The Value of Technology in Educating Young Children

The Value of Technology in Educating Young ChildrenAre young children well suited to the use of technology? Modern technologies are very powerful because they rely on one of the most powerful genetic biases we do have – the preference for visually presented information. The human brain has a tremendous bias for visually presented information. Television, movies, videos, and most computer programs are very visually oriented and therefore attract and maintain the attention of young children. When young children sit in front of television for hours, they fail to develop other perceptions. But the technologies that benefit young children the greatest are those that are interactive and allow the child to develop their curiosity, problem solving and independent thinking skills.

Technology plays a key role in all aspects of American life which will only increase in the future. As technology has become more easy to use, the usage of it by children has simultaneously increased. Early childhood educators have a responsibility to critically examine the impact of technology on children and be prepared to use technology to benefit children. Children educators must be more responsible in bringing a change in the lives of children and their families.

There are several issues related to the use of technology by young children:

• the essential role of teacher in evaluating in evaluating appropriate use of technology.
• the amalgamation of technology in early childhood programs
• stereotyping and violence in software
• equitable access to technology
• implication of technology for professional development
• role of teachers and parents as advocates

A teacher’s role is critical in making good decisions regarding the use of technology in order to achieve potential benefits. Choosing the correct software is quite similar to choosing the perfect set of books for a classroom. Teachers should take the advantage of computers to introduce new teaching and development strategies. Computers are intrinsically compelling for young children. The sound and graphics attract a child’s attention. An appropriate software engages children in creative play, mastery learning, problem solving, and conversation. Children control the pacing and the action. They can repeat a process or activity as often as they like and experiment with variations. They can collaborate in making decisions and share their discoveries and creations. Well-designed early childhood software grows in dimension with the child, enabling her to find new challenges as she becomes more proficient. Appropriate visual and verbal prompts designed in the software expand play themes and opportunities while leaving the child in control. Vast collections of images, sounds, and information of all kinds are placed at the child’s disposal. Software can be made age appropriate even for children as young as three or four. This shows that technology can enhance a child’s cognitive and social abilities. It provides a window to a child’s thinking.

Every classroom has its own guiding philosophies, values, themes and activities. Early childhood educators should promote equitable access to technology for all children and their families. Modern technologies are very powerful as they rely on one of the most powerful biases we have. The problem with this is that many of the modern technologies are very passive. Because of this they do not provide children with the quality and quantity of crucial emotional, social, cognitive, or physical experiences they require when they are young.

Unfortunately, technology is often used to replace social situations but it should be used to enhance human interactions. During the current decade, research has moved beyond simple questions about technology. Very young children are showing comfort and confidence in handling computers. They can turn them on, follow pictorial directions, and use situational and visual cues to understand and reason about their activity. Typing on the keyboard does not seem to cause them any trouble; in fact, it seems to be a source of pride. Thanks to recent technological developments, even children with physical and emotional disabilities can use the computer with ease. Besides enhancing their mobility and sense of control, computers can help improve self-esteem.

Thus the exclusive value of technology is no more in question. Research shows that what is solid for children is not merely what is physical but what is meaningful. Computer representations are often more manageable, flexible, and extensible. To add more there are a number of specialized programs that allow children with certain information-processing problems to get a multimedia presentation of content so that they can better understand and process the material. Even now there are a number of good software programs with a primary educational focus on mathematics or reading. These programs, which are very engaging, motivate children to read better and learn how to solve math problems. When information is presented in a fun and way, it is a lot easier than looking at a single page that has a bunch of columns of numbers you’re supposed to add up.

We are always in search for the magic wand that vanish and solve all our programs. And today the magic wand in our life is technology. It not only increases academic skill, reduce dropout rates but also diminishes the racial divide in academic performance. The danger, however, is that computers will be used only to reinforce the national trend toward earlier and more academic skill acquisition, and that other important developmental needs will be ignored. Moreover the fear will remain that developmental needs not met through technology will be ignored or radically compromised: physical play, outdoor exploration of the community and of nature; art, music and dance; learning specific social skills and moral values, and experiencing diversity in a myriad of ways.

In most of the early childhood programs and schools, technology will be part of the learning landscape of the future. To make sure this new technology is used effectively, we must assure that teachers are fully trained and supported, and that the programs and internet sites used are developmentally appropriate, non racist, non-biased against people with disabilities, and respect religious differences.

Helping Boys to Read

Helping Boys to ReadThere is much discussion about the need to do more to help boys to read. It is well known that boys are slower readers than girls and later to start reading for pleasure, and it is the opinion of experts that the beginning of self-motivated reading out of interest is the break-through point in education, irrespective of the reader’s career aspirations. Reading is the essential tool for all courses of higher education. Complete fluency with lack of conscious effort is only achieved after many hours with books that capture the imagination. The challenge to teachers, authors and parents is how to generate the fascination to motivate that first stumble into a jungle full of long words and unfamiliar expressions, with the incentive to press on to the end no matter how many times the progress is interrupted.

Young people in the twenty-first century spend hours looking at screens on a variety of electronic devices from computers to mobile telephones. It is playing games that captures the young imagination and at first these involve only pictures and patterns. However, observant parents have reported that their children reach a point where they notice that there is writing on the screen, and that if this could be interpreted, the game would become even more enjoyable. Here is motivation for reading arising from the technology that some fear is rendering obsolete the traditional paper book, but gathering information from the Internet, receiving or sending emails or texts, and a hundred other things can only be done with an attained fluency in reading and writing. The technology has challenged the dominance of the printed word but it has not yet eliminated the need for literacy.

The computer and other electronic devices might stimulate an interest in learning to read but it is doubtful if they can yet be the sole medium for teaching the skill. Books can be read on computer screens and kindle readers, but many adult readers still prefer printed books and many parents and teachers still prefer to use books in helping children to read. Nothing electronic can rival the beauty of children’s first picture books and looking at them with a parent is the natural path into reading. The experts still maintain the importance of the picture book and recommend that all children’s books should have pictures even when the text comes to dominate.

Most children have happy memories of a parent, aunt or uncle, reading aloud to them when they were young, and this shared activity often occurred at bedtime. There is no doubt that the gentlest entry into the world of the written word comes from first sharing a picture book with a parent, being read to, and gradually engaging more and more in deciphering those strange symbols that represent speech. And the more exciting and funny the pictures and stories, the greater the curiosity that draws the young reader onwards to the point where both pictures and parents become redundant.

Saint George, Rusty Knight, and Monster Tamer is a series of nine self-contained historical short stories which introduces George, a hapless knight who has an unusual skill for monster taming, and which, with wit and delightful aplomb takes the young reader on an adventurous journey though some significant moments in history.

Challenges in the Modern Education Management

Challenges in the Modern Education ManagementTackling violent incidents on the campuses of educational institutions seems to be one of the major administrative challenges. There are many instances of clashes, murder, group clashes, indecent behaviour with female staff or girl students, and other related incidents. It is unfortunate that such criminal incidents do take place on the campuses of educational institutions. All the concerned people are supposed to maintain standards and also protect the dignity of the educational institutions.

Teachers, managers, governments, media, voluntary organisations, and several other national and international organisations need to work towards the peaceful management of the educational institutions.

Mere seminars, workshops, research, may not yield the desired results. Concrete action is the need of the hour.

The increase in competition among the institutions is responsible for improvements in several facilities too.

Some of the major challenges include: 1. Safety, and security of all, 2. Supply of high quality food, in case of residential campuses, and water, 3. Quality of teaching, and non- teaching staff, 4. Misbehaviour, 5. Maintenance of over all quality, 6. Payments of bills, and receiving the fees, 7. Retaining, and enhancement of reputation, 8. Satisfying all the people concerned, 9. Maintainance of hostels quality and dispensary or first aid, 10. Solutions to several problems, 11. Conducting examinations professionally, 12. Dealing with the mistakes committed by students and other staff during examinations, 13. Management of laboratories, 14. Conducting workshops, seminars, 15. placements. 16. Enhancing Confidence. 17. Management of accounts or financial management, 18. Materials management, 19. Prevention of untoward incidents, 20. Academic and non-academic achievements, 21. Maintenance of infrastructure, 22. Managing time, 23. Adhering to academic and non-academic schedules, 24. Protecting the constitutional values, 25. Sticking to the rules and regulations of the governments both at the central and the state levels. 26. Avoidance of committing mistakes, 27. Maintaining high quality transportation for students, and other staff, etc.

Only when the above challenges are tackled professionally, the true education can be imparted to the students. The campuses need to train all the concerned professionally and at regular intervals.

Shooting among the students, stabbing incidents, rape, fire accidents in the laboratories, etc were also reported on some international educational campuses in the recent past. The security personnel need to be more vigilant and check the belongings carefully when the people enter the campuses. Negligence from any quarter would lead to several problems. There are also reports that some campuses do not even employ any security personnel!

A Teachers Role in Innovation

A Teachers Role in InnovationWhat does the trampoline, popsicles, braille, the Oink-a-Saurus App, and wristies have in common? Well, they were all invented by kids (Perman). Regardless of age, race, disability, or economic status the ability to become an innovator lies within. As educators we have the responsibility to educate and prepare students, all students, for their future, which can be the ultimate challenge when no one knows what the future will hold. The only consistency is knowing that each student will have a different future and this world, as we know it, will be drastically different in 20 years. While studying innovation, through an educator’s perspective, I’ve realized there are several roles we can play in order to inspire innovation but two really stand out: we can encourage and teach professional skills.

The initial role as an educator is to inspire and encourage innovation by never underestimating the creative intuition of anyone, especially a child. Teachers have the opportunity to boost a child’s confidence or destroy it. By merely saying “oh, that’s awesome” or giving a disbelieving look, the actions of a teacher can permanently influence a child. Self-confidence is initially learned through others’ positive motivation, and a teacher’s voice can be that initial motivation to keep the student believing in their self and in their goals. As a high school student, Philo T. Farnsworth (a.k.a. The Father of Television) presented his teacher with a better television system; his teacher replied “go for it” and continued to support and follow Farnsworth through the process (Flawtow,94). I cannot imagine what could have happened if Farnsworth’s teacher would have reacted in a non-supportive manner.

Not only can teachers encourage students’ verbally but also in the way they allow students to ask questions. Although the question of “why?” can generally get on everyone’s nerves (eventually) it is important to encourage curiosity and divergent thinking when it comes to innovation. Norris Sanders, author of Classroom Questions-what kinds?, provides readers with a new perspective that questions can be the key to student interest and engagement which encourages learning and should not be ignored. One way to help capture those interest is by creating a Wonder Wall for the classrooms. A wonder wall provides teachers and students with an opportunity to allow their curiosity to run. If a student asks an off-topic question, the teacher can say “that’s interesting, why don’t you put it on the wonder wall” and continue the lesson. Then, during a down time students address theirs or someone else’s wondering question.

Another role teachers have in innovation is teaching students how to be a professional, including the skill of problem solving. Every invention or business is initially created to solve some type of problem (medical issues, processing speed, even boredom). It’s time to teach our students that a problem is only a question that has not been answered, and it is their job to answer it. Teaching in-depth problem solving techniques is not a top priority in many curriculum standards and could easily fall through the cracks. However if teachers took a unique approach to teaching by implementation the DISCOVER (Discovering Intellectual Strengths and Capabilities while Observing Varied Ethnic Responses) curriculum model, they would be able to set the foundation for future innovators as well as prepare all students in being resourceful at problem solving (Maker, Schiever, p165-194). The DISCOVER curriculum model allows students opportunity to identify a problem (that they are passionate about), research the previously attempted solutions, and look at the problem through various perspectives. In doing so, students will be prepared to investigate and hypothesize possible new solutions and, depending on ability level and time, could implement. This model provides all ability levels and diverse learners with the opportunity to discover a new way of approaching life problems. Through the implementation of the DISCOVER model, students will strengthen their professional skills by learning how to identify problems, use higher level questioning techniques, research using various resources, identify different perspectives, and work collaboratively with others.

Educators have the opportunity to positively influence and provide students with the skills to be successes in life, if they have the desire and autonomy to do so. Teaching students to succeed and change the world are two reasons why many teachers get into the profession. Think about how many students teachers interact with on a daily basis; when you calculate that total over the course of an entire working career it is astonishing the number of developing minds teachers can influence. A teacher’s role in innovation can be tiresome, but in the end, it is an exciting and rewarding experience.

Resources:

Maker, C.J. & Schiever, S.W. (2005) Teaching Models in Education of the Gifted, 3rd ed. Austin, Tx.

Flatow, I. (1992). They all laughed–: From light bulbs to lasers, the fascinating stories behind the great inventions that have changed our lives. New York: HarperCollins.

Perman, C.(2011). Inventions by Kids. CNBC. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2011/09/29/Inventions-By-Kids.html?slide=12

Sanders, N. M. (1966). Classroom questions: What kinds? New York: Harper & Row.

Teachers Can They Be Taught

TeachersIf you are at all interested in education, you have no doubt wondered about the best ways of educating children. How do some educators receive remarkable results with students, while others do not? Is there some special secret? Method? What do these teachers, educators, do that make them so successful? And, why do others fail to garner results?

Some have attempted to “bottle” the methods of successful teachers by documenting their practices, movements, the words they use, their stances, positioning in the classroom, and interactions with students. They have written books, which have become bestsellers, guaranteeing that simply by practicing these techniques, anyone can become a master teacher.

It’s teachable. Transferrable. Has nothing to do with luck. Or, innate skill.

Yet, observations in classrooms of people attempting to mimic the style of highly effective teachers reveal minimum, if any, success. Novices are not becoming master teachers. People with years of experience in classrooms have not suddenly begun to push the needle on what students are able to do. It just isn’t happening.

In fact, more people entering the teaching profession have become disillusioned with their jobs. Breakdowns in classrooms and during professional development trainings, where staff are asked to practice techniques in front of coworkers pretending to be students, are more common than optimal results.

It is rarely said aloud, but the truth is effective teaching is not something that can just be duplicated, borrowed, or adapted. And achieving results like those of skilled teachers is not something that can just be rehearsed and replicated. You either have it or you don’t.

So, what is the “it” that talented teachers have? What is “it” that the rest are missing?

Passion. A desire to do good. A longing to promote and be a part of ensuring equity in education and society. Participating in the work necessary to give all children the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. Right?

Maybe.

But, of all the highly effective teachers I have met, spoken to, and know, not one wakes up in the morning; hangs student work on their bulletins; stays late tutoring; meets students during the weekend to study; repeats, rephrases, and reteaches; yells at, hugs, gets frustrated; cry when they graduate; cry when they don’t; are on a first name basis with every and any family member; and questions whether they gave their best that minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, because they are driven by a mantra.

No.

When asked, it’s the faces of the students. It’s what they know about the children seated in their classroom and what those students are capable of, scared of, and yet to conceive, that compels them. It is the potential they see in every child. It’s that they care.

That caring transcends philosophies. It is how their methods were formed. They don’t scan their classrooms because they practiced hawking students to catch one not following directions. No. They look into the faces of each one of their children because they need to know whether or not their kids get it. Because in that moment, when confusion and self-doubt sets in, they know it’s time to reset, reteach, to use props, different materials, explain it in another way, to do anything, until “I got it!” registers on every child’s face.

Can technique be rehearsed? Are the methods lifted off of talented teachers and compiled in books able to be transferred? Is there any benefit to practice?

Of course.

Practice is helpful – necessary, even. It is just not enough. Practice comes secondary to the why. And there are many why’s. Whatever the why, when genuine and combined with practice, amazing teachers emerge.

Better Management Of The Education Sector

Management Of The Education SectorDuring the process of admissions, the parents need to be more vigilant. There might be false claims to attract more students. Such gimmicks include false number of results, other achievements, infrastructural details, quality of the residential premises, etc. In other words, the parents are required to check the background, achievements, reliability, reputation, etc very carefully. The employers major concern might be to enhance their profits. They might be in the process of expansion of their institutions. The parents have rights to get all the relevant data. They can even visit the classrooms, observe the teaching, hostel, and other promises made by the management.

Some educational institutions seem to be not adhering strictly to the rules related to the accounts management. Their fee structure has not been checked by the government officials strictly. In other words, the regulatory mechanism does not work properly. The parents need to think whether the high fee needs to be paid. In other words, is the institution worth the money paid. The quality of education imparted to their children, the infrastructure, qualifications of teachers, their quality, management of the non-teaching staff, etc should be the concerns for the parents.

There are also reports that some educational institutions do not check the quality of the teachers strictly. The mere checking of the certificates of the aspiring teachers may not be the right way. Some faculty members knowledge levels do not match the expected standards. Two or more rounds of oral testing, written examinations, demonstrations, might go a long way in selecting the teachers.

The conduction of examinations too needs some constructive remedies. The purpose of examinations is to find out the level of understanding or depth of the knowledge of the students. Hence, there is also need to change the methodology of teaching too. Such transformations would ultimately lead to the over all development of the student community. Work shops, seminars, science fairs, educational tours, other practical methods, would be of immense help.

Rules and regulations of the institutions should also be framed according to the wishes of the students and the parents. For instance, the sudden ban of mobile phones on the campuses is responsible for wide spread protests by students and also the parents. There should be consensus on several controversial issues to avoid violence. Similar protests might occur due to the unilateral decisions by some of the institutions.

The institutions cannot violate the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

Tips to Encourage Positive Behavior in Classrooms

Positive Behavior in ClassroomsOne of the profound challenges that teachers face these days is – classroom behavior. Disruptive behavior results in lost teaching time and un-conducive learning environment. The key to nipping behavioral problems in the bud; is to create a positive environment in classroom.

There are a lot of ways and means to encourage positive behavior in classrooms, but, to begin with – laying a good foundation in pupils is the most important aspect.

Here are some tips and guidelines to bring about positive behavior amongst students.

Perseverance

This is one of the most important regimen which a teacher can deploy to bring about order, discipline and attentiveness in a class. A teacher should resist from conducting a class until there is complete order restored. Persistence is one of the fundamental and effective tools, which a teacher can use to get the class to behave.

Expectations

Students should ideally live up to the expectations of teachers. It is the duty of the teachers to ensure that students behave in a manner appropriate and conducive to learning. Teachers should avoid getting angry at irresponsible or reprehensible behavior of students. Instead, teachers should exude a compassionate outlook to bring about behavioral changes in students.

Consistency

It is the duty and moral obligation of every teacher to recognize, understand and address behavioral problems in students. This has to be done on a consistent and gradual basis. Change cannot be brought about overnight. So, the efforts should be concerted, consistent and focused. Students may find the regimen to be rigorous, but, teachers should be consistent in their efforts to bring about positive change in students.

Visualization

Teachers should have the acumen to envisage teaching challenges that they may encounter in an unruly classroom. Visualizing these challenges and bottlenecks will help the teachers in dealing with unruly students successfully.

Boundaries

Teachers should define a boundary line for every class at the outset. Students should be clear on what areas they can tread and what areas they cannot. Drawing up an analogy to a box, teachers should clearly define what goes inside a box and what should stay outside.

Encourage

A word of appreciation can do wonders. Instead of expressing disappointment, despair or resentment, teachers should try to appreciate good behavior in a class. This can have a positive effect on students who tend to behave badly in a class.

Respect

Respect is a reciprocal phenomenon. To earn respect, teachers should learn to treat students with respect, compassion and dignity.

Choices

Teachers should always provide students with choice. It is incumbent on the students to make the right choice. If students happen to make a bad or wrong choice, they should be prepared to face the consequence of the wrong choice. Likewise, a good choice should be duly appreciated and rewarded.

Voice

Teachers should learn to control the tone and tenor of their voice when they conduct a classroom. The tonal quality of a teacher’s voice can determine how students react or respond. If the voice is calm and soothing, students tend to respond positively. On the other hand, if the voice is harsh, then students are likely to turn repulsive,

Humor

Humor should be an integral part of our lives. We should be courageous enough to admit and laugh at our mistakes. This can act as a counterbalance when you are left facing with an annoying situation.

It is not possible to have a disciplined teaching and learning environment always. It is one thing for the students to know about the rules and another thing to follow and adhere to the rules. But with a little patience and perseverance, a foundation for respect and positive behavior can be laid in a classroom.

3 Helpful Tips to Teach Grammar for ESL Teachers

Teach GrammarTeaching grammar is an imperative element of school education. Without proper grammar, written or spoken words usually lose their exact meaning and much of their value as well. It is a significant part of language to get right for which, teachers take special care on imparting the real importance of it to their students. However, the task becomes much tough to teach in an ESL setting.

One common way is to focus on the different forms and rules and helping students to learn the subject with help of rote memorization. But, for ESL teachers, the process is different as because the target audience treats English as their second language.

Going Out of One’s Comfort Zone

For teaching a topic, one needs to understand the very same. Teachers must know about different parts of sentences, rules and tenses including basics of the subject as well. The process of just running into the classroom and going through a series of answers and exercises is not the ideal way. Mostly, ESL students do not learn English in the same way by which native English speakers learn. So, the ideal job is to help them understand their mistakes, difference between spoken and written grammar and the perfect usage of specific grammar forms.

Learn to Offer Overt Grammar Instruction

Clear instructions help students to learn the language efficiently, however, incorporating more number of communicative activities into the lesson plan will make students get the right grip on the subject. This is so because, mostly people learn from observation, learning and practice. One can break the entire session into manageable sections including; introducing the lesson, showing the way of using it in contextual situations, play interesting games by putting into practical usage.

Never Bore the Students

The subject includes a series of forms and rules; however, there are ways of making the class enjoyable. The primal goal is to allow students to understand the subject and use it for communicative purposes. The teacher can start a game by asking few questions from textbooks or from earlier oral practice sections. While playing the game she can either further introduce several examples relevant to the subject or ask students to come up with own examples.

Facilitate learning is the pivotal thing to do for an ESL teacher. So, providing students with various interesting learning exercises is the ideal task. However, since rules and forms related to grammar are quite tedious, therefore engaging them into the session will help students to learn and instill the lesson properly.

 

Educational Tips for Government Parents Teachers and Students

Educational TipsIMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION

EDUCATION! A word that animates my face whenever I hear it. According to Google, education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Well, to me, education is the learning about new ideas, places and the world itself.

There is a great difference between being literate and being educated; the ability to read and write is being literate while being educated is to be able to reason, to use your ability to read and write to your advantage.

We ask ourselves sometimes, why is education important, education is very important in our day-to-day activities, I strongly believe that by the time you are through with this article, you would be able to see the importance of education.

First and foremost, being educated makes a person happy. An educated person has little or no job insecurity, no inferiority complex as he/she would be able to defend his/her word anywhere and anytime due to his well organized understanding of the world. Truly, education is not the key to happiness, but it is definitely the key to a lot of other things which come together to make you happy.

Also, being educated gives the will to keep trying till you succeed. An uneducated person may have better intellectual and labour capacity, but there will be the lack of understanding of multiple ways to achieve their goals which is an obstacle.

Being educated also leads to economic growth of the nation. When the people of a nation are EDUCATED and not LITERATE, they would definitely carve ways to be self sufficient. When the people in a society are economically independent, it will serve as a stepping stone to combined productivity that leads to the economic growth of the nation as a whole. Countries like Russia, Canada, Japan, Israel and the United states have been ranked the 5 most educated countries in the world because of the percentage of people who went to school up to the tertiary level but the question is: are they really educated?

An educated person would be able to keep up with evolution. You can only keep up with evolution if you are aware of them. When I say evolution, I mean things like Whatsapp. Imagine what the world would be like without Whatsapp, Facebook, Nimbuzz, Skype, etc, since all these are made to simplify life.

Education makes one logical. An uneducated person would see evolution as an evil machinery. Remember, being educated does not mean you can’t read or write, it means you can’t apply your literacy in your day-to-day life. I was talking to a woman in my area and she was telling me that online shops like Jumia, Konga, etc are the devil’s machinery. Just think, does this mean this person can’t read or write, of course not, she can read and write but it just means she is uneducated. I had to take time to let her know that online shops makes shopping easier for a busy person and also the other benefits attached to it even though it has its own disadvantages like fraud, but only an uneducated person, mind you, I don’t mean an illiterate but an uneducated person that would be defrauded.

There are other benefits attached to education, but I would like to drop my pen here.

Be Educated!!!

A dream is in your head; a goal is putting into writing i.e. in a book. A dream gets you fantasizing; a goal gets you taking action. A dream makes you relaxed; a goal makes you strive.

A New Perspective on Teaching and Learning

A New Perspective on Teaching and LearningHello Friends,

One of the best pieces of advice that I have heard as a teacher was “to be careful not to teach like you were taught.” That was easier said than done. After all, it worked for me and others. However, the time has come to recognize that the teacher is not the only source of information in the classroom. Students learn more than content in the classroom. The teachers also teach more than content. The teacher and the students’ personalities, values and belief systems affect the teaching and learning process. The environment including the advancement and accessibility of technology also play a role in the process.

I recalled as a French teacher in a particular setting, many students preferred Google Translation on their cellular device over the hard copy bilingual dictionary. I would have preferred that they used the dictionary. Why? I am one that values holistic learning. The dictionary is a rich valuable resource; it offers so much more than a translation- and in this case Google translation is sometimes out of context. I realize that it takes more time to look up a word in a dictionary/thesaurus versus Google Translation. My students seemed to value the instantaneous gratification that this platform offers. How do we reconcile the two- my desire for delayed holistic learning and technology endearment and sensible captivation? Well, there is the online dictionary.

The time has come to realize that as teachers we are competing with so many things that are vying for our students’ attention, which inextricably affects their perspective on education and learning. It’s ironic though that in another setting, some students actually used the dictionary in “secret”; they apologized for using it when I took notice. In their justification, I can identify a certain sense of self-imposed expectation that they should have known how to use the particular word. Thus, there were some fear and love surrounding that expectation. Which is greater between the two emotions? As teachers, one of our greatest tasks is to strike a balance between love and fear as it pertains to teaching and learning. Let’s have a discussion. How do you stay aware of what is going on in your classroom underneath the content input/output, pedagogical activities, behaviors, etc. The details are important. I used to journal. What does conscious teaching mean to you? How do you separate the philosophical and practical aspects of teaching? Can they be separated?