Manufactured Educators

On a particular day, I was on the train going to a meeting in London. A group of primary school children got on the train in Mile End. One of them had a visual impairment and guided by an adult whom I believe is the teacher. Three of the children sat on my left side, and one of them decided to pick the newspaper to read.

educationTo my surprise, the teacher told him to stop reading the paper and to put it down. From his body language/observation, the boy wanted to ask why but said ‘yes Miss’. While I was giving the teacher the cold look of why?; that’s how you make a child display disruptive behaviour, and holding back my tongue. Another adult supervising the children noticed this child putting the paper down but encouraged him to go on reading. The boy said ‘Miss told me to put it down.’ This adult turned to the teacher and asked my thoughtful question, why? Her response, ‘we can not control the content in the newspaper.’ The other adult said, ‘oh’. My thoughts responded, ‘are you kidding me.’ At this time of the morning, 95% of the newspaper in the train carriage is metro. This got me thinking about the political correctness of the education system and wanting to put filters in every area of it. If the children were disruptive with the newspaper, this action by the teacher would be justified. What happened to;

  • Asking the child, what are you reading?
  • Having a look at the newspaper before concluding on the action to take.
  • Directing the child to a more child-friendly page.
  • Engaging the child in educational discussion linked to the curriculum.

What is happening in education? I seem to be getting more dissolution with manufactured educators and the deteriorating of common sense in education. OR am I wrong?

What Book Is Your Child Reading?

teddyreadingThis question is not directed to fiction and imaginative books such as Harry Potter, Star Trek, The BFG, Matilda, The Lion the witch and wardrobe. Ofcause fiction books help children expand and develop their imagination of the world. Providing opportunities and realities that they may never be able to imagine. Fiction books help children think outside the box of normal to the abnormal, where anything imaginable is possible. It develops the creative and the what if of any world within the child’s imagination. Fiction ensures that all things are possible and helps to continue with the development of children’s imaginative and creative process. Fiction book can help children develop the understand and ideology that a world might exist outside the realities they know or associate to. Fiction books can help children link with happens around them that they never knew existed, between reality and non-reality experiences.

On the other hand, non-fiction books are about facts. Things that have to do with real occurrences, when fiction comes alive in real life situations that happened to individuals. Non-fiction books are informative to children. It provides history, cultural and educational information facts to children. It should be said, most children are not a big fan of non-fiction books outside the class or educational setting. Most non-fiction books found in homes with children include the dictionary, encyclopaedia and books related to subject specific topics.

The question, what book is your child reading? Focuses on the non-fiction books children are reading. As a parent and childcare consultant, it is a concern when research shows that the number of young children suffering from depression, bullying and self-harm is on the rise. Is it because children are being labelled more easily by the establishment, parents want a named problem for their children’s unappropriate behaviour, or these cases are being detected and recorded better based on research? Whatever the answer, the non-fiction books children read can help have a positive impact on their mental mindset. It contributes to providing them with facts and truthful information on how past circumstances may have improved and gotten better. Non-fiction books can help children solve problems better and equip them to develop a stronger mindset on emotion, relationship and peer pressure. Is it easy to get children to read non-fiction books, obviously not? However, when parents put in the same effort to reading non-fiction books as compared to fiction books to their children from a tender age, it is possible for children to be interested in non-fiction books continually.

It seems strange when parents express they find it difficult discussing certain topics with their children e.g. how babies are made, sex, drugs, alcohol, depression, bullying, pornography, friendship, relationship, etc. Schools are discussing these topics with your children so why not add your parental voice to the discussion. If it is not an easy process for you, start with a non-fiction book on the topic that is age and developmentally appropriate. Whichever way you want your child to read the book, independently or with you, provide your child with the opportunity to ask questions, which helps to start the discussion.

In the very fast and informative world we live in now, it is important to equip our children with the correct information that will help build a positive and balanced mindset. So, what book is your child reading?

Helping Children Manage Failure Positively

The word FAIL has been the acronym to ‘First Attempt In Learning’. This means the possibility of not getting things right the very first time is guaranteed. Let’s start from the very first time a baby latch on the breast. Most mothers have mentioned it took some adjusting for both them and the baby. Moving on to a toddlers’ first step, sitting up or trying a new food taste. All these instances show failing is part of the human development and journey of life, but what makes the difference is how individually we deal with the challenge. I have seen parents given up on the first try at introducing new food to children while others have gone on to successes with the right support.

As children grow, they will fail in friendship, relationships, task, accomplishment, homework, class work, sports and different types of activities. However, we as parents should be there to provide the help and support needed during the situation. The first major exams my son wrote, was the first time he dealt with failure. He did not make the marks needed for certain schools. He cried so much as this was very upsetting for him. When asked why he felt this way he indicated he had let us his parents down and felt he did so well on the day of the exam. As parents what did we do to help him during this process?fail

  1. Reassured him that he did not let us down, thou we would have loved him to make the marks needed.
  2. Prepare himself better for the next exam. Asked him what he thought were his weakness during exam, we then gave him the tools and techniques needed to improve these weaknesses.
  3. Told him, it was not the end of the world. Thou that opportunity was gone, there are more opportunities to come.
  4. Help build back his confidence. Focused and reminded him of other accomplishments he had achieved.
  5. Tell him failing is part of life but not to get stuck in it. To move on or try again at the task.

In the 2015 Wimbledon and 2016 Australian women tennis tournament, Sirena Williams has shown an A star behaviour of managing failure. Although as of when these games were played, she was the number one world female tennis played. When she came the runner-up and failed to reach the first place for these tournaments, she dealt with it gracefully. This example shows we all deal with failure, but how we deal with it is what makes us different. Helping children have an understanding of failure contribute to their output in life and seeing it from a positive perspective.

Dyslexia, What A Load of……

I remember at the age of 5 or 6 my dad asked me to spell ‘Cat’ and I found it quite difficult. I sounded it out phonetically but still found it hard to spell. He tugged my ear, and said, “listen to the sound”. It took him writing the word for me to actually spell ‘Cat’. I remember being told in university I was lazy in writing and spelling, and needed to use my dictionary more. I should listen more and teach myself how to read and write again. I later realised I enjoyed reading from back to front, I found it difficult identifying my left side from right and had to reminded myself by feeling a scar on my left palm before I knew left from right. This was my coping mechanism. Not too long ago someone identified I am creative with visualising things, which I did not notice.

helping with dyslexia|renny adejuwon

Due to the lack of understanding dyslexia, many children and teenagers still have stories like this. The debate by educationalist and theorist is endless (Read), one side suggest there is nothing like dyslexia while others suggest it exist. Institutions label children of having learning difficulties and not identifying their dyslexia. In educational learning and working with children there are three major different learning styles, visual, kinesthetic and auditory. Why hasn’t this been applied to dyslexia? Identifying that some children are creative and maybe have different way of reading and spelling.

While studying Applied Child Psychology one of the modules was on phonetics and how children learn to spell. One fundamental lesson was based on how some children spell phonetically while others learn by memorizing the words. This should be considered and applied into classes by teachers identifying children that learn phonetically or by memorizing words. Children should not be labeled wrongly for having dyslexia but rather teaching should be creative in the class room to help children reach their full potential. Children with dyslexia can be helped from a young age to become competent readers and writers but first the the right support needs to be provided. 

37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia and The British Dyslexia Association can be of help.

Seeing Children From A Positive Perspective

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I was listening to a mum speaking about her child and most of what she said were negative. How the child does not listen to her, comparing him with his siblings and how better behaved they were. How he has a mind of his own and on and on she went.

At a point, I stopped her and asked her to tell me the good things she sees in her son. She stopped, looked at me like I just spoke a foreign language so I repeated myself. She found it difficult at first but by the time she mentioned two things, she began to see her son in a positive perspective.

Here are 5 things to do in seeing children in a positive light:

  • Write down the strengths of your child/children: Writing down or focusing on a child’s strength erases the negative you see in him or her.

 

  • See yourself in your child: remembering your childhood can help see your child in a positive light and how your parents also corrected you as a child.

 

  • Correct the negative in love: Parent get confused with this. This is about not condemning your child. Rather let them understand there are certain things and behaviour that are unacceptable, which can put them or other around them in danger.

 

  • Praise: this is never too much for children. When you remember, praise your child. Is it for carrying the shopping, doing their homework on time, voluntarily reading a book, helping with the chores or even giving you a hug. Say “thank you” or “well done” because as parents, we unconsciously focus on what they have not done.

 

  • Have a chat and be playful: this help solidify the parent child relationship, enhance trust and focus on making the family unit happy.