Equality In Education For All

I began my teaching career in 1985 in what was then an Inner London College. South Thames College in Putney was a college which was keen to maintain its high literacy and numeracy standards, and worked closely with local schools to improve its 14-16 provision. My role as the newly appointed School Link Tutor was to ensure, in consultation with the Senior School Link Co-ordinator, that the curriculum reflected the diverse needs of the young people who attended the college twice weekly. The course had been designed to accommodate those who did not have academic aspirations, and as such vocational tasters comprised fifty per cent of the programme. The students were from two schools, one an all girls school and the other an all boys school. These students, who were only fifteen years of age were already deemed as less likely to achieve good academic grades. One of the main aims and objectives of the course was to encourage the students not to simply drop out of the educational system, but to realise that educational opportunities were available to all.

The course offered vocational tasters in keyboard skills and office practice, (today it would be classed as ICT) cookery, painting and decorating, motor vehicle and basic skills in English, Maths and Personal Development. The vocational tasters operated on a carousel basis for the duration of six weeks. In addition there were two weeks of work experience built into the course. The three days spent at school enabled an opportunity for a more in-depth study of traditional curriculum subjects such as geography, history, science and RE. The students were challenging and some had behavioural difficulties. However, because they were in a new environment and had not as yet been labelled by the institution as underachievers, some of the students began to show a great deal of promise, and were once again engaged in the learning process.

I have worked with disaffected young people throughout my teaching career, either those disinterested in the traditional curriculum or those who were uninterested in learning about English Literature, and were in the classroom through no choice of their own. I learned how to make the teaching of Shakespeare and other traditional literary works more relevant to the student’s everyday experience, and so involved the student’s in the learning process. I also persevered with these challenging students through a variety of other strategies. One such strategy was to encourage students not to simply accept what they were being told but to check the information for themselves. In today’s technological world it’s easy enough to find information. Therefore as part of the learning experience, when you are writing up your notes you should make additional comments by researching the subject matter in more depth. Additionally do not simply accept things as being the truth; but check their validity. Does it make sense? Discuss it with other students and your teacher. Most of all take responsibility for your own learning and understanding of the topic.

Differences in Gender Learning

The philosophy and politics inherent within teaching changes fairly regularly, but a firm foundation on which to base one’s teaching can be found through religious scripture as well as from an understanding of pedagogical techniques. From a scriptural perspective I ensure that God is at the centre of my life and is the foundation on which I assess and re-assess my moral and ethical values. I believe that most teachers show their students acts of kindness and ensure that they know they are valued and respected within the classroom. Arguably those who place Jesus Christ at the centre of their lives also ensure that their students understand God’s purpose in our lives.

The pedagogy of teaching is more concerned with the practicalities of teaching, for instance effective learning resources and tools, ensuring the students are involved in the learning process, as well as regular assessments and evaluations of the students’ knowledge and understanding. As educators there are a whole host of factors which need to be taken into consideration to equip our young people with the skills, knowledge and experience required to make them effective members of society. One important consideration is that there is a difference in the way boys and girls learn. Exponents of this argument would suggest that girls often develop good interpersonal skills and are keen to communicate and interact with their peers. They see learning as a way of impressing their peers and many value education as a focal point in their lives.

On the other hand boys tend to act out in order to impress their peers rather than show that they are intelligent and quite competent learners. This macho image is often quite negative and the behaviours associated with it, could lead the young man to be excluded from school. For instance, I am aware of a male student who some years ago needed to bond with other males in the group. However, the ways in which this manifested itself was very negative and included ‘shaping up’ to the male teachers. His ‘laddish’ behaviour became anti-social and he began to cross school boundaries. The inevitable happened, and had it not been for the pastoral support plan which was put in place through negotiation with the Head teacher of the school, the Head of the school year, his parents and the school counsellor, this particular young person would have been permanently excluded from school. Fortunately this did not happen and he was re-integrated back into the classroom, and was closely supervised by all concerned.

Proponents of the argument that boys and girls are not only socialised differently, but also compete in differing ways in school would further argue that boys need to take part in these ‘rites of passage’, however in so doing it may mean challenging the establishment and this in turn could lead to being permanently excluded from the educational system. If this were to happen it may damage their prospective academic achievements and future career prospects. Girls on the other hand tend to be socialised to interact and be supportive of each other. Most girls tend to talk, listen and share emotions, ideas and knowledge with each other, and while they too challenge authority figures it is often in a less confrontational manner. Arguably, girls are less likely to experience long term exclusion from school; and the continuity within their education may ensure they get better qualifications and eventually good jobs.

There are many ways to address the apparent differences in which boys and girls learn. Some might argue that single sex schools are one way of ensuring that the differing genders are able to compete on equal par with each other. Another strategy which might be implemented is for teachers to take the differing learning styles into account when planning lessons. It has for instance been suggested that some boys tend to learn better through visual stimuli which incorporates movement; and they also like dark colours such as browns and greys. While boys like darker colours girl student eyes are more inclined towards bright colours such as reds, yellows and oranges. These factors can be taken into account during the lesson to motivate and encourage both genders to participate in the learning activity. Teachers can also consider placing students in single-sex groups for a part of the lesson. If the argument holds true that separating boys and girls produces immediate academic improvements, then the environment should take this into consideration when educating young people.

It has been my experience, and this is supported by the Ofsted Report(1996) that not only are there differences in the learning styles between genders; but that boys, especially black boys tend to be disproportionally excluded from school. This report may encourage some understanding of the debate which illuminates that the ‘macho’ image presented by young black boys; which may or may not be an aspect of the rap music culture, is having an adverse effect on the educational achievement of males. While we cannot deal in absolutes I think it’s fair to argue that some boys are more at risk in the educational system. For the most part girls are quite successful at school; and it is when they enter the male dominated workplace that their experiences may be less positive, and they are not as likely to be promoted as their male counterpart.

The socio-economic imbalance between genders can be challenged in numerous ways, not least of which is for teachers to continue to encourage girls to continue to be good at what is perceived as traditional boys or men’s roles and careers. Other factors which could be taken into account are for girls to understand that they need not get pregnant too early. Being informed about birth control and managing their bodies should ensure that they do not become teenage mothers. It may also be useful to socialize girls slightly differently in contemporary society. While I believe in the sanctity of marriage, it does not have to be entered into too early, or if you marry at an early age, it should not necessitate the end of your career aspirations. Girls need to be goal focused and believe that they can realise their dreams and become astronauts, president and the heads of large corporations.

Veronica Williams

Education – One Of The Leading Debate Issues In The UK

Education is one of the few subjects that generate the biggest number of debates and controversies in the UK. Schools and university education system are pivotal for shaping the future generations, and any lacking in these areas is strongly reacted to by people, offline and across online platforms too.

Education at school as well as university levels is one of the major issues that affects the people quite deeply in the UK. A new government policy, a new study on the education pattern or even the falling standards of children’s behaviour sparks off an instant debate among people. People listen avidly to what the policy makers have to say on certain issues, they read the papers to keep up, and catch the latest developments with news as it happens online. With every new move that the government makes in the educational sector, people all across the country follow it closely to understand the impact it will have on their children.

One of the latest educational issues that has people concerned, is the problem children are facing in doing their homework. This is due to the lack of high-speed broadband in some parts of the UK, which is stopping children from completing their homework on time. The concerned MP of the region affected raised this issue and has asked the government to provide a permanent and urgent solution. The two solutions suggested by the MP has people caught up in debate. These solutions are either that the government ensures accessible broadband, or the secondary schools stopped giving out homework that children are unable to do.

While this broadband issue has the government clarifying their huge £530m budget for broadband, parents in the affected areas are still anxious about their children. Parents are discussing the issue with schools as well as the concerned local authorities, and the debate continues till a feasible solution is arrived at. Another current educational issue that is being debated upon hotly is the Ofsted’s annual report that says 800 schools in England are not improving. Ofsted reported that 20 per cent of schools in England were outstanding, while 50 per cent fell in the good category, another 28 per cent schools were satisfactory and 2 per cent have been declared as inadequate. People are also very concerned and have voiced their opinions on the news that educational initiatives aimed at supporting special needs students, are failing to do their jobs. These issues are being discussed all across the UK, and several thinkers are putting forward their views about them.

Many people flock to online debating forums to speak their mind on an issue affecting their children’s future. Of these debate forums, the ones that see most hits are those visited by the leading thinkers and policy makers. When opinion formers put forward their views on some latest educational reform, people get to respond to them and also share their views. They use the online platform to interact with the policy makers who can actually make a difference to the way things are done. Whatever debate questions they have in their mind, they can put forward on the forum and get them answered by the leading thinkers. People now realise that if a key issue like education needs to be discussed, they can head straight to an online debating platform and let the opinion formers know what the public thinks.

Online Driver’s Education – Discover the Most Efficient and Flexible Training Methods

Online driver’s education encompasses professional preparation methods that driving schools have developed in order to meet the latest demands future drivers have set. Although the on-line method was created for all types of age, probably the most fascinated about interactive software application have proven to be the teens. This method goes hand in hand with their busy schedule during and after school classes, as parents truly appreciate distance learning programs. Drives who accumulated a particular amount of driving tickets but are too busy to enter a usual course, direct their attention to this approach. Moreover, any driver who wants only to meliorate his driving abilities might take into consideration professional online driver’s education.

Taking into consideration the competition market in this area, there is a great struggle between driving schools to increase and improve their offer and online drivers education appears to be a significant asset for them. Therefore, they try to individualize as much as they can each preparation courses and to widen their choices. The aim of every certified online drivers education application is to be as more flexible as possible. This is considered to be the fundamental aspect of online drivers education. Follow the list below and see why you should choose the web based approach:

* Interactivity

Online driver’s education was made in such a manner to realize all law necessities. Online learning and training is approved as any other conventional method. Furthermore, it has a high amount of interactivity and in reality stand for a complete simulator. The preparation programs and efficiently created to fulfill all basic requirements necessary to get a driving license.

* Fee and time reduction

The online drivers education has produced major benefits in terms of economic costs. This aspect is closely related to the time management. Applicants testify the advantage of online preparation systems. They were capable of successfully schedule the classes at their pace. Teens are familiarized with the final exam by fulfilling explicit questionnaires. Parents consider online drivers education to be a great application since their own timetable is permanently full.

* Personalized approach

The online drivers education methods are constantly improved to meet the demands of various kind of clients. These web based programs were made to help teens obtain their license but also to help aged people improve their driving abilities and for drivers who are concerned in dismissing recently accumulated traffic ticket.

The benefits of online preparation and examination techniques have changed entirely the severe image of learning and its expansion appears to go further and further. Also, driving schools managers are looking for new challenges in order to keep their offer up to date. Latest technologies allow applicants to gather all the necessary information on this matter. There are courses were candidates will study all there is to know concerning the protection rules they have to abide by and their importance. Managers have developed particular applications on this topic. Partial and final examinations are intended to recognize the weaknesses that might affect bad behavior in traffic. This is provided by the attendance to specialized web-based preparation programs.

School Lunches – Current Problems and How to Do It Right

The concept of a school feeding program has existed for over 100 years in America. It began in Philadelphia with a single school in 1894. By the late 1930s, 15 states had instituted legislation authorizing school lunch programs. Most of them provided the meals at cost, while a few provided low or no cost food to needy children. National support for a permanent school feeding program came in 1946 when President Truman signed into law the National School Lunch Act. The act created the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which still regulates and oversees the familiar school lunch program in effect today. Significant changes to the program have occurred throughout the years, with the last major round of revisions taking place from 1994 through 1996.

Despite the efforts of legislators and school officials, the NSLP has been accused of short-changing the children of this country nutritionally in order to save money and support federally subsidized cash crops like corn. The NSLP is required to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), which is published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA issued the latest DGA on January 31st, 2011. It contained a number of statements reflecting what, for a government agency at least, constitutes progressive thinking. “Groundbreaking” firsts for this year’s release included a focus on whole grain products and a general recommendation to eat less and use smaller portion sizes. Amazing, I know.

The guidelines from the DGA that apply to school lunch programs are pretty limited. NSLP is required to provide no more than 30% of calories by way of fat and no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat. In addition, the school lunch must contain 1/3 of the daily value (DV) for protein, calories, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. While those requirements generally sound positive, there is a lot of room to maneuver in bad directions in the name of short term cost-savings and convenience.

For example, the government’s recommended level of protein consumption comprises only 10% of the overall diet’s calories. It is apparent, therefore, that the majority of school lunch food will be high in carbohydrates.

The DGA also suggests that half of all grain foods be “whole grain.” As you may know, the nutritional difference between whole and refined grains is enormous. While half is good, therefore, more would be better. In addition, the whole-grain suggestion says nothing about the relatively low nutrient density, non-grain vegetables that are the stalwarts of school lunches. The most popular of these offenders is the potato. With some schools literally celebrating “Tater Tot Day,” it doesn’t look good for student nutrition any time soon.

School lunches are operated at the top by the NSLP. The NSLP’s nutritional guidelines are set by the USDA’s DGA (enough acronyms yet?). So, in the end the sad state of school lunches can’t be blamed entirely on the NSLP.

The root of the problem is that the USDA is using 20 year-old dietary recommendations. The agency needs to get with the times and to promote lower glycemic index foods, with more protein and fiber.

Funding for school lunches needs to be a higher priority, too. If we are to feed our kids properly, we’re going to have to pay for the effort. I don’t care whether the money comes from taxes or from a reallocation of funds now spent wastefully (and there’s plenty of that around).

If we want to compete globally then our kids must learn efficiently, and that requires proper fueling every day. Let’s not short-change our future.

With the current school lunch program as unfit as the average American, the best option is to feed your child from your own cupboard. Yet, a parent faces many of the same concerns as the government when deciding what to pack. How do you strike the best balance between convenience, acceptance, nutrition and cost?

The answer is: carefully. On one hand, your child’s tastes and preferences must be taken into account, or they’ll just trade your carrot sticks for honey buns. On the other hand, the kids can’t make all of the decisions: school lunches will consist of fruit rollups and Twinkies! Find a reasoned middle ground.

As with any meal planning exercise, a school lunch should focus on the fundamentals: a base of protein and fiber with some fruits and vegetables to round it out. So what does that look like in practice? A sliced chicken or turkey sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread is always a good start. You can also send some more “entrée-like” dishes in Tupperware containers, like chicken with rice and beans or lean beef with whole wheat pasta and low fat sauce. Tofu also can work well as a protein source for school lunches, but remember that tofu often has a very high moisture content and can waterlog anything around it between the hours your child leaves the house and their lunch period. If you’re including tofu in a child’s lunch, therefore, make sure to prepare and package it in a way where it remains appetizing and doesn’t interfere with other lunch ingredients.

After you’ve sorted out a significant portion of protein, add in a fruit and some colorful, crunchy vegetables. Stick with high nutrient-density fruits, like berries, bananas, and tropical fruits. For vegetables, it is often best to pack them raw. They retain some nice texture and have a fresher flavor than processed veggies. Remember, the goal is for the food to end up in your kid’s stomach, not the lunchroom trash can. If they really don’t like something, then work with them. This issue can’t be forced because kids are essentially on their own at school.

The school lunch program is a valuable part of our education system. But it still has a long way to go before it will maximize the potential of students in this country. Budget shortfalls and the demands of “convenience” have engendered some truly unhealthy school lunch products. Until the NSLP comes around, the best option is to feed your child with a home-packed lunch.

As with any other meal, a school lunch should be based on proper nutritional fundamentals and must also take into account your child’s particular preferences. After all, it’s not going to do them any good if they don’t eat it. Excellent nutrition is imperative to the education process. Give your child the best chance at success with the right meals and snacks before, during and after school.