20 seconds of education

Updated: Sep 08, 2019, 07:51 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

Long classes with teachers and blackboards are so 90s. Meet the teachers on the latest hit social media platform, giving valuable lessons in juicy mini-bytes

20 seconds of education

On TikTok, Delhi-based Geet, who has two channels—English With Geet and TheOfficialGeet—is a godsend. She teaches English—synonyms, idioms, vocabulary, all in an American accent (which comes naturally to her as she grew up in Seattle)—to her 4.1 million young followers. If one video has her explaining figures fo speech such as "It will cost me an arm and a leg", another has her explaining the difference between sometime, some time and sometimes.

"I started with funny videos that I shot with my nani, but they didn't do as well as the English videos or the motivational videos, so I switched track," says Geet, who divides her time between Delhi and the US, and works in the social sector the rest of the time. Owing to her experience working with slum children in Delhi, Geet also uses her motivational channel (which has 2.1 million followers) to talk about domestic violence, and self-confidence issues among other things. Her own journey, from someone who had a car accident at the age of 10, causing permanent damage to her spinal cord, to an influencer on a platform as large as TikTok, also provides inspiration to her followers. What drives her? The comments which pour in, and prove that she has changed someone's life in just 20 seconds.

"The youth loves to learn, wants to learn. And they are very positive. On other platforms I got comments like 'you look like a chudail/where is your accent from?', but on TikTok, everyone is super encouraging. I have seen not-so traditionally good-looking people get great responses for their dancing/acting, or overweight people who dance, and everyone is cheering on. For me personally, it's great, as it lets me help people, which is my aim in life."

Earlier this year, TikTok— a social media video app for creating and sharing short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos—tied up with educational technology companies such as Vedantu, Vidya Guru, Hello English, to encourage learning. They also reached out to creators who were sharing their own knowledge under the #edutok hashtag, which has more than a billion views. It's perhaps the pressure of mass flak over their "frivolous" content that finally got to them.

Animesh GuptaDr Animesh Gupta

One other such creator, like Geet, who aims to spread motivation is Mahendra Dogney. And once, he was called a "Class 9 fail". Dogney, who belongs to tiny Harda in Madhya Pradesh, kept failing in mathematics till he finally took it upon himself to top the school. Later, he got selected to work for the State Bank of India. Twenty-five years old at the time, he wasn't sure this was the career he wanted to pursue. He ran away from home, and eventually returned to spend two and a half years working at his father's garage as a mechanic.

"I studied hard then and got selected for Syndicate Bank, and I started my own academy, The Change Academy, to teach how to clear such examinations. By then, since I had learnt a few truths about life, I started using the money I made at the academy to give motivational speeches around MP," says the 30-year-old. In March 2018, after putting up few videos on YouTube, he got on to TikTok, and the first video to go viral was one where he spoke about "what do you mean when you say 'you gave 100%'. Within a year, he grossed a million followers and today, 2.5 million. "It's a challenge to fit motivational quotes in 15-20 seconds, but that's what is fun. One of my most popular quotes is that 'Bada naukar banane se behtar hai chota malik ban jao, khush rahoge'."

What Dogney has learnt about the youth is that though they are talented and ready to learn, they find it easy to blame the world for their lack of resources. His next piece of advice is where we feel he leads by example as well. "The world we live in is full of avenues. You can just get on a platform and upload what you want. How can we say there are no possibilities?," says the creator, who says his way of expanding his own mind is by reading and talking to people's stories. "Their journeys inspire me."

Mahendra Dogney
Mahendra Dogney

If Geet and Dogney are inspiring and motivating the youth to be themselves and forge ahead with confidence, Dr Animesh Gupta is busy clearing their misconceptions. The general surgeon from Delhi, who has his own private practice, used to get all kinds of questions in his OPD. "People want a cure for diseases such as gall bladder stones and hernia without surgery. They see videos online that tell them a syrup can do the trick, and that's a lie," says the 30-year-old. After scouting online, he found many such fake videos, and decided to get on social media himself to help clear the air.

"I made a video saying I am a doctor and I would answer everyone's questions, and that video went viral," says the creator who has now 2.8 million followers. He got 4,000 questions which ranged from how to lose/gain weight, how to deal with hairfall, fungal infections and how to gain height. "I tell them the truth. After 21, bones don't grow and no amount of syrups will help." Ask him if there is any money to be made, and he says not right now. It takes at least 20 million followers to start earning anything, but at least, it helps make a name.

Today, along with giving advice or just sharing what kind of doctor one can look for, Gupta believes he is making a difference. "I can prevent people from going to quacks or witch doctors. I am proud of that."

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