Thursday, January 30, 2014

Steps to Improve the Quality of Education

The quality of the human resources does determine the destiny of any nation. There are many nations in the world, which have been spending huge amounts from their budgets to enhance the quality of education at all the levels. One of the developed nations, Japan is an example. It does not possess most of the required natural resources such as minerals, but the high quality working population could transform Japan into a developed economy.
There are five major factors which can enhance the quality of education such as:
1. Inspiring teachers,
2. Quality infrastructure,
3. Extra-curricular activities,
4. Seminars and workshops,
5. Best assessment methods.
Many teachers do participate in the designing of curriculum. Hence, they need to have exceptional skills in making the best curriculum. The four major steps in making a good and desired curriculum are: objectives, content, learning activities, and evaluation. If the educational institutes select some of the best teachers, they can shape the destiny of the children. If the teachers are guides, the curriculum is like the path. Thus there is a major role for the teachers to enhance the quality of education.
If the educational institutes can allocate optimum financial resources to enhance the quality of infrastructure, they can impart better quality of education. The allocated amount should be spent on maintaining libraries, laboratories, play grounds, swimming pools, and many other related infrastructure, which would improve the students spiritually, mentally and physically. Such a development among the students could bring them closer to the goals of true education.
The goals, objectives and aims of educating the children should be clearly mentioned in the curriculum. The extra curricular activities in the form of competitions such as, acting, drawing, stage-dramas, debates, essay writing, handicrafts, mimicry, public speaking, sports, etc would go a long way in achieving the true goals of education. Such activities can also enhance the confidence among the students. Besides, the above, the educational tours and excursions are helpful for the development of inter personal skills and of course the enhancement of practical knowledge.
The educational institutes should conduct seminars, workshops, etc regularly and professionally. Such interactive and knowledge sharing activities would definitely contribute for the improvement of the quality of education as the students would get exposure to the new teaching methods.
Finally, the students should be assessed scientifically and regularly, so that their parents can understand the status of their children's standards. Better assessment methods would contribute for the competition among the students too.

By Tirumala Prasad

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tutor Tips

I have learned a few things about English tutoring, having taught in high school, a community college, and as a tutor in a technical college for more than 25 years I would like to share them with those who aspire to the "noble" profession. The most important is to respect your student or client and be sensitive to his needs and desires. Here are other tips:
Make the tutored feel welcome.
Assume a non-aggressive approach. Be authoritative but in a suggestive way.
Be patient and relaxed.
If possible, tutor in a quiet area with no distractions; provide comfortable chairs, a table, and air-conditioning that is neither too cold or too warm and keeps the humidity low.
Each tutoring session should last about thirty minutes-an hour at the most. If traffic is high, it may be necessary to adjust the time. Some students require less time; others require more.
Do not spend any additional time on a student's research paper: This type of essay is too long for the time period assigned. You might spend the time critiquing the introduction, the thesis statement, the first paragraph of the body of the essay, and the conclusion.
Focus more on guiding him or her to analyze the problems in their essays and come up with acceptable improvements. Do not do the work for them.
Concentrate on the more glaring errors, such as the thesis statement, transitions, organization, and development.
But point out spelling and punctuation errors and suggest they consult a dictionary, thesaurus, and a handy grammar handbook.
Encourage the student to ask for clarification if he fails to understand your remarks.
Encourage follow up with a revised draft.
Always find ways to point out something the student has done correctly and imaginatively. Perhaps comment upon his or her judicious use of topic sentences for each paragraph that refer back to the essay's thesis statement. Coherence, unity, smooth transitions from one thought to another, use of specific details that produce support for ideas, and choice of words that add variety and vivid, forceful imagery are a few important elements to congratulate them on.
Thank the student for allowing you to assist him in developing his communication skills.
Avoid getting into arguments with your students. Point out that you are there to help them, not force anything upon them. Defuse the situation.
Ask the student to give you feedback about the response of his teacher. It helps you to see how well you are doing as a tutor. Many come back and say proudly that they received a good grade, most often a B+ or A. Very gratifying.
Network with other tutors. It's astonishing how much tutors can gain from one another.
Keep up on the latest helps for tutoring by attending special conferences in tutoring, participating in staff workshops, and studying new reports published. Go to your computer: Google in the keyword Tutoring or Tutors. A drop down will provide numerous references to the subject.
Tutoring is a challenge. It is a field, in my retirement, that I have found in which I can make a difference. I cherish the experience of not only sharing my knowledge, skills, and love of helping students of all ages but also learning from them, too. In tutoring at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia I also have had the advantage of meeting people from all over the world: Colombia, Russia, Latvia, German, Nigeria, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, Venezuela, Romania, India, El Salvador, the Caribbean, Uruguay, Nepal, and China. The journey has made me more cosmopolitan, more sensitive to the concerns of others wherever they come from.

By Harry C Copeland

Career In Photojournalism

Why Photojournalism?
Photography was never a passion with me. I completed my Engineering and setup my own Automobile shop. It was in the course of running the business I encountered problems, faced issues I strongly felt about and developed a want to do something about the unfair world we live in. It was around this time I fell in love with Journalism. The magic of the written word, influencing the way people think, the beauty of language woven into the fabric of understanding for the greatest mind and yet appealing to the simplest reader. I read voraciously starting with the Newspaper in the morning, a magazine on the way to work and sometimes watched a documentary in the night. I dreamt of becoming a Journalist, a person who cares for people and an ideal world. To become a fearless crusader of the truth, a person who chases a story as big as the universe or as small as the neighborhood with the same passion and enthusiasm. A person who lives life on his own terms walking fearlessly through a different experience every day.
Why Photojournalism Course?
The written word has power. No doubt about that. However for me this medium of journalism is limited and reaches out only to non-apathetic people who have the time to read and can understand the language. It was somewhere around here I discovered the power of a photograph. An image for me is a visual story telling medium that destroys all barriers, cuts through language, has no age and does not depend on the viewer's intelligence. Shot well a photograph can communicate an entire story just in the time taken by the eye to scan the image. Photojournalism is the complex combination of the skill required as a photographer and a journalist, to tell visual stories, stories of action frozen in time, visually documenting history and preserving the moment forever. Photojournalism is all about action. It means looking for defining moments capturing action, capturing emotion, looking for elements all contributing to tell a story.
What does it take to be a Photojournalist?
Mental, physical and emotional fitness are the key ingredients along with the desire to tell human related stories are the key requirements to be a good photojournalist. Being a photojournalist pushes your limits as a person to get access to a story, permission to shoot in a prohibited zone, the ability to see with more than your eyes, to relate to people and gain your trust. To be able to shoot correctly exposed images while at the same time telling a story. To be technologically advanced to keep up with changes in the industry and have speed in working. I always equate being a photojournalist as being in the forces, tough, ready for action and having that need for adventure.
How does someone become a photojournalist?
In today's digital age, modern cameras have made the 'photo' part of photojournalism easy leaving more emphasis on the 'journalism' part. A formal education in Journalism is very essential according to me to understand the essence of Journalism. There is also a growing demand for journalists capable in expressing themselves over cross platforms so having more than one skill as a journalist has become important. I do agree with the fact that a person cannot be taught to be a journalist, however experiences from qualified journalists have motivated and inspired me to push my boundaries further. I was also lucky to have studied and done my internship in Mumbai. There is no better place than Mumbai with is diverse cultures, its wide open economic balance, its population along with it being the financial and entertainment capital of the country that makes it the ideal place to experience journalism.

By Pritam Desai

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

For the Love of Math: Why Children Struggle With Math

There was a time when I thought the children in my class were the only ones that didn't like math. After I found ways to really improve their skills and develop a love for math, I started visiting other schools and other classes. I thought, there has to be more children out there in the same situation. As I traveled from classroom to classroom, I found that children were the same everywhere. Though there were some differences, essentially the numbers were the same. About one in three students could do math. The rest either struggled with math or couldn't do it at all. As for who liked math, typically only the students who could do math liked it.
Children spend over 2000 hours in math class in their elementary lives. Lets assume that two thirds of the children in the class don't like math. We'll examine the reasons why they don't like it later on, but for now let's just assume that most kids are sitting through math class like most adults sit through home movies of distant relatives or instructional videos on assembling furniture. They wait spirit broken, eyes glazed over and yearning for recess like a sailor yearning for dry land until the triumphant sound of the bell rings. If you think this is an exaggeration, let's take a look at what they endure.
Math for some is like a foreign language. The teacher uses words like exponent, multiple, factor, vector, product and sequence on a regular basis. These words are included not only in the teacher's vocabulary but textbooks, instructions on worksheets and captions on the 1980's style posters on the wall. These words may be defined or clarified in a lesson, but there is a chance (as crazy as it seems) that a child missed the explanation, didn't understand the long, specific definition or simply needs more review for it to become knowledge. These words are a part of the culture or environment and children seldom ask what these words mean for the same reason a man doesn't ask for directions. They are already lost and confused and don't want the further embarrassment of being the only kid in class who doesn't know a word as they may get a response like "I just explained what it meant." or "Can someone help him out?" It's like spending an hour downtown of a foreign city where no one speaks your language.
Maybe the children the children will learn the vocabulary just from being exposed to it, much like average people learn medical practices just from watching shows like ER or Grey's Anatomy each week. Maybe the teachers don't know they are using words the children don't understand, much like when a bilingual person starts speaking a different language to a person who only speaks English. Maybe children have a biological predisposition to learning these words, much like a spider innately knows how to spin a web. Or maybe, just maybe, children don't know these words and are silently confused and frustrated by them.
Children are also asked to very specific tasks each day. As adult this might be compared to tying a knot. Though its appears quick and easy, it takes a very specific set of skills or steps to complete. Imagine not being able to learn how to tie a knot, but the plan is to come back tomorrow and try again the same way. Repeat this process for 2 weeks until it's time to move on to a new skill; learning the Rubik's Cube. Take the frustration and anxiousness a young groom has over tying a Windsor knot with his tie before the ceremony and multiply that by the 500 hours spent in math class by a grade three and you'll get a sense of how they feel.
Then there is the reward system. It's great for the students who can do math as they get stickers, bright red A's, special time at the back of the class, the chance to go to every gym class, guaranteed recess time, no homework and regular smiles and words of praise from the teacher. For the rest, it's not such a pretty picture. Instead they get 'Try Harder' stamps, black x's, extra time to practice the skills they've learned to hate, math time with a special adult during gym time, extra sheets to practice at home and the frequent gesture of disapproval and 'you can do better'.

By Darren Michalczuk

Why Learning a New Language Is Important

Everyone has a first language. It is the medium they use for most of their lives and most of their everyday dealings. In as much as this is fine, learning a new language can be just as exciting and important in life. In some cases, a local dialect might not be used for schooling purposes. A more universal language will therefore be introduced in school for educational purposes. Some people will be proficient in their local dialect or mother tongue and in the language they have been introduced to in school. When it comes to new languages, foreign codes are the most helpful. Here are a few reasons why.
It increases job prospects:
This is especially for individuals who wish to work in foreign countries. When choosing a foreign language to learn, therefore, you can have your career path in mind. Some companies dealing with foreign visitors or tourists will want to hire individuals who understand and can speak a foreign tongue. You will therefore find that you have more job opportunities at your disposal when you have a foreign language to your advantage.
It promotes social prowess:
This is, especially when dealing with new friends in a new place or setting. Communication or language barrier is one of the things that many are faced with especially when a change has been made. When you have learnt a new language, you will find it easier to interact with the speakers. This is irrespective of whether of you have visited them or they have visited you. It will actually become very easy to make new friends in a new place when you have a new language under your sleeve.
It opens new opportunities:
This is something that is possible even without leaving your current location. It is because when you have become proficient in a foreign language, you can choose to be a teacher. You can help other people, with the need to relocate, learn the linguistic code and thereby prepare them partially for the change. Teaching opportunities are evergreen and you will be amazed by just how well paying they can be, especially when dealing with a foreign language. You can also relocate and teach your local language to the speakers of the newly acquired language. The opportunities are endless for you when you have learnt a new lingo.
Learning a new language can, however prove to be a challenge for many people. It actually becomes difficult when trying it out as an adult as compared to introduction when you are still a child. However, self-help books are readily available for you to use. There are free books that you can use online to learn a language at your own pace. The books online concentrate on the language basics, but some can be quite comprehensive. If you are determined enough, you can download books that will help you decipher the language you are most interested in easily. You, however want to go for books that make the process easy for you through proper structuring.

By Timur Karipov

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Arthur The Art Teacher

Mr. Steinway sits holding his newborn in his arms. Not two hours old, the pinched little face stares up at its father but can only see shadows and muted colors. The father smiles back at the tiny face but his mind is on the future... He believes this son, Arthur, his only child, is destined to be a great pianist simply because his last name is "Steinway."
No one in the large family of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews shows any sign of musical talent. The Steinway name historically represents some of the greatest achievements in classical piano... Arthur has to be the chosen one!
The father began saving for a piano 9 months before the child was born. It hadn't mattered to him if the child were a boy or girl; this new member of the family would be a famous pianist some day!... He would see to it!
Mr. Steinway saved a bit here and some there dreaming of the day he would buy the piano, and in the late afternoon of Arthur's 3rd birthday, three burly friends who worked on the docks with Mr. Steinway helped him haul the upright piano the five flights to the top floor and into the family's large living room.
To Mr. Steinway's delight, Arthur developed a fascination with the piano keys. He would stand on his toes plunking out discordant notes. No one could call what he was pounding out music, but it was very-sweet-music to Mr. Steinway's hungry ears.
When Arthur was 5 years old his father hired a piano teacher... a Mr. Tyler. He would start Arthur learning musical notes. Mr. Tyler was a fussy, little man who wore a beret and a Vandyke. He smelled of moth balls and had terrible breath. Arthur disliked him and his regimented instruction.
Mr. Steinway, in his blind determination to have a pianist in the family, paid little attention to Arthur's exceptional artistic abilities. The boy has a facility with drawing that far surpasses his young years. He takes to art like a duck to water... yet he has to be dragged screaming to the piano.
Arthur would cry each time Mr. Tyler came to the house and run to his mother for protection. As time passed, Mr. Steinway gave up hoping for a famous pianist. He knows his son's true calling. He is coming to understand some very valuable information...
If you have a young child you must nurture that child with an eye for their natural talents rather than forcing on them a talent they don't enjoy.
Arthur Steinway grew up. He became a public school art teacher. He is fairly well known, internationally, for his innovative drawings... but he is very well known, throughout the state's school districts, for the amazing artwork his high school students continuously produce.

By Lewis Ferguson

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Teacher In Pink

Mrs. Carmen Matthews is a religious lady. Her faith is strong... her faith gives her guidance, assurance, and the strength to carry on. Her whole world is centered on her church and the people she has come to love there. Mrs. Matthews is also a public school teacher. She teaches Band at Wadleigh Middle School.
On Sundays, where Mrs. Matthews lives, it is not unusual to see small groups of ladies and gents walking to church, dressed in their finest... all eager to hear those fine hymns bellowing out of the grand 2-stories-tall pipe organ at the church. Unlike those good christian ladies, Mrs. Matthews dresses this way every day.
She never ceases to amaze her students when she walks into the classroom each day, formally dressed to the nines. No sweats and Nike's for this elegant music teacher. One memorable day Mrs. Matthews came to school dressed in pink, from head to toe.
Pillbox hats were in style then and she wore a pink one that matched the pink of her tailored jacket and skirt. The skirt went down to just above her ankles, like all the skirts she wore. Even her pink pumps matched the color of the suit and the hat. The blouse she wore was as close to white as pink can get and set the ensemble off quite nicely.
Her face stood out starkly against all that pink. She is an attractive woman who wears no makeup other than a foundation base. She is no Halle Berry but they both share the same skin color. The strangest thing of all is that Mrs. Matthews would apply the foundation base to her lips, like lipstick.
The makeup base on cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, and lips was the oddest looking thing! Once you got over Mrs. Matthews' curious appearance, though, you would have to love her for the easy way she has of teaching you how to play a musical instrument well... and for her kindness too.
Remember, she teaches middle school and like most middle school teachers her patience will occasionally be tested. When she is angry it is wondrous to witness the transformation from sweet-as-pie, 'school-marmish' teacher to tall Amazon warrior-woman.
Her back goes straight... the shoulders hunch up... her arms go stiff as boards... her fists clench tightly... and she continuously stomps one foot like an angry bull. Her tight-lipped grimace has smeared the makeup base off her lips which are once again their natural pink color, actually a better match for her outfit.
With bulging eyes and threatening stance she confronts the clarinet player who has continuously disrupted her lesson. She gives him a long look, then walks over to the light switches and proceeds to turn all the classroom lights off. Without a word, Mrs. Matthews goes and sits at her desk in the dark.
The students are pin-drop quiet sitting there where only shadows are visible. They all sit just that way until the period ends and the bell rings. The following morning Mrs. Matthews comes to class dressed all in green, with her usual bright smile in place. This public school teacher believes in taking life one day at a time.

By Lewis Ferguson

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Trends of New Public Management in Developing Countries

The NPM has the following central doctrines:
- A focus on management, not policy, and on performance appraisal and efficiency.
- The disaggression of public bureaucracies into agencies which deal with each other on a user pay basis.
- The use of quasi-markets and contracting out to foster competition;
- Cost-cutting; and
- A style of management which emphasizes amongst other things, output targets, limited terms contracts, monetary incentives and freedom to manage.
There is no doubt that many developing countries are experimenting with new public management reforms. The experiments in Malaysia with total quality management and the result oriented management initiative in Uganda are the key examples of NPM application. The wholesale restricting of Chilean education along internal market lines, a far more radical change than anything tried in the UK. Two of the most commonly adopted elements of the NPM agenda are privatization and downsizing. These are the most important part of the economic structural adjustment program. These are the common appearance of developing countries.
There are also many other experiments of developing countries in terms of NPM. The most common initiative apart from privatization and retrenchment-indeed, perhaps the most common, given the patchy implementation of those other two elements is that corporatization In developing countries, corporatization appears to be going on at an increasingly rapid pace, even as an earlier generation of state owned enterprises is being put on the auctioneer's block. For example, one particularly noteworthy African trends the merger of customs and income tax departments into corporatized national authorities. Corporation has allowed these bodies to raise wages, shed poor performer while hiring better qualified staff, offer bonuses in return for meeting revenue targets, and operate on a self-financing basis. This is an African variant of NPM, which has been adopted in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Ruanda, and it is also being exported elsewhere notably to Pakistan. A few African countries, especially in Ghana but also including Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe are also in the process of corporatization of their health sector.
Corporation can take place as a means to achieve greater efficiency, cost saving or serving quality improvements, in which case it is accompanied by the setting of performance targets along the lines of executive agencies or state owned enterprises, but it can also take place simply for convenience, a way of feeling a particular public function from the constraints of civil service red tape. The first is a clear example of the new public management in action; the second, much less so. There is no data to indicate with any certainty which of these two varieties of corporation is predominant. There is no doubt, however, that the second variety is very important in its own right in many developing countries. All kinds of bodies are being converted from civil service departments to authorities, institute, corporations, companies and other kinds of free-standing public bodies, even in countries, which have no systematic program of corporation.
There are two reasons behind the trend. These are given as follows;
I. Most developing countries have been corporatizing government functions for decades; there is little new about this, save that the trend may have accelerated in recent years; and
II. The management constraints, which newly corporatized bodies are being set up to escape.

By Dewan Muhammad Yeahyea Khan 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Teaching Careers in Adult and Nontraditional Classrooms

Unemployment, midlife career changes, and a desire to further education are the driving forces of adult education programs. After young adults assume more familial and financial responsibility, a large number realize the benefits of an educational degree - be it a high school diploma equivalency or a graduate degree. For this reason, there is a demand for adult educators.
Individual adults, like younger students, learn through varying techniques, such as experiential, visual, and audio learning styles. With that said, the learning styles of adult students differ tremendously from that of younger counterparts. First and foremost, many adult students, also referred to as nontraditional students, voluntarily enroll in coursework because they want to learn. Furthermore, they want to know "how" and "why" in order to better grasp concepts. Most adults willingly attend class and complete assignments, and discipline is generally never a problem. In addition, mature students may ask more questions and they tend to lack tech savvy skills. Therefore, patience and a positive attitude are vital for the successful instruction of the adult educator.
Career opportunities for teaching in the adult environment include: continuing education coordinators; instructors at community colleges, community centers, or vocational schools; trainers within corporate human resource departments; education specialists; instructional technology resource teachers; and more. A graduate teaching degree in adult education is ideal for the working professional who desires a career change, or for secondary and/or elementary school teachers that wish to explore other avenues of education. For professionals that would rather create instructional materials for nontraditional learners than teach in a classroom setting, educational technology degrees and certificates offer an added alternative.
Licensure and/or certification may or may not be required in order to teach adult students. If professionals are teaching skills within their area of expertise, then on-the-job experience might serve as the best credential. However, for professionals desiring to teach at an institution of higher education, then at the very minimum, a graduate certificate or the completion of a graduate degree will be necessary. Most often, a graduate certificate will seamlessly transfer into a masters program at the same college. Furthermore, community colleges may hire adjunct faculty with a minimum of a graduate certificate who are in the processes of completing a masters program. Of utmost importance, it is beneficial to pursue graduate work targeting the needs of the nontraditional learner, in order to create and deliver effective instruction. Graduate curriculums typically include studies in multicultural perspectives, learning theories, along with assessment and evaluation strategies.

By Rita Rowe

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