21 December 2010

TAKE YOUR CHILD'S EARLY LEARNING SERIOUSLY!


FROM my experience, early childcare is one of the biggest expenses any family has faced. As a parent and teacher, I have resolved that I owe it to myself to ensure my children get a true educational advantage from this investment.

Research reveals that early childhood experiences have powerful effects on the development of children’s physical and emotional abilities. It also influences their achievements in math, logic, language and music.

According to studies carried out in different countries across the world, children from poor families were found to be a year or more behind in language skills due to limited exposure and poor care.

The findings also reveal that children who grow up in an organised and calm home are more likely to have good early reading skills by the age of five and six.

Children who get the poorest support often face multiple challenges since most of them are less likely to have been born to well educated parents or living with their biological parents.

Unfortunately, it is undeniable that educational inequality exists and starts early in the lives of children. It leaves children from disadvantaged homes struggling to keep up throughout their school life.

Despite the economic challenges leading to poverty, all hope should not be lost. Good parental involvement in the early education of a child can lead to great triumph.

Parents need to continually encourage their children to aim at excelling by insisting on success through hard work. This reduces the levels of school dropouts and adult unemployment.

Children will be keen to learn honesty, respect, love and hard work at an early age if well provided for at home and school. The teaching of critical thinking skills that help children to solve problems in a constructive way should also start at an early age. These skills become useful in the child’s life as they grow up being more confident to find solutions to problems instead of complaining or being complacent.

Reading to children and taking them to libraries (not a common practice in this country) is found to be helpful in limiting poverty. As children read too often, they form healthy relationships with others as they develop their listening and communication skills.

They are eager to learn as they get sufficient knowledge necessary to help them finish school and build a productive life. The social skills children need to succeed in school and work are developed at an early age. It is therefore important that children get a good educational background because it reduces links with anti-social behaviour, detrimental to their success.

If a parent or guardian, chooses to educate a child, they should give it their best by investing in good years education programmes that provide a foundation for the child’s success.

In the picture Rune Gustavsen from Norway( http://www.facebook.com/rune.gustavsen1) driving a point to SPACC kids.

Wondering what our readers out there think about this?

WHAT IS A GOOD SCHOOL?

WHEN exam results are released, adverts about how students performed dominate the media. In my view, the performance of a school should not be measured by the number of first grades it gets.

One educational researcher warns that those wishing to exercise leadership in education must go beyond accepting the inadequate criteria used to determine that schools are doing well.

Good results cannot be used as the standard of performance. The performance of a learner studying with limited resources, with another studying in an enabling environment should be viewed differently.

Schools have different curricula and can emphasise some aspects over others. For instance, making comparisons between students’ performance in math in one district with those in another, without taking into consideration cultural differences, allocation of time for instruction or teaching approaches and exposure, makes it hard to account for the differences in performance.
Nowadays, many schools are business-minded, and bad results mean going out of business.

The reward system that pays school heads based on the performance of their students in standardised tests has consequences for a school’s priorities.

There is a danger of narrowing the curriculum to what is to be tested and dividing subjects into core subjects while marginalising others. This violates the function of schooling which is to enable students do better in life — what students learn in school should exceed in relevance to the limits of the schools programme.

We need to emphasise individuality in our assessments. Educational achievement should be assessed by the way learners use what they have studied to do what they want to do.
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Please hit the comment link and let us know what you think

A good teacher is never forgotten

A few years ago, for the older folks at least, there was that one teacher who would make your heart skip.
Not because they were big and carried a menacing cane that would give you the creeps throughout their lesson. No. Actually they were that rare breed of teacher who made your heart skip in excitement at the prospect of the next lesson.
You would not miss the lesson for the world, because you knew it would be interesting, filled with humour, and the experience would entirely blow your mind.
It is no wonder you passed the subject your favourite teacher taught almost effortlessly. Now years later, you still remember them, hoping they remember you too. Indeed every road you take along the path of success is a tribute to them.
But what made these teachers tick?
•“They are very practical and like involving students in teaching.
They crack jokes without going off topic and keep the whole class on their toes because you never know if the next thing she says is a very important point or a joke, and you would want to catch both. She encourages us to ask questions and you feel a part of the class.”
•They can help children achieve their full potential, through creative teaching methods and the use of positive discipline; one who genuinely cares about the students, and understands their learning process, treating them like the special individuals they are.
•They go beyond just giving students information, to helping them understand and absorb this information and equipping them to apply it to everyday situations and “Much as they want the children to pass, they do not encourage cramming.”

•FOUR-STEP LEARNING
Learning is basically a four-step process which starts with the children grasping the information, analyzing it, exploring it and, finally, applying it. Grasping the information involves getting to know the basic facts. Analyzing involves comparing what has just been grasped to what the student already knows. Analyzing is deep. A student’s mind churns out what is useful, and tries to make sense of it. The step of exploring is where the student finds out what the information means to them before applying it in their daily lives. At each stage of the learning process, a good teacher equips the students with the relevant skills, and the rewards to the teacher are immense, in form of excellent performance.

•Some students value a teacher who gives them freedom and encouragement.
“The first thing is that a good teacher should not cane the students. The teacher should encourage the students to follow our dreams even though they may be outside the strict academic arena. I personally liked football and I respected teachers who encouraged me to play. I ended up passing their subjects.”
Many times teachers use intimidation and threats of punishment to get students to comply with their orders but one of the characteristics of a not-so-good teacher.
“I absolutely detest teachers who use the cane. Another thing is that a good teacher should not involve himself or herself in love relationships with students. They should be friendly without crossing the line,”
Well, such is the pedigree of a successful teacher, managing to be an educator who commands respect from students while maintaining a warm approachable demeanor.
Yes, such is the status of a wonderful teacher: being remembered with reverence and fondness that border on idolatry. And when the time comes, they shall sit back and bask in the glow of flawless legacy.