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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 5, Issue 8

April 2009

StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers New Teacher's Niche Tech Center  

Happy New Year, and welcome back
to our StarTeaching newsletter, 
Features for Teachers, packed full of tips, techniques, and ideas for educators of all students in all levels.   

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Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!

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SQ3R Sheet
Check out our NEW FREE online resources, including the SQ3R sheet for reading 
and the Paragraph Graphic Organizer for writing.  These are forms you can fill in online and print, or have your students fill them in and print them for class!

Paragraph Organizer


Would you be interested in becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?  Would you like to be published to over 25,000 readers each month?

Our Newsletter is now posting openings for a SCIENCE FEATURE WRITER to write a regular column with science problem solving activities.  

Email your resume and letter of interest to:  editor@starteaching.com


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Can Students Assess Their Own Learning?


Yasmeen Jumani has been a teacher Educator for the past 11 years.  She has done her Masters in Islamic History from the University of Karachi.  She has a Master in Education from Hamdard University, Institute of Education and Social Sciences, A VT certificate from AKU-IED along with an advance diploma in (PTEP) Professional Teacher Education Program from IIS and AKU- IED. 

Can students assess their own learning? Action research is positive about it!

The article encompasses my action research that was done in the one of the schools in Karachi

The whole paradigm of teaching will shift if we initiate a discussion on the question of ‘Can students assess their own learning within and outside the classroom’? How can they be able to know whether they participate joyfully in learning and what are the other ways though which they assess themselves and also enhance their learning further? Besides, it is also vital to know why is it important for a child to know what s/he learns, unlearns or relearns as s/he moves across grades and levels of learning.

According to the OCC Assessment Definition, Assessment is an on-going process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations clear to students and setting appropriate outcomes for learning. It helps determine how well student performance matches those outcomes. It uses the resulting information to improve student learning. In the words of Airasian (1994) “the process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting information to aid in decision making is called assessment”. Assessment therefore includes the full range of information teachers gather in their classroom; it is this information that helps them understand their pupils, monitor their instruction, and establish a viable classroom culture.

The term “Assessment” cannot be dealt exclusively in isolation because it is inclusive in nature and has a cyclical process within that. The term "assessment" is generally used to refer to all activities teachers use in the class to help students learn and to gauge student progress. The definition describes that “It is a continuous process, not a separate activity, which necessarily requires the use of extra variety of tasks, tests, practical activities and observation” Another definition suggests that “It is a part of everyday teaching and learning”. One defines the assessment as “It is concerned with measuring student’s performance during and following a program of study”. However “achievement can be seen as gaining mastery over certain skills, knowledge or understanding of any piece of work”. Thus it has been proven that assessment in itself is not an end, but a means to an end.

I was confronted with this question of assessing students' learning many times in my career.  I chose the similar question to explore via action research; moreover extension in my research question led it to explore the implicit and explicit ways through which learning takes place. 

During my teaching as an action researcher, I was given grade VI, whose teacher was not properly trained.  Though I intended to work with a qualified and trained teacher eventually, I began my action research project with that teacher. She was good natured lady and teaching with a traditional way of transmitting knowledge. This became a great challenge as I wanted to explore how students can measure their own learning, how they become partners with teachers in seeking curriculum goals etc. I therefore had to bring a little modification in my plan.

In the first phase, through a participatory model, I engaged with students via interactive teaching methodologies.  This took an entire two months to bring a paradigm shift from the traditional to progressive mode of teaching and learning.  It was regular teaching and I had forgotten that I was the researcher.  I took a new role as teacher.  That teacher and I found that students are no more quiet in the class; moreover they were interested in what was to be taught or not, and how through various methods they are questioning the knowledge base mentioned in the text books, or written material.

In the next phase, where students have adopted certain traits, they started becoming critical about the ideas, about various strategies, about the purpose of studying any theme.  Then I initiated my plan to question their learning.  Instead of focusing on replies, our entire class process was to reflect on questions and that began the unending debate culture in the class. For simple to complex themes, we had questions to explore them further.  For instance, the initial first few classes, we debated a lot on the following:

1.        What is the role of science in our life?

2.       How and why science helps people in various fields of life

3.       What is the main difference between the lives of Stone Age people and modern time?

4.      Why did humans started thinking to make some changes?

Gradually, through introducing various strategies students were able to find out the reason for every action, thought, or concept etc. I realized as a researcher that introducing the Portfolio was a successful strategy as it enabled them to link their daily learning and maintain a log about it. For instance, students are asking each other

          Why have I chosen this artifact?

          What standards does it meet and why?

          How has this helped in my learning?

          What did I do that hindered my learning?

          What am I going to do about it (next steps)?


As a researcher, I used the following methods that informed me about students' learning and also about how they measure their own improvement on a regular basis.



Oral reports on project or other investigative activities


Written work in which students try out ideas and arguments supported by evidence.

Group work

A variety of types of assessment done in groups to develop students’ teamwork skills and/or enable students to undertake larger tasks than could be done by an individual.


Verbal interaction between assessor and assessed

Learning Contract

A structured method whereby the student designs and implements manageable learning activities in consultation with a staff advisor/teacher

Practicum/Practical session

Assessment of practical skills in an authentic setting

Small Projects

In-depth exploration of a topic or field


Students’ log about their every day learning

Besides measuring their own learning, the entire process also facilitated improving students' attendance in the class, their participation level, and their willingness to engage in learning even at home as home-assignments. Furthermore, the class teacher worked closely and appreciated the worth of knowledge she had learned from the entire process. And finally this created an impact on the overall classroom environment that made it extremely positive. What is the important thing is if the teacher has planned and informed, then s/he can engage students, parents and community and bring any change that is desired.



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Charter School vs. Public School:
"Depends on Which Charter School"

By: Caitlin Franco

Caitlin Franco is a New York State Certified Teacher with a Masters Degree in Education Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Stony Brook University . She is the co-founder of Equality Charter School in Bronx , New York and has worked as an English teacher in 6th-12th grade classrooms, testing coordinator, and coordinator of data and assessment in both charter and traditional public schools.

I received an invitation to an event, “Charter Schools: The Solution to Public Education?” Of course it caught my interest, as this is my area of expertise and passion, and I rushed to put the date and time in my date book to ensure I would be there. As I scanned the flyer for this information, I began to feel that it might not be such a charter-friendly crowd based on the wording of the flyer. I started a conversation with the flyer, answering the rhetorical questions that were thrown out to readers in my head, and felt it would be best to share with readers.  

The flyer was titled with a question, a question that I could only answer with four words, “depends which charter school.” Asking if Charter Schools as a whole are a solution to public education implies that THE problem of public education is so obvious to all reading this flyer that there is no need to even state what it is. I have been an educator for a while, and I have heard about problem after problem but I have never heard of THE problem that is referred to by the title of this flyer. I believe that Charter Schools are the solution to numerous problems in public education, isn’t that good enough? As far as I know, Charter Schools were not created to solve all problems in education but to address some specific areas of concern.

This flyer contained a list of questions. It seemed that they were written to spark discussion, but the questions seemed biased, not surprising since the flyer and event were sponsored by the UFT. They were meant to be rhetorical, but I feel it is important for an educator, a charter school supporter, to answer these questions from my charter-friendly perspective before someone who is not so charter-friendly chimes in.


·        Do Charter Schools really represent equitable parent choice and better education for ALL students?


There are Charter Schools that do provide equitable parent choice and better education for ALL students. Equality Charter School is one such school that will abide by its mission to educate ALL students, in that we will accept and educate all students - English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students who are below, at, or above grade level – providing their parents another option for their children’s education. I am sure that there are some charter schools that do not operate as they are required to by law or by their charter, and I cannot defend them or speak on their behalf, I can only speak on behalf of the Charter Schools who do operate by the guidelines they are required to follow, and I can vouch that there are many who do.


·        Do Charter Schools actually represent a genuine movement to re-establish community control, parent choice and equitable education for ALL students? Or are they part of a larger movement sweeping the country and turning the public sector of education over to hands of privately run organizations?


Once again, the answer to this loaded question would depend on what Charter School you are analyzing. There are “chain” Charter Schools that have quickly replicated throughout a city or the country, and there are also many \run by large CMOs, that often give the public the perception that Charter Schools are only being organized by privately run organizations. But do not forget the “mom and pop shops” that are out there who truly do represent a genuine movement to re-establish community control, parent choice and equitable education for ALL students.


Equality Charter School was created by three educators who came together with common beliefs and a vision for a school that would truly provide equal access to high quality education for ALL students. We have paid for this process, every step of the way, out of our own pockets, working out of our living rooms, and begging for paper and pens when the costs got too high. We have truly embraced our new parent population and will engage our parents and community throughout our school. Since this is what the charter movement is about, it has been seamlessly integrated throughout our charter application and design of Equality Charter School to ensure that it truly does happen.


·        Do charter schools provide adequate channels for the democratic input of staff and parents? What happens when charter schools deny educators union rights, pensions and benefits?


This flyer, in its one page of text, has managed to lead its readers down a path where they cannot think for themselves but rather are influenced by the way the question is worded. It asks “what happens when” instead of “what happens if,” leading readers to believe that charter schools WILL deny educators union rights, pensions, and benefits. What about the Charter Schools that do not deny educators of these things?


I am so angry at this point in reading the flyer that I cannot continue to answer these questions directly, as you can see that my stream of consciousness caught the best of me when answering many of them. I can only end this by stating that I do believe that Charter Schools are the answer to many of the problems of education. While they may not be the answer to THE problem of public education, I challenge anyone to find that solution.


Information about Equality Charter School can be found at  http://test.equalitycharterschool.org/flash.html and Caitlin can be contacted personally at caitlin.franco@equalitycharterschool.org ecslogo



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Ask Dr. Manute

Dr. Manute is a well-renowned world traveler, guest speaker, and educational consultant.  

Dr. Manute holds multiple degrees in several educational fields. He has taught in both stateside and international school communities.  He has extensive experience (25 years) in school administration.  He also has worked at the university level, supervising teacher interns and teaching undergraduate courses.

As part of our Reader Response selection (asked for by our subscribers), we are pleased to have Dr. Manute answer questions from our readers.  

 You can  contact Dr. Manute through the form at the end of this article.  Thanks!

I recently received a question regarding the end of the year:

Dear Dr. Manute:

I am a High School teacher with 8 years experience.  At this time of the year I am extremely frustrated with the lack of attention and focus of my students.  They don’t seem to want to do or accomplish anything faintly resembling academics!  This behavior leads to classroom management problems and I am afraid I will again send too many students to the office.  Help please!

- Susan, Portland, OR

Dr. Manute's response:

Welcome to the real world of teaching!  Your concerns are probably universal, but not without solution.  At the end of the year students try to shut down, I repeat, try.  They will respond to whatever focus the teacher demonstrates.  Let me elaborate.  Students especially, upper grade level students, see summer vacation (sometimes as early as February) and want the school year to end.  They attempt to do less work and disrupt the class in covert and overt ways.  They try to wear down the teacher and in some cases succeed; thus the problem.

So what to do?  First of all, muster all your strength and endurance for the final push of the year.  I don’t mean eat a lot of high protein foods and start pumping iron (unless you want to).  I am talking about mental strength.  Just like your first year of teaching, your focus is: “No one will stop me from teaching in my classroom, everyone will be on task from bell to bell, and every student will learn!  This is not just important for a first year teacher, but for all veteran teachers especially at the end of the year.  Teachers who give in are in for a miserable end of the year teaching experience, one that will stay with them the entire summer.  That is not a way to end the year and certainly doesn’t lend to a positive outlook for the following fall.  Remember, as a teaching professional, you control what happens in your classroom - so be assertive and consistent.  The more you expect from students the more they will deliver.  When I was a working Principal I saw this every year.  Those teachers who kept their standards high and pushed the students daily had wonderful springs; those who gave in were absolutely miserable and my office seemed to receive visitors from their rooms daily. 

In closing, keep your standards high, push your students, try some creative and interesting teaching techniques and work, work, work.  The end of the year will be successful and rewarding for all parties.

Best of luck and good teaching!

Dr. Manute


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Mastering Basic Skills software:


There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
4. Serial processing
5. Parallel processing
6. Recognition and Recall
Each of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to difficult.

At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as Scores Obtained.

A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18 levels depending on the marks one scores during the test. 

Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by clicking on "history", which gives complete details of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence level and encourages more participation to eventually culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and concentration.

Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance their capability.
This software package is specifically designed to help young children to learn basic skills that will help them in school.  Continued follow-up will give these young learners success as they mature.  

Three versions of the software exist: Individual Software on either CD or Online,   Family Version Software, and an Institutional Software package.

StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports and endorses this software.  It will make a difference with your child or student.

Click HERE to order your own copy today:


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  School Features

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(part 2)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

In its broadest sense, e-assessment is the use of information technology for any assessment-related activity. This definition embraces a wide range of student activity ranging from the use of a word processor to on-screen testing. Due to its obvious similarity to e-learning, the term e-assessment is becoming widely used as a generic term to describe the use of computers within the assessment process.

Hand-Held Student Response Systems:

An area of E-assessment that has seen extensive growth in recent years is the use of hand held student response devices (often referred to as 'clickers' or voting devices). These allow a teacher to carry out whole group assessments, polls and surveys quickly and easily. They use either radio or infra red to communicate with a central hub that is usually attached to a computer. In many school classrooms these devices may also be used in combination with an Interactive Whiteboard..


In order to create a mechanism for the sharing of high quality assessment items, global standards have emerged. The IMS Question and Test Interoperability specification (QTI) provides a common format for describing and distributing question items across disparate systems.


Various terms are used to describe the use of a computer for assessment purposes. These include:

1. Computer-Assisted Assessment or Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA)

2. Computer-Mediated Assessment (CMA)

3. Computer-Based Assessment (CBA)

4. online assessment.

Although these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

Computer Assisted/Mediated Assessment refers to any application of computers within the assessment process; the role of the computer may be extrinsic or intrinsic. It is, therefore, a synonym for e-assessment which also describes a wide range of computer-related activities. Within this definition the computer often plays no part in the actual assessment of responses but merely facilitates the capture and transfer of responses between candidate and human assessor.

Computer-Based Assessment refers to assessment which is built around the use of a computer; the use of a computer is always intrinsic to this type of assessment. This can relate to assessment of IT practical skills or more commonly the on screen presentation of knowledge tests. The defining factor is that the computer is marking or assessing the responses provided from candidates.

Online assessment refers to assessment activity which requires the use of the internet. In reality few high stakes assessment sessions are actually conducted online in real time but the transfer of data prior to and after the assessment session is conducted via the internet. There are many examples of practice and diagnostic tests being run real time over the internet.



Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



Check out our selection of past articles, including more about groups and stations, from previous issues at:


Which larger shape could be made if the two sections are fitted together?

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MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

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Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.  

In The Haunting of Sigma, Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world of cryptozoology in Northern Michigan .  This darker, far more sinister prequel to Holes’s first novel fully establishes his hold upon the imaginations of readers all over the Midwest .  June 1987 ushers in the hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken up residence in the deep wilderness in Kalkaska County .  The Dogman, a supernatural combination of canine and man, has returned to wreck havoc upon the tiny, sleepy community of Sigma.


Based upon the epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.  It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless, powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San Francisco Bay.  Can the time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the chaos of the American West gone truly wild?

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Click Here For The
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The Dogman, a creature of MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to study in your classes.   


The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  

Look for Western Odyssey this summer!

We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.  Click here for more information:




New Teachers' Niche: 
A Place for New Teachers, Student Teachers, and Interns

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Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience
(part 2)

by Frank Holes, Jr. and Dr. Peter Manute,
Educational Consultants

This is the second in a series of articles designed for college interns getting ready for their student-teaching experience. Student teaching is the final step for most teaching programs, and having a positive experience is vital for new teachers. This series of articles will provide many ideas, tips, and suggestions for young educators to make the most of the experience.

Being an intern is an interesting position to be in. The university treats you as a student, making you jump through hoops completing projects and meeting deadlines sometimes seeming totally irrelevant to the internship. The school district you are working in expects you to be a professional educator with all the secrets of innovation and new technologies fresh from the university 'think tank'. Parents think of you as someone who really doesn't know what they are doing yet and don't understand why you are practicing on their kids. They are always quick to point out their perceptions of student teachers when a problem arises about grades or behavior.

Hopefully I will provide you with some practical information presented in a no-nonsense form.

First and foremost, make sure all of your personal chores and plans are in order before you begin your assignment. Once you start it is vital to focus all of your energy and time into your placement.  Secure your housing well in advance and establish a routine of daily tasks. Plan to arrive at school early and plan to stay late. Student teaching is absolutely relentless; you will be exhausted after your first day. The mental and physical strain is unbelievable. Make sure all of your details are taken care of in advance; you don't want anything to interfere with your teaching. Do create some time for yourself or you will self-destruct. You need to keep your mind clear in order to make effective teacher decisions. Plan to have some time each day for your self - it may only be a few minutes, but it is very important. You may think you don't need it, but all veteran teachers will tell you differently.

Secondly, be a sponge. You are new to the profession and regardless of how well your university has prepared you, nothing measures up to being on your own in a classroom. When the door shuts for the first time you will know what I am talking about. Glean as much from your mentor and other teachers as possible, and by all means, don't come across as an expert.

You have not paid your dues and therefore you are really not an expert at anything. Learn from your observations and reflections; don't be afraid to make mistakes. As you progress and you become more effective, take risks and try different methodologies and teaching strategies. By all means keep in close contact with your mentor and always remember - no surprises. Ask questions before you do something; your mentor knows the ropes and will offer excellent advice. Make it your responsibility to learn the routines and specifics of the district and building you are working in. Don't rely on someone to tell you; find out on your own, take the initiative.  You can learn many things from both effective and ineffective teachers. Unless asked, keep your opinions to yourself, being new and having all the energy of youth will be a threat to some, so tread lightly.

If there is any down time in your room, ask your mentor for tasks to accomplish. Help out anywhere you can. Ask to take on something difficult and work with your mentor to accomplish it. Save as many artifacts as possible and use them in your professional portfolio.  Creative lesson plans and examples of student work are excellent things to have. Ask for feedback and listen and process. Create an open dialog with your mentor; remember that is the person who will be called first when a district wants to know about you. Your mentor will be able to talk about strengths and weaknesses, so what do you want to them to say about you?

Finally, enter the internship with the idea there will be a teaching opening that you will be qualified for in the very building you are student teaching. Create positive relationships with staff, parents, and students. You do that by demonstrating professional behavior.  When your internship is completed you want everyone to say - "We would really like to have you become part of our team!" Prove to people that you are the type of teacher that would be a perfect fit for their district.

School districts are looking for candidates who are 'low maintenance' teachers who can come into their buildings and have an immediate impact. Confidence, solid work ethic, and exemplary professional dispositions are words you want people to use to describe you. Your internship is an excellent place to begin!

Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To-Be plan. Simply click the following link:

Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm


Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

Want to check out the articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm


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Multiplicity of Educational Systems in Pakistan: 
A Critical Review


Rozina Jumani is a Development consultant associated with a number of Non governmenetal Organizations(NGO). Prior to this, she was with Aga Khan Education Services Pakistan for 10 years as a Professional Development Teacher and Counsellor. She has done her Masters in Islamic Studies and English from University of Karachi. She is a commonwealth scholar and completed her Masters in Education Planning, Economic and International Development from the institute of Education (IOE), University of London.

It is said that ‘one mind is better but two are best’ because it provides an opportunity for sharing and interaction among people of different socio-economic and educational backgrounds, diversifying learning would enable them to view from different aspects; hence this diversity brings a richness of ideas and thoughts which is indeed crucial in refining the final thought. This notion could be dangerous if the same analogy would be replicate in other context, where a pluralistic approach is not advisable hence seen as a threatening phenomenon to others.

An Educational and developmental issue that I have identified for my assignment is ‘multiplicity of educational systems in Pakistan ’ in relation with the higher education system of the country. In this paper, I would discuss the ‘multiple education systems’ and its impact on students’ lives in particular and on the country in general.

Being an Educational Counselor, I have had several opportunities to interact with students’ from ages 15-20 from various regions of Pakistan , in order to discuss with them their career preferences and further to guide them on how to prepare their portfolios. Hence, the issues of multiplicity of educational systems stem out from there that further invoke in me for additional deliberations.

According to Isani and Virk (2005), ‘the nation is divided because we are running three parallel systems of education’. However, these three systems are:

¨         Public Education System: 

State provides a system where education is offered in students’ mother tongue, besides Urdu as a national language, and English as a foreign language taught. In public schools, the teaching of the English Language begins in Grade 6. Minimum school fees are very low as not all people can afford them;  hence only those with little money send their children to public schools.

¨         Private Education System:

Few entrepreneurs who wish to bring reforms in the education sector have opened their own schools and colleges. These entrepreneurs consist of educationists, political affluent leaders, reformists, activist, and conscience members of civil society and others. These private schools are English Medium schools, where students pay a high amount as a school fee that could range between Rs. 150/=- 4,000/=. It is therefore evident that some private schools are identical to public schools and offer average education whereas there are others who charge heavy fees to maintain the standard and frequently invite parents and other monitoring bodies to evaluate their performances.

¨         Cambridge Education System:

Cambridge Education System existed in South Asia before independence; hence with the advent of the new state, i.e. Pakistan , because at that time state did not have an alternate to it, Cambridge education system continued its proceedings in Pakistan .  At present, there is a huge network of schools registered with it.     

With the colossal differences in the above educational systems, one should think about the many kinds of students it breeds. For instance, the Public Education System caters to common masses which produces clerks who serve the Public office and bureaucracy. On the other hand, the Cambridge Education System reaches to rich, established people and thus produces elites who either become entrepreneurs or travel to developed countries for higher education and ultimately do settle there. Students who opt for Private Education systems aspire for the excellence. Despite the indefinite struggle, they do not succeed entirely but keep switching their roles to prove themselves.

Despite the fact that the process of education cultivates manners, behavior, bearing and mind, and prepares for complete living, the multiplicity of educational systems inculcates ranks and levels among students that not only cause harm to students holistically but also damage the nation at large. However, according to Isani and Virk (2005), ‘higher education is recognized as a Capital Investment’.

They further say, “Higher education is viewed as a source of great potential for socio-economic and cultural development of the country and it is our conviction that through quality higher education the nation can be transformed into a developed nation within the lifetime of a single generation.”

Keeping the whole debate in mind, the question arises about the implications on students’ lives in particular and on the country in general.  In this regard, few suggestions are as follows that could be implemented gradually:

¨         It is indeed very important to bring reforms in education, which eliminates differences and class system and inculcates self-understanding and analysis, it invites discussion and debates that help student become confident, it allows students to present their point of view and enable them to view the world with their perspective.

¨         To bring synergy among all three parallel systems is possible with the agreement of educationists and the ministry of education as we have many good things to replicate. For this reason, conscious deliberations are required to study all three systems thoroughly and then team would suggest the practicality to replicate most or some of it. 

¨         It is imperative that teachers and educators would make an effort to revamp the curriculum, by devising the common benchmarks for each grade. In this way, the colossal difference among students from different systems would minimize. Nevertheless the uniformity is not required but it helps bridge that enormous gap exist among three systems of education.

¨         Another implication of curriculum revamping would lead to practical activities, research activities and presentation of ideas, etc. and relating it with students where s/he extracts the information and interprets as s/he understand and  develop the confidence to question idea, text etc, as nothing is sacred so the students will find themselves as life long learners.

¨         Revisiting our examination system will be critical and with summative exams, it is suggested to follow formative assessment that will enable teachers to develop individual relationships with each student and help him/her develop smoothly. Providing constructive feedback can also make learners concentrate in their work efficiently and would improve further.

¨         Training of teachers, faculty and caregivers is essential as well, because they are catalyst to bring any transformation, as it is said ‘Teachers are Leaders’ therefore teachers training regarding instructional pedagogy and awareness about student’s psychology is important for them.

¨         School administrators are responsible to create enabling environment for learning once the conducive learning environment is provided , they initiate new ideas, to make it happen it is indeed required to arrange for the proper infra structure that ensures positive and effective learning.

Above-mentioned steps are a few indications of required change.


Isani U.A.G. and Virk Mohammad L. (2005) Higher Education in Pakistan : A historical and futuristic perspective. Roohani Art Press Islambad


George Paul S., McEWIN C. Kenneth and Jenkins John M. (2000) The Exemplary High School. Harcourt College Publishers

Jenkins John M. (1996) Transforming High Schools: A Constructive Agenda. Technomic Publishing Co. Inc.

Taneja V R. (1990) Educational Thought and Practice. Sterling Publishers Private Ltd.



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Author unknown

Themes on Life

Take time and opportunity to make memories every day...

She had been shopping with her Mom in Wal-Mart. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories were a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said. "What?" Mom asked. "Let's run through the rain!" She repeated. "No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied. This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain." "We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said. "No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?" "Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!" The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith. "Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. A friend sent this to me to remind me of life.


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In This Week's Issue 
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Can Students Assess Their Own Learning?

The Administrator's Office:
Charter School vs. Public School:
"Depends On Which Charter School"

Ask Dr. Manute: End of the Year

Multiplicity of Educational Systems in Pakistan: a Critical Review

School Features: e-Assessment (part 2)

New Teacher's Niche:
Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience (part 2)

Themes on Life:  

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Winter Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club:
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 How long will it take you to mow
21 lawns  if you mow 6 lawns per hour?
Day 2
You have collected 320 cans of 
food for needy families.  If you give
each family 40 cans of food, how 
many cartons will you need 
to pack them?
Day 3
You bought 3gifts for your mother 
costing $24.00 each. You also 
bought 5 gifts for your father 
costing $18.00 each. How much 
money did you spend on your 
mother and father?
Day 4 6 classes will be going on a field 
trip.  There are 125 students. 
Each bus holds 48 students. 
How many buses will you need?
Day 5

1.     What is the mean average of
 97, 78, 84, and 86?

Day 6

1.   If you buy a new computer for 
$390.00 and have to make 12 
payments to pay if off, how 
much will each payment be?

Day 7

1.      4 people are sharing a pie. Jane 
has ¾ left, Jill have 3/5 left, Molly 
has 2/3 left and Jeff has 2/5 left. 
Who has the most amount 
of pie left?

Day 8

1.     IWhat is the next number in the 
following pattern: 
320, 160, 60, 40,...

Day 9
Here are the number of tries 
your friends took to get a strike 
when they went bowling:
What is the median number 
of tries? 
Day 10
Using the number from question 
9 above, answer these two 
What is the mode?  
What is the mean?

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