Archives: Education in Nigeria

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.

Teaching Children How to Save

    This can be tricky. For many people, they have memories of their parents collecting any money given to them by neighbors, family friends and relations, when they were younger, for “safe-keeping”. Many a time, these “safe-keeping” memories end with talks of “who has been paying your school fees? Who has been buying your clothes?” and its likes, whenever attempts were made to enquire about the whereabouts of the “safe-kept” money.

Should children handle their money gifts by themselves? No and Yes!

“No” because children are INDEED children, and expectedly lack a sense of financial responsibility, thereby requiring adult guidance. And “Yes” because what better time is there to teach your child about financial responsibility and saving, than when he is a child, and like a sponge, ready to absorb knowledge?

How can parents go about getting children ready for this great responsibility, you ask?

1) Get them a saving box/piggy bank. Get them to start saving those little Kobos and Nairas with an aim of getting their grandma a birthday gift or getting a bicycle for themselves. With an aim in mind, they will feel better about saving.
2) Remember that kids notice things a lot, even when you think they don’t. So please, try to save alongside them, thereby encouraging them and showing them that it’s not a form of punishment.
3) Make them earn commissions for little tasks. This will teach them to value, understand and learn ways of earning money and understand its worth early in life.
4) If your child is in his or her late teens (16,17,18,19), open a bank account for him/her and monitor the money there, encourage him or her to save a particular amount monthly.
5) Please teach your children to give. They shouldn’t be tight-fisted. You can encourage them to religious institutions, charities or individuals of their own choices.

Without a doubt, these steps will open up the possibilities of a great financial future for your child. What methods have you used or devised? Which ones worked for you and which ones did not?

Please share/comment.

 

Teacher-Ward Dispute Resolution- The Parent’s Guide

  I did not like so many of my teachers when I was younger, maybe I felt like they hated me and were created to make my life miserable. I mean, just imagine a chubby 3-year old who thinks of nothing but food and cartoon more than half of the time, being asked to learn the alphabets or spell “tiger”.

So yes! Some children hate school and might take a longer time adjusting to the institution because they don’t know the importance of education (after all, they are only children!!!) or because they think their teacher(s) hates them. You as a parent need to explain to the child, as best as you can, that school is a necessary sacrifice for success in life.

My neighbor recently complained to my mum about her son’s teacher, she said her son, Michael, reports his teacher’s harshness towards him to her almost everyday after school. She was in a bind and did not know how to handle the situation. My mum advised her to cool down and not fight the woman because kids actually exaggerate. Are you in this kind of situation? Here are a few nuggets she said which I found useful:

Step 1 – Understand your Child’s Concern Well!

Children sometimes make generic claims such as “She hates me and wanted to beat me till I fainted”. So, make sure you find out in detail what your child means. Sometimes children forget the details of what happened. Probe until you get concrete and reasonable answers. Make sure you let your child understand that the teachers are working for his/her own good and should never hurt him/her on purpose. You can even suggest that he tells the teacher about how he feels politely. (This is a way of teaching the child to face his problems headlong in life). Depending on what the outcome of this stage is, you might need to progress to Step 2.

Step 2- Speak to the Teacher
If you decide you really have to speak to the teacher, set a time that is not drop off time or pickup time because these hours are rush hours in every school and the teacher might be indisposed. Try as much as possible to be very polite and uncritical. Start by asking about the performance of your child, listen carefully for any undercurrent of frustration in the teacher’s voice, and then calmly state your child’s report and feelings. Despite your light touch, the teacher might feel criticized—some people are sensitive, particularly, beleaguered, tired and underpaid educators who occasionally deal with parents who are a little overzealous on behalf of their perfect little angels. Do your best to reassure the teacher that you’re not blaming him/her. Ideally, the teacher should explain what’s going on to you and if he/she doesn’t, then it’s time to take Step 3. I really hope you don’t have to go here though.

Step 3 – Report to the Principal
Report to the principal. Most parents don’t like going this far, but sometimes extreme measures are necessary to ensure immediate improvement. Explain that you have spoken to the teacher and you haven’t noticed any improvements. At this point, the teacher will definitely have no love for you and your child. If you notice that the teacher is pouring his/her frustrations with you on your child, it’s time to change classes, unless this can affect your child on the long run. The child might feel ignored or ostracized. If the complaints aren’t attended to, you might have to consider changing your child’s school or perhaps, reporting to a higher authority still, like the CEO/Proprietor(tress)

NOTE: Whatever you do, please don’t quarrel or fight. Understandably, there is the need to defend and protect the “younglins” but let everything be done with grace, dignity and respect for our fellow partners-in-progress.
Good luck in helping you kids settle down in school.

As for me, need I say I soon got over my love-hate relationship with my teacher?

This article was written by Tosin Abejide, a 1st year Law Student in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Learning Together: A Better Way

We live in a world that is largely driven by competition. At the earliest stages of life, children are taught – whether directly or indirectly – that they need to compete. At a time that it is believed in certain quarters that children ought to still be playing, on many fronts they are already being pushed into the field of competition. Parents and guardians push their children for better grades. Comparisons get made. The child learns to run against others.

 

But perhaps there is a more effective way of learning. This may not be the preferred route of children who are naturally bright and so stand out among others. Because of their extraordinary abilities, A-grade students tend to have no problem studying alone. They are often lone wolves who pick up their books, listen to teachers and lecturers and grasp the subjects by themselves.

 

But this is not so for the majority of students, and it is important that this is noted. Many students need help, guidance and assistance to figure some things out. Somewhere along the line, some of them figure it out or stumble on the idea that they learn better when they collaborate with others. And so, they begin to pull resources together. They meet to tackle their homework together, They form study groups. They assign individuals who are strong in certain subjects to help explain difficult areas.

 

As the average person grows up into adulthood, while the world screams, “Compete! Fight!! Compete!!!” lessons learned in practical situation tells us that learning and working together benefits everyone in the long run than if we all go it alone. Collaboration, not competition, is the better route.

 

Perhaps this is where parents, guardians and teachers should start from. Perhaps before we teach our children to compete, it would be more effective to teach them to collaborate and work as a team.

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.

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.

NIGERIA NEEDS A MUCH STRONGER EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM

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Being custodians of our children’s education, teachers play a very vital role in the society. From the creche all the way up to higher institutions, teachers are at the core of the education of our children. This is why the subject of training , evaluation and re-training should be taken as a serious one.

It will not do to have teachers whose spoken and written English are below standard. That would be very counter-productive, as students will end up learning the wrong things. That is why the training of teachers should be a priority, and not an after-thought.

It does not help either that many people who end up studying education at the higher institution level do so as a last resort. Unable to secure admission for the courses that they are really interested in, they settle for Education because of lower cut-off marks and easier entry requirements. Perhaps something is wrong with such a system? We end up with teachers who are not particularly wanting to teach in the first place, but are teachers by reason of circumstances.

That is bad enough already. Consider also that many of them are unable to put a flawless sentence together in English, and the issues quickly get compounded. We also live in a world where things change fast. As such, the need for evaluations and re-training as often as possible. The idea is to spot individuals who need to be chucked out f the system, as well as individuals who can get better with some more training.

If anything, Nigeria needs a much stronger educational system, and not one in which any and every one can walk in to teach. Things are already bad as they are. Implementing strong evaluation and re-training processes into the system can only be a good thing. Otherwise, we can say goodbye to any hopes of things getting better. Without sound teachers, there can be no such hope.

BUILDING A ROBUST VOCABULARY IS IMPORTANT

vocUcover2Your vocabulary is the totality of all the words known and used by you. This hinges a lot of things on your vocabulary. Here are a number of reasons why possessing a larger vocabulary is important:

  1. It improves your vocal and written communication. you are able to say what you mean with finer precision and detail. Sometimes, the difference between one thing and the other is a tiny difference in definition.
  2. A broader vocabulary boosts your thinking and analytic ability. You are able to be more pinpointed in your thinking.
  3. A broader vocabulary will help you understand other people better.
  4. While it may seem vain, a broader vocabulary makes a good impression on others. The more effectively and skilfully you are able to communicate, the better the impression you make on others.

Now that you understand why developing a broader vocabulary is important, how do you go about it? Here are a few tips to help you build a wider vocabulary:

  1. One way to improve your vocabulary is to get a thesaurus, or other books dedicated to helping you do so. For example, First Veritas has a range of books and resources that help students build their vocabulary.
  2. Get a website, a smartphone app or a magazine that provides “word of the day” tips
  3. Read. Read books, newspapers, magazines and everything you can lay your hands on
  4. Listen to people who have a broader vocabulary. Listen to the news.
  5. Then write down the new words that you find as you read and listen, and use those words as often as you can, so that they become a part of your every day thinking processes.

Do not forget: the point of a broader vocabulary is not to confuse or impress others. It is to think and communicate wit greater precision. Start building a more robust vocabulary today.

CONTINUOS DEVELOPMENT FOR EDUCATORS

It is a fast-changing world that we live in. It is one in which everyone, regardless of their vocation, need to continually develop themselves. As educators of everyone else, teacher especially need to continually brush up their knowledge and polish their skills.teachersDev

These can be done in a number of ways:

  1. use free web-based resources to keep abreast of new developments and to broaden exposure
  2. purchase audio-visual materials for use at home
  3. find ways to increase exposure to modern teaching and learning tools
  4. enroll for training courses and developmental programmes. For example, First Veritas runs a  Teachers Institute that offers a suite of structured and comprehensive professional development Programs for teachers as well as school leaders delivered in books, workshop settings and digital/on line access.

In Nigeria at the moment, education is experiencing huge growth and there is a dearth of qualified hands to take on some of the new openings. Many qualified hands too need a wider exposure to international best practices.

While educational institutions need to do whatever they can to provide ongoing training to their teachers and instructors, individuals must also take responsibility for their personal development.

  1. If you are an educator, are you able to use an internet-connected computer proficiently?
  2. Are you able to use the internet as a library and research tool?
  3. Are you up-to-date with the latest discoveries in your field?
  4. Are you able to use a mobile to search out information on the spur of the moment?

These are personal skills that will give you an edge in today’s fast-paced world. The ability to search out information quickly and the ability to stay on the cutting edge will set you apart as an excellent educator. At the end of the day, our passion to improve ourselves is perhaps the most important factor.