Jan 27, 2010

Posted by in Teaching Resources | 4 Comments

Win “The Spell Quizzer” Software with ChristianHomeschooler.info

Teaching spelling can be a tedious task, especially since it is not always a fun task. However, with the Spell Quizzer software, struggling to get kids to sit and work on spelling lists can be a thing of the past! Check out the Christian Homeschooler’s review of the software and comment/join to win your own licensed Spell Quizzer software.

Technology has definitely grown leaps and bounds since the time of my childhood! I remember learning how to read and spell using computer games but I did not have access to something like this. While many teachers and parents point out that computers and technology can be detrimental to a child’s learning, I think it is just a matter of assessing the potential of  a product that makes the difference.

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Jan 26, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Teaching Resources | 3 Comments

Education UK Makes Dreams for Higher Education Come True

This January, the British Council launched their GO: Know More Do More Live More Campaign, a campaign that opens up exciting opportunities for Filipino students interested in the fields of Technology, Beauty and Fashion, and Business and Entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom. Dubbed Education UK, the project highlights the message that if you want something, GO for it! Here is, as they put it, “Your Future on Track”.

As part of their campaign, the British Council will be offering a series of activities that will allow interested university and post-graduate students to explore course offerings, find out funding options and interact with alumni from prestigious UK universities who will share their first hand experience of getting an education abroad. These events are all offered FREE OF CHARGE! Who knows, by next school year you can be pursuing a degree in F1 Engineering or some other amazing course in one of reputable UK schools such as University of Cambridge, London School of Economics, University of Oxford or University of Leeds

The events are as follows:

  • Alumni Counselling Session. Slated for January 29, 2010 at the Makati Shangri-la, the session will showcase alumni from various universities in the UK. Alumni from top schools such as Oxford University and Cambridge University will be there to talk about their schools, their experiences as students and what it is like to live in the UK.  Schools participating in this session are as follows:  University of Birmingham, University of Bradford, University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Edinburgh, Institute of Education, University of London, Kings College London, University of Leeds, London Business School, Loughborough University, London School of Economics, University of Manchester, Middlesex University, University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, University of Wales Bangor, University of York, University of Warwick, University of London- Queen Mary and Westfield College.
  • Funding Options Seminar. This seminar will help potential students explore scholarships, financial aid and other funding options available to them. This will be held on February 19, 2010 at the Top Shelf of Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street.
  • Education UK Exhibition. In culmination, an exhibit will be held at the ballroom of the EDSA Shangri-La hotel on March 5-6, 2010 where representatives from UK Universities will be on hand to talk to students about course offerings and their universities.

For more information, log on to www.britishcouncil.org.ph.

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Jan 26, 2010

Posted by in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Pronunciation Peeves.

I won’t assume that just because I am a teacher, I have a good grasp on the proper pronunciation of words.  However, I do have a few pet peeves when it comes to the way these two words should be said : jewelry and ask. I can live with the mispronounced f’s and p’s, especially in the case of Filipinos, but jewelry and ask? I can never get why people say it as “jewLEry” and “aks”. For some reason, it always gets my goat!!! I’ve checked dictionaries and even listened to tapes and online references on how it is pronounced and so far, I haven’t come across one that says jew-LE-ry. It’s gotten me to thinking: whats up with that??? Any answers?

In case you’re wondering where this rant is coming from, I’m watching an old episode of 7th Heaven and there was an episode where the dad was trying to teach his young twins about the right way to say “ask”!

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Jan 24, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Lessons for Teacher | 2 Comments

Beyond the Blind Side: Harnessing a Child’s Learning Style

Every once in a while a movie comes my way that makes me realize the extent of my powers as an educator. The film The Blind Side is one of them. Starring Sandra Bullock in her Golden Globe Award Winning role as Best Lead Actress and Quinton Aaron as the future NHL Baltimore Ravens Pick Michael Oher, the movie reminded me about opening my eyes and embracing a child’s potentials by checking out my blind side. You see, as a teacher for almost ten years now, I cannot deny that many times I work by routine alone. Everything I do in class has become almost muscle memory that sometimes, I need to be reminded that not all students learn the same way. In essence, I tend to forget to check my blind side to see if all my kids are learning and if they’re not, what I can do to help them learn better.

The movie revolves around the story of a young boy dubbed Big Mike who, for all intents and purposes, was passed along through the public school system. However, after being given a scholarship in a private Christian school, his teachers saw how delayed he was in terms of academic competencies. Many of his teachers all but gave up on him and did not exert much effort to help educate him. All except his Biology teacher who saw a spark of potential in Michael. Because she believed he had it in him to learn, she tried to find a way to help harness his learning style. Because Michael refused to talk and would not answer test questions given to him, teachers assumed he was dumb and hopeless. However, when given oral tests, his Biology teacher saw that he knew the subject matter. He understood what was going on in class. Because of this, he began to flourish.

Teaching a class with over 40 students, which is the norm here in the Philippines, can definitely be a difficult task for a single teacher. We do not have the luxury of giving different kinds of tests to all our students depending on their learning styles. However, by simply making small concessions, we can help our students succeed, especially those who need the extra support. There are debates about this, nonetheless. Some will say it is unfair to other students if we make adjustments. Some will say that it gives those who receive accommodations an unfair advantage.

The discussions can go on but at the end of the day, let me pose this question: as a teacher, what are you willing to do to ensure all your students are learning to the best of their abilities?

For me, the answer is not always simple. Much as I would like to say I will make all adjustments necessary to embrace ALL my kids’ learning styles, I know I am limited by requirements in class and our educational system as well. One thing I know for sure is that I will do my best to encourage my students to do their best by being more sensitive to what my kids are feeling in class. I think with this, by building their self-esteem and helping them realize their potentials, I can help make a difference.

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Jan 7, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Autism, Featured | 10 Comments

Apparently, not every Juan can fly with Cebu Pacific after all

Apparently, not every Juan can fly after all.

Contrary to Cebu Pacific‘s tag line that it’s time everyone flies (or every Juan as they so creatively coined), there are exemptions to who they are willing to fly. This is the message they gave to the public when they so insensitively tried to coerce a mother and her son to disembark from the plane they were taking because the son had special needs. The incident took place last December 23, 2009. According to news reports, Mrs. Mylene Alcantara was told by the flight crew that they cannot go on with their flight after finding out that her son was a special child. More specifically, she was informed that the company policy was that no two special needs passengers can be on the same flight. Apparently, there was another child with Down’s Syndrome already aboard the aircraft. They reportedly were insisting that her son was mentally ill, thus they could not travel. I applaud this mother’s strength and courage as she not only refused to be coerced and intimidated by these crew members but also for continuing the fight against the airline. Mrs. Alcantara is now filing a multi-million lawsuit against the carrier.

This is not the first time Cebu Pacific has displayed obvious descirmination towards PWD’s or Persons with Disabilities. In a previous incident (which if not for a blogger’s Plurk I would not have known about), Cebu Pacific refused to board a group of  deaf passengers because of a policy against having two unescorted passengers that require special handling. They explained further that “special handling” pertained to passengers who were pregnant, had disabilities,  medical cases, minors travelling alone and individuals whose physical, medical or mental conditions need special or individual attention (read the entire response via Filipino Deaf from the Eyes of a Hearing Person here and here).

Granted that having unassisted and unaccompanied individuals who need special attention may tax the resources of the cabin crew in case of emergency and increase the carrier’s liability, this seems to not be the case in the situations of both the group of hearing impaired tourists and Mrs. Alcantara’s son. For one, the child was accompanied by his mother who clearly is able to care for her son and attend to his needs. Secondly, as heard over the radio this morning, the lawyer of the family pointed out that special children are not considered mentally ill.

What ignorance on the part of a company! Just because someone has special needs does not make them less of an individual nor does it mean they do not deserve opportunities granted to everyone else. So long as they have their support system on hand, there should be no problems or issues at all. Conrtary to the belief that children with autism or mental retardation cannot behave and act inappropriately, they can be just like other kids in many, many ways. In fact, a lot of times it is the so-called “normal” population that acts inappropriately in-flight. The Cebu Pacific crew‘s behavior takes us back to a time when children with autism, Down’s Syndrome and other physical, mental or other handicaps were institutionalized and hidden from the rest of the world. I, for one, am not willing to go back to that kind of a mind-set. I enjoin a fellow autism advocate and another brave mom of a child with autism as she calls for the airline industry to accommodate individuals with special needs. If I may add, this accommodations should be done with no questions asked!

In the last year alone, I have read so many gripes and rants about the airline, from faulty online bookings to poor customer service, and now this. It is time that the airline started making changes about their policies and procedures. Further, their training of their staff should be revamped. I remember on my Davao trip last year, I had taken another carrier but my friends had taken Cebu Pacific and they had a major rant about one of the crew. I don’t remember what it was exactly anymore, but the point is Cebu Pacific should work on better customer service. While the airline has made apologies to the family, it is not enough. The damage is done.

Cebu Pacific does offer low fares. But their claim on great value? This is something we now have to think about.

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