The Place of Sports and Extra-curricular Activities in Education

During a visiting day session at a boarding school, a student complained to his father, “We do sports and extra-curricular activities only once in a blue moon here. This school is very boring. All we do is read and read.”

 

It is easy to waive aside the complaint of the boy. It is very easy to miss the import of the situation that he described. Why? Parents send their children to school to study anyway. What is the harm in not having sporting and other extra-curricular activities on a regular basis? As a matter of fact, a lot of damage is being done.

 

For starters, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a popular saying that applies here. Work and play are so intertwined that institutions that understand the connection make deliberate effort to integrate both in good proportions.

 

Also, it must be noted that majority of students go on in life to earn a living from personal skills and interests, not from their courses of formal study in school. In other words, the very things that are often classified under extra-curricular activities. People grow up to become dancers, footballers, basketballers, gardeners, and the like.

 

Education needs to change.

 

Would it not be much more productive to integrate the so-called extra-curricular activities into proper education syllabus, considering the vital part such activities often eventually play in the lives of students years later in the real world?

 

Yet, across so many schools around the country, things like computer science, music and the like are provided as add-ons and extras, when in reality they are as much core to everyday living as the main subjects of education.

 

Yes; education needs to change. However that happens, it is a bad idea to keep pupils and students away from regular, healthy doses of sports, games and other extra-curricular activities.

 

Appreciating Teachers

Teachers are perhaps the most under-appreciated professionals in our environment. This wasn’t always so. Once upon a time, to be a teacher in Nigeria was a most enviable thing. Teachers were highly respected. Perhaps next to clergy, the teacher was the next in line to God. Parents deferred to teachers. Children lived by the fear of teachers. If a child had a protracted problem with bad behaviour, all the parent had to do to knock him into line was to threaten to report the child to their teacher. Problem solved. As such, to be a teacher was an aspiration for many young people.

 

You might recall how teachers back in the eighties seemed so in love with their jobs. It was a thing of pride, a calling to which they responded, even though the financial return on the job was not superb. It was something that they did for the love of the results that they got. A teacher would beam with pride whenever an old student of his came back visiting his alma mater. The pride and joy of seeing the fruits of their labours all grown up and doing well can be quite a fulfilling experience for teachers.

 

Sadly, the times have changed drastically. Teachers no longer hold quite that same enviable position that they used to hold in the society. We find only a few rare people who get into teaching because it is what they really want to do. Now, for the most part, students end up studying education because they couldn’t get admission for the more juicy courses. Many teachers would switch jobs in a heartbeat if the opportunity arises.

 

Still, teachers play a key role in the society. Our children, tomorrow’s adults, must pass through their care and be molded (for good or for bad) by them. We must pay more attention to equipping our teachers and providing a more efficient work environment for them. Lastly, we must appreciate them for the pivotal role they play in society. Without many of the great teachers that we passed through, not too many of us would be as successful as we are today.

 

Good teachers are priceless.

The Need for Disagreement and Alternative Perspectives

As human beings, we all feel happy and fulfilled when we find others who agree with our point of view on issues and topics. If we write an article or give a speech and someone praises us for it, it is a wonderful feeling. We all love to hear for others to tell us how good we are, how great our speech was, or how awesome an article that we wrote was. Perhaps, one can argue that we are wired to want “yes men” around us.

 

Yet, the path to growth and development does not exist without disagreeing points of view to ours. Nobody grows if his present perspective or point of view isn’t challenged – either by himself or by others. Yes; we learn, grow and develop when others are able to disagree with us, question our point of view, and/or present alternative perspectives to those that we hold and live by.

 

Many of the discoveries, inventions and innovations that have brought huge benefits to us were possible because of alternative perspectives. Sometimes those perspectives came by accident (Isaac Newton and the apple). Sometimes we got them after intense debates that took years (the shape of the earth).

 

It isn’t always comfortable when we have our long-held beliefs questioned. It sometimes grates to have our authority questioned. Yet, without constant questioning, we would make no progress. We would stand on one spot, year in, year out. This is why disagreements and alternative perspectives are vital to learning and to education. Students should be allowed the freedom to question and to disagree. In order to develop the brightest of minds, students need the freedom to propose and push alternative perspectives to issues and problems. It is how we got this far. It is how we will make all the progress that humanity has in store for it in the future.

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?

How to Raise Smart Kids

……. by making the kids use First Veritas Smart Kids Series, of course! What were you expecting to read? 😀

Smart kids are built. A common thread that runs through all child prodigies is the amount of time that they spent immersed in their studies or skills.

There are few things as exciting as listening to a parent brag about how smart their child is. The excitement. The feeling of pride. Every parent wants their kids to grow up smart. To this end,  we at  First Veritas have a few books to help your Nursery age child grow smart and make you proud.

They are:

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Smart Kids Mathematics for Nursery Book 1 and Book 2

  • Mathematical concept are explained in an activity based manner
  • Designed to make learning enjoyable for children
  • Illustrations are colourful and stimulating

 

Smart Kids English for Nursery Book 1 and Book 2

  • Specially and professionally written to satisfy the requirement of the curriculum for kindergarten
  • Designed with plenty of activities and colourful illustrations to sustain children interest in language learning.
  • Help to develop the foundational skills required by children

 

Smart Kids Alphabet Colouring and Activity book

  • An activity based book with colourful illustrations
  • Easy to use and understand
  • Developmentally appropriate for the language acquisition of the child

 

Smart Kids Environmental Studies for Nursery (Books 1 & 2)

  • Activity based and designed to make learning easy and enjoyable for children
  • Illustrations are colourful and stimulating

 

Smart Kids Handwriting for Nursery (Books 1 &2)

  • Contain basic developmental writing skills
  • Teach the different stages in the learning of writing, words formation & simple sentences.
  • The child develops motor skills and co-ordination of hand and eye movement when using the books.
  • The content of the books are centred around various activities for young minds
  • Illustrations in the books are very attractive and colourful Revision chapters are evident in the books

 

Get in touch with us today for any of the above books for your children or your school. Call 08104039756

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.

Piracy and Publishing

In very simple terms, piracy is the unauthorized use or reproduction of another’s work that is then sold at substantially lower prices in the market. In the context of publishing, that means the unauthorized use, reproduction and sale of an author’s writing or book. Piracy diverts money away from the original author and publisher into the hands of the pirate. The results are loss of income for the author, publisher and anyone else who has invested in the items being pirated.

 

Think about it, for every item reproduced illegally, there is income diverted away from a long chain of individuals who have invested in the production of that item – the writer, the proofreader, the editor, graphic artists, distribution teams, advertisers, PR employees, etc..

 

Piracy creates a ripple effect that includes making it difficult for authors and publishers to continue to create materials. Bad sales on a first book due to the activities of pirates means that it is tougher to produce the next book. As such, valuable materials don’t make it to the market at all. Schools and students are denied much-needed books. Consumers are denied valuable resources and entertainment (in the case of novels and story books). Piracy has a very crippling effect.

 

This is one clear reason why we need to encourage original authors and producers in tackling piracy. We need to patronise recognised distributors and sales channels, seek out authentic copies of books and other published material, and pay for those materials. That way, we help to keep the publishing industry standing and thriving. That way, we guarantee that more authors and writers will create more of the good and useful materials that we need or want.

 

It is important that the damaging effects of piracy are understood. It is also important to understand the consequences under the law. Anyone caught copying, reproducing and/or distributing illegal copies of books and other published works can be held liable under the law.

 

Let’s help fight piracy.

 

 

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

Dear Author/Publisher, Where Are Your Readers?

It is becoming increasingly common to hear authors and writers of books complain of dropping sales and engagement. We hear phrases like “Nigerians do not read”, and the like. Publishing books seems to be a fast-declining industry. Even newspapers are no longer selling as much as they used to. If publishers and authors are not selling as they used to – and many are not making any money off it any more – there are questions that need to be asked.

 

For example, is it true that Nigerians do not read, or is it that we are not paying attention to what they read? Or could it be that authors and publishers are ignoring the section of Nigerians who read?

 

Statistics are difficult to come by in Nigeria, not to mention accurate statistics. However, a look at trends here in the country and elsewhere may give us hints as to what is really going on. For example, globally, there is an increasing shift in reading culture from hard cover books to virtual material – ebooks and e-magazines. Newspaper houses all over the world have found that much of the news they carry is already available online hours before they hit the press. They have also found that the average person with internet access has migrated to getting their news online as against from printed paper.

 

Publishing online is not only faster, it is easier and costs much less than traditional publishing. There is also the question of reach. The potential to reach much more people across huge geographical divides than printed materials can do is unprecedented.

 

With the advent of mobile technology, the terrain has changed even more. Comic book publishers are churning out mobile apps for their readers to subscribe to their favourite comic books. Authors are publishing e-books, so anyone can buy those books and read on their smartphones or tablets.

 

These are global phenomena, and perhaps these can give us hints as to what is happening in the Nigerian environment too.

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