OverEducation


Saint Patrick's Day and Ireland the Land of Learners

So, if we take the learning nation of Ireland, what are we really like here? We are a country stockpiled with sociable chatterboxes and have a huge number of successful athletics when you think about the size of this land. We make an impact wherever we go and we are also very generous philanthropically for the size of Ireland. We as a race contribute hugely to global charities, peace keeping forces and volunteer work. We are hugely proud of anything remotely Irish.

So, in simple terms that makes us auditory and kinesthetic learners that need huge amounts of encouragement and praise. We really care about what everyone else thinks of us. So like most other parts of the world we are a largely extrovert society. We need to work with others in social settings and we are very social beings.

The hugely interesting fact about auditory learners is that they do not need to just listen, they need to talk as well. We all know how much we Irish love to speak. The idea of us starting school at five and learning to be quiet in a classroom situation is just outright ridiculous. We must admit that we work our way through so much in Ireland by gossiping. The information overload taxi driver, the restroom queue gossip or the local store conversation. It makes us better able to cope with the legendary Irish rainy weather if nothing else.

One of the real difficulties with being an auditory learner (besides just being in trouble in class for talking all of the time) is the rambling way we work, there is no structure. This is the most common difficulty that many of our students have, especially all the super talkative kinesthetic boys who are brilliant on the sports field but feel like trash at everything else in school. They simply have no idea how to structure an answer or to focus their thoughts onto the page at hand.

Sure, for the Irish it is perfectly alright and acceptable to write exactly the way you talk too. The best way to work with auditory kinesthetic learners is through role play. This is sociable group work that allows us to talk out scenarios. We get to put ourselves in the situation and we all do great in this part of oral school examinations. We are a country filled with bucket loads of generationally provided and divided political views. It is important for us to get to talk about these at length on a regular basis.

Students almost fall off of their chairs with shock when I ask them what they think or have a personal opinion on, but it is so much easier to write about what you feel especially when this is what matters to you when you are kinesthetic. Normally boys just get to run this out of their systems on the sports field rather than working through it in english or history class.

It is equally vital to allow us Irish to talk about everything that matters to us in our own unique way. The Irish have a great gift of the gab, the wit that has a name for every object, landmark and sculpture. We talk about creativity and innovation, this is a wonderful example of innovation with words. We can express any situation as a joke. We have always been gifted story tellers and can spin any yarn.

We are also hugely competitive, hence our many sporting heroes, the mark we leave whatever we set our minds to. Competition is such a great way to inject energy into any learning environment too.

There is a pride deeply engrained in the Irish and as a result we can never cope with being made a fool of in public. We may try to joke our way out of any situation but it hurts deeply. Everyone we have ever spoken to in this country has a school story where they lost face and they have never forgotten it. This is why we have to focus on the learners always, the real people we are helping to grow and develop. Everyone is different but we all fall into patterns of behavior that can be accommodated. You can't just take an education model from one country to another and expect it to work, especially since the models are always developed for the teachers and governments not the students. There are very simple patterns and learning styles but you have to look for them and you have to use each nations strengths and values to achieve what is important for them, even the Irish.

Marie O'Riordan, Opportunity Miner, Legacy Planeteer & International Honorary Award Winning Philanthropist. Working with Dr. Naoise O'Reilly Ph.D., Expression Developist. We are The Forever Method.

Do You Train for Your Profession?

A formal education is a great place to gather information. To ensure we memorize that information, we are given homework and class assignments. Then the instructor administers tests to see how much information we retained. If you pass those tests, many believe they have earned the title of being the best at their craft. What those people fail to realize is that they only know information. To be the best, takes training and practice. In most cases, that requires a specific focus on initiatives to develop mastery of skills and competencies.

While a formal education is important, it is not necessarily the path to master one's craft. Education provides information and information does not cause action. For example, many people have information on how to lose weight. Yet, they take no actions to lose it. If we stay with that example, losing weight requires practices. Each day one takes on practices that support the intention. Too often, people believe the intention is to lose weight. This belief obscures both information and practices. While it's true the information about dieting may appear to be about losing weight, the information itself cannot make it happen. If you go beyond the information of weight loss diets, you will see that it is about being healthy. One step further could lead you to being physically fit.

The outcome of heath and physical fitness cannot be realized through information. There must be a training regimen in place to support the realization of proper diet and/or exercise. And you practice on a daily basis. What does this have to do with formal education? Everything!

As with a diet, information from books will unlikely give one mastery over their profession. If it did, that could be a problem since 42% of college graduates never read another book after they graduate. Therefore, like a weight lose program, one must be clear about the intentions of their profession. If a person simply wants a to have a job, that intention will produce one outcome. If it is to master a profession, it will require training during and outside of work to support that outcome. And the training doesn't stop because you have the job of your desire.

How do you train to master your profession? Like dieting, if you are only reading books, there is a chance you will have only information. And it does not guarantee you will be the best.

Those who master their profession learn to invent it. When you look at people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Angelo, Albert Einstein and Michael Jordan, you see examples of people who mastered their craft. Even though their professions existed before they were born, they invented the future of their craft. They may have studied books, watched competitors and imagined new ways. They also carved out time to contemplate outcomes that had not been achieved by anyone as well as time to experiment with new training methods. Without the commitment to produce results beyond what they read in books, they would have been just as good as everyone else who read the same book.

As you can see, information is not the panacea to achieve mastery. It might help you gain insight into an area of life that may interest you. It is not sufficient to distinguish you in a crowd a many. If you haven't guessed, the training that makes you a master will have to be made up or invented by you. It is the outcomes you seek that will determine the kinds of training you choose. Good luck!

What do you think? I'm open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog www.turnaroundip.blogspot.com. Ted Santos

Disruptive Thinking for the US Educational System

The US educational system is run like a government entity. In reality, it resembles the services industry. In a business that provides services, there is a deliverable for the customer. In public schools, the customer is the student and teachers are the front line workers who provide the service. If schools adopted business practices, they would ask the customer: what would you like? In business, when clients do not believe they received what they paid for, they take their dollars elsewhere. As taxpayers, we pay for a service from the school districts. Therefore, we should ask: what is the deliverable for our children?

The deliverable is success, not retention of information. The teacher's number one job is to make students successful. In a business, teachers would be responsible for understanding what resources are needed to ensure they make customers happy. However, in today's schools, the politicians dictate what resources are needed to make students successful. In fact, politicians even tell school districts what subjects to teach and when certain subjects should no longer be taught. For example, in the state of Florida, English grammar is no longer taught after the fifth grade. Is the fifth grade sufficient time for a student to have command of their native language?

As you can imagine, as in business, the front line workers become frustrated when leadership does not listen to their requests for appropriate resources to service clients. In school districts throughout the nation, the frustration continues to escalate.

While teachers may temporarily have their hands tied because of government policies, there are a number of effective tactics that can be introduced to the classroom to ensure the success of their students/clients. Changing the approach of forcing students to memorize other people's ideas. Instead, help them bridge the gap between book knowledge and practical application. This will force them to think through problems and situations, instead of choosing multiple choice. One way to do that is to organize students in roundtable discussions. Create case studies from examples in books and have them apply what they learn to real time situations. More importantly, the teacher should only facilitate the discussions. Empower the students to take turns leading the conversations. It would be the teacher's job to prepare each student the day before for the lesson. If the students lead, they will have to read. And their peers will pay attention. This approach fosters innovation and leadership.

In addition, bring professionals to the classroom. They should not be motivational speakers. They should talk to the students about how to bridge the gap between what they learn in school and how that knowledge is utilized in the workforce. This helps students become better decision makers for career choices.

In well-run businesses, leadership creates the direction and the vision. From there, they get out of the way and allow employees to do their job. As conditions change and requests for different resources are made, leadership makes it available. To enhance success, leadership brings all stakeholders together to discuss how to increase the value proposition. In schools, that would mean teachers, students, parents, legislators, and suppliers of educational materials would come together and talk about how to make students more successful.

For those schools that are already taking this approach, thumbs up to you. For the rest, it is purely a matter of changing the mindset for why schools exist.

As other countries become developed, they will make it increasingly difficult for nations to compete without citizens with a world-class education. To avoid this dilemma, it is time to have a single-minded commitment that focuses on making students successful.

What do you think? I'm open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog www.turnaroundip.blogspot.com

Are We Really Educating Our Children?

Once again, I sat down with the wisest person I've ever met. In this conversation, he and I brainstormed about the educational system. As with all of my conversations with him, I experienced the sensation of being educated about subjects I may not have considered. This dialogue was no different. As usual, he leads with questions.

He asked me if I knew the etymology of the word education. That led me to Wikipedia. There I learned that etymologically, the word "education" is derived from the Latin educatio ("A breeding, a bringing up, a rearing") from educo ("I educate, I train") which is related to the homonym educo ("I lead forth, I take out; I raise up, I erect") from e- ("from, out of") and duco ("I lead, I conduct").[3] With that said, he asked if I could discern what was missing in the educational system. He asserted that we've lost sight of the intention of the word educate.

I'm rarely foolish enough to defend my point of view against him. Therefore, I listened. And he gave me an earful.

He said the educational system starts with a presupposition that children are not intelligent. On the other hand, some institutions believe many four years olds qualify as geniuses. Why is it that so many children grow to dislike school and do just enough to get by if they start as geniuses? It may be because we don't leverage the brilliance children already possess. If you look at the word education, it has more to do with bringing up, to lead oneself, conduct and come out of. These children already have what it takes to lead themselves. They only require guidance.

The educational system is the opposite of empowering children to lead themselves. Instead of guidance, we impose beliefs upon them. We demand they memorize thoughts, beliefs and discoveries of others. We are asking them to be robots with memory chips. We do not engage them in such a way they develop authentic thinking. They only learn to rely on thoughts in their memory. What's worse, is many of the tests are multiple choice or true and false. And there are people who do not memorize the material. They just memorize if the answer is A, B, C, D or true or false.

In that paradigm, children never learn to lead themselves. In fact, that method teaches children to shut themselves down and value the knowledge of others more than they value their own innate brilliance.

I told him his analysis was harsh. He said he was still being nice. However, he said there is a better way to guide people to lead themselves to authentically think.

He suggested teachers serve as a guide to students. Instead of the teacher being at the front of the class, each student would be better served if they led class lessons. The teacher's role would be to work with each student to help them prepare for their turn at leading a lesson.

In that paradigm, the students would have to know the material to teach it to his or her peers. The student would also benefit if they could give their perspective on what they learned and how it relates to supposedly unrelated matters. That would encourage thinking. Furthermore, the other students would study the material with the intent of quality control. They would be more critical of their peers leading class than they are of the teacher. Some of the students would question their peers in a more challenging way than they would question the teacher.

This method would ensure students learn the material and lead themselves. The idea of critical thinking would become first nature and it would leverage the brilliance they already possess.

What do you think? I'm open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, connect through my blog www.turnaroundip.blogspot.com. Ted Santos

Getting A Suitable CISCO Certification In The Right Way

CISCO certification can help you in securing a decent job in the IT sector and so you need to ensure that you opt for the right options in this regard. Certification helps you in staying on top of the industry no matter what it takes. You can easily get experienced once you opt for the right options in this regard. In this article, we are going to talk in particular about getting a suitable CISCO certification without any difficulty. You got to pay proper attention towards the below mentioned article.

Some of the key instructions that you should follow in order to get a CISCO certification are discussed below. I am pretty convinced that you will be able to generate some fine results.

• You should first choose the right path that fits your career goals and experience in the right way. You should even choose a path which is accompanied by field technicians, service providers and routers. You need to be rest assured that you opt for the right options that suit you in the right way.

• Now, you need to recognize the precise certification levels consistently so that you are able to hold on to the current position. Professional level can be easily achieved by experts who are planning to gain more specialized certifications. The deeper security knowledge and professional level exams will surely help you in learning more and more about this topic.

• Now, you got to carefully study the examination requirements on their website. You will surely be able to get some key information in regard to this topic. All the major assessment tests are quite good when it comes to ensuring immense success in regard to certification.

• You got to reassure that you undergo exam training that suits you in the right way. By doing this you will be able to gain some expertise in this industry.

• You should reach the test location at least 15 minutes before the exam begins. I am pretty convinced that you will be able to look out for some fine options. Internet research plays a crucial role in all the industries and you need to research hard online for making the right move.

So, these are some of the finest things that you should remember in regard to getting a suitable CISCO certification in the right way. I am pretty convinced that you will be able to generate some fine results. Enjoy a lot while getting certified.

By Sandra Wilson M

A School That Raises People, Not Students

Education is, without doubt, an integral part of our lives and something that has to be treated very seriously. However, there are some problematic aspects to it, particularly in the way it's being implemented in most parts of the world. The common trend is that schools focus entirely on the academic aspect of kids' education, and completely forget to teach them the other important parts of being a good human being.

That's why it's very important to consider where you want to send your children to study. A regular school may or may not work for them, but what you can be sure about is that your kids will benefit most from a school designed specifically to raise good people, not simply bright students.

These two things don't have to be mutually exclusive either, which is what some parents tend to fear when it comes to choosing the right school for their kids. No, your child won't fall behind in classes simply because his/her teachers are also taking the time to explain good human values to them. Quite on the contrary, a child being raised this way will be quicker to adapt to and accept their responsibilities in life, and they'll know how to contribute to society and be a better person.

Are you confused over where to send your kids in order to give them an education like that? Don't worry - there are plenty of good places, and in fact, there's probably a good school of that type in your local area if you're willing to spend some time looking for it. The Internet can be a great friend here, as it can quickly reveal all the good schools in your area that focus on this type of education.

Remember though, just because you've found a good school for your kids doesn't mean that your responsibilities as a parent end there. Quite on the contrary, there are some serious expectations for you with regards to what you teach your kids at home, and this will be just as important in their upbringing as giving them a good education at school. As long as you follow what the school is trying to teach them, and contribute something of your own in the same tone, you should handle that job just fine.

So, with all that in mind, don't limit your kids' potential and future development just so you can stick to the traditional model for schooling. A lot can be done to improve on that model, and if you're concerned with making your kids better people, then you'll spend all the time it takes searching for the right school.

Just one last thing to be careful about - if there are multiple schools that seem similar (and suitable) in your local area, you should go and talk to the teachers around them personally. This will solidify any impressions you might have of the schools (or break them, sometimes), and will show you exactly where your kids will feel at home - you should know, as a parent!

If you are worried about selecting a good school, you can consider Catholic Coeducation School in Adelaide.

By Trevor Levine

What Happened to the Student Portfolios?

Many teachers want to change the way they do things, but sometimes there's just a lack of tools, a clear plan, or systems already in place about how to proceed. Teachers and administrators are so busy, that unless the tools and the plans are ready to go, sometimes the best intentions have to get left behind.

Authentic assessment is a great example of something so many teachers want to do, but can't always pull off. At one school I worked at, teachers all agreed to a new plan of authentic assessment. The administration had made it clear that each student should have a student portfolio of real work samples. Not only would teachers view this work as part of the assessment process for report cards and conferences, but each portfolio would be passed on at the end of the year to the next year teacher so they could get to know their new kids.

It started as an exciting idea by administrators and teachers - instead of just using test grades, let's look at real student work! Let's get on the bandwagon of portfolio assessment! So the teachers made boxes to store some of the students' best work throughout the year.

Well, at first all was going well. Good samples got saved, and some of it got used a few times during parent teacher conferences. But then, as the year progressed, the realities of paper and time started working against the teachers. The boxes got more and more stuffed full of paper and there was no system set up for weeding out work as more came in. Some teachers kept the boxes in order, and others let them get increasingly messy. At the end of the year, some teachers were stressed when the administration asked them to prepare a final folder of best work spanning the year for each student, to pass on to the next teacher. Some of them managed this better than others - the ones that were very well-organized. Finally, the boxes that some of the teachers made were all lined up and labeled. It was at this point that everything started to fall apart.

The teachers started moving faster and faster to finish cleaning their classrooms for summer vacation. Students were revved up with end-of-year energy and kept the teachers very busy. Some of the portfolios were meant to be labeled, but that just wasn't a priority with everything else going on. And some of the boxes weren't labeled that well either. When the kids left on the final day, admin asked the teachers to move the portfolios and other boxes all into the hall so the cleaners and painters could work in the summer. Some of the portfolio boxes that were labeled well got moved to a hallway storage area. Some stayed mixed in with the rest of the boxes.

Well, sometime late in the next fall, I was helping out at the school, and there was a need to clear out some storage space. Someone said there were a bunch of boxes lying around. They asked me to help figure out what they were and get rid of them. Well... there they were, the boxes of portfolios of beautiful student work. Most of them had never made it to the next grade teachers. "Wait!" I said... "There are teachers expecting these! This is student work! This is supposed to go to their next teachers!" I frantically tried to contact teachers. Some had left the school. I checked on student names... they were all in different rooms now, it would be a long process to match the folders to their new teachers, and some were missing last names and grades. Some folders were meant for the middle school down the road but had never made it there. No one at that school was expecting them or ready to pick them up - it was already way into the school year and they were on to other things, too, and no one had time, energy, or cars to deal with these boxes of mixed up student work. No one could even organize getting the work back into the students' hands or their parents' hands because the kids were all spread out in different rooms and grades. No one wanted to deal with these darned boxes. In the end, they had to be tossed in the recycling bin. At least they were recyclable; I rationalized, as I watched them get hauled away. And at least some of the other portfolios in the school had made it to their destinations and not to this corner of the hallway. But, it made me think, there must be a better way.

Now, just a few years later, at least there is a much better way - digital portfolios are starting to become available to replace big heavy boxes filled with papers. But even as we find good solutions with technology, we still need to remember, that behind every good idea, there's a need for good implementation and planning, so that all of our teachers, students, parents, and administrators can see good things come of their good intentions.

June Schwartz is writing expert for digital portfolio at Open School ePortfolio.

How Mighty Is the Pen? The Dire Problem of Education Finance

School funding in the U.S. is essentially unfair and inequitable. In a society in which it is nearly impossible to advance without a good education, in which education has become a civil right of man, it would be wrong to deny any child quality education.

We cannot logically expect our children to advance in society that will not give them the money they need to get a decent education. And even after primary and secondary education, it makes no sense to put the poor in college debt when they were already given less opportunities to get into that college than the rich. Making college so expensive continues to burden the poor and when the time comes, their children are put in this cycle. This violates the original intentions of American life, giving equal opportunity for all.

Why are there so many struggles placed on those who work hard? Currently systems are based on a revenue limit, meaning districts provide money for schools depending on property wealth of the school. School finance should be given based on the current wealth for one family and society, more finance on the less fortunate and vice versa. If this cycle of giving less to the less fortunate continues, it will create a socioeconomic gap that hurts quality of education, teacher fold, and school ranking.

School funding works at three different levels: local, state, and federal. Federal funding is minimal for lack of educational clauses in the constitution, while state governments are the sole voice in taking control of financing. Yet instead, local funding has shown to be the most domineering and main source for school funding. This has become a problem because local funding depends on property wealth, and property wealth widely varies within city and district. Cities that suffer from a predisposition of "poorness" get poorer the funding. Those schools are stuck in the ditch of debt and are unable to escape due this revenue-limit system.

As well as the federal and state funding level needing repair, the local and district division is also issue. Districts may be considered the smallest unit of funding, but funding inequality is prevalent within districts too. This disparity is exemplified in the rising differences among schools in material and teacher quality. Teachers get paid more in low poverty districts and as a result compete for those jobs. Consequently, high-poverty districts suffer from a shortage of teachers, lower quality teachers, and a high turnover rate. And in our current system, schools finance judgments are per-teacher-based, so high-poverty schools are unable to receive the aid they need because of surface teacher salaries. Schools instead should be given enough money in a per-student system rather than per-teacher system in effort to increase output per student.

Renowned economist and critic Eric Hanushek addresses the finances of education issue in his novel Courting Failure. In his novel, he explores and discovers the correlation that low student performance indicated inadequate funding. It is precisely this situation that shows children's right to adequate and equal education cannot be pursued if do not fix the underlying problems, such as that of public funding state levels need to provide a safety net for the schools of their region. States can do so by providing more to the less-wealthy and less the more-wealthy. Yet while doing this, they must make sure the funding level is high enough that all these schools can function properly, instead of the "minimum" levels they currently adopt.

Hanushek also questions the term "adequacy", the current national requirement for school education. Strikingly, 28 states have been ruled unconstitutional in this area. States assert minimal education standards that no reasonable people would consider acceptable. Adequacy's violations can be visualized if we imagine fully efficient public school and an actual public school or what society believes students should learn and what they actually learn. The space between these two ideas is incredible and throw off all vouches for adequacy. This gap comes from how finance calculations are made, typically through teacher-salary, lack of inclusion for more expensive students (e.g. English language learners), and different standards of adequate funding. We need to stop resorting to traditional terms of what is "sufficient" and instead adopt concrete definitions needed to give real standards to schools so they can be efficiently and thoroughly funded.

Another widely claimed label is "equity", the idea to distribute resources equally throughout schools in a state. If we are to allow all students equal opportunity in school quality and ranking, this distribution should be done in a way that lessens the differences ranging across school districts' abilities to raise funds. Lawsuits claim that such is a violation of the "equity" principle, that poor districts should not get more money than rich districts, but if we do not help or nurture those in need, we are raising them for unequal chances and opportunities for their future lives. Indeed, it is necessary to limit the poorness of these districts.

Studies suggest this inequality can be reduced by transferring more of responsibility of funding from local to state. Well respected Californian finance reform advocate, Arun Ramanathan, proposes a plan to better state-wide academic funding.

1) Instead of a revenue-limit formula, adopt a student weighted formula.
2) Ensure that school funding gets allocated directly towards students.
3) Require districts to clearly show district and school level spending
4) Monitor correlation of financial inputs and academic results. Ensure that those who need special help get the help they need.

A plan similar to the one Ramanathan proposed was implemented in Colorado recently. The plan itself calculates the difference that state funding has to make up for local funding to be equal throughout the state. The idea is that if the districts can raise more from local taxes, the state does not have to make up the difference if the locals make less. The new finance act makes sure to have expenditures visible and comparable for the public, allowing for direct regulation of financial reform. The plan also accounts for those who qualify for reduced-lunch and ESL learners. By diving 20-40% more money toward those students, the financial system balances giving all students equal opportunity. Using these plans, Coloradans have begun showing improving trends in educational finance.

With plans like these, there truly is a future in education reform. But it is up to all the other states, or rather, the federal institution to begin addressing the concerns the students' well-being as students.

By Tanzeela Khan