Saturday 29 June 2024


 Socrates - The Life and the Trial

1.  सुकरात का दर्शन: मरते हुए एक मुर्गे की बात क्यों कर रहे थे? | Socrates | Tarikh Ep.744 | Lallantop

2.  A Lesson From Socrates That Will Change The Way You Think

3. The Trial of Socrates (Plato's Apology)

4. This tool will help improve your critical thinking - Erick Wilberding

Friday 7 June 2024

Art of Literary Research

 The Art of Literary Research - Richard Altick and John Fenstermaker

Video 1: Critic, Researcher, and Scholar

Click here to watch the video on YouTube

Introduction to the Coursework

The syllabus for the first paper of the PhD coursework in English Studies includes "The Art of Literary Research" by Richard Altick and John Fenstermaker. This book focuses not on the technical aspects of writing, such as literature reviews or academic writing, but on the mindset necessary for research. In research, there are two perspectives: the technical side, involving data collection and scientific methods (hardware), and the mindset or approach (software).

Understanding the Terms: Critic, Researcher, and Scholar

As research scholars, it's important to understand the roles of a critic, a researcher, and a scholar. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they can have distinct meanings depending on the context.

  1. Critic: A critic primarily focuses on a literary work itself, analyzing its style, structure, and content. The critic interprets the text using various analytical tools and insights.
  2. Scholar: A scholar goes beyond the text, considering its genesis and historical context. A scholar’s work is essential for understanding the broader implications and historical significance of a literary work.
  3. Researcher: A researcher must have a vivid sense of history and the ability to immerse themselves in different historical periods. This requires intellectual curiosity, precision, and imaginative response.

The Interconnected Roles of Critic, Scholar, and Researcher

  • Common Pursuits: Both critics and scholars share a common pursuit: the study of literature. Their work is interdependent; a critic’s findings are valuable to scholars, and vice versa.
  • Combining Roles: Every good student of literature often combines the roles of critic and scholar, sometimes without realizing it. The boundary between being a critic and a scholar is fluid.

Differences and Emphases

  • Critics: Critics are primarily concerned with the literary work itself, focusing on its internal elements like style, structure, and content.
  • Scholars: Scholars, on the other hand, look at the literary work within a larger context, including its genesis and subsequent history. They seek to illuminate the work from various angles to make it as comprehensible as possible.

Examples and Practical Applications

  • New Criticism: Focuses on the text itself, as seen in the works of I.A. Richards and T.S. Eliot. Practical criticism involves detailed textual analysis.
  • Theoretical Approaches: Scholars like Northrop Frye take a broader view, considering world literature as a unified body and looking for common patterns across different texts.

Scholar’s Perspective

George Whalley, in his work "Scholarship and Criticism" (1959), emphasizes that no true scholar can lack critical acumen. A scholar must have a poet’s eye, always searching for unknown insights. This dual vision—seeing the past and understanding its implications in the present—is crucial for a scholar.

Researcher's Insight

A researcher must be able to time travel intellectually, understanding the historical and cultural context of the work they study. This requires a blend of intellectual insight and imaginative response. Researchers must adjust their thinking to the context of different periods and disciplines.

Methodology and Approach

  • Scientific Approach: Researchers and scholars in literature should adopt a rigorous, scientific approach to their work. This involves intellectual curiosity, precision, imagination, and the ability to suggest new hypotheses and strategies.
  • Collaboration and Systematic Work: Unlike isolated efforts, a collective approach where scholars and researchers share their findings can illuminate the entire field, similar to how scientists work.

Researcher vs Scholar

One can be a researcher, full of knowledge, without also being a scholar. Research is the 'means', scholarship the 'end': research is an occupation, scholarship is a habit of mind and a way of life. Scholars are more than researchers, for while they may be gifted in the discovery and assessment of facts, they are, besides, persons of broad and luminous learning. They have both the wisdom and the knowledge that enable them to put facts in their place - in two senses. They are never either engulfed or overawed by mere data because their minds are able to see them in the long perspective of mankind's artistic ambitions and achievements. (Altick, The Art of Literary Research)


Humane scholarship ... moves and must move within two worlds at once – the world of scientific method and the world, in whatever degree, of creative art. The postulates of the two are radically different. And our exquisitely difficult task is to conform at once to the stipulations of each without infringing on those of the other. The path of least resistance is to follow one and let the other go.
Research, which is the primary instrument of science, is felt to be the easier and it is also the more alluring. I too have heard the Sirens sing, and I know whereof I speak. And so we tend to become enamoured of the methods, and at times to forget the end; to allow, in a word, the fascination of the means to distract us from the very object for which they are employed. And that end is, in the broadest sense of the word, interpretation – the interpretation, in the light of all that our researches can reveal, of the literature which is our field. (John Livingston Lowes - “The Modern Language Association and Humane Scholarship,” PMLA, 48 (1933), 1403. The whole article, and most especially pages 1403-8, still is well worth reading.)


Understanding the distinctions and connections between being a critic, researcher, and scholar is essential for any research scholar in English Studies. Each role requires specific skills and approaches, but they are ultimately interconnected and mutually beneficial. A comprehensive approach that combines critical analysis, historical context, and scientific rigor will lead to more profound and insightful research.

Monday 3 June 2024

Enhancing Communication Skills Through Case Studies and Problem-Solving: A Comprehensive Approach for Undergraduate Students

Enhancing Communication Skills Through Case Studies and Problem-Solving: A Comprehensive Approach for Undergraduate Students | With the help of ChatGPT 4.o

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, effective communication skills are paramount for success in both professional and personal spheres. As educators, finding innovative and engaging methods to teach these skills is essential. One such approach is through the use of case studies and problem-solving activities, which provide students with real-life scenarios to apply their knowledge and develop their abilities. This blog explores how these methods can be integrated into communication skills courses at the undergraduate level, with a focus on practical application, collaborative learning, and the enhancement of English language proficiency. Through detailed lesson plans and case study examples, we will demonstrate how to create an immersive learning environment that not only improves communication skills but also enriches students' understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and effective language use. 

Lesson Plan: Communication Skills

Lesson Title: Effective Communication through Case Studies and Problem-Solving

Duration: 2 Hours


  • To enhance students' communication skills through practical application.
  • To develop problem-solving abilities in real-life scenarios.
  • To foster collaborative learning and teamwork.

Materials Needed:

  • Case study handouts
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Audio-visual aids (projector, laptop)
  • Assessment rubrics
  • Notebooks and pens

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction (15 minutes)

  • Icebreaker Activity: Brief introduction and an icebreaker to set a collaborative tone.
  • Objective Overview: Explain the objectives and importance of communication skills in professional and personal contexts.
  • Outline of the Session: Provide a brief overview of the session's structure.

2. Case Study Presentation (30 minutes)

  • Introduction to the Case Study: Present a case study related to communication in a professional setting (e.g., a workplace conflict, team project communication, customer service scenario).
  • Group Division: Divide students into small groups (4-5 students per group).
  • Case Study Analysis: Each group reads and discusses the case study, identifying the key communication issues and challenges.

3. Problem-Solving Activity (45 minutes)

  • Identify Problems: Each group lists the communication problems identified in the case study.
  • Develop Solutions: Groups brainstorm and propose potential solutions to the identified problems.
  • Prepare Presentations: Groups prepare a brief presentation (5-7 minutes) to share their analysis and solutions.

4. Group Presentations and Feedback (30 minutes)

  • Group Presentations: Each group presents their case study analysis and proposed solutions.
  • Class Discussion: After each presentation, the class discusses the proposed solutions, offering constructive feedback and alternative approaches.
  • Instructor Feedback: Provide feedback on each group's communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and presentation effectiveness.

5. Reflection and Wrap-Up (15 minutes)

  • Reflection Activity: Students individually reflect on what they learned about communication through the case study and problem-solving activities.
  • Class Discussion: Discuss as a class the key takeaways and how these skills can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the session, reinforce the importance of effective communication, and outline the next steps or future activities.


  • Participation and Engagement: Assess students' active participation in group discussions and activities.
  • Group Presentation: Evaluate the clarity, coherence, and effectiveness of the group presentations using an assessment rubric.
  • Reflection Activity: Assess the depth of individual reflections and their understanding of communication concepts.

Assessment Rubric:

CriteriaExcellent (4)Good (3)Satisfactory (2)Needs Improvement (1)
ParticipationActively engaged, contributed insightful ideasParticipated regularly, contributed useful ideasParticipated occasionally, contributed basic ideasRarely participated, minimal contribution
Problem IdentificationClearly identified all key issuesIdentified most key issuesIdentified some key issuesStruggled to identify key issues
Solution DevelopmentProposed creative, feasible solutionsProposed feasible solutionsProposed basic solutionsStruggled to propose feasible solutions
PresentationClear, well-organized, engagingClear and organizedBasic clarity and organizationUnclear, disorganized
ReflectionInsightful, deep understandingGood understandingBasic understandingMinimal understanding

Notes for Instructors:

  • Ensure a supportive environment where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
  • Encourage active listening and respect for diverse perspectives during discussions.
  • Provide additional guidance and support to groups that may be struggling with the activities.

This lesson plan leverages case studies and problem-solving methods to teach communication skills, encouraging active participation, collaboration, and practical application.