Posts Tagged ‘ Education ’

Unit 1 TouchStone 3

September 9, 2015

me cartoon

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Part of My Teaching Philosophy

January 28, 2014

Ahn Jung Geun

Part of My Teaching Philosophy


  • Every student deserves an education, no matter their financial background.

It’s a well known fact that many schools are located in low income              communities. More commonly known is the fact that students from lower           income families have lesser access to top class education, professional              counseling and luxuries that people with better incomes can afford.

The students who live in these communities belong to the lower tiers of economic class and have their own fair   share of problems that arise from living in densely populated  areas. Children growing up in these areas remain more exposed to       unwholesomeness, corruption and lack of social values since it is extremely           difficult to isolate them and provide them with appropriate environment in their  impressionable years.

I myself have grown up in a low income community, and am very familiar with the kinds of problems that teachers and students face every day. My experiences   as a child has given me a foundation to teach effectively in any educational level and environment I desire.


  • Teachers need the skills to approach many issues that students may encounter.

In my view, schools require teachers with skills that surpass their academic qualifications. Being passionate about teaching, I know that a board approved curriculum is only a basic foundation that needs to be customized depending upon the environment it is being taught in and the students it is being disseminated to. Students should be taught more about life in their existing  circumstances and the plethora of socially correct choices they can make in their daily lives.

  • A teacher needs to have passion.

Working long hours is definitely difficult in any profession, but it is also rewarding, especially if a teacher truly loves inspiring students.  One gets to help students  build a base knowledge which they may never get without an education. Most of  the students come to school because it is the one place that drives their dreams into a reality. Working for an educational establishment requires patience, flexibility, and an endless motivation.


Pass it on,


Dr. Anthony Bendik


Medical Terminology for Physical Therapy Students

March 3, 2013


Medical Terminology for Physical Therapy Students

Welcome everyone to the new semester at our academic university, My name is Dr Anthony Bendik and I will be your instructor for this course. I hope everyone had a wonderful and exciting winter break. On the first day of class, I will only take up a little of your time to give you a layout of the details of this course. If after this brief introduction, you have questions you would like to ask me personally or in private, I will be here after class at my office down the hall in room 510. The title of this course is Medical Terminology, and the textbook we will be using this semester is called “Medical Terminology Decoded”.

I am the author of the book and I wrote it primarily for students who have no medical background whatsoever. You will find that my lecture presentations follow the sequence of pages in the textbook, although the textbook is primarily filled with text, my presentations will have plenty of images to help you grasp the concept of what we are talking about. The textbook was also written so that the student can minimize notetaking and dedicate their attention to understanding the concepts being discussed in class.

This is your first year as a physical therapy student, and this class will prepare you for courses that you are required to take before graduation. Attendance is mandatory.  The textbook is available online at the following link:


in the meantime, while we are waiting for your books to arrive, I will make available handouts so we can begin with the material of Chapter 1. For your convenience my lectures will be posted immediately after each class on my website at


Dr. Anthony Bendik

Medical Terminology Decoded: Understanding The Language of Medicine

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Medical Terminology Decoded is Now on

October 6, 2012

“Medical Terminology Decoded” is the first edition designed for anyone wanting a better understanding of medical words that are used everywhere in the healthcare industry. I wrote this edition specifically for the medical terminology course that I teach at the university level. My main concern was that I wanted to make it as easy enough for the reader who had no background in science, but still be interesting enough for those who already have some scientific background.


I am hoping that schools, colleges, and other medical establishments throughout the world will find some benefit with this book. There is no question that medical terminology can be very complex, but this book can help you step-by-step to understand with a simplistic approach.


On many of the pages you will be required to write in the answer to a particular question or statement. Chapter 1 is very important because it introduces the concept of prefixes, suffixes, and root words that are the basis for medical language to be understood. The preceding chapters introduce topics related to the human body and are follow with examples of medical terms related to that specific topic.


Chapter 9 will take you through 500 questions or statements related to medical terminology. If you do decide to enter the health field, I hope that this book serves as a springboard to a new and exciting career. I have been fortunate to have been taught by excellent professors and challenged by students in my classroom. I hope that this book can foster an enthusiasm for learning medical words as it has for my own students.


I am grateful to all my friends, colleagues, students, my father, my mother, my son and entire family for their unwavering support, patience, and belief in me.


Pass it on,


Dr. Anthony Bendik


Medical Terminology Decoded

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Alternative Medicine Still an Uphill Battle

August 2, 2012

Alternative medicine can be scientific, say besieged academics

By Matthew Thompson, The Conversation

RMIT University’s School of Health Sciences has rejected the suggestion that it peddles pseudo-scientific quackery via its courses in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Acting head of the school Dr Ray Myers has defended RMIT’s health science programs as “evidence-based education and practice”, citing collaboration in clinical research of CAM treatments funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Dr Myers was speaking in the face of a campaign by a coalition of prominent medical researchers to expunge higher education of the “undisciplined nonsense” taught in CAM courses at Australia’s “somewhat lesser universities”.

The campaigning group, Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM), has about 400 signatories, including immunologist Sir Gustav Nossal and Professor Jock Findlay, chairman of the NHMRC’s Embryo Research Licensing Committee. It has written to every vice-chancellor in Australia asking for a review of their health science courses to “ensure that primacy is given to scientific principles based on experimental evidence”. The letter laments the spread of chiropractic studies to 19 Australian universities, and complains that ‘energy medicine’, ‘tactile healing’, homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, acupuncture, and reflexology are taught “as if they were science”.

Group co-founder Emeritus Professor John Dwyer from the University of NSW said that FSM wants “vice-chancellors to ask their deans of science what’s the heck’s going on … It’s just extraordinary that such undisciplined nonsense is being taught in universities around Australia.”

“One of the complaints that we have about so-called alternative medicine is that it doesn’t strive to be tested. … modern medicine is totally devoted to doing everything we can to take this evidence-based approach and do good science and do good research into the things we do to people,” he said. “Alternative medicine doesn’t do that – it’s more than happy to rely on tradition and anecdote and it doesn’t really want to be tested.”

However, Dr Myers said that CAM research at RMIT was conducted in a thoroughly scientific manner, with the NHMRC funding clinical trials of alternative medicines. In a clinical study granted A$560,000 by the NHMRC and A$30,000 by the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, the university was collaborating with two Melbourne hospitals on a clinical study investigating the use of ginseng, a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, for improving lung function in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), he said.

The NHMRC had also granted A$400,000 for a project in which the university was collaborating with three Melbourne hospitals on a three-year clinical trial of acupuncture for pain management in emergency departments, Dr Myers said. “The project follows the promising results of pilot studies by RMIT researchers, in which more than 1,000 patients received acupuncture treatment for acute pain relief at the emergency department of the Northern Hospital.”

The professions of Chinese medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy are government regulated, Dr Myers said, with RMIT programs in these fields meeting current professional standards and subject to external accreditation. Chiropractic and osteopathy were areas in which clinical research was limited, but RMIT’s education program incorporated the “best available evidence, while promoting further clinical research into these treatments,” Dr Myers said. “RMIT stands by its long record of evidence-based research and the high quality of its health sciences programs.”

But FSM is not buying it. “Those universities involved in teaching pseudoscience give such ideologies undeserved credibility, damage their academic standing and put the public at risk,” the group’s letter states.

The great danger, said Professor Dwyer, was that people who have chronic health problems or who have been persuaded that doctors do not have the answers are delaying the “proper investigation and treatment” of their illness by instead seeking help from therapists offering alternative medicine.

“These are dangerous delusions, and our campaign at the moment is aimed at those somewhat lesser universities, but nonetheless universities, that are offering and teaching pseudoscience as if there was an evidence base to support it, because obviously that gives credibility in the eye of the public,” Professor Dwyer said.

Citing the late CEO of Apple, Professor Dwyer said that “Steve Jobs spent a year with his cancer of the pancreas trusting homeopathic remedies, and by the time he got to the surgeons it was all over.” It is worth noting the veracity of this claim by Professor Edzard Ernst about Mr Jobs treating his cancer with homeopathy has left some struggling to find evidence for it, while others have claimed that for nine months after his diagnosis, Mr Jobs spurned what could have been life-saving surgery in favour of not homeopathy but a vegan diet and herbal remedies.

The “lesser universities” that have aroused the ire of FSM include the Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University, Central Queensland University, Edith Cowan University, Macquarie University, Monash University, Murdoch University, RMIT University, Southern Cross University, Swinburne University, the University of Ballarat, the University of New England, the University of Newcastle, the University of Queensland, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Western Sydney, and the University of Wollongong. To buttress its case, FSM has gathered a list of offending courses, which includes Chinese Medicine, Wellness studies, Applied Eastern Anatomy, Clinical Science with options to study osteopathy and naturopathy, Mind/Body Medicine, and many others.

“It should be a policy that all universities, higher education institutions, should not be involved in in this woolly teaching,” Professor Dwyer said, adding that “I suspect that these are well attended, popular, money-earning courses for cash-strapped universities.”

The claims of FSM, however, ignore the evidence about CAM in higher education, said Dr Wardle, a NHMRC Research Fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health and co-director of the Network of Researchers in Public Health and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NORPHCAM), an international group promoting clinical research in CAM.

“They’re actually not that interested in evidence, because the overwhelming evidence is that putting CAM into universities has increased the standards, decreased the fringe element, and improved public safety, so it definitely smacks of dogmatism,” said Dr Wardle, who is a naturopath.

“They love to say that there’s no such thing as complementary medicine and conventional medicine, there’s just evidence-based and non-evidence-based, but, for example, St John’s Wort for over a decade now has been shown to be equally as effective as any pharmaceutical indication for mild to moderate depression, yet there’s still a large group of doctors who refuse to integrate it simply because it’s a herbal medicine,” Dr Wardle said.

The world of CAM is not a “homogenous entity”, said Dr Wardle. “There is a lot of crap, but there’s good stuff, and treating it like it’s all the same thing is very, very fraught. Taking it out of universities runs a real risk of the fringe element getting a stronger voice in the profession.”

“There are studies from Canada, Australia, and Britain that show that CAM practitioners are less anti-vaccination when they’re university trained, and they refer more to conventional [medical] providers when things get serious if they’re university trained.”

“If you look at chiropractic courses [in universities], most of it is human physiology. Chiropractic is certainly not the dominant part of the course. If you look at naturopathy, they do learn herbal medicine and nutrition but they also learn basic health science: they learn the common language of health practice – they learn what a physio or a medical doctor or a nurse would learn. Putting it into the universities diminishes the fringe element,” Dr Wardle said. “If they [FSM] are really worried about public safety they should be not trying to exclude and ostracise them from the university sector.”

He questioned how representative FSM’s roll call of doctors really is, saying that he has just completed a survey of every rural GP in NSW and qualitative interviews with about 30. “About a third wouldn’t have anything to do with complementary medicine providers, another third were very open to it – maybe too open – and the other third if they knew a practitioner who got results they’d send people on.”

About 70 per cent of Australians use CAM and it thus makes sense for research and training to be carried out within the regulation and scientific rigour of the universities, Dr Wardle said.

Comments welcome below.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

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May 26, 2012

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English as a Second Language Best Price

May 26, 2012

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Make Your New Years Resolutions for 2012

December 31, 2011


Make Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 come True

Many of us are starting to make promises to ourselves or to love ones that 2012 will to the year that makes all the difference. We all start our with great intentions in adhering to a list of goals to accomplish for the new year. But as we dive into the new year…we sometimes lose sight of those goals. In order to be successful, start off with those goals  that can be reasonably accomplished in a short time. By knocking out the short term goals, you begin to have a feeling of accomplishment and pride.

A good tip to keeping resolutions for 2012 is to be clear on the goals you want to set for yourself. When I say make it clear, I mean to right down on paper exactly  what it is you want to accomplish. Serge Prengel, author of  “Resolutions that Work”, believes that adopting the techique of image visualization can prepare us and improve our ability to staying focus on our goals. Many successful athletes have used and continue to impliments techniques in image visualization to help improve their performance.

We can adopt these techniques in order to control our emotions and prepare us to achieve whatever we desire out of life. So enjoy the attached free ebook by Serge Prengel and make the year of 2012 the beginning of many productive years to come…Happy New Year from

Resolutions that Work

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


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Fingerprint Digital aims at kid-apps market with ‘Mom-Comm’ feature

December 8, 2011

Fingerprint Digital

More and more applications are using our individual fingerprints as a security lock option to protect our property and family. Fingerprints are a great way to reduce access or control access to our computers,phones,homes,etc….so as the market demand continues to grow…we should see more use of  fingerprint technology… 

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Fingerprint Digital aims at kid-apps market with ‘Mom-Comm’ feature” was written by Stuart Dredge, for on Monday 5th December 2011 15.00 UTC

There is no shortage of startups providing apps for children in 2011: Toca Boca, Mindshapes, Nosy Crow, Callaway Digital… and now Fingerprint Digital.

The San Francisco-based company has launched its first five iOS apps, and is counting on a feature called Mom-Comm to help it stand out from the herd. In short, it’s like a Game Center for kids and parents, providing rewards and app recommendations for the former, and an update on their progress for the latter.

Fingerprint was founded by Nancy MacIntyre, who previously worked at electronic learning company LeapFrog Enterprises as executive vice president of product innovation and marketing. Her new company raised $1.4m (£0.9m) in September 2011 to fuel her ambitions of finding an audience among 3-8 year-olds and their parents.

“There are tens of thousands of kids’ apps out there, and for parents just discovering what apps are good and knowing how to find them in the App Store is problematic,” she says.

“Once playing, they have no idea what their kids are doing with them. We set out to create a network of high-quality kids content where it’s easy for the parent to know what games are appropriate for their children, and get an insight into what the child is playing.”

This communication goes a bit further than just telling parents what their children have been doing. Parents can send voice or text messages of encouragement to their children within the apps, while the kids can send pre-scripted messages to their parents to tell them about achievements.

Fingerprint’s first batch of iOS titles includes three in its Big Kid Life franchise, focusing on firefighters, vets and fairy princesses, with a mixture of educational puzzles and more standard gameplay.

Fingerprint Play Maker is an avatar-based app designed to teach maths and spelling skills, while DoReMi 1-2-3 is a musical app introducing pitch and melody through the medium of cute animals. This last app is the work of an external developer, Creativity Mobile.

“Our apps were created to showcase how the platform works, and train people in how to use it and engage with it,” says MacIntyre. “We’ve created an SDK that third party developers can use to plug into our system, and we’ll have several more third-party apps coming out soon.”

Children will create their own character when they first use a Fingerprint game, and will then take that avatar from app to app, and device to device. They will also be able to collect and play with virtual pets, with one unlockable in every app – through play, it should be noted, not through an in-app purchase.

MacIntyre says that in Fingerprint’s tests, the messaging features have received the strongest response from parents and children. “We see it as transforming the solo app play of one child playing an app to making it a social experience between the child and their parent or caregiver,” she says.

“A child can send a message to mom, mom can send one back, and suddenly the parent is engaged in the learning. Kids have gotten really excited about that. We want to bring parents into the apps in a way that we think is interesting and clever.”

MacIntyre is under no illusions about the competitive nature of the kid-apps market, but she also warns that no developer in this space can afford to focus solely on their direct competition.

“Kids have so many choices,” she says. “The battle ground isn’t only about your apps versus Sesame Street. It’s about your apps versus Angry Birds. You need really compelling, fun content. We hope that our shared reward system gives children a reason to go from app to app, while bringing parents into the equation.”

The competitive kid-apps market could work in Fingerprint’s favour as it tries to get more third-party developers to use its SDK in their games and apps. MacIntyre says that the company’s pitch is its ability to deliver an audience for developers’ apps, while also providing them with analytics on how they’re being used.

“It gets them out of the mode of being one of tens of thousands of apps in the App Store, and into being one of a group of highly-curated very high-quality kids apps,” she says. “It’s not about being an app developer building one app at a time. It’s about the network.”

Fingerprint’s launch games are based on its own characters, but during the interview MacIntyre alludes to conversations she’s been having with children’s brands. Licensing looks set to play a part in the company’s future, although no deals have been announced yet.

“As a small company starting out, we need to attract as many customers as possible, and some anchor licensed brands is helpful in that regard,” she says. “However, the apps market has proven its ability to create new IP, and most of the biggest app brands are new IP. We’re really optimistic about Big Kid Life.”

Much of the competition for Fingerprint – but also many of its potential licensors – come from the toys industry that is very familiar to MacIntyre, given her background.

She thinks that most big toy companies still treat apps “as a marketing element” – something to bolster the brands of their physical toys, rather than a way to create new brands and become an important new revenue stream.

“I’m quite sure all of the major toy players are really thinking about the app business,” she says, though, expressing optimism about the idea of linking real-world toys with apps – something done already by Disney with its AppMates line.

What about companies like LeapFrog and Fisher Price making their own tablets for children, and so become a rival platform for kid-app developers to consider?

“Is it possible to have a good experience with a kid-oriented tablet? The answer is yes, but it’s still a toy,” says MacIntyre. “With the price of full tablets coming down, it will be very difficult for anybody to make a meaningful business out of making proprietary devices [for kids]. Every parent with an iPhone or iPad is actually a competitor for LeapFrog or Fisher Price.”

She cites a recent survey showing iOS devices at the top of children’s Christmas wishlists in the US as a sign that Apple’s devices in particular have “done an amazing job of becoming aspirational to children”.

Can Big Kid Life and Mom-Comm become similarly attractive to children, parents and other developers? 2012 should provide the answer. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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How to make classrooms engaging

November 11, 2011

Towers Junior School Walters and Cohen London

Makes sense to me…teaching in a classroom that inspires rather than in one that puts you to sleep…I personally take the initiative in creating a teaching environment that “wows” a student into learning. Certain colors also have a positive effect on a student’s behavior and are more pleasing to the eye than just plain white barren walls. Teachers need to take a more active role in designing their classrooms …

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony 

Powered by article titled “How to make classrooms engaging” was written by Professor Stephen Heppell, for on Thursday 10th November 2011 11.06 UTC

An increasing number of teachers looking around their learning spaces today might be reflecting on how their classrooms have changed. So, what has been the main reasons for these developments?

The recession helped. Money is tight, and cost saving governments had two initial choices: take education back to the cheaper and simpler 1950’s model, or rely on incremental productivity – seeking a little more for a little less. However, the former can’t work because the world has moved on; the creative industries want a new fusion of art with computer science for example. And of course the productivity model has been widely tested with the inevitable performance plateaux seen everywhere. So, if we can’t go backwards and productivity gains are all spent, there is only one real option in a parsimonious world and that is to do things differently. Luckily, differently works.

Curiously that wise conclusion was also reached some time ago by a host of forward thinking teachers and students. The result has been a flurry of different, stunningly effective, affordable, evidence based “classrooms of tomorrow” popping up all around the world. Above all else these new spaces, with their agile pedagogies and designed playfulness generate engagement; the students and teachers in them love to work there. That engagement delivers on better behaviour, stellar results and delighted parents.

So what do these little time capsules from the future of learning all have in common beyond affordability? We teach with differentiation and personalisation, so it is surely no surprise to find a varied mix of seating and furniture. People like to stand, recline, chat at table, converse, focus and concentrate – and different furniture enables those behaviours in learning too, in a way that was never achieved with a set of identical straight backed chairs.

Great engagement feeds immersion – so we find longer blocks of time with fewer interruptions and one day or even longer timetable blocks – and November different to March. These agile learning space can change rapidly – with LED mood lighting, with curtain tracks and display surfaces, more like a stage than an office – to keep the day-to-day work fresh and exciting. And the braver schools are mixing ages in these spaces too. With no single point of focus, writing surfaces are everywhere – desks, walls, windows. The atmosphere of learing is pervasive and seductive. Curiously a substantial number of these spaces are shoes-off too. The shoeless revolution spread from Scandinavia. Just go with it, it works astonishingly well; shoeless boys are just plain nicer! And of course, these are globally connected tech-rich spaces with Skype bars and phones-out-on-desks.

In short, the simple rule is that if you create learning spaces that astonish children, they will astonish you right back with their learning. Rather encouragingly, it is not expensive to make learning this good. You only have to be brave, not rich!

Professor Stephen Heppell, Bournemouth University and Universidad Camilo José Cela, Madrid. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Big Bang Theory fuels physics boom

November 6, 2011

Big Bang Theory

People are now considering taking up physics as a subject in universities…perhaps the Bg Bang Theory show is motivating students or maybe physics is now  “cool” to do…whatever the reason, its refreshing to know that a comedy show is having a positive impact on education!

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Big Bang Theory fuels physics boom” was written by Mark Townsend, for The Observer on Sunday 6th November 2011 00.08 UTC

A cult US sitcom has emerged as the latest factor behind a remarkable resurgence of physics among A-level and university students.

The Big Bang Theory, a California-based comedy that follows two young physicists, is being credited with consolidating the growing appetite among teenagers for the once unfashionable subject of physics. Documentaries by Brian Cox have previously been mentioned as galvanising interest in the subject.

One pupil, Tom Whitmore, 15, from Brighton, acknowledged that Big Bang Theory had contributed to his decision, with a number of classmates, to consider physics at A-level, and in causing the subject to be regarded as “cool”. “The Big Bang Theory is a great show and it’s definitely made physics more popular. And disputes between classmates now have a new way of being settled: with a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock,” he said.

Experts at the Institute of Physics (IoP) also believe the series is playing a role in increasing the number of physics students. Its spokesman, Joe Winters, said: “The rise in popularity of physics appears to be due to a range of factors, including Brian’s public success, the might of the Large Hadron Collider and, we’re sure, the popularity of shows like The Big Bang Theory.”

Alex Cheung, editor of, said: “There’s no doubt that TV has also played a role. The Big Bang Theory seems to have had a positive effect and the viewing figures for Brian Cox’s series suggest that millions of people in the UK are happy to welcome a physics professor, with a tutorial plan in hand, into their sitting room on a Sunday evening.”

According to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), there was a 10% increase in the number of students accepted to read physics by the university admissons services between 2008-09, when The Big Bang Theory was first broadcast in the UK, and 2010-11. Numbers currently stand at 3,672. Applications for physics courses at university are also up more than 17% on last year. Philip Walker, an HEFCE spokesman, said the recent spate of popular televisions services had been influential but was hard to quantify.

The number studying A-level physics has been on the rise for five years, up 20% in that time to around 32,860. Physics is among the top 10 most popular A-level topics for the first time since 2002 – and the government’s target of 35,000 students entering physics A-level by 2014 seems likely to be hit ahead of schedule. It is a far cry from 2005 when physics was officially classified as a “vulnerable” subject.

The number of those entered for AS level has also increased, by 27.8% compared with 2009, up from 41,955 to 58,190. The number of girls studying physics AS-level has risen a quarter to 13,540 and of boys by 28.6% to 44,650.

A Twitter debate on whether Big Bang Theory had played a role in encouraging more potential physicists provoked mixed reactions. PhD student Tim Green wrote: “I’d say it’s more to do with economics and good science docs than sitcoms with only the vaguest relation to physics.” Markela Zeneli said: “I think the show is hilarious, and it may make physicists seem nerdy and geeky, but what’s so bad about that? ”

Winters identified another more prosaic reason for the rising popularity of physics. He said: “TV shows and news coverage of exciting research both have the power to inspire their audiences but we firmly believe, and all the evidence suggests, that only good physics teaching has the power to convert student’s latent interest into action.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Can online careers advice work?

October 22, 2011

Illustration showing machines giving career advice

Getting advice on possible   careers  to investigate or consider is extremely important at any age. During a  student’s high school years, it is crucial to begin getting an idea what interests them. The earlier an individual can decide what area of academic  study he or she will follow, the better decisions made to secure a happy and  rewarding career choice. 

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony  

Powered by article titled “Can online careers advice work?” was written by Louise Tickle, for The Guardian on Friday 21st October 2011 22.02 UTC

Margaret-Anne Mackenzie left school in April without any qualifications. “I didn’t get any careers advice at school,” the 16-year-old says. She’s not alone – one in four 15- to 19-year-olds said the same in a survey published recently by vocational qualifications provider City & Guilds.

The teenager, who cares for her mother in sheltered accommodation, has also had to cope with the recent disruption of a move from Scotland to south Wales, which left her feeling “quite scared” of starting out again in a new place where she had no friends or contacts.

But Mackenzie may have just got lucky, because at a summer drop-in session run by the Newport Careers Centre, she was linked up with a personal careers adviser who took the time and trouble to get to know her.

With a lot of encouragement, she mustered the confidence to attend a pre-16 youth gateway course run by Careers Wales Gwent. Having said she wanted to be a hairdresser, her adviser’s assessment that Mackenzie needed to improve her communication and basic life skills led to some intensive one-to-one support to help her get on to a vocationalaccess course.

Seeing her adviser a couple of times a month over the summer, she was then helped to apply for educational maintenance allowance (though no longer available to new applicants in England, EMA is still paid in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and a college bursary, and put in touch with an organisation for young carers.

This ongoing relationship with an adviser who got to know her was clearly important. Without it, says Mackenzie, “I’d have been worried, because I wouldn’t have known what to do and I wouldn’t have been able to do my course. I’d have just been staying at home.”

With hard work and probably a fair bit more guidance as she navigates her way through future training options, Mackenzie hopefully won’t end up adding to the youth unemployment numbers. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show there are now almost one million young people under 25 who are out of work. If you are 16 or 17, the picture is bleaker still – fewer than a quarter have jobs.

Add in mid-career public sector employees being made redundant in their tens of thousands – 111,000 in the second quarter of this year to be more precise – and you have 2.57 million people out of work.

Given that Jobcentres do not do much for professionals who have been made redundant, their advisers are not available to anyone under the age of 18, and Connexions centres which did cater for the 16-19 age range are being closed en masse, many are confused as to the kind of advice available to the huge variety of differently skilled and experienced people seeking new career and training pathways.

Come next spring, when two national careers services will be launched in England and Wales (Scotland’s, a web portal called My World of Work, has just gone live), what is available may well look very different to what is on offer now.

A “blended” approach now seems to be the official mantra to describe the shape of careers services to come. Translated, that means more automation with websites and helplines being heavily promoted. Put more bluntly, careers websites are cheaper than trained and experienced advisers, meaning more of the former and fewer of the latter.

Cheaper, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean less effective. Jane Artess, research director at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu), who is overseeing the revamp of its graduate careers website, says the increasing automation of careers services has the potential to work very well for certain segments of the population, but only if a good support mechanism is put in place around it. “The web is a fantastic place for information, but it’s not such a great place for guidance,” she says. “It is not sufficient on its own.”

Her view is shared by Ciaran Wrynn, head of programme design and delivery for career transition at recruitment consultants Hays. “There’s no way the internet can tap into motivation or challenge beliefs,” he says. “But a blended approach means people can enter the job market more effectively.”

At Skills Development Scotland, director of service design and innovation, Jonathan Clark, points out that because the workplace has become more complex and varied, “the notion that one person could be a gateway to all the opportunities in the world of work is not very realistic any more”.

Those who will benefit most from the new web portals, he says, will be self-motivated, with the personal skills and resilience to enjoy the experience of exploring and planning their career direction.

However, Paul Chubb, director of Careers England, the membership organisation for careers professionals, says many of his members are concerned that over-reliance on web portals and call centres will disadvantage those who are already struggling to break into the jobs market. “The idea of taking responsibility for their own career planning may be unthinkable for some younger and more vulnerable people without a great deal of one-to-one support,” he says.

Imagine you have literacy problems. Or don’t have a computer at home. Or you can’t afford a new computer and the one you’ve got won’t run Flash, so websites look weird and you can’t access certain pages. Or you’re 16 and left school with poor qualifications; you may not have the confidence to even get started, let alone the motivation to keep going when you realise how much self-directed research you have to do.

For many unemployed aged under 19, this last point may prove the biggest obstacle. In England, anyone over 19 is currently eligible to talk to an adviser face-to-face. But when the national careers service launches next year, those aged 16-19 will not have the right to personalised careers guidance. The £200m that pays for this advice service will disappear into the Department for Education’s coffers. Personalised careers advice will remain available to adults because the Department for Work and Pensions will continue to fund it.

The Education bill proposes that for those still in school, headteachers will need to buy in careers services from private providers, although no extra funding will be made available. A recently published Careers England report into the impact of career guidance in England claims that, because the bill does not require much in the way of quality assurance, bought-in services are “likely to have neither a guarantee of professional competence nor labour market intelligence” and raises “serious concerns about impartiality”.

On the other hand, there is not much out there for those leaving school at 16, other than a website and a phone number.

“If you’re just sitting typing at a computer it’s not really going to build your confidence – you need to be able to ask loads of questions,” says Shaun Donald, 18, from Dundee.

He left school in 2009 and, after a work placement at office supplies retailer Staples, began a college course in art and design. After five months when he realised he couldn’t afford the cost of travel, he dropped out. Since then he has been looking for jobs, but with no success: his experience of short work placements and a false start at college is exactly why, say careers experts, he needs personalised guidance rather than a website to help him.

“There’s a million different sites,” Donald says. “You spend hours and hours ploughing through jobs, and when you find one you’ll be directed to another site and it’ll be gone.”

Just a few weeks ago however, once he hit 18, he started to get some one-to-one help at a job club, during which he was introduced to the Scottish web portal My World of Work. “The job club people have given me more confidence to search for jobs, and the website helped me find out what my skills and strengths are and helped with my CV – it looks amazing now,” he says. Using the website has been enjoyable he says, but once you’ve done your CV “you need to be able to talk things through as well”.

Ministers who want to direct more people towards websites “are confusing information with guidance”, according to Adrian Fayter, trade union Unison‘s representative for young people’s services in York, and a qualified careers adviser.

“Would the public accept only a web-based consultation with their GP? Would anyone seriously suggest psychotherapy services operate via a call centre? A guidance interview is an in-depth discussion – a mix of counselling, job interview, pep talk and a way for young people to reflect on their skills. For some, it challenges their misconceptions, and also the misconceptions they’ve been fed by other people. My opinion is that it would be disastrous for young people who are Neets [not in employment, education or training] to find that there was no expert help.”

Those with a degree may have rather better prospects, but unemployment is still high with one in five recent graduates out of work.

University careers services have had a mixed press which, believes Hecsu’s Jane Artess, stems partly from students failing to understand the myriad ways that careers officers work to increase their employability behind the scenes – for example, by building relationships with companies that come to recruit at jobs fairs.

However, with students soon to be paying more for their degrees and needing to see a concrete return, Nadim Choudhury, head of careers at the private London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), thinks university careers advisers will have to up their game.

“At LSBF we have totally repositioned our school to being career focused,” he says. “We offer a proactive training and development programme – there are 12 workshops that students must attend – and from the first day they start university, from their induction, the careers service is part of that planning.”

LSBF has a very different student profile to the University of the Arts London (UAL), where Steve Beddoe, director of student enterprise and employability, says many creative graduates wanting to become sole traders or work in micro-enterprises face problems that orthodox careers services simply don’t address.

To give students the skills and knowledge they need, a new, interactive UAL website now shows updates on training courses, peer-learning opportunities and short films demonstrating how artists have moved into their chosen careers.

Whether you are a creative or professional or manual worker, straight out of university or facing redundancy in your 50s, with a few qualifications or none to your name, it seems that will soon be using a variety of automated means to find work – online forums, text alerts, interactive personality tests and online CV assessment tools to name just a few.

But whatever a jobseeker’s level of skill, experience or qualification, every careers expert Guardian Work spoke to for this article agreed an automated careers service would not work without also offering f ace-to-face support.

The Scottish and Welsh national careers services give everyone the option of talking to a qualified, impartial professional. Will the English service change tack to do the same?

Useful careers sites © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Best Ways To Teach ESL Children

June 12, 2011

I think sometimes it’s easy to slide in to the pitfall of either treating kids like adults or treating them as a solitary unit. Children are neither of these two options and that is something I love most about them! Some might have really short attention spans when compared with grown ups however they also simply soak up education like a sponge, without having lots of the preconceptions and doubts that cause adults to falter in their learning. This is the reason ESL beginners are a real joy to instruct and can make your job as a teacher so fulfilling. It’s crazy if you think that when kids are motivated and interested they could retain around 80% of a language lesson – this places them miles in front of the majority of adults!

Here are a couple of ideas to ensure that you’re giving kids the most appealing learning experience possible and getting the most reward out of your time with them as you can:

1.The very first tip is to show patience! This may sound like an obvious one… who would educate children should they did not have patience? Yet at times the best motives are tested when kids start getting restless within your lesson. ESL classes, as with any early development classes have to be set up to accommodate kids having numerous breaks and a lot of activities. Kids have brief attention spans but, by planning with this in mind, you’ll be able to stay away from feeling frustrated.

2. Keep levels of energy up! This is the reason lecture style English teaching materials have quite a low effectiveness. When looking at an hour or so of reproducing key phrases, children just lose almost all their vitality. This is such a shame as there is practically nothing more entertaining than a gang of vitalized, enthusiastic students. For this reason English language games along with other activity centered lessons are a much better choice for instructing kids languages. I think they’re almost certainly a better way of teaching different languages to grown ups too!

3. Modify your activities to permit for as many different learning styles as is possible. Children are just like us in that they all learn diversely and respond far better to different styles of teaching. For instance, certain children react well to singing or dancing. While other children just generally wish to read. Others enjoy craft time or perhaps resolving challenges in some way. If you recognize various learning styles it’s fairly simple to adapt your lesson strategy and activities to add as many as feasible.

4. Total physical response! This is actually the technical phrase for keeping kids moving around! For this reason English language games as an alternative to more immobile activities are acknowledged as the simplest way to educate ESL children in lessons. Once you get a kid moving, whether it’s jumping, skipping, or running they’ll have a lot more enjoyment and become much more enthusiastic about learning. In my experience, physical games generally have the magic ingredient for any class – laughter!

5. Attempt to make sure what you are teaching is within the framework of the child’s culture. If you’re residing in a country that has a beach life-style, design your game about going swimming and coast life. If the county is dependant on ranches and livestock commerce, integrate cows and horses in your game. As a result you will be enabling kids to connect something fresh with some thing they understand, which can make everything a lot more understandable for them.

And so whenever you plan your ESL beginners lesson don’t forget the magic ingredients – patience, energy, motion and cultural context! English language games can help with the engagement levels but you’ll have to bring the patience!

Article Source:

About the Author

Karlee is PASSIONATE about teaching English language games to ESL children! She has a great LOVE for kids and thrives on creating ESL exercises for beginners. Follow her on twitter @ESLchildren


Word Power “A” List on

June 8, 2011

A good video for my ESL students to power up their word list ….a little long but I give it a thumbs up! 

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Black students say they feel left out by ‘white cliques’ at universities

May 22, 2011

Black Science Summer School

Black students are still being left out in areas priviledged to whites…is racism continuing to prevent their progress? 

That’s my comment…pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Powered by article titled “Black students say they feel left out by ‘white cliques’ at universities” was written by Jeevan Vasagar Education editor, for The Observer on Saturday 21st May 2011 23.06 UTC

University coursework should be marked anonymously to deal with concerns that potential bias against a “foreign-sounding name” can cost students marks, a report by the National Union of Students recommends.

The report also urges universities to minimise “eurocentric bias” when drawing up curriculums. “This is critical, not only to demonstrate to black students that their learning reflects their own experience, but to promote understanding among their white peers,” it states.

It is standard practice for universities to assess exams anonymously because of concerns about preconceptions relating to race, sex or previous knowledge of a candidate, but the NUS report calls for anonymity to be extended across all “assessment procedures”, which would include coursework.

The NUS – which accepts that it is not possible to keep every form of assessment, such as presentations by drama students, anonymous – is also urging universities to address concerns about bias by having any contested work reassessed by a different lecturer.

The report, Race for Equality, is based on a survey of 900 students with African, Asian and Caribbean backgrounds. The survey found that, while most students were positive about their institutions, 23% described the universities they attended as “cliquey” and 7% as “racist”. There was also widespread frustration that courses did not reflect non-white backgrounds and views.

A third of black students felt unable to bring a perspective based on their race to tutorials. One student quoted in the report, published today, criticised the university they attended for “not being able to express or hear [our] own experience in learning – especially with a discipline as subjective as English, being told ‘you are wrong’ at the slightest transgression from the norm”.

Many of the students surveyed called for more diverse perspectives in areas such as history, arts and politics. One said: “Britain colonised most of the world and played a heavy role in the slave trade. How can you understand contemporary Britain without acknowledging this history or understanding how the rest of the world shaped it?”

The survey also found that some black students believe they are being “actively excluded” from the Russell Group of leading universities because of institutional racism in the application process. However, others blamed the scarcity of black students at the most prestigious institutions on class, and a lack of achievement at school.

Among black students, just 9.6% achieved the top grades required for entrance to Oxford or Cambridge in 2007, compared with 23% for white students.

The report says: “While widening participation efforts in the last few decades has been successful, these need to extend beyond simply increasing the quantity of students accessing [higher education] towards ensuring that black students are also able to access quality institutions.”

The report notes that in 2007-08, London Metropolitan University accepted 6,115 black students, “almost as many as the 7,815 black students spread between the 20 universities of the Russell Group”.

Some respondents to the survey and the focus groups that accompanied it said they had chosen to attend institutions that were ethnically diverse to minimise the chances of experiencing racism.

The report adds: “There was also a perception among respondents that the probability of experiencing racism in a Russell Group institution would be higher, as there would be fewer black students in these institutions, making the black students who study there more vulnerable.”

Universities should create a “bespoke website” for prospective black students, which could include testimonies from their students and details of support systems and extracurricular activities, the report suggests.

Nearly one in six – 16% – of those who responded to the survey said they had experienced racism in their current educational institution. The proportion was lowest among those aged under 20 – 14% – and highest among mature students. The survey finds that 29% of those aged 40 and over had experienced racism. International students were also more likely to view their academic environment as racist.

The NUS president, Aaron Porter, said: “We have a long way to go to close the participation gap for black students in education. If black students feel unwelcome in classrooms, this must be addressed by tackling the very real racism that still exists on our campuses.

“This report highlights the work that must be done by institutions and government to address the concerns of black students about their learning environment, how their courses are taught, and how their unique perspectives can be brought into the academic environment.”

The survey also found that almost one in three students, 32%, did not trust their institution to deal with complaints fairly. Two-thirds of respondents who had made a complaint were dissatisfied with how it was handled. They cited a range of reasons, including the procedure being too time-consuming or the complaint being ignored.

Some of those who responded to the survey believed that academic staff “stick together” and that making a complaint could therefore jeopardise their prospects. One student said: “It’s staff against you, and your degree is on the line, so you don’t feel like doing anything further that would rock the boat, especially when the person is responsible for marking your work and arranging your placements.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The MIT factor: celebrating 150 years of maverick genius

May 18, 2011

A physics class at MIT in 1957

MIT guiding us and still shaping brilliant minds for the world…wow…150 years and still going strong…keep the discoveries coming…..

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony   

Powered by article titled “The MIT factor: celebrating 150 years of maverick genius” was written by Ed Pilkington, for The Guardian on Tuesday 17th May 2011 23.05 UTC

Yo-Yo Ma’s cello may not be the obvious starting point for a journey into one of the world’s great universities. But, as you quickly realise when you step inside the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), there’s precious little about the place that is obvious.

The cello is resting in a corner of MIT’s celebrated media lab, a hub of techy creativity. There’s a British red telephone kiosk standing in the middle of one of its laboratories, while another room is signposted: “Lego learning lab – Lifelong kindergarten.”

The cello is part of the Opera of the Future lab run by the infectiously energetic Tod Machover. A renaissance man for the 21st – or perhaps 22nd – century, Machover is a composer, inventor and teacher rolled into one. He sweeps into the office 10 minutes late, which is odd because his watch is permanently set 20 minutes ahead in a patently vain effort to be punctual. Then, with the urgency of the White Rabbit, he rushes me across the room to show me the cello. It looks like any other electric classical instrument, with a solid wood body and jack socket. But it is much more. Machover calls it a “hyperinstrument”, a sort of thinking machine that allows Ma and his cello to interact with one another and make music together.

“The aim is to build an instrument worthy of a great musician like Yo-Yo Ma that can understand what he is trying to do and respond to it,” Machover says. The cello has numerous sensors across its body, fret and along the bow. By measuring the pressure, speed and angle of the virtuoso’s performance it can interpret his mood and engage with it, producing extraordinary new sounds. The virtuoso cellist frequently performs on the instrument as he tours around the world.

When Machover was developing the instrument, he found that the sound it made was distorted by Ma’s hand as it absorbed electric current flowing from the bow. Machover had a eureka moment. What if you reversed that? What if you channelled the electricity flowing from the performer’s body and turned it into music?

Armed with that new idea, Machover designed an interactive system for Prince that the rock star deployed on stage at Wembley Stadium a few years ago, conjuring up haunting sounds through touch and gesture. Later, two of Machover’s students at the media lab had the idea of devising an interactive game out of the technology. They went on to set up a company called Harmonix, based just down the road from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from which they developed Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

From Ma’s cello, via Prince, to one of the most popular video games ever invented. And all stemming from Machover’s passion for pushing at the boundaries of the existing world to extend and unleash human potential. That’s not a bad description of MIT as a whole. This maverick community, on the other side of the Charles River from Boston, brings highly gifted, highly motivated individuals together from a vast range of disciplines but united by a common desire: to leap into the dark and reach for the unknown.

The result of that single unifying ambition is visible all around us. For the past 150 years, MIT has been leading us into the future. The discoveries of its teachers and students have become the warp and weft of modernity, the stuff of daily life that we now all take for granted. The telephone, electromagnets, radars, high-speed photography, office photocopiers, cancer treatments, pocket calculators, computers, the internet, the decoding of the human genome, lasers, space travel . . . the list of innovations that involved essential contributions from MIT and its faculty goes on and on.

And with that drive into modernity MIT has played no small part in building western, and particularly US, global dominance. Its explosive innovations have helped to secure America’s military and cultural supremacy, and with it the country’s status as the world’s sole superpower.

As the school marks its 150th anniversary this month, it seems the US has never needed MIT’s help more than it does today. The voices of the nay-sayers are in the ascendancy, questioning the US’s ability to reinvent itself, to heal its wounded economy and sustain its leadership in the face of a burgeoning China. Questions too, are increasingly being asked about the ability of science and technology to address the world’s problems, as optimism about the future slides into doubt. “There is a profound cynicism around the role of science that is debilitating for those in the enterprise, and devastating for this country,” says MIT’s president, Susan Hockfield. “If we can’t figure out how to make technological innovation the path to the future, then America is not going to have invented the future, some other country will have.”

She fears the US is increasingly suffering from what she calls a deficit of ambition. While 85% of MIT students are studying science and engineering, in the US as a whole the proportion is just 15%. That leaves the world’s creative powerhouse vulnerable. “If you travel to Asia, to Shanghai or Bangalore, you feel the pulse of people racing to a future they are going to invent. You feel that rarely any more in the US.”

Which makes MIT’s mission all the more essential. “MIT has an enormous responsibility right now,” Hockfield says. “We feel that deeply. It needs to be a beacon of inspiration around the power of science and technology to create a brighter future for the world.”

No pressure, then.

From the moment MIT was founded by William Barton Rogers in 1861 it was clear what it was not. It was not like the other school up the river. While Harvard stuck to the English model of an Oxbridge classical education, with its emphasis on Latin and Greek as befitted the landed aristocracy, MIT would look to the German system of learning based on research and hands-on experimentation, championing meritocracy and industry where Harvard preferred the privileges of birth. Knowledge was at a premium, yes, but it had to be useful.

This gritty, down-to-earth quality, in keeping with the industrialisation that was spreading through the US at the time, was enshrined in the school motto, Mens et Manus – Mind and Hand – as well as its logo, which showed a gowned scholar standing beside an ironmonger bearing a hammer and anvil. That symbiosis of intellect and craftsmanship still suffuses the institute’s classrooms, where students are not so much taught as engaged and inspired. There is a famous film of one of MIT’s star professors, the physicist Walter Lewin, demonstrating the relationship between an oscillating metal ball and mass. Halfway through the experiment he climbs on to the ball and starts swinging himself around the lecture theatre in a huge oscillating arch as though he were appearing in Spider-Man on Broadway.

When Emily Dunne, an 18-year-old mechanical engineering student from Bermuda, was taking a course in differential equations recently, she was startled when her professor started singing in the middle of the lecture. “He was trying to show us how to understand overtones. It was kind of weird, but then everyone here is a little quirky,” she says.

Mind and Hand applies too to MIT’s belief that theory and practice go together; neither is superior to the other, and the two are stronger when combined. That conviction is as strongly held by the lowliest student as it is by its Nobel laureates (there have been 50 of them).

Take Christopher Merrill, 21, a third-year undergraduate in computer science. He is spending most of his time on a competition set in his robotics class. The contest is to see which student can most effectively programme a robot to build a house out of blocks in under 10 minutes. Merrill says he could have gone for the easiest route – designing a simple robot that would build the house quickly. But he wanted to try to master an area of robotics that remains unconquered – adaptability, the ability of the robot to rethink its plans as the environment around it changes, as would a human. “I like to take on things that have never been done before rather than to work in an iterative way just making small steps forward,” he explains. “It’s much more exciting to go out into the unknown.”

Merrill is already planning the start-up he wants to set up when he graduates in a year’s time. He has an idea for a new type of contact lens that would augment reality by allowing consumers to see additional visual information. He is fearful that he might be just too late in taking his concept to market, as he has heard that a Silicon Valley firm is already developing similar technology. As such, he might become one of many MIT graduates who go on to form companies that fail.

Alternatively, he might become one of those who go on to succeed, in spectacular fashion. And there are many of them. A survey of living MIT alumni found that they have formed 25,800 companies, employing more than three million people including about a quarter of the workforce of Silicon Valley. Those firms between them generate global revenues of about .9tn (£1.2tn) a year. If MIT was a country, it would have the 11th highest GDP of any nation in the world.

Ed Roberts, MIT’s professor of technological innovation and entrepreneurship, says such figures belie the fact that the institute is actually quite small, with just 10,000 students and about 1,000 faculty. “That’s not big. But when all those people sign up to a mission to forward entrepreneurship, you have a dramatically bigger impact. In MIT, people are encouraged not just to think bold, but to do it boldly.

“If you come up with a brilliant idea, that’s OK. If you win a Nobel prize for your research, that’s fine. But if you take that idea and apply it and make something transformative happen, then in MIT that’s deeply admired.”

Inevitably, perhaps, there is a nerdy quality to the place that is reflected in one of its much cherished traditions – the student “hack”. Hack is a misleading word here, as it is less to do with cracking into computers than with hi-tech high-jinks. “Prank” is a better description.

In the student canteen you can see two of the most famous MIT hacks preserved for prosperity – a police car that was balanced on top of the institute’s great dome, and a functioning fire hydrant that was erected in one of the lobbies. The latter hack, dating from 1991, was a wry comment on a former president’s remark that “getting an education from MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose”. Then there is the Baker House Piano Drop, an annual institution ever since students first dropped a stand-up piano from a sixth-storey dormitory in 1972, then measured the impact that it made when it crashed on the pavement below.

Wacky, perhaps. Geeky, certainly. But also extraordinarily difficult technically and requiring great imagination and ingenuity. MIT in a nutshell.

The current president offers two other important clues to MIT’s success as a cauldron of innovation. The first is meritocracy. Hockfield is MIT’s first female president, which is significant for an institution that since the 1990s has been battling against its own in-built discrimination against women. Women still make up only 21% of the faculty. But the gender balance of its students is almost 50:50, and about 40% of its staff members were born outside the US, underlying how MIT remains a huge magnet for talented individuals around the world. “It’s one thing to talk about fostering creativity, but unless you strive for a true meritocracy you are driving away the best people, and what would be the point of that?” Hockfield says.

MIT delights in taking brilliant minds in vastly diverse disciplines and flinging them together. You can see that in its sparkling new David Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which brings scientists, engineers and clinicians under one roof. Or in its Energy Initiative, which acts as a bridge for MIT’s combined firepower across all its five schools, channelling huge resources into the search for a solution to global warming. It works to improve the efficiency of existing energy sources, including nuclear power as it has its own nuclear reactor, a lesser-known fact that MIT prefers not to brag about. It is also forging ahead with alternative energies from solar to wind and geothermal, and has recently developed the use of viruses to synthesise batteries that could prove crucial in the advancement of electric cars.

Before my tour of MIT ends I am given a taste of what this astonishing abundance of riches means in practice. In the space of half an hour I enjoy the company – in the flesh and spacially – of three of the towering figures of the modern age.

I begin by dragging Tim Berners-Lee away from his computer screen to talk to me about how he ended up here. The Briton who invented the world wide web is part of the global brain drain to MIT. He created the web by linking hypertext with the internet in 1989 while he was at Cern in Geneva, but then felt he had no option but to cross the Atlantic. “There were a couple of reasons I had to come – one was because the web spread much faster in America than it did in Europe and the other was because there was no MIT over there.”

What is it about MIT that Europe could not offer him?

“It’s not just another university, it has this pre-eminent reputation and that in turn sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy: as soon as it becomes seen as the cool place to go for technology, then people will head there as I did. Even though I spend my time with my head buried in the details of web technology, or travelling the world, the nice thing is that when I do walk the corridors I bump into people who are working in other fields that are fascinating, and that keeps me intellectually alive.”

Berners-Lee offers to take me to my next appointment, and in so doing makes his point about MIT’s self-fulfilling prophecy even more eloquently. We walk along the squiggly corridors of MIT’s Stata Centre, which was designed by Frank Gehry. It is a classic Gehry structure, formed from undulating polished steel and tumbling blocks of brushed aluminium that reminds Berners-Lee, he tells me, of the higgledy-piggledy Italian village one of his relatives grew up in. After negotiating a maze of passageways Berners-Lee delivers me at the door of Noam Chomsky. It sums up this wild place: the inventor of the web leads me through the work of a titan of modern architecture to one of the world’s foremost linguists and anti-war activists.

Chomsky is in a hurry. On the night of our meeting he will appear on stage alongside the Kronos Quartet at the world premiere of a new piece of music dedicated to him. The composer? Tod Machover, he of the Yo-Yo Ma cello.

I put it to Chomsky that it’s a revealing paradox that he, as a leading critic of the US’s overweening military might, has been based, since the 1950s, at an institution that was centrally involved in erecting the burgeoning military-industrial complex he so incisively opposes. After all, MIT has long been a leader in military research and development, receiving huge sums in grants from the Pentagon. It was core to America’s prosecution of the cold war, developing ever more sophisticated guidance systems for ballistic missiles trained on Moscow.

“What people don’t understand is that the role of the Pentagon,” Chomsky says, “to a large extent was developing the technology of the future. There were some odd things about it. This building was also one of the centres of the antiwar resistance, and it was right in there, 100% funded by the Pentagon. But they didn’t care.”

What does that tell us about MIT?

“I was just left alone to my own devices. Other people took days off to run their businesses; I went off as an antiwar activist. But no one ever objected. MIT is a very free and open place.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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How are your study habits?

May 1, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome to Your Educational Podcast.  I am your host, Dr. Anthony and today’s subject is,” how are your study habits?”  Everyone has his or her unique style to study.  Your learning style determines the length of time that is required of you to cover a subject.  Today’s discussion will cover several ideas that you can adapt to your present skills and improve your English. 

Let us first consider the environment that you choose to study.  In my case, I like to have plenty of room on my desk.  Having plenty of room on my desk allows me to have several resources available to me.  These resources may be books; paper, writing utensils, snacks, and anything that may help facilitate your study time.  Another consideration for your environment is proper lighting.  If your study area is too dark or too bright, he can affect your eyesight after a couple hours into your studies.  You should choose a lighting that is sufficient enough to see and read the words on your textbook or notebook without difficulty. Many of us also preferred to have a very quiet room to study.  For myself, I prefer to have a little classical background music as I study or do my research.  Having a little background music helps me from getting bored and I also believe it stimulates my learning process.  I also have a specific time of day when I do my studies or research.  I keep my routine or schedule the same every day, because I find I am most alert at that time.  For example, I do not set my time to study immediately after having a large meal.  After eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, I find myself tired, or sleepy.  The reason for this is that your body is now using all of its energy to break down and digest the food you just ate. So it is best to wait at least two hours after a meal to begin concentrating on your studies. 

It would be great to be able to download information into your brain just like Neo (who is played by Keanu Reeves) in the movie Matrix. Unfortunately, we are not able to interface our brains with computers, and absorb volumes of information.  My average time to absorb information is approximately fifteen to twenty minutes.  After about twenty minutes of study or research, I need to take a break for about five or ten minutes. If I don’t take any breaks in between my study intervals, I find myself unable to concentrate.  Sitting down and studying for a long period of time will create more fatigue and stress.  So after studying for about twenty minutes, you should stand up, stretch, walk around, have a glass of water, or have a snack.  After five minutes, go back to your studies and repeat the process again. 

While you are studying or reviewing a subject, be sure to jot down any questions you may have concerning anything that is not clear to you.  Bring your questions to class and asked your teacher or professor to explain in more detail.  Many students are afraid to ask questions in class.  You must overcome your fear of speaking in public, in order to attain higher grades in the academics. Asking appropriate questions concerning the subject matter being covered in class will eliminate doubt and show others you are willing to participate in a dialogue. 

Good study skills are not learned overnight.  It takes discipline, motivation, good organizational skills and a desire to succeed.  Do you have a good study tip to share with us?  If so, we would like to hear about it.  Send us a comment of your idea.  I’ll like to thank my family, friends, and students around the world for listening to Your Educational Podcast.  This is Dr. Anthony, signing off….


Just scribble a few days everyday

April 29, 2011

You don’t need to write a lot …just a few sentances a day about what is on your mind…or what you accomplished that day…keep a diary…and eventually you will see the pages accumulate…thats how writing is…just a few sentances a day and before you know it …writing becomes fun..!

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Why not create a motivational checklist?

April 29, 2011


Hello everyone and welcome to Your Educational Podcast, I am your host, Dr. Anthony and today’s podcast is titled “Why not create a motivational checklist?” What is motivation? For me, motivation helps me achieve my goals. Motivation is the bridge between my dream and my reality. For example, if I need to lose twenty pounds I first have to make a pledge to doing so. I would visualize myself being twenty pounds lighter. I would then arrange to make the essential steps to begin achieving my goal. I will start by reading books on weight loss, listening to dietitians, talking with more people who have successfully lost and achieved their perfect weight, and to consistently expose myself to motivational elements to maintain a healthy positive attitude. 

But how can you maintain a strong positive attitude? It may be foolish to rely on an individual to keep you motivated. So that is why I created my own motivational checklist. It is merely a listing of activities that I incorporate into my daily living to help me stay focused and motivated. I would like to share with you a tiny sample of my motivational checklist. The foremost thing on my list is to read inspirational stories. Reading about an individual’s journey, accomplishments, successes, and triumph over impossible odds, reassures us that it is practical to make our dreams come true. Next, I decorate my room with motivational posters. Whether I am sitting at my desk or lying on my bed, I am being continually bombarded by good images. Number three on my list is a reminder that I should exercise a little every day. Actually, I set aside anywhere from thirty to forty five minutes a day for some type of physical exercise. Not only will you look good, but it also helps reduce stress. Number four; surround yourself with positive minded people. If you desire to thrive in life and reach your goals, you need to identify yourself with people that have similar attitudes, and with those that also desire to be successful.

Number five, watching movies also helps me stay focused, and release stress. You need to be smart and choose movies that will lift up your spirits. You should leave the movie theater feeling excited, motivated, and saying to yourself “wow that was a great film”. Number six, another powerful motivational tool is music. Now that MP3s have become as commonplace as the cell phone, we can take our favorite music with us anywhere we please. I customize my music for the morning, afternoon, and evening. I occasionally love to hear to a little classical music, while I am studying. Listening to music while you read may not function for you, but give it a shot and see how it works. You can listen to your favorite music while you are traveling on the bus, train, or anywhere that is designated a safe area. Number seven, every month I buy something new for myself. It doesn’t have to be very expensive; the crucial thing is that you are doing something for yourself.

Having a motivational checklist is an interesting way to keep yourself focused on your short and long-term goals without getting bored. Do you have any motivational ideas, if so; I would wish to hear from you. So mail in your motivational ideas to us and tell your friends about our website. I like to thank my students around the world for listening to Your Educational Podcast; this is your host, Dr. Anthony, signing off.

All parts of Your Educational Podcast is written and published by Dr Anthony.


Are You Ready for Your Interview?

April 29, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome to Your Educational Podcast,  I am your host Dr. Anthony.  Our website is for professionals and students who are looking to improve their English as a second language.  Your Educational Podcast is written and published by Dr. Anthony.  Today’s topic is “Are you ready for your interview?”  Whether you are preparing for your university or a job interview, there are certain steps you can take to prepare for it.  Being able to answer confidently will depend on how much time, practice, and research you do before that important day.  Many of the questions that are asked during the interview do not have a right or wrong answer.  What is most important about answering questions during the interview is how you answer them.  What the interviewers are looking for is an individual who can answer a question without seeming too nervous.  The interviewers like to see their applicants show control and knowledge during the interviewing process.  Even before the interview has begun, the first impression that you give your interviewer is your appearance.  So you need to dress in a professional and comfortable attire. Let’s take a look at some examples of questions that may come out in a typical interview.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

2. Why do you want to be a part of our university or company?

3.  Do you work well under pressure or deadlines?

4. Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?

5. What have you learned from your mistakes in the past?

6.  What makes you angry?

7.  What are your strengths?

8.  What are your weaknesses?

9.  What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?

10.  What are your future ambitions?

11.  What do you like most about our university or company?

12.  Are you a creative person?

13.  Do you have any regrets?

14 what is the most difficult decision you have ever made?

15. Do you believe you are an honest person?

The above is a small sample of questions that many institutions use to qualify or disqualify a candidate.  You should do a little research on the Internet about the university or company that you’re interested in.  Knowing a little information ahead of time can give you an edge over other individuals seeking the same position. The Internet is a great resource to find different questions to practice .  Read over the questions that you find and write down an answer for each one . Have a friend or family member, pretend to be the interviewer and rehearse your responses.  Be sure to keep your answers clear and short.  Do not bore your interviewers with long responses.  Maintain good eye contact, it shows that you are confident and interested.  Try to avoid negative words, and keep the tone of your conversation on a positive note. The more you practice your responces,the more successful you will be at your interview.

This is your host Dr Anthony signing off.

English Review Chapters 1-6

April 12, 2011

The above video is a review appropriate for anyone learning English as a second language. It focuses on how to ask basic questions.

Pass it on,
Dr Anthony

The Ligaments of the Knee

April 6, 2011

The above video is a review of the ligaments of the knee. The ligaments discussed are medial collateral,lateral collateral,medial meniscus,lateral meniscus,posterior cruciate,anterior cruciate. The bone structures that make up the knee are tibia,fibula, and femur.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony

Medical University Class Session 3

April 3, 2011

Session 3 of medical university class presented by Dr Anthony, your host of Your Educational Podcast and Video.

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Dr Anthony

All I Do is Learn

April 2, 2011

I like this hip hop style song for the kids. I hope my readers will spread the word and other teachers share it with their students as well…check it out! Learning can be fun

Pass it on,

Dr. Anthony

Can you define what an adjective is?

March 15, 2011

I  frequently ask my students to define what an adjective is …I am surprise to hear the different responses… the video above does an excellent job of explaining what  adjectives are…its actually fun to watch…tell me if you agree…adjectives are words used to describe things,people,places…etc…after viewing the video, you will have no more problems with adjectives.

Pass it on

Dr Anthony

Robert Winston sawing a pig is fine – but give me a trained teacher any day

March 14, 2011

Jamie Oliver takes a break from his Dream School.

Every teacher has their ideas on effective teaching and trying to reach the student. We as instructors do with what we have to make education as rewarding as possible for our students. Our schools set the policy we must adhere to and follow without question(sometimes). But as soon as the class begins, the students become my responsibility and I will teach the most effective way I can….using all resources and methods I can find to challenge the students to continue their education even beyond the school years.

Pass it on

Dr Anthony   

Powered by article titled “Robert Winston sawing a pig is fine – but give me a trained teacher any day” was written by Suzanne Moore, for The Guardian on Saturday 5th March 2011 09.00 UTC

As our faith in politicians declines, our faith in “experts” soars. Experts, you see, are individuals not bound by party or institution. Or so they often pretend. The nanny state, as it was called, was actually preceded by the nanny culture in which we all sat upon a permanent naughty step.

Popular culture provided us with experts in everything from how to dress, to how to clean our houses, have sex and of course how to eat. These experts went on to make fortunes and are now somehow guiding lights in social policy, the cooks in particular. Heston Bonkers Blumenthal is doing a Jamie Oliver and trying to reform the way we eat in cinemas or on submarines. I’ll pass on this week’s Edible Sperm Shake, ta, Heston. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingly–Posh is doing good with fish quotas, and now bouncing back is hyperactive Jamie Oliver. You have to hand it to him. He is a one man Big Society.

He is a brilliant proselytiser for causes dear to his heart, but now he has become a kind of Essexed-up Michael Gove, I am alarmed. His new series is called Dream School: Brat Camp in a school. With celebs. And Jamie’s struggle. Doubtless, he will soon reform the NHS. “Quadruple heart bypass? Easy mate! Bish bash bosh. Drizzle some oil on it.” I jest, but to say that education is a massively complex subject about which he knows little is not to acknowledge that he cares. But is that enough?

We are certainly failing, as Jamie said. Too many kids still leave school without even five GCSEs. His discussion of his own lack of qualifications was illuminating. Like him, I left school at 16 and often resent that the entire debate on education is conducted by people who did very well in the system. I understand why some kids hate school, as I did, and know what it’s like to come from a place where education is not seen as valuable.

Once again though, what many hate about school is brought back as a radical teaching method. Uniform! The academies do it. The policing of uniform is a full-time job. Educational policy now looks to a rose–tinted past. Grammar schools gave the working-classes mobility (there is much new evidence to contradict this but it is roundly ignored) and then along came awful comprehensives with hippy, pupil-centered learning, mixed-ability classes and no discipline.

Labour messed around with targets and literacy hours and basically lied. Or so the narrative goes. The answer is to go back to the old ways. Desks. Uniforms. Zero-tolerance approach to discipline. The superstar academies select and throw out kids who don’t conform. Those kids still have to be educated somehow. Or do we just give up with them?

Jamie’s Dream School is a dream academy unbound by curriculum and having only 20, not 30, kids in the class. Will these stroppy kids be “inspired” by celebrity” intellectuals”?

Actually the whole project is a vast insult to the teaching profession in that it assumes that subject expertise is enough to teach. Never mind teaching as a skill based on training and experience. I don’t think I can cook as well as Jamie Oliver because I don’t share his background and knowledge about food. Teaching teenagers, I know, is extremely difficult sometimes. Having taught at graduate level and in art schools, I have first-hand experience of how hard it is to hold the attention of those who think visually but aren’t keen on reading.

The energy required is enormous. Even an hour in my youngest’s class wears me out. Cutting stupid cardboard with stupid scissors that don’t cut. Yet I see good teachers break the class into groups, how they reward good behaviour, ignore attention–seeking, but so often are trying to fill in the gaps that are missing at home.

This is why teachers are trained. This is why they need to know about cognitive development, different learning methods and strategies for dealing with difficult behaviour.

This notion of teaching as a skill has bypassed these Dream teachers. They are do-gooders, egos on display . . . or are they being paid a fat fee? As Cherie Booth is to appear, I assume the latter. The kids are obnoxious but clearly engageable. The girl boasting of her ghetto credentials simply went over Simon Callow’s head. Rolf Harris was amiable but ineffectual. Robert Winston was heroic with his Super Mario moustache and gave them rats to dissect, then stunned them by sawing up a pig. An innovative approach.

The reality now is kids don’t do such dissections because there is not the money. The stark raving loony brat of the show was of course David Starkey. Like many who propose strict discipline, he had no idea of how to achieve it. He told the kids they were failures, called one of them fat and then refused to come back. Way to go Starkers!

There will be those cheering on his refusal to go down the touchy-feely route, but that is to miss a valuable point. You cannot teach a child how to manage its own behaviour if you cannot manage yours. Yes, this is a distracted generation, always texting, unable to concentrate. Yes, they are rude and spoilt, but why are the very methods that failed them being used again in this televised and highly funded Pupil Referral Unit?

Next week the scary Alastair Campbell is teaching. What? Dissembling? Dismantling the BBC? I am not sure of his subject, but at least he has championed comprehensive education and knows that education is now a battle of ideologies. The kids simply sit at the back and watch the adults arguing.

I don’t suppose anyone reads Paulo Freire any more with his old-fashioned theories, flowing from Rousseau to John Dewey, that children are not “tabula rasa“, that this banking view of learning in which we deposit facts into empty passive minds is not the answer. We learn through being active participants. Once we know this we can indeed pursue lifelong learning. Maybe Starkey could have done some homework.

The wonderful Mary Beard, who also took part in Dream School, is actually a teacher, albeit at a much higher level, and had the modest aim of getting the kids interested in Latin. Her verdict will not push the right buttons these days. What would have helped these kids the most? “Not, I suspect, a raft of new education initiatives, not any major structural reforms. Just a bit more money in the system . . . to give teachers and kids a bit of space, to fund a little more individual attention, and to pick up those falling through the net.”

That’s not rocket science is it? Certainly not. That’s way too expensive! No, let’s spend the money on faith schools and free schools or just only care about our own individual kids and go private. The dream of good schooling, an affordable degree and a decent job at the end of it remains exactly that right now: a dream. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Cribsheet 11.03.2011

March 13, 2011


The teacher’s job gets more challenging as technology becomes advance, allowing students the temptation of cheating on exams, inappropriate behavior, or taking attention away from the classroom. I personally will not search my students bags or confiscate cell phones for fear that they are misusing the technology in pursuit of a better grade or if I suspect bullying of another student. Teachers need to discuss these issues with their students in the classroom and try to encourage their students to make the right choices.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony     

Powered by article titled “Cribsheet 11.03.2011” was written by Frederika Whitehead, for on Friday 11th March 2011 12.36 UTC

Should teachers be allowed to search the contents of pupils’ mobiles whilst investigating allegations of cyberbullying? Surely pupils have a right to expect some privacy for the data on their phones? This minefield was discussed in parliament on Tuesday as MPs tried to hammer out the finer details of the Education Bill.

MP Keith Brannan argued for a line to be added to the bill to protect teachers from criminal prosecution under existing data protection legislation.

We need to understand the implications of the new provisions for the protection of teachers and lecturers who might undertake confiscation measures and look through information, deciding whether to delete it or otherwise, as well as the implications for the privacy of the individual… The Minister will want to tell the Committee his thinking on the matter and explain how teachers and lecturers can be protected from accusations [of breach of privacy], as well as how individuals can be protected from teachers and lecturers potentially misusing such powers.

The Minister for Further Education, John Hayes, followed with an impassioned argument in favour of granting teachers powers to search pupils phones and delete images if students were found to have been involved in cyberbullying:

According to Bullying UK, 14% of young people, or one in seven, have been threatened or harassed via mobile telephones…There is not, therefore, much debate about the significance of cyber-bullying. Without a specific power to delete inappropriate images, teachers and college staff would be limited simply to delaying any bullying or harassment for which the images might be used until the confiscated device were returned to its owner…I want the Committee to ask whose best interests are served if a teacher learns that pupil A has taken an inappropriate picture of pupil B, but is powerless to act when, at a later date, pupil A publishes that image on the internet. Is it in order to prevent such situations? On balance, I believe that is justified, and we should include a provision to that end in the Bill.

It is estimated that debate over the education bill is likely to last another 6 weeks, and that the bill will be passed this Summer. To contact the Department about the Education Bill, please email:

Education stories from today’s Guardian

• The majority of secondary school headteachers are preparing to offer their staff voluntary redundancy or early retirement in anticipation of huge cuts to their budgets, it has emerged

• Labour has accused Michael Gove of trying to bring back grammar schools by back door by his introduction of the “elitist” English baccalaureate.

• Dr Ian Craig, the chief schools adjudicator is to step down early. His contract was due to expire in April 2012, but Craig has the agreement of education secretary Michael Gove that a successor will take over in October.

Education stories from around the web

• Headteachers could strike over planned pension reforms alongside doctors, civil servants and police chiefs, the Independent has reported.

Ministers were warned they would face a backlash that would bring together professional organisations and traditionally militant unions if the Government implemented proposals from the Labour peer Lord Hutton for a radical overhaul of pensions.

Alastair Campbell has piled in on the debate about removing citizenship from the curriculum.

“The hints that the Government is thinking about removing citizenship from the curriculum are becoming a little louder. It would be yet another mistake by Michael Gove…Whether we call it citizenship, democracy or politics, there is a need for more education in this area, not less.”

Campbell urged his readers to support the Decomcratic Life campaign. Democratic life is a coalition of NGOs and other politically minded organisations that was formed solely to protect citizenship education. The government is seeking views from interested parties on this very topic and you can find out how you can have your say here.

• Every day four children are admitted to hospital having been injured by dogs. Battersea dogs home has produced an animated film to teach to young children how behave around our canine companions.

Special needs on stage

As the debate on the government’s special needs green paper continues, a play – Death of a Nightingale – pleads for special schools to receive government support. The ficitional head of a threatened special school highlights the problems with Labour’s “inclusion agenda”: “Nearly every kid with special needs is bullied in mainstream schools at one time or another. It’s always the most vulnerable on the receiving end.”

Playwright Alan Share says: “Children with special educational needs are the most vulnerable in our society. The Green Paper is a great victory for common sense. Ending the bias towards Inclusion and strengthening parental choice is great news. Also less bureaucracy is great news too. 2014 can’t come soon enough.”

Death of a Nightingale is at the New End theatre in north London until April 3.

Caricature masterclass by a Guardian cartoonist

Sharpen your pencils – the Prince’s Drawing School is running a weekend masterclass for adults, led by Nicola Jennings, on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 March from 10am to 4pm.

The weekend will begin with a brief history of caricature, followed by a look at the proportions of the face. Students will learn to observe and analyse facial expressions and movements, highlighting appropriate characteristics to describe personality. Here’s the booking form.

Insight into journalism seminar for teachers

A unique opportunity for teachers to spend a day at the Guardian, find out how a national news media organisation works and get ideas and resources that can be used in the classroom.

Multimedia 31 March Writing for a news website, web editing, blogging, the use of social media, video production; podcasting.

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Hidden tigers: why do Chinese children do so well at school?

February 21, 2011

18-year-old Jessie Tang thinks Chinese pupils' success is 'mostly down to the parents'

Children need to be guided and told repeatly that academic excellence leads to a better lifestyle and better opportunities. Its frustrating for the parents to be consistently behind their children, making sure that their homework is done every night. For the parents who are persistent, the rewards and pride of seeing their children succeed in careers and happiness is priceless.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “Hidden tigers: why do Chinese children do so well at school?” was written by Warwick Mansell, for The Guardian on Monday 7th February 2011 17.01 UTC

It seems a hugely under-researched phenomenon within English education. But Jessie Tang thinks she has the answer.

“It’s mostly the parents. Chinese parents tend to push their children a lot, and have really high expectations. I think it’s maybe because they did not have the opportunities that we have these days. They want us to take advantage of them.”

Jessie, 18, an A-level student at Watford grammar school for girls, whose father arrived in England from Hong Kong, was being asked about what seems an amazing success story buried and barely commented upon within English schools’ results.

The statistics relate to the achievement of pupils of Chinese ethnicity, revealed last autumn in a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on inequality in Britain.

This showed not only that British Chinese youngsters are the highest performing ethnic group in England at GCSE, which has been known for years. It also showed that this group seemed to be singularly successful in achieving that goal of educational policy-makers everywhere: a narrow performance gap between those from the poorest homes, and the rest.

Further evidence of the success of pupils of Chinese heritage came through the world’s most well-known international testing study, Pisa. This found 15-year-olds from Shanghai, China, easily outperforming those of all other nationalities.

The domestic statistics show that, at GCSE, children of Chinese ethnicity – classed simply as “Chinese” in the data – who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) perform better than the national average for all pupils, rich and poor.

Not only that, but FSM Chinese pupils do better than those of most other ethnic backgrounds, even when compared with children from better-off homes (those not eligible for free school meals).

A detailed look at the figures makes this clearer. Some 71% of Chinese FSM pupils achieved five good GCSEs, including English and maths, in 2009. For non-FSM Chinese pupils, the figure was 72%.

Every other ethnic group had a gap of at least 10 percentage points between children who do not count as eligible for free meals, and those who do. The gap for white pupils stood at 32 percentage points.

In 2010, the picture changed slightly, with the gap between Chinese FSM pupils (68%) and their non-FSM peers (76%) increasing to eight points. But it still compared very favourably with the equivalent gulf among white pupils, which was 33 percentage points.

In primary schools, the picture is similar. Remarkably, in 2009, in English key stage 2 tests, Chinese FSM pupils outperformed not just their counterparts from other ethnic groups – easily outstripping white children – but even Chinese pupils not eligible for free meals.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, told his party conference last autumn that the performance of FSM pupils as a whole was a “reproach to our conscience”. So what do Chinese pupils have going for them that other children do not?

Anyone investigating this subject will be struck by the limited research available. Only one academic team seems to have looked into British Chinese pupils’ experience in detail in recent years.

The team, who interviewed 80 Chinese pupils, 30 Chinese parents and 30 teachers in 2005, identified several factors behind the success, although they stress that not all British Chinese pupils achieve. One explanation, though, shines through their findings.

Becky Francis, a visiting professor at King’s College London, director of education at the Royal Society of Arts and one of the researchers, says: “Our main argument is that families of Chinese heritage see taking education seriously as a fundamental pillar of their Chinese identity, and a way of differentiating themselves not just within their own group, but from other ethnic groups as well.”

Recent coverage of Amy Chua’s book on “tiger parenting”, Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother, has also focused attention on parenting styles promoting achievement in children of Chinese ethnicity.

The argument that Chinese families put especial value on education is sensitive territory, of course, as most parents would profess a commitment to helping their child do well. Academics also stress that the numbers of pupils classed as “Chinese” are small – only 2,236 took GCSEs last year, from a total cohort of nearly 600,000 – and results should be interpreted cautiously.

However, there is tentative evidence, both from interviews with parents and from analyses of background values existing in Chinese culture, that family commitment to education is particularly strong.

Some 13 of the 30 British Chinese parents interviewed said their children were also being educated at Chinese “supplementary schools”. These offer tuition in Chinese language and culture at the weekends.

Several of the parents also said they paid for tutoring outside school hours. Researchers found that among British Chinese families this was not related to social class: a number of working-class parents paid for this, too.

Asked to respond to the question “Is education important?”, all 80 pupils agreed. High parental expectations also seem to have been a factor in many – though not all – children’s experiences.

One pupil is quoted saying: “My parents expect me to get the best grades. And if I don’t, then they’ll continuously nag at me to do better … Like if I get a B, they’ll be like, ‘Why didn’t you get an A?'”

A paper presented at last year’s British Educational Research Association conference, covering performance across all ethnic groups, found no link between the occupation of Chinese pupils’ parents and their GCSE scores, unlike for children from all other ethnicities.

Ramesh Kapadia, a visiting professor at London University’s Institute of Education, who presented the paper, says: “I think within Chinese society, there is an emphasis on practice. Children are told: ‘If you want to learn something, practise, practise and practise it again and you will get better’. It may be that this helps to motivate pupils when the rewards can seem a long way away.”

There is a mixed picture overall, though, as to how far this school success is being translated into employment prospects. The Equality and Human Rights Commission report found that British Chinese men and women were twice as likely to be in professional jobs as their white British counterparts. But average earnings remained around 11% lower throughout the population than for those classed as “white Christian”.

Whether the Chinese experience can be replicated among other pupils is debatable. Some might see evidence that Chinese families emphasise hard work, and the results that follow, as simple proof that all can succeed, given the right attitude.

However, Francis says such a view should be treated cautiously, the team’s 2005 paper arguing that “Chinese constructions of ethnic identity and education are very specific”. Much research has shown links, generally, between poverty and underachievement.

Jessie, whose father works in a takeaway restaurant and whose mother, originally from Malaysia, works at Heathrow airport, has 12 GCSEs including six A*s and an offer to read music at Royal Holloway, London. She attended a Chinese supplementary school from the age of five. She says many Chinese families are keen on their children pursuing careers in medicine, so she is “rebelling a bit”, but wanted to pursue a subject she enjoys.

The Department for Education was unable to point to any particular study it has commissioned to look at British Chinese pupils’ success. Given the scale of that success, it seems surprising that the phenomenon has not been investigated further. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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The School I’d Like: more art, and more tree-climbing

February 8, 2011

Emily Stott would like to climb trees at her perfect school

Having the students input their own ideas on how or what improvements would make them happy sounds great. Empower the students at an early age will make for a more enjoyable school experience.

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony


Powered by article titled “The School I’d Like: more art, and more tree-climbing” was written by Dea Birkett, for on Tuesday 8th February 2011 15.16 UTC

Last month, we launched the School I’d Like, asking children to tell us about the school of their dreams. The ideas sent in so far range from the practical (bright coloured paint in the toilets) to the philosophical, with a school for every child of any ability scoring high. From all the comments, we’ll draw up a new Children’s Manifesto for the perfect school. It’s not too late to send in your ideas. Here are some of the first lessons from our postbag.

“I’d like to do more art and more climbing the trees in the playground. Also I’d like a bigger school door as I get hurt when everyone squashes through after playtime.”

Emily Stott, six, Wolvercote primary, Oxford

“We discussed the Children’s Manifesto at our school council and these are our ideas. Reception: More art activities or more specific art days. More books for our library.

Year 1: More school trips because we enjoy these and we learn lots on them. Sell fruit and vegetables in school. Bring pets and cousins in so our friends can meet them.

Year 2: More activities such as sport. More soft ground in the playground so if we fall we don’t hurt ourselves.”

Nascot Wood Infant school, Watford

“I think that the more effective teachers are ones who have a friendly relationship with the kids while still being strict. I like to have a laugh in a lesson but at the same time, I want to learn something. Also, there are no places to go if the weather is cold, we are pushed from the lunch hall and not allowed to stand in the corridors while the teachers stand outside with flasks of hot drinks and huge, comfortable coats.”

Summer Jones, 14, Golborne high school

“Each child should have a Nintendo DS, and Apple iPad or a netbook and a Kindle, because they have educational games. Each class should have a Wii because there is a good art program and we could keep fit. We should have Japanese lessons and learn to read it. It would be really good to have penpals in lots of other countries, such as India, Japan and Africa.”

Jake Swinburne, eight, Sacred Heart RC primary school, Hartlepool

“I would go outside to enjoy nature all through summer, especially the animals. Be allowed to have a drink when I need one and to use the toilet when I need to and not be shouted at for needing it.”

Naomi Louise Newton, six, home educated

• Do you know what makes a perfect school? Help us to draw up the new Children’s Manifesto. We’ll listen to all pupils’ comments. Just email them to school.i’, giving your full name, age, year and name of school, and a contact phone number. The new deadline is 4 March. Find out more about the School I’d Like © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Facial Exercises? Give it a try!

January 17, 2011

Many of us are concerned about our facial appearances so much that we spend thousands of dollars to maintain it. Facial exercises can help maintain a youthful look for many years. But lets be realistic about it..if you smoke and have a poor diet, then you put yourself at risk for aging faster than you would hope for.  Healthy living will give you an edge on life and perhaps a more vibrant looking facial glow…

Pass it on,

Dr Anthony



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