Archive for June, 2012

14 Uplifting Facts About the Job Market for New Grads

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t fool new grads into thinking they’ll have an easy time landing a job after graduation. There is too much bad news bombarding them daily about the job market and the economy. Still, somebody’s getting hired this year, and it could be you; that alone is reason to hope. But if that’s not enough, here are 14 bright spots about the job market to brighten your day and lift your spirits.

  1. Hiring this year is expected to climb 10.2%:

    Although a previous estimate pegged 2012 hiring at 9.5%, the number is now slotted at nearly a full percentage point higher, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey. In a very positive sign of economic recovery, college career fairs are buzzing with activity. The number of companies attending fairs is regularly being reported as much as 30% higher than two years ago.

  2. More businesses plan to hire this year:

    In addition to the volume of hiring forecast for 2012, more employers across fields said in a recent survey that they planned to hire. Whereas 46% planned to take on additional employees in 2011, 54% said they plan to hire college grads this year.

  3. Job creation is trending up:

    Every month for more than two years, the private sector has seen employment gains. Since February 2010, 4 million jobs have been added to the market. The best hiring opportunities this year are in accounting and finance, STEM fields, sales, education, social services, and health care.

Read more @

Five Techniques for Improving Student Attendance

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

The general consensus among most faculty members is that regular class attendance helps students learn and retain the course content more effectively. According to Park & Kerr (1990), research demonstrates that the lack of attendance was statistically significant in explaining why a student received a poor grade.

In this article I focus on some of the practical techniques that faculty can use to increase the attendance in their classrooms. I have used most of these methods during my years of college teaching to keep attendance high in all of my classes.

1. Prepare learning contracts for students to sign at the beginning of the semester. The contracts can be part of the syllabus or independent documents. They should define exactly how grading is done and include an attendance policy. This way, students know right from the start that attendance is part of the calculation.

2. Give unannounced quizzes. The main objective of these quizzes is to encourage students to prepare for each class so they have a basic understanding of the current terms and concepts. Make it clear that the quizzes can’t be made up later by absent students.

3. Provide handouts in class, but do not post them on your course website. Students can come to your office hours to pick up a handout later, but the idea is to discourage them from skipping class knowing that they can grab the material from your website.

4. Collect contact information from students at the beginning of the semester, including their phone numbers and email addresses. Call or e-mail students who are frequently absent and encourage them to attend more often. I started my teaching career at a two-year community college where this was expected of faculty. It worked so well that I have continued doing it, even with my graduate-level students.

5. Think of ways to keep the morale high. Learn students’ names as quickly as possible. Prepare lesson plans that grab student interest. Try to tie in course material with modern real-life examples that students can relate to. Create a classroom that has a sense of community and mutual respect where each member has something to contribute and where disagreement is tolerated. Continually adapt your lesson plans to make the subject interesting and relevant. Encourage student feedback so you can eliminate some of the “busy work” that has minimal learning benefits.

by Rick Sheridan.

Read more @

Understanding education reforms

Saturday, June 30th, 2012
SUCCESSFUL AND EFFECTIVE OUTCOME: There has to be clarity in the focus of reforms fro practices and reforms for policies:
WITHIN the Malaysian milieu, there has been the compartmentalisation of reality regarding education with the establishment of two ministries, the Education Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry.Typically, those engaged at the school-level exercise taught leadership at the level and those engaged in tertiary education exercise taught leadership at the tertiary level. Under present circumstances, educational reforms are only educational level specific.

Educational reforms are typically macro-level strategic reforms focusing on national intelligence and competitiveness. Educational sector and systems reforms are expected to be in synergy with other sectors and systems, particularly with reforms pertaining to strategic human resource, role of women, families and communities.

Education system reforms are also very closely related to reforms in the science and technology, economic and socio-cultural sectors.

There is the intricate intertwining and juxtapositions of education reforms and school reforms but nevertheless distinctions can be made between the two focuses of reforms. There has also to be clarity in the focus of reforms for practices and reforms for policies.

Educational reforms may not have to mobilise the whole teaching force. Educational reforms may just have to mobilise certain strategic implementers of policies.

However, school reforms and educational practice reforms will have to mobilise all educators. Teachers cannot remain unmoved, unperturbed, uninvolved while other stakeholders come to the front stage to define educational futures.

There could be approximately half a million ideas from half a million teachers in the system, or at least 10,000 ideas from the schools in the country to contribute towards the betterment of educational policies, school policies and professional practices.

Enlightened policies considered, ultimately, the betterment of the education system really rest in the domain of professional practices.

School-level reforms and reforms in professional practices open up new assumptions and paradigms regarding human potentialities and capacities.

School-level reforms and professional practices deal with micro level realities and principles of acts of kindness and of love for every child, that no child is a failure, no child is left behind, that every child and teacher is unique, that no teacher loses dignity.

by Datuk Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid.

Read more @

Innovation, Paradigm Shift Essential In Schools, Says Expert

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

SEMPORNA:  School management and administration have to undergo constant innovation and paradigm shifts in line with the objectives of the national education philosophy, according to a local educator.

Dr Muhamad Suhaimi Taat, a lecturer with Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) School of Education and Social Development, said this is necessary for improving the teaching and learning process.

At the same time, constant rejuvenation also helps avoid school administrations from becoming obsolete.

“The main aspect to be looked into is how the management can be improved without waiting for directives or circulars from the top.

“The innovative and creative management will always think of creating a conducive and stimulating working environment for the school staff.

“All management aspects that are considered no longer relevant or that further complicate the bureaucratic process should be reviewed.

“It is important that the matters agreed upon at meetings are implemented and do not remain on paper only,” he added.

Dr Muhamad said these points are detailed in his working paper, entitled “Rethinking Education Management: Innovative and Futuristic Issues”, which he recently delivered during the Education Organisation Dynamic Seminar (SDOP) in Semporna.

Have Faith in your Subordinates:

The seminar, organised with the cooperation of the Semporna District Education Department, was conducted by the Political Secretary to the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.

Dr Muhamad said the school administration’s approach often depends upon the administrators’ ingenuity and could change due to time, the situation or the staff.

Further, when delegating to any parties a particular duty, those who delegate should be confident of the party and place their full trust in them.

In this context, the ‘empowerment’ concept is emphasized, rather than being ‘overpowering’, so that subordinates will carry out their tasks and responsibilities with full dedication and autonomy.

The second aspect that should be given emphasis in school management and administration is related to clinical supervision, guidance and constant monitoring of the teaching and learning process in the classroom.

Combining the old and new

Novice teachers need guidance and advice from ‘expert teachers’ or ‘otai’ to help them mature in education, as they lack experience, though they may have an excellent academic background.

“By combining the knowledge, skills and efforts of the ‘old faces’ and ‘new faces’, only then can the teaching and learning process in the schools be improved to attain excellence.

“The brainstorming between both sides will help unleash innovation and futuristic views in the teaching and learning process,” he said.

The third important aspect in increasing innovation in the school administration and management is human resources – the administrator, teachers, support staff and students.

The human resource aspect is closely linked with the comfortable and harmonious school surroundings that will contribute to the excitement, or ‘the pleasure of working’ for the staff and ‘the pleasure of studying’ for the students.

Innovation in Management:

“Schools are the second home for its staff and students. If all of them are receptive to the slogan “my house my heaven”, then why not “my school my heaven”?

According to Dr Muhamad, the innovative and futuristic elements coming to school management and administration are inevitable, whether one likes it or not.

by Nashir Mansor.


Read more @

Purpose of College Education

Friday, June 29th, 2012
College life is a part of academic vision. It is an integral and very important part of educational systems and even distance learning around the world. In ancient times, college education was designed to appeal to the purse strings of the elite and well-endowed. In time, every prosperous citizen began looking at this post-school opportunity for higher learning. A college is correctly conceived as a place that bestows wisdom and enlightenment. A number of continuing facilities, both university and college, offer every student to derive this very purpose of education. College education takes middle and high school-imparted knowledge to the next level. In many professions, it is mandatory for specializing in a particular field.

Availing College Education

Today, college education is accessible to every segment of the world populace. Education is being imparted as a prelude to research and the final choice of a vocation. Colleges give students, the chance to research and study their preferred subjects in detail. In school, students have a number of subjects to deal with. The array of subjects like math, the three sciences and world history and geography and languages like the English language and the French language among many others are taught, with the intent to deliver the basic life-coaching skills to students. In college, students get the opportunity to pursue any one of their personal favorites. Depending on preference, students can opt for the commerce, science or arts faculties. Even with regards to the teaching faculty, colleges are better equipped with staff that is specially trained to deliver updated information on special subjects.

Importance of Good College Education

Expectations of Student

The student looks upon the college as a medium of pursuing dreams. The modern student is well-informed and makes up his mind in school itself about the choice of subjects he would like to pursue after school. The relevant workshops (as per the choice) on career education and aptitude tests enable help him to access the right college. Once the student enrolls, he expects the college to deliver dedicated and well-researched information on his choice of subjects. The purpose of education, as far as the student is concerned, is to equip him with knowledge that he can use throughout his life. He endeavors in his pursuit of excellence.

Expectations of Parents

Parents expect colleges to equip their children with focus on an accomplished, researched and dynamic curriculum. The parent community is more interested in the credentials of teachers, more due to the fee structure involved. They are concerned with the college being able to offer their children a diverse and interactive environment, one that is open to assumption. For a parent, the very purpose of a good education is to enable the child to probe the realms of thought and access real higher learning.

Expectations of the Institution Delivering the Program

The college attempts dedicated management development to envision the purpose of a good education as that which equips students with essential life skills. Of course, it is natural for any college management team to expect recognition and reputation. However, these professional and educated individuals design the various programs to do complete justice to tuition costs. Expectations of the institution delivering the program mostly rest upon enrolled students. The college works in sync with parents to deliver the best creative, decision-making processes.

The purpose of education at college differs according to the investigating perspective. Nevertheless, it is easy to see that the tripod of the student, parents and the institution vests all authority in the research of accessed knowledge. Previously, students and parents used to be very intimidated with tuition fees and limited resources and experiences. But now, things have changed. There are many options offered either directly by the institution or by private entities to enable financial planning. A good college education is not only affordable now, but also important to survive the quality-conscious workplace communication. Colleges are restructuring to enable students to explore and broaden their horizons. A combination of subjects is on offer for college education to be realized. Arts and crafts, and music and dramatics are an integral part of all-round development with the sole purpose of knowledge management on a flexible rostrum.

by Gaynor Borade.

Math Activities for Preschoolers

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

These days, kids are growing up so fast that it has become difficult to match up to them at times. I have a niece who is 3½, and is so brilliant that, at times, I question myself,”Was I that smart and understanding when I was her age?” Every time I look at her, she comes home from preschool and tells me all that has happened over the week, it actually makes me feel that at her age, she might just be one of the most intelligent kids I’ve come across. And the reason behind this is, that kids nowadays are being challenged, more so that they are developing their brains at such an incredible rate, that we have to catch up to them. They have to learn so many different things like letters, alphabets, names of animals, vegetables, and fruits, art and music, mathematics, identify colors, shapes, and objects, numbers, and so much more. Keeping that in mind, we have put together this article which concentrates on fun math activities for preschoolers to do at home and in school. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get right to it.

Preschool Mathematics Activities

In the following section, we have listed some fun, interesting, and educational games related to math. Whether you are at home or in school, these math activities will definitely get them excited every time.

Leaping Frog
First of all, you will require an open space where you can lay a blue and a green tarp to substitute as a pond and lily pads, respectively. Place the lily pads across the pond (close to one another so that the kids can jump from one lily pad to another). You will have the kids line up and one by one, each kid will jump from one lily pad to the next. As he/she does so, they have to count the number of lily pads they crossed. This way, each kid will get a chance to be a frog and their counting revision can also be done. When there are more kids doing this activity, you can also have them count as the “frog” jumps from lily pad to another.

Nursery Rhyme
We will require help from a nursery rhyme – One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. Here’s what you need to do. According to the rhyme – One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, close the door. Five, six, pick up sticks. Seven, eight, lay them straight. Nine, ten, a big fat hen. Now, as you sing this rhyme, hold that many objects in your hand and have the kids count them.

Addition and Subtraction
If you are searching for some fun problem solving activities, then here’s one they’ll love. Take a big box and mark it as “Treasure Box” or “Cashier’s Box”. For this addition and subtraction activity, you can use any items such as crayons, chocolates, balls, toys, etc. Now, have the kids gather around, place the box and the items in front of them. Have one kid say a number. Let’s say if he/she said 4, then you will add 4 items inside the box. Then, another kid will say another number, like 7. So you will ask them that there are already 4 items inside the box. How many more items you need to add in order to get the number to 7. One by one, the kids can say numbers and this way you can explain the addition and subtraction calculations to them.

Printing Numbers
Have the kids watched the movie 101 Dalmatians? If not, then you need to have them watch this movie. One, the movie will help with this activity and two, it’s a great kids’ movie. What you need to do is copy the dalmatian pattern on blank papers. Now for the spots on the dog patterns, leave blank circles with no color. Write down numbers on the paper, next to the pattern. Depending on the number of kids in school, you will write those numbers. Have each kid hold a crayon and copy the number written on the paper and print it inside the blank circles. Once they are finished, all the spots will have numbers printed on.

by Sheetal Mandra.

Read more @

Seven Tips for New and Almost College Grads

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

I’m often asked to speak at college Commencement Exercises. The expectation is that I’ll have something profound to say to the new graduates.

More often than not I find it’s college administration, faculty and parents who care more about what I say, not the students. After all, it’s the folks that run the college who invite me.

This however, doesn’t prevent me from having my own perspective about what ideas are most important for grads and almost grads. In the spirit of the season, here are my thoughts for young people embarking upon life. It’s written directly to the twenty-something eager for a life of success:

1 – Dream

Everyone will tell you to dream but somehow dreaming seems to fade for many adults. They often settle into the mundane. You don’t have to make the evening news to lead a productive life, but you should seek to maximize your potential. Being ambitious is good. Do not let life’s challenges cause you to accept less. Dream about creating a better way. Be as successful as you can. In the process, make life good for others.

2 – Work

Don’t stop with a dream. Be prepared to do the work. You probably feel pretty good about yourself and you should, but remember you are JUST beginning. You know less than you think. You’re not as accomplished as you think. In order to be good you must work. In order to be excellent you must work. Sometimes you must work like you’ve never worked before. Find someone with lots of experience who will not mince words and tell you how to become excellent in every part of your life. LISTEN even if it hurts. Then be prepared to work at it every day.

3 – Read

You were probably asked to read lots of books in school. Hopefully you digested what you read. But your focus on getting through the class and getting a good grade may mean you don’t fully comprehend all you read. Go back and read what interests you with a new attitude. Make sure the habit of reading doesn’t die in your life. In particular read about people, events, and places. Always have a book that you’re reading. Watch less TV. Eliminate it if you can. Watch fewer movies. Become excellent at reading and having intelligent conversations about what you’ve read.

4 – Write

Many adults can’t write. That’s because of a lack of discipline and practice. Many adults with Masters Degrees and beyond make embarrassing mistakes when writing.I’m not talking about annoying mistakes that you make when you’re moving too quickly. I’m talking about not being able to write in a way that others will comprehend. Get a pen and paper and write a letter to the people you know and love. Do this OFTEN. Write your thoughts in a journal. Use full sentences. Writing makes you more complete and causes smart people to take notice. A good writer is a good thinker. It will also advance your career in a big way. While you’re writing learn to say “thank you,” and to applaud others. Be a thoughtful and responsive person.

5 – Expand

Meet new friends beyond those you’ve grown up with. Meet some people who know things you don’t know. It may sound in poor taste but be a “social climber”. Get to know smarter, richer, and more successful people. Don’t stay stuck in the same group you’ve always socialized with. Go to places and events you wouldn’t normally. Take classes in interesting subjects for fun. Break through the barrier of social conditioning you have from your parents, family, and friends. There’s more to learn and much more you can be and do. But remember in the process to be genuine and look for ways to help and support the people you meet.

6 – Travel

Find a way to go as many places as you can. Go to different cities. Leave the country often. While you’re traveling to distant lands, learn about the people and its history. Few things open your mind more than travel. You’ll see people handle things completely differently than you’re accustomed. You’ll see different issues surface that are new to you. Travel will expand your mind and keep your juices flowing.

7 – Create

Don’t just copy. Research is not “Googling” and copying what you find. It’s not going to other websites and doing what others are doing. Don’t just consume. Create something new. Bring a new idea, project, group, or organization to the world. Focus on an important issue. Don’t be afraid to start something… even a business.

by Andre Taylor.

Read more @

Preschool Graduation Ideas

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Preschool graduation is an exciting and momentous time in the life of not only the little tots but also of parents. Preschool graduation is a ceremony to say good-bye to the preschool and move on to the next level of education. A preschool graduation, an important occasion, should be made a memorable milestone in the life of the preschoolers.

Preschool teachers along with a few willing parents could make this preschool graduation ceremony a memorable event. Preschool graduation marks the end of “baby years” and the beginning of the next twelve years of real school life.

There are many preschool graduation ideas that create an impact in the young mind of the little ones. To begin with, the class-teachers could send an invitation for the preschool graduation party. There would be a few mothers who would be more than willing to help the teachers in decorating the class with balloons and silver papers. Like the teachers, parents would also want to make this event a great success.

Teachers should not forget to distribute graduation caps to the little ones. If there is ample time, personalized graduation caps could be made by the teachers who are good with handicrafts.

All parents would be looking forward to is a preschool graduating certificate. The teachers, along with the head of the institution, could arrange for a real graduation ceremony. Children should be made to line up and the class teachers could call the name of each student. The little ones would shake hands with the head of the institution before collecting his or her certificate. This would give the youngsters a sense of importance and achievement!

A photo session is a must after the distribution of the certificates. The parents would like to possess a copy of their kid’s preschool graduation photo. A preschool graduation photo would make a wonderful memento to be treasured lifelong.

Party and celebrations would immediately follow the photo session. Teachers can arrange for games like musical chair, pin the tail on the donkey, word games, dancing and much more. Preschool graduation celebration is not complete without music and songs. There are many preschool graduation songs that are easy to learn and good to hear.

Parents would not mind contributing for a preschool graduation cake. A celebration is not complete without a generous helping of cake and a few snacks. The school can arrange a caterer to supply sandwiches or pizzas along with cup cakes. The children would be delighted by the whole celebration.

Another preschool graduation idea is givi9ng small gifts to children at the end of the party. Many little ones would treasure a small gift the school gives them. Fill a favor bag with gift items such as crayon sets, key chains, soft toys, coloring books, rulers, pencils and so on. Ask the students to close their eyes and pick one gift from the favor back.

by Maya Pillai.

Read more @

SIDMA College – Towards Improving Quality Teaching and Learning

Monday, June 25th, 2012

As SIDMA College continues to improve teaching and learning to produce graduates who are knowledge users and fully equipped with problem solving and critical thinking skills; its lecturers are constantly encouraged to apply teaching techniques that can inculcate meaningful learning among their students, and thus able to join the workforce and to solve real life problems.

In-line with this development, Human Resource Department, SIDMA College organized a Professional Teaching and Learning Workshop at Palace Hotel, Kota Kinabalu from 21st to 22nd June 2012; for all it’s teaching staff; focusing on the quality of teaching, learning and communication between lecturers and students during lecture.

Six topics were presented, discussed and actively debated by all participants during the two-day workshop. The topics are:

i. Creative Thinking Skills:
By Dr.Tan Choon Keong.

ii. Teaching and Learning Styles:
By Dr. Lee Kean Wah.

iii. Effective Communication Strategies 1:
By Ms Ng Shi Ing.

iv. Effective Communication Strategies 2:
by Ms Ng Shi Ang.

v. Teaching for Active Learning:
by Dr. Lee Kean Wah.

vi. Mentoring and Coaching Skills:
By Dr. Tan Choon Keong.

The whole two-day workshop was lively with activities and exchange of experiences between the trainers and the participants.

Prof. Dr. Morni Hj. Kambrie, CEO, SIDMA College, during his welcoming remark thanked the trainers who are ever willing to share their experiences and knowledge with our lecturers. He also advised SIDMA staff to immerse fully in the two day workshop, exchange experiences with the professional trainers and to adopt related knowledge during their lecture sessions with our students.

Read more @

What are the Benefits of Going to College?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

During school years, one awaits college days and for years after the college days have gone, one reminisces them. This is precisely what college years are! They are long awaited and long remembered. Those are the years, which pave the paths of careers and shape personalities. They are the brightest and the most colorful years of one’s life. The benefits of attending college are many!

One of the primary benefits of going to college is being able to obtain a college degree. A college degree helps you propel you career in the right direction. A college degree opens doors for good job opportunities. A bright college career can fetch you an excellent job, and it goes without saying that an excellent job can earn you bigger bucks! Yes, a college degree goes a long way to build a bright career and gives you excellent job prospects.

College education helps in building analytical and reasoning skills in you. The college years are filled with academic as well as extra curricular activities. The projects, the oral and practical exams and demonstrations that are a part of college education help you build self-confidence and enhance your communication skills. College education plays a vital role in the development of analytical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills. These skills help you throughout life.

The most important benefit of going to college is perhaps the environment it offers. It gives you an opportunity to be a part of a huge group. College education helps you develop skills of working in a team. It gives you an opportunity to understand different points of view on different issues in life. Most importantly, college years give you friendships that you cherish for a lifetime.

by Manali Oak.

Read more @