Archives: Empowerment


New PictureComprehension is the ability to understand and interprete what is being read. It is an important skill in the educational process. Why do we say so? Many of the challenges and problems that students are required to solve in life require a good deal of comprehension. If a child is unable to understand a question, how will he or she provide an accurate answer?

Problem solving often requires:

  • understanding the question or what has been stated is the problem
  • being able to connect the question or problem with other knowledge already acquired
  • being able to critically work out the solution

Have you ever made a statement or asked a question, and someone provides a response that does not fit in? In all probability, that individual did not understand the question. There was a problem comprehending your question or statement.

Failure does not always arise from a lack of knowledge or skill in the specific subject, but from poor comprehension skills. Some students fail physics not because they do not understand physics, but because they lack comprehension skills. Same goes for other subjects. Years later, as adults, they will require this same comprehension in whatever field they may embrace as a vocation.

This is why we must not only teach English as a language, but also promote a reading culture. Note that by reading culture, we include the use of dictionaries and other reference material.

Here are a few pointers:

  • we must make our children read and ask questions for the purpose of developing comprehension skills
  • materials to read: good story books and novels (both fiction and non-fiction); newspapers (though some of these have fallen behind in recent times); and magazines
  • a good dictionary should be available to children
  • if internet access is available and the child’s use can be monitored, a Google search for unknown words and phrases yields useful results

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, children had fewer distractions to reading. Today, the distractions are legion, yet we must polish the minds of our young ones by exposing them to well written books and periodicals.


A man had one of those discussions with his pre-teen daughter. He kicked things off by asking her if she was involved in any extra-curricular activities in school. She replied that she was and went on to explain that she was interested in the sprints and jumps. The jumps include high jump, long jump, and triple jump. Apparently, she had discovered that she had strong legs and was good at those activities. However, she further went on to say to her father that she stopped participating because some senior year students were always making fun of participants. The mocking wasn’t a personal thing against her, but it affected her badly enough to make her withdraw.

The father saw an opportunity to teach his little girl one of life’s important lessons. So, he dived into his own history and narrated to her how at different stages of his own life, he had been ridiculed and discouraged by others. He told her how he had chosen not to give up at each of those times.

“In life, there will always be people who will make fun of you and ridicule whatever you do,”she told her as they walked down the quiet street. “You have to make up your mind that you will not let others discourage you from achieving your goals.” The father went on to point out why people often resort to mocking and ridiculing of others:

  • sometimes, they are just plain jealous that you are better at a task than they are
  • sometimes, they have personal issues that makes them feel better about their own lives when they mock others

He went on to say to her: “What people say in mockery is no reflection of who you are or what you can achieve. It is a reflection of who they are and their values. If you want to do something and achieve greatness at it, you have to learn to ignore those who mock you”

Pick up that new book and read. Learn that new language. Polish your diction and refine your poise. Learn that new skill and go excel. Keep learning and keep achieving, regardless of how hard anyone tries to discourage you.


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!


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


Cultivating Good Reading Habits

Reading is a very important part of any literate person’s life. Whether it is to pass examinations in school or just to get information from the news, everyone needs to cultivate good reading habits. Okay, so we all know this, but the big question is how do we cultivate a good reading habit? Here are a few tips.

  1. Set routines. Have a regular period set to read every day. When you have a reading routine, it helps to gear you up and serves as a reminder to read at the set time.
  2. Always carry a book. Having one book or the other also helps to remind you of the need to read. Whether school books, magazines ore newspapers, have something with you that you can read at your spare time.
  3. Find the perfect place to read. Finding a quiet and secure place to read is also a good reading habit to cultivate. Having a fortress, somewhere you know when you get to, you will relax and concentrate, will go a long way in helping you to read.
  4. Reduce distractions. As much as possible, reduce distractions. Switch off the television, your phone and computer, if you are not reading on it. A lot of time, we think we are reading but our mind is on something else. Reading and answering the phone or watching the television is not a good reading habit, we will never gain anything this way.
  5. Have a reading partner or join a book club. This will help in encouraging you. Having a friend or a buddy to exchange books or ideas with will motivate us to read.

6 Ways Of Achieving Teamwork In School

We all know that schools best function on the concept of camaraderie, mutual appreciation, and teamwork. The school community is an example of people helping each other in order to achieve a common goal – teacher, students, parents, and school administration all endeavoring to give the best learning experience for the students.

Here are 6 ways of building teamwork in the school environment:

  1. When a task is at hand, always discuss options on how to do it. Consulting with each other can encourage participation and cooperation.
  2. Be open to other people’s suggestions.  When it does not jive with what you think is best, it is not necessarily wrong, only different. Innovation comes from fresh ideas.
  3.  Keep communications open. Never assume that everybody has understood unless they have given a relevant feedback.
  4. Resolve disputes as quickly as possible without compromising what is right. Practice prudence and tact in resolving issues.
  5. When there is a problem, stop complaining. Instead suggest a solution in order to solve it.
  6. Acknowledge everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and work towards complementing these realities. Just like a body with many parts functioning together, work harmoniously as an organization towards your common goal.

School is a learning environment and what better way to teach our children empowerment through the value of teamwork than to actually live it.

How to Help your Ward Prepare for a Test

Preparing your child for an exam is not difficult if you do not cram. This means that your child should be guided to develop a regular daily study habit. Children thrive well on schedules so setting 15-20 minutes a day for study time is a very good way to start. Give your child a review of the day’s lessons to reinforce his understanding. Make your study time fun, use an innovation in teaching like games to sustain interest.

Children who study regularly are always prepared for any test. They do not need to cram because they are well prepared. Cramming is the worse way of studying. It puts pressure not only on the child but also on the parent. Children will develop a negative attitude towards test and this will surely affect their confidence. For little children anything that veers away from fun does not work. When this happens, we are defeating the purpose of education as a tool for empowerment.

How to Encourage Students to be Learning Ready

Pursuing Education For The Love Of Learning


I remember watching a movie entitled The Three Idiots several years back. The story line was light comedy but the message is profound – the importance of pursuing education for the love of learning. One of the greatest mistakes that adults can do is to not cultivate the love of learning in children. While it is true that children go to school to be educated, the motions can become mechanical and children become passive learners dependent on what the teachers feed them. On the other hand, children who develop a genuine love for learning will be forever curious, eager to learn, and will take on activities that challenges the mind.

One of the best ways of developing thirst for learning is letting children explore possible solutions or answers to questions. Instead of a teacher giving the correct or absolute answer to a problem, guiding the class in a healthy discussion over the options encourages the students to engage their minds. Making students speak their minds is empowerment in the simplest sense and is a very powerful skill that they can use later in life.

Another way is optimizing the use of technology in student learning. This allows the students be competent in modern methods and prepares them for global competitiveness. Schools should provide avenues for this kind of learning as well as tools and materials. Supporting publishers (such as First Veritas) to come up with teaching tools that are updated and relevant is a big step towards attaining this vision.

Failure in the Context of Education

Imbibing The Concept Of Failing Forward


The story goes that the great Thomas Edison when he was trying to create the light bulb, failed more than a thousand times. Any ordinary fellow would quit way before reaching that point. But if we listen to what Edison has to say about this apparent failure which goes “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”, it gives us a glimpse of how the man has imbibed the concept of failing forward.

Education in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world is something that most people value. In fact, we send our children to school to be educated. Oftentimes however, we defeat the very purpose of education by failing to let our children understand that failure is a vital part of learning. How we or our children perceive failure can greatly influence their learning. When we expect our children to succeed all the time, we are telling them that failure is bad and unacceptable. In the process, we kill their confidence and enthusiasm in learning.

Failure should rather be perceived as a stepping stone for success. Nobody is perfect and having the right attitude towards failure – that is, learning from it- gives our children the empowerment to try to be better the next time around. We say the greatest room in the world is the room for improvement and that is where we should be when we experience a setback.

How to Meet Parents’ Needs

Parents’ needs can be as diverse as student needs. However, a school community cannot exist without the parents. It has to be the goal of every school to inculcate in the parents’ minds that education is a shared responsibility and that they need to be supportive and get involved in order for teachers to give to their students the best education possible. Creating a parent-teacher association is a good idea of promoting parent empowerment as well as an avenue to solicit the support of the parents in various school activities.

Schools need to realize that parents have their own individual biases. Because of this, they may not always support whatever innovation the school system is implementing. When this happens, school authorities should reach out to encourage intelligent discussions to iron things out. The goal should always point to collaboration or cooperation between parent and teachers.

Here are some questions that can help school administration build better relationship with parents:

  1. Are we communicating only when we need something from them?
  2. Do principals and teachers realize what are the actual concerns parents’ have regarding their child’s education?
  3. Are we quick to talk and slow to listen?
  4. Do parents really feel that the school is genuinely concerned for their child’s welfare and development?

Again, the success or failure of a system largely depends on the cooperation of everyone concerned. And parents can appreciate more what the school is doing for their children if they can truly see that the school cares.