Archives: innovation

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.

Why We Must Invest More in Primary Education

We shall kick off today’s topic with a quote from an article that we saw yesterday on the subject of education:

“People with decent primary and secondary education are more likely to be the outliers that will thrive in spite of the university they go to. It may sound elitist but (if you were not one yourself), you probably remember that classmate at university (or three, or five or twenty), who struggled not only with grammar, but also with grasping every material concept your lecturers tried to teach. People who would throw a tantrum if they could not record the lecturer verbatim. People who had not learnt how to learn.”  Source: How Much Does a Bad Education Cost?

The above quote so captures part of the essence of what is wrong with the Nigerian education system as it is: we are not providing a solid foundation for students and the workers of tomorrow because our primary education is weak. It is at this level that the core tools that are essential to a lifetime of learning and skills development should be imparted. Once that stage is flawed and ineffective, pretty much nothing else works well going forward. Here are the key issues:

  • Children who do not get quality primary school education are more likely to struggle through secondary school, university and whatever vocation they pick later in life.



  • Those who learn good comprehension skills, good study habits and good analytical skills at the primary level are likely to stand out even if what they are later exposed to at the secondary and tertiary levels are substandard systems. Why? They would have learnt the basics. They would have developed the drive and the skills required to learn by themselves.
  • This also often means that even as workers later in life, when in a less than ideal situation, they are able to display greater initiative

In architecture and building circles, it is a fact that once the foundation of a building is weak or bad, it doesn’t matter how grand or beautiful the structure built on it is, the building will fail. That is the very reason why we all – parents, guardians, educators and government – need to invest more in primary education right now. As it is, what we have on ground now mostly means that we will continue to churn out graduates who are unemployable and who are incapable of innovation on the job.


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.


images (1)Traditionally, intelligence has been associated with certain fields and disciplines – science, technology, law, accounting, finance, and the like. Many people grew up with the impression that they were not intelligent unless they excelled at certain subjects. Children who clearly possessed skills outside of those special fields were not considered particularly intelligent.

We probably all had that one classmate whose grades were consistently poor but who would effortlessly memorise the lyrics of every new song and mater the dance steps within a couple of days. Sadly, our educational systems didn’t consider such types intelligent. Perhaps even worse is the fact that today, that sentiment still survives and thrives.

An affinity for music, acting or even football is a different kind of intelligence different from what obtains with architecture, engineering or literature. Football, for example, is a highly skilled game that requires a great deal of mental juggling. The amount of mental and nervous co-ordination that is involved in intercepting a ball and dribbling through an opposing team is one that many scientists and business geniuses are unable to pull off. So, the question is, are footballers any less intelligent than scientists?

The truth is that there are really no unintelligent people. There are just people who are gifted differently. Once we acknowledge and accept this, the next step is to see how to modify our educational system to this reality. Right now, the way the system stands and the way students are graded, certain kinds of gifted people have little or no chance of ending up with good grades. The system just doesn’t reckon with their skills.

As someone has said, if a fish and a dog are both given a swimming test, the fish will win for the simple reason that the test fits its skills and abilities well. We need to start recognising people for their specific and unique skills set. Everyone is intelligent in some way and each person needs to be judged and evaluated on their merits.


It is a huge mistake to think that education is a matter for children only. The truth is that education is a life-long affair. Regardless of how old we get, we must constantly be learning or we will become out of touch with present-day realities.

That is why we must all read. We must read regularly and deliberately. We must read to expand our horizons, and to keep up with the fast-changing world that we live in. It is saddening to see students and teachers carrying around old books with outdated information all across our institutions of learning. Yet, new titles with more current information are being released daily globally.

The interesting thing is that it is easier for us to access books today than ever before in the history of humanity. With a few clicks of the mouse, books that are not available in our locations or even countries can be ordered and have shipped to us. There really is no excuse for us to stay uninformed in this day and age.

But books are not the only media available to us. Here are a few others:

  • the web: blogs, research sites, reference websites and more
  • TV
  • radio
  • DVD/CD
  • periodicals and magazines
  • e-magazines

You may not see adequately stocked book stores in your locality. Perhaps you are not even able to afford some of the books that you would love to order online. The internet is a huge library that anyone – young or old – can take advantage of for self development. Anyone in any field can use search engines like Google and Bing to find information on almost any subject or topic under the sun.

We must read. We must keep reading. Whether we are reading paper books or e-books, reading is still the primary (and perhaps most effective) way to learn in today’s world. What books have you read recently?


Yes; it is soccer time. World Cup time, to be more specific. There is a lot of energy and buzz around this event for the next one month.New Picture (6)

While more conservative people are likely to look upon sports and games as a waste of time for young people, research and studies have shown that physical activity is essential to the total development of the child. In other words, it is essential that young people engage in sporting activity. Not only does it develop the body, it also fine tunes the mind.

The Swiss Academy for Development’s Sports and Development website states:

Sport and physical education is fundamental to the early development of children and youth and the skills learned during play, physical education and sport contribute to the holistic development of young people. Through participation in sport and physical education, young people learn about the importance of key values such as:

  • honesty,
  • teamwork,
  • fair play,
  • respect for themselves and others, and
  • adherence to rules.


Is it really a waste of time to let students watch the World Cup, after all, they are not physically involved in the games. Will devoting so much time and energy to watching and analysing players and teams for the next one month contribute anything meaningful to education?

Apart from the fun and recreational benefits that watching a football tournament brings (and these are bona fide benefits themselves), the game of football is a very technical sport, involving analysis and planning. Fans are always constantly scrutinising and analysing the teams they follow and their favorite players. This activity is mentally stimulating and will produce returns that can be beneficial in other areas besides sports.

So, yes, it is soccer time! If your children are into soccer, let them enjoy the season. Just make sure that they do not necessarily neglect studying and other practical school work during the season.


In today’s world of audio-visuals and the internet, book reading may not seem like it has any place in our lives any more. Yet, there are specific advantages to picking up a book to read.

1. Sharper Mind

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. A mind that does not read is a mind that remains weak and may ultimately wither away. Reading regularly is necessary exercise for the brain. It helps children especially build sharper minds.

2. Greater Knowledge & Exposure

Every book – even fictional works – is an embodiment of knowledge. There us always something to learn. It may be a little bit of history, law, medicine, fashion, or sports. A book can take the reader around the world to cities and countries he has never been to. He can experience cultures that he had no idea existed.

3. Broader Vocabulary

One of the best benefits of reading is that it helps the reader develop a broader vocabulary. This in turn means that they can better express themselves, whether in writing or in speaking.

4. Stronger Analytical/Cognitive Skills

A good mystery, detective, detective or even romantic novel can be a great way to sharpen analytical and cognitive kills. Books compel the reader to think and to picture scenarios. As the reader follows the plots and twists, the mind attempts to work out the intrigue.

5. Better Attention Span

It may be cool to read short blog posts as we shuttle between our homes and schools or places of work. We live in a jet-paced age in which attention span keeps dropping. Picking up a book to read on a regular basis will help us keep good attention spans. It also helps sharpen our memories.

Whether it is children, parents, teachers or any other, reading is essential and should be embraced and encouraged. First Veritas has a range of novels and story books that anyone can enjoy. Call 08104039757 for more details. Read a book today!


Information and communications technology (ICT) has changed the landscape of the world. No area of life and living has escaped its tentacles. Education certainly has. Like any other field, education has had to adjust and metamorphose in accordance with how people live.New Picture (3)

For example, while traditional paper books are not going extinct any time soon, there is no arguing the fact that a significant portion of people on the planet are changing their reading habits. With more and more people switching to consuming information on electronic devices, education simply must adjust. Be it desktops, laptops, tablets or smartphones, more people are consuming their content digitally. Even more important, they are spending their time on digital media.

As such, we must adapt to the changing landscape of how humans live. We must explore the worlds of e-books, audio books and visual aids in teaching our children. And as teachers and parents, we certainly must adapt to these if we must learn and keep up with the times ourselves.

The transition to digital learning is real and sweeping. What can we do to adapt and adjust?

  • It is a good idea to expose our children to digital media as early as possible
  • have a laptop (even if only a cheap, lower-end model) at home for the children to use
  • if possible, have at least one tablet available for them to use as well.

Why are these recommended? Isn’t this sort of exposure dangerous for children? The exposure in itself does not have to be dangerous for the children, especially in our internet-connected age. Parents can monitor the use of these devices in order to restrict exposure to the dangerous part of the web.

But it is essential that children learn the skills that enable them to search out information by themselves. We used to have physical libraries filled with books. While they still exist in some areas, today’s library is digital. It is also global and almost limitless. Educating children without exposing them to this new reality early is the equivalent of educating children 30 years ago without exposing them to books.

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.