Sunday, 2 August 2015

Educational Visits: Love it or Hate it?

Have you ever had an oreo shake with a pinch of salt? Tastes much better and the taste lingers on for a long time. 
The IUCAA trip reminded me of my first time having an oreo shake with a pinch of salt. My students and I were getting a great exposure to the world of Astronomy and its history. It was amazing to see what dedication and passion went into building the great IUCAA campus. It was inspiring to listen to the revolutionary stories of great scientists around the world who laid the foundation of modern Astronomy and Astrophysics. My students and I were left wide-eyed at the different devices and structures they showed us and their significance left us intrigued. Be it the dome which aligned with the stars in the sky every December 28th at 8pm or be the Foucault's pendulum which expressed the rotation of the earth, I saw the questions form in the students' minds and admired the innocence with which they asked their doubts. The taste of this experience was sweet and pleasant!
Now let me come to the pinch of salt. These students were performing below grade level in their classrooms. I have corrected their papers and most of them are not able to articulate the things they learn in their textbooks. I could also see the confusion and insecurity they had when they saw many other younger kids who came with their parents and answered all questions with ease. They seemed to know more than my students and it bothered them a lot. I saw my students squeeze their eyes trying to make sense of some of the things they heard about Aryabhatta and Einstein and the Foucault's pendulum. The innocence with which they asked their doubts had the slightest hint of hesitation in it.

But why is this pinch of salt making my sweetness linger on ?
Look at this picture!

Right after the tour was over, they made me sit and rewind through the entire tour and explain it to them all over again. They started discussing about how the scientists must have felt during the old ages when their ideas were being rejected. They also wrote furiously to make sure that they remember every single detail of the trip. The spark in their eyes made me feel that the entire trip was successful.

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