Friday, February 10, 2017

Drama Teen- Parents’ Walk Through the Contours of Teenage!

“Impossible to understand. This is the best way to describe this generation.”- Parents.
“They don’t understand me at all.” - Teenagers.

More often than not, this is the skit that goes on loop, in the houses where the “Ghar ke Chirags” are teenaged kids. Ms. Lina with her new book- “Drama Teen” bridges this gap presenting the story from both the perspectives.

I dream of a society in which every child enjoys the right to a joyful childhood and top quality education. - Ms. Lina Ashar.

Lina Ashar
As a teacher, realizing the voids in the education system, Lina took it up as a challenge. Engaging children with imaginative and fun-filled teaching was her idea. This idea was certainly a radical thought, and one very new in the India of 90s. Well, who knew this idea will go on to paint the best picture of reality. Along with being a busy educationist, she has also been a successful author who has sought to guide the parents and teenagers time and again. The journey of the author Lina Ashar continues with her new book - “Drama Teen”. Here is an excerpt from the delightful conversation, I had with her:

1. Can you tell us something about your book - “Drama Teen”. How is it different from a normal parenting guide?

Lina Ashar - Most books address only one audience, the unique thing about this book is the format. For each topic I write to the parent and then the teen - giving them a chance to step into each other’s shoes and therefore bridge the generation gap. The process was initiated while I was counseling students to understand their own values and their parent’s values and negotiate their needs from that position. I got a lot of positive response from the students that it worked and helped them get what they want - but not at the cost of their relationship with their parents.

2. School and Curriculum plays a vital role in steering a teenager in right direction. What are your views regarding the system and curriculum in India? According to you, how the education sector of India needs to improve?

Lina Ashar - ‘I was born intelligent. The education system ruined me’ – Mark Twain’s famous quote is true for many educational systems around the world. Kids enter schools as curious and inquisitive creatures and leave the portals as unthinking, uncreative, and undemanding people. We teach children subjects in a lack lustre manner and in most cases they cannot join the dots, this makes them dislike going to school.

The 21st century skills that children need to encompass is collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and high level of accountability and display of ethical behaviour. We have to a great extent focus on integrated projects revolving around global themes.

3. Most of the engineering students think they did a mistake by joining engineering. Can this problem’s roots be found in teenage? When it comes to career-guidance, how should teachers and parents play their role?

Lina Ashar - Schools and Parents need to first recognize that there are careers and jobs beyond engineering and medicine. Studies have shown that Right Brain jobs that will be in demand in the coming years. A lot of these jobs don’t even exist today. We need to train children to survive in life and train them to build right habits of mind.   

The top paying jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years back.

4. How do you explain pros and cons of excess of things like peer-pressure, social media, and rebellious attitude to a teenager? What is your advice to teenagers based on current times?

Lina Ashar - I always urge the teens that - when they really want to acquire a material possession, they need to find ways of earning the money. Build within themselves a spirit of enterprise. Mowing lawns, and delivering newspapers and milk seem to be a thing of the past, but find ways to do chores over and above the normal household duties for a financial reward.

Our education system is already set up to provide the hard skills, they need to go through life. However, they also need values such as self-esteem and confidence. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they have to think about ways in which they can invent.
5. Impact of Movies on our society is well known. And, teenagers can get very easily
intimidated by movies. What is your view regarding it? What is the way out from the p.o.v of students as well as parents?

Lina Ashar - Often movies unknowingly impact children in a sub conscious manner. They propagate violence, eve teasing, sexual vulgarity etc. The best way to combat this is enforce positivity in children, every time a parent notices such messages being given out, the parent should discuss with the child, this is what the hero should have done, violence has repercussions etc...

This will help make the child aware of the subtle messages and build a positive image.

6. Being an educationist, you have been around these things for major part of your life. What are some lessons that you have learnt from teenagers?

Lina Ashar - Reward and risk often go hand in hand.
Unconditional love is a must.
Practice what you preach - or walk the talk

7. If you think about adding one more dimension or one more chapter to your book- Drama Teen, what will it be about?

One of the aspects that I would have loved to add is the Importance of the stories that we hear, In fact this is now going to be my third book. Stories we hear form the basis of our subconscious programs, therefore beliefs, actions and decisions. Brain chatter or stories we tell ourselves form the basis of the outcome of our lives.

The Third one sounds interesting already!