Monday, November 21, 2011

Education: Performance Failure Conditioning - What Is It?

Over 100 years ago, a Russian scientist by the name of Ivan Pavlov published the results of his work. What he termed "condition reflex" was the first model of learning - Classical Conditioning. So what does this have to do with education? A lot!

Since that point in time, numerous other researches have continued their investigation on how individuals learn from Piaget to Bloom to Krathwohl just to mention a few. With all of this documented learning research during the last 50 years, why are we still not achieving the measurable performance success that we know is possible?

Possibly, through intentional and unintentional actions, an old malady for lack of a better word has gained additional ground. I have named this Performance Failure Conditioning. During the last 20 plus years, I have been observing this disorder and have come to realize the enormous detrimental affects upon our society.

So what is performance failure conditioning? Simply speaking, individual performance is conditioned to fail because known obstacles are not removed or are intentionally placed in the path to performance success.

Within education, performance failure conditioning has become rampant. During my first education course over 15 years ago, the professor made the following statement: "Over 90% of you will teach as you were taught in spite of what you learn here." Those words haunted me because even though I was a good student, I had learned early in my K-12 educational experience to work around poor teachers. And after reflecting about the total $25,000 plus college investment for a Bachelor's Degree in Education, those words haunted me and continue to do so even today. I became aware very early on how conditioning played an important part of my professional development and day to day living experiences.

Another example centers around training teachers. Incoming teacher performance is conditioned to fail because teachers not trained to overcome the number one obstacle that prevents engaged learning from happening - attitudes. I have surveyed over 1,000 teachers the last 5 years and have learned that students' attitudes are the major obstacle in creating an engaged learning environment. Redeveloping attitudes is not part of the elementary, middle school or high school college teaching curriculums. Earning my teaching degree later in life, I can also personally attest to this fact. Since it is not part of the training, then these new incoming teachers have indeed been conditioned to fail.

Also, in many school systems, there continues to be unqualified teachers who are practicing within the classroom. Their lack of instructional knowledge and certification definitely affects the performance of their students. Their behaviors are conditioning the students to fail. Student achievement within these dysfunctional classrooms is one of the worst examples of performance failure conditioning.

Performance failure conditioning is not new. This disorder has been around for many years. However in today's world where every moment within the classroom must be one of high performance, performance failure conditioning must be eliminated.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Education: Increase Academic Performance Through Engaged Learning By Partnering Bloom and Krathwohl

What is engaged learning? From my experience and training it is when everyone within the classroom is actively engaged in the learning process to improve academic performance with a minimal amount of time being wasted. Unfortunately, the results from the Nation's Report Card tell us that young people are not performing at the levels required to compete as knowledge workers in the 21st Century.

To create an engaged learning environment requires that teachers have knowledge about how people learn. Many pre-service and experience teachers can recite the 6 categories within Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives:

However very few can with equal ease list the 5 categories within the Affective Learning Domain as identified by Krathwohl and colleagues:

Organization and Prioritizing
Internalize Values
Of course, listing them doesn't mean that they are being implemented into the daily lessons and achieving measurable learning results. And that is probably one of the reasons why improved performance in the classroom is not where it should be given the resources being expended and invested each and every day.

Let's be honest. Most young people especially those in middle school and high school know the following:

Be to school on time
Complete and submit assigned homework or projects
Speak when asked and do not interrupt
Submit neat work with your name, class, etc.
Keep your desk or locker clean and organized
Earn good grades
So, the real issue is not one of knowing, but rather one of wanting to do what is require. By partnering Krathwohl's taxonomy with Bloom's, teachers can increase the learning of a subject while changing beliefs and attitudes.

This partnership does take additional time. However when infusing these domains together, the increased academic performance outcomes far outweigh any perceived challenges. And, the extra benefit is that you spend far less time in classroom management and far more time in engaged learning.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, works with large urban to private schools, certified staff, support staff, students and parents to improve performance in 30 to 180 days. Using proven tools, we can quickly and affordably identify the gaps in YOUR organization, provide you with an Action Plan that you can easily implement along with developmental programs from executive leadership to student leadership.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Study the Italian Language Abroad

The Italian language is one of ancient and historic roots. Today, it is spoken by approximately 70 million people, and is the official language of several nations, including Italy, Slovenia, and Vatican City. If you are interested in learning to speak, read, and write another language, consider the romantic Italian language. You could study at a college or University and receive your degree in Italian. You could take one of many online accelerated courses. Or you could experience the beauty, history, and culture of the Italian language firsthand. You could attend one of the many Italian immersion programs available in Italy.

Earning a degree in Italian from a college or University will provide you with a thorough knowledge of written and conversational Italian. If you earn a college degree in the Italian language, you will most likely be fluent in it. This can lead you to several interesting career options. For example, you can find employment as a foreign language translator, either in the United States or aboard. You can also work as a teacher of English as a second language to students in Italy. If you are already established professionally, and find that you must learn Italian as a job requirement, you can enroll in accelerated courses in Italian online. There are several reputable programs offered via the Internet that are convenient and fun. Learning Italian in this manner will give you a very basic foundation in the language.

If you have the time to devote (a few weeks to a month) and the financial resources, an ideal opportunity is to learn the Italian by enrolling in an immersion program. By doing this, you will not only learn Italian, but you will get a taste of the exciting Italian way of life. Learning Italian in the beautiful country of Italy, where the language has its ancient roots, you will be thrust into the life and culture, and you will learn to speak and understand the language quickly and with surprising ease. You will learn the conversational and colloquial styles of the Italian language. You will interact on a daily basis with native Italian, and they probably won't be willing or able to communicate with you in English. You will be absorbed into the everyday life of Italy. You can choose to study in historic Rome, Florence, Milan, or even Venice. You will learn to understand and appreciate the mythic Italian culture: the art, the architecture, the food, and the people. You will also attend courses in which you will learn how to read and write Italian. Can you think of a more fun and interesting way to learn a foreign language?

Knowing how to communicate in more than one language (such as English and Italian) can be advantageous to your career. If the business you are in demands international travel, being able to communicate with your associates in Italy will make your work easier and less stressful. If you are fluent in Italian, you can be certified as a foreign language translator for example (as mentioned previously). This is a challenging career opportunity. You can work full-time for a foreign language translation firm, translating important business documents or web pages for global corporations. Or you can do freelance translation work, where you make your own work schedule. You might also have the skills to teach English to students in Italian speaking countries. By knowing English and Italian, you would be able to live and work in Italy.

By learning to speak, read, and write the Italian language, you possess the potential to develop you career by working in Italy, or you can set out on a new career as a translator or English instructor. Learning Italian will also enhance your travels to Italy. Learning the Italian language is an intellectually and personally achievement that will broaden your scope professionally open your eyes to a new culture.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speaks Out on Education in America

The other night I was watching an episode of the show 20/20, in which John Stossell was exposing the dreadful situation of education in the American schools. In this episode, the host made a comparison between our schools and those in Belgium. For this comparison a test was administered to both American and Belgian students of the same age. To wit, the Belgian students clocked the Americans on this test. What stung even more for the American cause was that the American kids were from a rather decent school. Wow! How dreadful. Yet this state within American schools is something I witnessed firsthand.

You see, I was a substitute teacher for several years in several different American schools and I was also a full-time high school teacher of mathematics for two years. This experience gave me a real hard inside look at the American school system. In fact, I was an award winning teacher, former teacher of college mathematics, published author, and yet I didn't make the high school cut for the third year. In short, I didn't make tenure. Why? Gee, I still don't know the answer to that. The only thing I can think of was that I tried to do things a little differently: I tried to teach in novel ways so that students might have a chance to understand mathematics; I tried to keep the endless administrative tasks of discipline, meetings, paperwork, etc. from interfering with my basic approach to teaching; and I tried to give love and understanding to all my students regardless of such issues as race, behavior, or intelligence. In essence, I tried to bring an approach toward learning that might effect student progress rivaled by the situation in the Belgian school system. I wanted my students to be as competent as those in other European countries.

As a result of this approach, I was extremely popular with practically the entire student body. Students from other classes would come to me for extra help and often I would get greeted in the hall by students who were not in my class, but who knew me because of positive things said to them by others. I was acknowledged as an expert in my field and was even lauded for my diverse knowledge in other areas as well. I showed eclectic interests and tried to make such contagious to my students. As much as I tried to keep a low profile, I could not stem the flow of love and praise that I got from the students. Knowing how politics within an organization can work, I was a bit concerned about all the positive press I was getting in such a short time. During the end of the second year, my concerns proved well founded. Even though I did everything I could to be a dedicated teacher, in the end I still came up short, and only have the dozens of letters, cards, and well wishes to ease the pain of having been cut.

So is this the basis of the American tenure system? I was never in favor of such a system and I was willing to work on my merits from year to year. So where did I go wrong, or should I say, where did the school system go wrong? Furthermore, is mediocrity--or worse--sub par performance the standard of excellence in the American school system? Well the episode of 20/20 sort of gave me an answer to that question. From the episode it appears that this is the best case scenario. From my experience, I know this to be true. In Belgium, excellence is expected both from teachers and from students. Here we settle on mediocrity all the time. Heaven forfend should an outstanding teacher come along! All of a sudden, many tenured pros or administrators feel threatened. This is much like the situation in corporate America.

As business writer and speaker Harvey MacKay put it in his book, Beware of the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt, "It pays to be good but sometimes it pays a lot more to be bad." In other countries, excellence is sought after. In Belgium students learn to speak four of five languages. I always tried to be competent in at least four or five as well. As humans, we rise to the level of our expectations; therefore, in Belgium, the kids are brought up expected to speak several languages. If you go there and tell a local that you speak five languages, you receive no special acknowledgment. Do that here, and an American will look at you like you have two heads or something.

During another part of the show, the host takes us through several areas of the country where the educational standards are let us say, less than good. One emphasis of the show is to stress that where there is no competition in the school system, there is no excellence--just mediocrity. Charter schools don't have this problem because they sink or swim according to how well the students do and how well the students achieve. Why should public schools not be held to the same standards and be more accountable for the results they put forth? Why should great teachers be axed because they dared to be exceptional?

There are great teachers out there--both tenured and non-tenured. We need to give more praise to the great ones and see that competition weeds out the bad ones. We need to see that the non-tenured great ones are protected so that they can stay within the system...otherwise mediocrity will be the standard and excellence that rare gem you find only once in awhile. After all, when excellence becomes the standard then neither teachers nor students have anything to feel insecure about, for both are assured their proper place.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Education: How Summer Vacations Reinforce Performance Failure Conditioning

Even though the American economy has not been agrian based for at least 75 years, American children are still benefiting (?) from an agrian school structure. Young children still have summers off and spend on average 180 to 185 days in school. FACT: Many of these days are not full instructional days and today's students spend less time in the classroom than students of 50 or 100 years ago.

Schools are facing mandates to offer academic remediation during the summer and some parents are quite upset. This intrusion into summer vacation is viewed as denying a "right." Unfortunately, this outdated practice is only reinforcing performance failure conditioning.

When the U.S. was an agrian-based economy, being out of school during the summer was to assist the family farms. Children helped from plowing the fields to canning the produce. Summer break was a break from school and not a break from work.

Technology improvements from equipment to biochemistry has made farming far more efficient and additional manual child labor was no longer needed. Yet, summer break still remained through the industrial revolution and into the technology revolution. Children and families became conditioned to expect this time off from school and more importantly from learning.

Since information is doubling every year, today's young people need to know and learn more, not less. Losing 2.5 to 3 months each year for 12 years is only reinforcing performance failure conditioning. Educational psychologists know that students who are cognitively behind do not lose just 2.5 months each summer, but rather the loss multiplies or is exponential. This loss helps to explain why our students are not making the literacy gains necessary to be knowledge workers.

Additionally, there are several other factors why summer vacation reinforces performance failure. As a former teacher, I can personally attest that many young people begin to "shut down" after Easter or spring break because they have been conditioned to view summer vacation on the horizon. Given that our children need every minute to be engaged in the learning process, losing 4 to 6 weeks is not acceptable.

Also, with some parents not having the ability to take summer vacations due to their work commitments, these parents remove children from school for 1 to 2 weeks. In the mid-20th century, many parents would not even think about removing their children for a non-summer vacation. Even though the children are completing assignments during this time, they are losing the value of informal learning. Research suggests that up to 70% of all learning is gained informally - learning from one another.

The extended break from summer vacation also harms long term cognitive retention. Concepts that are taught shortly before the end of school may need to be re-taught in the fall because students lack the opportunities necessary for reinforcement and application. One direct outcome is the "teach to the test" behavior. Teachers must now hurriedly re-teach these previously learned objectives because these are the foundation for new concepts.

Learning is very much like a brick wall. Each row of bricks supports the next layer. When a row is missing just one or even several bricks, the entire wall is weakened and may eventually collapse. Again, our national results regarding educational performance demonstrate that we have many falling walls.

The American public education system needs to be restructured to face the 21st century. No one looks good in a bad system. We must face the reality that learning for our children must be more than 180 days and must be structured to support known cognitive research such as shorter and more frequent breaks. The archaic practice of summer vacation will only continue to reinforce performance failure conditioning and leave all of our children and our country behind.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, works with large urban to private schools, certified staff, support staff, students and parents to improve performance in 30 to 180 days. Using proven tools, we can quickly and affordably identify the gaps in YOUR organization, provide you with an Action Plan that you can easily implement along with developmental programs from executive leadership to student leadership.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Role of School to Build a Nation

School is the alternate home of a Child. A child learns basic steps of life to grow as a man in the school. In rough terms, we can say that School is the factory to produce components of the Society. A Nation is recognized by its modern and flourished societies. The best societies are made by the contribution of well educated and intellectual people.

A man is build up with the foundation of education he got in his school. He is going to contribute the society by applying the knowledge and wisdom in appropriate place, which he acquired in his student life. The quality of education matters in this regard because he will be performing according to the level of education he got.

We can map a school as the breeding ground for the quality production of a Man. A man is born with a blank mind; School is responsible to feed the brain with quality input to help him to grow as a responsible citizen of a Nation. That's why today's parents want to educate their child in the best possible environment. To build a Great Nation the contribution of each and every responsible citizen is precious.

An Ocean is a collection of numerous number of tiny water droplets, similarly a Nation is a collection of numerous responsible citizens. To make it developed, each member of it should be well-educated and intelligent enough to fight against any kind of odd situation. School makes it possible to groom an infant child to a great man to be a part of such Society.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Education: Dynamic Classroom Management for 6th to 12th Grade Is All About Student Leadership

Within many colleges and universities that train future teachers, there is continual emphasis on classroom management. To be effective within the classroom means to provide continual learning opportunities for all the students so that annual yearly progress (AYP) will occur. Without proper classroom management or a structure for classroom discipline, this creates an obvious obstacle that prevents the desired results, measurable learning, from happening. Unfortunately, classroom management in many cases relies on the presumption that with every grade achieved the student will develop the necessary self-leadership skills necessary for academic and classroom success.

One of the more popular classroom management strategies is arranging desks into groups of 4 to 5 instead of rows. Group work is considered to be an effective learning strategy. Since classroom management and learning are partners, this is considered to be the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, such a strategy presumes that students have strong interpersonal skills including:

Communication especially non-verbal
Decision making and problem solving
Emotional intelligence specific to self-control and discipline
Mutual respect through demonstration of personal core values
Time management
Yet a review of most school curriculums would possibly reveal that these 5 interpersonal skill sets are not formally developed or taught, but are presumed to develop through the "Osmosis Factor." With that being the case, then employing this specific classroom management is potentially setting these young people up to fail and unintentionally creating additional at risk behavior.

Now consider if these sixth to twelfth grade students had been developed through a student leadership process that would infuse interpersonal skills with positive attitudes along with goal planning and goal achievement.

How much more engaged learning would happen within these classrooms?
How much more time would the teacher have to work with students who were struggling with a key concept?
What type of high performance culture could be achieved within the school?

Effective classroom management for middle and high school students must include a student leadership developmental process and curriculum. If these young people cannot lead themselves first, then how can they lead or work with anyone else? Let's stop setting these young people up to fail and begin to develop them through real world tools and processes beginning with student leadership.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, works with large urban to private schools, certified staff, support staff, students and parents to improve performance in 30 to 180 days. Using proven tools, we can quickly and affordably identify the gaps in YOUR organization, provide you with an Action Plan that you can easily implement along with developmental programs from executive leadership to student leadership.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Education in Canada

The average earnings of the residents of Ontario are the highest in Canada. Ontario also spends the most money on post-secondary education, has the greatest number of residents of any province with post-secondary education, and the largest work force in education and related fields. Other provinces that lack the educational investment of Ontario have a lower average salary. Several factors affect the average salary, so in order to minimize variation, only Canadian provinces are compared to each- other. As such, three major factors were identified through analyzing statistical information. Therefore, spending on post-secondary education, the number of residents with a diploma or degree and the work force in the field of education directly affect the average yearly earnings of the residents of a Canadian province.

Ontario is the larges province in Canada and also the biggest spender on education. Ontario spends almost as much as Quebec and B.C. combined. However, Ontario is also the most populous province in Canada and as such, the ratio of money spent to residents is not much different than any of the other provinces. In Ontario's case, the government spends less per capita on education, yet the statistics show that it yields a greater return economically. The number of residents of a province with post-secondary education also affects the average salary because businesses are more likely to locate their corporate offices or production facilities in an area where they can easily secure highly educated employees.

Ontario's achievements in efficiency and also its ability to produce and maintain the highest number of post-secondary residents out of all of Canada's provinces is in no small part due to the educational work force, which includes support staff, teachers and professors, administration and other workers too numerous to mention.

Investing in education has shown to improve a province, and in turn a country not only in its cultural wealth but its monetary wealth as well. By having a properly funded system with quality educators as well as creating a tradition of education, the population of a country can obtain higher wages. Introduction:

The average earnings of the residents of Ontario are the highest in Canada. Ontario also spends the most money on post-secondary education, has the greatest number of residents of any province with post-secondary education, and the largest work force in education and related fields. Other provinces that lack the educational investment of Ontario have a lower average salary. Several factors affect the average salary, so in order to minimize variation, only Canadian provinces were compared to each- other. As such, three major factors were identified through analyzing statistical information. Therefore, spending on post-secondary education, the number of residents with a diploma or degree and the work force in the field of education directly affect the average yearly earnings of the residents of a Canadian province.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

America's Need for Online Tutoring & Education

Online tutoring and education has taken over as a key player in America's educational system. With the growth in student population exceeding what schools can handle, educational assistance had to take a turn. Parents and schools are beginning to partner with online tutoring companies to help educate their students.

Education in today's world is a must. No longer can the youth of today rely upon only a high school education to get them where they want to be in life. As a matter of fact, today's 4-year college degree is becoming yesterday's high school diploma. There are some specific reasons as to why this has happened. Students in America's educational system are growing at a rate that the schools are not able to keep up with. We can also look to America's involvement in globalization. America has more international students studying in the states than ever before. This has created even more competition for the youth of America. Another aspect to look at is the life of students and resources available to them by the school. So what is being done now to help students deal with all these factors that have never before been an issue?

The answer is online tutoring and education.
With the large growth in students throughout America, schools have struggled to keep with the basic needs. According to OnTheIssues, the population of students in grades K-12 is over 50 million. This number is and has been steadily rising by 1 million students per year. OnTheIssues also notes that school spending for grades K-12 is now at $260 billion per year. As the amount of students continues to increase, the amount of spending will also continue to increase. This is not the only factor that is affecting students in a negative way.

Many students today, high school and college, do not have the time to research for sources and help on-campus. Mainly because students today are working jobs while taking full-loads in school. This leaves minimal time to be able to take advantage of a school's resources. Online tutoring and education is becoming the answer to this problem. WashingtonPost author, Mike Chediak, says that according to Sloan Consortium, more than 2.6 million students studied through online tutoring and educational courses last fall. This number is up from 1.9 million back in 2003, which is about a 23% growth rate in only one year.

It's also important to look at the resources that are offered by schools. The main goal of education is to prepare students for a career path. In high school this is a general path and in college this is a much more specific path. It is estimated that only 25% of 4-year college graduates actually work in the field that they earned their degree. Since online tutoring and education is able to cover such a broad area, students are able to get the help they need, when they need it. Online tutoring and education is now offered by some programs over a 24-hour period, which completely caters to the student's needs.

While schools are not keeping up with the resources to fully help their students, online tutoring and education is able to fill the gap. Many schools are starting to partner with online tutoring service companies so they can get their students the help they need. Online tutoring and education is a service that will continue to grow and thrive in the upcoming years for America.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Students Are Gifts

At my school, students are God's gifts to me. They are already wrapped, some beautifully and others less attractively. Some have been mishandled in the mail; others come "Special Delivery." Some are loosely wrapped, and others are tightly enclosed.

But the wrapping is not the gift, and this is important. It is so easy to make a mistake in this regard, to judge the contents of the gift by the wrapping paper.

Sometimes the gift (the student) is opened very easily; sometimes the help of others is needed. And maybe it's because they are afraid to be opened. Maybe they have been opened before, and because the last person didn't value them, they don't want to be opened again. It could be that when they were opened before, they were discarded and thrown away. They may now feel more like "things" instead of human beings.

At my school, just like my students, I too am a gift to be shared. God filled me with a goodness that is only mine. And yet sometimes even I'm afraid to look inside my own wrappings. Maybe I'm afraid I would be disappointed. Maybe I don't trust my own contents. Or maybe I've never really accepted the gift that I am.

Every meeting with my students is an exchange of gifts and an
opportunity to share. I'm a gift; they are gifts. We are gifts to each other.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Education - Billions of Dollars, Poor Results and No Outrage

In the late 1990's, former education Bill Bennett penned a book entitled The Death of Outrage. Even though this was a politically directed book, this title can be applied to many different situations especially public education.

Where is the outrage in public education? We hear about all the reasons why No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is bad and won't work, but the average American citizen is not hearing about the results or lack thereof that are happening each and every day throughout the elementary, middle schools, high schools and college classrooms.

Each year in conjunction with the Gallup organization, Phi Delta Kappa releases its poll of attitudes towards American public education. What is interesting to note is the yearly consistently high scores of A's or B's that respondents who are parents give their local schools. Yet, results from the Nation's Report card as well as another recently released study from American Institutes for Research show that these parents really don't know the "real story."

Here are some facts from a variety of sources that can be easily located using the Internet:

4 year bachelor's degree takes a minimum of 5.3 years to earn.
50% of college students take at least one remedial course
17 year olds have not gained one point in reading during the last 33 years.
Most soon to be college graduates lack the analytical ability to understand a credit card offer or compare the cost per ounce of food.
20% of college students could not estimate if they had enough gas to get to the a service station.
80% to 75% of surveyed adults believe that it somewhat likely to unlikely in securing a teacher with a 4 year college degree who is fully licensed or certified and knows the subject matter (the definition of highly qualified teacher under NCLB).
In 1998, less than 65% of 12th grade students understood the purpose of a tax table.
Between 1992 and 2005 national fourth grade reading score (NAEP)s went from 217 to 219 on a scale of 500.
Eighth grade scores in the same time frame went up 2 points from 260 to 262.
In 30 years, reading scores in grades 4th, 8th and 12th never exceeded 300 points on a scale of 500.(NAEP)
Urban school students still suffer from under-education despite increase of 50% in federal funding since 2000 where much of the federal dollars are directed.

A Thought: If we look at student performance from a simple analogy perspective, would you put your money in a bank that delivered less than a 5% return over the course of 33 years? Of course, not!
Every day we receive new information showing that despite the increase in funding from both states and federal governments (2004-05 school year is estimated at $536 billion for K-12 and another $373 billion for higher education), our spending is not achieving performance improvement when compared to nations that spend far less and achieve higher levels of student performance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

University Business Case Study Choices for Your Team

Every year Universities assign students in their Business School projects. Come up with a business, make a business plan, develop a marketing plan and submit it to the class. This makes sense for students and professors and is an excellent way to learn.

Unfortunately these students will use deception to seek information for their project by pretending to be interested parties of goods or services of real companies in order to gain this information, without revealing they are actually students doing a research project. Although this goes on in the real world of competitive intelligence gathering it teaches the students bad and unethical traits, which they will use later in the real business world.

With corporate corruption at issue in the United States at least with regards to media and regulators, why are we allowing students to lie or looking the other way when we know they are doing this? So much for ethics; apparently the dishonesty is being taught in the liberal land of academics, the same schools, which pretend to teach ethics, foster unethical-ness. This should not be too surprising to anyone, yet it is indeed in need of being pointed out, thus this article.

Often a student will pretend to be a buyer of services or products to gain information while using their email address. Most smart business people know that these are bogus inquiries. When they come into our company we usually reply something like this:

"I see you are a student, graduate, administrator or professor at the University is this correct? If so, how long would it be before you choose to enter the industry? Or are you considering do a research project for school? If so what information do you need."

If they are an actual buyer then usually they will correct us and say; "No, I am seriously interested." Yet they often do this because they do not want to be caught in a lie, fabrication of truth or complete falsehood. So, we indicate, call us when you graduate. Then someone else on their "Business Class Team" will email us, always from the same area about a day or a day and a half later, this time more honest. We feel this is good as we are teaching them to be truthful while the Universities deal in lies allowing for dishonesty.

Recently such an email came through and it was; instead of matching the actual name of the submitted inquiry. This the name of the inquiry is probably incorrect and completely fabricated; a lie or AKA. Rather than get upset for these students wasting our time. We replied to this fake inquiry;

"Dear Sir, Your email address does not match your name. Why is this? "A Wakefield" could be a family name, thus there could be misdirection here for some purpose, which would be a tactical error, as you are asking for free information from us. Integrity is the best policy for our correspondence."

Further we asked them questions to make them work for their project, as our company is not interested in getting an "A" in their class as we are in the real world not the BS fantasy world with unethical students and professors who have never had to make a payroll in their lives for the most part; having never been in business. What about the students being used to collect information for a professor wanting to gather data to start his own company, you know this goes on too. Either way these students are going to have to work for it. So we sent these questions back to the students;

"What part of the car wash industry do you see yourself in or what part of the car wash industry are you doing a college project on? Full service car wash, flex serve, robotic, mobile or truck washing? All would be good in your current location or market. Do you see yourself leaving this area after graduation or in the future? Each region in the United States is slightly different and those differences have large effects on how one might strategize to maximize profits?"

Indeed this seems to work as we have not heard back a reply nor do we expect one. We believe this to be because not only are the students unethical and wish to take short cuts in their research and cheat, but that they are also completely lacking worth ethic and are basically lazy. I challenge the next up and coming university students to get off your asses and do your own work, learn all there is to learn and practice some of those ethics that your liberal skewed world in college so gallantly proclaims. Because I think it is appalling the lack of personal character these days in our Universities from the highly paid Professors to the students.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Preparing for Emergency Situations at School

We know emergency situations can (and will at some point) happen in your class. It may be minor, such as a student becoming sick in your room, or even a practice event like a fire drill or tornado drill. Hopefully you won't encounter a real life-threatening emergency. But you should always be prepared for such instances.

Fire drills are probably the most common situations you will encounter. The best way to handle these is to teach your students what to do in the event of a drill or an actual evacuation. Yes, you can teach this to your students. Fire drills are to be surprises only WHEN they occur, not a surprise in WHAT to do. It is good practice for your students to know exactly what the procedure to follow is. The most important part is to be sure YOU fully understand the school's fire drill procedure and you can confidently teach it to your students.

Making sure all of your students are accounted for is your main responsibility. Thus, your attendance taking is very important. You want to make sure you have a means of carefully checking attendance when you and your students reach your destination. Have your grade book, attendance sheets, or a class roster easily accessible and always in the same location so you can grab it as you leave the room. I use the class roster file on my handheld because it's always with me.
Teach your students to exit the room carefully yet quickly. Instruct them in which direction to turn from your doorway, and what exit is to be used. Always have your kids line up and stay organized so you can take attendance easily.

And let them know why it's important to maintain composure and control, not playing or wandering around. If you are new to the building, your students will probably already know where to go! The trick will be getting them there quickly and maintaining order.

You'll want to let the students know how to react to different situations. They may find themselves in the hallway heading back from the library, in the rest room, or involved in a group activity in a far corner of your classroom.

Obviously more urgent matters will constitute true emergencies, and it is very difficult to prepare for these. Hopefully your school has a comprehensive plan to cover bomb threats, intruders, inclement weather, and other emergencies. Take time to carefully read through and understand these procedures, so when an emergency does occur, you can confidently lead your students. The students will respond to you when you give direct, confident directions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


The System of Education

Education has been on-going from the beginning of civilization on the face of this earth. In the beginning, it was acquired by experienceand mutual understanding, sharing, and trial and error. Subsequently it has developed into many forms and systems that now prevail across the globe.

In the old days, it was a case of mucking up books, books, and more books. It hasn't changed much since then, The books are still around, although in different forms of publication and accessibility with the advent of technology, the digital era and the internet. However, the mucking up phenomenon hasn't still gone away for good.

Students still need to cram and answer question papers for lengthy hours using long and explicit paragraphs of text. This is absolutely boring and useless. It only cultivates the ability to memorize and remember so that one can actually answer a set of questions which are also somewhat pre-defined based on previous examinations across time. I believe it has very little value for money.

Of course, everyone wants a piece of paper in his briefcase to supplement his resume in order to prove that he or she is capable.

I think we should change, completely, the way we teach and assess our generations.

Let there be a curriculum and syllabus established for each discipline.

Let there be prescribed texts, comprising of books, websites and other means for students to access and learn.

Let them be tested using only multiple choice questions and answers.

And most of all,

Let the student be able to utilize, fully, the books, the internet, the PC, and any other available educational material that is available to him or her during the examination.

At the end of the day, when the student passes out with his Bachelors or Masters he surely will have access to whatever he pleases in order to execute his/her tasks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Education: Learning Must Extend Beyond Knowledge For Sustainable Performance Improvement

If you are an educator whether in the K-16 schools or corporate training, can you answer the following three questions:

Who is Krathwohl?
Who is Dave?
And why is that important to me as a teacher or a trainer?
Krathwohl is an educational researcher who worked with Bloom and developed the Affective Taxonomy published in 1964. (NOTE: Bloom and his colleagues indentified the 3 learning domains of affective, cognitive and psychomotor and spent considerable time constructing what is now known as the Bloom Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (1956) around the cognitive learning domain.)

The Affective taxonomy or classification in ascending order consisted of:

Organizing and Conceptulizing
Characterising by Value or Value Concept
Dave in 1975 suggested a taxonomy based upon Bloom's and others earlier works specific to the psychomotor domain. His efforts led to the following:

The reason it is important is that the initial research by Bloom and his colleagues suggested that all three domains must work together in tandem to maximize the effectiveness of learning. When there is emphasis on only one domain, then sustainable learning will not happen.

Some additional questions to consider:

As an educator, teacher or trainer, do you agree that Bloom's work is important to learning?
Do you construct lesson plans or training sessions based upon all 6 categories within Bloom's educational objectives?
Are your lesson plans and instructional strategies reflective of all 3 domains or of just the cognitive domain?
Are you frustrated by the lack of academic progress or results your students or participants are making when compared to your daily efforts?
Are you building the desire or the affective learning domain?
Are your actions intentionally or unintentionally shutting down the affective or psycho motor domains?
After working with the performance of young people for the last 10 years and with adults for over 25 years, I can honestly state that no one wants to be a performance failure. What we as educators or trainers need to do is to ensure that we unite all 3 domains for true sustainable performance improvement.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Will Education Get You Where You Want To Go?

Does an education really buy you anything in the job market?

Most people have pretty firm opinions on this and believe
that degrees are vital to landing good jobs. But is this

Let's look at the idea that "Yes, you must have a good
education to get a good job." That's one possibility. If
you're in education yourself you can make an excellent case
for needing degrees to get a job in education. That is
definitely what most people do. Most job requirements for
teachers, professors and administrators require anything
from a four year college degree to a doctorate in the field
in which you will teach or work. But do all jobs in
education require a degree? No.

When people are outstanding in their field, they are often
invited in as guest faculty, no matter what their
qualifications. Can you imagine learning about relativity
from Einstein? He had no advanced degrees. Or what about
learning business and computers from Bill Gates? He has no
degree and he is worth billions. The same is true of Steve
Jobs. No degree there, either, and he didn't do so badly.

According to, "at
least 108 members of The Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans
never graduated from college. Their average net worth: $4.3
billion each!" Hmm. No degree? That's not what we were told
would lead to success. It seems pretty clear that a degree
is not required for wealth or success. In fact, this site
gives a very long list of successful and famous people who
have no degree at all. Their list includes such luminaries
as Walter Cronkite, Steven Spielberg, Ted Turner and John
Glenn. Debra Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies and Rosie
O'Donnell are two of only three women listed, but there are
undoubtedly others.

A degree does not even guarantee an entry-level job in
your chosen field. Ask anyone in California or Colorado
with a master's in counseling or a massage therapy license.
Nothing can really guarantee wealth or success.

Entrepreneurs in many lines of business who do not have
formal education have been recruited to bring their
expertise and knowledge to related businesses, programs and
schools. Some people even "invent" their career due to
their ability to perceive the world in a unique way.

Getting a degree could be fun. You could learn things you
won't take the time to learn any other way. You may meet
people who will be influential in your career and make
friends with similar interests. But your degree does not
guarantee your success. It doesn't even guarantee a job in
your field. And that's okay. As they say, "Success is a
journey, not a destination."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kids in School? Check Out the School Systems Before You Buy a New Home

If you're looking to buy a new home and you have school-aged children, the quality of the school systems in the towns or cities you're considering needs to be a major component of your decision making process. As you're looking for homes, be sure you research the schools, both public and private, in the region where you'll be living.

First, what sort of school would you like for your children? Does one of your kids want to seriously pursue athletics? Then a school with a strong team sports culture might be a perfect fit for that child. If your child is not an athlete, you may want a school system with more emphasis on health and individual physical development, with many options for non-athletes, and less emphasis on team sports.

Do you have a budding genius in the family? An honors program or advanced placement program is a plus. Do you have a special needs child, or one who needs just a bit of extra help? A school with a solid special ed program and lots of built-in support for every child would be a good fit. Is your child artistic? Pay attention to a school's arts and music programs, and the variety of course offerings and extracurricular activities for students. Some schools offer the bare minimum, while others have a rich selection of activities for kids. Once you've defined your children's needs in terms of a school, you're ready to ask questions.

Your Realtor may very well have a lot of information on the schools in his or her area, and information from the real estate agency is a good start; but you need to go beyond that. State and local governments should offer basic information on the supervisory unions in the area; many of them supply information on the Internet. Once you've identified a contact person at the supervisory union, make appointment to meet and quiz him or her about each school in the district. The staff of the supervisory unions will often have a good sense of the atmosphere and learning culture in each school, and when asked specific questions, should be able to suggest a school compatible with your child's needs.

Once you've gotten an inkling of the schools you've like to explore, make arrangements to visit each school and meet with the principals. It's a good idea to prepare questions in advance; some suggestions are to ask about the academic programs, and in the case of high school, any vocational training or guidance available. Beyond that, consider the following: Does the school have a written policy on bullying and cliques? Is there a variety of extracurricular activities for different students, and active encouragement for all students to become involved in the school? Or is there a dominant football or basketball culture that leaves a lot of kids on the sidelines?

Safety and security are surely important issues; does the school deal with these issues by enforcing a strict disciplinary code, or by creating an atmosphere of acceptance and diversity?

Talk to members of the local PTA to find out how the school administrators and the school board deal with parent concerns. If you've got time before your move, subscribe to the local newspaper and follow local issues regarding school. And, if you can, connect with former and current students, and get their view of the school; kids' opinions are often very different from the official viewpoint, and need to be taken into account.

With kids in school, a big part of family life is going to be centered around issues of learning, extracurricular activities, and school culture. Doing some research on the school systems, and finding a house in a district where you have a positive impression of the schools your children are going to be attending, will increase the chances that living in your new community will be a positive experience.

Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She has published numerous articles in local and regional publications on a wide range of topics, including business, education, the arts, and local events. Her feature articles include an interview with independent documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and a feature on prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Education: How Principals Pass As Instructional Leaders and Fail as Managers

Within education, almost any teacher can become a principal through self-direction provided they have the proper education and credentials. Unfortunately, within the training of principals, the focus is on being an instructional leader and not a manager leader.

Incoming principals bring their instructional strengths and knowledge of working with students, but to be an effective manager within the school requires additional skill sets that are not actively developed during their teacher or principal training.

In the previous teaching role, the new or even existing principal probably spent the majority of her or his time using job specific skills such as instruction, writing lesson plans and grading papers. Dealing with students and parents was only to a certain level and then those interactions where elevated to the principal. Now, the principal must deal not only with students and parents, but manage an entire organization - the school - from the custodial and support staff to the teachers.

Being a principal extends beyond just instructional leadership. Ongoing research also reveals that effective leadership practices can raise academic achievement one standard deviation or a jump from the 50th to 60th percentile. Additionally, another study suggests that the principal's leadership can affect student achievement by 20%.

Suddenly, a new picture has emerged. The strengths of the former teachers are now relegated to the >i and new skills including leadership, management, delegation and communication have risen to the top. What is now known to be true is that being an effective manager within the role of school leader is critical to the success of every school.

Given that there is an ongoing shortage of qualified principals, school districts must begin to develop these critical employees to ensure continued performance improvement of everyone within the corporation. To guarantee that principals pass both the instructional leadership and the management roles requires the assessment of current training and management policies. Can your principals demonstrate the following:

Identify their role as manager?

Recognize organizational development/changes?

Implement direction and build a team to row together in that direction?

Set and achieve goals consistently?

Recognize how to integrate the role of leader and follower?

Develop subordinates through goal setting and goal achievement?

Differentiate between life positions such as through Transactional Analysis?

Manage and plan meetings that are timely and respectful of all shareholders?

Characterize effective communication both personally and organizationally

Understand performance appraisals and how to use them as a tool for performance improvement?

Effectively deal with negative behavior at all levels using a problem solving strategy?

Determine and consistently achieve organizational goals?

By accepting that the high performing former super-worker teacher cannot automatically turn into the same high performing principal without additional development is probably the most important realization that any school district can take. Implementation of an effective management program for your principals will increase your bottom line and create the high performance organizational culture necessary to be competitive in today's 24/7 global market place.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, works with large urban to private schools, certified staff, support staff, students and parents to improve performance in 30 to 180 days. Using proven tools, we can quickly and affordably identify the gaps in YOUR organization, provide you with an Action Plan that you can easily implement along with developmental programs from executive leadership to student leadership.