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.

Raising Entrepreneurial Kids for Tomorrow

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All parents dream that their children, one day, will be successful in what they do. In this pursuit, they send them to the best schools and colleges, so they can secure good jobs. Most parents tend to look at a stable job as the best career option for their children, therefore overlooking the importance of encouraging their child’s entrepreneurial tendencies.

Our children are the future, and we can help them become tomorrow’s leaders by nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. So, what makes someone an entrepreneur, and what can you do to help your child become one? You can begin by honing these skills and qualities in your child early on in their lives:

1. Confidence: Children who are confident often stand out in the crowd. Give them challenging tasks, and drop hints that will help them if they get stuck. The feeling that they were able to finish something difficult will give their confidence the boost it needs.

2. Passion: Entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do. Encourage your children to do what they love. Teach them to follow their dreams.

3. Creativity: It is said that a child’s imagination is bigger than the universe. Children are extremely creative. Parents must nurture that creativity, and channel their energy in the right direction.

4. Communication Skills: Teach them all types of communication. It will help them share their vision with others. Learning different languages will help your child in many fields.

5. Risk taking: Children need to be taught how to take calculated, well-informed risks. They need to be comfortable with the idea of risk taking from the beginning. Don’t try to over shelter your children. Teach them that any failure is a learning opportunity to do better in the future.

6. Perseverance and hard work: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Everyone works hard, but it is important not to give up when you fail. Boost your child’s problem-solving skills. If they face any problem help them by brainstorming with them.

7. Optimism: Teach your children that failure is just a part of life, and that they should not fear it. They should learn to look forward to their future. It is important to have a positive attitude toward failure. When they fail, ask them to think about how they could have done things differently.

8. Initiative: Teach your children to be go-getters. Let your children be independent and take their own decisions sometimes like what to have for dinner or what to wear for a picnic. As they grow older you can trust them with bigger decisions.

9. Leadership: Your children can be leaders from the beginning. A good leader not only thinks big, but also motivates others to do so. Teach your child good interpersonal skills.

10. Planning: A great way to help your child is to teach them the importance of planning. If they face any problem ask them not to jump on it, but to think about it and make a plan. Don’t give them a solution. Let them figure it out themselves.

11. Exploring: Let your children explore through books, games and the internet. Closely monitor what they do. The internet offers many tools like prezi.com, weebly.com or canva.com that can help children learn new skills like designing, editing, even making their own websites.

Encourage your children to be curious, and let them know that no idea is a bad idea. As a parent, you can inspire entrepreneurial skills in your child by letting them be themselves and leading by example. Teaching your children these skills will help them solve problems, lead others, ask questions, learn from mistakes, and more importantly it will remind them to never give up, be creative, save money, ask for help and find solutions instead of problems. 🙂

How To Make Maths Fun For Your Child

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Maths! You either love it or you hate it, but you can’t live without it. Most children, like their parents when they were kids, see Maths as their enemy. Maths is the one subject that evokes emotions ranging from dislike, to fear in children. The fear of the subject has been one of the major causes of anxiety in students, and it stops them from studying tougher subjects that involve maths.Unfortunately, a bad score in mathematics affects the rest of the subject grades too. Child psychologists have determined that a child’s confidence level fall if they’re not getting good grades in maths. Thus, their overall score starts falling.

Maths anxiety is a type of fear; a fear that isn’t impossible to be conquered. So, how can parents help their children with a subject that still gives them nightmares? Here are a few steps that will help your child face his fear of numbers:–

1. Ignore mathematical myths. There is no such thing as a mathematical brain. It’s true that there are different brain types, but that simply means we all have different approaches to problem-solving. Everyone has a different way to deal with problems, but that doesn’t mean your child’s way is wrong. Give them time.

2. Motivate them. Your child may come to you one day and say “I will never be able to understand Maths”. Don’t let them believe that. Simply encouraging them to think positively can help improve Maths scores.

3. Ignore the myths. It’s believed that good mathematical ability means higher levels of intelligence. In reality, Maths isn’t only for the brightest students and there’s no one gender that’s better at the subject. We need to get past these timeworn ideas.

4. Don’t transfer your fear/anxiety to your child. Some parents unintentionally put their own personal fear of Maths in their children. Focus on using positive language when talking about the subject with your child.

5. Make it entertaining. There are many ways to get your child excited about Maths. You could get him/her Maths related computer games or introduce them to educational TV shows that teach basic Maths. There are many books, video games, and websites that can help your child learn in an engaging way.

6. Incorporate it in their day-to-day lives. Ask your child to help you with the house budget. Ask for their help when shopping. Integrate Maths in activities your child enjoys. If your child likes candy then use that to teach them arithmetic.

7. Make it a game. Play games with your children that require Maths. There are many digital or non-digital games that use Maths. Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Lego, Blocks etc. are fun games you can play with the family. Challenge them. Ask them how quickly they can calculate something. When they start doing easy sums fast, increase the level of difficulty. For e.g. Ask them to calculate the amount of time to reach a particular destination at a certain speed. Sudoku is probably the most effective game to play to improve mathematical ability.

8. Practice. It cannot be stressed enough. Maths requires a lot of practice. Make them spend a minimum of 30 minutes on the subject daily. Use exercise books that have fun logic questions.

9. Get help if they need it. If your child is struggling a lot, get them a tuition teacher. The extra help will always come in handy. Make sure the teacher is making your child comfortable with the subject.

It’s important that your child doesn’t give up on Maths. Tell them about the many applications of Maths in various careers, and how it will help them no matter what path they choose in life. To help students with Maths, we at Pearson Schools make use of a special program called the ‘Maths Navigator’. The ‘Maths Navigator’ helps improve the conceptual understanding of the subject by means of commonly available material around us, providing students a better understanding of the subject through unique techniques. We have noted that this leads to improved interest and participation in the learning process.

Your child just needs a little push from you, but don’t put too much pressure on them. Following the aforementioned steps for a hands-on learning experience propels kids to think divergently as well as understand and solve mathematical problems from an early age. Positive reinforcement is very important to encourage them. And before you know it, they’ll soon get over their fear of Mathematics! 🙂

The Use Of Technology In Classrooms

The use of technology in classroom“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

– John Dewey

A classroom is the hub of innovative thinking, making it imperative for educators to continually embrace new tools of learning. Technology has brought forth a new meaning to learning in recent times, leaving parents and teachers alike with no doubt about its effectiveness. Young minds today are brimming with the curiosity and are eager to adopt new ways of learning instead of the old tried-and-tested methods more than ever before.

Exploring and utilizing technology in the right way, whilst adapting it to the existing trends in the education sector has become the need of the hour. With the recent Internet boom in India as well as advancements in science and technology, educators are disposed to a plethora of possibilities for the betterment of the education as a whole.

Technology brings a variety of learning tools at the fingertips of educators, students and parents. Here are a few reasons that highlight its positives and usage as a learning tool:

  • Offer students a way to connect what they are learning in class, to real-world situations, in a safe and low-cost environment by­ using games and simulations.
  • Lets educators form a system wherein they share and collaborate their ideas and resources online.
  • Enhance understanding of concepts that involve motion or action by using animations and videos.
  • Holds a student’s attention for longer periods of time, than they would with books and/or paper resources.
  • Allows boring subjects to be more engaging with virtual lessons, tutoring, and the streaming of educational videos.
  • Provides a variety of knowledge from more than one source and doesn’t limit students to one person’s opinion.
  • Promote higher-order thinking skills such as collaboration, communication, problem solving, and teamwork.
  • Students are able to receive direct, individualized instructions from a computer, which enables them to learn at their own pace.
  • Allows self-expression by the students through a multitude of tools, such as PowerPoint, digital photography, filmmaking, class newspapers, web-based school radio stations, or creation of a blog.

This symbiosis of learning and technology enables young, curious minds to prosper and explore unknown territories, and often gain several perspectives on the topics at hand. All that needs to be taken care of is finding the perfect mix of digital curriculum and the face-to-face support and instruction systems.

Over the past decade, innumerable studies have confirmed the benefits from the use of technology in education. In the present scenario, the importance of technology in education is irrefutable, making the question ‘does technology enhance learning?’ redundant. Today, teachers, students and parents must always ask, ‘How do we improve our use of technology to enhance learning?’

New global education index shows Asian superpowers excel in learning

LearningCurve

“Culture of accountability” among teachers, students and parents drives success 
The Learning Curve 2014 report, published by Pearson, explores factors behind global performance shifts in global education league tables

“Appreciates India’s Saakshar Bharat Mission that seeks to help 70 million people to become literate by 2017”

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, published a new Learning Curve Index, ranking the educational performance of 39 countries.

The Learning Curve 2014 report, published by Pearson, explores factors behind global performance shifts in global education league tables and the importance of 21st Century skills.The new Global Index
of Cognitive Skills and Attainment, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, finds that:

  •  South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong claim top spots in overall education ranking due to a ‘culture of accountability’ in which teachers, students and parents all take responsibility for education, and society values teachers and schools far more highly than in many other parts of the world.
  •  Finland drops to 5th from 1st position mainly because of decreases in its reported maths and science literacy.
  • UK holds steady at 6th position due to improvement in its PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS test scores and a rise in its tertiary graduation rate. Canada and the Netherlands are also in the top ten.
  •  Many emerging economies are putting increased funding into education – but this is not yet improving outcomes. Three of the world’s biggest emerging economies Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia are ranked at the bottom of the Index.

The accompanying Learning Curve report, on the theme of skills, finds that:

  • All adults lose skills as they age, but they decline far more rapidly when not used regularly at work.
  •  Skills only improve at a national level when governments, employers, schools, students and parents all prioritise them.

Alongside the new Index, Pearson has also published a new open Data Bank of 2,500 educational, economic and social indicators relating to a total of 50 countries, which is available at : http://bit.ly/1kaD0sO

The Data Bank draws on the three most respected global education studies – PISA, TIMMS, PIRLS – and combines them with national statistics on education, GDP, employment, crime rates, and other factors to create a comprehensive set of information for researchers and policy makers to draw on.

Deepak Mehrotra, Managing Director, Pearson India shared: Learning Curve is an ambitious effort to gather a wide range of information on education inputs and outputs over an extended period of time. Through the report series, Pearson aims to globally create the most comprehensive source of education data and evidence, making it open and searchable for educators and thought leaders.

The research insights provide valuable inputs for the education sectors across the globe to compare, measure and use. This can help improve country level educational systems. Pearson encourages teachers, parents, governments and academicians – in fact anyone interested in education – to rely on data and evidence when making decisions.

As the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test results by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) do not exist for India and China at a national level we don’t see much data on our country, but the global data on learning outcomes definitely helps to positively influence Indian education policy at local, regional and national levels.

John Fallon, Chief Executive of Pearson commented: “One of the most pervasive and endemic problems in education in just about every country is the lack of attention paid to skills provision. In rich countries and emerging economies, the demand for better skills is urgent – as governments strive to create rewarding jobs for their citizens. “The Learning Curve brings together a growing body of evidence on what works in education. We hope it is a small but important contribution to improving learning outcomes on a global basis. As educational debates shift from a focus on inputs to learning outcomes, we hope what we have
discovered will drive others to take up the baton and do more work in this field.”

The importance of expanding and maintaining adult skills

Alongside the Index, Pearson has also published an in-depth report on the importance of skills in improving educational and economic outcomes. The report concludes that:

  • The OECD estimates that half of the economic growth in developed countries in the last decade came from improved skills, highlighting the importance of driving skills to help grow a country’s economy.
  • It’s difficult to determine the impact of adult education on individuals, as they are mostly already highly educated and skilled.
  • South Korea outperforms all other countries in PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS, however, after age 20, their skills test on par or below average according to PIAAC results.
  • While Scandinavian countries fall behind Asia in the education rankings, they score highly in adult skill retention through encouraging adults to continuously develop their skills and providing the infrastructure for this.
  • Basic skills gained in early education are essential to continued skill development and that continued use of skills in adulthood is crucial in slowing the inevitable decline over time.
  • Emphasizing on the need of skill inculcation among adults, Professor Schleicher, (Deputy Director, Directorate for Education, OECD) has given the example of India’s literacy efforts in the index. India’s Saakshar Bharat Mission, world’s largest adult education programme, is a perfect example of large scale skills inculcation among adults to motivate learners.

The Learning Curve report has cited India’s Saakshar Bharat Mission in the index. Launched in 2009, the largest adult education programme in the world is a centrally sponsored scheme of Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GOI). The scheme, which has successfully contributed to the literacy of 25 million people, seeks to help 70 million people to become literate by 2017. It focuses in particular on those who in the past have been marginalised in Indian education, including women (the target is for 60 million female neo- literates), the rural poor, and the country’s worst off tribes and castes. The mission has changed the shape of lifelong learning in India.

Better education means better economic growth

The Learning Curve demonstrates that education correlates with economic growth: the average time spent in school has been statistically linked to nations’ labour productivity for the last two decades. Developing countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia rank lowest in PISA, which poses the question of whether these nations can support sustained rates of economic growth long term.

Effective education requires accountability and great teaching

New technologies require both teachers and students to acquire a broader range of skills, opening up the possibility for new teaching techniques. Countries and their governments must place importance on the role of teachers and treat the profession with respect. However, success comes when the student is held accountable to do well and the teacher can work flexibly, highlighting the importance of self-sufficiency. Teachers cannot teach effectively when the curriculum is tightly controlled. Moreover, it’s evident that parental expectations impact on the students’ performance and motivation too.

To read the full report please visit: http://bit.ly/1kaD0sO