Friday, March 28, 2014

Truth about Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD): Reasons and Revelations

Truth about Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD): Reasons and Revelations
There is an epidemic of name-calling by school teachers and psychologists who are freely labeling the children with Attention Deficit Disorders such as ADHD. The epidemic started in the US and other "developed" countries and has now spread to Pakistan thanks to some powerful Hollywood and Bollywood Movies. Clinical Psychology Department of GCU, Lahore, conducted a survey of school teachers which revealed that the teachers consider nearly 60 percent of the children as having ADHD [See References below]. I would be describing the reasons behind this epidemic and five recommendations later in the post, but first consider the following questions:

Overprotected Kids: Need for Risk Taking and Self Discovery

Overprotected Kids: Need for Risk Taking and Self Discovery

Risk taking used to be part of the every day growing up experience of every child. With our over-protection and over-carefulness we are throttling the innovation, creativity and liveliness of our children. Risk taking and suspense used to make kids mentally strong and develop an ability to work under stress and pressure. Exploring new places, new situations that were often fraught with danger, were actually a preparation to cope with the uncertainties in life. This may very well be one of the reason of the psychological issues confronting many kids and youths today.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Plight of Sugarcane Growers: The Economic Costs of Regulatory Barriers for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

During the winter holidays, often extending from mid of December to mid of January, I often drive to Islamabad and back. The biggest nuisance on the National Highway as you pass through the upper Sind and lower Punjab are the miles and miles of queued tractor trolleys with over loaded sugarcane. The sugarcane is loaded in a manner that it extends on both sides of the trolley, doubling the width of the trolley and also increasing its height to an extent that the whole contraption is precariously balanced and is prone to overturning at the slightest pretext. It also becomes a major hazard by occupying most part of the two lanes of the road. The trolley now provides no rear visibility to the driver for traffic coming from behind, and providing no clue to the rear traffic of what lies ahead. On top of it, the drivers can't hear the horns or anything as their loudspeakers blare music at the top of the volume jarring the hearing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Of Achars, Chutneys and Halwas: A Lifestyle Getting Lost Through Branding and Mass Production

Mangoe Flowers: Bur
Yesterday I heard the Koel's cu-ckoo and I could hear my nani jan (grandmother) calling from the past saying that this is spring time. There is now "bur" (small flowers) on the mango trees. "Remember Irfan, you need to go to the market to get the kai-rees (unripe mangoes)". Planning for the annual ritual of preparing the mango "achar" would then be underway.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Secret of Happiness: One Simple Rule

I was taught a very important rule about the secret of happiness and its relationship with expectations, the hard way, by my mother when I had returned back in 1995 from USA after having been there for over seven years. The lesson threw me on the ground, flat, and got the steam out of me. Bear with me as I connect the dots below.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

How Language Acquisition is Made Difficult for Children: Eight Lessons from an Urdu Acquisition Case Study

How Language Acquisition is Made Difficult for Children: Eight Lessons from an Urdu Acquisition Case Study

[The later part of this post would derive the lessons that I learned from my experience of how I learned Urdu which is described first. These lessons address the problems that our faulty methodologies are creating today in language acquisition especially in teaching of Urdu. The lessons are general and apply to other languages also as highlighted by references to well established and well known research. ]

The first Urdu Book I remember reading around 1966-67 was I think Urdu ki pehli kitab[?]I must have been around five or six years old at that time. Those were the days when the madness of imprisoning two and three year olds in the pre-school had not begun. (It is madness because nowhere in the developed world any educationist recommends this except schools in Pakistan run by administrators not academics.) I had by then must have gone through the Noorani Quaida. Anyhow, I distinctly remember a few lines from the very first page of that pehli kitab. Surprisingly many others who had started their Urdu from this book also do so. The first page had some very simple rhyming sentences with very short "meaningful" words such as: