Archive for September, 2010

Deciding What Your Students Must Learn

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

You were hired because of your deep subject matter expertise; knowledge you want to share with your students. The problem is, the number of hours in a typical semester hasn’t changed, but the amount of information in your discipline continues to grow…and it’s all critical. Or is it?

In the recent online seminar What to Teach When There Isn’t Time to Teach Everything, Ruth Rodgers, teaching and learning specialist at Durham College/UOIT, recommends that professors re-examine their course content and the learning experiences they create by asking themselves three key questions:

  • What aspects of my subject MUST my students learn in THIS course?
  • What attitudes/approaches/processes are CRITICAL for success in this field?
  • What lifelong learning habits must students develop to be successful in this field?

It’s not an easy exercise. It requires considerable reflection, and some hard choices, but in the end it will help teachers make better use of the face-to-face time they have with students, and will help students gain the skills they need to thrive in the Information Age, Rodgers says.

In today’s workplace, just knowing the information that you learned in school about your subject matter is clearly insufficient. The skill set needs to be much more sophisticated than that. Given the ubiquity of information, it is more important than ever that students have the ability to evaluate, adapt and apply information.

“The employers we work with tell us all the time this really is the 21st century skill,” Rodgers says. “Yes it’s important that they come to them with skills and knowledge, but the ability to continue to learn, to find information, and then be able to analyze and adapt it to the current situation is what they’re looking for regardless of the field.”

Rodgers provided the following recommendations for recalibrating your teaching goals within the context of the three questions:

  • Schedule ample practice time for the components of your course that must be mastered. Provide plenty of feedback along the way.
  • Choose learning activities that build not only knowledge and skills, but the ability to self-critique, troubleshoot and refine. Learning activities could include team projects, case studies, and poster presentations.
  • Require students to develop and use the skills and resources they’ll need in order to keep learning.

“We all come into teaching with a tremendous amount of knowledge, skill and experience, and we’d love to convey all of that to our students immediately,” Rodgers says. “But the reality is we only have a limited amount of time, so my recommendation is you start by thinking about a particular course you teach and ask yourself, ‘What are the non-negotiables?’ — the things that must be practiced until perfect, must be at their fingertips, must be memorized.”

by Mary Bart.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/deciding-what-your-students-must-learn/

Writing Comments That Lead to Learning

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Instructors who require papers spend a good deal of time emphasizing the importance of audience and purpose in writing. Writers who remember their readers and their writing objectives are much more likely to use good judgment about the decisions that go into creating an effective piece of writing. This is equally true of the comments instructors write on students’ papers. I’d like to share some suggestions, some of which I learned the hard way.

Students often react first to the number of comments on the paper. They look to see how much the instructor “bled” on their papers. They may not even read overall comments that appear at the end. Sometimes it helps to put those comments up front so that students see them first.

Notes in the margins of the papers tend to be sketchy. With little room in the margins, instructors use more underlining, coding, and abbreviating. Many marginal notes simply label a problem without further explanation or example. For instance, I have written, “There are stronger works for your POV” on papers not thinking that POV (for point of view) may be an unfamiliar acronym. Not only does this feedback puzzle and frustrate students, it doesn’t help them improve.

There is a difference between an explanation that simply shows the students how to reword or rewrite something and an in-depth explanation that discusses the reasoning behind the suggested change. For example, in a legal brief for my Business Law class, a student wrote, “This is an appeal from the judgment of the St. Joseph County Superior Court, by a jury, that the defendant was guilty of check forgery.” After having spent so much time on the papers that my hand ached, I gave into writer’s cramp and simply underlined “the judgment” and “by the jury.” Fortunately, the student came to me and asked what I meant.

On one of my first papers (when my hand was fresh and cramp free), I wrote, “Watch your language. A jury convicts or acquits but cannot render a judgment. The court enters a judgment on the jury’s verdict.” This comment is a more useful explanation.

Instructors must balance the positive and negative comments, remembering the importance of positive feedback. It motivates students, is essential to improvement, and builds confidence. If students are told why something is good, they can do more of it subsequently. Papers lacking any positive feedback tend to lead to poor student morale.

Closely related is the overall tone of the comments. Instructors need to keep the tone professional. Constructive criticism goes a long way, but destructive criticism goes an even longer way. Once someone destroys your self-confidence as a writer, it is almost impossible to write well.

How many is too many? Instructors should monitor the number of comments they write on students’ papers. Although it may be tempting to comment on everything, the workload quickly becomes intolerable and too much feedback may overwhelm the students. They find it difficult to prioritize the comments and tend to retreat into simple and safe writing in an effort to avoid another barrage of comments. Or they don’t even read the comments and therefore learn nothing from the feedback. However, the major problem with the overcommented paper is that the instructor has lost both a sense of focus and a point of view.

The solution is to separate the mechanical comments and the substantive comments. The mechanical comments encourage the student to see the paper as a fixed piece that just needs some editing. The substantive comments, however, suggest that the student still needs to develop the meaning by doing more research.

When commenting on students’ papers, think of your audience and your purpose. Your job as an instructor is to reach your students to help them learn and grow. If your comments do not accomplish your goal, then it doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put into the papers.

by Susan M. Taylor.

Read more @ http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/writing-comments-that-lead-to-learning/

Diabetes and kidney damage

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes affects the kidneys and leads to a condition called diabetic nephropathy, which is a leading cause of chronic renal failure in many countries, and Malaysia is no exception.

DIABETES is a condition where blood sugar is raised (hyperglycaemia) due to defects of insulin secretion (type 1), insulin action (type 2), or a combination of the two. Diabetics suffer from abnormalities of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) III in 2006, the overall prevalence of diabetes (known and newly diagnosed) was 11.6%. The prevalence increases with increasing age, viz: the prevalence was 2% in those aged 18 to 19 years and between 20.8% and 26.2% in those aged 50 to 64 years.

There was an increase in the national prevalence of known and newly diagnosed diabetics from 8.3% in NHMS II in 1996 to 14.9% in NHMS III in 2006 in those aged 30 years and above. The prevalence of newly diagnosed diabetics increased from 2.5% in 1996 (NHMS II) to 5.5% in 2006 (NHMS III).

Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes affect the kidneys and leads to the condition called diabetic nephro-pathy, which is a leading cause of chronic renal failure in many countries, and Malaysia is no exception. This condition also leads to significant long-term morbidity and mortality.

The condition is characterised by protein in the urine (albuminuria) on two or more occasions three to six months apart, decline in the kidneys’ glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and raised blood pressure.

The exact cause of diabetic nephropathy is unknown. It is believed that uncontrolled high blood sugar leads to kidney damage, especially when there is also high blood pressure (hypertension). As not all diabetics develop this condition, it is believed that the individual’s genetic or family history may play a role as well.

When the blood sugar is too high, it damages the filtering units of the kidneys (nephron) and the blood vessels within (glomerulus). These structures thicken and form scar tissue. In the course of time, more and more of these structures are damaged and destroyed, resulting in the leakage of protein into the urine (albuminuria).

The peak incidence of diabetic nephropathy in diabetics is in their second decade of the condition. It is uncommon for it to develop in patients who have had diabetes for less than 10 years.

The likelihood of diabetic nephropathy is increased in those with risk factors, i.e. poor control of blood sugar, poor control of blood pressure, family history of kidney disease or hypertension, type I diabetes before the age of 30 years, and smokers.

Management

The goals of management are to prevent the nephropathy from worsening and to prevent the complications of diabetes from developing.

Keeping the blood pressure below 130/80mm Hg is an effective way of slowing damage to the kidneys. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angio-tensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are the preferred medicines for treating hypertension in diabetics and those with signs of kidney disease. Careful blood pressure control is crucial in preventing the progression of diabetic nephropathy and other complications.

Ensuring that the blood sugar levels are at near normal levels will slow down the kidney damage, especially in the early stages of the nephropathy. This may require a combination of diet and medicines. The doses of the latter may need adjustment periodically.

Prevention

Appropriate patient information, patient compliance to management prescriptions and regular follow-up clinic or hospital visits are essential to the prevention and early recognition and management of diabetic nephropathy.

The management objectives are:

  • Optimal blood glucose control;
  • Control of hypertension; and
  • Avoidance of medicines that can damage the kidneys, e.g. commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen and antibiotics like the aminoglycosides.

There is ample evidence that the early and optimal management of diabetes will delay or prevent the onset of diabetic nephropathy.

It is prudent to remember that microalbuminuria is an independent predictor of cardiovascular morbidity in diabetics. Deaths from any cause in diabetics are also increased if there is microalbuminuria and macroalbuminuria. Even in the non-diabetic population, microalbuminuria is a predictor of coronary and peripheral vascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease.

It would be in the interest of all diabetics to always remember the axiom “prevention is better than cure”.

by Dr Milton Lum, a member of the board of Medical Defence Malaysia.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/health/story.asp?file=/2010/9/29/health/7068140&sec=health

Making decisions

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Teens should be taught to bear the responsibility for their decisions.

WHILE two-year-olds need parental guidance on how to go about doing things, 13-year-olds should start managing their own behaviour.

Of late, my children, both in their early teens, have dutifully been asking for permission to do certain things.

These days, we go by this rule: They make the decision and bear the consequences. Instead of saying to their friends: “My mum refused to let me go for the movie.” they take ownership by saying: “I have decided not to join you for this movie.”

My younger daughter argued that it is still my decision when they do not get to go. I told her that I do not agree with certain themes and inappropriate messages in the movies. They have to weigh the pros and cons themselves. I will respect their decisions.

My children understand that their decisions govern their behaviours. They have to be accountable for these decisions just as they expect the same from their parents.

As they grow older, children know that they have to take responsibility for their actions. Many will try to have their parents decide for them and then blame them for the decision.

For example, 10-year-old Jack clearly understands that he can watch television only after completing his homework. One day, he did not feel like doing his homework before watching television.

He asked his mother: “Can I watch television now?” His mother responded: “You know the rule. Television after homework is done.”

Jack asked her again: “Can I just watch one show before I start my homework?” His mother, irritated by his whining, grudgingly consented: “OK! OK! Just this one time.” Jack managed to whine his way to making his mother change the rule.

Like many children his age, he knows there are many ways he can make his parent change her mind to suit him. Some children would deliberately hand their homework to parents to sign when they are busiest or not able to pay attention.

They will come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid facing the consequences when they choose to do wrongly. One child to his father: “If you don’t come to school and see my teacher, she will surely kill me. Once you pay the fine to her, she will let me off.”

Instead of checking with the teacher to find out what the child has done, the father paid the fine. His son did not learn any lesson from this incident.

Children need practice with decision-making. Start by giving them opportunities to make their own decisions. For example, instead of demanding holiday activities from their busy parents, the children can plan the activities and work out a budget before presenting the proposal to their parents.

Parents need practice in letting go. Children fare better when they develop independence.

When children learn to take responsibility for their own actions, they gain the experience of being in control, and develop leadership skills. They have to do the right thing; then they can defend their stand when challenged.

by Ruth Liew.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=childwise&file=/2010/9/29/columnists/childwise/7110849&sec=Childwise

CAP reveals bitter truth about 3-in-1 drinks

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysians who are already consuming an average of 24 teaspoons of sugar a day should stay away from the 3-in-1 beverages as each sachet contains up to four teaspoons of sugar.

This advice comes from the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).

CAP president S.M. Mohd Idris said: “Each 3-in-1 sachet contains up to four teaspoons of sugar and the high sugar content in such beverages is harmful to health.”

He said Malaysians were already consuming 24 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is more than the eight teaspoons recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“With another three sachets of these beverages every day, they are adding 12 teaspoons of sugar, thereby exceeding the recommended content by 450%,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

He added that the glucose from the sugar gave a “sugar rush” which deceived people into believing they had more energy.

Mohd Idris explained that more energy could be obtained from a balanced diet rather than relying on such beverages.

“I urge the public to opt for healthier drinks such as soya milk, fruit juices and even warm water,” he said.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/9/30/nation/7126987&sec=nation

Must-have book on activities for kids

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010


FUN FOR KIDS IN MALAYSIA

An essential guide to fun-tastic activities for children
By Lydia Teh
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Author Lydia Teh has really put in a lot of research for this book. It is the guide book for all families.

Often parents are left at a loss as to what to do during the school holidays and how to entertain their kids on the weekend.

The number of places we visit seem to be few and the number of activities we are familiar with are even fewer. You could probably count all of them on one hand. And, often, the kids end up going nowhere and doing nothing or we just keep taking them back to the shopping malls.

Take heart, you need not bring up a mall rat.

That’s where this book comes in. It offers stuff to do in all states and that includes Sabah and Sarawak. There’s even what to do in Labuan!

The list covers information like how to get there and getting around each state. Included in the list of activities are museums, libraries, nature attractions, adventure activities, sports, performing arts, arts & crafts, festivals and shopping.

You will be pleasantly surprised to find out the kinds of stuff you could do in your state. For example, I didn’t know that you could roll down a hill in a giant plastic ball at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa or fly a plane at Subang Skypark.

The author has included info like what the activity/event is, where it can be found, what time the place is open, contact details and how to get there.

Apparently, there are a lot of activities in Malaysia that we may not even be aware of.

I liked that the author included things like where to adopt animals and societies/associations for children with special needs.

In addition to the state by state breakdown and the special needs information, there are also details on festivals that might be celebrated by all states – Chinese New Year, Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Chap Goh Meh, Hungry Ghost, Mooncake, Wesak and Thaipusam.

Then there are the school holiday programmes offered by Club Med, Cambridge English for Life, Children’s Technology Workshop, Polgar Chess and Xtreem Adventure.

If your child is into uniformed activities, you might be interested in the contact details for Girl Guides, Cadet Corps, Polis Kadet, Red Crescent Society, Scouts and St John Ambulance.

To top all of that, the author has included right at the back of the book, hiking guidelines and safety at waterfalls tips.

In all, this is a great guide and every family should have one. You will be amazed at what you can do in Malaysia and you probably don’t know about any of the libraries near you.

Highly recommended.

by Brigitte Rozaria.

Read more @ http://parenthots.com/parents_corner/book_reviews/Must-have-book-on-activities-for-kids.aspx

Sleep, wonderful sleep!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

SLEEP is vital for the harmony of our mind, body and spirit. But many people do not slumber peacefully, judging by the spate of e-mails and calls I have received recently from readers suffering from broken sleep.

According to Vasthu Sastra principles – and Western science, too – decent slumber will assure one of rejuvenation and improved health and one will be more alert during the day.

I have written in previous columns that placing the head in the north with the legs pointing south invites terrifying dreams; this is the one direction we must avoid when sleeping. All other directions, with the head in the east, west or north, are favourable. However, despite keeping to the correct positions, some individuals continue to have bad dreams and wake up feeling scared, according to the queries I have received.

Although we cannot control dreams, there are ways in which we can prepare our bedrooms to prevent such occurrences.

To begin with, ensure that the space in which you sleep is only for that and is not used for other activities so that your mind always associates it with peace and tranquility. Try to avoid having a television, radio, mobile phone or computer in the bedroom, as the electromagnetic field (EMF) they generate creates strong energy stress, according to studies. If you cannot keep such items out of the bedroom, unplugging them from their electrical outlets can reduce their disturbance.

Have a salt crystal lamp lit in the room throughout the day and even when you go to sleep, as it can help remove stale energy, keep the air clean and create a relaxing atmosphere. Also, the light will help keep away unseen entities that are attracted to dark spaces. If you can’t sleep with a light on, have at least one lit elsewhere so your property is not in complete darkness.

If you are restless in bed and cannot get to sleep easily, soak your feet in warm salt water for 20 minutes, or take a salt water bath, before you slip under your blanket. Salt is a powerful anti-stress element that has been used since ancient times to clear fatigue and encourage relaxation. You can also try a bath into which a few drops of essential oils have been added; choose oils that promote relaxation.

Hang a dream catcher in your bedroom in a place where it will catch the morning light. This Native American item is widely used nowadays, as it is said to be able to “catch” bad dreams – they cannot find their way through the woven pattern and become trapped in the webbing, where the first light of day causes them to vanish. Good dreams, though, will get through and slide down the lowest-hanging feather to inspire the peaceful sleeper below.

Another highly recommended way of achieving a sound sleep is meditation. According to Vasthu Sastra, meditation can calm the mind and free it from anxiety, allow nerves and tired muscles to relax, and ease blood pressure. The exercise also taps the enormous hidden potential that we all have within us for self-healing. Meditating before sleep can slow our bodies and minds down to the point where we can easily fall asleep.

by T. Selva.

Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=vasthusastra&file=/2010/9/19/columnists/vasthusastra/7041777&sec=Vasthu%20Sastra

How to Recruit Better Teachers

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Josalyn Tresvant McGhee teaches fourth-graders in Memphis; her M.B.A. skills come in handy when she’s managing the classroom. Erin Patrice O’Brien for TIME

Many beloved teachers — Jaime Escalante, Frank McCourt, even Socrates — came to the profession after holding other jobs first. Escalante was a computer technician before becoming the Los Angeles math teacher made famous in the 1988 film Stand and Deliver; McCourt worked at New York City’s Biltmore Hotel before teaching for 30 years; Socrates was an experienced soldier. Teaching has always held an appeal, a kind of purity, for those disillusioned by their daily toils.

It has never been easier for nonteachers to become public-school teachers, sometimes with just a few weeks of training. In recent years, hundreds of programs have appeared around the U.S. to help people stop practicing law, brokering real estate or selling furniture and start teaching. In Memphis, for example, you can be sitting at a bank desk poring over quarterly reports in May and be teaching algebra by August.

A whole new industry has emerged to encourage recent college graduates and experienced professionals to regard teaching as national service. The most prestigious program, Teach for America (TFA), is enjoying its 20th anniversary amid a wave of fulsome press and a crush of applications from Ivy League and other elite applicants. More than 46,000 sought TFA positions for this fall; 12% were accepted.

Because it has been so difficult for poorly funded schools to find and keep teachers, TFA and similar organizations are quietly becoming part of the Establishment. Last year the city of Memphis handed over authority for recruiting all new teachers to a New York City — based nonprofit called the New Teacher Project (TNTP). Before school started in August, one way TNTP filled the approximately 800 open teaching positions in Memphis — a typical annual hiring number for a big city — was with its Teaching Fellows, a corps of accomplished career changers recruited from around the nation. Founded in 1997, the fellowships operate in 18 locations in the U.S. You may have seen the ads: “Be more than just a role model. Be a teacher.”

TNTP’s fellows and those accepted into TFA get to skip typical teacher-certification processes. How school districts certify teachers — and how states license them — varies widely, but generally applicants won’t be considered without an education degree. (A bachelor’s degree is usually enough, especially in urban schools that endure wild turnover.) TNTP and TFA are controversial among teachers’-union members and education professors because the organizations put new teachers in classrooms after only five to seven weeks of boot-camp training.

But TNTP and TFA argue, correctly, that many of their Ivy League applicants would never teach at all if they had to earn an education degree first. The groups have powerful allies. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a contrarian 45-year-old who used to run the Chicago school district, has spoken admiringly of both organizations. And not long ago he gave a speech denouncing the traditional system of teacher-training: “By almost any standard,” he said, “many if not most of the nation’s 1,450 schools, colleges and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st century classroom.”

But as a whole, the profession lacks something almost as precious as money: prestige. According to the McKinsey research, in countries such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea, where 100% of educators come from the top third of their graduating class, first-year teaching positions are regarded the way Americans see first-year medical residencies: as the beginning of an elite career. At the University of Helsinki, just 1 applicant in 15 is accepted into the teacher-training program; most U.S. education schools are open to anyone who will pay the tuition.

Yet even as momentum builds for nontraditional training programs to get more talented people into classrooms — the Obama Administration requested $405 million in the 2011 budget to fund alternative pathways to teaching — a basic question may have been overlooked: What does it mean when we decide that teaching is more a public service than a profession? “Think about medical-residency programs,” says Joanna Jacobson, founder of Strategic Grant Partners, a pro bono consulting firm that funds and counsels education-reform efforts around the nation. “The feds support doctors who choose residencies in high-needs urban and rural areas. But they are not doing an all-call to anyone who wants to dabble around and be a doctor.” She also says, pointedly, “Not everyone can be a good teacher.”

The cost of hiring and placing so many new teachers was becoming untenable, particularly during a recession. Also, many Memphis kids were having to cope with inexperienced teachers year after year. A great deal of research shows that first-year teachers tend to be unprepared for the astonishingly disparate demands of the job — speaking loudly without shouting, deciding what to do when someone throws a spitball, looking up the rules for bathroom breaks, determining whether the class on Abraham Lincoln should come before or after the one on Frederick Douglass. Even worse, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, 70% of the city’s teachers were being hired within a month of the first day of school, meaning most new teachers had little time to plan.

This is a big problem with programs like TNTP and TFA: they require a commitment of just one and two years, respectively, and like most traditionally trained teachers, participants often spend the entire first year learning their jobs. A vocal minority of TFA veterans have complained that the program does little good for the students who must endure their inexperience.

Many districts are trying to fine-tune their screening methods to help determine whether an enthusiastic potential teacher will actually be able to command and push a classroom. Since 2000, the Haberman Educational Foundation has worked with 130 school systems to train them to find nontraditional teachers to fill difficult positions. The foundation was started by Martin Haberman, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee, who helped persuade Congress to pass a 1963 law that provided funding for school districts to seek and certify teachers who had not attended ed schools.

One of Haberman’s strategies is to screen potential teachers with a test designed to show which ones would do well in a classroom. The test has now been given to tens of thousands of hopefuls. But when I took it recently, I found some questions so vague that no correct answer seemed possible. Here’s one example:

A teacher who has students working in cooperative teams believes that:

A. a good classroom must have some noise
B. students can learn from each other
C. students must learn to work independently

Surely all three are true. But Haberman told me B is the right answer because it is the one given most often by proven teachers. The logic seemed a little circular, and the test made me question the whole concept of alternative hiring. Despite the media attention devoted to TFA and like projects, the vast majority of teachers will continue to come from education schools for many years. So shouldn’t we think about how to work with those schools rather than competing against them?

But half the nation’s 3.2 million teachers are baby boomers. They are retiring in droves. Schools in difficult neighborhoods like Southeast D.C. or Harlem spend much of each spring semester just finding bodies who can stand in front of the kids at the beginning of the next school year. So until teaching becomes a more attractive long-term option, we’ll need both paid volunteers and professionals. Otherwise the kids in the neediest classrooms will continue to be taught by substitutes or retirees who come back reluctantly. How bad can it be that thousands of Ivy Leaguers, though inexperienced, want to help fill the void?

Read more @ http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2019663_2020590_2020588-4,00.html#ixzz10nk2RUmE

Sharing a passion for fruits

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Mother and grandmother Mohana Gill is fully aware of the challenges parents today face in getting their children to eat vegetables and fruits. She’s got a great solution for parents.

“It’s difficult when you’re dealing with kids. The minute you tell the child that they’ve got to eat this or they’ve got to do that, you’ve got a problem. So, I thought it would be nicer, in a fun kind of way, to give them a book to read about fruits and vegetables. If they understand the vegetables and fruits, they may want to try them,” says Mohana whose latest book – Hayley’s Fruitastic Garden - is now in bookstores.

Hayley and Zac enjoying some strawberries – Zac got the sour one, while Hayley’s was sweet.

The book is about a little girl named Hayley who finds a Fruitastic garden with her friend Zac. In the garden are many varieties of fruit. As Hayley and Zac discover the fruits, they learn tidbits about each fruit. The book also has fruity recipes for parents and kids to try out.

The whole idea is obviously to introduce fruits to children and encourage them to try out the recipes.

by Brigitte Rozario.

Read more @ http://parenthots.com/features/Sharing-a-passion-for-fruits.aspx

Many in the dark over content code

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
MANY Internet users are still oblivious to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code.

The Content Code provides detailed guidelines for different media from advertisement to Internet and was released to the public in 2004. It contains several general principles including making sure that the content will not be indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person as stipulated under Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The code also stressed on respecting diversity.

Another no-no is spreading materials that can offend good taste or decency; be offensive to public feeling; encourage crime, lead to disorder or is abusive or threatening in nature.

It also stated: “There should be no discriminatory material or comment based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status or physical or mental handicap”.

The code does acknowledge that every person has a right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms as stipulated in the Federal Constitution and other relevant statutes.

Still, no one is above the Malaysian laws as legal action can be taken against offenders, including those involved in sedition, pornography, defamation and breaching of intellectual properties.

For any complaint found to have breached the code, the Complaints Bureau may impose fines and other penalties, namely issue a written reprimand, impose a fine of not more than RM50,000 and/or require removal of the content or cessation of the offending act.

The bureau may also refer the offending party to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for further action deemed necessary.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/28net7/Article