AWESOME WAYS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF AND ACHIEVE MORE THIS YEAR

LIFE in 2021: “CHALLENGE YOURSELF!”

Human nature has got certain attributes which are just hard to erase. These traits are wired in us so much that they are part of who we are. But, if you want to make the most of your career and life in general, JUST WEAVE these two words into the fabric of your approach to LIFE in 2021: “CHALLENGE YOURSELF!”

There is nobody who can doubt that setting goals is one of the most important life-changing scenarios. Regardless of whether the life-changing scenario is big, with audacious goals or just a small adjustment, it takes a lot of courage to get committed.

Whilst we seem to have no problems identifying goals we want to accomplish, putting these plans into action is frequently much more difficult than we think. Why?

This is essentially because of two issues:

  • There is lack of self-discipline and motivation contributing to this behavior.
  • It could also be because of low self-efficacy as deep down one doesn’t believe that one can achieve their plans.

SELF-EFFICACY is an individual’s belief that he or she will be able to accomplish a specific task. It is believed that an essential component to accomplishing something is our confidence that we can. Thus, self-efficacy drives one’s motivation – Albert Bandura.

Dear Reader, try to ponder on these questions, as honestly as you can:

  • What are the factors affecting your self-efficacy?
  • How can you develop more confidence in your abilities?
  • What are the most important things you need to know about the influence of your mind on your achievements?

There are some ways of challenging oneself that are better than others. Research seems to agree on three fundamental conditions on changing oneself:

  1. They take you out of your comfort zone without putting you in serious danger.
  2. They provide you with an intense, accelerated learning experience.
  3. They help you develop skills and attitudes that are highly valuable to you in life.

 12 Ways To Challenge Yourself

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do” – Leonardo da Vinci.

Introducing your own challenges at work or at home will not only improve your career performance, but also provide the perfect opportunity to enhance your skills and future career prospects.  By adopting this approach in your current role, you will gain invaluable skills and experience in 2018 that will seamlessly transfer into your next position when you’re ready to move on.

  1. Push Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

I have stepped outside my comfort zone enough to know that, yes, the world does fall apart, but not in the way that you fear – Tan Le

Every job or task has certain tasks that involve a bit more thought and time investment, which many of us tend to shy away from during our day-to-day work life.  In order to challenge yourself, you have to take these tasks head on; embrace the challenge and learn something new from it.

If you feel like you’ve exhausted your own role and the responsibilities within it, try to take on new projects and opportunities that are not normally expected of you.  Specifically consider projects that push you out of your comfort zone, challenge your strengths and address your weaknesses.

But it’s not being out of your comfort zone that gives the results, it’s the length of the stretch you are about to make when out of it.

I want to challenge you today to get out of your comfort zone. You have so much incredible potential on the inside. God has put gifts and talents in you that you probably don’t know anything about – Joel Osteen

2. Be Competitive

I am competitive and I feel bad when we lose. You can see it in me when we’ve lost. I’m in a bad way. I don’t like to talk to anyone – Lionel Messi

A little competition can go a long way at work.  This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to beat other employees as this can generate conflict and make you unpopular in the office or staffroom.  What you need to do is to simply try to be the best that you can be. Try to consider your past achievements and use them as a basis to define new goals to work towards.  Always try to push yourself that little bit further.

It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end it is people that are going to hire you – Mike Davidson

Most of our engagement at work may only be within our teams so what about learning from others. It really plays a vital part in our overall career success.  Make sure you stay connected not only with your own team members, but also with the wider corporate network. It is an excellent way of selling yourself. You just never know what is around the corner but colleagues whom you have known for years may just be the antidote for a career change.

By communicating with other departments and colleagues in different positions, you will gain a different perspective, which you can then apply to your own processes and make your job better or safer.

  1. Don’t Procrastinate

Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill – Christopher Parker

Everyone is guilty of procrastination at work from time to time.  We put off tasks that we don’t want to do in favour of more mundane tasks, which quickly makes us feel bored at work. In order to combat procrastination, a shift in attitude and the way you approach work is necessary.  Don’t wait for the perfect time to do something.  Seize the moment and try hard to do things as they occur rather than putting them off and waiting for the perfect time to occur.

  1. Be Independent

We all need assistance from colleagues from time to time, but try to fulfill your job responsibilities with minimum help.  Completing a task on your own from start to finish, will not only make you feel more challenged, but will provide a greater sense of achievement and accomplishment.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein

Remember that your success and devotion not only benefit the company, but also advances your own skill set and increases your employability.  In this instance, it’s important that you don’t always wait for your boss to delegate tasks to you.  Take initiative and look for new tasks that you can take on.  Be open to change and always give 100% at work to make the most of every opportunity.

  1. Evaluate And Re-evaluate Your Skills and Flaws

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions” – Stephen Covey

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” – Michael Jordan

Don’t wait for a work review to evaluate your performance, instead you should constantly evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to your position.  By fully understanding your competencies, you are better able to overcome the negative aspects of your performance and utilize the positive ones.

Pay particular attention to your flaws and try to take on different roles that can help you to improve upon them.  Always be open to learning new skills and building upon your existing skill set in order to enhance your current position as well as future career prospects.

  1. Figure Out What You’re Scared Of – And Do It For One Week Consistently.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – Napoleon Hill

If you’re in sales, and you’re scared of talking to people personally or over the phone, then you have a problem. You can’t just relate with your clients online, can you? Now, instead of crippling in fear and automatically thinking you’ll fail, spend at least five minutes a day to pick up the phone and make a call to a prospect. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, you may embarrass yourself. And yes, someone may hang up on you. But don’t stop on the first try, just yet! You’ll get the hang of it eventually. After a while, you can look at fear in the eyes and say, “Go on, I’m not scared!”

  1. Aim High in Your Career

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears” – Les Brown

Big, bold career goals can really challenge you and help you grow as a person. But I’m not talking about theoretical goals though, that you dream of achieving, all the while spending most of your time watching TV. I’m talking about well-defined career goals that you work to achieve.

These goals can relate to the amount of money you make, the number of people you impact through your work, the role you play in a company, or the magnitude of the projects you manage. Whatever floats your boat!

The main point is that by setting and pursuing such goals, you will be forced to develop as a person. You’ll need to study, to develop your expertise in your field, to innovate and to take calculated risks. All of this implies unbelievable self-growth.

  1. Have A Positive Attitude

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” – Audrey Hepburn

Having a positive attitude is one of the most attractive assets in an employee. Always approach tasks – even difficult ones – with a positive attitude and a belief that you can do it.  Don’t underestimate yourself or your abilities, and carry out your position with dedication and enthusiasm.

By making these simple changes to your position, you will not only feel more challenged at work through the tasks that you take on, but you will also improve your own skill set and future career prospects.

  1. Physical Exercise

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

Physical exercise is often talked about as a way to be healthy and stay in shape. I see another side to it, though. I see it as a good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Ever since August 2015 when I challenged myself to walk 30-35 kilometres a week, I have never faltered. I walk everyday and the benefits have been astounding!

This is because when you exercise, you put in some degree of effort. Whether you’re running, or lifting weights, or jumping rope, some sort of physical and mental exertion is involved. And this exertion has many benefits in terms of self-growth.

Through regular exercise, not only that you train your body and you develop your strength, speed, endurance and so on, but you also train your mind. You develop willpower, vigilance and confidence. And there are now studies that show regular physical exercise is associated with a higher level of perseverance and determination, which you know, are important in life.

Aside from the obvious reason that exercise can help you maintain your regular weight or shed those unnecessary pounds, it can also aid in making you feel better about yourself, by releasing endorphins.

  1. Make Failure A Learning Process

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

Regardless of how smart or hardworking one is, failure is inevitable. Everyone makes mistakes or fails to meet expectations at some point in their professional lives, and it’s important to frame those situations correctly or a career can be sidetracked. Again, the leader has much power here.

Employees will go further for a leader who they know has their back. It’s important to build your employee back up after a failure and get them back on their feet again as soon as possible. Discuss the failure as a learning opportunity, and avoid being overly critical or berating them about the issue. Make sure they know that you view failure as a necessary part of growth and innovation, and that you see great things for the person ahead.

  1. Push Yourself Out Of Complacency

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination” -Jimmy Dean

There’s a natural tendency for us to gravitate towards what we’re good at doing. Then we get stuck there because we’ve gotten comfortable.

This kind of stasis can be too much of a good thing and inhibit growth. Try pushing yourself to try things you have potential for and give yourself the opportunity to take a risk.

Remind yourself that it’s about the effort, not just innate skills.

 “Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an over-emphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings” – Stanford Psychology Professor, Carol S. Deck

  1. Travel And Allow Yourself To Be Interested In New People

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

We’re not talking about the expensive kind of travelling here. Something cost-effective like going to your local museum or visiting the resort in the next city can all count as travelling! Here, don’t just limit yourself to your fellow travelers – try to connect with the service staff, like the lifeguard, or the receptionist, or the tour guide. You never know what kind of people they’re going to be. Get out of your house or go online right now to book your class – ONCE things get back to normality.

Start now and learn to challenge yourself from time to time. We all need a little push once in a while.

Surely, our challenges are way out there, seemingly unrealistic at the time being. It is only when we step out of our comfort zone in a resolute manner, reaching further than we were used to, that we begin in earnest to yearn for more.

I don’t know about you, but I find the strategies above are like the pieces of a puzzle. Putting them all together and what you have is a lifestyle that entails constantly challenging yourself and growing in all the relevant directions: you grow socially, you stimulate your mind and body, you develop your expertise and you get wiser each day.

Good luck in all your endeavours. Any comments of yours on ways you are challenging yourself in 2018 would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

 Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

36 PRODUCTIVE WAYS TO KILL THE TIME FOR OUR STUDENTS @ HIGH SCHOOL DURING ISOLATION

AS MILLIONS of parents around the world grapple with the school closures in the past weeks, and having no idea when they’ll be opened, something has to be done to occupy the young minds. Many schools have been hastily scrabbling together remote learning plans, but things are going to be chaotic and unstructured and that’s something we’ll all have to learn to deal with.

The bottom line is, we, as parents, have to find productive ways to engage the restless young people at home 24/7. The key is not to panic, but also not to bury our head in the sand. These are tough times, but there are many things we can do to ease the pain of the current situation and move on with life. It is a phase which we will fight and overcome.

AS A RESULT, I have compiled a list of handy and productive things to do during this turbulence. Please scroll down the list of sub-headings below and pick on what interests you and get engaged:

  1. Reflections & Reading
  2. Television At Work
  3. Grammar, Vocabulary & Spelling
  4. Entering The Working World At Home
  5. Dear Parents . . .
  6. Out & About In The Community
  7. What More & Others
  8. Finally, Be Grateful . . .

So, don’t feel overwhelmed.

INSTEAD, develop a realistic plan and engage the children in your planning. As you follow your plan, I’m confident that you’ll have a meaningful, productive, and fun-filled set of things to do during this unprecedented isolation.  

REFLECTIONS & READING

1. Reflect On The Semester/Term Gone By

DEAR Student – This is a moment to take out your journal or a sheet of paper and answer these three questions as honestly and candidly as possible. You are taking stock of your performance in a self-regulatory manner.

  • What did I do well in the past semester/term?
  • What did I not do so well in the past semester/term?
  • What will I do differently in the coming semester/term?

2. Set Process Goals For The Coming Semester/Term

This is a follow-up to the above point, even if we are not sure as to when we shall be going back to school or work.

SURELY, by setting process goals for the coming semester/term instead of performance goals, becomes a priority. I am saying process goals first as process goals are what you intend to do, while performance goals are what you intend to achieve. As a result, process goals are far more effective.

Here is an example.

  • PERFORMANCE GOAL: Improve my essay writing skills.
  • PROCESS GOAL: Do two extra essay questions every day after dinner.

This actually means by setting process goals, you’re more likely to take action than if you only set performance goals.

3. Create Checklists

For tasks you perform repeatedly, create checklists so that you’ll save time in the long run.

For example, you could create a checklist for the things you ought to do …

  • Every day when I get home from school/training/work, I …
  • When I start preparing for an exam, I …
  • Every weekend as I prepare for the upcoming week, I …
  • When I am packing my bag, I …
  • Before I take an exam, I …

By doing so, aim to reflect on your life periodically; and positively, you will enjoy more.

4. Start Your SAT Or ACT Test Prep – (I)GCSE/IB Program 

Strictly speaking no one calls these acronyms by their full names: SAT stands for Scholastic Assessment Test and ACT is the American College Test. Although they are very much American, universities around the world accept them for admission purposes just like the UK’s (I)GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education; and IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma. Always do your research on what exactly you want to achieve.

This could be a great time to explore the ACT vs SAT , practice for the PSAT , or ramp up your study schedule. Pick up a prep book, take an online prep course , or find a test prep tutor to help you manage your time.

Test prep keeps your brain active so you are in tiptop shape to head back to school later when things get back to normal.

5. Take A Free Online College Course

There are some wonderful websites – like edX; Coursera, Khan Academy or Udemy – that offer courses that are taped or streamed from universities. With tons of subjects from robotics to poetry, you get to participate in real-time or watch videos with up to date information. It is a world of wonder out there. Just click on the link below and enjoy.

EdX is a global nonprofit learning community with over 20 million learners having access to over 2500+ online courses. EdX is fulfilling the demand for people to learn on their own terms delivering courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications.

Coursera  is building skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies. There are over 3 900 courses to choose from.

Khan Academy is a tried and tested institution offering personalized learning where students practice at their own pace, first filling in gaps in their understanding and then accelerating their learning.

Udemy wants you to explore possibilities with its wide selection of courses and thousands of online video courses. Courses range from business, design, photography, development, IT and Software, marketing as well as personal development.

6. Read, Read and More Reading

As an avid reader, I strongly recommend that you take to do some reading during this turbulent time. I have a list of books here from which you can choose from:

50 MUST-READ NOVELS BEFORE LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL

Besides, the above books, I would like to recommend you to read these FIVE books:

  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, finding meaning in it, and moving forward with renewed hope and purpose.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the most famous confidence-boosting book ever published; with sales of over 16 million copies worldwide. The book offers practical advice and techniques, in an exuberant and conversational style, on how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.

  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Get ready to transform yourself for success in this practical and inspiring guide that will help any aspiring person get from where they are to where they want to be. Thus, Canfield offers readers practical help and inspiration for getting from where they are, to where they want to be.

  • Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Are you afraid of making decisions . . . leaving an unfulfilling relationship . . . facing the future? Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. In this enduring guide to self-empowerment, Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires us with dynamic techniques and profound concepts that have helped countless people grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives.

  • The Happy Student by Daniel Wong

Are you a happy, motivated student? Or do you drag yourself to class every morning? In The Happy Student, Daniel Wong describes the five key steps you need to take in order to become both a successful and happy student. Wong draws on his personal journey—from unhappy overachiever to a happy straight-A student, as a result, guiding you through your own transformational process.

pexels-photo-261895.jpegTELEVISION AT WORK

7. Watch Educational Youtube Videos

YouTube is full of educational stuff which is quite helpful during this upheaval. Here are a few of my favorite educational YouTube channels:

8. Watch Documentaries And Your Favourites

You can watch thousands of high-quality documentaries for free at Documentary Heaven besides browsing through your favourite television programmes and films.

If you are subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime and many others, this is an opportunity to watch some really great documentaries as well. Despite the abundance of entertainment, . .

REMEMBER to watch in moderation as there are other things to be performed, done and completed.

9. Play Video Games Too

The popularity of video, computer, online, and virtual reality games is great when done in moderation. This is to avoid the potential for negative health effects of gaming, including the potential for addiction.

The exhibition of superior visual, spatial and attention skills derived from video games is great and video games formats have been successfully used to deliver health interventions to children and adolescents. If interested in playing games, try the . . .

50 Educational Video Games That Homeschoolers Love

pexels-photo.jpgGRAMMAR, VOCABULARY & SPELLING

10. Sprucing Up Your Grammar

By the time students enter High School, they will have conquered and mastered the uses of a period/full stop, the comma, various uses of the capital letters, the question mark and the apostrophe BUT . . . many, and I mean the majority of students, would know what a colon or semi-colon looks like; ellipsis; brackets and dashes; but wouldn’t know when or how to use them.

This is what I want to share with you here: AWESOME WAYS TO RAISE YOUR GRADE IN ENGLISH @ HIGH SCHOOL 1 – 4 on where, how and when to use these punctuation marks. You will explore the uses in greater depth here.

Throughout my teaching career, as well as being a GCSE/IGCSE and GCE Examiner, I have noticed that these unusual punctuation marks are rarely used. Yet by using . . .

  • colons (:) and semi-colons (;)
  • the hyphen, dashes (-)
  • parenthesis/brackets ( ), [ ]
  • ellipsis (. . .) and . . .
  • using numbers in writing

enhances a student’s writing repertoire.

11. Practising Idioms

Brainstorm common idioms and practice new ones. Here I have got a list of idioms for you. Try writing a sentence using some of them.

You will love reading and practising endless hours of Common Idioms In Use 1 – 8 in one of my posts.

12. Where Is the Synonym?

This combines English vocabulary practice with the classic game of memory embedded in contextual meaning of words in sentences.

Again, I have got an array of exercises for you to pick on my highly regarded . . VOCABULARY WORKSHOP – THE KEY WORDS TO USE IN WRITING OR SPEAKING COMPETENTLY 1-7. Just follow the link.

13. What Are Homophones?

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 a spellchecker will not flag 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 at . . .

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL 1 – 8

14. Learning The Root Of Words

A root word is the most basic form of a word. This is the basic word to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) form the basis of a new word.

  • The root word can also be a word in its own right. For example, the word lovely consists of the word love and the suffix -ly.
  • In contrast, a root is the basis of a new word, but it does not typically form a stand-alone word on its own. For example, the word reject is made up of the prefix re- and the Latin root ject, which is not a stand-alone word.

Root words can help you to break down large, new words into smaller units to discover their meanings. Here are only ten common root words.

Please access the rest through here.

Common Latin Roots
Latin Root Definition Examples
ambi both ambiguous, ambidextrous
aqua water aquarium, aquamarine
aud to hear audience, audition
bene good benefactor, benevolent
cent one hundred century, percent
circum around circumference, circumstance
contra/counter against contradict, encounter
dict to say dictation, dictator
duc/duct to lead conduct, induce
mal bad malevolent, malefactor
Common Greek Roots
Greek Root Definition Examples
anthropo man; human; humanity anthropologist, philanthropy
auto self autobiography, automobile
bio life biology, biography
chron time chronological, chronic
dyna power dynamic, dynamite
dys bad; hard; unlucky dysfunctional, dyslexic
graph writing graphic, phonograph
hetero different heteronym, heterogeneous
homo same homonym, homogenous
phobia fear claustrophobia, phobic

15. Learn Prefixes and Suffixes To Expand Your Vocabulary

Learning the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes can help you understand unknown English words you come across everyday. It can also help you become better at spelling words too.

A PREFIX is a letter or a group of letters that we add to the beginning of a word. Prefixes change the meanings of words. For example, the prefix un- (or u-n) can mean “not,” “remove,” or “opposite.” Adding un- to the word “happy” gives you the word “unhappy,” which means not happy.

U-n and r-e (or re-) are the two most common prefixes in the English language. Re- means “again” or “back,” such as in the words “rethink” “redo” and “repay.”

Here are a few things to remember when learning prefixes:

  • Different prefixes in English can have similar meanings, such as un-, in- and non- all of which mean “not” or “opposite of.”
  • Also, the prefixes mis- and ir- mean “wrong,” “wrongly,” or “incorrectly.”
  • Notice that double letters are possible. For example, when you add the prefix im- to words that begin with the letter “m,” you get two “m”s as in “immeasurable.” That’s also true when you add un- to words that begin with the letter “n,” as in “unnoticeable.” The same is true for many other prefixes.
  • When adding a prefix to a word, the spelling of the base word never changes. For example, the prefix un- did not change the spelling of the word “happy.” And, the prefix re- would not change the spelling of the word “live” in “relive.”
  • Watch out for “lookalikes” – words that look like they contain prefixes but, in fact, do not. For example, the un- in the word “uncle” is not a prefix, nor is the re- in the words “reach” or “real.”

A SUFFIX is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word. Suffixes are commonly used to show the part of speech of a word. For example, adding “ion” to the verb “act” gives us “action,” the noun form of the word. Suffixes also tell us the verb tense of words or whether the words are plural or singular.

​Some common suffixes are -er, -s, -es, -ed, -ing and -ly.

There are additional suffix rules, but they deal with spelling and can be learned with time and practice.

A thing to keep in mind about both prefixes and suffixes is that some are only used with some words. For example, we add the suffix -ful to some nouns to mean “full of,” such as in the words “beautiful” or “helpful.”

But, we cannot add -ful to just any noun. You could not, for example, say “loveful” to mean full of love.

So, what are some ways that you can practice common prefixes and suffixes?

One way is to use online flashcards from websites like Quizlet. You can choose sets of cards that are already made or create and use your own sets. Or, you can make your own flashcards with pieces of paper.

Please access the rest through this link:

 16. Spelling Generalizations

I boast to my students that I can spell any word in English because I mastered the spelling rules in primary school. I challenge you to emulate that.

The 5 Common English Spelling Rules to Improve Your Writing are . . .

  1. I before E: Write i before e when the sound is long e except after the letter c. – eg: relieve, relief, reprieve. When there is a c preceding, then it is ei : receipt, receive, deceive, conceive .
  2. Double consonants: When b, d, g, m, n, or p appear after a short vowel in a word with two syllables, double the consonant – eg: rabbit, manner, dagger or drummer.
  3. When to use -US and -OUS: eg – radius, previous
  4. Q is always followed by U: eg – Queen, quarrel
  5. The ch sound: At the beginning of a word, use ch. At the end of a word, use tch. When the ch sound is followed by ure or ion, use t – eg: choose, champ, watch, catch, picture, rapture

A comprehensive list of spelling rules can be accessed through here:

WatchENTERING THE WORKING WORLD AT HOME

17. Create Your Own Project

Turn your interests and talents into your own long-term project. A few ideas:

  • Form a garage band with some musically-inclined friends and practice.
  • Teach yourself how to program.
  • Practice your creative writing and submit your work to journals that publish high school students or to your school’s newsletter.

18. Get A job – “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.”

Colleges are impressed when students have jobs, whether they are working for family income or just for fun. Your work history demonstrates your initiative and responsibility. Take note: you may need a permit, depending on your age.

Don’t worry too much about what the job will pay. As the saying goes, “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.” This is especially true when it comes to school holiday jobs. The best learning experience might just come in the form of an unpaid job or internship

Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend some time working with others versus only on solo projects.

 19. Be An Entrepreneur

Start a business with friends that offers a service in your community. We’ve heard of students starting babysitters’ clubs, walking dogs for the neighborhood, or even teaching Skype/WhatsApp messaging to the elderly.

20. Apply For Internships

Even if we are in the middle of a crisis, be optimistic and set things in motion. Introduce yourself to the world of internships.

This is chance to spruce up your CV and resume, so before you start applying for roles, it’s important to make sure that your resume is up to date and includes your relevant skills and experience.

AN INTERNSHIP is a structured opportunity to work (usually unpaid) at a company, lab, or non-profit organization for a set amount of time. These can be very competitive for high school students, but opportunities are out there!

At Amazon Jobs, besides providing graduate jobs, they also offer student internships with an in depth internship timeline profile providing the opportunity to accelerate your growth. They work on challenging projects which breed resourcefulness and invention with talented teams.

TeenLife is a the leading directory for High School students’ academic and enrichment opportunities for summer programs, volunteer opportunities, gap year programs and community service. The TeenLife website is dense with information which can help you in your future – start preparing now

21. Find a Job-Shadowing Opportunity

Job shadowing (or work shadowing) is an on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development program. It is  a useful way to learn about a particular job of interest involving spending time following a professional in that job. Observing the life of the professional for anywhere from a few hours to as long as a week can help give you a sense of what that job really is like

Does your dad’s best friend work at an electrical engineering company? Ask if you can help with filing or sit in a planning meeting or two, all while soaking up the atmosphere.

In short, job shadowing helps you expand your network as well as making professional contacts in your career field of interest. When shadowing someone who is competent in his or her career field, you have the opportunity to gain a useful resource as you begin to seek and apply for jobs and internships.

NOW is the time to plan it!

22. Learn a New Skill

You could learn skills like Public Speaking; Cooking; Drawing through . . .

TakeLessons – Get live instruction in music, language, dance, computer skills and more one-on-one with an instructor. You can search by area or by subject.

Power Homeschool – Power Homeschool offers self-paced, interactive video lessons on topics such as foreign language, physical education, fine arts, and career and technical classes.

MasterClass – MasterClass offers self-paced courses taught by masters in their fields. You can take photography from Annie Leibovitz, cooking from Gordon Ramsey, or directing from Ron Howard.

Outschool Outschool offers over 4,000 classes taught live to small groups using video chat.

23. Learn A New Language

Visit these websites and learn a new language:

  • Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it’s an excellent addition to a language learner’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, it’s fun and it works. If your aim is to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you’re learning!
  • Babbel is a German-based language learning app and e-learning platform, currently offering 14 different languages ranging from German, English (US + UK), French, to Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Italian, among many others.
  • BBC Languages is a free online language learning site which offer courses, audio, video and games, including the alphabet, phrases, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, activities and tests.

Just go to the site and follow the links.

24. Start A Family Or Neighborhood Book Club

A book club is a reading group, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on a topic or an agreed-upon reading list. It’s common for book clubs to choose a specific book to read and discuss at the same time. Formal book clubs meet on a regular basis at a set location.

This sounds a bit daunting but with careful planning, you can get things going so easily.

Rather on a very small scale, a parent and child can form a book club, by reading the same book and chatting about it. What more, if you invite your cousins and friends? Just start small and grow

25. Try a Ballet, Dance Or Martial Arts Class – all for free

Lots of businesses running after-school and weekend clubs have been quick to adapt to the change and are offering online classes, with many being streamed for free. Good examples include:

The Facebook Group Online Classes For Kids is fast becoming a hub for virtual classes, with a number of different activities already on offer.

YouTube has endless classes are available for families to stream whenever they want – giving parents a much-needed immediate release for energetic children.

This has the benefit of giving structure to your day or weekend, you can make sure children get dressed and ready for the class as they would normally, only they are staying indoors for the session.

red heart on a old opened book

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

DEAR PARENTS . . .

26. Instill Organizational Skills – Establish ROUTINES

LEARNING AND MASTERING the skills of getting organized, staying focused, and seeing work through to the end will help High School students in just about everything they do. But this is not usually explicitly taught in High School, so our students can benefit from some parental guidance with organization and time-management skills.

Parents and guardians can help our High School students through a variety of ways by helping  them establish routines by . . .

  •  KEEPING  assignments and class information together in binders, notebooks, or folders that are organized by subject.
  • CREATING a calendar will help teens recognize upcoming deadlines and plan their time accordingly. Don’t forget to have your teen include non-academic commitments on the calendar, too.
  •  MAKING prioritized daily to-do lists, and to study and do homework in a well-lit, quiet, orderly workspace.
  • REMINDING your teen that when it comes to studying and homework, multitasking is a time-waster.
  • WORKING in an environment free of distractions like TV and mobile phones works best.

27. Make Time to Talk About School

Because many teens spend so much of the day outside the home — at school, extracurricular activities, jobs, or with peers — staying connected with them can be challenging for parents and guardians. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles are central to the lives of High School students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support.

Make efforts to talk with your teen every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. When teens know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they’ll take school seriously as well.

Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your teen can influence how well he or she listens and responds. It’s important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you chat.

Remember to talk with your teen, not at him or her.

Be sure to ask open-ended questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers.

28. Offer Help With Studying

Planning is key for helping your teen study while juggling assignments in multiple subjects. Since grades really count in high school, planning for studying is crucial for success, particularly when your teen’s time is taken up with extracurricular activities.

When there’s a lot to study, help your teen to break down tasks into smaller chunks and stick to the studying calendar schedule so he or she isn’t studying for multiple tests all in one night. Remind your teen to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home.

If grades are good, your teen may not need help studying. If grades begin to slip, however, it may be time to step in.

Most parents still need to help their teen with organization and studying — don’t think that teens can do this on their own just because they’re in High School!

29. Prepare a Meal or Special Dish

Food is one of our favorite ways to learn about any subject! This is an excellent time and way to learn about spices, foods, or cooking techniques that are popular in a specific location.

Food can also be a useful learning tool when studying history. Recipes and ingredients often change over time so preparing foods from a different time period can be a lot of fun.

BBC Good Food – It teaches kids to cook with the step-by-step lessons and recipes turning the little chefs with easy and fun cooking projects. They’ll love tasting their handiwork, too!

ground group growth hands

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

OUT & ABOUT IN THE COMMUNITY

30. Find A Cause You Care About

If you say that something is for a good cause, you mean that it is worth doing or giving to because it will help other people, for example by raising money for charity. The Raleigh International Bike Ride is open to anyone who wants to raise money for a good cause.

Find a cause you care about, and start thinking of ways to support that cause. Some of the good causes one can take part in include children and family services, youth development services, crisis services, shelter and homeless services, food banks, food pantries and food distribution; and caring for the elderly.

31. Volunteer In Your Community

Colleges would rather see continuity and commitment to a community service activity instead of a bunch of one-offs. Start now, and volunteer two hours a week through your senior year.

Volunteering doesn’t take any special skills or extensive experience – and there’s never a shortage of organizations looking for help.

Some local places which you can try include spending your Saturday mornings feeding animals at the animal shelter or national parks; food pantries and soup kitchens always use a helping hand organizing a local food drive, raising money, or simply handing out hot meals to those in need; and visiting  residents at nursing homes a few days a week. Red Cross offers an extensive list of positions that can help those in need and bolster your resume at the same time.

Thus, once you begin your volunteer position, don’t hesitate to offer help outside of your assigned job.

32. Improve Your Physical Health And Well-Being

You have more time at home  now, so introduce  yourself to some basic routines.

Start small and build up consistency by drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks; eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food; exercising regularly: You don’t have to become a gym member to exercise.

Lastly, get a good night’s sleep.

33. Build Or Fix Something And Spruce Up Your Bedroom

Fix a broken fan, build a computer, or make a table. These are skills that will come in handy in the future. What more, make your room  look tidy too!

You’ll get an immediate dose of interest by simply bringing in a plant,  rearranging your furniture layout, adding a mirror, hanging your favorite painting, print, poster, quilt, or collection of family photos wall art

20190802_152255WHAT MORE & OTHERS

34. Explore Outer Space With NASA

The NASA website is packed full of free activities and worksheets for students interested in outer space.

The NASA website is utterly astounding! Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit and accepting the challenge of going deeper into space is an interesting adventure one would explore to.

35. Use Your Imagination

The sky’s the limit! Start a summer art project with friends to beautify a rundown area of your community. Pick up trash in your local park every Sunday. Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend your summer working with others versus only on solo projects.

FINALLY, BE GRATEFUL . . .

36. Write Thank-You Notes

Many people say “thank you” via text message or email. But few people write actual thank-you notes. This school holiday, become one of those people.

Make a list of the people who have helped you in one way or another the past semester: friends, teachers, relatives, and family members.

Write each of those people a thank-you note. Then either mail the note to them or give it to them in person.

Dear Reader, This is by any chance an exhaustive list you can do during this unprecedented time we are living in. You can be creative – thinking outside the box and come up with a lot more others. This is only the start.

Good luck in your endeavours.

BE EMPOWERED AND EXCEL

 

 

BRILLIANT IDEAS ON WRITING A SYNTHESIS ESSAY

The ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION paper requires the candidate to write three types of essays. This paper tests the candidate’s reading and writing skills; and as such, examiners and teachers agree that top scores are awarded to those students who can confidently analyse how authors of no-fiction prose use various techniques to convey meaning and create effects. In addition, the students have to write three well organized and insightful essays, each with a different purpose.

These THREE types of essays fall under:

  • Synthesis Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Analytical Essay

WatchSYNTHESIS ESSAY

The main purpose of a synthesis essay is to make insightful connections from several published documents – called sources – related to the issue at hand, each less than a page long. One source will be an image – a photo, a chart, map, cartoon, or other visual presentation also related to the issue.

FIFTEEN minutes are allotted to the reading of the sources.

A Typical Synthesis Essay Question

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying seven sources.

This question requires you to synthesize a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. When you synthesize sources you refer to them to develop your position and cite them accurately. Your argument should be central; the sources should support this argument. Avoid merely summarizing sources.

Remember to attribute both direct and indirect citations.

After this, you are expected to write an essay that takes a position on the issue and incorporates, or synthesizes at least three of the sources into your discussion. Thus, in order to write a successful synthesis essay, you must gather research on your chosen sources, discover meaningful connections through your chosen sources, and develop a unique and interesting argument or perspective.

A Synthesis Is Not a Summary

A synthesis is an opportunity to create new knowledge out of already existing knowledge, i.e., other sources. You combine, “synthesize,” the information in your sources to develop an argument or a unique perspective on a topic. Your thesis statement becomes a one-sentence claim that presents your perspective and identifies the new knowledge that you will create.

In short, a synthesis essay must do all the following:

  • It accurately reports information from the sources using different phrases and sentences.
  • It is organized in such a way that readers can immediately see where the information from the sources overlap.
  • It makes sense of the sources and helps the reader understand them in greater depth.
  • The writer clearly promotes an idea; understands how to use a variety of sources, including non-print text (pictures, graphs, etc.), using this “synthesis” to support that idea.
  • The writer uses quotes or phrases to extract key information as well as demonstrating understanding in using these quotes or phrases.

The essay must be thesis-driven, so form a thesis based on the prompt:

What you plan to argue + How you plan to argue it = Thesis

pexels-photo.jpgWhat Do I Need to Write One?

Writing a successful synthesis essay will require you to do four things:

  1. Read accurately and objectively;
  2. See relations among different viewpoints;
  3. Define a thesis based on these relations, and
  4. Support the thesis effectively.

You will not discuss all the points in every source; but you should use e some of the sources, and you should use points from each that are appropriate for the thesis of your own essay.

How Do I Write It?

A synthesis essay may be developed in several ways, including the following:

READ CAREFULLY First, skimming through the readings and look for similar issues in each essay. Reflect on those issues, and jot down your ideas. Reread and decide on one topic that will unify your essay. Note each essay’s thesis and main points.

Finally, take notes and write your . . .

THESIS SUPPORTED BY EXAMPLES. Develop a thesis based on common points among the works, and Support the thesis with appropriate examples from each work. This strategy works well with essays that approach a subject from highly diverse viewpoints.

COMPARISON AND CONTRAST. Discuss the similarities and differences in the writers’ viewpoints and draw whatever conclusions are possible from your comparison.

ARGUMENT. If you have a clearly defined opinion about the subject, support that opinion by incorporating the valid viewpoints of the writers of the essays you have selected,. Still, try to analyze weaknesses of any ideas you feel are not valid; identifying conflicting ideas as well as overcoming opposing viewpoints!

In particular, your essay will show whether you can . . .

  • judge the best sources to back up your position.
  • incorporate other writers’ claims or explanations into your own argument.
  • draw on sources in the order that develops your argument in the most logical, persuasive way.

What Steps Should I Take In Writing This Essay?

REMEMBER: Keep in mind that your goal is to support and illustrate your own ideas with the ideas of others to make a point. Similarly, early in your paper, mention the titles and authors of the sources you will be discussing. Quote or paraphrase brief passages from the sources to show how the essay illustrate, agree with, or disagree with each point you make. Whenever you quote or paraphrase, cite the author properly.

INTRODUCTION: It helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about; it gives your readers the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying.

Usually one paragraph contains a one-sentence statement (thesis) that sums up the focus of the essay.

BODY PARAGRAPHS: These are organized by theme, point, similarity, or aspect of the topic.

  • Each paragraph deals with one specific point/idea that relates to the thesis.
  • Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence – letting the reader know what the paragraph is about and includes information from more than one source.
  • Indicates where information comes from with either lead in phrases and verbs of attribution: According to _______ states_______ affirms_______ explains OR with MLA citation (use parenthetical).
  • Shows the similarities or differences between the different sources in ways that make the paper informative.
  • Represents the texts fairly — even if that seems to weaken your paper! Try to avoid relying on one source and just filling in others to meet the required number of sources.
  • Direct quote vs. Paraphrase – When drawing a source to your argument, you have a choice of paraphrasing (summarizing in your own words and making it easier to incorporate someone else’s ideas smoothly into your own words) what the author says, or quoting some of his or her words directly (within quotation marks, of course). Several quotes may make your essay appear to be more of a copy and paste exercise than a synthesis. So, if an author uses a particularly striking phrase or unusual wording that would be difficult to paraphrase accurately, then an occasional direct quote would make your essay more vivid.

Refuting Opposing Viewpoints

There are moments you may want to include a counterargument or refutation pointing out weaknesses in the evidence likely to be used by someone who disagrees with you. Essentially, a counterargument is highly desirable because it weakens your opponent’s position while strengthening yours. It adds potency to an essay that cannot be achieved in any other way.

Please note that there is no rule that tells you where in your essay to put a counterargument. Sometimes it fits best near the end of an essay, just before the conclusion. At other times it should be stated early in the essay. It can also be discussed briefly in each paragraph. Just practise doing it!

CONCLUSION: Your conclusion may cover some of these . . .

  • Remind readers of the most significant themes and how they connect to the overall topic.
  • Go beyond a mere summary — offer the reader insight into the significance of the exploration of the topic.
  • Your conclusion provides a bridge to help your readers transition back to their daily lives. Ultimately, it helps them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

Having a Conversation With Your Sources

Since your aim is synthesis, you need to weave the three sources into your own discussion of the prompt using them to support and develop the position you have chosen to take. The exam writers offer a helpful image of how to do that: they call it having a conversation with your sources. This means responding to each person’s comments, building on them, using them to enrich your own views about the topic as well as trying to understand the author’s position and adding your own ideas to the discussion. This becomes a fruitful conversation!

writing-notes-idea-conference.jpgA Word About Plagiarism

Be certain to properly cite your sources!

Go back over your paper and make certain you have properly cited all sources. You can use verbs of attribution or use parenthetical citations.

Accidental plagiarism most often occurs when writers are synthesizing sources and do not indicate where the synthesis ends and their own comments begin!

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

BRILLIANT IDEAS ON WRITING A RHETORICAL ANALYSIS ESSAY For THE AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION PAPER

The ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION paper requires the candidate to write three types of essays. This paper tests the candidate’s reading and writing skills; and as such, examiners and teachers agree that top scores are awarded to those students who can confidently analyse how authors of non-fiction prose use various techniques to convey meaning and create effects. In addition, the students have to write three well organized and insightful essays, each with a different purpose.

These THREE types of essays fall under:

  • Synthesis Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Analytical Essay

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS

Rhetoric is merely “the art of arguing effectively”. Analysis is defined as ‘the process of separating something into its constituent elements’ in order to examine the elements and evaluate how they work together to create the whole.

Therefore, when you perform a rhetorical analysis, you are looking at the individual elements of a text and commenting on how those elements work to create the argument of the text. You are also considering WHY the author used those specific elements. You are also considering WHAT EFFECT those specific elements had on the audience.

Rhetorical analysis commits both the intentional fallacy (what did the author intend to do?) and the affective fallacy (how did the choices of the author affect the argument?).

In addition to being able to fashion your own argument, you will need to be able to evaluate the arguments of others, both in terms of effectiveness and in terms of strategies used.

This is called rhetorical analysis.

When you are doing a rhetorical analysis, you are merely looking for the rhetorical appeals in all of their different forms. In order to do a successful rhetorical analysis, you must first figure out what the author/speaker is arguing. Then you can determine how he/she crafts the argument for the specific audience.

The first thing that must be done in order to examine the rhetoric of an argument is to figure out the purpose of the argument. Only after you determine what the author or speaker is arguing can you determine the effect of and reason for their various rhetorical choices.

When you are examining the rhetorical choices of a writer or speaker, it is essential that you are able to connect his/her specific choices to his/her larger purpose. The question of ‘What?’ is not nearly as important as the question of ‘Why?’

There are several methods for analyzing the rhetorical choices of a text. One such strategy is S O A P S tone(d):

S(peaker) –Who is delivering the message? What is his credibility? What is the exigence or impetus for argument? What is his persona? How does the speaker choose to present his/her information/evidence?

O(ccasion)-What is the context of the message? What is the exigence or impetus for this argument? What is the cultural landscape in the time when the argument occurred?

A(udience)-Who is the intended audience? Who is the general/specific audience? What values does the audience hold that the speaker appeals to?

P(urpose)-What is the speaker’s intention in delivering this argument? Is this text persuasive, didactic, informative, or entertaining?

S(ubject)-What is the main idea of the passage? What are the principal lines or reasoning or kinds of arguments used?

Tone-How does the author feel about the subject/argument? How does the author feel about the audience? What is the author’s overall attitude about this topic?

Devices-What specific rhetorical tropes and organizational patterns did the author use and what was their intended effect?

The Rhetorical Devices

Rhetorical Devices are ‘artful or resourceful uses of language intended to aid in the conveyance of an argument either by playing on the audience’s emotions or by making certain aspects of an argument stand out as emphasized or important; rhetorical devices can encompass both linguistic choices and syntactic choices’.

Rhetorical devices that refer to linguistic choices are called tropes (trophes). These include all literary elements (simile, metaphor, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, anaphora, apostrophe, etc.).

Rhetorical devices that refer to syntactic (sentence/word order) choices are called schemes. These include different types of sentences (simple, compound, complex, compound/complex, periodic, cumulative), different types of sentence arrangement (inverted word order, balanced sentence, parallel structure, passive voice, active voice, etc.), patterns of development/organization (narration, description, process analysis, illustration, definition, comparison/contrast)

Rhetorical Analysis (Imagery/Diction)

Imagery and diction are also important rhetorical choices to consider. Consider the specific choice of images an author ‘paints’ in a reader’s mind. Consider which senses an author chooses to engage. And how. And why. Also, consider the specific words and language an author uses and what the purpose for these choices is and what impact these choices might have.

However, above all else, make sure that you relate EVERY RHETORICAL CHOICE back to the author’s overall purpose and assertion!

Other Strategies for Analyzing Rhetoric

These and other acronyms are just starting points for rhetorical analysis. They will allow you to say something about the text. Use one or more of them as necessary.

  • DIDLS – Diction, Imagery, Details, Language (Figurative), Syntax
  • DIDTS – Diction, Imagery, Details, Tone, Syntax
  • DUCATS – Diction, Unity (evidence, rhetorical appeals), Coherence (organization), Audience, Tone, Syntax.
  • SMELL – Sender/Receiver relationship, Message, Evidence, Logic, Language

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL

BRILLIANT IDEAS ON WRITING An ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY For AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMPOSITION PAPER

The ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION paper requires the candidate to write three types of essays. This paper tests the candidate’s reading and writing skills; and as such, examiners and teachers agree that top scores are awarded to those students who can confidently analyse how authors of non-fiction prose use various techniques to convey meaning and create effects. In addition, the students have to write three well organized and insightful essays, each with a different purpose.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

These THREE types of essays fall under:

  • Synthesis Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Analytical Essay

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY

The AP English Language & Composition argument essay question can ask you to do any of the following:

  1. Defend, challenge, or qualify a quotation about, or particular take on, a specific topic
  2. Evaluate the pros and cons of an argument and then indicate why you find one position more persuasive than another
  3. Take a position of whatever debatable statement is provided in the prompt

If you choose to defend what the text argues, you will give reasons that support the argument given. If you choose to challenge what the text argues, your reasoning will contradict the argument. If you choose to qualify what the text argues, you will agree with parts of the statement and disagree with others. Or, you might agree with the statement, but only under certain circumstances.

The “pros and cons” essay is similar to the “qualify” essay in that you must give reasons both supporting and contradicting the statement. You must then evaluate why one side is more convincing. The “position” essay requires that you establish a specific position in response to the statement in your thesis and support it.

What is an argument?

  • Simply put, an argument is an opinion (claim) supported by evidence.

Evidence can take on different forms depending on the nature of the argument, the purpose of the argument, and the needs of the audience.

  • Something that is argumentative is not and does not necessarily have to attempt to persuade. An argument is simply an opinion supported by evidence; persuasion involves moving people to act.

Although an argument doesn’t have to persuade people, an argument can implicitly be persuasive.

Unlike the other two essays you will be asked to write, this essay does not provide any text other than the prompt. Instead, your thesis is supported by your own reading, observations, and experiences. In other words, this essay’s only support is you; what you “know” is the textual support. This essay can be difficult, as the question, regardless of what it is, presupposes that you have knowledge about the topic under discussion. The more you’ve learned about the world around you, and the more opinions you have formulated about it, the better.

An argument is composed of three different elements:

  • The Speaker: the person/persona delivering the message
  • The Purpose: the topic + the reason for delivering the argument
  • The Audience: both specific (the specific group that is listening to/reading the argument) and general (the more generalized group of people the speaker is trying to reach)

The analysis of the relationship(s) between the three elements of an argument is called RHETORICAL ANALYSIS. Rhetoric, simply, is “the art of arguing effectively”.

Arguments can be found in different forms: written texts, spoken orations, visual media. In one way or another, EVERYTHING is an argument.

The Rhetorical Triangle

Logos (evidence based on logic, facts, and truths; the truths can be universally accepted or proven facts or can be based on ideas or concept true for a specific group of people):

  • Note the claims the author makes, the exigence (‘a gap, a need, a lack, something that needs doing’; why the argument exists)
  • Note the data (evidence) the author provides in support of the claims
  • Note the conclusions an author draws

Ethos (believability of the speaker; credibility and trustworthiness, both according to the speaker himself and the qualifications to deliver the argument):

  • Note how the author establishes a persona (the adopted perspective/character a speaker or author uses to deliver an argument)
  • Note how the author establishes credibility (not only in what he/she says, but also how he/she says it, and also nonverbally)
  • Note any revelation of the author’s credentials or personal history

Pathos (evidence designed to stir the emotions of the audience; language or syntax designed to make the audience more receptive to or engaged in the speaker/writer’s message):

  • Note the primary audience of the text
    • Note the emotional appeals the author makes
    • Note the author’s expectations of the audience

Argument and the Appeals

A successful argument will use all three of the rhetorical appeals and use them appropriately for the subject/purpose of the argument and the audience.

Consider how you could use the rhetorical appeals in the following situations:

  • You are trying to convince your school’s administration to increase funding for technology in the school.
    • Logos? Pathos? Ethos?
    • You are trying to convince a group of your peers not to smoke cigarettes.
      • Logos? Pathos? Ethos?
    • You are trying to convince a group of first-grade students not to smoke cigarettes.
      • Logos? Pathos? Ethos?

When you are reading a nonfiction text, note the language the author uses to appeal to logos, pathos, and ethos.

The rhetorical appeals will inform and influence every aspect of the text (organization, imagery, word choice, syntax, etc.)

Argument and the AP Test

On the AP test, you will be tasked with writing an argumentative essay. Typically, you will be given either a quotation or a short passage that presents a claim. You will be asked to do one of the following tasks:

  • Defend, challenge, or qualify (the assertion)
  • Take a position and support it with appropriate evidence
  • Discuss the pros and cons and then take a position
  • Discuss both sides of a controversy and then propose a resolution

No matter what the prompt for the AP test asks you to do, you must support your assertions with specific, relevant evidence:

  • Current Events/Politics
  • History
  • Personal Experience/Observations-Anecdotal Evidence
  • Science
  • Sports
  • Literature (but make sure that you ‘bridge the gap’ between the fictional nature of literature and the issues raised in your essay)
  • Pop Culture (but make sure that it’s relevant and profound)
  • Movies (but make sure that it’s relevant and profound and, if the movie is not a documentary, you ‘bridge the gap’ between the fictional nature of the movie and the issues raised in your essay)

As always, the thesis for these essay prompts must be specific and focused. Avoid merely restating what the prompt states. Instead, make the prompt your own by articulating a specific argument.

The order of the presentation can be varied, and any rhetorical strategies can be employed, but you must make certain that your support/evidence is appropriate and effective. Your support should be rational and logical, not emotional; it should be objective rather than biased

How do I argue a point or position?

  1. WORK THE PROMPT – Carefully read and deconstruct the prompt. A successful essay will depend on your thorough understanding of what is expected of you. Underline key ideas, concepts, etc. Pay attention to SOAPS where that information is provided.
  2. INTRODUCTION: Present the issue/situation/problem. State your assertion/claim/thesis.
  3. BODY PARAGRAPHS: Support your claim drawing on all that you know about the subject: What will you use as evidence to support your position? CONSIDER these: Facts/statistics, details, quotations, anecdotes, cause and effect, appeal to authority and Remember readings, entertainment/arts, history, universal truths, government, and observations are all forms of evidence. Your goal is to sound well read, educated, and reasoned.
  4. ACKNOWLEDGE and respond to REAL or POSSIBLE OPPOSING views.
  5. CONCLUSION: Make your final comment or summary of the evidence, extending it to the “real world.” What will my final remarks be? Leave the reader with a sense of completion, and reinforce your thesis.

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.

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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!

EFFORTLESS WAYS ON HOW PRAISE AND RECOGNITION CAN CHANGE ATTITUDE @ Home, Work and School

“A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.” ― Veronica Roth

“Beware of those who criticize you when you deserve some praise for an achievement, for it is they who secretly desire to be worshiped.” ― Suzy Kassem,

“You can always tell when someone deserves the praise and recognition they receive, because it humbles them rather than inflating their ego.”Ashly Lorenzana

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey

“In the arena of human life, the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”– Aristotle

The above quotes are illustrative of how we realise the power and influence of praise and recognition in our day to day living. Through motivating others, be it individuals or team members, offering praise and recognition for a job well done can be an extremely powerful tool in changing dynamics at work, school or home.

Network Monitoring AccountFIRST, here’s a fun exercise:

  • Think of your current line manager – On a scale of one to ten (one being the worst) rate their skills of recognizing, praising and rewarding hard work and achievement.
  • Now rate yourself: How well do you recognize and praise your students; employees, colleagues or your own children?

Certainly, that exercise might not have been quite as fun.

Why do we need praise?

There is no secret on how being praised often makes people feel good. Human aspects of pride, pleasure and increased feelings of self-esteem are all common reactions to being paid a compliment or receiving positive feedback, be it from colleagues, senior management OR even from our students!

It seems praise aims at fulfilling two important functions:

  1. Praise is the number one tool available to you to release energy and motivation in your people.
  2. Praise educates the people around you regarding what you like about their approach and encourages them to do more of it.

This is because being praised triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the pleasurable activity or occupation. It helps in controlling the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. As well as making us feel good, dopamine can also contribute to innovative thinking and creative problem-solving at work.

Time To Grow UpThese positive effects, however, are relatively short-lived, and for praise to have an enduring impact on employees, students or children’s engagement, it needs to be offered regularly. A senior employee at famous performance management consultancy, the Gallup Organisation hinted that “recognition is a short-term need that has to be satisfied on an ongoing basis”. Furthermore, in another Gallup research, it reported that employees who report that they are not adequately recognised at work are three times more likely to say they will leave in the following year.

The impact of praise

Psychologists and researchers have long been fascinated by the effects of praise on workplace performance and behaviour, and what this means for organisations. In a survey of more than four million employees about the importance of praise and recognition conducted by Gallup Organisation the results were fascinating:

  • employees who receive regular praise are more productive, engaged and more likely to stay with their organisation than those who do not.
  • employees who are praised receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
  • employees who are recognized for their efforts even enjoy better health than employees who are not.

 Delivering praise

There is a great deal of empirical evidence suggesting how praising employees at work can be beneficial. However, the most important aspect in which the praise is delivered has a significant bearing on its effectiveness. Research points out that only genuine achievements should be praised, and that empty words have little or no value.

Indeed, it is alleged that ‘unearned praise can do more harm to an individual and a workgroup than none at all’. It not only prevents employees from knowing when they need to improve, but it can diminish the impact of the genuine praise that is offered at other times.

Similarly, students or children who are praised for being inherently ‘good’ at something are less likely to take on new challenges than those who are praised for their approach to the task. When it comes to praising students or children, Carol Dweck, a psycholgist’s advice is to ‘focus on the processes they used – their strategies, effort or choices’.

cropped-learning.pngResearch highlights the value of constructive feedback; where managers should be specific about which aspects of their team members’ performance have particularly impressed them and why.

There’s little doubt that praising and recognising the efforts and achievements of others can bring about some very positive results in the workplace. Being praised makes the recipient

  • feel good about themselves
  • help to boost their performance
  • experience an ‘uplift’ that can increase employee’s morale, motivation and engagement
  • renew their commitment to their manager and the organisation.

For praise to have this kind of impact, however, it needs to be delivered effectively.

Only genuine achievements should be praised, and managers should ensure their feedback is constructive and specific.

Seeking Recognition

Recognition is being seen to be good or bad in some act. It can be either positive or negative. Effective recognition has the following characteristics:

  • It is positive in nature
  • It is immediately connected to performance
  • It is specific about what is being praised
  • It is close to the action

We want and cherish praise and recognition in determining the values of our school or organization. Thus, in today’s world, praise and recognition are communication vehicles for that which is deemed important. The top tips below are tried and tested techniques to praise and recognition.

pexels-photo-886465.jpegTIPS IN GIVING PRAISE AND RECOGNITION

  1. Never WAIT!

The more time that passes between great performance and recognition, the lower the impact of that recognition. Immediately is never too soon.

  1. Credit where credit’s due

It’s no secret that both giving and receiving praise makes us feel good: we’re psychologically wired to function in a receive-give and give-receive kind of environment. When we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in what we’ve achieved, our brain releases the hormone dopamine, immediately awakening the reward and pleasure areas of our brain

  1. Be specific

Generic praise is nice but specific praise is wonderful. Don’t just tell an employee you did a good job; tell them how they did a good job. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, but will also know you pay attention to what they do.

The added impetus is that they will know exactly what to do the next time in a similar situation.Never Stop

4. Be genuine

Never praise for the sake of praising. It will become obvious to everyone if it is “forced” and will lessen the impact when you really do mean what you say: the real praise and recognition.

5. Save constructive feedback for later

Many of our bosses, albeit inherently, toss in a little feedback while praising a colleague or employee. They will say “how great you did . . . but next time you might want to consider . . .” Oh! No! It just leaves a sour taste to the praise as “. . . all I hear is what I should do next time.”

Advice: Praise and recognize now! It is better to save performance improvement opportunities later.

6. Go hunting

Are you one of those bosses who are conditioned to spending time looking for issues or problems to correct and resolve? If so, it will do you a lot of good by just spending a little time trying to catch colleagues or employees doing good things, too.

7. Be surprising at some point

Birthday presents are nice, but unexpected gifts make an even bigger impact. Unexpected recognition is always more powerful, too. Winning “Employee of the Week” is nice, but receiving a surprise visit from the owner because you won back a lost client is awesome.

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8. Strike a balance

It is much easier to recognize some of your best employees because they are consistently doing great things. However, finding ways to spread the positive vibe around is golden.

Whilst it is going to be hard to find reasons to recognize some of the less than stellar employees, the fact that they are there means they are part of the team. By giving just a little encouragement may be all a poor or average performer needs to turn the productivity corner.

9. Create a CULTURE

By making praise and recognition something you measure, may at first sound cheesy and forced, but the more it is done, the quicker it will be embraced.

The ripple effect to it is that peer pressure and natural competitiveness are promoted. Employees become happy to assist and accomplish things worthy of praise so as to report great stuff to the boss or fellow colleagues.

10. Treat employees like snowflakes

We all respond differently to praise and recognition. There are many of us who may appreciate public praise but, then equally so, there are those among us, who just want a quiet word. Some of us cringe when made the centre of attraction.

Surely, knowing your employees, students or children and tailoring your recognition so it produces the greatest impact for each individual is a bonus.

Exper ExperienceAnd remember:

Dear Boss, just remember that:

Recognizing our effort and achievement is self-reinforcing. When you do a better job of recognizing us, we tend to perform better. We will come to work happy, ready and eager to perform because we know we are a TEAM as Together Everyone Achieves More.

So dear folks, praise and recognition are essential building blocks of a great workplace. We all possess the need to be recognized as individuals and to feel a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing complicated about recognition, but it is one of the items that consistently receives the lowest ratings from our bosses.

Let me hope that, that room for improvement, is now. Let us start with our little ones and build it up from there.

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Good luck in all your endeavours.

BE EMPOWERED and EXCEL

ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES ON IMPROVING READING COMPREHENSION

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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!

FUN AND EFFECTIVE WAYS OF TEACHING VOCABULARY @ HIGH SCHOOL 2

The importance of vocabulary knowledge to school success, in general, and reading comprehension, in particular, is widely documented. Becker, 1977; Anderson & Nagy, 1991

This is the last of three related posts on this interesting topic on vocabulary @High School. The other two posts can be accessed here are entitled:

The acquisition of vocabulary is one of the most important tasks in language learning. If you have enough words, you can make sense of what you are reading or listening to and you can somehow express yourself.

In short, vocabulary acquisition is much more important than grammar. The grammar we have is acquired gradually as we become familiar with the language, with the words, but first of all, we need words.

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A. How Do We TEACH Vocabulary?

Vocabulary knowledge is not something that can ever be fully mastered; it is something that expands and deepens over the course of a lifetime. Instruction in vocabulary involves far more than looking up words in a dictionary and using the words in a sentence.

RESEARCH has brutally exposed a long held belief on . . .

Least Effective Strategies On Teaching Vocabulary through . . .

  • copying definitions
  • writing sentences
  • memorizing definitions from a vocabulary study sheet
  • asking students to use context for unknown words when there is little contextual support.

Most Effective Strategies On Teaching Vocabulary are through . . .

  • direct, explicit instruction of words in context
  • using simple conceptual maps
  • teaching specific context clues
  • selecting meaningful words to teach
  • increasing independent reading
  • directly teaching word learning strategies connecting new concepts/meanings to existing knowledge base.

Just as increasing vocabulary knowledge should occur on a continuous basis, so should vocabulary instruction. The following  four steps in teaching new vocabulary words have been used extensively.

It is important that teachers make sure that their students use:

  1. Explicit Instruction of Using the Vocabulary Word Correctly: [I do it] – Students hear their teacher explicitly give a student-friendly definition and then see her or him model how the vocabulary term is used.
  2. Guided Instruction: [We do it] – Students have opportunities to use new vocabulary while the teacher is there to “help with the tricky parts” and is circulating around the classroom to make sure that students are using the word correctly and giving corrective feedback when needed.
  3.  Collaborative Learning: [You do it together] – Students are given lots of opportunities to clarify and refine meaning and usage in the company of peers. Students teach other students how to use the word correctly/verifying the correct definition. An extended version would be using oral language to communicate the meaning in different contexts and having groups of students complete assignments involving semantic mapping or other graphic organizers.
  4. Independent: [You do it alone] – Students practice use of the term in independent reading, writing, discussion, and assessment.

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B. Six Step Process For Teaching Vocabulary

Marzano (2004) has developed a six step process for teaching vocabulary to students of all ages. While the vocabulary needs of students increase over time, these same procedures can be used on a frequent basis with all students of varying abilities across all content areas. The effective techniques on how to use these six steps follow the description of Marzano’s Six Step Process for Teaching Vocabulary.

Marzano’s six steps for teaching new words can be used with all students (K-12), including those with learning disabilities.

  • Use the first three steps to introduce new words to students.
  • The next three steps give students multiple exposures of the new word for review and retention.

The six steps are as follows:

Step 1: EXPLAIN— The teacher provides a student-friendly description, explanation or an example of the new term. (This is where the teacher explicitly states the definition that will make sense to the students.)

Step 2: RESTATE— Teacher asks students to restate the description, explanation or example in their own words. (Students could add the term to their notebooks or to a chart in the classroom, followed by the following step.)

Step 3: SHOW— The teacher asks students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representation of the term. (If possible, ask students to come up with an antonym or synonym to the new word.)

Step 4: DISCUSS—The teacher engages students periodically in structured vocabulary discussions that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in their vocabulary notebooks. (Have students use new words in oral sentences or use the new words in questions you ask your students.)

Step 5: REFINE AND REFLECT—Periodically, the teacher asks students to return to their notebooks to discuss and refine entries. (When another new word comes up, try to mention previously learned words as similar or different.)

Step 6: APPLY IN LEARNING GAMES— The teacher involves students periodically in games that allow them to play with new terms. (Examples to try: Jeopardy, Name that Word, Bingo, and Concentration.)

C. The Four P’s of Vocabulary Acquisition

PROVIDE opportunities for reading wide and reading volume with accountability.

PRE-VIEW the text to determine which words to teach.

PRE-TEACH meaningful words and phrases.

PROVIDE direct instruction and multiple exposures of the vocabulary in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

D. Importance of Vocabulary to Reading

Some conclusions which research has established include that  . . .

  • There is a strong relationship between vocabulary and reading comprehension.
  • Vocabulary knowledge is linked to overall academic success.

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Vocabulary Strategies: Before, During And After Reading

Before Reading Vocabulary Strategies

  • Use explicit instruction to pre-teach unfamiliar important words from the text that will help build background knowledge, and those words that are critical for students’ understanding of what they are reading.
  • Help students relate new vocabulary to their prior knowledge and experiences, as well as to previously read text.
  • In longer, multisyllabic words, teach meanings of root words, prefixes and suffixes so that students can recognize these morphographs in unknown words to help them determine their meanings. Review these morphographs in new words that may be unfamiliar to students as needed.
  • Have students use mapping techniques, such as Semantic Mapping and other graphic organizers to help them think about other words that share the same meanings or that have the same roots. For example, teaching the root ‘tele’ which means from afar, can be used to teach telescope, telephone, telepathic, television, and telegraph.

During Reading Vocabulary Strategies

  • Teach students to use prefixes, suffixes, and familiar word parts to decode new words and determine their meanings.
  • Teach students how to use the structure of both narrative and expository text to figure out word meanings. Although this strategy does not always help with determining an unknown word’s meaning, it is one that students should try to use while reading, especially on assignments done independently.
  • Expand on word meanings that were defined in the textbook in context to ensure students’ understanding of these new words.
  • Have students add new words and concepts to their semantic maps and graphic organizers they began prior to reading.
  • Use content-area word walls as a resource for students to use when they need help remembering a word’s meaning.

After Reading Vocabulary Strategies

  • Have students use their own words to explain the meaning of new words in the way it was used in the text, as well as using it in other contexts.
  • Play vocabulary games (e.g., using synonyms, antonyms, roots, concepts) to provide enrichment of new word meanings.
  • Have students copy their word wall vocabulary  in any order that they wish. Play a game like Bingo, but instead of just calling out the word, say a short definition and then the students will cover the vocabulary word that matches the definition.

E. Words are learned indirectly as research concludes . . .

  • Rarity and variety of words found in children’s books is greater than that found in adult conversation!
  • More words are learned through reading than from spoken language.
  • So read, read, read!!!

Good luck in all your endeavours

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL

LEARNING THROUGH MNEMONICS – WRITING AN ARGUMENTATIVE OR DISCURSIVE ESSAY

I taught a group of students mainly from UAE at one summer camp in the UK and Miss Rana, an excellent student, messaged sometime later on saying:

“I’d like to tell you that RACPERSEE has taken me a long way in AP English and I owe it all to you!

How sweet, dear folks! All this was in appreciation of a simple trick in a mnemonic: RACPPERSEE. I had applied it during that month-long stay with the group and it did change their writing style. It opened her, like the hundreds of students whom I have taught, to a new and innovative way of approaching her essay writing.

What is in RACPPERSEE?

This mnemonic works well with Discursive, or Argumentative (Persuasive) compositions. This is a transferable mnemonic which when correctly mastered opens doors to a whole lot of other skills in composition and essay writing.

– R –

REPETITION: Repetition is also often used in speech, as a rhetorical device to bring attention to an idea, eg:

  • The team captain reiterated his resolve to win the match, win the tournament, and win the hearts of his people.
  • The general said to his army, “Men — You must fight for the life of your people, your family and your country.”

RHETORICAL QUESTION: Reinforces words and ideas, makes them memorable and leaves a lasting impression, eg:

  • Emphasizing a point: Do you want to be a big failure for the rest of your life?
  • A student fails to bring in his homework assignment. The teacher keeps him after class and says “Can we do better next time?”

– A  – 

ASSERTIVENESS AND IMPERATIVES: These will be using words like, ‘think about the plight of…’ or ‘forget your previous ideas about…’. These are used to push a reader into thinking that the need to agree or is urgent. It suggests that this is something that the reader must act upon.

  • It was surely/certainly/absolutely/thoroughly . . . .
  • In a survey carried out by the SLO in April 2016, it was seen that . . .
  • The Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, Mr George Soares disputes this . . . .

ANECDOTES: Short accounts of a real event told in the form of a very brief story. Their effect is often to create an emotional or sympathetic response often proposed to support or demonstrate some point, eg:

  • In his book, “Fast Foods Today”, the renowned author and dietician, Ronald Green, argues that . . . .
  • You know, when I was a kid, my dog was my best friend. My childhood was better because of him.

– C –                               

CONNECTIVES: Words that link or ‘connect’ ideas within your writing. They can be used within sentences to link two or more points together, eg but, when, because however, then, therefore, etc.

– Pp –                           

PERSONAL Pronoun: Each of the pronouns in English (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them) comprising a set that shows contrasts of person, gender, number, and case. They are used for emphasis by the writer to talk directly to the reader.

– E –                                 

EXAGGERATION/HYPERBOLE: This is where a writer will be really over the top, in order to make it seem as if an issue is massive, eg:

  • I had a ton of chores to do.
  • How will you ever live with yourself if you ignore this?
  • He is drowning in his tears.
  • Millions of us need this . . .

– R –                                

RULE OF THREE/TRIPLES: Three related words or points are presented in quick succession for literary effect, eg:

  • In his famous Pulitzer prize winner book, “The Winners”, Dr John Jones demonstrates that . . . .
  • It’s great; it’s brilliant; it’s amazing to find everyone prepared for this trip.

– S –                                 

STATISTICS: Statistics are numbers or facts that are used to provide convincing information. A writer will use these as a tool to convince the reader, eg:

  • An online survey by the UK-based Survey Solutions of December 2015, highlights that . . . .
  • According to the President of the Egyptian Association of Abandoned Children/UNICEF/UNESCO . . . .

– E –                                 

EXAMPLES: Wherever necessary examples make your answer solid and believable. Look at how I am introducing an example . . .

  • An article entitled, “Gender and Its Implications “in Egypt Today, purports that . . .
  • A UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, succinctly argues that . . . .

– E –                                 

EXPERT OPINION AND QUOTATIONS: Quotations are used when a writer brings in some information from another person, sometimes an expert, or from another article and ’quotes’ what is said by someone else. By using quotations from other people to back up what is being said or promoted, it will make the argument seem much more appealing. If other people, particularly experts, believe in something, this is used to convince the reader that it must be right. For example,

  • Dr Aya Tamer from the Faculty of Education, at American University in Cairo, alleges that . . . .
  • The prominent educationist and researcher, Dr Michael Giddings, refutes this stating . . . .

By following and implementing the RACPpERSEE technique, you will be surprised by the world of good it can create for you. Try it and work along these sentences:

17 Sentences Which Can Change Your Writing

  1. Professor John Hawkins from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manchester confirms that . . . .
  2. Dr Aya Tamer from the Faculty of Education, at American University in Cairo, alleges that . . . .
  3. In his book, “Fast Foods Today”, the renowned author and dietician, Ronald Green, argues that . . . .
  4. In his famous Pulitzer Prize winner book, “The Winners”, Dr John Jones demonstrates that . . . .
  5. An online survey by the UK-based Survey Solutions of December 2015, highlights that . . . .
  6. The prominent educationist and researcher, Dr Michael Giddings, refutes this stating . . . .
  7. The Ministry of Education and Children’s Permanent-Secretary, Dr Sarah Refaay, once said . . . .
  8. A prominent psychologist, Mrs Nermeen at ISC challenged this by arguing . .
  9. The Times magazine of 26 May 2016, illustrates this clearly by . . . .
  10. The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr Boutros Ghali, . . . .
  11. An article entitled, “Gender and Its Implications “in Egypt Today, purports that .
  12. A UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, succinctly argues that . . . .
  13. According to the President of the Egyptian Association of Abandoned Children/UNICEF/UNESCO . . . .
  14. The Advertising Agency based in the USA states that . . . . .
  15. The Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone, Mr George Soares disputes this . . . . .
  16. The UK government’s blueprint, Every Child Matters, clearly states that . . .
  17. In a survey carried out by the SLO in April 2016, it was seen that . . .

You are on your way to success in writing an excellent argumentative or discursive essay as well as in approaching your SAT or Advanced Placement English essay questions.

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The Proof Of The Eating Is In Doing

Good luck in your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL.