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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On an Academic Pilgrimage


Museums are often the best library for mustering knowledge, information and wisdom. No book can educate as much as museum enrich, deepen and saturate our heart and soul. More than a place that houses a bravura collection of rare and endangered artifacts that are of historical, scientific, cultural and artistic interest and significance, it manifests itself as a missing link of the dead past to the living present and even stretches to an extent of an unborn future.
The National Science Museum (NSM) of Thailand is nothing dissimilar.
3 large cubes design of science museum
Got a chance to hold my great great great parents head
The skeleton of a dinasuar
"Survival was hard", they said.
Developed in 1992 to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the NSM located at Techpolis in Pathumthani Province was a mirror of scientific fascination (at least to me). Ranging from an exterior breathtaking and spectacular architecture to the interior scientific artifacts, it made me see the past, feel the present and think the future.
As a science teacher, planning for a pilgrimage to such learning institutions should be more than a necessity. Because our students idolize teacher as an immediate Google, having a rich experience of knowledge through such lasting impressions would be an additional advantage. So, I personally like to thank Dr. Namkang Sriwattanarothai, our program director for making this visit a reality and possible.
As shared to her on our casual conversation, I am on a mission to replicate few of those simulated models and adopt interesting scientific experiments. Should things come the way I have planned, my school will witness a little science museum or a virtual laboratory that can simulate abstract scientific concepts into simpler way, the much sought-after teaching strategy in this 21st century teaching-learning process. 

“Real museums are places where time is transformed into space”- Orhan Pamuk

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model

It was an enriching privilege to have attended Dr. Dely Elliot and Dr.Vivienne Baumfield’s presentation today in the seminar class. Dr. Elliot and Dr. Baumfield, the professors from the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) are on an adventure of a massive and ambitious project to design a questionnaire to study “International Ph.D Journey”.
The one hour class was infectiously captivating. As they highlighted their research on higher education and academic acculturation, I was captured with the concept of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model which worked as a skeleton to the flesh of their study. They focused on international Ph.D students who are on an academic pilgrimage in the University of Glasgow and studied the factors that impacts the progress of their study.
Since Ph.D is the pinnacle of academic achievement, their study have embarked with a pilot study involving 14 doctorate students from diverse background and faculty. Those opinions were largely built on the human ecology model created by Bronfenbrenner.  
Urie Bronfenbrenner, an American development psychologist (Russian born) was known for designing the human ecology theory composed of 5 systems. His theory explains how a small individual ecosystem is connected and influenced by the massive community and social bionetwork.
Bronfenbrenner's Model.       Photo courtesy: Click LINK
An individual as a small unit of ecosystem is largely influenced by the microsystem that consists of family, peers, schools and health facilities. No matter how hard the individual works, if there is no support and acknowledgement from the family, peers and tutors, the flame of excitement and enthusiasm is extinguished. The next system called the mesosystem networks the relationship between the elements of microsystem. It interconnects between family and peers, and family and teachers. The exosystem is a bridge between a large social settings that impacts the behavior of the individual. It consists of social services, neighbors, politics, mass media and industry. The peripheral system called the macrosystem composes of culture and values in which an individual live. Factors such as ethnicity, race, religion, socio economic status and poverty, culture and values largely shapes the life of an individual.
My life as an international student here is defined and shaped by these factors. In fact, I have been already processed through the systems of Bronfenbrenner’s model but the only thing was, I never realized it.

“Life is a journey through a foreign land”- O.R. Melling

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Fertile Busy-ness??

The time has galloped and has almost crossed the mountains. I can hardly trace the footprints of my last blog post. I only wish I have another 24 hours on the face of my clock because I have lot more to add into my blog-shelf.
In devoid of such fill in, the piece of my last post almost surrendered in the form an epitaph and gave the impression of a permanent burial. I feel the pain of this forced withdrawal even after being inside the suffocating cocoon of an academic drill these days.
I always realized that a day without a work is not easy to complete the sunset but a day with oodles of work to fix is by far, difficult to race before the nightfall. And the most challenging part is, when I have myriads of things to construct into a complete circle within a short period of time.
The journal paper I have sent for the publication
Keeping busy doing many things to oneself is worthy and entertaining but getting busier doing the same thing over and again is laborious and draining.
But with the grace of the Almighty and incessant rain of prayers and wishes of my families, friends and relatives, I am surviving this acid test of my passion and enthusiasm in the search of academic wisdom.
Fortunately, I am caught with an excitement of contentment and joy after I could eventually send one of my research papers for publication in an international journal. Getting published will not only add another feather to my resume but will be another thing on my bucket list. 
“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”- Allen Saunders
(P.S: I could not visit any of the blogs. Please bear with me)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A realization from Venezuelan Condom Price

Although there is a very limited stock of time for me these days to tend the garden of my blog and in the process walk into the blogging meadow to graze over those green fodders that supplements an educational and literary nutrition by different bloggers, not doing either, makes me almost mentally uncomfortable.
At this season of my study routine, I am busy bulldozing academic journals to excavate and gather the bricks of relevant literature to construct my thesis. But at times, some inflammatory and informatory articles that keeps floating on the web undeniably appetizes me to weave some posts for my blog.
One of such kind that forced me to squeeze my time is about a condom in Venezuela that costs more than an iPhone. Reports claim that owing to its economic shrinkage, a consequent repercussions have vibrated into the plains of country’s health plunging into a sea of crisis. The worst thing is that now a 36-pack of Trojan condoms costs $750. In a South American nation that sustains with high number of STDs and teenage pregnancies, Venezuela is fearful of pushing the country backward in terms of countering this health issue.      
36-pack Trojan condom   Picture courtesy: Click LINK
As I was drenched with the thoughts related to this scenario, the picture of my country Bhutan appeared into my mind. A nation with a populace of just 700,000 is so lucky to have free healthcare and basic education. Thanks to our farsighted, legendary and benevolent monarchs.       
And more than that, it has been enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan that every individuals have a right to avail free medical amenities and basic schooling. Medical commodities like male contraceptives (condom) are largely available and freely distributed from any dispensary in our country with a noble vision to prevent STDs and HIV/AIDS. We have a story of Mr. Tshewang Nidup popularly known as ‘Condom Manthat surfaced on the front pages of international newspapers for distributing condoms to drivers and bartenders. Most significantly, Her Majesty the Queen mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck in her capacity as the UNFPA Goodwill ambassador works tirelessly with the local communities to prevent and promote the reproductive health issues and teenage pregnancy. During such advocacy programs it is always followed by dispensing free male contraceptives to encourage safe sex practices. Now that Health is one of the 9 domains of Gross National Happiness, it is always on the list of priority no matter what and which government comes into power. So as a bona fide citizen, realizing such medical freedom and comfort, I always feel so lucky to have born in this beautiful Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom.

Bhutan truly is where happiness is a place. 
“Things only have the value that we give them”- Moliere 

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