Entertainment for Children

The following article will give you effective ideas on the different aspects that are involved in entertainment for children and how to go about arranging for it.

If you’ve ever spent any time with children, let’s say roughly around the age group of 3-6, you’d know that they are easily distracted and they need constant entertainment. Coming up with different ways and techniques for the same can get tough even for the seasoned player, which in this case is a person who spends a lot of time with children. Parents who have kids of this age are often baffled about how to keep their kids busy through entertainment and how to keep inventing newer methods in children’s entertainment all the time. That is where this article will help, cause it gives you some forms of entertainment that you can use and keep the kids engaged. Continue reading for some tips and ideas.

Entertaining children can be looked at in two ways, if you ask me. There’s entertainment for pure entertainment sake and then there’s entertainment that helps in child development by teaching them different concepts of life while entertaining them.

Arts and Crafts
Different forms of kid’s crafts make for some of the best entertainers for kids. This range offers so many choices that it can literally get confusing when it comes to making a choice. Different forms of crafts provide for a lot of color and activities, and that is what the kids enjoy. Playing with dough and clay, or making things out of colored paper is what the kids love most. Even a simple activity like beading a necklace can keep the kids engaged for a long time. Just make sure that the material provided to them is safe.

Activity Books
Activity books include coloring books, maze books, finding words, finding hidden objects, and a whole other set of options. Sit with them and take them through a couple of things, then when they get the hang of it, leave them to it.

Puppet Shows
Puppet shows provide for a lot of entertainment in one medium. There’s colors and objects of different shapes and sizes, there’s music, and most importantly―there are stories! Kids love stories and the different voices that are put on by the puppeteers.

This one has got to be the most common choice that is used as entertainment for children. There is wide range in this one and it is the easiest thing to get hooked on to. Many parents try and limit the watching hours for their kids as it can get quite addictive. There have been several shows that have been developed with the aim of teaching kids through entertainment, like ‘Sesame Street’, and these are both fun and provide knowledge.

Kids Stories
Kids and stories. Stories and kids. There is an innate connection there. Everyone loves a good story and kids are no different. There are several new forms of storytelling that have been developed over the years. There are the fairy tale books with their short stories for kids, audio CDs, interactive children’s books, and more.

Music and Dance
This is one option that is not heavily used, but can be easily taken in as one of the factors of providing entertainment at a party as well as everyday. Put on a kids’ music CD and dance around with the kids. They’ll love it.

Kids’ Games
Party games or even the everyday indoor and outdoor childhood games like hop scotch, tag, finding the leader, hula hoops, and others, make for some of the best forms of entertainment for them. This is where they just give in to their instincts and have a good time without caring about a thing in the world.

All these games are not just great sources of entertainment, they are also as much fun when they double up as party entertainment for kids. They teach, as well as entertain, and that’s one of their best features. So the next time there’s any confusion about the choices to make when it comes to providing entertainment for children, peruse through this article and you’ll have your choices ready for the picking.

Extra Curricular Activities in School

Wondering why extra curricular activities form an indispensable part of schools? Here are eight reasons that will surely convince you about their necessity.

Isn’t this age-old proverb rightly put? A student’s school days are some of the best days of his life. These days can never be complete without a little bit of sporty excitement, a bit of adventure and the crazy strokes of a painting class. Some of the best talents around the world, attribute their extra curricular activities as the roots of their academic and career success. If you are eager to know the secret of their success, then you should definitely read my article.

Why are Extra Curricular Activities Indispensable?

Help as Stress Buster
It is humanly impossible to be fully energetic with a single activity all through the day. Nowadays, the educational curriculum is vast and ever-expanding. This can create a lot of mental and physical stress as well as a mental block to take up a study routine day in and day out. Activities like sports, music, arts, etc., expose students to a variety of lighter activities that help let go the mental tension and stress of studying for a short period of time. In activities like sports, there is known to be a high rush of adrenaline which soothes the strained body even as it experiences physical exertion.

Improve Health
Schooling often tends to be sedentary in nature. The load of school schedule and heaps of homework often keeps students glued to their desks. Young children need a lot of physical activity to keep them physically fit. These activities help curtail tendencies of obesity and health related issues amongst young children while improving the child’s immunity. Also, when students are engaged in outdoor activities, they are prone to receive sufficient quantity of Vitamin D which is essential for their physical growth and development.

Help Develop Multitasking and Time Management Skills
There is no better lesson than to learn the art of balancing studies and work along with other activities. Opting for multiple responsibilities from a young age creates an acute sense of time management as well. These skills accumulate over a period of time and mold the student’s mind for a brighter future.

Search Hidden Talents
Studies do have the capacity to improve a student’s skills. However, when students are actually exposed to new and variety of activities at a very young age, they may develop their own taste for the activity and thus, parents as well as teachers can search for student’s hidden likings and talents.

Develop Team Spirit
Most of the extra curricular activities like sports, debating, etc., can never be completed without the involvement of a lot of team members. When exposed to such teaming with like minds, there is seen to be an active exchange of creative ideas and the ability to work together as a team. This creates a sense of belonging, a sense of loyalty towards the team, and development of sporting spirit. Friendships thus formed, have often survived for a lifetime.

Develop Interpersonal Skills
Activities like public speech, social service, sports develop a student’s interpersonal skills so as help them be the masters of communication in their adult life. Crucial arts such as listening skills, leadership skills, stage confidence, negotiating skills, oratory skills and logical reasoning get developed in the students from a very young age.

Create Social Responsibility Sense
Exposure to activities like social service and volunteering helps students understand true social problems since a very young age. This is known to stir the humane side of students creating a sense of social responsibility and social justice in these young minds. Students might be guided by their teachers to help senior citizens and young helpless children by organizing social visits to old ages homes and orphanages respectively. Students with previous experience in social work have reported that they feel an acute sense of owing some of their precious time and energy to the welfare of the less advantaged people.

Help in Making Dual Careers
Bookish knowledge can never be complete without its actual application. Schools stress that students must engage themselves in lots of extra activities for which they are awarded grades. Such work experience goes a long way into shaping the student’s career. The nurturing of a liking for these activities from a young age, may encourage these students to take up dual careers in their adult lives. e.g. – A student who had taken up painting as part of her extra curricular activity since early age, may balance her life between a professional career and painting as an alternate career during her adult life.

Surely, there has never been a better opportunity for young children to get acquainted with so many great qualities at the same time. Parents may need to do some research to find the best school for their children. Look for schools with wide number of extra curricular activity options. Parents and teachers need to take extra pains to encourage students to take up some activities. There might be some setbacks till the child finds a hobby to his or her liking. But once the connection is made with the right hobby, then there is no temptation to turn back!

Gardening Activities for Kids

Wondering how to raise your kids as nature lovers? Then, the best way is to introduce them to gardening. Scroll down for some easy gardening activities for your little ones.\

Gardening is indeed one of the most interesting activities for many and growing plants is the best way to interact with nature. Being a gardener myself, I enjoy the sheer pleasure of watching the sprouting seeds, growing shoots, blooms and fruits. Love for nature is something that I developed at a very young age. But, nowadays, kids like spending time on gadgets and gizmos, rather than watching plants, birds or bugs. There are only a few, who are interested in understanding nature. While some parents love gardening, they forget to involve their kids in this wonderful activity. In some cases, the kids themselves do not find it interesting. If you want to awaken the nature lover in your kid, introducing them to gardening (that too at a young age) is one of the best ways.

Introducing Kids to Gardening

Kids are found to have an innate interest in nature. They love chasing butterflies and playing in mud or water. They like touching worms and bugs. If your kid belongs to this category, you can easily introduce him/her to gardening. For others, you have to identify their area of interest, before forcing them to grow plants. Some may love watching bugs and worms, while others love flowers. You have to engage them in activities, which allow them to follow their interests. Try to make the activity interesting and fun-filled, as kids tend to get bored easily.

If your kid loves flowers, let him/her identify different types of flowers and their smell. Tell them about how plants grow and produce blooms and fruits. If the kid is found to be interested in a particular plant, you can grow that in your garden. Ask the kid to plant the seeds or water the soil. He/she will be enthusiastic to find the seed sprout, grow and bloom. This method is useful for those with kids in the age group of four to six. For older ones, you can assign a patch of soil for gardening. Let them grow flowers and vegetables of their choice. Supervise their work and help them. You may also ask them to present their products in local fairs.

You can introduce younger kids to gardening, but in a different way. Explain to them about the different types of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables and how they grow in soil. Live examples are always better (choose those plants that grow fast). Let the kid watch, as you sow seeds, grow plants, remove weeds and feed them. This will help him/her to develop a bond with nature, at a very young age.

Fun-filled Gardening Activities for Kids

We all know that kids love fun-filled activities and anything that is monotonous, can be boring for them. So, make gardening a fun activity for them. Parents must plan the activities and join the kids for the same. The following are some tips about how to make gardening more interesting for kids.

  • To start with, allow your kid to roam around and explore the garden. You may also take the kid to places with natural surroundings. Collect different types of leaves and flowers and let the kids feel their texture and smell. Allow them to inspect different types of insects and worms.
  • For smaller kids, you may come up with activities like painting pots that are meant for plants. You may also allow them to collect differently shaped containers that can be used for this purpose. It could be anything from a discarded pair of shoes to an old can.
  • If you are searching for some fun-filled gardening activities for kids, try to make a watering can with old plastic bottles or containers. All you have to do is to make some holes on the lid of the bottle and a single hole (somewhere near the handle or top for air movement). Let your kid enjoy watering plants with the newly made watering can.
  • If you have space constraints, then get a good quality kids’ gardening kit and make your child grow some plants. These kits come with all the required materials for gardening, and so, are excellent for kids, especially the younger ones.
  • If you are ready to invest some time, then try to grow a playhouse (along with your kids) with plants like sunflower. You may also plant some cucumber or pole beans in between. Watermelon is also not a bad choice for this purpose. Kids will enjoy growing such a playhouse that could be a perfect spot for them to play and have fun.
  • Gardening activities for kids can be fun, if you allow them to grow plants in specific shapes. Allot them some soil or a patch of soil and some fast-growing seeds. Let the kids decide the shapes in which they want to grow the plants. It could be anything ranging from simple square or circle to alphabets. They can also use plants with colorful flowers. In that case, collect seeds of plants with flower colors matching with the seven shades in the rainbow and grow them in a semi-circular shape.
  • You may also plan a movable garden on wheels. Get a wagon planter and provide your kids with soil and bedding plants of their choice. Plants like ‘tickle me’ will be much more interesting for smaller kids. Even herbs, like peppermint and basil are good choices for their unique scent.
  • For older kids, you may get some special cultivars that they may enjoy growing. You may opt for cultivars like blue potato, yellow tomato, purple beans, etc. You may also choose plants with edible fruits and vegetables. Kids may enjoy harvesting and consuming the fresh veggies and fruits grown by them.
  • Growing a windowsill garden is one of the best winter gardening activities for kids. This is the best time for painting terracotta plant pots and other such gardening accessories. You may also help the kids to make a terrarium or a bird feeder. Vermicomposting can also be done during this time.

The above said are only a few guidelines about gardening with children. You may use them as per the age of your child and his/her temperament. However, make sure to monitor these activities and help them, if needed. This is more applicable for younger kids. It will be better to go for plants that grow fast and seeds that are large and easy-growing. Go for organic gardening and avoid chemicals in any form. Ensure that the kids keep the work area clean and wash their hands with soap, once they finish their daily work in the garden. Never fail to encourage them for their efforts.

You may find a thousand other ways to make gardening fun-filled and interesting for your kids. Apart from instilling a love for nature, gardening helps kids to recognize the value of fresh fruits and vegetables. It can also be viewed as a form of exercise for kids, who would otherwise spend time watching television or sitting in front of a computer. So, let loose your creativity and come up with some unique gardening ideas that your kids will enjoy.

Tips to Start a School Newspaper

Clueless about ways to start a newspaper in your school? All it needs is a basic knowledge of journalism. If you are still wondering, then here are some helpful ideas.

School newspapers are a brilliant way for giving exposure to special talents of students. They are considered to be one of the best medium of teaching young minds about various issues in the society. They create a sense of achievement in the minds of the students and are a matter of pride for parents and teachers alike. They help students hone their talent in writing, creativity, leadership and management skills at a very young age. School newspapers have the art of discovering new talents out of the most unlikely students. So dear is the idea of viewing one’s name in print on school newspapers, that many grownups carefully maintain their copies as keepsakes all their lives. Here are some easy ideas to show you how to start a school newspaper.

Teacher’s Initiative
The school management and teachers first need to decide whether the paper will be common for the entire school or separate for each grade. It is up to the teachers to find the right talent to run the school newspaper. An ideal arrangement is to appoint a students’ newspaper committee with a teacher volunteering as its guide.

The Student’s Newspaper Committee
Remember, school newspapers are supposed to be ‘Of the students, By the students and For the students’. The committee of the ‘little journalists’ should ideally involve a student with excellent writing and editing skills to act as the editor, along with a team of 3 or 4 other writers to regularly contribute with their articles. Students outside the committee might also be given a chance to make their contributions in the form of short stories, essays, poems, jokes, paintings, etc. It would be advisable to elect a new committee annually or biannually in order to give a fair chance to all the students.

Arranging for Capital
Capital is a crucial part for starting any new venture. The initial capital required for starting of school newspaper is usually raised by the school authorities. The other option is to involve the students and parents, by asking them to pay an annual subscription fee for their school newspaper copies. The school authorities may also publicly invite sponsorship for starting a school newspaper. Nowadays, school authorities encourage entrepreneurs who trade in products made for children such as kids wear, books, toys and games, stationery and study material, etc., to place their advertisements in the newspaper. This is considered to be the most ideal method for raising finance, since it is profitable for the school and it consequently reduces subscription fee that is to be borne by students.

Frequency of Newspaper
Its common to publish a monthly issues of school newspapers. The committee may be allowed to select any other duration if it wishes to. However, teachers and committee members need to ensure that publishing schedule are followed.

Formatting the Newspaper
Selection of an ideal name for the school newspaper is the very first step at this stage. Teachers may guide the committee in creating a particular format and encourage them to improvise whenever required. School newspapers usually contain an Editorial, along with news articles on current issues, school news and announcements, activity schedule for sports, quiz competitions and PTA meetings, columns for personal contributions towards jokes, puzzles, poems, paintings, photography and so on.

Publishing the Newspaper
Schools may publish their newspapers by putting them up for viewing in students’ common rooms or classrooms. At other times, hard copies of the newspaper are distributed to all the students or mailed directly to students’ residences.

Nowadays, many schools publish their newspapers online. However, some district and county laws prohibit publishing the names of students online for security reasons. At times, district laws state that schools need to obtain a written and signed permission from parents to publish the names of their wards on online newspapers.

Now, does starting of a school newspaper still seem like a challenge to you? It’s a fun filled journey for teachers and students alike who get to build many a memory lane together.

Fun Memory Games for Children

Engaging children in games and activities where they get to improve their memory skills and concentration is a wonderful and positive action towards their future. These games are full of fun and perfect not only for the children, but for adults as well. They can be a perfect recreation activity that has a little bit of educational undertone. You can use playing cards, puzzles, or toys for playing such games.

Fun Games for Children

Some of the most common games include memory test, concentration, Chinese whispers, word associations, mismatches, and communication; and that’s what we will do here today. For the purpose of this article, we have compiled some interesting and thought-provoking games for everyone to take part in.

Concentrate, Like There’s No Tomorrow
You can play the concentration game using a deck of 52 playing cards. Match up the pairs by memorizing the location of each card.

Let’s Test Your Memory
The memory test can be played with a single child or a group of kids using a pen and a paper. Arrange a tray with a selection of 5 – 20 common objects, such as pencil, key, spoon, button, coin, etc. Cover this tray with a cloth before you bring it in the room. Let the kids have a view of the objects for 1 – 2 minutes and then cover it again. Ask the children to write down the list of objects that they have seen. A child writing the longest list from his/her memory is declared winner of the game. When you are playing individually, you can change the game by removing one object and asking the child to identify which object is removed.

Chinese Whispers
The kids are asked to sit in a line or a circle so that they can whisper a word or phrase to the person sitting next to them. The first player is given a short phrase that he/she whispers to the neighbor in a low voice. The neighbor then passes the message through the whispers. The game continues until the message is announced by the last player. The message received by the final player is often quite different from the original message. This game has no objective and no winner. It offers a good exercise to judge the memory, listening capacity, and power of gossip.

Exchange of Associated Words
Word association is somewhat similar to Chinese Whispers, but spoken aloud. The children are asked to sit in a circle. The first child starts by saying any sentence in the story. The next child repeats the sentence and adds some information to that sentence. In this way, the kids continue to remember the previous sentences and build up a story with their additions. This game can be altered by working through the matching items or alphabets to the first letter to each child’s name. This game not only improves the memory, but also encourages the child to be creative in story-telling.

Mismatched Objects
Divide a small group of kids into two teams. One team goes out of room, while the other team does the mismatching by changing the objects in that room. After 3 minutes, the first team is allowed to enter the room. They are given one minute to spot the mismatches. The points are given on the basis of identification of mismatches. The team having the highest score is declared the winner.

Communication is Key
You can choose to play this game indoors or outdoors. It tests their listening and communicating skills. The children are given a plastic container, filled with exactly the same Lego blocks. They are allowed to sit back-to-back; one is named a caller and the other is a listener. The caller explains the listener about how to put together the pieces. The listener makes sure about what he/she has understood. Once all the pieces have been used, the caller and the listener compare the structures to confirm about their communication. This game can also be played with felt and felt board, or paper and pen.

Memory games offer an opportunity to exercise their brains and help to improve their memory as well as their language and concentration skills.

Art Activities for Young Children

Art activities help children enhance their creativity and give them some change from their daily routine. The willingness to learn is very high in kids, as they are very excited to see new and interesting things. Many schools have made the participation in these activities compulsory and grades are given as per their performance. Here’s a look into some interesting ones that they can engage in.

Painting and Sketching
Painting and sketching are the best art activities for your little ones. There are many kids who are exceptionally brilliant in them. They can never be forgotten once learned with sincerity and interest. You need not spend a huge amount of money to learn them. Children should take part in inter-school competitions and also other major competitions to get a platform to display their unique skills. They should try to win the competition by doing their job with full spirit and high level of energy. Parents of talented artists and painters should consider the idea of organizing an exhibition, to encourage the child to take up the profession more sincerely and also to earn some money from the sold paintings. Sculpting is one of the most unique kid crafts which is loved by many kids.

Singing, Dancing and Theater
These are very popular activities for young children. Your child can join a coaching class to get himself/herself acquainted with these forms of arts. Getting their basics right is important so that they do not face any problems in learning the advanced concepts in the chosen field. Even if your child joins a coaching class, his/her progress in developing the skills will largely be influenced by his/her way of perceiving things, dedication, and will power to emerge victorious by beating all the odds and difficulties. Starting early always helps as one can improvise on the mistakes done and try not to repeat them again, as this is the only way of surviving in the tough competitive world. There are innumerable famous and genius singers and musicians who had taken up music as their career, quite early in their lives. These forms of arts can be practiced and taken up by both- girls and boys as there is no gender bias here. If your child has good emoting skills, he/she can also take part in different theater workshops and plays.

Some More Art Activities for Kids
Decorating rooms, preparing attractive and colorful greeting cards, scrap-booking, preparing nice paper and cardboard items are some more art activities for young children. You can do them with a group of children so that you get some good company and finish your task faster. Some kids can practice photography under the able guidance of an expert photographer. You can make Christmas gifts like Santa hats, packing gifts, etc.

The above-mentioned activities will make your child very smart and confident. As a parent, you should avoid forcing your child to take up arts and crafts of your choice and give him/her complete freedom to do what he likes.

Children LearnBy Playing

The idea of children learning by playing may seem outrageous to some parents and educational institutions, which firmly believe that learning is all about getting good grades in school. The focus of learning goes beyond grades, and kids can be taught some of the most complex concepts simply by playing and engaging in some activities.

The concept of learning by playing is not new. In fact, for ages, children have been taught highly complex concepts by means of games and activities – concepts that they wouldn’t have otherwise grasped. Such games and activities enhance personal learning and development that no book can provide.

It is true that a school provides education, but knowledge is subjective and can be increased and improved by means of some very simple methods such as playing games.

There are so many things that you have your kids do, without realizing the kind of message it is imparting to them, or the kind of effect it has on their minds. Playing particularly has a positive effect on kids and helps develop their personality and skills.
What Children Learn By Playing

By playing together, children learn how to respect choices and are exposed to a variety of thought processes.
Instead of having kids cram information and simply talking to them about various concepts, parents, along with several educational institutions, are adopting the art of teaching by playing with children. This, they believe, is a better way of inculcating not only concepts but also essential values, particularly in the most formative stages of a child’s life. It is human nature to learn by experience, rather than when told or explained by someone else. Children should be allowed to learn from the consequences of their actions, and then realize why they were or weren’t asked to do something. With parent and teacher participation and involvement, for children, learning can be made fun rather than a mundane, stressful task that emphasizes only on cramming as much information as possible.

A lot of concepts that education cannot impart are taught by the simple act of engaging in various indoor and outdoor activities. Here’s what kids learn when they engage in such activities:
~ By being allowed to play, children are free to explore their surroundings and develop experiences that are unique to them.

~ They learn to take control and are capable of making their own decisions.

~ They learn to respect rules and the choice of others around them.

~ Children learn how to use their imagination in play and this helps develop creativity. The use of imagination also helps them shut out unpleasantness and tackle inherent fears.
~ Free play allows kids to indulge and appease their inquisitiveness.

~ Interactions with others help develop communication skills and aid personality development.

~ The involvement of parents in the entire process helps strengthen the bond between the child and parent, as children learn how to share their experiences with their parents.
Examples of How Children Learn by Playing
~ Why are kids taught mathematics on the Abacus before they are taught it in the classroom? It is because the abacus lays a strong foundation upon which the subject revolves. The basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are all taught on this colorful tool, where kids learn how these concepts work by manually moving the beads. This makes it a playful activity that allows learning by playing.

~ Board games such as Monopoly teach children how to use money wisely at a young age. It teaches them how to carry out transactions, and how to make decisions for themselves. Games such as Scrabble help children strategize and score more points by placing appropriate letters in the right spots.

~ In the digital age, a lot of educational computer games and video games have been designed to teach children basic concepts such as strategy, the importance of teamwork, along with enhancing focus and concentration. Some schools in the US have started allowing kids to design video games that help them learn in the process of designing.

~ In the classroom, children are also taught the power of healthy communication, of group effort, and the benefits of team building. It teaches children not only to function as a group, but to lead and manage large groups of people, thereby helping them develop leadership skills.

~ Similar is the case with outdoor games and activities. Being the captain of a football team teaches a child how to lead, manage and achieve goals by means of the aforementioned concepts. In activities like camping, children are taught the importance of nature, and the value of having the comfort of a home and a bed, when they are roughing it up outdoors.
Encouraging Learning by Playing

In order to encourage learning by playing, it is important that kids be allowed to learn in their own way. There is a difference between guiding and pressurizing, and as a parent/teacher, you ought to know where to draw the line.
Here are some guidelines that will help you aid learning through the process of playing.

~ The activities and games introduced to children should be age-appropriate.

~ The activity that kids are allowed should be divided into structured and unstructured play. This means, say for 30 minutes, an adult should be guiding kids in their activities, and for another 30 minutes, the child should be allowed to do what he pleases, i.e. free play.

~ Schools should allot specific periods for children to free play and engage in teacher-led activities. This can be a time for structured play, during which they can enhance communication and other skills.

~ They should be allowed to be in control of the situation, even during structured play. This helps them develop their own methods of working on different activities.

~ A child should be allowed to indulge in play for as long as he wants to, and should not be forced to sit through a period of play just because it has been allotted. What is meant to be a fun activity to aid learning should not get frustrating for the child.

All in all, this idea of enabling children to learn by playing can be implemented in different manners. Not all children take to a particular activity and may have other ways of imbibing knowledge and wisdom. Yet, this is a very effective way of laying a strong foundation of concepts that are not taught by books to children. There is a lot for children to learn in life, and though not everything, playing with children and teaching them in the process will be highly beneficial to all of them.

Four Stages of Competence

The process of learning can be divided into four stages. Every person goes through these stages knowingly or unknowingly. Here is an article discussing the four stages of competence and how do they actually occur one after the other in the learning process.

The Conscious Competence Learning Model states four stages of learning or competence. These are related to the psychology of a person’s mind when he progresses from one level to the other, while acquiring a skill. The Gordon Training International is known to have developed this model. It was initially known as “The Four Stages of Learning Any New Skill”, and was devised by Noel Burch around 30 years ago. The four stage model is also known as Maslow’s Four Stages of Competence. However, it does not appear in the significant works published by Abraham Maslow.

Some people find this theory similar to Johari window, which is used to create self-awareness and understanding among individuals in a group. The Johari window is also a 2×2 matrix dealing with self-awareness. However, the stages of competence deal with the learning process. The conscious competence learning model can be used by employees of an organization or by people at large, to gauge themselves when acquiring new skills. Let’s study the stages in detail.

The Four Stages of Competence

First Stage: Unconscious Incompetence
In this stage, a person is unaware of the existence of a particular skill. Since he is unaware of the skill, he does not know about its utility and relevance. The person feels no need to acquire that particular skill, and does not realize the fact that he will not be able to perform it because he is incompetent in it. Therefore,it becomes important to make him realize of his shortcomings and the benefits of learning that skill. It is the task of the trainer or teacher to instill this realization in the person. Once the person is aware of his deficiency, he will be in the next stage of the learning process.

Second Stage: Conscious Incompetence
A person in this stage is aware of his incompetence and the usefulness of the particular skill he is lacking in. He knows that acquiring the skill will definitely improve his effectiveness in that front. Incapability of the person to perform a skill-specific task will make him realize its importance and motivate him to learn it. In this stage, the person roughly estimates his incompetence level and figures out how much effort he needs to put in to master the skill. Being aware of his own deficit, he is motivated to learn with interest and dedication.

Third Stage: Conscious Competence
A person is at this stage when he can perform the skill, but not well enough to teach someone. Enough practice is required to reach to the level of unconscious competence. The person can perform a task using the skill, but needs to recollect the steps and think about them. It does not come out automatically in him. Therefore, the person should practice more often, so that he becomes proficient in it. Practice will help the person to move from conscious competence stage to unconscious competence.

Fourth Stage: Unconscious Competence
In this stage, the person can perform the skill on his own. No assistance is required and the person can automatically perform the skill. He gets proficient enough to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Teaching the skill to another person, now becomes an easy task for him. Sometimes, the person develops the skill so well that he faces difficulty in explaining how it is performed, simply because it comes out naturally to him. This is the final stage of learning, and a person should strive to reach to this level so that he can become a master of that skill.

The “Suggested Fifth Stage”: Conscious Competence of Unconscious Incompetence
This is suggested as the fifth stage of the conscious competence learning model. It signifies the ability of a person to instill unconscious incompetence in others. By doing so, he can create the urge of learning new skills in incompetent people.

Examples in which the four stages of learning model become clearly evident are swimming, driving, typing, etc. When a person does not know how to drive and is unable to use manual gears, he is in the stage of unconscious incompetence. When he starts learning and realizes how much effort he needs to put in, he is at the conscious incompetence level. Practicing driving for a few days makes him capable of handling the gears in a better way with some attention, brings him to the conscious competence level. Finally, when he becomes a proficient driver and effortlessly changes gears, he is at the unconscious competence level. This learning tool can be used to inculcate lacking skills in a person.

Organizations can conduct competency mapping of their employees to determine the skills they are good at, and the ones they need to work on. Depending on that, they can have sessions with groups of employees to tell them the importance of this model, and how they can use it for self-improvement. Apart from organizations, this model can also be used as a learning tool by students or rather, any individual who wants to identify his short comings, learn the skills he is lacking in, and gain expertise in them.

Advantages Of Online Learning

e-Learning is the next big revolution in the field of education. The advantages of online learning are plenty; the important ones being mentioned below.

The world wide web is growing at a crazy pace, and the number of youngsters hooked to it is also increasing. Taking this into account, many educational institutes are now providing distance learning options. Many colleges and universities are dedicated in making an availability in this avenue. All you need to do, is get a computer, an Internet connection, the willingness to learn, and money to pay the fees. There are some websites giving free tutorials too, however, for an authentic certification, the paid option is the viable choice. As in any other system of education, there are some flaws and some benefits of online learning too. For the moment, we will focus on the advantages that online education offers.

Advantages of e-Learning

Online learning does have peculiar benefits. It could be fruitful in ways that can only be appreciated after choosing to do so. Research indicates that some of the best courses are offered online, which would play to one’s advantage owing to paucity of time for those engaged in a full-time profession. The online perspective absolves them from this particular blockade to their aspirations, although, the factor of physical supervision for tutelage would be absent.

The only requirements for taking an online course are a computer and Internet access. You also do not have to commute to the college campus, and so the necessity of living near the campus is out of question. The online course is delivered mainly in the form of lecture videos and web seminars. So you can take the course more thoroughly by viewing the videos as many times as you want.

The online education options are far more economical than regular courses that requires attendance in college or university. This is because, the transportation cost to you and the infrastructure cost to the college is eliminated completely. Also, the best teachers that the college cannot afford to employ full-time, can be hired for a limited amount of time. As the cost is only one time, colleges can afford it.

e-Learning courses give you complete freedom to learn anytime from anywhere. This freedom will give you some lessons in self discipline and time management. The need to be self disciplined arises, because when you are online, along with the useful and informative things, there are also many distractions.

Learning Through Games at Your Pace
Online learning also gives you the option to learn through games and puzzles. There are a wide number of online educational computer games available on the net. Moreover, most of these games are completely free of cost. They are entertaining, along with being highly informative.

Earn and Learn
While attending a full-time college, students hardly get time for anything else. But, if you are taking an online course, then you can have the entire day at your disposal, and you can do your studies at night or any other time. This is one of the best advantages of online education. It is a great way to learn, for students who have no option but to earn and learn.

Prolonged Access to Course Material
Many times, you will feel the need to brush up your knowledge of a certain subject, and online learning gives you the opportunity to do that. All the course material that you get as a part of your course remains permanently with you, so you can revise any of the subjects any time you want.

Getting Proficient in Computer and Internet Use
Computers equipped with an Internet connection are frequently used for common purposes. Taking an online degree program will help you attain more proficiency in the use of computers and the Internet. This also serves as an opportunity to use many varieties of software and to be acquainted with them.

Along with the above advantages of online learning, there are a few disadvantages also. The personal influence factor of having the physical presence of a tutor can be considered a point of contention owed to a disadvantage. Crucial doubts on the subject may not be fully cleared on the online portal, although, research may be viable. Under these circumstances, the outcome of the research would be relatively unreliable or the concept may not been understood. For the same reason, recruiters consider an online degree less effective, and it may not carry weight compared to conventional degrees. However, this is not true in all cases. On the whole though, online learning represents a great opportunity for people, especially for those who cannot make it to regular colleges, to get educated, and this can be called the biggest advantage of online

Benefits of Homework

How does homework benefit your child? As a parent, what is your role in convincing your children of the homework’s benefits? Are projects better than practice assignments? Read on to find the answers and get to know the benefits of homework.

Homework should be short, and should involve activities like sports and reading high-interest books. It should be a way of developing better time management skills by learning to avoid distractions.

Homework has been a topic of debate for quite some time now. People have been going back and forth, when it comes to considering the upsides and downsides of homework.

Supporters of homework believe that it is important, because it prepares children for the competition that they have to face in their life. Proponents also believe that homework helps reinforce the concepts taught in school. But disputants believe that the extra time that children get at home, can be used for some co-curricular activities, thus introducing them to new realms of life and expanding their horizon.

Benefits in a Nutshell
▸Homework encourages student initiative and builds a sense of responsibility and commitment towards schoolwork.
▸It serves as a practice of the school curriculum and prepares the students for school tests and competitive exams.
▸It establishes a communication link between students, parents and teachers.

By definition, homework constitutes the out-of-class or at-home activities that the teachers assign to students. These activities are an extension to schoolwork. Homework can include practice assignments that emphasize newly acquired skills. It can be in the form of preparation assignments to make students ready for class activities. Projects that have to be worked on in parallel with schoolwork also form a part of homework. The project work may continue throughout the term or the entire academic year. In these activities, students apply their academic skills to create a piece of work through research.

Gone are the days when ‘completing homework’ used to be the only option available. Today, children have many distractions and they have to win the battle against those, and it’s not easy! Perhaps, reading the benefits of homework enlisted here, will help you out of the dilemma. (Read this out to your children too.)
Homework Teaches Children…

To Take Initiative

Children initiate study. Homework makes them take the initiative. Teachers get the schoolwork done from students whereas students initiate doing homework. There is a sense of responsibility associated with completing their homework and a feeling of accomplishment after completing it.
To Develop Time Management

Children start allotting their time to study and play, thus learning to complete their scheduled tasks in the time they have. They learn to set priorities and also to do things on their own. They manage their time and complete their work independently. Homework encourages self-discipline in the kids.

To Learn with Interest

Homework builds confidence in their minds. Teachers give comments on the work students do. Teachers’ positive remarks boost the students’ confidence and encourage them to keep up with their good work. They learn to follow instructions and complete their assignments with responsibility. They need to explore various topics, refer to research material, and search for information in order to do the home assignments. Thus, homework helps in developing an aptitude for exploring and learning.
To Improve the Grasp on Subjects

Students get an opportunity to apply their skills and enhance them. Homework gives students a chance to learn from their mistakes and improve on their weaknesses. Home assignments provide them with a platform to express what they know or have newly found out, and exhibit their talent. Homework gives students the practice of whatever they learn in school, thus helping in the reinforcement of the concepts learned. This helps them score better in class tests and eventually improves their academic results.

The Importance of Planning

Be it assignments or projects, completing them requires planning, organizing and acting upon them. The task of completing the homework on time and regularly, helps generate in the child, a sense of proper planning. Managing time and planning are two terms with a thin line of difference between them. While proper time management allocates a fixed time for sitting down for homework, planning involves ways to get all the homework done – subject by subject one after the other, based on their levels of difficulty.

Homework should be Proportionate to the Students’ Age and Mental Ability

Obviously, it is the amount of homework that governs its benefits. Homework that gradually increases every year enhances academic achievement but it should not become a punishment. The amount and difficulty level of homework assignments should match the age and ability of the students. Homework proves to be beneficial only if it does not put the students under stress or pressure. It is not good to burden them with assignments and expect them to do well in studies.

Parents should Encourage Homework

The motivation offered by homework should be accompanied by parent involvement. Some say that homework serves as a link between the school and home. Parents must strengthen this link by taking interest and supporting their children in their home assignments. Parents play an important part, when it comes to showing children that homework is not boring and that it is definitely not a waste of time.

I believe in the benefits of homework. But according to me, homework in the form of projects is more helpful than practice assignments. Students should be encouraged to work creatively. A project on a topic outside the school curriculum leads students to explore new subjects and learn new and interesting things they didn’t know about. It encourages general reading. Studies do not remain monotonous. Children think, research and innovate. This results in an added advantage of homework that studies do not remain confined to textbooks. Children realize that there’s a world beyond. ‘Good’ homework is their window to this world.