Find out how you can transform your classrooms and the world outside by thinking and acting like a leader!
Every educator’s versatile skill-set keeps expanding as and when challenges arise. In addition, every educator is constantly setting an example by being the role model of values they want their students to imbibe. For instance, quickly adapting to remote teaching to ensure uninterrupted student learning during COVID! Your rapidly changing classrooms require you to take on the role of a leader. In fact, this may well be an opportunity of a lifetime to grow as an individual and contribute to your community!
Let’s begin with this reflection above: Think about that one lesson, one question that challenged you in the classroom, that opportunity to teach our students something beyond the lines of their textbooks! But also, think about what stops you: who is making the decisions that impact your classrooms? Are you making the decisions? If not, are the decision-makers truly equipped to understand the current classroom needs? And if so, are they open to changing what students learn and how they learn?
We are all educational influencers!
We learn, adapt and grow together to navigate never-seen-before territories. We accept feedback and constantly reflect on our weaknesses. Most importantly, we are also responsible to help our learners challenge their belief systems as they grow and expose themselves to the world!
School leaders, take note: Understanding the importance and respecting the challenges your faculty is facing is something school leaders must practice in order to have a healthier understanding of what is working in the classrooms and what is not.
Curriculum is your tool, not your master!
With everything evolving so rapidly around us, the leaders and decision-makers must sit down to have an open conversation about discarding old education systems and strategies to pave the way for collaborative and connected learning. How we teach is crucial to us becoming leaders and making our students envision us as one! This is where we bring ourselves in our classrooms: one, build trust and believe that you can be vulnerable with your students; two, engage beyond the curriculum with what’s happening around them, and help them strengthen concepts.
Here’s a set of posters to support you with the HOW of conceptual learning.
Do YOU envision yourself as a leader?
Let’s take a moment to go back to old times and reflect on WHY of becoming a teacher? Are you there, yet?
As good leaders often do, we have and should continue to recalibrate our practices to become changemakers in the 3Ps of leadership, personal, peer and professional.
With our colleagues and peers at and beyond school, engage in a ‘critical friends practice’ to critique and expand the horizons of classroom instruction. Join a larger professional community to broaden our perspectives of impactful teaching! Find your teacher tribes on different mediums and engage with purposeful dialogue.
Lastly, our level of self-awareness, confidence, and commitment to improve is what truly sets us apart as a leader! Increasingly, an important marker of our leadership capacities is our adoption of technology. Using platforms like Toddle that support collaboration amongst teaching teams, allow robust feedback and assessment approaches to be integrated, and promote student agency are also reflective of strong leadership.
Everyday, our learners are being exposed to harsh realities of the world through news channels, social mediums, family groups, etc. We teach them the curriculum so they can grow and strive to make sense of this world. The question to ask ourselves is: are we there for our students as impartial leaders?
When you are taking courses online, sometimes there is the temptation to get distracted. The internet beckons, with Facebook, Twitter, and all kinds of sites out there just waiting to help you waste your time. In order to stay on track and complete your work, however, you need to stay focused and avoid these temptations. Here are five ways you can use your time wisely when taking classes online:
Find a quiet place – One of the most important things that I have found I need when taking classes online is finding a quiet place to work. A lot of noise and movement distracts me and makes me unable to focus. Even songs with lyrics can make my mind not work as well as it should. To that end, I try to find somewhere quiet. If I have to block out noise, I pick music that is just instrumental or has lyrics in a language I can’t understand. That way I do not get distracted.
Take breaks – I have noticed that when I start spelling badly, ponding the keyboard, or staring at the screen for long periods of time it means it is time for me to take a break. That is not a waste of time. When your brain gets burnt out you sometimes need to get away from the work for a few minutes to refresh yourself. Take a walk, get a snack, just get up and move and get your blood flowing again. Try to not look at any screens and give your eyes a rest. You can even take a short cat nap if you have the ability.
Be organized – Staying organized is the best way to avoid wasting time. If you know what you have to do, how you will do it, and when you need it done, then you save a lot of time fooling around with the wrong things. Invest in a planner or download one online. Keep track of when assignments are due and which parts need to be done first. That way you have a plan and are not just working aimlessly.
Do a little at a time – Along with organizing your work, you need to cut your work into manageable parts. You do not need to spend all day or all night working and burn yourself out. Cut the work into reasonable objectives that can be accomplished in a short period of time. That way you can work on them a little each day and be done in a way that doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed with work.
Stay interested – If you want to complete your schoolwork in a positive way, then you need to make it interesting. Pick projects and ideas that appeal to you if you have a choice. If you are bored and disinterested that will reflect in your quality of work. As long as you keep school interesting, you will be better off and your grades will be higher.
There are many ways to use your time wisely when taking classes online, but these five should start you out on the right foot. The most important thing you need to remember is to keep yourself from getting burnt out and enjoy your time learning. After all, the more you enjoy what you learn the more you will retain, and that is the point.
There’s no question; earning a certificate or college degree online has its benefits over attending a traditional brick-and-mortar institution. Not only does it allow you to keep a flexible schedule (which is great for students who will be working while taking classes), it can also save you money. However, just as there are cons to traveling to a college campus to go to school, there are also a few cons to the e-learning method.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work from home, you know that it can sometimes be difficult to stay on task, and the same is true for taking classes online at home. There are many distractions and no one to tell you to get back to work, and this can be detrimental to your studies. At the same time, working and studying from home can also become boring, if you don’t allow yourself time to get out and socialize with friends and family.
To stay focused and keep things fresh, use the following advice:
Create a schedule: By creating a “class schedule,” you will add an element of discipline and order to your studies. To come up with this schedule, think of the time of day that is most open for your studies and plug each class into this time, giving yourself at least one hour per class every day for reading and homework assignments. Your motivation to “attend class on time” will help keep you focused and on top of your schoolwork.
Designate a study spot: Find a place in your home that can be blocked off from everything else. Ideally, this space should be quiet and separate from social activity and television. Organize your notes and other school supplies for easy access and efficiency. Ask your family or roommates to respect your study time by staying as quiet as possible while you focus on your work.
Forget about social media: It is absolutely essential to ignore your social media accounts and other un-related websites while you study. This will take a lot of self-discipline, but remind yourself that you will complete your work sooner by staying on task and saving social media for later.
Find alternative study spots: Sometimes, you will just get tired of studying at home. To break up the repetition, search your town for other low-key, quiet places to study. Remember, you will need to have a laptop for this, and the places you choose will need to have free internet access. Coffee shops, libraries, and community centers are some of the best options. If you are interested in studying outdoors in a park, consider purchasing a wireless internet card.
Go for a walk: If you are having a hard time focusing, try going for a walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen. Getting fresh air is helpful for anyone who is working on a project or learning a new concept, no matter what the situation.
Save the weekends for fun: If you are adamant about your “weekday class schedule,” you should be able to keep your weekends as free as possible for family time and fun. Plan a delicious family dinner, watch a movie or find an outdoor activity that you enjoy. When you save as much weekend time as possible for stress-free activities, you give your body and mind the break it needs to power up for the week ahead; something that is very important for students.
Even though e-learning is about schedule flexibility, the key to success is still making sure you create a schedule for yourself that can be easily executed and maintained. Self-discipline and awareness will keep you on your toes, allowing you to complete every task quickly and still have time for a break from the monotony.
Age to Learn Second Language
This article highlights ‘The age at which children learning a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their learning in the adult brain’. (Source: Channels McGill University). This followed research at The Neuro at McGill University in conjunction with scientists at Oxford University.
Worldwide Education and Second Language
Globally most people speak more than one language. If a second language is developed in a child’s early years, these skills will follow through into their adult life. The research followed brain patterns and identified they have similar ones in the early years. Further information on the technical aspects regarding second language and brain development is worth knowing.
There are also other positives to understanding the connection the brain has and learning a second language is a key to a child’s ability to excel in their learning. Other research in brain development states that 90% of brain growth takes place in the first 2,000 days, way before they attended kindergarten. So we are seeing more evidence linking these two together.
What is Required for Children’s Development Today
The importance of children’s development grounding in the early years is critical for their success, at school, in life, and later on in a career. Marc Prensky, internationally acclaimed writer, innovator, and visionary on education and learning, explains why we need to consider this today. His two most recent books ‘Teaching Digital Natives ‘ and ‘Brain Gain’, both extremely innovative, look at technology and the brain and what needs to be considered for our young children.
Providing a Second Language
Not all parents can provide second language learning. Some lack education in creating this supportive environment for the child. Some just don’t know how to put this into practice and finding educational quality childcare to support second language learning is also difficult. So I suggest that if you want to provide the best learning skills for your child then look at introducing a second language in the early years. Your child will be better off in the future with their ability to learn and retain information.
There are a few ways that you can have the best of both worlds by taking classes online and by building a virtual support system for additional help. Here are a few ideas:
Communicate Regularly with the Instructor
In some online courses, you could go the whole term without ever “talking” to the instructor, either in person or online. You can have more communication with your instructor by being proactive. Send regular e-mails asking questions or checking in about your progress with the class. The more your instructor gets to know you, the easier it will be to offer you tailored feedback when needed.
Be an Active Participant in Student Forums
Online discussion is usually a requirement in distance education courses. Students must participate in virtual discussions through message boards and e-mail threads. Don’t put in the minimum amount needed for your “participation” grade. Take advantage of this opportunity to really engage with other students and to have meaningful conversations that can help you better understand the material.
Reach Out to Other Students
If you’re struggling with the material or you just want to make a virtual buddy, reach out to the other students in your class. Send an e-mail or a forum message asking your question or trying to get to know them better. Making a virtual friend will help when you have a question or you just want to brainstorm your ideas or even vent about your frustrations.
Start an Online Study Group
An online study group is a great way to connect with other students and to get support for your studies. Reach out to other students in your class or through distance education forums and create a regular virtual meeting time and place. Review lessons, prepare for tests, or just get answers to your questions. Be sure to set a schedule and an agenda for each of your meetings to ensure that you stay on track and that your study group is successful.
Creating a support system is essential for success as a student – and maybe even more so as an online student when you can sometimes feel isolated. Reaching out to your instructor and your peers using these methods can help you build a support system that will encourage your success and make your online education experience a more pleasant one.