by Guardian

Ministers urged to assist hundreds of Syrian students in Britain left without funds and at risk of deportation amid crisis at homeStudents graduating at Bristol University: campaigners says about 670 Syrian students face being removed from UK courses due to lack of funding. Photograph: Panacea Pictures/Alamy/Alamy
The government has been urged to help hundreds of Syrian students in the UK left without money and at risk of deportation amid the crisis in their homeland, which has caused the Syrian embassy in London to grind to a halt and seen sanctions imposed on their country's banks.


by Guardian

Stephen Twigg, MP on Westminster Bridge. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian
The Labour party has come up with a plan to introduce debating societies to schools. Shadow education minister Stephen Twigg floated the idea, along with more PE and the introduction of cadet forces. The party feels that the state sector should copy private school tactics to ensure pupils gain a range of life skills. The Communication Trust argues that too many children are arriving at school unable to express themselves and leaving in a barely improved state, which urgently needs addressing. Still, debating societies? Really? Haven't we done enough to underprivileged youth already?

I'm joking. Well, to a degree. The most high-profile debaters are politicians, prancing about, enunciating their stilted scripted "banter" ("My dear fellow"), in a way that suggests their heyday was back in the fifth-form debating society, thrilling the throng with their zingers and put-downs.

The primary concept behind tests and exams is to measure the candidate’s knowledge and ability to comprehend. The questions differ as some of them measure factual knowledge while some test conceptual skills. Questions may be in varied formats like true or false, multiple choice, short answer, essay or reading comprehension.

Various kinds of questions on the examination require various kinds of responses. There are those which will take some time to figure out, while some are quicker to answer. You might find some kinds of questions more to your liking than others. That’s why it’s necessary to find out the kind of questions you might encounter on the test version you’re taking so that you can practice a lot with that specific kind.

Develop a specific method for each kind of Oklahoma teacher certificationquestion. Do not invest too much time on any one question.

Multiple choice questions and true/false kind questions test your recalling power to knock out irrelevant options. Guessing on the unknown questions can help you at times if there is no negative repercussions. Objective types of questions may be studied with the utilization of flashcards.

Our knowledge and understanding about the topic helps in solving the complex questions like short answers, essays or reading comprehension.

Critical ideas that you know are part of the material, must always be included in the answer even if you are not sure about a particular detail. A method to increase your score on those specific kinds of questions, would be by demonstrating your knowledge on basic topics related to the question.

Lots of Oklahoma teacher certification tests consist of questions which have various value in points assigned to them. In most cases multiple choice questions are worth much less in point value than questions where you have to make use of your own words or questions which are much more complex. It is important to use most of your test time solving questions which carry more point value.

On the date of the examination itself, be sure to scan through the whole test, answering problems which are familiar to you first. After that, go back through the test and figure out the problems that need more effort or those that you’re uncertain about. With this method, you’re sure to maximize the amount of problems you complete within the time allowed.

Study Guides expressly crafted to assist you to study the subject material are among the handiest methods for getting yourself ready for the Oklahoma teacher certification. They often contain practice tests and other sorts of resources which can get you familiar with the way in which the examination will be given.

This week, Innosight Institute, where I am the executive director of the education practice, released a landmark report, titled The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of Emerging Models, which profiles 40 different operators leading the rise of K-12 blended learning.

Across America a skyrocketing number of K-12 students are getting their education in blended-learning environments. Over 4 million K-12 students took at least one online course in 2010, according to Ambient Insight, and this space is growing now by a five-year compound annual growth rate of 43 percent—much faster than the growth of charter schooling or other K-12 education reforms, for example. And the majority of this growth is occurring in different types of “blended learning.”

The report, by our senior research fellow, Heather Staker, provides clarity as to what this term means, defining it based on the research as “any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace.”

We’re not talking about the end of school then by any means, nor are we talking about eliminating teachers. Parents need schools, students like to be with their friends, and teachers are crucial for learning—and the evidence is that teachers love working in online learning environments, whether they are blended or at a distance.

What we are talking about is the end of the classroom structure that was built to standardize the way students are taught and tested. The opportunity this is creating to remake and improve our education system is unprecedented. For the first time we have a way to create personalized pathways for each student that are affordable.

And as this report reveals, a lot of education leaders are working to do just that, from school districts like New York City and Albuquerque to charter organizations like KIPP and Rocketship Education, which is getting stellar results in its schools in San Jose, Calif.

One of the most interesting schools profiled is Carpe Diem, which both BusinessWeek and U.S. News & World Report have recognized as one of the top high schools in America—and for good reason, as this video about the school attests.

And we’re only scratching the surface of the personalization that is possible. There is a flowering of different models right now, as this report identifies (and should allow people to now better communicate about what they are and are not doing), as operators are trying a variety of different arrangements.

The report also identifies the technologies behind the different school models and who is using what. If anyone had any doubt that there are a lot of choices and options out there for content, for example, then look at the chart on page 161. There is unbelievable fragmentation of this market right now, with K12, Inc. and Apex Learning having the most usage among those schools profiled. Pearson dominates the Student Information System landscape with its PowerSchool product, and Blackboard dominates both the Learning Management System and Gradebook categories, although Pearson is just behind in the latter.

Lastly, the report also has some really important policy recommendations that echo the work of Digital Learning Now, but also reflect the direct voice of the leaders of these programs, as they voice what policies and regulations are holding them back from taking this revolution in learning to the next level to even better serve America’s students.

Good Evening.

I am both honored and flattered to have been asked to speak for this wonderful occasion.

I congratulate each of you and your parents.

Your achievements in the realms of Scholarship, Leadership, Community Service, and Character are being honored here tonight by your induction into this prestigious society.

Writing speeches for graduation, class assignments, or other purposes consists of a lot more than finding a few inspirational quotes and possibly a funny story or two. The key to writing good speeches lies in using a theme. If you always refer back to this theme, the audience will respond positively and remember your words. This does not mean that inspirational quotes are not important. However, they should be integrated into your speech in a way that makes sense.
I had the privilege last weekend to address the GOAL Academy’s graduation ceremony, as well as to spend several hours with many of the school’s committed and passionate staff and board members the day before to talk about the school’s plans and the direction of online learning across the nation.

The graduation ceremony was a moving one and a reminder of the power of online learning to serve those who are literally not served by the traditional school system. To give a feel for the students that this Colorado public high school serves, of the 176 students graduating, 12 were over 21 years in age, 33 were parents, and a few were serving in the military. Ninety-five of the graduates said they planned to attend a 2-year or 4-year college, and 23 had earned college credit while at the GOAL Academy.

What follows is a copy of my speech at the graduation ceremony.

Thank you so much.

To all of you who are graduating today, you may not have known this when you started at the GOAL Academy, but you stand at the beginning of a revolution in education, and it is an honor and a privilege for me to be a part of this special day in your lives, and I thank the GOAL Academy for making it possible.

Some of you came to the GOAL Academy because the traditional school didn’t give you the attention that you deserve. You may have been like Liz Ochoa, who is graduating today. She told me, “In a regular high school it’s so hard in a class full of students where everyone is raising hands and asking questions. And I was so shy because I thought my questions were stupid. I didn’t want to look stupid, so I kept my hand down.” Others of you chose to attend the GOAL Academy because you had jobs or circumstances that didn’t leave time for the traditional school day.

Or some of you may have felt like Audrey Skrivan, from whom you heard earlier and is graduating today. She told me, “Honestly, I hated the traditional school. I learn faster than most kids. I was learning [the material], and they were spending time learning things I already knew. I was getting held back.” And still others of you had dreams of what your life could be, and traditional school got in the way. For many of you, a combination of all of these things is true.

And this is what is causing this revolution in education. We’re only in the beginning stages of it today, but 10 years from now, over half—50 percent—of all high school courses will be delivered online in some form or fashion. And you will be able to say that you were one of the first. You were at the beginning of this transformation in American education.

The reason this is happening is that the education system our great nation has today is, quite simply, outdated. It was created in the early 1900s and was built to treat every student in the same way—like employees in a factory.

But the problem of course is that none of us is the same. We all have different learning needs at different times. We all have different life circumstances. And, as a result, we need an education system that can personalize for those differences, which is what led you to online learning and the GOAL Academy.

Today, the number of schools, like the GOAL Academy, that make this possible is tiny. Liz Ochoa told me that whoever created the GOAL Academy is a genius. She may be right, but without all of you, it wouldn’t have been possible. You are the resourceful ones who went out and seized this opportunity to direct and own your high school educational experience.

And you did so because there is one thing that you all do have in common. You have dreams of your own, and you know that a high school degree is important—not for its own sake—but to realize those goals.

Kyle Spillman, who is graduating today, will use his degree to go to college so he can build his own business in the automotive industry. Audrey will now be able to study public relations in college, so that she can move to New York City or Miami and pursue a modeling career.

And some of you may have no idea what you want to do, but you know that a high school degree and, for many of you, going on to some form of college, will be the ticket to that better life. And that’s normal. When I was in school, I dreamed of being an astronaut. Then I dreamed of being president of the United States; after all, I grew up in Washington, DC. Soon after I dreamed of being a musician. Incidentally, I did dream of giving a speech at a high school graduation—and, thanks to you, that dream has now come true. But I never imagined that I’d write a book and start a company dedicated to improving and transforming our country’s education system.

Which brings me back to the revolution that you are all leading. You stand today at the vanguard of the future of education. At most schools, teachers stand in front of their students and tell them that learning has no boundaries, yet there are four walls around their classroom.

Having attended an online school, you know that schools do not need walls because there are no limits to what you can accomplish. You know that school does not need a bell schedule because time is your friend, not your enemy. You know that teachers can be so much more—in the right setting, teachers like the GOAL Academy’s Mrs. Palmeri, who Liz said was instrumental to her success, can be your coaches, your cheerleaders, your mentors, and yes, your friends.

And you know that, above all else, you can achieve anything you want. Every time you look at your diploma—when you go home tonight after your celebrations with your families and friends and from here on out—remember that what you’ve learned is not that you can accomplish one thing, but that you can accomplish anything. You may not do it in the traditional or conventional way that everyone says it’s always been done, but that’s because you are an innovator. You know how to chart new paths and make things work. You’ve done it with your high school education, and you’ll do it again. You are an inspiration to me, your teachers, and your families and friends in the audience today who are so proud of you.

Please join me now and stand and give a round of applause to those in the audience today who have supported you. (applause) Thank you.

By graduating from the GOAL Academy today, you show all of us—and you show yourself—that no dream you hold and no goal for which you aim—no matter how high—is outside of your reach. After all, you graduated from GOAL.

Distinguished guests, friends, and families, please join me in saying congratulations to the members of the class of 2011!

Our education system is built to measure and reward the wrong end of the student.

Rather than measure learning and move individual students along to new concepts as they master previous ones, it measures seat time and moves students along when they hit certain dates on a calendar. Time is fixed and the learning is variable, when what we need is a system that makes time variable so that the learning can be fixed.

In their recently released report titled “Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways,” Chris Sturgis, Bob Rath, Ephraim Weisstein, and Susan Patrick continue the important work Sturgis and Patrick started with their recent report, “When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning” to begin to guide states toward escaping today’s backward education system.

That we need to do this is of course not a new observation. Many have written about this over the years. As I myself have written elsewhere with others, “Schools teach using a monolithic batch system. When a class is ready to move on to a new concept, all students move on, regardless of how many have mastered the previous concept (even if it is a prerequisite for learning what is next). … Both the bored and the bewildered see their motivation for achievement shredded by the system.”

If we want to educate every child to her maximum potential, which is something no country does today, including those, like China, Singapore, and Finland, that have garnered so much attention recently with their high scores on the PISA exam, we won’t get there with a system like this.

But to this point, fixing it has been elusive, hence the importance of Sturgis’s and Patrick’s work that sets out definitions and begins to define the steps necessary to get there. As the authors observe, it’s not enough just to create waivers to escape seat-time requirements and assume that the system will take off. States need to create and support a system that is coherent—from the definition of the standards to the assessments in place to measure competency on an as-needed basis and from the ability to reorganize staffing to the integrated student information and learning management systems built around this approach.

In this latest work, the authors discuss the need for protected space to pilot these initiatives, and how targeting this effort at over-age, under-credited students is an ideal place to do so—especially because these students need a fresh approach that emphasizes their success, not their failure.

I would add that because today’s system is built in an intricately interdependent way to produce the exact results that it does, what we can also conclude is that the current system is not designed for this new value proposition of competency-based learning. Just as attempts to measure and pay for outcomes, not inputs, in hospitals dealing with complex conditions and in consulting firms like Bain have failed, so too will implementing approaches like this as a point solution in today’s system.

This is why carving out zones to implement this and rethink everything, as the authors suggest, is critical. It’s also why the disruptive innovation of online learning that is gaining traction is so exciting—because it gives us a chance to rethink this system in a coherent way around the right thing, student learning. But time is wasting as we continue to force online learning into today’s antiquated seat-time rules.

Lastly, something the authors have not yet given enough time to is how the funding must change to support this work. Rather than funding seat time, we need to move the funding based on the successful attainment of competencies to align this new system. And the authors here make an important contribution, which is (my words) that doing this would be dangerous if we only defined competencies narrowly as “academic” competencies around literacy and math and so forth. Instead, we also need to include what they call “efficacy” competencies, around so-called 21st-century skills like critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration.

For a child to be successful when she grows up, these will of course be important, too, and she just might not develop them from sitting at a desk in a row in a math classroom staring at an electronic white board with a teacher up front on a certain day and time.

Back-to-school season is the second most profitable time of year for retailers (after Christmas, of course).  Advertisements, "special deals," and in-store displays are designed to lure you off course, tempt you to spend more money and specifically prey on your desire to "finally get organized!"  

But, "back-to-school" organization is much more about systems than it is about stuff.  Don’t be tempted by the "loaded" new binder or "pretty" new notebooks.  There is usually a very high correlation among school and paper-management supplies: the more features something has, the more expensive AND ineffective it tends to be.  Below, you will find a list of supplies, broken down into three categories of systems: Time Management, Supply Management, and Paper Management.

Time Management

Time Management is an issue for students of all ages AND for their families.  It is very difficult for a student to manage his or her time well in a family that does not.  Ten minutes a week can resolve this issue.  Grab the family calendar and have an informal "Sunday Summit."  Coordinate schedules for the week: upcoming sports practices, after-school activities, scheduled appointments test and project due-dates.  Have your children make notes in their planners.

Managing an Effective Sunday Summit

The key to an effective Sunday Summit is to make it a conversation, not an interrogation.  This means you must share your schedule, too.  Do you have a big deadline at work?  Are you planning to finally get to the gym to do a workout?  Share you deadlines and your goals with your kids.  You may be surprised how receptive they will be!  At the very least, you will all start your week on the "same page."

Supplies Needed

* Family calendar (basic monthly calendar).
* One academic planner for each child (The best planners are slender–not bulky–spiral books with a monthly calendar and space for daily assignment entries. Planners are often supplied by the school).

Supply Management

Most households have a "silverware sorter."  This is a tray with slots that are designated for spoons, forks, knives and silverware.  In just about any home, you can quickly determine where to put the spoons based on the organization of the silverware tray. 

This common household item inspired what I have called the "Silverware Sorter Theory." This theory states that items will remain organized if there is a designated location to place them and they are easily accessible. 

How Does the Silverware Sorter Theory Apply to School Supplies?

Supplies should have a specific storage location in the book bag and a designated place at home.

In the book bag, students can use a front pocket of the bag or a supply case to store pens and pencils.  If students cannot carry a book bag during the school day, they can snap a 3-ring pencil case into their binder (see Paper Management).

At home, a designated bucket or basket for common household school supplies (pens, pencils, scissors, stapler, tape, markers, etc.) not only keeps items neat and organized; it also helps students manage time better.  With an established storage location students will no longer have to romp all around the house to find needed supplies. 

It is best to have a container with a handle so it can easily be moved one-handed.  This allows students to do homework in different locations around the home, as needed.  Establish a specific location on a shelf, desk, or in a cabinet to store the supplies at the end of the day.  These designated locations help everyone keep things in order because everyone will know where things belong.

Supplies Needed: 

* Front pocket of a book bag OR a pencil case.
* Bucket or basket for household school supplies (chances are very good you already have the perfect container somewhere in your house). 
* Standard supplies.  (Back-to-school season is a great time to take advantage of deep discounts and stock up on the standard supplies, but don’t overbuy…then you create another organizational nightmare for yourself!).

Paper Management

Paper management is one of the most frustrating elements of school organization!  Students are often required to have separate folders and notebooks for each of their classes.  The average student has 12-16 different folders and notebooks they are expected to manage.  That would be like us trying to keep track of 12-16 different e-mail inboxes each day!

The traditional practice of maintaining several different folders and notebooks also violates the Silverware Sorter Theory because items become inaccessible.  Since folders and notebooks look alike when sandwiched in the locker or book bag, students commonly bring the wrong materials to class, or home for homework.  With so many supplies, it is easy for them to leave a folder or notebook at home…along with a completed assignment.  The sheer volume of "stuff" sends students into a downward spiral of missing supplies and assignments, which then leads to poor grades.

The Solution

To resolve this problem, students should keep only ONE binder for ALL classes.  Believe it or not, they can trim a stack of 8 folders and 8 notebooks down into one 1-inch binder.  Simply replace two-pocket folders with plastic folders inserted into the binder.  Swap out spiral notebooks with loose-leaf notebook paper, using folders as subject dividers.

To keep the binder manageable, establish a Paper Station at home.  The Paper Station is a specific location to file graded papers, old notes, and other materials that will be helpful resources for unit tests and final exams, but do not need to be hauled around on a daily basis. The Paper Station can be updated during your weekly meeting on Sunday.

Note: Students who see only one teacher throughout the day (typically K-4 students) only need one folder to go back-and-forth from school to home every day.

Finally, another very important paper-management system is a routine called "Take Two."  Students take the first two minutes of their homework time each evening to clean trash out of the book bag and organize papers in the binder.

Supplies Needed

* 1-inch binder.
* Plastic binder folders, one for each class.
* Loose-leaf notebook paper.
* Box or crate to leave at home for the Paper Station.


Use these tips to establish a few systems for yourself this back-to-school season.  Then, when you are in the store and you see a beautiful display of new-fangled school supplies, you can trust that it is your systems, not your stuff, that keep you and your children organized!

© 2010 Susan Kruger, All rights reserved. You are free to reprint/republish this article as long as the article and byline are kept intact and all links are made live.

Psycho-education is an educational approach for managing emotionally troubled and acting-out students that is based on the principle that students can grow socio-emotionally and can learn how to self-control their behaviors. Psycho-educational interventions are skills-based, where socio-emotional skill building is the key intervention. Psycho-education is multidisciplinary, incorporating perspectives and techniques from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and social work. Psycho-education challenges teachers to be versatile in current psychological and child guidance techniques. In schools, psycho-educational techniques can be adapted for use with practically any child, at any age or skill level.

In the psycho-educational classroom, we believe that when a single set of strategies becomes the only one that the teacher knows and applies to deal with students having difficulty with emotional and/or behavioral self-control (one size fits all), the stage is set for limited effectiveness and teacher’s discouragement. For example, a behavior management intervention structured exclusively around rewards and environmental control fails to explain and address each child’s unique socio-emotional needs, offering only a very narrow view of the problem and few available options or solutions. This does not mean that teachers should avoid behavior modification techniques in the classroom; it simply means that behavior modification is only one of the many options available to teachers.

Psycho-educational teachers believe that there are multiple options for every situation, and the more child guidance theories, methods, and interventions teachers know, the broader our understanding of the problem behavior and the more effective we are in applying skilled individualized techniques for each particular child.

Characteristics of Psycho-educational Teachers:

    1. Psycho-educational teachers go slowly to build success, thinking of making a slight change each day, not a big one. They always keep in mind that little changes together make a big change at the end.

    2. Psycho-educational teachers accept that change takes time and that each child is responsible for his or her behavioral change.

    3. Psycho-educational teachers choose to perceive children’s problem behaviors as challenges, not threats. The psycho-educational teacher’s motto is “I choose to be challenged by this child’s behavior.”

    4. Psycho-educational teachers are “cool reactors,” avoiding reacting emotionally to students’ disruptive behaviors.

    5. In each disruptive event, psycho-educational teachers look for opportunities to teach students how to handle their emotions and behavior.

    6. They do not personalize the disruptive behavior and stay calm throughout the disruptive event.

    7. They are flexible and capable of adjusting to each specific child.

    8. Psycho-educational teachers understand that, if we want the disruptive student to learn new behaviors, then we need to teach explicitly those behaviors.

    9. They show the child that they believe in him or her, and never give up on a child, no matter how challenging the behavior.

    10.  Psycho-educational teachers see problem behaviors as a reflection of children’s inability to cope with stress and conflict in an age-appropriate and productive way; in other words, disruptive children are deficient in social problem solving skills. Psycho-educational teachers analyze problem behavior using problem solving techniques and give options to students for solving social problems.

    11. Psycho-educational teachers teach social problem solving skills; that is, searching for information, generating alternative courses of actions, weighing the alternatives with respect to the outcome, and selecting and implementing an appropriate plan of action.

    12. Psycho-educational teachers use behavior specific language (description of the problem behavior), not evaluative remarks. In changing behavior, they coach, not criticize.

    13. Psycho-educational teachers coach children by presenting a set of instructions for appropriate behaviors and then having the child rehearse those behaviors while the teacher provides verbal feedback.

    14. They detach from the problem behavior, discussing the behavior without engaging, blaming, or accusing the student.

    15.  Psycho-educational teachers do not focus on causes, or where the child has been, but on goals, or where we want the child to go.

    16. They focus on the child’s competencies (strengths) instead of his deficits or weaknesses. In changing behavior, they consider and use the child’s strengths.

    17. Psycho-educational teachers empower the child by focusing the child on successes rather than failure.

    18. Psycho-educational teachers focus on the possible and changeable.

    19. They do not bring up old issues, focusing on the here and now.

    20. Psycho-educational teachers do not use language that implies that the child has no choice; for example, “You must…” or “You have to…” They train the child in using the language of choice, e.g., “I choose to do _____ because I want _____.” Psycho-educational teachers help students understand that they have the choice of behavioral change.

    21. Psycho-educational teachers give students ownership of the social problem they have created.

    22. Psycho-educational teachers rely primarily on preventive discipline; they are proactive, and plan ahead.