Wednesday | April 1, 2020

Choosing The Right University

You’ve decided to attend university after high school, but now you’re stumped. How do you know which university is right for you? It can be a daunting choice. There are so many options to choose from, and even more programs to evaluate. How do you determine which is right for you? Here are a few things to think about when making your choice.

 

Do you want to go away or stay home?

​One way to start narrowing down the options is to decide if you want to leave home or stay at home. There is no right answer. In fact, it’s very personal. If you crave the experience of living on your own, you’ll want to focus your search on universities outside of your hometown.

​If you prefer to commute, begin researching options that will allow you to drive, bus or take the train to school. Some students are ready to make the leap and have the financial support to afford both tuition and housing. Others might prefer the comfort of home and be excited to save up while living at home.

Of course, if there are many universities of interest to you in your city, you might want to consider selecting one of them and still living in residence. Think about the best options for you and start your search with that in mind.

 

​What do you want to study?

​Certain programs are well known for business, science or language. Do you have your heart set on becoming a poet, nutritionist or veterinarian? What are you passionate about? Speak to your guidance counsellor, go online or pick up a magazine or guide book dedicated to delivering students the ins and outs of various programs. These resources will tell you about the different programs and what they’re best known for. Look at each program’s requirements.

​Have you taken the right prerequisites? Do you have the grades you’ll need to be considered? What else are they looking for in an applicant?. If you have already completed the requirements, that’s great. You’re ahead of the game. If you don’t meet the application requirements, you might want to consider taking a missing course, upgrading your mark or doing some extra volunteer work.

Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.

No matter what your interest, you’ll want to look ahead. Do everything you can in advance so you can apply to the programs that interest you most.

 

​What kind of campus culture are you looking for?

​It’s not only the university’s academic reputation that can be important. Do you want to be part of a big campus or something smaller and more intimate? Do you want research and teaching opportunities or a school that is more social? Different universities and even programs and dorms within each university might be known for offering students various experiences.

​Think about what you’re looking for in a university experience and speak to people who already go there. Ask them what the university is like. What is their program is like? How are the students? What do they think about where they live? Visit the campus and explore it for yourself. What are your impressions? Do you feel safe, comfortable and happy there?

It’s important to check out more than one so you can compare.

 

​Are you looking for something specific?

​Do you want a school that offers joint degrees? Perhaps you want to study abroad and need to know if your school has relationships with international universities. What if you want to take a year off—will the registrar allow you to maintain your space in your program? What if you choose to switch universities—will your credits transfer or will you have to begin again? Will you be looking for an internship or coop placement at some point during your degree? Does the program you’re considering offer those kinds of experiences? If you want to go right into the workforce after graduation, what is your program’s rate of employment?

You might want to consider a program that puts you in good stead to find a job right away. Other programs might feed into further degrees, and perhaps that’s what you want.

​Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future so you know what questions to ask and what answers you’re hoping to find.

 

​Should you go with your gut?

​Sometimes, you’ll visit a campus and just recognize what’s right for you.

Once you’ve done all the research and have narrowed it down to a few universities or programs within those universities, apply to each one and see what arises. Maybe you’ll get your first choice, and that will be great. Maybe you’ll get your second choice and discover it was actually the best choice for you after all.

​Look ahead and think about where you see yourself in the future

February 6th, 2020

Posted In: Athletics, Community, Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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Ensure You Are Not Raising A Bully

It’s every parent’s nightmare to find out your teen is being bullied but it’s equally as stressful to find out your teen is the bully. As parents, you have the responsibility to make sure your teen isn’t abusing their peers. However, despite your best efforts, your teens may still become bullies.

Contrary to popular belief, simply instilling kindness in your teens may not be enough. According to a Harvard University project, entitled “Making Caring Common”, nearly 80% of kids said their parents taught them that personal happiness and high achievement were more important than caring for people.

To ensure you don’t raise bullies, you need to incorporate the following parenting tips into your life.

Take Interest in Your Child

Most parents don’t actively engage with their teens. Active engagement with your teen goes beyond supervising; you need to interact with them at a personal level to know who they are really are. This requires time, interest and dedication on your part.

Take them out for ice cream or pizza and spend some quality time without letting other distractions interrupt. When teens are happy, they are more likely to open up and share the details of their life with you.

These One Hundred Questions suggested by a Care.com user can really help you learn more about your teens.

 

Teach Them to Respect Others From An Early Age

According to Janet Lehman from EmpoweringParents.com, kids aren’t born with the inherent ability to respect others. In fact, they learn to manipulate the world around them to get what they want. Therefore, the onus is on the parents to teach their them how to respect others. As parents, you need to teach your kids:

  • That everyone is unique
  • To treat everyone with kindness
  • How to process negative emotions in a healthy way

Regardless of your teaching, your kids might be disrespectful to people – and as parents, you need to catch that early and correct them with respect. Learn more about how to to change the attitude of your teens with regards to respecting others.

 

Don’t Ignore Sibling Aggression

While many parents see sibling fighting during childhood as a normal occurrence, the nature and frequency of sibling aggression can have serious consequences. For parents who don’t spend a lot of time with their teens, it is difficult to differentiate between sibling fighting and bullying. According to Joe Magliano from Psychology Today, parents need to read the early signs when their teens’ behavior is bordering on bullying.

Here’s what you can do address the growing sibling bullying and stop it from getting worse.

 

Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends

Teens tend to pick up the negative traits easily, especially from their peers, either in school or the neighborhood. As parents, you need to see who they’re friends with and how it affects their choices. In general, guiding your teens about their choice of friends is a very tricky affair. You need to be respectful and not question their choices outright.

Learn about their friends – you can invite them to family events or offer to carpool. In this great guide, Valerie Frankel from GoodHousekeeping.com, tells you how to deal with your kid when they buddy up with an unruly child.

Foster Empathy

Bullies lack empathy, so it’s essential that you foster empathy in your teens. Sympathetic teens are less likely to develop into bullies. More importantly, you need to exercise empathy while dealing with your teens in difficult situations – modelling empathy is the best way to inspire your teens to be empathic.

 

Take Responsibility

According to researchers from Harvard study on bullying, many parents and teachers tend to pass the buck and put the onus on the kids alone. When adults refuse to walk the talk, it sends mixed messages to children. Teens look up to their role models and mimic their behavior. Researchers say parents should learn how to acknowledge their own mistakes and listen to their teens, acting as an example of good behavior.

 

Help Kids Manage Destructive Feelings

One of the major difference between adults and teens is their ability to process destructive emotions such as anger, shame and envy. In fact, these are the emotions that hinder the ability of your teen to be kind and empathetic. Parents should teach their teens that these negative emotions are normal and they can be handled in a healthy way. When your teens understand this and weigh the potential consequences of their harmful actions, they can better manage these emotions and curb their tendency to be bullies.

 

Final Thoughts

Every parent wants their teen to be happy and successful but occasionally, they end up fostering an aggressive attitude and raise a bully. As parents, you need to see whether your drive to see your teen succeed turns them into a bully who is bereft of any empathy. It could be time to rethink your parenting strategy.

 

                Teens look up to their role models and mimic their behavior.

January 21st, 2020

Posted In: Education, Parenting, Uncategorised

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What I Would Tell My Younger Self About Planning a Great Career

For many teens, deciding on a career is fraught with uncertainties which make them nervous about their career choices.

Should a career reflect their passions? Does pragmatism always have to involve going with the grain? What if they have to start their career all over again looking for newer possibilities in an evolving industry? In short, how do they make smart choices?

Some of the greatest advantages for millennials is their comfort with technologies and the seamless integration of their lifestyle into the digital landscape. However this does not mean every young person would or should want a career in technology (ie. programmers, digital marketing etc).

It always bodes well to take stock of where we are and what we want, especially while planning a career. It can set the wheels in motion for a wonderful fulfilling future or can it turn out to be a long and painful professional life.

 

Looking in the Mirror

When it comes to making the right career choices, maintaining clarity with your thoughts is vital. While some career choices might seem appealing on the surface, they may not be so great in the long run.

Choosing the right career begins with exploring your passion and instincts. Teens should discover their likes and dislikes and think about choosing career options that are aligned with their strengths. Whether you choose technology over arts or a trade over law, make sure you know where your interests lie. Moreover, you need to prep yourself to be mentally resilient and flexible. It’s extremely important for teens to learn how to cope with setbacks in their career journey

 

Research, Research, Research

The easiest accessible database is Google. One can research a host of career options covering a range of interests. Whether your career motivators are financial, social, artistic etc., there is no limit to the research data available for you. You can even go to job sites to see the wide array of opportunities available. There could be roles to never realized that existed that excite you.

It also pays to look ahead ​​and see how industries and job markets are predicted to change in the future.

​Reach out to people who work in the chosen area of interest and communicate with them over email, social media or LinkedIn. Reading up about notable personalities who have made it big or following their blog posts also help assess your career direction.

​No online research can beat actual conversations with experienced people involved in industries or careers that interest you. Try to take every opportunity to speak to as many people as possible. And ask lots of questions about what they like/dislike about their jobs and what advice they can give a younger person planning a career in their field.

 

Start Building Career Skills Early On

As a teen, it’s really difficult to figure out your plans about your career. However, rather than fretting over what’s right or wrong, the best way to deal with this confusion is to do a couple of internships while you’re at school. This will give you ample scope to explore your strengths, likes and dislikes, which will eventually help you make the right career decisions. The good news is making mistakes in your internship won’t probably cost you a huge deal. Use the internship experience hone your skills that will stand in good stead moving forward.

 

Mentoring

It helps to develop healthy mentor-protege relationship. The mentor should calm your nerves when you are at the precipice of something new but also pick you up when you fall to hard. They are like a very wise human pros-and-cons checklist. They help in deconstructing your thoughts and provide strategies on how to move forward. People-pleasers are not great mentors. Seek those you can provide practical experience with unbiased advice for you.

 

Develop a Well-defined Career

Dreaming big is one thing but charting your career path is another. Many teens are instinctively ambitious but what they lack is the clarity about their career objectives.

Whether you want be a medical professional or astronaut, you should learn how to develop your career path accordingly. Gather as much information about your career goals as possible. Speak to industry professionals and practitioners and learn about the ground realities. Some career goals will require a decent academic performance throughout your high school and college degree. Be aware of the scores you need and the courses you need to complete to be better prepared for the competitive industry. The more you learn about your goals, the better are your chances of getting there.

 

Take Risks Early

No matter what your career options are, you need to develop a risk appetite for success. In the rapidly evolving world, it’s important to stay current with you career options and learn skills required to pursue your career goals. When you’re in your teens, it’s easier to take risks since you’re not really strapped with many responsibilities of a middle-age professional. As a parent, you need to encourage your teens to take calculated risks and extend support to help them through the journey.

 

You Can Change Your Mind

These days a typical working career can last approximately 40 years. That’s a long time.

​​Because it’s so long, you have time to start a job, learn what you like and dislike as you get more experience and then adjust your career plans accordingly. In fact this can be done several times over a working career.

​Nowadays it’s practically impossible to come across anyone that ends their career with the same company and profession that started in their 20’s.

​There has never been a time with more flexibility and options for change available to people in the workforce. This can take immense pressure off anyone starting to plan a career in their teens.

 

Understand the Meaning of Happiness

Remember that your career choices are ultimately the means to an end and not the end in themselves. Regardless of the career you pursue, it’s important to understand the meaning of motivation. There are many who make tons of money but are still unhappy with their life. While money is one key to leading a satisfying life, it doesn’t necessarily ensure an emotionally fulfilling life. If you’re in a job that continually stimulates and rewards with you then you are likely to lead a healthier and happier life. And that is the true measure of a successful career.

February 1st, 2019

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Uncategorised

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How to Foster Lifelong Learning in Your Teen

The brain is rapidly developing in the teenage years.

​We all want our kids to enjoy learning and to make the most of their education. We place value in ensuring they work hard, study for their tests do their homework to the best of their abilities and appreciate the educational opportunities they’ve been giving. A good education truly is a gift.

This sense of curiosity might be even more important than parents realize. Research has shown that curiosity impacts performance as much as hard work. When you’re curious about a subject and study up on it, you tend to retain that information for longer periods. It’s also associated with positive behaviours such as tolerance for uncertainty, humour and out-of-the-box thinking.

​These are all skills associated with happiness, resilience, creativity and intellectual growth.

So how do we foster that sense of lifelong learning in kids? How do we ensure they grow up with a sense of curiosity that will motivate them to want to learn and explore throughout their entire lives? Here are a few tips:

Encourage your children to ask questions. If your child asks a question, don’t brush them off with a simple answer such as “I don’t know.” Don’t simply say “good question.” Go the extra step further and help them find the answer to the question they have asked.

Maybe it’s a matter of going to the library and finding a book that explains the topic. Maybe you can go online together and read the literature. Take them to a museum or help them interview someone who has the answer.

​There are so many methods of learning and ways to find answers. ​What is your child’s preferred method? Maybe they are more hands-on. Maybe they enjoy learning by opening a book. Let them know how much you value their curiosity and reward them by helping them discover the answer. They will enjoy the journey and not hesitate to approach you the next time they are curious.

Talk to your child’s teacher. When you communicate with your son or daughter’s teacher either casually or during more formal parent-teacher interviews, ask if they have noticed whether there is anything in particular your child is curious about. What is their favourite subject? What style of learner are they? Do they seem particularly curious about anything? If not, perhaps they have suggestions for how you can stimulate a sense of wonder. Your teacher will know things about your child that you might not have noticed and their experience in the education field will give them valuable insight into your particular child.

​Let your child’s teacher know how committed you are to being involved and in fostering an appreciation for lifelong learning in your child. You are a team dedicated to furthering your child’s education and you share the same goals. Don’t hesitate to speak openly to your child’s teachers about this topic.

Encourage your teen to do their homework well. If you step in and help your child right away, they might not have the opportunity to assess whether they understand the work. By helping, you deny giving them a chance to see how resourceful they are. You will also give them the chance to realize what questions their homework will spark. They might even discover they don’t understand the homework at all.  You’ll want to make yourself available, of course, to answer questions or suggest ways in which they might find the answers.

If you’re stuck on how to facilitate the process, here are a few suggestions:

  • If your child doesn’t understand what is being asked of them when you’re helping them with an assignment, you might want to read the question together and say, “What do you think the question is asking?”
  • If they don’t understand what they are supposed to do as they work on their homework, try asking them if they have any ideas for how to solve the problem.
  • If your child is unsure of the assignment, suggest calling a friend or reviewing their notes from class. Follow up the next day and make sure they understand or asked for help from the teacher.

Ensure learning happens outside the classroom, too. As much as we prioritize in-class learning, there is so much to be discovered outside of the class as well. The best way to foster additional opportunities is to encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities. Perhaps they like sports, music or want to learn a language. Sign them up for a class at the local community centre or in the neighbourhood. If they discover they aren’t interested in that particular activity, try another. Don’t give up. Extra-curricular activities are a great way to make friends, expand their skills, get exercise and figure out what they are interested in and what they aren’t.

Stimulating that sense of curiosity is very important and there are so many ways in which you can help build this sense of wonder in your child. Once you light that spark, there will be no stopping your child in their quest for lifelong learning.

December 6th, 2018

Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting, Technology, Uncategorised

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New Trends in Education

Decades ago, when we thought of new trends in education, we would have perhaps moved between an inductive method to deductive, from instructional teaching to interactive learning.

Today, teaching has taken an e-turn where students want personalized learning methods and to reduce the dependency on teachers for instructions. Educators primarily play the role of mentors.

The dependence on digital technology by the youth of today can seem overwhelming to us. But we have to accept that these technologies are pushing the boundaries of learning and the way education is being delivered around the world.

For example, a recent survey by Research and Markets, “Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2017-2021”, predicts the use of AI in K12 and higher ed could grow 47.5 percent by 2021. Moreover, content is also available in varied formats, catering to diverse learning skills and dispositions.

 

Active participation

We cannot expect students to be passive recipients of lessons in a classroom. It is healthy to encourage them to be an active participant in framing the curriculum, choosing the learning resources and the method of learning that aids their understanding.

Each method of learning has a corollary cognitive impact. For example, a Wikipedia entry might generate more interest in a topic more than a traditional textbook or encyclopedia. Some children retain information through listening, others find visual-aid like videos, paintings or diagrams more useful. As parents, we need to help our kids understand what works best for them but most importantly, helps them learn.

While a lesson using Augmented or Virtual Reality might seem a wholesome experience and most importantly convenient, it might restrict imagination; a vital component in critical thought. We need to play the parent in such cases.

While being well-grounded in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and technical fields is critical for young people who will compete for the jobs of the future, a well-rounded knowledge of the arts helps them contextualize their education. So make sure your child learns is exposed to the arts and humanities and not just much mathematics.

 

The School

When choosing a school we need to keep in mind a few things.

  • How keen is a school in ensuring accessible infrastructure for children and their individual needs?
  • How much impact the school has had on the community. In short, is the school producing great citizens of tomorrow?

Gone are the days when soft skills were considered a part of upbringing at home or emotional well-being a personal affair. We are faced with a new political environment where schools have a worldview and they need to lead the way in sensitizing children to accommodate their sensibilities to a cosmopolitan space. There are bound to be stress, anxiety, and schools should be equipped to handle those. Hence a successful school would also invest in students’ social-emotional learning (SEL).

We need to assess a school based on how inclusive it is. Not just in terms of physical infrastructure but also in teaching tools. AR and VR will not be the same for children who have problems with vision.

Incorporating basic tech methods to interact with students over email, text, Google Docs, will facilitate shared learning and flexibility to work from anywhere they are. This cloud comes with a silver lining! We need to make sure the teachers are prepared to give a chance to the children, to understand that some children might be good at grasping texts, others might be good at digital-visual content. We should engage with the teacher regarding the cognitive skills of children.

 

The Career Conundrum

It would be a good idea to train children with the specificities of the industry early in their career while staying prepared for contingencies. For example, it might be great to learn the law as a subject, but a child might not have the temperament or interest to invest themselves in the demands of corporate set up. One might be interested in being a great publisher some day. But they need to be aware of the drudgery of proofreading a manuscript over and over again. In short parents/mentors need to be able to give a clear picture of the actual work that goes into making a career.

In meantime, as children are exposed to different circumstances, goalposts shifts, new interests surface. As parents how prepared are we for that kind of challenge? It would be wise to leave scope for rearrangement of career plans. While a bit of research on programmes and tour of the university would be a good idea, in many schools and districts, the power IoT (Internet of Things) is already being harnessed for keeping track of people, and their activities. Keeping track of performance and harnessing data to assess aptitude towards career could be of great help.

 

Assessment

How do we assess learning? We have to move beyond traditional parameters and employ newer metrics to assess learning. Its common sense that different people have different skills. Hence our standards of assessment should not be unfair in its basic tenets.

For example, Cheryl Morris, an English teacher at San Jose Middle School in the Novato Unified School District in suburban San Francisco, makes short videos of herself to discuss assigned texts. While a few students choose to watch Morris on video – either at home or in class – others prefer to read the texts themselves. Interestingly, by offering the flexibility to choose their preferred method of learning, Morris has been able to bring her students’ failure rate from 10-15% down to zero!

Thanks to these emerging trends in education, teachers are increasingly banking on online coursework and micro-credentials themselves to stay on top of rapidly evolving fields. According to a recent report by Blackboard, nearly forty percent of schools are now offering online professional development for their teachers, witnessing a two-fold increase in the figure available in 2013.

So our knowledge of new trends in education translates into actively participating in the process of schooling of our child. In the business of education, we are all stakeholders. The idea is to ensure holistic educational experience, assess challenges in reading, writing, comprehension or mathematics and always be on the lookout for fun-filled learning. Offering a slew of educational and interactive apps and games, companies like Kahoot! and Socrative have already made assessments more fun, affordable and accessible.

Big data is pushing boundaries in the business of education with more and more use of artificial intelligence to consolidate feedback as an additive factor to the understanding employed by the teacher or mentor.

October 29th, 2018

Posted In: Education, Parenting, Technology

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