Showing posts with label creative. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creative. Show all posts

Thursday, 29 November 2012

10 Most Important Education Laws in American History

Even in non-election years, education remains at the forefront of most Americans’ social, political, and economic concerns. Or it should, anyway. Seeing as how the public school system is run by the, uh, government, it ought to come as no shock to anyone whatsoever that some legislation stands as more groundbreaking than others.
Do keep in mind that this article only includes federal laws, though legislation passed at the state level can obviously still hold influence. Like compulsory education. That’s kind of a big deal. But we’re sticking with the rulings that govern all the states, because so many variations exist from one to the other it’d be hard to discuss them without keeping you here all day.
  1. Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment:

    The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, guarantees equal protection under the law across demographics and, obviously, does not exclusively cover education. But it played a major role in shaping the American public education system when invoked during many different Supreme Court cases involving state schools. Most significant of the lot: Brown v. The Board of Educationout of Kansas, which overturned Plessey v. Ferguson in 1954. This decision marked a turning point in Civil Rights by declaring “separate but equal” and otherwise racially segregated schools absolutely unconstitutional. A decision which wound up provoking backwards governors like Arkansas’ Orval Faubus and Alabama’s George Wallace to infamously attempt blocking the first black students from entering traditionally white state schools.
  2. Serviceman’s Readjustment Act:

    But you might know it better as the G.I. Bill. Because the rights of veterans remained such a nebulous milieu prior to its 1944 approval, this legislation meant to clearly define their earned entitlements upon return. Most individuals these days tend to think of the law as providing free or low-cost college tuition and living expenses for active and former members of the Armed Forces, though the benefits extend to include assistance with mortgages and business startups. These perks, particularly the ones involving education, all help them reintegrate back into mainstream American society after serving time in the military, an essential service for them and their families.
  3. The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act:

    Poor nutrition wreaks havoc on cognitive ability and academic performance, even in otherwise intelligent, capable students. The National School Lunch Act, as the legislation is more commonly known, sought to close the achievement gap between socioeconomic classes by providing free or reduced-cost meals to qualifying students. It also addressed the issue of farm surpluses, but that’s not as relevant to this article. Since 1946, it has ensured students from low-income households receive healthy breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But with the addition of the Summer Food Service Program, they are also guaranteed better nutrition even when school dismisses for a few months.
  4. Higher Education Act of 1965:

    Part of then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, HEA continues eliciting controversy but still remains an influential law hovering over the American public school system. It receives consistent ratification in order to accommodate current social, political, and economic factors, but at its core it seeks to fiscally bolster the college and university system with the hopes of providing more opportunities for more students. Scholarships and affordable loans are also made available to students requiring financial aid, and the legislation also established the National Teachers Corps. Because it allowed a higher number of Americans to attend institutes of higher learning, however hair-rippingly bureaucratic the Financial Aid process has proven, it’s probably safe to refer to the HEA as an influential little piece of government.
  5. Bilingual Education Act:

    With America’s increasingly diverse societal makeup, 1968’s Bilingual Education Act sometimes seems even more relevant than before. Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, to which it is sometimes referred, provided funding to schools in order to help them better accommodate students for whom English was not their first language. Because the linguistic barrier so often caused kids to lag behind in their grades (which obviously does not reflect on their overall aptitude or intelligence!), this boost helps provide equal opportunities so everyone in the public school system, regardless of their mother tongue or nation of origin, enjoys a shot at academic success.
  6. Title IX:

    Although Title IX frequently appears in discussions regarding athletics, particularly when it comes to colleges and universities attempting to subvert the regulations, its reach hits points well beyond that. Basically, it requires any institution receiving federal funding to not discriminate on the basis of gender when it comes to doling out money to extracurricular activities and other programs. That’s all the simple, straightforward Title IX asks, yet today it still manages to wind up in the center of major controversies in schools angry that they can’t fund men’s sports as much as they’d prefer.
  7. Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974:

    The Fourteenth Amendment proved pivotal in ultimately desegregating public institutes of learning, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 helped further the cause of racial equality in the public school system. Essentially, it made discrimination against faculty, administrators, staff, and students on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or color illegal. Which is more or less what one would expect the law to be about, considering the title and everything. In 1982, it played a significant part in the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe, ultimately requiring public schools to provide equal-opportunity education for the children of undocumented immigrants.
  8. Family Education Rights and Privacy Act:

    Students (and their parents, for those under the age of 18) enjoy more autonomy and privacy regarding their education records thanks to this 1974 legislation. FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment, granted them the right to refuse or permit their schools from transferring information back and forth as well as some degree of control over grades and even behavioral comments. Meaning they can legally dispute them if they feel teachers proved unfair in their assessments. Kids today tend to take this small shred of freedom for granted, but as anyone who has ever grappled with a genuinely unearned grade or unjust accusation of disruptive or dysfunctional socializing can attest, FERPA has proven itself a very good thing indeed.
  9. Education for All Handicapped Children Act:

    Originally passed in 1975 by Gerald Ford, this legislation paved the way for 1990’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an updated revision of its tenets. Upon launch, public schools receiving federal funding were required to provide students with disabilities (mental and physical) with all the necessary resources and techniques for scholastic success, as well as one free meal per day. Parents also received more say in how the schools educated their special needs children, though for the most part the kids wound up in the environments providing the most opportunities. IDEA built upon this foundation by stressing the development of skills needed to enter into vocational and higher education training, covering students between birth and age 18 to 21.
  10. No Child Left Behind Act:

    When critics point to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, they point toward the infamous No Child Left Behind Act as evidence. The clusterbombing of crazy began in 2001 and continues widening the class gap well into this horrendous economic climate. At the core of its controversy sits a rigid adherence to standardized testing as the be-all, end-all of scholastic achievement. Since NCLBA determines where funding goes based on how well districts perform on these exams, with more money feeding into more successful schools, this means schools with fewer resources and more novice teachers (aka “low-income neighborhoods that needs the opportunities”) continue getting left behind (pun intended).

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Envisioning creative end of the chapter activities for children through online tutoring

In my blogs; I have always enumerated different ways through which online learning can be made better through creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. This write-up is no different; except that it includes certain points which will help online tutors to create out-of-the-box end of the chapter activities for children.

How many times I have been discussed about the need for creativity in online courses during my blogs. But have I ever spoken about the need for originality in developing end of the chapter activities for children? Teaching a child is the most difficult task, more so; if yours is an online course. But the toughest job is to make a child to homework; which we call as end of the chapter activities in online education. If you have made the child interested in the course; then half of your job is completed as you have already created the curiosity in the child. That also means that a major burden of your shoulder has lighten; but it is not the end of the hurdle. The bigger test is to make the child like the activities after the chapter ends.

It is possible that the child may develop lack of interest in doing the activities which you think will help him gain additional knowledge from the activity. But the difficult part is that you can never be there with the child to make him/her understand the importance of doing these activities earnestly. So what is the possible option left to you? I have already researched a lot and found that majority of e-learning course providers have a quiz at the end of the chapter which gives an assessment to the child about their grasping power. But don’t you think that if you were in their shoes; you would have studied only to get through the quiz in flying colors without worrying about gaining knowledge from the course. If that is the case then what is the big difference between class room education and online education. Since there are many students in a class, teacher cannot concentrate on each and every child hence; children need extra help of joining a tutoring class. Now if an online tutor cannot help the child and provide the requisite knowledge to them; then I cannot possibly understand the need for enrolling in the online course at the first instance.

Now what we need is an innovative solution to this problem which is not easy; but it is possible. The only reason for me to continue writing this blog is to find creative ideas for online tutoring; so that children can enjoy studying online in a fun-filled manner. But the current teaching mechanisms are very far from the benchmark that I have set while envisioning a great online course with creative end of the chapter activities for children. You can always try to include something different something unique; and mix them with the orthodox teaching techniques to make a winning recipe for children. It is all about thinking like a child as discussed in my every blog. That is the secret to making a connection with them. Without that it is impossible to get the desired results from your course. So let me now provide various activities that can make you stand out from your online competitors; and make you instant fans amongst parents and children:

For English: I have already discussed in my previous blog titled “Determining a breakthrough teaching mechanism for English online tutors”; that there should be an innovative way of teaching children. In fact I have already discussed some breakthrough ideas in that blog. Now the major challenge is to go a step further and create end of the chapter activities for children so that they are still interested in the chapters after getting through the chapters. One way of doing that is; by showing couples of minutes of footages of animated story created out of the lessons; and then ask them to write the dialogues for each of the characters without changing the story line. The other alternative is to give them match the following kind of stuff; wherein you show animated images of characters in the lesson and ask them to match the characterization of each individual without browsing through the animated series of the chapter. This way child will love to engage in the activities; and will not feel it as just another way of evaluation. Try to fix a minimum criterion that the child needs to meet before proceeding further. This will give them an opportunity to know whether they have gained expertise in that chapter. Even if they are not able to achieve the minimum criterion there is nothing to worry. They can see the animated series of the lessons once again; and then try to give their best in the activities; so that maximum knowledge can be gained from the activities.

The sole objective of conducting the activities at the end of the lessons is to make sure that the child retains the story-line and gain knowledge from the chapters thereby; getting insights from them. The other way of looking at it is giving something different to the children; so that they can enhance their creativity and showcase their talent. This can be done by asking them to write the synopsis of the animated series in their own words, mentioning the role of central characters in the story and the moral behind the story. This way children would be able to retain the lessons for a longer period of time without much effort. 

For Math: Now this is a very sticky situation because it is very difficult to design engaging activities for children especially if we talk about Math as a subject in online tutoring. But since I have already discussed about innovative activities that can be done for English it is only natural to showcase different innovative ways through which Math education can also be made fun-based for children. Now as far as activities are concerned they would go in the line as discussed in my previous blog titled “Challenging task of making math a fun-loving activity for students”. Since I have already discussed innovative methods of making Math an interesting subject to teach in online tutoring. Let me go a step further to evaluate different activities that can add a new feather to Math education; as far as end of the chapter activities for children are concerned. So let me start off with the activities.

Remember when you were 10-15 years old you were fond of various super-heroes. So we will use the same concept in our activities. For example; if we are talking about division problems. Then the activities would be something like this: 

Batman is fighting a supreme battle in the Gotham City against Bane, a ruthless monster who wants to take down the Gotham City with a nuclear bomb. Now if Bane has planted 4 different nuclear bombs in different locations of Gotham City and Batman has only 2 occasions to find out the exact location before the bombs diffuse; how many tries does he have in total to save Gotham City from the nemesis from happening?

This can be a very interesting division problem; and but it cannot be that simple for a 10 year old to solve but it will keep them engaged in the problem and get the solution. I will give you another example of fraction to showcase that these kinds of activities can not only be creative; but also enriching for the critical thinking of the child as discussed in my previous blog on Math titled ““Challenging task of making math a fun-loving activity for students”. 

Captain Jack Sparrow is joined by Angelica to search for fountain of youth. But the only glitch is that once they are there they will have to encounter a fatal encounter with a “one-legged man”. Now there are also mermaids in the story which are quite vicious. The trick to get to the fountain of youth; and get eternal youth is to get tears of sorrow from one of the mermaids and put it in a cup and drink it. Now this is not an easy thing because they are vicious and attack individuals like predators. So if there are six people including Jack, Angelica, Mermaid, One-legged man, Phillip Swift (who falls in love with the mermaid) and BlackBeard, who practices voodoo magic and yields a magical sword to control the ship. Who amongst these six will be able to get eternal youth? The only problem is there can only be one person that can gain eternal youth. Find out who amongst these six individuals would be that lucky person?

The answer is quite simple; 1/6. But for a 10 year old the most fascinating part would be to imagine being in the adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow; and trying to figure out the eventual winner who gets eternal youth out of the six participants.

Although the examples that I have given are based on movies you can create your own fictional characters. But bear in mind that children should be fond of the characters. These characters should have some sort of connection with children like Batman and Captain Jack Sparrow. This can lead to further enhancement of knowledge in children in a very creative and interesting way. Similarly different examples can be given for solving problems and puzzles by giving interesting characterization to children.

In the end I would conclude this blog by saying a very famous quote by Vincent van Gogh,

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? 

So always think big and try to go out of the way and follow your dreams; because they are not just visions or hallucinations but they are your pathway to future success.

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