We are on Facebook and Twitter!

Like us on facebook - www.fb.com/thelearningcraft
Follow us on Twitter - @learningcraftNG


Un-graduating the graduates

No matter how Nigerians would prefer to view the pressing economic hardships faced by millions of her citizens, while a few live in lavishness; everyone will get to feel the pulse of the nation's heartbeat if the education sector is not taken by the bull. Whether we choose to arrest the education sector or not, a state of emergency must be declared in the sector for any economic gains to be achieved.

Read this:

Most people strive to get into the numerous colleges and universities in the hopes of obtaining a college degree. They say that the key to a successful career or life, in general, is a quality education. Attaining a higher education is a ticket to a bright future. But are the students prepared for the real world? After graduation, the next step is to look for a job. New graduates are normally eager to put into practice what they have learned in school. However, life outside the walls of a college or university is different. Adapting to a new environment is important. Knowledge, skills and the ability to adapt to a work environment is necessary to survive the real world.

When students enroll themselves in college, they expect to have all the knowledge and skills a higher education can give them. They have a right not only to be educated but also to prepare them to work. It is the duty of the educational institutions to teach and train their students so that they may maximize their potentials fully. Colleges and universities normally focus on the knowledge and skills of students but fail to prepare them to a life after graduation. Recent studies show that they play an integral role in honing students to be globally competitive. Employers recognize the role of colleges and universities in preparing students for the real world. They agree that to succeed in today's global economy and to prepare a student after graduation, colleges and universities must improve on the following: communication skills, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings, complex problem solving and analysis, ethical decision making and teamwork, among others. Employers also agree that higher educational institutions should be doing more to provide a learning environment and skills relevant to the workplace.

Times are changing. As people embrace new innovations and technologies, higher educational institutions must also learn how to keep up. The future of not only their students but also of the economy lies on their hands in preparing students for a globally competitive workforce. Colleges and universities need to focus on three areas to prepare their students for the real world.

First, improve classrooms. Classrooms equipped with the latest technology necessary for the students' training will enable the students to acquaint themselves with the same technology they might be using once they begin to work.

Second, teachers and professors must be qualified and proficient in the subjects or skills they are about to teach. A teacher who knows nothing about a subject cannot effectively teach students. They must employ professionals known for their expertise.

Third, curriculum must keep up with the changing times. It has to constantly change depending on what is relevant in the workplace. It must include all the knowledge, skills and training necessary to produce students who are highly competitive and ready to be part of the workforce. It must provide the students an opportunity to experience real-life work settings while being enrolled. Internships can also be included so students have a firsthand experience on how it is to work. Students must also be required to show mastery of the skills they have studied before graduating. It is not enough that they graduate. They must be highly-skilled graduates. Students must be prepared for a life beyond their classrooms. This is possible if higher educational institutions continuously change and upgrade their classrooms, hire professors known for their expertise and a curriculum that adapts to the changing technologies. A nation's future depends on the quality of workers it produces. Workers who are once students well-equipped with knowledge and skills and ready to take on the challenges of the world.



The Dangers of Over-praising your Child

It is good for parents to praise their children but it can be unhealthy when parents make it a point of duty to copiously praise every of their children’s effort regardless of how well or good that effort or ability is. Some parents are guilty of over praising their child, even when not needed. This has both short and long term effects on the children. There is no harm in praising your children as often as one can. There are several advantages in doing that which includes:
  1. Boosting self esteem.
  2. Improving character formation.
  3. Encouraging them to do better.
  4. Motivating children to learn.
  5. Stretches persistence and boosts resilience.

However, too much praise on the other hand has negative effects as several research has shown. A lot of new research has shown that too much praise decreases children’s self esteem, motivation, effort, and achievement among others. The following are some of the research findings:

Lowers grades: Research findings by the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed that the wrong kind of praise can backfire by causing lower grades.

Reduces children’s effort: The Colombia University and Stanford University research showed it reduces children’s effort because getting praised for so little effort could make them unwilling to go the extra mile. 

Triggers shame and lowers self-worth:  The University of Netherlands says it triggers shame and lowers self-worth. Praising kids-especially those who display lower self-esteem - for their personal qualities such as saying, “You’re such a great person!”... rather than their efforts may make kids feel more ashamed if they fail at a task which in turn reduces their self-esteem..

Excessive or unwarranted praise does not typically boost confidence for children. Children are denied opportunities to learn real knowledge, skills and humility. Children miss out on the power of authentic praise to encourage and inform their efforts. Children can develop an inflated sense of competency and importance regarding their personal contributions. Children are less likely to develop an honest assessment of their own work. 

The demerits of 'over-praising' your child could actually do less for your child. Be sure to focus on their effort, not on their personal traits or successes. This would help them develop ideals that are found in well adjusted children. They are:

● A dependable character
Skill competency
● Adequate capacity


Youngest Microsoft Certified Nigerian - Jomiloju

THE DISCOURSE in conjunction with The Learning Craft this week celebrates 9 year old Jomiloju Tunde Oladipo who few weeks ago became the youngest pupil to obtain a Microsoft certified professional,and is now a Microsoft office specialist in word 2010.

He will be in the studio live at Classic FM, Lagos Nigeria on the 20th of October, 2013 with his parents with Curriculum Specialist Rhoda Odigboh {me} in attendance as well. I will be asking him interesting questions every listener would want to hear.

This a Classic FM/Discourse initiative to promote the young towards building a better Nigeria.We invite all parents to encourage their kids to please tune in alongside to participate in this edition of The Discourse with Jimi Disu. It promises to be insightful, informative and 'edu-taining'!


God Made Teachers!

Another year has come again for teachers around the world to be recognized and celebrated. As an educator myself, I have had the privilege of working with so many wonderful teachers. Teachers who would skip a much needed cup of tea/coffee to recuperate before getting back to their classes; but stop to attend to the 'endless speaking' child. Teachers, who no matter the circumstances are always sensitive to the needs of every child they encounter. I dare to say that Teachers are the greatest of people with the greatest of minds!

The slogan for this year's celebration is 'A Call For Teachers'.

This year, UNESCO's work on quality teachers for global citizenship and cultural diversity is celebrated. 
According to UNESCO, teachers develop learners' abilities to build a sustainable future with citizens who are able to take action in their own communities and contribute to global challenges.

If there is a list of countries in dire need of teachers, Nigeria would be at the top of that list. Our number of out-of-school children is very high making the teacher-student ratio absolutely incommensurate and difficult.  There are many calls to get Nigeria's education system back in order, but the hard truth remains that we will not be successful at this quest without taking strong measures to hire, train and retrain a whole lot more of teachers to man the present and future classrooms.  How can this be done?

  • building a strong regulatory framework within the education sector upon which measures will be taken to ensure that policies have no loopholes,  and are followed through and through. The framework must be able to detect any incompetent activity within the sector. 
  • establishing lasting institutions within the regulatory framework
  • building many more teacher colleges
  • revamping the teaching profession ( by making it relatively lucrative)

Nigerian children need a new breed of perceptive, informative and resourceful teachers. Teachers who will safeguard Nigeria's future by equipping our populace with basic numeracy/literacy skills and global citizenship skills as they infuse our wide cultural diversity. Students in turn become self-reliant, and better equipped to take action for themselves and their communities. 

Teachers' Day appreciates teaching and the people who have opted for this profession. 

To all teachers in the world.......HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY!!!!!

God Made Teachers 

God understood our thirst for 
And Our Need To Be Led
5th from the left.....with some great teachers I know
By someone wiser;
He needed a heart of compassion,
Of encouragement, and patience;
Someone who would accept
The Challenge Regardless Of The
Someone who could see potential
And believe in the best in others . . .
So he made teachers
- Author Unknown


The secret to the world's best education system - FINLAND

What are Finland's strengths? Education in Finland is a system with no tuition fees and with fully subsidised meals served to students. The present Finnish education system consists of daycare programs (for babies and toddlers) and a one-year "pre-school" (or kindergarten for six-year-olds); a nine-year compulsory basic comprehensive school(starting at age seven and ending at the age of fifteen); post-compulsory secondary general academic and vocational education; higher education (University and Polytechnic); and adult (lifelong, continuing) education. 

So, here are some pointers that have helped the 'Finns' achieve their educational feat.
  1. Finland does not give their kids standardized tests.
  2. Individual schools have curriculum autonomy; individual teachers have classroom autonomy.
  3. It is not mandatory to give students grades until they are in the 8th grade.
  4. All teachers are required to have a master's degree.
  5. Finland does not have a culture of negative accountability for their teachers. According to Partanen, "bad" teachers receive more professional development; they are not threatened with being fired.
  6. Finland has a culture of collaboration between schools, not competition. Most schools, according to Partanen, perform at the same level, so there is no status in attending a particular facility.
  7. Finland has no private schools.
  8. Education emphasis is "equal opportunity to all."They value equality over excellence.
  9. A much higher percentage of Finland's educational budget goes directly into the classroom than it does in the US, as administrators make approximately the same salary as teachers. This also makes Finland's education more affordable than it is in the US.
  10. Finnish culture values childhood independence; one example: children mostly get themselves to school on their own, by walking or bicycling, etc. Helicopter parenting isn't really in their vocabulary.
  11. Finnish schools don't assign homework, because it is assumed that mastery is attained in the classroom.
  12. Finnish schools have sports, but no sports teams. Competition is not valued.
  13. The focus is on the individual child. If a child is falling behind, the highly trained teaching staff recognizes this need and immediately creates a plan to address the child's individual needs. Likewise, if a child is soaring ahead and bored, the staff is trained and prepared to appropriately address this as well.
  14. Compulsory school in Finland doesn't begin until children are 7 years old.
What can we learn from Finland? Two things stand out for me; the higher qualification required to be a teacher at any level and the fact that this phenomenon is driven by government-owned schools. I have always spoken for non-profit schooling as a platform for driving real change and development in the country!  

Please tell us what you think.


Helping The Shy Child

I have been researching on ways to help shy children become less withdrawn and function easier in school. Educators are often faced with a subtle or strong inability of shy children to express their feelings, thoughts, and opinion; which also tends to affect their grades and relationships among other students. 
I am especially interested in ways to help them cope well in school as this goes a long way to making the individual a well adjusted person. I found this piece, brilliantly written by Leah Davies that will help many parents and teachers to handle their shy child in more successful ways. Read and use accordingly.

The Shy Child
By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Shyness is often misunderstood because it is not one emotion, but a mixture of fear, tension, apprehension and/or embarrassment. Shy children seem to lack confidence and are self-conscious especially in new surroundings or when they are the center of attention. Changes in the environment and school pressures are also factors that affect a child's demeanor. Symptoms of shyness may include gaze aversion, a soft tone of voice, and/or hesitant or trembling speech. It is noteworthy that shyness is not necessarily a negative attribute. Many shy children exhibit an ability to please and think for themselves. Being reserved can also be a worthy personality trait. It is when shyness is severe that educators need to be concerned.

Heredity, culture, and environment can each play a role in a child's shyness. If a child's family tends to be aloof and sequestered, there is a likelihood that the child will be somewhat inhibited. In addition, if the adults in a child's life constantly call attention to what others think of the child or allow him or her little autonomy, shyness may result.

The problem with a child being extremely shy is that he or she may be perceived by peers as unfriendly and disinterested. Children may avoid playing with a shy child, thus hampering his or her social development and increasing the chances of a child having low self-esteem. With few friendship or communication skills, shy children may become lonely and depressed, which can interfere with reaching their full potential. Educators can assist children, whose shyness interferes with their social development and learning, by helping them relate comfortably with others. If no assistance is provided, shyness may worsen.

It should be noted that the process of socialization takes time. In order to feel safe, shy children often stand back and watch an activity. They begin the socialization process by observing and listening to the interactions of others. When they feel comfortable they move closer. Later, they may speak to a teacher or peer, and after time begin to relate to other children.

What can educators do to facilitate the development of a shy child's social skills?

1. Create a caring relationship with the child by attempting to understand his or her thoughts, fears and other emotions. Reassure the child that all children feel inhibited at times.

2. Since a shy student may become more self-conscious when confronted with a loud voice, speak softly and clearly. Be prepared to wait patiently for a reply to a question because the child may need time to respond.

3. Be accepting of a shy child's reticence to participate. Allow the child time to adjust to a situation. This will increase his or her sense of security and self-confidence.

4. Refrain from forcing a child to participate in group activities. Instead, provide nonthreatening ways for the child to interact with peers. Sometimes pairing a quiet child with an extroverted child can produce a positive learning experience for both students.

5. Notice and comment on a child's strengths including qualities such as kindness and athletic or academic ability. If you feel the attention will embarrass the child make the compliment in private.

6. Help the child see that everyone makes mistakes and that no one is perfect. Encourage him or her to keep trying by emphasizing that making an effort is what you consider important.

7. If you label a child as "shy," your description may become a permanent characteristic of the child. Instead, say something like, "Everyone is different. Melissa is a thinker. She watches and learns about what's happening before participating."

8. Teach specific social skills through various means including role playing, and/or using dolls or puppets. Have the children practice:

  • Holding their heads up, smiling and making eye contact when they are speaking. Say, "If you look at me while you are talking, I will be able to hear what you have to say."
  • Greeting a peer with enthusiasm. For example, have the children say things like, "Hi, my name is Tommy! What's your name?"
  • Beginning a conversation by saying, "What school did you go to last year?" or "What do you like to play?"
  • Listening, smiling, and enjoying social interactions. Have them smile and say things such as, "It's fun to play this game with you!"
  • Making simple conversation about school work, sports, or television shows. Comments the children may make are: "I like reading too." "What sport do you like?" or "What's your favorite TV show?"
  • Being good listeners and not interrupting.

9. Meet with the parent or guardian. Ask the parent to reinforce the social skills listed above. Encourage the parent to help the child do things for him or herself. Brainstorm ways to increase positive peer interactions for the child so that he or she can become more outgoing and independent. Stress that the parent should not label their child "shy" or call the shyness a "problem." Instead, have the parent call the child a "thinker." Help the parent recognize that every child is different and that it's okay for a child to take time before responding or participating.

If the above measures are unsuccessful and extreme shyness and/or anxiety persist, refer the child for additional professional help.

All these are sure to help you and your child. :D


Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - Useful for teachers and students in secondary and higher education

Many Nigerian schools are yet to adopt the type of thinking required by the Internet era. There still exists the thinking that originated in the old idea of learning to learn. A thinking which is now stale whether we choose to believe, accept and adopt it or not. The list is long - facilities such as the interactive whiteboards, computers or tablets as instructional materials; or the use of social media for high school students such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,  Instagram etc which all serve as effective communication tool are mostly absent in the teaching-learning process.

Did you know that about 96 percent of students with internet access report using social networking technologies, and that three in five (59 percent) use these tools to talk about educational topics online? Maybe not as much in Nigeria because our access to the Internet is still growing.

Social media has revolutionised many industries, but perhaps its impact on the classroom, and the education system as a whole is the most striking. Whether it’s through the use of private social groups, Facebook Pages, classroom Twitter profiles, embracing these social networking is showing that, if used correctly, these platforms can have a positive impact on grades.

There are three main social media powerhouses that provide encouraging learning opportunities and they are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These trilogy stand out amongst others because of their applicability. 

Facebook:  ideas are spread, opinions are voiced, and arguments are had. References from links found on other social media sites, as well as your own documents, can be posted openly for classroom discussions.

Twitter: students in a project who have a Twitter account will follow and/or create group pages on Twitter related to the subject of interest. Ideas are spread, important links are posted, research results and open discussions are diagnosed.

Youtube:  You can find very educational information there. I have found many teaching/learning ideas on YouTube channels; I have viewed and shared many videos with my kids on fun ways to learn multiplication tables. There are loads of teaching ideas on any topic that comes to mind...algebra, geometry, reading comprehension, drama etc.

I hope teachers can begin to use these platforms to spread knowledge with their students as it not only promises to be fun and interactive, above all, it incites the use of the social media for fantastic learning opportunities. It is probably easier to get our students to do their assignments on it as they may spend ample time there. Students can now begin to use and view them as mediums for academic and society-oriented  courses.

Teachers should give social media assignments in their classes or create a Facebook group for an entire class.  Let us bring the classroom together on social media and enjoy the beauty of the changing landscapes it is brings to their world.


Cramming - A popular curse of education in Nigeria

In education, cramming is the practice of working intensively to absorb large volumes of information and facts in short amounts of time. It is usually done by students in preparation for upcoming tests or exams, especially at the last minute. Educators discourage the use if cramming because the hurried coverage of material often results in poor long-term retention of material and leads to mediocrity. Rote learning is

I feel it is very important for students to memorize some math facts such as multiplication tables in younger children. The issue that often arises here is the method applied in the teaching process. I know it’s very important for primary school children to learn math facts and spelling words so that when they get older, they can easily pass through tests which often helps in building confidence. However, memorization or cramming does not have to come just by pure recitations which does not allow for critical thinking and in depth understanding.  For example, multiplication tables can be learnt using templates of  classic nursery rhymes and even rap songs. Spellings should be taught using visual aids because the brain is known to absorb what is seen often easier.

 Cramming is becoming quite common among students at the primary, secondary and post-secondary level and I consider it a negative study technique. The pressure to perform well in the classroom often results in the cramming method of studying and Students are often forced to cram after improper time utilization or in efforts to understand information shortly before being tested. Improper time management is usually the cause for last-minute cramming sessions, and many study techniques have been developed to help students succeed instead of cramming. Active learning and critical thinking are great methods which emphasize the retention of material and facts through the use of class discussions, study groups and individual thinking.

For a long time, cramming or memorization has been used and is still used in many classrooms but they now belong in the past. Teaching students what to think instead of how to think keeps generations at a higher level of ignorance which seems to be apparent in our society these days. If children are made to think through active participation, they develop conceptual and analytical skills needed to help them excel in secondary and post secondary school.

“We forget those things if they’re just learned for the sake of the test.”
Neurologist Judy Willis of Edutopia goes even further saying that over-emphasis on rote memorization over-stresses the brain and detours our thinking away from the ‘rational, prefrontal cortex’ where higher-order thinking occurs.

We need to re-strategize our teaching methods. Technology is fast creeping in on us and we have to go with the tide. Two key strategies: ACTIVE LEARNING AND CRITICAL THINKING


Let's blame ASUU --- university teachers

I worry when we lose track of our needs, redirect blame and seemingly continue to chase shadows. Upon whose shoulders should the task of ensuring our students are in school? Remuneration of teachers is as important as the teaching - learning process because their because their basic requirements must be secure. But that is not all!

In the 2009 Agreement, the government promised to provide fund for revitalising public universities; provide assistance to state universities; establish a Nigerian University Pension Commission, NUPEMCO, and progressively increase the annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020.

Government also promised to pay earned allowances, transfer federal government landed property to universities and to set up research equipment provision to laboratories and classrooms, the government has failed to keep its promises.

Why do some lay the blame on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)? Why don't we demand accountability and discipline from our government once and for all? An agreement should not be breached abruptly!

Nigeria is fast becoming a euphoric state. There is increasingly a flagrant excessive interest in 'celebri-talk' and less 'real-talk' (I guess it keeps the people happy which I am not opposed to). However, we have real problems in our education system which as a people, we must work in agreement to tackle! Let's sign a petition that will end the ASUU Strike! Sign a petition to improve our schools, to get our children back to school and to implement our good policies on education! Together, we can save the future of this country; just by our relentless demand for the improvement of the quality of education in Nigeria. No nation can rise OR has risen above the level of their education.

We have been called the 'proverbial land of no tomorrow'.....sad!  Education helps to eliminate poverty and in return, we are handed a sure tomorrow.

Education is preparation for life. Education is life itself ~ John Dewey


8 ways parents discourage their kids from reading

No parent intentionally tries to discourage their child from reading. But sometimes our actions do just that. Kids may be resilient, but they are also really sensitive, and how we handle reading in our homes can work for or against our kids’ reading attitude. Once a child writes reading off, it’s much harder to reel them back in and get them to give it a second shot. Here are eight things to avoid .

1. Don’t put down your child’s reading materials. Comics and books with crude humour often get dragged through the mud, as do character-driven books. Their choices may not be your favorite, but when you say no to a book, what your child may hear is no to reading. Instead of banning their beloved reading material , find a way to add in some more desirable books into the mix.

2. Don’t provide the wrong level material. No one likes reading something that makes them feel stupid. If the books are too hard they will frustrate your child. If the books are too easy, they will bore your little reader. You don’t need to know your child’s exact level; their interest will let you know. Go to the bookstore or library when you have a chunk of time and let them explore. Take out a bunch of books and try them out. Find favorite authors and read everything they’ve written, then start again with a new author.

3. Don’t use reading as a punishment. Saying things like “Go to your bedroom and read!” or “If you do that again, I will make you go read.” sets kids up to associate reading as a negative thing. Keep punishments and reading separate.

4. Don’t forget to give your child books as a gifts. Gifts are special, and starting at birth books make the best gifts – especially if you read them with the person who gave them to you. Book fairs at schools are a great place for kids to get excited about books, and we use them as treats!

5. Don’t explain to your child they aren’t really reading yet when they are only looking at the pictures. If we tell our children they aren’t readers, they will believe it, and to a child this isn’t as fluid as it is for adults. They don’t see that reading is developmental, and this blow to their confidence can really stick with them. If they aren’t decoding words yet, let them know that they can “read the pictures” and tell the story that way until they can read the words too.

6. Don’t forget to let your kids see you read for fun. Studies show that kids with parents who read often for pleasure are more likely to read for fun themselves. So if you want a kid who loves to read, let them see you reading too.

7. Don’t over-correct and over-practice. It’s exciting when your child starts to read independently, but forcing them to read and reread text until they have it perfect is not the most effective way to encourage or instruct. Read with your new reader and help when they ask for it. If they miss a word but the meaning is intact, don’t interrupt. If the meaning of the sentence is all screwy, wait for a natural pause and ask them, “Did that make sense?” You can revisit the word if it didn’t. Use the pictures and the rest of the text as clues if the word is too tough to decode. If you have to do this often, the text is too hard for your child. Choose something easier, or if they are insistent take turns reading so there is some fluency being modeled.

8. Don’t forget to read to your kids. Every day. Even those days when you just want them to go to sleep already!! It makes all the difference.



Ways to Encourage a Strong Reader and Writer

Teachers don't expect kindergarteners to start reading and writing but they expect them to be good listeners, follow instructions and keep their impulses in check. You can help improve your child's readiness for reading and writing by trying out these tips.

1. Talk to your child to help them learn to speak and understand the meaning of words.
2. Ask questions that require more than one-word answers.
3. Read to your child everyday, hearing words help them become familiar with them.
4. Spend as much time listening and talking to your child as you do talking to him.
5. Create a quiet special place for your child to read, write and draw.

Reading well is the heart of all learning.



Settling Over 10 million children

Do we need to settle the millions of children that are out of school? absolutely! Here's partly how the Minister plans to do it.

Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, on Thursday last week said, the Federal Government was working to address the problem of the high number of out-of-school children.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation report ranked Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out-of-school-children in the world, with 10.5 million of the 57 million children out of school in 2011.

Rufai said 125 day and boarding schools were being constructed under the Almajiri Education Programme. Eighty of these, she said, had been completed { while President Jonathan said 120 has been completed this week}... and a similar programme is targeting girl’s education,

According to her, comprehensive attention is being given to the development of new infrastructure and rehabilitation of existing ones to create access for additional pupils.

She revealed that government had earmarked an initial N15bn for the rehabilitation of laboratories in federal and state polytechnics, while another N109.4bn had been provided for universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in five phases under the High Impact Initiative of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. Fifty-eight federal and state colleges of education are benefitting from the construction of micro-teaching laboratories at a cost of N11.6bn. This is to enhance the application of modern technology in the teaching-learning process.

According to the UNESCO report, the amount of aid to basic education which Nigeria received in 2011 was 28 per cent lower than it received in 2010. Nigeria is in the top 10 countries for the largest decrease in aid from 2010-2011.

LC: Again, it is not surprising to hear that the aid we receive for basic education has decreased. Why? Corruption in Nigeria can be seen by the youngest and untamed eyes. Getting these kids off the streets is an issue that must be addressed alongside if we are looking to be successful. Will there be provision for other needs - food, uniforms etc? 

Let me say emphatically, that the government has come up with a few brilliant ideas, solutions and policies needed to begin solving the enormous problems facing the sector. However, we need to sign an armistice between policies and implementation! When we choose to keep out corruption and political bigotry, we will be in transit to a better educated country. I continue to be surprised that we have refused to keep education out of the mishmash and until we become experts at implementing policies, change seems far away.

Time is not our friend! Our neighbours, friends and foes are mostly all on an upward moving ride - open for clear discussions with experts on their way forward. Whether we like it or not, soon enough, the 'oil wells' will be desiccated. A good education system has all the answers! Mr 'To Whom It May Concern', lead us to that place..... where we will all be saved! 


Five Holiday Indoor Activities to Explore with your Kids

Parents and teachers alike worry about their students losing hard-earned skills over school breaks and even weekends.  That's why so many parents work so hard to make sure their kids are learning, reading and growing.  Here is a list of fun and easy at-home activities you can do to keep their knowledge fresh.

Encourage Journaling:  Journaling is a great way to explore learning and practice writing.  Encourage your child to journal using prompts. Or, Start a child and parent journal. Encourage your child to write about what they are reading.  Then, write back to your child, asking him or her to elaborate or telling them about some of your favorite books. You could even ask them to write a chapter by chapter summary of chosen books read. Do encourage reading 'A-chapter-A-day' or 'A-book-A-day' depending on the age group. It could picture books for much younger kids that are not yet reading.

Let Your Kid Use Your iPhone (or iPod or iPad):  We know you probably don’t want to give it up, but there are hundreds of top-rated educational apps for iPods, iPhones and iPads that will keep your kids engaged and learning.

Virtual Pen Pals: While social media tools like Facebook and twitter may be off-limits for your younger children, parents can encourage kids to stay in touch with classmates via private messengers or email.  This not only gets them communicating, but it gets them writing and reading as well. 

Create Learning Experiences Through Play:  Set up a science experiment with rocks and seeds outside or create a "Mini med-school" with your kid's stuffed animals - kids love animals and I am about to explore this...bet it will be insightful. Even playing board games can be educational if you want it to be. 

Incorporate Music into Their Learning:  Music can be a great way to encourage vocabulary growth and even mathematical comprehension.  So, pick up some favorite CD's, play songs from your Phones, iPads or computer and listen with your kids. Practice singing some known ones with them as you might just be discovering an innate talent. 

Question for you:  How do you keep your kids learning at this time?


The Benefits of Failure - Games : A 'game changer'

Failure teaches and empowers us with great skills. Surprised? Don't be. Read this and I hope it helps us all to deal with any form of failure our kids experience however measured; and see how it can become a major learning breakthrough.

Justin Marquis PH.D writes.....

Failure teaches many critical skills, among them:

Perseverance – Small failures that can be overcome teach students to keep trying until they succeed. There is little that we do in life or our jobs that is an instant success every time. Achievement is a process filled with incremental gains and small setbacks. Games involve players in this system and make it part of the learning process.

Resilience – Students must learn that their failures do not define them and that they are not made less by experiencing them. In fact, they are made better and stronger – more resilient – by facing them. This is something that they will require throughout their lifetimes and which the best games teach through adaptive difficulty levels.

Creativity – Seldom can a problem be solved by repeatedly doing the same thing over and over. More often than not, innovation is a key component to overcoming failures. The earlier that students learn this skill, the more proficient they will become at doing it. This ability to be creative in the face of adversity is something that defines the most successful members of an innovation-based economy and that is modeled in good games.

Adaptability – Students who encounter failures in their learning must also become adaptable in their approaches to solving problems and in their understanding of the way the world works. If you succeed every time, there is no challenge to your understanding of reality. If however, you encounter obstacles that must be overcome on the way to success you will learn that there are a wide range of reasons for that failure, possibly including fundamental flaws in your understanding of how the world works. Developing the flexibility to adapt to these changing understandings allows students to become successful in whatever context they may find themselves in the future.

How to ask for help - One thing that failure often prompts people to do is ask for help. This is, however, a learned skill that happens with intellectual maturity, and is not a natural part of many young people’s strategy for dealing with the world. Though it is one of the most successful strategies for learning.

Acting Independently - Many games also push players to act independently and decisively with little advanced notice. Failure to act quickly in a game will lead to losing more often than not, but players learn to adapt to being assertive agents of their own fate – what more could a prospective employer want?


Innovations in learning does not begin in success. Usually, you find that when one fails at a given task, innovation causes them to discover one more way of doing it differently a next time.


He hawked bread for 3 years...

In his wildest imagination, he never believed he could be a university graduate, let alone a vice-chancellor. But Prof. Debo Adeyewa is now the Vice-Chancellor, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State.

From being a pupil in a quranic school, to an apprentice carpenter and a bread seller on the streets of Jos, the Inisa, Odo-Otin Local Government Area of Osun State-born Adeyewa endured poverty and deprivation to seek education.

“I was born in 1957. That was the year the first satellite was sent to space. We were so poor that my father had to work as a labourer on another man’s farm before we could eat. It was that bad.

“One day, my uncle, who was a carpenter, came from Jos. When he was going back, I followed him to learn the work of a carpenter. In Jos, I was learning this and at the same time selling bread for people to raise money to feed. We later moved to Yauri, in present Kebbi State, where I continued the trade, helping women to sell bread,” he recalls.

At Yauri, he attended a technical college between 1978 and 1980. After the completion of the technical college, he sat for the then General Certificate of Education examination. His result was good enough to secure admission for him to the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Osun State.

With a collaboration between  OAU and Meteorology University, Uppsala, Sweden, Adeyewa obtained a PhD degree in satellite meteorology.

“The story of my life, so far,  has taught me never to look down on anybody and to know that without God, I cannot do anything. My advice to ‘helpless’ youths is to know that things are better now than they were before now. They should find opportunities. I found opportunities in selling bread, though it was not easy. I looked at my life as an investment. So, they should look at theirs like that too.

“They should believe in God and in themselves. They should be disciplined, should have integrity, pursue excellence, embrace team work and always be ready to offer service to anybody that needs their services, Adeyewa adds.

LC: Inspirational isn't it? Yes, we should encourage our youth to have integrity, embrace team work and to be caring! How do we do this? The period of developing the spirit of cooperation and communication is best harnessed at the early childhood education stage which the government has left in the hands of the private sector with minuscule supervision if any. We are yet to hand down decent education to the millions of students around our public schools. I hate to say that using what is obtainable at the private schools to judge the level of our academia, is like comparing the lifestyle of our public office holders to the well being of the populace.

Additionally, we may want to scratch the part that says that, things are better now than they were before! We know they are not! The educational opportunities that presented at that time are not obtainable in the same way; there are much more people applying for so little opportunities. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) has a great framework upon which his positions should thrive but it seems as though we have become experts at botching implementation of policies.

Finally, I believe that against all odds, one who has opportunities presented their way merged with a natural knack for learning could certainly make a good career as he did.  We are a 'certificate driven' nation and until those who are responsible for implementation of the current UBE program become 'born again' or 'radicalized', it may be a tough call to realize the good Professor's hopes.

 So, I encourage everyone who has to struggle through to school to keep at it. Prof. Adeyewa is an  'OUTLIER';  pure and simple! To the positive mind, much availeth!


Into the minds of 10-year old Nigerian kids

Mr Jimi Disu and I
I had the privilege of being on a radio program called 'The Discourse' with Mr Jimi Disu on Classic FM 97.3, Lagos. I also had an 'aha' moment being on the programme two Sundays ago as it has certainly become one of those experiences I would always remember. A group of four 10 year olds took us on a trip into their thoughts about Nigeria. One thing stuck with me; they are aware of the putrefaction that is currently holding sway in Nigeria and they want NOTHING to do with it.

I left with a great sense of hope believing that our children are becoming aware of the necessity for change. Asked if they would want to become political office holders in the future, they all unanimously said "NO"! Shocking, isn't it? Can't say the same for my 7 year old son who has one of his dreams to become the President of Nigeria. We tell him that he must begin his journey by growing up to be a man of example, one who will match his words with actions, one of exemplary character and intelligence. He always gets excited as that is for him, the easier part (in his words)!

I was equally proud of the kind of education these 10 year olds have been exposed to (all private schools). However, I sadly acknowledge that I cannot confidently say the same for majority of Nigerian kids who have to be in our public schools. Hence, these sensitive perceptions and conclusions made by the four kids on the program do not represent the views of our average 10 year old in the country today. I can say that we have a growing population that are significantly well educated who can make corrections by commensurate thought processes, important discourse and actions.

The kids on the program were articulate and informative - an expository essay of what may become Nigeria tomorrow.

Here are some photos from the show with the kids and I. Great kids!

lovely kids
I was quite surprised at some of their views!


How To Raise A Gifted Child

In my usual researchers' mode, I stumbled on this and I knew instantly it was a 'must-share'. Now, I intend to do more of all the activities spoken about, however, the raising of a 'gifted child' may not be an appropriate terminology since the parameters for measuring a gifted child is evolving. Interestingly, you are ultimately guaranteed of raising a brilliant and resourceful child with a good measure of success. And you will never go wrong with the 'read, read, read' practice. It always works. Read and do practice.

Talk, talk, talk. Ask your kid open-ended questions, like “What would happen if we stopped for ice cream on the way to the beach?” Such questions help a child reflect on what he knows and tell him his opinion matters. Don't worry if he's too young to understand. Likewise, don't be afraid to use relatively sophisticated words. They would figure it out if familiar multiple words are used alongside.

Read, read, read. Research has repeatedly shown that access to books and one-on-one reading time is a predictor of school success. “Reading stimulates the brain to make connections and builds background knowledge about the world,” says Kim Davenport, chief program officer at Jumpstart, a national early-literacy organization. “Reading is the foundation of all learning and will enable a child to absorb and apply content from all areas, including math and science.” Modeling good reading habits may give them an edge. “Seeing parents reading for enjoyment will be contagious,” says Davenport. Invite your child to cozy up on the couch with you to read. Keep books out—in baskets, on shelves, and on coffee tables. And share what you're reading with your child, and ask him to do the same. This will not only spark conversation but build his vocabulary and comprehension.

Praise results. Instead of just saying "you are a star". Say that you are a star for solving this or that problem.
Giving the right props is key, says Stephanie Rosales, a licensed educational psychologist in La Quinta, CA: “Children who are praised for solving a problem tend to be more motivated in school than children who are told they're smart. The latter, ironically, often become frustrated when something doesn't come easily.” Say stuff like "I like the way you figured out how to solve this problem".

Seize teachable moments You can help your child sharpen school skills as you go about your day. Say you drive by a windmill. Instead of saying “Hey, a transformer!” ask a question: “What do you think they do?” Encouraging observation of details will help your child do the same in class, says Rosales. And a trip to the store can be a chance to build vocabulary, math skills, and money smarts. Tell a 2-year-old the names of fruits as you bag them. Ask a 3-year-old to find four cans of drinks. Have a 5-year-old write down which cereal she wants. Older kids can compare prices and sizes.

Whether your child is advanced or average, the best thing you can do is be involved. Taking them on this journey of self-discovery is what'll drive their personal genius. In one word: What do you most want your kid to be? Happy? Funny? Confident? Loved? I am betting that many of us will say even silently a “Professor of Science". Your goal is to help your child be the best he or she can be, right? So, use all of the above to discover what their strengths are.

Resist the urging temptation to praise your child for every "OK" job they do so they don't get stuck in not learning to take responsibility for actions taken.


Watch this Inspiring Video: Kids don't learn from people they don't like

Rita F. PIERSON inspires me. I love this speech.

True! Kids don't learn from people they don't like. All learning comes from understanding. An understanding that is nurtured by relationships. How I wish that all educators will appreciate the power of relationships in every learning situation.

To my colleagues, it is obvious that we will 'TEACH' anyway. Let's inspire our students each day by establishing good relationships first. Why? We are in the business of building lives.