As parents we are all biased. We see our children through our loving eyes. To us, they can do no wrong. They are innocent and vulnerable. Be that as it may, it in our lapse of judgment in small everyday mundane things that eventually lead to kids doing all the things they do to get on our already frayed nerves. Among the many misdeeds that become a hot topic of conversation with other parents are:
constantly lost in their cell phones
answering back (with a hurtful tone)
heeding the advise of the cool friend over yours
not sleeping/ eating/ doing homework on time
throwing tantrums/ showing sass
Any of that sound familiar?
Most of it we can chalk off to growing pains and a right of passage. As they get older and into their teens, we can also blame a part of it on raging teenage hormones. But the bitter truth is, some of the blame falls neatly on our shoulders too.
So how can we minimise this troublesome behaviour? Let’s look at it from the the perspective of teachers who spend a handsome amount of time with your children. Truth be told, most teachers I have worked with over about eight years are honestly on your side. They care about the overall holistic growth of the students they teach. However, the natural love a parent has for his or her child is a factor that is not present (although there is a great deal of fondness and adoration), and thus the bias I spoke about earlier does not get in the way of an objective assessment on how a child, your child can work to realise his or her true potential.
If there were a ‘wish list’ that teachers could share with parents, these little pointers would be on it: Continue reading →
If it’s the one thing I’d really like to improve this year, it would be me speaking less- a lot less, and my students speaking up a lot more. However, teaching students with such diverse backgrounds, especially with English being their second and even third language, I know that is no easy task.
Children of all ages have so much to say, but can’t say it for a number of reasons:
They are afraid of being ridiculed for lack of accuracy in the way their articulate their thoughts.
They think they may be wrong altogether and feel like the safest thing to do is stay quiet.
They feel like they don’t have a voice- that their say is irrelevant.
Whereas numbers 2 and 3 are the product of teacher attitude, number 1 can definitely be improved upon by a little nudging. Continue reading →
This book is not for the faint of heart. If you are in the teaching profession, but aren’t intrinsically motivated, passionate, sincere and willing to take risks, there is no point in picking it up. Just move on.
I received this game-changing book a month back. I owe my brother in Qatar a huge debt of thanks for ordering it off Amazon and having it shipped to Karachi. (Due to some technical issues, I couldn’t do it myself.) After having read rave reviews on Twitter, I was more curious than anything else on how this could possibly benefit me as I have to deliver a session for the annual INSET at the beginning of the new academic year at my school. And we all know how teachers feel about attending these sessions… not very good. It was as if the author of the book had reached into the recesses of my heart when he wrote about how frustrating it can be when teachers have to sit through endless sessions of irrelevant jibber jabber when there are so many other things to get done.
In my 7 years of teaching (3 as head of the English Department) I have found very few workshops/ sessions that have provided me easy-to-access and ready-to-apply tricks of the trade that would lead to immediate results. I have always tried to emulate the environment of those sessions- but for the most part- I was operating blindly- until I read this book. Continue reading →
After looking for hours on the internet for printable worksheets for practicing Urdu (especially for entrance tests), my sister drew up a big fat nothing (great). As usual, this prompted her to make her own, and then upload it for all the other parents who need help in this department.
Teaching children to write is a daunting task. One of the most frustrating aspects of teaching young writers is that they just keep repeating the same words over and over again. They love ‘like, big, small, funny, said, sad and happy’.
In their defense however, I would still ask if they are exposed to alternative words and to what extent. With this in mind, I have designed a little free to download thesaurus. It can be used in a number of ways in class or at home to enhance vocabulary and hence develop flair in the children’s literary work.
On ideas to maximize use out of this 30 word thesaurus, just keep reading and you can get the free download at the end of the post.
John Hattie, a renowned researcher in the field of education conducted a study in which he put forward his findings on those parameters that make the most dramatic impact on the learning of students. Read it HERE.
Needless to say, giving kids effective, precise and timely feedback lies right there almost at the top. One facet of doing this is to make ‘learning visible’ by showing students the process of learning through self-reflection.
I have taken the most popular self reflective exercise completely free for you to download.
They are pretty self-explanatory.
So enjoy. Download them by clicking on the picture below, completely free!!
Building a growth mindset in kids has been all the rage for a while now. It fosters grit- the voluntary choice to improve performance through a long term dedicated work ethic.
When children are taught that set backs do not have to define them, that hard work and perseverance will get them to places they want to get, they develop the will, the passion to succeed.
Whereas there are wonderful Pinterest boards and plenty of sites honoring this revolutionary concept, I felt there was a lack of resources that showed appreciation whenever a child made an effort to act accordingly.
It has always been my belief that the energy a teacher carries into the classroom is radiated and absorbed by the students.
A passionate teacher is the most effective motivational factor there is, that kind of drive is not lost upon the children.
However, is there anything else that can be done? Yes. Lot’s has been written about it , and lots of tips and tricks are out there that can be googled in an instant. But by far, teaching kids about the Growth Mindset- a method that teaches kids that failure is not a permanent condition since the brain (just like muscles) can become better at its job provided it is exercised consistently and vigorously.
Taking that into account, a child needs to be constantly reminded about the traits that make a student grow into life-time learners, certain habits that can be inculcated slowly and gradually into the work ethic of each student.
For the longest time, my sister had been pulling her hair out trying to get her four year old son to recognize the beginning sounds of random things around the house. Although he could tell that a certain letter was in play, he was still not making the connection between the letter and the sound.
Reading the alphabet book was not cutting it since upper case letters had not been introduced (thank God) and things were getting confusing because many pictures did not depict the accurate beginning sounds (although there are a few close calls for the sake of vocabulary enhancement in this document too).
So she did what any amazing mom would do (I have to say she is amazing), and took matters into her own hands. She designed a bunch of flash cards to do just what she wanted.