Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kavya Shivshankar - the new US National Spelling Bee Champion '09

I watched this programme in the ESPN channel yesterday. But I did not watch Kavya's winning scene. Read about her in the Times of India today and wanted to see her winning scene. So, thanks to 'you tube' and 'hisunand', I got to watch her and her family's interview. Her habit of writing in her palm, with the finger, is fascinating. She says she is visualizing the word in this manner.

She is so young, just 13 years old and in 8th grade. She is learning to play violin too and wants to become a neuro-surgeon!

This championship is being conducted for the past 10 years and 7 Indian Americans have won this title. We Indians give a lot of importance to education and give 100% attention and so, the children excel than the other nationals.

The Times of India says, 'What’s undeniable is that with the passage of time, the Spelling Bee championship itself has taken a new aura, with big time prize money (Kavya picked up $40,000 in cash and prizes and will most likely breeze through college on scholarships that could amount to as much as $100,000) and wall-to-wall media coverage.'

Congratulations to Kavya and us, brainy Indians!


Saritha said...

I read abt this in the paper.

Thanx for sharing the video with us sandhya.

We indian where ever we are we give much importance to the education but sometimes i feel we are putting more burden on the little shoulders.My daughter is in grade 1 and her teacher expects her to write cursive the way you and i do,it is not possible for little brain to write perfectly.

Anonymous said...

She is able to visualize the words... I think it is more of a photographic memory and she's got an awesome amount of it! Thanks for putting up that video and she deserves the prize for sure! I am still not able to spell seperate (For me, somehow, the spellings should follow the pronunciation!). Thanks for the automatic spell checking softwares!

Destination Infinity

Solilo said...

I watched it on TV. A friend's son reached till State level. He will try again this year.

Indian kids always excel in spelling Bees here. Proud of the kid.

Sandhya said...

Varunavi: This news came in all the papers and all the TV channels also. So first I thought I will not write a post about this. But I admired this girl, for the way she visualized the words, writing them in her palm - that is really a good method. I looked for an appropriate video, where this method is explained by her and so I thought I will share this for everyone's future reference.

When my children started going to school in Bangalore, the Principal of that school explained to me why they insist on the age for admission in LKG as 3 years and 10 months because the finger bones of the children will be very tender when they are too small. So if they start holding pencils or chalk, they tend to hold them tightly and gradually the shape of the fingers might bend a little or the fingers might ache and they will not be mature enough to express that pain too. My son is October born and so the 3 years 10 months' was a draw back for him and I had to admit him when he was 4 years 4 months in LKG! So he lost one year. But here in Tamilnadu, they don't insist on the age and so they admit children at the age of 3 years! Most of the schools start giving homework(!) too, like 'write A 10 times at home' etc.! And the pressure for them to excel in studies and other activities starts...I feel very sad for the children, Saritha.

Some schools are here where the children don't have exams and no homework till Fifth standard. My younger son studied upto 4th std. in Hosur, where they had tests every week and when we admitted him here in Chennai in 5th std. in a school, he did not have tests at all. He was jumping literally with joy and you should have seen his brother's expression - he was in 8th std. and he was not so lucky!

Just look out for schools like this in your city also for your daughters - they are becoming common now, though some parents are not very happy about it!

Destinationinfinity: Yes, I too admired her way of visualizing the words, that is the reason for posting this video.

Do you remember my comments in one of your posts about a relative of mine who had photographic memory - she had it and she studied in a school where she had to write question answers of each and every lesson in every subject(!), 5 times. So she was doing her homework all the time and her fingers used to ache. This started from UKG! So she was blindly copying the Q&A and nothing was registering in her brain. She is married now and has got a baby and she says she will admit her child in a school, where there is no tests and no H.W.

I write 'variety' as 'veriety' all the time!

Automatic spell checking software - good imagination!!

Solilo: We have watched this programme, last year also. Lot of hard work must have been there, for getting this prestigeous award, Solilo. My niece in the UK says that her children are admired there for their excellence in studies and other extra curricular activities - it is taken for granted that Indian kids are brainy!

Saritha said...

I just read this as news,but ur post made me realise how the girl became champion and video showed how she recollects the spellings by writing on her palm.
btw i am very poor in spellings so i always depend on spell check

Never heard of this sandhya that kids fingers pain when they hold pencil,so sad we parents are not aware of it.

Here the child shuld complete 3 years at the time of admission and back home also same thing.I have seen how my elder child struggled in the school.She used to come home and sleep on the sofa itself without changing and food,she used to get tried.
Now i decided not to join my younger kid till she is 4years,let she lazy around the house and full life is there for them to learn :)

Sandhya said...

Varunavi: I admitted my younger son in a play school for one year, where they were not making the kids to write, but taught them a lot of other things. Counting, alphabets, rhymes and other things - everything orally. They had a play area also and played well with the other kids. My son enjoyed that class. Look for something like that, if you can. Discuss this with other parents too.

Anonymous said...

It was really nce to read about his :)) and nicer to watch the video:)
thanks Sandhya :)

I am always amazed at the number of Indian kids who do well in the spelling bee ))

Sandhya thank you so much for the words (in your reply to Varunvai) ...I am so glad that parents realise this..

it is heartbreaking to see little kids being given loads of homework and being made to write like slaves :(

and that is why I am glad that you realize this ((((Hugs)):))

kanagu said...

thats a great news... :) happy to hear it.. :)

but still I feel that Indian parents are too much concerned about child's education which makes the children to breakdown sometimes...

manju said...

It's good to read news about Indian children excelling like this!

Saritha said...

Sandhya checked ur recipes,liked them a lot,will try some.All recipes are new to me.Going to try ur muruku right now :)))
Why don't u start a food blog?

Sandhya said...

Indyeah: Yes, Abhi (thanks to Solilo, I know your name and I always like to address by name!) our Indians who are abroad are doing very well in all the fields, whether education, business or politics. I had seen this programme last year too and we seem to be watching more Indian kids every year. Separate coaching classes are there to participate in this programme, it seems - like we have IIT (base) coaching classes from Std.5, can you believe it? I thought it is from 8th, but my son said that he read in the paper that it is from 5th! Disgusting, indeed. I feel sorry for today's children.

I selected this video, just to see how she writes in her palm, the spellings of the words. Thanks for appreciating it.

Kanagu: We seem to read more news like this nowadays. It is true that parents pressurize children to study well, nowadays. Earlier, it was not so difficult to get admissions in good colleges. If you get below 85% in Plus II, you have to be ready to shelve money in lakhs. Then fees and other expenses. Thank god, we have crossed that stage, without much difficulty.

Yes, it is difficult for children too. No playtime or time to relax. School, tuitions take over the childhood happiness of young children.

Manju: yes, Manju, we seem to be hearing more news like this, day by day.

Varunavi: Thanks Saritha, I must create separate blogs for recipes and tamil blogs, too!

Anonymous said...

Yes, We saw it in the news too and was impressed. I think Indian Kids have been doing very well at the spelling Bee Competition.. A lot is due to the enviroment at home where it is encouraged.. In most Indian families, whether in India or abroad - education is of utmost importance - that I guess pays off :)

It is indeed wonderful to see!!! Congratulations to her!

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