First Regional Workshop for College Students, General Semantics and its Implications in Pedagogy and Communication Studies, 18-19 November 2011, Guru Nanak Girls’ Post Graduate College, Udaipur , Rajasthan
The first Regional workshop for college students was organized by
Guru Nanak Girls P.G. College, Udaipurin collaboration with Balvant Parekh centre for General Semantics and other Human Sciences, , during 18-19 November 2011. The workshop had eighty six students, teachers and research scholars as participants. Prof. Prafulla C. Kar, Mr. Devkumar Trivedi , Poet and Member, Board of Trust, Balvant Parekh Centre, Dr. Deepa Mishra, Associate Professor in English , Baroda and Dr Bini B.S., Academic Fellow of Balvant Parekh Centre were the workshop faculty. C.H.M. College
The workshop commenced with the inaugural session on
the 18th November 2011, with a welcome address by Prof. G.M. Mehta, Principal and Local Coordinator, . Professor Prafulla C. Kar in his introductory Remarks elaborated on the purpose of the workshop, which according to him was to promote the discussion and analysis of the basic idea of General Semantics and to think about the possibilities of benefitting from them in our day to day activities, communications, perceptions, relationships and decision making. Guru Nanak Girls P.G. College
A section for the audience
After the introductory Remarks there were three lectures. The first lecture was delivered by Bini B.S. on “General Semantics: An Overview.” She introduced some of the major concepts of General Semantics in terms of the ideas expressed by Alfred Korzybski. Elaborating upon the concept of binding, Bini B.S. defined energy binding, space binding and time binding very deftly. She also explained the concept and implications of structural differential with the help of a diagram.
The second lecture “Highways and Byways” was delivered by Mr. Devkumar Trivedi, beginning with the idea that nothing is stable in this world and everything keeps changing. He explicated that the words also have various meanings. Use of various words creates certain picture in our mind. By giving various examples he explained that using words, communicating ideas, disseminating knowledge and skills need to be cautions and conscious activities because misevaluation and miscommunications can produce disastrous results. He emphasized the fact that a good communicator is one who very comprehensively conveys his meaning, adding that the right message should reach the receiver.
The third lecture “Manhood of Humanity: An Analysis of General Semantics Perspective” was given by Deepa Mishra. She provided a stimulating insight into the fact that applying theory is more difficult than writing theory. It should be practiced at its own level. General Semantics is about evaluation and misevaluation and how to improve the former through consciousness of abstracting. When every individual gradually becomes aware that real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance we can hopefully look forward to better decision making and enjoy more satisfying results in our everyday lives. At the end of the lecture there was an animated discussion by the participants, there were pointed questions and equally thought provoking answers.
The second day of the workshop started with a lecture on “Language and Communication: Perspectives, Practices and Applications with Reference to Insights from General Semantics” by Deepa Mishra. She explained in detail how we can make communication successful. She further said that when our language structure is similar to facts and realities then only we will have successful communication. In communication what is important is not what one says but what one conveys. She explained that natural language is never precise and an attempt to achieve exactness in language often obscures meaning. Thus an approach to meaning relies heavily on the intention of the speaker. The second lecture was delivered by Bini B.S. on “Impact of General Semantics on Media and Communication Studies: Being Conscious, Cautious and Conscientious.” In a culture like ours which is long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. Keeping this in mind she talked about how media makes use of several strategies for influencing the emotions of people whether it is the radio, reality shows in the T.V. and even news through language by modulation of voice and use of music etc. General Semantics can act as a defense-kit against the manipulative use of language and symbols.
The movie To Sir with Love was screened in the last session of the workshop as this movie reflects the use of General Semantics. After this there was a discussion on pedagogy and an exchange of views with the students. The workshop ended with an open session. Over all, the participants had an intellectually stimulating experience and interaction during the two day workshop.
Rekha Tiwary, Head of the Department of English, Guru Nanak Girls’
Post Graduate College, , Rajasthan Udaipur