Archive for June, 2016

8 Ways to Prevent College Summer Learning Loss

June 16th, 2016

 

BY JANE HURST

One of the biggest challenges many students need to overcome is the learning that they lose while they are on summer vacation. This happens to all college students at one time or another, because there are two to three months when no learning is being done. If you are worried about this happening to you, here are eight things you can do to prevent summer learning loss.

  1. Schedule Daily Learning Time – You don’t have to make yourself sit for hours and learn every day all summer, but 15-30 minutes of daily learning time will help to keep the things you learned throughout the school year fresh in your mind. Get yourself into summer reading groups, and visit the local library to check out books that will help.
  2. College Summer Camp – Summer camps are always great for learning, whether they are week-long camps or day camps. There are several different types of college summer camps, so look for one that focuses on the things you like. For instance, if you are into science, look into space camp, computer camp, etc. If you are artistic, there are also arts and crafts camps.
  3. Get Yourself Into Creative Writing – Creative writing is loads of fun, and a great way for college students to brush up on writing skills, which include grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. Use online tools to choose something to write about, and use a good thesaurus so you can find new words to use in place of others. You will learn new words, and make your written works even more interesting.
  4. Take a Virtual Vacation – You can travel all over the world without ever leaving your own home, and you can learn a lot about things that are happening in other countries, different cultures, languages, etc. If you can get your hands on a virtual reality headset, it will make learning even more fun, because you will almost feel like you are in whatever country you are learning about.
  5. Improve Speed Reading Skills – Start reading for enjoyment every day throughout summer vacation. It could be reading a chapter from a novel each night before bedtime, reading on long car rides, etc. Also, to help you understand what you are reading try using comprehension workbook a few minutes each day. These books can be found at teacher supply stores, as well as online.
  6. Work on Grammar Skills – While working on improving reading skills, don’t forget about grammar skills. Look for grammar workbooks, and encourage yourself to use these books. After a while, you will start getting correct answers all the time.
  7. Develop Math Skills – Get yourself to work on a couple of math problems each day. Make it a daily challenge, and reward yourself when they are completed by going to the park or doing some other type of fun activity. This is particularly important for college students who have trouble with math, and it will help to prepare them for the upcoming year.
  8. Try Field Trips – Field trips are fun, and educational. Take your friends to art galleries, science museums, historical locations, etc. and get them into activities that are related to the subjects they study in school, such as history, geography, math, science, and social studies. Try writing short essays or draw pictures to show what you have learned on the field trips. Don’t forget to include fun field trips.

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter!

Universities Need To Become More Nimble With Less Regulation

June 15th, 2016

By CAROL L. FOLT
HIGHER EDUCATION WAS ONCE the backbone of American economic and scientific growth. Following World War II, the government doubled down on its investments in our nation’s colleges and universities and helped drive corporate growth, intellectual property and technological innovations that became the envy of the world. And since the technology boom of the 1990s, we’ve been sitting on a golden opportunity—an imperative, really—to evolve the university model once more.

But now our universities are falling behind our own expectations. Legacy thinking, outdated teaching models and poor facilities, among other things, leave us at risk of failing our students—some of whom are given low scores for preparedness across key learning outcomes, such as analytical thinking and applying their skills to the real world. Furthermore, bureaucracy and red tape are hindering our research efforts. According to one study, investigators working on federally sponsored research projects spend 42% of their time doing administrative tasks.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we spend roughly $170 million a year complying with too-often vague, complex or duplicative state and federal regulations.

If we are to keep pace with a changing world, we need to take quick and drastic actions to make our universities more nimble. How can we be more efficient? What is inhibiting us? And where do we have opportunities to make the educational experience more relevant and practical?

The first step is improving key aspects of undergraduate and graduate education. At UNC at Chapel Hill, we’ve had great success “flipping” classrooms—moving away from the lecture-style format and toward “learner-centered teaching,” where students watch lectures at home and spend class time solving problems and debating issues. By doing so, one of our biology professors was able to completely eliminate the achievement gap between first-generation students and other students in her class, while also cutting the achievement gap for African-American students in half.
Right now, we have a “winner takes all” mentality in tests, grants and other areas. We need to embrace a team-based model of problem solving—one that represents the way work is done in the outside world, embracing partnerships and varied perspectives to solve complex problems.

In addition, universities must accelerate the way we create research and bring it to market. The bulk of our country’s basic research takes place in our universities, and yet business and industry perform more than 70% of R&D with commercial application. By finding additional funding, resources and spaces—such as creating new partnerships with private companies and securing support for basic research and entrepreneurial programs—we can give our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to take an active role in financially viable research. At UNC at Chapel Hill, we recently teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline to launch a jointly owned company, one of the first of its kind, with the goal of finding a cure for HIV/AIDS—a model for partnerships between higher education and the private sector.

Carol L. Folt is the chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carol L. Folt is the chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
To paraphrase Charles Darwin, the species that are the most likely to survive are those that are best adapted for change. At this dynamic time in history, colleges and universities must evolve and rethink how we educate our students in and out of the classroom to prepare them to address both new and pressing societal challenges as well as emerging opportunities head on

How to Find More College Scholarship Opportunities

June 14th, 2016

BY KAYLA MATTHEWS

It’s an intimidating prospect – how can anyone in their early twenties manage to cover all their educational expenses, which can easily add up to a small fortune? It may sound obvious, but don’t overlook seeking out scholarships, and lots of them. There are a huge variety of scholarships available to most students, and finding some will make your financial burden invariably lighter.

Local and Unique Scholarships Are the Most Powerful

A key way to ensure scholarship-application success is to apply to scholarships no one else applies to. This is a lot easier than you think. Approach guidance counselors at your school, teachers, your parents and your parents’ friends. Many schools have long lists of local scholarships and will be happy to help you find out about them, mostly because there aren’t a lot of people asking for help.

The majority of your scholarships should be sought out locally. Scholarship websites like Fastweb can receive hundreds or thousands of applications per scholarship, making them much more competitive and thereby decreasing your odds at winning them – even if you are exceptional. Applying strategically means making the odds go in your favor.

Weird and specific scholarships could be right up your alley. Any chance you are planning on going to clown college? Yeah, there’s a scholarship for that.

Are you a huge Shelby Mustang fan with some videography skills? Enter CJ Pony Parts’ scholarship video contest.

You can also use scholarship sites like CollegeExpress and Fastweb with the purpose of finding unique scholarships. Because many of them are so specific, they are not likely to have a lot of other applicants.

Apply to Everything Relevant

Another way to push the odds in your favor is to apply to a lot of scholarships. A lot, as in dozens. People who manage to fully fund their college education often apply to 50 or more scholarships.

This is because most scholarships are for between $500 and $2,000. It may seem like a drop in the bucket when you’re facing $30,000 in tuition per year, but it adds up to make a real difference. Even if you don’t cover all your tuition, you can look at that $500 scholarship as a new computer, groceries – you can finally eat something other than microwave ramen noodles this week – or part of rent.

Make Your Application Count

Most scholarships have three major components:

  • Personal essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts

You are going to be applying to a lot of scholarships, so it helps to streamline the process. Writing dozens of personal essays for different scholarships may seem intimidating at first, but after the first few, you will have enough material to copy and paste into new essays. Eventually, you should aim to complete at least one application per day.

The key to a strong personal essay is to get lots of feedback. Let your parents and teachers look it over – basically any functioning adult with some knowledge of the academic world can be a major help to you. Because you will end up using the material from the first essays you write on later applications, it’s best to make sure these essays are strong. Try to have at least two different people proof your first essays.

Then, we get to the letters of recommendation. The best way to tackle these is to create an outline for your recommenders with what you’d like to emphasize in your applications. List three unique things about yourself on this outline – did you help other students during after-school sessions? Were you a leader on a successful presentation or project? Listing these things will help your application stand out from the others. A generic letter of recommendation is not likely to help you.

In order to streamline the letter of recommendation process, you can ask your recommenders to submit their letter online to a service like Interfolio. Medical school applicants often use this online platform to organize their letters of recommendation to send out to schools electronically, and there’s no reason you can’t use it too. Interfolio allows you to store and send your letter of recommendation online. This way, you don’t have to pester your recommender 60 times for the 60 different scholarships you will apply to – you only need to ask once. It’s also courteous – they don’t have to pay postage.

The final part of your application is your transcripts. This is straightforward. You will be getting to know your school’s transcript office well!

In the end, finding scholarship opportunities for school is a matter of endurance. You will need to submit a lot of applications, but as you can see, it doesn’t always take a lot of time and effort to do so. Hopefully, all your hard work will pay off in the end.

 

Kayla Matthews writes about college life and student productivity for Hack College, Student Advisor and The Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.

Benefits of Taking a Part-Time Job when at College

June 13th, 2016

David Gutierrez

Taking into account the ever-growing costs of higher education, it is no wonder that more and more students consider taking up a part-time job to be more of a necessity than conscious decision. However, if you are still in doubt whether to do it yourself, here are 5 reasons to follow through with this decision.

1.    Money

This point is kind of self-explanatory – the very reason why you sing up for this thing is to get some extra cash – to cover the costs of studying and living, and probably to increase the quality of your life a little bit. For some people it will be the first legitimately earned money; for those who practiced working part-time at high school it will be continuation of a previous experience, but one thing can be said for certain – when at college, any money you can get is more than welcome.

2.    Discipline

All in all, your time in college isn’t for all intents and purposes a part of entirely adult life. You are still kind of playing around, you are given a lot of leeway, you have many opportunities to do things for no other reason than that you want to. Having to work for somebody who expects results, not good marks, from you, can serve as a sobering experience. As simple thing as the need to follow the workplace health and safety regulations can do wonders in teaching you discipline.

3.    Time Management

According to Benjamin Franklin, if you want something done, you have to ask a busy person. Paradoxically, but the less free time one has, the more he usually manages to do. When you have to deal with your part-time job in addition to your studies, you have to use extra effort to complete every assignment on time and, in the long run, it will lead to a better ability to plan your time and use it wisely. The less free time you have, the more effectively you use it.

4.    Start in Your Industry

Getting a part-time job allows you to start out in your chosen industry earlier than most of your classmates. You can spend this time acquiring useful knowledge about your chosen career, establishing networks of contacts within it, and improving your resume in general.

5.    Experience

Oh, and we shouldn’t forget mentioning such straightforward thing as experience. While working part-time while at college, you acquire valuable practical knowledge both in terms of better understanding the chosen industry and in terms of being in an actual working environment. You will have to deal with real people, solve real problems, learn real skills – not the theoretical ones taught at college. If something can serve as an introduction to an adult life, getting a job early on surely will do the trick.

On the surface, a part-time job during college is nothing more than a source of some extra ready cash. However, when you take a closer look, it is much more than that – it is an introduction to further life, a source of valuable experience, a test drive for your skills in real world. Don’t waste an opportunity to use it.

Author’s bio:

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates

6 Important Things to Do a Night Before Exam

June 10th, 2016

BY RAYANNE DANY

The night before an exam is full of stress and confusion. No matter how much you are prepared for your grand test but the mind keeps on bubbling that there is something still missing. In this state of muddle and anxiety, students usually forget some very essential stuff like ID card, stationary or notes.

Sometimes, due to pressure, pupils make basic mistakes in exams. Even when they know any particular content very well, they hesitate submitting the paper believing something still isn’t right.

To avoid any such mishap and confusion on the day of exam, check out the following tips that will get you totally prepared for the exam. It will also help you reduce the exam stress.

Stuff Ready for Morning

Get your bag ready. Make sure you have all the stationary items, ID card and other mandatory documents that you may need for the exam. Don’t forget to keep a calculator, e-dictionary, periodic table, or other gadgets which you are allowed to take with you.

Prepare the uniform a night before the exam. Keep in mind the temperature and your habits when you are in stress. The comfortable dress selection will not distract you while you are attempting the paper.

Healthy Diet

It is scientifically proven that the eating habits will affect your physical and mental execution. Maintain a strategic distance from espresso and doughnuts or pizza the night before the test. Oily, overwhelming sustenance can make you sluggish in the morning after consumption.

No mixed refreshments of any sort of alcoholic content should be consumed because that will make your memory weak.

Fresh fruits, almonds, boiled or steamed fish, simmered vegetables and beans are good options. These foods will keep your mind alert and body relaxed. Lime water is extremely refreshing. If you are feeling stressed, try lime water.

Set Alarm

Before you start to study set your clock timer to bell after every interval of forty-five minutes. Take a break of five minutes after each interval.  A little gap will make your mind more alert and will help you reduce the stress.

Also, set an alarm for the morning. Obviously, you do not want to get late or rush for the exam. Therefore, always keep a margin of ten minutes so that in the case of traffic or any unusual issue you do not have to be worried about time running out.

Brain Pose

The heart stimulating exercise that gets your blood flowing is vitalizing to the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a ground of the mind required in memory and learning. Think about taking as some sort of modestly strenuous exercise, for example, an energetic stroll, in the days paving the way to your exam.

This consistent activity can really build the extent of the hippocampus. Extra practice diminishes pre-exam anxiety and uneasiness and enhances nature of rest. Simply don’t do it past the point of no return at night, or it might keep you up.

In Case of NO Study Plan

In case of NO study plan you have the options to refer to your notes, TrueAssignmentHelp sample papers, presents, tests, and book to search for things that might be on the test. Instructors make exams from the material as of now introduced to you in class, so your address notes are precious.

Retain the notes with some quick learning techniques. Take a glimpse at the last two pages of every part secured on the test, and put forth the survey inquiries. Take a look at the initial two pages of every part, and take the essential data about every subtitle. Remember the test inquiries, and things gave to you in your class.

Mnemonic Device

It is an ancient technique to make things stay in your mind for a long time. The technique helps the memory, utilizing an arrangement of rhymes, tenets, expressions, outlines, or acronyms. This handy technique also helps you recollect, remember, and review data. For example, names, dates, actualities, or figures.

They do that by transforming unique data into a simple, all the more engaging rhyme or sentence. This can be put away in your mind as a simple reference for bigger “important” lumps of information. When you have to review the first actualities you can, by interpreting the mental aid memory. It is also called the “mental helper.”

By Line: Rayanne Dany loves academic blogging style a lot in her leisure time. When not working, she spends her time writing education blogs on topics related to study, college , reading, etc.

 

5 Instructive and Interesting Ways to Spend Your Summer Break

June 9th, 2016

BY MELISSA BURNS

If you haven’t made plans for the summer break already, it is high time to get your brains into high gear, for it isn’t going to last forever. Here’re several suggestions that can help you make up your mind.

1.    Work

Summer jobs are certainly instructive, and there is no reasons for them not to be interesting as well. Internships are often unpaid but provide excellent insights into your chosen industries and look good on a resume, and even such seemingly lackluster jobs as a waiter or a construction worker provide a host of new experiences and help you learn how to leave your comfort zone. You may also try out temp agencies – they sometimes provide surprisingly well-paying jobs.

2.    Travel

Although students, as a rule, don’t roll in money, travel may be, in fact, more affordable for them than for many other social groups, for airlines and other travel companies often have special offers tailored specifically for students and providing huge discounts and freebies. In addition to that, college is probably the last period in your life before it gets bogged down in work and family obligations, which means that now may be the perfect time to see the world if you so wish. What exactly it is going to be like fully depends on your interests and preference: go to a country you’ve always wanted to visit, go on a tour throughout the USA, visit a European car festival to see specimens from the full list of top10 fast cars in action, or choose at random if nothing else applies.

3.    Volunteer

We all want to do something meaningful in our lives, and this summer may be the right time to try your hand at it – and, at the same time, acquire a lot of useful experiences that may change the course of your life and let you see it from an unexpected angle. There are dozens of volunteering programs suitable for any tastes and interests: home and abroad projects, long and short-term volunteering, ecological and social programs, whatever you want.

4.    Learn a New Skill

One of the better ways to spend time mixing business with pleasure is to acquire skills that are both fascinating and will remain with you for the rest of your life. Ever wanted to learn some handcraft? Never had time for dancing lessons you wanted to take since primary school? Want to learn a new language but are afraid to start such a monumental task? Don’t put it off, you have an entire summer ahead of you to succeed.

5.    Exercise

Exercising is something all of us should do regularly, but all too often this useful routine falls apart during college years because we constantly seemingly lack time to take care of ourselves. Summer break is an excellent opportunity to start a new workout routine without an excuse of insufficient time and, if you have enough self-discipline, you will probably keep up with it when the next term starts.

Plan ahead, and your summer break may turn into something interesting, meaningful and having long-lasting beneficial consequences.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

   

The Quality Crisis at America’s Private, Non-Profit Colleges

June 8th, 2016

Megan John & Tamara Hiler & Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Third Way and RealClearEd


Associated Press

There are more than a thousand four-year private, non-profit colleges in the United States. They enroll approximately 2.7 million students each year, with roughly 1.7 million full-time students taking out student loans to finance their education.1 In 2013-2014 alone, more than 1.1 million Pell Grants were awarded to recipients attending these institutions, adding up to a total of $4.5 billion federal tax dollars.2 These four-year institutions promise to educate and graduate young men and women and prepare them to succeed in the working world. We rely on these schools to be mobility engines for low and middle income people. And from one perspective, that assumption is right—today, the unemployment rate for college graduates stands at 2.6% compared to 5.4% for those with only a…

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College Internship Opportunities in Emerging Markets

June 7th, 2016

BY BRANDON KING

If you are an American scouting out your summer internship, it’s likely that you are looking to the traditional markets for summer internships: New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Opportunities abound in medium and large-sized cities everywhere, but an increasing number of students are looking to differentiate themselves by doing internships overseas.

In this post, we take a look at some of the opportunities afforded by an internship in an emerging market.

It’s no coincidence that the largest emerging markets, the BRICs- Brazil, Russia, India, and China- are also increasingly popular destinations for internships. The fact that their markets are not nearly as efficient as in the US, and their infrastructure typically (though perhaps not in China) lags behind their developed counterparts illustrates just how much opportunity there is left for these economies to grow. Opportunities abound!

Whether interning, working full-time, or simply travelling overseas, the time has never been better for Americans, as the dollar remains relatively strong despite weakening in recent months.

Before covering internships in emerging markets, here are a few of the most common reasons a student will decide to undertake an internship:

  • It’s an employers’ job market, and they want to see experience before committing to a full-time hire rather than a temp worker.
  • An internship is a great way for an employer to give a student a “trial” before committing more resources to them as a full-time. Many employers report that interns who go on to be full-time hires are their most productive employees.
  • College interns may get paid more after graduation-Candidates with internship experience are highly likely to earn more than candidates with no experience.
  • Earning college credit toward a degree is often possible.
  • Internships enable a student to take his career plan for a “test drive” so that they can find out whether they actually want to do it or not.
  • Working in an internship bridges the gap between academic theory and real work experience

Brazil

Internship opportunities in Brazil vary from 1 month to 2 years. Here are a few things to know about internships in Brazil:

  • An allowance of between 0-0.2 BRL except for foreign interns (they are not entitled to pay)
  • If you are Brazilian, you’ll find that your allowance varies depending on the field of study. STEM fields (Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) pay best, just as in the US.
  • Expect bureaucracy

An intern requires a Vitem IV visa. To get this visa, these requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Letter from the hiring institution
  • Intern contract details
  • Criminal record for the last 90 days
  • Proof of residence for the past year
  • Proof of financial ability

CHINA

China is one of the world’s most popular destinations for internships, and for good reasons- its economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, and its culture offers tons of new experiences for the eager intern.

Internships in China can last anywhere from 1 to 6 months, with 3 months being the average. Chinese is NOT required but it will provide more opportunities for an intern. As a global business powerhouse, China offers internships year round, though it can be a challenging country to work in. Students interested in working in China may consult this China internship guide as a resource.

India

India is an extremely diverse country, one with 22 official languages and a caste system imposed by the British Empire that (unfortunately) impacts life there.

India is also extremely bureaucratic, so be prepared for that.

The most common industries for internships in India are:

  • Teaching English
  • NGOs
  • Travel and tourism
  • Healthcare

English is widely spoken so Hindi (or any India’s 21 other national languages) are not a requirement. The cost of living in India is extremely low outside of Mumbai, which rivals many world cities in its high prices.

Russia

Russia sits at the intersection of east and west and has a history that captivates many of the interns who pass through it. The most popular fields of study are: Hospitality, Tourism and travel, especially along the coast of the Black Sea. The Energy industry also attracts many expats to Moscow, as Russia has the largest reserves of natural gas in the world.

Internships in Russia range from 3 weeks to one year. While Moscow has traditionally been considered one of the world’s most expensive cities in the world, the fall of the Ruble in 2015 has made it increasingly affordable. The most popular cities for interns are Moscow and St. Petersburg.

South Korea

While South Korea is actually considered a high-income country, we added it to this because of its growing popularity with foreign interns. Surrounded by China and Japan, Korea has nevertheless managed to cultivate its own unique culture.

Internships in South Korea are unpaid, and it is up to the intern to organize housing and their living expenses. South Korea has very strong electronics and gaming industries, both of which provide internship opportunities. Teaching English is another option for those looking to make the move to South Korea, as it has one of the biggest ESL (English as a Second Language) markets in the world. If you end up interning in South Korea, you’ll likely be in either Seoul or Busan.

Of course, you’ll want to do your homework before committing to an internship in any country. Visa laws change regularly, so be sure to consult multiple sources to make sure you are coming on the right visa. Bring at least three months’ worth of cash, arrange housing before arising, and expect the unexpected. Expect unpredictability, communication challenges, and perplexing customs- these are all part of what make an emerging market internship so fun!

Brandon King is an entrepreneur who moved to China after graduating university in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis. He runs an HR company that specializes in helping people pursue job opportunities in Shanghai, China.

 

 

How to Assist College Success And Future Career Now

June 6th, 2016

BY MELISSA BURNS

Many students perceive their time in college as the time that should be dedicated to studying and having a good time (ratio varies from case to case), putting the thoughts about career until after graduation. However, the ever-growing competition makes it more and more necessary to start promoting yourself as early as possible – which means that you will do yourself a world of good if you start building up professional reputation as early as the first year of college. But how does one do it?

1.    Have a Plan Beforehand

For a long time it was an integral part of student culture to get into college now and figure out what you are going to do there and after getting a degree as you go along. Today, such an approach is getting less and less advisable due to rising tuition fees – the longer you spend in college, the greater debt you are going to amass and the longer it will take to pay it off. Therefore, the best thing you can do to ensure your future employment is to make a definite decision now and stick to it no matter what.

2.    Build an Image through Blogging

Most companies nowadays check the online image of their potential employees, and having a long-standing regularly updated blog may do a good job in creating and supporting a professional image you would like others to see. You can learn blogging and web development for free online. Start a blog dealing with the industry you are going to work in and try to create original, meaningful content for it. This will broaden your horizons and, if you play your cards right, will allow you to meet many interesting and useful people. Web hosting doesn’t cost a fortune like it used to, so you are not going to pay through the nose to afford it.

3.    Reduce Your Debt

The less debt you have after graduation, the better, it goes without saying. However, you needn’t wait until after graduation to start reducing it. Chances are, you will not be able to land your dream job immediately after graduating, so it is better to make less debt now than to work extra hard to remove it later. Leave at home instead of paying extra for campus housing. Spend free time working part-time. Get used book instead of new ones. Sign up for summer classes to reduce the overall time you spend in school – these things look small, but they do add up.

4.    Get to Know Your Tutors

If you think that the first week after the enrolment is too early to start building up your industry contacts, think again. Your professors are professionals in their chosen fields, which means they can and should be a treasure-trove of information, advice and help in everything that concerns your future job.

Time flies by, and in a little while you may find yourself out of college without having made a single step towards your future career. So start early, promote yourself, prepare, study, get to know new people – the earlier you start, the more you are going to accomplish.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented. – See more at: https://collegepuzzle.stanford.edu/?p=5254#sthash.3a0nR5m6.dpuf

June 3rd, 2016

BY JANE HURST

Creating a Classroom that Focuses on Students

A classroom is supposed to be a place of learning, but if it is not properly set up, students, and teachers, aren’t going to get nearly as much as they could be out of the classroom experience. A classroom should be centered around students, and it is time to start doing away with outdated teaching practices. Students should be encouraged to engage in conversation with each other and with their teachers (as long as the conversation is encouraging learning, of course). Here are some steps you can take to create a classroom that is completely student-centered.

Use Technology
Take advantage of all technology, not just the school-issued computers. Most, if not all of your students probably have cell phones, tablets, etc. Let them use their own devices, and choose from many web tools to help them to become more creative with their assignments. They can use web tools for presenting and sharing information, creating projects, and so much more. By allowing them to use these tools on their own devices, you are likely going to foster better student participation.

Get Rid of Homework
When you come right down to it, what is the point of homework? Not all students have time for homework, and as long as they are able to show that they understand the material they are given, homework isn’t really necessary. Concentrate instead on in-class projects and activities, and don’t be restrictive about how students can do these projects. The more chances they have to be independent and creative, the better their work is going to be, and the more they are going to learn.

Brighten up the Classroom
No one wants to spend several hours a day in a boring room. Find ways to brighten up your classroom and make it more visually attractive and interesting for students. For instance, you can use wall decals that are related to the subject or subjects you are teaching. These can also be used as visual learning aids, which is extremely beneficial for those who are visual learners.

Ongoing Projects
Not all students show their proficiency in any given subjects through testing. Often, they are better able to show you what they know through hands-on work. This is why you need to create projects for them that are ongoing. Give them a variety of project choices that will let them show you what they have learned in a practical way. The students have total control over what they are doing, which is going to help to give them a sense of independence, and pride in what they are doing. The classroom will take on a workshop environment, and this is the basis for the student-centered classroom.

Evaluate Students
Parent/teacher conferences are all fine and dandy, but if you really want to help your students, evaluate them face to face instead of through a third party. When you give them feedback, both positive and negative, you are building a foundation of trust between yourself and your students. They also learn how to be their own critics, and their work is going to improve because they will want to get great feedback from you.

Get Rid of the Rules
At one time, teachers ruled their classrooms with iron fists, and students learned because they were fearful of the consequences if they didn’t. Today, we know that this is not the way to get the most out of our students. On the first day of class, tell your students that there will be no discussions about rules and consequences. You expect mutual respect, and you want your students to want to learn. Keep them busy, and they won’t have time to be disruptive.

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter