#3: Teachers’ Perspective & The Challenges In The Path Towards Holistic Learning

As per Pearson Voice of Teacher Survey 2015 (an annual survey done by Pearson, the World’s leading learning company, that aims to voice the opinion of the teaching community in India), teachers seek changes to the traditional ways of teaching to adapt to the changing dynamics in the learning ecosystem:

–  57% teachers believe that students are not adequately prepared for employment.

–  There’s a collective call by teachers (75%) for industry collaborated curriculum restructuring.

– They urge for industrial training of teachers (44%) to impact employability of Indian students.

– Majority (66%) support technology adoption across levels; school teachers, specifically, consider installation of smart boards (77%) and bundled multimedia content (51%) as the key initiatives.

– Majority (52%) believe that India’s Education Assessment Framework lacks specific action points for teachers and parents to enable holistic education.

This clearly depicts that trainers, just like parents and students of today, are seeking progressive changes.

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The Challenges In The Path To Holistic Learning

According to a primary research done by Pearson that collated information from Indian schools on the basic challenges they faced in creating a holistic network for learning were as follows:

–   Lack of integrated tools inside the classroom which leads to reduction in the overall efficacy of the classroom teaching and learning.

–   Absence of an inter-disciplinary approach that helps builds stronger concepts and skills that last for life.

–     Learning tends to stop when the school gets over.

–     Parents are inquisitive to know what is happening inside the classrooms.

–     Assessment is still at a level of ‘Do more. Work hard.’

To tackle these challenges, with MyPedia, teachers are armed with a digital content & complete assessment/activity kit, so they can conduct activities smoothly, and measure the learning outcomes accurately.

How to encourage your child to ask questions

Human beings are born with an innate need to satisfy their curiosity at all times. We are the only creatures smart enough to wrack our brains about anything and everything happening around us, to the point where it becomes mandatory to find an outlet that can answer all our questions, while simultaneously allowing us to expand our horizons and attain as much information as possible.

Unfortunately, most human beings tend to live in a culture where knowing everything is considered to be an indication of strength while asking questions is generally seen as a sign of weakness. This backwards mentality is prevalent in society, which means that most people don’t end up learning about the basic fundamentals merely because they’re too intimidated to pose a question in the first place.

This can prove to quite a hurdle, especially for a child whose mind is a blank slate that’s just waiting to be scribbled on. Instilling the mentality in these children that asking questions is perfectly fine is the first step that needs to be accomplished in the process of in-taking as much information as possible during these formative years. Here are the best ways through which you can encourage your child to ask questions constantly.

1. First and foremost, questioning should be considered as a perfectly normal thing to do: It’s understandable that most children might perceive the act of questioning to be intimidating mainly due to the negative stigma attached to it. However, this is the most crucial aspect of questioning that needs to be rectified – a child should not feel that asking a question is a sign of weakness. The concept of an “ego” being weakened should not even come into play, in the first place. It’s only after overcoming this seemingly impassable obstacle that a child will be able to expand their horizons by asking the relevant questions. Basically, what we’re trying to say is that questioning should be – and this is putting it very simply – “cool.”

2. An element of playfulness and interactivity can be added to questioning: Gamification is taking over the world by storm, and something so simple as the act of asking questions can also be integrated with this concept as well. This will compel more and more children to ask questions and attain knowledge. There are many ways through which this can be accomplished –incentivising the act and adding certain levels to the questions being asked are both great ways to achieve this goal.

3. Questioning should not be easy: there should be a challenge and reward element to it: The act of asking questions should never be easy. If this is the case, then every Tom, Dick, and Harry will start asking questions left and right without any sensibility. To counter this, these queries should involve a fair bit of effort. Pondering over a problem, connecting the logic threads, and deciding upon a proper conclusion is infinitely more rewarding than a simple Google search.

4. It shouldn’t take any effort to pose a question: Rather, it should be natural: Children shouldn’t push themselves to ask questions. If even a bit of effort is required to ask a question, then something somewhere has gone wrong. Asking questions should become a habit for children since it will allow them to observe situations from an analytical angle and attain quality insights as a result.

Therefore, by following the points mentioned above to a T, you’ll compel your child to develop an inquisitive mindset that will allow them to push the boundaries of their mind and attain a better understanding of the world around them as a result.

Facilitate a productive Parent-Teacher Meeting

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It’s evident that any parent would have a vested interest in knowing about the development of their child at all times. However, when it comes to schooling, there’s a significant gap every weekday during school hours, where the transparency of information related to this development is lacking. This mandates the need to set up a parent-teacher meeting so that the parents can be informed about the performance and progress of the child in his or her respective school.

However, the parent-teacher meeting can be so much more than just that. It’s not just the teacher’s opinion that matters – the input of parents is also vital to ensure that the overall development of the child is at optimal levels. The child’s comfort level, social life, and personal growth are all factors that can be positively affected through a mutually productive parent-teacher meeting.

So, how should one prepare to facilitate a productive parent-teacher meeting?

BEFORE THE MEETING:

  • Keep track of all the developments of the child from the ground-up. Pinpoint any specific issues that you feel need to be addressed, so that you can bring up these points of discussion during the meeting.
  • Talk candidly with your child about his school life. Doing so will allow you to understand their likes and dislikes in the classroom, what they learn about all day, how the teachers interact with them, and any other relevant information.

DURING THE MEETING:

  • If you want to facilitate a productive discussion in the first place, then the first thing to keep in mind is to be punctual. If you’re not willing to respect the teacher’s time, then how will you expect them to do the same?
  • Try and maintain a positive attitude at all times. Being argumentative is okay at times, but keeping the same approach during a parent-teacher meeting is not recommended in the slightest. Make notes, listen attentively, and understand the best way to augment the growth of your child.

AFTER THE MEETING:

  • If you’ve taken notes, then read up on them and reflect on what was told to you at the meeting. Keeping these pointers in mind will help you direct the growth of your child in an effective manner.
  • Talk with your child after the meeting and go over all the points that were covered. Praise them for their strengths and mutually figure out the course of action that can be taken to overcome their weaknesses.

Attending the parent-teacher meeting should be more than just a to-do on your list – it should be a productive meetup that will benefit the student, teacher, and the parent equally.

How Can Healthy Sleep Patterns Improve Your Child’s Learning

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A good night’s sleep is very important for all children. It helps your child stay healthy, happy, calm and ready for school or any other activity the next day. Getting ample rest is critical for brain development and it directly influences everyday functioning, performance in school, etc.

Good habits and a set routine will help children feel sleepy and ready for bed at the right time. A well rested child is likely to concentrate more in class and get better grades. It is very important for school going children to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every day. Studies have shown that sleep is directly proportional to better grades. Children have shown signs of improvement in subjects like maths and science if they sleep on time at night.

Children suffer from restlessness, nightmares and disturbed sleep. Work towards getting your child relaxed before bedtime to reduce the chances of bad dreams and nightmares. In some cases, children may experience severe problems with sleep. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) find it extremely difficult to sleep on time.

Follow these steps to help your child maintain healthy sleeping patterns:

  1. Make sure your child sleeps early. He needs about 10 – 11 hours of sleep every night. Children are usually tired after school or play time or homework and their bedtime can be early.
  2. Maintain a bedtime routine to help them wind down. Get them ready for bed at the same time daily, and do not disrupt this routine. An hour before sleeping make them turn the television off or pause all computer games and engage in quiet activities.
  3. Reading to your child is a lot of fun. Make them read to you when they grow older.
  4. Talk to them calmly about their day so they sleep stress-free.
  5. Wake them up at the same time daily. Even during holidays.
  6. Most children have frequent nightmares. When it happens, go to your child as soon as possible. Reassure your child that nothing will happen. Talk calmly and gently and stay with them till they fall asleep again. If your child has woken up scared you might have to distract them with another activity or make them imagine an alternative to the nightmare.
  7. Talk to your child about his routine. See if something is bothering him/her that could be causing the nightmares.
  8. Make sure your child gets enough exercise. This is very important for his general health as well.
  9. They should listen to relaxing music to help them wind down. Remove all noisy things from your child’s room, and ensure there are no loud sounds when they sleep.
  10. If your child continues to have disturbed sleep speak to a health professional or a children’s counsellor.

As the saying goes “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  A good night’s sleep will keep your child healthy, active and happy throughout the day. Learning is made easy if the child is well rested, and he has a happier and more fruitful day in school. Remember to follow these steps and your child will wake up fresh and ready for action every day. 🙂

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Teaching Your Child The Importance of Sharing

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Children have a difficult time sharing their things, especially when they are young. Learning how to share is a very important part of the growing process. Children need to learn how good it feels to give and that it’s fun to share with friends and family.

Don’t scold your child if they don’t immediately know that they need to share. Children have a tendency to get attached to things and people. Teaching them to share can be a difficult task, and it requires a lot of patience. You need to try and understand why your child might not want to share and take it from there.

Here are a few tips to help your child learn the importance of sharing:

1. Don’t force a child to share: To you the toys don’t mean much, but to a child they are his prized possessions. Instead of insisting that they share all their things try and create an environment that encourages your child to share.

2. Take them or invite their friends for play dates: Let them plan ahead and choose some of their favorite things to share before the other children arrive.

3. Teach them how to take turns: Tell them that they can play with a toy for a while, but they will have to give it to someone else after some time. Take the children to a park with swings.

4. Be firm with them: Tell them that they will not get what they want if they don’t learn how to share.

5. Sharing requires empathy: Children find it difficult to show true empathy under the age of six. So don’t be harsh if they do not learn immediately. Be kind and generous yourself, and the child will eventually learn.

6. There are some things the child will never want to share: There is always a blanket or a toy that a child is extremely attached to. Don’t expect them to share that.

7. Let them learn themselves: If a child is does not share his things with other children or grabs a lot then children won’t want to play with him. He will automatically start sharing so he can make friends.

8. Play games: Incorporate rules that require the child to share or take turns when playing with them. Children remember what they have learned through play than what they learn through lectures.

9. Teach by example: When you are giving something to someone make it a teachable moment. For e.g. While returning something to your partner say “Mom is sharing this with dad.” or “Look, dad and mom are sharing this popcorn while we watch a movie.”

10. Be the bystander: Sometimes what they learn on their own has a more lasting impact than what you try to teach them. Give children space to work it out amongst themselves. Don’t go running to stop every fight your child gets into.

A child gives as he is given to. Teach your child to communicate his needs to his friends. If the child is fighting with his sibling, don’t take sides. Just take away the thing causing the argument so no one wins. The child may sulk at first, but will forget about it soon.

Learn to respect the attachment the child has with his things. At the same time teach them that sharing is very important. Show them how happy the other person becomes when they share. They will start sharing just to see a smile on the other person’s face. 🙂

7 Ways To Help Your Child Develop Self-Discipline

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Self-control is the first step to self-discipline. It’s important for those who want to become successful in life. Children need to be taught the value of self-discipline from an early age. Every time your child accepts a limit that set by you, they are practicing self-control.

Developing self-control can be a lifelong process for some. By learning self-control at a young age, children can respond to stressful situations in ways that yield positive outcomes. To help your child develop self-control, follow these 7 steps:

1. Practice what you preach. Managing your emotions in front of your children is very important. Remember that your actions send a clear message to your children about how to deal with various situations in life. If you are calm during stressful situations your child will also learn to be calm. Compassion is another thing children learn from their parents.

2. The foundation of any relationship is trust. Parents need to be responsive to their children’s needs to foster trust. When a baby is fed it understands that food will come. Soothing your child will help him regulate his emotions. You will also teach him how to soothe himself, and give him a feeling of safety and acceptance.

3. Developing the brain is an important step. Children cannot resist grabbing whatever comes in front of them. They also have very little idea about what is good or bad. Parents have to develop that understanding in them. This is a long process that takes a lot of practice. The brain’s development takes place in many ways. Reading a wide variety of books, sports, art, etc. are excellent ways to develop a child’s mind.

4. Keep practicing. A child needs to understand how to prioritize. They will want one thing, but there will be another thing that they want more. They need to understand that they cannot always get what they want. Giving them a choice between two things will help them understand the importance of making decisions. They will be able to associate it with self-discipline. Remember that it has to be the child’s decision. When they are forced to give something up, they are not practicing self-discipline. If they are not given the chance to choose between two alternatives, they cannot practice controlling themselves.

5. Punishment doesn’t encourage self-discipline. The right kind of limits give children practice in self-discipline. If the child isn’t choosing to stop what they were doing; they are being forced. In this case the child doesn’t feel the need to stop himself. The point is to motivate them to discipline themselves, and not punishing them.

6. Patience is an essential step. Patience is a virtue, and most find it very difficult to be patient in difficult situations. Every time we exercise self-control, we build our ability to draw on it to meet our goals. You cannot expect your child to be patient when he is young. It’s something that they develop gradually. If you’re asking them to be patient, then make sure that the amount of time they have to wait coincides with their ability to wait patiently or they would resort to screaming to get what they want instead of learning self-control. Don’t be impatient, and yell at your child to wait. They will see it as punishment.

7. Children learn self-control on their own too. Do not underestimate your child. They can develop self-control when they’re motivated by something important to them. Playing with other children requires them to manage their emotions. Cooking or baking teaches them to wait till the food is ready and not put it in their mouth when it is hot. Playing their favorite game helps them understand that they need to practice in order to get good at it.

Every time children have to manage themselves, they learn a strategy that helps them in the future. Teaching children self-control is about teaching them to regulate their emotions, which allows them to regulate their thoughts and behaviour.

How To Make A Career In Market Research

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Research has always been an integral part of Marketing-it helps companies stay competitive and avoid the high costs of poor decisions based on unsound information.

There are many different roles that you can assume within the field of Market Research. To secure a job, you must have knowledge or experience in the field, and know how to demonstrate that knowledge to employers. As a market researcher, you gather information about the competition or the market and then analyze it to find the best ways to gain an advantage over the competitors.

Remember that a job in Market Research involves a lot of fieldwork. So, be prepared for the run-around. Here are some tips that will help you prepare for a career in Market Research:

1. The main task of a market researcher is to gather and analyse the market so take all the Marketing courses you can.

2. Take courses in Statistics and Quantitative Methods.

3. Acquire internet and computer skills. Knowledge of programming languages is an added asset.

4. Take courses in Psychology and Consumer Behaviour.

5. Acquire effective written and verbal communications skills.

6. Learn to think creatively.

7. You can get a job in Market Research with a Bachelor’s degree, like BBA. You don’t always need an MBA, but many employers prefer it.

8. The most common entry-level position is of an Operational Supervisor or a Junior Research Analyst.

9. There is a lot of scope to learn on-the-job. The field requires a lot of people from a variety of backgrounds.

10. Technical posts like statisticians require a strong background in statistics.

11. Some of the positions available include Vice President of Marketing Research, Research Director, Assistant Director of Research, Project Manager, Statistician, Data Processing Specialist, Analysts, Fieldwork Director, etc.

12. Some research jobs require you to study the effects of a product’s package or advertisements on consumers. Or you may have to analyse market statistics or even asked to develop completely new products.

13. Getting some related skills and experience will help you stand out in interviews. Try and get an internship that helps you learn about the field.

For the best preparation for a career in Marketing Research refer to “Careers in Marketing Research by Naresh K Malhotra and Satyabhushan Dash”: bit.ly/1Cf5QD6.

This book helps to master skills related to Marketing Research, from assessing information needs to providing the company with relevant, accurate, reliable and current information, and assisting marketing decision-making in a very effective way. The research process discussed in the book is not limited to just marketing, but applies to any area of management.