We are on Facebook and Twitter!

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


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!