BRILLIANT TOP TIPS AND TRICKS IN USING MICROSOFT TEAMS – CREATING A POLL

Do you know that you can create a poll and then launch it before, during, or after your lesson using Microsoft Teams?

The feature enables teachers to create/launch polls that students can view and answer before, during or after the lesson meeting.

The polls, quizzes and surveys are sure ways of providing feedback to the lesson; makes it easier for students to respond to and are faster and more accurate. They also create a two-way dialogue between the teacher and students and are certainly a micro-learning tactic. Ultimately, it will show the teacher how students are understanding the materials in “real-time.”

Even better still, any member of the class can create a poll, and all members of the team can vote and see the results. This means it’s both democratic and transparent, and can be recorded if you need to refer back to the poll results at a later date.

A simple trick goes as . . .

Once the teacher publishes the poll, the students will be notified via a pop-up and in the meeting chat. They will be able to vote and see the poll outcomes in real-time. If the poll isn’t closed, the students can also choose to participate in it after the meeting has ended.

There are two ways to do this:

How To Add A Quick Poll Form To Teams

  1. Open a Team and select the Channel you want to poll. This will open the Conversations area.
  2. Type a new message and type @Forms select the Forms icon when it appears. This instructs the Forms bot that you want to create a poll.
  3. Within the same message immediately after @Forms start typing your question. Add a question mark after it. Forms won’t recognise the question if you don’t.
  4. Now type between two and six answer options with a comma between each.
  5. You should now have a message that is formatting like this: @Forms Question? Option 1, Option 2, Option 3,
  6. When you are ready to poll, send the message by clicking on the blue arrow. Within a few seconds it will be available to the whole Team to respond by selecting one of the options.

With Microsoft Forms, you can create surveys, quizzes, and polls, and easily see results as they come in.

Teams display a pop-up notification – All you need to do to is @ mention Forms in your Team conversation area, ask a question and then type in the response options. Within seconds your poll will be available to the Team members. A Quick Poll Form can have up to six options and one response per person.

Ask Questions To Your Teammates Directly In Your Conversations Threads – Once a poll is prepared, it can be published before the meeting to allow participants to respond before the meeting begins, thereby collecting information ahead of it. In this case, the poll appears as a card in the meeting chat.

During the meeting, the organizer or presenters can publish polls at the point when it’s a good time to ask the question. Because the full meeting experience is available, Teams uses a pop-up notification displayed in the middle of the meeting window to display the poll card

When you launch your poll, it will pop up as a notification on the meeting screen and also appear in the meeting chat window. Attendees can also create ad-hoc polls during a meeting to get quick feedback on the spot.

How To Add A Quiz (Multiple-Choice Type Questions) Poll/Survey Form To Teams

  1. In Teams, select Calendar.
  2. Find the meeting you’ve scheduled for which you want to add polls, and click or tap it.
  3. Select Chat With Participants.
  4. Select Add a tab Add button , and then select Forms.
  5. Select Save. A new Polls tab will be added to your meeting.
  6. Select Add a button to Create New Poll.
  7. Add your question and answer options.
  8. As appropriate for your meeting, select Share results automatically after voting and/or Keep responses anonymous.
  9. Select Save. This will save your poll as a draft until you’re ready to launch it during your meeting.
  10. Note: You’ll see DRAFT marked in green in the upper left corner of your poll to indicate it hasn’t been launched yet.
  11. To create more polls for your meeting, select Add button Create New.
  12. You can launch a poll using either of these methods: In the Polls tab, select Launch on the poll for which you want responses. You can do this before, during, or after your meeting OR Select the Polls icon in your meeting window, which will open a Polls pane. Select Launch on the poll for which you want responses.

When you launch your poll, meeting attendees will see your question and answer options in a poll notification that appears in the middle of their meeting screen.

  • Polls that have been launched and are accepting responses will be marked in red with LIVE in the upper left corner of the poll.
    • Polls that have been closed and are no longer accepting responses will be marked in dark gray with CLOSED in the upper left corner of the poll.
    • If you want to reopen the poll, select the drop-down list next to Export results and choose Reopen poll.
  • If you want to close a poll, export poll results, or a delete a poll, select the drop-down list next to View results and select Close pollExport results, or Delete poll, respectively.

To view the results . . .

If you want to see which choice each user chose, open the Forms application and click on the poll form.

Only the person who created the poll will be able to see the responses in Forms, but the responses can be exported to Excel and shared with the team, just like any other document.

Dear Teacher . . . There is a lot to gain in making our lessons more entertaining, and ultimately, more enterprising; and polls, surveys or quizzes are just one way of beating the routines. Please try it and see it for yourself.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

TOP TIPS & TRICKS IN USING MICROSOFT TEAMS: GROUP WORK IN BREAKOUT ROOMS

Do you want to have group work in your live class session?

If so, then Group Work In Breakout Rooms is quite a possibility. Here you can divide students into smaller groups for a discussion, monitor individual groups or even record the group’s proceedings with very little tricks to implement.

One of the key advantages of breakout rooms is to allow teachers/presenters to divide the meeting lesson into sub-groups to facilitate discussions and brainstorming sessions.

Group Work In Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms or mini-meetings allow a meeting teacher/organizer to split attendees into multiple online rooms for discussion and collaboration in Microsoft Teams. Only the meeting teacher/organizer can create breakout rooms. That means, literally, only one person in the meeting is able to do this, and must be present throughout the duration of the meeting.

Click the breakout rooms button in the meeting toolbar. Note that the breakout rooms icon might be either of the two shown below.

Choose how many rooms you’d like—up to 50— . . .

In the pop-up settings window, select the number of breakout rooms you want to create and how participants will be assigned:

  • Automatically – Participants who have already joined the meeting will be assigned into equal-sized rooms. Participants who join the meeting after automatic allocation will need to be assigned manually.
  • Manually – This allows you to assign participants to rooms as you choose.

Once the meeting has started, Select the breakout room icon.

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Photo by Samson Katt on Pexels.com

There are times when you must assign or move a participant manually – Select the closed room where the participant is currently assigned. Tick the box next to the name of the participant you want to move. Select ‘Assign’ and choose any room you want to place them in.

Participants who have not yet been assigned to a room will appear under the ‘Assign participants’ section. 

Note that participants joining via desk phone or Teams mobile app cannot be assigned and will remain in the main meeting.

Starting Breakout Rooms Meeting

When you are happy with the breakout rooms allocations you need to open the rooms to allow participants to access them. This is quite simple to do:

  • To open all of the rooms at once, select ‘Start rooms’. The status icon next to the rooms will change from ‘Closed’ to ‘Open’.
  • To open individual rooms, hover over the ‘Closed’ status icon of the room and select the ellipsis icon. Select ‘Open’.
  • When participants are in the breakout room, ‘In meeting’ displays beside their name. If this status is not shown beside a name, you can prompt the participant to enter the breakout room by selecting their name and ‘Ask to join’.

Among many other things you, as the Teacher, can do all the following:

Send An Announcement To All Breakout Rooms – The meeting organizer can broadcast an announcement message via meeting chat to all breakout rooms so everyone in all rooms are informed of updates, changes, or news during their breakout sessions.

Join A Breakout Room As The Organizer – The organizer cannot be in all breakout rooms at once; however, they can jump between breakout rooms as necessary. To enter a breakout room, click the room’s ellipses and selecting Join room.

To Create An Announcement, click the ellipses in the Breakout Rooms pane and select Make an announcement. In the pop-up box, write your announcement then press Send.

Record Breakout Rooms – The meeting organizer can begin recording by jumping between each room. To record the breakout room, you need to be in it. In the meeting toolbar, click the ellipses then click Record.

Sharing And Accessing Files – While breakout rooms are open, attendees can upload files to the room chat for sharing and collaborating. To share a file in a breakout room, open the breakout room chat from the Chat icon in the main Teams window (not the meeting window nor the breakout window). Find the chat for the breakout room. Below the chat text box, click the paperclip icon to upload a new file or share an existing file from OneDrive. Press send once you’re ready. Everyone else in the breakout room (including the meeting organizer) will be able to access the file and edit it live at the same time as you.

What Students Cannot Do in a breakout room:

  • Students cannot add participants.
  • Students will not see suggestions of people who should join (organizers may).
  • Students cannot get meeting details or dial out (akin to not being able to add participants).
  • Students cannot rejoin the original meeting themselves.
  • Students cannot switch between breakout rooms

Close Your Breakout Rooms – Once you as the organizer decide it’s time to end the breakout rooms, you can close them, pulling everyone back into the main meeting. To close your breakout rooms, click the Close rooms button to close all the rooms at once. Or you can close them one-by-one by clicking the room’s ellipses and selecting Close room. At this time, breakout room participants cannot return to the main meeting room on their own nor can they close their own breakout room.

After Your Breakout Rooms – Once you close your breakout rooms, you can actually re-open them if you want. They will have the same artifacts—shared files, whiteboards, things like that—as before, so the attendees can work on existing content. Or you can delete the existing breakout rooms and create new ones for a fresh experience.

YOU can Download An Attendance List And Transcript, just like regular meetings. The recording will become available afterwards via Microsoft Stream. Only breakout room attendees and the organizer will have access to these because they’re in the breakout room-specific meeting chat, at least until the new meeting recap feature rolls out.

Switching Between Main Meeting And Assigned Breakout Room – If this feature is enabled by the teacher, students can return to the main meeting at any time while the room is still open by selecting ‘Return’. Students will still be able to return to their assigned breakout room from the main meeting while the room is open by selecting ‘Join room’.

Accessing The Breakout Rooms After A Session – You can revisit the breakout rooms after the session and view chats, shared files, whiteboards as you can with standard chat areas and meetings. The chat area for each room is available via the standard Teams chat panel: However, students are not able to add or share files within the chats once the meeting has ended.

I have enjoyed using breakout rooms with all my students and they have benefitted immensely. If run properly, and with efficiency, the greatest benefactors is not just the teacher, but the students themselves.

Please try it and see for yourself.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

BRILLIANT TOP TIPS AND TRICKS IN USING MICROSOFT TEAMS

At a glance:

  • What is Microsoft Teams?
  • Microsoft Teams Features
  • Two User Roles: Owner And Member
  • Some Top Tips And Tricks For General Use
  • Top Tips And Tricks In A Live Class/Meeting Session
  • Group Work In Breakout Rooms

With hundreds of thousands of people working from home, this is a huge shock to the system for information and technology teams. Technology has only been previously using 10% to 20% of the time but is almost operating at full capacity at 90% to 100% now. By the way no one was ready for that volume! From Slack, Google to Collaborate, Zoom to Microsoft Teams, there has been an array of technological applications that our modern-day scholars have access to, all, on the click of a button.  Among the lot, Microsoft Teams has, at least for me, proved to be the most enterprising and reliable.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a combination of already existing features of Skype (chat and conferencing), SharePoint and OneDrive (file sharing and collaboration), OneNote (note-taking), Planner (everyday project management), Stream (video sharing), plus built-in applications tabs that bring other tools like GSuite, MailChimp, Salesforce, and so much more in one place. Access to all of these features —and more—is available directly through Microsoft Teams.  Thus, Microsoft Teams is a tool that provides global, remote, and dispersed information via a common space – Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Features

Microsoft Teams features make it stand out from other collaboration software due to a number of enterprising features. These include:

Teams And Channels: Teams are made up of channels, which are conversation boards between teammates.

Conversations Within Channels And Teams: All team members can view and add to different conversations in the General channel and can use an @ function to invite other members to different conversations.

A Chat Function: This basic chat function is commonly found within most collaboration applications and can take place between teams, groups, and individuals.

Document Storage In Sharepoint: Every member who uses Microsoft Teams will have a site in sharepoint online, which will contain a default document library folder. All files shared across all conversations will automatically be saved to this folder.

Online Video Calling And Screen Sharing:  One can enjoy seamless and fast video calls to colleagues or students, alike within your business, school or clients outside your business.

Online Meetings: This feature can enhance communication through meetings, and even training with an online meetings function that can host up to 10,000 users. This feature also includes a scheduling aid, a note-taking application, file uploading, and in-meeting chat messaging.

Audio Conferencing. This is a feature you won’t find in many collaboration platforms. With audio conferencing, anyone can join an online meeting via phone. With a dial-in number that spans hundreds of cities, even users that are on the go can participate with no internet required.

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Photo by Stefan Coders on Pexels.com

Two User Roles: Owner And Member

Within Microsoft Teams there are two user roles: owner and member. By default, a user who creates a new team is granted the owner status. In addition, owners and members can have moderator capabilities for a channel

As the Teacher is the owner, s/he has the right to be the sole rights ownership on presenters:

1 Team owners can create teams unless they’ve been restricted from doing so.

2 An owner can turn off some items at the team level, in which students would not have access to being presenters but as members only.

3 After adding a member to a team, an owner can also promote a member to owner status. It is also possible for an owner to demote their own status to a member.

4 Team members can add other members to a public team: the class.

5 While a team member can’t directly add members to a private team, they can request someone to be added to the team of which team owners will receive an alert that they have a pending request that they can accept or deny.

NB: Make sure you’re on a paid Microsoft Teams plan in order to have full access.

Some Top Tips And Tricks For General Use

Customize Teams For Your Unique Scenario – Whether you’re preparing lesson plans, creating a personalized learning environment, developing an after-school program, managing any other team-based activity or project, Teams can help you get organized for success.

Create Your Team And Invite Team Members – On the online application launcher, click Teams to open the online application (or download it to your desktop). Then click the Join or create a team button at the bottom of the channel list in Teams, After that, then click the Create team button then select Classes. In the Create Your Team Window, name your class and write a brief description that explains the purpose of the class, then click the Next button.

Creating Members List – You can easily add people, groups, and distribution lists from your school. As you begin typing names, a dropdown list of people in your email directory matching your spelling will appear. Click the Add button to add team members, or click the Skip button to add team members later if you want to set up your content first.

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Photo by Shotkit on Pexels.com

Sign In and Get Started with Teams – In Windows, click Start Start button > Microsoft Corporation > Microsoft Teams. On Mac, go to the Applications folder and click Microsoft Teams. On mobile, tap the Teams icon. Sign in with your Office 365 username and password.

Create A Few Key Channels and some tabs with great content – When you create a new class, a “General” channel is automatically added to the class. You can create additional channels to keep your class organized. By default, anyone on the team can access these channels.

Duplicate To Eliminate – Setting up the lesson can be tiresome, especially if you’re having to do it several times a day. Minimise your work by setting your lessons to repeat for the rest of the term. To do this go to “repeat” and set to weekly or daily, or to custom if you need fortnightly repetitions for your two-week timetable.

To Create Additional Channels, select the ellipses (…) next to your team name in the channel list. Select Add channel from the dropdown menu. In the dialog box, name your channel and write a brief description that explains the purpose of the channel, then select the Add button.

Sharing Files in Microsoft Teams – In Microsoft Teams, users can share content with other Teams users within and outside their organization. Sharing files and folders in Teams is based on the settings configured in SharePoint and OneDrive, so whatever you set up for SharePoint and OneDrive will affect sharing in Teams as well.

Users can share files from OneDrive, from teams and sites they have access to, and from their computer

Conversations – Persistent chat is the name of the game with Teams as you make contact with colleagues and students, and as they make contact with you. While it might seem like you’re using iMessage, WhatsApp, or Android Messenger, you’re definitely not.

Chat – Start a new conversation with a person or group. At the top of the application, click New chat. In the To field, type the name of the person or people you want to chat with. In the compose box, say what you have to say and click Send button.

Reply To A Conversation – Channel conversations are organized by date and then threaded. The replies in threads are organized under the initial post so it’s easier to follow multiple conversations. Find the conversation thread you want to reply to. Click Reply, add your message, and click Send button.

Make Announcement Message – Have an image banner with large text when announcing important information to groups or class. It is advisable to use subject lines when starting new conversations.

Move Email Conversations To Teams – You can send emails to a channel within Teams. To create an email address for a channel, select the ellipsis (…) to the right of the channel. Then select Get email address in the dropdown menu. Finally, select the Copy button and save the email address to your contacts list or email address book.

Create Class Assignments – To create assignments in teams, select the assignments tab in your class tab. Select the Create button in the top right corner and then select New assignment. In addition, you can . . .

Review And Grade Students’ Work by heading back to the Assignments tab in your class. Select Review to see all the assignments your students have turned in. You can then assess them and provide feedback.

Have Fun With Emoji, Memes, And GIFs – Express yourself and impress your classmates. Click Sticker button under the box where you type your message, then pick a meme or sticker from one of the categories.

Share A File – Sometimes words aren’t enough, and you need to post a file to a channel conversation. In your channel conversation, click Attach and Choose file button beneath. Select a file, click Open, and then Send button.

You can also always see all the files you post to a channel by going to the Files tab.

Collaborate In Teams – @mention someone. An @mention is like a tap on the shoulder—a way to get someone’s attention in a channel conversation or a chat. In the compose box, type @, then type the first few letters of the person’s name. You can also @mention entire teams and channels. Repeat for as many people as you want to @mention. Each person you @mention gets a notification in their Activity feed.

Stay On Top Of Things – Notifications let you know when someone @mentions you, likes something you’ve posted, or replies to a thread you started. The Activity feed helps you stay on top of all your notifications.

Click Activity Button – The feed shows you a summary of everything that’s happened in the channels you follow. Click Filter button to show only certain types of notifications such as @mentions or likes.

Select Feed and then My Activity to see a list of everything you’ve been up to lately in Teams.

Search For Messages, People Or Files – Searches cover your entire organization—all the channels that you’re part of. Type a phrase in the command box at the top of the application and press Enter. Select the Messages, People, or Files tab. You can click Filter button to further refine your search results.

Sharing Your Screen – Move your mouse to the bottom-middle corner of the screen during a meeting in Teams. Click the square icon in the toolbar and select the window you want to share. Then, Click the third icon from the left, it’s the icon with the square box and arrow. You can then choose either one of your screens or desktops or a window or program to share.

Scheduling a Meeting – When the time for the meeting has arrived, select the meeting by clicking on it in the Calendar view and then click the Join button in the top right. This will make you join the meeting.

Recording a Meeting – Inside of a meeting, hover over your picture in the middle of the screen and the meeting toolbar will appear. Click the …(ellipsis) button. Click Start Recording. The recording will begin and you will see a red circle to the left of the meeting toolbar.

Click “Stop Recording” –  You’ll then see a message that the recording is being processed and will be available shortly.

Retrieving a Recording – If you are still in the meeting, after the recording has finished processing, you can access it from the Chat window. Click the speech bubble button on the meeting toolbar to open the Meeting chat pane, and then select … to reveal the options for the video. Once the meeting has ended the recording will show up in the Chat tab of teams under the Recent section. From this chat window, you’ll see options to manage the recording.

Transcript Over Teams Meeting – If you’ve just finished a call in Microsoft Teams, you can go back and read a transcript of what just happened by going to Microsoft Stream. If your administrator has enabled the ability to transcribe meetings, and you’ve already recorded your call, you can also go back to the transcript to highlight important points and to provide a more finalized copy for distribution within your organization.

Some Top Tips And Tricks In The Live Meeting – Class/Meeting In Session

Spotlight Yourself Or Others – This means putting the focus on a specific person for all participants. Only meeting presenters can spotlight a participant. To use the feature, you just need to click the ellipsis icon next to any participant and select “Spotlight.” When a person is spotlighted, an icon appears next to the person’s name within the participants.

Manage Permissions – Go to the team name you are the owner of and select More options and  select Manage Team. In there, you will be able to enable and disable all the options available for your team by checking or unchecking them.

Brainstorming Session With A Whiteboard – When you create a meeting you can access the Whiteboard even before the meeting has started. All you need to do is to open the meeting chat and click on the Whiteboard tab. Still, you can launch by tapping the Whiteboard icon on the Start Screen where you can immediately begin inking with the pen, adding images or sticky notes, and signing in.

Someone Raises Their Hand – During a meeting, you can raise a virtual hand to let people know you want to contribute without interrupting the conversation. Everyone in the meeting will see that you’ve got your hand up. Meeting presenters will also receive a notification that your hand is raised.

Quick Poll – QuickPoll is designed to allow you to set up one-question anonymous surveys which your students may complete quickly and efficiently. It is helpful to the teacher as you receive valuable feedback from your students.

Go to the “More Options” menu. Go to Settings. Select the “Only people in my organization can respond” button. De-select “record name” and select “one response per person.”

Follow-Up Questions/Pin Chat Message – The pinned chats/messages, means that whatever message or chat that you want is pinned at the top of the screen, meaning that no matter how many other chats pop up, that particular chat will always remain at the top. Got to your recent chats on the left side of the Teams screen. Click the three little dots to the right of the staff listed in the chat. Then select “pin.” The pinned chats will come up in a new “pinned” list above all the other chat

Mute/Unmute Button – While the meeting is in progress, you have the option to mute or unmute yourself. On the bottom toolbar, you will see a camera icon on the left and a microphone icon next to it. Click it to mute yourself, click it again to unmute yourself. You can also press Ctrl + Shift + M on your keyboard to mute/unmute.

Muting Other Participants – Click on their name on the right side of the screen and select Mute Participant (or unmute if they are already muted) If a user is muted, they receive a notification letting them know. They can unmute themselves if they need to be heard.

Download Attendance – This allows teachers to take student attendance and generate simple attendance reports. Open the participants’ pane, click the ellipses to the right of Participants, then click download attendance list. The file will be downloaded to your computer’s default downloads folder. This has to be done during the live meeting!

Group Work In Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms or mini-meetings allow a meeting organizer to split your attendees into multiple online rooms for discussion and collaboration in Microsoft Teams. Only the meeting organizer can create breakout rooms. That means literally only one person in the meeting is able to do this and must be present throughout the time you want to use breakout rooms for them to be used in a meeting.

Click the breakout rooms button in the meeting toolbar, as above shown above. Note that the breakout rooms icon might be either of the two shown.

Choose how many rooms you’d like—up to 50—and decide whether you’d like to have attendees randomly and evenly distributed among the breakout rooms or if you’d like to organize the rooms manually.

Turn On Live Captions – Live captions can make meetings more inclusive to participants by giving them another way to follow along. I use this one when we are reading a text. To use live captions in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options button > Turn on live captions. To stop using live captions, go to the meeting controls and select More options and > Turn off live captions.

Background Images – If you’re working from home, or a sensitive environment, use Microsoft Teams background images to hide your background.

In Microsoft Teams, you have several options to hide your background.

Blur your background – To do this:

  • Click on your audio and video settings screen when you join a meeting
  • Choose the ellipses “…” for more options,
  • Tap on Blur my background

Use A Teams Background Image – To do this:

  • Tap the … when you’re in a Teams meeting
  • Click “Show background effects”
  • Choose your image from the default options
  • Click preview to test it out
  • Click apply to save your background image

There is so much that one can do in Microsoft Teams. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the different applications and activities to actually have the hang of it. It is only through practising that it will become fully interactive and functional to you.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

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

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Are We Losing our Societal Norms About Work?

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

In this article, I am looking at:

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for Teaching About Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pexels-photo-267885.jpeg

Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time To Grow Up

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

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

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

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

 

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!