more action: Improving science learning. New York Times.

Hanford, E. (Jan. 1, 2012). Physicists seek to lose the lecture as a teaching tool. National Public Radio.

Moltz, D. (Nov. 18, 2009). 'The College Fear Factor'. Inside HigherEd.

Stearns, D. C. (2011). A teaching-centered career for the aspiring intellectual. In Bubb, R., Stowell, J., & Buskist, W. (Eds.). (2011). The Teaching of Psychology in Autobiography: Perspectives from Exemplary Psychology Teachers (Vol. 4). E-book on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2) website. Retrieved from



  1. Osman: I have found it extremely difficult to communicate anthropology or for that matter any social science to the students who do not understand English. Liked your experiment, will try it as well

  2. Kaleidoscope, I am very much impressed with the seriousness and tenacity with which you are trying to teach. I know we suffer a lot because of poor understanding of the language. The movie thing is really brilliant idea. thanks for caring!


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hey Kaleidoscope,
    Most of your disciples remind me of myself, the averages, although I got some of the best faculties.
    You are trying hard and you will, but I will pray for my fraternity.

  5. Kaushik, we are working on young and energetic groups of people, Many of them manifest their talent in other fields. There are good artists, singers, dancers, script writers, etc., among the otherwise bundle of so called dumb students. Many of us try hard to make them learn something. I hope and seriously hope, there are unnoticed gems within... some day we might be able to pull them out.

    @Subrata, thanks for supporting...

    1. Hey Kaleido,

      When I read this article I remember my old days. I saw my self in those benches. And hey I am not dumb, I never was.... hah ha ha... you know!
      Wish you all the best

  6. This is good. The use movie is frequent in foreign universities... doing the same thing in a sub-urban college is challenging... carry on.