Education and Learning

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bad Label is Taboo for Parenting and Education


By Purnomosidhi, ex-teacher and education watch

Labeling can have effect to human beings to do something. When saying negative things about someone, you give bad label to him/her. And how do you feel, when others do not belief in you because they have given you bad label?

When I was a teacher, I had some students, who were labelled as naughty students. One day, one of them, called Kevin, got high point in the English exam that I handled.

I guaranteed that he was not cheating. I hed watched him during the exam. But, ironically, his parents were suspicious about his result. They did not believe that he could get high point. They told it to the homeroom teacher, Kevin knew it. I could feel what Kevin felt. I had the sam experience when my lecturer during my study in university said that she had been suspicious about my academic achievement.

In the next examination, Kevin said to me he wanted to sit on my chair. I told him to be back to his chair, but he did not want to. Then, He did the examination on my chair. Perhaps, he wanted to prove that he could achieve high point without cheating.

Bad label make your children, students, friends feel uncomfortable. They will feel that the other do not belief them. It can also has bad influence to their self esteem and confidence.

http://educationlink.bravehost.com

Monday, March 12, 2007

PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN


by Deborah Mitchell — Senior Editor, Environmental Protection

Environmental education for children is critically important and should start before school begins. Early environmental education experiences help shape children's values, perspectives, and understanding of the environment and how to interact with it. Yet many children have little or no meaningful exposure to environmental education or opportunities to connect with the natural world because they are involved with activities that isolate them from it.

Computers, video games, television, schools' emphasis on homework, a full after-school schedule of extracurricular activities, lack of access to natural areas — all these things and more are isolating children from the natural world and the advantages of environmental education.

In fact, it's been shown that fostering environmental education in children is critical because it:

* helps them develop into adults who understand and care about environmental stewardship
* nurtures their sense of wonder, imagination, and creativity
* provides them with a sense of beauty, calm, and refuge in a sometimes frightening world
* expands their intellectual development; it's been proven to improve test scores, grade-point averages, and problem solving skills
* enhances physical development
* helps them understand the interrelationship of all life

Many of the decisions you make on a daily basis affect the environment; for example, what household products to buy, how much driving to do, what items to recycle, what to buy for dinner, and what products to use on your lawn and garden. Children need to learn from a very early age that the environment has an impact on their lifestyle and quality of life. Similarly, their lifestyle has an impact on the environment.

Today's children will be responsible for making decisions that will shape the health of the environment. To prepare them for such responsibilities, they need a sound environmental education as a foundation from which to make those decisions.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Class Activites, Teaching Aids, Tricks and Tools Employing "Whole Brain Learning

Class Activites, Teaching Aids, Tricks and Tools Employing "Whole Brain Learning
I-Most of the classroom activities and learning techniques are based on the concept of whole brain learning. The core concept of whole brain learning and related teaching concepts, such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, Suggestopedia, Brain Friendly, Mind Mapping and more, is that effective long term learning is facilitated when the whole brain is involved. In traditional learning methods, we tend to focus on the use of the left brain only, i.e. charts, logic, mathematical forumulas etc. In the concepts and activities discussed here, not only right and left hemisphere learning is requried, but also other areas such as the reflex brain, the limbic brain and the "new" brain.The concepts referred to will be put into the context of ESL and EFL teaching. However, these concepts are equally valid for any learning situation.
a)Using Music in the Classroom
Six years ago researchers reported that people scored better on a standard IQ test after listening to Mozart. You would be surprised at how much music can also help English learners. The use of music in the classroom can make the entire learning process more enjoyable and can stimulate "right" brain learning. Six years ago researchers reported that people scored better on a standard IQ test after listening to Mozart. Other tests soon followed: Rats raised on Mozart run through mazes faster and more accurately. People with Alzheimer's disease function more normally if they listen to Mozart and the music even reduces the severity of epileptic seizures. Just think of all the times you have used music to help you study for tests, think clearly about something, relax from daily stress, etc. If you think about it, using music in the ESL EFL classroom is a pretty logical thing to do considering how helpful it can be to the learning process.
Setting the scene Musically
Using music to introduce an exercise is a great way to activate vocabulary and get students thinking in the right direction. Take a piece of music or song which you associate with a certain activity or place ("New York, New York" sung by Frank Sinatra) and play the first 30 seconds of the piece. You will be surprised at how quickly associations come to students' minds - many more than if you introduced the lesson by saying, "Today we are going to talk about New York City".
A wonderful example of this can be found in any broadcast of "Morning Edition" by National Public Radio. Each story is ended with a selection of music which in some way relates to that story. This music is repeated after a commercial and before the next story. In this way, listeners are subtly encouraged to reflect on the story they have just heard.
"Headway Intermediate", a popular EFL student's book published by Oxford Press, gives another great example of setting the scene musically. Every extended listening is preceded and followed by a short snippet of related music - usually the beginning bars and the final tones of a given piece. These little touches do wonders to add atmosphere to an otherwise familiar classroom setting.
Using Music Selectively To Enhance Concentration
The most important point to remember when using music to accompany learning is that it be an aid to learning and not a distraction. Let me give an example, if your class is doing a grammar exercise and you want to use some music in the background to help students concentrate, choose music which employs regular periods (repeated phrases and patterns) - something like Hayden or Mozart, maybe Bach. Choosing abrasive, disharmonic music will distract students while their brains try to make sense of the disharmony. Choosing something melodic which employs musical patterns will not distract. Not only will this type of music not distract, the regular patterns of the music also help to underline the repetetive nature of grammar.
Another example of using music selectively would be written descriptive exercises in which students need to use their imaginations. You can set the scene musically which will help stimulate their imagination. Let's say students need to describe their life as young children. Ravel's "Mother Goose Suite" playing softly in the background will help them return to those simpler times through its sweet harmonies and simple structures. Listening to Shostokovitch, on the other hand, would put them right off!
Here are some suggestions for appropriate music for different activities:
Grammar - Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi
Imagination exercises (descriptive writing, speaking) - Ravel, Debussy, Satie
Current Situation, News in the World - Rap (for inner cities and their problems), Ethnic Music from the discussed countries (you would be surprised at how many people quickly associate the type of music with a part of the world)
Making Future Plans - Fun upbeat jazz ("Take Five" by Dave Brubeck)
Discussing "Serious" issues - the "serious" Germans: Beethoven, Brahms - even Mahler if you are adventurous!
Use your imagination and you will quickly find that your students will be using their imaginations to improve their English - usually without being aware of it.
b)The Brain: An overview
A visual explanation of the different parts of the brain, how they work and an example ESL EFL exercise employing the specific area.
c)Brain Gym
The brain is an organ and can be physically stimulated to improve learning. Use these simple exercises to help your students concentrate better and improve their learning abilities.
d)Using Colored Pens
The use of colored pens to help the right brain remember patterns. Each time you use the pen it reinforces the learning process.
e)Helpful Drawing Hints
"A picture paints a thousand words" - Easy techniques to make quick sketches that will help any artistically challenged teacher - like myself! - use drawings on the board to encourage and stimulate class discussions.
f)Suggestopedia: Lesson Plan
Introduction and lesson plan to a "concert" using the suggestopedia approach to effective/affective learning.





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Thursday, February 22, 2007

How to improve your pronunciation


This week ESL Pro Systems is offering our readers a number of tips and strategies for improving one of the most difficult areas of the English language- pronunciation. Here are some self-study tips and strategies you may want to try.

Word stress is the key to understanding spoken English. English is considered a stress-timed language, which means certain syllables receive more stress than others while the other non-stressed words are quickly glided over. Native speakers of English use word stress naturally. It’s so natural for them that they don't even know they use it. Word stress is not used in all languages. Some languages, Japanese or French for example, pronounce each syllable with e-qual em-pha-sis. So, non-native speakers who don’t use correct word stress often encounter two problems:

1.They find it difficult to understand native speakers, especially those speaking fast.

2.The native speakers may, in turn, find it difficult to understand the non-native speakers.

So, what exactly is ‘word stress’? Native speakers of English do not say each syllable with the same force or strength. In one word, they accentuate ONE syllable. They say one syllable loudly and clearly and all the other syllables more quietly.

Let's take 3 words: photograph, photographer, and photographic. Do they sound the same when spoken? No. Here’s why:

PHO to graph
pho TO graph er
pho to GRA phic

ONE syllable in each word is stressed more than the others. And it is not always the same syllable. This happens in ALL words with 2 or more syllables: TEAcher, JaPAN, CAnada, aBOVE, converSAtion, INteresting, imPORtant, deMAND, etCETera, etCETera, etCETera.

The syllables that are not stressed are ‘weak’ or ‘small’ or ‘quiet’. Native speakers of English listen for the STRESSED syllables, not the weak syllables. If you use accurate word stress in your speech, you will instantly improve both your pronunciation and your comprehension.

Try to hear the stress in individual words each time you listen to English - on the radio, or in films for example. Your first step is to HEAR and recognize it. After that, you can USE it!

When you learn a new word, you should also learn its stress pattern. If you keep a vocabulary book, make a note to show which syllable is stressed. If you do not know, you can look in a learner’s dictionary. All good learner dictionaries give the phonetic spelling of a word. This is where they show which syllable is stressed, usually with an apostrophe (') just before or just after the stressed syllable.

In addition to word stress, you also have to use correct sentence stress to sound like a native speaker.


As a general rule,

▪ stressed words in a sentence are considered content words. These include nouns (e.g. kitchen, Peter), (most) main verbs (e.g. visit, construct), adjectives (e.g. beautiful, interesting), and adverbs (e.g. often, carefully).

▪ non-stressed words are considered function words. These include determiners (e.g.: the, a, an), auxiliary verbs (e.g.: is, am, were), prepositions( e.g.: before, of, in), conjunctions (e.g.: but, and, so), and pronouns (e.g.: they, she, he)


Read the following sentence aloud:
The beautiful mountain appeared transfixed in the distance.

Now read this sentence aloud:
He can come on Saturdays as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evening.


Notice that the first sentence actually takes about the same time to speak well! Even though the second sentence is approximately 30% longer than the first, the sentences take the same time to speak. This is because there are five stressed words in each sentence.


Try this simple activity to practice using correct sentence stress:
Write down a few sentences, or take a few example sentences from a book or exercise. First, mark the word stress (check a good learner’s dictionary if you’re unsure), and then underline the stressed words in each sentence. After that, read aloud focusing on stressing the underlined words and gliding over the non-stressed words. If you do this regularly you’ll be surprised at how quickly your pronunciation will improve! By focusing on stressed words, non-stressed words and syllables take on their more muted nature.
When listening to native speakers, pay particular attention to how those speakers stress certain words and try to copy this when you speak.


Tips:

1.Remember that non-stressed words and syllables are often "swallowed" in English.

2.Always focus on pronouncing stressed words well. Non-stressed words can be glided over.

3.Don't focus on pronouncing each word in a sentence with equal stress. Focus on the stressed words only.


For more great ESL, TOEFL® test, TOEIC® test, and teaching resources, just go to
www.esl-pro.com

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Feet: Lesson of Uniqueness


Humanizing Human Beings, To Be Little Candles for Others

In animation movie "Happy Feet", every penguins in Antartic empire must be able to sing heartsong, but Mumble grew different. He was not good singer. His ability in singing was under average. However, he had unique ability in toe-tapping skill. His feet dance also created rythm of music, but his community was not ready to accept it. Singinng is expression of happiness, and Mumble also said "Dancing is also expression of happiness."

Even if his community was not ready to appreciate his uniqueness,fortunately, Mumble did not feel inferior and he was aware of his unique ability. He kept dancing, and his happy feet dance grew better and better. Sometimes in real life, negative perspective to the difference can shut up one's development and innovative idea. However, it is in ourown decision to decide to trust in our ability and keep moving, or give up. Realize our uniqueness, and develop it.Your uniqueness can inpire others.

Mumble kept dancing and introduce his unique skills to his friends. At the beginning only a few were interested to dance but Mumble showed his confidence to introduce Happy Feet dance. His confidence and enthusiasm made his dance performance become more interesting, and it interested more and more penguins to dance. His dance was expression of happiness and it encouraged others. Doing or performing something with confidence and enthusiasm can make the better performance and interest others.

'Be confident with your uniqueness' was what Mumble did for himself first before he saved his community from famine. He made decision for himself to investigate the source of famine, the source of problem to get solution. He did happy feet dance enthusiastically, and showed his dance to human beeings. Finally, he led the penguins in his community of penguins to perform happy feet dances, and it sent the message to the world to save environment in Antartic. Put on your oxygen mask then you can help others." The story in 'Happy Feet' inspire us to do something for ourselves before we do something for others. It is also relevant to the safety procedure for flight passengers: 'Put on your oxigen mask first, before you help the others.' You cannot help other, if you cannot help your self. You cannot save the weak person of you are weak. You cannot serve the poor, if you are poor. You cannot feed the hungry if you are hungry. Change begin within ourselves.

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

JUST DO IT NOW!


Humanizing Human Beings, To Be Little Candles for Others

Often, in our life, we tend to delay our decision to grow, delay our desire to improve our work performance, we delay our steps for better life because we are afraid of failure. But, we delay we do not go anywhere. Delay to make courage step just make our fear grow worse.
Paulo Coelho in one of his short stories “Maktub” describes how the delay can have bad effect to our courage.

When the wanderer was ten years old, his mother insisted that he took course in physical education. One of the activities required him to jump from a bridge into a river. Early in the course, he was paralyzed by fear. Each day, he stood last in line, and suffered every time one of those in front made his jump -- because it would shortly be his turn. One day, the instructor -- noticing his fear -- made him take the first jump. Although he was still frightened, it was over so quickly that the fright was replaced by courage. The master says: "Often, we can afford to take our time. But there are occasions when we must roll up our sleeves and resolve a situation. In such cases, there is nothing worse than delay."

(The short story is taken from Paulo Coelho’s writing :”Maktub”)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

TPR Warm Up Game!


Humanizing Human Beings, To Be Little Candles for Others

Target English: Greetings, verbs


This is a game that is great do at the beginning of nearly every lesson. Its gets the kids lively and active and helps their listening skills, and if they can learn to stand up and sit down quickly you won't be wasting time later on in the lesson! From then on you add in new words each week, and is really effective. It's basically TPR, total physical response, although with limited class time it's usually better to get the kids repeating the words as soon as you can.

At the beginning you simply shout out commands at the kids. First of all simple things like "Stand Up" or "Sit Down" are OK

As you meet the kids more you can add words such as JUMP, SPIN (a big favourite), EAT, DRINK, CHEER, CLAP,

Later BOY, GIRL can be added (much laughter when boys stand up when you say "GIRLS STAND UP"). Also BIG, SMALL e.g. BIG JUMP, LITTLE JUMP and QUIET, LOUD e.g. QUIET CLAP, LOUD CHEER.

Or try using "PLAY" e.g. "Play Piano, Play Tennis" or things like "Watch TV"

For "Clap" or "Cheer" get them to vary the volume as you raise or lower your arm - it's a great "volume control" for the moments when you do want them to be quiet!!!

http://gengkienglish.net

Monday, January 22, 2007

Risk Taking


To Be Little Candles for Others

Risk taking is the willingness to make mistakes, advocate unconventional or unpopular positions, or tackle extremely challenging problems without obvious solutions, such that one's personal growth, integrity, or accomplishments are enhanced.


The very nature of learning requires risk taking. Asmall child would never learn to walk, talk, or socially interact without taking risks, experiencing successes and failures, and then monitoring and adjusting accordingly.

Quantum leaps in learning, solving problems, inventing new products, and discovering new phenomena require risk taking. Risk taking within the learning environment requires a willingness to think deeply about a subject or problem, share that thinking with others to hear their perspectives, listen to their critiques, and then build on those experiences toward a solution or solutions (Dweck, 2000; Weiner, 1994). Too often, students are engaged in learning activities that focus on the "right answers." Instead, students should be encouraged to engage in discussions about numerous approaches—and potential solutions—to a problem (Brophy, 1998; Vispoel & Austin, 1995).

In order to take risks that lead to intellectual growth, students must be in environments that they perceive to be safe—places in which to share ideas, reflect on and discuss perspectives, and learn new things. Research shows that students learn more when they are engaged in intellectually stimulating assignments where they engage in meaningful, intellectually stimulating work in which they construct knowledge (Newmann, 1996; Newmann et al., 2001). This research applies to all students regardless of socioeconomic status or prior academic achievement.

http://www.ncrel.org

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Art of Parenting


The relationship between the child and his parents is primarily based on love, freedom and a total acceptance of the child as an individual. The parent's core philosophy, in dealing with their children, should be a deep trust in children's natural intelligence and their ability to make their own decisions based on awareness and understanding.

The relationship between parents and children should be such where children should be able to express themselves with honesty and integrity, have trust in themselves and understand that their lives, actions and feelings are their own responsibility, and have a non-serious, zestful, confident, creative and fearless approach to life and learning.

The parent's main focus should be to help children transform their natural curiosity into a strong inner discipline and motivation. Parents should understand that each individual child comes with some gift, some treasure. It may be academic, it may be practical, or it may be artistically creative. Parents should try to provide as much space and as many opportunities as possible for the child's individuality and creativity to unfold.

Parents should not use comparison and competition as stimuli for achievement and performance. Life is so vast, individuals so unique, and there are so many human gifts that cannot be quantified, tested or measured: for example, a loving heart, sensitivity, courage, awareness, honesty, vitality, being generous or understanding. All these qualities are valued as precious, in fact priceless.

Parents are the first teachers of the children and their homes their first classroom. Parents should help in every possible way to give freedom, to give opportunities for personal and spiritual growth to their children.

www.oshoworld.com