Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Career In Forest School Education

If you are passionate about the nature and want to be associated with it, there is a career ahead for you. This career is about educating children and adults in the natural surroundings. The career is truly unique: it allows you to expose your pupils to the elements of nature for their overall development.

There is no substitute to nature as the learning medium. The career allows learning in situ through interesting and amazingly simple means. There is no need for glossy books to feel and understand about flowers, birds, trees and different forms of wildlife. You need not implant ideas about environment and nature superficially!

The surroundings being natural, generally a woodland environment, there is no need to show artificially colored books and pictures to children to understand colors. The career that allows this environment to children is the environment of Forest Schools. In the UK, Forest Schools have been operating for quite sometime with great success. 

Children experiencing cooking at Forest School  in woodland.
(Courtesy: Archimedes Forest Schools Education, UK; Copyright: Archimedes) 

Forest Schools in UK :

Forest Schools are a wonderful concept which has been in practice in the UK for last several years now. Forest Schools developed in the UK in mid 1990s. 

The first schools in woodland came into existence at Scandinavia in 1950s where it was believed that children in early childhood needed nature to learn

The concept of schools in woodland was imported to the UK by a faculty of Bridgwater College at Somerset. While on a visit to Scandinavia in 1995, the group was impressed by children in Scandinavia learning in natural environment. 

The Scandinavian concept imported to the UK flourished as 'Forest Schools' and these were, very soon, credited with holistic development of children. 

Several studies and reviews of Forest Schools proved their usefulness and value in the children as well as to the adult education about environment. Forest Education Initiative (FEI) of UK was greatly beneficial in promotion of the Forest School concept.

A star institution that developed in the meanwhile in the UK and took Forest School concept to a greater height was a company called Archimedes Training which was established by an environment educator, Sarah Blackwell. 

Sarah Blackwell is by herself a Forest School educator. Her organization, Archimedes has been greatly responsible for giving a new direction to Forest School concept globally by establishing the company's  various brands, such as 'Forest Schools', 'Beach Schools' and 'Bush Schools'.

Archimedes 'Forest Schools Education' incorporates a very in-depth and high quality curriculum for training of Forest School educators and practitioners. 

Archimedes syllabus covers approaches derived from all possible areas, be it education, social sciences or biology, to make her Forest School education truly unique.

Archimedes  syllabus covers developments in education theories, environmental science, conservation, ecology, environment and the evolution.

The concept that the nature is in an immediate need of every human being for the overall or holistic development is built in the syllabus of Archimedes training programs. 

Forest Schools have a Woodland Setting :

Forest Schools are normally established in a woodland setting with few or more trees. The site is adequately prepared and managed for the safety of children. 

Children studying in normal schools visit Forest Schools at regular intervals, over a period of time, preferably covering all seasons. The longer the duration of the course, the better it is for children's development. 

In the Forest School, children are exposed to special methodologies involving observation and assessment and opportunity to learn according to their interests. Special methodologies allow them to learn far more deeply; the entire experience has a very positive impact on children's overall  development.

Those interested in 'Forest Schools' education can contact Sarah Blackwell, the Chairperson of Archimedes' Forest School Education or visit the website of Archimedes Training for further details.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wind Energy Can Power Your Career Soar Higher!

While browsing the Internet I found a company which immediately attracted my attention and interest because it is a global leader in the wind energy sector. I believe harnessing non-conventional energy sources should be a global priority and we ought to do everything to achieve it. The reason is obvious: their absolute safety to environment.

If you are interested in a career in this sector then read on.

Wind fascinates me and I believe most people who love nature. During the hot summer you want to occupy a place near the source of cold wind, be a under-tree shady place (a mango tree! Because the mango season is on), a desert cooler, or in an air conditioned room. The early days 'desert coolers' emitting gust of cold wind are being replaced by air conditioners in upper middle class homes. 

Frequent power cuts leave one to think of alternative sources of energy to replace coal derived energy. There is a very strong reason that stands out in favor of wind and solar energy. The reason is their non-polluting nature.

In several  parts of the world where people are starved of adequate electricity to power their homes and for other uses, wind energy is a good source that is available for free, day and night. What is lacking for their use is lack of interest of the governments and the society in general.

What the nature keeps hidden in its bowels as fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil), we are zealous to dig out at great cost to people risking their lives and environmental pollution and climate change for producing energy. But they will not do (or do very little) to produce energy from the wind knocking right at their doors, a clean source of energy.

Wind energy though available in plenty is used by fewer countries than what it could be used otherwise. I believe, we should assign some kind of wisdom index to the use of wind energy or other non-conventional or alternative sources of energy, to those countries and companies which are striving hard to adopt non-conventional energy sources. 

Like, if a country is using those unconventional sources of solar or wind sources to harness their energy, you can call them "Friends of Earth" countries. Similarly companies which are in this business of non-polluting energy sources are also "Friends of Earth”.

It is in this context that when I read about Suzlon Group, a company which had started in Pune in India in 1995, attracted my attention. The company is now world’s fifth largest wind turbine supplier. Suzlon is now having business in several parts of the world. It is spread in Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, North and South Americas. It has installed 24,200 MW wind energy capacity installed operating across 30 countries on the planet.

Wind power has been used for centuries but its use for electricity generation is new as this generation has increase several fold.

Suzlon powered wind mills in Jaisalmer, Rajsthan, India

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in the US, the installed wind energy capacity was under 3000 MW in 2000. It has grown to 35000 MW now which is enough to power 97,00000 homes. In the US wind power generating capacity has grown 39 percent per year from 2004 to 2009 and this is expected to grow even faster as demand increases. This trend should be attractive to India, where there is a shortage of power in several parts of the country. 

The wind power largely remains untapped in India. I am surprised as to why a leader company in wind power existing in the country, Suzlon remains largely untapped locally in India.

The sector of clean energy like solar and wind needs greater focus. Those aspiring a career in these sector have very good opportunities in a variety of jobs: research and development, installation and maintenance. 

Currently, Suzlon has career opportunities for a variety of positions in India, and its subsidiaries in Brazil, China, Europe North and South America. Visit those links and search for jobs of your interest. 

Working and contributing to green sectors of industries like wind energy is an opportunity, a challenge and a mission for those who want to make the planet safe! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Equality in Careers?

Everybody can not be interested in physics, maths or biology. Parents often want their children to go to a particular profession. But contrary to their desire their children want to go to an entirely different area. Children’s interests are very important in choosing the right career.

In this age when jobs are getting scarce day by day in academics, engineering, medicine and business, or such similar traditional areas, due to greater competition, it is becoming a vicious circle of sorts when donations work and a student becomes an engineer or a doctor after paying a heavy fee in a private institution. 

Does one’s inclination, liking or passion should have a role in choosing career.  Absolutely it must have a close relationship. Career should not be just to earn money, it should be something you can enjoy, work harder day and night still not tired because you like it. Look at film stars and media guys, they love their job, because most often than not they go there by their choice. These are domains where your interest counts a lot, you need some inclination before you are in. Many of them are not making big money but still they are there and do well, and they love it.

You should not consider a career as better, respectable, bad or below dignity, any more. I have problem with this equation. A job you do is a job, it is a job which do well, with sound skills and hard work, and you like it. A shoe maker, yes I am, I make great shoes, shoes which everyone runs after, they are durable. 

A tailor stitches your clothes and you like it, you respect him for his work. If you do not, it is your problem, the problem lies with you! Now we have in this world highly respectable fashion designers, chefs, tailors, hair dressers who have big names they are big brands. You ought to recognize and respect their skills and capabilities. Therefore, everyone who excels in his/her profession and job should be a contender to find place on page three.

So the issue is not education alone, but your skills, strengths and commitments to what you like and like to do and be happy. Now a days, if you like driving and want to be on wheel, there are transporting agencies which have high-tech trucks and need skilled drivers! Wonder at it! If I was young I would have liked to be a truck driver in the USA where drivers get all facilities and are paid well. (I would have got my binoculars and camera all the time and photographed wildlife while on a mission). Worried about hazards? Are there no hazards driving your own car!

It is absolutely important that parents nurture their children’s natural strengths and allow them to grow and multiply and take a profession or job they want to do. This is the only way when we will make things respectable to everyone. This class thinking in professions must go! 

In organisations, there are bigger and brighter fishes which swim most often to more greener pastures to feed, though the ecosystem is balanced by schools of insignificant fish. So the importance lies in the value of a person what he does and contributes. 

This problem lies at several places but, I believe, we must change the opportunities' spectrum for younger generation by some kind of efforts to harmonize a sense of equality of what the other person is and he/she does; the only question is how good that person is in his or her job. And, all endeavors should be directed in this direction!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Career and Life Planning

Career planning, guidance and counseling are areas that bother all of us at some or the other point in our life. As students we are in much greater need for better planning and guidance as we are new to the field and are continuously in pursuit of most opportune course for building our future prospects.

Those having a job and not satisfied we are in search of better opportunities.

As parents it is a different situation. Our children in high school are growing and soon will head  for college. Concerned about our children’s  future we are willing to sacrifice and give them the best opportunity. The parents’ own past experiences are their mirror to their success or failure. Overzealous parents are worried for the future of their children and at times even depressed. It is not a big issue. Because the parents’ parents too had their worries then!

So, at all times in the past, the present and the future similar concerns echo in different times.

How to progress in getting the right education, right guidance and the right counseling.  There are some golden points in this area to follow. Social interaction with peers as to what are their plans and what they are pursuing. Secondly, speak to your teachers and faculty and career guidance centres at the institution you are attending. Sit on net and explore the net resources available.

Information is the most important asset. Note down your interests and draw a list of prospective fields and your order of preferences. Short list them over a period of time. Go by your interests as the most important aspects if you have possessed with some special skills such as artistic, technical or communication. Having any thing and every thing backed by a professional  qualification is the best bet.

When it comes to career and the future of children it is a very exciting area at every level.  Some youth wants to place policies and programs for them. However success depends upon seriousness and the programs put on ground.

Tabitha Grier-Reed points an interesting point in career planning. She lays emphasis in understanding the identity of the student and then personal development as the starting point. What is important in current context is that the planning should be for skill sets with multiple pathways. Because in the 21st century industry and areas open up and close. So multiple skill sets are important to be successful in career.

Career guidance at institutional level has a different problem. Students come from different backgrounds, upper class, middle class and underprivileged class. While the upper class are better placed in career planning, the middle classes are also future oriented. The underprivileged are the most high risk group needing guidance.

Tabitha Grier-Reed has worked for the US Federal TRIO program, an outreach program designed to “identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds”. TRIO assists low-income individuals, first generation college students and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academics from high school to post-baccalaureate programs.  

The most important way of career planning is the collaborative effort of all the three stakeholders: The student, the parents and the teachers to work together