Category Archives: Education News

HAITI – Creole, Literacy, and Education

The question as to which language or languages to use in educating the children of Haiti and in adult literacy programs, which are organized by both government and voluntary organizations in Haiti, has generated a lot of debate among educationists and the Haitian public at large. Two languages are spoken in Haiti, Creole and French. Creole is the most universally spoken language in Haiti, accounting for over ninety percent of native monolingual speakers; whereas French language has for the past two centuries enjoyed the pride of place as the country’s sole medium of official government and business transactions as well as the language of education. To understand the position of the various parties to this debate, we have to go back to the evolution of language and education in Haiti since its independence from France on January 1, 1804.

Post Independence Haiti Haiti transformed itself from a slave colony of France to a full fledged self-governing and independent entity through sustained armed struggle and war between the French slave owners and their enslaved African fellow human beings. The revolutionary war was long, bitter, but sustained by the grim determination of the enslaved Africans to break the yoke of French enslavement from their necks or otherwise die in the attempt. When the white French were finally expelled from Haiti, their language remained as the means of official communication in all government and business transactions. The place of preeminence and influence vacated by the departing French was taken over by their mulatto offspring, who then occupied the elite upper class of the emergent Haitian society.

The unique position of the half-French and half-African mulattoes, as heirs to their departing French fathers, gave them the economic and political clout to call the shots in all aspects of Haitian public and educational life. This they did by entrenching the continued use of the French language in all official government business, as well as making French the only language of educational instruction. The vast majority of Haitians could neither speak nor write in French. This majority was consisted mostly of the Afro-Haitians, who were uneducated, and thus could not in any way contributed to the national discourse; whereas they constituted over ninety percent of the total Haitian population. The Afro-Haitians spoke only Creole, which until recently, was not recognized as an official language in Haiti.

Modern Haiti The situation of things continued like this for over a hundred years. The little progress made by a rather small number of Afro-Haitians who became educated did not have any effect on the dominant status and position of French language in Haitian national affairs. Instead, by what would amount to a rather ironic twist of events, these Afro-Haitians having moved up from their lowly status in the rural peasantry, through urban low class, to the urban middle class, were more interested in entrenching their positions, rather changing things for better for their fellow marginalized brothers and sisters in the lower classes of Haitian society.

These middle class Afro-Haitians behaved like typical status seeking social climbers, who believed that the French language was their passport to further their upward movement in Haitian society. Hence they teamed up with Haitian mulattoes in the elite upper class to frustrate any attempt at changing the status quo. To complicate issues further for the promotion of Creole into a national language, and a medium of instruction in schools, some members of the peasant class felt that it was better for their children to be taught in French, so that they could escape the poverty trap of Haitian rural peasantry. Even those past Haitian governments that claimed to represent the interests of the masses have hesitated to give Creole and French equal legal status, in order not to step on powerful toes of elite mulattoes in the upper class.

Creole language thus remained an informal medium of communication for over a hundred and seventy years. It was only in the late 1970s that the government gave approval for the use of Creole in education. Implementation of government approval was not wholeheartedly carried out. As late as the 1980s, there was still some doubt about whether Creole should be used in primary schools. In 1987, a major break through came with the inclusion of Creole in the Haitian National Constitution, as a co-national language of Haiti along with French. The door was now open for integration of the more popular Creole language into the school educational system.

However, a lot still needs to be done by both government and non-governmental organizations to really take Creole language into its rightful place as the authentic national language of Haiti. As a first and urgent step, the standardization of Creole orthography should be pursued with vigor by linguists in academia and all those interested in its progress, beyond a mere glorified appendage to French. The National Pedagogic Institute (Institut Pédagogique Nacional–IPN) has taken the initiative by developing an orthography of Creole language that includes elements of the two systems previously in use. In the areas of popular literature, books and magazines need to be produced in Creole at a faster rate than is available at the moment. The print and electronic media have taken tentative steps to popularize Creole literature, but much more needs to be done.

The government of Haiti needs to take the implementation of the relevant portions of the 1987 Haitian National Constitution more seriously. All aspects of the national life of Haiti need to feel the presence of Creole language, as a medium of official transactions. Much work needs to be done urgently in curriculum development at all levels of Haiti’s education, using Creole as a medium of such development. Similarly, adult literacy programs should be established to upgrade the literacy level of Haitian rural peasant and urban lower classes. It is noteworthy that some church groups have taken the bull by the horn, by publishing some religious literature in Creole language. The popular monthly Bon Nouvel, published by a Roman Catholic group, is one such publication. The New Testament half of The Holy Bible has also been published in Creole through the efforts a group of Protestant churches.

"Success" and Education

“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newston D. Baker

The prospect of success is what drives many people to continue their education. Whether this success means the expansion of their person, the opening of their mind to possibilities, the sharpening of their skill set, building marketability, or a pay raise – higher education is considered by most to be a very valuable asset. The implications are many: you have dedicated a portion of your life to studying a particular subject, and so have gained specialized knowledge and skills; you most likely have incurred some debt; and somehow, you are now supposed to be prepared to take on the world. But are the students of today prepared for life? Are they ready and equipped with what they need to be successful?

Everyone has an idea of what “success” means. And the general idea probably looks pretty similar for most – someone doing well overall; emotionally, financially, and spiritually. They probably have a good job, a good head on their shoulders, money in their pocket, and a good future ahead of them. They are moving along in their life, and they appear happy and fulfilled.

Although up front this dream may appear rather simple, figuring out the specifics, or one’s own path to reaching such success, is the real challenge. What decisions must be made so that one can have a successful life? Does education today prepare students to answer these difficult life questions?

Education blogger Tom Whitby touches on the lack of focus in K-12 schools on critical and out-of-the box thinking in this era of standardizing testing. “We talk about personalized learning for each student… We recognize that all kids are created differently. Even in consideration of all that, we standardize their assessment… We are not matching up the skills that our children will need in a future that we know little about to the education we provide today. Yet, we still claim to be preparing kids for life.”

“We cannot continue on the current path of education if we want to prepare our children for their future,” he declares. “Our children will not live in the world that we grew up in. We need to prepare them to be flexible, critical thinking, problem solvers. They need to be able to get beyond the limitations of their teachers and parents.”

In Alain de Botton’s TED talk “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success,” Botton points out that our ideas of success are often greatly influenced by society, by ads, and by our parents, and that we are highly susceptible to suggestion. We are also, Botton says, very worried about what others think of us.

“When we think about failing in life, when we think about failure, one of the reasons why we fear failing is not just a loss of income, a loss of status. What we fear is the judgment and ridicule of others. And it exists,” Botton said.

Botton suggests that we take care to ensure that our ambitions are our own, and that we recognize that “success” cannot exist without “failure.”

A paradox in our society, Botton continued, is the simultaneous existence of both the belief that we are all equal – that anyone can achieve anything – and low self-esteem. Suicide rates, he explains, are higher in the developed countries than anywhere else in the world. “[S]ome of the reason for that is that people take what happens to them extremely personally. They own their success. But they also own their failure,” he said. Our society, furthermore, and now more then ever before, attributes success to one’s own work ethic, ability, and determination; we believe that people deserve the lives they have, because we are all supposed to be in the driving seat.

In other words, we are supposed to have all that we need to succeed. However, disparities, gaps, influences, and circumstance, all exist and perpetuate inequalities within our society, and the individual is not always in control. We are not all on an equal playing field, either; we do not all have equal opportunities. This is not an excuse, but something that deserves consideration and care. America will continue to work towards the dream of a meritocratic society, but this dream is impossible to fully realize.

“The idea that we will make a society where literally everybody is graded, the good at the top, and the bad at the bottom, and it’s exactly done as it should be, is impossible,” Botton said.

It has been said that education is the great equalizer. And I believe that education can change the world, and our future is dependent on the youth and the quality of their education. Education can help people find their success because it can open their minds to the world and to their own potential so that they can have the opportunity to choose their way. But what can we do from here?

Continue to grow. Continue to move. Know that moving and growing is the only way. Not look back. Be bold. Instruction may end in the school-room, as Frederick W. Robertson said, but “education ends only with life.” And John Dewey concurs: “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself,” he said. If these things are true, then success is not immediate, nor something that can immediately follow formal education either, but can be found only in the outcome of the entirety of our lives and the completion of our journeys. Education is a form of success on its own, and leads to more successes, but only if we choose to own our own person and lives, and accept our “successes” and “failures.” “You can’t be successful at everything,” Botton said. “You can’t have it all… [A]ny vision of success has to admit what it’s losing out on, where the element of loss is.”

School can’t prepare someone for all that will come, or give them direct answers for what choices they should make. Formal education is only a beginning. We don’t always know where we are going, and we can never know all that lies ahead of us, but we must continue moving forward and becoming the people we want to be. The paths will unfold as we face the challenges and are open to what may come. And if we get through all of that, we will have succeeded – in living.

Facts About Online News

It has created a lot of opportunities for the newspapers to provide breaking news more timely. In this way they can compete with the broadcast journalism. Online newspapers are also cost effective compared to the printed-newspapers. Online newspapers follow the same legal regulations of the printed-newspapers. Online publications are known to reap larger rewards than the printed publications. It can draw larger traffics compared to the printed publications.

Many news reporters are taught to shoot videos and to write news stories that can be published in the online publication also. In many journalism institutions students are being taught about the online publications and online newspapers along with the printed newspapers. Some newspapers have already integrated the internet into each and every aspect of their operations. The classified advertisements are now also being published in both the printed newspapers as well as online newspapers. In today’s scenario it would be difficult to find a newspaper company without a website. With the declining profit margins from the printed newspapers they have explored every corner to get higher profit margins from the websites. Most of the online news-papers do not charge any subscription fee. Some of the news-papers have come with a new version of newspapers that is called E-paper. These E-papers are regarded as the digital replicas of the printed news-papers.

There are also some newspaper companies who provide only the online version of the news-paper. They don’t have any connection with the printed newspapers. These news-papers are recognized by many media groups which makes them different from blog sites. Some of the leading news-papers company which has been operational in printed media for over 100 years have been stopped their printed newspapers and are running on only online news-papers. There are newspapers companies who have only online news-papers but also provide limited publishing or hard copies. These news-papers are called hybrid news-papers. Recent development in electronic news-papers may force some of the newspapers companies to supplement electronic papers too.

Today, you will also come across online news portals that will deliver exam news and short news on the most significant happenings in the country or the world.

Why a Truly Liberating Education Is Imperative

This entire journal is dedicated to the theme of democracy. Exhibited are many teachers’ and students’ answers to “what is democracy”? I ask further questions: Why has democracy disappeared in our country? And can democracy exist in our schools? This nation is ours to shape, to create, to criticize, and to democratically raise our voices. As I stand in front of my class, the definition of democracy that was taught to me in my youth rings through my ears: a nation of, by, and for the people. This was a main principle upon which this nation was built. Unfortunately, those same forefathers were slave owning, misogynist, white men. Their idea of democracy was never to include all of the people. But they were onto something remarkable. I think the true potential of democracy, one where the people have an informed, legitimate, and constant say in the shaping of this nation, is something we should strive for. To that end, I have chosen to struggle to make my school more democratic. Indeed, my struggle begins within my very own classroom where I try to make my curriculum and my class environment democratic. I can’t say this is an easy task. Our schools are over-crowded and under-funded. Add to that, a conservative need for artificial and superficial “accountability” causing congress people, district big wigs, and administrators to scramble for higher test scores, and my workplace often seems the antithesis of democratic. Nevertheless, when I close my classroom door, what goes on is up to my students and me. As a teacher committed to enacting a socially just curriculum, I believe that having a democratic classroom, or one that strives to be democratic, is imperative. Returning to my sophomoric definition (of, by, and for the people), there are many ways I can see enacting democracy in the classroom: through environment and control issues and through curriculum and methodology. My classroom’s desks are never consistently arranged. Their patterns differ depending upon the activities. For instance, a circle is used for whole class readings and community circles, pods are used for group work, and semi-circles are used for performances and presentations. But never are the dreaded straight rows seen. This inconsistency in desk arrangements should not imply that I am an inconsistent teacher. Rather, I view myself as a facilitator who consistently helps to focus a democratic education on the students themselves. We as a class must become a community that shares, learns, and grows together. Staring at the back of a community member does not allow for an interchange of knowledge. In a democracy, every member counts. In order to begin to understand how to listen and value every member in the big world, we practice listening to and valuing one another in our classroom.

What do I mean that a class must become a community? Community, among other things, means a place where students feel welcome, comfortable, and a sense of belonging. These feelings enable them to be willing and able to share and take risks with one another. If you think back to your own high school angst, you will know how difficult this concept is. Nevertheless, I struggle daily to create community in the class. First and most important, every Friday we have community circle. This is a place where for a half an hour or more we discuss what is going right and wrong in the class and we get to know each other better. These community circles have brought forth tears, laughter, anger, and countless other emotions. As students learn to trust each other more, they are more willing to share and to learn with each other. Also, as they learn to trust each other, they keep each other “in check,” which effectively eliminates any discipline problem I might have. Creating community in the classroom is not the end in itself. Rather, it is the means to creating a space where the study and practice of democracy and democratic principles can take place. I believe that corporations and the myth of the individual (i.e. “Pull yourself up by your boot straps,” “America, the land of opportunity,” the myth of the poor immigrant who becomes a millionaire) have overtaken democracy. This acquisition has been systematic and its origins can be traced through the history of racism, sexism, and classism. And that is precisely what we study in my class. Now, I am by no means an expert in any of these subjects. But my lack of expertise is precisely what allows me to be open enough to learn from my students who experience racism, sexism, and classism every day. What do racism, sexism, and classism have to do with democracy? Well, their existence and institutionalization have contributed to denying us our democratic rights both historically and presently. In order to regain these rights, we must understand that they have been taken from us, and then understand how, when, where, and why they were taken. To that end, I design lessons where we investigate these “-isms” in our world today. We investigate these modern day realities while at the same time tracing their history. A lot of the history I teach debunks myths and half-truths. Investigating textbooks is one of the methods that I use. Textbooks play a part in perpetuating our misperceptions by presenting an unrealistic, almost mythical version of history and the American dream. Textbook investigation leads to a more critical understanding of target audiences and the “purpose” of writing any particular material. This is one of the most effective ways to raise consciousness of my students. Consciousness raising is an important step in the struggle to return democracy to our lives. Once we know what is really going on, it is easier to resist and to struggle for change.

The focus of education must be the possibilities of tomorrow. Students must be given the ability to read the world while simultaneously learning to empathize with the individuals in the world. Role-plays, debates, skits, and many alternative methods along this vein are the best way to elicit empathy. I believe in my students. I believe that with the proper foundations, they will create a better world. I do not teach these historic injustices to be cynical and bitter. Rather, I feel it is vital that students know the truth. In addition to our historic and modern investigations, we also learn about different forms of resistance. By the end of the year, I hope that my students have a beginning understanding of the power and necessity of groups for positive change. Once armed with the truth and the knowledge of the power of resistance, students will be more capable of combating and resisting our oppressive society. Yet knowledge is only one part of the equation. Another part is action. Keeping true to the maxim that we learn best when actually doing something, I strive to incorporate action into my curriculum. That is to say, in our class community, we actually practice acts of resistance. These acts can be anything from listening to historic and contemporary songs of resistance, to teaching other students the “true” history of the United States, to actually organizing against injustices both in and out of school. One of the most successful projects that we completed this year was making class presentations to other classes and other schools about the subjects we were studying in our class. The actual organizing process is a bit risky due to legal issues, but suffice it to say that the opportunity for students to join in a youth organization on their own time to combat school injustices is presented. After just one semester in our class, my students have gained a much greater understanding of what resistance is and how it feels to be a part of it. This curriculum is designed to raise my students’ consciousness, to give them the tools necessary to read the world, and to show them models of change. At the same time, I am trying to develop my students’ belief in themselves and in each other. I often times expect my students to take large risks, be it in their presentations, in community circle, or in asking them to look at the world in a different way. I believe that in a democratic classroom or in a democratic world, it is vital that members be equipped with the power to think for themselves, the ability to critically analyze a situation, and the understanding that they have an important responsibility to a larger group. These are the things that I practice in my classroom and that I hope my students practice in their lives. As any good teacher, my methods, curriculum, and thoughts on the above matters are constantly evolving. I do not present this as any sort of final thoughts on the subject. Yet, as my experience and understanding of the injustices that we face increases, I become more and more convinced that a truly liberating education is imperative. No matter what great things we achieve in our classroom community, we must reopen our classroom door at the end of the day. There we face the labyrinth that is our school and all the problems and possibilities that exist there. Unfortunately, my struggle to bring democracy to the larger school environment is not one I can detail here. But rest assured there is a struggle, one that I fight with the help of my students and my colleagues. We are at a very exciting time in this nation’s history. As demographics change so rapidly, and our African American students actually become a majority in this nation, tomorrow’s possibilities are endless. I expect my students to want to be a part of it. The possibilities are there, the time is ripe, we must work together with our students to bring democracy to our everyday existence. This is what democracy looks like!

The Lowdown On Online Nursing Continuing Education

In many careers there comes a point where a person cannot advance without more education. Nursing is one of those careers. Online nursing continuing education was designed by universities to give nurses who have been working for a while a chance to further their education while maintaining their current position. Many nurses do not go into the workforce without an RN degree. But for older nurses, who did not need the training at the time, being passed over for promotions because they do not have an advanced degree is a reality. This is unfortunate, but a reality for many nurses. Getting the training needed is essential if they want to advance any further in their career.

Online nursing continuing education programs offer these nurses a chance to earn an advanced degree. Courses are arranged much like traditional classroom courses except all the work is done at home instead of a classroom. Students are expected to turn in assignments and reports on time and also complete all tests required. The degree program can take a year or more depending on how many credits a student wants to take. Once a nurse completes their training, they will be better able to compete for higher level positions and earn a better living.

By giving nurses a chance to train for better positions, online nursing continuing education is becoming more and more popular each year. Nurses who want to work in administrative or managerial roles can now get the training they will need in order to perform the job to the best of their ability. Even RN’s who want to earn a mater’s degree can do this online. Having the time to work and still enroll in classes has been a lifesaver to many. Online nursing programs are changing the way people are looking at learning and about the nursing profession.

Nursing Continuing Education Credits

According to a popular dictionary, the term ‘Credit’ means a “course unit”, that is, “a unit of study, often equivalent to an hour of class time, in a course of higher education.”

http://www.nursingworld.org, the official website of the American Nurses Association, defines a Continuing Education Credit as “A unit of measurement that describes 50 minutes of an organized learning activity, that is either didactic or clinical experience”.

There are several ways in which Credits can be earned. These include completion of regular college/in-house courses, completion of any relevant Continuing Education Courses offered by professional bodies, completion of distance learning or online course workshops and tutorials, presenting or attending course seminars, nursing-related medical presentations, and developing or teaching some course material, published papers, articles or books.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of Credits that one can earn.

The first one is known as `PLAR’ (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition) Credit. In this, the learner’s previous workplace experience is compared to the learning requirements of a particular Continuing Education Course or program, and an assessment is made and a Credit awarded in recognition.

The Canadian Labor Force Development Board defines PLAR as a “process of identifying, assessing and recognizing what a person knows and can do for the purpose of awarding academic Credit”.

The second is `transfer’ Credit. This type of Credit award is based on some college and university courses completed already. In this, the learner’s portfolio, transcripts and referee reports are assessed before awarding a Credit. This type of Credit can compensate for part of current or intended course requirements.

The third type is the `exemption’ Credit. Here too, the assessment method is the same as in transfer Credit. But here, instead of getting a percent of Credit, the learner gets full [100%] Credit and is totally exempted from fulfilling any one course requirement.

Continuing Education agencies usually charge a non-refundable service fee for processing the application for Credit. Many of them conduct online quizzes and tests as part of their assessment before awarding Credits.

A Credit obtained is a Credit achieved!

Online Education Courses Learn to Do Anything

Online education courses are a great way to learn many things. With the sheer number of people today who have regular access to the Internet, the opportunities to learn these things are far greater than they were just a decade or two ago. Without online education, the only way to learn a new skill or take a class would be to physically attend that class or find someone who could teach you privately. Because of the technology of online education, there are literally thousands of things you can learn and many of them can be studied right from the privacy of your own home.

In many cases, the fact that you are learning from home can be a real benefit. Consider the privacy you have in your home. If you are learning something new, there’s no need for others to even know you are studying this particular subject. You may be embarrassed to let others know that you don’t already have this knowledge, or it might simply be in your best interest that others don’t know. For example, you may be seeking to gain a training certificate that will put you in line for a promotion. It might be politically incorrect in your current employment to be making this move. Your current supervisor might resent the fact that you want to move up. While secrecy is never a good thing, being discreet about your plans might be a wise move. You may even be looking for employment elsewhere and taking online education courses may be a stepping stone to that move. Again, letting your current employer know about your educational goals could be cause for tension in your current work environment.

It could also be that you just want to learn something new. You’ll find literally hundreds of online education courses available. Whether you’re wanting to learn to sew or you want to work on a degree, you can likely find an online education program that’s just right for you.

Montessori Education – What Are The Benefits?

Choosing an education system or a method for your child is something only you can do and Montessori education is one of the major options you have. This educational approach was developed by Maria Montessori an Italian educator and physician and it emphasizes more on freedom, independence and respect for the social, physical and psychological development of the child. This education system is becoming very popular across the globe probably because of the many advantages it has over other educational approaches.

1. The education focuses on the developmental stages of the children falling in the age group of 3 and 5 to hone language skills, motor skills and completion of important daily activities such as arts and crafts, cooking and dressing among others. It is therefore one of the best systems you can choose for your preschooler to instill a degree of independence and confidence in them.

2. It encourages cooperative play so they get a chance to explore the different learning stations within the classroom. It therefore puts them in the best position to work together, respect each other and build on the sense of community which is very important even in later life.

3. Preschoolers who get this educational approach have the advantage of enjoying learning that is child centered. It means that they will be handled depending on their specific abilities and needs so they get to learn and explore at a pace that suits them best. Every child is given an equal chance to develop at their own pace; hence no one is left out at the end of the day.

4. This system helps children learn self-discipline in the most natural way possible. They work alongside each other and follow rules refining different skills, including self-control, motivation and concentration. It is also a system of education that teaches order which is very important in bringing up responsible children.

5. Montessori education also inspires creativity in the children because they work under their own terms where creativity is highly encouraged. They tend to focus more on the process than the end result of the activities they get involved in and this broadens the thinking on how to address the concept in the best ways possible.

6. It offers hands-on learning to the children to make learning fun and easily understandable to them. There are so many activities that are engaged in the learning to that practical life, culture, math and language lessons are learned by the kids. They get to master the most important life skills as well, besides having an easier understanding of harder areas such as subtractions and additions.

Preschools and schools offering a Montessori system have become very popular today because parents have seen the great value offered by the approach that they get. It is a system that can actually be very helpful in developing a number of skills in children from an early age preparing them for other levels of education and sharpening their growing minds to make them better students.

Is the Carrot and Stick Method Useful in Higher Education?

Consider how the process of learning begins for students. As a general perceptual rule, when students begin their degree programs they hope to obtain good grades, useful skills, and relevant knowledge. The tuition paid assures placement in a class and there are implied results that students expect as a product of their involvement in that class. In contrast, instructors expect that students will obey the academic rules, perform to the best of their abilities, and comply with specific class requirements that include deadlines for completion of learning activities.

For students, grades serve as an indicator of their progress in class, a symbol of their accomplishments and failures, and a record of their standing in a degree program. I have heard many students state that their primary goal for the class was to earn what they refer to as “good grades” – even though they may not be fully aware of what constitutes a good grade for them. When students aren’t achieving good grades, or the minimum expected by instructors and/or the school, instructors may try to nudge them on – either through positive motivational methods such as coaching and mentoring, or negative motivational methods that include threats and a demeaning disposition.

I found that many educators dangle a carrot in front of their students through indirect methods, such as the potential to earn a better grade, as an “A” in an indicator of the ultimate achievement in school. There may be incentives given to prompt better performance, including additional time or a resubmission allowance for a written assignment, as a means of encouraging students to perform better.

My question is whether the focus of teaching in higher education should be on the carrot we dangle in front of students to perform better or should there be more of a focus on what motivates each individual student to perform to the best of their abilities? In other words, do we need to be dangling something in front of students to serve as a source of motivation?

What is the Carrot and Stick Method?

I believe that most people understand the meaning of dangling a carrot in front of students to motivate them. The phrase is actually based upon a tale about a method of motivating a donkey and while the carrot is dangling in front of it, the stick is used to prod the animal along. The carrot serves as a reward and the stick is used as a form of reinforcement and punishment for non-compliance.

This approach is still used in the workplace, even subconsciously by managers, as a method of motivating employees. The carrot or incentives may include a promotion, pay increase, different assignments, and the list continues. The stick that is used, or the punishment for not reaching specific goals or performance levels, may include demotion or a job loss. A threat of that nature can serve as a powerful motivator, even if the essence of this approach is negative and stressful.

The Carrot and Stick Approach in Higher Education

If you are uncertain about the use of this approach in higher education, consider the following example. You are providing feedback for a written assignment and it is now the halfway point in the class. For one particular student, you believe they have not met the criteria for the assignment and more importantly, they have either not put in enough effort, they did not perform to your expectations, or they did not live up to their full potential.

It is worth mentioning that your beliefs about students are shaped by how you view them and their potential. In other words, I try to see my students as individuals who have varying levels of performance and that means some will be further along than others. In contrast, instructors who believe they do not have enough time to get to know their students as individuals may view the class as a whole and set an expectation regarding the overall performance level that all students should be at for this particular point in the class.

Returning to the example provided, my question to you is this: Do you reward the attempt made by the student or do you penalize that student for what you perceive to be a lack of effort? As a faculty trainer, I have interacted with many faculty who believe that all students should be high performers and earning top grades, regardless of their background and prior classes. When students fail to meet that expectation, there is a perception that students either do not care, they are not trying, or they are not reading and applying the feedback provided. The instructor’s response then is to dangle a carrot (incentive) and use the stick to try to change the necessary student behaviors.

Relevance for Adult Learning

There is a perception held by many educators, especially those who teach in traditional college classes, that the instructors are in control and students must comply. This reinforces a belief within students that they do not have control over their outcomes and that is why many believe grades are beyond their control. I have seen many students stop trying by the time they were enrolled in a class I was teaching simply because they could not make a connection between the effort they have made to the outcomes or grades received. In other words, while they believed they were doing everything “right” – they were still getting poor grades.

At the heart of the adult learning process is motivation. There are as many degrees of motivation as there are types of students and it is not realistic to expect that all students will be performing at the same level. I’ve learned through time and practice that adult student behaviors do not or will not permanently change as a result of forced compliance. However, behaviors will change in time when an instructor has built a connection with their students and established a sense of rapport with them. I encourage instructors to think beyond dangling a carrot and try to influence behavior, and not always through the use of rewards.

From a Carrot to a Connection

It is important for instructors to create a climate and classroom conditions that are conducive to engaging students, while becoming aware of (and recognizing) that all students have a capacity to learn and some gradually reach their potential while others develop much more quickly. My instructional approach has shifted early on from a rewards or carrot focus to a student focus. I want to build connections with students and nurture productive relationships with them, even when I am teaching an online class and have the distance factor to consider. I encourage students to make an effort and I welcome creative risks. I teach students to embrace what they call their failures as valuable learning lessons. I encourage their involvement in the learning process, prompt their original thinking during class discussions, and I teach them that their efforts do influence the outcomes received.

I recognize that this type of approach is not always easy to implement when classroom management is time consuming, and this is especially true for adjunct instructors. However, at a very minimum it can become an attitude and part of an engaging instructional practice. I encourage instructors to include it as part of their underlying teaching philosophy so they recognize and work to implement it. Every educator should have a well-thought out teaching philosophy as it guides how they act and react to students and classroom conditions. A student focus, rather than a carrot and stick focus, creates a shift in perspective from looking first at the deficits of students and seeing their strengths – along with their potential. It is an attitude of looking away from lack and looking towards meaning in the learning process, and a shift from seeing an entire class to viewing students individually. My hope is that this inspires you to re-evaluate and re-examine how teach your students and consider new methods of prompting their best performance.

Education Without Exams

The question is this: would education without exams be better for students? Why should exams be taken? what does an exam do? Many people believe it is a way, which can help the students to improve their skills or just a mechanism that makes student progress for their successful future. For a student, exams are an inescapable part of his or her school time. Since there is the presence of an education system, exams can be used as a means of study assessment.

However, nowadays, more and more people have come to the decision that exams are not the only means of study assessment, they believe that education without exams would be better for the student. Most students cannot master technology, what have they got? What first needs to be done by students is to understand the aims of studying, is it to improve skills or pass exams. We do not need to be an educationist to answer this question, to improve a skill is the reason why most people study. Taking this idea into account, the exam has many disadvantages and deficiencies for the student.

Firstly, formal exams cannot appear to reflect a student’s ability accurately; it can be unfair in several ways. For example, the whole career of a student depends upon what he or she does on a certain day and hours of an exam. if the student is ill, or if he or she has had some emotional trauma, these factors could have a negative effect on the student’s exam results. Some students do not perform well under pressure and require a longer time to reach useful conclusions.

The final marks need to be decided by all items including assessment work, attendance, presentation, group work and examinations. All these can really reflect student’s ability after their subject not only exam. If someone did not have a good revision or did some mistake in the examination, he or she definitely can fail him or her examination, but he or she still have done efforts in his or her study, so now the other item will be used to consider student’s marks.

In different countries, there are different educational system, but they affirm having the same final process which is an examination. So the argument is coming from the final examination whether can identify student’s efforts and abilities. Though formal exams have been used in the past, they should no longer be used as the only means of assessment because they can be an unfair indication of the student’s overall ability, exams are important but to test in other ways as well are better for the students, which can be easy to test student’s abilities.

WHAT DO WE WANT FROM EXAM ASSESSMENT?

Good assessment programs aim to provide a balanced, fair evaluation of each student. It can be achieved in two ways. First, the use of a variety of strategies and tasks which gives the students multiple opportunities, in varying contexts, to demonstrate what they know and can do. It also enables teachers to be confident in the accuracy of their judgments about each student.

Second, tasks must be fit for purpose. Let assume a subject has a number of goals (knowledge to learn, skills to acquire), each task should be appropriate to the specific goal or goals it is assessing. This means that a task assessing base knowledge will look different to one assessing creativity. Rather than abolishing exams, we should instead be asking what mix of assessment task is most appropriate for each subject.

EXAMS FOCUS ON THE BREADTH

In most disciplines, there are specific bodies of knowledge that students are expected to learn. Physics students might learn about thermodynamics, while history students might learn about cold war. Thus, exams enable us to accurately test student’s breadth of understanding of these topics.

Critics of exams often instead promote deep, rich, and authentic assessment tasks. These are typically project-based tasks that draw on student’s creativity and interest. For example, history students might be asked to choose and research historical character in depth. Business studies might be asked to design the pitch for a new business seeking venture capital.

These tasks develop several important higher order thinking skills, such as analysis and decision -making. However, they are not alternatives to exams. They do different things. And this is exactly what we want: multiple, different tasks to maximize student’s opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do.

Finally, we also want fit-for-purpose, where the breadth of knowledge is important, we want assessment tasks that target this breath. We want our future doctors to know of the entire human body. We want our future teachers to know a full repertoire of teaching and learning approaches.