Friday, 23 September 2016

Tips from Dyslexic Students for Dyslexic Students
by Nancy Hall
 Nobody can fully appreciate what it’s like to be a student with dyslexia in the way that another student with dyslexia can.  Tutors, teachers and parents have their advice, but here are some strategies from the real experts—kids with papers due, tests next week, and a project due on Friday.  How do they do it when they are struggling readers themselves?
getting on top of schoolwork

Tracking Time

Abbie, 14, says her best homework strategy is a simple one. "Nothing high-tech here,” she laughs.  “The most important tool for me is a big wall calendar I can write on so I know how much time I have to do what was needed.  I mean, because I’m dyslexic, I get extra time to spend on tests, right?  I finally realized that I should also use all the time available to me to work on regular homework assignments, too.  One thing I do is to mark not just the date when something has to be finished, but the date when I need to start on it, and break the project down into smaller steps in between.”
For dyslexics who read more slowly and who sometimes can’t even read their own handwriting, allowing enough time to do homework is a must.  Here are some tips:

  • Break a big project up into smaller, less intimidating pieces.  Have a three page paper due in a month?  Let a parent or a teacher help you to set dates for working on little tasks related to the paper, like picking a topic, doing research, and writing a first draft.  

  • Do what’s due first.  If you’re faced with a long list of short assignments, it’s easy just to grab them and do them in random order, but that’s not the most beneficial.  Take a minute to prioritze your work, not only by what’s due, but by what you need more or less time with.  Study tonight for the French test you have tomorrow, not the vocabulary test that’s coming up next week.

  • Don’t fall into the “no homework tonight” trap.  Calendar clear for tonight?  Look ahead to see what’s coming up (an earth science quiz at the end of the week or a math worksheet due Thursday?) and use this free time to make a start on the work that’s due later.

  • Outline a task before you start.  For a science project on plant growth, what materials will you need to gather?  How many days will you have to allow for the beans to sprout?  How long will it take you to write up your results?  Think it through in your head and figure out what steps you’ll have to take so you know what you’ll need—and how much time to allow—to get it done.

Tech Tips
Thirteen-year-old Eli, for instance, has a friend who studies by making a Power Point presentation on her computer of the material she’ll be tested on.  She listens to it several times and takes notes.  “And if I did this on a Mac, I could even use the computer’s voice feature to read the material to me.  I’m already doing this to read material along with me while I study,” Eli says.  Eli also composes written work on his computer to save time, improve accuracy, and add interest to his written assignments when he’s typing them up.  “I use the voice-recognition program Dragon to dictate what I want to say,” he explains.  “It’s faster and my papers are neater, but best of all I’ve found I probably add over 50% more detail when I’m doing it this way.  It lets me be a lot more creative.”  It also allows him to capture crucial details that he might gloss over if he were doing it by handwriting the points on index cards and then arduously transferring them to the computer.

Here are some other high-tech tips from Eli and other kids:

  • After you complete a writing assignment, whether it’s a paragraph or a longer paper, record yourself or someone in your family reading it aloud.  Being able to listen to it as you read it over several times can help you to spot errors and things you’d like to change, and to understand and remember what you’ve learned.

  • Listen to assigned books on CD, reading along in your written copy.  Bonus?  You’ll feel much better prepared if you know you’re going to be called upon to read out loud in class the next day.

  • Ask your parents or a teacher to help you sign up for access to recorded books and other written materials.  An organization called Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic or RFB&D) makes tens of thousands of audio recordings of literature, textbooks, reference materials, magazines, and newspapers available on CD or by audio download to anyone who has trouble reading print.  Check their website for more information:

  • Do written work at home and take notes in class on a laptop computer or a word processing keyboard like an Alphasmart. 

  • Find a computer that can read to you—Macs do this, but there’s lots of software available for both Macs and PCs that read along with you.

Managing Material

James gives himself plenty of breaks when he’s working on a tough assignment.  At 16 and in tenth grade, he has longer, more complicated assignments than he used to.  “If I have 20 pages of reading to do one night, I just can’t focus on it all at once,” he says.  “I concentrate better and remember more if I break it into two 10-page assignments or even four 5-page assignments, and take a break after completing each one.  I also give myself enough time so that I can work slowly and carefully, not hurrying or skipping any part of a task.  It takes longer, but I do a better job and comprehend the material better.”

 Other Ideas?

  • Don’t do more than you have to.  For instance, you don’t have to research everything on the Civil War to write a few paragraphs on "The Battle of Bull Run."

  • For many people, studying the most important material right before bed makes it easier to remember.

  • Work in a quiet place with few distractions.  Ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones can help to block out noises that compete for your attention.

  • Some students found that chewing gum while taking a test helped them to focus on their work.  Ask your teacher whether you can try this.  No popping bubbles!
  • Try to get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet.  When you’re well rested and in good health, you’ll be able to focus better on your work.

Attitude Matters
Abbie told us, “Dyslexia teaches you to budget your time and work hard, and these are things that will help me no matter what I go on to do.”  Twelve-year-old Molly found inspiration in talking with dyslexic adults:  “Talking to some of my teachers who are dyslexic themselves has been really helpful,” she said.  "They had to work even harder than I do because there were no computers or books on CDs when they were my age.  If they could succeed, I can, too.”
We heard similar things from other kids and teens we spoke with:

  • I’ve never felt like there was something I had to do that I couldn’t.  It might take me longer, but I can do it.

  • It’s important to look back and see how far you’ve come.  In fourth grade there were things I couldn’t do as well as other kids, but now, as a seventh grader, I can do most of them just as well as everyone else—sometimes even better.

  • I used to feel embarrassed about having to work with reading specialists and a speech teacher, but I wouldn’t be where I am now without them.

  • Dyslexia is something that will always be with me, but I don’t think it will ever keep me from doing what I want to do.

  • The things that support you while you’re learning to master reading and related skills can be as high tech as the latest ultra-sleek notebook computer or as down to earth as chewing gum and taking good care of yourself.  You’ll find that you’ll get other helpful ideas from friends, parents, and teachers, and some you’ll figure out for yourself.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Tests not only cause stress in the students, but may undermine learning

Tests + Stress = Problems For Students

Anecdotal reports from educators, combined with a surge in prescriptions for such medications as Ritalin and Prozac, suggest that students are experiencing increased stress in the classroom. At the root of the problem, some researchers suggest, are schools that primarily rank students based on their test scores.

Our educational system is now relying more than ever on standardized tests that compare students to one another as the dominant assessment instrument. This tendency has forced teachers at all grade levels to “orient students to performance goals and comparative standards of excellence instead of internal mastery goals,” says Scott Paris, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. The emphasis on external goals, Paris suggests, has created an unhealthy classroom scenario in which “standardized tests provoke considerable anxiety among students that seems to increase with their age and experience.”

How Does the Brain React to Stress in the Classroom? Stress is the body’s general response to any intense physical, emotional or mental demand placed on it. A student’s reaction, for example, to a teacher’s reminder that a final exam will be presented next week, may induce stress that triggers the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, according to Nicky Hayes, editor of Foundations of Psychology. Common responses to “exam stress,” as Hayes characterizes it, include disturbed sleep patterns, tiredness, worry, irregular eating habits, increased infections, and inability to concentrate.

In addition, researchers studying cognitive impairment report decreased memory capacity in stressed individuals. Studies employing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology also indicate that chronically stressful conditions correspond with selective atrophy in the human brain.

Where is stress processed in a person’s brain? Researchers have demonstrated at least three separate brain regions that play integral roles in the way someone processes stress in the form of fear. The prefrontal cortex, which specializes as a cognitive and emotional area, is thought to participate in the interpretation of sensory stimuli. Thus, it may be the site where the potential for danger is first assessed.

A second area involved in processing fear is the amygdala, which resides in a “primitive” area of the brain called the limbic system (that includes the hippocampus). Both the wider and more generalized limbic system and the smaller, more specialized amygdala are areas where anxiety is initiated and routed.

The third area, located at the base of the brain, is the hypothalamus. This area, in response to signals sent from the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, coordinates the release of hormones that drive a person’s motor responses to perceived threats.
In particular, the stress signals originating from the limbic system and other cortical regions cause the hypothalamus to secrete a corticotropin-releasing hormone. This liquid protein prompts the pituitary gland to emit adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In turn, ACTH causes the adrenal gland to release corisol and, in so doing, prepares the body to defend itself.

High-Stakes Testing Takes a Toll
Skeptics question the notion that stress hurts students and their performance in the classroom. They claim that anxiety-provoking situations are a part of daily life that students, like all people, must learn to handle.

Nonetheless, some educational researchers have documented “acting out” behaviors exhibited by stressed out students that even go beyond the “exam stress” symptoms described earlier. “Stressed elementary students in grades two through four tend to show emotional stress behaviors such as crying, throwing tantrums, wetting themselves, and vomiting,” says Tim Urdan, an assistant professor of psychology at Santa Clara University. “The older kids, such as those in high school, are more likely to show ‘rebellious’ responses: refusal to participate, cutting class, and deliberately undermining the test by answering incorrectly on purpose.”

In Massachusetts, 220,000 high school students were scheduled in April 2000 to take the state’s required academic achievement test. Most dutifully took it, but 200 others instead staged protests, chanting “Be a hero! Take a zero!”

Intentionally answering questions incorrectly is of particular concern to educators because it indicates a decrease in student motivation. In this regard, Paris notes that students “learn to study information that will be tested and ignore or devalue other information.” After all, he adds, assessment in the form of tests is woven into the fabric of schooling from readiness tests for kindergarten students to competency examinations that high school students must pass in order to graduate.

The byproduct of years of testing has caused students to believe that good grades are more important than understanding—that high scores rather than the cultivation of the mind is the purpose of schooling.
Furthermore, students are well aware of the fact that test scores have become the basis for comparative social judgements. According to a recent study done by Paris, for instance, older students are increasingly more likely to agree with the following statement: 

 “I’m afraid that people will think I’m stupid if I get a low score on a test.” These students may worry about their low test scores becoming common knowledge, possibly lowering their esteem in the eyes of others."

Paris believes that the widespread use of tests comparing one group of students to another has made students feel increasingly more anxious and competitive. Lack of preparation is cited as another common reason for test anxiety, based on the failure of parents and children to spend adequate time together discussing class material. Parents may also not know how long they can expect their children to concentrate at one time—unaware, for example, that research indicates first and second graders can study no more than 15 minutes without needing a short break and third through six graders require a break after 20 to 30 minutes of studying.

In some places, students are beginning to express bitterness about having to take such high-stakes tests. In Massachusetts, 220,000 high school students were scheduled in April 2000 to take the state’s required academic achievement test. Most dutifully took it, but 200 others instead staged protests, chanting “Be a hero! Take a zero!”

Lessening the Importance of Standardized Tests
 Does an exaggerated emphasis on ranking students based on standardized test scores cause stress while discouraging the kind of open inquiry that fosters true intellectual growth?

Paris, along with Richard J. Stiggins, president of the Assessment Training Institute in Portland, Oregon, believes that more educators are now realizing how standardized tests provoke considerable anxiety—anxiety that increases with each year that students move through school. Furthermore, students do not necessarily become “test wise” as is commonly believed. Instead, older students report not checking their answers, filling in bubbles mindlessly, carelessly skimming passages for answers, and occasionally cheating. This “test pollution” encourages destructive habits that undermine genuine learning.

Paris and other researchers believe that potentially devastating consequences are in store for students who repeatedly receive low scores on standardized tests. They are left with few choices but to demean their own abilities, devalue the tests, or leave school altogether. But even the winners pay a price, as they come to value competitive success more than genuine learning.

Paris, echoing the thoughts of other educators and administrators, concludes: “The proliferation of high-stakes testing in our education system under the guise of accountability may raise test scores of students for the wrong reasons. Publishers and state departments may make newer and better achievement tests, students may exhibit higher test scores, and parents may be more satisfied with their local schools, but the price that is paid in the narrowing of the curriculum, the restricted definition of educational success, and the inculcation of test-wiseness and test-taking strategies may mortgage the future of children’s appreciation of school and their life-long learning habits.”

Friday, 9 September 2016

For: The teachers of the Teacher Training College NÂș55

            Resultado de imagen para gifs pra teacher'sday         
   Thanks for giving me the key to my future!!                            
                                           Resultado de imagen para gifs pra teacher'sday

Cockney is probably the second most famous British accent. It originated in the East End of London. The less educationally benefited people speak this accent.