Archives: #teachers

COMPREHENSION- DICTATES PASS OR FAIL

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.

5 BENEFITS OF READING FICTION

bedtimestories_1356045cFictional works may contain made up characters and experiences, but that does not mean that they serve purely entertainment purposes. Whether for adults or children, reading fictional stories is beneficial in a number of ways. Today, we share with you some of the benefits of reading fiction. Grab some popcorn and a bottle of Coke please 🙂

Entertainment

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of fiction. People read fiction for the entertainment, the thrill and the pleasure they derive from the story lines.

Relaxation

This may sound closely related to entertainment, but it is not quite the same. Reading a novel or story book helps the mind and body to relax. Those who appreciate the rhythm of language often find reading a book a very calming and relaxing experience.

Of all the activities available to children in particular, book reading is perhaps the most calming. It is no wonder that bedtimes are perfect times to read a story to a child. As an adult, you should give it a try too. You just might be surprised.

Development of vocabulary

If you want to add new words to your vocabulary so you can better express yourself, reading fictional works is a good way to go about it. They expose you to experiences outside of your everyday reality, thereby introducing new words that you would otherwise not have come across.

Stimulates imagination

A fictional work can take you vividly through an evening on the streets of Paris, or on a detailed trip around the Caribbean. While you may never have been to these places, a good novel or story book paints a clear picture in your mind by stimulating your imagination. An active imagination can be a great asset to you in learning, as well as in problem solving.

Now, you have a few reasons to pick up a book to read today, and to encourage your children to read too. Act on it. 1st Veritas has a number of good fictional works that your children and pupils will find engaging. You should check those out too.

Do be sure to have a nice day!

A LESSON FROM FATHER TO DAUGHTER

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.

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.

EASIER WITH SONGS.

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Perhaps most people – if not everyone – remembers songs like ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star”, “The two black birds”, and “Nine green bottles”?

We barely ever forget the things that we learn when music is used as the medium of instruction. From our toddler years till adulthood, music burns things vividly into our minds. Sometimes, it even appears that we forget, but a little trigger and the memories flood back. While persistence, determination and other factors are vital to learning, the media through which the information is delivered is also key, and music as a medium has been effective for centuries.

Why Learn Through Songs and Singing?

So, what is it about songs and singing that makes learning so much fun? Here are a few points:

  1. Music itself is regarded as a language – a universal one that exists in every culture.
  2. It is a natural medium: all over the world, parents sing to their children  every day.
  3. There is a considerable scientific evidence that shows us how songs can help young learners acquire grammar, vocabulary and improve spelling too.
  4. It is fun: The playful use of ideas, words and phrases in a catchy tune and rhythm make a song a fun way to learn.
  5. Memorization: Many of the words and phrases in a song are repetitive, making it easier for anyone to memorize them. Songs have the uncanny ability of getting stuck in our heads. Tunes and lyrics often infiltrate our thoughts and play over and over in our minds. All of these help anyone memorize vocabularies and phrases within the shortest possible time.

The above points are not exhaustive, as there is more to be said about learning through music. So, next time you want anyone to memorize anything in the shortest possible time, perhaps putting it in song isn’t a bad idea.

PS: Check out the range of First Veritas instructional materials in audio and video formats.

BEDTIME STORIES

A bedtime story is a traditional form of storytelling, where a story is told to a child at bedtime to prepare the child for sleep. Bedtime stories can be read from a book, or may be made up. The stories tend to be short, with a happy ending.bedtimestories_1356045c

Bedtime stories have many advantages for both adults and children. We will focus on the benefits to the child.

  • sharing a bedtime story with a child builds their vocabulary
  • sharing a bedtime story with a child helps the child to love reading
  • sharing a bedtime story with a child promotes their motor skills, through learning to turn the pages
  • sharing a bedtime story with a child helps improve the child’s memory
  • sharing a bedtime story with a child  reduces the child’s stress levels and can help with better sleep
  • sharing bedtime stories with a child builds a greater bond between parent and child

Telling bedtime stories may not be a popular way of life here, and especially in today’s fast-paced work setting. However, perhaps a parent can fix a day or two a week – possibly weekends – when they can read or tell stories to their children.

There are popular folk tales, as well as stories from other cultures, that almost any child will love and enjoy. Many children stories can be sourced online and from books. First Veritas has a range of story books that you might want to have a look at. The very nice thing about children and stories is that should they like a story, they want to hear it again and again, so there is no pressure to come up with something new each night..

Do you tell your child bedtime stories? Did you get told bedtime stories when you were younger? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.

IT IS SOCCER TIME !

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.

Source: http://www.sportanddev.org/en/learnmore/sport_education_and_child_youth_development2/healthy_development_of_children_and_young_people_through_sport/

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.

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.

EXAMINATION ANXIETY

Most people can relate with that pounding in the chest, rumbling in the tummy, freezing in the limbs during or just before examination sessions (Oral or written).

Examination anxiety could be caused by various factors: student’s lack of confidence, presence of competition among other students/participants, expectations of family and friends and most importantly the gains of success and consequences of failure.

Teachers, Friends and families can take up a very effective role in overcoming exam anxiety by:

  • Encouraging student to talk about their concerns and listening carefully.
  • Providing support in preparation for the exam in any way possible.
  • Encouraging students to follow steps outline below.

Step 1-  Be careful of what you eat and drink during preparation and on the examination day.

Step 2- Get enough sleep. Six to eight hours are recommended. If you have trouble getting to sleep, ensure you get an hour break from revision session before jumping to bed.

Step 3- Take regular exercise.  Even if it is just a walk, exercising helps to use up the hormones and nervous energy produced when you are stressed, it  increases the blood flow around the body and can help you to think more clearly.

Step 4-: Control your breathing. If you notice that you are starting to feel very stressed,  try to regulate your breathing by concentrating on breathing out to a slow count of four; the breathing in will take care of itself. It will be helpful if you practise this exercise when you are not stressed so that you are very familiar with the technique when you actually need it.

Step 5- Make time for fun. Build leisure time into your revision days and the days that you sit your exams. Get involved in a non-academic activity, such as sports, crafts, hobbies or music. Anything that you find relaxing or enjoyable which will give you a break from thinking or worrying about your exams will be beneficial.

Step 6- Improve your study skills. Effective study skills make you feel more in control of your work and more confident that you will succeed. You might need a more resourceful text on the subject, a more quite place for reading, or need to take trial version of exams e.t.c.  It may also be useful to talk to your school course tutor to get subject specific advice to help make your revision more focused.