Monthly Archives: February 2018

How to Be an Engaging and Highly Effective Educator

Anyone can teach. We teach each other every day. For example, we give instructions to each other for such things as cooking, putting together furniture, and completing household other tasks. However, teaching someone is different than the process of educating someone. Consider the difference between informal learning and formal learning. An example of informal learning would be following a recipe to learn how to cook. In contrast, formal learning occurs within a classroom and usually is accompanied by evaluation and assessment. It may seem that teaching and educating are the same thing; however, the difference has to do with the place or context for learning.

This is the same distinction can be made for teaching informally (giving instructions) and teaching students in a formal classroom environment. A person enters the field of education as a profession – either full time in traditional academic institutions or as an adjunct (or part time) instructor. The reasons vary for why someone would choose to be in the classroom. A traditional full time professor may likely be responsible for conducting research, teaching, and publishing scholarly work. An adjunct instructor may teach in a community college, traditional college, or an online school. When someone teaches students in higher education he or she may be called a facilitator, instructor, or professor. This is important as there isn’t a job with the word educator in the title.

The questions I would like to answer include: What then does it mean to be an educator? Does it signify something different than the assigned job title? What I have learned through my work in higher education is that becoming an educator is not an automatic process. Everyone who is teaching adult students is not functioning as an engaging and highly effective educator. However, it is possible to learn how to educate rather than teach and that requires making a commitment to the profession.

What Does It Mean to Teach?

Consider teaching as part of the system of traditional, primary education. Those classes are teacher-led and children as students are taught what and how to learn. The teacher is considered to be the expert and directs the learning process. A teacher is someone who is highly trained and works to engage the minds of his or her students. This style of teacher-led instructional continues into higher education, specifically traditional college classrooms. The teacher still stands at the front and center of the class delivering information, and students are used to this format because of their experience in primary education. The instructor disseminates knowledge through a lecture and students study to pass the required examinations or complete other required learning activities.

Within higher education, teachers may be called instructors and they are hired as subject matter experts with advanced content knowledge. The job requirements usually include holding a specific number of degree hours in the subject being taught. Teachers may also be called professors in traditional college classes, and those positions require a terminal degree with additional research requirements. For all of these roles, teaching is meant to signify someone who is guiding the learning process by directing, telling, and instructing students. The instructor or professor is in charge, and the students must comply and follow as directed. Here is something to consider: If that is the essence of teaching, is there a difference between that and educating students? Is the role of a teacher the same as that of an educator?

What Does It Mean to be an Educator?

Consider some basic definitions to begin with as a means of understanding the role of an educator. The word “education” refers to giving instruction; “educator” refers to the person who provides instruction and is someone who is skilled in teaching; and teaching is aligned with providing explanations. I have expanded upon these definitions so that the word “educator” includes someone who is skilled with instruction, possesses highly developed academic skills, and holds both subject matter knowledge and knowledge of adult education principles.

Skilled with Instruction: An educator is someone who should be skilled in the art of classroom instruction, knowing what instructional strategies are effective and the areas of facilitation that need further development. An experienced educator develops methods that will bring course materials to life by adding relevant context and prompting students to learn through class discussions and other learning activities. Instruction also includes all of the interactions held with students, including all forms of communication, as every interaction provides an opportunity for teaching.

Highly Developed Academic Skills: An educator must also have strong academic skills and at the top of that list are writing skills. This requires strong attention to detail on the part of the educator and in all forms of messages communicated, including anything written, presented, and sent via email. The ability to demonstrate strong academic skills is especially important for anyone who is teaching online classes as words represent the instructor.

The use of proper formatting guidelines, according to the style prescribed by the school, is also included in the list of critical academic skills. For example, many schools have implemented APA formatting guidelines as the standard for formatting papers and working with sources. An educator cannot adequately guide students and provide meaningful feedback if the writing style has not been mastered.

Strong Knowledge Base: An educator needs to develop a knowledge base that contains subject matter expertise, as related to the course or courses they are teaching, along with knowledge of adult education principles. I know of many educators who have the required credit hours on their degree transcripts, yet they may not have extensive experience in the field they teach. This will still allow these educators to teach the course, provided that they take time to read the course textbook and find methods of applying it to current practices within the field.

Many schools hire adjuncts with extensive work experience as the primary criteria, rather than knowledge of adult learning principles. Those instructors I have worked with who do have a strong adult education knowledge base generally acquired it through ongoing professional development. That was my goal, when I decided on a major for my doctoral degree, to understand how adults learn so that I could transform from an instructor to an educator.

Becoming an Engaging and Highly Effective Educator

I do not believe that many instructors intentionally consider the need to make a transformation from working as an instructor to functioning as an educator. When someone is hired to teach a class, someone other than a traditional college professor, they often learn through practice and time what works well in the classroom. There will likely be classroom audits and recommendations made for ongoing professional development. Gradually the typical instructor will become an educator as they seek out resources to help improve their teaching practices. However, I have worked with many adjunct online instructors who rely on their subject matter expertise alone and do not believe there is a reason to grow as an educator. For anyone who would like to make the transformation and become an engaging and highly effective educator, there are steps that can be taken and practices that can be implemented.

Step One: Continue to Develop Your Instructional Practice

While any educator can learn through time on the job, it is possible to become intentional about this growth. There are numerous online resources, publications, workshops, webinars, and professional groups that would allow you to learn new methods, strategies, and practices. There are also social media websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that allow for the exchange of ideas and resources within a global community of educators.

You can also utilize self-reflection as a means of gauging your effectiveness. I have found that the best time to review my instructional practice occurs immediately after a class concludes. That is a time when I can assess the strategies I have used and determine if those methods were effective. Even reviewing end of course student surveys may provide insight into the perspective of my students.

Step Two: Continue to Develop Your Academic Skills

I know from my work with online faculty development that this is an area of development that many educators could use. However, it is often viewed as a low priority – until it is noted in classroom audits. If an educator has weak academic writing skills, it will interfere with their ability to provide comprehensive feedback for students. For online instructors, that has an even greater impact when posted messages contain errors with spelling, grammar, and formatting. The development of academic skills can be done through the use of online resources or workshops. Many online schools I have worked for offer faculty workshops and this is a valuable self-development resource.

Step Three: Continue to Develop Your Subject Matter Expertise

Every educator has subject matter expertise that they can draw upon. However, the challenge is keeping that knowledge current as you continue to teach for several years. The best advice I can offer is to find resources that allow you to read and learn about current thinking, research, and best practices in your chosen field. This is essential to your instructional practice as students can ascertain whether you appear to be current in your knowledge, or outdated and seemingly out of touch. Even the use of required textbooks does not ensure that you are utilizing the most current information as knowledge evolves quickly in many fields.

Step Four: Continue to Develop Your Knowledge of Adult Learning

The last step or strategy that I can recommend is to gain knowledge about adult learning theories, principles, and practices. If you are not familiar with the basics there are concepts you can research and include critical thinking, andragogy, self-directed learning, transformational learning, learning styles, motivation, and cognition. My suggestion is to find and read online sources related to higher education and then find a subject that interests you to research further. I have found that the more I read about topics I enjoy, the more I am cultivating my interest in ongoing professional development. What you will likely find is that what you learn will have a positive influence on your work as an educator and will enhance all areas of your instructional practice.

Working as an educator, or someone who is highly engaged in the process of helping students learn, starts with a commitment to make this a career rather than a job. I have developed a vision related to how I want to be involved in each class I teach and I recommend the same strategy for you. You may find it useful to develop teaching goals for your career and link your classroom performance to those goals. For example, do you want to complete the required facilitation tasks or would you rather put in the additional time necessary to create nurturing class conditions?

After developing a vision and teaching goals, you can create a professional development plan to prompt your learning and growth in all of the areas I have addressed above. While this strategy may require an investment of time, it is helpful to remember that we always make time for whatever we believe is most important. Being an educator is not sustaining a focus on job functions, rather it is cultivating a love of what you do and learning how to excel for the benefit of your students. Becoming an engaging and highly effective educator occurs when you decide that teaching students is only part of the learning process, and you work to transform who you are and how you function, while working and interacting with your students.

The Prevailing Delusion About Online College Degrees

A delusion is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a false belief regarding the self or persons, or objects, that persists despite the facts, and one of the most prevalent and hard-hitting delusions that have prevailed in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries is the extremely fallacious belief by millions of rank-and-file human beings around the world, especially in the USA, that computer Internet educational pursuits produce as much academic learning for a person as does traditional classroom instruction. As there have been for decades of time, there are currently many recalcitrant adolescent public school students who greatly dislike the free structured schooling that they are required to attend in classrooms for twelve years in order to attain basic academic skills and a high school diploma. These young misguided men and women account for approximately 67 percent of all public school students, and, in most cases merely occupy classroom seats, with their minds absently elsewhere, during their elementary, middle school, and high school years and end-up barely attaining the minimum grades necessary for high school graduation. The real sad fact is that, for the American public schools to retain some delusive credibility in properly educating the bulk of America’s youth, around 70 percent of that 67 percent of all public school students have their grades pragmatically padded with huge disproportionate academic curves in order to make it seem that most of the American youth leaving high school at eighteen years of age are basically educated and ready to, either, enter the workforce or attend college. Yet, these basically uneducated, barely literate men and women leave public high school, and currently end-up, within three-or-more years, enlisting in the military, attending junior college or trade school, apprenticing for a trade, continuing to live at home off their parents, or becoming mendicants on the streets. Every year thousands of these millions of young people, fifteen to eighteen years of age, run away from home to end-up spending five-to-ten years on the streets, many of them turning to crime, before they realize the time and the precious free resources that they have wasted through contrariness and indolence.

Since around 1995, a great many of these millions of poorly educated young adults, eighteen to thirty years of age, have sought to bypass the need for hard work, and have been given the grand delusion that they can accomplish with a personal computer, alone at home for thousands of dollars, what they refused to accomplish during the twelve years of a free public education they were offered as teenagers. What do I mean by this? Seventy years ago, most graduates of public high schools actually graduated on a real eleventh-to-twelfth grade level and were prepared to, either, enter a college or university and perform real college-level work, or to enter a salable trade. As proper child-rearing in American homes (parents helping and encouraging their children to succeed in the public schools) became, over the decades after 1950, more of a burden than a privilege and responsibility for husbands and wives, who were more goal seekers than they were fathers and mothers, the male and female children of these very egoistic men and women were essentially left alone in the home to struggle academically by themselves during their formative and adolescent years. As a result, what used to be real high school diplomas conferred upon most eighteen year old graduates of public schools became no better than certificates showing merely 12 years of attendance, while junior college degrees (A.A.s and A.S.s) became certifications of remediation for high school deficiency. This process of remediation merely indicate that the students had compensated for their lack of academic attainment during their high school years at community and junior colleges during two years of study. Hence, as logically follows, traditional baccalaureate degrees now conferred upon senior college graduates, who matriculate from community and junior colleges, are hardly equivalent, to any degree conferred upon university graduates during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s.

Now we arrive at the crux of the issue at hand, the attainment of B.A., B.S., M.A., M.S., and, even, PhD degrees by these under-educated students from colleges and universities offering complete online Internet curriculum programs leading to conferral of these degrees. What happens when under-educated men and women, who graduated high school on probably a ninth-to-tenth grade level, attempt to do real university-level academic work five-to-ten years after they leave the public schools? Now remember that a high percentage of these individuals have spent time in the U.S. military taking military enlisted courses taught on an eighth-grade level and are told by these universities that, if they enroll in particular online degree programs and pay the required tuition, they will be given college-credit for military courses and for “life experience (whatever that means)” that will lead to the total 120 hours of college credit necessary for a baccalaureate degree. Moreover, a great many of these under-educated adults, 25-to-35 years of age, begin their so-called college educations online without any previous junior college remedial study.

So, have you, yet, figured out the dismal result of the grand delusion? These millions of under-educated students, who have anxiously embraced the computer-age, are actually made to believe that they can use the Internet, at home alone, to study the books and course materials provided by online universities and colleges, without the presence of an instructor/professor, in order to learn the equivalent of what is taught during four years of classroom instruction at traditional brick-and-mortar universities. What this was called in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s was correspondence/distance learning effect, which was not approved as equivalent to college classroom instruction by regional accrediting commissions. Presently, 98 percent of all Internet online college degree programs offered by most accredited universities and colleges are not interactive; that is, they do not provide video-teleconferencing for designated weekly lesson periods where the individual students are connected together to allow every student enrolled in the particular course to see his, or her, classmates, and the instructor/professor, on a computer screen during the lesson period, and to interact with each other during the class. As compared to the tuition cost of a three-unit undergraduate classroom course in American history, at the University of Maryland, which is around $500, the cost of an interactive online Internet course is about $700, and, invariably, the Socratic method cannot be effectively utilized by the instructor during this very expensive electronic interaction.

Most online undergraduate and graduate courses are, however, “not” interactive to any degree, and the only means for a student to communicate with an instructor, or other classmates, during the semester or quarter course period is by email, and that is regarded by most rational people as an extremely impersonal and disadvantageous means of effective communication. Let’s say the under-educated undergraduate student lives in South Carolina and is enrolled in an undergraduate online degree program at the University of Maryland. The student has all of the course textbooks and study materials, for a semester, mailed to his residence and he, or she, is allowed to perform the prescribed lesson assignments whenever convenient. There are no verbal lectures unless the instructor records them and allows the students to access them, along with the other course materials, using “Blackboard” software. If this is the case, the tuition for the course is substantially increased. Now, believe it or not, the instructor may actually live in another distant state, such as Minnesota, and a student may be unable to contact the instructor by email for extended periods of time. Hence, the under-educated undergraduate student is essentially left alone for most of the semester or quarter to study the course materials alone, and to take un-proctored, open-book, multiple choice question tests for grades, when the student’s academic honesty is not even questioned.

During the 19th and 20th Centuries, this type of learning was called the Lincoln-effect, which was named for the way Abraham Lincoln supposedly learned to be a lawyer, and was called then by most colleges and universities as a poor way to learn for the average student. Lincoln learned on his own by reading and studying what he needed to know in order to succeed in his legal endeavors, and his success was attributable to the fact that he was an extremely intelligent and intuitive person, capable of learning on his own, which the great majority of all public high school graduates are unable to do. Even today, a college or university will “not” give a person credit for learning independently, and actually knowing and mastering college-level course material before enrolling in a university and paying for the course. Then, even after a “very smart” person pays the costly tuition for the course and the professor allows the aspiring individual to take the course’s comprehensive final examination, the examination is, in most cases, not the regular final examination taken by classroom students, but one that has been made inexorably more difficult for the express purpose of ensuring that the very smart person does not make a passing grade. Does this sound unfair and sorely inequitable? Yes it does, because it is! The current academic system is staggeringly unfair to, both, the very intelligent and the very under-educated. The startling reality is that nearly all of the colleges and universities in the USA are much more concerned with advanced learning as a profitable money-making business than what it should be, the scared responsibility of helping intuitive and intelligently capable men and women, who are prepared for college-level work, to attain the learning and research skills that they need to succeed in opening new frontiers of the natural and physical sciences, mathematics, humanities, and literature. The sad fact is that baccalaureate and graduate degrees are being awarded every year to under-educated men and women who have completed undergraduate and graduate online Internet degree programs that are, in no way, equivalent to the degrees attained through classroom work under the close supervision of professors and instructors.

This particular grand delusion’s grave and deprecating effect, which I have endeavored to explicate in this essay, is, simply, that these men and women who have attained these online pseudo-degrees actually believe that they are as educated, intuitive, and intelligent as other men and women who have attended traditional colleges and universities to attain their undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is like comparing an online University of Phoenix baccalaureate degree in economics to a B.A. degree in economics obtained through continuous classroom study at the University of Texas at Austin, or at any other tradition accredited brick and mortar institute of high learning. The two degrees are basically incomparable. Yet, the majority of the American people of the 21st Century, 25-to-40 years of age, who have actually been conditioned to believe that obtaining college degrees quickly through superficial and watered-down online study is entirely equal to the painstaking process of obtaining a four-year baccalaureate degree through continual classroom attendance, have contributed greatly, by participation, to the educational diminution of the American republic, to its relegation to the status of a third-world nation. America now ranks 38th in the world in educational achievement. Can you imagine that, when, from 1945 until around 1970, the USA ranked first among all nations in population literacy, educational superiority, and scientific achievement?

As to the origin and advancement of this grand delusion, the reader is owed an explanation. How could this progressive and aberrant mind-set about the fundamentals of advanced learning have become so destructively prevalent in the latter-part of the 20th Century by sheer accident, or how could it have been widely accepted by the people as a standard model of educational endeavor through the visible efforts of one great man or woman? These two foregoing accepted explanations for the cause of historical events, accident and “the great man” hardly explain the subtle, publicly unnoticeable, events that have occurred from the late 19th Century through the mid-and-late 20th Century, which, working collectively, have caused deliberate systematic change in the way Americans are educated. The “accidental,” and “great man” explanations for the occurrence of history don’t hardly explain the sad miserable events that has plagued human beings from the outset of recorded history. The third accepted explanation accepted by contemporary historians for sad history, conspiracy, is the most reasonable and plausible reason for the occurrence of subtle incremental events that have collectively combined over the decades to produce an effect such as the grand delusion about the proper methodology for American learning. When a thorough investigation of the facts reveals the motives of conspiring men and women over an extended period of time to cause a major shift in the presiding philosophy underlying the essential rudiments of public education, those facts can, either, be closely examined by the existing traditional and electronic media and accepted by the American public, or capriciously discounted by that same media and hidden from the public. Why would an objective and independent media hide such scurrilous facts from the public? A free and independent media would not do such a blasphemous thing, but a media bought and paid for by the powerful and wealthy men and women who have conspired together to bring about such a shift in philosophy would so such a thing quite capably.

As Thomas Jefferson stated in 1805, “I’d rather have newspapers without government, than a government without newspapers.” What he actually meant was that he would rather have newspapers willing to publish the facts and the truth in the absence of government than a government unwilling to allow newspapers to publish the truth about what the government is doing against the interest of the governed. The American Constitutional Framers worked together to produce a state that would serve the people, not a state to be served by a people indoctrinated by government to be subservient. The latter status, a state to be served by the people, was predicated upon a political philosophy called Hegelian “statism”. A free-thinking people, such as the original American population that ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1789, are very concerned about individual liberty. As Henry Ward Beecher succinctly stated, “Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe.” This goes along quite well with what Thomas Jefferson stated in 1779, during the American Revolution. He said, “I have sworn upon the altar of liberty eternal hostility against all tyranny over the mind of man.” These immortal words, among the many others he wrote, today grace Jefferson’s memorial in Washington, D.C. All of the Constitutional Framers, who had also signed the Declaration of Independence, realized that “as a man, or woman, thinks, so he, or she, is,” and that perception of reality is the means whereby the American people will choose who, and what, they are. This is why the Constitutional Framers wrote the preamble of the U.S. Constitution to express its explicit purpose, which is stated with the first eleven words of the last twenty-three words of the Preamble “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The Preamble didn’t say that purpose of the U.S. constitution was to “establish justice, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare.” No, those particular things were a means for implementing the ultimate purpose, which was, and is, to secure the blessings of liberty.” Some might argue that the constitution of the Soviet Union had established a form a justice, provided for a common defense of the Soviet people, and promoted a form of general welfare for the Soviet people. But there was no liberty for the Soviet people to determine their own destinies with their independent pursuits of happiness. No, a communist dictatorship does not secure the blessings of personal liberty to a governed people, but, rather, just the opposite, which is control over the minds and bodies of the people. It’s certainly strange that most federal and State politicians today don’t consider the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution an essential part of the Constitution; but it really is.

“Statism,” socialist fascist philosophy that the people of a nation-state are to be conditioned to serve the state, began in the new USA as a pragmatic sociopolitical ideology embraced by wealthy ideologues in several the New England States in the latter-part of the 19th Century. I know that that’s a long way to look backward on American history to collect the relevant and pertinent facts about what really happened, but those facts were duly recorded by historians, journalists, and ordinary Americans in the form of journals, diaries, books written by writers who had actually witnessed those facts being established, and newspaper articles documenting those facts. The five ‘Ws” and one “H” of historical research are the questions and inquiries that lead to a cogent explication of the issues. Who, What, Where, When, and Why, and, of course, How, constitute the basis for historical research and the answers to how, and why, sad events occurred. There have been wealthy powerful aristocratic people in the USA who, from the outset of the republic, did not, at all, like the idea of a common rabble of human beings, the rank-and-file American People, being allowed to choose democratically, by the vote, who would represent them in a bicameral Congress and legislate laws that would affect and diminish the power and wealth of those aristocrats. In effect, these ideological oligarchies, shadow governments within the State and federal governments, were comprised of super-wealthy people who feared freedom and liberty as a political means of making them less powerful and less wealthy. Hence, came the collective surreptitious efforts of these shadowy oligarchies to systematically control the minds of the population in order to secure their wealth and power. These wealthy, powerful, and pragmatic people, though actually very few in number, knew quite well that the proper education and intuitiveness of that common rabble, the great majority of the U.S. population, would cause that great cross-section of Americans to insightfully seek the passage of laws that would enhance the ability of the common People to eventually, through industry and entrepreneurship, compete with, and eventually overshadow, the controlling aristocratic power-brokers; such as common self-educated, and brightly intuitive individuals like Cyrus McCormick, Eli Whitney, Elias Howe, Thomas Edison, and Philo T. Farnsworth, the poor Idaho farm-boy who was invented television.

In a succinct cut to the chase, the ten decades of passed time that have elapsed in the 19th Century have brought to pass the subtle, and extremely detrimental increments of change to public education in the American republic. For example, the ability to read and understand the published written word was regarded by the honored Framers as the keystone to public awareness and understanding of current events in State and federal government in order to assure an intelligent and informed electorate. The basic methodology for teaching America’s youth began as phonics, which was considered by such Framers as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams as the proper methodology for teaching children, and illiterate adults, how to read. That was way that they had learned to read, and Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams had used traditional phonics to teach their own children how to read effectively, and the methodology was used effectively in the first public schools established in America before, and after the American Revolution. The first public schools established in the new United States of American were locally controlled and had nothing at all to do with the federal, or State, government. The parents of the children hired teachers to teach reading skills in these original one-room schools were for children of all ages, and phonics, learning to identify words by their vowel and consonant sounds, was used to teach reading.

Yet, another methodology for reading was created around the year 1813 by a man named Thomas H. Gallaudet. Gallaudet created the “see-say” method of teaching deaf-mutes how to read, since abnormal people could not hear word-letter sounds and learn through the normal use of phonics. Then in 1835, Horace Mann, a college educated intellectual, who had, himself, learned to read phonetically, was instrumental in getting the “see-say” reading primer, “Mother’s Primer” established for use by all primary schools in the State of Massachusetts; but by 1843, the very normal and reasonable parents of Massachusetts rejected the “see-say” method and phonics was restored as the standard method for teaching all normal primary reading in the State of Massachusetts how to read. Yet, Thomas Gallaudet, his children, and grandchildren were all graduates of Yale University, as was Thomas Mann, and they were also members of a secret order that existed then at Yale, and still exists and flourishes in the 21st Century. This was, and is, the Secret Order of the Skull and Bones. In fact, Horace Mann was co-founder of Skull and Bones, and it is much more than a passing thought as to why Mann, who had learned to read using phonics, would have pushed and shoved to get the “see-say” reading methodology, originally designed for abnormal deaf-mutes, accepted as a reading methodology for normal primary-age children. Furthermore, the false propaganda disseminated about the, supposedly, successful use of the “see-say” methodology, from around 1853 to 1900, resulted in the adoption of “see-say” by the influential Columbia Teachers College and the Lincoln School, which propelled the thrust of the speciously new John Dewey-inspired system of education that was geared away from the fundamentals of learning towards, rather, preparing primary child to be subservient units in the organic society instead of intelligent and intuitive individuals who could read comprehensively and effectively. ‘See-say” was ideal for the proponents of Dewey. Since learning to read effectively was the primary key for unlocking a child’s ability to read to learn, the Dewey-system deliberately eviscerated the one essential key step in the learning process, which would ultimately culminate in producing an informed electorate. See-say” also appeared to be an easy way to learn to read, despite the recognized fact that learning to read well required personal discipline and hard work.

Hence, I sincerely believe that the rational and reasonable American reading this essay will be clearly able to cogently extrapolate the inexorable and egregious results of adopting a reading methodology system, “see-say,’ created for “abnormal” deaf-mutes, for systematic use by “all” of the public school districts in all of the States by 1920, in order to teach normal elementary school-age children how to read. It wasn’t adopted by accident or as a result of a grand gesture by a wise man or woman, but, rather, by conspiratorial means over a long period of time The leading educational “authorities” from 1900 to 1920, exclaimed by newspapers, magazines, and radio as “progressives,” in the likeness of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, constituted a select group of, mostly, men who had been educated at Yale University and were members of Skull and Bones. For an ultimately conspiratorial reason, the fundamental wisdom of the Constitutional Framers, regarding the adoption and preservation of phonics, was devalued during this time, and most, that is over 70 percent, of the national electorate were made to believe that what these, supposedly, learned 20th Century men were spouting about educational learning standards for children was based upon truth. Therefore, what is extant today, a nation of dumbed-down adults, is a sad result of a conspiracy that worked its evil in increments over 150 years to the present day. “See-say” is still the predominant methodology for teaching reading in the federally approved “common-core” system of public education. Though there are many private and parochial schools that have continued to teach phonics in the 20th and 21st Centuries, the graduates of these schools make up a very small portion, less than 10 percent, of all the school children in the USA. Most of America’s children, more than 90 percent, are, and will remain to be, products of the public schools.

Fatal System Errors in the US Education

7 Reasons the U.S. Education System Is Failing!

Recently, today actually, I saw a post of a video on Facebook that detailed simple questions posed to university students regarding BASIC social and historic facts, events and the people who govern our country. The results were astounding to say the least! Abject failure and an inability to name or identify ANY of the people, places and events. Let me repeat… NONE.

The formal education system in the U.S. was designed to meet the demands of the industrial revolution by providing basic education to the masses. Pretty simple right? So why is it that we fail to recognize or refuse to acknowledge that the demands are different today? There has not been a calculable redefinition or evolution of the educational system since. This is scary as it will define the failure of our country step-by-step and bit-by-bit until we are reduced to a social collection of ignorance.

Let’s examine the cause and solutions.

1. Closed for Business!

Schools find their existence tied to community standards and financial restraints based on the community support… or lack of. The result is that schools are closing at an alarming rate across the country. The decision to close a school rarely reflects the needs of a community or, more importantly, the needs of the students!

There seems to be less concern for the needs of the communities children’s education than the economic demands of the location of the school or the resources available. Where is the federal government when this happens? Well, they are partially to blame. The government rhetoric details the need for affordable, quality education while they demand that school systems adhere to specific federal mandates that tie the school administration’s hands to comply with political wants. So much for federal support.

2. Two-Gallons of milk in a one-gallon jug!

So, how many kids can you cram into a classroom and still teach effectively? That depends on whether you are looking to teach the children or be a daycare service. I know, pretty harsh but look at the function of schools today. They take your children and house them and feed them for about 6-7 hours a day. Mostly providing them with basic discipline and food that they rarely get a t home! Oh yes, admin it. Teachers are required to discipline your children in a crowded atmosphere where safety is no longer guaranteed and education takes a back seat to providing basic needs that parents are unwilling to, uneducated to or unable to provide. Wait, what about education? Well, there is so little time for that that caring for them takes priority over teaching them.

Secondarily, because of the constraints of federally-mandated guidelines, the children are taught in a cookie-cutter style standard of personality-limiting, creative-minimizing and individually-restrictive processes to get them to their adulthood. Basic education with basic performance that aligns children to basic standards that align with everyone else’s basic needs. Sad because it is done in crowded classrooms where teachers are forced to “teach” more children than one person could attend to. How effective is that?

3. If You Do What You’ve Always Done… You’ll Get What You’ve Always Gotten!

How can we expect our children to excel when their parents are minimally educated. One must understand that this cycle of poor education will produce more poorly educated children who will produce more poorly-educated children and so on and so on. Parents are so busy struggling to make a living today because of a poor economy or a lack of opportunity that there is little time to attend to their children’s education at home let alone at school. Involvement is also critical especially when the parents are minimally educated because they lack the foresight and experience to guide a young person to the right path. The result is a continually-repeated system that fails students and undermines this country’s future. It matters not whether you are poor and struggling to make a living that doesn’t allow for time to teach your kids at home OR whether your well off and struggle to maintain a career that doesn’t allow for time to attend to your kids at home. Either way, the education suffers.

4. Once Stated Always Abated!

I was once told that I was stupid. I was told that I could never learn because I lacked the basic ability to understand or comprehend anything that a normal person was expected to know. Can you imagine? Well, today I am in pursuit of a doctorate in education. Highly educated holding several degrees and formally recognized for my teaching abilities and performance as an educator. So there, take that!

If a child is to be challenged then the child has to recognize their worth and value as an individual. EVERY child is talented and gifted in something and should be recognized for it immediately and consistently. Oh yes, failure happens but that is part of the lesson as well. Individualized learning platforms and initiatives are crucial to the support and future of educational success. The talented and gifted programs require that a child be recognized and advanced because of their special gift instead of the initiative being available to ALL students. I believe that EVERY child has the opportunity to reveal their gift if given the opportunity to allow it to reveal itself. Why limit other children’s opportunity to excel because someone didn’t recognize their talents? Beyond me.

This lack of diversity in basic education is driven by personal prejudices and the nuances of social conformity and economic availability in a school district. Shameful that every student doesn’t have the same opportunity to be recognized for their inevitable contribution to society.

5. There’s a Step to the Prep!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Education Department, 80% of all high school students graduate and student graduation rates are at an all-time high. This sounds great doesn’t it? Well, no it doesn’t because about 80% of high school seniors cannot pass basic proficiency exams or read at a basic level. The fundamental and core foundation for a successful future lies in their ability to read and comprehend and it is failing miserably. Because of a politically-correct mindset and an unwillingness to admit that we are failing we are passing kids without prejudice. What is the dynamic here? Money, acknowledgment, standards, social constraint?

With fewer than 40% of graduating students able to perform basic reading and math skills, what will their future look like? Poor at best because they are set up for failure and aren’t educated enough to know it. They are not prepared for any part of life let alone future education without the basic skills to learn. It seems a path to socialism.

6. Teacher to Preacher!

With the lack of people who are willing to sacrifice their future for low-paying academic careers there is little to choose from in the way of well-educated teachers. Enter teachers. As student education becomes more technology-supported so must teacher innovation education. A once-proud career, teachers are opting for more industrial careers using their basic educational achievements because it pays more and is less restricting. A lack of qualified teachers translates to a lack of quality education from under qualified teachers. The cultural shift in classrooms demands an academic shift in recognizing and utilizing qualified teachers who must meet higher-level standards before being allowed to teach.

Alas, distance learning take the personalization from the process, individualism from the practice and allows for lesser-educated teachers to perform office-like academics instead of teaching-like practices. Poorly educated teachers who are not held to the highest standards will produce poorly-educated students who will perpetuate the same. Pay teachers better and demand more from them and we will produce quality educated people. There is something askew when ball players make millions and teachers make nothing! Time to rethink this one.

7. Girls Will Be Girls and Boys Will Be Boys!

Or will they? There is a huge nationwide divide in the gender makeup of the student population today in schools. The STEM program is experiencing a narrowing range of student diversity as of recent examinations of student diversity in education. Formerly male student dominated academics and careers are changing to a more female dominated academic showing. Women are now able to perform as well or better than their male counterparts in science, technology engineering and math… previously neglected and they have always had the ability but unrecognized or acknowledged.

A globally competitive market demands equal and qualified individuals to perform and defend the right of opportunity regardless of gender, race, creed or social standing. As we develop our more-diverse communities, so should we develop our academically-driven future with better-educated people… no matter what!

Education Loans Can Augment

Education never ends – it is not said without reason. We are educated all our lives and getting an education not only is a great achievement but something that gives you the tools to find your own way in the world. Education is indispensable; little do we realize how much more it can bring to us in terms of worldly amplifications. Anyone can have propensity and the natural endowment for education. But one might not have the resources to finance their education. You certainly can’t let lack of resources impede you from advancing your prospects through education. Then you accidentally stumble upon the word ‘education loans’. Loans for education – you have never thought about it as a feasible arrangement. Education loans can open newer panoramas in regard to your education aspirations.

Education loans are open to all people in all its myriad forms. Education loans can realize your education plans or the education plans of your children. You can strengthen you own future and the future of your son or daughter with education loans. An extensive range of student and parent loans are presented under the category of education loans. There are many types of education loans. Discerning about the types of education loans will help you in making the accurate decision. The single largest resource of education loans is federal loan. The two main federal education loan programmes are the Federal Family Education Loan Programme and the Federal Direct Loan Programme. In the Federal Family Education Loan Programme the bank, credit union or the school is the lender. While the federal direct loans programme, the department of education is the lender.

Private education loans are offered to people so that they can provide financial backup to their education plans. Private education loans are not endorsed by other government agencies but are provided by other financial institutions. Private education loans programme are optimum for both undergraduate and graduate studies.

Formal education is requisite for future success. Though this is not a hard and fast rule, but education certainly helps you in gaining an upper hand. With universities getting expensive by each day an education loan will certainly give you an incentive to go ahead with your education plans. Each year while contemplating on your education plans the thought of finances almost invariably comes in. While working towards you degree, you are constantly plagued about paying for the education fees, books, and other living expenses. Education loans can provide funding for tuition fees, board and room, books computer, and even student travel. An education loan can help you with all these expenses. Education loans are sufficient enough to take care of all these expenses. If you have been forced to drop your education for any reason, you can still take up your education at any point of time. Irrespective of your age and also where you have left your education.

There are no specific eligibility criteria for education loans. Any person who is in need of sponsorship for education can find an education loan that befits his or her financial necessity. Loan amount on education loans vary with the kind of education you want to pursue. The repayment options with education loans will similarly accommodate your personal financial preferences. You can either repay interest amount while still in school or six months after graduation. Education loans offer upto ten years for repayments. The refund alternatives on education loans also include deferment, forbearance and consolidation. The various sites on education loans can give you innumerable repayment options and monetary remuneration.

Education loans will help you in planning your life after graduation. However, an education loan like every loan is a huge financial obligation. An education loans is generally the first substantial loan for most people and therefore the first major expense. Do not be completely dependent on your education loans for the funding of your complete education. Try to apply for any other financial sustenance like university grants, scholarships, fellowships, work study programmes and assistance ship and any other form of aid. This will certainly encourage a fluid dispensation of your education loans. You can start by going to the financial aid office in your school or university. It will provide you further insight to the kind of education loans, you must apply for.

Education is an experience of life. It is so rewarding in itself that it helps you to manage almost everything in your life. Education loans discipline your impulse towards education and training into a fruitful contrivance. The payoff is delicious in terms of improved quality of life. Education is expensive! Is it? With education loans it can’t be. Now, you don’t have to take the road in front of you. Make your own road with education loans.

Educational Problem Solving

Abstract

This article introduces the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site, describing competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.

Introduction

The aim of this article is to introduce to the world the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article is addressed to those readers who may have an educational problem bogging them and who may therefore be looking for a way out of their predicament. The reader may be a parent, child, or student.

It is a common fact of life that we all have problems and that we are often frustrated or we tend to lash out because of our inability to find accessible and reliable information about our problems. This specialist site fills this need – as our pragmatic friend for solving our educational problems.

To be of the greatest use to people a problem solving site must combine pragmatic discussions of their personal or professional problem with merchant products that provide more detailed information. Typically, the web site will provide free information in the form of news, articles, and advice, which direct the visitor on what to do to solve her problems. Complementing this, the web site will also provide merchant products which discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving her problem. This means that the most effective, visitor-oriented problem-solving site will be an information-packed commercial site – and so is the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site and its specialist sites.

The approach that we have adopted below is to describe competitive offerings, the customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability features.

Competitive Offerings

The following are the top educational sites on the Internet, along with their offerings.

US Department of Education. It defines the US education policy and provides information on financial aid, educational research and statistics, grants and contracts, and teaching and learning resources.

Educational Testing Service. It provides a range of test resources.

FunBrain.com. It provides educational games for K-8 kids.

PrimaryGames.com. It provides fun learning tools and games for kids.

GEM. It provides educational resources such as lesson plans and other teaching and learning resources.

Education World. It provides advice on lesson plans, professional development, and technology integration.

NASA Education Enterprise. It provides educational materials and information relating to space exploration.

Spartacus Educational. It is a British online encyclopedia that focuses on historical topics.

Department for Education and Skills. It is a UK government department site that offers information and advice on various educational and skills topics.

Times Educational Supplement. It offers teaching news, teaching & educational resources, and active forums to help UK teachers.
All these sites are useful in the domains that they cover. Their main limitations are as follows:

1. They tend to cover only a very narrow segment of the educational market.
2. They do not take as their starting point the daily educational needs of the typical family.
3. They lack a problem focus; i.e., they do not formulate the typical learning and educational problems that pupils, students, and parents face on a daily basis.
4. As a result of the preceding point, the solutions offered are not as incisive (i.e. as problem-centred) as they could be.
5. They do not offer merchant products that deepen the visitor’s understanding of her problem and of the consequent solutions.

The educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site addresses these problems by targeting a multiplicity of market segments, adopting a customer profile that fits the typical education-pursuing family, considering the specific needs or problems that this family may face, offering incisive (problem-centred) solutions to the various problems, and offering a range of merchant products that deepen the visitor’s appreciation of her problems and of the solutions that are applicable to them.

Customer Profile

The customer profile or target visitor characteristics of the educational solutions module is the same as for all specialist sites of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The site has been designed to meet the needs of visitors who have an educational problem bogging them. It is designed for both males and females, even though it is often convenient to refer to just one sex when writing.

This visitor uses search engines to research information about her personal or professional problem, with the intention of finding solutions to it. The visitor is serious about solving her problem and is therefore willing to buy products that help her to achieve her mission, provided that she can find reliable and honest information about relevant products so that she can make an informed decision about which ones to acquire. This information will help her to apply her finances economically, and hence avoid wasting money.

The visitor will want a money-back guarantee so that if a product does not live up to expectations or if she were misled into buying a product she can get a refund. Such a guarantee absolves her of purchase risks.

The visitor is intelligent (without necessarily being a genius), educated (without necessarily being a PhD), computer literate (without necessarily being a computer guru), and money-minded (without necessarily being a freebie hunter or an unemployed person). This of course does not mean that freebie hunters or unemployed persons cannot gain a thing from the site. To the contrary, there is a great deal of free information on the site. Just that it is hard to see how anyone can gain the full benefits of the site without buying products.

The visitor wants high quality information products (usually in digital form) and wants to pay the cheapest price for these (without paying so much emphasis on price that she compromises quality). The visitor also wants free bonus offers that are attached to the purchased goods.

The visitor is self-reliant and can cope on her own by reading, digesting, and applying advice about her problem until she solves it or discovers that she needs help from a professional, at which point her acquired knowledge will help her to reduce her consulting fees. As a result of the knowledge gained, the visitor will be able to assess consultants in order to avoid incompetent or fraudulent ones.

Problem-Centred Solutions

Our free solutions are organised in the form of pragmatic articles that are written by top experts. Each article addresses a specific daily problem, but does not go into detail. It explains the problem and tells the visitor what she must do to solve her problem. However, it does not tell the visitor how she must solve it – this is too much for an article. To find out about the how, the visitor must buy a product (usually an e-book or e-book set) that goes into greater depth.

The set of educational articles that we have chosen, to provide initial solution to a visitor’s problem are as follows:

Signs of a Gifted Child – Informs parents on how to identify whether or not their children are gifted.

Essential Parenting Lessons for Enriching Your Child’s Education – Teaches parents how to enhance their child’s education.

Using Positive Affirmations to Be a Better Student – Teaches students how to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.

They Are Just Afraid of Writing – Teaches writing skills to students

How Can Parents Encourage Their Children to Read? – Shows parents how they can improve their children’s reading skills.

Test Preparation Tutoring – Discusses the topic of tutoring students to prepare for tests or exams.

Test Taking Strategies – Discusses various strategies for taking and passing tests or exams

Playing and Winning the Scholarship Game – Describes how to win scholarships.

How to Get a Scholarship to a UK University – Describes how to win scholarships to a UK university.

Saving Money for College – Instructs students on how they can save money in preparation for college.

Student Loans: When Your Educational Dreams Can’t Compete with the Cost – Explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

Education Loans Can Fund a Higher Degree to Boost Your Career – Also explains to students the benefits of a student loan.

The Secret to US Department of Education Loans – Teaches students how to get a US DoE loan to finance their higher education.

Student Loan Consolidation – Save Money, Pay Less, Spend More – Explains to graduates how to make use of loan consolidation to reduce their student loan repayments.

Higher Education: Finding the Right College for You – Explains to students how to find the right college or university for their higher education studies.

Mobile Learning – An Alternative Worth Considering – Explains the concept of mobile learning and its place in education.

Online Degrees – Is Online Education Right for You? – Analyses the merits of online learning as compared to traditional learning.

An Online College Education Overview – Reviews the whole concept of online learning.

Finding the Right Quotation for Your Paper or Speech Online – Shows writers and speakers how to find the right quotation to use in their writings or speeches.

Collaboration: An Important Leadership Development Skill – Explores the useful concept of collaboration and its role in leadership development.

At the end of each article is a list of merchant products that supplement the article’s content. A link is also included for accessing the educational product catalogue.

Target Markets and Product Offerings

Now let us turn to the target markets and their associated product offerings. We have positioned the segments to address the various needs of a visitor over a period of time, and at any given time a customer may belong to one or more of the market segments. There are three general classes of products offered: ClickBank products, Google products, and eBay products. Google and eBay products are presented on each page of the site. ClickBank products are grouped into product categories that match the target markets. These categories and their markets are as follows.

Children and Parenting. This consists of visitors who want parenting solutions for improving their children’s upbringing. Their needs are met through the Children and Parenting section of the educational product catalogue.

Difficult Admissions. This consists of visitors who want to learn how to get admission into top universities. Their needs are met through the Difficult Admissions section of the educational product catalogue.

Esoteric Needs. This consists of visitors with unusual needs. Their needs are met through the Esoteric Needs section of the educational product catalogue.

Financial Aid. This consists of visitors looking for scholarships, grants, or loans. Their needs are met through the Financial Aid section of the educational product catalogue.

Leadership Skills. This consists of visitors looking to develop their leadership skills. Their needs are met through the Leadership Skills section of the educational product catalogue.

Learning. This consists of visitors who want to improve their learning ability. Their needs are met through the Learning section of the educational product catalogue.

Mental Speed. This consists of visitors who want to explode their mental speed. Their needs are met through the Mental Speed section of the educational product catalogue.

Positive Affirmations. This consists of visitors who want to transform their negative dispositions into a positive mindset in order to improve their performance. Their needs are met through the Positive Affirmations section of the educational product catalogue.

Speaking. This consists of visitors looking to improve their speaking skills. Their needs are met through the Speaking section of the educational product catalogue.

Tests and Exams. This consists of visitors looking to master exam technique. Their needs are met through the Tests and Exams section of the educational product catalogue.

Writing. This consists of visitors looking to improve their writing skills. Their needs are met through the Writing section of the educational product catalogue.

Usability Considerations

Usability has been enhanced to make it easy for the visitor to find solutions to her problem, by following these steps:

1. The first thing the visitor sees are a set of articles whose titles represent the specific problem area they address. The articles are accessed from the Educational Problem Solving menu of the navigation bar to the left of the screen or from the Educational Problem Solving main page. By scanning these articles the visitor can identify whether or not her problem is covered. If not the visitor can check the educational product catalogue through the Product Catalogues menu of the same navigation bar, to see whether a product exists that answers her query. If she finds nothing she knows that her problem is not addressed. She can proceed to the Related Sites pages, which are accessible from the left navigation bar.

2. If the visitor finds an article that addresses her problem then she can begin to explore that; at the end of the article she will find products that discuss her problem more deeply. She can also access the educational product catalogue through an article page.

Conclusion

This article has introduced the educational solutions module of the world’s most recent personal and professional problem solving site. The article has examined competitive offerings, the target customer profile, problem-oriented solutions, target markets, product offerings, and usability considerations. It concludes that the module is a major contribution to the information superhighway.