Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The idea of learning a foreign language is exhilarating and scary at the same time.
If you were forced to take a foreign language in high school you are probably haunted by memories of tests that you weren't ready for and endless grammar lessons that bored you to tears.
Learning Foreign Languages Has Become EASIER!
The good news for you is that foreign language learning has become a lot easier these days with online software and foreign language games available that put the fun back into learning languages.
Another big advantage we have is that audio lessons can be downloaded and listened to on any mp3 player at your convenience. That's what I've been doing in my car while driving to work. What used to be a dull 55 minute commute has turned into a profitable Spanish language learning time.
The following are a few lessons I've learned over the years that will help you gain foreign language mastery faster than you thought possible.
1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
The only way to learn anything new is to try. Beginner mistakes must be expected. Nobody master foreign language pronunciation on the first attempt. Allow yourself the ability to make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes.
You didn't learn to walk without falling you didn't even learn your native language without flubbing up. You eventually succeeded at both simply be never giving up. The same will be true with learning a new language.
2. Try to find words your native language shares with the new language you are learning.
An English speaking person learning Spanish has hundreds of similar words to start with. Learning a base vocabulary of shared words will help you build your confidence quickly.
3. Be willing to takes chances with your new language.
When you blurt out your first phrase in your new language you can expect to mix up a word or two or skew the pronunciation slightly. Just remember, it's better to speak imperfectly than to not speak at all. No practice simply adds up to no improvement.
Another thing you must remember is that people from other countries love it when try speaking to them in their language. They may smile at your attempts but they will give you all the encouragement in the world to keep on trying.
Friday, January 27, 2012
When I think about my children at school seven hours a day, it becomes apparent that teachers and the school environment play a major role in shaping our children. In specific, I wonder, how much is self esteem valued in our schools?
Self esteem, "The overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth", is an important building block to almost everything children do. When a child feels good about himself, he is more likely to put more effort into the task at hand, he is more likely to be kinder to others, and he will be more resilient of challenges. When a child feels liked by others it gives him a sense of belonging, or personal importance. When a child feels confident academically, he will feel achievement. Achievement breeds success.
Dr. Nathaniel Branden is a renowned lecturer and writer on self-esteem. He stresses that a strong disposition, or self-esteem is one who feels worthy of happiness. When one has the confidence to think, learn, choose and make appropriate decisions, self-esteem is acting out.
I believe that self-esteem is pertinent to happiness. Thus, I feel strongly that it should be valued and taught in our classrooms. It would be responsible for schools to teach our children how to love themselves and how to make themselves happy, without relying on outside things and people. Here a just a few ideas on some ways to blend self-esteem into our classrooms:
1. Give a child a "little buddy" so he can teach what he knows to someone younger.
2. Give a child the chance to earn the good grade, a lunch with his teacher or a longer recess.
3. Let a child fail at something. Give him a chance to learn from the opportunity.
4. Give a child verbal rewards for kind, generous, or thoughtful behavior.
5. Give a child a responsibility of which fulfilling it is a sure thing. Set her up to succeed.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The decision to home school your children has been made. Where to begin? What to avoid? What to do? Here are some good starting points.
· Join homeschooling clubs, support groups or co-ops. These can be invaluable sources of information for you. There are many parents out there with the same ideas about education and values that you have. All of the groups may not be aligned with your values. Keep looking until you find some that you share something in common with.
· Attend a convention or curriculum fair in your state to learn about available resources. Most states have these yearly.
· Find out what is legally required in your state. It varies.
· Select the curriculum that best fits your teaching style and your child's learning style. Or, take what works for you from each one and become an eclectic educator!
· Read, read, read. There are many books and magazines dedicated to home schooling.
· Stay organized. Plan ahead how you are going to handle record keeping, how you are going to assess learning, how you are going to spend your days, and how you are going to teach certain concepts. Teachers in public and private schools spend a great deal of time planning. You need to plan as well. However, don't over plan. You don't want to simulate the school system by becoming inflexible due to plans that have been made.
· A fun tip is to give your home school a name, mascot, colors, and perhaps even a logo! Have the kids participate in this. It will give them ownership and allegiance to "their" school.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Do you know how to grow a vegetable garden? Do you know how should you plant the seeds? No? Well, you are not alone. In fact most of us do not know how to do this. Most of us have forgotten this most basic ancient skill. Reading these lines one of you will think - So what? the market is pretty close. They have everything that I need. But, if you are really thinking like that, than you are not aware of a serious oncoming problem - food shortage.
Some of you may laugh at this claim, but humanity will have to face this grave problem very soon. And everyone will be affected. No matter how developed is your country, no matter where in the world you live, because this food shortage will be a global problem. If you look carefully the signs are obvious:
The World's population is growing, which means that everyday there are more and more hungry mouths to feed. China and India alone now have 2.7 billion people. All of them have to eat and demand for food will naturally grow. The economic development of these two giants in recent years have made it possible for their citizens to have more money to spent and many of them spent their money on buying more food. So, much of the food the countries were producing for export now stays at home. This also increases demand globally.
Oil is getting more expensive. If USA and Israel attack Iran prices will skyrocket. But why is this important. Well, grain, rice, meat and other staple foods in today's modern society are not usually produced locally. They have to be transported to you, which means using ships, trains and truck. And many of these transportation vehicles run on gas. If petrol prices go way up, this will be calculated into the cost of the final product which will become more expensive.
The production of bio-fuels has "persuaded" many farmers to grow crops exclusively for bio-fuel purposes. By doing that much of the arable land used for growing food is now used for "something else". In short, production is decreased.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Students know that tests are a common part of school life. They are exposed to it from preschool through college. Just as certain skills are necessary to develop study habits, listening skills, and communication proficiencies, there are strategies that develop test-taking skills too. Students can use certain guidelines that can help them prepare for and take a test.
As you prepare for a test, it is imperative that you know exactly what you will be tested on. Usually, the teacher will review what is on a test. First, it is important to be in class that day. Secondly, this is the time to take accurate notes. Lastly, it is the time to ask questions if you are unsure about what will be covered on the exam.
Once you are armed with your test review information, make a study plan that allows you ample time to go over the material. Last minute cramming is not wise. Stick with a study plan that spans over several days to ensure maximum retention. Make lists of important dates, definitions, or events. Ask a friend or family member to quiz you on them.
Use critical thinking. Try to predict questions that may be on the test. Then, go a step further and answer your predicted question. Be sure to write out the question and answer. Writing information helps with retention and long-term memory. Rest is extremely important when tackling a challenging event like test taking. Consequently, get plenty of sleep and have a nutritious breakfast on the morning of the test.
At the start of the test, take the time survey the entire test to see how long it is and what types of questions are included. This allows you to prioritize the sections and complete them in an order that is best for you. Some students prefer working on the most challenging section first, leaving the easier sections for last. Some prefer to work the opposite way.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Let's face it. College entrance exams are stressful! Getting into a good college can influence your entire life. So it is important to go into your tests, not only filled with knowledge and wisdom, but also to go into your tests in the most relaxed and positive way that you can. Did you know that you program your mind when you study? Yes, thoughts are things, when you are in the relaxed mode, your body and mind will be relaxed and when you are relaxed, you will be amazed at how easily the answers will flow.
But, you don't understand, taking the test is stressful! Yes, of course we all have stress in our lives. Stress is part of being alive. You wake up in the morning and your hair is a wreck. You have bed head and there is not enough time to tame it. That's stress. But you manage to get through it with both the mental and physical resources that we build over time. You have learned coping mechanisms from when you were a baby, (sucking your thumb when you were hungry and food was not coming quickly enough) to listening to calming music when you are upset. All of these activities throughout your life teach you a wide array of coping skills. It is your job to bring them to the fore during this time. Giving way to anxiety, prior to your exam can really hinder your performance.
Many of us are tempted before a big test to do that last- minute cramming, the last- minute round of practice tests. Resist! Better than brewing over a list of Latin prefixes or an algebraic formula, do some stress relieving activities. Go for a walk, shoot some hoops, take a nice hot bath before bedtime, and get a good night's sleep. Participating in those activities that are known to be stress reducers will help your mind clear and get ready for the big day.
Finally, the morning before the test, eat a good breakfast. Just like you can't drive your car without the proper fuel, your brain needs the proper fuel to do well on the test. Make sure your breakfast has a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. An example of a good breakfast would be a bowl of oatmeal Sprinkle in some fruit, and you are good to go. Avoid a sugary breakfast such as doughnuts or super sweet cereal. While sugar is tasty and gives you an initial kick-start, it quickly drops your blood sugar. The last thing you want is to become drowsy during the exam!