Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

TSL 2018 International Schools Essay Competition & Debate (Newsletter Reposted)


TSL 2018 International Schools Essay Competition & Debate

'My plan to protect and manage our oceans, seas and marine resources'


 

Last Chance to Enter!

The Trust for Sustainable Living is pleased to invite schoolchildren around the world to tell their best ideas for conserving the world's oceans and marine resources.

One overall Grand Prize Winner (plus Teacher and Parent) will receive a free trip to the International Schools Debates in the Seychelles in early July 2018 (see Programme), and the top essays will receive special recognition as Finalists or Honourable Mentions. All participants are welcome to attend the Debates, which promise to be a wonderful learning opportunity for all ages!

The essay competition and debate are focused on helping to achieve UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) #14.

Further information can be found on the competition website.

To participate, Teachers must register
 and submit essays* by 17th Dec 2017


Additional information
Login Page (to submit essays) - Schools Resources
Teacher Help Page - Debate Programme



(* the same registration and submission dates also apply for the annual TSL Schools Sustainability Challenge video competition)

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There is a Story behind Every Dream!


Whenever the word ‘Dream’ or any of its synonyms strikes to my mind, it refreshes all those memory from my past where I used to enjoy the most believing myself as the king of my achievements. Although it was my imaginary world but I used to believe it more than one believes their breath.

In fact I can bet if anyone will show me someone in this world that hasn’t ever made the ‘Dream’ as their only World.
But now when I am inside our so called SOCIETY, I am in a great confusion about its existence as it is observed as a scenario of war where one group i.e. Dream seeker is struggling to turn their dream into reality and another group i.e. Parents/guardians are obstructing those dream seeker by forcing their own artificial wish upon them.

British writer and social critic, Charles Dickens had once said, “A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.” Myself being no any exception, I too used to live a dream during my childhood and now attempting to turn that dream into reality i.e. to start a school where talent would be the benchers. In fact I have already named it “School of Talent.”

Since school days I have repeatedly been observing a scenario at my hometown where the children were forced to sacrifice their dream because of the high expectation of their parents to see their kids as doctor, engineer, architect, CA etc. in future. As the result of which, the much those kids were growing up, their born talents were decreasing its sharpness.

I still remember a boy named “Anuj Sah (Name Changed)” from my neighbour who was growing with only aim to become a 'Multi-talented' person because he was God gifted excellent at Dancing, writing, singing. He used to work hard in study too so that his parents won't obstruct him to follow his passion. But once I had observed him working as a staff at a cosmetic shop.
All that had got wasted not only because of his parent's high expectation and ignorance of his passion but also lack of infrastructure in small cities education system to provide training related to their gifted talent.

If talking about Nepal’s storm metropolitan city then it's ok but situation is so haphazard with the small cities of Nation. Small town's school do have a system to provide extra-activities classes but it is treated just like extra stuff as those classes gets administered by those teachers who is no doubt very good at study but un-skilled in that extra-activities. In this way those hidden talents in those school children gets limited within that class only.

So, my dream is to start an organization or say a team which will administer that extra-activities classes of those small town's schools with specialized teacher who will understand the importance of those passions, the much those kids do.

My dream is different in sense as it won't only provide appropriate training but also gift them an open platform to showcase their talent. That organization will work only for the exposure of their talent. Children are future of nation and needs proper guidance at their initial stage. Our organization as well as each team members will be dedicated to protect those talents and globalize it so that if a child wants to be a writer then he/she won't be forced to become a CA.


This dream will structure my soul by giving me a satisfied statement that "Yes I did something for the person like me”.

By Suresh Kumar Mukhiya
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EarthCorps is hiring 2018 International Participants (Newsletter Reposted as Blog)

EarthCorps is Hiring!
 
EARTHCORPS IS HIRING 2018 INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS

Do you know a young adult who is working in the environmental field and is looking for an opportunity to advance their career?

Tell them about EarthCorps!

EarthCorps is accepting applications for international participants to train in Seattle, Washington, USA from June - December 2018.

EarthCorps' program is focused on environmental restoration, leadership development, and community building. International Participants will work on crews of six as they perform manual labor to improve the health of Washington forests and waters.

Work includes invasive plant removal, native plant installation, trail construction and maintenance, volunteer management, and more. Projects take place in a variety of urban, suburban, and rural settings.

In addition to physical work, the program devotes time to professional and personal growth through workshops and trainings that provide deeper context for the restoration work. 


 Learn more about our corps program and apply today!

International Participant positions are open to non-US residents only. Applicants must qualify for a J1 Trainee Visa and have a four year degree in an environmental field or five years of employment or volunteer experience in an environmental position.
Applications must be submitted by January 8, 2018.


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Earthcorps_035Super drill Kristen Natasha
 
EarthCorps Green Logo
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Adelaide Graduate Centre Postgraduate Research Scholarships

The University of Adelaide offers Adelaide Scholarships International (ASI) to attract high quality overseas postgraduate students to areas of research strength in the University of Adelaide to support its research effort.
The University of Adelaide is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading Universities and it is the third-oldest university in Australia. The University is associated with five Nobel laureates and 104 Rhodes scholars.

Location:

Australia

Benefits

  • Course tuition fees for two years for a Masters degree by Research and three years for a Doctoral research degree (an extension is possible for doctoral programs only),
  • An annual living allowance ($26,288 in 2016) for two years for a Masters degree by Research and three years for a Doctoral research degree (an extension is possible for doctoral programs only), and
  • For Student Visa (Subclass 500) visa holders the award provides compulsory standard Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Worldcare policy for the student and their spouse and dependents (if any) for the standard duration of the student visa.  It does not cover the additional 6 month extended student visa period post thesis submission. If the award holder does not hold a subclass 500 visa then he/she is responsible for the cost of health insurance.

Eligibilities

  • In order to be eligible applicants are required to have successfully completed at least the equivalent of an Australian First Class Honours degree (this is a four year degree with a major research project in the final year). All qualifying programs of study must be successfully completed.
  • Scholarships will be awarded on academic merit and research potential. Extra-curricular achievements are not considered.
  • International applicants must not hold a research qualification regarded by the University of Adelaide to be equivalent to an Australian Research Doctorate degree or, if undertaking a Research Masters degree, not hold a research qualification regarded by the University of Adelaide to be equivalent to or higher than an Australian Research Masters degree.
  • International applicants who have not provided evidence of their meeting the minimum English language proficiency requirements for direct entry by the scholarship closing date, or who have completed a Pre-Enrolment English Program to meet the entry requirements for the intended program of study, are not eligible.
  • Citizens and Permanent Residents of Australia, and citizens of New Zealand are ineligible.
  • Those undertaking research via remote candidature are ineligible.
  • Candidates are required to enrol in the University of Adelaide as ‘international students’ and must maintain ‘international student’ status for the duration of their enrolment in the University.
  • Candidates who have applied for Australian permanent resident status can apply for ASI scholarships.
  • International applicants are not eligible if they have already commenced the degree for which they are seeking an award, unless they can establish that they were unable to apply in the previous round.
  • Scholarships holders must commence study at the University of Adelaide in the semester the scholarship is offered.
  • Applicants who applied and were eligible for consideration in an international scholarship round, and were unsuccessful, will automatically be reconsidered in the following international scholarship round, assuming they hold a valid offer of candidature for that intake. An applicant who has been considered in 2 rounds cannot be reconsidered in any future scholarship rounds.
  • The offer of a scholarship is contingent upon a student not being offered another award by the Commonwealth of Australia, the University of Adelaide, or an overseas sponsor. The University reserves the right to withdraw an offer of a scholarship at any time prior to enrolment if it is advised that an awardee has been offered a scholarship equal to or in excess of the financial value of the award offered by the University.
MORE DETAILS: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/graduatecentre/scholarships/research-international/opportunities/adelaide-scholarship-international/
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British Chevening Scholarship for International Student 2017, UK

Applications are now open for 2018/2019 Chevening Scholarships and some Chevening Fellowships. Chevening offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
Chevening Scholarships are the UK Government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The programme offers awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study for a master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
The significance of the Chevening scholarship scheme rests on its large scope – approximately 700 scholarships are awarded each year to students from more than 110 countries, allowing students from developing countries to access British tertiary education institutions, some of which are of a very high standard as determined by international rankings.
The most popular destinations for the Chevening Scholars to study in 2011 were the London School of Economics & Political Science, University College London, and the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, University of Bath and King’s College London.

Location:

United Kingdom

Benefits

A Chevening Scholarship normally covers
  • University tuition fees
  • A monthly stipend
  • Travel costs to and from the UK
  • An arrival allowance
  • A homeward departure allowance
  • The cost of one visa application
  • A travel grant to attend Chevening events in the UK

Eligibilities

  • Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country
  • Return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after your award has ended
  • Have an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry onto a postgraduate programme at a UK university. This is typically equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK.
  • Have at least two years’ work experience (this may be up to five years for fellowship programmes, so please refer to your country page for further details)
  • Apply to three different eligible UK university courses and have received an unconditional offer from one of these choices by 12 July 2018
  • Meet the Chevening English language requirement by 12 July 2018
  • In order to receive a Chevening Award, all applicants must demonstrate that they have fulfilled the Chevening English language requirement by 12 July 2018.
All applicants to ensure they have fulfilled the English language requirement as early as possible by either:
  • Taking an English language test
  • Claiming an exemption based on the UKVI exempt categories
Chevening accepts English language tests from five providers:
  • Academic IELTS
  • Pearson PTE Academic
  • TOEFL iBT
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CEA)
  • Trinity ISE II (B2)
Applicants must ensure they meet the minimum work experience requirement for the award that they are applying to before submitting their Chevening application:
  • Chevening Scholarships – two years’ work experience
  • Chevening Fellowships – either five or seven years’ work experience depending on the fellowship. Please check your country page for eligibility details relating to the specific fellowship you are applying to.
    If you do not already have the required level of work experience, you will be unable to submit your application (To get the more specific information please visit the official website)
  • Click on the following link.
 http://www.chevening.org/
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Educators in Nepal

- Akhil Karn
 
Parenthood is a job that requires one to give up almost all of one’s time and energy for the well-being of another. Teachers too are, by nature, givers. The desire to help others, to give something for other’s inspiration, to be a part of students' betterment, to inspire the children in the classroom are some of the reasons many young people choose this path in life.

We find the teachers constantly giving for others especially a young and idealistic teacher. S/he truly believes s/he is helping a young person. He/she would mark the test papers whole night, spending hours perfecting lessons or making resources. Oftentimes there wouldn't be any distinction between his/her personal and professional lives.

These days the class monitoring and paperwork that teachers have to endure has increased in volume and perceived importance. The teachers struggle to keep up with the inefficient record keeping at schools and the endless meetings. The frequency of testing has also increased and the content the teachers are asked to teach has become more prescriptive.

Even with all these pressure at work, teaching as a profession has steadily seen a decline in a decent wage. Privately run schools, with a few exceptions, regularly underpay and overwork their staffs. As a teacher ages, he can see his youth slipping by, wages stagnate, pensions reduced and have reduced job security. Still teachers keep working in the face of losing the prime years of their lives, dwindling resources, limited rights, and rarely even their sanity being taken away.

Sometimes people who influence the growth of a society the least are the ones who are paid the most. Why is this so? You'd love a teacher if they shield your kids from a crazed gunman shooting up a school, protecting them. You adore educators when they use their bodies to protect a kid from a falling wall. But the moment the teachers decide to unite to voice their grievances about limited job security or reasonable pay or manageable workload and all of sudden they are labeled as crazy union thugs.

With lack of respect and with minimum wages, teachers today spend the last ounce of their energy trying to make a difference in their students' lives. Teaching as a profession is losing its pride. Teachers along with politicians have taken the respect out of their professions for so long that the public has lost faith in them. Look at the recent doctors’ strike which people were largely supportive of. In contrast, during the teachers’ strike, there were comments from parents and general public about how selfish the teachers were. The teachers today are treated as the slaves of the 21st century.

Young people should be able to see teaching as a profession that’s both noble and sustainable. It’s about time the teaching profession is elevated to the level where it truly belongs. The teachers should be rewarded for their dedication to teaching the children.

One change that needs to come is in the attitudes of the parents. They generally believe that since they are paying for the teachers' salaries, it gives them an upper hand in dealing with the school and the teachers. This same attitude is passed onto their wards as they spend more time with their guardians than they do with their teachers.

Teaching and teachers have shaped generations and informed the masses for centuries. It still plays a vital role in lifting a populace out of illiteracy. However the abundance of educators shouldn't mean the value of each educator is diminished. In contrast, it just means that we can now educate more people.

Author's Bio: Mr. Karn has been teaching in secondary school of Nepal for 7 years. Currently a secondary Mathematics teacher at Suvatara School, he is also an active member of Teachers' Network Nepal.
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Vacancy at British Council Nepal: Project Manager (English and Digital for Girls’ Education in VSO’s Sisters for Sisters Project) and Training Consultant

British Council Nepal has published an advert for calling applications for the 4 years position as Project Manager (component: English and Digital for Girls Education) in the 'Sisters for Sisters Project'.

This position is a part of the wider English team, reporting to Head of Programmes Nepal. In year 1 and 2 there will be significant collaboration with the English (and wider Education) programme manager and officer, working on both English for Education Systems (EES) and Face to Face training projects.  However, years 3 and 4 will be primarily focused on managing the EDGE team and liaising with the following other roles: Project director, Finance manager, Project officer, HR officer, IT officer, Academic Consultant and Quality assessor. The EDGE component is allocated as follows over the 4 years: Yr 1: 25%; Yr 2 :50%; Yr 3&4 : 100%)   (Source: British Council)



For more details please click here.
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Call for Nominations for 6th P.P. Prasai 'Best Teacher Award 2017'

Like every years, this year also the PP Prasai Foundation has published call for application for 'Best Teacher Award 2017'. 

This year, the interested teacher has to submit recommendations from school management committee (SMC), Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), and a teacher/student. With the application the interested teacher has to provide personal details and professional details including details on educational training.

The best teacher at the national level will be evaluated with the information provided by the particular teacher for 9 questions about the best approaches, alignments and qualities deemed to that particular teacher. The 7 provincial best teachers will also be decided upon applications from 7 provinces, and the respective schools will be benefited with allowances and 2 'disadvantaged-scholarships' for each.

The Nepali version of the notice published by the PP Prasai Foundation follows.


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Internship Opportunity with OLE Nepal

OLE Nepal has been a popular organisation; esp. those who have been keeping updates about technology interventions for quality education. Terminology - ICT in education makes its genuine presence in rural Nepalese schools with this organisation and its ever innovative team.

If you are deeply passionate with such profession where you will contribute to educational development with a tech-savvy team, you are reading the right opportunity for you.

In their own words - "OLE Nepal offers internships to young students and graduates who wish to be part of our movement to bring quality education to all children in Nepal. The internship program also gives an excellent opportunity to participate in various open source projects. OLE Nepal is looking for 2 interns for the duration of 6 months. The positions will give college students or recent graduates a chance to work alongside our E-Paath content design and development team in our most important project. The two internships currently available are with the Content Design and Graphic Design teams." (Source: http://www.olenepal.org/internship/)

More Details: http://www.olenepal.org/internship/
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6 Starting Points for Place-based Learning

- Dr. Bernard Bull

“As you stroll down the halls of your neighborhood school at nine o’clock on a Wednesday morning, you notice that something is different. Many of the classrooms are empty; the students are not in their places with bright, shiny faces. Where are they? In the town woodlot, a forester teaches tenth graders to determine which trees should be marked for an upcoming thinning project. Downtown, a group of middle school students are collecting water samples in an urban stream to determine if there’s enough dissolved oxygen to support reintroduced trout. Out through the windows, you can see children sitting on benches writing poems. Down the way, a group of students works with a landscape architect and the math teacher to create a map that will be used to plan the schoolyard garden. Here’s a classroom with students. In it, eighth graders are working with second graders to teach them about the history of the local Cambodian community. In the cafeteria, the city solid-waste manager is consulting with a group of fifth graders and the school lunch staff to help them design the recycling and composting program. Students’ bright shiny faces are in diverse places in their schoolyards and communities.” – David Sobel in Place-Based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community


This opening paragraph comes from David Sobel’s 7-page overview of place-based learning, an educational philosophy that he helped popularize. Place-based education is an approach to teaching and learning that quite literally turns the community into the classroom. Some focus on learning that engages students in solving real problems in the community, but others just focus on the idea of place.

Oftentimes, educators begin their task of teaching a group of students by accepting the restraints of a given physical room. On occasion, the teacher might plan a field trip or even a series of outings. Yet, the classroom is still seen as the base and primary learning center. Teachers and students often design classrooms in wonderfully diverse and creative ways. Yet, the classroom is still the hub. Place-based learning is an approach that challenges that assumption. It begins with letting go of this dominant and age-old premise that most teaching and learning happens or should happen in a classroom.

Instead, a place-based learning philosophy begins with a couple of simple questions. What places in this community or the nearby community would create rich opportunities for student learning about a given topic or subject? What new possibilities for teaching and learning a given subject or topic emerge if we consider the entire community to be our physical classroom?

The moment that we allow ourselves to ask such questions, wonderful things start to happen. We find ourselves able to imagine new and promising opportunities for teaching and learning. We begin to think about the partnerships that might be needed or possible in other parts of the community. We rarely find ourselves focused upon a more narrow set of approaches to teaching and learning. In addition, we gravitate toward learning through service, projects, experiences, and any number of hands-on learning activities.

It is often amazing to see the power of reconsidering what we mean by space in learning contexts or to observe the change in attitude and mindset of teachers and students when we change locations. You can find a professor who persistently turns to lecture as the dominant form of teaching in a classroom suddenly become more of a tour guide who invites students to explore. We find teachers begin to think about learning through experiments and projects who previously leaned on textbooks and worksheets. As one article referenced by Sobel describes it, place-based learning allows us to imagine learning contexts where the river becomes the textbook. The place is not just a box with walls, windows, doors, and desks. The place is an intentional and thematic part of the learning experience.

Place-based learning is a philosophy that creates greater alignment between place and curriculum. It is one thing to study nature in a textbook. It is a completely different one to let the forest become at least a large part of the learning experience. We can sit in a social studies class and talk about social challenges, or we can actually engage in activities in the community we learners seek to understand the challenges firsthand, brainstorm solutions, create interventions, and test them out. We can complete math problems in a classroom or we can solve math problems in the community or experience math at work through architecture, the natural world, and much more. This is the spirit of place-based learning.

While there are schools that have made place-based learning a central part of pretty much everything that they do, even a single teacher in a traditional school can begin to tap into this power and possibility. It just takes a little creativity, preparation, and persistence.

Here are six helpful starting points.

  1. Consider the possibilities – This begins with simply refusing to accept the physical classroom as an unchangeable constant. Start to look around for possibilities in the community that might align with the curriculum.
  2. Think Beyond the Field Trip – Don’t just think about one-day trips. Those can be rich and valuable but stretch yourself to actually think of the community and specific places or organizations as your classroom, not just a brief reprieve from the traditional school room.
  3. Start to Build a Network in the Community – Begin by reaching out to various groups and people in the community who own or work in places that align with the curriculum. Reach out to these people. Share a bit of what you are trying to do. Invite them to serve as partners. Brainstorm with them.
  4. Learn from Others Who Have Done It – The web is full of teachers and schools that promote or embrace place-based learning. Reach out to the people and organizations with your questions. Learn from their challenges and successes. Get their input on your ideas and refine from there. Your community and resources will likely be different from their community and resources, but there are often transferable lessons.
  5. Get Internal Support – You obviously can’t just throw the students in a bus and take off. There are usually policies and the like to work through. This might mean building a case with certain leaders. Be ready to address concerns about safety and cost. Both can be addressed, especially if you have some good partners.
  6. Give it a Try – Once you have the place, connections, feedback and internal support; give it a try. Invite students and other colleagues into the experiment, and treat it as that…and experiment. Learn from what works and what does not, then refine the next attempt based on what you learn.
Place-based learning is not new, but it is gaining traction. The more we begin to accept the idea that the classroom need not be four walls with desks, the more we begin to imagine a new and incredible breadth of teaching and learning opportunites. Place-based learning can help us do that.

 ..........
Dr. Bernard Bull is a University professor, Assistant VP of Academics, Chief Innovation Officer, founder of Birdhouse Learning Labs, author, blogger at www.etale.org, and host of the MoonshotEduShow Podcast. 
This article has been reposted here upon consent from Dr. Bull; which has been originally posted on  http://etale.org/main/2016/10/11/the-affordances-limitations-of-place-based-learning/.
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Urban Environmental Education - 8-week online course (April 10–June 4, 2017)

Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab has announced another round of  8 weeks online course - Urban Environment Education.

The course has three payment options - you sponsor yourself and another who cannot afford. you sponsor yourself, and you cannot sponsor yourself owing to fact that you are from very low income country.

During the times of detachment of urban young ones and the nature, we have the highest of the need and here the opportunity to make ourselves prepared to connect them and join in the movement of sustainability.

More Details: https://civicecology.org/course-uee/
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The negative impact of poverty on a child’s education

Poverty is a global issue, so it can be a development issue in the least developed countries and developing countries. Poverty, in general is scarcity, dearth or the condition of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is a multi-faceted concept, which entails social, economic, and political elements. According to the latest study conducted by Asian Development Bank, in Nepal 25.2% of the population lives below the national poverty line. Over the past decades, unfortunately, the economic gap has widened between Nepalese families. Educational outcomes are always influenced by family incomes. Despite the existence of the organizations working for poverty alleviation in Nepal, poverty has remained a stubborn fact of life. The Ministry of Co-operatives and Poverty Alleviation was established on 18 May 2012 by Nepal Government with a vision to prioritize co-operative sector and poverty alleviation, foreseeing the growth of cooperative sector in the nation, citizens’ curiosity and the world co-operative movement.

It is evident that socioeconomic disadvantage has a negative impact on the life outcomes of many Nepalese children. There are countless areas influenced by poverty. This write-up just lays emphasis on the impact of poverty on a child’s educational outcomes. Children from low-income family backgrounds often start school already behind their age-mates who come from more affluent families. School readiness reflects an individual child’s ability to excel at both academics and social life in a school environment. For holistic development of a child, physical well-being and appropriate motor development, emotional health and a positive approach to new experiences, age, appropriate social knowledge and cognitive skills are a must. It is proved that poverty decreases a child’s readiness for school through aspects of health, family life, schooling and neighborhoods.

 A child’s home has a particularly strong impact on school readiness. Children from low income families often don’t get motivated and show willingness to learn the social skills required to prepare them for school. The children who are raised in poverty-stricken family usually lack parental care, inspiration, and supervision. A report by Thomas concluded that children from lower income score significantly lower on measures of vocabulary and communication skills, knowledge of numbers, copying and symbol use, ability to concentrate and cooperatively play with other children than those who come from higher income families. Moreover, study by the Institute of Research and Public Policy (Montreal, Quebec) showed that differences between students from low and high economic neighbourhoods were evident by grade 3; children from low socioeconomic neighbourhoods were less likely to pass a grade 3 standard test.

 In Nepal, poor schoolchildren are forced to go to work do the worst jobs or risky jobs to support their family financially. They don’t go to school regularly; as a result, their academic performance is obviously declined. On the one hand, they miss lessons at school, and on the other hand, they aren’t able to afford to pay tuition fees of extra classes. When they are present at school, they are unlikely to be attentive due to their tired body as well as hopeless mindset. They are to rather think that their future is bleak. They are filled with pessimism. They feel inferior complexity.

 Another thing that adds to their woes is feud. A feud between a husband and a wife in poor family set-ups is common. When a child’s parents get into arguments frequently at night, the child tends to leave home forever. Leaving home means leaving school too. Not only this much, when a father and a mother quarrel over trivial matters, the father is likely to exert his anger on their children by tearing away their textbooks, notebooks and throwing away bags and stationery. When children are mature enough to understand their family condition, they will shift their attention from studies to employment. Another example, some parents agree to send their children to relatives’ or acquaintances’ homes to work as a domestic worker on condition that they take responsibility for the child’s education and accommodation. But only a handful of them turn out to be committed.
Even if children attend classes regularly, they fall behind their classmates in terms of presentation, English speaking skills, and mathematics because their parents cannot provide them with materials to carry out school projects, and hone all four skills of English; and self-practice materials for Math. Apart from these, such children are deprived of everyday access to newspapers and the Internet. They fail to keep abreast of current affairs or global news. A lack of these sources prevents poor children from outdoing other competitors in the academic field. According to this year’s SLC results, most of the students who failed SLC examination were from government schools; and the cause of such a poor result, doubtlessly, can be associated with low economic status.

Even if the children are very talented, he or she cannot perform up to the mark at school due to parents’ demotivation and unawareness. Instead of boosting up their morale by at least keeping promises, parents demoralize and discourage them assigning their economic circumstances. Parents aren’t aware of the real stories of those great personages who overcame economic, social and physical hurdles and difficulties to rise. Poverty also leads to discrimination and failure of grasping opportunities. Many poor parents are not conscious of benefits they are entitled to reap for their wards at school. The very sorry thing is that poor parents don’t show up at the PTMs (Parent-Teacher Meetings) to question teachers or schools about their offspring’s education, attendance and participation in extra-curricular activities.

Poor parents, unlike well-to-do cum educated parents, offer counseling, inquire into their necessities and sit with them to help them with their difficult homework and prepare for their exams. Furthermore, poor parents fail to inculcate good culture in their children. Consequently, they tend to be disruptive, rowdy and impulsive. In the end, they get expelled from their school. Parents, to an extent, are responsible for misconduct and mischief of a child.

The children raised in poor families cannot benefit from higher level of cognitively stimulating materials available in their homes compared to those children raised in the wealthy families. Owing to poverty, children ought to go to a low quality school where their talents are neither searched out nor nurtured. Besides, financial strain limits the housing and neighbourhood choices available to low-income families, forcing them to live in neighbourhoods characterized by high levels of crime and unemployment, low levels of resources, and a lack of collective efficacy among the residents. Children get brainwashed into having engaged in anti-social activities at the prospect of earning money rather than getting an education. Neighborhood residence, in turn, is associated with child and adolescent school outcomes above and beyond the effect of family poverty.

In a nutshell, government has to launch awareness programs, educate all citizens and create as many fair employment opportunities as possible to raise each family’s living standards at a fast pace.
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Tallinn—An Unheard City on Earth

If I am not mistaken, there’s no human being who dislikes travelling. Not only does travelling expand our horizon but also relieves us of our boredom. So, the culture of travelling in the form of vacation is on the rise. Moreover, the question relating to travelling during a job interview or a speaking test of IELTS, TOEFL et cetera has been common.

 I’ve recently visited Tallinn, capital of Estonia to present my research paper at an international conference on the theme ‘Empowering Tomorrow’s Teachers’. Since it’s my second travel on the European soil after the UK, I was not that anxious and excited.

Tallinn sits on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, just 83 km south of Helsinki. The city shares a geographical latitude nearly identical with Stockholm (Sweden). This’s a green city, proudly boasting 40km2 of parks and forests with a 2km stretch of sandy beach bordering its bay. If you’re not prone to seasickness, Tallinn is the best holiday destination for you; for it’s a popular cruise destination bringing nearly 500 000 passengers to the town each—more than there are citizens in the city. Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is extremely easy to get around.

I spent my first day at the new, modern Nordic Hotel Forum four-star business and conference hotel, which is situated in the heart of Tallinn on Viru Square, just a short stroll from business, shopping and entertainment venues. I was treated to breathtaking views of the sea, old Town and city centre from the terraces of the hotel, which is one of the country’s skyscrapers. My travel started from Town Hall Square, which has been the undisputed hub of Old Town since Medieval times. Historically, it served as a market and meeting place, and was the site of at least one execution resulting from a dispute over a bad omelette. This old town is a must-visit place. The second place I visit is St. Olav’s Church, which, in Medieval times, with its 159m spire was thought to be the tallest building in the world. Nowadays, it just remains as an important symbol of the town.

The third place I visited is Toompea Castle, a wooden fortress built on Toompea Hill sometime in the 10th or 11th century, was probably the first structure in what later became Tallinn. Foreign invaders replaced it with a stone building in 1227-29. Since its early days, the castle has served as the local seat of power for any empire ruling Estonia. In addition to these places, I visited Great Guild Hall, Tallinn City Museaum, Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin et cetera. Due to time constraints and hectic schedule with international delegates, I couldn’t explore Tallinn to the fullest. Anyway, on the night before my flight back; I along with some high-profile delegates went for dining out and chilling out. We had traditional Estonian cuisine that includes Germanic, Scandinavian and Slavic and some most known dishes include sauerkraut, jellied pork, marinated eel, herring etc. The local signature drink is Vana Tallinn, a sweet liqueur. It’s weekend. Most bustling restaurants were packed. The more noticeable thing was that we had difficulty in finding a table to sit at and watching live football matches in a friendly pub, sipping cognac.

I explored pubs and restaurants on the last night of my stay. I had to do shopping in a hasty way on the day of my flight. I tried my hand at a shopping mall for souvenirs to take back home. Euros and local currencies are used there.

 Tallinn, a hidden paradise, is a fantastic place to experience each of the four seasons in all its glory. It’s a short stay, however, it; on the whole, was satisfactory. It really enriched my understanding of western lifestyle, and inspired me to appreciate the monuments, city’s structure, architectural remnant, a fairytale neighbourhood of gabled houses, Gothic spires, cobblestone streets, artwork, history, craft, and so on. While at home, I thoroughly felt rejuvenated.
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WHY I CHOSE TEACHING AS MY PROFESSION?

WHY I CHOSE TEACHING AS MY PROFESSION?
- Samita Magar, ELT Professional 
This article speaks personal experience of an English language teacher. The reflective journal tries to disseminate why the teacher has chosen teaching profession and how someone can be benefited by being a teacher. Beside various challenges in this profession, there are significant positions of a teacher in the society that encourages growing generation to choose teaching profession. 
When I was studying in secondary school, there was my English teacher, by whose teaching, most of the students were happy. The students used to respect him since he inspired us for better performance besides only course book teaching. As I saw him being respected by all, I used to wish myself to be such a teacher and be surrounded by many children. He never judged the students negatively and always encouraged for better attempt in all activities. He was simple in living but always happy. Mostly we could see him much happier when we succeed on small matters too. Encouraged by his intelligence and passion for the students’ good achievements, I had decided to be a great teacher: role model teacher and assist learners for their better future.

At the beginning of the session, we can hear the news that terrifying number of students run for the subjects such as Science, Management, Hotel management etcetera. But I am the one who only saw better future in teaching: as the most prestigious profession. Although most of the youths follow those professions, I elected to be a “TEACHER”. It means I decided to be the one who leads the terrifying numbers of students running in search of so called higher and advanced professions, whose job is to facilitate and guide those professionals for their better future. In this sense I feel great in opting the teaching profession and feel proud of myself and my profession despite of the labour and hard works the teachers have to do daily.

Teaching does not refer to only teaching course book and explaining the same matter to learners. It is more than transmitting skills, there should be the living act, hard work, commitment, dedication, trust and care. (Ayers, 1994). It supports that teaching is very risky, challenging job in which common people cannot be involved and spend long duration of time since to be a teacher a person should not possess any kind of jealousy, procrastination and flattery. The people who can accept risk or who dare to face every challenge as opportunities, only they are supposed to be the right candidates for this profession. So I really feel pleased that I am involved in such a challenging and difficult profession.

In my perspective, the teacher is one who listens to the 7th grader girl, complaining about her overprotecting mother and how she wishes she could wear, what clothes they want, she could show whatever she wants. Though the teacher has to listen the child, he /she calmly tells the child that her mother is being a good mother and taking care of her. A teacher is one who sits next to a boy even though his clothes and he smells bad, sits by his sides and helps him. A teacher is one, who devotes his/her time until midnight in order to change next day’s lesson plan as preferred by his learners. A good teacher is one, who thanks the parents for their support even he/she doesn’t get. So teachers are really great and I’d like to acknowledge them from my heart.

The other professionals may feel very proud in their professions but the reality is that it is almost impossible to be those professionals without the help of teacher. In every person’s life, the role of teacher is immeasurable. So I accept the teaching profession as the base for all other professions. There is significant number of reasons behind choosing the teaching profession. However, the most prevailing and compassionate reasons are discussed in details which are as follows:

Teaching: Respectable profession 

When I was just studying in fourth standard, there was a school in my village. There were three teachers to whom every person of the village used to greet and respect them as they are educated and having the concept that they know everything. If there is any event in the village like marriage ceremony, pooja or any other, they used to be called in the particular house with great respect and offer especial dishes for them. Furthermore, if there is any dispute among villagers they used to be called for the judgment. At that time I used to pray to the God to make me a teacher like them who used to be respected by all. By seeing such respect to the teachers while playing with the friends also I used to desire to play the role of teacher which I had observed intimately. And if anybody asked the aim in my life I used to say “teacher” without hesitation. From very beginning I had this concept that teacher is respectable profession which is not changed till now.

The great philosopher has also said that “those who educate children well are to be honored than those who produce them’. For instance; the parents of Helen Keller gave her birth but if the teacher had not inspired and guided her she could not be able to a famous writer and lecturer. The credit goes to the teachers who encouraged, guided and taught the beautiful art of living a life despite her disabilities. An American historian, journalist and novelist, Adams (1907) has said that “Teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” (Episode1). It is reality in the sense that what a teacher writes on the board of students’ life can never be erased. In other profession, the professional may be provided car, quarter for staying and many other facilities, but when they are retired they don’t get any belongings and not greeted by the people too because they greeted to the post not to the person. Whereas the teachers whether they are in job or retired, they always remain respectable and get assistance where ever they go. They teach to numerous students throughout their life and their students reach in many different places and posts. So where ever they go, they get respect and assistance by the students. It is because, what post the students got that is by the encouragement and the guidance of teacher. So they remain respected in each and every moment throughout his life.

Highly Creative 

Teaching is such a profession where rigorous study is mandatory. When we study, obviously our mind processes, ponder about some matters and keep on getting creative solutions and plans too. Teaching is highly creative in the sense that while dealing with the children having wide range of interest, teachers have to be creative enough to tackle their curiosities, and make them take part in learning in creative manner. If one plan does not work, B plan should always be ready. This is how, teachers’ mind never get fully rest, and it needs to be mobilized each and every moment. As a result, creativity increases in multiplying way.

When we talk about the creativeness, nowadays the learners are becoming very much clever due to the development of technology. They can be quicker than teachers too. So teaching has become very challenging job. So at this context, the teachers need to be more up to date and have to be creative so that they can be respected by the learners. If the students find the teacher, weak in subject matter then they are supposed not to obey the teachers. That’s why it’s up to the teacher how they want to handle their profession. So C.S. Lewis has said that “The task of modern teacher is not to cut down the jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” It means the teachers need to be much creative in today’s context.

About the creativeness of the teacher an American historian, journalist and novelist (2013) has stated that “Teachers are the lifeblood of schools, but teaching is creative profession. Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke, engage.” (Episode1). I agree with it because if creativity is not there, that person cannot be a good teacher now days. In order to guide the students who are very clever by nature the teachers need to have creativeness in everything like; thinking, dealing, teaching and so on. So only the person having these qualities is teacher. And this is the reason why I chose the teaching profession behind many difficulties too.

Teacher: Role Model 

Everyone in life, has his/ her role model by whom they really get impressed. How I really got inspired by my English teacher was that he was a role model for me and I used to imitate him. Now days, the students are very clever, they follow whatever their teachers do rather than they preach or deliver in the classroom. So Towne (2012) has said that “A good teacher is like a candle, it consumed itself to light the way for others.” So in the name of becoming a teacher they really become moralistic character so that their students may take them as a role model. Teachers do not care about their desires but always devote their time to their learners.

As we generally call teacher as a role model; a teacher has to fulfil so many responsibilities. So Dey (2013) has mentioned that “the teachers need to be models for their learners, so that they can develop into disciplined, hardworking and successful person.” They always have to choose the right path and guide the learners towards that as in the systemic rules. If they fail to implement that then they are not good teacher. The teachers who really do good things and inspire learners do the similar can be the role model for many learners. Otherwise there can be seen only pseudo role model which should not be in teaching profession and let’s hope that won’t be. For example the teacher has to teach about ‘Good manner’ in the class then at first the teacher must know what is good manner and whether that is implemented by self or not.

Conclusion 

Although, teaching is very challenging job, it is the base of every child’s future. If the child has got good education, it can ensure the child’s life, if not the life of child may be spoiled. For teaching, the teacher has to be the multifunctional professional. Teaching is not only delivering what we have rather it is an art which is supposed to bring effective learning in students (Mursell, 2013). Although there are many challenges and obstacles in teaching profession, I feel really proud to be a teacher and choosing this unique profession Since teaching creates all other professions, to be a teacher and involve in this profession is not an easy job. Therefore I chose teaching as my profession and I do not have repentance in it, rather I am proud to be a teacher.

References

Dey, S.K.(2013).Teaching of English.India:Dorling Kindersley.

Mursell, L.J.(2013).Successful teaching. Delhi: Surjeet Publication.

Towne, D. (2012).Home thoughts. Mustafa Kemal (Atatuk Trans.) Home thoughts.(originally published in 1991)
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Hiking with 3rd Graders



“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk” Raymond Inmon
We were getting ready for Balthali hike. It was the years first hiking for students at Aksharaa School Kandaghari, Grade 4 & 5 had already left for Bandipur & Chitlang and today it was for grade 3’s turn. As I reached Aksharaa, Parents started to come to drop their children; we were supposed to move at 9 from the school. Well I was excited as hiking has always been a part of my interest and happiness; it’s simply a reason to get closer to the nature. However a bit confused & overwhelmed as it was the first time with such younger children, so I had kind of a mixed feeling.
 Parents seemed very worried and it was obvious being a parent to an eight/nine year old and sending them for an overnight trip. They even showed concern towards the weight of the bag that they carried as it was 2 hours uphill and downhill hike. I was in doubt myself but I tried to convince them as deep down I had trust that children are stronger than adults , here I remember a quote from Lady Bird Johnson “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them” and I could see it true there! But then, it was their first time, very first time!
The bus stopped at khopasi, children were so excited to get down, I can’t explain in words! Then the journey started, we walked and walked. While on the way I observed the children and their behavior. It was difficult for some of them but then I had to motivate them, sometimes showing the little boys and girls for whom the travel seemed everyday task and sometimes old man & women who carried huge luggage on their back while walking. The amazing thing was that they didn’t give up, what they knew was yes the bag is heavy and I’m tired, but I have to make it to the top! Though for me, inside I was very scared for the kids as the walkway was very narrow and one wrong step would lead something serious! I had been telling and shouting throughout the way, on your left, on your right, please walk through the corners! Some of them were very scared of the suspension bridge (we had to cross 3) which they enjoyed the most while returning.
The good thing about Balthali hike we could view our destination from the base , though it would take a great deal to make it to the top, the top view from the bottom was a great inspiration thinking that we’re a step closer. And finally after 2 hours hike we made it. Personally it wasn’t much of as compared to the hikes I have been earlier; this was an easy one full of fun with natural beauties. However, could be difficult for the ones having first time though.
I was thinking the kids must be so tired but alas! I was so wrong; as I could see them running and playing all around when we reached at the top of Balthali Eco Hill Resort. I was with the last group as I wanted to assure that no one is left behind or to check if everything was alright. We divided them in groups of 3, 4 and 5 numbers among 4 teachers and 4 parents including myself making sure that we give them proper attention while they have fun. They enjoyed the lunch and dinner, we did too! The food was really good, so was the room, very neat and clean!!
I kept on checking time and again through the rooms to make sure that kids are safe and having good times. We made sure that we took the attendance regularly while and after the hike. They told stories, fun jokes and danced a lot. It was a very good chance to observe the children, how they felt being away from home. But to my surprise none of them even talked about home, they were so happy being away and to have been able to spend night with their friends. Teachers and parents (who accompanied) were enjoying with the kids talking and sharing. I could see it as a strong rapport build up opportunity. Also I observed some different sides in some of the students like I had never seen them being so responsible, taking care of themselves ( changing pajama’s, inners, brushing teeth, putting lotions on their own, looking for their belongings, keeping snacks thinking that they might need while returning back). Students along with teachers were very happy and excited to share the bed with their friends. But for me, I wasn’t sleep which generally happens when I leave home, I woke almost 5-6 times in midnight to check whether the kids had their blankets on or if anybody wanted to go washroom.
The next day we woke up and got ready for returning, returning trip was very easy compared to that of going and took less time as well. Some of the students also collected stones, leaves and pines. When I asked why they were doing so? They replied, it was a gift/souvenir for their parents, how sweet was that!
As most of the school these days take their students on trips, I would like to suggest must checklist and to-do’s prior the trip; Pre-Trip ActivitiesSet Learning Objective , Involving & Including ParentsSet Expectation & Discuss Possible Risk Factors & Post Trip Activity.
A well planned and well organized trip develops various skills in children such as working in collaboration, problem solving ability, leadership, also increases their socio-cognition, develops research habit, gives them ability to compare and contrast, observation skill, generates curiosity, love nature and most importantly makes them independent raising their self confidence. They also develop travelling habits using map skills; explore their own country with various culture and lifestyles which develops respect feeling in them.

Neha K.C
School Coordinator, Aksharaa School


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Career Opportunities on Technical and Vocational Education/Training Projects at British Council Nepal

British Council Nepal has announced various career opportunities for co-implementing EU Funded project - EU/Nepal Practical Partnership for Technical Vocational Education and Training Reform (TVET PP).

The positions are based in Kathmandu and the application closing date has been set to Wednesday, 18th January 2017.

Please follow this link for more details.

British Council has also announced open position for Deputy Team Leader and Driver for four year period of time. Application deadline for these are set to Monday, 16th January 2017.
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