Category Archives: media

maria montessori said so…

There was this series 12 lectures that was delivered by Ma’am Montessori in the year 1948 – and broadcast from the All India Radio Station, Chennai.

The transcript of this series was brought out by the Publications Division of the Govt of -India – as a 38 page booklet.

Now, thanks to Arvind Guptua this document has been scanned and made available on the web here.

And, for good measure, you can also download it from here:  montradio.

Enjoy and relish the precise approaches and statements of the lady, vis-a-vis education.


a parents’ guide to the montessori classroom

… of course, the Montessori system of education is a fantastic one.

But when a wide-eyed  but earnest wannabe touristy parent lands up at school (armed and dangerous with a ZERO knowledge of what happens in any canonical Montessori system, or for that matter – in any system of education) it is rather difficult to explain things over (and over (and over(and over))) again – what with the regular admin and teaching ‘load’ that one may have the school.

Like what a person who called herself ‘Cribbie Jones’ landed up at the school during the fag end of 2011 – had to say:

Submitted on 2011/12/02 at 9:09 am

Found the school. The lady who showed us around had no idea what syllabus, what teaching method they use. She knew nothing but to take down our details. I had called the school 2 days prior to take an appointment to meet someone who could help us with the most important details of the school. There apparently is a parent co-ordinator but that person wasn’t around. A teacher was loitering around and we thought we would chat with her…and all she could say was…umm..we use the Montessori method and hehe that’s all!! That is all????????

The school is impressive in terms of space and building etc., very nature oriented and comfortable. However there wasn’t even a BOARD to mark the school out. And no one to really help out with information about anything to do with the school. Needs solid work!!!

Sheesh! Obviously Ma’am Cribbie Jones (PBUH) feels that since her highness had landed up to meet the plebians at nammashaale – she has to be attended to, hosannas have to be sent heavenwards, paeans be penned and sung in her praise, a march-past of the police constabulary be given and what not…

Gawking and clueless tourists are a problem anywhere, I agree, but cribbing tourists are a different class altogether. If they happen to be parents and are hunting around for an ‘alternative’ school, they are the worst – believe me! Mommeee!!

But, Ma’am Montessori’s books are turgid in prose and vast in scope – and one cannot read it like the way, say one can easily read Ulysses. So, this would rule out some 100% of the aforesaid parents. So what does one do.

It is at these vexatious times that one wishes, a cutesy little intro book can be given to (read: ‘thrown at’) the essentially clueless and opinionated parent – to give him / her a gist of the ideas.

A Parents’ Guide to the Montessori Classroom by Aline D. Wolf, exactly fills this void.

This tome is eminently recommended, It gives in a simple (but not simplistic) language, how a typical Montessori environment looks like, how children ‘work’ with their materials and what not – all this in circa 60 pages.

How I really wish all the wannabe Montessori parents, read this book – to start with.

So, Ma’am Jones, please read up and do your homework. Canonical Montessori classrooms are the same, all over the world.

Rest of the parents, please don’t even to try to keep up with these Joneses.

Thanks. 😎

jayateerth mevundi

When the great Bhimsen Joshi passed away, actually it was a personal loss for me. I really loved his music, more so, his Bhairav based renderings.

Now ladies and gents – there is this Jayateerth Mevundi (of Kirana Gharana), a really worthy chela of Bhimsen. (perhaps many of you already know of him and his mellifluous voice, silly me!)

For the past one hour I have been listening to Jayateerth’s rendering of ‘Jamuna ke Teere’ in Bhairav…

Splendid. Mesmerizing. Lilting. What else!


the montessori mafia

This is a nice article by Peter Sims.

There is this usual information about some of the best creative brains that have come out of the Montessori system. Though, many of the readers of this web log would know about these logical outcomes of a canonical Montessori method – the aspect of this article that has made me point to it is its marriage of conciseness with some relevant details.

But, this supporting link  –  Evaluating Montessori Education  – a robust research article by Angeline Lillard  and Nicole Else-Quest is very scholarly; the time spent on this article is a damn good investment of anyone’s time.

Alternatively,  if you have trouble accessing the article –   you can try going to this page via this montessori science page. (referrer id/url and all that)


superwoman was already here!

This is a very nice video on the Montessori method by one Daniel C. Petter-Lipstein. May he ‘do’ more such moving images… (link via Christopher Shea)

Enjoy and reflect upon this nice presentation please!

breaking noose…

...Sarkaaria... Nagarwala... MISA... Bofors... Harshad Mehta... Shibu Soren... Laalu Prasad Yadav... .... Suresh Kalmadi... 2G (Raja edition)... 2G (Kanimozhi edition)... 2G (Dayanidhi edition)... Baba Ramdev... Yeddiyurappa... Anna Hazare... (to be continued...)

… what a nice feeling of déjà vu! 🙂

delusions of gender

The so called ‘traditional wisdom’ has it that ‘little boys will be little boys’ and so by extension, ‘little girls will be little girls.’ How I have always resented, if not deeply hated the set of unjust assumptions and squirmed whenever such statements were uttered by folks who should know better… But, whatever little that I could do – either in my class or elsewhere –  and whenever I see a hint of this asinine stereotyping, I try my best to debunk it.

In fact, I would say with arrogant conviction that, the girls in my classes tend to eventually outshine, outsmart, outmaneuver and outclass the boys  – this would be in ALL subjects. It is also due to the fact that I intentionally demolish any signs of stupid attitudes like  – boys are good in math, they think – and girls are good in creative activities, they ‘feel’ etc.  I try to encourage the girls and the boys to think beyond stupidities such as ‘pink is for girls.’ (I am not saying that boys are generally less endowed, though that would be tempting for me! In any case, I feel that the boys receive too much of unjust ‘gender biased’ encouragement from their parents than what a few inches extra that they have on them would demand and merit.)

Again, I keep pointing to the anomaly that in our particular cases of mammals, we seem to be having far too many males than needed. May be emperor penguins also have this almost 1:1 mapping. In any case, there are NOT too many of such species.

Anyway, at the possibility of a guy sounding like one going for gender cleansing (actively advocating lesser number of (lesser)men and (lesser)boys than what they are at present) – I would just point out the one question that every self respecting boy and girl should think about and reflect on:

In the case of mammals like us, what can the Female gender cannot do that can be done by a Male gender form? Primarily it would be only about fertilization. I think, this one difference does not merit any major inherent difference in capacity – intellectual or practical. On the contrary, what are the things that males cannot do, that only females can do. That list is endless!

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about recommending a book: Thanks to Sowmya, I chanced upon this excellent , erudite and passionate book. I strongly recommend ‘Delusions of Gender’ by Cordelia Fine.

Grand Dame Fine systematically demolishes the myths regarding a host of stupid assumptions masquerading as ‘sceintific wisdom borne of indisputable proofs’ – especially about brain related mythologies – that females are differently wired. That they have different capabilities. That they can NOT do certain things – etc etc. Bah!

It is good to read a book, that confirms one’s convictions – peppered with acidic sarcasm and wit.

Thanks Cordelia, for this fine book.

the joy of music and dance

Some of us oldies would recollect that a few years back, there was this concept of ‘Flash Mobs’ all over the world, inspired by the ideas of of Howard Rheingold (if my memory proves correct) – these are groups formed adhoc in a given location, to do some adhoc things and then disperse. Apparently these kinds of things still go on – and some of them with a very good preparation and prior planning (no adhocism here at all!).

Here is an improvised sequence ‘Do Re Mi’ – from that film The Sound of Music (1965) – performed by a Flash Mob. (I never did like the melodramatic film, but the songs definitely are lilting – especially this joyous rendition…)

“More than 200 dancers were performing their version of “Do Re Mi”, in the Central Station of Antwerp. with just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! Those 4 fantastic minutes started the 23 of march 2009, 08:00 AM. It is a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program, where they are looking for someone to play the leading role, in the musical of “The Sound of Music”

There is this medley of melodies/songs – supposedly an ad for ‘T Mobile’ (a mobile service provider under the banner of Deutche Telecom) – spontaneous and lovely.

Please take some 10 minutes off from your schedule and enjoy these short films!

battle hymn of a chinese (=Indian) mom

Every once a while, these kinds of news reach my mostly unread mailbox, and I get an immediate urge to respond. But I have noticed (thankfully) that someone or the other of sane people out there, would always respond with solid data / emotions / intelligence to the nonsensical and banal  – the stuff that Amy Chuas are made of…

Oh the powers of distributed computing and ranting…

Anyway, my long suffering friend Azfar forwarded this tiger mom’s book (Battle hymn of the Tiger Mother) extract published by WSJ – and asked for my rabid comments. This was a while back.

Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Another copy of the same content:

I was frankly too horrified about the cocky surefootedness of this mom but generally mumbled something like ‘each unto his/her own’ etc etc. I thought I would eventually write a rejoinder, but realize that, of course, I can’t do a better job than Christine Carter, definitely…

How to raise an unhappy child

Lovely. Thanks Christine.

You may be interested in knowing about our desi editions of Helicopter Parents.

rainwater saving – an erdkinder occupation

During the course of the current adolescent programme (erdkinder) – we have had a few ‘2 month stretches’ of real life professions & occupations. One of them happened to be on rainwater saving – and as part of this, the children completed the setting up of a rainwater collection and saving structure (for one of the school buildings) apart from understanding the necessary theories and concepts behind the idea.

We were helped in this occupation by Karan Singh and Avinash Krishnamoorthy of Biome Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd. These two young men have been part of a small team, evangelizing ‘Rainwater Saving’ and are implementing solutions all over India, having been ably guided by Vishwanath – the ZenRainman.

Here is a link to a detailed blog post of Karan (about the nammashaale programme):

Avinash’s video of a school session:

The URLs of the entities in which the two young men are involved:,

Thanks Avinash and Karan – you did a great job. 🙂