Friday, April 15, 2016

Learn Better: Exploring Experiential Learning at the Workplace

Learning experts who are hired for quick-fix solutions would go back to learning theories and instructional models and choose one which fits the best. Soon you will have an impressive product that your associates will take over a few hours and show their increased competence with an end of course assessment.

Perfect. Perfect when we need them to memorise facts. Bloom’s level one. Maybe two?
But why stay at level two, when you can reach right to the fifth or the sixth level? Why choose which learning theory or model fits more, when you can have a little bit of all? Why use only reading and/or listening skills of your employees, when you can use (and hone) many more!

Welcome Experiential Learning into your L&D sphere.

Experiential Learning, in simple words, is learning through experience.
Experience. What our forefathers cherished.  Why, I remember reading a quote by Confucius on the door of my Chemistry Lab, when I was in the seventh standard:

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Experience. Cognitive Psychologists and their years of research has proven that what gets stored in the episodic memory is literally etched for life – via the Long Term Memory. Episodic Memory is what keeps your experiences safe for future reference.

Experience. Something you are immersed in, with your whole brain. All your senses. When all your brain functions are aligned to rapidly analyse, interpret and reanalyse and reinterpret the world around you. You not only use your dry analytical-brain-in-void to do that, but you also leverage your emotions in the process, just as you would do in the real world!
Experience. When knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation all take place together.

Experience. What better way to learn can there be?

I remember my social psychology professor dividing our class into groups for some games, before we started our chapter on Group Dynamics. I cannot forget a single point she had to make.
Workshops and Adventure activities can be designed in the most creative ways to impart all of behavioural trainings, and a lot of skill trainings too! Metaphor Development (Schön, 1993) is an interesting recent addition to this technique. “An essential characteristic of this frame of reference is the central position given to the experiencing participant, and the process of metaphorizing which captures their experience” reflects professor of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Johan Hovelynck.

Your next offsite event can be designed to include such interesting activities.
So why not increase some employee engagement, while enhancing their performance?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why women and their safety will not be on agenda of political parties.

"Why don't people first control their daughters? I'd burn my daughter alive if she was having pre-marital sex,roaming around with her boyfriend at night" 
- The defense lawyer, on the Nirbhaya case verdict. 

There are a lot of inherent problems with democracy, notwithstanding that it is the lesser of the devils, hence supported. I agree with Oscar Wilde when he says, "Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people". 
However, my problem as of now is related to the fact that the government does not care much about those whose votes do not form a bank. The unrepresented unorganized minorities. There are a lot of them, but I will talk of one complex group. It is complex because they live with the mainstream - the women.

And here's why, even after universal franchise, women, and their safety will not form a vote bank in India:

1. I will not talk about literacy rates or education here. Because its not like those who do make vote banks make any logical or informed decision. I will talk of the fact that voting is a collectivist event for most families in India. Most women do not have a say in these matters at all, and will put out their vote for whoever the head of the family/ their husband decides.

2. And who will be the head of the family? It will most often be a male. This male would have been brought up knowing he is special, because, well, he is a man. It is drilled into his head that protecting and controlling the women of his family is his duty and responsibility. The protecting and controlling may be referring to many other things, but majorly focuses on her sexuality. The only saving grace of having a daughter is that you get to perform "kanyadaan", or "gift the virgin", a ceremony in the weddings when the parents give away their virgin daughter. Now, what if, this virginity was to be "looted", as it is put is the conventional language? What is the point of having this daughter anyway? The woman could have had consensual sex with her lover or she could have been raped- it hardly makes a difference. Oh yes, maybe the rapist is also ostracised and/or killed. Oh wait, that happens with lovers too. 

Coming back to the central point, since it is the man's duty to protect and "control" the women of his family, all events related to it become "family issues". How can the government, (read: police, etc.) and the society interfere? There come the obstacles in the implementation of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (2006), and the hesitations and disinterest in passing a law against Marital Rape.

Concluding this point, what can the government do, if you cannot control your women? So there goes the vote of the man who will influence the votes of his family members.

3. What if some of the women do have their own minds inside of the polling booths, you ask?

Even if they did vote after putting in their own thought and needs, too many have their thought process so cultured into patriarchy, that they genuinely do believe that in cases of crimes against women, it is usually the woman's fault - of provoking the crime. 

They also, like their men, believe it is the girls' responsibility to save her "honour", and if it does come under threat, it is the responsibility of the brothers and the father to save her (corollary: if she is out alone, or without a male family memeber, its her fault), and if it does get to the stage that her "honour is violated", it is the girl whose life is over, and needs to be put to death.
(Technically, she should just commit suicide out of shame, so as to not put her family through the the pain of killing her), but shameless as these girls are, the family needs to pitch in).

So again, how can the woman expect anything from the government, when she has been grown to believe that it is all, in fact, her fault?

And this is why we need Feminism. For the sake of better functioning of democracy. For our life.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Justice for Rape. In a Patriarchy.

The context out of which I am writing this, is a universal issue in terms of both time and societies. Though what provoked me to put this down in my blog right now was this.

It is so difficult for a man in our society to speak out of he has been victimized. One did, anonymously, and just one look at the comments below will tell you a great deal about the society that we are.

What is rape?

According to Oxford Dictionary, rape is a crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will.

The section 375, of the Indian Penal Code provides that a man having sexual intercourse with a woman amounts to rape, in following circumstances, such as:
•Against her will.
•Without her permission or if the permission has been obtained forcefully or by putting her under fear.
•With her permission, when the man is aware that he is not the legal husband of the woman, but she believes that he is another man to whom she is legally wedded.
•With her consent, when she is not in proper state of mind, to judge the consequences of such an act.
•With or without her permission, when she is below sixteen years.

Inadvertently, even though our language still has a slit, which allows us to not totally write off the fact that it is possible for men to be raped by women. However, when it comes to IPC, only men can rape and only women can be raped.

The main reason for minimal reporting of sexual harassment is the stigma our society associated with its victims. Underlying the stigma is patriarchy.

This system has many characteristics,implicating the norm for men to be ruling over women. 

This system, for instance, takes into account only men as as decision makers, and women only as belongings of men. The life of a woman is most often defined in terms of "beti, behen, patni, bahu, ma" (Daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law, and mother).

While she belongs to the man, it is his duty at every stage to keep her in control, to domesticate her. His honour lies in her behaviour, in her sexuality. While onus of protecting the honour of the man's family lies with the men of the family, the womenfolk have the responsibility of not inviting any attacks on her "izzat" honour, or questions over her "character".
 (Here, we can understand why the primary route to revenge in most patriarchies in history has been to rape women belonging to the person against whom revenge is to be taken.)

So, it is obviously evident why female victims of sexual crimes would hardly come out and speak about it (all other reasons, such as perpetrator being somenone close, blackmail, etc. being constant).

But why is it so difficult for male victims to speak about it? (Apart from the fact that laws do not protect him the way they protect the women).

It is because sexual crimes have a lot to do with power play.

In a patriarchal setup like ours, wanting/demanding sex is considered a part of a boy's jawani (youth), and a girl's desires of the same as besharmi (shamelessness).
As a corollary, a boy's wish to not have sex is considered as namardi (un-man-liness), and a girl's wish to not have sex is considered as lajja (modesty).

A girl in this setup is expected to say "no" to sex, shyly. The man is expected to then convince her. He is to dominate and and she is to submit to him.

This expected role play makes it very difficult for women, and men, to fight for justice.

For a man is supposed to always be on a lookout for sex. And the woman is to not "entice" him.
The baseless debate of whether she was "asking for it" emerges from this. What other reason is it, that this is one crime where the defendant brings up the victim's history and character into play?
A viral script illustrates the story of rape cases very articulately.

Now, again as a corollary, a man, who is expected to be jumping at any and every opportunity of having sex, will mocked at a namard if he speaks out that he has been raped. And that too, by a woman.

In essence, no one can speak out and get justice against rape, without getting ridiculed by the society, by us.

All this, for the sake of few gender based fossilized character sketches in our heads.

Is it really worth it?