Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Je Khenpo and Blessing

Gedu Moelam Choemo

A blessing or bestowing is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, or divine will, long life. "To be blessed" means 'to be favored by God'. Blessings therefore are directly associated with God and come from God.

A blessing is very important to rid off negative things from our souls and bodies. We are immersed in a culture filled with negative attitudes, offensive language, violence, and insolence. The very air we breathe can lead us to feel cursed or that something is wrong with us, just because of the environment we are exposed to and the judgments others make against us. False judgments against us are like curses and can affect our health and break down our immune system. The potentially negative physical results of people who live under false judgments is extraordinary. We are not only under the curse of judgments placed on us by others, but we may also tend to judge ourselves harshly. When these self-criticisms are excessive, we need to recognize them as being like curses and break them with the authority of God. So when you consider how much people are bound up by judgments and curses, it's easy to see how desperately we all need blessing.

The Moelam Choemo in Gedu is a yearly religious congregation for a week, and the fact it happens once in a year shows how important Moelam Choemo is. Like last year, Darla school gave a Tokha(lunch) to the public and the worshippers on 18/10/2016. But this year, I was taken by surprise, as the school was not given a day’s off for receiving blessing. I heard our Je Khenpo will conduct last kind of ‘Tshewang’ blessing to the people here. Distant schools like Arikha, Pashikha and others called off their classes for the day, but it was SAD that Darla school (so near to Gedu) had a normal classes. To tell the truth, there were grumbles especially from our faithful students and teachers devotees. That normal class didn’t deter many from going to receive a blessing. The head of the school called an informal meeting saying that any teacher willing to go can go for the ‘wang’. And that was a real headache; almost all teachers went leaving students behind in the classes. And that didn’t daunt students too; almost all students went saying that their parents were waiting for them. And the result, the school went haywire with few teachers and students. It was a pandemonium!! I really wonder why our school was not called off when other school had. I really wonder if we can promote religion (tradition and culture) when important functions like this take place and we are not allowed to attend it. I really wonder if this is the reason why Darla community has large number of Christians. REASON!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Reading Week 2016

Every year Darla school observes Reading Week, and this year too, the reading week commenced from 12th to 17th September. The school organized a-week long series of activities to enhance reading and to understand the importance of reading and the infinite benefits it facilitates in their growth in academics as a student and as a better human in their individual and social life. The theme of this year’s reading was “Dream Big, Read More.” During the week some special reading activities like readers’ theatre, selected reading, random reading, mass reading etc were initiated so as to facilitate opportunity for more students to take part in the reading activities and thereby develop and inculcate an interest of reading within them. Some activities carried out as a part of reading activities are described below: 

Readers’ Theatre
Readers’ theatre was conducted as a competition item between the sections of grade PP-III.  It was interesting to see the tiny tots of our school presenting themselves as little narrators and various fanciful characters in their creative costumes and attire as kings, queens, butterflies, birds etc. Their babbling speeches and sing song narrations did create an effective ambience and were appreciated by everyone.  The presentations were evaluated based on the creativity and coordination and prizes were awarded accordingly. 

Random Reading
This reading activity was conducted for students of classes VII – X to check their ability to read Dzongkha and English fluently and their preparedness and confidence to speak before an audience.  They were instructed beforehand to be ready with two passages, in English and Dzongkha, and read it out as the coordinator of the day randomly called out their roll numbers in the assembly.  The activity went well as we planned and had the desired result.

Selected Reading
This activity was for the students from classes IV – VI.  Some of the students who were identified by the teachers concerned read out either pieces of news or interesting information they wanted to share with their fellow students in the assembly. This activity was also successful though many of the students who came forward couldn’t be permitted to present their reading due time constraint in the assembly. 

A mini quiz of two questions related to books and reading was also initiated to evaluate the students’ awareness of popular books, writers and some common literary terms.  And prizes were awarded instantly to the winners.

Book Talk
As on every Friday, two students presented reviews of an English and a Dzongkha book.  The reviews are helping the students to get acquainted with the interesting books in the library and rouse their curiosity to read them.

Mass Reading
To facilitate more time for general reading, an hour was created, on Thursday, by deducting five minutes from each period.  So, after the instructional hours all the students and teachers came out to the open, settled in conducive places and read books of their choice for an hour.

We are very happy to note here that all the activities we had envisaged went well, leading this year’s Reading Week into a grand success.  It is hoped that our plans for such activities in the future will also meet with the same grandeur and success. Some stills of reading week:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

English Curriculum from classes 4-10

    Ministry of Education
    Darla Middle Secondary School
    Chhukha Bhutan
    Format for school level Curriculum Conferences

    5th to 6th September 2016
    Page No
    Area of concern
    Short Term
    Average Term
    Long Term

    Can be corrected and implemented by 2017
    Requires 2 to 3 years to update and implement
    Can be updated and implemented from 2020
    Story, Siena’s fun run

    -Not relevant to Bhutanese context.
    Use of western names – could have used Bhutanese names which would be easier for the students to remember.

    -Remove the text
    -replace with a short and meaningful one

    Some small mammals in Bhutan.(essay)
    Wild builders(essay)
    Dangerous animals! Bees and Wasps, Tiger and Crocodile(essay)

    -Informational Text
    -could go for one essay in the theme.
    -title needs to be changed to “some dangerous animals”

    -could go for one essay in the theme.
    -title needs to be changed to “some dangerous animals”

    Everyone knows what a Dragon looks like.(story)
    -Little Kay(story)
    Pg 80

    -could have more Bhutanese folktales.
    -could be replaced by Bhutanese folktales
    -lengthy and high standard

    -could be replaced by Bhutanese folktales

    Underground road to freedom(poem)
    Pg 169

    -concepts like slavery and freedom are difficult to convey.
    -figurative/symbolic meaning is difficult to convey

    -it can be included in higher classes.

    The streets are free(essay)
    Pg 204


    -replace with a better article and short essay

    Getting Along: A How- To Manual(essay

    -small letter size
    -inappropriate in Bhutanese Context
    -inappropriate in Bhutanese context

    1. Remove the text and include Bhutanized text related to friendship

    Jean Claude’s Island(story)


    replace with a short and meaningful one

    Listen with your eyes(essay)
    117- “Here in North America….”

    -shows that the text is not appropriate in Bhutanese context.

    -use ‘There’ while teaching

    127-129Jessie’s Island(Essay)

    -letter Format
    -No letter Format
    - the sender of the first letter is not clear.

    -teach recent letter format and avoid teaching the text letter.

    Letter from Laya(Essay)

    -High Standard for the particular class

    -it can be included in higher classes

    A Mountain Legend


    replace with a short and meaningful one

    -The People who Hugged the Trees

    – a story similar to other stories in unit III, sl/no: 1,2, 3, 4. – similar theme about planting trees/nature/ taking care of trees.
    - Unit III
    1. The Never-Ending Greenness(Story) pg-85
    2. Wolf Island (Story) pg 91
    3. The Earth Game(Story) pg-95
    4. Last Chance for Cheery Tree Creek(story) pg -99
    Opinion: similar theme about planting trees/nature. Could include one or two of these stories. Go for The Earth Game.

    -similar theme about planting trees/nature. Could include one or two of these stories. Go for The Earth Game.

    Page 28-33) A Blind Teacher (Essay)

    (– Verbose words( eg:groped, imminent, idiosyncrasy, imbibed, etc) and figurative languages( …everything died down to pin-drop silence… move heaven and earth…stirred quite a commotion…)– not for class VI standard – could make it simple.

    -can be included in higher classes

    Courage(page 54) (Poem)

    Well, I am not Chicken (Poem –Unit 6) Similar theme and pessimistic view(Unit 6 poem) Go for courage poem.

    -Remove and go for courage poem

    We are Plooters (poemPg106

    – negative views about self.
    What is Plooters?

    Remove the text as it has negative views about self.

    The First Skateboard in the History of the World (story)

    –not relevant – the game is not popular in Bhutan, and a long story for cl. VI.

    Well, I am not chicken(Poem)

    – Similar theme of the poem (Courage), and pessimistic views of oneself.

    Remove the text as it has negative views about self.

    Writing –Essay (40 marks)

    – Marks for writing essay is too much

    -could give it for grammar or other tests.


    Twin Telepathy

    -no values and involve more scientific terms.

    -must be replaced with a better one in text

    Writing –Essay (40 marks)

    – Marks for writing essay is too much, could give it for grammar or other tests.

    -could give it for grammar or other tests.


    Which Way?
    Pg 9

    -high standard

    -connection of story (confusion)

    Prayer flags blowing in the wind.
    Pg 65-67
    The interweaving of the two words…

    The words should be Worlds

    -use ‘World’ while teaching

    Homemade sound effects

    -totally unnecessary

    -replace with a better text
    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Dawa the Stray Dog of Bhutan.

    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Replace the novel,
    – time to change.

    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Replace the novel,

    The Giver

    - Replace the novel, The Giver –
    time to change.
    Suggested novels
    1. The grapes of Wrath –John Steinbeck
    2. To kill a Mocking Bird –Harper Lee
    3. The Catcher in the Rye –J. D. Salinger
    4. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
    5. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
    6. Jane-Austen – Pride and Prejudice
    7. Oliver Twist –Charles Dickens
    8. The Great Expectation –Charles Dickens
    9. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    10. Wuthering Heights –Emily Bronte

    Replace the novel

    General View:
    -Class VI English syllabus is very vast and huge.-48 texts plus 6 supplementary texts to be studied. It takes more than a week to cover a story sometimes.
    -could reduce number of stories; there are 15 stories to study for common exam besides essays, poems and grammar.
    -most of the stories talk about theme of nature and trees like in unit II and III.
    -Each unit has more than seven texts; Unit 4 has ten texts.
    -It’s a heavy textbook for small children to carry back and forth to the school.
    -Could Bhutanized text; include Bhutanese writings, local contents but intact to general, globalize in nature
    -Should have prescribed text with uniform activities for grammar for the entire standard.
    -sudden shift of syllabus from class 3 to 4
    - Most contents are imported