Archives: education

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

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.

Roles of Vegetables and Fruits in Academic Excellence

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The first place to start when trying to improve your child’s nutrition is to add more fruit and vegetables to his/her diet, this is because fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of numerous nutrients. They contain necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, starch and fiber necessary for proper brain development.  Research has showed that people who consume diets rich in fruits and vegetables have lower risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers. Focus on offering your child a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure your child is getting the many different nutrients he/she needs. Too much of anything good is bad. We need to understand that fruits and vegetables should be eaten with discretion. Excess intake may:

– Cause Indigestion

– Affect the intelligent development and bone growth of the children. Scientists have discovered that the
excessive intake of vegetables will hinder the absorption of calcium and zinc in the body, thus affecting the intelligent development and bone growth of the children. This is especially harmful to the pregnant women and the children at the growth and development stage.

– Lead to Calculus(also known as kidney stone). Some vegetables such as spinach, celery, and tomato,
contain a large number of oxalic acid, which will combine with the calcium contained in other foods and form into calcium oxalate, thus easily leading to calculus. This is one of the main reasons why many vegetarian children are susceptible to calculus.

– Lead to malnutrition and iron-deficiency anemia in children.

From what we have discussed above, we can see that it is very important to keep a balanced diet in daily life. Excessive intake of fruits and vegetables is not advisable. Be warned.

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.

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?

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!

For School Admin: Leveraging During This Ebola Period

As a school administrator/owner, how are you adjusting your academic calendar plan in view of the holiday extension due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus (EVD)?

Holiday extension due to health concerns should not totally disrupt the school’s teaching plans. As such, if you are a futuristic school with an already vibrant e-learning platform, kudos to you! However, if you do not have existing e-learning platforms, here are a few tips you can use before school resumes:

  • Assign revision assignments and communicate them via bulk SMS to the parents of your students (See why you should keep school records?)
  • Mathematics and English (and all their variations) are the bases on which others course subjects are built. Therefore, start students on course work in Mathematics & English
    Graded Readers Book

    Graded Readers Book

    before school resumption. Encourage their parents to come to the school to purchase relevant textbooks.Below are some of the textbooks you can utilize:

    • First Veritas Grammar and Comprehension for Primary Schools (Books 1-5)
    •  The Book of Phonics for Primary Schools (with complimentary Audio CD) (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas Quantitative Reasoning for Primary Schools (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas Verbal Reasoning for Primary Schools (Books 1-6)
    • First Veritas has Universal Basic Mathematics for Primary 1-6
    •  First Veritas Graded Readers for Primary is a series of 36 storybooks across 6 levels. Give them essay assignments based on these story books. Engage the students!
    • For the pre-primary schoolers, our Pinwheel Books can be very beneficial. Pinwheel Jumbo Activity
      Jumbo Activity Book

      Jumbo Activity Book

      Book is a wholistic  activity book to engage the mind of the very active pre-schooler.

    • First Veritas Question Bank is a CD compilation of WAEC past questions (over 20 years) in 11 subjects. Students can practice with this software in the comfort of their homes before school resumption and even after school resumption.

This is a very challenging period for the education sector but it could also be an occasion for you to differentiate your school as a creative, practical and pro-active institution by taking these necessary steps.

You can call 08104039756 to order for some or all of these books.