Archives: Personal development

Teaching Children How To Be Tidy

 “Tidiness” means “being orderly and clean in appearance” and “keeping things clean and in order”. Forget whatever else you have heard, but nobody likes dirty kids. As a parent, it is paramount that you teach your children how to be clean, tidy and presentable always and as early on in their lives as possible. It helps them grow into stable young men and women. Apart from its health benefits, it is a good social habit. These are some ways to instill tidiness in your child:

1) Start Early. The earlier the better. Start teaching your five year old responsibility and neatness by making her pick her toys off the floor or clean her mouth after eating. Teach your 8-year old son how to wash his socks and panties. Starting these lessons early helps the child get used to such and considers it a routine, as opposed to a punishment or inconvenience.

2) Draw up a schedule. Make a well detailed chore-schedule, which includes time and sanctions. Make sure you include every member of the family.

3) Be a good role model. When trying to instill the nature of cleanliness into your child(ren), you as a parent must also be clean. It is called leading by example. You should learn to arrange your things
well and maintain a healthy lifestyle so that the young ones can imitate you.

4) Try to make the chores fun. Play some music, discuss casual stuff, crack jokes and give little treats after the completion of the chores as reward for their cooperation (make sure this isn’t a bribe or an incentive for them to work)

5) Encourage them. Try to criticize and shout less because they’ll eventually get immune to those insults and become recalcitrant which will lead to other issues. So, watch your tongue. Harsh words mostly do more harm than good.

First Veritas has a series of Social Habits Books for Pre-Primary. Click on image to find out more

Cleanliness is a continuous process. Share some of your methodologies in the comment box below

Group Study In Schools

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The major purpose of group study is to help one other in areas of weaknesses. Nobody can be the master at all things. A genius in Mathematics may be an average student in Biology, Chemistry or Civil Education. Whether he likes Biology or not, he must make at least a credit pass in his WAEC result to be accepted into any reputable higher institution. Hence the need for group study in the life of students is immensely paramount.
One must take note of the fact that in life,many things are created but some of this things never serve the true purpose of their creation. Study groups consists of three types of people:
1)The Unsettled students: this group of students who are friends or acquaintances, come together to pretend like their studying and spend the whole study period discussing irrelevant issues, gossiping,sleeping or watching movies.
2) The Serious students:usually comprises of the best students in the class in different fields,coming together to learn from one other.

3)The serious and unsettled Students: comprises of those willing to learn and those unwilling to study. This group is usually created by teachers who know the academic ability of each student. This helps a lot, because due to peer influence, the serious students might help the unsettled ones to make headway in their academics. Care should be taken though, so that proper balance is maintained and the “unsettled” students do not overwhelm the serious ones.

What are the Advantages of Group Study?

The advantages are numerous as you can imagine. I’d highlight a few.
1) Encourages Teamwork: TEAM( Together Everyone Achieves More) Teamwork divides effort and multiplies effect. No man is an island of knowledge. One’s weakness might be the strength of another and vice versa. Students need to understand from an early age that team work is the key to achieving greater goals.
2) It helps to maintain focus: Children have over-imaginative minds and tend to day dream or “switch off” during a boring lecture. During group study, they come together and encourage one another to study harder. When one person is confused or losing focus, there will be someone to lift him up. This is one of the main reasons why in weight loss programs, everybody is encouraged to get partners with similar goals and aspirations. Studies have shown that this is a great motivation to people,both young and old.

We will discuss the possible disadvantages of group study shortly.

Physical Activity is Essential to Learning

Getting quality education has gone beyond sitting in the classroom, taking lectures and going through subject exercises. Today, many school settings do not give room for sports and physical exercises anymore, sadly. As a matter of fact, many new schools in Nigeria do not have sporting facilities at all. Once a school’s promoter has found a building for classrooms and a tiny play area, all is good for schooling. This is not a trend that should be allowed to go on. Children need to be exposed to sporting activities and fundamental exercise practices.

 

Regrettably, with the increasing pressure on schools to ensure that children achieve academic success, and then the need for schools to maintain the standard of academic achievement of their students, physical activity is being pushed down the priority list. The time spent in physical activity keeps diminishing. In some schools, the average physical activity duration is now gauged within 10minutes. This isn’t enough time, especially as studies have shown that physical exercises do not have detrimental impacts on school grades. In fact, some studies have indicated that increased participation in physical activity leads to enhanced learning and even better grades.

Fitness

This is because increased participation in sports and other forms of physical exercise have been proven to aid the enhancement of cognitive functioning, memory, concentration behaviour and academic achievement for students. These practices are generally promoted for their positive impact on a child’s physical and mental health. It is also not to be forgotten that a brilliant mind will be severely hampered if the physical body it dwells in is unhealthy.

Even among working class adults, a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for ill health. Medical authorities keep emphasizing the need for working adults to include physical activity in their daily routine – walking, running, or others. How much more for children who are still in early and middle stages of development.

 

This is therefore a call out to our school authorities and management. There is an inherent need for growing children to get involved in adequate physical activities. Government educational agencies need to enforce this. Perhaps government can also assist educational entrepreneurs with easier (even cheaper) access to landed property so that the latter get enough space to provide for such activities.

Civility is Part and Parcel of Great Learning

Civility can be defined as formal politeness and courtesy in behaviour or speech. Synonyms would include courtesy, politeness and good manners. Spending time on social media, as well as interacting with people in various scenarios, one is tempted to wonder if civility isn’t dying out and on its way to extinction.

 

It can be argued that civility is a pillar for sound education and learning. This is because it takes a great deal of civility to hear others out even when they push ideas and concepts that are foreign or antagonistic to those held by one. Have a look around. All the great institutions of learning have at least one defining characteristic – they inculcate and impart an attitude of civility into their pupils and students. Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Oxford, Columbia, etc. Great learning and great education do not exist apart from an attitude of civility.

 

This is why it is sad to observe the Nigerian landscape. All sorts of debates quickly degenerate into exchanges of insults and snide remarks. It appears that as a people – even the most and best educated among us – we are largely incapable of debating and arguing ideas, issues and concepts without stooping low to insults.

 

Once upon a time, literary and debating societies and activities were prominent in our educational institutions. The idea was to build minds that understood how to stick to arguing pointed issues while remaining polite and non-offensive towards opponents. Back then, it was important to be proper in speech and attitude towards others, regardless of what positions they held.

 

Today, those who believe and argue differently from what we believe in are regularly called fools, idiots, morons and all sorts of names. It is interesting to note that the name-calling has not resulted in helping anyone improve their thinking or upgrade their knowledge. It merely fuels the drama.

What happened to those ideals of civility that we once held important? Can we get back to them urgently?

What is the Purpose of Education?

This question might not seem to be very significant. But then, it is said that if one does not know or define the purpose of a thing, abuse and misuse is inevitable. As such, it must be important that we explore the question and attempt to get hold of an answer.

 

For many, the purpose of education is to teach or pass across knowledge and skills, and so that is where all expectations end. Learners who embrace this definition or concept expect to be spoon fed with knowledge. But what if we add the following to it:

 

  • education as a means of nurturing the ability to think, to question, and to analyse;
  • education as a means of helping individuals learn how to learn by themselves; and
  • education as a means to help each individual discover himself and his own unique potentials.

 

Those additions would turn education into a much more potent tool. Also, it would make it a much more exciting process that individuals would look forward to. Instead of students and people only learning to do things, they also learn to learn. Education should not serve a single purpose.

 

Instead of education being a process to make people into pre-defined molds, it becomes a tool to help each individual become. Education becomes an exciting journey of self-discovery, whether in or out of school. As such, people are able to constantly and continually learn on their own even when they have been outside the four walls of school for years. Education then equips individuals to grow and evolve in a rapidly changing world.

 

What do you think? Did we leave out anything you may feel education should include? You tell us!

What Storybooks Did You Read As A Youngster?

The years roll by and times change. As a youngster, you likely read certain storybooks as part of your upbringing. Most likely, in your earliest reading years, you read quite a number of fairy tales like, “Jack And The Bean Stalk”, “Cinderella”, “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs”, “Beauty And The Beast”, among numerous others. Local titles like “Akin Goes To School”, and “Eze Goes To School” might also have featured in your library at some point.

 

Perhaps as you grew towards and around your teenage years, you also picked series like “The Famous Five”, “Secret Seven” and other adventure stories like that. From the local Nigerian scene, you probably read “Things Fall Apart”, a title that was prominently circulated and even made into a television series.

 

It really doesn’t matter what titles you read. After all, there are millions of beautifully written story books out there. Well written storybooks are vital for developing good comprehension skills, as well as the development of a sound vocabulary. Since there is no end to knowledge acquisition and development, we hope that you are still reading even now in adulthood. Take moments off work and play to pick up a good work of fiction to read. Good books are just as mentally stimulating for adults as they are for children.

Since we are in a world advocating for people to read more, pick up one or more of our Graded Readers Story books for your little one. We have over 36 titles in that series.

Graded Readers Book

Graded Readers Book

 

Still, we would love to hear from you. Do tell us what story books you read as a youngster.

Dear Author/Publisher, Where Are Your Readers? Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of this article, we recommend that you do by clicking here

Part of the global trend is that many publishers, newspaper houses included,  are recording a huge drop in sales of physical books and are moving their operations online. It isn’t that people are no longer reading. Instead, it is that they are reading differently.

Even libraries in the leading educational institutions globally are moving from physical books to electronic access. Instead of books, we are seeing huge servers and networks of internet-connected PCs. A lot of research is done online via search engines. As a matter of fact, many people now school online, acquiring knowledge and skills that they would otherwise not have had access to without doing a lot of travelling and incurring huge expenses.

A Cultural Change

What we are seeing is a huge cultural change. The readers are alive and well. They are only just adapting a newer medium. Here is a quick summary:

  1. Readers are moving online for their content consumption.
  2. Readers are using their PCs, tablets and smartphones as the new channels for content consumption.
  3. E-books, e-magazines, blogs, and video are the new media available on these new channels.
  4. While video isn’t huge in these parts yet because of high data costs and inadequate infrastructure, people are consuming content more and more that way.
  5. The physical book is not dead yet, but its viability as a sole means of income generation is seriously being threatened.
  6. With the exception of regions where infrastructure and costs make it not feasible, as a rule, publishers and authors need to start thinking of putting their works out via new media FIRST, and in physical book format second.
  7. Publishers and authors need to get “social”: in other words, they need to engage their readers on the readers’ where they hang out and on their own terms. In this new world, people hang out on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc).

It is a new world. Publishing and education is fast changing from what we grew up with, and we must change with the times in order to stay relevant.

First Veritas has an e-distribution channel to over 1000 online retailers. As an author/publisher, you can take advantage of this. Call 08104039756. Read more about the e-distribution here

Is It True That Nigerians Do Not Read?

Image from Google

Image from Google

There is the constant complaint that Nigerians do not read. We hear about the death of the reading culture in the country over and over again. In truth, if we look at book sales records, it does seem that those assertions are correct. However, a closer look may reveal something else.

 

Because of the often lack of statistics available in the country, in the past, it was difficult to measure a lot of things, including book and magazine sales. With the advent of the internet though, for the first time, we have a means of collating data for evaluation. Here are a few teasers.

 

  • “Nigerians do not read”, yet there are 56 million active mobile internet users in the country.
  • As at 2013, Nigeria had overtaken South Africa to become Facebook’s largest user base in Sub Saharan Africa with over 11 million users.
  • Nigeria is the third most active African country on Twitter.
  • Nigeria has been in the top 10 usage of Opera Mini browser globally for many years.
  • Nigeria continues to be a top country on the BBC website in terms of traffic.

 

There are many more places online that Nigerians are active, but a look at these few should suffice for our experiment. If it is true that Nigerians do not read, exactly what is it that Nigerians on Facebook and Twitter do? Sleep? Mope?

 

Every day on Facebook and Twitter , Nigerians share and comment on articles that they have read. Interesting (and sometimes sadly unpleasant) discussions are generated from these articles. The records show that Nigerians put out a lot of information on those two platforms. We see people publishing their own notes, as well as sharing excerpts and links from their own blogs and websites.

 

Perhaps it isn’t true after all that Nigerians do not read. Perhaps the real challenge is that authors and publishers need to find out how to create content that Nigerians will enjoy reading.

When Children Question Everything

It is commonly accepted that kids say the darndest things (Bill Cosby’s Show; anyone?). It is also known that

Source: Google

Source: Google

kids ask questions about anything and everything. Some times, those questions are pretty uncomfortable, and sometimes embarrassing. There is often the temptation to brush them off and send them to go play a game or get some work done when they start pushing along certain lines. They are kids, after all.

 But perhaps, we can use the natural inquisitiveness of our children to help them learn to think and analyze. Can it be that we can find a place of balance in which we let kids be kids without stifling their curious and exploring minds?

 Experience hows that kids who question and poke at everything possible tend to develop into adults who can think through situations and concepts better. While it may be scary for some parents, it is also true that children who are much more outgoing, and often pushing the boundaries and crossing lines, tend to grow up into adults who are able to take the bull of life by the horns. They tend to be able to thrive even against the greatest odds. They are used to not conforming and taking no for an answer.

 It is that place of balance where we teach children the place of order and authority, yet let their minds and bodies roam in adventure and exploration that guardians, parents and teachers must find in raising and training children. Some parents lock down the child completely, insisting that a child’s place is absolute submission. Such children often grow up timid and incapable of coping when life’s storms hit. Other parents just let the child have their way a hundred percent. Usually, such kids grow up to become delinquents. Both approaches are fraught with problems. The place of balance is needed.

Do you remember how your parents handled your questioning everything and pushing boundaries? As a parent, how do you cope with this need to strike a balance?

A FAMILY TRIP THIS HOLIDAY IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA

familytrip

It is easy to wave off holidays as times to give children a break from learning. However, this can be a grave mistake. While children should be given a break from formal learning and schooling, there are many fun ways of ensuring that they do learn even during long holidays.

A field trip is an excellent idea of a fun way to teach your children and /or wards in a hands-on way during holidays. By definition, a field trip is a trip made by students to learn about something

A field trip can be to places like nature spots e.g. water springs, water falls, rocks and nature trails, zoos, schools, museums, etc. It is fun, exciting, and yet educational. Here are some benefits of a field trip:

  • children have fun traveling and experiencing new places and things
  • children learn in a hands-on manner different from what obtains in a school environment
  • children get more exposure to the variety of peoples and customs that exist in the world
  • children get to know their country better

Holidays – especially to affluent Nigerians – often mean one or more trips to choice cities in Europe, North America, Middle East or the Asia – New York, Paris, London, Atlanta, Singapore, or Dubai. However, Nigeria is a large country, with lots of beautiful locations that all provide learning experiences. Those experiences include: historical, cultural, religious and scientific. Here are a few such places:

  • Olumo Rock, Abeokuta
  • Ikogosi Water Falls, Ikogosi-Ekiti
  • Arinta Water Fall, Iponle Ekiti
  • Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife
  • University Of Ibadan Zoological Garden (and the campus too)
  • Obudu Cattle Ranch, Calabar
  • Kainji Dam and Lake Kainji, Niger State
  • Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

These are just a handful of places to visit. Each of them have a rich history that involves stories based on culture and/or science. Your children will see and hear things for themselves that will reinforce the theoretical classes they have had in school. A lot of things will be clearer to them. And they will have great fun while at it. You should give it a try these holidays.

Don’t forget to pick up one or more of First Veritas books with homegrown content that helps your children learn from the point of view of our local environment.