Why Online Adult Education Is Expanding

Online adult education is expanding due to the vast number of opportunities available to adults today. These days many adults are seeking online programs to continue their education. There are a number of reasons individuals have become motivated to return to school. Moving forward in a current or new career would most likely be the number one reason. Other reasons may be to fulfill an educational goal that was not conceivable before.

Getting a high school diploma is almost a must today. Through online adult education, adults can earn a high school diploma and improve their job prospects or work toward earning a college degree.

With such a competitive job market these days, it pays to have more education than less. Learning new skills, earning a certificate or degree could increase your chances of a possible advancement opportunity within your current job position.

The Advantages of Distance Degree Program for Adults

There are lots of advantages that you will have in perusing a distance degree online. Let’s say you have a full time job like most working adults. If you attend a traditional school, you must head to class most likely after your day job.

Depending on your work schedule and school location, you may find that you are fighting traffic and in a rush to get to class on time. In addition, your weekly gas bill and wear and tear on your vehicle is not helping you in the financial department either.

Online adult education programs can be a rewarding experience. You can work on your courses on your laptop or desktop after work in the comfort of your home or your favorite coffee shop. There is no rush in making it to class so you won’t miss an important lecture. However; you still need to keep up with your class schedule and stay just as motivated as if you were attending class on campus.

Earning an Online Degree from Online Institutions

You can benefit from earning an online degree from a vast number of institutions. Although schools vary one from another, the main concern should be accreditation. If the school is not accredited, you should keep searching until you find an accredited school that you want to enroll in. An accredited school is important because you want your degree, certificate or diploma and institution to be recognized as legit.

Santa Barbara City College for Online Adult Education

Santa Barbara City College provides adults with an excellent opportunity to reach their online educational goals. The college is located in Santa Barbara, California. Their distant education program offers courses on the internet. You can complete most courses without having to attend classes on campus.

This school offers classroom accessibility nearly 24 hours a day. You can complete your courses from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. The school offers you a chance to interact with your classmates. You can use bulletin boards, chat rooms and email to participate in group discussions.

Also, you will have direct access to your instructors without asking questions publicly. This is a great feature if you’re uncomfortable with asking a particular question in front of other students. You may submit a question to the instructor and they will respond to your question as soon as possible.

Another advantage of becoming a student at SBCC is the services and resources from their SBCC Luria Library. You can receive help with your research and various other assignments.

It was not many years ago that online classes were not as valuable as classes from a traditional universities. Not so today. Online adult education programs are becoming very popular. This is because of convenience and the fact that higher education is definitely in demand for higher paying jobs these days.

Reforming education systems: Where to start?

by the Education Policy Outlook Team
Policy Advice and Implementation Division, Directorate for Education and Skills

Today the OECD Education Policy Outlook series is publishing five new country profiles: Chile, Finland,Mexico, Norway and Turkey. Policy makers and educational professionals will gain key insights into other countries’ recent experiences in education. These summaries outline how countries have responded to common challenges and provide lessons learnt about the different policy options adopted, as well as reflections on how to make reform happen in education.

Even when countries address similar reform areas, policy options vary widely.  For example, Chile, Finland, Mexico and Norway have all made early childhood education and care (ECEC) a priority, but in different ways. Chile and Mexico have increased funding and focused on quality aiming for universal coverage; Norway has invested in increasing accessibility, funding and staff; while Finland has defined a core curriculum and moved ECEC from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Many countries are similarly concerned with responding adequately to the educational needs of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Finland has been successfully implementing a preventive approach to target low-performing students earlier on, with the support of both schools and welfare staff. Australia and Irelandtargeted disadvantaged students through education strategies that identify and support schools and school communities with additional resources. On the other hand, Chile has chosen to address the needs of disadvantaged students through financial incentives, which are either targeted at schools via grants or directly at students in tertiary education with a comprehensive scholarship programme.

Ensuring that all students complete upper secondary education is another major priority for many countries: Finland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway and Turkey have aimed at improving their secondary completion rates, as well as the transition into higher education or to joining the labour market. Mexico and Turkey both have introduced reforms to lengthen compulsory education and also reform secondary education. Finland and New Zealand have implemented an initiative to increase the engagement of youth and ensure qualification completion and employment. Norway has aimed to increase the completion of upper secondary education with a specific measure that motivates low-performing students.

Research confirms what we know from experience high-quality teachers are essential for school improvement, and this is a key policy area for all countries. Looking ahead Chile, Czech Republic, Finland and Norway aim to attract a high-quality teaching workforce. Finland has developed teacher education into a selective and highly qualified profession, which is provided at university level and is research-based, having both a strong theoretical and practical content, as well as instilling pedagogical knowledge. According to selected evidence, only about 10% of candidates who apply to primary teaching studies are accepted and teachers must have a master’s degree. Chile introduced an incentives-based full scholarship to attract high-performing students into teaching. Norway introduced a new campaign that uses short films and a website to promote the teaching profession and this has helped increase applications by almost 60%.

The OECD Education Policy Outlook: Country Profiles inspire reflection and inform action: countries may use them as an opportunity to map out specific country reform processes and to explore co-operation with similar types of education systems.

AB 189 Revised, Name Changed To Education Funding Rather Of Adult Education

Here’s a close look at the different types of education degrees available online.

During the past few years, K-12 school districts that provided adult education have been able to “flex” the adult education funds. Unfortunately we live in a day and age when it can be difficult for some children to finish high school, but through many of the adult education programs that are offered all over the country many adults have the opportunity to finish. Going back to school is a scary proposition for many adults. They all have different types of obstacles as well-husbands, jobs, money (or lack thereof) and more.
Those states with low to no requirements have very little resources available to the homeschooling family. Some policymakers had objections to the Perkins Act asserting that the policy was not academically demanding; however, Congress supported the policy with needed reforms (Cavanagh, 2006). Additionally, the Perkins Act requires states to invest resources in these types of programs if federal funding stays the same or increases. Perkins funds that are withheld may be used for support services and activities within the state (Association for Career and Technical Education, 2005). Another factor that hinders development of successful programs is the lack of communication between federal, state, and privately funded organizations.
While some of these grants are based on financial need, there are some on the list that were offered based upon my graduate degree major or based upon my career track preference. References Ashb, C. Department of Education evaluates the Perkins Act, reports to Congress annually, and may evaluate Perkins through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements. While many publishing houses have in-house editorial staff, specialized subject knowledge is frequently jobbed out to experts who have an extensive base of knowledge in a particular subject matter’s field to ensure that statements made in textbooks are accurate and up to date.
Tasks such as cleaning, or running errands can easily be turned into study time. Taking the time to learn a new skill can help you meet your goals faster. This tends to be an important sticking point with dads especially. Flexing funds means that school districts can keep adult education funds without offering having to offer any adult education classes. I couldn’t believe this was my life.
Since no grades are given in adult education classes, adults can learn in an informal pressure-free environment. Retrieved November 16, 2007 from ProQuest database. applying for college and completing the requirements ( their website ). Sure some subjects will have the home educator standing before the students instructing them, but most of the learning is done hands on. Scheduling is tough for any working adult who is considering going back to school.
Make a tool of the rules. When should this policy be evaluated? In some states these adult education courses even provide adults with the contacts and resources they need in order to gain a higher paying job once they receive their diploma. In a word, No, homeschoolers achieve higher than public schoolers.
Black Issues in Higher Education, (22). Aren’t homeschoolers religious zealots? Another condition of the reauthorized Perkins Act replaces the term vocational education with career and technical education. Found a gorgeous cutie pie as geeky as you are? Federal funds are the primary source for innovation and program improvement, and facilitate state support through a provision in the federal law.

Adult Education: Life Never Ends

Adult education as the name suggests is the practice of teaching and educating adults. It is the action of an external educational agent to purposely dictate behavior into planned systematic experiences that can result imprint learning for those for whom such activity is supplemental to their number one role in society. It normally involves some continuity in an exchange relationship between the agent and the learner so that the educational process is under constant supervision and direction.

Adult education takes place at the work place, through extensions or continuing knowledge courses at secondary schools or at colleges or universities. Learning places can be incommensurable as well which can include folk high schools, community colleges, and lifelong learning centers. It is different from vocational education, and is basically for capacity improvement, and also from non- formal adult education, including learning skills or learning for native progress.

Adult education courses are designed so that you can come back to education in flexible ways that move account of your particular needs and circumstances as an adult. Adult expertise differs from educating children in multiplied ways. The strikingly chief difference is that adults have accumulated knowledge, work experience or military services that can add to the learning experience.

If you are individual or don’t work at day time, than you can go for adult education. The important situations like you devote your most of the time in mastery taking care of the children again no time to study. The best answer is that if you are determined towards the studies and want to convert your spirit whereas better, you will take the time out to study. You can continue with studies when the children are sleeping or doing their homework or when they are out for relevance classes or went to play.

What are some critical perspectives on use of the Internet in schools?

IMAGEOne criticism of the use of the Net in schools is that it will distract from or replace the teaching of basic skills like literacy and mathematics. Some warn that in the rush to wire up classrooms, school districts may divert money away from other, perhaps more valuable purposes, such as buying textbooks. Others caution that the educational value of the Internet just hasn’t been proven yet.

Still other critics complain of the possibility of student access to inappropriate and distracting information, such as pornography or online games. While most schools use filtering systems to keep out inappropriate materials, none are perfect — many sometimes block sites that are useful and allow sites that are harmful.

Careful planning and supervision should address these critiques to some extent. Teachers should be sure they know why they are using the Internet for a given lesson. They should carefully supervise their students using the Net and make sure that an Acceptable Use Policy  has been put in place and is being complied with. The AUP should set down the “rules of the road” for school use of the Internet and require students to follow them.

Relaxed/Eclectic Homeschooling

“Relaxed” or “Eclectic” homeschooling is the method used most often by homeschoolers. Basically, eclectic homeschoolers use a little of this and a little of that, using workbooks for math, reading, and spelling, and taking an unschooling approach for the other subjects.

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For the family who practices “relaxed” or eclectic homeschooling, mornings are often used for more formal, “have to” work, and afternoons are used for hobbies and other special projects. There are no specific times set up for each subject, but instead the child is expected to meet certain educational goals.

For help, the eclectic homeschooler may rely on regular classroom standards for their child’s grade level (for example, studying multiplication in the 2nd grade, California missions in the 4th grade, and U.S. history in the 9th grade). They may also use standardized tests to measure their child’s progress.

The advantage of the Eclectic method is that the parent feels that the “important” subjects are being covered thoroughly. This method also allows the family to choose textbooks, field trips and classes that fit their needs and interests

  • Reading: Read one chapter a day from a book the child has chosen. The parent will also often read challenging books to the children at night, like Jane Eyre, Phantom of the Opera, The Three Musketeers, and other classic children’s books.
  • Writing: Eclectic families usually center their writing around journals, essays, letters to friends and the occasional report. Some families also participate in a “young writers” club, available through their support group.
  • Math: Each child will have the math materials that best suit their learning style. One child may use math software, one child may use math manipulatives like rods, shapes and counters, another child may use a math textbook. The parent then evaluates the child’s retention by periodically making up a sheet of problems that review all the math concepts the student has learned.
  • Science: The emphasis is on hands-on experiments which the family does at home or through community science classes (like those put on by MadScience.com).
  • History/Geography: The family will use workbooks, software, educational games and historical fiction. Some families also make up time-lines and history notebooks like those used in the Classical and Charlotte Mason approaches.
  • Special Interests: Afternoons are generally spent doing special projects, pursuing hobbies, and participating in community classes and teams like soccer, gymnastics, Boy Scouts and 4-H.

7 Tips for Better Classroom Management

In my mind, the first and most basic obligation of a teacher is to see the beauty that exists within every student. Every child is infinitely precious. Period.

When we start from this vantage point, classroom management — and its flip side, student engagement — comes more easily. It’s an outgrowth of students feeling loved and respected.

This video, shot in the first few days of my classroom in 2010, and the seven tips below will show how I try to put these ideas into practice.

1. Love your Students

Love them — and stand firmly against behavior that doesn’t meet your expectations or reflect their inner greatness. Too many students have internalized a profound sense of their own inadequacy, and it is incumbent upon us to remind them of their infinite value and counteract the many messages that they receive to the contrary. By loving our students unconditionally, we remind them of their true worth.

Our students know how we feel about them. If we don’t like them — or if we see them as a behavior problem — they know it. Even if we don’t say it, they will know it. And then that student is justified in resenting us, for we have failed to see the beauty that exists within that child. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

2. Assume the Best in Your Students

If a student chose not to meet one of my classroom expectations, they needed to know that I loved them but not their misbehavior. They needed to know that I cared for them and would not accept their poor choice because it would ultimately hurt them and didn’t reflect how wonderful they truly are.

For instance, a minute and a half into the first day, I gave one student a verbal warning for whispering to another student as he was searching for his seat. Assuming the best in this young man, I told him, “I know you were probably talking about your seat, but you can’t even talk about that, so that’s your verbal warning. Go back to your seat and silently start your work.” By assuming that he was trying to do the right thing — find his assigned seat — I affirmed that he wanted to meet the expectations. And yet I was firm with him that his choice to whisper after he had been told to silently begin his work was not OK. Similarly, at the end of class, I kept behind a student who was sighing to herself over the course of the period. By letting her know that I wouldn’t accept her subtle expressions of boredom or frustration, I also let her know that I thought she was great and her expressions of negativity wouldn’t fly because they’d hurt our collective learning environment — and because they didn’t square with the wonderful person I knew her to be.

3. Praise What and When You Can

Call attention to the things your students are doing that meet your expectations. The power of this is stunning for a number of reasons. Here are two:

  • It enables you to restate and reinforce the expectations for student behavior in a non-negative way. By narrating on-task behavior, you enable students who may have misheard you the first time to hear exactly what you expect of them. It’s easier for students to meet your expectations when it’s amply clear what those expectations are.
  • It shows your students that you’re with it, that you’re very aware of what’s happening in the classroom. When they see and hear that you see and hear pretty much everything, they know that you mean business and that even their smallest actions matter.

4. Do Sweat the Small Stuff

In those first few minutes, hours and days in the classroom, you are essentially creating a world. And you want a world in which students do things that will keep them or put them on a path to a life replete with meaningful opportunities. Behaviors or actions that will detract from that world should be nipped in the bud. If you only “sweat” major misbehaviors, students will get the sense that minor misbehaviors are OK. If, on the other hand, you lovingly confront even the smallest misbehaviors, then it will be clear to students that, inside the four walls of your classroom, things that detract from what you’re trying to achieve – even in small ways – just don’t fly.

5. Identify Yourself

Tell your students about who you are and why you’re there. A classroom where each student deeply trusts the teacher has the potential to be a great environment for learning. To build that trust, tell your students who you are and why you chose to be a teacher. Tell them about your background, what you did when you were their age, and why you want to be their teacher. The more your students know about you and your intentions, the more they’ll trust you to lead them.

6. Forge a Class Identity

Begin the year by forging a positive, collective identity as a class. During the first few days, I often complimented my classes as a collective. For instance, I’d say something like, “Period 3, everyone I’m looking at is meeting expectations.” In many instances, I praised the entire class so that they began to feel they were part of something special in that room. They began feeling a sense of pride at being members of Period 3.

Conversely, I often chose to redirect individual students rather than the whole class. Instead of saying, “Period 3, I’m tired of hearing you talking when you shouldn’t be” — which would introduce an oppositional tone, creating a divide between teacher and students — I found more success correcting students individually.

7. Have a Plan

Your lesson plans need to be crystal clear. You need to begin each day with clarity about what students should know and be able to do by the end of the class period, and every second of your day should be purposefully moving you toward that end.

In addition to clarity about student knowledge and achievement, you should have a clear sense of the behavior you expect at each point in the class period. When you see them making the choice to behave as you expect them to, narrate it. And when you don’t see it, confront those misbehaviors clearly, directly and with love.

I’m glad to know that the videos of my first few days in the classroom have been helpful. I’m also hyper aware that my lessons and my execution of them are far from perfect. I look forward to hearing how others create a strong classroom culture. Please share in the comments area below.

Methods & Styles of Homeschooling

No matter how you choose to homeschool, your children will do fine. You can choose a method or a set of methods to fit the specific needs of your own children. Thin, too, about your interests of your family. Some methods are better suited to those who enjoy being outdoors or traveling. Some suit the creative families best. Others have a religious aspect, while some are more regularly social.

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Charlotte Mason Method
This approach advocates reading good books from original sources and spending lots of time in nature. Materials.

Classical Education
Many Christian and other families prefer a liberal arts education for their children, including lessons in Greek and Latin, as well as formal instruction in logic.

Distance Learning
Companies and schools that provide teaching assistance as well as learning materials. These schools vary widely in their choice of method, let alone formality.

Eclectic Homeschooling
Some like to pick and choose among various methods, enjoying the flexibility it affords.

Enki Education Method
Enki is it’s own wonderful thing. Besides drawing from the best of Waldorf, Enki also draws from Montessori, the United Nations International School, Theme Studies and even the discovery learning of John Holt.

Montessori Homeschooling
Maria Montessori advocates observing your child, removing obstacles to learning and providing children with real, scaled-to-size tools to use.

Resource Centers & Cottage Schools
Mini-schools are springing up among homeschoolers all over the world.

Studio Teachers
Young entertainers and athletes often need especially accomodating tutors, willing to travel with them.

Thomas Jefferson Education
Jefferson hypothesized that literacy and self-government work hand in hand and was a key component to self-preservation.

Tutoring
Hiring a tutor makes a family (and the tutor) fall under the tutoring laws of a state’s education code, rather than under homeschooling laws, especially if they intend to hire a tutor full time.

Umbrella Schools
Independent Study Programs, Distance Learning Programs, Virtual or Cyber Schools, Charter Schools, Learning Centers

Unit Studies
Available free or for sale to homeschoolers. Also how to make your own.

Unschooling
Natural learning is letting your child lead the way.

Easing your child’s transition to day care

Beginning to attend day care can be a considerably overwhelming experience for not just a child but their parents as well. Yet, owing to the necessities of today’s demanding times, parents are often left with no option but to make use of outside assistance. The good news is that the positives of attending a high-quality daycare outweigh the initial discomfort and separation anxiety that the child may experience. A good day care can do wonders for a growing child’s development. For example, Williamsburg Northside Daycare in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, nurtures each child’s individuality and hones their social, emotional and cognitive skills through enriching activities.

In order to make the transition to day care a smooth and joyful experience for the child, parents should keep certain things in mind. Allowing the transition to be gradual and facilitating the child’s bonding with a ‘primary caregiver’ are some of the useful measures you can take to aid a comfortable transition.

How to ease your child’s transition to day care

Make it gradual
Separation anxiety is a phenomenon characterized by anxiety provoked in a child due to separation or the possibility of separation from their parents or caregivers. In fact, you are probably likely to feel some of this separation anxiety yourself.

The key to quelling this emotional distress lies in making the shift to attending day care a gradual process so that the child gets the time to bond with the day care staff. Begin by accompanying your child to the day care for a few hours and progress to leaving them by their own for increased amounts of time till you feel that they can cope at the child care without your presence.

Establish a cheerful morning routine

Start your morning routine early so that you can have a relaxed and positive start to the day. A fixed morning routine can offer predictability and an accompanying sense of security to your child. It can also offer you precious bonding time with your kid.

Give your child a comfort toy
A toy your child plays with at home or any other object that helps the child associate feelings of warmth and security with it can prove conducive to your child’s emotional well-being at the day care.

Never sneak away
It may be tempting at the beginning of the transition to wait for your child to get immersed in play or interactions so that you can sneak away without saying goodbye. It may avert crying and tantrums in the short term, but in order to maintain your child’s trust and sense of security, you must never leave without saying goodbye.

A good day care not only provides childcare but also boosts your child’s development, making them more confident and self-reliant. Williamsburg Northside Daycare, mentioned earlier, is acclaimed for providing a nurturing environment and stimulating curriculum comprised of developmentally-appropriate enriching activities. Choosing a day care with sound ideologies and a well-trained staff can go a long way in alleviating your anxiety regarding how well your child fares at the day care. for more info visit

7 Skills That Should Be Taught In Every Class

classroomstudentsTeachers come under fire all the time for “not doing their job” from people, who don’t really understand what the job is. Under the current system of education, a teacher is responsible for teaching the curriculum in their subject area and getting students ready for state testing. They’re pushed by administrators and politicians to adhere to a strict base of knowledge instead of focusing on the things that really make a difference. If every teacher could bring the following 7 Skills That Should Be Taught In Every Class to the table, then the American education system would be in a better position.

1. Handling Rejection And Failure

Too often, the system seeks to protect children from rejection and failure. Many have decried the “every kid gets a trophy” mentality of our society, but apparently, that’s the way society wants it because there haven’t been many signs that change is on the horizon.

In a 2012 column from Huffington Post, author Michael Sigman writes “America’s ‘everyone gets a trophy’ syndrome has become a national joke. ‘A’ grades, which once conveyed excellence, are now given to 43 percent of all college students, according to a study by grade-inflation gurus Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy. This is an increase of a staggering 28 percentage points since 1960 and 12 percentage points since 1988. The study also reveals how easy it is to buy college credentials: a scandalous 86 percent of private school students, it turns out, get nothing lower than a ‘B.’”

Sigman makes a good point. Every politician, on both sides of the aisle, decries how poorly the US education system is doing — most recently President Obama in his speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the MLK “I Have A Dream” speech — yet apparently students today are getting better grades than they ever have been. Either we’re not as bad off as everyone would have you to believe, or we’ve lowered the bar (extremely low) so that today’s students won’t have to deal with the possibility of failure or rejection.

Teachers have fought against this mentality for years, but they’ve been boxed in by administrators, who are too afraid of the legalities behind failing a student, even when the student deserves it.

2. Accepting Nothing Less Than The Best

Going back to Sigman’s column, an “A” at one time meant excellence. Today, in many classrooms across the country, it simply means a student is the best of their group. “A” work today, in some schools, would have garnered a “B” or a “C” 25 years ago.

And as Signman points out, this does nothing but harm to the youth of today. “Grade inflation promotes ego inflation, the opposite of healthy self-confidence,” Sigman said.

In The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, author Jean M. Twenge adds, “We want to encourage effort, especially among young kids … But the ‘everybody gets a trophy’ mentality basically says that you’re going to get rewarded just for showing up. That won’t build true self-esteem; instead, it builds this empty sense of ‘I’m just fantastic, not because I did anything but just because I’m here.’”

When teachers are allowed to set high expectations and force their students to live up to them, great things can happen. When they’re too terrified to fail students because of what may happen to their job or the fear of “how this will reflect on me,” they become unwilling culprits in an ongoing political movement to neuter kids of all intelligence.

3. How To Empathize With Others

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Different from sympathy, you don’t just “feel sorry” for someone over something they’re going through. You’re instead able to step out of your own selfish experiences and understand it as if it’s happening to you. Many students are not taught to empathize with others at home or in class in spite of it being an essential part of bettering the human experience.

Preetha Ram, co-founder of OpenStudy and Dean of Science at Emory University, said it well: “I think what we need to teach our kids is compassion. I use this word over some of the other ones that occurred to me: emotional balance, resilience, kindness, ethics, morals.”

Ram continued: “I was privileged with an audience with the Dalai Lama and my kids were with me, and he looked at them and said to me, ‘What the western educational system does well is to teach children science and technology; they need more than that. What they should also teach (the children) is compassion.  Children learn this from their mothers, but you should also be teaching it to them in school so that they can live their lives with balance.’ He then went on to talk about how half the problems of the world would not exist if people had more compassion in their hearts. How this would lead to emotional resilience and the ability to withstand stress. So teach them compassion, to be good people, not just smart people.”

Unfortunately, many teachers find it difficult to teach empathy without stepping over the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable to share in the classroom. For example, religious beliefs (or the lack thereof) play a major role in developing one’s moral code. To teach empathy, one walks dangerously close to breaking down the walls between church and state. It can be very difficult to pull off without offending someone, and the constant threat of litigation is something with which all schools must balance.

4. Business Application

Every subject, from literature and creative writing to math and science, is relevant to one’s placement in the world. Many students don’t believe this fact until they’re further along in their education, and too often we allow them to go along believing it because there is so much emphasis on teaching to the test and sticking with curriculum that we simply don’t have the energy to explain relevancy.

That’s fine. Business needs to get more involved in education to help students see the practical application, and to their credit, they are.

Michael Haberman, in a column for Huffington Post, writes: “Through training delivered by business professionals and through workplace experiences, students learn about professional expectations and behavior: how to communicate with their colleagues, function as a team, network, dress professionally, and use office technology.”

It’s only natural when you think about it. Teachers spend a lot of time in school before they ever step foot in the classroom. If you look at the typical path of a high school teacher, there is four to five years of school, rigorous testing, and ongoing professional development, all wrapped around the school environment. They never have a chance to get out in the private sector and see what many students are in for once they graduate high school or college. If business wants more qualified candidates, then they have to be involved.

5. Critical Thinking, Analysis, Research, And Problem-Solving Skills

Critical thinking, analysis, research, and problem-solving skills are only as effective as the level of expectations that a teacher places on a student and the administrative backing that said teacher gets in holding the student to those expectations.

When a school adopts the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality of awarding “C” grades (or better) to improve graduation rates, everyone loses. Most teachers understand how important problem-solving is to their subject area, and they do a fine job of teaching it in the early stages of a child’s education.

But if a child is allowed to coast into adulthood, he is fundamentally flawed and cannot grasp higher level information. That’s when the burden really starts to weigh on upper level teachers. They don’t have time to go back and teach fundamentals when they’re tasked with a loaded curriculum of complex information.

If schools can collectively make it their goal to teach critical thinking, analysis, research, and problem-solving skills, to students every day of every class through a student’s entire educational career, then success is inevitable. But it’s simply too tough of a task for one teacher and one teacher alone because these skills can be applied in so many different ways depending on the subject.

6. Written And Oral Communication

Again, the duties of communication should not fall on English and speech communication teachers alone. They’re a shared responsibility, and that is a fact you won’t have to spend much time arguing to a typical teacher. They get it. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to teach a student with severely impaired communication problems.

Students, who don’t know when to speak. Students, who don’t know when to listen. Communication problems affect every subject, and can make it impossible for a student to get a good job down the road.

7. Social Skills

For the record, students need very little help in socializing with their peers. They do it all the time via phone calls, text messages, chat sessions, and the occasional face-to-face when they can look up from their phones long enough to mutter a few words. However, they still need guidance when it comes to context, age groups, and formal-versus-informal settings, and schools are in a good position to demonstrate social settings in which communication expectations change depending on the level of formality.

Social skills are a great opportunity for a student to put his best foot forward and show well-roundedness.

None of the skills listed above should be confined to one subject area. They are required curriculum in the education of life, and while teachers can make headway by thinking of ways to incorporate them into subject areas, it’s still a village thing, as in it takes one to instill students with a better sense of what is expected in life. What skills do you think MUST be taught in every class? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Gender equality in education

by Tracey Burns
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

To mark International Women’s Day the OECD released an impressive new analysis on gender and education. Using PISA 2012 data, the report looked at where gender equality still eludes us: boys do less well in reading while girls are less likely to imagine a career in science and technology, even when they are top achievers in those subjects.

What are some of the other ways in which gender is important in education? A just released Trends Shaping Education Spotlight starts with the obvious: The vast majority of teachers are female across the OECD. This is most marked in pre-primary and primary education, where approximately 8 out of 10 teachers are women. In secondary education, 68% of lower secondary teachers in TALIS countries are female, and in countries like Estonia and the Slovak Republic, more than 80% of teachers are women.

Is this important? Among journalists and policy-makers, there is a penchant to connect the lower performance of boys (particularly in reading) to the fact that most teachers are female. However, while the argument is intuitive, research evidence does not suggest that simply bringing men into the teaching profession would improve boys’ achievement, as measured by test results.

Aiming for a better balance of men and women among teachers can nevertheless have positive effects. Male teachers can serve as role models, particularly for those students who do not have many positive male influences in their lives. Some countries are actively seeking to increase the numbers of male teachers. In the UK for example, the Training and Development Agency (TDA) has developed a campaign aimed specifically at recruiting men into the profession, which emphasises the rewarding nature of teaching and provides taster courses for male applicants in primary schools.

There is another way in which gender plays a role in education: While teaching is a predominantly female profession, school leaders are still more likely to be men in many countries. For example, 68% of Korean teachers are female whereas only 13% of Korean principals are women. In Finland and Portugal, 7 out of 10 teachers are women but only about 4 out of 10 principals are. On the other hand, in Norway, 61% of teachers and 58% of principals are women, and in Poland, the gender imbalance is below 10%.

Why are women not found in the position of school leader more often, given that they make up the majority of the teaching force? Many factors determine the number of female principals in a country. The education and skill level of candidates, individual willingness to take up the role of principal, the number of female applicants, as well as gender-bias in perceptions of leadership ability play an important role. Encouraging more female leaders requires systemic efforts that go beyond the individual hiring process.

This is important: Gender segregation in career choice results in talent loss for the individual as well as for society in all fields, not just education. Recent researchsuggests that gender-diverse business teams have greater success in terms of sales and profits than male dominated teams. And a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argues that the gender gap in the labour market accounts for up to 27% of lost GDP per capita. Raising the female labour market participation to male levels could raise GDP in the US by 5%, in Japan by 9% and in Egypt by as much as 34%.

Yet old stereotypes die hard. Perceptions of what counts as “masculine” and “feminine” vocations are formed early in life and are strongly influenced by traditional perceptions of gender roles. Women still struggle to reach top leadership positions, and are less likely to become entrepreneurs. Men are far less likely to become teachers and join other “caring” professions, such as nursing.

So what can be done? The Scottish government has made efforts to reduce gender based occupational segregation with its “Be what you want” campaign. The campaign specifically targets 11-14 year old students in Scottish schools and tries to support the aspirations of young people by highlighting the barriers that boys and girls face when trying to enter “non-traditional” areas of work. A number of other countries are launching similar initiatives.

These kinds of small steps could be important. Gender equality does not mean that men and women should become the same, but rather that a person’s opportunities should not depend on whether they are born female or male. Education can, and should, play a role in shaping attitudes and transforming behaviours to improve gender equity. A world with more female computer scientists as well as more male teachers and healthcare workers? Sounds good to me.

Thrown in at the deep end: support for teachers’ first years

by Katarzyna Kubacka
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

The first day at work can be stressful for anyone. But what if that day involves teaching in front of a classroom filled with disruptive students? This may not be the reality for every new teacher, but as the new Teaching in Focus brief“Supporting new teachers”shows, it is the case for many.

TALIS 2013 finds that in many countries, new teachers (with less than five years’ teaching experience) are more likely to work in challenging schools than more experienced teachers. This means that they may be teaching in schools where more than 10% of students have special needs; or they may be located in a rural area, where schools often have fewer resources than urban schools.

Research shows that new teachers often lack the necessary skills to keep order in a classroom (OECD, 2012). As a result they spend less time teaching and more time managing students’ behaviour, which leads to their classrooms having a poorer climate than those of their more experienced colleagues. Teachers’ confidence in their abilities as teachers (i.e. their self-efficacy) also tends to increase with experience. Therefore, for many new teachers, their ability and confidence are outmatched by the difficult working conditions in which they are placed.

To help remedy this mismatch, education systems can support new teachers through induction or mentoring programmes. Induction programmes are formal and informal activities that have been completed during a teacher’s first regular position, while mentoring programmes involve more experienced teachers mentoring their colleagues. Both induction and mentoring programmes can be an important link between teachers’ pre-service training and the day-to-day practice of classroom teaching. The added benefit of mentoring programmes is that they can strengthen collaboration between teachers and, thus, improve school climate.

Across most TALIS countries, the majority of teachers have access to formal or informal induction or mentoring programmes. However, TALIS 2013 shows large differences between countries in terms of programs’ availability: 44% of teachers work in schools where principals report access to formal induction programmes for all new teachers; 22% working in schools where such programmes are available to teachers new to teaching only; 76% of teachers work in schools with access to informal induction.

In most countries, fewer teachers report participation in induction and mentoring programmes than principals report the existence of such programmes. For example, in the Netherlands, 71% of all teachers work in schools with reported mentoring programmes, while only 17% report having a mentor. This suggests that many systems should carefully investigate the barriers to teachers’ and consider creating incentives for participation in such programmes. To illustrate, in many countries the lack of participation might be due to programs’ costs or teachers’ other work commitments.

Investing in teachers’ first years of work is not only about making the workplace easier for new teachers.  Such support also has long-term effects, as TALIS shows that those who participate in induction programmes are more likely to become mentors and participate in professional development later on in their careers. Hence, if teachers are helped to manage those first days, weeks, and years as a teacher, they will go on to help others, creating a virtuous cycle of teacher learning and peer collaboration.

Children’s Art and Creativity In Summer Art Workshop Manila

Summer is an exciting time for kids when they are allowed to stay long in bed and play outside with neighborhood kids. It is an ideal time for young children to dabble in the arts in order to keep them busy since regular school is out during this time. It is also a great time for parents to encourage their children to get busy with meaningful activities by enrolling them in a summer art workshop.

In the Philippines, art classes for children are effective means to enhance their creativity. It is an excellent way that help children become expressive of how they think and feel and in the process, help build the basic foundation for their future success in academics. In a summer art workshop for instance, children can enjoy with other children art projects that can help children enrich themselves.

In Manila, there are art courses offered by reputable learning schools that cater to the needs of children especially designed for the summer. Summer fun activities like summer painting and outdoor playing or a visit to an art museum for children are injected into the art programs that children can find enjoyable. What they can see in an art museum is not what they see around them on a day to day basis. In these summer activities, they are allowed to observe things stuffed real animals can spark their curiosity as to how these animals lived in the real world that they can learn further in their later years of learning about science subjects.

In art education, teachers involve their young students in art classes where they can develop fine motor skills as they use their little hands and fingers in holding art materials like scissors, pencils and brushes to draw, paint and sculpt. Likewise, scribbling and drawing during a summer art class can be integral part of later literacy. They learn hand coordination in their painting classes and drawing classes, the skills they need to acquire in order to learn how to write the ABCs and draw all kinds of shapes in the later years of education.
Like music, art is considered as a universal language. In a summer class, art education gives children the opportunity to communicate through paintings and drawings freely what they could not express with words. It is an infinite link to creativity which is the ability to create new things which is a special important skill in this modern age of technology.

By enrolling children in art courses during summer, children also get to meet friends, meet new acquaintances. They look forward to coming to school each day because they are able to interact with their new friends thereby developing their social skills. They also acquire the ability to become a team player and/or a team leader when organized in groups to do art projects. Leadership qualities can manifest early in young children when asked to perform tasks in groups. Such qualities are important values they can later years use as they grow into adulthood.

Considering the beneficial effects of art education in children, parents should not deny their children to enjoy summer in the company of other children as they spend school break dabbling in art and play art schools in the Philippines.

Significance of identifying different types of learners

There are three different types of learners – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual learners have a photographic memory. They create a mental picture of everything they learn. Auditory learners are active listeners.  They learn best by listening and can memorize and recall things easily. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They want to be active all the time.

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My experience of assessing the different types of learners in my classroom has indeed been an interesting one. I feel that it is very easy to classify some learners whereas it is extremely difficult to classify the others. The visual learners stare at me all the time while I am teaching. They draw flowcharts and maps in their notebooks. They enjoy watching PowerPoint presentations and short videos.

The auditory learners listen to me very carefully. They are disturbed by sounds in the corridor, the playground etc. They enjoy participating in group discussions. They could memorize things very easily.

The kinesthetic learners are hyper active. They don’t like sitting at one place for more than five minutes. Unless they are allowed to express themselves in some way in the class, they become very restless. Some of them even start day dreaming. They like learning through games and other activities. I feel that It is easiest to find the kinesthetic learners. However, there are many students who display the learning traits of both visual and auditory learners.

The auditory learners can be taught easily by using traditional teaching methodologies.  They are the conventional type (Indian) of learners. The visual learners improvise the teacher’s lessons on their own. They make mind maps, flowcharts, web-charts and drawings in their notebooks to understand whatever the teacher says in class. But kinesthetic learners are different. My knowledge about the various types of learners has helped me in a lot of ways. Earlier I didn’t know what to do with the kinesthetic learners. They seemed to be disinterested. They were easily distracted and disturbed everyone in the classroom.

After assessing the types of learners in my classroom, I realized that there must be something in my lesson to facilitate learning for every kind of learner.  I introduce a lesson by using PowerPoint presentations, short videos and photographs for the visual learners.  I recapitulate the content shown through the audio-visual media by explanation and questioning for the auditory learners. I ask children to draw something related to the lesson and make a flow chart about the theme for the kinesthetic learners.  While teaching the lesson, I allow the kinesthetic learners to express their opinions freely. I ask developing questions for the benefit of the auditory learners and I move around in the classroom for the benefit of the visual and kinesthetic learners. I also ensure that there is at least one group activity related to the lesson, so that the children learn through peer interaction.  Recapitulation questions are also asked to capture the attention of the auditory and kinesthetic learners. I make optimum use of the blackboard while teaching for the visual learners.  I also plan the post lesson assignments according to the needs of various types of learners.  The visual learners are encouraged to get pictures related to the lessons, the auditory learners are encouraged to gather information about the central theme of  the lesson and the kinesthetic learners are encouraged to interpret and analyze the lessons.

My knowledge of the different types of learners has also helped me plan the seating arrangement of the class. I ensure that the auditory learners sit at a place where there is minimum noise or disturbance.  The visual learners have been seated in the front rows so that they can see the teacher and the blackboard. The kinesthetic learners have been seated in places where free movement is possible. This has made the classroom environment very comfortable.

I think it is very important for a teacher to assess how every child in her classroom wants to be taught. Traditional teaching methodologies need to be improvised regularly to address the needs of different types of learners. Every child is gifted. It is the job of a teacher to bring out the best in her students.

How to Make a Classroom Management Plan

Students need to feel comfortable and safe in order to learn most effectively. All educators need to manage their classrooms in such a way that they create this sort of environment. Whether you teach preschool, elementary, high school, or college, knowing how to make a classroom management plan will help you be intentional in the rules and structure of your classroom.

Making a Plan

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    Understand what a classroom management plan is used for. A classroom management plan is designed to help you get and maintain control of the classroom. It helps teachers know how to deal with unwanted behavior such as showing up late, a rude attitude, or incomplete assignments. By thinking these things through in advance, you will be better able to respond in these situations instead of responding in the heat of the moment.
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    Write it down. For each of the following sections, write your answers. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Format it in a way that makes sense to you and that you’ll have the easiest time in following it.
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    Determine your philosophy. Many classroom management plans begin with the teacher’s philosophy of motivation.

    • Behaviorist theories of motivation are based on the ideas of psychologist B.F. Skinner. His theory revolves around the idea of reinforcement for behavior that you would like to be repeated and punishment for negative or unwanted behavior.
    • Cognitive theories of motivation focus on beliefs and attitudes. In the classroom setting, teachers can manage the classroom by understanding what motivates students to do well, helping them identify their learning goals, interacting with students in a positive manner, and breaking down obstacles to learning.
    • Humanistic theories of motivation are based on the teachings of Abraham Maslow. He believed that each person inherently wants to grow and reach the next level. His hierarchy of needs represents the different levels available for each person to achieve: physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
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    Incorporate school policies and procedures that are aligned to the PBIS Plan. Build off these and incorporate your own policies, procedures and rules to create a positive classroom environment for your students.
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    Consider preventative methods of classroom management. Classroom management is not just about punishing students who behave poorly. It is also about practicing preventative measures that help you get control of a classroom before someone misbehaves.

    • Set the tone on the first day of class. Start building relationships with your students by being friendly and getting to know each other. Share the rules and consequences so they know up front how you expect them to behave.
    • Create a positive classroom environment. Encourage students to participate and acknowledge their contributions. Treat one another with respect.
    • Utilize a variety of teaching methods. Students learn in different ways. Use a mixture of lecture, small groups, activities, games, and multimedia.
    • Set your procedures and routines within the first two weeks. Review these when needed especially after Winter and Spring Break. Stick to a routine. This lets students know what to expect each day in class. While moving away from the routine periodically can be effective for special days, doing it often causes students to be unprepared.
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    Define classroom rules. It is important that you follow these rules, too. Set the example for students and let them know they can trust you to keep your word. List these in your plan.

    • Focus on some themes or big ideas. For example, respect and integrity are common values in classroom settings.
    • Get specific. Big themes are helpful, but only if they are translated into specific behaviors. For example, respect can be demonstrated through showing up on time, not interrupting others, keeping cell phones and other electronic devices put away, and paying attention.
    • Create the rules together. At the very least, explain your rules and then discuss them with your class. This allows them to contribute and gives them some ownership of the class.
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    Explain consequences for breaking those rules. Communicate consequences up front so students know what to expect when they behave inappropriately. These can be explained the first day of class, put on a poster in the classroom, or included in the course syllabus. Be as specific as possible. Then be sure to follow through.
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    Write a contract explaining your rules, consequences, rewards, procedures and expectations to the students and the parents. Have the parents sign and return a copy of this contract stating that they understand and have read the contract.

Adult Education Is Easily Accessible To Everyone

Don’t ever let anyone ever tell you, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! My grandmother got a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) from Cambridge University in England, at the ripe old age of 82 years. Obviously she didn’t need it as an occupational qualification, but she did want to prove to herself and others that the women of her generation were not stupid despite being chained to the kitchen sinks as mothers and a wifes for their entire lives.

In today’s world there are countless possibilities and options for adults to get reeducated or educated for the first time. In fact there are more grownups going back to the classroom than ever before, many of whom have trudged through life as illiterates or semi illiterates.

Adult education is everywhere. No matter whether you want to study full time or part time, daytime, evenings, all year round or seasonal, there are flexible programs out there to suit all kinds of folks for all manner of situations and reasons. It’s really great to know that those people who missed the educational boat for whatever reason are now given the chance to develop new skills, gain a qualification, or just learn for the pure heck of it.

My wife’s brother has just completed an Open University course and obtained a degree in his spare time. It actually took him 6 long years, but he considering he was in full time employment as a general building laborer, it’s a remarkable achievement. It was a great celebration for him as he got his award just 1 week before his 29th birthday. The Open University programs are open to all people, including those without formal academic qualifications. Check it out on the web if you’d like more detailed information.

Another benefit to adult education is that nowadays just about everyone has access to the internet, which means that distant learning has become really accessible and easy. Online courses, online tutors, materials and virtual classrooms are becoming the norm in today’s world.

Adult education is not only for the uneducated though as many already educated folks want to attain higher levels of education in order to dramatically increase their career prospects. Additionally, the more learned one becomes, the more opportunities knock on their door. The more strings you have to your bow, the more choices are available, it’s a simple as that.

Whether you are an adult that would just like to lean the basics of how read and write, or you need an academic qualification in order to climb your vocational ladder, adult education is there for you.

8 Things Teachers Do To Cause Boredom

When students get bored their minds drift.

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And while some settle on daydreaming, tile-counting, and general inattentiveness, other students are drawn to more…ahem…destructive pursuits.

For where there is boredom, there is misbehavior percolating just under the surface, ready to pounce.

Although there is a lot you can do to counter the onset of boredom, understanding what not to do is the first step to avoiding its negative effects.

What follows is a list of the most common things teachers do to cause boredom. By steering clear of these eight attention killers, your students will spend more time on task and be far better behaved.

And you’ll be a more effective teacher.

1. Sitting too long.

Although it’s important to increase your students’ stamina for both paying attention during lessons and focusing during independent work, if they’re made to sit too long, you’re asking for trouble. Good teachers are observant and thus learn to know precisely when to switch gears and get their students up and moving.

2. Talking too much.

Students need room to breathe or they’ll form an unspoken mutiny and turn your classroom upside down. Talking too much is especially smothering. It communicates that you don’t trust them, teaches them to tune you out, and causes their eyes to glaze over. The more economical and concise you are with your words, however, the more attentive your students will be.

3. Making the simple, complex.

Many teachers misunderstand the oft-heard mandate for more rigor. They take it to mean that they need to make their instruction more complex, more involved, more verbose—which is a major reason why students don’t progress. Our job, if we are to do it well, is to do the opposite. The most effective teachers simplify, break down, and cut away the non-essentials—making content easier for students to grasp.

4. Making the interesting, uninteresting.

Most standard grade-level subject matter is interesting, but your students don’t know that. In fact, many assume, based on their learning experiences in the past, that it’s boring. It’s your job to show them otherwise. It’s your job to give them a reason to care about what you’re teaching. So many teachers just talk at their students, forgetting the most critical element: selling it.

5. Talking about behavior instead of doing something about it.

Teachers who struggle with classroom management tend to talk endlessly about behavior. They hold class meetings. They hash things out. They revisit the same tired topic over and over, much to their students’ eye-rolling chagrin. Effective classroom management is about action. It’s about doing and following through and holding students accountable. It isn’t about talking.

6. Directing too much, observing too little.

Most teachers are in constant motion—directing, guiding, handholding, and micromanaging students from one moment to the next. This is not only remarkably inefficient, but it dampens enthusiasm for school. Instead, rely on sharp, well-taught routines to keep your students awake, alive, and responsible through every transition and repeatable moment of your day—while you observe calmly from a distance.

7. Leading a slow, sloppy, slip-shod pace.

Good teaching strives for a focus and efficiency of time, movement, and energy. The day crackles and glides cleanly from one lesson or activity to the next. As soon as one objective is met, it’s on to the next without delay. Moving sharply and purposefully forces students to stay on their toes, their minds engaged. Boredom never enters the picture.

8. Failing to adjust.

Regardless of what you’re trying to squeeze in by the end of the day, or how important it seems, the moment you notice heads wilting, you must make an adjustment. It’s never worth it to plow through. Sometimes all your students need is a moment to stretch their legs or say hello to a friend. Other times, you’ll simply move on to something else.

Typical Unschooling Schedule

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Unschooling is also known as natural, interest-led, and child-led learning. Unschoolers learn from everyday life experiences and do not use school schedules or formal lessons. Instead, unschooled children follow their interests and learn in much the same way as adults do-by pursuing an interest or curiosity. In the same way that children learn to walk and talk, unschooled children learn their math, science, reading and history. John Holt, school teacher and founder of the unschooling movement, told educators in his book, What Do I Do on Monday,

Pat Montgomery, homeschooling advisor for over 50 years and founder of Clonlara Private Day School, defined unschooling in a speech she made to parents at a homeschooling conference in August 2001, titled: Unschooling: Catch the Spirit.

Unschoolers embrace that freedom and believe strongly that learning happens naturally and effortlessly and they trust in their child’s ability to direct their own learning.

The advantage to unschooling is that unschooled children have the time and research abilities to become experts in their areas of interest.

The disadvantage is that because unschoolers do not follow the typical school schedule, they may not do as well on grade level assessments and may have a difficult time if they re-enter the school system.

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For help, unschoolers turn to other homeschoolers and to the community. They set up classes and clubs together. They trade private lessons with other homeschoolers. They do not take tests and do not teach to state-mandated standards or schedules.

Every unschooler’s schedule is different and will follow the interests of the child for that day.

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  • Mornings: Children wake up when they are rested and decide for themselves what they would like to do that day. Some unschooling parents give their children a list of chores to do and suggestions for different activities for the day. Many unschooled children establish goals for themselves and work with their parents to set up a schedule that will help them achieve that goal.
    Each day will be different. One day, the child may be hungry to learn new spelling words, so they will do spelling first thing in the morning. On another day, the child may be excited to set up a special science experiment and may run to the kitchen first thing to begin their project. Unschooling parents have a tendency to leave educational materials out for their children to “discover”— they may leave the microscope out on the kitchen table, or a new book on the coffee table, or a new cookbook in the kitchen. They direct their children’s learning by stimulating the child’s interest in a particular project or subject.
  • Afternoons: Many unschoolers spend their afternoons out in the community; volunteering at the library, working at a part-time job, or taking private lessons. Unschoolers have a tendency to pursue their interests passionately and in-depth for a time and then move on to their next interest. They also have a tendency to stay up late, engrossed in a good book.

Learning from other countries’ experiences in education

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD’s Secretary-General

The data that the OECD collects can help countries map their strengths and weaknesses in education. But what’s the best way to address those weaknesses? Rather than prescribe actions, the OECD often prefers to show policy makers what everyone else is doing and how successful those initiatives have been. A new OECD series of individualEducation Policy OutlookCountry Profiles does just that: each profile describes how an individual country is responding to key challenges to improve the effectiveness of its education system. The idea behind the series is to offer policy makers easily accessible profiles of countries’ education systems, and the policies adopted to improve those systems, that could inspire reforms at home.

For example, the profile on Australia reports that, while the country is a top PISAperformer and has high completion rates in upper secondary and tertiary education, its PISA scores have not improved since 2000. In addition to targeting teacher and school leadership quality and evaluation and assessment, the country has been focusing on defining a more transparent and fairer funding model for schools presented recently in a national plan for school improvement.

New Zealand, also a top PISA performer, has some of the most autonomous schools and universities of all OECD countries. A key challenge for the country has been better integrating the growing indigenous population in its schools. In response, the government has adopted targeted education strategies for Maori and Pasifika Islanders, and defined national standards and a national curriculum for English and Maori schools.

In a different hemisphere, Ireland, which is an average PISA performer and has a growing immigrant population, adopted a policy in 2005 to support low-performing schools, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, which has helped to increase the number of students who complete secondary education in participating schools. A wider national literacy and numeracy strategy was introduced more recently to increase instruction time in reading and mathematics and offer professional-development activities for teachers and school leaders. Perhaps the country’s greatest challenge now is ensuring that these programmes do not suffer as public spending shrinks as a result of the financial crisis.

In the Czech Republic, where PISA performance in reading, mathematics and science has been deteriorating, the government has introduced evaluation and assessment initiatives that include national standardised tests. To improve the quality of teachers and school leaders, it has raised the salaries of young teachers, introduced a new teacher-career system, and changed the process for appointing and dismissing school leaders.

These four examples alone show how governments around the world are trying to improve their education systems to better prepare their young citizens for full participation in the global, knowledge-based economy. Every six months, the OECD will publish a new set of education policy country profiles as part of its Education Policy Outlook series. The series can be a valuable source of information – and inspiration – for policy makers everywhere.

Why Laughter Makes Classroom Management More Effective

Bringing laughter into the classroom is so close to my heart that it makes me apprehensive to write about.

I feel like I’m giving away a family secret. Or that I’m somehow betraying the trust of the hundreds of students I’ve had over the years, and the close bonds we’ve shared.

laughter and classroom management3You see…

Laughter is one of the ways I’ve turned disparate groups of students into my dream class.

I know it can do the same for you.

Laughter has the rare ability to soften hardened hearts, open shuttered minds, and endear students to one another. It is the key that allows a teacher to reach her hand out to the difficult, the unmotivated, the awkward, and the unhappy…

And have them reach back.

laughter and classroom management3Here are a few more reasons why you should bring more laughter into your classroom:

Your students will love you for it.

When you make an effort to add humor to your lessons, routines, and activities, you instantly become more likeable to your students–which causes them to want to be around you, to please you, and to get to know you better. This, in turn, gives you powerful leverage to influence their behavior.

It’s a common language.

Although it can take time for some students to come around, all students like to laugh. Laughter is the one thing guaranteed to build camaraderie and knock down social and emotional walls, binding students from different backgrounds together into one happy classroom.

It’s easy.

It takes little or no planning to bring more laughter to your classroom. All you need is a willingness to try. Your students will appreciate any effort to be funny. They’re primed to laugh. So be your silly self, tell a joke or two, and show your best–or worst–dance moves.

It builds togetherness.

I’m dubious of community circles—at least in the way they’re commonly used. Hashing out grievances can lead to resentment and more things to complain about. Sharing a laugh and having a good time together, however, soothes old wounds and alleviates hurt feelings better than anything else.

It motivates students to behave.

Humor can help you create a classroom your students love being part of. This, along with strict accountability, provides a strong motivator for students to behave. No student wants to wallow in time-out while their classmates are sharing a laugh with the teacher.

It eases tension.

Many classrooms buzz with tension. You can feel it as soon as you walk through the door. And before long, you’ll see it too: excitable, irritable, and misbehaving students. Laughter, however, can relax an uptight classroom—releasing tension, calming vibrating knees, and bringing joy to the room.

It encourages hard work.

When students are happy to be in your class, you can ask so much more of them. They appreciate a classroom they enjoy coming to every day, and they’ll want to repay you for it. It’s human nature. We reciprocate those we feel indebted to.

It reaches the hard to reach.

Humor has the power to help you make personal connections with students, particularly with those who are hardest to reach. When I look back on the most challenging students I’ve had over the years, I can often point to the use of humor as a major factor in helping me turn them around and guide them in the right direction.

The Straight Scoop

There is a common belief that if you use humor in your classroom, you’ll lose control of your students.

But here’s the thing.

If you already have poor classroom management, then yes, it’s true. Trying to be funny will backfire on you. Behavior will likely get worse.

But if you have solid classroom management skills, then bringing more laughter into your classroom will make you even more effective.

And that’s the straight scoop.

Education Policy Outlook: Vocational Pathways in Denmark, France, Germany and Spain

by Andreas Schleicher
Acting Director and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General

As Helen Keller said “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”. In classrooms around the world, teachers encourage peer-to-peer learning in order to enhance student learning outcomes.  In the same way, fellow peers learn from each other on how to improve their educational systems.

Since early 2012, the OECD Education Policy Outlook series has produced profiles for Australia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, and Turkey. Today, four new country profiles are being added to the roundtable discussion: Denmark, Germany, Spain and France. While each of these countries face specific educational challenges, they each have successes that can serve as a lesson for others.

Every country assessed is concerned with similar reform domains. Vocational education and training programmes (VET) is a common area to all four countries that could stand to see improvements. According to the Education Policy Outlook on Denmark, for example, VET programmes see high enrolment rates, but also high dropout rates. In 2012, only 52% of VET students completed their programmes. Denmark responded with recent reforms that improved flexibility and attractiveness so that students can tailor the programmes to fit their needs. Further educational reforms will enter into force in 2015, which aim to improve the quality and attractiveness of current programmes through increased apprenticeships and professional development.

Germany also faces challenges to their long-established VET programmes. The dual functioning system consists of 3-4 days a week spent in hands-on training in a firm and 1-2 days a week spent in the classroom. Contrary to Denmark, where the challenge lies in students’ completion of programmes, the challenge in Germany lies in the transition from compulsory education to VET programmes. Germany has already implemented a few initiatives to address this challenge. A vocational orientation programme has been implemented early on in a students’ education path as preventative support. The goal is to facilitate job creation prospects, avoid early dropout and ensure a smooth transition into VET programmes.

Education in Spain has also been faced with some challenges regarding enrolment. Spain, similar to Denmark, is seeing high student dropout rates. In order to tackle this challenge, policy makers in Spain are proposing to introduce a new reform that will allow for greater flexibility in students’ educational path. At age 15 and 16, students could be able to choose to continue with general academic courses or pursue more vocationally oriented courses. At the end of the school year, the student, again, could have the choice to take an exam to earn a traditional diploma or choose to take an exam that would allow transitions into a VET programme.

France has also implemented educational reforms geared towards VET programmes. Social inequalities are a reality that France has been faced with and in order to level the playing field somewhat, these reforms aim for increased individualism in education. Accompanying the learning experience better prepares students for higher education, ensures academic success and allows for a better understanding of the appropriate career choice after school. France, similar to Denmark, Germany and Spain, also struggles with students’ transition from education to the labour market.

Denmark, Germany, Spain and France all face challenges to transitions in different ways. Among other hurdles discussed in the reports, each country is faced with challenges to their vocational education and training programmes, such as transitions to and from VET programmes, high dropout rates, or inflexible paths.  Each country has implemented note-worthy reforms, but would be well-served to make additional improvements. The Education Policy Outlook series are valuable because they  enable countries to learn from each other. But, more importantly, recognition from peers is a positive way in which we can congratulate others on their achievements, and encourage future progress.

An Ode To The Worst Halls Of Residence In The Uk

 

For anyone who has been to University, one of the aspects they hope to forget sooner is usually the accommodation. Remember if you can: eight people to a fridge; parties keeping you awake; security shutting your parties down; wet rooms,; rats. However, when it comes to Halls of Residence, it is not just the students who live in them who think they should be torn down. So what are the worst halls in the UK? And are we seeing the birth of a new breed of Super-halls?

Aberystwith sits on Cardigan Bay on the West Wales coast, however its primary halls of residence at Penbryn are not considered the universitys most enduring feature. Despite seeming to have had a recent make over and offering students the chance to get a room with a view the building has still been criticised for its terracotta, pastel green and white exterior, and its quick-wearing interior with 20 people per floor. But this doesnt appear to be the worst of it: one ex student claimed there was one cupboard in a tiny kitchen for each floor (it is catering), and described his room in one word: BASIC.

When it comes to London, its sheer size suggests that it is quite likely that there will be many halls horror stories. In an open debate by the BBC in 2003, they asked the public what they considered were the worst eyesores in the UK. Most of the responses were quite in depth, but not particularly enlightening, as the Millennium Dome and Wind Farms(?). However, the most damning comment was the most frank, it read: South Woodford Halls of Residence. Although to my knowledge it has since been torn down, I did read a touching memoir of a naïve student who had lived there a while. No-one seemed to have heard of South Woodford and, in fact, it was, in the parlance of the day, ‘nowheresville’.

York University is spoken of very fondly by its students but its halls are not. One title of a review reads: Prisoner Cell Block H or Hilton halls? He goes on to describe the scary concrete blocks juxtaposed with a few classy apartments, no doubt to rub salt in the wounds. One saving grace I did notice of the worst (Goodricke, Lanwith, and Derwent) was the fact that they all have their own bar but the nicer ones do not. Presumably, this says something about those who like to spend money on drink&and I think I might just be prepared to put up with rats for that kind of convenience!

It is fair to say that as universities receive more investment and living standards improve, whilst increasing competition comes from online courses and home study, halls of residence have started to resemble Swedish resorts more than prisons. So will the grime ever be missed? Well, at least we still have The Young Ones to remind us.