Tag Archives: self esteem

Brainstorming

In 1953 a great group creativity technique known as brainstorming came to be when Alex Faickney Osborn wrote a book called “Applied Imagination”. Osborn’s theory was that more ideas could come about more efficiently if people would brainstorm or put their ideas on together to get more creative.

There is no scientific evidence that brainstorming will or will not help generate ideas and at times, if not monitored, groups can become too social and lose sight of what they are focusing on. However, with that said, brainstorming can produce some great things as well. When groups get together to put ideas together it can boost morale, enhance an educational or work experience, and promote team work.
For a teacher it is important to remember a few key points when you break students off into groups for brainstorming or problem solving in general. These are:
  • Focus – You want the group to solve the problem and to do it as well as possible. Communicating this to your students is key. You don’t just want a lot of solutions but you want the students to take their solutions and see how good they can make them while working together.
  • No negativity – When you have students in a group situation and you want everyone to feel like they can share ideas or thoughts you absolutely do not want criticism. It should be stressed that there are no bad ideas, but take the ideas and improve upon them to make them all that they can be. This helps students lift one another, work together and ultimately raise self esteem.
  • Strange is not bad – Just as you express to students that there are no bad ideas make sure they know that thinking outside of the box is welcome. Great innovators do not think inside of the box and we should foster a student’s creativity as much as possible.
A teacher can present the problem, give the student all the information necessary, carefully choose which students will be in which groups and possibly give them a foundation of where to start by asking questions or posing ideas. There are many ways to go about brainstorming so be sure you are clear to your students.
Some subjects that this is good for are things like history. You can give students a historical situation and ask them what a leader could have done and what the outcome would have been. You can ask how many different solutions there were to different historical issues and what the end result would have been if different roads would have been taken. When talking to teens about life situations brainstorming is good. Research has shown that if you do situational brainstorming and have teens come up with ways to handle different scenarios they are more likely to follow through in a like manner. This is great for teaching kids to say no to drug use, underage drinking, sexual promiscuity and other negative behaviors.

The GED

History of the GED:

During World War II the GED was created so that Veterans coming home from the war could finish their high school education. This enabled Veterans to prove that they were ready for a college education or technical training as made available in the GI Bill. So necessarily it was so that these individuals could be successful in their educations. The GED was a way for the Veterans to continue in their education and go on to be what they dreamed of without feeling like being in the Armed Forces had taken them away from their personal goals.
Soon after the GED became available to all drop outs. By 1959 most GED test takers were civilians. In 2001 the number of GED certificates given was about 650,000.
About the GED:
The GED is comprised of five general sections. Those sections are:
  • Language Arts, Writing
  • Language Arts, Reading
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Mathematics
To pass the GED you have to score better than 60% of high school students. You are allowed anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes per section to complete the test. It just depends on where you are. In 2002 the Department of Education reviewed and changed the GED so that it had progressed in line with a typical high school education. This means that much of the test is harder to pass.
The Education Commission of the States declares that those with a GED got very comparable grades in post-secondary education as those with high school diplomas. They also note that most GED test takers claim that they want the GED strictly so that they can further their education.
People who get their GED cannot help but have a sense of accomplishment. Whether it is a high school diploma or a GED certificate, they both help a person’s self esteem. There is a lot of value in getting something like that accomplished. GED holders will have higher paying jobs, further education and be happier with themselves. It is obvious that a high school diploma is always a better alternative. But, when that just cannot happen then the getting the GED passed is certainly a better options than dropping out and not completing anything.

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is actually a broad spectrum term in regards to many educational approaches between instructors and students. The idea is that pupils are presented with situations where they will depend on and be accountable to each other. This is very much like cooperative learning and can take in things like writing, group discussions, group tasks, and more.

Collaborative learning does not just have to take in the pupils in any setting. It can also include the wonderful world of technology. Students can use computers to bring data, make graphs, and other tools to their learning experience. The wonderful thing about using computers and networking in this way is that we can and do have virtual classrooms. Where material is presented, students discuss via forum or discussion threads and e-mail groups. Ideas are shared and brainstorming happens. The end result is the same as if they were sitting in a room together but sometimes even greater because each student has the ability to bring technology into play. With online encyclopedias, publishing’s, statistics and more, the world is at a student’s fingertips and the information can be shared.

The basic idea behind collaborative learning is that the students know that they “sink or swim together”. For example, in Army boot camps they use this in some field training. They will send a group of soldiers into a situation that seems impossible and they know that they have to communicate, work together and become united to overcome the challenge. These can be great team building experiences. Not only for the K-12 student, but the military personnel or a Fortune 500 company. Basically all groups can benefit from such challenges, including families.

A key finding in studies done on collaborative learning is that not only does this strengthen groups of people and make them come together but it raises critical thinking skills. It has been identified that when a group uses collaborative learning skills they produce better results, are more creative and are more efficient than individuals going about the same task.

More benefits of collaborative learning are:

Builds student’s self esteem
Creates an environment conducive to exploratory learning
Develops high critical thinking skills and thought processes
Fosters good social skills
Helps student’s with self management skills
Students take responsibility for each other, not just themselves
Is great for interpersonal relationships
Student’s learn to not criticize people, but individual ideas and concepts
Promotes problem solving

The benefits of this learning method are endless, the above are just a few key points. No matter what learning environment you are in, there is a good chance that collaborative learning could be a great thing to implement.

Shopping for School Clothes and Uniforms

This time of year is when parents do the bulk of clothes shopping for the children to get them ready for school. Whether you have a child in public school, private school, or homeschool them you have choices to make. Your child’s school may require uniforms and they may lesson the arguments about what your child is allowed to where but then you also have to buy uniforms on top of everyday clothing. This can ease some stress and then add some stress and cost to the equation. Either way most parents, teachers and students would agree that clothing is a subject where a lot of peer pressure comes into play.

School uniform requirements are a hot topic that is much debated. We will just provide a brief section for the pros of uniforms and one for the cons of uniforms.

Pros of School Uniforms:

  • Uniforms take the guess work out of setting guidelines of appropriate school attire.
  • The students clearly know what is expected of them, there is no room for interpretation.
  • Students and parents are less worried about fashion trends and can more readily focus on why they are at school.
  • Students appear as equals in every way. This eliminates social classes and cliques. It also keeps any gang related clothing articles out of the school. These things all create a feeling of unity in the school.
  • Students are easily identifiable on field trips.

Cons of School Uniforms:

  • Students lose their freedom of expression in regards to dress and outward appearance on some level due to uniform requirements.
  • Students do not see the real world at school, identifying that we are not all alike or have the same taste but that we can all get along.
  • It may not be right to teach conformity in school as a way to avoid problems with each other.
  • Students are not able to dress for their body type and so may not look their best in school uniforms that may be unflattering. Especially for teens and tweens, this can be hard on their self esteem.
  • Cost – parents may not have the money for new uniforms every time they are needed or when the school changes a uniform requirement. This excludes children which should never happen at school if possible.
  • Not allowing children to wear their own clothing will not prevent gangs, clicks or how students choose to express themselves in other ways. With the expression in how they dress taken away, they may find an alternative way that is not much better.

The debate can go on and on about school uniforms or what is appropriate for school dress codes.

Homeschool Preschool

There are many things parents can do to prepare their children for school. Whether you decide to send your children to a public school, private school, charter school, magnet school, or to homeschool them if you take the time to teach them some basics they are more likely to succeed throughout their school years. By teaching your preschooler basic reading, writing, and math skills your child will be better equipped to start school without being overwhelmed.

There are many fun-filled ways of teaching preschool age children. In fact, it is the easiest time in their life to learn. You can even teach them things without them feeling like they are being taught. By reading to them every day, playing guessing games, card games, counting games, etc…You can make almost anything you do during the day into an educational experience.

There are a few homeschool preschool curriculum’s available to help, if you are struggling with ideas. Keep in mind most states do not have any educational requirements that include preschool, therefore homeschool preschool does not have to be documented and will count as credit towards their educational graduation requirements. That is not to say they will not be rewarded, the education in and of itself will be a huge reward. You may also wish to reward them for their accomplishments as it will help them gain a sense of self esteem and accomplishment.