ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES ON IMPROVING READING COMPREHENSION

birthday-cake-cake-birthday-cupcakes-40183.jpeg

Sadly enough, MOST HIGH SCHOOLS no longer have students taking reading tests. However, when students are identified as not meeting adequate yearly progress in their reading, it is certain that there is a deficit in their reading foundational skills. Often-times, when students struggle in reading, educators mistakenly concentrate all of their efforts on improving comprehension. But in many cases, it is a lack of foundational reading skills— phonemic awareness and phonics, which lead to poor decoding skills—which result in students’ poor understanding.

In this post, I am exploring how High School teachers and students can approach Reading And Directed Writing in the classroom as well as essential strategies on how to tackle exam questions with aplomb and flair, that is, answering the questions precisely and accurately.

However, . . .

At High School, reading comprehension is essential.

READING COMPREHENSION is the ability to understand, remember, and communicate meaning from what has been read.

READING STRATEGIES are crucial for any reader. Once students have adequate decoding and vocabulary skills to allow for fluent reading, their understanding can be improved by instructing students to develop a routine for reading which includes specific strategies that can be employed throughout the reading process (before, during, and after) that increase their awareness and understanding of a text.

These strategies include the following:

BEFORE READING 

Preview the text on how the writer’s background and purpose influence what they write. In a way reading a text critically requires you to ask questions about the writer’s authority and agenda. You may need to put yourself in the author’s shoes and recognize how those shoes fit a certain way of thinking.

DURING READING

Monitor their own reading, generate questions about the text; and identify and organize ideas based on a text’s structure.

Engaging and Connecting with the Text – Once students have addressed unfamiliar words through previewing, they can really engage with the text as they read it by visualizing, focusing on the content, generating questions, and identifying and organizing text structure to improve understanding of the material.

The following are effective strategies that help students engage with a text:

Annotating Text – Marking important text or taking notes about information that is important will help students remember the essentials of a reading passage.

Using Questioning Strategies – Questioning strategies help the reader to clarify and comprehend what he/she is reading. Direct students to develop these as they read and to use cue words, such as who, what, where, when, and why, to guide them in order to make effective questions.

Identifying and Organizing Text Structure – The way an author organizes information in a passage can help the reader increase their understanding of the text.

AFTER READING 

Answer high-level questions and summarize the text.

Having students review and summarize material after reading gives you a simple way to ensure that they understood what they read. Retelling challenges them to retain what they read. Summarization allows them to discriminate between main ideas and minor details.

Rereading is the most effective strategy to increase one’s knowledge of the text. Students should be encouraged to do this especially when they encounter a difficult and challenging piece of text.

As most answers come directly from the passage or text being read, students should always be able to support their answer choices with specific quotations from the text. They must not answer the questions by memory alone nor rely on their own knowledge or opinion of the subject but must answer with particular reference to the text read.

17 Ideas On Teaching Students’ Reading Comprehension

Comprehension strategies are conscious plans — sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of a text. The ideas suggested here help students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension: C.R. Adler has identified strategies to teach text comprehension which include:

  1. Activating – This is “priming the cognitive pump” in order to recall relevant prior knowledge and experiences from long-term memory in order to extract and construct meaning from text.
  2. Monitoring Comprehension – Students who are good at monitoring their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they do not. They have strategies to “fix” problems in their understanding as the problems arise. Research shows that instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension. Comprehension monitoring instruction teaches students to:
    1. Be aware of what they do understand
    2. Identify what they do not understand
    3. Use appropriate strategies to resolve problems in comprehension
  3. Establish The Main Idea: Check the first and last sentences of every paragraph, or the first and last paragraphs in the passage. As you read, continually ask yourself what the main idea of the paragraph is, how that idea is explained or illustrated, and how that paragraph connects with the rest of the passage.
  4. Metacognition – It can be defined as “thinking about thinking.” Good readers use metacognitive strategies to think about and have control over their reading. Before reading, they might clarify their purpose for reading and preview the text. During reading, they might monitor their understanding, adjusting their reading speed to fit the difficulty of the text and “fixing” any comprehension problems they have. After reading, they check their understanding of what they read.
  5. Inferring – Bringing together what is spoken (written) in the text, what is unspoken (unwritten) in the text, and what is already known by the reader in order to extract and construct meaning from the text.
  6. Specific Details – Use line references when they are given. Make sure you are circling/underlining efficiently as you read so you can locate information quickly. Circle key words in the question and then scan the passage to find them or their synonyms.
  7. Tone/Attitude – How is the author emotionally engaged with the subject? Know the following words: aloof, ambivalent, apathetic, callous, candid, caustic, cautionary, condescending, contemplative, contemptuous, cynical, derisive, detached, didactic, disparaging, dispassionate, erudite, flippant, forthright, grudging, incredulous, indignant, indifferent, ironic, jaded, judicious, laudatory, malicious, naïve, nostalgic, patronizing, pedantic, pompous, pragmatic, prosaic, resigned, reverent, sardonic, satirical, skeptical, trite, vindictive, whimsical.
  8. Vocabulary In Context – Many of the words have multiple possible meanings, so you must always look back to the passage to decide how the author is using the word in context. Substitute each answer choice for the word in the sentence and see if it makes sense, even the tense choice. For unfamiliar words, look for clues nearby in the passage.
  9. Backward and Forward Monitoring – Students may use several comprehension monitoring strategies:
  • Identify where the difficulty occurs, eg: “I don’t understand the second paragraph on page 76.”
  • Identify what the difficulty is, eg: “I don’t get what the author means when she says . . . “
  • Restate the difficult sentence or passage in their own words
  • Look back through the text
  • Look forward in the text for information that might help them to resolve the difficulty
  1. Graphic and Semantic Organizers – Graphic organizers illustrate concepts and relationships between concepts in a text or using diagrams. Graphic organizers are known by different names, such as maps, webs, graphs, charts, frames, or clusters.

These are also seen as visualizing, organizing and constructing a mental image or graphic organizer for the purpose of extracting and constructing meaning from the text. Graphic organizers (venn-diagrams, storyboard/chain of events, story map or cause/effect) can:

  • Help students focus on text structure “differences between fiction and nonfiction” as they read
  • Provide students with tools they can use to examine and show relationships in a text
  • Help students write well-organized summaries of a text
  1. Answering Questions – Questions can be effective because they:
  • Give students a purpose for reading
  • Focus students’ attention on what they are to learn
  • Help students to think actively as they read
  • Encourage students to monitor their comprehension
  • Help students to review content and relate what they have learned to what they already know

The Question-Answer Relationship strategy (QAR) encourages students to learn how to answer questions better. Students are asked to indicate whether the information they used to answer questions about the text was textually explicit information (information that was directly stated in the text), textually implicit information (information that was implied in the text), or information entirely from the student’s own background knowledge.

There are four different types of questions:

  • “Right There” – Questions found right in the text that ask students to find the one right answer located in one place as a word or a sentence in the passage. Example: Who is Frog’s friend? Answer: Toad
  • “Think and Search” – Questions based on the recall of facts that can be found directly in the text. Answers are typically found in more than one place, thus requiring students to “think” and “search” through the passage to find the answer. Example: Why was Frog sad? Answer: His friend was leaving.
  • “Author and You” Questions require students to use what they already know, with what they have learned from reading the text. Student’s must understand the text and relate it to their prior knowledge before answering the question. Example: How do think Frog felt when he found Toad? Answer: I think that Frog felt happy because he had not seen Toad in a long time. I feel happy when I get to see my friend who lives far away.
  • “On Your Own” Questions are answered based on a students prior knowledge and experiences. Reading the text may not be helpful to them when answering this type of question. Example: How would you feel if your best friend moved away? Answer: I would feel very sad if my best friend moved away because I would miss her.

12. Generating Questions – By generating questions, students become aware of whether they can answer the questions and if they understand what they are reading. Students learn to ask themselves questions that require them to combine information from different segments of text. For example, students can be taught to ask main idea questions that relate to important information in a text.

13. Monitoring and Clarifying – Thinking about how and what one is reading, both during and after the act of reading, for purposes of determining if one is comprehending the text combined with the ability to clarify and fix up any mix-ups.

14. Recognizing Story Structure – In story structure instruction, students learn to identify the categories of content (characters, setting, events, problem, resolution). Often, students learn to recognize story structure through the use of story maps. Instruction in story structure improves students’ comprehension.

15. Summarizing – Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in what they are reading and to put it into their own words. Instruction in summarizing helps students:

    • Identify or generate main ideas
    • Connect the main or central ideas
    • Eliminate unnecessary information
    • Remember what they read

16. Searching and Selecting – Searching a variety of sources in order to select appropriate information to answer questions, define words and terms, clarify misunderstandings, solve problems, or gather information.

17. Identifying Techniques – How does the author structure his/her argument? Is the passage meant to teach, persuade, or describe? Is the argument objective or subjective? What is the author’s thesis? What type of evidence is used? Does the author quote his sources, or simply cite their names or titles? Are the ideas concrete or abstract? Does the author give specific details or rely on generalizations?

pexels-photo-261895.jpegEffective Comprehension Instruction

Research shows that explicit teaching techniques are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them. The steps of explicit instruction typically include direct explanation, teacher modeling (“thinking aloud”), guided practice, and application.

  • Direct explanation – The teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.
  • Modeling – The teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by “thinking aloud” while reading the text that the students are using.
  • Guided practice – The teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy.
  • Application – The teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.

Work To Understand Your Own Strategies And To Improve Them

  • Ask yourself questions about how you read: Do you read too quickly or slowly? Do you tend to lose your focus? Can you scan for key information or ideas?
  • Consider the characteristics of effective reading above, in relation to those practices and strategies you already employ, to get a sense of your current reading strategies and how they might be improved.

Just as having more than one conversation with another person leads to closer understanding; conducting a number of readings lead to a richer and more meaningful relationship with, and understanding of a text.

This, essentially, requires a lot of practice.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

INCREDIBLE WAYS TO HELP OUR STUDENTS & CHILDREN APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF WORK

pexels-photo-279470.jpeg

Are We Losing our Societal Norms About Work?

Work is something which is becoming less and less appreciated among our dear folks. Parents seem to think it is their duty to give their children everything they possibly can. Really, is that fine?

In this article, I am looking at:

  • Tips for Teaching About Work
  • Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?

Some parents try to compensate for the time they spend at work rather than in the home by spoiling their children with material things. The effects of these actions on both parents and children are negative and are becoming a real problem.

If you have been handed everything all your life, consider some of the following points and maybe you can make some good changes in your life now which will affect the rest of your life.

I guess every parent has a good job teaching children the value of work and the value of their contribution. That being said, sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get our children to consistently do their weekly chores. So, lest you think our family is perfect, we struggle sometimes with getting them to complete their homework, or at times even finding their room in a mess.

Have we lost the opportunity to teach children in a real way, the value of working hard?

Tips for Teaching About Work

While we hope our children learn the intrinsic value of work, many of us struggle with that concept. What would we do with our time if we were independently wealthy? Many would not work much! So, we have to be creative and set an example for our children to follow as:

  • Work is honourable.
  • It is good therapy for most problems.
  • It is the antidote for worry.
  • It is the equalizer for deficiency of native endowment.
  • Work makes it possible for the average to approach genius. What we may lack in aptitude, we can make up for it in performance.

pexels-photo-668137.jpeg

Communicate About Work – Child psychologists recommend that parents share their experiences with work outside the home and talk about the personal benefits of working well. Parents would be well advised to talk about their successes at work and the personal satisfaction of performing well. When you get a raise or a bonus, talk about it with your children. Let them know there are internal and external rewards for a job well done.

Give Responsibility and Rewards – Teaching our students and our children to be successful in their delegated maintenance responsibilities is a bonus. When given duties and responsibilities over something, demonstrate it to them or even coach and clarify certain concepts to them on how to do it. Eventually, with some coaching and working side by side to allow a mentoring experience, OUR students and children will learn the value of responsibility and reward. Whether it is cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, the vacuuming or a cleaning their room, or cleaning their classroom, children need to learn responsibility and work first hand.

Teaching One on One – Most parents learn that the best way of teaching work is to work alongside our students and children. Too often, we put the chore chart up on the wall and move into our own projects without proper coaching and mentoring. Taking the time to work through projects and responsibilities together is the best teaching mode.

Personal Satisfaction. When we teach our children to invest their time and energy into something that requires hard work, it offers them a personal satisfaction they can only gain from experiencing work first hand.

Focus on Balance – Parents who have indulged their children and not yet taught much about work need to be careful in changing that mode. Just as “all play” children are a challenge, so are “all work” kids. The key is striking balance. Don’t go overboard in either direction.

Parents certainly have the responsibility for providing the basic necessities of life for their children, and many would argue that parents also have a responsibility to provide what joy in life they can for their children, but our students or children will never be fully able to appreciate the sacrifices their teachers and parents have made for them until they learn to work themselves.

Self-Denial – Teaching hard work also helps teach our children to think outside themselves and their own personal comfort all the time. Life is not about constantly playing and living a comfortable, leisurely life. In fact, the rewards of rest and recreation are far greater when work is included in a child’s day to day life.

Helping Your Child Get The Best Out Of School – For any work or task done, try to give encouragement and show appreciation of your child’s achievements, whether great or small, as this can help boost their confidence. Teach them basic organisation and time management skills so they are not overwhelmed with projects or homework.

Please check out my article on realising the benefits of potential in our children entitled:

Realising Your Full Potential – Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

Be realistic and avoid putting your child under pressure by having over-high expectations. Let your child develop at their own pace, but if you do have concerns, please speak to them or seek professional advice.

Feedback and Criticism – Try to give feedback rather than criticism, eg: saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. This helps them think about where they went wrong and how they can improve in future, rather than just feeling like a failure.

Work Ethic When we start our children young, we instill in them a strong work ethic. When we teach our children to work hard and do their work well, it will carry over as they become adults and get a job. Unfortunately, excellent work ethic is something that is sorely lacking today. Teach your child how to stand out as “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)

Benefits of work – Poverty is financial, but it’s also much more than that. A body that doesn’t work and exercise itself becomes unhealthy, unfit, and naturally bent towards laziness.

…a child left to himself shames his mother ~ (Proverbs 29:15)

As parents, when we think about responsibility and our roles as parents, there comes with it the reality of duty. Duty is not a dirty word. Duty is recognizing we have an obligation we are expected to uphold, whether we feel like it or not.

God has given us our children to care for, teach, nurture, discipline, and disciple. Are we all doing our duties?

pexels-photo-267885.jpeg

Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?

Many schools across the globe are lacking in this development and concept about work experience. However, in UK schools, for instance, they have a statutory requirement and guidance for a period of work experience, or a more extended work placement for students. They have a core part of programmes for all post-16 students (from Grade 10/Year 10/Form 3) to Grade 13/Year 13/Form 6) whether following an academic or a technical curriculum to support them in developing their work readiness.

Alongside the guidance, the government also expects schools to offer high quality work experience as well as encouraging them to engage fully with their local employer and professional community. Schools have a Work Experience Coordinator, coordinating teams of students to help make arrangements for work.

The duration, timing and content of work experience placements always vary markedly between schools and by the student’s programme of study. Generally work placements range between 8 – 12 days with internships going for a month.

Work experience placements are understood to serve multiple purposes for our students, including:

  • experience of the world of work,
  • employability skills development and
  • experience in helping guide their future career decision-making.

The importance of experiencing the world of work and the need for students to develop and apply skills learnt during study programmes are essential. Once students have been placed with an employer, schools typically support students and monitor their progress through telephone calls and face-to-face visits.

Time To Grow Up

In my twelve years teaching in London, the impact of work-related activities were extremely beneficial to our students. We identified multiple benefits of work-related activities, with soft employability skills like communication and interpersonal skills; and increased confidence being the most beneficiaries among our students.

When our students and children are learning the values of work, both intrinsic and extrinsic, we will be instilling in them a life-long lesson. If you haven’t started yet, you need to start now.

Try it, dear folks, and the benefits will be astounding.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

BEST NETWORKING IDEAS IN THIS DAY AND AGE

Networking lets you put your best face forward. Just put yourself out there and good things happen.

What is Networking?

It is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

It is creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not with “What can I get?”

Networking involves building and maintaining contacts and relationships with other people. The personal networks which you accumulate over time, both socially and professionally can be an invaluable resource. This applies whether you are an entrepreneur looking to start and grow your own new venture, whether you are looking for a job, or working on a project where external ideas and input can help. For entrepreneurs, a contact made at a purely social event may ultimately help to provide you with one of the key ingredients for the start of the business.

What Does Networking Mean In Business?

Networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which businesspeople and entrepreneurs meet to form business relationships and to recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities, share information and seek potential partners for ventures.

It is important to be good at networking if you really want to move ahead in today’s competitive business world

Different Types Of Networks

There are a range of different types of networks from which you can draw:

The social network – Your own personal network of contacts made informally through social or non-business activities. These contacts may comprise family, friends, former work colleagues, contacts made through university, etc.

The professional network – Contacts made through business activities including accountants, lawyers and so on.

Artificial networks – The networks set up within business communities which are open to new members, trade associations, professional institutions, etc. Here some examples of general sites where you can network with other people: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

Top Networking Skills You Should Have (And How to Improve Them)

Networking skills—like communication, active listening and social skills—are extremely valuable to have in both professional and personal environments and are particularly coveted by employers, as all successful businesses depend on networking. This said, it is not enough to simply have great networking skills. You also need to know how to market them in a resume.

In this article, we discuss what networking skills are, share examples of networking skills and offer advice for how you can improve your networking skills. We also offer recommendations for how you can highlight these skills during the interviewing process.

Is Networking A Skill?

Networking is possibly one of the most important skills for entrepreneurs and is one which you have the opportunity to practice on.

Networking involves building and maintaining contacts and relationships with other people.

What Are Networking Skills?

Networking skills are the competencies you need to have to maintain professional or social contacts. Networking is a critical skill in sales, business development and a number of other industries. Networking skills are necessary to make and develop relationships with new contacts and promote something of value.

Important Networking Skills To Have

No matter what profession you’re in, networking is the fuel that accelerates success. Not only is it useful for learning directly from individuals you meet, but the benefits of association and growing your own authority are just as powerful. Whilst many of us aren’t sure where to start, what to say when we connect with someone or how to maintain that relationship; what is important is .

There are different skills that you can practice to become more effective at networking. They include:

Communication, Active Listening, Social Skills, Public Speaking Skills, Nonverbal Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Empathy, Positivity, Humor, and Focus.

COMMUNICATION is the act of exchanging information from one person to another. It involves speaking and empathizing with others to correctly receive the message that the other person is sending and responding accordingly. When networking, communication is essential in order to develop and maintain relationships with others.

ACTIVE LISTENING – Another important networking skill is active listening. To get people excited about your business and what you’re sharing with them, you need to listen to and understand their needs. Active listening involves maintaining eye contact, nodding your head to show you understand what they’re saying and responding appropriately. Active listening also ensures you’re able to ask the right questions to keep a conversation moving forward.

SOCIAL SKILLS – These are the verbal and nonverbal skills that you use to interact with others. They include not only words but also gestures, body language and your personal appearance. It also includes friendliness, which conveys honesty and kindness. That, in turn, can create trust and understanding, which can build a strong foundation for a new relationship when you’re networking.

PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS – Public speaking skills can help you be more comfortable if you find yourself talking to a group of people, particularly at a networking event. Even when you’re just speaking with another person, one-on-one, public speaking skills can help you improve the way you articulate, helping the person you’re speaking with better understand you.

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION – Nonverbal communication is extremely important when networking. It’s important to be aware of your own body language and any messages you may be sending the person with whom you’re speaking. It’s also beneficial to be able to read the body language of the person with whom you’re speaking. This can tell you if you need to change the way you’re expressing your message or alter something else in your communication style.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS – These are often referred to as “people skills” and they impact the way you communicate and interact with others. They include a variety of skills, but particularly skills like communicating, attitude and listening.

EMPATHY – Empathy refers to the ability to feel what another person is feeling. Empathy skills are important for networking, as they make others feel that you understand and can relate to their emotions and experiences.

POSITIVITY – A positive attitude is another important networking skill, as others are drawn to those with a friendly, positive demeanor. Positivity can help you develop a strong rapport with others quickly and, in general, help you to be more instantly likable and memorable.

HUMOR – Humor is humanizing and helps people come together on common ground. When used appropriately, humor can draw people to you and eliminate tension, putting people immediately at ease. People with humor also tend to be more approachable.

FOCUS – Focus is also an important networking skill, as it enables you to give the person with whom you’re speaking your full attention. It will help you be an active listener and allow you to better establish a genuine connection.

How To Improve Your Networking Skills

Here are some steps you can take to improve your networking skills:

1. Look Inside You – Take a close look at the network and resources that you already have in place. Don’t overlook the hidden potential that is all around you. Creating new opportunities from pre-existing ones is the most elemental of networking skills.

2. Practice improving communication habits – Improve your networking skills by practicing good communication habits. Maintain eye contact when you’re speaking with someone and nod your head in understanding or agreement. Use simple, straightforward language, ask questions and invite opinions. Pay attention to the body language of the person with whom you’re speaking to ensure they understand and confirm whether they agree or disagree.

3. Ask friends for constructive feedback – Consider asking friends how you’re coming across in conversation. Understanding where you can improve can help you improve your communication style, which can have a big impact on your networking skills.

4. Attend networking events – One of the best ways you can improve your networking skills is to practice them regularly. Attend networking events and focus on building a genuine human connection with the people you meet. Ask questions that show you’re genuinely interested in getting to know the person you’re speaking with and listen closely to the answer while maintaining eye contact. Respond with relevant questions to show you were listening. Focus on the quality of the relationships you’re having rather than the quantity.

5. Communicating Your Message is a means of gaining credibility that is best accomplished through substance, not style. Listening and asking questions helps you build rapport and trust. Practice your communications until you feel confident that your message will come across as genuine and unscripted.

6. Make A Follow-Up – No matter which method you choose, follow up is crucial to your networking effort. Follow up turns a casual contact made at a meeting, party, or event into a potential long-term relationship.

In the end, networking is all about building relationships that are honest, sincere, and of value to both parties. As you work to stay in touch, try to develop relationships that benefit the other party as much as they do you. Build relationships for the long term.

7. Be Nice to Everyone You Meet – I had a boss once who used to say “the very same person that you develop conflict with may be the one you need for support later on down the line.” You never know? Don’t burn any bridges and do your best to find a happy medium when faced with a difficult situation. Look for the win-win. You may not necessarily agree with everyone but you can agree to disagree and move on.

8. Appearance and Grooming – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” How well you maintain your personal hygiene and how you dress for the occasion speaks volumes without saying one word. You don’t want to be the one that feels out of place. Inquire

9. Introducing Yourself & Your Elevator Speech – Create a working Bio of yourself and memorize it. Who knows you better than you. Be prepared to tell your story on short notice. Your introduction should include your full name. Your elevator speech should include concise information that can be shared in roughly forty-five seconds to one minute. Thank the person for their time when the discussion ends.

10. Be Nice to Everyone You Meet – I had a boss once who used to say “the very same person that you develop conflict with may be the one you need for support later on down the line.” You never know? Don’t burn any bridges and do your best to find a happy medium when faced with a difficult situation. Look for the win-win. You may not necessarily agree with everyone but you can agree to disagree and move on.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Practical Approach To Attending Business Meetings

It is important that you broaden your range to build new contacts and for this you will need to develop and hone some good networking skills. You may have attended events in the past and wondered how some individuals seem to effectively ‘work the room’ and talk to large numbers of people and swap business cards – with practice this is not so difficult to achieve!

Top tips To Broaden Your Contacts

One of the most important tip is having a one-minute ‘elevator pitch’ about your business idea or a tag line about yourself (a few words you can say after your name by way of introduction). Being able to articulate your business opportunity in a short space of time is essential and many of our programmes involve sessions on pitching your ideas.

  1. Check the delegate/attendees list beforehand and decide who you particularly want to speak to and what you want to talk to them about.
  2. Have a one-minute ‘elevator pitch’ ready to describe your distinctive competence. Practice doing this well before the event – you will avoid hiccups on the day. If you feel awkward, go with someone who is not and ask them to help you.
  3. Arrive early and check the name tags to see who else has arrived.
  4. Avoid spending too much time at the bar or in dead areas where it is hard to move onto another person you want to talk to if you get bored.
  5. If you do feel trapped, find someone else that the person you are with might enjoy speaking to.
  6. Ask others to introduce you to the people you want to meet.
  7. Get drinks for people who are having a good conversation.

REMEMBER . . . Quality Over Quantity

Many people think that networking means meeting as many people as possible. That’s not so. Making a few meaningful connections is often better than working an entire room. If you can have three or four deeper conversations, then you and the people you meet will be more likely to remember the interaction.

So, to conclude . . .

Cultivate Your “Power” Contacts

As much as many people may not like to hear it, “All contacts are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

You’re going to come across people who become power contacts as you become more connected with those in your industry. These people will be the ones who are constantly introducing you to new/interesting contacts, referring you to others for more work, and just generally pushing your business forward.

You don’t need to know the most people, just the right people.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

IELTS LISTENING TEST – THE ROAD TO SUCCESS (Band 5+)

The IELTS Listening Test will take about 30 minutes, and you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

IELTS LISTENING – 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes

Test takers listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write their answers to a series of questions.

I always make sure students:

• Think about the context before they listen and identify the type of information they will need to listen for

• Read the questions before they hear the text and use the time between each section to prepare for the following section

A few more of the best IELTS Listening Tips that you can keep trying include:

  • Work on Your Vocabulary
  • Practice! Be a regular at IELTS Listening Practice Test.
  • Use a Pencil (Neatness Matters!)
  • Answer in CAPITAL LETTERS (Highly Recommended)

LISTENING’s 4 sections, [40 questions, 30 minutes]

IELTS Listening syllabus 2022 has four sections that last for 30 minutes. There are 40 questions in total, and each question carries one mark. The questions get gradually tricky as the test goes on. Timing is critical while attempting this part.

The applicant gets only 10 minutes to transfer answers to the answer sheet provided at the end of the test.

LISTENING Test’s 4 sections are divided into:

Section 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context. This section consists of a conversation you need to listen to where two people talk on everyday social topics. The conversation can be related to anything such as arranging a trip, organizing an event etc. include social needs and conversation between two speakers. Example- travel planning, booking accommodation, unknown city, etc.

Section 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities. In this section you will listen to a talk by one speaker on a general topic. The topic might be about a person giving information on a public event, a service provided etc. described social needs, and it is a monologue. Example- student services on campus, interviews, shopping, etc.

Section 3: A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment. education and training context. The third section is a conversion between 4 people. Example- academic assignment, professor’s speech, research project, etc. In this section you will hear a conversation between two or four people about an educational or training context. Aspirants have to listen to the conversation given by four people talking to each other about an assignment for a course or anything related to it.

Section 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture global warming, talk about endangered species, children grow up, forest reserve,

Each section is heard once only. They include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian. This section consists of monologues on an academic or study related topic. You will listen to a talk by a person which is focused academically.

The different types of questions used in IELTS Listening Test include:

  • Multiple choice
  • Matching
  • plan/map/diagram labeling
  • Form completion
  • Note completion
  • Table completion
  • Flow-chart completion
  • Summary completion
  • Sentence completion
  • Short answer completion

Common Reasons Why IELTS Listening Is Problematic

The Listening aspect is yet another aspect to be covered in the IELTS Listening test. This could be a tough and critical aspect but if observation and good listening powers are developed, then it is easy to interpret and score. The Recording is done only once. So it is a huge task on the aspirant to understand, remember and reproduce it correctly.

Some common mistakes that candidates make are:

1. Lack Of Knowledge About The Exam Format

The IELTS academic listening test taker should know the IELTS test format. If you have no proper knowledge of the structure, you can’t take good preparation. For this reason, the IELTS listening exam will be so hard for you. My recommendation is first to know about the test format and then start practice.

2. Less Concentration on the Audio

We as human beings end up with a pre-conceived notion. Most people are bad at listening. The biggest mistake that the IELTS test aspirants make is that they casually listen to the video clip without absorbing all the information given in it. The problematic situation arises when they are unable to remember the correct answer. The foremost important thing is that the aspirant must read the instructions properly, then look for ideas on the given topic and lastly listen carefully to the context of the topic followed by the location. If possible and depending upon the intelligence of the IELTS aspirant, read up all the questions before hand and recollect the answers after listening to the video clip.

3. Avoid Prediction Skills

After having numerous practice sessions, try to predict the kind of audio clip that would be given in the test. Also, be on the watch for the ‘type’ of question that would be asked. From the given transcript of the question paper, underline the phrases which would make for probable questions to be asked. Listen carefully to the key words and other phrases. This may help you determine the nature of the questions.

4. Not Using The Listening Answer Sheet During Practice

If you are using an official listening answer sheet during the practice period, it will be familiar in the exam hall. You can easily use this sheet in the exam hall because you already know the answer sheet format. Another benefit of practicing on the sheet is how to fill up all essential information. Example- Full name, center name, code name, etc.

Many beginner IELTS exam candidates don’t use listening answer sheets, and they are unfamiliar with it in the exam hall. For this reason, the listening section is so difficult for them.

5. The Test Taker Doesn’t Understand The British Accent

In IELTS Listening Test, the British accent is used for conversion. For this reason, the candidate doesn’t understand the recording, and they get a low score. The beginners face more problems answering the question, especially the multiple-choice questions. To overcome accent problems, always practice using British accent audio. Try to listen to the guardian news podcast. Watch English movies with subtitles first and then without subtitles.

6. Lack Of Concentration

If you want a high band score on the IELTS exam, you must concentrate on listening to recordings. If you have a lack of concentration in listening, you can’t find the correct answer. In my experience, it will be so frustrating in the exam hall if you don’t understand the recording. To improve concentration, listen to podcasts with audio transcripts, and watch late-night shows.

7. Guard Yourself Against Distractions

IELTS Examiners use distractor questions in order to confuse the candidates. Pay more attention to minute details. For instance, in one video clip the speaker will speak something wrong and then correct himself. The Multiple Choice Questions also have four confusing options for which you would be required to choose only one correct answer.

8. Lack Of Multitasking Skills

Multitasking is another skill that you have to need in the IELTS listening test. You have to listen to the recording, find out the correct answer, and write the solution simultaneously. Practice on the listening answer sheet for improving your multitasking skill.

9. Knowing Less Range Of Vocabulary

Sometimes you will listen to rich vocabulary within the conversation. If you don’t know the meaning of a vocabulary, it will be hard to find the correct answer. To improve vocabulary, learn topic-specific vocabulary.

10. Concentration Block

 Do not answer all your questions in the same order of the transcript. First of all, answer the questions that you know well, then move on to the lesser known ones. Try hard to answer all the questions but do them correctly. Do not just lean on to one question.

11. Spelling Errors and Grammar Mistakes

 Incorrect spelling would lead to losing marks. Especially, names of countries and places need to be written correctly. In certain cases, names of individuals too need to have the correct spelling. Correct Functional Grammar needs to be used in order to make meaningful sentences.

12. Unanswered Questions

The IELTS Listening test does not deduct marks for wrong answers. But try hard not to leave answers as, if there is an unanswered question then the IELTS aspirant can end up writing the answer in the wrong place.

13. Writing and Listening At the Same Time

Since the Audio clip is played only once, avoid writing important points on the paper simultaneously. This would distract attention from the main audio being played. After the audio clip is played, utilize those extra 10 minutes given for writing the responses on the answer script from memory.

14. Lack of Time Management Knowledge

Time management is another crucial factor in the IELTS exam. If you can’t handle time management properly, it will be so hard to answer the 40 questions at the right time.

15. Less Practice

Less practice is another reason why IELTS Listening Test is so hard. If you don’t have enough practice, it will be hard to get a high band score; for this reason, practice a minimum complete listening test everyday.

16. Not To Keep A Daily Report And Analyze It

Keep a record of your correct and wrong answers during the practice period. Then analyze how much you improve. This method is so powerful. So, you should keep a report and analyze it.

17. Ignoring The Given Instructions

IELTS Listening Test always starts with a set of instructions that candidates need to follow. You must not ignore the instructions in the IELTS Listening Test. Just remember to read the instructions carefully, then the questions, and write answers accordingly.

LASTLY, remember that . . . .

IELTS Listening Test is not very difficult but it can be tricky. Try to avoid these common mistakes in the IELTS Listening Test by practicing as much as you can. These IELTS Listening tips given above will help you in better preparation of IELTS Listening Test and attain a great score.

Just get familiar with different question types, learn different strategies to solve them, and ace the actual test with your desired score. If there are any doubts, do reach out to me!

Good luck in all your endeavours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES TO COACHING INDIVIDUALS & TEAMS

Coaching and mentoring are two options for people looking for guidance, and the most frequent question I am asked is about their difference. Both coaching and mentoring have similar talents and are both utilised for professional growth, but the way they are structured and what happens after they are used are extremely different.

Definition Of Coaching and Mentoring

Ideally, coaching can be characterised as: collaborating with clients through a thought-provoking and creative process that motivates them towards the achievement of their personal and professional goals.

A COACH is someone who advises a client on their goals and assists them in reaching their full potential. Coaching is frequently shorter-term and might be as brief as a 10 – 15 minutes conversation. Coaching is a performance-driven process that helps the individual or individuals being coached to excel in their day-to-day tasks.

Mentoring, on the other hand starts with the mentor. A mentor is a knowledgeable, experienced, and trusted advisor, and mentoring is an “employee training system in which a more senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned and acts as an advisor, counsellor, or guide to a junior or trainee.” As a mentor, you have the responsibility of offering support to and feedback on the individual under your supervision.”

A MENTOR is someone who contributes their knowledge, skills, and/or experience to assist others in developing and growing. Mentoring is frequently longer-term, with some mentoring relationships lasting 6 months or more, and mentoring can span years or even decades in some circumstances.

One of the most distinguishing features is that mentoring is directed, whereas coaching is non-directive. In practise, what does this mean? In mentoring meetings, the mentor is likely to do the majority of the talking, whereas in coaching, the coach is likely to pose questions and give the person they are coaching space to reflect and do the majority of the talking. Finally, both coaching and mentoring are about allowing people to go to where they want to go by utilising the coach’s or mentor’s experience.

Selection: Coaching OR Mentoring?

Coaches and mentors can be chosen for their industry expertise (banking, health care, manufacturing), position expertise (marketing, finance, human resources), skill set (spokesperson, committee chair, conference presenter), or other valuable expertise that can enhance any person’s life, such as community service or board service.

The best way to understand how coaching and mentoring relationships are structured is to do a side-by-side comparison:

https://www.pushfar.com/article/mentoring-vs-coaching-the-key-differences-and-benefits/

TopicCoachingMentoring
TimeframeRelationship is more likely to be short-term (up to 6 months or 1 year) with a specific outcome in mind. However, some coaching relationships can last longer, depending on goals achieved.Relationship tends to be more long-term, lasting a year or two, and even longer.
FocusCoaching is more performance driven, designed to improve the professional’s on-the-job performance.Mentoring is more development driven, looking not just at the professional’s current job function but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to career development.
StructureTraditionally more structured, with regularly scheduled meetings, like weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.Generally meetings tend to be more informal, on an as need basis required by the mentee.
ExpertiseCoaches are hired for their expertise in a given area, one in which the coachee desires improvement. Examples: Presentation skills, leadership, interpersonal communication, sales.Within organization mentoring programs, mentors have more seniority and expertise in a specific area than mentees. The mentee learns from and is inspired by the mentor’s experience.
AgendaThe coaching agenda is co-created by the coach and the coachee in order to meet the specific needs of the coachee.The mentoring agenda is set by the mentee. The mentor supports that agenda.
QuestioningAsking thought-provoking questions is a top tool of the coach, which helps the coachee make important decisions, recognize behavioral changes and take action.In the mentoring relationship, the mentee is more likely to ask more questions, tapping into the mentor’s expertise.
OutcomeOutcome from a coaching agreement is specific and measurable, showing signs of improvement or positive change in the desired performance area.Outcome from a mentoring relationship can shift and change over time. There is less interest in specific, measurable results or changed behavior and more interest in the overall development of the mentee.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the difference between coaching and mentoring, how will you know which is best…

……….. working with a coach or working with a mentor?

When to Use a Coach

  1. Develop raw talent with a specific new skill
  2. Enhance the experienced professional with a new or refreshed skill
  3. Help individuals who are not meeting expectations or goals
  4. Assist leaders in coping with large-scale change through a merger or acquisition, like managing new “blended” work teams and adapting to the merging of company cultures
  5. Prepare a professional for advancement in the organization
  6. Improve behavior in a short period of time, like coaching an executive to address the media on a specific topic
  7. Work one-on-one with leaders who prefer working with a coach rather than attending “public” training programs

When to Use a Mentor

  1. Motivate talented professionals to focus on their career/life development
  2. Inspire individuals to see what is possible in their career/life
  3. Enhance the professional’s leadership development
  4. Transfer knowledge from senior to junior professionals
  5. Broaden intercultural or cross-cultural ties within the organization
  6. Use the mentoring process as an entrée to succession planning

REMEMBER . . . When deciding whether to use a coach or a mentor, consider the goal you wish to achieve. The coach and the mentor will help professionals in different ways to accomplish their goals. In fact, some professionals use multiple coaches or multiple mentors throughout their careers, depending on their desired goals. In both coaching and mentoring, trust, respect and confidentiality are at the forefront of the relationship.

The Key Benefits to Mentoring and Coaching

Both mentoring and coaching have a range of benefits, which, when conducted correctly can benefit both the individual receiving mentoring and coaching, along with the mentor or coach and the organisation too.

Here are some benefits to mentoring and coaching:

  • Both mentoring and coaching are extremely effective learning techniques.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can be formal and informal, with mentoring often seen more informally and coaching often see more formally.
  • Both can increase employee engagement and retention when applied.
  • Both mentoring and coaching are easy to implement into any organisation or business structure and increasingly we’re seeing organisations running both.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can increase confidence and the interpersonal skills of the person providing the mentoring or coaching, and the person receiving it.
  • Both can dramatically improve individual performance.

As you delve deeper into working with a coach or a mentor, consider these final tips:

  • Decide what assistance you need. Are you trying to figure out how to climb the corporate ladder? Do you want to be considered for more high-powered job assignments? Do you have an interest in working on more internal committees? Would you like to improve your presentation skills so you can deliver more presentations at national conferences? Are you interested in managing a community project for your company? When you decide what your need is, find an appropriate coach or mentor.
  • Trust and respect your coach or mentor. Every meaningful relationship is built on the foundation of trust and respect. You must trust your coach or mentor to provide you with expert guidance, feedback and support, based on his/her life experiences. Respect his/her opinions and ideas for the same reason because your coach or mentor has lived through challenges that you may not have yet experienced.
  • Establish ground rules. Determine how often you will meet, how long your relationship will last, outline of roles, importance of confidentiality and preferred methods of communication and feedback.
  • Determine your outcome. What do you want to have happen to you at the end of the relationship? Discuss this with your coach or mentor.
  • Open your mind and heart. Learning from someone who has more experience than you do and who can share successes and failures openly is a tremendous gift. The key to getting the most out of the relationship is your ability to enter into the relationship with as open a mind and heart as possible. Don’t be judgmental or too hasty in your decisions. Expect the unexpected.

Coaching employees is the key to building and maintaining a self-motivated staff. Initially, it will take extra time – the whole teach-a-man-to-fish process versus just catch-a-man-a-fish. But the results are worth the investment.

The better you coach, the more prepared your team will be to achieve their goals. Successful coaching guides employees in the right direction but promotes independent thinking and team collaboration to overcome obstacles. This in turn fosters a relationship of trust and empowers the team to act dynamically.

Coaching Culture …imagine an organisation where all leaders and managers have conversations with teams and individuals which show empathy, build trust and support continuous development. It’s somewhere that ongoing coaching develops a growth mindset in every employee, so behaviour change is embraced, real and sustainable. And it’s a place where the best people want to work, where employees are highly engaged and where everyone is striving to perform at their peak.

Essential Coaching Skills for Managers and Leaders

Coaching is similar to a self-development journey, for any growth requires effort. A coaching course is always a great idea, but you can start improving these skills today, whatever your budget constraints might be. If you’re a manager or leader looking to bring a coaching mentality to your leadership, here are some tips to help get you started.

1. In a team context, just stop the group motivational speeches and replace them with celebrations of individuals’ hard work and accomplishments. By recognizing a hardworking employee’s efforts, that employee will get the opportunity to feel valued and appreciated. This goes hand in hand with the self-determination theory which demonstrate that positive feedback motivates intentions to continue pursuing goals and fosters vitality

2. A manager with effective coaching skills does not bark orders. Instead, they will work together with employees to develop ideas and implement plans collaboratively. Once individuals take cognizance that the process through which leaders arrive at decisions is fair and well communicated, people will be more committed to a final course of action. Better yet, including employees in decision-making, goal-setting, and strategy development will lead to feelings of ownership over processes that will drive motivation even further.

3. Please don’t punish failure as it is part of the process toward success. Coaching an employee through a mistake is a much better approach. An effective leader helps their team to learn from their errors to avoid them in the future. As such it builds trust between leaders and subordinates. That is, it will create the sense of psychological safety required to admit openly one’s mistakes and ask for help and mitigate the temptation to sweep errors under the rug .

4. Try to employ a strengths-based approach to developing your staff. When employees know their strengths and can consistently build on their work from those strengths, managers and their teams can forge better-functioning workplaces. In some circles, this is often referred to as appreciative inquiry. Its benefit is that it cultivates commitment to improving the organization without imposing a problem orientation or sense of doom and gloom on employees. Rather, employees are celebrated for what they already do well and encouraged to apply these strengths in such a way that facilitates growth.

5. Essentially, effective coaches are aware of the effect that their emotions have on their coachees. Therefore, when things get ‘hot,’ they get ‘cool.’ And when things are ‘cool,’ they ramp things up. Effective leaders implicitly understand the transferability of emotions. Therefore, good leaders are careful to manage their reactions to stressful situations and will look for opportunities to generate energy and excitement when a boost is needed within a team.

6. Effective leaders demonstrate genuine concern for employees’ wellbeing and life outside of work; they take care not to overtax people’s resources or push people beyond their limits. Indeed, to earn respect, a good manager and coach leads by example and is willing to shoulder the same burdens and stressors they expect their staff to handle.

7. Exercise compassionate leadership. The act of showing compassion involves being with someone in their pain. It’s understanding another’s feelings and demonstrating a willingness to act in response to those feelings. Therefore, in the realm of coaching, compassionate leaders feel genuine pain for their employees when they’re struggling and show commitment to helping them reach their goals and find greater meaning in their work.

8. Managers with effective coaching skills employ many of the same communication and active listening techniques as professional coaches.

9. Managers Give feedback – Feedback is a two-way process. Employees must communicate any issues. You, as a coach, must respond with constructive feedback on their progress and how they can improve.

Reassure your employees, and try to keep the message positive, but don’t sugar coat it.  Feedback can be hard when the outcome isn’t going great, but you need to be straightforward and honest. You’re not doing the employee any favors if you’re not. Always remember to be encouraging and to help them through the training. Your goal is to help them grow and learn. Sometimes people need a little optimism to keep them going.

10. They Review and recalibrate – Meet a final time with your employees to look back on the project as a whole. Discuss what worked, what didn’t and what could be done differently next time. Make time to celebrate success and reward their accomplishments.

11. they know the team dynamics – As a coach you certainly don’t want to put people on a project who don’t work well together. If it’s unavoidable, help them find common ground. Ultimately, your goal is to achieve the best possible result for the company.

It all comes back to good coaching. If you’re not ready to invest your time, resources and skills to coach an individual, success is unlikely.

ON A FINAL NOTE . . . .

Coaching is there to help everyone succeed. Effective coaches inspire and listen. They build strong relationships of trust based on knowing their people and have good communication skills.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!!

HOW TO MAKE OUR MEETINGS MATTER AT HIGH SCHOOL

As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional – your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency – Chris Fussell

A warm welcome to the new academic year: 2022-2023.

Just imagine this ….

Invigorating meetings are what make the world go round. The goal is clear, and accomplishing it is vital to everyone who is participating in the process. There is an agenda, which is typically developed with collaborative input, and the group proceeds through the agenda at a moderate pace, without moving too quickly or too slowly, adapting as needed, and always keeping the final goal in mind.

During the meeting, everyone participates and makes a contribution. Our meetings frequently have a period of time where the group is in a state of “flow,” feeling a sense of timelessness that fosters deep creativity and connection, even when the work itself is incredibly difficult to complete.

And, at their most fundamental level, great meetings are enjoyable.

Is this what your meetings are always like?

Given the fact that every meeting has the potential to be a rich source of adult learning, it stands to reason that excellent meetings have a lot in common with excellent classrooms. In both, people are actively engaged in difficult tasks that require them to use their intellect, solve difficulties, and communicate with one another. Facilitators at meetings are similar to skilled teachers who take on various roles, sharing the work and meaning – making with the participants in the same way that teachers actively engage pupils. And in both cases, all participants are aware of the social standards that they are required to adhere to, and each interaction is designed to aid in the reinforcement of those social norms.

High school meetings and all other meetings must be places for learning. The facilitator’s roadmap is defined by a meeting agenda, which determines how a group will approach their common but often distant goal by working through a few phases in a given meeting. A wise facilitator would not use an agenda as a straitjacket, but rather as a resource to be altered as conditions change. This is precisely like how teachers frequently alter their lesson plans in the present based on what is happening.

To truly help learning, the meeting must either have learning in it or must be connected to learning in some way. A support plan for a student’s education may be designed by an intervention team working with a parent, a lesson’s performance assessed by a teacher team, the running of buses analysed by an operations team, or the accessibility of rich out-of-school experiences discussed by a district team. In each instance, to make any significant progress, adults must do or think something different, and it is simple to connect the meeting’s goal to improvements in learning.

Four Things to Consider

When organising a meeting, there are four critical factors to consider.

Purpose: The single most effective thing you can do to have a good meeting is to be very clear about why you are meeting and what you intend to achieve.

Process: It is critical to be clear about what needs to be accomplished during the meeting. However, it is also vital to consider how to engage the group in working toward the stated goals.

Preparation: Consider what more the facilitator and participants could do ahead of time to ensure a smooth meeting.

Pacing: Before you finalise your plan, go over the details and double-check that your minutes are adding up and that you are spending them in the proper areas. Then take a step back to look at the big picture and make sure you’re ready to have the meeting you really want to have.

A successful meeting, like a good classroom experience, includes a defined aim, a smart plan for accomplishing that purpose, and a group working together to accomplish that goal.

None of us became educators to be champion meeting planners, facilitators, or participants—but sensible meetings can help deliver on a commitment to better learning and teaching for all kids in our care.

Meetings as Powerful Learning Spaces

No meeting is worthwhile unless it is both compelling and educational. In order for students to attain greater success—and in many other matters of importance—schools need adults to learn with each other and with others. The one practise most effective in improving organisational learning is the regular use of excellent meetings. However, this issue arises: what makes a gathering truly exceptional?

A meeting isn’t necessary if the relationship between the meeting and learning is not evident. Because of the rapid access to information, can the business be addressed in a different way? Besides, there are some things that don’t need to be discussed in a meeting!

Either way, if this information is so vital, why not make sure that the meeting time is used to educate everyone of it and ensure that no one is left in the dark? How about having polling clickers that are paired with a quiz? Involving meeting participants in peer-to-peer instruction? Do you think we should provide small groups the chance to apply their knowledge to their daily work?

When participants endure a meeting in which they’re lectured for more than thirty minutes without raising any objections, that’s an indication that the meeting culture values endurance over learning. If you cannot explain why a meeting that includes adults and will eventually serve teaching and learning is necessary, do not meet. You may also alter the nature of the meetings you have.

15 Tips For Making Meetings Matter

Regardless of the nature of your meeting, here are five useful guidelines to follow that will help you hold productive meetings that will advance your shared goals.

  1. Select the Appropriate Area: Whether it’s a classroom, a conference room, the library, or the cafeteria, we must work within the confines of the available space. Being conscious of our choices—adult-size seats, please!—can go a long way toward ensuring that the staff is comfortable during a meeting. The conference area should, of course, be clean and easily accessible to all attendees. Furthermore, arrange the furniture in such a way that everyone can see everyone else without twisting around in their chairs. Finally, try giving food and beverages, even if they are simply modest snacks—eating together fosters goodwill and camaraderie.
  2. Be Specific About Your Goals: Determine what you want to accomplish in the meeting—don’t just hold a meeting because you always have one on Thursday afternoons. What exactly do you need to accomplish? How do you solve a problem? Make a choice? Is it possible to talk about a new idea? What are your pedagogical triumphs and challenges? Determine your meeting’s purpose and arrange accordingly. When you have a clear aim in mind, you may more readily select the appropriate method, protocol, or structure for the meeting. Once you’ve determined what you want to accomplish, create an agenda that is solely focused on that goal.
  3. Always Keep A Schedule: An agenda with clearly defined tasks and times is essential for keeping the meeting on track and ensuring that attendees understand the goal and focus of the time. A meeting should also always begin and end on time! You will begin to think and act differently as you plan the meeting if you populate the agenda with questions rather than issues. You’ll become more strategic, questioning the meaning of a topic and determining your ultimate goal – the underlying reason for bringing the group together.
  4. Collaborate to Identify Questions That Truly Matter: There is no magic amount of questions that should be addressed in a meeting. What matters is that you ask the appropriate questions. To find them, the meeting’s facilitator should first develop potential questions from their viewpoint point. Then, when the agenda is being developed, attendees should be asked for their thoughts. This is significant for two reasons. For starters, because meetings are ultimately collective experiences, allowing for diverse perspectives is only natural. Second, when employees are encouraged to openly share their thoughts and ideas – and the leader genuinely listens to those ideas – they are more likely to feel committed to the team and the organisation. As a result, meeting attendees are more engaged.
  5. Privilege The Most Important Questions First: The implication is clear: put your most compelling questions at the start of the meeting. This will not only assure coverage of key issues; it is also a way of quickly grabbing attendee attention and conveying the value of the meeting. And while it is fine to start a meeting with 5 minutes or so of news and notes, after that concludes, go all in addressing the most challenging, important, and vexing questions. If the questions are all of equal importance, consider privileging questions provided by attendees themselves. By doing so, you are living into a strong set of inclusion and shared-ownership values.
  6. Begin With Objectives: Begin the meeting by deciding on the meeting’s outcome(s) with the rest of the attendees. If there is a large group, you can prepare the outcomes ahead of time and receive team approval. Check the outcomes at the end to ensure they are tangible.
  7. Assign Roles: Adopt a defined set of responsibilities, such as a facilitator, one or more note-takers, a timekeeper, and someone in charge of assigning action items. Other responsibilities are vital, but without these in place, the meeting will be ineffective. Rotating jobs is one approach to keep employees growing in the organisation.
  8. Create Fair and Productive Processes: Just as effective schools are founded on dependable systems and structures, a great meeting should employ procedures and processes that ensure all opinions are heard, no single voice dominates, and debate remains focused and productive. Make it clear what you expect from one another, and then use those expectations to reflect on and improve your communication and collaboration abilities.
  9. Review Action Items: Allow at least 5 minutes at the conclusion of the meeting to go over the action items. When you do that, you will discover that something important is constantly left out. If you do not leave the meeting with action items in place, why did you convene in the first place? Unless you assign and everyone is clear on the next actions, you’ve just wasted time talking to each other.
  10. Be Present: Regardless of whether your own or your company’s commitments are pressing, make a commitment to be on time, because your time with your colleagues is irreplaceable. Consider who has the most influence and who is excluded, and utilise approaches that include equality and inclusivity.
  11. Be With The People You’re With. Leave your phone in your office, and encourage your faculty to do the same. We know that just putting phones away doesn’t keep students from getting distracted, and you can apply that idea to your time with your colleagues. You’ll all need your collective mental energy if you’re going to be fully present and responsive. Try to set aside your hoped-for outcomes and pay attention to what’s being said. You all might be surprised by what you notice.
  12. The Parking Lot: This is a place to capture comments, topics, or questions that are not related to the agenda. It keeps the focus on the immediate discussion while deferring (i.e., “parking”) other topics for later. It means we are saving the questions for a later meeting or for resolution by a smaller group, or respond to them on your own via email or handout.
  13. Have Courage: The status quo has a powerful gravitational pull, and change—even well-intentioned and seemingly small-scale—calls for courage. As a leader, choosing to be intentional about how you use your meetings, to limit your time to only the important issues, and to insist that everyone engage respectfully and fully requires courage. Just remember that facilitating—rather than leading—requires a shift in the way we think about staff meetings. If done well, it raises the level of discourse, builds professional culture and community, and models the pedagogical philosophies we want to see in classrooms. How would your meetings be different if you made the shift?
  14. Action Items: Meetings that are truly actionable end with action items. These are action items, which are specific activities or actions that must be completed, and they are often what you would put on a to-do list or a calendar to keep track of what needs to be done. The action items must explain what it takes to attain a goal or complete a project; make it simple to track project progress; and, make up the stages that get a project completed.

JUST REMEMBER that . . . Converting all of that lost time into productive time that advances your goal is one of the keys to creating an organisational culture of involvement and ownership. A high-performance culture does not happen by chance. Protocols that recognise who individuals are and what they can give motivate people.

Ending The Meeting

How do we wrap up the meeting when everything is said and done? Here are five strategies to accomplish that:

  1. Always Finish On A High Tone: While there may have been some disagreement and discord, do your best to leave the meeting on a positive note. Having a pleasant conclusion will help the attendees’ morale, and not leave them dissatisfied with the meeting’s time investment.
  2. Wind Down Before The Time Of The Meeting’s Scheduled Conclusion: Accurate time management is essential to successful meeting facilitation. To allow for some final remarks, debate final points a few minutes before the end of the session. Nothing is more damaging to a meeting than ending late.
  3. Say It Again, But In More Detail: Both opening and closing remarks should contain information about the aim of the meeting. The article weaves together all the topics discussed and brings back to memory the goal that was achieved at the meeting.
  4. Connect with the Participants One Last Time to bring the session to a close. Meeting facilitators should conclude meetings by briefly commending the participants who offered the most helpful suggestions. Take a moment to thank everyone after a meeting or work session, and then sign off the computer or leave the room last. A brief few moments of personal attention is typically met with a good response from most people.
  5. Schedule Appointments For Check-Ups: To wrap up the meeting, take some time to set up the next step. In addition to measurement meetings and email follow-ups, make sure that each participant knows when to expect the next contact.

A valuable skill for meeting facilitation is knowing how to close a meeting in a positive way. The five tricks will make meetings feel more valuable to meeting participants, as well as make them more aware of the meting’s milestones and progress.

Let me hope that our Department meetings are going to be done with the Six Ps of Planning: – Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (7)

Please note the differences:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings.

wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.
  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something

pexels-photo-256417.jpegIncluded here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of HOMOPHONES. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to strengthen your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. its/it’s

  • Its means belonging to it: The cat chased its tail.
  • It’s means it is: It’s very hot in Florida in August!

2. passed/past

  • Passed is the past tense of to proceed without pause: I passed the old school on the way to my grandmother’s house.
  • Past means no longer current or over: Dinosaurs roamed the earth in the past.

3. quiet/quite/quit

  • Quiet means an absence of noise: The students were all quiet.
  • Quite means entirely or completely: That is not quite the right thing to do.
  • Quit means to stop, especially a job: He quit after three months.

4. forbear/forebear

  • Forbear is to refrain, abstain, desist: Tad could not forbear a smile.
  • Forebear is an ancestor: A generation of my forebears have lived here.

5. freeze/frieze

  • Freeze is to turn to ice: The water will freeze over night.
  • Frieze is a decoration along a wall: It was the best frieze ever.

6. grisly/grizzly

  • Grisly is gruesome, revolting: We were shocked by the grisly crimes.
  • Grizzly is a type of bear: The grizzly bear was angry.

7. hoard/horde

  • Hoard is a store, a collection: Pearl came back to rescue her little hoard of gold. 
  • Horde is a large crowd of people: There was a horde of rugby fans.

8. imply/infer

  • Imply is to suggest indirectly: Do you imply passing by or not?
  • Infer is to draw a conclusion: From the data provided, we can infer that all is not well.

9. loath/loathe

  • Loath is being reluctant, unwilling: I was loath to leave.
  • Loathe is to hate, intense dislike: She loathed him on sight. 

10. militate/mitigate

  •  Militate is to be a powerful factor against: These arguments will militate against us coming together.
  • Mitigate is to make less severe, serious: The drainage schemes have helped to mitigate this problem. 

11. pour/pore

  • Pour is to flow or cause to flow: The water poured off the roof.
  • Pore is a tiny opening, a hole; to study something closely

12. practice/practise

  •  Practice is the use of an idea or method; the work or business of a doctor, dentist, etc.
  • Practise is to do something repeatedly to gain skill; to do something regularly

13. prescribe/proscribe

  • Prescribe is to authorize use of medicine; to order authoritatively: Her doctor prescribed sleeping tablets.
  • Proscribe is to officially forbid something: Strikes remain proscribed in the armed forces.

14. principal/principle

  • Principal is the most important; the head of a school: The principal ideas were there for all to talk about.
  • Principle is a fundamental rule or belief: The basic principles of justice are important for us all.

15. stationary/stationery

  • Stationary means unmoving: The bus was stationary.
  • Stationery refers to writing materials, eg: papers, pens, eraser, etc: We went to the stationery shop.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (6)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMOGRAPHS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Fo example, . . .

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to further your understanding of the homophone word/s.

pexels-photo.jpgPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. write/right/rite

  • right (adj.) means correct: The student gave the right answer to the math question.
  • write (v.) is to make letters: Please write you name at the top of the page.
  • rite (n) means a religious social custom or solemn ceremony or act: The religious rites were strictly followed.

2. road/rode/rod

  • road (n.) is a driving surface: She had difficulties keeping her car on the slippery road.
  • rode (v.) is past tense of ride: We rode the bus for thirty minutes to get across town.
  • rod (n) is a thin straight bar of wood or metal: The walls were reinforced with steel rods.

 3. sail/sale

  • sail (v.) is to travel in a boat: We plan to sail across the bay.
  • sale (n.) is a deal or transaction: The store had a special sale on blue jeans.

 4. scene/seen

  • scene (n.) is the place where an event occurs: A criminal sometimes returns to the scene of the crime.
  • seen (v.) is past participle of see: I’ve never seen so many flowers!

 5. soar/sore

  • soar (v.) is to fly: An eagle can soar higher than many other birds.
  • sore (adj.) means painful: My sprained knee is very sore.

 6. sole/soul

  • sole (adj.) means only: My dad was the sole survivor of the crash.
  • sole (n.) is the bottom part of a foot or shoe: There’s a hole in the sole of my old boot.
  • soul (n.) is the spiritual part, or character, of a person: Those old hymns always comfort my soul.

7. tail/tale

  • tail (n.) is the rear part of an animal’s body: My dog wags its tail when he’s happy.
  • tale (n.) is a story: One popular fairy tale is about a giant, a beanstalk and a boy named Jack.

8. threw/through

  • threw (v.) is the past tense of throw: The kids threw the stones into the stream.
  • through (prep.) means movement from one side to, or past, the other side: Let’s walk all the way through the dark tunnel together.

9. to/too/two

  • to (prep.) means toward: We drove to the theatre.
  • too (adv.) means also: Jimmy likes pizza, too.
  • two (n.) is a symbol for 1 plus 1: Susan spun a two in the board game.

10. waist/waste

  • waist (n.) is the middle of the body: The belt was too large for her small waist.
  • waste (n.) is the discarded material: The factory’s waste products were dumped in the landfill.

11. weak/week/wick

  • weak (adj.) means not strong: The young boy was too weak to lift the box of books.
  • week (n.) is a seven-day period: The worker went on vacation for one week.
  • wick (n) is a piece of string in the centre of a candle.

 12. who’s/whose

  • who’s (contr.) is short for who is or who has: Who’s been drinking my soda?
  • whose (pron.) is the possessive form of who: Does anyone know whose coat is this one?

13. your/your’re

  • your (pron.) is the possessive form of you: It’s your turn to go first.
  • you’re (contr.) is the short form of you are: You’re the person I want to hire.

14. faint/feint

  • faint means temporarily losing consciousness and the adjective . . .
  • faint (adj) means lacking in brightness: Tad’s writing is too faint.
  • A feint is a false attack made to distract the opponent from an even more fatal blow: It was just a brief feint on the opponent’s face.

15. hole/whole/hall

  • A hole is an empty place or opening: A hole opened up in the backyard.
  • Whole means complete or entire: I ate the whole pie.
  • hall (n) is the room or space used for meetings, concerts or other events.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

writing-notes-idea-conference.jpgGood luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (5)

Please note the difference:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings, eg:

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.
  • rock           – a type of music and . . .
  • rock            – made of stone.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book is something we read and book is to schedule something.

pexels-photo.jpgTo help you improve spelling skills for each word listed below, I have included the most homophone common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

  1. which/witch/wich

  • Use which as a pronoun when referring to things or animals.
  • Use witch to mean a scary or nasty person.
  • Wich is to do with minerals, salt works; a salt producing town.

Using the correct use of which/witch/wich, fill in the sentences:

  1. Tad wore his favorite brown shoes, . . . he received as a birthday gift.
  2. The Halloween . . . decorations must finally come down off of the wall!

2. principle/principal

  • Use principle as a noun meaning a basic truth or law.
  • Use principal as a noun meaning the head of a school or organization, or a sum of money.

 Using the correct use of principle/principal, fill in the sentences:

  1. Many important life . . . are learned in kindergarten.
  2. The . . . is a well-respected member of the community.

3. stationary/stationery

  • Stationary means unmoving.
  • Stationery refers to writing materials, eg: pens, books, pencils, etc

Using the correct use of stationary/stationery, fill in the sentences:

  1. The revolving door remained . . . because Shona was pushing on it the wrong way.
  2. Tad printed his résumé on his best . . . .

4. rain/reign/rein

  • rain (n.) precipitation; (v.) drizzle, shower.
  • reign (n.) time in power; (v.) to rule.
  • rein (n.) a strap to control an animal.

 Using the correct use of rain/reign/rein, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . poured down all day.
  2. The king’s . . . was very brief.
  3. Pull on the . . . when you want the horse to stop.

5. stair/stare

  • stair (n.) step.
  • stare (v.) to look intently in one place.

Using the correct use of stair/stare, fill in the sentences:

  1. The bottom . . . is broken, so please be careful when you go down.
  2. I couldn’t help but . . . at the man as he came down to us.

6. main/mane

  • main (adj.) most important.
  • mane (n.) long hair on the neck of an animal.

 Using the correct use of main/mane, fill in the sentences:

  1. The speaker’s . . . point was that we can all fight poverty.
  2. The little girl hung on to the horse’s . . . when it started galloping.

7. stake/steak

  • stake (n.) a thin pointed stick or post that is driven into the ground; mark off.
  • steak (n.) a piece of meat or fish.

 Using the correct use of stake/steak, fill in the sentences:

  1. Since we were missing a . . . , we couldn’t finish putting up the tent.
  2. He ordered a sirloin . . . and baked potato.

8. steal/steel

  • steal (v.) to take something without permission.
  • steel (n.) a strong metal made of iron and carbon.

 Using the correct use of steal/steel, fill in the sentences:

  1. It is not good to . . . money from anyone.
  2. Many buildings are constructed with . . . frames.

 9. imminent/eminent/immanent

  • imminent is something likely to happen.
  • Eminent can refer to a person of high rank or repute or anything that noticeably pokes out like “an eminent nose.”
  • immanent is an inherent or inborn; ingrained, built-in.

 Using the correct use of imminent/eminent/immanent, fill in the sentences:

  1. The rainy season is . . .
  2. Kofi Annan was an . . . person in resolving many conflicts.
  3. The protection of human rights is . . . to many governments around the world.

10. exercise/exorcise

  • Exercise is a physical activity; to do physical activity.
  • Exorcise is to drive out an evil spirit

 Using the correct use of exercise/exorcise, fill in the sentences:

  1. They . . . the troublesome spirit.
  2. Ted took the . . . seriously.

11. insolate/insulate

  • Insolate refers to an exposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Insulate involves using various materials to prevent the leakage of heat.
  • NOTICE: Insolate to get warm and insulate to stay warm!

Using the correct use of insolate/insulate, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . paper may turn red when exposed to the sun.
  2. We always . . . and draught proof our caravan before winter begins.

 12. tortuous/torturous

  • tortuous comes from the Latin tortu meaning full of twists and turns.
  • torturous pertaining to the cause or experience of extreme pain.

 Using the correct use of tortuous/torture, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peal found the route remote and . . . .
  2. We had a . . . five days of boot camp.

13. foreword/forward

  • Foreword is an introduction to a book.
  • Forward is onwards, ahead.

 Using the correct use of foreword/forward, fill in the sentences:

  1. Dr Giddings gave a . . to my book.
  2. It’s will be raining next week, so the baseball game will be moved . . .

14. flaunt/flout

  • Flaunt is to display ostentatiously; show off.
  • Flout is to disregard a rule.

 Using the correct use of flaunt/flout, fill in the sentences:

    1. The young man constantly . . . his riches.
    2. The advertising code is being openly . . ..

15. flounder/founder

  • Flounder is to move clumsily; to have difficulty doing something.
  • Founder is to fail; a person who establishes.

Using the correct use of flounder/founder, fill in the sentences:

  1. The soldiers . . .  about in the mud.
  2. He is the . . . of a popular website.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) which b) witch #2. a) principles b) principal #3. a) stationary   b) stationery #4. a) rain b) reign c) reins; #5 a) stair b) stare; #6 a) main b) mane; #7 a)stake b) steak #8 a) steal b) steel #9 a) imminent   b) eminent c) immament  #10 a) exorcise b) exercise  #11 a) insolate(d) b) insulate  #12 a) tortuous  b) torturous  #13 a) foreword b) forward   #14 a) flaunted  b) flouted  #15 a) floundered b) founder

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (4)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMONYMS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings.

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.

pexels-photo-416322.jpegTo help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. than/then

  • Use than for comparisons; eg: Tad is much taller than his brother.
  • Use then to indicate passage of time, or when; eg: We went to the park in the morning, and then we left to pick up lunch.

2. to/too/two

  • To can be a preposition; eg: We are going to the park.
  • Too is an adverb that can mean excessively (too much) when it precedes an adjective or adverb; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert.
  • Too is a synonym for also; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert, too.
  • Two is a number; eg: Shona ate two pieces of pie.

3. you’re/ your

  • You’re is a contraction for you are; eg: You’re going to absolutely love this new recipe.
  • Your is a pronoun; eg: Please bring your books to class with you tomorrow.

4. fair/fare

  • fair (adj.) means just, proper under the rules, or ample; eg: The judge made a fair decision.
  • fare (n.) means money paid to ride in a bus, taxi or other vehicle; eg: He paid his fare when he got on the bus. OR
  • Used as a verb, fare means to get by, perform; eg: She fared well on the job interview.

5. flew/flu/flue

  • flew (v.) past tense of fly; eg: The bird flew past my window.
  • flu (n.) short for influenza; eg: Sam missed three days of work because he had the flu.
  • flue (n.) passage for smoke in a chimney; eg: The chimney flue needs to be cleaned regularly.

6. heal/heel/he’ll

  • heal means to make healthy; eg: Extra rest and fluids will help to heal your sickness.
  • heel is the back part of the foot; eg. Place your heel firmly into the boot.
  • he’ll (contr.) he will; eg: He’ll be happy when he comes.

 7. lone/loan

  • A loan is money lent; eg: The car loan was for $5,000.
  • Used as a verb, loan means to lend something; eg: Can you please loan me enough money for lunch?
  • lone means single, only; eg: The truck driver was the lone customer at the all-night diner.

8. male/mail

  • mail are items sent in the postal system; eg: I received six letters today in the mail.

Used as a verb, mail means to send something by mail or e-mail; eg: She will mail her car payment today.

  • male (n.) a boy or man; eg: There were ten male passengers on the train.

Used as an adjective, male means related to a man or boy; eg: I heard a male voice on the telephone.

 9. main/mane

  • main (adj.) means most important; eg:The speaker’s main point was that we can all fight poverty.
  • mane (n.) is the long hair on the neck of an animal; eg: Shona hung on to the horse’s mane when it started galloping.

10. meat/meet

  • meat is edible flesh from an animal; eg: We eat meat nearly every night for dinner.
  • meet is to get together; eg: Let’s meet for coffee tomorrow morning.

Used as a noun, meet is a sports competition; eg: Athletes from ten schools will compete at the track meet.

 11. pail/pale

  • A pail is a bucket; eg: That pail holds five gallons of paint.
  • Being pale means lacking color; eg: The sick child’s face was very pale.

 12. pain/pane

  • pain is physical distress; eg: Her back pain prevented her from bending over.
  • pane is section of a window; eg: The window pane was covered with frost.

13. passed/past

  • passed is the past tense of pass; eg: The teenager finally passed his driving test.
  • past means later, or in a time gone by; eg: Her financial worries are now all in the past.

14. patience/patients

  •  patience is the ability to wait; eg: The kindergarten teacher’s patience is remarkable.
  • patients are people under the care of a doctor; eg: Five patients were waiting to see the doctor.

 15. raise/raze

  • To raise is to build up; eg: Let’s raise the sign a bit higher so it can be read more easily.
  • To raze is to tear down; eg: The city plans to raze the vacant building.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (3)

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even spellchecker will not flag even one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

 One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones.

A large percentage of spelling errors at High School are actually homophone usage errors.

Written correctly, the sentence should, of course, read:

 I heard the rain ruined their picnic.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s. 

pexels-photo-416322.jpegPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. defuse/diffuse

  • Diffuse is to spread over a wide area; lacking clarity
  • Defuse is to make a situation less tense

Using the correct use of defuse/diffuse, fill in the sentences:

  1. Mr Jones . . . the prevailing tension among the villagers.
  2. The . . . community centred around the church.

2. desert/dessert

  • Desert is a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone.
  • Dessert is the sweet course of a meal.

 Using the correct use of desert/dessert, fill in the sentences:

  1. How did that car get over the Egyptian . . . .
  2. They enjoyed their . . .  after the main meal.

3. discreet/discrete

  • Discreet means being careful not to attract attention.
  • Discrete means separate and distinct.

Using the correct use of discreet/discrete, fill in the sentences:

  1. We made some . . . inquiries about the issue.
  2. Speech sounds are produced as a continuous sound signal rather than . . . units.

 4. disinterested/uninterested

  • Disinterested means impartial; unbiased, uninvolved.
  • Uninterested means bored or not wanting to be involved with something:

Using the correct use of disinterested/uninterested, fill in the sentences:

  1. A panel of . . . judges who had never met the contestants before judged the singing contest.
  2. Marwa was . . . in attending Hilda’s singing class.

5. die/dye

  • Die means to pass away; dying could also mean you are eager for something.
  • Dye (n.) coloring.

 Using the correct use of die/dye, fill in the sentences:

  1. The animal will . . . without proper nourishment.
  2. We used four kinds of . . . to color our Easter eggs.

6. does/dose

  • Does is a form of do.
  • Dose is quantity of medicine.

Using the correct use of does/dose, fill in the sentences:

  1. It . .  no good to complain.
  2. Take a . . . of aspirin for your headache.

7. here/hear

  • Use here as an adverb to indicate location.
  • Use hear as a verb to indicate listening.

 Using the correct use of hear/here, fill in the sentences:

  1. Please come back . . . and put your shoes away!
  2. Can you . . . the birds’ beautiful singing outside?

8. lie/lay

  • Use lie to indicate the act of reclining:
  • Use lay to indicate the placement of something:

Lay is a transitive verb, which means it always needs an object! Something is always being put down; lie, on the other hand, will never have an object because it is an intransitive verb.

Hint:

  • to lie: lie(s), lay, lain, lying
  • to lay: lay(s), laid, laid, laying

Using the correct use of lie/lay, fill in the sentences:

  1. I am tired just watching the dog . .  in the warm sunlight.
  2. Please . . . the paper on the table.

9. emigrate/immigrate

  • Emigrate means to move away from a city or country to live somewhere else.
  • Immigrate means to move into a country from somewhere else.

Using the correct use of emigrate/immigrate, fill in the sentences:

  1. Pearl’s grandfather . . .  from Canada sixty years ago.
  2. Tad’s sister . . . to Ireland in 2004.

 10. e.g./i.e.

These two Latin abbreviations are often mixed up, but e.g. means “for example,” while i.e. means “that is.”

11. empathy/sympathy

  • Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective or feelings.
  • Sympathy is a feeling of sorrow for someone else’s suffering.
  • A sympathizer is someone who agrees with a particular ideal or cause.

 Using the correct use of empathy/sympathy, fill in the sentences:

  1. My . . . for Liz is fairly limited.
  2. She has a higher level of . . . in helping others.

 12. loose/lose/lost

  • Loose is usually an adjective:
  • Lose is always a verb. It means to misplace something or to be unvictorious in a game or contest.
  • Lost is the past tense of lose.

Using the correct use of loose/lose/lost, fill in the sentences:

  1. Nancy was careful not to . . . her ticket.
  2. Peter discovered that the cows were . . . .

13. it’s/its

  • It’s is the contraction for it is.
  • Its is the possessive form (“possessive” means belongs to) of it.

 Using the correct use of it’s/its, fill in the sentences:

  1. The cat is licking . . . paws.
  2. . . . raining today, so the baseball game will be cancelled.

14. weather/whether

  • Use weather when referring to the state of the atmosphere:
  • Use whether as a conjunction to introduce choices:

 Using the correct use of weather/whether fill in the sentences:

  1. The constantly changing springtime . . . is driving us crazy.
  2. Please tell us . . . you would prefer steak or salmon for dinner.

NB: There is no such word as wheather!

15. there/their/they’re

  • their (pron.) belong to them;
  • there (adv.) at that place;
  • they’re is the contraction for they are.

 Using the correct use of there/their/they’re, fill in the sentences:

  1. . . . house is always clean and tidy.
  2. Please put the groceries over . . . .
  3. . . . going to Paris for vacation.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) defused b) diffuse; #2. a) desert b) dessert #3. a) discreet b) discrete #4. a) disinterested b) uninterested; #5 a) die b) dye; #6 a) does b) dose  #7 a) here b) hear   #8 a) lie b) lay   #9 a) emigrated  b) immigrated   #11 a) sympathy b) empathy  #12 a) lose   b) lose/lost  #13 a) its   b) It’s   #14 a) weather   b) whether   #15 a) Their b) there c) They’re

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!