Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grants For Schools: Lots of Homework for Educators

Educational grants are not impossible to obtain. In fact, if you put in the effort, I can virtually assure that your school can get a grant. But free money is not easy to get, there is a long and almost tedious process.

The good news is that getting an educational grant is very possible for you. The bad news is that the process is not easy. However, because it is not easy to get a grant, many people do not bother to try. It will take patience, attention to detail, and creativity to be on the winning side.

Incidentally, the definition of an educational grant is anytime a person or organization is willing to give your school or educational program something you need to do something you want for the benefit of your students. Grants are not always money. Sometimes they come in the form of what is called "in kind gifts"--like computers or science lab equipment.

Grantors want educational results, they want their educational grants to create marked changes in the students and their learning. Focusing in on your real needs, i.e. things required to make learning possible is the most difficult step in the grant process. The key to getting help is to ask grantors who want the same results as you do. You need to look to the core of your problems. What are your classroom needs? You must be able to answer this question in one sentence before you move on.

Who Should I Ask?

There are several types of grantors that give educational grants. And some are harder to get to than others. Therefore, persistence is key. Most people do not want to go through the work that is required to get a grant. But if you don't try, you'll never get a grant.

Ask the principal:

If you have passion and motivation to get something you need, you have a good chance of convincing the principal that it is worth the spending. If you invest some of your own money, you have a better chance because it shows commitment to your desire for a teacher grant.

Approach the school district:

You may immediately think that you can not do this...why? Isn't what you want to do desirable? Check with the principal and find out how to approach the superintendent or school board, just follow the appropriate school protocol and ask.

Ask the local government:

Local politicians know where the money is, and it is surprising to find out how much is around. A politician who sees an opportunity for publicity through teacher grants will often be helpful in your search for funding.

Ask the supplies State government:

For example, the New York State Legislature gives out money in state legislative grants. Members are allocated funds for their districts. So tell the state government about your ideas for an educational grant.

Ask the Federal Government:

Every day the government lists programs, including teacher grants, in the Federal Register.

Ask a Foundation:

Thousands of foundations want to give money, and they have billions of dollars to work with. Find those foundations that share your goals. Use the Foundation Center as a source, or newsletters that offer regular suggestions on who is offering educational grants.

Ask a Local Company:

Local businesses are another good source. Banks are particularly good places to start.

Some tips:

a) Always follow school and district rules.

b) There is specific grant jargon you must interpret correctly. Read the grant description several times. Call to clarify any points that you are not sure of. Mention what you have in mind and ask if he or she thinks it would be "competitive." The word competitive is part of the grant jargon that is very important.

c) Do some search to see if your problem is already being approached somewhere else. Find out how others have reached their goals for education grants of similar concerns.

d) Think of the grant application as a test. You will be asked to repeat information. No matter what, leave out nothing that is asked for.

e) Submit your proposal on time. Follow the instructions. If you do not do this, your
education grant application might not even be read, let alone considered by the grantors.

f) Complete the proposal and put it aside for a few days. Then read it over again and make changes if you need to. Ask others to proofread for you--just in case.

g) Be sure to check prices and anticipate that prices will increase. Be careful what you ask for and make sure the amount of your education grant will suit your needs.

h) Remember, if you do not ask, you definitely will not get your education grants.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Education - No Child Left Behind

In the ever growing war between educators, No Child Left Behind is probably one of the most hotly contested topics in the world of education today. Nobody can seem to agree on it and it's no wonder, because it's a rather radical concept that years ago would have been unthinkable. In this article we're going to present both sides of the argument but in no way will we try to determine who is right and who is wrong. We'll leave that decision to history itself.

No Child Left Behind, the act, was instituted in 2001. One of the biggest problems with No Child Left Behind is that most people don't really understand what it means. Parents are under the impression that it means their child is not allowed to be kept back in school if his grades are poor. This is not true at all. No Child Left Behind was instituted so that the poorer districts could give their children the same level and quality of education as children in the richer districts. To achieve this end, the poorer districts are allocated a certain amount of additional funds. These funds increase a certain percentage each year. Since the act was instituted, the average dollar amount allocated has risen from $13,500,000,000 in 2002 to an estimated $25,000,000,000 in 2007.

But there is a catch to this. And this is where the arguments come in. In order to qualify for this funding, schools have to have a certain percentage of students pass the standardized tests that are given each year. Currently, those tests are only given to high school children. Future plans for No Child Left Behind are to have these tests given to every child in every grade.

The arguments for this procedure is that children will all be taught the same material and therefore will all have the same education. If a child doesn't pass the standardized test by his last year of high school then he must either go to summer school and pass it or repeat his last year of high school. Those for this say it will make sure that every child who does graduate from school is prepared for the outside world. By making the money given dependent on these test scores, this forces the schools themselves to focus on what they consider the core contents. This makes sure that every kid is properly educated.

Those against No Child Left Behind argue that the money allocated to the school districts should not be dependent on how well the students do. Their argument is that children in poorer districts do poorly because they are poor and the money should be given to them regardless of test scores. They view this as a catch 22, which most teachers in the poorer districts seem to agree with.

As to where this money actually goes, that would take a book to explain. Suffice it to say that portions of this huge amount are divided up among many areas including Comprehensive School Reform, Advanced Placement, School Improvement, School Dropout Prevention and the list goes on and on. This is where another argument comes in. Most teachers feel this money is being wasted and should go to teachers salaries and text books, where the money is really needed.

If you'd like to do more research into No Child Left Behind, the entire act is posted on the government educational web site. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Violence in Schools

School violence has been identified as an increasing problem facing all members of school communities. Intervention programs have been developed to combat this ever increasing problem, with varying levels of effectiveness. Following, individualised and generic intervention programs which aim to reduce the incidence of school violence will be discussed in relation to issues such as cost, cultural fit, power, training, acceptability, and involvement.

Both individualised and generic intervention programs aim to reduce the incidence of school violence and create a safe and secure learning environment. In which staff and students are protected from all forms of violence. Bullying and aggression occur more frequently in schools where there are unclear standards of behaviour, inconsistent methods of discipline, inadequate supervision and lack of awareness of children as individuals (Pearce, 1991, p76). Generic intervention programs may address issues relating to methods of discipline and supervision but less often address issues relating to the children as individuals. Individualised intervention programs address the specific learning, social and emotional needs of the student rather than the wider school community. Individualised intervention programs also address issues relating to discipline and supervision of the target student.

Generic intervention programs appear to have limited scope when addressing the effects of violent episodes on victims and witnesses. Generic programs may be less effective in addressing the specific needs of the victim as they are typically general in nature and not developed for the specific and individual needs of particular students. Individualised intervention programs address the specific needs of the victims within the specific school context. Therefore, individualised intervention programs are likely to be more effective in addressing the effects of violence for those involved, including the victims of violent episodes. Intervention programs, either individualised or generic, which require the abuser to make amends, are effective in reducing further incidents (Pearce, 1991).

Some teachers commonly use emotional maltreatment along with punitive practices to discipline and punish students for unwanted behaviour (Briggs & Hawkins, 1997, p34). Abuse perpetrated by teachers often occurs within a school climate where violence and aggression is tolerated (Saudermann, Jaffe & Schieck, 1996, p5). A generic intervention program may be effective in changing the culture of the school and impacting on expectations of acceptable professional behaviours. However, the changes required to limit the abuse by teachers may happen over time as the culture of the school improves. An individualised intervention program would also be effective in reducing incidents of abuse by teachers, although changes in abusive behaviours should occur more rapidly. Both generic and individualised intervention programs can provide abusive teachers with new strategies for managing students' behaviour thus reducing the incidence of violence and abuse.

Due to its broad focus generic intervention programs may not meet the needs of the students that it is targeting. A 'one size fits all' approach may not meet the specific needs of students, teachers, parents or community because of its generic nature. A generic intervention program strives to create a school environment that is warm and interesting and has clearly defined limits regarding behaviour. The program fosters consistent, non-violent strategies to address violations of the school rules (Olweus, 1994). Generic intervention programs mainly utilise staff already available at a school, including parents or caregivers, school administration, teachers and students (Olweus, 1994). These program and of others like it aim to reduce maladjustment and violence by providing at risk students with alternative, pro-social attention (Jackson, 2002, p115).

Individualised intervention programs are developed according to identified needs of individual students. They are very costly as they require intensive observation and investigation as to the context and the purpose of the misbehaviour. They require the ongoing support of specialists in Functional Behaviour Analysis (FBA). The FBA is the process of identifying events that predict violent episodes and maintain that behaviour (March, 2002). Specialists may be required to complete the behaviour analysis and to develop a plan of action to address the violent episodes. They may require extra staff to assist teachers in development and implementation of the program. Using an FBA to develop an individualised intervention program, whilst being effective, is costly and requires the use of non-school based specialists or highly trained specialist teachers.

Alternatively, generic intervention programs which are commercially available are less expensive for schools to purchase and implement. They may require a training component, but this is usually an isolated period of training for those involved. Research has shown (March & Homer, 2002) that these one off teacher training programs are not likely to generate skills that teachers can use and maintain in various classroom settings. Teachers require meaningful and regular training in the strategies outlined in the intervention program for it to be successful. Generally, generic intervention programs are able to be effectively implemented by classroom teachers with limited training in violence reduction strategies.

Antecedent-based interventions, a type of individualised program, are effective in reducing violent episodes at school and therefore reduce the need for punitive consequences to violence (Kern, 2002 p 113). They address the environmental issues that contribute to violence occurring within a school or classroom setting. The Antecedent-based interventions are similar to the FBA, a component of an individual intervention program, as they address the specific needs of individuals and the factors that contribute to violent episodes occurring within a particular setting. These individualised intervention programs have been identified as being effective in reducing school violence by limiting the identified environmental factors that contribute to violent epsidoes with targeted students.

Many generic intervention programs are long term and may take several years to see meaningful improvements and changes in the school culture, as well as a reduction in violent episodes. Teachers may find an increased workload due to increased expectations (Saudermann, Jaffe & Schieck, 1996, p9) and find this difficult to manage within an intense workload. During the initial stages of intervention, there may be an increase in the frequency of incidents of peer violence, as previous acts of violence may not have been dealt with. Within several months of implementation, fewer incidents of violence are likely to occur and as a result the school climate should become more positive as the environment becomes safer (Saudermann, Jaffe & Schieck, 1996, p9).

Individualised intervention programs are designed to address the specific needs of the target individuals. They are developed using specific data which informs the type of program that needs to be implemented. Individualised intervention programs access specific information through meaningful investigation of the behaviours of those students involved. A hypothesis is developed regarding the function the violence performs and the intervention is developed to specifically address this need. Generic intervention programs generally do not address why a particular student is violent and therefore run the risk of failing to meet their specific needs. They provide a bandaid solution to prevent and reduce violent incidents in general. All students exhibiting similar behaviours will receive similar intervention (March, 2002, p159), without addressing the cause of the violence and the student's specific emotional, social and academic needs.

Generic intervention programs usually involved teaching those involved skills to reduce the level of school violence. These may include conflict resolution and peer mediation for the students and new strategies to manage student's behaviour for teachers. The skills taught during the intervention are not usually transferred by students into other contexts, therefore are far less likely to reduce violence. Generic intervention programs may include a proactive prevention section which outlines procedures, lessons and supervision ideas to prevent violence actually occurring within school contexts. This may include instruction relating to the development of effective social skills. Social skills should be taught, as part of an intervention, with effective instructional techniques (Scott, Nelson & Liaupsin, 2001), to maximise the enhancement of student's pro-social behaviours. Individualised intervention programs may also include opportunities for students to develop social skills which may enhance their school experience, skills that are useful in many contexts.

Behaviour mapping programs encourage students to identify and understand their non-productive behaviours and explore more appropriate alternatives (Unruth, Anderson & Bartscher, 1997). This encourages students to become more aware of their behaviour and to make choices about how they want to behave. Behaviour Mapping is an effective generic intervention program that is tailored to the individual student's behavioural needs. It requires a skilled, knowledgeable and committed teacher to implement the program effectively.

Some generic intervention programs by nature must be general and include information that is aimed at the dominant white middle class student. These programs may therefore exclude students who don't form part of the dominant school culture. (Hyman & Snook, p134) These programs may contain a lot of assumed knowledge, behaviours and expectation which may be unfamiliar to some students. This may render the intervention program ineffective for those students. An individualised intervention program should be tailored to the specific cultural and language needs of the student. To be effective, an intervention program should be culturally inclusive and be accessible for all targeted students.

Peer violence can be related to a variety of causes, including family, individual and school factors (Saudermann, Jaffe & Schieck, 1996, p4). Intervention programs should therefore address these factors if they are to be real successful. Generic programs to reduce school violence are often limited in their scope and only address individual and school factors. Family factors which may contribute to peer violence within schools are rarely addressed in generic intervention programs. Studies indicate that aggressive behaviour is elevated in children who witness violence within the home (Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, 1990). Therefore, family factors must be addressed for any intervention program to be successful. Peer abuse may relate to a power imbalance between the abuser and the victim (Sudermann, Jaffe & Schieck, 1996, p2). Therefore, intervention programs should include opportunities for students to develop interpersonal skills and self esteem.

Research has identified that intervention programs that emphasise punishment, control and zero tolerance are ineffective at preventing school violence and may even contribute to antisocial behaviours occurring (Leone, et al 2000). Teachers are in a powerful position to reduce the incidence of school violence through their use of appropriate behaviour management strategies, providing adequate supervision and an engaging curriculum. They can also attain this position by establishing an environment where violence of any kind in unacceptable and students are treated respectfully. According to Scott, Nelson & Liaupsin (2001), students who are successful in school have little incentive to engage in behaviours that might typically result in their exclusion from school. Long term generic intervention programs with multiple components which include conflict resolution, values education, cultural education, positive discipline and effective communication that is aimed at teachers, staff, students, and parents are powerful in changing the school's culture (Smith, Duaric, Miller & Robinson, 2002, p574).

Effective academic instruction has also been identified as a strategy to help prevent school violence. Scott, Nelson & Liaupsin (2001) contend that by creating schools that facilitate student success, the goal of improving school safety will also be addressed. Therefore, teachers must provide an academically challenging environment in which positive interpersonal relationships are fostered.

There are many programs that can be implemented across school level or to target individuals to reduce incidents of violence at school. Certainly there are many commercially available intervention programs available for schools to choose from. It is important that programs are identified and implemented that are appropriate to the school culture, are acceptable within the wider community, involve parents. Individualised intervention programs are invaluable for creating behavioural change for students exhibiting serious aggressive behaviour. A generic intervention program may be effective in preventing and addressing violence across a whole school level by encouraging students to develop effective and pro-social interpersonal skills.

Often through early experiences with family, schools, media, peers and community children learn that violence, rather than communication or negotiation, is an appropriate way to solve interpersonal problems WHO/UNESCO, 1999, p2).

Samantha is a qualified Early Childhood teacher with 10 years experience. She is currently studying Master of education. She is the mother of 2 young boys. Although parenting is her main focus, furthering her understandings about how children learn and develop is something of great interest to her. She is interested in parenting, as a teacher, as a mother and a member of a wider community.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Modeling Student Behavior

Whether you as a teacher realize it or not, you are the best model of behavior in your classroom. A large part of your proactive behavior plans should include your own behavior you demonstrate to the students every day.

You must set expectations for your students, demonstrate the behaviors, and be vigilant to correct the kids. Don't waver on your expectations; inconsistencies will only confuse the students and cause you more problems.

If you stay calm, collected, and in control, your students will exhibit the same behaviors. The same is true about enthusiasm; if you are excited about your lesson and truly believe in its importance, the kids will respond in kind. Conversely, the kids will know when you are tired, bored, don't want to be there, or are 'winging it.'

If you are late to class, or don't start on time, the kids will pick up on it and be more likely to do the same. The same is true about the way you dress, the way you act, the language you use, and your 'body language'.

If you want your students working from 'coast to coast', or from bell to bell, you need to set the expectation of activity all hour. Start with a warm up, and ensure the kids are doing it. Keep them busy on activities with transitions between each. Don't let there be any down time. Work them to the end of the period, and have them pack up when you say so, not whenever they want to.

If you want your students to quietly read in class, but you are spending that time working on other things, it sends the message that you don't value the activity personally. Modeling the skill for the kids reinforces your belief that it is important. It shows you as a lifelong learner who values the skills you're teaching them.

The same is true for writing, or labs, or math problems. Students rarely have the chance to see real people performing schoolwork - for many, the only examples (and role models) are their classmates. Work along with your students.

Now this doesn't mean you have to do this the entire time. You must also supervise, coach, monitor, and actively support their learning. But you can spend at least a few minutes 'at their level'.

Monday, September 26, 2011

English Class vs Language Arts in Education

Most schools do not put enough emphasis on the fine arts, namely, as an example--the art of language. In an English class the teacher will focus on reading skills, reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary--but language arts is recognizing written word as an art form.

Yes we do want our students to study and master the English language. But the fine arts should be reserved as different kind of lesson, preferably in a creative writing class that is separate from English class. But every English class, if there is no specific language arts class required, should at least include a unit that focuses on the beauty and importance of literary accomplishments throughout the ages. Poetry, plays, song lyrics, screenplays, novels, from authors like Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Ken Kesey, Harper Lee etc.

Language is composed of words--words carry specific meaning and sometimes carry double meaning. So the primary tool of language is words, another is sound. Words are, in combination with an almost musical goal, can show the transformation of words and basic communication into art.

Words are to the writer what paint is to the painter, they are what the instrument is to the musician, and they are what tone and pitch are to a singer. That is why children must understand that English is not just what they learn in English class--but the language itself is spawned the language arts years and years ago.

The empty page means to the writer what the score of music means to the musician or singer. The empty page is the blank canvas, the untouched page in a sketchbook and so on, the empty page is--the thing that the any artist of the written word must make to come alive.

As I mentioned before, there is a musical aspect and technique to literary language that is hard to grasp without providing prime examples of it. The musical technique involved in the art of language is well exemplified by the works of William Shakespeare, but he is just one of many. The poem, when read silently or aloud. Should have a certain song about it. Whether it in written in iambic pentameter, as a sestina or in the more modern style of free form, the music should be there. For example in a poem by Dylan Thomas, the first stanza reads:

" Do not go gentle into that good night

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night..."

The poem was written as Dylan Thomas watched his father lay dying, and there is a beautiful song here. Note the repetition. Note the syntax in which the words are used which is different than regular speech--there are articles like "the" or "a" that the author will drop--removed for the sake of rhythm. This particular poem is easy to find at the library or on the Internet, and I highly recommend it as a tool for any Language Arts instructor.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Enrich Classroom Learning with Educational Magazines

Magazines created for elementary, middle school, and high school students are a great way to enhance core curriculum studies with current, up-to-date information. Periodicals have the ability to take into account current social trends among young people while reflecting the latest advancements in educational theory.

Between the "juvenile" and the "teen and young adult" categories, lists over a hundred magazines devoted to people under the age of eighteen; many of these are designed to meet the educational needs of kids at the same time that they entertain and inform. Science, math, history, social studies, art, archeology, sports, and literature are only a few of the topics covered. Adding some of these well-written, colorful magazines to the classroom can keep young people excited about school and learning.

Emphasize the use of magazines in your classroom.

Subscribing to a number of these magazines is a great first step; but you can do more to integrate the periodicals into your classroom. Some of the publishers offer free previews of upcoming issues and curriculum guides that allow you to plan your themes around specific issues. Beyond that, it's a good idea to announce the arrival of a new issue to your class, and even to give the students an overview of the contents of each issue. Consider checking with your school library to find books with content that enhances the material in the magazines, and display the magazines and books in your reading center. You may find that students will get really excited about certain issues and actually request more information on specific subjects, which will give you additional ideas about possible themes for future study.

Depending on your budget, you may be able to actually poll your students at the beginning of the school year to discover what magazines they would like to see in their classroom, and order the most popular requests. Even fashion magazines or automotive magazines, while not a reflection of the curriculum, will get your kids reading and will let you, the teacher, discover the interests of your students, and monitor to some extent the information these young people are exposed to. If you have the money in your budget, or if you can find a benefactor for your class, you may be able to subscribe to a magazine or two and receive enough copies for every student in your class - a great motivation for kids.

Offer magazines at different reading levels.

Every classroom has students at a variety of reading and maturity levels, and your collection of magazines needs to reflect that. Some magazines, such as Appleseeds Magazine, by Cobblestone & Cricket, have content suitable for older kids who may be struggling with reading. You may also have students who are way beyond their age level in terms of reading comprehension, and magazines are a great way to provide enrichment for these advanced students.

Stay connected to your students by staying relevant.

As young people mature, they crave more independence, both in their school careers and in social areas, and can pull away from adults whom they see as uncaring or not understanding of them. High-quality magazines and books attuned to both their educational needs and their desire to connect with today's world can help keep their school studies relevant and keep them connected to the educational process so important to their futures. By providing them with reading materials that reflect their concerns, their lives, and their interests, you will manage to keep that important connection to them as they grow and learn; perhaps more importantly, as they see you working to understand their world, they will feel more comfortable turning to you when they confront problems they feel unequipped to handle. Stay up-to-date on the information they're reading, stay relevant to their world, and you stay connected.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Myotherapy Schools

While there are several options in obtaining a myotherapy education, one has various options to enroll in a myotherapy educational institution or gain self-study lesson training and education through online learning or distance education programs.

Myotherapy schools offer training in specific trigger-point treatment that facilitates a variety of diagnostics and unique bodywork technique to effectively treat musculoskeletal disorders. Standard curriculums often include, of course, hands-on myotherapy training; in addition to students learning how to assess patients based on pathological conditions affecting muscle function; how to implement treatment plans by applying a variety of myotherapy techniques; and how to monitor and manage patient progress.

Myotherapy school courses may include but are not limited to introduction to massage therapy; anatomy and physiology; stress and pain related syndromes; massage therapy professionalism; acutherapy; hydrotherapy; mind-body interrelation; trigger-point therapy; kinesiology; polarity therapy; basic business skills; and other coursework relevant to myotherapy training.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

School Based Speech and Language Therapy

Growing up I remember certain times of the day specific children would leave our classroom. It was never talked about where the children were going we all knew they would be back before lunch time. Being a child some understand that a child speaks funny/different or that it takes awhile for him/her to finish his/her school work. But how does that child feel about being know as being "different"? Leaving the classroom for speech therapy or cognitive therapy. Children's feelings are pure and we as speech therapists don't want the children that we see feel singled out in any way.

Speech therapy in schools now is so much more different from 10-30 years ago. Some of the therapy is classroom therapy. Since almost all of a class needs to be seen for specific language development. Some children are seen one on one in the classroom as an aid to help the teacher understand how to present certain subjects to the speech children. Also, arranging the classroom in special ways aid many children who have not even been diagnosed with a speech/language challenge. That is a another important aspect of speech therapists in the classroom.

There is one on one and group "pull out speech therapy". This therapy room is usually known as the "speech room". How you present this room in your school is very imporant. It will make or break a child's decision to go into it or not.

So thank you for all those families who made the great decision to have their child in "speech therapy in schools". One more child in speech therapy in schools gives another child the comfort level that he/she needs to attend "speech therapy in school."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Higher Education Opportunities for Everyone

Higher education is something that many people would like to achieve, but that not all people believe is in their reach. You may think of higher education as limited to universities and colleges with campuses scattered around the country. If you don't live near one of these institutions, or you can't just take time away from your life to go to one, what are the best options that you have for higher education? Actually you have a wide selection of options in nearly every price range and to fit every schedule. There are community colleges, college extension programs, distance learning programs and online universities, colleges, and technical schools-all offer a great opportunity for higher education.

Community colleges are a great way to get a 2 year degree that will put you right into your career of choice, or give you the higher education foundation to go on to a 4 year school. If you are not sure what you want to do, this is a good, less expensive option and the entrance requirements may not be as strict as a university.

College extension programs are higher education programs offered in outlying or rural areas by colleges and universities to individuals who would like a four year degree, but cannot get to the university central campus. These courses carry the same weight as those offered at the main campus.

Distance learning is one of the newer options for those wanting higher education. Usually it is provided through a college or university as an online program. People can take courses to update their skills or even get degrees. Again, just as with the extension courses, these are at the same level as the courses offered on campus.

One of the newer higher education offerings is online colleges, universities and technical schools. There are hundreds on the internet. Many are accredited and offer degrees that are as highly respected as those offered at a traditional university. The advantage of this type of school is that you can start and stop whenever you need to. You can do your coursework on your own schedule. You will be able to interact with your professor and students through chat rooms and message boards. You don't have to get new housing or transportation. Just make sure that the program you sign up for is recognized by the field or career that you are going into as a legitimate program. You can get anything from an associate's to a doctorate and even a degree as a web designer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Learn These Study Skills and You Can Expect Straight A's

By following these twelve tips, you will be guaranteed to get straight AAAAA's. Read each tip carefully.

1. Find a quiet area in your house in which you are comfortable and can isolate yourself from distractions. Be sure that this space includes a chair, table or desk, and sufficient lighting. Ask others not to disturb you while you are in this special location and turn off all phones, beepers, televisions, videos, music, or anything else that your mind will wander to instead of focusing on the schoolwork.

2. Find the best time to study. Some students tend to do their best work as soon as they get home from school while they are still in the school mode. Others need a break and don't settle down to study until after practice, playtime, a nap, dinner and/or family time. Just be sure to allow yourself enough time to get everything done and still get enough sleep each night.

3. Organize your day, week, month, etc. Set aside a specific time each day to do your homework and study. Decide on a reasonable minimum amount of time that you will spend in this quiet place each day. For instance, lets say you decide on 45 minutes as a reasonable amount of time to dedicate to schoolwork each day. This means that even if homework is completed in the first 35 minutes that you will still stay in this area and study or review notes for the next 10 minutes until the 45 is up.

4. Reward yourself for sticking to your schedule and being productive. Decide on an activity to do once your study time is completed. Plan on watching a television show later in the evening. Tell yourself that you will play five minutes of a video game for every fifteen minutes that you study. Create goals and their rewards before you start studying and work hard to reach them each and every day.

5. Variety is important. Vary the topics that you are spending time studying. Get the mandatory homework out of the way first and then go back and spend the additional time reviewing material from different courses each day. If you spent extra time reviewing history yesterday, spend the additional time on science tonight. Some subject areas may require more time than others. You should get a feel for this a month or so into the school year.

6. Study the difficult subjects first and get them out of the way. You will be able to absorb material quicker and make more connections when you are mentally fresh.

7. Take regular study breaks. This can also serve as a mini-reward. For instance, tell yourself that you are going to get a drink or snack or listen to a specific song after you finish re-copying your notes for science. Make the breaks short, 3-6 minutes or so, so you won't get side-tracked or lose focus for the day.

8. Don't just re-read notes or the text. Ask questions. Create flash-cards. Redo assignments. Create time-lines. Play games. Re-write your notes. Get someone to quiz you. Find websites online that review the same material. Make up questions that you think will be on the test. Create new outlines of the material by writing some specific topics and filling in the details from memory. Studying should be an active process, not just time spent re-reading something.

9. When you need to remember a group of terms use the first letter of each to create a word (acronym) or a sentence (acrostic). For instance, an easy way to remember the five Great Lakes is the word "HOMES". By just remembering the word "homes" you can easily remember the names of the five Great Lakes . H stands for Huron, O for Ontario , M for Michigan , and so on. You can also create silly sentences to help you remember long lists of terms. For instance, remembering the sentence "Martha Visits Every Monday, Just Stays Until Noon, Period", will help you remember the planets in the order they are found. M for Mercury, V for visits, E for Earth, etc.

10. Become a teacher. Find someone who is willing to listen to you -, a classmate (this would be a great review for them), Mom or Dad, a sibling, the family dog - and explain your notes to them. Have them (except the dog) ask questions about the material that they themselves don't understand. It's amazing how much you can retain when you have to actually teach material to someone.

11. Repetition, repetition, repetition. The material should become second nature to you by the time test day arrives. If it is not, then you need to devote more time to preparing for the test.

12. Exercise often and before you sit down to study. Research shows that students retain more after being physically active. Go to soccer practice, take a jog, rough-house with your dog, break a sweat first, then settle down and focus on your school work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Distance Education Opportunities for All Ages

Are you familiar with distance education? It is an educational program by which the teaching or the learning occurs in a different place than where the program is based. Now, what does that mean? The best way to describe distance education is to give examples of it. One example is outreach programs; another is college extension programs, some home schooling programs, and online universities, colleges, and technical schools. Below you will find a more detailed description of each of these types of distance education and a reason why it might be an option for you.

Outreach programs are often conducted by organizations to bring information and distance education to students in outlying areas. It may be a zoo, a museum, or even a university which is conducting the outreach. It may be offered as a single one time course, or there may be a series of courses. Some of these distance education courses result in certification or training that the participants can use for work or school.

College extension courses are offered by main college campuses, but at smaller campuses in rural or outlying areas, to reach those who normally would not be able to attend a regular university due to family situation, money, time or any other reason. Although course offerings in this type of distance education are more limited it is a great resource for many people to get a degree that may not otherwise be able to get one and still have the "on campus" experience.

Home schooling is becoming more popular but it may be difficult to get all of the curriculum and materials that are needed. So, you can go online and get distance education courses for grades K through 12 in many different subjects, or you can order packets which are delivered to your home.

The final and one of the best examples of distance learning is online college, university and technical schools. You can get a degree from one of hundreds of accredited institutions right in the privacy of home at your own time and speed. These schools offer everything from a short specialized training program to a two year degree to a doctorate. You can become qualified for almost anything from medical transcription to doctorate in Educational Administration.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Home Based Speech and Language Services for Children

Has your child suffered from multiple ear infections? Do you have a feeling that your child's speech is not developing as quickly as it should? Is your child's speech not clear to you? Are his/her words flip flopped?

Maybe it is time that your child not matter what his/her age is be seen by a home based speech and language therapist. Having an evaluation is such good piece of mind. Children's Hospital has a great evaluation department or you can request that your child be evaluated at home. Getting on the internet and looking up No Child Left Behind programs, Easter Seals, and Head Start programs in your area are great resources. There are private speech and language therapist's like myself that have all of the testing materials for evaluations and home based speech services.

Being at home for speech therapy is very rewarding to the therapist, child, and caregiver. The caregiver is able to see how therapy can be done in the home. The speech therapist provides great ideas for using the "home" as everyday therapy. There are so many ideas in the home that aid in therapy: siblings, parents, all of the rooms in the house even outside, all the child's toys and books. Even therapy is conducted at the park down the street from you.

So if you are thinking of home based therapy for your child no matter what his/her age from toddlers to teens. Try home based speech therapy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

GED Study Tip: Take Note!

Getting ready for the GED? Whether you're attending local classes, taking an online GED course or managing a self-study program at home, you'll want to ensure that your study time is effective.

Make a Note! Here's one surefire study tip that has proven successful for adults working toward the General Education Development credential, the 'diploma' awarded for passing the GED Test.

Take Notes

For many GED students and adult learners, taking notes seems boring or tedious, or they can't see the relevance of taking notes. Perhaps they have an abundance of GED study materials and don't feel a need to add more to the pile. And for some GED students, taking notes is new -- they're reluctant because they've never done it, or never learned the skill.

Taking notes is easy -- it's highly effective and ensures learning when it's a three-part process. And taking notes is a critical way to shift new information that's learned from the brain's short-term memory bank to the brain's knowledge vault.

1. Initially, many people feel like they're copying or jotting material just for the sake of it. It's difficult for them to see how taking notes helps them learn. And it may seem like a mindless activity. Still, it's important -- just write down information as you move through material on your own, or during GED classes. The act of taking notes engages you with the study material beyond just hearing information, reading or seeing it.

Just as note-taking improves with practice, so does learning. As notes are taken more frequently and regularly, students begin to recognize key information and main points more easily and more often. Note-taking becomes more logical since the act of taking notes engages the logical processing of the brain. When the logical brain becomes engaged, the learning process is activated and information is better retained.

2. The second part of taking notes is organizing them; do it soon after taking them. How do you organize notes? Put them in logical order -- or an order that makes the most sense to you. Highlight, circle or underline important information. As notes are reviewed and organized, the information from the notes is refreshed in the mind and organized mentally. Again, the logical brain is engaged.

3. You reinforce this part of the learning process by processing your notes again. Fill in any missing information. Make a list of the key words from your notes. List any problems you're having with the material, or identify sections in your notes where the material seems unclear. Make an outline of the information so that you see the relationship of ideas and facts to each other. Make another list or outline that includes all the information you feel you've really learned. Determine how you can use this new knowledge in real-life situations. Now, review sections or the list that identified unclear information and you'll probably discover that it's clearer.

Taking notes is neither an art nor a science. But the learning process is both. Learning isn't really about remembering, and knowledge isn't about memorization. Real learning and real knowledge are about activating, using and engaging higher brain processes, which is exactly what happens during the three-step process of taking notes.

At GED test time, taking notes will prove to be an excellent skill to have learned. Processing information logically, and identifying key words and main ideas are major parts of the GED test. So taking notes is an important skill and practice for study time and test time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Career Education and Planning Your Future

You may or may not have had a career education course in your grade school, high school or even college years. This can be a great tool to help individuals discover the available career choices to them. But, even as a young or middle-aged adult you may have questions about your career path and you may want additional career education. You may be unhappy in your chosen profession, or you may want to update your knowledge and skills but you are not sure how.

The internet is one of the most beneficial tools available to people who need career education. You can find personality, skill, and knowledge assessments; there are online courses designed to give you continuing education, and even universities which offer very type of degree from an associate's to a doctorate. Once you have gotten the career education, training and skills you need, you can even find a new job online.

Assessments can help you to narrow down your career choices. Many career education courses provide them for students. Online you will find assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Personality profile, conflict resolution style, negotiation style, and so on and so on. Once you have found out what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will be better able to choose a career. Some government agencies even offer career education and job counseling for individuals who are looking for a career.

It may be a helpful step to you, as you embark on your career education path, to set up a plan. You should think about your skills, your values, your interests, and your personality. Decide on a career and then outline exactly what you will need to do to get there. Update and change your plan as necessary-then comes the real career education.

You will be amazed at the number of online universities and training programs available. Some are offered as an extension of traditional universities as a distance learning program. Whether you are looking for a degree program or just a recertification or training program, you will need to make sure that the university or organization offering the courses or program is accredited or recognized by those in your field of choice. You can usually take the courses at your own speed. You can often find financing, grants and scholarships, to assist you if you need it. As you take classes, evaluate yourself from time to time to make sure that this is still your career of choice.

Now you are ready to look for a job. There are online classifieds and job search services for nearly every profession. Many are free and allow you to personalize your search as needed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Keep Your Driving Record Clean - Online Traffic School

No one wants to go to traffic school - after all, eight hours in a stuffy room, sitting on uncomfortable chairs and watching outdated, gory videos of the devastating results of reckless drivers isn't exactly an ideal way of spending a Saturday afternoon. Sure, sometimes an instructor is fun and witty, making the experience bearable, maybe even enjoyable. But, most people aren't willing to relinquish a whole day. Time is simply too precious a commodity.

Mike P. Welch knows all too well the realities of some walk-in traffic school experiences, having completed traffic school in August of 2005. In addition to an uncomfortable facility, Welch had to contend with disinterested fellow students and grossly outdated course materials.

"The instructor had us watch a video that was from the 1970s and a big segment was on call boxes, which I felt was irrelevant, considering the majority of the population now has cell phones," he says.

Instead of fostering an atmosphere of learning, "half of the students didn't want to be there and were distracting to the learning process," Welch says. "I didn't appreciate the social stigma of having to reveal my violation in front of a classroom of people. I felt like I was there to be punished, instead of improving my knowledge of traffic laws."

Fortunately, those who are ordered to traffic school or to a defensive driving course, in exchange for wiping points off their driving records, have an alternative to a long day of traffic school. Online traffic and defensive driving schools are becoming exceedingly popular, particularly in California (including among Los Angeles traffic school and San Diego traffic school), Florida and Texas.

Skeptical? Those who have never taken an online course will quickly find it's a fast, easy and effective way to complete traffic school. In fact, statistics prove that online traffic school works. In 2004, more than a third of the 500,000 people ordered to complete traffic school in Florida did so online. Ninety perfect of those who completed the online traffic course passed the final exam.

Compared to Welch's experience with walk-in traffic school, Travis' experience with online traffic school was so effective and so inspiring that he founded Ticket Relief Traffic School ( "Not only was the course a breeze, but I actually refreshed my knowledge of California driving and learned a couple new driving laws I didn't know about," he says.

As he researched and learned more about online traffic schools, his belief in the effectiveness of online traffic school was only reinforced. "I found several studies that showed students were able to concentrate better with an online class versus a traditional walk-in school. The studies showed that students who used a computer to take an online traffic school course exhibited a smaller amount of distractions compared to a classroom setting. The students using the computers produced a higher level of concentration and higher test scores than the students in a classroom setting."

Indeed, more and more people are discovering the vast advantages of fulfilling their court requirements by completing online traffic school:

o It's easy. Simply register, pay for the course and get started.

o It's safe. Many online traffic schools, such as Ticket Relief, offer 128bit encryption to ensure safe credit card transactions.

o Save time. Students can complete their online course in as little as six hours, sometimes less.

o Finish the course at leisure. With online traffic schools like Ticket Relief, students can save their work and return to it at a later time, unlike traditional traffic school when all work is completed in one session. Of course, those who want to complete the course in one sitting are welcome to do so. In fact, with Ticket Relief, students have access to the course for 160 days from the time they register.

o Use any computer. Start the exam on the library's computer and finish it on a home computer. The course for traffic school, with Ticket Relief for example, requires only a computer with an Internet connection.

o Save money. Online traffic schools are typically much cheaper with rates ranging from $17 to $50.

o Discounts. Ticket Relief offers discounts to senior citizens, students, members of the military and AAA members.

o Consistency. Online traffic schools such as Ticket Relief promise students each time they take the course they receive only the highest quality reading material, quizzes and final exam. Ticket Relief ensures all course material is updated yearly.

o It's comprehensive. Students will receive a refresher course, covering traffic laws and other pertinent information. Ticket Relief's comprehensive course includes five sections, each ending with a quiz that allows students to gauge their level of comprehension of the course material. The quizzes also help students prepare for the final exam.

o Worry-free. Students who fail the final exam needn't worry. Ticket Relief allows for unlimited taking of the final exam for no extra charge, as long as it's taken within the 160 day time limit.

Students who have never taken an online course needn't worry. Most traffic schools provide customer service either via a toll-free number or email, or both.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Learning Styles: Beginning the Process of Education

In schools today, many teachers face many obstacles which impede learning. Items such as unavailability of materials to home situations which teachers have no control over and the fact that learning is usually one of the last things on children's minds when they come to school. However, a vast majority of teachers who face behavior problems in the classroom overlook one of the most valuable facets of educational knowledge they learn in teacher education programs, Learning Styles. In the following article we will examine three different types of learning styles and how teachers can use these styles to better control and serve their classrooms.

The first style is auditory learning. Auditory learning occurs by children listening to information which is conveyed by teachers. Typically, a teacher may stand in front of the classroom or walk around the classroom, all the while speaking the information which they intend their students to learn. This style is good for those students who like to listen to an explanation of information and follow along with it as teacher explains a body of knowledge. Teachers can use this style to be most effective in establishing a classroom environment in which the teacher is the ruler. The teacher's authority is seldom challenged because the teacher leaves very little room for students to voice their thoughts on the information.

The second style is that of visual learning. Visual learning occurs by children learning through what they see. Usually, a teacher will draw diagrams on a board, use posters or other items such as an overhead projector to display information. While the teacher may speak about the information presented, the primary method of learning is by seeing the information which is to be learned. Teachers may use this type of learning to stimulate discussion between the teacher and students giving students something to refer to when initiating a discussion.

The final style is tactile/kinesthetic learning. This type of learning occurs when students take part in classroom activities. Teachers will construct directions and allow students to form groups or using preformed groups, will have students complete an activity. The main objective is to have students learn the desired information by doing an exercise which contains the information to be conveyed. Teachers can use this style as a means to control a very active group of students. With the structured activities, teachers can use this type of learning to give students a chance to expend some pent up energy while learning is still taking place.

While many teachers today grapple with the troubles of everyday school life, their students suffer. Teachers are faced with many factors which are beyond their control, the influences of home life and the streets. Yet, when faced with these challenges in the school setting, many teachers give up and let their classrooms become just as chaotic as the environments students are trying to escape. If teachers wish to understand their students and best capture their interest, it has to begin first by addressing the way children best receive the information teachers provide them. These learning styles are the way to get into a child's world. So I ask, "How do you learn best?"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Abandoning Bogus Academic Theories

We have many theories in science that we teach our college students, that we know to not be entirely correct. This is rather odd of academia in that science is about seeking answers and truths to those things around us we observe. If we teach bogus academic theory and do not rid our High School and College textbooks of these bogus academic theories we are doing a disservice to our future generations. Such methodology will lead to fewer discoveries and slow the forward progression of the species entirely.

Academia must come clean on the bogus theories and claims it purports. If something cannot be proved then it must not be taught as fact, no matter which brilliant genius of which past period claimed it. If we fail to understand this basic principle in science then no meaningful forward progression of the species can be achieved. Luckily today we have many who are challenging the experts and will not settle for; "because I told you so" or because; "it says so in your text book" and for those minds who challenge the status quo, I salute you.

We must review all the old textbooks to make sure what we are teaching is correct. For instance old history books; we know history is written by the winners, not the losers so the information is automatically perception based skewed. Physics books are also full of old garbage.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Value of Education and Finishing Something You Started

The value of education sometimes is highly underrated. Although school can be boring at times, important social structures can be made while attending either high school or college. These support systems are able to help one during time of excess stress, crisis or even personal problems that plague a person. School not only offers this benefit but allows one to be around others that are seeking something greater in life, and have a desire to achieve and reach for higher goals. If one can fit into the right social environment, rewards can be reaped that will last way beyond that of graduating and even up until retirement years.

After high school, many people seek a life for themselves if they do not choose to go to college. This life can be very hard with out a degree. It is not so much the paper, but when people see a college degree, it shows that the person is qualified to stick to a job and take it until completion; something that "learned laziness" prevents people from doing.

People learn to be lazy when they stop pursuing their goals, or worse yet, do not make any goals or have dreams that make them want to wake up to everyday. It is important to make a goal, and keep this goal until it has been reached. This is the art of finishing something. Again, completion of a college exemplifies this.

Another benefit of a structured institution is interaction with teachers. It is not a secret that teachers are highly underpaid, however, this can work in the students favor. Those who want to be there are there because of their inner desire to teach and get fulfillment from seeing students grasp onto information and apply it. The author does realize this is a Polly Anna way of looking the school system, however, it holds much truth. There are always those ill tempered teachers, but for the most part, teachers are there because they want to see you learn.

Finally, upon completion of a degree, self esteem and inner self-importance can rise to healthy levels. There are many roadblocks for those without a degree, but with this under your belt...The World is Yours!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why Study Math? The Ellipse

In continuation of the "Why Study Math" series of articles, here we look at another conic section: the ellipse. The four conic sections, in order from most popularly known to least, are the circle, the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola. Remember that these shapes can all be obtained by slicing a right circular double-napped cone with a plane. As a visual exercise, picture an ice cream cone-without the ice cream-upside down standing on a table. This is a single-napped right circular cone. (To get a double-napped cone, add another cone on top, right-side up, balanced at the point.) To get the circle, take an imaginary plane (picture a piece of paper) and intersect the cone parallel to the base. The plane has just cut out a circle on the cone. Similarly, to get the ellipse tilt the plane slightly up or down and intersect it with the cone. What you have then is an elongated circle, or ellipse.

Probably the most famous application of the mathematical curve called an ellipse is in the description of planetary orbits. Johannes Kepler, the famous German mathematician and astronomer, used the position of the planet Mars and the sun to work out the orbit of the earth. After twenty years of painstaking work and analysis, Kepler was finally able to put forth his three planetary laws of motion. The first of these laws states correctly that the planets move about the sun in elliptical orbits. This was a revolutionary breakthrough which finally put an end to the Copernican idea of circular orbits.

Even though some might know that the planets revolve in elliptical orbits about the sun, a far less common application of this conic section is in machinery. The ellipse finds itself intricately involved in the manufacture of cams, which are rotating pieces of machinery that serve to transform rotating motion into up-and-down or back-and-forth motion. Examples of this are seen in the sewing machine, which uses the cam to generate up-and-down motion of the sewing needle. The punch press is another example that utilizes the cam. This machine is used in generating dies for the manufacture of metal objects. Because of the features of the ellipse, the punch press can function to produce all kinds of intricate metal objects running the gamut from rifle barrels to triggers to nuts and bolts to wire.

Of course, let us not forget the use of the cam in the automobile engine. The car engine has to be one of the most important inventions of all time. Because of knowledge of the ellipse, man was able to design the engine, relying on the cam and camshaft to generate the up-and-down motion from the elliptical cams moving in a rotary manner. This up-and-down motion is intricately involved in the complicated tasks of the internal combustion engine. Not bad for a simple mathematical idea such as the ellipse!

So the next time you hop in that new spit-shined Mercedes of yours and start to rev the engine, remember that had it not been for the study and application of the ellipse, you might be picking up your sexy date in a horse and buggy. Till next time...