The Power of Social Media in Education

Ever since its inception, the Internet has become an intricate part of life where persons depend on its access for daily activities such as shopping, social networking, education, banking, home security and other related activities. Among these, social networking, which seems to be the major attraction of the Internet, can be seen as a blessing and curse. Notably in education, social networking is seen as a positive indicator of advancement in education and its practices. However, we cannot deny the negative influences that can accompany it, which seems be a distracter for many students today.

Students frequently familiarize themselves with computers as they navigate these social networks. They gain valuable skills on an instrument that has become indispensable in the world they reside as students and the one, which they will enter upon completion of their studies. Also, it encourages networking with a variety of people, which can be viewed as a necessary skill in the business environment. This is also the case for teachers and administrators. With the existence of social blogs, Twitter and Facebook, teachers are able to share and record through various mediums, methods of instruction as well as teaching theories and practices in real-time. Furthermore, many are able to expand on techniques for learning and also interact with students on a consistent basis outside of the classroom.

On the contrary, the rise in social media and advancements in other interactive communicative technologies have produced negative impacts in and outside of the classroom. While social media can be seen as a positive tool for education, this tool has the potential to hinder student performance, social growth, and communication skills. Similarly, it can affect a teacher’s overall efficiency in several ways. To what do we owe a decline in academic performance as a result of its impact? What are the social ramifications of social media? What factors are directly responsible for the inability to educate students effectively? How are teachers affected by social media both in and out of the classroom?

For most, access to the Internet for educational purposes would be seen as a great resource for information; however, for students, the Internet poses many problematic factors in academic performance. In general, children who spend more time online find it harder to concentrate resulting in shorter attention spans. Students who rely solely on social media for information rather than researching other resources are likely to experience difficulty focusing on learning and information retention. It significantly affects study habits as students are attempting to multitask and end up becoming easily distracted because they are too busy tweeting and/or posting messages to Facebook in lieu of completing assignments.

Advancements in and excessive access to technology are direct factors on how social media has affected the student in and out of the classroom. Today, students spend most of their time on these networks via mobile devices. Some schools prohibit the use of these devices however; many of them sneak them into school. They use these devices to record videos; take photos of themselves and others, search the Internet, tweet and log on to Facebook, thus making it difficult to concentrate during instruction time. These activities also seek to inhibit effective instruction. In addition to this many of these activities have led to many problems in the school and community for example, fights, harassment, law suits etc. Excessive, unproductive time spent on social networks can therefore be very unhealthy, thus having a negative effect on teens and children. We can then argue that teaching/learning, is in direct competition with Social Media, when they should be partners in educating students.

The use of social networks has also significantly decreased the use of proper grammar and syntax in writing. Students have found it difficult to differentiate between the proper use of language as a result of abbreviated writing and shortened forms of word formulation. Many slang terms have become common in written class assignments. These terms IDK (I don’t know), SMH (shaking my head), BTW (by the way), YW (you’re welcome), TNX (thanks), IMO/IMHO (in my opinion/in my humble opinion) just to name a few, have crept up in students writing so much so that they are unable to understand the differences between the right and wrong way of spelling correctly. Teachers see the decline in proper writing in capitalization, punctuation, and subject-verb agreements, to name a few. Students are so immersed in poor grammar usage while online that they rely heavily on computer devices to autocorrect their mistakes resulting in the decline of their command over the use of English language. Subsequently creating a conflict in grammar usage.

Another key point not to be overlooked is the effect of social media on face-to-face communication. Clearly, if students spend more time on social networks then we can agree that they spend less time socializing in person. Lack of face-to-face interpersonal interactions can be directly linked to lack of social skills and etiquette. We learn important behaviors and emotional cues from close personal contact that cannot be learned online. As a result some students never learn to read body signals and other nonverbal cues, like tone and inflection. Social networking sites should not be seen as a replacement for personal contact but a valuable addition that can create a well rounded socially adjusted individual.

Today many students have become less social with one another preferring to interact online and live a virtual world based on false personas made easily accessible by social networking sites. This of course can have a lasting effect on the family unit, where effective face-to-face communication is essential in maintaining healthy relationships. Can we then cast some of the blame of today’s social ills and break down in family structure on social media? Often times, we go to restaurants, or other public spaces and everyone is busy on a device, thus very little face- to- face communication is going on. The question is how can we create a balance? How do we compete with this valuable tool we call the Internet whilst still maintaining healthy relationships?

Social media/networking affects both students and teachers alike. For instance, cyber-bullying can be seen as the leading negative proponent of social media. Many times violence in schools has started via a social networking site. Teachers are also affected by cyber-bullying. The perpetrators are sometimes students and/or parents. This abuse can be very damaging for a teacher as it decreases overall efficiency and confidence in the classroom. Teachers experience climbing levels of emotion stemming from being sad to becoming angry over online harassment. The experience can be humiliating and embarrassing. Defamation of character is quite common in the cyber world and continues to affect both teachers and students alike.

Social Media obviously affects all of us in some way or the other whether positively or negatively. Technology will continue to evolve, therefore; it is imperative that parents, teacher’s administrators and students all join hands together in encouraging positive, productive, effective, safe and responsible use of this valuable tool. The long-term effects of misuse can be very dangerous to progress in education and social development.

Source by Tarinda T Thompson-Rolle

Choosing an Ottawa Private School

Most of us want to give our children the best possible start in life. That usually means a really solid education. I think that sending your child to private elementary school is even more important than sending him to private middle and high school. Why? Simply because your child needs to learn how to read properly and get a solid foundation in conceptualizing and all those other basic skills which he learns in primary school.

Once parents have decided that their child needs more than the public elementary schools in Ottawa can offer, they have the decision of which Ottawa private school best suits the needs of their child. Parents must begin the process of identifying the schools they think are suitable, evaluating them, selecting the ones they like and sending in the applications.

When considering Ottawa’s private schools, there are a number of factors parents should consider beyond the obvious question of tuition rates.

Ottawa offers a variety of French language schools, of course. In addition, there is a rich variety of private school philosophies and religious affiliations to choose from including several Christian schools, Montessori schools, Muslim or Jewish schools, Waldorf Schools and even a virtual private school based in Ottawa.

Location may be an important consideration. There are many private and independent day schools throughout the Ottawa region, such as Ashbury College, Counterpoint Academy, Elmwood School, Joan of Arc Academy, Lycée Claudel, Macdonald-Cartier Academy, Westboro Academy.

When evaluating the various schools, also make sure that you know and understand the reputation of the school, the principal or headmaster and its teachers.

* What reference points can the school offer to convince you that it is the right Ottawa-area private school for your child?

* Meet with teachers to find out their philosophies and their commitment to children.

* Consider how up-to-date the technology, sports and education facilities are.

For Ottawa parents interested in acquiring a private education for their children there are few places in Canada that can offer more than the nation’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario.

Source by Markus Wong

HIV Rash Symptoms – What You Need to Know

HIV rash symptoms are usually seen in people who have contracted the HIV virus. Unfortunately this specific symptom of HIV is one of the latest symptoms that appear, which means that the HIV infection has come to its final stage before turning into AIDS. In the following article we are going to discuss more about HIV rashes, and its symptoms.

The HIV rash can be described as a kind of rash which a HIV infected person may see on its skin. There are also cases where the rash appeared because of the medicines the affected person takes in order to keep the disease under control. According to some researches about 85% of HIV infected people will experience rash at one moment in their lives.

The HIV infection rash can be described as a small, slightly raised, patch of skin with small bumps. The main difference between this specific rash and other kinds of rashes is the coloration which varies of the skin tone of the infected person. If the infected person has light or pale skin color then the rash is usually dark red to red-brown. If the affected person has dark skin color the rash is dark brown to purple-black. The HIV rash usually appears 2-3 weeks after the infection and is not that rare amongst people. Unfortunately it is considered to be one of the late symptoms of HIV. For that reason, it is smart to know the symptoms of HIV and always ask for doctor's help. This also applies for other diseases and infections too, because if you react in time there are chances that you will eliminate the disease in its initial stage or at least keep it under control.

The rash which generally appears in HIV infected persons makes the skin scaly and dry. Sometimes it is similar to a bad case of psoriasis. The symptoms of HIV rash in women are followed by genital sores or warts. The symptoms and signs of HIV rash in women are quite similar to the symptoms in men. They include genital sores or warts. The symptoms of acute HIV rash are peeling of the skin which can lead to sores and blisters on the genitals. Apart from the genital the HIV rash can also appear on the face and this mainly happens in the initial stages of the treatment. This rash as a symptom of HIV infection is valuable since it increases the chances for a precise diagnosis. This actually means that there are many people who got used to live with HIV.

Source by Max Slater

The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the “big screen” and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children’s developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today’s technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child’s motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today’s parents perceive outdoor play is ‘unsafe’, further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the “killing machine” seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most…connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 – 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child’s sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in “overload”. This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain’s anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease”. This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still “on alert” for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a “hard wiring” of the child’s sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child’s ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don’t, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all “baby TV” due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today’s families have been pulled into the “Virtual Reality Dream”, where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV’s in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed ‘Balanced Technology Management’ (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan’s company Zone’in Programs Inc. has developed a ‘System of Solutions’ for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone’in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.

Source by Cris Rowan

No Hot Water From Combi Boiler

One of the most commonly asked questions that I get asked is: why there is no hot water in my taps? To be able to diagnose this problem we need to establish the type of heating system that is installed at the property in question. Generally there will be many options to choose from such us: instantaneous electric water heaters (electric), instantaneous gas water heaters, storage water heaters, electric showers, gas fired combination boilers, gas fired traditional boilers and hot water cylinder, unvented hot water cylinders and variations on above.

This series of articles will deal with the most common systems in UK starting with combination boilers also known as ‘combi’ boilers. Other systems we will discuss in further articles are:

– Unvented cylinders

– Traditional cylinders (vented)

No hot water on combination boiler. The first thing to check in case there is no hot water on combination boiler is to see if it works in central heating mode. To do that you will need to make sure that your wall mounted thermostat is calling for heat. You also may have a programmable thermostat. In that case make sure that it is set to constant on central heating mode. If boiler fires up then we can suspect that a diverter valve is stuck on heating mode. A visit from an engineer will be required to replace this part.

If combination boiler does not work in both hot water and heating modes there are some steps that can be performed by the owner before calling a heating engineer to eliminate most obvious possible causes. Combination boilers require on average 1 bar pressure in central heating system to function satisfactorily. Look for a pressure gauge on the front of the boiler or sometimes on central heating pipe work.

Most boiler makes will have markers in green or red pointer (as on the picture) showing required system pressure. If system pressure is low then that may be the reason for boiler not firing up in both domestic hot water and heating modes. By low we understand below marked field on the gauge. Most boilers will not fire up if pressure drops below 0.5 bar. If low pressure has been detected next step is to top up system pressure. Majority of boilers on the market would have been fitted with a filling loop that comprises of no.2 valves and a flexible metallic connector. Good plumbing practice requires that filling loop should be detached and left by the boiler with no.2 valves capped of to avoid accidental over pressurising the system and leaks from PRVs (Pressure Relief Valve). In reality however 90% of installation have filling loops attached. Let’s assume we have our filling loop in place.

Some filling loops will have a singel tap while other may have 2 taps or a flat screwdriver point. On single tap ones it is enough to turn one tap on. On filling loops with 2 taps you will have to turn both on. On filling loops without taps you may need a small flat screwdriver to turn them on and off.

Be aware that some combination boilers and not fitted with filling loops. The best example is Worcester Bosh CDi range of boilers that require a special plastic key to top them up. This may be a major hassle if the key had been lost! I will not detail how to top those boilers up as there is a very detailed guide on how to do that on Worcester Bosch web site.

Once you know where your filling loop is and how to use it turn the boiler off and fill up the system to around 1.5 bar pressure. On some boilers (Vaillant Eco Tec Pro) there is only green and red field without digits showing pressure. Top up to 2/3 of the green. System topped up? Hot water back on? Great! No hot water? Read on.

With your system at correct pressure check if boiler controls are set properly. There should be hot water thermostat on the boiler. It may be the case that it is turned all the way down. If it is, set it half way up and try again.

System pressurised? Controls in on position? Hopefully your hot water is back on. If not suspect a more serious issue and call a qualified heating engineer to help you with your hot water problem.

Source by Szymon L Czaban

Indian Women: Their Achievements

The normal representation of Indian women is that of a loving mother, a dutiful wife, an obedient daughter and someone who stays at home, completes all the chores at home, is an all-forgiving figure and is selfless. But the truth is that with time, these women have transgressed from being a nobody lost in the crowd to a somebody who people revere and respect; someone with a name and a designation that is more than just a relationship tag.

This liberalization of women in this country is not a recent activity; it had started way back when ladies like the Rani of Jhansi, Pritilata Waddedar, Usha Mehta and Sarojini Naidu toiled sweat and blood with others of the same league to free India. There is hardly an Indian soul who is unaware of the Rani of Jhansi. An independent India saw leaders like Indira Gandhi, Aruna Asaf Ali and Sucheta Kriplani. They showed how a saree clad woman could do more than cooking, cleaning and raising kids and become great leaders to govern a country. As time passed, the women of India started to venture into several other fields. Though not originally from India, Mother Teresa accepted this country as her own and gave a home to several homeless kids, setting an example before the others about social service. But this was just the beginning as Nirupama Rao shone bright as she assumed the role of the Indian ambassador to the USA after holding positions like the Indian foreign secretary and the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. There are also ladies like Kiran Bedi who emerged as a solid rock and turned around the police force by introducing corrective measures in the prisons and giving a new meaning to the infamous convicts. But if you thought that the ladies were only running the show in the political and administrative scenario, you will be awed to learn that their prowess is in diverse fields.

There are several ladies who have found a place in the sun in fields of science, music, dance, painting, literature, sports, fashion, beauty and entertainment. Names like Mallika Sarabhai, Indra Nooyi, Kalpana Chawla, Arundhati Ray, Shehnaz Hussain, Mira Nair, Sania Mirza, Aishwarya Rai, Anoushka Shankar, Sonal Mansingh, Gurinder Chaddha and Jhumpa Lahiri so prominent in the international horizon that it is a no brainier that these women are not typecasts. Indian women have woken up to a whole new world of education and enlightenment and that is what has given them the strength to evolve and

become self sufficient. They are not just famous, they are inspirations to hundreds of women out there.

Though the treatment of village women differ from that of urban women, these ladies present a ray of hope and give a reason to look forward to development.

Source by Niyati Khanna

An Ideal Student

Who is an ideal student? Some may think that an ideal student should be brilliant in his studies and always stand at the tope of the successful students. But it is a wrong thinking. He should be well in his studies and his scores should be well above 50 percent. But he need not be brilliant. Brilliant students are often regard themselves as superior beings. Sometimes a brilliant student may be a bookworm. But an ideal student is hard-working, polite and gentle. He is intelligent and practical and never neglects studies or other activities of the school.

An ideal student is ever cheerful, positive, optimistic, cooperative disciplined and labourious. He is obedient and respectful. He pays proper respect to teachers, elders and his senior students. He is punctual, regular and cooperative and helps other students as best as he can. He spends some of his spare time in the library, reading books, magazines and newspapers but is never a bookworm. At the same time he takes active part in games and sports and co-curricular activities. He never neglects his body nor studies. He pays particular attention to the proper and all round development of his personality. He takes special care to have good moral character and courage. He is friendly, kind and cooperative and liked by his friends and teachers.

He is always active, smart, well-dressed, good mannered and humble. He need not wear fashionable or costly clothes or uniform. He is healthy, cheerful and good looking but need not be handsome and fashionable. His manners are acceptable, courteous and natural. Wherever he goes he spreads good cheer, warmth and friendliness. He is obedient but sometimes may be a little naughty. He enjoys good things of life in moderation and never acquires bad habits. He always keeps away from the bad company.

He aims at all-round development of his growing personality. He loves studies as much as games and sports. He takes daily some physical exercise to keep his body fit and trim. He believes in the saying that “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy”. Moderation and balance is the hall-mark of an ideal student’s life.

An ideal student is well aware of his duties and responsibilities as a student. He knows how much he owes to his parents, teachers and the society. He takes the full advantage of the opportunities offered. He uses his time wisely and in a planned way and believes that time is money. He knows that students are the future citizens, leaders, parents and scientists. This sense makes him devote all his energies into developing himself a meaningful and useful citizen of the country. He is always proud of his country, its history, culture and heritage.

An ideal student takes keen interest in social and welfare activities in his own way. He wants to make the world a better place. He studies the lives of great men and women of the country and draws inspiration from them. He tries to follow them and their teachings. He is never misguided nor suffers from an complex.

Source by Rahul K

Using Water Fountains as Memorials

Much like a statue, water fountains are also used to commemorate an individual’s memorable existence or notable achievement. While fountains are often constructed of some kind of statuary, obviously the difference lies in the addition of falling water. The sound of falling water brings on the feeling of peace and the sight of it reflection. Adding water to a solid form instantly changes a simple object into a tangible and living thing. Unlike a statue (no matter how elaborate the statue is in itself), water fountains trigger much sentiment and idealism.

In “Song of the Spirits over the Water” by Johann Wolfgang Goethe it is written, “A mortal’s soul seems like the water, from heaven coming to heaven rising again renewed then to earth descending ever changing.” Certainly, using a water fountain as a memorial goes a long way in adding continuity. It is as though what has passed or died still lives and will continue living for eternity.

Who do Fountains Represent?

While fountains as memorials have been used throughout Europe as well as the United States, it is really a world wide practice. Fountains as memorials have often been used for royalty, great heroes or notable politicians such as the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain located in Piccadilly Circus, London. This fountain designed by Alfred Gilbert in 1893 was built as a monument for Anthony Ashley-Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury. Ashley-Cooper was a politician who worked tirelessly in English social and educational reform.

While it seems that many fountains are used as a memorial for mostly males, one commemorative fountain representative of a woman is the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain located in Bryant Park behind the New York Public Library. Built in 1912, this fountain was the first prominent memorial honoring a woman. The beauty of this gentle yet powerful fountain symbolizes the strong and beautiful character of Lowell who was an inspiration in charitable giving.

Aside from mere mortal souls, water fountain memorials are also used to celebrate the life of religious icons. These are particularly popular in countries heavily influenced by religion such as Catholicism or Hinduism. Many families have table top water fountains in their homes to place at homemade altars running the fountains non-stop. Various table top Buddha fountains are particularly popular as they not only celebrate Buddha but are thought to bring good luck to the families that have the fountains running non-stop.

Where Memorial Fountains are Located

Most, hugely impressive memorial fountains are located in public parks and squares. Obviously, communities and architects who take the time to recognize a significant and historical figure would want as many people to view the memorial as possible.

Memorial fountains are special in a way that no other fountain is. While many fountains are used as décor or to impress the public, memorial fountains are truly erected for remembering not only the person they are built for, but also to reflect on our own lives. Memorial fountains make us stop to think about the character of which the fountain represents but also to think about our own societal contributions and inspire us to such greatness as those they commemorate.

Source by Elizabeth Jean

Fathers, Don’t Be Ignorant About Pregnancy

When my wife was conceived and expecting my son, Ethan, I was so exhilarated that I started searching for information on pregnancy, which would hopefully help me become a good father and a caring husband. I was amazed at the amount of information available, especially for a new, ignorant father like me. After that process of searching and learning I had to admit that in this time and age, we fathers have no excuse to be a lousy dad. One may be excused if he is illiterate. Even so, the illiterate can always ask other fathers for advice and tips.

After I have digested the information and shared what I have researched and known with my expecting wife, she was also astonished how much a husband could get himself ready to be a father nowadays. There is absolutely no reason not to know. Before the internet became widespread, we might still give the excuse “Oh, I do not have the budget to buy that reference book or that guide book.” Sorry guys, this excuse is outdated. Most of us have an internet line at the comfort of our home to search for all the information we need from around the world. Even if you do not have an internet line at home, there is probably a cybercafé nearby or, better still, free internet line in the neighborhood library. No time? Sorry guys, that is no longer an acceptable alibi. Everybody has the same number of hours, 24 hours a day. If you really do not have the time, please do not get your wife pregnant. Don’t you know there are options of contraceptives? I hope you guys know this one!

Pregnancy is a funny thing. Not every female experience the same symptoms. However, you will definitely find something that remains true from what you read and learn. Each trimester comes with something different. And each trimester comes with its own challenges, risks and joy as the fetus, your child, grows and develops through the weeks and months.

Some pregnant mothers do not experience many symptoms at all. And some are like not pregnant at all, except maybe with an appetite of a cow! Some, like my wife, were totally beaten and bedridden throughout most of the day. My wife was like taking a long voyage! She was like having sea sick for about 6 months. Apart from that, she also suffered from gastric and back pain. Worse, she had to wake up at 3 to 4 am in the morning and eat a piece of bread to stop the gastric and the kicking inside. My son ought to know this when he grows up!

I am not trying to give you the A to Z of pregnancy here. I am trying to point out all men can be great husband and father. All we need is to spend a bit of time and do what needs to be done out of love and commitment for our wife and child.

If we find out the details for each stage of pregnancy and be observant, a lot of headache and heartache could be avoided or prevented. When we are informed, we can do away with unfounded stress and worries. Even more important, some of the fetal defects or problems could be solved or prevented if known earlier. There is pregnancy related medical information made available to laymen like us. All we need to do is to read up and be informed. I have heard about many pregnancy tragedies because they DID NOT KNOW certain things about the potential risks associated with certain stage of pregnancy. Just imagine how sad that is. If the information is not available, then nothing we can do. If the information has all along been there, and the tragedy happens because we simply did not bother to find out before something happens! How do you feel about that?

Most pregnant mothers have some degrees of depression and insecurity during the months. If the husband is busy and not at home most of the time, she will feel even more depressed and insecure. Fathers and husbands, take note of this. This has some unforgiving influence on your child. When your wife is depressed, certain biochemicals will be emitted by the mother and enters your child’s body. Those biochemicals may impede your child’s growth and development. Or, it may also affect your child’s after-birth behavior when he or she comes into this world.

Guys, you can and need all these information to be a good husband and father. The information is available today. To be or not to be is your call.

Source by Jonas Lee

The Main Setbacks of Content and Language Integrated Learning

1. Introduction

Content and language integrated learning, more commonly known as CLIL, is a term coined in 1994 and originally defined as a set of educational methods which aim at teaching a subject in a foreign language, thus bearing a dual focus: learning the contents of a subject and a foreign language, simultaneously. Since then, many authors have strived to further define what CLIL means, as well as to gain further insight into what it implies. Coyle et al (2010) define it as “an educational approach in which various language-supportive methodologies are used which lead to a dual-focused form of instruction, where attention is given both to the language and the content“. If we look at both definitions, the former given by Kohonen (1994) through UniCOM (a project integrating the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and the European Platform for Dutch Education), we see that most elements are repeated, namely educational methods/approach, dual focus, language and content, etc. Hence, we can see that despite time, almost a good twenty years now, the essence of CLIL still remains the same.

But why has CLIL become an important approach in terms of teaching? Although this question may be answered at length at any time by many respected authors, it may also be summarised in only a few lines. Its importance is widely understood to lie in the idea that any given language should be the means towards achieving something else. In our context, an educational one, language learning is regarded as a tool towards learning other contents, as well as an educational goal in itself. In this sense, CLIL may be regarded as the perfect educational approach. Firstly, we learn a subject’s content. Secondly, we acquire a foreign language. Thirdly, we are to use the foreign language, not just to learn about it, which is as optimal as it gets. Sadly, the sociocultural and educational contexts in which CLIL may be implemented are in most cases far from perfect, making it difficult or even impossible to be carried out. In this sense, we should ask ourselves whether CLIL is actually as good as it sounds, whether it is really determining the course to be followed, or if it is simply another utopic approach that will eventually be cast into oblivion. This article aims to clarify this particular issue: is CLIL the approach for the future? In order to be able to answer this controversial query, I will outline some of the drawbacks in relation to the implementation of CLIL, dividing them into those which I consider have a greater importance in terms of difficulty, and those which may be overcome more easily.

2. Major CLIL setbacks

CLIL, just as any other teaching approach, has its supporters and detractors, and it is our goal now to focus on the arguments expressed by the latter, in order to determine whether CLIL is worth all the fuss or not. Let us now see some of the greatest difficulties that implementing a CLIL approach brings about.

Firstly, off the top of any teacher’s head, arise what are surely regarded as the major obstacles when even considering implementing CLIL in any given educational context: time constraints and attainment of goals. These two issues, though they may be treated separately, should be dealt with together, as they always come hand-in-hand. On the one hand, we have to take into account that learning a language, by whatever means, is no easy feat. It takes years to master a mother tongue, how easy can it be to excel in a foreign language? Not at all. In this sense, we ought to consider the time that pupils under a CLIL approach are exposed to the foreign language. Ideally, if every subject were taught in that foreign language, every student would benefit from a good 25-30 hours a week of language exposure, at least. This amount of time is surely enough to become fluent in a foreign language in several years. However, thinking so is unrealistic. Firstly, it is rather unlikely that such amount of exposure really took place, due to other related issues such as culture-related problems, shortage of teacher training or lack of linguistic fluency or mastery. Also, some students would need a good deal of instruction in their mother tongue to take place so as to be provided with a comprehensible starting point. Besides, during these 25-30 hours, how long do students spend speaking to each other for non-academic purposes? And more specifically, which language would they use to do so, or even for academic reasons, their own comfortable mother tongue or a second language with which they might not feel confident enough? This would deduct a considerable amount of time from the initially given figure.

On the other hand, closely related to time constraints, there come the different educational demands expected from teachers and higher spheres. In the first place, teachers ought to fulfil a set of goals in terms of what students must learn and the skills they must acquire or develop. That is, not only in a foreign language, but in every subject of the educational curriculum. In this sense, it is already difficult to meet these demands, so simply imagine how hard it would be for both teachers and students to add the element of working entirely in a language which is not their own and still being compelled to fulfil the same educational goals. This would only be possible in contexts in which the foreign language is well rooted into society, as it happens in countries such as the Netherlands, where the English language is widely spread amongst its population as well as its culture. However, in other countries, take Spain for instance, there is hardly any exposure to a second language outside an educational context. In such case, how can students cope with the dual-focus of a CLIL approach and still accomplish the same objectives as non-CLIL students? It is virtually impossible, and pupils are at risk of what it is called backsliding, meaning that CLIL may even have counter-productive effect on students’ performance, not only in their subjects but also in their first language. Per contra, there may be a possible solution to this, though it may not be fair for some students. However, we will see to that at the end of this article. Let us now continue focusing on some other related CLIL issues.

Another important setback of CLIL is the fluency of the teachers in the foreign language. If a teacher is to teach a subject by means of a foreign language, he or she undoubtedly needs to be extremely fluent in this particular language, as well as versed in the subject in hand. Anyone can learn something by heart in another language, and just “spit” it. However, a teacher has to explain concepts, has to provide with examples, has to face challenging questions from students, has to be able to simplify things, has to have the necessary skills to improvise, etc. Therefore, if a teacher is not extremely fluent in the foreign language, he or she is not qualified to teach content and language in an integrated manner. It is just absurd to even consider so. This is for example the problem that some countries are facing nowadays. In the case of Spain, there is a huge demand for bilingual schools, in which every subject is taught in English by means of CLIL. In doing so, teachers, both veterans and newly-qualified ones, are expected to be fluent in the language. Be that as it may, it is quixotic to think that all of a sudden teachers are going to become fluent in a foreign language. It must be said that it is not a matter of teachers not willing to learn a language, but rather that based on historical educational tradition, even some language teachers are not fluent enough in the language they teach, let alone subject teachers, who have not received proper language instruction in years or even in their lives. It is for this reason that, although many Spanish schools, both state and private ones, claim to be educating pupils in a bilingual environment, it is a lie or rather a dream from which society will eventually have to awaken. For a school to be able to provide students with a bilingual education, it must count with a fully bilingual staff, and that, in current Spanish state schools can simply not happen nowadays. Some private schools offer effective immersion programmes where teachers are either native or completely bilingual. However, attending these schools can only be afforded by wealthy families, which leaves middle and lower classes at a disadvantage from a linguistic and academic point of view.

Related to teachers as well, we encounter the problem with current foreign language teachers. In this regard, if CLIL were to be the future of all schools’ approach, what would happen to language teachers? Maybe, in a primary school context language teachers would be able to adapt, since in many countries they are also trained in teaching other subjects apart from the foreign language. However, language teachers in higher educational levels would be in deep water. They would either end up out of a job or would have to transform their role drastically. In some cases, they could aid subject teachers in adapting and creating teaching materials or maybe provide linguistically weaker students with language support and assistance. Either way, the role of the language teacher would become practically extinct or obsolete.

3. Minor CLIL setbacks

We will now be looking at some downsides of any CLIL approach that even though they are not as hard to overcome as the ones previously analysed, they still need a fair share of thought and consideration.

Closely related to the issue of teachers’ linguistic level and so-called bilingual schools, we have some political issues. With reference to this, one must consider that any political party that promises to improve and foster how foreign languages are taught, will no doubt attract the attention of those parents that are worried about their children’s education and future. And this promise may be done by means of implementing CLIL in schools. Nevertheless, politicians only convey to voters the bright side of any political decision. Therefore, some gullible parents may be lured into believing that their children will be bilingual if they vote for one particular party or another, while in fact this “change” will only take place on paper, and not as a real enhancement or improvement of students’ linguistic level.

In addition to political lies, we encounter the Trojan Horse argument. The problem in this case is that, in multilingual countries, CLIL may be used for politico-linguistic reasons (Ball, 2012). In some countries, such as Spain, there are regions in which there are various official languages. Such is the case of Catalonia or the Basque Country, where there are two official languages and the use of each is closely linked to political, cultural and social issues. In these cases and in educational contexts, there exist tensions as regards the language in which pupils are taught. Therefore, implementing CLIL in Catalonian or Basque, respectively, has consequences that transcend educational boundaries and both sociocultural and political elements come into play. As a result of this, CLIL in this type of regions must be very carefully planned and considered, in order not to give rise to further social and political tensions.

Veering towards non-political issues, another setback that we encounter when thinking about CLIL is the issue of materials. This affects not only teachers, but also publishers. On the one hand, teachers under CLIL circumstances would have to invest a considerably larger amount of time in creating and adapting materials so as to make them suitable for pupils. This is not only rather difficult to do, but also quite unfair. Teachers already have enough work and responsibilities for a couple of lifetimes, so undertaking such a time-consuming task is just not fair on them. On the other hand, since CLIL is difficult to export across frontiers, publishers seem reluctant to publish any general textbooks (Ball, 2012). In consequence, all the work falls upon teachers, and for them to painstakingly adapt everything is almost impossible. Furthermore, how would publishing most materials in a foreign language affect the industry of publishers of subjects such as history, maths or science? How would they react to having to translate and adapt everything? I do not believe that they would be willing to do so overnight.

Finally, an important change has to take place when testing and assessing students being taught from a CLIL approach. Since CLIL has a dual focus, content and language, teachers have to create a different means of “measuring” students’ performance that took into consideration both content and language performance at the same time. As a result of this, the task of assessing students becomes remarkably harder than it is nowadays.

4. Conclusion

Throughout the course of this article I have focused mainly on the downsides of Content and Language Integrated Learning, and not on its upsides. However, and although I believe the drawbacks are numerous and somewhat tough to overcome, CLIL probably has greater advantages than disadvantages. By saying so, I mean that whilst CLIL is far from being perfect, it is definitely closer to perfection than what came before it. In my view, CLIL is an approach towards which we should steer our educational system. The fact that something is utopic does not mean that it should be disregarded. All to the contrary, it means that it is what we should be seeking.

Humans use language to communicate. Thus, communicating is the only reason for language to exist. In education, communication is the basis for conveying and transmitting knowledge. Therefore, if we can use a foreign language as the main tool to share and acquire knowledge, we are learning a second language in the most meaningful way possible, and that is, or rather would be, the perfect way to acquire any foreign language, by using it. And, fortunately, CLIL meets this requirement. Accordingly, I believe that CLIL is the approach for the future. However, I believe that in my country, Spain, it is not being implemented in an appropriate way. I feel that the cart is being put before the horse. Teachers leave college with barely any knowledge of CLIL, and they are expected in so-called bilingual schools to teach subjects in a foreign language. The government sells to parents the idea of raising bilingual children, while they pressure teachers to attain a B2 level of English that is hardly enough to be teaching English at a primary level, let alone to teach all the different subject contents, such as Maths, History, Science, Philosophy, etc.

From my point of view, CLIL is an ideal approach. But it calls for a change that cannot happen overnight. It cannot even happen in the course of ten years. I am in no position to say how long it may take, but I know that if it is to be implemented flawlessly it must be done from the bottom, starting in kindergarten and moving up through primary, secondary and college levels. It is either that or stumbling once and again over the same mistakes that we are currently making. Pupils must start with CLIL from the very beginning of their educational stages. And, although this seems ideal and somewhat viable, it would be highly unfair to previous generations of students who would miss out on a great opportunity of being by far more fluent in a foreign language. Nonetheless, I still believe it is the only way of making things right. With regard to teachers, these should be fully qualified and competent in the use of a foreign language, and should have received specific CLIL training throughout their studying days. Besides, veteran teachers should not be forced to learn another language. It is unfair that they are being made to do so nowadays, after so many years studying and teaching in their own mother tongue, as, in most cases, it is impossible for them to acquire a level that would enable them to competently carry out their service in a different language from their own.

After having expressed my views on the subject, I believe that the only thing left to say is that CLIL should either be carried out properly, or not carried out at all.

5. Bibliography

– Ball, P. & Master in Applied Linguistics (University of Essex) (Eds.) (2012). Content and Language Integrated Learning. FUNIBER

– Coyle, D., Hood, P., and Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

– Kohonen, V. (1994). Teaching Content through a Foreign Language is a Matter of School Development. UniCom. Jyväskylä University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Source by Luis PW