Monthly Archives: May 2014

LEARNING AND TEACHING IN THE AGE OF TECHNOLOGY

Information and communications technology (ICT) has changed the landscape of the world. No area of life and living has escaped its tentacles. Education certainly has. Like any other field, education has had to adjust and metamorphose in accordance with how people live.New Picture (3)

For example, while traditional paper books are not going extinct any time soon, there is no arguing the fact that a significant portion of people on the planet are changing their reading habits. With more and more people switching to consuming information on electronic devices, education simply must adjust. Be it desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones, more people are consuming their content digitally. Even more important, they are spending their time on digital media.

As such, we must adapt to the changing landscape of how humans live. We must explore the worlds of e-books, audio books and visual aids in teaching our children. And as teachers and parents, we certainly must adapt to these if we must learn and keep up with the times ourselves.

The transition to digital learning is real and sweeping. What can we do to adapt and adjust?

  • It is a good idea to expose our children to digital media as early as possible
  • have a laptop (even if only a cheap, lower-end model) at home for the children to use
  • if possible, have at least one tablet available for them to use as well.

Why are these recommended? Isn’t this sort of exposure dangerous for children? The exposure in itself does not have to be dangerous for the children, especially in our internet-connected age. Parents can monitor the use of these devices in order to restrict exposure to the dangerous part of the web.

But it is essential that children learn the skills that enable them to search out information by themselves. We used to have physical libraries filled with books. While they still exist in some areas, today’s library is digital. It is also global and almost limitless. Educating children without exposing them to this new reality early is the equivalent of educating children 30 years ago without exposing them to books.

DISCIPLINE: A KEY PILLAR OF EDUCATION

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Instilling a sense of discipline in children is a must if we will succeed in educating them. In very simple terms, discipline is the ability to do pick up a task or commitment and stick to it till it gets done. This means, getting our children, pupils and students to read and study daily. It is a very good idea to help your ward develop the habit of spending time with books on a daily basis, even if it is a play book or work book at the pre-school level.

At more advanced ages, story books and text books need to become a part of a child’s daily routine. In today’s world, the word routine is not liked much, but discipline and routine go hand in hand. Life is routine. We get up everyday, get ready for school or work, head out, get our work done, and return home again. It takes a lot of discipline to succeed in life.

This is why we must teach our children discipline. A child may ask, “I studied yesterday. Why must I do it again today?” It is important that we provide a clear answer to help him understand. Sometimes he will understand and co-operate. At other times, he will want to have his way and do what pleases him. We must insist. While children are still developing their sense of values, it is our responsibility to guide and train. Often that means we have to be firm with them. Contrary to what some believe, being firm with a child is not the same as being unloving or harsh.

Without our firmness, children will never learn discipline, and we will end up with adults who are unable to commit and deliver. All the knowledge in the world, and all the skills in the world, are useless in the hands of a person who is unable to stick to a task by sheer force of discipline and habit.

We want our children growing up knowledgeable and highly skilled, but we also need them growing up disciplined.

CELEBRATING CHILDHOOD

As we celebrate our children today as part of the annual Children’s Day activities, we need to remember that we owe them a duty to love, provide for them, protect them, educate and train them, and to leave for them legacies that will last towards making their world a better place even long after we are gone.IMG00087-20140527-1319

A good father leaves good legacies. Good teachers do the same. They inspire loyalty and a desire to achieve in the children that they watch over. Long after our children have passed through our schools and gone on to live their own lives as independent adults, they will have memories of the times that they spent in our care.

They will remember those teachers, parents and others who gave them attention, helped them in their rough times, inspired them to be better and made a lasting impression on them. They always remember. Their minds never jettison memories of primary school, secondary school and universities. Those are memories that become a strong part of their adult psyches.

This is why we must take up our duties and responsibilities to them with passion and integrity. We are molding lives. We are always being watched and listened to. We are never off-duty. In truth, every day is children’s day. Once a child is born, the parent never goes on leave till death calls.

Here at First Veritas, we wish all our children happiness, health and years of growing in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. And to you our teachers and parents who still have parents who live, we wish you a happy children’s day, for you are still children to someone. Go back memory lane a bit and enjoy the memories of the wonderful childhood that we hope you had. Whatever your childhood was like, we hope that the memories ginger you to give today’s little children the childhood of your dreams.

Happy children’s day!

WHEN A CHILD QUESTIONS THINGS…..

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A child who does exactly what he is told to do all the time without questioning anything may cut the picture of the ideal, obedient, well-behaved child. However, that child may be missing out on learning skills that will help him excel out in the real world. The ability to question things will serve them well as adults when their parents are no longer there to shield them from the realities of life, and from wolves and snakes that prowl the jungle that is life.

It is a good thing when your child, pupil or student hears your instructions, plays with them in his mind and fires questions back at you. Here are a few questions:

  • “Dad, can we stay up later than usual? We are on holidays after all.”
  • “Aunty, why can I not go to play outside now?”
  • “Mom, why can I not choose what school to attend?”

Sometimes, he asks to get a clearer understanding. At other times, he is merely pushing the boundaries to see how far he can go or how much he can get away with. Whatever the reason behind a child’s questioning, it is a good idea to provide rational answers. Why? By so doing, you will be helping that child to develop critical reasoning skills.

When he becomes an adult, he will come face to face with life and all sorts of limitations, hindrances, and circumstances that tell him that he cannot do this or be that. This ability to test, prod, question, and challenge is exactly what he will need to handle those situations.

It may look like a child is being a rebel when he or she questions your instructions, whether you are a parent or a teacher. The reality, however, is often that he is processing information and trying to understand why he has to do this or that. His information processing may still be flawed, but as you respond with intelligent answers, you help him get better at it.

Your comments are welcomed. Share with us some of the questions your child have asked you 🙂

ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH YOUR CHILDREN ?

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Raising children can be a tough act. Everyone who has taught, raised or cared for a child in any way is sure to have interesting stories to tell. Some of those stories come from very challenging incidents. Why? Because children will always be children.

The average child prefers to play than to read. The average child will prefer to play games on daddy’s iPad than use it for self-development. The average child wants to have fun even at the expense of their health and personal development.

But we must never forget that they are this way because they are children. They do not know better. If we will teach and train them, we must be their friends. Even adults tend to listen to the correction of their friends better than correction from other sources. How much more our tender, impressionable children?

As a parent, create a rapport of friendship with your child/children. They should look forward to coming home, to spending time with you. When you have to go out without them, they should wish you were taking them along. They should come home from school and be able to tell you their experiences.

You can trigger this in a number of ways:

  1.   find time for them to do fun stuff together e.g. dance, play games, sing, draw, go for a walk
  2.   tell them your own stories, especially stories of yourself while you were their age
  3.   when they tell you their experiences, even shocking ones, do not scream or yell at them
  4.   explain actions and consequences to them
  5.   use gentle but firm repetition to drive home correction, but never be nasty with them

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it will go a long way in helping to develop bonds of friendship with your children. Do not forget that once you lose the communication link with your children, a key part of your relationship with them is lost, and your influence with them drops.

TEACHING GOOD HABITS IS ESSENTIAL TO EDUCATION.

It might not immediately seem so, but having children learn good habits is essential to preparing them to be successful in life. As such, we must invest in teaching good habits.

For example, it has been proven again and again that beyond talents and skills, personal discipline is far more crucial to success, whether one is an employee or an entrepreneur. On the job or as a business owner, things will not always go right. Sometimes, those dark period s are prolonged. It takes sheer force of discipline to stand through those stormy times. How is does this reflect on education?

As we teach our children arithmetic, languages, sciences, arts and any other field of knowledge, it is essential that we teach them the following habits too:

– Discipline

– Endurance

– Persistence

What other habits are essential to giving children a good foundation for dealing with life”s issues? Here is another list:

– honesty

– empathy and care for others

– the ability to recover from setbacks

– responsibility

In particular, some children have problems developing social skills. These are skills that are essential to interacting harmoniously with others. They need to be taught to children so that they develop them as life-long habits. Social skills include:

  • communication: talking, listening to others and understanding what thy heard
  • observing and understanding body language
  • thinking through the effects of their actions on others

The above lists are not exhaustive. Child care experts tell us that human beings learn much of their life-long character in their early childhood years. This underscores the need for us to teach good habits to children as early as possible.

Education is not only about being able to add, do sums, paint, draw, and learning of skills. It is the development of the whole child such that in addition to skills, the child is able to live, interact and work with others to achieve shared goals. After all, he will have to grow up and exist within society

 

IF A CHILD CAN’T LEARN THE WAY WE TEACH…..

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It is a good idea to attempt to understand the learning pattern of a child, and then utilise what we learn in our teaching processes. Why? Not every person is the same. And not every child is certainly the same. A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching will only produce skewed results, leaving some children out in the cold and with poor results. When we attempt to teach in ways that help a child better understand our message, we produce better results.

If a fish and a cat are given the same task of climbing a tree, the fish will end up with horrible results that would make it seem like a useless animal. Yet, that is far from the truth. The fish has its areas of strength, but to maximise those, tasks that are specific to fishes have to be set instead.

Many children, for example, will find pure arithmetic (and mathematics in general) boring. But these subjects can be taught in entertaining and engaging ways. Here are a few examples of how we can pattern our approach to help our wards and pupils learn better:

–        We can teach basic addition and subtraction using objects and images that children love and find interesting.

–        We can use simple stories that appeal to their easily excited and distracted minds.

–        We can use music and video as media to pass across simple concepts and formulas

Pictorial, audio and video materials help keep children’s attention on the subject, for if you cannot hold someone’s attention, you cannot teach them. Beyond holding their attention, the children begin to develop cognitive skills very early in life. These skills form the foundation of a robust life of learning.

Whatever we do in the course of raising and teaching our children, whether in school or at home, we need to present information to them in a way that they understand and can think and process it. Learning to process and apply information, after all, is the core of what education is.