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February 29, 2012

Effective Teaching Methods

Teaching is that profession where the success of the teachers of the teacher depends on the ability of the students but there have been such teachers who have made even the worst of students the best of learners. So it is evident the understanding of a subject taught by a teacher depends on the methods of teaching adopted by that teacher. Methods make the material easier to comprehend and assimilate. A teacher would only pay attention towards his methods only when he is completely dedicated towards his profession and if his profession is his passion. There are some effective teaching methods that a teacher if and when follows would get better results from his students in terms of comprehension and reproduction of that topic on pen and paper which we will discuss in this article.

Some Effective Teaching Methods

The effective methods of teaching that do yield results are as follows:
  • It is important that the teacher sets goals for himself or herself and also for his or her students so that they aim and work towards that goal and when they fail to achieve to that goal the target they realize it before it is too late and work upon it.
  • It is important that the teacher underlines the key concepts of a lesson or chapter so that the students learn to identify the main ideas that they need to understand and sieve the study material.
  • It is important that the teacher establishes an interactive environment in the classroom so that the students can speak out and the teacher can also understand which concepts have been studied and understood well and which have not been.
  • It is always better to give the students a little of the background of the topic that you are teaching so that they have better understanding.
  • It is also advisable to revise the topic that you did in the previous class since revision makes things easier to remember and recollect.
  • To make things easier and less time taking you can adopt the method the Questioning to revise the previously done things so that you can also assess their understanding.
  • When teaching small kids it is better to take help of visual aids since pictures and images register in the kind better than words and lessons. So if you are trying to put in facts about a tiger it is better to teach the picture of a tiger and then tell the kids about it. For subjects like geography, physics and chemistry, show the kids things that you are teaching as far as possible. Take help of maps and pictures so that the knowledge that you are imparting does not seem vague for the students.
  • After you are done with a certain topic divide the class into several groups where in each group there should be a mix of good and average students and grade them on team performance so that the average students copes up with the difficulties with the help of the better student.
  • Besides all the classroom studies it is imperative to concentrate on the talent that the student has beyond classroom studies. There are some students who cannot assimilate the routine and inhibited classroom academics but on the other hand they respond well to experiments and demonstration.

February 28, 2012

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain Health

SharpBrains.com published an article on maintaining a healthy brain that will function better. Here are the four keys to improving your brain health:
Physical Exercise
  • Do something you enjoy for even just 15 minutes a day. You can always add more time and activities later.
  • Schedule exercise into your daily routine. It will be become a habit faster if you do.
  • Do something cardiovascular to get your heart beating faster
Mental Exercise
  • Be curious! Get to know your local library and community college, look for local organizations or churches that offer classes or workshops
  • Work puzzles like crosswords and sudoku or play games like chess and bridge
  • Try computerized brain fitness programs
  • Learn something new every day
Good Nutrition
  • Plan your meals around your vegetables (especially leafy greens), and then add fruit, protein, dairy, and/or grains
  • Add some cold-water fish to your diet (tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring)
  • Try to eat more foods low on the Glycemic Index
Stress Management
  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Practice meditation, yoga, or a calming activity to help you relax
  • Set aside 5 to 10 minutes to just breathe deeply

Boost Your Brain Power with These Super Foods

Now that school is starting back up, it’s time to give your brain everything it needs to stay sharp and attentive in class.
So here are 5 foods to help you improve your memory and supercharge your brain:
Fish is not only high in good protein, but also filled with essential vitamins and minerals for your brain; including: phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and vitamins A and D. And fish oil is a great source of Omega-3 fat, which can improve your brain’s chemistry and development. We recommend: tuna, sardine, anchovy, salmon and bluefish.
The Journal of Neuroscience published some research from Tufts University that suggested that blueberries can improve memory loss. Blueberries are also filled with antioxidants and have been reported to inhibit colon cancer and Ovarian cancer.
Wholegrain Foods
Wholegrain foods are a great way to get folic acid and B vitamins into your body. You see, B vitamins like Thiamine, Pantothenic Acid, and Pridoxine have been shown to reduce memory loss. If you’re not eating enough wholegrain foods, we recommend taking a good B vitamin that has B1, B5, B6, and B12.
Pumpkin Seeds
Buy a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds and chew on them throughout the day. Pumpkin seeds are filled with zinc, which has been known to help improve thinking skills.
Broccoli is filled with vitamin K, and can help improve your brain chemistry and overall brainpower.
Eating all the right foods won’t guarantee that you’re brain is at its best performance. You need to balance healthy eating along with good sleep, cardiovascular activity, and plenty of water.

How to Improve Your Memory Power – 7 Effective Techniques

When I was an undergraduate student, I had to take 5 classes in a foreign language to complete my degree.
I took classes in Spanish, classical Latin, and ancient Greek to fulfill my requirement – and needless to say – I’m glad that’s over with.
I’ve literally spent hundreds of hours memorizing verb conjugations. And I’ve probably killed many trees with all the note cards I’ve used up.
The more I memorized, the easier it became – not because I was getting smarter – but simply because my brain was used to memorizing a lot of information every single day.
Pretty soon I was able to memorize stacks of vocabulary cards very quickly. It just took practice, and anyone can do it.
Here are some of the strategies I used to help me memorize my vocabulary terms and conjugation rules quickly:
Make Creative Associations
When I was memorizing a new word or grammar rule, I tried to develop a fun way to make it stick. The more outlandish the association, the better it would stick. For example, let’s say that I had to remember that word “domus” is Latin for home. I would simply imagine a huge dome hanging over moose. (The classical Latin pronunciation sounds like “Dome-oose.”) That association would help me remember the word easily. I know this sound simplistic, but it really works. I would sometimes draw out fun associations on the back of my vocabulary note cards to really make these bizarre associations remembered.
Break-up Your Study Time
Our brains tend to remember less the longer we study. That’s why it’s often easier for us to remember the beginning and end of a lecture than all the details in between. So I found that by studying in short one hour stints helped me remember more. Everyone is different, so find out what amount of study time is perfect for you. You might find that you can memorize more in three one-hour sessions than one four-hour session.
Use Your Mind and Body
Sitting at a desk staring at some grammar rules might work for some people, but I always learned quicker by actively doing something with the information. I would draw association pictures or read my book aloud to help make things more permanent in my mind. I also found that studying note cards while walking around campus was a way to keep myself energized and focused.

Repeat What You Need to Know
One way to help something stick in your mind is to recite it to yourself. Read it aloud to yourself – and then read it again. The key here is to saturate your mind with the content in every way possible. One fun way to do this is to imagine your vocabulary cards or textbook being read by someone you think is funny. Imagine your textbook being read by Jon Stewart. It will at least keep things a bit more interesting.

Reduce the Noise

Some people study well listening to music. It really depends on the subject matter. However, if you find yourself drifting off, or focusing on the words of the song, it’s probably best to dismiss the music for a while. If you enjoy music, listen to some classical music or some other music that helps you focus. You basically want to situate yourself in a place with the least amount of noise interference.
Stay Positive (if possible)
You’ll remember far more information about a subject if you try to find it interesting. If you think the topic is boring and useless, than you’re going to make memorization that much harder. Look for some sort of connection on how the subject you need to learn about fits in with your life.
Study When You’re Most Productive
Everyone has their best study time, and often it’s during the daytime. There’s just something about memorizing and studying when it’s daytime that can keep you more motivated and more focused. I find that I’m most productive during the early morning. I often go to a coffee shop around 6:30 a.m. and just drink coffee while I write and study. Find your best time to study and keep on that schedule. It will do wonders for your memory power.

Hack Your Mind with These Memorization Techniques

California Polytechnic State University provides 10 tips to help students memorize information better.
Here are some of my favorite tips:
Use all your senses. When we are learning, we should try not only to get a strong impression but to obtain as many different kinds of impressions as possible. Some people can remember colors distinctly, but have a poor memory for shapes. But anyone, by putting together and using all of the impressions our sense organs bring us about a thing, can remember it much more clearly than if we rely on sight or sound alone. For example, try reading your lesson aloud. In doing this, your eye takes in the appearance of the printed word, your ear passes the sound of the words to your brain, and even the tension of the muscle of your throat add their bit to the total impression which your mind is expected to store away.
Intend to remember. The mere intention to remember puts the mind in a condition to remember, and if you will make use of this fact in studying you will be able to recall between 20 and 60 percent more of what you read and hear than you would if you were not actively trying to remember.
Logical memory. One of the most important of all aids to the remembering process is the habit of associating a new idea immediately with facts or ideas that are already firmly lodged in the mind. This association revives and strengthens the old memories and prevents the new one form slipping away by anchoring it to the well-established framework of your mental world.
How much study? You should study more than enough to learn your assignment. Experiments have proven that 50% more resulted in 50% better retention. After a week had passed, it was found that extra work had salvaged six times as much of the material as in the case when it was barely learned

How to Add RAM to Your Brain – 8 Memory Hacks

You can instantly retrieve more information faster and easier by memorizing data in organized patterns.
ram.jpgHere are 8 ways to make information cement in your mind:
1. Acronyms
I’ve used acronyms throughout my college and grad school career. They’ve helped me memorize information for class presentations, and helped me memorize details for exams. An acronym is simply a word wherein each letter represents another word. For example: HOMES (The Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)
2. Acrostics
Acrostics are sentences in which the first letter of each word helps you remember items in a series. For example: Zoe Cooks Chowder In Pink Pots in Miami (The Essential Minerals: Zinc, Calcium, Chromium, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iodine, Magnesium).
3. Act it Out
Use your acting ability to make a connection with the material you’re trying to learn. For example: reenact a dialog between two historic figures – or carry on a debate between two different philosophers, politicians or literary critics.
4. Categories
Organize information into broad categories to help you remember information faster. For example: Types of Joints in the Body (Immovable, Slightly Movable, Freely Movable).
5. Peg Words
Develop a chain of associations between whatever list you need to memorize and a peg word. Peg words are associated with numbers (e.g. zero is hero; one is a bun; two is a shoe; three is a tree; four is a door; five is a hive; six is sticks; seven is heaven; eight is a gate; nine is wine; and ten is a hen). Here’s how peg words work with the atomic numbers in a periodic table: (1) Imagine a hydrogen hotdog on a bun; (2) Imagine a helium shoe balloon; (3) Imagine a lit tree on fire (lithium); (4) a door made of berries (beryllium); (5) a hive with bored bees (boron); and the list can go on. The odd pairing helps you memorize information quickly.
6. Rhymes
Make up a silly rhyme or pun to help you memorize information. For example: Brown vs. Board of Education ended public-school segregation.
7. Recordings
Make a recording of yourself giving a lecture about the subject you’re studying. This is especially helpful for foreign language classes or a vocabulary section on a standardized test.
8. Visualizations
Turn an abstract idea into an image of something that is as specific as possible. For example, visualize a scene from a historic period. Make it as real as possible in your mind. Use all your senses and imagine what it must smell like, feel like, etc. The more specific you are, the more you’ll remember.
What are some strategies you use to memorize information faster?

How to Write a Research Paper – Step by Step

I’ve probably written over 70 research papers over the last 7 years of school.
And I’ve gotten to the point where writing research papers is like second nature for me.
It’s not that I’m a better writer than anyone else, it’s just that I know how to organize information quickly.
So here is my basic process on how I write my papers step-by-step:
Research Phase: Hunting and Gathering
This is probably the most time-consuming part of the research paper. I’m a research hound, so I like to spend as much time as possible finding all the research possible. It’s during this phase that I’m doing the following:
  • Refining my research subject
  • Developing research questions
  • Consulting librarians for their insight on my research area
  • Reading journal article abstracts on the topic I’m interested in
Organizing Phase: Reading and Writing
As I’m reviewing journal articles, I’m jotting down everything I need from the article before moving on; including: citation info, potential quotes, summaries, and any referenced journal articles that look interesting. I’m also:
  • Developing a potential thesis statement
  • Creating a meaty bibliography
  • Outlining my paper
  • Inserting notes within my outline – and adding references
Drafting Phase: Writing
Once I’ve written my thesis statement and completed my outline, it’s time to begin working on my first draft. Here are the steps that I take:
  • Just start writing something (I typically start in the middle somewhere)
  • Make sure to cite everything (I go overboard just to be safe)
  • Keep refining the thesis
  • Keeping modifying the outline
  • Pretend the paper is due the next day and just finish it
  • Take a day off after the first draft is done – don’t look at it
Revision Phase: Editing Never Ends
Revising — as you know — means removing and adding content to make the paper better – which means nobody is ever really done. We just turn in our last and best draft. Here are my editing steps:
  • Read it aloud and mark any areas that don’t sound right
  • Look at all the punctuation marks – especially apostrophes
  • Make sure every paragraph moves the paper along
  • Eliminate passive verbs whenever possible
So that’s my strategy on how to write a research paper. I never feel completely done writing, but those steps help me get a paper finished that I’m at least happy with.

How to Study Smarter, Not Harder

Dartmouth published a paper discussing ways for students to improve their memory as they study. These tips will help any student study smarter, not harder. Here are some of our favorite study tips:
Recite As You Study
Recitation should first take place as you read through each paragraph or section. Quiz or test yourself. This promotes understanding as well as faster learning because it is a more active process than reading or listening. It also tests understanding, revealing mistakes or gaps. Recite in your own words. Auditory learners should spend more time in reciting orally what they are learning than visualizers. Read aloud passages you find difficult.
Take Fuller Notes
Visual learners should take fuller notes during lectures and their readings, as they learn more readily by visualizing than hearing. Auditory learners should take fuller notes perhaps on their readings. Notes should be in your own words, brief, clear but succinct. They should be legible and neat. Writing notes better reinforces memory than mere underlining, which is frequently done mechanically , often to excess and does not check understanding.
Study the Middle
The best time to review is soon after learning has taken place. The beginning and the end of material is best remembered, so pay close attention to the middle which is likely to be forgotten. The peak of difficulty in remembering is just beyond the middle, toward the end. change your method of review.
Sleep On It
Study before going to bed unless you are physically or mentally overtired. Freshly learned material is better remembered after a period of sleep than after an equal period of daytime activity because retroactive interference takes place.
Connect Ideas Whenever Possible
There are two ways to memorize: by rote (mechanically) and by understanding. Multiplication tables, telephone numbers, combinations to safes, and the like are better learned by rote. ideas, concepts, theories and significances and the like are learned by understanding. Sometimes they work simultaneously.
The more association you can elicit for an idea, the more meaning it will have; the more meaningful the learning, the better one is able to retain it. Always note similarities in ideas and concepts, and put them in their proper place in a larger system of ideas, concepts and theories. A bare literal understanding is often of little valuable. Never be satisfied with a hazy idea of what you are reading. If you are not able to follow the thought, go back to where you lost the trail.

How to Study Effectively – 8 Concentration Strategies

We found a killer list of concentration strategies for students.
This list is perfect for those who want to know the best way to cram for an exam. Check this out:
Eat Frequent Small Meals
Avoid eating a big meal before a study session. Too much food will send your body into a ‘rest’ mode. On the other hand, don’t starve yourself either. Frequent small meals are best.
Study When You’re Sharpest
Study according to your body-clock. Are you sharpest in the morning or at the evening? Schedule your most difficult materials when you are mentally at your best, and schedule the easier ones when you are mentally less efficient.
Drink Water Often
Drink plenty of water during a study session, especially when you feel sluggish. Caffeine may help you to stay awake, but it can increase your anxiety – use it in moderation.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable in Your Chair
Choose a chair that supports your back. It should be comfortable, but not too comfortable. Just like an athlete during a performance, your body should be relaxed, so that all your energy goes to where it matters – your brain.
Clear Your Desk of Everything You Don’t Need
Have everything you need on the desk. Put away what you do not need for the study session. Seeing reminders of other assessments or domestic bills may increase your anxiety and distract you.
Take Breaks Every Hour
It is important to take a break before you feel tired and lose your concentration completely. Regular breaks at least once an hour helps to sustain your concentration. If the work is not going too well and you have difficulties in concentrating, you may need a long break and go back to it later
Stretch During Your Breaks
Know and respect your concentration span which will vary from hour to hour and from day to day. When you sit for long periods, gravity draws the blood to the lower part of your body. When you take a break, take a few deep breaths and get more oxygen to your brain: try walking around and doing some light stretching for a few minutes. It will help to release tension in your body, and help your circulation.
Study at the Same Time, Same Place
Study at the same time and at the same place, devoted to study only. This helps you to associate the time and place with studying and concentrating. You will find that you get into a habit of studying as soon as you sit down.

How to Teach Your Children Discipline

How to Teach Your Children Discipline

By Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed.D.

Children have to be taught discipline. They are not born with it. Little by little parents have to teach it to them. While teaching discipline does take time and practice, it gets easier as children learn to control their own behavior. And best of all, teaching discipline does not have to hurt either the parents or the kids.

Parents ask.. What is discipline?

Discipline is helping children develop self-control. Discipline is setting limits and correcting misbehavior. Discipline also is encouraging children, guiding them, helping them feel good about themselves, and teaching them how to think for themselves.

Is spanking a useful approach to discipline?

No. Discipline should help children learn how to control their own behavior. Spanking is used to directly control children's behavior. Spanking does not teach children how to change what they do, as good discipline should.

Isn't is easier to just spank my children?

It may seem easy at the time. But babies who are hit often cry louder. Older children who are hit often are learning to solve problems by hitting others. Many parents notice that after a spanking children may settle down for a while, but pretty soon they start misbehaving again.

Won't spanking teach children whom boss?

Kids do need to know that the adult is in charge. Spanking can teach children to be afraid of the adult in charge. Good discipline teaches children to respect the adult in charge. Respect goes both ways- treat children with respect and let them have some control, and they will respect you and listen to you.

Won't spanking make my children afraid to misbehave?

It can. Spanking can make children afraid to misbehave, but probably only when you are watching. Children need to learn to control their own behavior even when you are not around to watch them.

Don't children need a good spanking sometimes?

No child needs a spanking. Spanking can be dangerous. You can never tell when children will be hurt badly by a spanking if you lose control. Children do not need to be hit in order to learn how to behave.

If I do not spank, then what can I do?

You can do lots of things that will help your children learn self-control - you can help them feel good about themselves, you can show them how a person with self-control acts, you can guide them, you can set limits, you can correct misbehavior by talking to them, and you can teach them how to think for themselves.

What can I do to help my children feel good about themselves?

Let them know what they are doing right, as well as about the mistakes they make. Hearing good things makes us feel good and makes us want to do more good things. Say two nice but true things to children for every time you correct them. Remember, when they are changing their behavior, tell them how well they are doing, even if they only improve just a little. "Great, you played in the playground all morning without fighting."

What do I need to do to guide them?

One thing is to set routines for bedtime, meals and chores. Routines help children feel safe, because they know what parents expect.
Young children have a hard time going from one activity to another. Warning them a few minutes ahead helps them get ready. You can say, "You have five more minutes before bedtime." Be clear about their choices. "You can have milk or juice, but you can't have soda."
Remind them of your rules. Just saying no is not enough. Children often need reminders.

What do I do when my children break the rules?

Stay calm. Do what is fair. Sometimes, your children can help you decide what is fair to do when a rule is broken. Do something that makes sense and will help them learn not to make the same mistake again. For example, if they write on the wall, have them help clean it up.
You can use these problem-solving steps to help children think through what happened and figure out how they can help themselves not make the same mistake again:
  1. Have the child say what the problem is ("I want to go across town, and my parent says I cannot take my bike").
  2. Have the child come up with as many solutions as possible. At this point, the number of ideas is more important than how good the ideas are ("I could walk. I could take the bus. I could bike halfway and walk the rest of the way").
  3. Discuss solutions together and have the child choose which solution to try next time. Be sure it is a solution you can both accept ("I will take the bus").
  4. Try out the solution.
  5. Check the results. If it works, great. If not, start again.
Two important messages come across to children when you use this approach. First, no problem is so great that you cannot solve it. Second, you are responsible for your own behavior.

What should I do when I am so angry that I think I am going to lose my temper and all I want to do is hit or scream at my child?

Find a way to help yourself calm down so that you do not do or say something you will be sorry for later. If your children are old enough to be left alone or if there is another adult with your children, go somewhere else until you calm down. Tell your children what you are doing. Take a walk, go to another room, or even lock yourself in the bathroom. Try to stay away no longer than five or ten minutes. When you come back to your children, calmly explain your feelings.
Other ways to calm down are to listen to music, take a few deep breaths, or count backwards from ten. Try to do something with your hands to keep them busy - bake a cake, wash a counter, draw, write what you are feeling, or even just scribble. To help yourself not say anything you'll be sorry for later, chew gum, sing or even put your hand up to your mouth.
Remember, what you do always teaches your children what to do. If you lash out, won't your children learn to do the same? If you do lash out, apologize to your child. Saying "I'm sorry" teaches them what to do if they offend others.

What do I do if my children get really angry because I discipline them?

Their anger is no reason to feel as though you're a bad person. Often children get angry when disciplined. As long as you are being fair, it's okay. Let them be angry but you keep your cool. Children must get their angry feelings out. Help them take time-out - draw, build something, play with clay, listen to music or go to a room alone and scream. Most important, when they are ready, help them talk about their feelings. Letting children get their feelings out is like taking out a splinter before it gets infected.
Teach them how to talk about their feelings without hurting or attacking other people. "I feel angry when I cannot go across town, because I want to be with my friends."
Remember: Discipline is how adults teach children to grow to be happy, safe, well-adjusted members of society. Raising children is a tough job, but as children learn to control their own behavior, discipline gets easier and easier. It's well worth the initial effort as your children become responsible for their actions. And you can feel proud that your loving care guided them on their way!

Stop using words that hurt. Start using words that help.