Category Archives: Education News

Acronyms in English Education

As an English teacher from Canada living overseas I am often asked if I teach ESL. I actually teach EFL and there is a simple explanation in that ESL (which is English as a Second Language) is when English is learned and taught in a country that is an English speaking country. On the other hand EFL, (English as a Foreign Language) is taught and learned in non-English speaking countries. So, learning English in Japan would be EFL and learning English in Canada would be ESL. There have been comments that many students of English in ESL programs already are in possession of a second language, however the “a” in ESL negates that argument. An acronym that has grown in common use, particularly in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, is ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

When educators are studying to become an English language teacher, there are several options to the student of language pedagogy. An organization named TESOL which means Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, was formed in the mid 1960’s in America and is now designated an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) by the United Nations is dedicated to English language pedagogy. However TESOL also means Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. There are even degrees in TESOL offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There is also TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESL Teaching English as a Second Language that may even be offered at the certificate or diploma levels. There is also the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and CTEFLA (the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults) replaced the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) Certificate. In addition to the American based TESOL that is an NGO, many groups also implement the acronym in their organizations where language teachers support them, such as KoTESOL (Korea TESOL) and CamTESOL (Cambodia TESOL).

As for testing the abilities of the students of English, there are several. The biggest that is put on by ETS (Educational Testing Service) is TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) that is the largest English norm-referenced test, and within the TOEFL it has its own acronym within which is the TWE (Test of Written English). And, the TOEFL has several versions, the CBT (Computer Based TOEFL), the iBT (internet Based TOEFL) and the PBT (the Paper Based TOEFL). The other major language test that ETS puts on is the TOEIC (Test Of English for International Communication). There are several other testing options available and they include the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the YELT (York English Language Test) and MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery).

The College Education Conspiracy – What They Don’t Want You To Know

Do you believe in conspiracies? Perhaps you don’t think there is a massive UFO cover-up or that Big Foot is secretly being held in an underground bunker however, you do wonder about “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey might say. The rising cost of a college education has always been one of those topics where there seems to be more to the story.

Consider this quote from a college financial aid insider. “You go into massive amounts of debt just to get an education that you need as a prerequisite to get a job. Then you spend the rest of your life paying off that educational debt. There has got to be a better way.”

When I heard this statement it made me stop, think and question everything that I had experienced personally as a high school student approaching college admissions, as a student in college and now as a parent preparing to send my daughter to college.

Once Upon A Time…

It reads almost like a fairytale. We are taught form a very early age that if we desire to have a better quality of life than our parents, we must obtain a college degree. Try using Google to search the phrase “value of a college degree”. You would not be surprised to learn that most of the results are filled with charts and graphs that describe the earning “potential” of a college graduate compared with that of someone with only a high school diploma. It makes sense doesn’t it? In fact companies announce that to even qualify to work for them you must have at least an Associate’s Degree and most likely a Bachelor’s Degree.

Reality Sets In…

For those of us that are old enough to have experienced life 5 – 15 years after college we understand that the fairytale was only partly true. We were not told that while in most cases we do enjoy a better than income than our undereducated counterparts, we were not fully informed about the true cost of all of the student loan debt it took to fund that college education. We were also not told that while we did get our dream job, it was only after changing careers or industries multiple times. In fact, I wonder if as you read this now, you are currently employed in the field for which you received your college degree.

It Gets Worse…

What’s worse is if you attended a well-known expensive university only to find your self today, working at the same company, in the same position, with other people who attended less expensive schools. This would be bad enough if the story ends here but unfortunately it doesn’t. After all of this you would think that we would have learned from our mistakes but we have not. Without knowing it we now are preparing our children to make this high school to college transition no better prepared than we were.

The 5 Myths Encompassing American Public Education Reform

For over 30 years America has been trying to “reform” our Public Educational system. Yet, was it ever broken to begin with? It has in fact functioned well wherever possible despite some missing pieces and occasional mission drift. We can back track this terrific sham to 5 main premises never adequately questioned or disputed. Was it, and is it, fair or in our interests to compare this nation to nations such as China, India, Russia or other European countries academically? And, did we ever fully digest the drastic differences in national values, lifestyles, and overall accomplishments between the U.S. and those nations? We did not.

Since the 1980’s to present and in reaction to the Reagan Administration’s, A Nation at Risk commission on “our failing public education system,” education reformers have fully invested in 5 mythical premises:

1. We are to compare our national educational statistics to that of our international economic competitors

2. We are to align our educational standards to meet the needs of a future global workforce

3. We are to rely heavily on standardized test scores to measure student performance for international comparison

4. We are to blame teacher quality, or lack thereof, for this proposed failure of our national education performance output

5. We are to tinker heavily in the privatization of education throughout the nation

First, as mentioned in previous articles, how could we ever compare nations with different governmental structures, differing values, differing statistical integrity standards, and differing societal/class distinctions, etc.? For example, China is a communist country which imposes national educational standards upon its students, ignoring the uniqueness and intricacies of locales. They do this because they embrace communism and “the state” decides what, which, and where their industries are to be established. Their workforce is selected, tracked, and groomed from the elementary stage into adulthood. The absence of individual choice is trumped by a fierce utilitarian function embedded into their political system. This is not an American value and we have learned of the historical dangers of practicing such ideologies.

We are compared to India with its middleclass growing exponentially along with growth in software engineering, manufacturing, and medical industries. Their results at face value, is impressive. However, we overlook their impasse with issues of gender discrimination, class/caste distinctions, and racial barriers. While the US is no stranger to these issues, and certainly not innocent of them, we have put mechanisms in place to confront them, (though steadily losing their potency). Women are more likely to be educated and valued in the US presently. America still professes to value the combination of individuality and equality. Another historical lesson we have already embraced and implemented through our ideal of providing Public Education.

The globalized workforce affecting our educational priorities is a sketchy assertion at best. Why? Because it relies wholly on political agendas and policy decisions made during each US election cycle. Industry travels wherever corporate taxes are lowest and to where labor is cheapest. Since economic policy changes can be made within a single election cycle, does this mean we are to change our educational priorities along with time each time? Are we to focus on mathematics more simply because China and/or India are producing more engineers? Is quantity the issue or quality? And, are those nations producing more because of their quality, or because of their larger populations and more exploitable workforce? There was a time when America took pride in its citizenry and their quality of life, (or we at least professed this). Education rooted firmly materialism cannot thrive. The globalized workforce is a concept embracing the value of production, but ignoring our historical embrace of domestic innovation and citizens’ quality of life.

Standardized test scores may only make sense when attempting to justify funding from an outside source (a legislator) that is not present in the classroom, having no knowledge of a particular locale’s economic engine, and is a stranger to a community’s resources, challenges and cultural makeup. It is a one-size fits all suit, where a tailor made one is obviously best. Just as there may be multiple learning styles, there are multiple assessment tools to demonstrate learning and understanding. In America, we value individuality, individual growth, the uniqueness of community, and the benefits to diversity. Did we sensationalize test standardization to address educational quality, or to justify punishment and prepare for hostile takeover of school districts? This issue is linked to teacher quality. A teacher may only be as good as the resources made available, the support they receive, the development made ready, and the quality of life this professional may enjoy as a result of their commitment.

Lastly, privatization has been the cure all presented to the public at large. However, it subtly eludes the murky question of accountability. There is no guarantee to every citizen in the private domain. The private institution tackles admission as it pleases, administers discipline as it wishes, pays employees however it wants, and the bottom line is its ultimate concern. The private institution runs itself as a monarchy making decisions from the top down, appointing its nobles rather than collectively considering merit, and selling us convenience and speed while ignoring the necessary time to debate, analyze, compromise, and collectively agree. Democratic practices are lost.

These are the values in which we should be proud of and should celebrate: 1) we do not track our students, we facilitate them, 2) we do not compete our students against each other, but rather against their own circumstances, 3) we strive to value ALL of our citizens and their quality of life, 4) we embrace diversity, because we are proudly a diverse nation, and 5) we value our natural environment, our multilingual, multi-racial, multi religious and non-religious differences and recognize that citizenship in our nation requires advanced citizenship. We educate to create societal citizen engineers. America suffers from an education equality problem in distribution, NOT an educational quality problem.

6 Things You Need to Know About State Special Education Laws That Will Empower Your Advocacy!

Are you the parents of a child with Autism or other type of disability who receives special education services? Are you currently having a dispute with your school district related to your child’s education? Would you like to learn about State special education laws and regulations to use in your advocacy? This article is for you and will be discussing these laws,and information that you need to know to empower your advocacy!

1. Every state is required by IDEA 2004 (federal special education law) to have laws and regulations that will show how they will be complying with the law.

2. State regulations cannot “establish provisions that reduce parent’s rights or are otherwise in conflict with the requirements of IDEA and Federal Regulations.” Federal law “trumps” or is stronger than State law. State law can give a parent more rights but cannot take away rights.

3. Many States laws are not consistent with federal laws.

4. Some states have been told that they must change their state regulations to be consistent with federal law. For example: New Jersey stated in their regulations that school districts had the right to test a child in an area that they did not previously test—if a parent asked for an independent educational evaluation at public expense (IEE at public expense). Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) found this inconsistent with IDEA 2004 (300.502). They have required NJ to revise their regulations and until they do so make sure school districts are not evaluating children in an area not previously evaluated before paying for an IEE.

5. Other States regulations are also inconsistent with federal law but have not been told by the U.S. DOE that they must change their regulations. One example is New York who has a regulation that ESY eligibility is only for children with multiple disabilities and/or who show regression and slow recoupment. This is not consistent with federal special education law and may hurt children by denying them needed services. Another example is in my State of Illinois the parent guide states that parents must “request” an IEE before the testing is done. IDEA 2004 states that parents have the right to “obtain” an IEE if they disagree with the schools evaluation. A letter to the Illinois State Board of Education pointing out this inconsistency was answered with this statement “The office plans to review the identified guidance document and initiate any necessary revisions during the summer of 2012. Your information will be considered during the course of that process.” It is now 2014, and I will not be holding my breath for the State of Illinois to revise their parent guide.

6. OSEP policy letters often address inconsistent State laws and regulations! They are great advocacy tools and can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html#topiclisting. I use them all the time to show special educators how the Office of Special Education Programs (at the U.S. DOE) interpret IDEA 2004 and inconsistent State regulations.

By understanding these 6 things about State Special Education Law, your advocacy will be empowered! Good Luck!

You CAN Further Your Education and Stay Healthy

Whether your car still has your high school graduation tassel hanging from the rearview mirror, or a bumper sticker on the back reading “Soccer Mom,” entering the world of higher education is exciting. In other words, you’re in for a ride regardless of your age or how long it’s been since you sat behind a desk other than the one in your office or cracked open a textbook other than your oldest son’s three-pound pre-calculus tome.

Unfortunately, higher education brings more than just excitement – it can also bring financial stress. Classes at colleges and universities these days are expensive, and an entire semester of them? Plus textbooks and other materials? Well, most students must rely on scholarships, grants, and loans to get by, especially if they plan to go the whole nine yards – the two to four years it takes to get a degree.

As if that weren’t enough, the cost of higher education isn’t the only thing that can bring financial stress. Regardless of your age, you need health insurance, and since many college and university students either work part-time jobs that don’t offer health insurance, or don’t work at all due to school schedules, finding affordable health insurance isn’t an easy task. But, it can be done.

Believe it or not, most colleges and universities care about their students’ health. Many of them offer low cost or free on-campus medical services. Some universities even provide health insurance plans for students working beyond the standard four-year bachelor’s degree.

However, these services may not be the solution if you have a family to insure, as well. One option is to use your school’s health services or insurance for yourself, and purchase health insurance for your family. This is cheaper than the next option, which is to just buy health insurance for the entire family.

Higher education is important to you; so is your health. Luckily, it’s possible to have both.

The American Education Dream is Slipping Away

There was a time when each American generation thought that the next generation would do better than themselves. A good college education would lead to employment in a company for thirty years. The dream of an American education is slipping away due to the rising cost of post-secondary education. Now it seems that a college education does not guarantee sufficient income. Some college graduates are returning home because they cannot afford student loans and the cost of living.

Students who have to work to pay for college are finding it difficult to keep pace with the cost of living. It is not uncommon to have a book cost $100.00 or more. Students do not get much in return for selling their book back to the bookstore. The cost of room and board is rising steadily as the price for food, electric and gas continue to increase. The recent changes in minimum wage also lag behind the typical living expenses. Students are facing financial challenges outside of the classroom that are causing them to sit out for a semester or two.

The American Dream is also slipping in the K12 systems throughout the country. Too few students are prepared to function in a world that is filled with computer technology. Students need exposure to technology early. Some say that analyzing the changes in the American Dream by looking at elementary school is not appropriate. The country needs to take a long term look at how each citizen is prepared for future employment demands. The types of jobs that K12 students must fill will require different types of abilities which must be an integral part of their current education.

There is a sea of changes happening in the financial markets that provided families with funding to pay for K12 education and college. Individuals who have a decent income are finding it more difficult to obtain a loan with a good interest rate. It is putting a greater pressure on families to save more money. Unfortunately, saving money can be difficult when a couple is living in a major city. The inability to obtain fair interest rates may force students to take out loans with higher interest rates that will last 30 years.

People all over the world still come to the United States with the expectation of the American dream. The dream that they can start new lives and have greater freedom continues to draw them to this country. They understand that having access to education will increase their children’s employability. It’s important that the country uses the talents of every citizen that is here. America needs to prepare for an increasing diversity in the workforce of the 21st century.

Know About Medical Education Conferences

What are Medical Education Conferences?

The medical education conferences are the worldwide friendly union of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, medical students etc. working in one or the other medical areas and are interested in enhancing outcomes in the healthcare industry. Leaders of the medical education come together to share ideas and experiences to improve educational practices. These meetings are held in a chosen medical field, especially at exotic places to make one relax with their families and friends along with subject enrichment.

Registrations are being made for attending such kind of meets. Abstracts and Presentations submissions are done months before the held date of the specific conference. After the review of the abstracts, they are accepted or rejected and the full schedule is then made keeping in consideration the time of the seminar and question-answer session. The event is spread over two or more weeks depending on the number of abstracts to be discussed.

Why are these conducted?

Variety of sessions and workshops are conducted to enable the diverse group of educators and researchers to share and discuss interesting ongoing approaches, innovations, and interventions to medical education.

It is a platform for people of similar interests.

  • to form a network with others.
  • to take part in workshops and seminars.
  • to present their own work via presentations.

It provides tools for training of health professionals in developing, mastering and maintaining the important knowledge, skills, and attitude required for safe and effective patient care. These conferences help in developing and implementing curriculum, assessment and evaluation competency, simulation and observation studies, and policy or ethical dilemmas in medical training.

Undergraduate/Postgraduate level students get the opportunity to attend expert’s seminars. Plus, they also get a chance to lead a seminar which helps them to strengthen their basic skills and to reinforce a clinical experience with an evidence-based approach, in turn, it creates efficiency and improves compliance with duty hours and patient care.

Upcoming Medical Education Conferences in 2018

Medical schools, universities and many associations routinely offer conferences on medical education; from undergraduate medical education to resident and research education on the vast number of topics.

Have a look at the lists which are given below-

1. 15th APMEC 2018: 10-14 January 2018, Singapore.

2. Pain Management & Addiction Medicine for Primary Care: 16-18 February 2018 in Whistler (Vancouver) in Canada.

3. Cardiology for Primary Care: February 17-19, 2018 in Disneyland, California.

4. Infectious Diseases for Primary Care: 22nd – 24th February 2018 in Riviera Maya/Cancun, Mexico.

5. Clinical and Patient Wellness Program Series: February 22-24, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

6. Pharmacology and Pain Management for Primary Care: Between 2-4 March 2018, it will be held in Sedona/Grand Canyon, Arizona.

7. Neurology and Psychiatry for Primary Care: In Napa Valley/Sonoma Wine Country, California, 9-11 March 2018.

8. Ottawa 2018.ICME 2018: 10-14 March 2018, Abu Dhabi.

9. Pediatrics for Primary Care: March 16-18, 2018 in Kapolei, Hawaii-Aulani.

10. Women’s Health and Pain Management: 24-26 March 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

11. Emergencies in Primary care: March 29-31, 2018 in Punta Cana.

12. Psychiatry and Women’s Health for Primary Care: March 29-31, 2018.

13. 13th International Medical Education Conferences 2018: 13-15 April 2018, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

14. AMEE 2018: 25-29 August 2018, Basel, Switzerland.

15. Learn Serve Lead 2018 AAMC: 2-6 November 2018, Austin, USA.

Continuing Education Is a Necessity – That Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Tedious

Therapists who see continuing education as something just to get through are missing out. LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) LPCCs (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors) and LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) are required to maintain current skills by completing continuing education (CEUs) requirements in order to renew their licenses.

This isn’t just a requirement, it’s an opportunity! These precious hours are time for the therapist to regroup, to recharge the batteries renew motivation, learn new skills and update established ones.

Online or Classroom teaching

Therapists can gain CEUs with self-study, online and live trainings and workshops. While it’s easy to see the appeal of online courses (convenient, on your schedule, in your jammies) “live” classes offer so much more than basic information.

Interactive learning

By attending live classes and workshops, therapists have the opportunity to discuss and get clarification, “try on” ideas with colleagues and see the material in a relatable, communicative way. Small groups are especially helpful when the opportunity to “learn it, see it, do it” is offered. This way of learning brings the material to life and offers practical and efficient ways of learning.

Meeting colleagues

Attending live classes also offers you the chance to network with colleagues while you learn together. Being a therapist can be an isolating experience, so talking with your peers, sharing ideas and community is essential. CEU classes provide an ideal opportunity to network, collaborate and educate yourself while contributing to the group as a whole.

Bring Theory to life

Live CEU workshops offer the unique opportunity to see material in action. Understanding a theory is great, knowing how to apply it is essential! As therapists learn and actually practice new skills, they contribute to the well-being of every client they see.

Don’t Put It Off

It’s easy to put off your required Continuing Education (CEU) requirements, but that leads to a rushed experience as your renewal date looms. Help yourself and your practice by getting those CEU dates on your calendar now. While there are legal minimum required hours, there is no maximum to the amount of learning from which a therapist can benefit. You don’t give the “bare minimum” to your clients, why settle for it in your CEUs?

Get motivated

Live classes allow you to be part of a bigger community that will support your work, motivate you to be stretch and that needs your contribution of energy. Online IS convenient, but it’s also one more place of isolation, and often, frustration. Get out of your jammies, go see your colleagues, and get excited about your meaningful and challenging work again!

Registered Nursing Continuing Education

The completion of two to four years of education, with an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree, is a basic requirement to become a Registered Nurse. The field of nursing is wide open, because of a shotage of muc needed nurses in hospitals and other venues across the country and the world.

There are many types of courses and providers available. The common goal of these courses is to prepare the future nurses for initial entry into practice and RN licensure [procedure of which differs from state to state in the US] and work their way up the professional ladder.

The candidates should complete a minimum number of hours of CE courses to qualify for licensure. They are also expected to pass the NCLEX-RN® examination. This examination measures the competencies needed to practice nursing safely and effectively as a newly licensed entry-level RN. NCLEX-RN® is used by Boards of Nursing all over the US and its territories.

If a nursing aspirant had her education abroad, she has to take the RNCGFNS, which provides a certification platform and includes a test of English proficiency, and an examination designed to prepare for the NCLEX-RN® examination. The CGFNS certificate program, which is only available for RN candidates, is well-established and serves as a requirement by 42 Boards of Nursing.

The Florida Nurses Association says in the home page of its official website http://www.floridanurse.org, ‘Nursing is not a job. It is a profession requiring specialized knowledge and skills’. A Continuing Education program is the best way to acquire this.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance

The Orange County Schools ‘ Special Education Alliance was created by the 28 districts in Orange County in 2003. The primary goal of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is to meet the need for a countywide system that can focus on special education. This includes offering staff development and training to school employees, creating leadership in advocating for legislative and administrative change, overseeing the decisions and rulings rendered by administrative agencies, offering a way to fund the litigation and appeals of administrative and judicial decisions and rulings especially when the outcome has a countywide significance or precedent setting in its implications for all students.

The Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created with the intention of addressing all the concerns of all students regardless of if the student has any manner disability. Any student that is not receiving the full services they need changed because of lack of funding to support mandates created under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The main problem that Orange County Schools faces with meeting this federal mandate is drawing funds from the regular education program. Funds are often taken from the regular education program to support the needs of special education students. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance aims to provide the services all students need to be successful in meeting academic standards.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance plans to accomplish this goal by providing staff development to its practitioners, use the legislative process to seek adequate funding to provide these high quality services, and when necessary, support litigation to achieve these goals. Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance also encourages staff members, parents, advocates and organizations to get involved by using their voices and contact the local officials and hold them accountable for promises and mandates for which regular education and special needs children are entitled.

Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is lead by an Executive Committee that is composed of Superintendents from different school districts across Orange County. The actual carrying out of the goals is the responsibility of the Review Committee. The Review Committee is comprised of five Superintendents regionally nominated, Orange County Schools’ legal counsel, two private attorneys representing school districts in special education matters, two SELPA directors, and one business administrator. The Review Committee has been working hard for the past two years in order to try and meet the goals of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance. Even though the focus of the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance is in the areas of legal and funding, it tries hard to work closely with teachers and staff members so that its members are informed about the needs of the schools at root levels.

Since the Orange County Schools’ Special Education Alliance was created it has accomplish a great deal to meet the needs of the school districts across Orange County.