Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Educating Children to Be Leaders

Leadership education is often cookie cutter "team building" exercises that do not really address the needs of children in terms of true empowerment, engaging and educating children on the true meaning of leadership, much less truly empowering them to be actual leaders. The proof of this is the fact that many students who seem to have topnotch careers, as students are actually spending their lives cheating.
Cheating is on the rise according to several studies in high schools and colleges in America and abroad. The pressure to succeed in a very narrowly defined way is creating a nation of cheaters. Just look at the recent political news and it is easy to see that ethics is sorely lacking even among our elected and stated leaders. With these kinds of examples how can our children learn ethical leadership?
Just knowing something is wrong is not enough to stop people from performing unethical behaviors because in our culture winning seems more important than right and wrong. According to the studies the peer pressure to get the mark rather than learn the material is at the root of the issue. To empower children to be ethical:
Develop an Honor Code -- Creating an honor code with the help of the students will enable a conversation to take place about what honor is, thus empowering children to take a leadership role in their own lives.
Reward Whistleblowers -- While we probably don't want our children to go around telling on each other continuously the current situation with beating up on whistleblowers is dangerous to the integrity of all of us.
Demonstrate Honesty and Integrity -- By setting a good example of doing the right thing in the face of adversity, you are showing children a new way to behave. This example empowers children to become leaders in their own lives by learning to do the right thing.
Reward Learning Over Testing -- This may not be able to be accomplished at all levels of education, but students need plenty of opportunity and examples that show how learning the material is more important than learning to take a test.
Many times our children are not engaged because no one is doing anything extraordinary to catch their attention. If you really want to educate children in a way that is empowering and carries a lifelong positive effect on them, be extraordinary yourself. Be how you hope they will be as they grow up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The 7 Qualities That Great Educators Possess

1. Passion - Love their role, love being with students and couldn't imagine doing anything else. Great educators were meant to teach children with special needs and help them advance their skills. With all the increase in work load and especially during seasonal exams, passion is what will keep them going.
2. Patience - Are highly patient during all areas of the teaching process. Are capable of gently dealing with students that cause disturbances in class, come late or make deliberate attempts to disturb others. They encourage questions and nurture those students that have queries relating to the course, their homework or other curricular activities.
3. Recognition - Know the value of praising students for their contribution despite the quantitative results of their tests. It's the effort that counts. They keep students motivated with varied and lively approaches. Its pivotal to credit students for their ideas, suggestions and even questions, that is what encourages others to participate and creates an aura of collaboration.
4. Character - Great educators form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people. They are warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. You like staying at school after-hours to help students or get involved in school-wide committees and activities, and they demonstrate a commitment to the school.
5. Communication - Communicate frequently with parents and students (one to one). They reach parents through conferences and frequent written reports home. They don't hesitate to pick up the telephone to call a parent if they are concerned about a student or their performance. Developing two-way dialogue both in and outside the classroom is what enables progressive teaching and creates a lasting effect.
6. Expertise - Are masters of their subject matter. They exhibit proficiency in the subjects they teach and spend time continuing to gain knowledge in their field. They present material in an enthusiastic manner and instill a hunger in their students to learn more on their own. They are subscribed to industry reports, news articles, digital media and in offline paper format. They acknowledge the need to always stay ahead of the curve and spearhead in subjects that are of great interest to their students.
7. Understanding - Truly great teachers acknowledge the fact that students vary in their level of knowledge and not all of them are equally proficient. They focus on students individually and maximize learning potential through the effective us of engagement, communication and theoretical exercises.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three New Concepts That Could Revolutionize Education

The other day, I was sitting in a think tank meeting, and one of the icebreakers to get our brainstorming session warmed up was to; name three new technologies or innovations which might help improve or even revolutionize education in America. It wasn't a trick question, it was one to get you to think.
I came up with three, and I thought they were at least worth sharing with you here today. If you have a few moments I'd like to discuss this with you. Below are what I came up with;
1.) The use of simulated voice box vibrational inflection for audio e-readers, and video instruction.
2.) The use of Holographic Technologies and Spectral Imaging in Learning.
3.) Home Internet Study Modules for Public Education Supplement for Curious Students.
Now then, the first one I'll have to explain because it's not something that people typically talk about. One thing I've learned when listening to people who really care about a subject matter, is that their voice box vibrates differently than someone that doesn't care very much about what they're talking about, rather just talks in a monotone fashion.
You see, when people are reading, except for those who read teleprompters on the evening news, or perhaps our President Barack Obama, they have very little voice inflection, and they just read the material, and that is that. This often happens when people are reading into audio books, or talking on instruction videos, as they read their script.
However, if we could lay additional tracks of sound that would mimic someone who is enthusiastic about what they were reading and could capture the human voice box vibrational inflection of that type of enthusiasm, then the people watching the instruction video or listening to an audio book on an E-reader would automatically pay more attention, and therefore they would learn faster.
The next two items are somewhat self-explanatory, but I'd like to discuss with you number two briefly. What is you are taking a philosophy class and you put the tables in a circle and projected a holographic Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, or Einstein in the center? The holographic projection using special spectral imaging technologies would be giving you the lecture. Don't you think that would be more entertaining for students, and more memorable for the human brain as it imprinted the data and the event in the mind? It would be a lot easier way to learn.
Lastly, we hear a lot about the "No Child Left behind" challenges in our school, and some teachers call this; the "No Child Allowed to Advance" way of teaching. There is no sense in killing the curiosity of a student that is interested in a topic or subject, we need extra information that they can study on their own at home. Not just Wikipedia, because yes students do that too, but it would be nice to have a home study courses for such things on the Internet.
Besides that, many of the universities nowadays allow you to watch lectures without having to sign up to go to school, and this means anyone can learn, and that's a good thing. A society always does better when its people are educated. The fastest way to increase knowledge and education is to wet the appetite and curiosity of the learner. Please consider all this and think on it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Educational Benefits of Juggling and Circus Skills

Please note that the words "juggling" and "circus skills" are interchangeable on this page. The art of throwing objects in the air such as balls, rings and clubs, as well as manipulating objects such as diabolo, devil stick, spinning plates all offer the same benefits for willing pupils!
Improves and Increases:
  • Mathematic Skills
  • Physics (newtons Laws etc)
  • Performance and Drama
  • Appreciation of the Arts
  • Techniques of Learning
  • Concentration
  • Imagination and Creativity
  • Problem Solving
  • Dyslexia
Cognitive Benefits - To succeed in juggling, students must understand a pattern, set targets for their throws and work on the rhythm and timing of their throws.
The evidence for many Educational Benefits can be found in the book: Teaching Elementary Physical Education - by Robert P.Pangrazi.
A great break in the daily routine - During extensive academic work periods (such as daily lunch breaks from work/studies), physically active study (such as juggling) can help students return to their work/studies feeling refreshed and more productive. Kinaesthetic and Physically active learners will love to learn juggling especially! If you introduce juggling breaks/intervals into your regular studies/school day, then you will see these types of learners improve academically!
Appreciation of the Arts - Once you have seen how easy juggling is to learn the basics, then you begin to see how many hundreds of thousands of tricks are out there for you to master. Any time you see someone juggling, you then begin to appreciate the amount of time and effort they will have put into achieving such a routine! If students work on putting together a show at the end of their workshop, they begin getting a small glimpse of what it is like to work in the entertainment industry.
Imagination and Creativity - once you get involved with juggling, you can let your imagination run wild and experiment with the tricks you have learned. You may end up inventing a new trick, or even just a different way of achieving a trick just by imagining different patterns and different routines that may be possible!
Good for your brain - Studies have shown that people who challenge their brains and use them for complex tasks throughout their life have a reduced incidence of alzheimers disease.
Improves Student Behaviour - Schools with juggling programmes tend to report quite satisfactorily that student behaviour has improved amongst the pupils who tend to create the most trouble.
Helps Dyslexia - It has long been thought that juggling can help disabilities such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and hyperactivity. This is through the knock-on effect of all the other benefits such as improved concentration, problem solving etc.
Problem Solving - Students learn to break each juggling trick down into its small component parts, learn each of the parts, then learn how to combine each part to form the trick. If they get stuck at any particular point in juggling, they can guarantee that someone more experienced will be able to offer advice to help further.
Juggling Can Boost Brain Power - Learning to juggle can cause changes in the brain, scientists have found. Using brain scans, the researchers showed that in 12 people who had learnt to juggle, certain brain areas had grown. But three months later, during which time people stopped juggling, the brain had gone back to its normal size. To read more on this amazing discovery, please visit the article on the BBC News Website.