Prioritize Education for year 2017

Living in a country where education has been least area of concern raises questions in my mind. I ask myself how we would be able to secure dignified position, against the image of us that has already developed. Would we ever be in position to transform the perception of us? We are proclaimed as a nation which is fighting a battle of peace and war within its own territory. This, however, by no means imply that we will never rise.

Literacy rate of almost 58%, according to Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (2012-2013), reflects that half of our population has never been to school ever. Unfortunately, as a consequence of it we are not just fighting for peace, but also for sustainable livelihood. Poverty and unemployment has resulted in impoverishment. Resulting in environmental degradation. When a person doesn’t get money to buy food, through employment, what does he do? He depletes the environment, for example he harvests timber, sells it and earns for provision of food. Similarly, in a climate of consistent terror, and war, who suffers most? People and environment. Thus, there is a need to integrate all these components together at the time when educational objectives are being set.

Education has a capacity not only to deal with problems at national level but also at global. We do have conventions, international laws, treaties, and acts for such global issues, but they are not enough unless implemented. And that is where education comes into play. We need an education system that is based on mobilization of resources, a system which involves the local public. Traditional knowledge can never be regarded as insignificant. If people, belonging to particular locality, are engaged in finding out the solution for the problems they encounter then there is a great chance of productive outcomes. But, a point that needs to be considered here is that such involvement should be unbiased, that is, irrespective of gender, class, religion, and profession.

Also, when curriculum of school, colleges and university is designed it should impart basic information about sustainability. Measures, at individual level, that can be taken to minimize causes of common problems should form part of text books. For practical knowledge of that, carrying out community service project shall be mandatory. Those projects should be based on creating awareness among people related to issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, cultural sustainability, poverty elimination, health and hygiene etc. People can understand when they are taught in language they can easily comprehend. So local language should be preferred while informing people about the ways they can use to mitigate and reduce the anthropocentric impacts. 

Comparison of developed and developing nations is acceptable to the extent when the priority is to learn about the strategies that developed nations have adopted to flourish. But it often has disadvantage is disguise. For example, by citing the works of international authors’ researchers publish their papers about ‘what’ can be done to eradicate problems of global context at national level, but they fail to recommend ‘how’ such strategies can be implemented in their own states. It results in non-fulfillment of true objectives of their research, that is, when applied on practical ground the results do not appear to be in accordance with what was actually expected. Thus, while carrying out research attention must be paid towards the applicability of proposed measures.

For imparting education different modes of communication must be utilized. As, world has turned into global village so information should not only be restricted to text books. In today’s world, people learn more through electronic media. Thus, mechanism of disseminating information should be so set that people get to learn more from advertisements, plays, articles, blogs etc. Content of screen plays and brands promotion should include in it the message that reflects the ways to make surrounding better off, and instils, in an individual, the idea of becoming responsible citizen.

Guidance at minor scale can result in major impacts. Thus, consciousness has to be awaken by educating one’s mind. We just need to learn, for better today and prosperous tomorrow. 

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Cramming at 11th Hour.

How often you have started preparation for test or exam at last moment? Most of the students, these days, rely on last night before facing the torture of examination hall. I’ve intentionally used the word torture, because it really is a symbol of distress for those who have no idea what they have learning all along. 

You: But it is effective. Mostly I score well above the average when I study at last-minute.

Me: And how do you feel about the pain in your body, when you don’t get enough imagessleep? Or when you look yourself in a mirror, in morning, what you call yourself with those reddish eyes?

You: Who cares about sleep, and looks during exams?

Me: That is what I’m trying to say, if exams actually meant something to you, you would not be studying at 11th Hour.

You: You make no sense. Studying at night before exams gets me good grades. And that is all I need.

Me: My fellow, then you are a loser. You have been failing through out, and you have no clue about it.

You: How can you say such a thing?

Me: Because you have not learnt anything, that you were supposed to.

You: What a joke! I know everything I wrote on my last exam sheet. Do you want to listen that?

Me: No, I want central idea of whole concept that you wrote in your science exam.

You: Are you insane? I can not explain that theory of five pages in five lines.

Me: Told you! That is the thing about cramming, we can neither comprehend nor learn.

‘Test again! I am so nervous’.

‘Test again! I am so nervous’. ‘What if I scored low?’. ‘How would I be able to pass?’

Yes, these are some of the questions we often come across when schedule of test is announced, or when a teacher says ‘Tomorrow you have test of this new chapter’.

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(Image source  anxiety   symptoms)

Anxiety, in psychological terms, is defined as unease, or unpleasant feeling. So, test anxiety is tension or nervousness we feel because of tests. 

Causes for such anxiety can be lack of control over one’s thoughts. I know it is difficult, but when a person believes in his/her mind that ‘I can perform well’, then he/she finds a courage to prepare for test, and ultimately scores well. This is associated to self-confidence, the more a person is confident about abilities, the person possess, the more that person has ability to have control over anxiety. Similarly, anticipating failure causes students to be worried for test. They over-think about the concerns of their parents and peers, and think of themselves as losers.  Such students get low grades, and fear of failure never eliminates. 

What can be different strategies to overcome test anxiety?

  • Believe that world will not end if you scored low. With that, believe in potential you have, every individual on this Earth has ability to conquer anything the person wants.
  • Relax before, during, and after test. There is no need to panic during test, as it can make you forget everything you have learnt. And enjoy party after test, as what has been done, can not be undone.
  • Focus more on creating visuals in mind while preparing a test. As we often forget the words, but visuals or the pictorial descriptions of concepts retain in mind.

Excess is bad!

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

– E.M. Forster

This is true, because when provided with all the resources students fail to look around. They do not show interest in research, and what is happening around the globe. They just focus all their attention on the books they are referred by the teachers. And this has major drawbacks, the greatest of which is lack of innovation. 

Have you ever felt sleepy during a class?

Sleepiness is defined as a state in which person fails to have a vigilant attitude, at that time of day when he must be fully conscious. I have often seen students getting sleepy in class room, mostly when the environment does not encourage participation. I have experienced it myself too, that when an instructor delivers a lecture in a tone which does not change, that is, the pitch either remains low or high and does not fluctuate,  students tend to become tired, and they feel as if they are being compelled to engulf some heavy dose.  Also, the interests of students vary, so few students in class may not find lecture consistent with their interests and thus show distaste towards it. However, these are not the only causes of sleepiness in a class.

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Sleep deprivation, having in sufficient sleep, also plays a major role here. Technology has been highlighted as a major cause of this poor sleeping patterns. As, world is just a click away but the certain drawbacks are also associated to this advancement in field of technology. Increased use of cell phones, laptops and computers has resulted in this plight. Late night chat with friends, internet surfing, playing games, disturbance in surrounding (such as noise or light) are reported to have intensified inadequate sleeping patterns. Beside technology, drug abuse also effect students inability to be alert during day times. Another analogous feature is sleep disorder, which can be result of some physical, or emotional pain.

Poor performance in academics is the major impact of sleepiness. Students are inattentive in class, thus they learn less. They get distracted easily, and lack focus towards what is being taught in the class. Also, they may show mood swings, thus resulting in aggressive or depressive attitude while having communication with other classmates, or peers.

Is starting school late is the only solution for this or teachers and parents can help out?

Significance of Early Learning- Canadian approach

Early learning is the phase in which informal learning takes place. It is the stage when development of child is occurring, in terms of ability to understand and analysis. It is believed that early years of a child determine the personality of him being as adult.

Canada ranks among countries which have best education system. Council of Ministers of Education, Canada has devised a framework for system of early leaning, which has been published with name CMEC Early Learning and Development Framework. Purpose of this framework is to provide an outlay of future strategies for early learning (thus helping decision makers) and highlight the core values that are of immense importance in early years. Several strategic features of the framework are:

  • Child is the center of concern: This implies that formulation and introduction of policies and programs should be based in accordance with child’s interest and his ability to learn.
  • Provision of learning tools to child’s family and educators: Educators, teachers, or families play a key role in determining the early learning behavior of a child. As relationships influence the behavior and interests of a child, thus, facilities shall be provided to the families and educators of child so that they can provide the child with a suitable environment which stimulates learning process and can help in decision-making for future learning programs and policies.
  • Recognition of independent identity of a child: Children belong to diverse back ground, that is, they have different social setups, culture, and languages, therefore, highlighting this unique character the frameworks aims to emphasize on establishment of learning environment that promotes diversity, and at the same time encourages equal participation of children in the system.
  • Establishment of environment conducive to learning: Personality of a child is a result of environment he has been part of. Its holistic character is influenced by patterns of living including healthy life style, and activities that a child performs. The frameworks envisions healthy and engaging environment for learning.
  • Learning through playing: Child learns more when he plays. Because it is the time when mind is relaxed. Content learning by means of books can make learning a bit boring. So making a child learn by means of playing helps to inquire about the skills a child possess.