SPEAK TO BE REMEMBERED

It is important that presenters deliver in a way that evokes appreciation from the audience. Good work can be enhanced or undone by presentation
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Many educators are required to present in public. That may be in every environment from staff meetings to convention centres. delivery may be to a few people or to hundreds attending conferences. Delivery at workshops comes into the equation. Included are interviews that may be on radio, television or on you tube and similar.

The way in which presenters deliver their messages often reveals alarming shortfalls in methodology. The way in which presenters speak often reveals shortfalls in their capacities. Gesture, body language, word choice, speech hesitations, and awareness of time are a few areas requiring education. There are many others.

It is said that beyond a presentation, 7% of audience recipients remember the speech content and often for short periods of time. On the other hand 42% of audience groups remember the manner and method of delivery and for substantial periods. It is the way in which presenters present, rather that what they say which makes key impact.

I believe that educators, from teachers through to principals and departmental CEO’S should consider speech and message delivery training. This might be through formal coursework, or through joining an organisation that promotes speaking and listening skills. Toastmasters and Rostrum comes to mind but there are other organisations including Zonta.

It is easy to discount the importance of speech delivery. This is an area that needs our attention.

DON’T DILUTE ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

DON’T RELEGATE ETHICS

It is fine to talk about accountability in leading and teaching.    Accountability is important. It is often the only thing that is discussed. 

Consider though, the need for ethics to underpin leading and teaching. Accountability  Leadership (AL) is demanded of school leaders by systems. Principals and school leaders in turn put AT (accountability [in] teaching) back onto teachers. This is about meeting systemically imposed standards, with testing, measurement and assessment the key national education drivers.

In all this, I am disappointed that the ethical elements of leading and teaching can take a back seat. Holistic education, which considers the social, we optional and moral/spiritual factors of development can run second the the academic imperative. If and when this happens, students are the losers.

FOR POLITENESS SAKE – Uphold and Model Respect and Good Manners

These days, manners are not practised by habit. Many children (and adults) are poorly mannered. It seems that a big percentage have never been taught the rudiments of good manners at home. Child care programs may try but their prime focus is on minding, not on teaching.

All too frequently children overlook ‘excuse me’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’. ‘i beg your pardon’ and so on. Although it gets monotonous, correcting students who overlook these essences of politeness and good manners is important. Commenting in a praising context to children who do remember to use these words and expressions can offer positive reinforcement.

One of the most frequent oversights occurs when children butt into conversations being held by teachers with another student or students. That impetuosity certainly needs correction. Children need to appreciate the need to wait their turn when dealing with teachers.

Manners can be broached through appropriately constructed lessons. To involve students in situational role play where manners need to be practised can help. Periodic classroom discussions about manners and politeness might be useful.
The subject could be broached through a Socratic Discussion session.

Strategies to reinforce the need for good manners including reinforcement through daily classroom interaction should be part of teaching and learning strategy.

SHOULD GRADES BE REPEATED

Many say that for a child to repeat a grade is anathema. As a long time practitioner I believe that repeating has its place. But children need to be included in any conversation about repeating.

 

SHOULD GRADES BE REPEATED?

Repeating a grade may be an issue for some parents, children and teachers. The subject generally comes up during term four. Should students who are really struggling, repeat a grade or move on to the next year level. This can be an issue for parents and teachers of younger and sometimes older children.

The general consensus is that under no circumstances should children repeat. However the subject is one not about which generalisations should be made. Rather, the matter should be considered in relation to the needs of individual students.

Empirical evidence generally suggests that repeating a year will act against the self esteem and well being of children who do not go up a grade with their peers. Shame and self consciousness may become overwhelming feelings. Children may also be subjected to teasing by other students. However there are two sides to the issue.

Repeating can be a better option than prematurely promoting children. While aligned with peers, they will always be on Struggle Street, attaining results at the lower end of the outcomes spectrum. There is a danger children will accept mediocrity as the norm, rather than aiming higher.

Always include children in any conversation about repeating. They are well able to understand the pros and cons of issues. If repeating a grade is being considered, the child has to feel comfortable about this option. This requires negotiation that takes into account the child’s feelings on the subject.

Not all academic

The need to consider repeating a year may be for other than academic reasons. It could be advisable because of the child’s extended absence through illness or long periods spent on holiday overseas. It may be considered because a child lacks sufficient maturity to deal with curriculum requirements at a particular level. Repeating is not uncommon. A Martin (University of Sydney in ‘The Conversation’ November 21, 2011) revealed that between 8% and 10% of children repeat a grade during their schooling years.

Same or new school

Some children may find it easier to repeat in a new school. However, leaving friends and a going elsewhere has its downsides. To the child, transferring may seem like running away. This may not be good for character development.

Repeating a year should never be considered lightly. Children should be fully involved in discussion and understanding, because it is their future that is being considered. Unless this happens, repeating may do more harm than good.

MY DILEMMA AS A MARKER OF TERTIARY PAPERS

I do some part time work around Tertiary Education. I am a casually employed marker.  I’m beginning to become very worried about standards of assignments submitted by students for marking.

Background

My own tertiary studies were completed through the 1980s and 1990s. The drift in requirements for assignment presentation that have evolved from then until now are a distinct worry. Universities have the codes of assignment presentation and students are asked to be familiar with those. However it seems that conformity doesn’t really matter. Some of the things that have caused me concern as a marker are indicated.

Glaring Issues

* Many students do not cite or use compulsory course reference texts.

* Some students do not tackle the whole assignment requirement. If there are three elements, they may only complete one or two of these requirements.

* Title pages are generally not provided.

* There is often evidence in one case of material being lifted from a source but not discussed in detail or particularised as required. There is a generalised response to a specific requirement.

* Students waffle on with narrative discourse when a table or rubric would offer greater meaning and clarity to argument.

* Students tend to write on the side of brevity. When a 1,500 to 2,000 word suggestion is offered, many seem to struggle to 1,000 words.

* Some students write in a way that presumes markers can read their minds or have background on issues that should be elaborated and explained. That presumption can mean that students too are vague about issues and the strategy is one that covers the issue.

* Matters of word usage, paper layout, typing text, paragraphing techniques and double spacing of text are either untaught or forgotten skills. Papers are very hard to read.

* Casual markers are employed on a per hour basis. It is generally expected that an assignment will take around 20 or 25 minutes to read and comment upon. The way in which papers are presented and the need to offer advice about deficits makes this an impossible task.

I wanted to write about this difficulty and share it on my blog. It is a real issue and one I find quite confounding. I wonder whether I should worry about these things or am I just whistling in the wind?