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More Do’s and Don’t for Healthy, Happy End-Of-Year-Exam-ing

Following on from my previous article, 4 Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing (click link for article), here are some more tips for parents of exam-writing students:

5. Do: monitor screen time

Much has been written about the evils and benefits of cellphones, tablets and other screen-based devices. Studies have revealed both positive and negative effects of screens on children and teens. One thing is certain, though – we live in a digital age and our children will use devices; get used to it! However, experts all agree that too much screen time is bad for us; bad for our mood, our physical health and our brains. Continue reading More Do’s and Don’t for Healthy, Happy End-Of-Year-Exam-ing

4 Do’s and Don’t’s for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing

It’s that crazy time of year again: END OF YEAR EXAMS! The stakes are high and the stress is higher. Students who are in danger of failing are in crisis and so are their parents. Teachers are bogged down and under extreme pressure to finish the year’s curriculum, ensure all their students are equipped to pass and complete a mountain of marking and admin before break-up day. The atmosphere in most schools … and homes … is tense, to say the least.

How can you, as a parent, be most effective in helping your child navigate this stressful ambit most successfully?

Continue reading 4 Do’s and Don’t’s for Healthy End-of-Year-Exam-ing

Eek! They want me to speak!

If you’re someone who fears speaking in public, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in the same boat as 74% of the world’s population who also suffer from glossophobia; the fancy name for this fear. There’s a biological imperative for having this fear. It goes back millennia and is embedded in our DNA and neurological pathways. Continue reading Eek! They want me to speak!

First Additional Language for the Win!

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein

The benefits of bilingualism are manifold. Recent research into brain plasticity and functioning are revealing more and more advantages to learning a second (and third) language. From improved cognitive ability  and higher test results across all subjects, to behavioral improvements and increased tolerance and empathy, the list goes on and on. Hey – being bilingual even wards off dementia, helps prevent Alzheimers and delays brain atrophy by about 7 years!

With all these benefits, why do our South African school students (and their parents) complain so much about their requisite First Additional Language? Shouldn’t the inclusion of a compulsory second language in our school curriculum be applauded and encouraged? All the studies on bilingualism concur that it makes no difference what language is being acquired; the benefits remain the same. Continue reading First Additional Language for the Win!

Glossophobia: fear of public speaking

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”  Jerry Seinfeld

Having always been one of the freakish minority who actually enjoy speaking in public, I have often wondered why people allow themselves to continue through life with this very real phobia, without doing something about it. I mean, we all have to do it at some point; may as well learn how to enjoy it, right? Continue reading Glossophobia: fear of public speaking

Homework! Oh, Homework!

Years ago, when I  still owned my educational theatre company – Hooked on Books – I included a poem by Jack Prelutsky in the Senior Primary show. I had my actors sing the poem, with accompanying choreography, to the tune of George Michael’s Faith (which will give you a clearer indication of how many years ago I’m talking about 😉 )

Go on, sing it (you’ll need to extend some words and add in a few “oh-ohs” to make it scan – but you can do it): Continue reading Homework! Oh, Homework!

Failing to let them fail

When I was living and teaching in California, in the early 2000’s, I was lucky enough to attend some wonderful teaching conferences and seminars. A particularly inspirational speaker (whose name I wish I’d written down, or committed to memory) said something that made a huge impression on me:

“Never deny a student their right to fail.”

Continue reading Failing to let them fail