Jul 212013
 

One special teacher can make a student feel inspired, as though he can do anything in the world if he sets his mind to it. Unfortunately, this student may enter another teacher’s class with a sense of overarching dread. One teacher can make a spirit soar while the other seems destined to destroy. The difference between the two teachers is soft skills.

Depending on whom you ask, soft skills are loosely defined as people skills. Kate Lorenz, an editor for CareerBuilder.com says that soft skills “refer to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.” The most important of these skills are Professionalism/Work Ethic, Oral and Written Communications, Teamwork/Collaboration and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving. These are the very skills educators seek to impart to their students.

On any average day, teachers work with a variety of people. Soft skills translate into the ability to successfully navigate the needs of those individuals. A teacher must use her oral and written communication skills every day to effectively pass on information to her students. A teacher uses teamwork and collaboration at any school-wide function, including faculty meetings. Without critical thinking and problem solving skills, the teacher cannot effectively manage classroom behavior or student progress.
A successful teacher will find that his voice and vocabulary do the marvels which no other device can do.

Another important thing to mull over is his attitude which comprises proper planning and zeal to stir sensations in the classroom. A teacher has to adapt according to the situations; he has to bring in himself a proper blend of rigidity and flexibility allowing him to create humor at times to drive away the monologue. One should be wary enough not to hurt anyone’s cultural and religious beliefs. Challenging though such things are, they are not devoid of satisfaction if practiced earnestly. If teachers remain aware of the importance of such soft skills in teaching, it not only will establish proper rapport between the teacher and the taught but also ensure our competence and bring admiration.

Teachers have various roles. The main role is the content expert. However, this role alone is not sufficient to describe the work of teachers. Teachers are also consultants, managers, motivators, and counselors. Teachers are also decision makers. Each teacher has to engage in an ongoing series of decision-making. The areas are planning decisions, teaching and managing decisions, and assessment decisions.

Educational institutions are looking for various soft skills in teachers, besides technical competence and work experience. The twenty-first century workplace does not require teachers who are “walking encyclopedias” but rather self-reliant and resilient individuals who are achievement-oriented with high self-esteem; persuasive and effective communicators; emotionally intelligent; good problem solvers and decision makers with analytical and creative minds; fast and lifelong learners; good team players; and ethical with a high standard of integrity (morally intelligent).

For teachers, the ability to use effective soft skills can make or break a career. While it may seem obvious that such skills would factor importantly in a classroom, soft skills are also paramount when working with parents, administration and other teachers.

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Author: Ajit K Singh has a Masters in Economics from Delhi University. Among his varied interests he has a passion for Philosophy, Psychology, Soft Skills and related subjects. Following the family tradition, he got commissioned in the Indian Air Force as an Administrative Officer. He specialized in selection of Officers for commissioning, having done a course in the Defence Institute of Psychological Research, Delhi. Post retirement he researched and became a trainer in Soft Skills and Emotional Intelligence, including Life Skills. He is an avid writer and occasional poet.

Jan 182013
 

Sand and Water Tables are a perfect addition to classrooms, daycares, playrooms or backyards. Really, anywhere there are children with adults interested in their education. There are literally hundreds of ways to elevate the level of learning for your children by coming up with different projects, or using different material, even conduction experiments with your sand and water tables. Children will experience development in sensory, motor and social skills, and have a broader understanding of spatial relations and natural science. Oh yea, and an amazing amount of fun!

When choosing a project for your class or your kids be mindful of their ages. For example; if you are going to substitute sand with dry noodles make sure small children are being supervised closely to prevent choking. For older children lay down some rules and give them some responsibility over their sand and water table. If you take the sand and water tables out regularly get the children into a routine of set up and clean up. This not only makes your life easier, but this teaches them to work together and as you praise them for a job well done they will learn to take pride in work.

Free play requires little preparation on your part and is one of the greatest ways to use your sand and water table. There are very few limitations on what your children can experience. Try setting your children up with sand, water and toy sea creatures. Throw grass in there for sea weed. Not that children need much encouragement before they play pretend, but sometimes its fun to teach them about the ocean maybe let them color in an octopus or shark before letting them go. Free play is a highly educational time for children, it is not simply a way to keep the kids occupied, though it does accomplish this well. During this time children learn to create their own worlds which gives them a sense of control over their environment. Children are young and their imaginations are powerful and this little tub is like a melting pot. Watch your children closely and you will see them working things out together and yes sometimes fighting as their view of this play world may clash with someone elses’ view. Free play helps them learn to share, not only toys but also space and a collaborative view of their ocean world.

Sensory Games are also excellent ways to use your sand and water activity tables. One idea is to first make the water cloudy with paint or even mud. Then place different object at the bottom. Then have the children form a line and one at a time try to guess, by using their sense of touch, what is at the bottom of the tub. Aside from random objects, have each child bring something from home. Send them home the day before with a ditto explaining the project so their mom can help them find something suitable. Then have them bring it in concealed in a paper bag and brought to you. This project is fun to watch the kids try so hard not to tell the others what they brought in. And they all get pretty excited when their object gets picked. Another variation of this is to find three dimensional letters and numbers and have them feel what symbol they are holding. After they have guessed their letter correctly have them hold on to it for a project to do latter where you can reinforce their understanding of the alphabet, now from a platform of pride and accomplishment. Children always learn better when they think its their idea or that they have somehow earned it.

Other fun educational activities are Sand and Water Table Experiments. By using your sand and water table children can learn about photosynthesis, metamorphosis, erosion and countless other laws of natural science. Try filling a clear tub with healthy soil and divide the tub in half by placing an opaque tub over on half (so as to block out light on that half). Then have each child place two seeds in the soil, one each side. Make sure they place their seeds close to the outside, half the fun is watching the roots grow. As they see the plants growing you can explain photosynthesis by teaching the kids how plants need to eat soil, water and sunlight like they need to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

While sand and water tables are built for the convenience of having a portable and secure tub, many of the same projects, experiments and fun can be had by using large plastic bowls, baby bathtubs, or any container that can hold water, be easily dumped and is not in danger of braking.

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Corey Hardin, Vice President to JoLee OE Early Childhood Educational Products. If you are interested in purchasing Sand and Water Tables, Sensory Tables, or simply looking for fun projects to do with your sand and water tables, I recommend Fun Kids Tables.http://www.funkidstables.com

Oct 022012
 

Matilda

Roald Dahl


“Matilda” is is a wonderful book for reading aloud in a primary school classroom. It’s imaginative and exciting, and will certainly engage your class. Children are captivated by precocious Matilda, fall in love with Miss Honey and are infuriated at The Trunchbull and Matilda’s frustrating parents.

There are so many teaching opportunities using Roald Dahl’s fabulous book, and Pivotal kids has compiled 45 links to lesson plans, activities, worksheets, printables and more.,,

8 quizzes
2 reading/literature units
4 Worksheets and cross curricular activities
6 teacher guides and lesson plans
2 study guides
6 Vocabulary & Word Puzzles both online and printable
2 biography/bibliography
1 book report
3 sets of material on the characters of the book
3 sets of material on the movie
8 sets of questions about the content and comprehension

=> http://bit.ly/StwH5G

(Pivotal Rewards Club members get a 10% discount off the price)

Aug 142012
 

Tap into the SPORTS WISDOM of 12 of Australia’s finest coaches as they reveal their personal stories and success philosophies. 

Discover valuable lessons from sport and how to fast-track your child’s personal and sporting development for a successful journey through life!

Their secrets can take you to the top of your sports parenting or coaching game!

Oct 202011
 

This website is especially for kids. Go on an interactive adventure. Take part in all the activities. Discover what copyright really means. There is a test you can take at the end to see what you really do know! There are six questions with full answers provided on the next page.

[From the package copyright for kids http://bit.ly/qxSjix]

Jun 052011
 

Teaching children is a difficult enough endeavor on its own. Throw in an autistic child with learning disabilities, and the task can seem overwhelming. However, the task is not impossible. By following some simple guidelines, you may be able to see a marked improvement. Whether you’re a parent home schooling your child or a teacher with an autistic student in your class, these tips should prove helpful. (from this week’s Kids Ezine – read the whole article here (until 9th June) => http://bit.ly/a3trhH

Jan 232011
 

Reluctant Disciplinarian: Advice on Classroom Management From a Softy who Became (Eventually) a Successful Teacher
by Gary Rubinstein
As Rubinstein details his transformation from incompetent to successful teacher, he shows what works and what doesn’t work when managing a classroom. 

More about the book here => http://bit.ly/hOGWq3