Friday, 11 December 2015

READING CHALLENGES IN STUDENTS




Ability to read fluently is an art that is learnt consciously over a period of time. However, it is not fun for some students who struggle greatly with the entire process. In this regard, effort has been made to identify some of these challenges and how to tackle them.  They are:

1.      Phonological  and phonemic awareness: Phonological awareness involves identifying and manipulating units of oral language- parts such as words, syllables, etc. Here, a student is able to identify and make oral rhymes, point out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like “money” and “mother”. On the other hand, phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word ‘mat’ has three phonemes: /m/, /a/, /t/. There are 44 phonemic sounds in English. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills.
2.      Decoding of words and phonics: Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. This helps students to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t  seen before. Phonics is one approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles of letter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and exceptions to the principles.
3.      Vocabulary: There are four types of vocabulary, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Vocabulary plays a very important role in the reading process, and contributes greatly to a  reader’s comprehension. A reader cannot understand a text without knowing what most of the words mean. You can build your vocabulary in different ways. Find books to read on your own. The more you read, the more new words you will see. Keep a list of key vocabulary and transition words.
4.      Fluency: This is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Students that have difficulty in this area  hardly enjoy reading. They sound awkward and may also have difficulty with decoding skills or they may just need more practice with speed and smoothness in reading.
5.      Comprehension:  This means  correct understanding and interpretation of what is read. Any challenge in this area will go a long way to affect the student’s ability to read smoothly. The solution: students should be able to decode what they read, make connections between what they read and what they already know and think deeply about what they have read.

Monday, 30 November 2015

RAPID READING STRATEGIES I USE FOR MY STUDENTS



                 
Teaching a student to read is one of those difficult tasks a teacher will have to deal with. With over 10 years experience in teaching I have come to realize methods that work best and promotes rapid learning. They are:

Sunday, 22 November 2015

ENGAGING STUDENTS IN CLASS




Just sitting quietly and taking in instruction in class are simply not enough to learn adequately. Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences. Active learning requires students to participate in class. 
The teacher can make this possible by employing brief question-and-answer sessions, discussion integrated into the  lecture, impromptu writing assignments and hands-on activities. Applying these strategies with real effort on the part of the teacher, will facilitate learning and enhance retention of the material. Also, the students will thoroughly enjoy the lesson as against just sitting for hours absorbing information which soon turns out to be boring.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

DOES FLOGGING OF STUDENTS ENHANCE LEARNING?




IN Nigerian society it is a common practice for parents to flog their children whenever and wherever they do wrong. In effect, the cane has become a tool to discourage bad behavior. Even the Bible, somehow, supports this mode of discipline when it says ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. But when it comes to education flogging should be seen in a different light. Some teachers go beyond using the cane to adjust behavior to using it when a student fails a Math problem or is slow to grasp a certain lesson.

In this instance, flogging the student does no good than to instill fear on him or her. I don’t see how it will open up the students brain for quick assimilation. If the student is grappling with a Math problem, the use of threat of flogging will only make the student uncomfortable and prone to make more mistakes. Here, the teacher should employ tact and patience. Go the extra-mile to explain repeatedly the lesson until the student grasps the point.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
Many years ago when I was in Junior Secondary School 1(JSS 1) in Ogbonmwan Group of schools, Benin City, the principal wanted us to memorise the times table. He was good at flogging and disciplining students who fail to carry out his assignment perfectly. This instilled fear in most of us and so had to learn it by all means. In so doing, I memorized it and was able to recite it when it was due. In this regard, the threat of cane motivated me and others to action. This situation is quite different from the scenario earlier described.

What do you think, am I right with my assumptions? We value your feedback. Drop your comment below. Or call 07031384722 for a consultation.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

MARATHON LEARNING IN NIGERIA- ITS IMPLICATION




Over the course of many years, I have observed with disappointment, how children are subjected to long hours of learning in the classroom. This is the norm in most private schools in Nigeria. Therefore, I write to register my displeasure and also offer advice on how to reverse this trend.

OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION
Most children arrive home late each day from school. Sometimes, 5:00pm daily. It will amaze you to know that lessons in school start as early as 8:30am. After the normal closing hour, say by 2:00pm, the students are now subjected to extra lessons which take two hours or more. This is not the best way to impart knowledge on young ones. In fact, the children are been over stretched. 

This method is counter productive. The brain gets saturated after some hours, and from this point onward any other assimilation becomes difficult. That is why with even so much learning, the students still perform poorly. The truth is the children need some rest, or even a nap to relax their brain after learning for some hours. In fact, they need time to do personal studies at home. 

On the contrary, they arrive home late everyday tired and exhausted. The only thing they are able to do at this point is eat, bathe, watch some television programmes and go to bed. The next day, the vicious circle is ignited.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Rigorous or marathon learning does not help the child. Call 07031384722 for a consultation.

TEACHERS’ DAY: A TIME TO LOOK INTO THE SITUATION




Teachers all over the world are doing a wonderful job. They are future builders. Virtually all professionals in the world were, in some way, shaped by teachers. Indeed, we all owe teachers a depth of gratitude. Therefore, celebrating teachers once a year is not enough. It should go beyond this level. In fact, during teachers’ day it is common to make many promises to teachers. But after the frenzy, the government fall back to their old ways, instead of working actively to better the life of teachers.

CONCERNS ABOUT TEACHERS
1.       Accommodation: most teachers do not have a house of their own. Even after retirement some are still not able to have their own shelter. Government, as a matter of urgency, should do something about it.
2.       Their salary is poor: I feel very sad to talk about this. Why should teachers be paid poorly? Is there service less important than that of doctors, lawyers, engineers? Government should wake up and act fast.
3.       Their learning environment is poor: in most private and public schools teachers are made to work in less than conducive environment. This situation affects the overall morale of the teacher and thus affect his performance in the classroom.
4.       Most private schools  treat teachers badly: some are subjected to a slavery-like situation. They work tirelessly everyday only to be given a token as salary. The government should close down schools that cannot measure up to good salary structure for their teachers. 

Drop your comment below or call 07031384722 for a consultation.