Friday, June 20, 2014

Is Training in NLP the Right Choice?

If you are thinking of learning German, then your best option may be to learn German online. Learning online gives you many advantages such as saving you plenty of time, resources and money. However, online classes give you little chance or opportunity to practice what you are learning. Here are some ways you can work your way towards better studies.

  

Understand the 80/20 principle
Many studies indicate that 80% of the mistakes a student makes when learning a new language are due to 20% misunderstanding of the structural rules of the language. This means that such a small misinterpretation of the structural rules can lead to huge mistakes. Use your study material to pinpoint mistakes that often occur. Use this information to create a colorful chart containing the cardinal rules of the language and a few examples. Once you do this, your subconscious will memorize the rules and alert you when you are about to make a mistake.

Talk to yourself
You may realize that when an opportunity presents itself for you to speak German, you become self-conscious especially if you are a beginner. You can alleviate this feeling by practicing regularly by talking to yourself when you are alone in your house or your room. Your inhibitions will disappear as time goes by and you will feel confident speaking German whenever the chance comes up. It helps to keep in memory the article of the noun each time you repeat a vocabulary. For instance, it is of little use if you know the German equivalent for chair, when you do not know the gender of the noun. To improve on this, you should try pretending the article is a fixed part of that word.
Take a break
The saying practice makes perfect is true, but that does not mean you should spend countless hours memorizing a list of vocabularies and going over them again. Too much of something is unproductive. If you find yourself not getting anything after an entire afternoon of memorizing vocabularies, it may be a sign that you need to take a break, and pick it up from there, next time. Research shows that it is much more effective to spend shorter periods on learning vocabulary than dedicating the whole morning or afternoon trying to memorize them in your head. Nevertheless, do not avoid the German language. Go searching for avenues that you can practice your German such as a cultural center, theaters or library.

By Imma Sila

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ODE Practice Test to Get Ready for the Ohio Achievement Assessment

In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) oversees and monitors charter schools, public school districts, educational and regional educational providers, early learning and child care programs, joint vocational school districts, and private schools. The Education department is also responsible for developing the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) to evaluate the knowledge and proficiency of the Grade 3 through 8 students in Maths, Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Writing at the end of each grade for promotion to the next grade. The development of the Achievement Assessment Test (AAT)) also meets the Ohio's Academic Content Standard requirement, a necessity of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The Act requires all states to establish the minimum academic standards for evaluating the maths and reading knowledge of the grade 3 - 8 students.
The Ohio Department of Education has also developed ODE Practice Tests with the actual OAA test questions. The basic aim of the Sample test is to get ready students for the AAT, measure their knowledge on various subjects at the end of each grade, and find out what they have learned in the classroom. The Sample Test also assists students in understanding the Achievement Assessment (AA) testing process and test questions. The families and teachers can also evaluate their child's performance level through the test, and find out how far students have understood their classroom subjects. The teachers can also develop their own online Sample Tests with the actual AAT questions provided on the ODE Practice Test.
The Department of Education has also produced Online Practice Tests as an additional resource for the statewide assessment and OAA Assessment. The online tests serve four purposes for the education department including:
  • Help students know about the test, test score, performance level, possible points, and what they need to learn in different subjects for the test by the end of each term.

  • Students can take a Practice Test with actual test questions and prepare for Achievement assessment.

  • The teachers can see the actual Test questions and develop their own Practice Test for the students. They can offer these tests to students, and on the basis of the scores, teachers can assess the knowledge and performance of the students.

  • The students can find real test questions, learn scoring process and see scores, know their performance for each question, find out where they are lagging and how they can improve.
The Ohio sample tests for different grades are also available in PDF formats, large print versions, administration manuals, and answer documents.

By Subodh Maheshwari

Dealer or Beggar?

The question in the title sounds a little absurd at a glance. Back in the days, beggars would attract lots of sympathy as they used to be very genuine in their situations. This is however something that has changed with the passage of time. As needs surpass the available money and resources, many people have taken to begging but also use this as a means to cover up their main activity of selling (often illegal substances).
They pose as helpless homeless beggars. This is not to say that there are no genuine homeless people in great need. Unfortunately there are and the genuine homeless needy beggars still do exist.
However, it has just become very hard to distinguish between the genuine and the fake beggars. The fakers have come to ruin the day for the genuine beggars since people have refrained from giving their money to them.
The Fake Beggars
Most of them just want to have an easy life without working for it. They will choose a specific begging spot or move from place to place depending on where they feel they can make a kill or where they need to if they are peddling drugs.
Even though most large cities will get rid of beggars, they still find a way of getting what they want. Whereas there are very genuine needy street beggars, it has become very hard to tell who is who. This is especially so in cities which have been cited as notorious when it comes to the fake beggars.
Peddlers Disguised as Beggars
One of the problems today is that beggars have become an easy medium for the peddling of illegal substances. The street peddlers disguise as beggars only to wait for clients to come and buy what they have. This is usually a well-planned game with the buyers knowing the sellers quite well. Unless you have a very keen eye, it is hard to notice that anything has changed hands within a few seconds between the two parties. These kinds of beggars reap twice as much. This is because they still touch the hearts of sympathetic passer-bys who give them alms, and they also make a killing with the substances they are selling.
In some cases, they will play the role of a bridge between the illegal substance dealers and the large buyers. Since it can be very inhumane to mishandle beggars, they rarely get suspected of anything. They therefore make the trade very easy between the buyers and sellers. The only way police officers or security officers can manage to tell genuine and fake beggars is through close monitoring. In some cases, the beggars have been followed when going home only to discover that they live very posh lives.
Private Investigation Work
As a PI company we have had some experience monitoring street activity to try and distinguish between genuine beggars and drug peddlers. It can be very difficult and long and laborious work.
The monitoring can be costly and tedious, especially since the beggars/peddlers are scattered in the cities. It also might not pay off when all the time has been spent monitoring one beggar only to find that indeed he or she was a genuine beggar.

By Meini Listanti

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reasons to Teach English in Costa Rica

Are you a fan of the volunteer projects that allow you to serve different communities and enjoy a totally new culture, whilst making a good deed in the same time? Do you like to give a helping hand to all of the persons who need your assistance now more than ever? If you would enjoy working with little children as well as with adults, then here is the perfect opportunity for you: being a volunteer teacher and helping others learn English in Costa Rica. One of the main reasons that push people to teach English in Costa Rica is the fact that they can make a tremendous impact on the future of all the persons there who are extremely eager to broaden their horizons and grasp the basic concepts behind the world's most important international language. There are many volunteering possibilities in this gorgeous country and they include everything from teaching foreign languages to being a part of the Costa Rica dog rescue teams.
The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish, but there are other recognized regional languages as well which include Mekatelyu, Patois and Bribri. This makes it extremely clear that there is a lack of English language speakers in the region and this is an extremely unfortunate fact. Keeping in mind that Costa Rica is considered to be the most developed and safe country in the entire Central America region, there is no reason not to participate in a learning project here. The country is a magnet for more than 2 million tourists every single year, but how many of them stop and remain for a while to dedicate their efforts towards the locals for a change? Apart from the safety of the country and the fact that there is a great need for English teachers and assistants, other possible reasons to take the trip to Costa Rica for a project of this sort would include the perfect climate, large number of things to visit and activities to undergo, as well as the wildlife and adventure possibilities present there.
Out of the official ethnic groups recorded in Costa Rica according to the latest census of 2011, around 65.8% of the country's population is White or Castizo. However, this does not mean that all of these persons know how to speak English. As a matter of fact, the percentage is far lower and the situation is looking fairly gloom, which is a further reason to give a helping hand and offer as a volunteer for English courses in this beautiful and breathtaking country. Many international voices speak about the fact that tourists often come to this land of pristine sceneries only to gaze at the amazing natural sights, but few persons actually remain or plan a trip with the purpose to offer assistance to the locals rather then just satisfying their own needs for travelling. This can now change with the help of professional and dedicated companies that anyone can find online. They will guide you through all of the steps that you have to take, as well as help you with everything you need to know. Remember, there are 4,586,353 persons living in Costa Rica and they are all expecting your help!

By Groshan Fabiola

Friday, February 28, 2014

Medical Assistant Schools: How to Choose the Best?


If you search for "medical assistant schools" you discover hundreds of pages. The number of various reviews available out there is scary!
Unfortunately problem is that different programs provide different material on their sites therefore it really is hard to evaluate and compare the options.
I have a tip for you on how to handle this issue effectively!
My main advice: Medical assistant schools should work for your money.
First of all, you should never waste time trying to research all possible details about available programs on your own. Simply dedicate 1-2 minutes to submit your contact info through the web forms on the sites of the schools you like the most to request information. You should post your REAL cell phone number and an email! Normally, the next business day a sales agent of a school will get in touch with you.
When you receive a call be prepared that it will most likely last 20 to 40 minutes. Plan ahead! It is better to free up couple days of your week and be available for such calls. In that case you will be able to collect information on 5-7 schools in a short period of time.
Second most important thing is to prepare a list of question!
9 questions you should ask during your interview with a school:
1. Is it a degree or a certificate program?
2. How long does it take?
3. Do you have multiple start dates for this program?
4. What is the total cost of the program?
5. If this is an online program, does it require onsite credits?
6. Will I be eligible for a Medical Assistant certification after completing your program? What kind of certification exam I will be able to take?
7. How do you help your students to prepare for a Medical Assistant certification exam?
8. What is the percent of the students graduating on time?
9. What kind of career services will be available for me during the program, when I graduate and a year after graduation?
Third, keep in mind that when you are selecting a medical assistant school you are the customer. You are entitled to receive all the answers to your questions!
Here are couple more tips for your interview.
Whenever a representative from a medical assistant schools calls you, use this greeting: "Thanks for calling! I am checking out a number of schools and created about a dozen of questions I want get answered. Do you mind if we first of all discuss my questions?". This will help you to avoid a generic marketing pitch and learn what is important for you!
Remember to write down all the answers to compare them later!
If your academic performance is not outstanding, avoid sharing your GPA during the first interview. If they ask, reply with this statement: "At this point I am just gathering some preliminary information about the schools and programs. Do you mind if we talk about my academic profile next time?".

By Anastasia Visotsky

It Is Never Too Late for a High School Diploma or GED


As teenagers, students fail to earn high school diplomas for a number of reasons. Often, students fall short of required performance levels or have too many absences due to extenuating circumstances. Others cite behavioral or emotional conflicts, and English-as-second language students may face language barriers. Whatever the reason, failure to obtain a high school diploma at the age of eighteen does not need to forever prohibit educational pursuits or long-term career goals. General Education Development and online diploma opportunities create a viable pathway for adult students to achieve a high school education or equivalent.
A popular alternative, the General Education Development program, better known as the GED, is a standardized test equivalent to a high school diploma. The program first emerged after World War II, in order to provide educational opportunities for returning soldiers that previously dropped out of school to join the armed services. Today, this standardized test is managed by the American Council on Education (ACE) in partnership with Pearson, and includes four core areas - language arts, mathematical reasoning, social studies, and science. A passing score indicates that students demonstrate knowledge equal to that of a high school graduate.
While hard work is often key to entrepreneurial success, so too, is education. A high school diploma increases employability and job security. During periods of high unemployment, employers can be more selective about new hires, and dropouts have fewer job opportunities. Furthermore, students often need a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll in an accredited higher educational institution, and individuals that complete higher education typically have greater opportunities for advancement and earn higher salaries. In addition, students that return to school and complete a GED or diploma program most likely benefit from intangible benefits that also transfer to the workplace. These students gain self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Employers recognize the commitment of such students that study hard and achieve a degree. In addition, adult students serve as role models for other adults, as well as their children.
Both public and private adult learning programs are available that provide diploma and GED tutoring opportunities. Community centers and vocational schools lend support to adult learners. Community and online colleges provide added resources for students that desire to earn high school credits. While the GED is a nationally recognized standard, adults, especially students that do not test well, may benefit more by completing a diploma program. Diploma programs require that students complete core subjects similar to those found in the GED test. Moreover, students learn valuable classroom skills, including time management, technology, and communication. In addition, participating in a classroom environment, be it on a campus or online, provides preparation for higher educational goals and some programs even transition into more specialized vocational programs.

By Rita Rowe

Thursday, February 27, 2014

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! Preparing for Success on Sports Day

For many school kids, Sports Day is one of the highlights of the Summer Term.
Few children can resist the appeal of deserting the classroom for the day, and it provides a great opportunity to head outside for some light-hearted competition and release some serious energy!
Champion Planning for Sports Day
If you're involved in preparing for Sports Day, you'll no doubt know how important it is to get it right, to make sure that it lives up to its reputation as one of the most entertaining days of the year.
You'll want to make sure that you've got everything in place, from a list of games, to the sports equipment required for each challenge, not forgetting of course, the Sports Day Awards and Certificates; and, as with any whole school event, this can understandably feel like a bit of an overwhelming challenge. However, don't panic. With this helpful list of tips, you'll hopefully feel a little less intimidated, and ready to get preparing!
Top Tips for Sports Day Preparation
1. Focus on Objectives. It's important to remember that Sports Day has some really important learning objectives, which extend beyond simply engaging in a sporting activity. It's a wonderful chance to encourage teamwork, social skills, and the fine art of working towards a goal. Identify some key objectives, which will help you to fine-tune your planning for the big day.
2. Think about Sports Day Awards. Take some time to consider what you can award your students, and not just the winners! It's really important to make sure that all children feel valued when they're taking part, and to emphasise that winning is not the only achievement of the day. If you're looking for inspiration, there are plenty of low cost options that include off the shelf sports related reward stickers or for a real 'wow' factor, consider personalising your award stickers - personalised stickers can display your school name, event date and even logo and so can mean so much more to receive. Sports Day certificates are also a good option, not only do they celebrate the student's success, but mark the occasion on a really personal note - and you can be sure this will be proudly displayed on the fridge at home for some time!
3. Special Prizes for the Winners. One of the most important things that you're likely to need to source is a range of prizes for the winners. To keep costs down, Sports Day stickers such as the ones above are always a big hit, however if you have the budget, perhaps opt for some small gifts that are fun and light-hearted, such as a small goody bag or book token. However, it's just as important to think about the races you'll be holding throughout the day, and to make sure that all children have a good chance to do well in an at least one event.
4. Encouraging inclusion. Most children love Sports Day, but there are a few kids who might not share this enthusiasm, for a variety of reasons. Think about activities that you can incorporate into the day to develop the confidence of less enthusiastic children, such as fun team games, or sillier 'just for fun' events. Sports Day is a great opportunity for inclusion, and with the right level of planning, it can be a day that is enjoyed by all.
5. Direct other members of staff. It's important that other members of staff know their role on the day. Think about how you can use their skills to not only manage the children, but maintain interest during the day, and encourage a light-hearted sense of competitive spirit!
6. Promote the event - create an event promotion display to increase anticipation or simply write the event details on a couple of posters to pin up in high traffic areas in the school.
With the right planning, Sports Day can be a wonderfully memorable event, providing a great chance for teachers and students alike to enjoy the sun and experience a little bit of fun, friendly competition.

By Joanne Chandler

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Teacher To Teacher

The beginning of the school day went well... the pledge of allegiance had been said, the announcements had been made, and attendance had been well documented. Even the tardiest students, excused or unexcused, had been sorted through and sent to class. The morning was off to a terrific start.
Dr. Morgan's classroom is located right next to the principal's office on the main floor... the perfect location for errant students. The prime location is wasted on Dr. Morgan, however, because Dr. Morgan always has a firm handle on her students.
Dr. Dee Morgan has earned a doctorate degree in education but she prefers to be called "Mrs. Morgan" rather than "Dr. Morgan." This rotund, friendly public school teacher is very modest. She has been on the job for decades and can remember when teaching was a kinder, gentler proposition.
In the beginning of her career she was free to be as creative with her teaching methods as she cared to be. These days she is bound by curriculum and pretty much told what to teach and how to teach it. No wonder the schools are in turmoil! Much of the life and spirit of education seem to be missing these days.
She is also concerned with the violence being perpetrated on the public schools. So many teachers, administrators, and innocent children have been slaughtered in maniacal attacks by madmen with assault rifles.
Young Ms. Munyer's classroom is straight across the hall from Dr. Morgan's... they can easily see into each other's room. Theirs are the first classes you approach after passing the principal's office, which is located adjacent to the main entrance of the school building.
Ms. Anita Munyer is a "Newbie" of a teacher. She began her teaching career just this year, in fact. Still fresh out of college, she is the epitome of enthusiasm, and her enthusiasm is infectious. It is a good thing her class is close to the principal's office, though, because she has not quite mastered the skills of an effective disciplinarian.
It has been a good day, as far as school days go, and both teachers are satisfied with the day's accomplishments. Dr. Morgan is daydreaming about retirement for the first time in her long career and Ms. Munyer is, coincidentally, thinking about opening an individual retirement account for added savings.
It is during the last period of the school day when both Dr. Morgan and Ms. Munyer, each in their own classroom, simultaneously and abruptly stop what they are doing and look directly at each other across the hallway. It would be hard to explain what each felt in that moment when their eyes met, but the look on their face left no doubt.

By Lewis Ferguson

Math and Music: The Power of Music in the Classroom

Everyone knows how powerful music can be. It inspires, sparks emotions and brings back memories. Inside the classroom music can be as part of a powerful learning process. Though there are obvious connections with music and math, songs can be deliberately used in the classroom to shape learning.
Inside a typical 'old school' class students are in an environment that can generously be called "uncomfortable". They sit in desks that have hard seats and little back support. With one window to allow natural light in, the rest of the class is often filled with artificial light that is bright and harsh accompanied by that annoying hum of electricity. The room itself is nothing more than a giant box with a door and window. It's almost as if classroom were designed as a place to train young minds to be good factory workers. John Taylor Gatto explains this very well in his book "The Underground History of American Education".
Having this type of environment is difficult to feel secure or relaxed in as it is far removed from the typical home environment. It's hard to feel loved when you are asked to spend most of your day in a chair not talking. It's almost like children are on an extended timeout. It's hard to feel comfortable when you are sitting on a hard seat for hours. It's almost as if you have been benched for the season. It's hard to be creative when to be creative with story telling or art when the view of the walls doesn't change for weeks. It's as if you have been asked to imagine colorful, exciting pictures while staring at hospital walls.
We are meant to use our senses. Great memories come back when our senses are triggered. The smell of fresh baked bread may bring back memories of a loving grandmother or the smell of chlorine may remind you of summer days at the pool. The feel of a sweater may bring back memories of a long past relative. A familiar face may trigger memories of your glory days when you played together on the field. A song can bring back these memories as well, often ones that make us smile.
For children we can try to create good memories at school. First we can make the classroom more like a learning center and less like cubicle. Image plants brought in to make it feel more natural. Imagine fresh fruit or flower on the teacher's desk that make the room feel alive. A reading couch and chairs can be set up in the corner for quiet reading time. For a writing unit on 'Pioneer Times' things like an old cowboy hat, animal bones or a jar of preserves can be brought in. This will all help to change the feel of the classroom and in turn the feeling each student will have about math or language class.
Our sense of sound is very powerful. Classical songs can be played quietly while students are reading. Dance music can be played while students are in the gym playing soccer. The radio can be playing while students are working on water color paintings in art class. Music can be part of the daily routines in an elementary school.
Music has many benefits that can be subtle or obvious depending on how they are used. The right music can change the mood of a class, bringing a positive, uplifting feel. It reduces the need to talk to fill the awkward silence acting as 'white noise' while students are working. It can also give students a sense of time. Doing math problems would be a perfect example of when to use music for this.


What To Consider When Buying School Uniforms For Boys

Shirts are an important piece of attire when it comes to school wear, and for boy school wear, a short sleeve shirt is an ideal choice for parents. Short sleeve shirts are smart and give off a confident look, and wearing them creates a sense of importance for any school boy. As a parent you have an obligation to put a little forethought when buying your son's school wear. Such consideration should be guided by factors that will help you get the attire that will offer maximum value.
Growth
Before you decide to purchase a short sleeve shirt as part of boy school wear, the growth of your son should be the first consideration you need to make. Children, especially boys, usually have different paces of growth that usually take place in periodic spurts. As such, the shirt you purchase should be the one that will be valuable to your son before he outgrows it. If you have a second younger boy, a good quality shirt would be worn by him as well.
Getting the right size
Your priority as the parent should be to get a shirt in a size that will fit your boy well. Most parents usually fall into the trap of purchasing a shirt that is a little larger than their son's normal size, so that they can grow into it. While the intention may make perfect sense, the idea may not work as well. The fact is that until your boy grows into the shirt, it will always be loose-fitting and uncomfortable. Secondly, such a sloppy look may work negatively on the self confidence of your child. It is therefore advisable to get your child a right-sized shirt.
The season and its length
With the length of time your son will fit into the shirt in mind, you also need to shop for attire based on the season and the length of time the season will last. If for instance, it is during summer, buy a short sleeve shirt with a material that is not so heavy; a material light enough to resist any extreme temperatures would be ideal. On the other hand, a heavy cotton boy school wear short sleeve shirt would be good for the winter season.
Type of material
While a pure natural fabric like cotton would be more affordable and is more popular, it is not the only material you can find for boy school wear, especially a short sleeve shirt. Other materials can also offer that classic look. For example, sleeveless shirts can also be made of cashmere, spandex, wool and silk. Such materials, particularly silk, give your son a more formal look and are usually less creased than cotton. With such considerations, you will realize that the style and type of fabric are also crucial in determining what to wear and should therefore guide you in your selection.
All in all, the most important thing is to do is buy an economical, high quality and durable short sleeve shirt that your child will be comfortable in. This will help you get the maximum value for your money.

By Emma Kingston

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Employability - The Dragon at The 'India' Gate - Part 1 of 3

The term 'employability' has gained considerable currency in the recent times in India. One of the reasons has been the 'tectonic' shift in the demographic patterns in India in the last few years.
India is expected to have the world's largest young population by 2025 and India will remain young till 2065. But whether the young Indians will really be employable is a harrowing question that is puzzling the academicians, sociologists, administrators, policy makers, and the business houses. Another daunting challenge is whether India will be able to generate a sufficient number of jobs to accommodate the soaring number of youths, independent of their employability.
The focal point of this article, first in a series of three, is to deliver a preliminary appreciation of the term 'employability' and a few associated aspects.
Several researchers and scholars have defined or elaborated the term 'employability' in different ways.
Hillage & Pollard, 1998: 'Employability' refers to an individual's capability, for gaining and maintaining the employment. For individuals, 'employability' depends on the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) they possess and the manner in which they present their KSA to their employers.
Professor Mantz Yorke (2004): 'Employability' can be defined as "a set of achievements - skills, understandings and personal attributes - that make individuals more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community, the society, and the economy at large".
It must be made clear that 'employability' is not the same as gaining a job or an assignment. Rather, it implies something about the capacity or capabilities of the individuals to function or perform in a job 'satisfactorily' and be able to move across various jobs and thereby remaining 'meaningfully' employed & employable throughout their work-life.
Berntson (2008): There are four main elements in respect of an individual's 'employability'.
Assets - This comprises of an individual's knowledge (what does he know), skills (what he does with what he knows) and attitudes (how does he act). However, merely being in possession of employer-relevant knowledge, skills, and attitudes is not enough for an individual to either 'move self-sufficiently' in the job-market or 'realize his potential'. An individual also requires the capability to exploit his knowledge, skills, and attitudes, to market them, and sell them at a 'reasonable value'.
Deployment - These are a linked set of abilities which include diagnosing occupational interests & abilities, knowing what work opportunities exist & their entry requirements, decision-making skills, transition skills, and job search skills. There is evidently an important interrelationship between the knowledge, skills, and attitudes and (their) deployment.
Presentation - Another key facet of the 'employability' is being able to get a particular job. It is about the ability to demonstrate 'employability' related knowledge, skills, and attitudes and present them to the market in an accessible & understandable way. This includes the presentation of the self, qualifications, references, testimonials, credentials, work experience/track record, and so on.
Context of personal circumstances and the job market - Finally and crucially, the ability to realize 'employability' related knowledge, skills, and attitudes depends on the individual's personal and external circumstances and the intricate interrelationship between the two. Personal circumstances predominantly include parental care responsibilities, disabilities, and household status. Whereas the external circumstances include the number of jobs in the market, job market regulations & benefit rules, and employer recruitment & selection behavior.
One of the key elements that affect the individual's 'employability' is the way the education system operates in a given country. Most of the developing countries, including India, even today deploy the pedagogic method for imparting the education up to the graduate degree.
Pedagogy literally means the art & science of educating children, and often is used as a synonym for teaching. More accurately, pedagogy embodies 'teacher-focused' or 'teacher-centered' education. In the pedagogic model, teachers (and even parents) assume responsibility for deciding about what will be learned, how it will be learned, and when it will be learned. In short, the teachers (and parents) direct the learning process. The pupils or sophomores have no role to play, whatsoever, in the process of acquiring and assimilating education.
Whether the pedagogic method is the best model for child education or not, it is definitely inadequate for adult learning, particularly when it comes to work or career-related education and learning. By definition and reality, all individuals at the graduate level are aged around 18 and for their studies, they require a far more dynamic and 'involving' approach that takes into account their individual experiences and aspirations.
So enters the term Andragogy, which was proposed Malcolm Knowles in the late 60s.
Andragogy originally defined as "the art and science of helping adults learn" is now viewed as a solid alternative to the pedagogic approach of education and refers to 'learner-focused' or 'learner-centered' education for people of all age groups.
A large number of research studies carried out across the world clearly indicate that the education system in most of the advanced countries is more andragogic than pedagogic. There lies a lesson for India, which will have to overhaul its education system at least up to the graduate level, if the 'tectonic' shift in its demographic patterns has to yield dividends and not a disaster.
Also, Malcolm Knowles, who studied adult education extensively, has suggested six key principles which I think merit inclusion here, especially in reference to the meaning of the term andragogy.
Adults are internally or intrinsically motivated and self-directed - Adults resist learning when they feel others are imposing information or ideas or actions on them, without any plausible reason or logic.
Adults bring life experiences and knowledge to learning experiences - Adults like to be afforded opportunities to use their existing knowledge and experiences and apply them to their new learning experiences.
Adults are goal oriented - Adults become ready and 'willing' to learn when they experience a need to learn in order to cope more satisfyingly with the real-life tasks or problems or difficulties.
Adults are relevancy oriented - Adults want to know the relevance of what they are learning to what they want to accomplish in life.
Adults are practical - Adults move from classroom mode to hands-on problem-solving mode, where they can recognize first-hand, how, what they are learning applies to life and the work context.
Adult learners like to be respected - This means taking an interest in them, acknowledging their experiences, regarding them as a colleague equal in life experiences, encouraging expression of ideas & reasoning and feedback at every opportunity.
Malcolm Knowles also had suggested definitions of an adult learner, which are useful to note.
Biological: The age at which an individual can reproduce.
Legal: The age at which an individual can vote, drive, etc.
Social: When an individual begins to perform adult roles such as full-time worker, participating citizen, spouse, parent, etc.
Psychological: When individuals develop a self-concept of being responsible for their own life.
Closing Remarks:
So, the way forward for India, appears to be threefold.
(1) Re-validate the contextual relevance of the pedagogic approach for under-grad and graduate levels.
(2) Consider introducing the andragogic approach even on an experimental basis in government schools and colleges.
(3) Weave the relevant principles of the adult education in the framework of the entire education system.
Of course, such changes will call for extensive consultations with diverse constituencies, but there is a definite and an urgent need to overhaul or 'modernize' the education system in India.

By Ketan T Bhatt

The Growing Demand for Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialization in Special Education

A prevalent disability diagnosed in today's children, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1 out of every 68 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. As public school systems create classroom environments specially designed to target the growing needs of these students, there is a demand for autism specialization among special education teachers. Higher educational institutions have answered this call by providing graduate certificates that equip educators with the skills to evaluate and effectively teach the wide range of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects the brain's social and behavioral development, in addition to communication abilities. Originally referred to simply as "autism," the terminology was changed as children were found to have differing levels of severity. Symptoms of ASD are unique to each individual, and four general levels include: autistic disorder, pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder, in addition to the higher functioning Asperger syndrome. To date, there is no known cure and no definite cause, though research is ongoing. ASD crosses all ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, though it is more predominant among boys.
Healthcare professionals do not have a single medical test, such as a blood test, to confirm the disorder. Individuals do not appear physically different, adding to the increased difficulty in diagnosing ASD. Healthcare professionals begin screening toddlers for developmental delays, and follow-up identified developmental delays with a more comprehensive evaluation of behavioral and social capabilities. While a more positive diagnosis can be made at about the age of two, some children, especially those with Asperger syndrome, are not actually diagnosed with a form of ASD until they begin school. ASD does not necessarily directly affect intellectual skills, although the inability to effectively communicate most often hinders learning and social skills, which are detected in the school setting.
With an increased core group of students being identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder, school systems are developing teaching strategies to best aid these students. This often requires that students attend school at a central location, in order to give access to educators with specialized credentials in ASD, as well as therapists and other healthcare professionals. Educators with specialized knowledge have completed curriculums in assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder, addressing communication and language barriers, in addition to classroom management strategies.
Educators desiring to work with ASD students may benefit most from a graduate certificate. Graduate certificates take less time to complete than a master's program, and provide specialization credentials often required in the ASD classroom environment. Most often, graduate certificates require the completion of about 9 to 12 credit hours, or three or four courses. Once complete, educators can continue to update their knowledge and teaching strategies, through conferences and added training sessions. More often than not, credits of graduate certificates can later be applied to a master's degree within the same college's division - an added plus for students on the fence about committing to a master's program.

By Rita Rowe

Common FAQs For Aspiring Cosmetologists

Not everyone can achieve the 'gorgeous' look that we all crave for. However, for those who share the passion of not only beautifying themselves, but also others, a cosmetology course is the way to go. Think about defining a successful career in the field, which is possible only if you sign up with a renowned institution. Enrolling in a full-time cosmetology course will help you broaden your horizons and give your love for beauty a direction.
Why choose the field of cosmetology?
Owing to your love for enhanced beauty, a high-flying career in cosmetology seems to be a career perfectly suited you. It is your skills that come into the picture and add a tint of peach in the lives of many. Taking up a professional cosmetology course will give you the feel good factor, as you will find it rewarding instead of challenging.
What are the roles you would train for?
Enrolling in a cosmetology or Trichology course will have you trained for esthetician, makeup artist techniques, hair stylist, nail enhancer, and cosmetology instructor.
What is some of the essential information to know about?
Programs in this field usually combine theoretical knowledge with practical, hands-on training as well. Nonetheless, the length of these programs could vary depending upon the state. However, a general course of this sort can be completed in a year or less.
What are some of the techniques you will master?
You get expert training and learn numerous techniques for modifying your clients' hair, skin and nails. Not only this, there are certain programs or courses that also train their students to focus on developing business skills, as it is a major part of your future career.
Some of the most common techniques taught in Cosmetology courses include:
Skin aesthetics course
1. Facials
2. Manicures
3. Pedicures
Trichology course
1. Hair cut
2. Highlighting
3. Hairstyling
4. Coloring
5. Scalp treatments
6. Chemical rearranging
When can you start practicing?
Students are required to complete a certain percentage of the program before they're given the permission to practice their techniques on people.
As an inspiring beautician, it is your responsibility to learn all about the course, before enrolling in one. You could also take up two or more courses depending upon the area of interest you wish to pursue.

By Sandip Kodapully

Taking Regular SSAT Practice Tests to Maximize Your Chances of Success

SSAT Exams can help you child in getting enrolled in the best desirable schools. Millions of students from across the world spend hours on studying for this exam, so that they can get into the highest possible percentiles. If you really want to raise your SSAT scores, you need to plan your study and tests carefully, so that you are ready when the Exam Day arrives.
Why take practice tests
Believe it or not, people don't get low SSAT scores solely because they don't know the answers to the questions. Many smart students also fail on these exams, and it could happen due to any of the following reasons:
  • They are too nervous about the tests and blank out during the test
  • They don't manage their answers properly, so run out of time
  • They are surprised by the format and type of questions that they get
  • They are not prepared for new types of questions they have never seen before
The best way to conquer the above problems is to give your SSAT tests dozens of times before the actual exam. This is exactly what a SAT practice test will help you do. Once you get the feel of the exam, you always know how to deal with the pressure and unexpected questions.
Setting up your practice test
The idea of taking multiple practice tests for your SSAT is that you become completely familiar with the environment and are able to complete your exam in the required time frame. Here are a few tips to set up your test:
  • Write your test by the clock as in a real exam, so you will get a better feel for speed
  • Make sure that are no distractions such as TV, music or other people, just like in a real exam hall
  • Approach your practice test as you would a real test and try to get the highest score you can
What happens when you don't take such tests multiple times is that you are not very comfortable when you write the real test. Even when you get unexpected questions, you know how to deal with them, and figure out the correct answers because you have practiced.
What practice tests can give you?
Once you have given enough practice tests for SSAT, you will find that:
  • You don't have exam nervousness on the day of your actual SSAT test
  • You will be able to think the way the examinee thinks
  • You will be able to complete the test on time, even before that
  • You will be calm throughout the exam, and be able to provide correct answers
  • You will have a much, much better chance of getting high grades
Conclusion: At this point, there is nothing more important for you than to prepare for your SSAT exams. You don't need to put in 16 hours a day studying for it. All you need to do is put in a few hours every day and give a weekly practice test, so as to get accustomed. This is how most of the highest scoring students prepare for their tests.

By Mohammed Abdul Nadeem

9 Manuscript Writing Mistakes You Can Avoid

Not only is a research manuscript critical to a researcher's success, but it is also an essential element of scientific progress. It is imperative that you prepare a well-written, impactful manuscript that indicates how your research makes a valuable contribution to your field. However, manuscript preparation and publication can be stressful. The silver lining is today, several online manuscript proofreading and manuscript editing services offer a variety of solutions to help authors at various stages of the publication process. A professional English editing service can help you elevate the overall quality of your manuscript by eliminating basic errors as well as polishing it to ensure that it is publication-ready. However, to begin with, you must ensure that you prepare the best copy possible and avoid some common mistakes that might dissuade journal reviewers from evaluating your research for its true value. Focus on the aspects listed below to prepare a well-structured manuscript.
1. Know your journal:
Different publications follow different styles/guidelines and, often, authors begin writing without referring to the manuscript preparation requirements of their target journal and this increases their chances of rejection. Before beginning to write, read and understand your target journal's requirements and set your word processor's settings correctly. Ensure that everything-including font type, size, margin length, headers/footers, annotations, and footnotes-is in accordance with the specified guidelines. Some research manuscript editing services also offer journal formatting.
2. Get the title page right: The title page is the first visible part of your research manuscript. Do not
- Write a lengthy title - The title of your article should be concise but informative and describe the main findings or the purpose of the study. This article shares some useful tips on writing effective titles.
- Forget the running head - It is easy to miss a small detail as the running head. Typically journals require a short running head or foot line of 40 characters (all character including spaces): of course, this may vary across journals.
- Omit the following:
• Consistency in author (and correspondence) details, based on your target journal's requirements
• Source(s) of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs, etc.
• Disclaimers, if any
3. Summary/Abstract: The summary or abstract must cover the entire scope of your research. The most common mistake authors make is that of writing a hurried abstract at the end. Ensure that you set aside sufficient time to write an abstract that:
- Provides a brief background and states the intent(s) and purpose(s) of the study
- Succinctly states the basic methods, main results, principal conclusions, and the novel and important aspects of the study
- Defines all abbreviations, includes keywords, and excludes references
4. Introduce briefly, not eloquently: Researchers are often tempted to add content to build up to the crux of the subject. Keep your introduction crisp and precise. There is no point in trying to give an extensive review of the entire study in the introduction itself. Summarize. Discuss the importance of the study to the field. Acknowledge any prior papers, authors, or researchers whose work may have led you to explore your chosen research topic.
5. Materials and Methods: The methods and materials section of the research is instrumental in explaining the modus operandi used by you, the researcher, to arrive at your conclusions. Ensure that you include:
- A description of how you went about your research, in detail
- Sufficient details for any other researcher to be able to duplicate your work
- Details about the dependent variable (measured), independent variable (manipulated), all controls, and your selection of observational or experimental subjects
- Details of the apparatus you used (including manufacturer's name and location)
6. It's all about the results you achieve: The results section discusses the outcome of your research.
- Avoid listing results in a haphazard manner. Present them in order of priority.
- Don't compare your results to those from similar studies previously published.
- Describe comparisons as significant or not significant.
- Avoid using different levels of statistical significance.
7. Exaggerated conclusions: After you have described your study and methods, it is essential for you to share what you achieved, by writing a clear conclusion. It is common for authors to exaggerate the conclusions. The risk with this practice is that your conclusion may not always be entirely supported by the data in your paper.
A professional manuscript editing and proofreading service can also help you ensure that your manuscript is well-written, well-presented, and well-structured.
8. Double check tables and figures: If your paper has a lot of statistical data, be sure to go over all the numbers and data within your figures/tables with a fine-tooth comb. Data accuracy is considered vital in research and ensuring accuracy of data is every researcher's responsibility.
9. Make a list of commonly misspelled words: Making a list of commonly misspelled words and cross referencing your text against them is a great way to ensure that your paper does not include any spelling errors.
Preparing a manuscript for publication is a time- and effort-intensive process that requires you to focus on several aspects from language and structure to formatting and organization. Moreover, high journal rejection rates only add to the publication pressure. Approaching a professional manuscript editing or manuscript proofreading service provider will help you eliminate glaring errors, polish your manuscript, and make it publication-ready.
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." • Rudyard Kipling
And I am admittedly a word addict, ever enthralled by the infinite potential of words to enable people to reach out, express, forge relationships, and build our own languages, histories, and futures.

By Jayashree R

Monday, February 24, 2014

Advance Your Teaching Career With a Reading and Literacy Specialization

Teaching careers at the elementary and secondary levels require a tremendous amount of responsibility. After a number of years devoted to the traditional classroom setting, teachers often desire a change of environment. However, a liberal arts degree in education may limit one's opportunities. The pursuit of a graduate degree in reading and literacy expands options for educators, including work in a more intimate classroom setting.
Reading specialists and/or literacy coaches tend to work in a much smaller group setting, specifically teaching students who struggle with reading. At times, work will be one-on-one. Public and private schools, including elementary, middle, and high school, often retain reading specialist positions. Reading specialists work in conjunction with teachers of traditional classrooms, providing reading assessments, added resources, and supplementary instruction. Specialists also maintain close contact with parents and/or guardians, in addition to other counselors and school administrators. Therefore, collaboration and communication skills are of the utmost importance.
Educators with reading/literacy specializations may also be qualified to pursue employment as instructional coordinators, also known as instructional coaches. Instructional coordinators work in the school environment, but rather than work directly with students, coordinators develop and oversee the implementation of curriculum. In addition, coordinators act as mentors to classroom teachers, introduce new teaching strategies, educational materials, and technologies. They conduct workshops and assess school staff. Instructional coordinators may seek employment at the state level, local public schools, private schools, government agencies, or through higher educational institutions. Instructional coordinators typically work year-round, unlike reading specialist teachers that typically follow the same calendar system of traditional classroom teachers.
Employment in adult literacy instruction provides an alternative career option. Adult literacy classes often take place at community centers, local churches, community colleges, or through high school vocational centers. Adult literacy coaches will need to work more flexible hours, as literacy programs are often conducted in the evening or on weekends to better meet the needs of working adults. In addition, strategies for teaching adults varies from that of younger students, and will require a different set of competencies.
Teachers that desire to pursue graduate work in the reading/literacy specialist field will need to determine state-specific requirements. Often, educators will need to complete a masters degree, gain in-school teaching experience, and achieve necessary certification. Reading specialization typically requires core courses, targeting youth and adult learners, in: developing fluency, strategies for comprehension, instruction in sociocultural context, skills in assessing and observation, and learning theories of reading instruction.

By Rita Rowe

Ways Students Sabotage Themselves on the International English Language Exam


For many students, it is hard enough simply getting the spelling for words correct on any test. It is harder still trying to pronounce words. However, when it comes to test-taking and the IELTS or even Trinity testing, student's struggles seem universal. Did you know that many students struggle with when to use "a" or "an" and when to leave a sentence without an article? For many students, this isn't the only pitfall that stands between them and receiving a better test result on the IELTS.
What other areas are struggles for students taking the IELTS? Students may make the mistake of fully reading each question. However, for many test takers, this poses a danger of running out of time and not completing the test. This may ring true, even if students know the answers to the questions being asked.
Failing to plan ahead can be detrimental
While students may not know which essay questions they may have to answer, they can still be determined to do well on the IELTS. With many questions on the IELTS, some test-takers try to read every question and simply run out of time to provide the answers they want. However, by spacing out their time, they can complete the entire test in the allotted time. Students can ensure a high test result by allocating a certain number of minutes per question rather than leaving part of the test questions blank.
Students shouldn't focus on memorising anything because they might run the risk of doing well on the test and still not being prepared for their job, etc. The other problem with this method is students may fail to really learn much and will not have the crucial comprehension skills needed to make decisions based on the information at hand.
Practice, practice and more practice
The IELTS measures your ability to speak and also understand English through your writing and speaking skills. It is hard to get ahead by memorising because the test is not designed to be memorised. However, it may require students to study English as much as possible with friends in study groups and English-only conversations. By practicing English, students can increase their understanding of the language. Many students struggle to understand the meaning of words and practice can help them understand English meanings.
Some students fail to practice enough or do daily exercises. This is important with students who are struggling to understand English and who want to increase their band scoring on the IELTS. By practicing, students can improve their understanding of words in context and also be able to perform better on the essay portion of the IELTS.
Did you know part of doing your best on the IELTS may mean attending a school designed to help students learn through smaller class sizes? It also may mean hiring a tutor who can help you practice your English. Isn't it satisfying to know that there are many accredited centres where students can go and conveniently take the IELTS exam or several other tests they need? The London Open Centre also offers many other services to students and test-takers.

By Pooja Barral

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our Education System - Flawed or Genius?


It is difficult to argue that our education system, although different and rigorous; is effective on the whole. But we must accept the fact that it isn't perfect. While we can compete and beat people from different cultures with our knowledge base, number crunching and attention to detail, we are also pulled down when it comes to team work.
Yes, our education system produces a great employee, but can we produce great leaders? The answer to this question is certainly no. And without effective leaders, can we produce a great work culture? As explained in the previous article, the answer is certainly a NO.
From the day we start schooling, right till we pass out, we are all taught to compete with every peer in your class. While you may get 90%, we are pushed to try and get 93% that the topper has earned. We pray a price for that extra 3% though. The price can sometimes be, not being streak smart. But the biggest price we pay is lack of team work and leadership attributes.
From our early school days, we are made to compete and be the best at studies. Sometimes, when you come second best, the argument is that you are smart and not a book worm. This restricts your ability to face the truth, and also restrict the friends and groups you make at school as you always wish to hang around with people similar to you. This results in a loss of opportunity to grow by learning and picking good attributes of people who are not similar to you.
When you decide to study further, as part of the admission process, you have something known as Group Discussion. What a group discussion should encourage is for a group to come together, with different points of you and discuss towards reaching a solution which could be deemed as the best possible. However, this is where our competitive nature, nurtured in school takes over. The next thing is a group of students, all trying to out do the other, most times by criticizing the other's point of view with no final aim.
Even with sports, we only see this as a way to get away from studies. While competitive in sports, we are not competitive enough as a group. Rather we are more competitive as individuals. When, you have a strong sports culture, and proper guidance, you learn the art of helping every individual to work as a group, encourage each other and get the best out of every individual that benefits the team as a whole.
What has been observed, in most places of work, is that toppers make good employees, get highly paid jobs and are very efficient at what they do. But it is the student, who knows how to not study the whole day, but still get a good score that ends up being a leader. The reason for this is their lack of dependency on book knowledge alone. When you combine real life experience with book knowledge, you find a way to think out of the box and deliver results in a different and more effective way.
Now, you must be thinking about the relation between this and work culture. Where is the link? The answer however, stares at us. When, you have spent the first 23 years of your life, competing, without a sense of direction and no education on how to work as a team member, you consider yourself as a part of a large group of individuals, all vying to get to the top at any cost.
Now, when you have reached up there as a leader of a team, you have learnt the most from your boss at work, who in turn has learnt from his. And well, at the end of the day, we have all built our roots from the same education system; a system that is flawed, and doesn't create leaders; but good employees.

By Ankit Kothari

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Growing Demand for Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialization in Special Education

A prevalent disability diagnosed in today's children, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 1 out of every 68 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. As public school systems create classroom environments specially designed to target the growing needs of these students, there is a demand for autism specialization among special education teachers. Higher educational institutions have answered this call by providing graduate certificates that equip educators with the skills to evaluate and effectively teach the wide range of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects the brain's social and behavioral development, in addition to communication abilities. Originally referred to simply as "autism," the terminology was changed as children were found to have differing levels of severity. Symptoms of ASD are unique to each individual, and four general levels include: autistic disorder, pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), childhood disintegrative disorder, in addition to the higher functioning Asperger syndrome. To date, there is no known cure and no definite cause, though research is ongoing. ASD crosses all ethnicities and socioeconomic groups, though it is more predominant among boys.
Healthcare professionals do not have a single medical test, such as a blood test, to confirm the disorder. Individuals do not appear physically different, adding to the increased difficulty in diagnosing ASD. Healthcare professionals begin screening toddlers for developmental delays, and follow-up identified developmental delays with a more comprehensive evaluation of behavioral and social capabilities. While a more positive diagnosis can be made at about the age of two, some children, especially those with Asperger syndrome, are not actually diagnosed with a form of ASD until they begin school. ASD does not necessarily directly affect intellectual skills, although the inability to effectively communicate most often hinders learning and social skills, which are detected in the school setting.
With an increased core group of students being identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder, school systems are developing teaching strategies to best aid these students. This often requires that students attend school at a central location, in order to give access to educators with specialized credentials in ASD, as well as therapists and other healthcare professionals. Educators with specialized knowledge have completed curriculums in assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder, addressing communication and language barriers, in addition to classroom management strategies.
Educators desiring to work with ASD students may benefit most from a graduate certificate. Graduate certificates take less time to complete than a master's program, and provide specialization credentials often required in the ASD classroom environment. Most often, graduate certificates require the completion of about 9 to 12 credit hours, or three or four courses. Once complete, educators can continue to update their knowledge and teaching strategies, through conferences and added training sessions. More often than not, credits of graduate certificates can later be applied to a master's degree within the same college's division - an added plus for students on the fence about committing to a master's program.

By Rita Rowe

Strength in Numbers: Students Learn to Love Math

 
Strength in Numbers  Dividing a class into two teams and having them play game of soccer is giving the one with the ball practice with soccer and the rest practice with running.  Often in an elementary math class the teacher gives one question for the entire class to answer. The question is usually somewhere in the middle of the students' abilities, too hard for some and too easy for others. Even though most of the hands go up, the teacher only picks one student to answer. It is difficult sometimes to have focus on more than one student.  Imagine watching a substitute teacher doing soccer with a class of grade 5 students. Mr. Blackstone divides a class into two teams and has them play a game of soccer. He is not a physical education specialist and this is the best way he knows to teach soccer. As you watch, you notice that any given time one player is practicing soccer with a ball and the rest are practicing running.One way to look at the idea of 'one at a time' is from my experience as a swimming instructor. While teaching swimming lessons, I've had the chance to try many different types of teaching methods. Each week I had a new group of swimmers that I could work with, so in a very short time I learned many ways to make the most of our time in the water. I found discipline was very important as it is impossible to teach a class when the students don't listen. However discipline alone does not mean anyone is learning or that the class is effective.  I watched a senior high gym teacher teach a class of thirty boys how to dive. A fellow lifeguard told me to watch as he really knew how to teach. His approach was simple: every one of the boys waited patiently without disrupting the class while one boy would try his dive. Though it was very impressive to have trained these boys to wait their turn, I wasn't convinced this was the most effective for learning skills. By the end of twenty minutes of a very disciplined class each boy had 'tried' a total of three dives.  Here is a different approach to the same activity. Have the students make five lines with enough space beside them that it is safe. The first person dives straight out then returns to the wall. When he touches the second person in line can go while the first is climbing out of the water and going to the back of the line. With all the safety addressed the students can continue practicing their dives with feedback on how to improve. The approach is similar except instead of doing only three dives the boys are able to do over thirty dives or more. Feedback could be given continuously without disrupting the practice and each swimmer would immediately have a chance to use this to improve. With five times more practice the swimmers were not just able to 'try' a skill, but develop or improve it.  You can't become proficient with just a couple of tries. A basketball player doesn't become good at free throws by trying a couple of them. An artist doesn't become good at drawing after a few sketches. A chef doesn't become good at cooking after just a few dishes. The lecture or explanation of the skills doesn't give them the practice so it doesn't need to be long. People need to build up a number of experiences in order to start having success. Sure, some people can accomplish something the first time they try it, but to develop, improve or master a skill, hours of repetition are needed and there is no getting around this.  Now, with math there are several ways to give students more practice in class. Instead of asking one 'middle range' question and only letting one student answer, the teacher puts a few questions on the boards and has all the students answer with colored blocks that correspond to numbers.  Here is an example of this might work with algebra questions:  The teacher, Ms. Greywood explains what algebra is. This isn't the first time they have done it, so the students have an understanding of how to use letters instead of numbers. Before they start she gives each student a set of 10 colored blocks and assigns a color to each one (1-yellow, 2-blue, 3-red, 4-purple, 5-orange, 6-green, 7-brown, 8-black, 9-grey, 0-white). They students will use these to answer the questions allowing the whole class to answer instead of just one. The teacher puts 4 questions on the board and gives the students a few minutes to solve. The students are reminded that the goal is not to finish all of the questions, but to work as far as they can.  Question 1: A + 4 = 9  Teacher: Did anyone figure out question one? What plus four equals nine?  Instead of raising hands, the students hold up an orange block to show that the answer is '5'. Each student holds the block in front of their chest so Ms. Greywood can see it but no one else. She gives smiles, thumbs up's and whispers of 'good job' to those who got it right then picks Sarah, one of the students who struggles, to say the right answer as this might be the only question she gets.  Question 2: A + 5 = 7 + 6  Teacher: Did anyone get the second question? It's a little more difficult.  The students hold a black block to show the answer is eight. The teacher takes the time to explain that both sides have to balance, like a scale. She explains that the right side is thirteen and asks what you add to five to make the left side thirteen too.  Question 3: A + B = 7  A - B = 3  Teacher: Did anyone get the third question? You need to find two numbers that will work in both equations.  Ms. Greywood asks how many different ways to make seven by adding. Some students hold up green and yellow for six and one. Others hold up orange and blue for five and two. A few hold up brown and white for seven and zero. After recognizing all the right answers Ms. Greywood asks which one would work for the bottom equation.  Question 4: A X B = 24  A - B = 5  Teacher: If you tried the last one, hold up what you think the answer is.  Ms. Greywood shows how eight and three would work in both equations. It can be intimidating for some students if too much time is spent on high level questions. She smiles as she checks the few students who tried it but quickly moves on to the next set of questions. Considering how many students were able to answer the questions, Ms. Greywood adds one more question for the next round:  A X B = 48  A - B = 13  The class is now excited about algebra. Each student can work at his or her own level and challenge the next level. The class is able to do four or five sets of questions in a thirty minute class. This gives the students enough practice to start having success with algebra. Both the students have a good idea of what level they are at and this can be shared with the parents.  The next day Ms. Greywood gives the students more opportunities to answer questions. The students are put into group of three or four. Similar questions are put on the board, but instead of the teacher explaining the answers, each student is responsible for giving or explaining the answer to the group. Each student can choose which question they want to answer, empowering them with choice and confidence knowing they can answer the question. They will try to answer different questions, but if they happen to choose the same question, they simply take turns going first each round. This will give may give them a chance to see and explain the question with different methods or simply validate that their method works.  At the end of the week the students will answer a set of algebra questions as well as sets from units they have already covered such as ones based on addition, fractions and perimeter. Since they are now familiar with the levels, they will also have the option of creating a set of questions for the class to try.  Now the students being challenged and are improving as they now have opportunities to truly develop their skills. In this type of environment, you can feel the energy and excitement from students who are engaged. Here is where you find strength in numbers.   

By Darren Michalczuk

Interesting Methods to Help Your Child Learn

Children learn in 2 ways - when they see others do something or when they do it themselves. Therefore, one of the best ways to help your child learn is by way of getting them to do it themselves. This will imprint the activity in their memory for a longer period of time. Here are some fun ways to help your child learn. Irrespective of the subject or topic, your child needs to have the enthusiasm to learn. You will need to build it up at every point of time before you start an activity.
1. Maths - this can be divided into many categories as you like. Depending on your child's ability to grasp and understand, you need to encourage your child to take part in the activities. For example: if you are teaching fractions, one of the best ways is to make a dosa/ pizza/ sandwich (anything which your child likes) and then divide them into equal parts. You can then convert the same to a story and teach the concept.
2. Science - science is a subject that has more number of activities than any other subject that we can come across in school. It would be very easy to teach them the concepts through activities. For example: if you are teaching the concept of germination, just soak some cereals and plant them in a glass jar laid with cotton and the soaked seed. You will need to so the same over a period of time, so that the child knows what to expect next. This however does require some prep work from your side, before starting the concepts to the child, because patience is not a virtue every child has.
3. History - history is a subject that is not easy to teach and is mostly theoretical in nature, but with little stories, you can help your child learn more and also get inquisitive about the subject. For starters, you can tell them Tenali Rama's stories and then move over to talking about King Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire. This will help the children learn by way of relating information. Once you kick-start with folk stories, you can move over to more information of historical importance.
4. Languages - these are subjects that are better learnt only when practised. Encourage your child to speak more often in the language while talking about school or favourite pastime. This way, their vocab of the language will also improve, followed by the verbal communication.
Learning is an ongoing process and as such parents need to stick themselves to the child till they are able to learn on their own and start imagining, thereby retaining the concepts learnt in the classroom. Teachers can also use these methods to help students understand better.

By Pady N

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