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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flight, Fight or Freeze

Seriously after I was inadvertently submerged under a deep sea of academic dormancy with zero degree of progress in my work these days, I am succumbed to a more severe condition than the fight or flight response. I am made to freeze.  
The flight or fight response, otherwise called as “acute stress response” was first coined by Walter Cannon to describe a physiological situation where animals react in response to a perceived environmental stress such as danger or threat. For instance, when we see a snake slithering in front of us, we either fight by arming ourselves with some sticks on our hand or flight by fleeing off the scene. Scientifically this phenomenon is accepted as a first approach of a general adaptation for survival by initiating a spontaneous or intuitive behaviors that are largely associated to escape (flight) or combat (fight). Such natural responses during an emergency are triggered due to the release of hormones namely adrenaline and norepinephrine by the adrenal glands.
So it is due to these biological mechanisms that the humanity has survived the test of a myriad of stressful life affairs. However, modern stressors are even more painful because it is basically psychological and chronically inevitable. In the modern times, flight or fight response is triggered due to an academic pressure, career stress, professional workload, financial difficulties, annoying society or difficult relationships. At such circumstances, flight or fight response is always a victim because we cannot resolve either by running away or fighting it.
Having said this, I am already trapped inside the womb of an academic oriented hurdles. By no means, I refer this as a stress due to the toughness or difficulty of the course I am undergoing at the moment because the courses that amounted to a total of 25 credits were already wrapped with a significantly good grades.
Nevertheless, this is a gestation period for my thesis. Although the fetus (draft) was born by now, a lot of professional caress and massages are required to bring this toothless toddler into a putative shape. The single handed repair and attention from my side alone is not sufficient to raise to a standard quality. I need to have a constant warm up from my professional pundits I am associated with as well, for which, I am deficit of as of now. At the moment, it has been more than a month that my thesis draft has peacefully snoozed in the cradle of my academic sage. Under such prevalence, flight is one thing that I can’t do and fight is another that I never should think of. The only possibility is to freeze myself, cold and dead.

“I would disagree with fight or flight that leaves no room for compromise and understanding”- Ron Marz

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The January Atrophy

Late recently on the wall of my Facebook page, I inscribed the phrase:
When I found the ANSWER to life, God has changed the QUESTION (Could not trace the source).
And no sooner did I escape to click on other sites, a friend of mine commented: “When did you get back from hibernation?”
Well, physically I was as good as undergoing hibernation after I have completely submerged to a house arrest due to the academic frustrations, making myself almost invisible and sporadic. But mentally, I had to battle in adjusting the pH of my temperament and emotional sentiments thereby actively remaining engaged in diaspora of mental conflicts.
There is nothing serious and injurious that I am talking about my health. It is just that my plans got into a bad shape. The academic roadmap sketched for the month of January has severely failed to drift in line with the current of the proposed blueprint. Due to this mechanical miscarriage of my plan, almost every activity that has to follow suit has frozen. These days of January has never treated me well and really made my mind stagnant, weakened the muscle of my hard work and decayed the cells of vigor in me.
The weather of my mood has been woeful. My mind was sinking in the sea of desperation. Consequently I suffered a fatigue of being optimistic and the confidence to seek good things were densely clouded. The temperature of being enthusiastic in learning dropped beyond compare. I discovered myself drowned on the bed gazing on the entire sky of the ceiling, day and night.   
These days of waste has though, its own share of message to learn. Sometimes it is not wise to belief that raindrops and sunlight necessarily can form a rainbow. Good plans necessarily does not guarantee a good result. The plans are simply like our shadows. They work only when there is light. Once we get into the darkness, like the shadow that never follow us, our plans never fly on the same runway unless it has the right enabling conditions.
“Every struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today. Be thankful for the hard times, they can only make you stronger”- Unknown

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Fever of “Very Inspiring Blog” Award

It is certainly uncertain whether I am eligible and qualified to be nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blog Award”. But the storm of that so-called Rosenthal Effect (positive expectations begets positive performances) has already taken place due to the fever of this appreciation. This breeze of inspiration to my amateur blog from a versatile blogger and prolific writer further sets me to an uphill task of blogging better. Thanks to Ananya. Had I been given a chance to offer this award, you would have certainly made into the list.  
Ananya blogs at www.ananyatales.com. She is a qualified engineer by qualification and Assistant Professor by profession. Currently established in Seattle in the U.S, she is an Indian by origin. I would not detail much about her because with the link above, readers are now just a click away.
Well, as stated in the rule of this award, let me say 7 points about me.
1. Profession
I am a Physics teacher based in Kabesa Middle Secondary School under Punakha district in Bhutan. Currently, I am pursuing my postgraduate studies in Mahidol University, Thailand.   
2. Personality
Characteristically straight forward and sharp tongue. People who don’t know me in-depth considers me rude and walled in. Stubborn when I have justified facts and reasons to fight. Ambitious and determined that I don’t give up to reach my goal.  
3. Positive attributes
Resourceful, observant, dynamic, talkative, humorous, vigilant, hardworking but not intelligent. I know everything of something but nothing of anything else.
4. Proven Weaknesses
I am very short tempered, emotional, secretive, possessive, vindictive and independent (prefer to live my own way).
5. Proliferating Social Circle
I have a large circle of friends, from low to high. To all I am still the same. For friends who help me during the times of need, I always stand for them. But for people who stab me without any realistic reasons based on power, wealth or status, sometimes it makes hard for me to forget and forgive unless those reasons are inevitable, natural or lawfully authorized. ‘Strangers are, but unmet friends’ to me (read this statement from one of the blog).   
6. Prime Work Ethics
I always prefer to do same work differently from others. Originality is always given the priority and simple spellings and grammatical errors (to the best of my knowledge) are never out of my eagle’s eye. I complete my work before the deadline.   
7. Personal Life
Life is never always the same for all. I don’t complain for not having what others have and don’t show off for what I have. I believe that information is power, so I always keep tab on current affairs. I read books based on true stories and replicate those lessons into the life of my students.  
The 15 bloggers nominated for this award are: 
6. Sonam Tenzin at /http://somtnz.blogspot.com/
10. Ugyen Tenzin at http://uttenzin.blogspot.com/
11. Tashi Wangmo at http://www.tashiwangmo.com/
14. Norbu Wangdi at http://norbuwangdis.blogspot.com/
For those of you who have been nominated, please follow the rules of this award as listed below: 
1. Display the Award on your Blog....
2. Notify back to the Blogger who nominated you....
3. Say 7 points about you.
4. Nominate 15 Bloggers for the award, link them and inform them about the nominations.
“Inspiration exists but it has to find you working” Pablo Picasso 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Dark Truth

Of late I was engulfed with a strong feeling of speculation over certain phrases that are so lavishly overrated but in reality is wasted into the drains of human ignorance. This is certainly my own perception and therefore felt there’s no sense of immorality or error in the analysis of the following statements.
1. Winning is not important but the participation is
During my 13 years of schooling, I have noticed many of teachers recite this phrase after every event with a good intention though, to console the losers. This phrase was so infectious that even I had been contaminated to spread the same. But today, realizing the fact that this statement was manufactured only to be sold prior to this 21st century, I lament over using it. Seriously. It has already met the expiry date and should be erased from the shelf of our mind (at least for me).
No matter what quantity of energy and determination we invest, unless we win that event, none cares. Winning is therefore, the ultimate lifeline to mark the footprint of our presence particularly in this 21st century. Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer who climbed the Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa of Nepal for the first time in the world record is remembered for saying, No one remembers who climbed Mount Everest the second time”. The same cake of statement is baked by Walter Hagen when he said: “No one remembers who came in second”. Incredibly said.
Other than that person who came second or someone who stood third does always remember but certainly not the mass, not even the history sometimes. People never care to remember losers and they don’t want to lose. Watch world class sports and we certainly realize how a single point can cost the life of that once leading coach. Even if he had won a whopping 99 matches, 1 lost is enough to delete his track record and weed out from the team.      
2. Honesty is the best policy
An honest truth is commonly described as a nice cake of human values but rarely does we love to taste it. Instead, every one of us adore to get painted by the magical brush of a sweet lie than the stroke of a bitter truth. In recent times, it has become like a pill that can’t be swallowed easily and for those who can, often have to overcome the hiccups of refusal.
Although it depends on what form of truth is spoken, at what situation, with what purpose and to whom but in many cases, the result is simply earth-shattering. Sometimes to be honest, we are forced to be dishonest. Suppose, a good friend of mine who is a smoking addict asks me to point his bad habit, I cannot instantly relate to his smoking habit. May be I have to design some sweet lies about his hair style or the smell of perfume or for that matter his sleeping pattern. A boss who hates listening other than the music of praise never appreciate honest lies. A reporter who reports the truth of that government today will end up as a figure behind the bars tomorrow. Nobody likes truth and its stand of being the best policy is sometimes costly.  
 3. Money is not everything    
I heard people say, money can buy bed not sleep, buy clock not time or buy sex but not love. But in this materialistic world, money can buy everything. Money is simply everything.
People work for money, suicide for money or kill for money. They fabricate the fake to truth for money, kidnap for money, marry for money and love for money.
Movies for entertainment is money. The education from renowned university is money. The status of celebrities based on the box office collection is money. The updates in the social network is money. Finding a toilet is money. Travel is money. Music is money. Seeing the same human, so-called super stars is money. 
Though money is not everything, people have already created an artificial world to measure in this way.   
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars”- Martin Luther King Jr. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Wise Move

Few of my students who have recently appeared grade XII board examination wrote to me that the ship of their future is on the verge of wreckage after the catastrophic news of a leaked paper. They were worried for 2 reasons:
To REDO exam and to OMIT redo. 
I shared their concern equally.
Unlike any other profession, for teachers, the achievement of our student is akin to an ornament of pride that we wear on almost every occasions. The speed at which they pass through the friction of interviews and get into a job is another that determines the homeostatic state of our psychic happiness. But none of these are likely unless they make a good hop over the bar of grade 12 board exam. Thus, the broadcast of leaked English paper II mentally put me together with them in the same ship of trepidation.
The leakage of an examination paper is never a new phenomenon. Though negligible in frequency, records reveal the occurrence of such academic misfortunes in the past as well. Such episodes of educational miscarriage particularly that of public board exam tarnishes the mood of applause and appreciations from the society. In general, in an education system that determines the performance of learners largely through summative evaluation, such calamity will further question the credibility and integrity of the examination niche.    
In its reaction, the Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) through print and media, declared to put the evaluation of a leaked paper in the shelf. Their verdict of stand, as reports say, were on the basis that it shares a correlation with the marks of English paper I.
And today, the same board has revoked its earlier decision after huge public outcry in the social media and hence decided to move with a palatable solution of evaluating it and omit redo.
Through the lens of statistics, I personally felt that it was a wise move provided they have already sketched a plan to make a statistical comparisons after the evaluation with the marks of students who grabbed the leak paper and who did not. That analysis can be a reliable armor for them to conclude either to redo or not to since the interpretation will be based on the outcome of same participants. The previous claim of having 0.60 correlation between the marks of English paper I and II and therefore, shunning both evaluation and redo of exam is comparatively a laymen defense for 3 reasons.
   1. It reveals only a moderate range of correlation on the basis of correlation interpretation by Pett, Lackey & Sullivan (2003). On an extreme statistical scrutiny, values of such range are usually considered not very strong to generalize for the study. [Correlation range: 0.00-0.29 Weak; 0.30-0.49 Low; 0.50-0.60 Moderate; 0.70-0.89 Strong; 0.90-1.00 Very Strong. (Pett, Lackey & Sullivan, 2003)]
  2. If the figure of 0.60 correlation is accepted as big enough to stop evaluation and redo exam, then the remaining 0.40 difference is not too small to be unconsidered for the same. If it is to be strictly based on statistics, even a vary of 0.001 is too big to defend from the statistical point of view.
  3. Based on this mere figure of a correlation obtained from the results of past participants of the year unknown, it has been both statistically and almost educationally unjust to generalize the implications on the present group of students.         
However, the resolution passed by the BCSEA to evaluate the paper is a welcome move. Although it may not equate fairness and justice, it sounds more palatable and healthier. Even by redoing exam, it can still be unfair based on my limited pedagogic experiences. But one thing is certain. It can offer the board to define a clear path for what next, how and why. It will let the officials concerned to think out of the box and hunt for recipes to stop repeating such history in the near future. And eventually, the students in general can still experience the weather of best holiday mood at their respective homes and for time being can escape from that disturbing wind of redo or omit redo.

“If you can solve the problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?” -  Śāntideva 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Halo Effect

Edward Thorndike, the most celebrated psychologist due to his phenomenal sphere of influence in the field of education is accredited for coining this term. Literature has it that based on his empirical research, “The Constant Error in Psychological Ratings” published in 1920 reported that the grading of one characteristic influence judgment of a person with other characteristics even if they are entirely unrelated.
This is called Halo Effect.
It is a cognitive bias in which we try to draw a general impression of a person from a single element of his/her characteristics. Because of a single good or bad appearance, we stereotype and cloud our judgment that rest of the neutral or otherwise ambiguous traits to be of same color and taste.
The syndrome of this phenomenon has invaded on every mankind and working atmosphere that its interference has generally caused hiccups to the powerhouse of our perception. That’s why the ecosystem of our thinking is never identical even if we observe the same thing at the same time.
Let us think of celebrities since they inherit a lion’s share of likes in the Facebook for their photos or tons of retweets in the twitter for their posts. Because we observe them attractive or successful, we convert and camouflage our impression that they WOULD possess all kinds of imaginary characteristics we craft in our minds. In another case we largely assume that a qualified chef who can cook delectable continental dishes can appetite us with the Greek or Oceanian cuisine with an equivalent proficiency. Or we equate a nice person to be always smart. In workplaces, be it coincidental or intentional, that small filament of work we do if, pleases the mind of the mighty boss certainly does magic in glowing our annual performance review with a label of being competent and proficient.
And unfortunately, the value of human life is sustaining with casualty and injury because these adjectives have become a concrete and binding indicators to demarcate human position. It has been a socially accepted standard for measurement of human competence. But one thing all of us know is that like the standard scientific formula, all these adjectives that catalog people into different zones is just a human invention.    
The halo effect has an intense and adverse implications. It pronounce discrimination in assessment because it fails to calculate one’s real caliber. If hardworking and sincere are exposed to the cancer of this phenomena, they will die with a stunted growth of hope and optimism and stop walking extra miles.
Thus, realization and understanding about this psychological event is the key thing that we need to know first, both from the stand of being boss and subordinate. Otherwise when these become the missing links, the so-called beautiful world, will still look ugly.   

“If you were me, you’d know. But you’re not, so don’t think you do” –Anonymous 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Balance Sheet

I have still some loans and credits from the bank of 2014. It was in the end of 2013 that I asked for a short-term loan of to-do list after mortgaging my time, energy and personal interest witnessed by my family and friends.
The fiscal year for 2014 had closed globally few days earlier and fortunately I could transfer my credit to 2015 account. Realizing that I might travel the same road of making plans to fail, I did not list any extra events this year. Rather, I have prepared to clear the credits of 2014 letdowns and cover the same balance sheet to make it neat and duly liquidated.
So precisely for 2015, I have promised to:
   1. Complete the incomplete: I have some dreams that are still inside the hard-shelled egg of a dream itself. The sketch of the plan was already drawn many moons ago. I just need to start from that incomplete to make it complete.  
   2. Wear my own shoes: ‘There can’t be two yous’ said Warren Buffet. In the same vein, I cannot copy and paste myself with the same font of mood, flavor of interest and geography of temperament to fit the map of every people’s mind. I want to be myself. I want to wear my own shoes of living because it is more comfortable, proper-sized and preferred by myself.  
   3. Lead my own shadow: Man proposes, God disposes they say. And certainly, it is. But even if my well calculated plan meets a tragedy and gets injured, I will keep walking forward. I will lead my own shadow of doing things because I know how much calorie of energy I need to realize that task.
   4. Cause an Effect: For a needy and disadvantaged, I will be a cause to help; for an isolated and lonely, I will be a cause to friend; for an under-appreciated and rejected, I will be a cause to appreciate.
   5. Maintain low melting point of my temper: I will, by far, reduce the sensitivity of my temper, lower the tempo of outburst and let the current of logic sweep in.
   6. Cement good, drop bad: Old habits die hard yet I will put some effort in nurturing my good habits to be better and castrate my bad habits so that it becomes sterile to reproduce again.
“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again”- Buddha 

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