Posts from the ‘teachers’ Category

HOW TO CUT THROUGH THE NOISE – TEACHING OUR CHILDREN TO BE CRITICAL THINKERS

About 64 million Americans get their news from social media. The reliance on newspapers, radio, and television news segments have been diminished or disappeared. Even broadcasts advertised as the “breaking news” rely on panels of “experts” to relay information. The days of a journalist simply reporting the facts without attaching opinions are gone.

Our children probably rely on social media to an even greater degree. How can we teach them to cut through the noise, sift through the mire, and uncover the objective truth? I have a few suggestions.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

Make it a point to watch and listen to many different stations and social media outlets. Show your children how different outlets and reporters present information. Do they show both sides of an issue? Are certain people and groups ignored? Tell children they need to hear and see both sides of an issue before judging it authentic. Ask them if the information was reported fairly. Did they get the whole picture?

EVERY STORY HAS MANY ANGLES

Explain how different people look at the same situation differently. Use examples of how family members like different foods, play different sports, and choose different friends. Even mom and dad sometimes argue about preferences. The same applies to news issues. Adults can choose different media outlets and reporters to illustrate how there can be a multitude of different views about the same topic in the news.

IS THAT A FACT?

Use everyday situations to illustrate the difference between a fact and opinion. I am wearing a red shirt today. That is a fact. When you say, that red shirt is ugly, you are issuing your opinion. Facebook and Twitter are littered with opinions. What do people share or retweet? They share and comment on the opinions with which they strongly agree or disagree. Social media outlets do not report the news, they display the opinions of those followers who have decided to reject or endorse them. Children need to understand that reality does not coincide with the majority of social media opinion. Point of view on an issue does not necessarily make what is communicated true. In fact, the reality might be something completely different.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

Adults and children can have fun and learn a lot by analyzing the ads seen in print and on TV. Study that boring commercial and think deeply about the message that is being communicated. How are the actors dressed? What do their gestures tell you? What words do they use? Do they exaggerate the benefits of the product? How are they trying to manipulate you into buying something you don’t really need?

After doing this a few times, take what you learned and apply it to the commentators, reporters, and “expert panels” that you see reporting the news. You will learn a lot about how much opinion is introduced into what is being reported as factual news. This knowledge will go a long way in developing critical thinking skills that will benefit children as they mature and develop the life skills they will need in future careers.

SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING

It’s okay to be critical. In the world of modern technology in which we can press a button to order in minutes, see ourselves in virtual reality, and communicate with friends, family, and co-workers instantly, it has never been more important to be vigilant and careful. We worry about computer hackers, but often neglect to train our own brains to filter out the noise and the mixed messages that seek to distract and deceive us.

BE SMART AND RESPONSIBLE

Watch this quick video to learn how.

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HALLOWEEN POTPOURRI

Trick or Treat Free For All: A Halloween Kids Book

Written by: Marina J. Bowman, J.K. Campbell, Richard Clark, Eli Cranor, Connor Grayson, Deb Logan, Scott Peters, D.M. Potter, and M.K. Radican

Here is a book that will please beginning and middle-grade readers. There are ten different stories. Each is written by a well-known children’s author.

These stories have different themes that correspond with the genre and characters familiar to each of the authors. Detective story fans, magic fans, folktale fans, and mystery fans will find a story to love. Reluctant readers will be enticed by the shorter length and off-beat characters.

Teachers might read one of these each day or the collection might be read aloud at a Halloween party. Anthologies are not common for young readers, but I think it is a good way to introduce readers to a wide variety of different genres and book series.

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HOW TO FOSTER LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN CHILDREN – #8 Teaching youth and teens to be leaders

Leadership skills are crucial for success in life, from employment to relationships. The general consensus is that many of these skills are lacking among adults and young people. Whether you have youth and young adults living in your home or placed under your supervision, you can invest in their futures by teaching them how to be leaders.

Qualities necessary for teaching youth and young adults to be leaders.

Give Them Responsibility

As a youth group leader, parent, teacher, or other authority figure, this can seem like a scary prospect. Are they ready for responsibility? Can they handle it? Give them something to be responsible for that will build their self-confidence, but don’t make it something that’s life-and-death. Take your teens’ personal skills, strengths, and weaknesses into consideration, too.

Here are some examples of responsibilities for teens.

  • Running an errand for you, such as picking up something from the store. If they can’t drive, you can drop them off to run the errand.
  • Opening up a bank account.
  • Let them lead a class or group.
  • Household chores like laundry could be delegated to the young adults and teens in your home.
  • Have them organize the set-up and clean-up of an event.

Jobs

One of those ironies of good leadership is that being under leadership is often a great way to learn it. Youth and young adults would do well to work at least part time, This fosters learning responsibility and also learning what is involved in good leadership. Having a job is an important responsibility that can prepare young people to lead.

Consider jobs like camp counselor or babysitter, too. Those are both jobs that put young people in charge of others.

Workshops

Are there leadership workshops available in your area? If not, see if you can hire a leadership consultant to come in and speak to your group. Maybe you can find someone to speak to your teen’s class, or hold a seminar on your young adult’s college campus. If there is a workshop available, take your youth group to the workshop, or sign your kids up.

Groups and Organizations

Organizations like Boy and Girl Scouts are also good ways for young adults and youth to learn leadership skills. Don’t let the names “boy” and “girl” deter you – there are all kinds of opportunities in these organizations for youth and young adults. Other clubs and groups encourage leadership among members, too. Find out about what is offered in your community – even your local YMCA/YWCA might have some ideas or programs.

Take stock of the opportunities available that are tailored to the career opportunities that are unique to the community in which you live and the curriculum available in schools and colleges in your area. Discuss the hopes and dreams held by your youth and teens and encourage them to share them with you and their peers. Innovation and success spring from the seeds of ideas.

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A QUICK OVERVIEW OF ONLINE TEACHING

Teaching in the Years of the Corona Virus

Written by Kostas Pan

This book is a brief overview of the history and implementation of online teaching. While college students have been using it in one form or another for a while, the concept has been thrust into the limelight as education on all levels has been shut down during the pandemic.

For traditional teachers, especially those in elementary and middle-grade classrooms, using the computer as a teaching tool has been a supplement up to this point. Now teachers are suddenly faced with the task of taking all their lesson plans and finding a way to deliver them virtually. Notwithstanding the problems of students and schools who do not have adequate bandwidth or hardware, there is the issue of appropriate software.

Pan points out some advantages of online learning. It is flexible, and today’s software programs allow for interactive student discussions, quizzes, and teacher-student direct interaction. It can be accessed at home or by mobile device. If teachers plan their lessons well ahead, they can input measures of accountability. Teachers must prepare parents in advance. They need to ask parents to participate, encourage and supervise the younger students.

There will be a period of transition when the method seems difficult, but with time and practice students and teachers become responsible and practiced with the techniques. There is no doubt in person instruction is a crucial and necessary component of education, but online teaching has emerged due to necessity and will not disappear from the educational landscape.

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#HOW TO TEACH LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN CHILDREN # 7 – A Short List

So you have attempted to provide a nurturing environment, set up good examples, and encouraged leadership qualities in your children.

Whether you are a teacher, parent, or other type of caregiver, you have probably heard about the importance of instilling leadership. But how? What skills? Following is a basic list of leadership skills you can teach kids. They are not numbered because each is equally important.

INDEPENDENT THINKING

Help your child break out of a “cookie cutter” mindset by teaching him/her to think independently. Ask for your child’s opinions on many different subjects, without judging or stating your opinion. Be open-minded. Listen so that no opinion is “wrong” or valueless. You might then share your own opinion respectfully, and if it differs, that’s okay – part of independent thinking is hearing many sides of an issue and coming to your own conclusions.

RESPONSIBILITY

Age-appropriate responsibilities are important stepping stones on the ladder of skills necessary for building leadership. Give your child responsibilities as preschoolers, and have him deal with the consequences if those responsibilities are not met. Of course, your child will require guidance; but once your explain what the consequences will be, it’s best to let them play out.

FAIRNESS

Leaders need to be fair and just. Being too rigid and unbending is not the best way to teach your kids about fairness, but being too permissive encourages a child to put himself first. Help them to understand what is fair and what isn’t, and how sometimes being fair means being firm even when your child or others might get upset.

NEGOTIATION

Have you thought about the importance of negotiation skills in leadership? Leaders understand the necessity for give and take and that often means compromise, Think about it: government leaders, particularly the president, need to be well-versed in the art of negotiation. It’s okay to discuss your child’s wants and desires. – Allow your children to present a convincing argument as to why they think they should have whatever it is, or participate in an activity. Be prepared to allow yourself to be “talked into” something now and then!

ORGANIZATION

Being organized is essential to good leadership. Teach your children how to prioritize tasks and organize their time. Explain how to use calendars to keep things straight, and show how time can be organized in different ways when prioritizing tasks.

Children need to be taught how to organize priorities in terms of immediate and future goals. In the category of organization is also the concept of making lists. Have your children make lists of what tasks they plan to complete each day and then in one week. This also helps break tasks down into steps – maybe your child has a book report or research paper due one or two weeks from now. Helping your child break that down into weekly and daily steps can be useful- not only in accomplishing the completing of the task, but also in instilling the leadership skill of organization.

COMMUNICATION

This is a vital skill for leadership. Leaders must express their goals and their vision for whatever project or task they are leading or coordinating. They can’t expect others to read their minds or carry out instructions without direction. Teach your kids good communication and listening skills by encouraging them to share their thoughts even if you disagree, and by actively listening yourself. Both you and your child will be happier and more successful.

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#How To Foster Leadership Skills in Children – 6 #Personality Traits That Indicate Leadership Skills

Personality Characteristics of Effective Leaders

Whether you think that leaders are born or made, some characteristics that distinguish leaders from others stand out.

Have you wondered if you or someone you know is a natural leader? Are you interested in learning why they become leaders? Here are some personality characteristics that seem to go with effective leaders.

Task-Oriented

Are you the kind of person who likes to get things done? Do people come to you and ask you to do something for them and know you’ll do it? Not everyone is task-oriented, but those who are may end up being effective leaders. Being task-oriented means being a “doer,” the kind of person who focuses on getting something done and not stopping until the task is finished.

Task-oriented people generally follow through. This is important in a leader, because leaders have definite goals to reach and people to lead, and people will stop following you if you don’t get things finished.

Also, task-oriented leaders do not need “babysitting” to get something done. They can take initiative on their own – the task itself is motivation.

Honest Self-Image

Leaders tend to be pretty honest about their weaknesses and strengths, but not to the point of letting either one take over. For instance, a leader can balance between recognizing his weakness and not letting that stop him/her, and a leader can see his/her strengths without getting conceited. Those in leadership positions may find that they garner more respect when they are honest and “transparent” about their flaws than if they pretend to be perfect.

People Person

A leader tends to be a people person – someone who derives lots of energy from being around people. Such extroverted personalities make great leaders, but introverts are not barred from leadership, either. You can have a love for people and be introverted; you just respond differently to interacting with others.

In other words, you can be a “people person” even if you find yourself tired of leading at the end of a day. Extroverts and introverts can both be motivated by a love for people and their wellbeing.

“Infectious” Joy

Have you ever been around someone who just seems happy with life in general? If a person shares an idea or thought and seems really happy about it, do you feel like joining him or her? Leaders tend to exhibit this kind of infectious joy that draws other people to them. Positive-thinking leaders have a zest for life that compels other people to join them.

The general consensus is, characteristics of a good leader can be in-born or learned, or a bit of both. If you don’t have all of these traits naturally, you can learn many of them. No two leaders are the same.

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