Showing posts with label Student. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Student. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How To Get On Board With Historical Fiction in Your Classroom?

Hissing steam pours over a train car as a war-weary soldier in a faded Union blue uniform bids his girl a tearful goodbye; the train slowly pulls away taking the young man to the coming massacre at Antietam. At the Versailles palace, jewels from a nervous young queen's elaborate gown scatter light around a room full of onlookers. Horse-drawn carriages clomp over cobblestone streets of 18th century London as icy sheets of rain crash around young children shivering outside a factory.

The American Civil War lasted from 1861-1865 and resulted in 620,000 deaths. Marie Antoinette was married on May 16, 1770 at Versailles. Child labor flourished in the United Kingdom during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Which of these sentences captured your attention? Which provides an image that will interest students? The first paragraph contains sentences from historical fiction. The second shows the types of sentences in a historical text.

Historical fiction is an entertaining and, more importantly, effective educational genre that can be used to great effect in social studies classrooms. When most students become adults, they'll glean their knowledge about history from historical fiction in both books and film. Social studies teachers who take advantage of this fact and teach students how to evaluate historical fiction will be helping students attain skills to use for a lifetime.

Incorporating historical fiction into the social studies classroom is easy. Books and films exist for nearly every historical topic imaginable. Whether the class is studying the Suffragists, World War II, or the Dalai Lama, teachers can captivate students with historical fiction. Use novels to bring specific events to life, or finish a unit with a historical fiction film. Worksheets for historical fiction leads students to analyze the work from the perspectives of both history and fiction. The can show how the genre uses the elements and devices of fiction, drama, and cinema.

Have students compare the realities of the era or the event being studied with the fictionalized version. What was accurate? What wasn't? This can be done by students working alone or in groups, in-class or as homework, as a writing or as a creative project culminating in a class presentation.

By teaching students that books and films are never the final word on any situation, teachers will be giving students one of the most important life skills around: a critical eye. By requiring students in middle school or high school to use a scholarly approach for analyzing historical fiction, teachers will give their students the skills needed to become an engaged and interested learner.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Planning an Effective Lesson

As an ORDIT registered driving instructor trainer for one of the driving schools in Nottingham I regularly teach prospective driving instructors how best to teach learner drivers. This series of articles is written for driving instructors who wish to improve their teaching performance and also for trainee instructors who are preparing for the part 3 examination of instructional ability. In this article we will look at planning an effective lesson.

As a driving instructor it is essential that lessons are properly planned in order to make the best use of available time and ensure that the pupil is making their way through the syllabus thoroughly. It is helpful for trainee instructors to write out a lesson plan using bullet points to make sure all main elements of the subject are covered. This can be secured to the dashboard for easy reference.

If this is your first lesson with a pupil make sure you greet them and check their provisional driving licence. If they don't have one then you are not insured so don't forget to check. Ask if they are nervous and try to put them at ease by discussing any issues they may have, make eye contact with the pupil and be upbeat. Let them know that it isn't unusual to be nervous on a first driving lesson.

It is important to state the aims and objectives for the lesson. Make sure they are realistic and within the pupil's ability. A more experienced pupil will require greater challenge so make sure there is a thorough recap of the last lesson to set the benchmark for the current lesson. If no aims and objectives are stated then the pupil may regard the lesson as just driving about and wasting time. Make sure the pupil is focused on something specific.

If the lesson is about a new topic then a briefing will be required. Make sure the brief is reasonably short as pupils are usually keen to get on the move. All important elements of the topic should be covered with a few questions thrown in to make sure the pupil is involved and that the information you give is understood. Visual aids and diagrams are particularly helpful during briefings.

Once on the move it is important to select a route which matches the abilities of the pupil and gives opportunities to cover the topic discussed in the brief. If you are teaching roundabouts then head for where the roundabouts are. Avoid routes that are too busy or complex but also avoid ones that are too simple for experienced pupils. This requires a good amount of forward thinking by the instructor. On route make sure the main topic is covered as much as possible but be flexible enough to change the focus of the lesson if the pupil is having difficulties in areas previously covered.

At the end of the lesson give a thorough debrief with plenty of pupil involvement. The debrief is the part that the pupil takes away with them and judges the success of the lesson by. If they have done well give plenty of positive feedback, If they have difficulties then make sure these are discussed in a positive light. Nobody wants to leave a driving lesson feeling down about it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Educating Young Minds?

Some people enter college knowing exactly what they want to study, while others are at a loss. If you fit into the second category, the best way to decide is to look at what you love the most. Perhaps you adore kids and your favorite job in high school was babysitting, but you want to go on a different, more involved path. In that case, you should look into an early education degree.

The subjects themselves in early education are not particularly difficult. There may need to be some revisiting to exactly what went on in the second grade, but learning style is very important too. How will you react to students? How will you relate the things you teach them so that they better understand? This is the first time children venture to create things such as sentences and stories, so they will need the most guidance here.

The first few years of school are a wave of new material and practices. Not only do children have subjects to learn, but they also need to learn how to learn. Developmental strategies are covered in courses for the early education degree. You will end up taking one class for each subject you would teach, such as "Teaching Mathematics."

Parents have probably started this process already with their children using instructional toys and practice. However, these children must also get used to learning in a shared environment, and teachers must understand how to help the transition. For a child, even something as basic as raising his or her hand could be difficult to comprehend and do on a regular basis. Children must also learn what it means to have structured days in the classroom and be exposed to a lot of material in one day.

Development is most important at this stage of a child's life. If children do not get comfortable with a certain learning style that works for them they could get left behind. If they are unable to work in a classroom with other kids, they could need individual help. This is why it is incredibly important to ensure the growth of every child.

The classroom is such a strange introduction for children because of the educational as well as the social aspects. Suddenly children are able to see their friends every day, all day, and must listen to the instructions of teacher instead of their parents. This could lead to more distractions that would hinder their development.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Can You Teach Your Toddler to Read? Should You?

At four years old I was primed and ready for the world of academia. I loved books - an inheritance from my wonderfully bookish Mom. I knew enough of the letters to write my OWN name on the Library Card Application! And, well, I had new shoes. What more does a lil lady need? Kindergarten was going to be my oyster.

But no! Day ONE! There he was... "Kebin" could read! He was trotted up to the front of the room, every two seconds it seemed, to read the 'small print' for the class. Boy, oh BOY, that burned me up! It still does all these years later.

The fact of the matter is that old 'Kebin' had older brothers, and during the previous year, while the younger brother had been laid up for quite some weeks, parents and older brothers had read to him. Kev was a bright toddler with few distractions, so he paid attention. Once the family realized he was getting it, they worked in earnest. By the time September arrived, Kev was reading fluently at a 2nd or 3rd grade level.

Kev was never bored. It seemed to me that every day there was something he read. He 'always' got to hold the pointer as the class worked its way through Spot and Puff. We went to Catholic School, so there were prayers and stories of the saints to read, and Kev 'always' got to do it. He was the one appointed to the "Task of Honor" - opening the classroom door and politely greeting visitors. Every time he said, "Good Afternoon and Welcome," I'd cringe.

I was so jealous my fingernails must have turned green! I indignantly demanded to know why I hadn't gotten sick so they would have been forced to teach ME to read. Mom fed my angry insistence on learning right NOW. She got out the books, the pencils and the paper and set about to teach me. By Halloween I'd caught up - and could handle those letters and words as well as Kev.

To tell the truth, in the thirteen years Kevin and I went to school together I never DID get a clear lead on him academically. None of us did. Heaven KNOWS we tried! He was a good, conscientious student [who got the lead in the play EVERY year, the bum!], and now he is a busy lawyer, a good Dad and still a great friend.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jobs Teaching English Overseas

obs teaching English overseas are plentiful for college graduates with a TESOL certificate. TESOL is an abbreviation of Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages.

The highest paying jobs are university jobs and go to the people with some teaching experience and a teaching degree. However, there are plenty of jobs for those with a bachelor's degree and a TESOL certificate. There are even some jobs where only a TESOL certificate will suffice.The best jobs are given to teachers with experience and a teaching certification, however there are many good jobs which do not require teaching certification if a TESOL certificate is obtained. The preferred age is between 20 and 30 although 50 years is not too old. Many countries expect you to retire in your 60's so it is harder to get a job at this age. Some countries prefer women to teach young children, but again gender is not always a factor. A country which pays well and has a great demand for teachers is China.

There are government schools, private schools, language schools and corporate training classes in most countries with jobs teaching English overseas. The government schools do not pay as well as the private schools, but the jobs are easier to get. Asia is known for paying higher salaries, but sometimes the cost of living is also higher there than other places.

The schools which provide TESOL certification often can help with job search as well as work visas and other requirements for getting in the country. It is important to research the requirements for a work visa; most countries require a bachelor's degree, although in countries where there is a great demand, this may not be a requirement. There are a few places which do not require a bachelor's degree for jobs teaching English overseas, however, most of the desirable employers will.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Five Tips To Successful Children's Education

Being a modern day parent is so much different and more difficult than the past. Don't you agree? While working hard in the day and spending whatever time left with your kid, parents go through so much hardship for one of the most important reasons: to give their children a proper education which would open up avenues of success for them in the future. In a fast paced society where time is of the essence, we tend to assume that children will absorb and understand whatever we throw at them and make sure they learn as much as possible because we believe that it will be beneficial.

It is said that the brain of a child is like a sponge and it'll absorb anything, everything and this is why they tend to ask endless amount of questions and if we want our children to be well mannered and learn the right stuff, must we cater something different just for their curious minds? I believe we do.

I'm not a parent nor a child educator myself but I've been a kid once, well, in fact everyone was a kid once but as we age and mature, we lost touch with our kiddy behavior and mentality because it is not acceptable in the society and when we communicate or teach our young, we often lose our patience resulting in undesirable outcomes. Now, the below 5 tips are what I've observed, read, studied and gathered from child educators and I personally believe that if you teach yourself to have these qualities while educating your young, it will definitely lessen your burden and at the same time bring a whole lot of fun and joy to you and your kids! I understand that you're all grown up and mature now but let's all hear what the younger generation has to say, shall we?

Tip 1 - Always assess the ability of the child before proceeding to teach something new. It is important to understand the learning capabilities of the child (i.e. strengths, needs) before you begin to educate them. As every child is different and possesses different IQ levels, it is essential to find out what their pace of learning is especially for children with intellectual disabilities. Children with such disabilities will take a longer time to learn or pick up new skills as compared to a normal child. Therefore, it is very important to teach the child things that suit their cognitive level.

Tip 2 - Conducive learning areas. To enable a child to learn effectively, a child is best placed in an environment that allows them to fully concentrate on whatever they are supposed to learn. Set up areas for play and learning separately, this is also useful in letting them know that there is a different time for studying and playing.

Tip 3 - Create a safe environment for progressive learning. For instance, you can encourage inquisitiveness and allow them to make mistakes in order to learn. Allowing your children to learn from their mistakes is more effective than spoon-feeding them. Progressive learning also helps in building a solid foundation for the child and not giving too much information at one time which can result in them losing interest.

Tip 4 - Be consistent in setting your expectations. You have to expect that the child is able to learn and each time, set an expectation slightly above the child's ability so as to push them to achieve greater heights. However, this will only be effective by doing it consistently.

Tip 5 - Have care and patience towards the child. You have to be genuine in wanting the child to learn. Teach the child for the sake of his/her learning and not for the sake of teaching. One way will be to care for the child constantly, and this will gradually help you in building a bond with them, thus enable the child to respond effectively and readily to you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teaching Students How To Gain Greater Success In Formal Examinations

I grew up in the years when the scholarship examination was still an important step in the education process. Each Friday morning, the scholarship classes, the final year in primary school had a two hour test examination on English, Mathematics or Social Studies. At high school, there were many 2 and 3 hour exams at the end of each term leading to the formal external Junior and Senior examinations. Most of my first degree assessments at University of Queensland were 3 hour exams. As an evening student, it was essential to develop good exam technique. This article reflects these experiences.


Up to 50% (sometimes more) of the test instruments used in Schools are the traditional pen on paper examination held under strict examination conditions. For many students this can be a stressful situation where they do not perform at their best. Apart from a good study program, the best preparation is to teach the student how to best do the actual examination/Test. Below are the steps I teach my students from Term 1, Year 8. I repeat it prior to every examination/test right through to the end of Year 12. This procedure can be used in all year levels and subjects successfully. In primary school, teachers might introduce these ideas slowly and actually go through a practice exam explaining to the class how to do these steps. I have even done this with my secondary classes. Remember it is an on-going process.

As well, I remind them of these issues:

(1) Get a good night's sleep. 
(2) Have a good breakfast/lunch, etc. 
(3) Drink plenty of water. 
(4) Don't study "madly" during the last 30 minutes before the test.

All these ideas are to ensure the student is in the best physical condition possible to do the exam.

STEP 1 Read the examination/test paper at least twice.

Decide which questions are easy are harder. Mark them hard or easy.

Decide on the order that you will do them.

Do the easy questions FIRST.

Why? - They take less time; therefore you gain extra time for the more difficult questions.

- Success creates confidence. 
- You don't miss out on marks you can get. 
- You give the impression to your marker you know your subject.

Write out a short plan of how you are going to answer the question.

STEP 2 Work out a time/mark allocation. This give you a rough estimate of the time required per question. Use the first few minutes to plan; the last few to check over and edit where necessary.

Allow time at the beginning of the exam for reading and at the end for checking.

If you are doing a more difficult question; DON'T spend all of your time on it if you are not succeeding.

Go on to others. When you return; read the question afresh and what you have done before you continue.

Continue to try all unfinished questions to the end of the exam/test time.

STEP 3 Checking is a compulsory part of every test. There are several ways to check:

1. Check you have copied down all the correct data for the question. 
2. Check that your answer (its size, etc.) fits in a practical sense into the scenario of the question. 
3. Check, in fact, that you have actually answered the question fully. 
4. Towards the end of the exam time, check you have done or tried every question and every part of each question. 
5. In Maths questions or questions involving calculations, check every step as you do it.

STEP 4 Make sure you have been:

- Neat 
- Tidy 
- Organised 
- Logical 
- Clear 
- Concise