Monthly Archives: October 2016

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education aims at the development of one’s cognitive and motor abilities. These skills can best be taught by blending education with fun and play. To know more on this, read on.

Early childhood encompasses the first eight years in the life of an individual. The education that should be given during these years of a child’s life revolves around certain domains of early development. Research has discovered the fact that children tend to learn from whole experiences and that they cannot perceive parts of an experience. Thus the education they are given should be in the form that they can understand. Early childhood education focuses on learning through play. Parents, caretakers, neighbors and preschool teachers play a vital role in the early years of a child’s education.

The first two years in a child’s life are spent in the realization of one’s own identity. These are the years when children gain a sense of self. Children gradually form an identity of their own and learn to associate themselves with the people around them. They gain an understanding of their own thinking and behavior to a certain extent and they begin to know themselves. For these reasons it is suggested that early childhood education during these years should be focused on establishing links between children and their families, their home and their culture. It should be remembered that the education given to children in these years would lead them towards forming a fully developed identity of their own.

During the early years of childhood, one develops motor control. This is one of the most important developmental domains in a child’s life. Early childhood education should deal with the training in motor abilities. Motor control needs to be exercised during the early years of childhood. Motor abilities relate to a child’s ability to use his/her muscles. The ability to hold an object with grip, the ability of co-coordinated walking and synchronized muscle movements to perform various physical activities define the set of a child’s motor skills.

Perception, sensory development and communication are also the important domains of a child’s development. In the phase of early childhood, one learns to perceive things and react to them using the sensory organs. It is during this period that a child learns to use its sensory organs to perceive stimuli. The early childhood years define the period of developing language and communication skills. Language forms the children’s means to communicate with the world around them, to express themselves and say what they think and feel. Children gain the cognitive abilities during the early years of childhood.

The development of an individual starts with the manifestation of one’s motor abilities. The intelligence levels increase and gradually begin to be displayed in terms of thinking and imagination. These abilities later develop into logic, accompanied by a general awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings. The social and mental development also takes place during one’s early childhood years. The education given during these years of a child’s development should aim at his/her interpersonal skills too. It is during their early childhood years, that children obtain happiness from a sense of security. Assuring them family security during these years is important for their overall development. The lack of parental interaction during early childhood can negatively impact a child’s development. It is the responsibility of the parents and caretakers to assure the children of a mental and social security to help them develop their personalities.

Early childhood education programs should consist of training in reading abilities, motor skills, language and communication skills. The need of the day is to familiarize a child to technology during his/her early years of childhood. Apart from the basic skills, it has become necessary to acquaint children with modern technology. Teaching children through narratives and moral stories is an effective way to inculcate in them, the principles of life. Teaching them the basic math and alphabet helps them in their school activities. Some children might exhibit certain natural talents, which need to be recognized at the right time and nurtured. Early childhood is the time to understand children and make them understand their own selves. Education during that period should serve this purpose.

Importance of Art Education

While both school and parents underscore on the importance of academics for the development of young minds, they, however, pay little attention to art education.

Have you ever thought why do we send children to school? Or what is the importance of education? Firstly, schools teach the necessary values to children which are needed to become good citizens. Secondly, schools provide skills and prepare students to get a job. And lastly, perhaps the most important, schools teach students how to be better human beings, how to be creative and aware, and to enjoy and understand the deeper forms of beauty. Art education, be it in the form of drawing or music or dance, does exactly that.

The importance of art education in the development of a child’s overall personality and skills is undeniable. Still, it is seen that when it comes to cost-cutting, art and craft programs are the first things that are discontinued in schools. Maybe the school authorities as well as parents need to understand why is art education important. Given below are some of the advantages of art education for students.

Importance of Art Education in Schools
It is observed that children who are engaged in art activities, develop a better understanding of other subjects, right from languages to geography to even science. Studies have shown that students who are exposed to any of the forms of creative expression, be it music, painting, or drama, on an average achieve higher scores in standardized tests. Some other findings suggest that students engaged in an arts program in school are much more unlikely to drop out of school compared to those who are not into any kind of arts.

Creativity
During art programs, students are often given materials and asked to draw whatever they feel like. Such free-flowing art activities foster creativity in children and help in developing their imagination as well as decision-making skills.

Interpretation Skills
During art appreciation classes, students are made to interpret and draw conclusions from various pieces of art. This strengthens their interpretation skills, and they can use the same in other subjects as well as in all other aspects of life.

Critical Thinking and Communication Skills
Art develops a child’s intelligence. Studies have shown that exposure of children to art helps in promoting brain activity. A child learns how to solve a problem. He also learns how to convey his thoughts and ideas in numerous ways. During art classes, various pieces of art are discussed in detail. This discussion makes the students capable of expressing themselves well during debates or in speech classes.

Personality Development
Art forms such as drama activities develop the overall personality of a child. They build a child’s self-esteem and make him disciplined. A child due to his engagement in art becomes much more creative and innovative. He develops motivation and also learns how to cooperate with others.

People Skills
The importance of art education for children can be understood from the fact that engaging in art activities gives the child a better understanding of human nature. A child develops sensitivity and becomes considerate enough to think from the other person’s point of view. He starts respecting other people’s feelings and thoughts.

Observational Skills
Art activities for children improve their observational skills. For example, skills that are required to draw a sketch of a house are the same as that required to understand the solar system or to figure out why a particular classmate is behaving in so and so manner.

Inquisitive Spirit
Kids’ art activities make them curious. A child learns how to question things by participating in arts. After drawing a sketch, if a child does not like the final outcome, he erases and re-draws certain portions. Thus, he learns “trial and error” through art and uses the same in real-life situations.

The importance of art education can be understood from the fact that the whole of human history that we know of today, has been conveyed to us through various art forms such as literature, music, visual arts, dance, and drama. Art transcends all boundaries – be it geographical or cultural. Art can bring imagination to life and give life to imagination. So to conclude, it can be said that engaging in art activities is a must for children for their social, emotional, intellectual and personal development.

Disadvantages of Bilingual Education

This article aims to illustrate the disadvantages of bilingual education without deeming it worthless. A consensus has to be reached on the best teaching methods that would promote the cause of all sections of society.

Bilingual education is practiced in many countries throughout the world. It refers to the system of providing education to a child in two languages, where one of the languages, invariably is the child’s arterial language. The aim of bilingual education is to ensure that a child, who is proficient in his/her mother tongue, acquires the same level of comfort and expertise in the other language. Most countries felt the need for bilingual education due to adjustment issues faced by minorities and immigrants. It was also essential in the erstwhile British and French colonies, who — after regaining independence — opted for a system of education that provided recognition and respect for their language and culture. This, especially is true in case of countries in the South Pacific. Although English/French is the official language, children are instructed in their native language, too.

Flashback

In the U.S., the need for bilingual education arose in the year 1864, when Congress prohibited the native American children from receiving instructions in their own language. It was 70 years later that the verdict of Congress was defeated, and bilingual education was accepted as a basic human right. The United Nations General Assembly Convention of 1989, de facto, stated that a child’s education should be directed toward developing his/her cultural identity. Article 30 also furthered the cause of this form of education by stating that children had the right to use their ethnic language. In 1998, the Linguistic Society of America affirmed that all children would be educated in a manner that acknowledged their native language and ensured their eventual grasp of English. Since then, bilingualism has been encouraged in the U.S. in order to help minorities and immigrants.

History bears evidence to the conflicts in the realm of bilingual education. The proponents of a single medium of instruction have furthered the cause of a unilingual system of education by elaborating on the disadvantages of bilingual education.

The Demerits

Unsuccessful Attempt at Integration into Society
Bilingual education was deemed necessary since it was supposed to help integrate the children of immigrants and minorities into society. The system of bilingual education demanded separate teachers and classrooms and believed in gradual integration into society by allowing children to receive education in their native language for a period of three or more years. Proponents of a single medium of instruction opposed bilingual education, since they believed that separate teachers and classrooms would widen the already existing gap between citizens and immigrants. They further proposed that encouraging children to interact within their own community for a period of three years, would delay the process of adjusting to the ways of life in a new country.

School Dropout Rates
Over the years, the dropout rate in various schools across North America has reduced significantly. The medium of instruction in the above-mentioned schools is English. However, there has been no reduction in the dropout rates for schools offering bilingual education. Most people feel that a dropout rate of 35% doesn’t justify the costs involved in providing this form of education.

Unavailability of Teachers
Bilingual education requires a number of trained teachers who are proficient in both English and their native language, assuming that English is one of the mediums of instruction. There is a wide gap between the demand and the supply for teachers, who are both confident and capable of handing the intense pressure associated with managing a class of students requiring special attention.

Lack of Classrooms
There is a dearth of classrooms that can accommodate students, who require instructions in both English and their native language. Students are expected to sit together in one class regardless of their age and the variations in the required level of education. This poses a great problem for teachers, who, in addition to being well versed in two languages, have to exhibit a certain level of comfort in handling different levels of education, simultaneously.

Lack of Funds
The aforementioned issues bring us to the crux of the problem: lack of funds to promote bilingual education. The debate would be redundant had there been sufficient funds to promote its cause. Had the means to satisfy the wants of various sections of society been unlimited, we would be debating a moot point.

Bilingual Education Is Costly
Education viably becomes unobtainable, when a language that is not dominant in nature is to be taught. The scenario becomes economically feasible, when multiple languages commonly used, are taught. An education system ought to be aware that the noble sap of education and literacy lies in understanding the language in which knowledge is imparted. The content and context of the subject becomes oblivious, if the student is not well acquainted with the language employed.

Apparent Loss of Identity
Mental and perceptive flexibility retracts when bilingual education steps to the fore. People with hooked-down ideologies are of the view that encouraging bilingual education hook, line and sinker would debilitate and sump the identity of their own language. This stream of thought insinuates a sense of commitment toward their first language and bars them from adopting the bilingual form of education.

Bilingual education can be advantageous to some, but disadvantageous to the society as a whole. Immigration and cultural integration are not easy issues to deal with. Immigrants and citizens have different views on what would be best for their community. Since the ultimate aim of bilingual education is to integrate the various sections of society by furthering communication in a language that is foreign to some and native to many, would it not be better an idea to initiate the process sooner? ..

Tips to Motivate Your Child to Study

If your child shows lack of interest towards studying, here is an article that tells you ways to motivate your child so that he/she willingly shows interest in learning.

Parents want their children to succeed in life and they know that success comes with adequate knowledge. That is why, parents admit their children in good educational institutions to prepare them for life. The duty of parents is not just to get a good school for their child’s education, but to encourage them from time to time so that their interest in learning stays on. Some children are self-motivated towards learning and are self-driven to take up challenging tasks with positive attitude. Once their goal is set, they strive hard to achieve it without having to be prodded.

On the other hand, there are children who show least interest towards learning. They are not self-motivated to learn new things in life and tend to stick to easy tasks which require less effort. They need a lot of prodding to begin with something and their negative attitude leads to disinterest in learning. Parents of such children need to take that extra effort to encourage their child to study. A systematic, strategic approach is required to inculcate interest in such children. If your child is also facing this problem, it’s better to know how you can motivate your child to study so that he/she can excel in every sphere of life.

Ways to Motivate Your Child to Study

Provide a Good Study Environment
A good environment is very essential for proper learning. Disruptions and noise often disturb a child’s concentration and create difficulty in studying. A quiet room with minimum disturbance and adequate lighting should be provided so that your child feels like studying in such an environment. Creating a good study environment is in the hands of parents and they must make sure to provide one to their child.

Help in Setting Achievable Goals
Helping the child set achievable goals will not only provide a clear picture to the child about what must be accomplished in a set time frame, but also help in measuring achievements. The realization of meeting the set targets will instill a sense of confidence in the child and indirectly motivate to strive for new ones.

Set Reasonable Expectations
Many parents have the habit of setting unreasonable expectations from the child, which creates undue pressure on the child’s mind and results in depression when he/she fails to meet them. Therefore, parents should understand their child’s ability of learning and set reasonable expectations, which can be achieved with little effort. On meeting the parent’s expectations, the child will feel satisfied and work harder to perform better.

Teach the Importance of Learning
Students who lack interest in learning, usually do not know the importance of learning in their lives. That is why, they often consider it secondary and do not pay much attention to it. A child with such a mentality should be taught the importance of studies and made aware of why parents think studies are important.

Use Interesting Learning Techniques
Making learning an interesting activity can be of great help. Children usually get bored with routine study procedures, which makes them lose their interest in studies. Using techniques like fun activities and games can bring back the lost interest and motivate the child to study more often.

Concentrate on High Interest Areas
Every child has specific interest areas. Identify these areas and start with these subjects so that the child sits to study. Between the sessions of such interesting topics, include small sessions of less interesting topics so that the child gains knowledge about them as well.

Encourage the Child
Encouragement can work wonders for a person lagging behind. If a child is under depression or has failed to achieve set goals, do not complain, rather, encourage to instill a never-die-attitude in the child. Once this attitude develops, the child will work harder each time he fails and will be able to succeed.

Aid in Studying
Parents must accompany their child during studies to help them out wherever they are stuck. Many a time, children do not like to study simply because they don’t understand the subject. If parents help them in solving their problems and make them understand the subject, they will definitely like to learn some more of it.

Encourage Competition
Competition can encourage a child to put in that extra effort. It is easy to encourage boys by this means because they like to stay ahead of their friends or classmates. Getting a better score can motivate the child to achieve good results.

Appreciate and Reward
A pat on the back works wonders for motivating a child. Even if the achievement is small, praise and say that you are proud. These positive words are great ways of encouragement for children. Sometimes, rewarding can also be used as a motivator. However, be sure to give reasonable rewards otherwise, they can turn heavy on the pocket.

Lack of motivation in students is a serious concern. Teachers and parents play a significant role in motivating a child to study. A little attention and encouragement can help a child to overcome reluctance towards studies and move ahead in the path of success.