Dear Teachers … One with You!!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!!

After doing a 7 ½ hour course on PowerPoint Presentations and after conducting ten Parenting sessions for a school on Zoom, I thought that I was the cat’s whiskers and could do anything online.

And so with some help I prepared a PowerPoint Presentation, including a video to begin the presentation.

I requested my niece for a dry run with her and her team. She readily agreed. She scheduled the zoom meeting; I kept the icons ready on the footer and was all set, raring to go. It started off well, even played the video and then everything went downhill. I got on to the PPT — nothing was visible, not the PPT, not me nor my participants, only the voices. Everyone wanted to help — with all kinds of instructions. Close the video, share screen, open PPT — but my icon for the PPT had disappeared.

Further instructions — go here, do this, do that. They really tried to help!!

I managed to come back and started on my PPT. And then, Zoom timed us out. So back to the email to get the id and password. And that was the end of my presentation. My niece asked her team to leave to save her aunt from making a bigger fool of herself.

She sent me the recording — and I was aghast at what had actually happened and how I had wasted everyone’s time.

Yes indeed, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!!

It was only then I realized what a teacher meant when she asked for prayers as her online demonstration lesson was a failure. “I could not see my children and they could not see me”, she said. Earlier, I believed she was making a big fuss.

I am technology challenged. I have to accept that. Now, come to think of it I have always had problems with Math, some sciences and things to do with a particular type of logic.

That is why I grew up believing I was not intelligent. Could that be true?

Dr.Howard Gardner to the rescue with his Theory of Multiple Intelligences.

The Multiple Intelligences Theory was first published in 1983 in Gardner’s book — “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”.

Howard Gardner did extensive brain research and concluded that intelligence is not one inborn fixed trait that dominates all the skills and problem-solving abilities of human beings. His theory doesn’t question the existence of a general intelligence — his research suggested that intelligence is created in many different areas of the brain, which are interconnected, rely upon one another, can work independently if needed, and can be developed with the right environmental conditions.

These are the Intelligences very briefly:

  • Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence: The wordsmith, the reader, writer, storyteller.
  • Math-Logical Intelligence: The Numbers person, problem solver, reasoning comes easy.
  • Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence: The athlete, gymnast, mover, dancer, shaker; coordinated mind and body; physically active, gesture, touch and feel things.
  • Musical Intelligence: The musician; Ones who respond to the emotional implications of the elements of music, discern sounds, recognize pitch, tone, rhythm and timbre.
  • Spatial Intelligence: Visualize the world in 3D, strong in drawing, designing, creating.
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence: Look within; Understand oneself, one’s emotions, goals, intentions.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence: The Communicator, Organizer, Mediator, Negotiator; Loves to work in groups, has strong leadership skills.
  • Naturalist Intelligence: Understands living things and the natural world, recognises flora and fauna; makes distinctions in the natural world.

Hence when I analyse myself I know that I have strong intelligences. And I can go through these intelligences to reach the intelligences I do not have.

So I decided to use my interpersonal relationship and linguistic intelligences to deal with my technology challenges.

‘And all the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men,

Could not put Humpty

Together again’….

Not true! I have been put together by many with a lot of patience, love and care. I am no longer feeling so helpless and lost.

Quite honestly, my Self- Esteem did take a beating. It created fear and nervousness. I did two more dry runs with a single person each time. It was better. I had to look within (Intra personal intelligence ) and see why I have not picked up the nerve to do a session with a school. It is the fear of being judged and being thought incompetent.

A Principal of a school told me that a couple of her teachers had resigned as they could not handle the online classes. One teacher even said, ‘my husband and father- in- law were with me, but I still could not manage.’

There is also a lot one hears and reads about the high expectations that are there of these online classes. So, students, parents, management, colleagues, teachers and anyone else, what we all need to do is bring out our ‘kindness quotient’. Understand, empathize, have realistic expectations, talk politely and refrain from taking a swipe at teachers- for this is all new to a large number of teachers.

Coming back, there is a lot I can do to move from dependency to independence. Maybe use my body kinaesthetic intelligence to practice, or spatial intelligence to visualize the whole process.

But first things first:

I will remember what Isabel used to do in the ‘Adventures of Isabel’ by Ogden Nash.

“Whenever you meet a bugaboo

Remember what Isabel used to do.

Don’t scream when the bugaboo says “Boo!”

Just look it in the eye and say, “Boo to you!”

That’s how to banish a bugaboo;

Isabel did it and so can you!

Booooo to you.”

Yes, Technology ‘Boo to you.’ And I will do an online session for a group of teachers this week.

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Phyllis Farias

Educational Consultant with 2 passions in life: the Child — from toddler to adolescent, and Education — education philosophy and psychology