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Never Give In, Never Give In, Never Never Never!

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense." Winston Churchill, 1941

Winston Churchill repeated a grade during elementary school and, when he entered Harrow, was placed in the lowest division of the lowest class. Later, he failed the entrance exam twice to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He was defeated in his first effort to serve in Parliament. He became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later proclaimed to the students of Harrow School {his alma mata), after becoming the Prime Minister the above speech.

No leader in history, perhaps, matched Churchill's capacity for blurring the lines between speech and battle cry. This is one of his best. It's an urban legend that the "Never give in" exhortation comprised the totality of his address; Churchill went on for several more paragraphs. But there's no question that this, far and away, was what Harrow's students remembered.

What lessons can we learn from Winston Churchill's speech to the students. Remember he had become a leader at the time of this speech.

  • Firstly, every child has the potential to be someone great whether they  are topping the class or not.
  • Secondly, he was persistent and was positive until he became successful. Here, I speak directly to the parents who think their children are not doing great in school. Be persistent and patient, do not give up, keep working with your child and ensure that they bring the best of their ability. You are sure to raise an accomplished child in the future.
  • Lastly, Churchill was a leader who cared about the perceptions and character of the students. Our eyes are collectively filled with tears, begging and seeking for leaders who will take Nigeria to the next level. Your words (leaders), if pronounced passionately with sustainable intent will change Nigeria.

And guess where 'change' will start from? THE SCHOOLS.

Give them your voice and support. Therein lies the magic!


Big Big Words! Vanity upon Vanity

From a page on this blog - Anecdotes of My Day...
constitutes my daily experiences. link

Big, Big Words!

Doing a lot of reading recently and I am totally enjoying all the new information I am getting. One terminology that has refused to leave me is NIHILISM. Nihilism is a state of nothingness. Nihilism is loss of meaning or seriousness. If nihilism were complete there would be no significant private or public issues. Nihilism is the fundamental movement in the history of the West. Materialism is a symptom of nihilism. Materialism is the view that all meaning has gone from the cosmos, nature, and culture. Values are objective, explicit options which imply the existence of choice. (Source: ERIC)

Is life itself meaningful? Now the bottom line here is that in the state of a loss of meaning, all educational activity lacks meaning with particular reference to cultural practices. Example, a close friend of mine does not really get why she needs to teach her kids her local language. Her argument is that it is meaningless and not useful to him! Is he going to become the business mogul she knows he will become through the use of the language? In his time, how many people is he going to have to speak it to? Is it for survival?

If we look at her 'nihilist' arguments for the transmission of language deeply, we may begin to see reasons. In the transmission of values, a good question to ask ourselves constantly is..."does it have meaning?"

Now, here I am in my world, thinking, if so, many cultural practices are valueless - in a state of nothingness. If they are valueless, what makes a people unique? Are we human beings equally in a state of nothingness - nihilism? Do you get my drift? If you do, you are definitely in 'the spirit' with me because I guess we must find some meaning at some point as human beings.... otherwise we need not exist.


Is the teaching of handwriting still important in this technology driven age?

Is handwriting still important? Educators are saying that basic handwriting skills are still necessary for success in schooling and life. I play a dual role as a mother/teacher and I have found it extremely hard to get my son to write the way I would love him to. I see his 'excitability' in his pattern of handwriting. He just won't settle to write well a lot of times but teaching him to write frequently is helping him learn to be more detailed. It has worked on his study skills and his spellings.

Fears of handwriting's demise prompted North Carolina Congresswoman Pat Hurley to draft a bill, mandating that script be taught in all elementary schools in the state. It passed unanimously in the state House earlier this month.

Jeffrey Reaser, an associate professor of linguistics at North Carolina State University, says a sense of "nostalgia" is not enough reason to force students to learn something that's "not crucial to their education".

Meanwhile, some classrooms in the state have begun teaching students handwriting on iPads and iPods.

I think that it is important because it helps children acquire the skill of writing by hand almost as they would a second language. It is wise to continue teaching handwriting and we need to continue to help kids be 'bilingual' by hand.

There is still a clear emphasis on maintaining those building blocks within the education system. Some experts conducted a study that looked at the ability of students to complete various writing tasks — both on a computer and by hand.

The study, published in 2009, found that when writing with a pen and paper, participants wrote longer essays and more complete sentences and had a faster word production rate.

In a more recent study, they looked at what role spelling plays in a student's writing skills and found that how well children spell is tied to how well they can write.

"Spelling activates some of the thinking parts of the brain in the frontal lobes." one expert said. "We think that it is a cognitive portal, because it helps us access our vocabulary, word meaning and concepts … It is allowing your written language to connect with ideas."

Spelling helps students translate ideas into words in their mind first and then to transcribe "those word representations in the mind into written symbols in the external environment (on paper or keyboard and monitor)," the study said.

Seeing the words in the "mind's eye" helps children to not only turn their ideas into words, says Berninger, but also to spot spelling mistakes when they write the words down and to correct them over time.

In our computer age, some people believe that we don't have to teach spelling because we have spell checks. But when a child has a functional spelling ability of about a fifth grade level, they won't have the knowledge to choose the correct spelling among the options given by the machine."

I dare to say that hand writing has a lot to do with discipline, clarity of thought and ability to focus. But then perhaps, these are not considered useful things any more in this "copy and paste age". I'm wondering! Have you noticed that an increasing number of people can not spell correctly any more?  


What is wrong in this picture?

My husband has a friend who believes strongly in flogging or whipping his children and of course using the corporal punishment. He says they are turning out to be the best behaved students in their school. I read this and I think it is worth reading. 

Think of being fed and clothed by children you had whipped -- whose flesh you had scarred! Think of feeling in the hour of death upon your withered lips, your withered cheeks, the kisses and the tears of one whom you had beaten -- upon whose flesh were still the marks of your lash! The whip degrades; a severe father teaches his children to dissemble; their love is pretence, and their obedience a species of self-defence. Fear is the father of lies.

We all know of many instances where the abused, the maligned, and the tortured have returned good for evil -- and many instances where the loved, the honored, and the trusted have turned against their benefactors, and yet we know that cruelty and torture are not superior to love and kindness. 

When the children are young and weak, the parents and teachers who are strong beat the children in order that they may be affectionate/perform excellently. Now, when the children get strong and the parents and teachers are old and weak, should the children not beat them, so that they too may become kind and loving or deserving/exemplary?

Do tell! Do you not think that this picture will only do more harm than good? I am a teacher and I have indeed got the best out of my students without ever using this 'hideous' and 'soul-impoverishing' method! The 'post-stone' age period is long gone. Perhaps, we might be breeding unmindful citizens.

Back To Blogging!

Once again, I have been unavoidably absent for a much longer time than I'd hoped for. I have been attending to very many matters that are gainful....but I am baaacckkk! However, I will be writing my exams in school soon (currently running a Masters program) and I'm hopeful that I should be able to dazzle my lecturers having learnt so much in such a little time. 

I have a little advice; do not just read novels or soft sell magazines. There is a lot information available for  the taking. Read journals, articles, abstracts, self-help books and most importantly educating textbooks of interest in your field. In Dr. Igwe's (Curriculum Theory Ph.D) words, "READ WIDELY!" You will be amazed at how much good you  will be doing to yourself. You gradually become your own little encyclopedia.

I promise to be as constant as the rising sun (smile). Thanks to as many that continued to follow the blog. You are appreciated.