Monthly Archives: August 2016

Tips To Teach Young Children

Elementary education becomes even more important as the years go by, because everyone realizes how it sets the foundation of much more learning to follow. This puts even more pressure on elementary school teachers in their quest to succeed with each child in their class. Here we shall take a look at how elementary education has changed for both students and teachers of this age group.

Elementary education is something we have all gone through, and it is something that may have shaped our lives forever. Through the elementary school program we all began to learn more about ourselves and the world, as our horizons were extended beyond the home to take in the school environment, and from there, the world grew even more as we discovered and were taught about other cities, and other countries.

So how does elementary education shape a child’s life? When a child attends elementary school, the world of the child changes. Having depended on their parents from birth, suddenly they have someone else in their lives, their class teacher. This teacher holds the future of that child in their hands to some extent, because how the child reacts to that teacher, and vice versa, can influence the child, his or her ability to learn, and his or her love of learning.

When children attend kindergarten, their learning begins in earnest, with learning the basics like the alphabet and the number system, and the learning continues at a fast pace for most of the children. However, if there is a dislike between the child and his teacher, then this may result in the child not learning as well as he should.

Knowing as we do that education is a like a tower of building blocks, we know how important those first few blocks are. The rest of the education of each child is built on the first few years, and how the child handles learning and how to deal with mistakes really can affect him well into his future.

This means that the role of the kindergarten teacher and the first grades is so important. There has to be plenty of encouragement with all aspects of learning, and the children have to learn that mistakes are often made by most people, but they can be corrected, and can learn from them. The very basics that are taught there need to be learned thoroughly in the first grades, so that they can be built on effectively. We all know, for example, that it is important to start reading at an early age, and children who cannot read do tend to struggle in the school system where so much depends on reading and writing.

And of course the value of knowing the number system, and being able to use numbers correctly is also of great importance, since these are used more and more as the children grow older. For children to progress, they need to understand the basics, and without this, they can become a problem in the classroom as they get bored and are unable to accomplish tasks set for them.

This makes the job of the elementary school teacher extremely important, and that in turn means that the training of these teachers has to be thorough, giving student teachers the skills they need to cope with the ever changing classroom dynamics. At one time, the life of a teacher was easier, in that all the children in a class spoke the same language, but nowadays, any one classroom can have children who speak a different language at home, so not only are they having to learn to read and write in the elementary classroom, but they also have to learn another language, one that is not necessarily used at home.

For English as a second language students, the teacher has to be able to encourage their use of English at school, and somehow, find the time to give them individual attention. If any of these children struggle with any of the basics, the elementary school teacher needs to help that child as much as possible so that they do not start to fall behind the rest of the class.

The result of all of this is that the elementary teachers have a great deal of responsibility for getting their class successfully through the necessary curriculum, so that the following year, the next teacher can do the same, building on the knowledge of the previous year. Should any child fall behind, through sickness, or any other reason, then every effort has to be made by the teacher to help that child catch up and understand the lessons that have been missed.

But the life of an elementary school teacher is not all about imparting knowledge. Elementary education also involves helping children become good citizens, which requires the elementary school teacher to spend time helping students with this important aspect of education. This means that the elementary teacher has a great deal of responsibility, an enormous task, and a task that is not always appreciated by others who consider the life of a teacher to be a very easy job. A teacher’s life can be very stressful, dealing with children from widely differing backgrounds, helping them with language difficulties, and helping the parents too understand what is happening in their child’s life at school. Of course with language difficulties, this becomes even more of a challenge for the elementary teachers.

As you can see, elementary education is full of challenges, for the school teachers as well as the students, but they are challenges that are eagerly faced by teachers and students alike.

Tips to Become a Child Life Specialist

Child life is a unique field that helps connect with children at a whole new level. Here’s how to become a specialist in this field, and understand and help children who are under immense physical and emotional trauma.

A child life specialist is someone who helps a child deal with the emotional trauma associated with physical illness. As someone who works in a hospital or a health care facility, the specialist will help a child cope with the stress of undergoing surgery, or any other complicated medical procedure. She/he may also have to work to convince a child to get a blood test done. These specialists are also communicators between the family and the health care professionals involved in child care. As we take a look at how you can pursue this career, we will also help you decide whether or not this is the career for you.

Before we take a look at the educational requirements, you should know about certain personal abilities and skills you ought to possess when considering child life as a career. For one, you have to simply love children to do this job. And this doesn’t just mean loving kids’ cute qualities. It means dealing with their tantrums, their fears, and their general impatience, without losing your patience. It also involves dealing with the families of children undergoing treatment. Sometimes, you may have to watch children who are terminally ill come in, and perhaps watch them pass before your eyes. For this, you must have a strong heart. As you are one of the members of the health care team who will be closest to the child, it is likely that you will get attached to her/him. Moving on despite this attachment is absolutely essential. Certain leadership and management skills are also essential to advance to higher positions in the field. You will need to complete the following educational requirements to pursue this profession:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Training starts at the undergraduate level itself. While you may be able to come across a specific degree in few colleges, getting a degree in the field of child psychology, counseling (that includes grief counseling), family studies, child care, education, child development, or early childhood education. All these fields will help you gain a better understanding of dealing with children and their needs in the health care setting. You will also be taught appropriate professional and medical ethics during your course. In any case, choosing a degree that is as close to the field of child life is always going to be more beneficial.
  • Certificate Program in Child Life: While it is not always necessary, obtaining a masters in the field of child life or the aforementioned associated fields will definitely improve, not only your understanding of the field, but also increase your chances of employment in this field. Also, a post-baccalaureate program in child life, or a certificate program in this field is available to those who have completed their bachelor’s in the above mentioned fields. The program lasts for a year, and gaining entry to it may require you to provide your GRE scores, a statement of purpose, and several letters of recommendation. In the course of this program, you will also be give an internship opportunity that will prepare you for the real job.
  • Internship in Child Life: It is ideal that in the course of your education, or after your bachelor’s, you take up jobs that will introduce you to the field of child life and care. These jobs include volunteer programs, camps, and health care facilities. You must complete at least 480 hours of an internship, and gain clinical experience under the guidance of a certified specialist, to be able to qualify for certification in the field. Working in a hospital setting, specifically in the pediatrics department, is perhaps the best option to get you introduced to this field.
  • Certification: The next step is to apply for the child life specialist certification that is issued by the Child Life Council. It is an examination that you have to get through to be able to start practicing as a qualified professional in the field. You should also have completed 10 college level courses related to the field of child life, or in child life itself, and the appropriate internship duration, when you apply for licensure. This exam is conducted twice a year, and is a rigorous exam that tests for the best in the field. In fact, it is always a good idea to go through the exact eligibility requirements for certification, so that you follow the appropriate path in the course of your education.

A certified child life specialist’s salary, as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is at an average of $40,000 per year. These figures will of course change based on your experience and the quality of your work. To get the best jobs and maintain them, it is important that you continue educating yourself in this field, and make yourself more aware of newer techniques to cope with the demands of this field.

Scaffolding In Education

Scaffolding in education is a concept to help a child learn and master new information and skills. This helps in complete intellectual development of children. This article will tell you how the integration of this technique is useful in education.

Scaffolding is a concept based on the theory proposed by Lev Vygotsky, known as, ‘Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)’. It is one of the most popular teaching methods. In this mode of instruction, a teacher helps the student initially, to learn a new concept and offers maximum assistance. Gradually, the teacher sets up newer tasks for the students to perform and apply their knowledge independently. The zone of proximal development literally means the distance between what children can do on their own and what they can do when assisted by an adult. Scaffolding in education is a strategy in which a knowledgeable person equips the student and provides him with all the information and support to acquire or learn a particular thing.

Basics

Teachers use this strategy regularly in classrooms. A teacher demonstrates a particular skill to students and then provides them with assistance, while students attempt to master the skill. It literally is transferring the responsibility from the teacher to the student in order to teach the student to work independently. The assistance is not taken away immediately, rather it is a gradual transformation. One of the examples of scaffolding would be when a teacher teaches students how to solve a sum in maths using given properties. The teacher then asks students to solve the sum on their own and come up with the answer and corrects them if they have made mistakes. Teaching itself is a skill, therefore before using this strategy, a tutor has to be skilled with his teaching skills. This strategy helps students learn from their mistakes and clears all doubts about certain concepts while mastering a skill.

Characteristics

Jamie McKenzie, the editor of an online education journal has pointed out the eight characteristics of the scaffolding strategy that a teacher must follow in order to teach a student. They are as follows.

  • A step by step instruction procedure helps in reducing confusion over concepts of acquiring skills.
  • Explain the importance of learning or mastering a particular skill.
  • The students must be able to analyze the instructions and come up with their ways to tackle the matter.
  • Offering assessment of the work students have done helps them learn and understand what is expected of them.
  • A teacher must point out other resources where students can refer for help to learn more about the skill or information being taught to them
  • The activity must be well planned and keep students interested and should not be posed as a fear in any which way, due to which they will lose interest in understanding the concept of the task.
  • Efficient delivery of the instruction will save time and is a quick and interesting way of educating students.
  • The basic aim of this strategy is to provide knowledge to students and help them overcome their fear of performing and making decisions.

Examples

The earliest application of the study was done with toddlers of ages 3, 4, and 5. They were given the task of making a pyramid with a set of blocks. The tutor was asked to help the child only as much it would for him to understand what was to be done. This study was done by Wood, Ross, and Bruner in 1986. From this study they came up with 6 forms of support that a child could be provided with.
Another example was of reciprocal teaching, a study carried out by Palinscar and Brown in 1985. Here students were provided with reading strategies by a tutor. These strategies were:

  • Self-Directed Summarizing
  • Questioning
  • Clarifying
  • Predicting

The tutor helped the students with each of these strategies till they could understand the importance of each and its application.

Advantages

The main advantage of this strategy is that it helps the learners associate acquired knowledge with new concepts. It also helps in building a sort of self-confidence in students. It also helps reduce fear and anxiety about a certain concept, which if not taken away, leads to frustration. Another advantage is that it is tailored according to the individual requirement of the learner.

Disadvantages

As mentioned in the advantages section, that it is tailored for individual learners, application of this strategy in a classroom gets quite tedious. The strength of a class is often large and applying the strategy to each student may become quite time-consuming.

Software Applications

To overcome the disadvantage of individual attention, there are various software applications available for scaffolding, which a teacher can offer students as a learning resource. This proves the importance of technology in education. There are certain software tools, such as Thinker Tools, Knowledge Integration Environment, and Progress Portfolio, which help learners master the skills he wishes to acquire.

Thus, scaffolding has its own benefits in the field of education, when applied strategically. Application of this instruction in classroom is not impossible, certain modifications would help. It is definitely advantageous for learners.

Impact of Technology on Education

Technology plays a vital role in every sphere of life, and education is no exception. The advent of technology has deeply impacted the educational scene. It has made learning easy and interesting.

Technology has certainly changed the way we live. It has impacted different facets of life and redefined living. Undoubtedly, technology plays an important role in every sphere of life. Several mundane manual tasks can be automated, thanks to technology. Also, many complex and critical processes can be carried out with ease and greater efficiency with the help of modern technology. Thanks to the application of technology, living has changed and it has changed for better.
Technology’s Impact on Education

  • Easy access to information
  • Greater interest in learning
  • Increased retention of information
  • Robust information storage
  • Better presentation of information
  • Teaching made interactive
  • Knowledge sharing made easy

Technology has revolutionized the field of education. The importance of technology in schools cannot be ignored. In fact, with the onset of computers in education, it has become easier for teachers to impart knowledge and for students to acquire it. The use of technology has made the process of teaching and learning all the more enjoyable.

Technology is a teaching aid
Computers offer an interactive audio-visual medium. PowerPoint presentations and animation software can be used to present information in an interactive way. Owing to the audio-visual effects, this way of teaching invites greater interest from students. The method is equally helpful for teachers. Projectors and screens facilitate simultaneous viewing of information by a large number of students. Addressing systems using microphones and speakers make it possible for teachers to reach a larger number of students simultaneously. These teaching aids have led to improvements in student attendance and their attentiveness in class. Interactive media have proven to be useful in increasing students’ concentration levels.

Technology has made student life easy
Technology aids student expression. Students can use much more than just pen and paper to express themselves or present what they have learned. They can use software to make presentations and projects. This makes them more interested in the subject and leads to better retention of information. With technological aids, they can make easy-to-remember notes and a creative presentation of the information they have acquired. It won’t be wrong to say that application of technology has made a student’s life easy. It’s easier for students to carry a PDA than carrying big fat books to school. An iPad is less bulkier than a pile of notebooks or an ebook reader much lighter than a book.

Owing to technology, student life is easy and learning is much more fun!
It’s easier to store information
Computers enable better and more robust storage of information. If you weigh chalk, board, books, and notebooks against technology, you find that technology can substitute for any and all of these. Computers have replaced chalk and board; they can even do the talking sometimes while the teacher takes a step back and lets the presentations ‘speak’. Digital libraries require no physical space and students and teachers sitting in different parts of the world can access the same library at the same time. Compact memory devices have replaced notebooks and a keyboard and computer mouse are the new writing devices. What would have required hundred pages of a book can be compacted into a tiny memory chip. It can take hours to write, but it takes only seconds to type. Storing data has become much easier, owing to technology.

The use of technology in education enables robust storage of information and easy access to it.
Information is easily accessible
The Internet is a huge information base. It can be used as an effective tool for acquiring knowledge. All a web user needs to do is to key in queries to search engines. Users are presented with thousands of search results. There are several websites and web directories that offer information on literally everything in the world. And all this is just a few clicks away. Both teachers and students can benefit from this.

Technology has eliminated space and time constraints
Online education and distance learning have given a new dimension to education and higher learning. Even if students are geographically far away from each other, they can be a part of one classroom. Many educational institutes offer online courses, which eliminates time and space constraints in acquiring education. Universities offer online educational programs wherein students can interact with their teachers over the Internet, access reference material from the University website, and earn degrees online.

Thanks to technology, geographical distance and time difference is no longer a barrier in communication. Students and teachers located miles apart can interact online.
Teaching is sharing
Thanks to the application of technology, education has become more collaborative. With plethora of information so easily available to students, they can be a part of the process; they don’t need to remain at the receiving end. Owing to the use of technology, subject experts can come together to formulate courses, design assessments, and better the process of teaching. The day isn’t far, when students located in different parts of the world will be able to seek advice from experts spread across the globe. Education will be customized then. It will cater to different learning needs and varying grasping abilities and interests of students.
Mutual impact
Today, computer education is a part of school and college curricula. Considering the wide range of applications of computer technology, it is necessary for each one of us to be computer-friendly. Considering the advantages of the Internet technology, it is important for each of us to gain basic knowledge of Internet access and web research. We live in a technology-age and hence, it is important for us to be abreast with the latest inventions in the field. With education, we acquire knowledge of the functioning and use of different pieces of technology. And with the application of technology, we can educate ourselves better. This is the impact that technology and education have on each other. Education boosts the use of technology and technology aids education.
The importance of technology in education cannot be stressed enough. The introduction of technology in the educational field has made the process of learning and knowledge-sharing, a more interactive and pleasurable experience. Perhaps, the greatest impact of technology on education is the change in perspective. The paradigm shift in thinking from local to global can be attributed to technology. Indeed technology is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/impact-of-technology-on-education.html