StarTeaching Feature Writer

Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the most famous, prominent and creative names in the field of Education for the past 10 years. He is a Master Trainer In Special Education, Post Graduate, Teacher Educator and a Teacher. He is a Freelance Writer and Photographer, in addition to his role as a featured writer for StarTeaching's newsletter for four and a half years now. He is an author of the famous self-published storybook for children titled "The MORAL STORIES FOR CHILDREN" and has also written a Biology book for Secondary Classes. He has written more than 100 articles dealing with social, health, educational and cultural issues, which are internationally recognized and published in famous world wide websites, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. 

He is also a Social worker, private tutor, career counselor, musician, lyrics writer and have multi- dimensional talents. His future plan is to write dozens of informative articles and to work for education and media, in order to explore hidden creativity.


You can contact Munir Moosa Sewani at: munirmoosa@yahoo.com 

Past Articles from Munir Moosa Sewani:

Duties of a Responsible Teacher
The Importance of Career Planning
Effective Interview Skills

Voice of Exceptional People (part 1)
Voice of Exceptional People (part 2)
Teaching As A Career
Analyzing the Lack of Educational Motivation in Students

Reflections on Teaching Practice
Poking Your Nose Into A Book

Drug Education: An Emerging Concept For Teachers
Relation of Color with Child Psychology

World Disable Day
Enhancing Your Teaching Skills

Reflective Writing - A Learning Process

Challenges of Teaching Part 1
Challenges of Teaching Part 2

Decision Making Skills

Corporal Punishment (part 1)
Corporal Punishment (part 2)
Corporal Punishment
(part 3)

Need for Action Research in Education
Daily Classroom Improvement with Action Research

Primary Field Decider Scale

Behavioral Disorders in Children (part 1)
Behavioral Disorders in Children (part 2)
Behavioral Disorders in Children (part 3)
Behavioral Disorders in Children (part 4)

The Relationship Between Teacher and Student: A Symbol of Love and Understanding

 

DUTIES OF A RESPONSIBLE TEACHER

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

Teachers are the leaders of every nation. They are the role model of their students. Their responsibilities towards their profession are increasing day by day, as students are highly concerned about what is taught to them by their teachers. Teachers are the only one, who molds the future of their students by imparting quality education.

Entering in the field of teaching is not a cup of tea for every one.  Only those can survive in this profession, who are responsible and understands their duties and performs it effectively.

Teachers are no doubt willing to enhance their teaching skills all the time, but they have some responsibilities towards this profession too.

Being professional, every individual teacher should perform their duties with loyalty and sincerity.

Few of the responsibilities being a teacher, which I have learnt in my teaching experience is given below:

·                    They should help in developing the school curriculum.

·                    A teacher should assess, record and report on the work of pupils on weekly/montly basis.

·                    It’s the responsibility of a teacher to have an interactive discussion with every student family in order to know child psychology properly.

·                    A teacher should prepare pupils for examinations and grade them wisely.

·                    A teacher should be punctual in school.

·                    A teacher should provide advice and guidance to pupils on issues related to their education.

·                    A teacher should maintain class diary and lesson plan folder.

·                    A teacher should convey all the issues related to their students with the heads.

·                    A teacher should allocate activity budget effectively.

·                    A teacher should check ups and down in the progress of their students time to time.

·                    They should Promote and safeguard the health, welfare and safety of pupils.

·                    They should take continuous training for their professional development.

·                    They should always be ready to face liabilities without any hesitation as they are accountable to their heads, which is the part of teaching profession.

·                    A teacher should contribute towards good order and the wider needs of the school.

·                    A teacher is responsible for the leadership, good management and strategic direction of colleagues.

·                    A responsible teacher should try to teacher their children according to their level of understanding.

·                    An effective teacher should communicate properly with their staff members and students.

·                    A responsible teacher should give extra time to their teaching. If any student needs help then he/she should try to help their student individually after school hours.

·                    A responsible teacher designs extra curricular activities, which suits the student ideas and explore student’s creativity.

·                    A responsible teacher should practice what they preach.

·                    Teachers have a responsibility to work co-operatively with colleagues and others to pursue the overall objectives of the service.

·                    A teacher should give additional time for the preparation of their lesson plans and must be pre-planned a day before teaching it to students.

·                    A teacher should attend every parents meeting’s and should first negotiate the positive and then some negative aspects of the student, without any concealment.

·                    They should forward and share their pre-planning materials with the other class teacher without any hesitation.

·                    A teacher should use their professional judgment in relation to the prioritization of tasks.

·                    Teachers have a right and a responsibility to contribute to the development of a quality service. They have a professional commitment to develop their skills and expertise in classroom practice and other related matters through an agreed program of continuing professional development.

·                    A teacher should document and maintains  pupil’s disciplinary records as well.

·                    A teacher should not shift their job until student’s final term examination ends.

Last but not the least,

“All the teachers should take this noble profession seriously, because the rein of future is in their hands. They are the one who prepares leaders for the future generation to raise our country head internationally.”

 

The Importance of Career Planning

By Munir Moosa Sewani

A career refers to a profession, which we want to adopt for earning our livelihood, and planning means the proper flow to make proper decisions.

Pre-planning in our life plays a very important role in every aspect of life, to work in a proper flow, and pre-planning for our career, which we want to pursue in our future after acquiring certain level of education or a degree is also very necessary in today's competitive world.

According to the Thorndike dictionary, "A goal that you desire to achieve in a selected field or occupation with a well-thought out plan, to get you there is called Career Planning."

The world is now moving very fast, and the time has come when this meritocratic society will accept only those having the right qualifications and right skills. The old days are gone when just a degree would help an individual to attain a high profile job by giving a bribe or using some other means. Now it's high time, when the transparency in job recruitment has taken place.  Challenges and competition are the part of today's society, and therefore, Career Planning is the only task, which can guide us to do what we want to do in our life, rather than just aimlessly changing jobs all the time in future.  We have seen many Pakistanis, who after completing Intermediate Education, don't know where to go, what to do and we have also seen graduates, who aimlessly move through their education without any specialization. As a result, their earnings are just in 6-8 figures.  

Career Planning is one of the broader aspects of learning in our existence. We all have some intentions and we all think to have stability in our future lives, and for that purpose, CAREER PLANNING serves as a key to success.  Career Planning forces a person to think suitably about their positive and negative aspects as well as their interests, and their creativity becomes possible by properly analyzing ourselves. 

Career Planning basically starts when a person finishes Secondary/ Higher Secondary level of education. After that level, a person could opt for that educational degree, which would help them out to have a good job opportunity according to their skills at the right time.  Career Planning helps us to design and formulate our future smoothly. For example, if a person wants to be a banker, then he or she would choose to go for ACCA or CA or complete a MBA in finance after completing Intermediate Education in commerce and graduating with a degree in commerce/ business administration.. Otherwise, he/ she would go for CAT course or Masters in Commerce or even up to doctorate level. 

This pre-planning would be effective and would give him/her benefits for achieving educational targets effectively.  It also helps us to evaluate our own personality, which helps us to know that which kind of job would suit us according to our need and capabilities.  In short, Career Planning is like mapping our future.  Without proper planning, no one could think of getting a desired job in future.  Think about what we want to do and then find out more about the kind of training, education, and skills we will need to achieve our career goal; this is the core objective of career planning.  It helps us to know the nature of the jobs that interest us, such as educational requirements, salary, working conditions, fringe benefits, promotion chances, future prospectus, and it helps us focusing in the right dimension.  Career planning directs us, motivates us, and helps us to accomplish what we want. A career goal is a specific vision such as an architect or a teacher or a career goal can be a particular field which we want to work in, such as Media, Education, Medicine, Engineering etc.  

For those who will think about their future and career after completing their education without any long term desired goals are the ones whose attempts might end in smoke.  There are some cases and situations which require a person to pre-plan in advance, such as family, family business status, lack of interest in studies or traditional job, low motivation, low financial status, etc, or some past educational traumas which caused a person to plan at a later time. 

Career planning is a lifetime process; we are always learning and growing, and as we do, our interests and needs also change. Career planning is not just making plans to obtain our careers, but it also helps us to make many adjustments there will be along the ways we learn throughout our lives.  Those who have successful careers like educators, business owners, managers, pilots, architects, bankers, doctors, etc. are the ones, who have made their ways through with proper guidance. 

No doubt, our parents have some wishes and expectations from us, but we have our own too. Therefore, we should also consider others' opinions. For that we could take guidance from an educational counselor to get better guidance towards new dimensional fields as well. Teachers, professionals, career guidance websites, as well as head educational consultants can also guide us to have a better approach for our future. 

We must have the freedom of speaking and the freedom of choosing our careers as we have to lead our lives which interest us. We must try to have an open mind in order to choose the right career at the right time.  According to one renowned professor, "Few of us like to opt for those degree courses, which their family or friends have advised them to adopt and this inappropriate knowledge trapped them into a great mistake.  In this way, they are unable to get good job opportunities according to their interests. Only Proper Career Guidance would help an individual to be on the right path beforehand. Few of us try to seek the right path and really take guidance from our family or our teachers to tell them what is good for them, which career is in demand and which career suits their interest." 

The future is un-predictable; however, we could still make our place in this meritocratic world by making career goals and plans in advance for getting better opportunities in today's pluralistic and globalize world.  We must pre-plan our goals under the supervision of professionals in a conscious state of mind, so that we could strategically maintain our goals and follow it towards the path of a successful future.

 

EFFECTIVE INTERVIEW SKILLS

BY: MUNIR MOOSA SEWANI

Life is full of challenges. We meet many confrontations in our daily life. When we are at the stage of entering school/college/university, we face many hard challenges and learn many lessons of practical life through them.

After acquiring matric/inter/graduation/post graduation, students usually move towards their specialization or adopt a profession of their choices, according to their own interest, keeping in view the market demand.  Talents and skills are the only tools which could lead an individual towards the door of success in this challenging time. To qualify for a professional degree or a job, one should have a strong past educational background along with integrated multi-dimensional skills. It’s of no use acquiring a higher degree without building character, confidence, and expressive personality.

To meet the challenges of professional life, one has to be familiar with many skills to grab the attention of an  interviewer, out of which interview skills are the basic necessities to meet up the future challenges with success.

Whether you are applying for a job or want to qualify an entrance examination for a professional degree, you should have to be prepared in advance for an interview. It’s the only way through which you can gain the trust of an interviewer. An interviewer always attempts to decide why they should select you. What are the qualities that you have and others do not have? How can you be a benefit to their organization?

If you can show your trust, your confidence, your commitment, and appropriate skills, then you could win a successful future.  The interview is a form of oral communication. It’s one to one, or one to group interaction, where an applicant proves himself or herself as a unique person to be the part of an organization.

Remember that the interview is always pre-planned and structured. It’s a formal presentation between an interviewer and an interviewee.  Only those pass it with flying colors who are original and show their interest with confidence and who present themselves as appealing. 

There are many types of interviews, like an information gathering interview, an appraisal interview, an exit interview, a hiring interview, a college/ university interview, a persuasive interview, a counseling interview and of course many more. In this article, we are going to learn about the college/ university entrance and hiring interview. 

The Hiring/Entrance Interview is one of the best known and the most widely experienced type of interview where a Human Resource Manager/ Educational Expertise takes an interviewer. 

To reduce your chances being rejected, here are some basic professional skills, which will lead you towards the path of success in your interview.

BEFORE INTERVIEW:

First of all, prepare your mind in advance that you are going to have an interview next morning. Relax yourself and do not get nervous, tense or tired at any cost.

Before going for an interview, pre-planned few things: 

1. Learn about the company, organization or educational institution and do some research in advance.

Why should you perform an advance research?

To develop good answers and to prove that you are unique

What you have to Research?

You can gather information about organizational structure; type of their clients/ students; departments and its branches; past and present achievements etc.

How can you gather information?

Simply search yellow pages or ask your friend or family member/relative who are familiar about organization or you can collect information through newspapers and websites. 

2. Prepare answers to typical questions. Practice your answer and never rote it.

Here are few of the sampling questions, which you can practice in advance.

What do you feel about our organization?

What are your weaknesses?

Why do you want to become a part of our organization?

Tell me about your self and about your hobbies.

Who is your role model and why? 

3. If you are lucky to know the name of a person, who will interview you, then memorizes his/her name properly. 

4. Decide what to wear.
Do’s:
Dress simply but elegantly.
Dress should be well ironed without crease.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Wear basic hosiery. You can even check what management wears and dress similarly without over kill.
 

Don’ts:
Dress casual.
Wear Athletic Shoes.
Spray lots of cologne.
Wear lots of jewelry.
Wear wrinkled attire.
Wear flashing tie.

Prepare a file having your portfolio, educational degree copies and extra copies of your resume.

Find proper address in advance, that where are you going in the morning.

Get a good night sleep. 


ON THE DAY OF INTERVIEW: 

Take a bath.

Do not apply heavy makeup.

Always carry a purse or a small handy briefcase with you.

Do carry your portfolio file.

Dress effectively.

Do not eat anything containing garlic or onion in your breakfast.

Arrive 15 minutes earlier to show you’re prompt and seriousness.

Be friendly with receptionist.

 

DURING INTERVIEW:

  • Start it off winner. Offer your hand and give a firm shake, else greet them with your pleasant smile.

  • Take a permission to sit on a chair.

  • Show a positive confident attitude and introduce yourself.

  • Don’t get tense. Be comfortable and face the interviewer effectively.

  • Listen to their questions effectively and answer it genuinely.

  • Answer every question with confidence. Have a proper eye contact towards your interviewer. Remember that the interviewer might be more than one; so keep your eye contact with every individual interviewer to make them feel unique.

  • Whatever you want to answer, speak clearly with a normal tempo voice. Do not shout.

  • Show your confidence level at every moment of an interview.

  • Show your certifications or achievements only when they ask you to show.

  • Always sit straight. It might help them to analyze your personality and your traits.

  • Use the medium of answer, in which you feel comfortable. Remember to use good grammar and strong vocabulary with neutral accent.

  • Always clarify your answer. Do not say Yes or No.

  • Never complains about your past organization or employees.

  • While giving effective answers. Do not argue and always give respect to your interviewer. Always keep neutral thinking and try to mould your answer according to your interviewer personality.

  • Do not eat chewing gum, while answering questions.

  • If they give you a chance to ask any query or question, only ask relevant question.

 

      TRADITIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

      Few of the traditional interview questions, which an organization might ask are 

      Tell me about yourself (in two minutes).

      Why do you feel that you will be successful in...?

         Why did you decide to interview with our organization?

      Are you willing to relocate?

      Tell me about your scholastic record.

      Tell me about your extra-curricular activities and interests.

         What are your strengths and weaknesses?

      Why should we hire you?

      Why did you choose to become a teacher, nurse..?

      Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

      Why do you want to leave your current job?

 

After Interview:

With a pleasing smile, say thanks and ask about the next step in the process.

  • Follow up. Call them if you do not get a call within a given time frame.
  • Write a thank you letter to an organization for taking out their precious time for your interview.

 

Reasons for not getting a job/admission 

Might be you lack oral communication skills or writing skills.

Your inappropriate attitude could also let you down in your interview.  

Lack of knowledge about the working world

Lack of confidence

Inappropriate/fake degree

Lack of experience

Lack of motivation 

    PRACTICE YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS.

    CHIN UP AND GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW J! 

 

VOICE OF EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE (part 1)

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

Teachers are the leaders of every nation. The following is from an educational article published by Munir Moosa Sewani, and describes the unique voices of very unique individuals in his home country.  You'll find that these cases are similar to those found world wide and across America.  

The major community problem for which I have contributed my efforts is the problem of “THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE”. 

I have worked as a teacher and counselor for our “Community” for 7years. Since from my childhood, I had an intention to perform social work for the special people, because I had a natural bond of attachment with them. To accomplish my wish, I chose the “SPECIAL PEOPLE COMMITTEE” of our community so that I could bring change in their lives.  

“I Am Only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do every thing, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do every thing, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”   -  EDWARD EVERETTHALE”  

I dealt with all types of students from the categories of Profound, Severe, Moderate, Mild, but specially I have worked with “The Border Line” students who want their rights; who face the major problems in every society in every community; who want their creativity to explore in front of others; who awaits the love from others; who wants others to accept them as a Normal Being.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. “Chinese proverb”

And that chance of Volunteer Service for these beloved special children was the first step of mine towards my journey to work for their RIGHTS.

“I believe that every individual can make a difference”.

I thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly in just my first year of Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.

I have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their expectations. But still, they need every one in the society to hear them, to care for them and to love them.

I had even faced many problems from our community while working for their RIGHTS.

I could say this:  "Though I am young, but even then I am mature"

I can’t do every thing in this world but yes I have brought a little change in their lives, which is the big reward for me.   On this international platform I want to raise their voices.

I want to be their voice to tell you all the problems, which all the special people are facing. The problems, which need to be resolute, could only be possible by joining hands together.   The following are the major problems, which my community special people of “border line” category are facing, which has been identified by me are:

  • They want to get proper EDUCATION.

  • They want to get their RIGHTS.

  • They want others to TREAT THEM PROPERLY.

  • They want every one to stop calling them “SPECIAL”.

  • They want others to treat them as “NORMAL HUMAN BEING OF THE SOCIETY”.

  • They want to Marry.

  • They want FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

  • They want JOBS to begin their INDEPENDENT LIFE.

  • They want SOCIAL SECURITY.

  • They want to participate in INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS.

  • They want the PLATFORMS to show their talents to this world.

  • They want everyone in the society to MAKE THEM THEIR FRIENDS.

I want to share my experiences with you, that in what way I have helped few of my community special students of “borderline” to bring change in their lives and I would like to share my efforts and my initiative with you.

FIRSTLY, in order to create awareness among community people about their problems, I worked with special children and identified the problems, which they are facing.

Next, I wrote an article "I ADORE SPECIAL PEOPLE WHY DON’T YOU?" in which I wrote about their rights and distributed it to the community people so that they can be made aware about their personal needs and their rights. People, especially the younger members of our community, showed positive gestures and showed their keen interest to know more about them after reading my article.  In this way I made the people of my community well aware about their needs and expectations from the society.

Next, I participated in the workshops in which I presented a speech on special people in front of their parents. I faced many problems because I came to know that many of the special students were disheartened because their parents do not understand them.   Next, I personally visited many of the parents of my community and made them well aware of their wants, needs, and expectations from their family members.

I AM ADDING SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF MY BELOVED SPECIAL CHILDREN, WHOSE LIFE HAS BROUGHT LITTLE CHANGE THROUGH MY EFFORTS AND NOW THEY ARE LEADING A GOOD LIFE WITH A LOT OF CONFIDENCE.

Their weeps, their words, their expressions, their gestures; all had made me realized just one thing that still in Pakistan in all the major communities, SPECIAL PEOPLE ARE NOT TREATED AS NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS.   Even today I know that they are the special stars of our society. They have made our nation proud too by participating in Special Olympics Worldwide in 2004, but still they re-bounded with loads of pressures.

I have brought changes in few lives, but the question is, who will solve the problems and issues of all the special people of every community? Who will guide them? Following are my students, who have solved many of their problems through my efforts and counseling. I am just quoting examples of few of my students.

Name will not be disclosed; therefore I am using ALPHABETIC REPRESENTATIONS on the behalf of their names.

One of the experiences, which I would like to share, is the experience of one beautiful girl:

“A” is 25 years old. Her parents and family friends always discouraged her in many of her personal decisions. She is a “Border line” female student. Her family treated her very badly during her early age.

Just because of seeing the family fights since from her early age, she had her first Epilepsy attack at the age of 10. She bears many hardships and had faced many physical punishments from her family. She was the first student of mine whom I studied very carefully. She wanted to participate in sports.

 For that, I went to her family, talked with them, and made them realize about their insanity, which made her daughter fearful. I told her family about the talents, which their daughter had. She was medically treated for her epilepsy and free medicines were provided to her by MY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL. I trained her for sports. From that day, her life changed and after continuous efforts and with her family positive gesture, she participated in “The World Olympics” in 2004,and won a medal too. The smile, which was seen on her face, was the first victory of my effort, which made me realize that at least I have brought a little change in her life. She firstly shared her victory with me, which was the precious virtual reward for me.

NOW, she is working at her neighbor’s house and earn around $100 a month. She has her own mobile, which she bought from her own salary. She is also a volunteer coach of our Community.   She always wished to be TREATED AS NORMAL CHILD. The good thing is that NOW SHE IS TREATED AS A NORMAL CHILD BY HER FAMILY. The only problem, which is not yet solved, is the PROBLEM OF HER MARRIAGE. She wants to marry and wants to live happy life.

The next girl is “B”. She had many traumatic experiences, which she had personally shared to me in her counseling session. Her wish is to MARRY and to GET SOCIAL SECURITY.   She explained me that her parents told her that you are SPECIAL and you CAN’T MARRY. She further added that one man in her building tries to sexually abuse her, touch her and use bad words. That man told “B” many times to come with him to his house.

“B” is a brave girl, not special from mind. My question is: How any one can tell this situation if he/she is special?

Though she is borderline student, I guess she is a normal child. She thinks, she evaluates everything and understands many things.

Firstly, she went to her aunt with whom she lives. Her mom is always busy in her work and her father is not alive. Her aunt ignores this serious issue. “B” wants FREEDOM OF SPEECH. She wanted to express her feelings. Many denied the serious issue, which she was facing.   I counseled her. She was taught how to handle such situations in the future. I went to her aunt and asked her how she can tolerate this serious matter. I told her family members that she is also normal and she also needs freedom of speech. Her family now treats her in much better way than before.

She also wants to marry in her life but still her family doesn’t want to talk about this matter.   What changes were brought in her life?   Now she knows HOW TO HANDLE THE SITUATIONS. She is MORE CONFIDENT. She ACTIVELY PARTICIPATES IN COMMUNITY WORKS and lastly, she is getting education which is funded by OUR COMMUNITY.  .I have counseled her for several months on many issues. I have taught her how to be brave and I have told her how to ask for her rights.

Am I insane? Who am I? Where I am? Why me?

The questions were spoken by one of the next brilliant student of mine “C” who is again a “borderline” child and had many wishes to go on. But because of NO JOB PLACEMENT for him and a NON SUPPORTIVE FAMILY, HE DECLARES HIMSELF AS A MENTAL, ILLITERATE, USELESS CREATURE ON THE EARTH. I taught him for 7 years and he is a true friend of mine. The problems, which he is facing in the community and society, are:

Firstly HE WANTS TO GO ABROAD. His wish is to see the world. Even though his family had been many times abroad but never took him with them because in their view their child is MENTALLY RETARDED.  Secondly HE WANTS A GOOD JOB. Thirdly, HE WANTS TO TRAVEL BY BUS INDEPENDENTLY. He also wants to laugh and wants his family to love him. He wanted others to make him a friend. He also wants to participate in sports.

HE WANTS TO REMOVE THE TERM “SPECIAL” FROM THIS SOCIETY.

I still remember that when  “The World Trade Center” was abashed and I didn’t know this news, this guy came to me and told me that,   “Did you hear the news that in New York America there was a blast in The World Trade Center? "

This sentence shocked me and I asked him how he knew? He told me that he saw it on TV and sharing with you that was why people are creating such riots in this world, and this is bad.

Are these words ever spoken by the insane?

Never.

He is normal. I declare it and I mean it.

He is normal and perfectly all right. I asked him who entered you in our community special school?

He answered me that his mom admitted him in special committee.

He told me that he is not special and he doesn’t like his parents for this kind of behavior towards him.

He wants to start his own business for that he asked many times to his family to help him and to the community people as well but no one showed him positive gesture for help.

WHAT I DID FOR HIM?

I taught him the jute work on bottle. He did that and started selling it in our community and in this way, he started his own small business. He wanted to participate in sports. I taught him badminton and bocce and by the grace of GOD, he participated in ALL Pakistan Special Sports in the year 2003. He needs a friend and he got me as a friend and many of my other students whom I give religious studies in our community also talks with him humbly and love him very much.

Now whenever he meets me, I see a magnificent smile on his face. He wants just one thing that is the support from his family, which is still missing. He wants to sit in bus.

Now, He earns around $20 every month from his jute bottle work. When his family came to know about it, they threatened him not to do so because according to his family it’s an insulted work and they don’t want him to sell his hand-made decorated bottles in the market. His big brother has slapped him too, but still he is struggling for his rights and selling his bottles.

I want to ask every parents in this world that if their child is normal, can also think, can imagine every thing, then why community and family pressure is still in every society creating a barrier for them?

They don’t have their own world of thought. They are also the part of us.   I, as a human being and a social worker tried to find work place for “C” but WHO WILL FIND A WORK PLACE FOR OTHERS?

What little change I have brought in his life?   Now he is selling decorated bottles hand made and he has gained a lot of confidence. He participates actively in social functions and he feels himself as a normal being.   Our community is very supportive, responsive, careful and being the part of this community I would like to say that though there are many community problems they are facing, but still I am trying my best to help them.   “Individual problems can be resolute easily but what about the problems of special people instill to be addressed worldwide”.

One more student “D” who starts using drugs because of the carelessness of his family. He was not special but just because of the changes in his behavior; his family took him to enter the special school. His dream was to STUDY IN A NORMAL SCHOOL but his family shattered it. He wanted to work, but he was discouraged by many community people and in social gatherings by commenting him as a mental. He is now 20 years old.

 Changes that I brought in his life.

I met his family who cooperated with me and now he is studying in the normal school in class 6. He is actively participating in community service and he is now also the member of WORLD SCOUT. The great thing is that HE IS NOW LIVING A NORMAL LIFE.

 

VOICE OF EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE   (part 2)

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

Teachers are the leaders of every nation. The following is the second in a series from an educational article published by Munir Moosa Sewani, and describes the unique voices of very unique individuals in his home country.  You'll find that these cases are similar to those found world wide and across America.  

The major community problem for which I have contributed my efforts is the problem of “THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE”. 

I have worked as a teacher and counselor for our “Community” for 7years. Since from my childhood, I had an intention to perform social work for the special people, because I had a natural bond of attachment with them. To accomplish my wish, I chose the “SPECIAL PEOPLE COMMITTEE” of our community so that I could bring change in their lives.  

“I Am Only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do every thing, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do every thing, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”   -  EDWARD EVERETTHALE”  

I dealt with all types of students from the categories of Profound, Severe, Moderate, Mild, but specially I have worked with “The Border Line” students who want their rights; who face the major problems in every society in every community; who want their creativity to explore in front of others; who awaits the love from others; who wants others to accept them as a Normal Being.

And that chance of Volunteer Service for these beloved special children was the first step of mine towards my journey to work for their RIGHTS.   I thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly in just my first year of Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.

I have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their expectations. But still, they need every one in the society to hear them, to care for them and to love them.   I had even faced many problems from our community while working for their RIGHTS. I can’t do every thing in this world but yes I have brought a little change in their lives, which is the big reward for me.   On this international platform I want to raise their voices.

I want to be their voice to tell you all the problems, which all the special people are facing. The problems, which need to be resolute, could only be possible by joining hands together.   The following are the major problems, which my community special people of “border line” category are facing, which has been identified by me are:

  • They want to get proper EDUCATION.

  • They want to get their RIGHTS.

  • They want others to TREAT THEM PROPERLY.

  • They want every one to stop calling them “SPECIAL”.

  • They want others to treat them as “NORMAL HUMAN BEING OF THE SOCIETY”.

  • They want to Marry.

  • They want FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

  • They want JOBS to begin their INDEPENDENT LIFE.

  • They want SOCIAL SECURITY.

  • They want to participate in INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS.

  • They want the PLATFORMS to show their talents to this world.

  • They want everyone in the society to MAKE THEM THEIR FRIENDS.

I want to share my experiences with you, that in what way I have helped few of my community special students of “borderline” to bring change in their lives and I would like to share my efforts and my initiative with you.

I AM ADDING SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF MY BELOVED SPECIAL CHILDREN, WHOSE LIFE HAS BROUGHT LITTLE CHANGE THROUGH MY EFFORTS AND NOW THEY ARE LEADING A GOOD LIFE WITH A LOT OF CONFIDENCE.

Names will not be disclosed; therefore I am using ALPHABETIC REPRESENTATIONS on the behalf of their names.

Now moving towards another brave hero who wants to become an Indian actor in his life.   He is talented, brilliant and active. He LOVES TO DANCE, TO SING SONGS AND TO PLAY THE ORGAN.  He knows how to cook food and how to prepare his bed for sleep and many more things, but he lacks skills for social gatherings.  His name is “X”, who lives his life actively.  His dreams are unlimited.

WHAT I DID FOR HIM:

I taught him to play the organ. I taught him singing and I am proud that now he is able to communicate in social gatherings with much more confidence.   There are many other students whose life was changed by the little efforts of my community service. I came to know many of their problems and have tried my best to work for it.

  WHAT HAVE I ACCOMPLISHED? HOW HAVE I MEASURED THE RESULT OF MY WORK?

  • I have tried my best to identify the problems which they face in their daily lives.

  • I have tried to motivate my students to participate in International Events.

  • I have tried to counsel them and their parents.

  • I have resolved many of their problems.

  • I have tried to bring smiles on their faces.

  • I have tried to find work places for a few students.

  • I have raised their issues in front of the MINISTER FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE AND SOCIAL WELFARE FOR PAKISTAN , MISS ZUBAIDA JALAL, in the seminar organized by our community.

  • I have tried to make my community aware by participating in debating issues and by writing awareness articles.

  • I have seen remarkable changes in the behavior of some special students.

  • I have seen positive gestures from society towards them.

Though I have not accomplished everything I've set out to do, still I have accomplish some things.   I have also tried to make my other students gathering in religious education center and in my private tuition center aware of their rights, their expectations from the society, their dreams etc.

I taught my community, my students, and their parents to be with them and to listen to them. I have sat with special people to make them feel that they are also the part of our community.

Why have I taken the time to talk and discuss with them?   To make them realize that they are not alone, that we are here to listen to them.   I have walked with them and shared my feelings with them Obviously this work is innovative and I have also gained a lot while bringing changes in their lives.   I never want to gain rewards for my social work because I know I’ll receive it from God one day.   My work was never appreciated but personally, I am satisfied myself by bringing change to their attitude and lives.

ALL I WANT IS TO RAISE MY VOICE INTERNATIONALLY FOR THEIR RIGHTS; FOR THEIR FREEDOM; TO SHARE WHAT THEY WANT; I WANT TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES; THE PROBLEMS THAT THEY ARE FACING AND WANT TO GIVE MY IDEAS HOW TO REDUCE THESE PROBLEMS.

I am just waiting for the platform to raise my voice and I wish that this international competition would help me to share my feelings with other delegates soon.

This work is innovative itself. Meeting different children, counseling them, meeting their parents, asking about their needs, loving them, caring for them.  Thus everything was magical and innovative. It has made me aware of their problems, about their needs and this work has changed my whole life too. I have tried my level best to work innovatively but  my efforts would be more innovative if these ideas would be implemented by every community by joining hands with me as these ideas could only be possible to be addressed, if every society, every community will join their hands with me.

  • Inclusive education should be made compulsory in every school as the part of their curriculum.

  • An awareness campaign for student’s parent’s teacher should be raised in every community.

  • Their needs should be addressed.

  • Awareness should be made through telecasting movies and drama on their issues.

  • Special students should not be called SPECIAL.

  • Competition should be raised in every community for younger students to make them aware about them and their rights.

  • They must get rights to study in normal schools with special needs.

  • Government should set up a new curriculum for them.

  • Psychological testing should be made compulsory to identify their needs and area of attention.

  • They must get work place opportunities, which is currently lacking in Pakistan . They must get jobs in government institutions also.

I CAN IMPROVE MY IMPACT:

  • By participating in international competitions to raise awareness.

  • By participating in awareness campaigns.

  • I want to do more courses. I want to study more about them and I want to write a book named I Adore Special People why don’t you?  in order to make this whole world aware of their rights.

  • By developing new curriculum for them the national policy level.

  • By providing them educational facilities and social justice.

  • I can improve my impact more by raising funds for them and by finding more work place opportunities for them.

  • By becoming the Ambassador for Special People in Pakistan .

  • By truly implementing the human right laws made by UN.

  • By motivating them more enthusiastically.

  • By appreciating them to participate in more International contests.

  • I am now planning to design a teaching curriculum which will be integrated with audio visual aids and I also want to arrange a workshop for community students, teachers, parents and everyone to raise awareness of their problems.

Youth must also devote their time to listen and care for special people. Youth must help me to find work place for them. Youth must raise awareness in every one of their own families about their rights.  Youth must try to seek out the problems which they are facing. Youth must love them and respect them like I do, in every aspect of life and must learn something from their lives.  Youth must learn from my experience that my struggle is the struggle of one and if they join hand in hand then no matter what, special students can also become the part of our lives.

 

Teaching As A Career

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

Education is considered as “The Green Passport” of our future.

A person who gets a professional qualification and acquires a high degree gets ready acceptance worldwide with an open arm.  The profession which was on, is on, and would be continued forever is the profession of teaching, which is one of the most noble and leading of careers in today’s world.

The growing demand of teachers is hovering in every field of life internationally, whether it's school, college, university, organization, Multinational company or else where.  Teaching is the only profession which gives the greatest and the multi-dimensional opportunities of career to an individual.

The developing countries now recognize that teaching requires the dedicated leadership of professional specialists to mold the future of the next generation.

Teaching is the specialized field of education, and it requires proper education, training and inborn adoration for children. It’s not an easy profession. Time has gone when those who did not get good job opportunities shifted themselves in the field of teaching in order to earn livelihood. Today, teaching is the professional liberal art field. Teaching requires skills that can be brought out by taking professional certifications or degree courses.

Teaching involves being with children or with colleagues to design syllabi or problem solving too.

In the field of Education/Teaching, you can become a Principal , Vice Principal, Deputy Head Teacher, Section Head, Co-ordinator, Supervisor, Teacher Educator, Educational Psychologist, Student Counselor, Curriculum Developer or Researcher, Special Educator, Language Co-ordinator, Recruitment Manager, Writer, Programme Officer, Montessori Directress, Lecturer, Subject Specialist, Journalist and so on.

Its not a profession of last resort; it’s a profession of dedication.

Pay scale

A person who adopts a career in education gets the starting salary from 3000 rupees to 300 thousand rupees nationally and anywhere from 1000-50,000 dollars internationally.

Qualification requirement:

The best qualification which suits a teacher is at least Graduate or Post Graduate with specialization in the subject over which they command (like education, psychology etc.)

Certificate courses are additional advantages for the post of Teacher and Asst Teacher.

For Montessori directress, at least Certificate/Diploma in Montessori is the pre-requisite along with some internship experience in high profile school.

For the primary and elementary level, command over early childhood, education, art, music, and physical activities are necessary along with graduation.

In the same manner, Diploma courses in Special Education or Teacher Education is the pre-requisite for the position of Deputy Head or Special or Teacher Educator.

Likewise, professional degrees like B.Ed and M.Ed is the required degree to become professional lecturer, professor, writer, program officer, etc.  There is Master’s Degree in Teacher Education as well, which is nowadays in demand to qualify for many high salaries.

For Researchers, Head Principal, or Educational Psychologist, in many cases a PhD in their subject is the required qualification.

Where they can join?

They can join any Private/Governmental institution, school, college, university, educational publishing house, Montessori, Government Research Departments, and Media.

Remember that continued training is necessary to meet the future challenges.

Confidence, teaching methodology, pre-planning, and communication skills, reading and writing skills, and clear language are the features of the great educationalist.

A few of the careers in the field of education is described below :

Education Consultant/ Counselor:

They assesses the needs of the professionals and advise an individual/ professional to choose the right career. Education consultants also develop policies and program initiatives within an area of professional specialty.  

Special Education Teacher/ Educator

They are the ones who design curriculum, and teach according to the special needs of students. They are the ones who work with students who have a variety of disabilities such as deaf and dumb, mild, moderate, severe, profound, borderline, cerebral palsy, mental retardation etc.

Special education teachers instruct their students in basic life skills and basic education.

Career Counselor:

They are the ones, who give the true and efficient guidance to the students in order to evaluate their talents and to choose the desired career according to their talents and creativity. Student counselors evaluate the students' abilities and interests and guide them to take proper decisions.

Principal/Vice Principal:

They serve as an Administrator of a school or college. They are the ones who develop rules and regulations, designing and promoting programs and activities. They also promote educational and professional development of the students and staff. They also evaluate teacher’s skills and polish these time to time by arranging Certificate Courses for them.

Researcher:

They design and formulate the curriculum according to the age level of students.

They also manage research projects.

They are the ones who use a variety of methods such as interviews, questionnaires, etc on specific issues and prepare report and theses.

They also analyze and present data in a meaningful manner.

Writer:

They are the ones who not only write curriculum books, but they are the ones who write articles and also help in formulating teaching curriculum.

Head/Assistant Teacher:

They teach their students with an inborn adoration and also groom their skills time to time by attending workshops or teacher training courses.

They are the ones who evaluate students' strengths, instruct them and teach them effectively.

Master Trainer/ Teacher Educator:

They are the ones who train teachers. They develop instructional materials and educational content. They are the one who also assess a teacher’s capabilities.

They also provide guidelines to the schools/ colleges and also design suitable activities for students.

Operational Managers:

They work on a wide range of issues, such as strategic planning, competitive positioning, performance management, student and teaching hiring and firing, alumni relation, etc.

 

Analyzing Lack of Educational Motivation in Students

by Munir Moosa Sewani 

Education is the key toward success for every country.  It helps to boost the economy and to generate democratic society in a country.  The main resource of any country is its Human Resource. 

If we'll prepare an educated human in our society in advance, by providing proper education facilities to our younger generation, then we could move towards the path of success undoubtedly. If we look toward our education system, there are many unveiled reasons behind the de-motivation and poor academic performance of students.  Despite a great deal of effort since the day of independence, academic achievement among students in Pakistan continues to lag behind. No doubt that we are moving towards the successful future, but our education system somehow, is hampering the progress of our country. The results, which we see in matriculation, intermediate and graduation are not up to mark. 

The interest in students to achieve quality education is de-motivated in the recent years.  The only thing student require is a certificate/degree with passing marks. In the attempt to improve school results, the teacher educators and education counselors are trying their level best to find the roots of poor academic achievement of school students.  Educational psychologists have also developed many tests, to judge and improve the skills of students, but the real cause has not been founded till date, that what makes the student frustrated to back out of education so easily? Might be it's the fault of the Ministry of Education to develop lack of integrated curriculum and wrong dimensional policies or it might be the fault of a teacher, whose teaching style is not appropriate to the age level students they teach, or it's the problem of learning disability in a child. 

Some point the finger at the outrageous homework loads students are given by the teachers. Students are overburdened with academic demands of questionable value and, as a result, end up indifferent to studies, exhausted, and worn out.  In addition, the heavy loads of books are not worthwhile, until and unless the students are ready to go through it. 

Our Curriculum Ministry is trying to develop curriculum according to their own judgment, without keeping in view the taste and level of a student. The reason for the poor academic achievement could be any out of these . But the question is, Why the students' academic records are more successful in European and American Countries? 

The answer is that they are keen to learn and explore things. No overload of work is given to them nor books load and examination pressure is exerted on them.  The books are well integrated too. 

The new writers who want to write curriculum books according to the requirement of students are never encouraged in our country. Teachers even sometimes avoid researching and teach whatever is given in the textbook. 

The main contributing factors that lead to low learning proficiency of students according to my experience as a teacher are as follows:

 1. Incomprehension of the studying purpose.  The main reason why so many students don’t feel interested in what they are doing at school, is the incomprehension of their studying routine. A vast majority of private and government teachers are not even bothered to explain to their students what the learning outcomes are, why they need to achieve them and how they will be assessed.  Mostly teachers take out their text books and start making a wrong impression of rote learning on students, and then evaluate their students without seeing the capabilities of a child.  Students are not encouraged to write their own answers. Despite this, the teachers wants their student to copy the same answer in the examination, which they have taught or were made to write. 

Thus, the writing and analytical thinking skill gets hamper, for which we can't blame a student. Students just accomplish their tasks by command, which needs to be bluntly carried out.

Students prepare projects, submit reports etc. just to get extra marks, without knowing the purpose of their study. 

2. Wrong Assessment Process Assessment means to evaluate children capabilities, not to judge them. Assessment in Pakistan is often wrongly intended by teachers as a punishment for students, or traps to catch them out. Grades seem to exist in order to show students’ errors, mistakes and drawbacks in the study area, rather than to give students a reasonable chance of demonstrating their achievements of specific learning goals. Same five years questions, wrong curriculum development by the ministry of education, changing of the course at the last moment of the end of the year are going on in secondary and higher classes. Assessment should not be based on counting the pages, which a student fills. Rather than this, evaluating system should be changed.  Invigilators should be well educated to judge the learning tasks and own input, or else the wrong assessment process, which is going on for a long time would create a fearful attitude in students towards assessment. 

Students are learning not for acquiring knowledge but for getting a “pass.” Students who work hard get low marks, because the teacher checks the paper according to their knowledge and often forgets the student's effort of contributing towards answering questions. 

3. Lack of integrated curriculum:  the Ministry of Education is making such a curriculum, which is not up to mark and is not well integrated with full resources. Mistakes in the books and wrong statements make students furious. 

Activities are always missing in our curriculum books. The quality and the presentation of book makes jack a dull boy. 

Our curriculum is made by professionals, but the question is, Why the curriculum is not made yet according to the needs and requirement of the students? We are just trying to change our curriculum all the time on the basis of the prevailing fear of any other examination systems, coming ahead in the competition. If we are capable, why don't we move ahead rather than taking wrong decisions at the end moment? 

4. Teachers fault with classes consisting of more than 15-20 children, many students feel deprived of the due attention on their teacher’s part.  Teachers are the leader and a role model for every student. Every student want to be unique and wants their place in teacher's heart. They are placed among the great lot of students without their personal interests, and problems with studying being taken into account. As a result, students don’t feel cared about, lose their identity, become indifferent to studies and lose faith in the brighter future.  

Teachers should treat their students equally and give proper attention to every student of his/her class. 

5. Wrong attitude of parents: Many parents are “performance oriented,” which emphasizes results such as students’ grades, rather than knowing whether their children have mastered the material or not.  They just want their child to be on the top of the list and that's all. Children get frustrated when a parent keeps a lot of expectations from them. It burdens students and de-motivates them most of the time. 

There are many parents who tell their child in advance that they have to join their father's or forefathers' business after passing school, which also makes the student less motivated to perform well in the  examination and thus, poor performance is seen in the results, just because of the wrong impression embossed by parents on their children. 

 
Reflections on Teaching Practice
By Munir Moosa Sewani

I am only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do every thing, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do every thing, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Reflecting upon my teaching always provides me many dimensions of learning. It helps me to improve and overcome my weaknesses.  When I entered the field of teaching, I was an amateur. I had many questions in mind: will the students accept me? Am I really creative enough to bring about changes in teaching profession? For a couple of months, I was in denial- I did not accept criticism, and thought myself as a best teacher! But I wasn’t. I learnt gradually that without reflecting on teaching practices, it wouldn’t have been possible to improve. As time passed, I started reflecting upon my teaching. This was actually a transformation process and taught me how to be a reflective teacher.  

During eight years of secular and religious teaching, I came across many challenges. I accepted these and they’ve served as a real evaluation tool for analyzing my teaching growth.   

Here I’m sharing two students’ examples, whose life was changed because of my little effort.

On the first day of my teaching at Religious Centre to class 1, I came across a slow learner child. While I was teaching, he distracted the attention of the others. He started patting book on others. When I asked questions, he was blank. For few days, I avoided him. The more I avoided, the more he mis-behaved. I talked to incharge to call his parents. When his parents told me that he was a slow learner, I felt shamed how I ignored him on the basis of his behavior. That event changed my life. At that time, I decided to carry on learning about his problem. I read books and developed different activities and designed easy lessons. I also gave him extra time. I used activity based methods of teaching.  At the end of a year, he was able to learn few things. The head decided to fail him. Being a responsible teacher, I decided that rather than de-motivating, we should appreciate him for learning something. He was shifted to class two. After few years of repetition, he was promoted to class three, where fortunately, I was given a chance to be his teacher again. His mother was guided by the Head to send him to Special School. Being a responsible teacher, I denied and took his “Adaptive Behavior Skill” testing, which I learnt during my Master Trainer in special education, and identified him as a slow learner not a disabled child. 

During class 3, I involved him more in class activities. He was allowed to sit where ever he wanted to sit in class. I also taught him basic skills. His parents were happy with my efforts. At the end of year, he learnt few things. But again, his gradual learning and improvement in behavior was an achievement.   

While teaching him, I observed his interest in graphics, so I told his parents about it. I’ve wherever possible raised my voice to keep him in the centre and continue to learn. I feel it’s important to cater such children. For there will be many more like him who’ll need the attention of the teacher and the Centre. We as a team can make a difference in their lives. This is something which hopefully will be understood in years to come with more awareness of children with special needs.  

The tool of appreciation and extra attention brought change in his life. Today, I’m happy he’s studying in REC gradually, and working as a graphic helper with his dad. 

I believe that every child can learn, regardless of their abilities/disabilities. Accepting challenges and demonstrating confidence to bring change is the sign of a reflective practitioner.  

A child may be aggressive to his teacher or to his classmates. Such behavior may be due to his not receiving due attention at home. When he comes to find a free life at school, he behaves like an animal released from a chain.1 

I also dealt with an aggressive student. He had an arrogant attitude. Once, I gave him a sheet of paper to draw picture; he tore the paper and told that he wasn’t a kid. Many times, I discouraged him; even he wanted to share anything. Once I taught students that no one can become master of all. He told me that he’s a master. I calmly denied his sayings. On the next day, he brought a chair made of old wooden box. I was sure he hadn’t made it. But when he told me the steps, I was astounded. It was my mistake to de-motivate him. I would’ve encouraged him rather than discouraging. I realized that if we are to criticize, it should be done constructively. We should appreciate children to share rather than taping their lips.

“Children are like a pot of flowers. If you'll give them proper attention, they'll grow up properly; but if you'll give them lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed.”  

 
Being a reflective teacher, I decided to know the real cause behind his aggressiveness. I met his parents and learnt that they hadn’t much time due to work. I counseled and told them the reason behind his child aggressiveness. They realized it. 

This time, I tried a tool of encouragement. I asked for friendship. He taught all the students making different things. Whenever, he brought any thing, I appreciated him. Gradually I learnt about his talents of music, painting, etc. Currently, he’s in grade 7. His vision is to be a scientist. Just a little appreciation and parent counseling brought change in him. Today, he proved to be a brilliant gem. 

Today, I’m happy to call myself a reflective teacher, whose objective is to mould children ethically; to nurture them; to explore their creativity and to cater the needs of children with special needs.  

 
Drug Education - An Emerging Concept for Teachers 
By Munir Moosa Sewani

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade. (Chinese Proverb)

Children are the symbol of peace and victory, and childhood is a period of innocence. Children's growth cannot be estimated from their height, but it requires examining their patterns of behavior and changes in their attitudes to judge their development. A child, who babbles "ba ba ma ma" grows very rapidly in today’s world. Societies are changing and so the children.

Children spend most of their day at home, followed closely by time at school and then with their friends. But as the children grow, it’s been observed that they spent most of their time outside home with their friends. Whether the friends are reliable or not is one major concern.  Children at their early ages, especially when they are in their teens, cannot judge friends well, as they consider a friend as a friend, regardless of any bad traits. As the world is changing, attitudes and behaviors are also altering. Children are adapting every new thing instantaneously, which lures them. They emulate many things instantaneously, without letting others to know it.

It is being observed that parents, as well as teachers, are mostly unaware of the bad habits in which their children are partaking or about to be involved in. Out of many bad habits, drug abuse is commonly found among youth around the globe. Drug abuse is initially practiced in the form of glue, inhalants, cigarettes, alcohol, beer, sedatives, syrups containing codeine, pain relievers, any drink containing caffeine, etc., Your child may later substitute it from cocaine, Hashish, Marijuana, Depressants, Steroids, etc. Such a habit of drug abusing is commonly practiced in parks or at different places, where it is almost impossible for a teacher or parents to reach.

The question is: why do children get into drugs? What are the real causes behind the curtain? Why children do adopt such deadly habit?

An informal research was conducted by me, and the following genuine reasons were found, which trigger children to use drugs:

Friend circle
Peer Pressure
Violence
Child Abuse
Depression
Inferiority
To expose high status
Look cool
Pleasure
Corporal Punishment
Net Chatting to strangers
Relieve boredom
Forget painful memories
Advertisement, etc

The reasons may be uncountable and it requires a lot of grass root research to be conducted to find other reasons. A teacher can get help from the world renowned Drug Free World Association, USA . This organization has done extensive research in this regard and is promoting drug education worldwide by the support of valuable donors.

All children want to look cool and they want others to notice them. Children want to perform unusual acts to grab others' attention as well. Confidence, friendship with others, outspoken, extroversive, party animal, etc are some of the traits found in most of the teens, but when you observe some other traits like fear, anguish, hyper-activity, changes in sleeping patterns, excessive behavior problems, abusive language, mostly sitting alone in a locked room, alterations in mood, drastic change in study patterns and poor grades, excessive impulsivity, changes in eating pattern, etc., then you can initiate a search for the real matter.

A teacher should not loose hope and should take the responsibility by taking one bold step of caring for their students like their own children. Often children are neglected at home or they outburst their frustration in the form of using drugs.  Children always need someone listening and caring for them. I have dealt with many people online who left their drug habit because of respect, quality guidance and support provided.

Whatever is concealed from the parents is sometimes expressed by the children to their teachers, if they really trust you. I had two former students who were using drugs, and I was unaware of their habits, until one day, I caught them up. Instead of informing their parents, who would have started beating them, the best possible step I took was to counsel the students. I believe that whatever we want to talk about or to resolve should take place face to face. These students were in fear. I kept my promise not to disclose that news to their parents. After five sessions of counseling, I got to know the reasons of their involvement in drug abuse. “A” was addicted to cigarettes as his group of friends brainwashed his mind that a 'man' should smoke. A man who didn't smoke, according to his friends, would be called names and described as 'feminine.' That emotional blackmail turned him to use drugs, and gradually he was addicted. “B” started using drugs because he saw his father using drugs since he was 13. He constantly watched his father’s patterns until one day his friend took him to his home and they both drank wine and enjoyed smoking. Since that day, he started using wine and smoking occasionally.

In a nutshell, counseling is one of the best solutions to solve bad habits in your children. It requires a lot of skills to create a trust. First of all, create a bond of trust by inviting a child to be your friend. Once they trust you, they can explore and share their lives with you and could also listen to your sayings. I recommend all teachers adopt a positive attitude in order to explore the reasons behind using drugs.

When you counsel any child, being close to them as warmth and support is the only tool which can lead to get towards the reality. Tell them that you will keep all the information confidential and try to share any realistic stories if you or your relatives were once involved in drug abuse and how you or they overcome the problem. You may also find some stories at www.drugfreeworld.org

One more skill a teacher can try is to create a dynamic relation, as the outcomes would be more realistic. For that, a teacher can make small groups among classmates and later give them some brain storming activity or topic to discuss, such as "what are the harmful effects of drug?" "How can we create a drug free society?" etc. You can even arrange an essay competition or poster competition and then display it for spreading this noble message. Invite their parents to show their children's efforts. One technique which I used was to make a small card with a tag “DO NOT SMOKE; THIS HOUSE IS SMOKE FREE.” Children colored it and later it was guided to stick it to their main entrance door. It really worked and the parents’ appreciated that effort. The schools should include some chapters in the curriculum related to the harmful effects of drugs which would help young minds to shape positive attitudes at their early ages.  

In the same manner, why not to arrange some workshops? Here workshop doesn’t means boring lectures. Instead, try to arrange s  game show or activity session to make your effort fruitful. Children love participating in activities, so such interactive workshops would be an effective tool as well.

Remember, drug addicts are not bad, the habit is bad. So try to make your child aware of drug hazards as early as possible to create better and healthier citizens and to improve their quality of life.

 
Relation of Color with Child Psychology
By Munir Moosa Sewani
Children love color; in fact, we all love color. Color is the brightest site of childhood. Children love all types of colors and give an instant response to it. However, children's response differs from adults' reaction. If you are to communicate with children, color should become your ally. But you need to use the color language correctly. Children use a limited palette, which becomes wider as they grow up. 

Color is the first characteristic that children can distinguish. All of us have heard that very young children perceive only black and white colors (light and darkness). Some young parents will paint the nursery black-and-white, buy black-and-white toys and other stuff. But in the period from six weeks to two months, the situation undergoes radical changes. First, children start to distinguish the red color. Later they start to perceive other bright colors, and yellow among them. 

Little children are attracted to bright colors. Numerous academic research shows at what age children's preferences change. Many children under 10 call red (or pink) and yellow their favorite colors. But having grown beyond ten, they start preferring blue. We consider it to be with the process of growing up and the appearance of the ability to perceive different hues of mood. 

Color preferences are closely connected with the gender. Numerous researches show that most little girls prefer pink, lavender or violet. Little boys like black and other dark colors more than girls. The question has risen if those preferences are innate or acquired. Adults accustom little girls and boys to like certain colors by choosing their clothes and toys. It's hard to give the exact answer, but we are inclined to consider color preferences to be innate. It's a difficult problem to be solved later in the future. 

Do toys manufacturers know about it? Walk about a toy department - you'll see that they are quite well aware of children's color preferences and they use color to attract children's attention and to sell their products.  As a company working for adults, they use the same strategies - color characteristics of the trade mark, emphasizing certain features with the help of colors. 

Speaking about emphasizing certain characteristics by means of colors, gender identification is only one example. If you see some product in bright colorful packaging, then the manufacturer wants to affect children and means them to be the target audience. Some parents think that manufacturers too cynically play on children's feelings. But remember how many times color has motivated children to take some positive action. 

Color is the great mean to manipulate children and teenagers. This mean is used differently and it brings different results. Not only sellers and manufacturers use children's interest towards colors. You also can use it to teach, motivate and inspire the new generation. 

Color language and children

First, let's consider how children get acquainted with colors. They learn to distinguish them long before they know the names of colors. The point out right objects before they are able to say 'red', 'yellow' or 'green'. Children learn colors' names at the age of 2-5. Girls usually memorize colors names earlier than boys. Of course, all children develop differently, as the process of growing up is connected with the state of nervous system. 

If you want to help children learn to distinguish colors, try to do so that children learn colors associating them with the subjects of corresponding color. Here are typical associations, understandable for an average child 

Yellow - bananas, lemons, sun 

Red - apples, tomatoes 

Blue - jeans, sky 

Green - peas, grass, leaves 

Grey - an elephant 

Brown - a bear, tree bark 

Researches show, that, for example when you show a blue apple to a child and ask him what it is, it takes him or her more time to recognize it. Sure if you happen to communicate with little children, you know what may happen. A blue apple may seem funny to them. It testifies that a child develops the sense of humor, ability to laugh at clumsy and wrong things. 

Once a child learns to recognize and name colors, it helps him or her to learn new information. Parents always want to teach children safety regulations. We discovered that emphasizing certain qualities by means of color helps children to remember what is dangerous. Remember that a human's eye notices the combination of yellow and black, and brain automatically perceives this as a sign of danger. Use these colors to mark the things that you don't want your children to play with. You may also mark those rooms in your house in which your children mustn't go, those that are dangerous - like stairs or the cellar. When your children grow, you still can use colors for teaching them. Certain research showed that children with attention problems cope with the task better when stimulated with colors. Improvement was as significant as when using drugs. It means the color can be used in medicine. Color can also be used in food if your child doesn't like to eat the same boring, dull food with the same golden brown color. But beware to use food color rather than an artificial one. 

I would also request teachers to add colors to their children life by giving them many more activities of coloring, and by decorating the class and the physical environment of the school with a lot of bright color. On this regard, I would also like to request the curriculum development authorities throughout the world to use color pictures in books so that children can read books with much more interest than many are now.

 

World Disable Day
by Munir Moosa Sewani

The world is moving towards progress in every walk of life. But when we look towards society, it feels as if something is still missing.  Money, power, fame, etc., is the wish of every human being to attain. But we can’t deny this fact that we all are bounded with loads of social problems which are hard nuts to crack. The key element of success and self-satisfaction is missing in most societies. Social issues are matters which directly or indirectly affect many or all members of a society and are considered to be problems, controversies related to moral values, or both.  Social issues include poverty, violence, pollution, injustice, illiteracy, corruption, bribery, suppression of human rights, discrimination, and crime, child abuse, rape, abortion, etc.

Out of many social problems, I feel that the rights of the Exceptional People are always being neglected by many. The International Day of Disabled Persons will be observed on the 3rd of December every year, but it is observed with true essence of understanding in only few countries.  No one wants to hear about these people.  No body wants to give them proper love and care.  They are being rejected from most societies.  Due to the ill-behavior of the people, they are facing a lot of trouble trying to explore their talents and creativity. Now, the time has arrived when we need to re-think about our attitudes towards them.

I did my research for 7 years at Aga Khan Social Welfare Board for Exceptional People Committee.  I joined this institute and came to know about their feelings and emotions.  I later studied many books and met many children of the “Borderline Category” of different schools in Karachi .  The revealing truth was bitter.  I realized that they were totally deprived from our society, and many were considered insane, which is not true.

I guess, no one has the right to define any human in their own perception, until and unless, he/she knows himself/herself deeply and perfectly.  But it is a matter of disparity in Pakistan , that these Exceptional Children are considered as a different beings.  the right to define any human in their own perception, until and unless, he/she knows himself/herself deeply and perfectly.  But it is a matter of disparity in Pakistan , that these Exceptional Children are considered as a different beings. 

Let us try to understand, who exceptional people are.

Those persons who have an IQ score which differs from the mean by two or more standard deviations are called Exceptional Persons.  The mentally retarded are declared as those persons who have scores two or more standard deviations below the mean.  On the other hand, the persons having scores two or more standard deviations above the mean are called gifted persons.  

Categories in respect of IQ are as follows:
70 above Border Line (trained and understandable)
70-50 Mild (educable)
50-35 Moderate (trainable)
35-20 Severe (minima
l skills)
20-0 Profound (custodial care)

Thus we can say that, “Exceptional children are those who lack either motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional, or self-help skill development.”

Imagine yourself sitting in Japan with the Japanese students communicating only in Japanese. How will you feel?  At that moment, you will be called a disable person who can’t speak or understand their language.  But this is considered by you as a normal reaction, because you know you are normal.  If that is the case, then how could most of us declare others as 'mental' without judging their talents and special skills, which God has bestowed them?

What disability is all about?

“Disability” means the lack of ability to perform an activity in a manner that is considered to be normal.”

“A disability is the expression of a physical or mental limitation in a social context- the gap between a person’s capabilities and the demands of the environment.”
(Pope and Tarlov, 1991 )

A person with disabilities means who, on account of injury, disease, or congenital deformity, is handicapped in undertaking any gainful profession or employment, and includes persons who are visually impaired as well.  In short, Exceptional People are those who lack in one of the areas of development.

“Disability refers to the impact of impairment upon the performances or activities commonly accepted as the basic elements of every day living. Disability can be used when an impairment, objectively defined, constitutes a hindrance to mobility, domestic routines or the occupational and might be communicational skills.”

According to the social model, “Disability is the outcome of the interaction of person and their environment and thus is neither person nor environment specific”.

Remember that physically disabled, blind/partially sighted,  hearing impaired, autism, speech impairment, learning disabled, mild, moderate, severe, profound, borderline, etc., are some of the main categories of the Exceptional People out of many others. Persons with Exceptionality are mostly unseen, unheard and uncounted persons in Pakistan . They are the most marginalized group. Persons with special needs face overwhelming barriers in education, skills development and daily life.

The United Nations estimates that some 600 million people worldwide have a disability and that the vast majority of Exceptional People live in low and middle income countries. The proportion of Exceptional People in Pakistan as per census 1998 is 2.49 percent of total population, which is quite diverse from the estimates of World Bank, UN and WHO.

These children have equal right to freedom of expression, quality education and have access to a safe and healthy environment; in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973; to have full rights and obligations as citizens as confirmed in; the UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, on Education for All (1990), UN Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities of Persons with Exceptionality (1993), Salamnca Statement and Framework for Actions (1994), Dakar Framework for Action (2000), UN Millennium Development Goals (2001) and the National Policy for Persons With Disabilities (2002) guarantee the rights of all children, both with and without disabilities, to obtain quality education adapted to their individuals needs, abilities and aspirations and full equal participation in all other aspects of life such as participating in decisions and casting votes, etc.

The issue of Exceptionality is gaining more and more importance all over the world as well as in Pakistan . Due the movement for a rights based society initiated by many national organizations, World Bank and other donor agencies have included this issue in their mandates. Governments haves framed various policies including the reservation of jobs, concession facilities in traveling, special training institutions etc.  But the question is, if these mandates were made, when it will be implemented, and who will implement it?

An infrastructure for Inclusive Education and Training was established in Pakistan in the 1980s which far exceeds that of most of the developing countries. However, despite these efforts, the sad fact is that most people with disabilities and their families remain completely un-served by government – and even NGO resources. There is dire need of more accurate data and research on causes, prevention, and curative efforts to understand the social and economic realities and possibilities with regards to disability.

The major barrier to employment and other socio economic benefits for persons with Exceptionality in our society continues to be attitudinal barriers; stereotypical thinking and assumptions about what people with disabilities can and can't do. The truth is that the range of abilities of persons within any Exceptional group is enormous. We need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each "individual" as just that, "an individual".

Only limited categories of disabilities (physical disabilities such as amputations, foot and leg deformities, visual and hearing impairments) have been surveyed nationwide and most of the data has not been categorized by gender. Therefore, quantitative, nationwide, disaggregated data, by gender and age, is required for comprehensive policymaking and an assessment of progress.  In Pakistan , there is only the ministry, responsible for social welfare and special education, which touches upon persons with Exceptional issues. Moreover, many Pakistani’s believe that persons with Exceptionality are a social burden and a curse on their families. These beliefs lead to the misunderstanding of disability. They prevent people from obtaining appropriate information and being educated. Employment opportunities for them are very limited and so they are a financial burden for their families.

Like us, Exceptional people are also bounded with some common problems, which they face in their day to day life.

Some of the problems of exceptional people are

·        Hyperactivity;

·        Distractibility;

·        Impulsivity;

·        Anxiety withdrawal;

·        Fear and Phobias;

·        Eating disorders;

·        Movement problems;

·        Depression;

·        Suicidal Behavior;

·        Difficult Temperament;

·        Conduct Disorder;

·        Aggression;

·        Obsessions and Compulsions;

·        Reluctant Speech;

·        Elimination Disorder;

·        Unresponsiveness to Suicidal Stimuli;

·        Self Injury, etc.

Persons with disabilities face multiple social, economic, physical and political problems, which hampers their freedom of movement in society. These barriers include stigmatization and a misunderstanding of the abilities and aspirations of persons with disabilities. There is also a pronounced lack of informational data, rules and regulations, rehabilitation centers, and main streaming and specialized services for persons with Exceptionalities.

The major community problem for which I have contributed my efforts is for “THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE.” I have worked as a teacher/counselor/trainer of Exceptional People for 7 years. Since my childhood, I had an intention to dedicate my life to social work for the Exceptional people, because I had a natural bond of attachment with them.

I dealt with all types of students in the Profound, Severe, Moderate and Mild categories. But I especially worked with “Borderline” students, those who want their rights; those who are facing major problem in every society and in every community; those who want their creativity to explore in front of others; those who await love from others and want other to accept them as  Normal Beings.

I believe that every individual can make a difference.  I thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly during my first year of Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.  I have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their expectations.  But still, they need everyone in society to hear them, to care for them, and to love them. While working for their RIGHTS, I also faced many difficulties in our society.

I can’t do everything alone, but at least, I have brought a little change in their lives, which is a big reward for me. The problems, which need to be resolved wholly, could only be possible if societies will join their hands together

Suggestions

Media should take an initiative to discuss their issues to create awareness among the masses

Inclusive education should be made compulsory in every school as the part of their curriculum.

Awareness campaign for students, parents, & teachers should be raised in every community.

Job opportunities must be provided to disabled people

Their needs should be addressed.

Awareness should be made through telecasting movies and drama on their issues.

They should not be called 'special.'

Competition should be raised in every community for younger students to make them aware about their rights.

They must get rights to study in normal schools with special needs.

Government should setup new curriculum for them.

Psychological testing should be made compulsory to identify their needs and areas of development.

They must get work place opportunity, which is lacking in Pakistan. They must get jobs in government institutions also.

Every one can contribute in the society:
· By participating in International competitions to raise awareness.
· By participating in awareness campaigns.
· By developing new curriculum for them on national policy level
· By providing them educational facilities and social justice.
· By raising funds for them and by finding more work place opportunities for them.
· By truly implementing the human right laws, made by UN.
· By motivating them more enthusiastically.  

 

Enhancing Your Teaching Skills
by Munir Moosa Sewani

Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” 
Chinese Proverbs
 

Have you ever wondered why most of the teachers have thunderous voice? The simple answer is, teaching is a tough job, and it requires lots of skills to embark upon this profession. When I joined teaching, I had no idea about this field; but as time passed, I realized that this field has given me more than what I had expected.  

It's truly said that:

Children are like a pot of flowers. If you’ll give them proper attention, they’ll grow up properly; but if you’ll give them lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed. 
(By: Munir Moosa Sewani, 2006).

Teaching is the field of Liberal Arts and it’s the most demandable profession in today’s world. So, in order to keep you up-to-date, it's highly recommended for all the dedicated teachers and for all the upcoming teachers to learn from others experiences. Here I am sharing few tips from my experiences which are already applauded and valued internationally by New York Times last month. I am thankful to them to publish it on International Platform. 

Always be punctual. Be on time and never be late. If you come late due to any valid reason, do apologize; say sorry without any fear.

Never try to punish any student physically. Avoid corporal punishment. Such ill act is against the ethics of teaching. If you really want the children to learn from their mistakes, give them warning; teach them to say sorry; make them realize their mistakes, so that they could learn from their mistakes.

Give them chance to write on their own. Don’t ever try to showcase your skills. Being a teacher, appreciate what children writes rather than pushing them to write whatever you dictated them. A sign of good teacher is to appreciate children efforts rather than making them writes long answers to rote learn. Such teacher, who love their own answer are not a real teacher for sure.

Always try to negate your point through good eye contact. Treat every individual as a "UNIQUE CHILD”, so that your students would feel respect for themselves within.

Never blend your family riots and never take any vengeance from your students because of your mishaps with their families.

Remember that in school, your students are your responsibility and you are like their parents. So care them with affectionate.

Keep your wide eyes attitude away from the students. It shows nothing else than what you have learnt during your schooling.

Have a plan to go for outing with your students at least once a month in order to create a healthy atmosphere in your class.

"WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR LOVE”. Stick one chart in your class and before starting class, try to ask one student to say what he/she can do for love today and then take promise from every one to implement it in their lives. This statement should be written in the chart regularly. This will teach your students ethical perspective of life.

Know each an individual child’s capabilities and abilities.

Give them time to relax in class.

If they regularly feel bore when you teach them, try to arrange educational activity for them as an alternative resource to complete your curriculum.  
Treat your students like your friend.

Give them incentives or reward when they perform good work. The reward could be a gift, star, stamp or just a good verbal slogan like Bravo! Keep it up!; Thats like a good student; One of the best student of my class; Great efforts etc etc. This positive gesture is very necessary especially in Primary Classes.

Try to teach according to the mentality of your child. Don't try to use jargons or high profile theories in your lesson plans which a child could not understand.

Try to integrate your lesson plan with Audio Visual Aid. Use video, computers, charts, tape recorder, CD player, overhead projector, slide projector etc. It'll support your teaching.

To maintain discipline in your class, make a cartoon named as "Mimi". For that, take a chart, cut it in circle and stick an ice cream stick to hold that chart properly. Now make smiley face on one side and sad face on another side. Sad face represents that you are angry with your students and smiley face side represents that you are happy with your students. Place this "Mimi" on the side of your white board and change the side according to the situation.

This era is totally different so please don't emphasize on rote learning. Teaching means to teach, to develop skills in your students. So try to accept the view of your students and develop their skills to write independently using their intellect on the specific topic you have taught them.

Be true and be Natural. I never tried to act artificial in my 8 years of teaching career. Share your happy moments and events with your students. It’ll make them realize that you trust them and might they also share their problems, their moments with you openly.

Remember that every student trust their teachers very much. They have lots of expectation from us. Being a teacher, it's wise to be loyal and dedicated towards our profession.

Love them, care them, listen to them and treat them like you own child.  

Always remember that children are very sensitive, so treat them with gentle love.  

They notice each and every thing in us; from our dress to our gestures, so always be prepared for every thing.  

Children usually ask us many questions and some times we don't know the answer of few questions. At that moment, just try to be loyal and tell your students that you'll search it and will tell them tomorrow or day after. In this way you'll not only gain trust and confidence from your student’s side, but there will be a strong bond of relation on both the sides too.  

Always try to interact with students and never stop them to share their views and ideas. Their ideas might be more resourceful and worthful for us.  

Never insult any student in front of other students. They might develop a sense of phobia in their mind and it'll stop their creativity to further enhance.  

It's the foremost duty of every teacher to have a communication with the parents of your students too. It’ll help you to understand your students from all the dimensions.  

Always Pre-Plan your lesson plan before going to class.  

You are a teacher, so be confident to face every challenges in your life.  

Be a role model for your students not by wearing extremely nice apparel, but through your positive attitude and knowledge.  

Do have positive gestures on your face all the time.  

If a child makes any mistake in their copy, don’t punish them to re-write. That is the worst solution for a teacher. Look at your mistake because it is the teacher’s fault if a child does any mistake. 

Keep a reflective journal and write every day’s learning for yours improvement.

Select the leader of your class every week that can help you in handling things etc. This activity will help your students to build their confidence, moreover, try to find out those children in your class who are introversive and make some resourceful plan to activate them in every class activities. 

There are many more tips and real time stories, which I will share in the coming days. I hope that this article will be appreciated by the readers.

 
Challenges of Teaching (part 1)
By Munir Moosa Sewani
Teaching is one of the most diverse and challenging professions in today’s world. Teachers are the ones who mold children into refined humans through their efforts and expertise. They play a pivotal role in this challenging world. The better future of the next generation is based on the knowledge, skills, and devotion of teachers. For me, it’s a profession of challenge, submission, and wisdom sharing.

Society is constantly changing, and so the demand society places on teachers changes. This profession requires a lot of potential to embark upon the day to day challenges. Surviving as a teacher is almost impossible for those who are not enthusiastic enough to accept the changes taking place in teaching methodologies.  

If we look toward the current education scenario in Pakistan , we will be able to evaluate that it’s the most challenging profession to adopt. I believe that challenges provide a lot of learning opportunities to those contenders who adopt this competitive profession with professional attitude.

Out of many challenges facing by teachers in the current setting, curriculum and classroom interaction issues are the most significant one.  Here I’ll share my personal perspectives and real challenging experiences which I faced during my religious and secular teachings. At the end, I’ll briefly propose some strategies for the improvement of teaching and learning.

To nurture the child in all dimensions, curriculum plays a significant role. In my view, curriculum is a plan, designed to cater to the needs of learning. The best curriculum is the one which can develop intellectual openness in pupils.

During my 8 years of teaching, I’ve evaluated that our curriculum is not meant to develop effectual skills and ideas in students. It’s only promoting the culture of rote-learning rather than promoting logical thinking. The challenge for a teacher is to discourage rote learning and to appreciate intellectual learning.

One genuine challenge a teacher confronts is to complete weighty curriculum within a set time-frame. It’s the widespread motto of administrators that a teacher should achieve the target of objectives on time, and teach everything the same as prescribed in the curriculum book by hook or by crook; otherwise, the students might loose marks in board examination. 

When I started teaching Pakistan studies, I saw that the books were not revised in many years. These were not meant to develop critical and rational development. I took up the challenge and made notes. Not only was the textbook knowledge added, but the inclusion of new knowledge was also incorporated. In this way, my learning centre students didn’t lose marks in national board examination, and the strategy to provide current knowledge was also achieved. I guess that a challenging teacher should plan lessons in advance to teach effectively in a limited time frame.

Another challenge for a teacher is to transfer knowledge after filtration. Some curriculum books contain unauthentic data. The stake holders aren’t enthusiastic to accept others' suggestions while designing curricula. Teachers in Pakistan also face the challenge to cater to the learning disabled in a mainstream because no curriculum is being initiated which can cater their needs. There is no central curriculum in Pakistan .  I was fortunate to write a workbook of biology, but was strictly guided not to add extra knowledge and activities. But I filtered the knowledge and wrote to the best of my capabilities. I also wrote few articles in newspapers regarding the monotonous textbooks which cannot retain the interest of a child or capture their imagination.

Rudina Xhaferri and Khalid Iqbal comment our curriculum as, “The curricula of both basic-level education and colleges are outdated and offer a very limited knowledge base. Especially in colleges, the subject matter of most disciplines continues to be outdated and irrelevant, allowing no room for changes in the context of education inclusive the content or improvement if inefficient teaching methods."

I agree with their analysis. The knowledge-based curriculum is missing.  Teachers want to encourage learning based knowledge, which can discover pupils’ creativity.  To cater a few of these needs, we developed few lesson plans and activities for students while teaching at Karachi Kid University . Its main purpose was to promote mental development and interactive session. Individual and group activities, critical dialogue sessions were designed. We also developed evaluation techniques. To face the challenges more effectively, we later joined teaching associations at the Aga Khan University , and learned skills to cater social, intellectual and emotional growth.

I suggest that the curriculum planners must be in tune with the changing world. There should be a balance between intellectual proficiency and intelligent social perspectives. Teachers’ views should be encouraged before making any modification, so that the teacher can be ever ready to face the challenges.

 

Challenges of Teaching (part 2)
By Munir Moosa Sewani
Teaching is one of the most diverse and challenging professions in today’s world. Teachers are the ones who mold children into refined humans through their efforts and expertise. They play a pivotal role in this challenging world. The better future of the next generation is based on the knowledge, skills, and devotion of teachers. For me, it’s a profession of challenge, submission, and wisdom sharing.

Teaching religious curriculum is also confronting for teachers. During my several years of religious teaching, we faced a few challenges.

When I was teaching primary grades, teachers planned to show students slides to create the scenario of a deserted place. I took a torn plastic bag, and students wore it with the help of a band, to visualize Arabic people's dress code.  An earthenware bowl with water was placed at the corner of the veranda. I took the students out and made them feel as if they were on a journey to Arabia. After a 15 minute of walk, the students felt thirsty. I told them that we have to find oasis, as we’re in a deserted area. They searched for the bowl and shared the water. In this way, I successfully achieved my objective.

The primary curriculum is according to the requirement of pupils’ intellectual nourishment; but continuous teachers’ training should be organized effectively, so that they could resolve some sensitive religious queries, which are in their minds. Let’s take an example of the story of the Prophet Abraham, available in the Talim curriculum. Most of the teachers disagreed as to act the words of Abraham, as it was unethical for them. In the same manner, I’ve seen few teachers not in favor of teaching some topics due to conflicts in their own minds.  For example, whether to tell students of class 1 about different religions at a young age or not, etc.

The Secondary curriculum will be made available soon. But for the time being, the most challenging task is to allocate limited resources creatively. There’s a shortage of resources at this time. The lessons plans are not fully integrated with the essence of religious formation. There is no activity book for secondary students. A creative teacher would say that I can utilize my minimal resources effectively. The challenge can be accepted by a teacher by acquiring continuous education through vigorous research to impart lesson perfectly.

The boundary of challenges is not restricted within the area of curriculum; there are many more challenges faced by the teachers during their day to day classroom interaction.

The main challenge is to interact with students effectively. Effectual Interaction can only take place when a teacher encourages two way communication.  Few of the students often feel shy to interact in class. This is a real challenge for a teacher to motivate reserved students by encouraging them to participate in classroom. I had a reserved student back in 2003 in my religious class. I appreciated him and gave him some classroom responsibilities and made him realized that he had great potential. Now he’s in secondary school, and I’m proud that he participates actively in classroom discussion.

Muhammad Ali Khan writes,

“The classroom environment is largely an expression of one’s enthusiasm for teaching and learning. However, it is also considered by many that by encouraging student one invites problems for himself/herself. As when students get empowered they can ask all sort of questions and the inability to answers on the part of the instructor will belittle the image of the teacher.”[1]

The views presented are acceptable, because critical discussions and questioning are mostly discouraged in most of the traditional schools. A challenging teacher must accept student’s criticism and take it as a path of learning. I always encourage criticism. If I find my mistake or lack of command, I always accept it.

Another challenge is regarding the management of the class. Savage, 1991, defines Classroom Management as,  

“Classroom management involves teaching students, how to manage their own behavior in classroom settings by establishing learning situations that will allow them to do this.” (Savage, 1991)

I agree, because that it’s a teacher who creates the learning situation in the classroom. S/he not only manages classroom settings, but also time, space, resources, student behavior, etc.

Teaching a large gathering is another challenge. Teachers usually can’t give proper attention and can’t understand every student's need in a large gathering. Most of the teachers in our Govt. schools face the challenge to handle more than 40-50 students per class, which is not possible to manage alone. Co-operative teachers are mostly not hired in govt. schools. Few of the government schools do not have chairs or proper rooms to accommodate pupils. So it’s again a challenge to manage the sitting arrangement in a manner so that a teacher can interact large gatherings properly.

Time management is another issue of classroom interaction. The lesson plan with proper time management helped teachers to cover the objectives, while developing skills. Most of the time, teachers fail to teach and share knowledge effectively due to time constraints. Teachers usually avoid pre-planning. When I did my field practicum, I saw a week planner completed by a teacher in a day. They used to cover most of the left over topics in a short span of time without taking feedback from the students. For a couple of days, we planned some lesson plans, keeping in view the requirement of learning within a given time frame.

A teacher should also understand needs of the child in a classroom. You may find a learning-disabled child in your class. Teachers often neglect student’s needs. On the very first day of my teaching in the religious centre, one of the students was hyper and was observing me continuously. At the end of the session, he told me (Aye Sir Tu Kutta Hai!) "Sir you are a dog!" I severely scolded him and called his parents. Later I came to know that the child was learning-disabled and had behavior excessive problem. On that day, I learned one thing: that a teacher should interact with each and every child positively and should understand their needs. My Master trainer in special education helped me a lot. I gave this student extra time. A year later he told me, (Sir Sir Tu acha hai) "Sir you are good." That sentence raised my spirit and made me realize that a teacher should also interact with the challenged students to foster them. In Pakistan , teachers avoid to cater such students in a main stream school, which is wrong. I’ve seen many disabled students in our community successfully studying because of their teachers' initiatives to take up challenge.

Another classroom challenge is to deal with students from diverse cultures. In Pakistan , minorities are always being discouraged to participate in class. Students avoid interacting with them. Most of the students show the wrong attitude towards minorities. This challenge was also faced by me when an Afghan student joined my class. Students avoided him. I used one strategy to solve the problem. All the students later accepted him whole-heartedly. (Refer http://happybookmark.com/2007/11/12/PLURALISM/).

Favoritism causes a barrier between the interaction of teacher and a student. Few teachers interact more with their favorite students, which can hurt the other student’s ego. I always try to be naturalistic and appreciate everyone equally. I thought beyond the boundary of the classroom to know my students better. I always tried to treat every child as special. A teacher should provide each student opportunities rather then playing a mantra of favoritism.

Technology up-to-date is the prior responsibility of a teacher, as it not only makes teaching effective, but it is the better approach to accomplish the objectives of learning. In Pakistan , most of the teachers are not being given computer education, so they based their whole teaching on the traditional blackboard. If the teachers will be technologically capable, they would provide quality knowledge to the students.

A teacher should take regular feedback from the students about his/her teaching style. S/he should be natural. S/he should set the time table and pre-plan lessons in advance. S/he should read more literature to keep interacting with the latest methodologies. Give students time to talk and to share their ideas. Appreciate them! A teacher should share his/her ideas with the colleagues and should work cooperatively with colleagues.

The teacher should readily accept his or her mistakes and always accept criticism. S/he should maintain a reflective journal to analyze his or her weaknesses and strengths. For learning, I believe that it’s a long life process which never ends. S/he should take continuous trainings and should try to develop Interpersonal Skills. Good communication skills, discipline and role modeling can make us a good trainer. The base must be a personal desire to improve oneself.

If a teacher has faith in himself/herself, then s/he could over come all the obstacles and could take challenges as a medium of learning.  

 

Poking Your Nose Into A Book

By Munir Moosa Sewani

Teachers love reading interesting and knowledgeable books to improve their understanding and to gather information for planning lessons. Children, on the other hand, love books.  However, what makes them read a book is not only the content but also the pictorial representation given in the book. There are many ways through which a teacher can make their students read a book. Both students and teachers can even try many innovative ways through which they can not only improve their knowledge, but could also share that to others. One of the best ways which I have always used for developing reading interest in myself is writing a Book Review. I have written a few reviews and all were published. It helped entice others toward those books while it helped me to improve my reviewing skills.

I have also used the same strategy for the students by giving them task to accomplish: a Book Review on their favorite book.

A Book Review is basically an evaluation or discussion of a new book by a critic or journalist. It is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit

The Book Review sounds boring for students, but it's of worth if you can give that task as a challenge to the students in a group. It can not only enhance their knowledge, but will also improve their writing skills.

There are many types of reviews, such as Articles, Journals, Events, Biographies, Literature, Books, etc. The aims of all these types are almost same:

  • To develop analytical skills
  • To depict and discuss the content of the book and provide analysis
  • To decide upon the validity of the author's points
  • To communicate the ideas to the reader's mind

It is mostly assumed that a book review is a task of a Journalist, Book Reviewer, Writer, Educator, Teacher, Student, Book Lover, etc. But anyone can do a book review, if s/he really wants to.

Here are some of the steps to follow for reviewing a book:

  • Select a good national/ international book of your interest. You can select books related to the topic of your interest. It could be a Geography, Computers, Business, Medical, General, Story, English, Political, Religious, Poetry, History book, etc
  • Pay attention to the number of pages.
  • Provide an outline of the contents of the book. This is the core part of a book review and should be as objective as possible. An Outline Format is give below:

Name of book
Picture
Name of Writer
First Published in
And Address Name of Publisher
Date of Publication
Buying Location/s
Edition
Price
Pages
Number ISBN

  • Read the Content, Preface, Introduction and Back Cover and note important points. Read all the chapters and mark important lines.
  • Write an introductory comment or two on the overall value of the book.
  • Gather your positive and negative comments. Discuss the general import of the work.
  • Compare the book with a similar work by a contemporary like, what is the general significance of this book? Why should it be of interest to the specialist or non-specialist? Let the reader know whether or not the book is worth reading and why? Is the topic interesting, important? Do the author's ideas change anything in your own thinking? Does the work offer anything new--new perspectives, new insights? Why should we read it?
  • Quote passages from the book to make particular points. Put the citation in quotations marks and follow it with the page number in parentheses. Example: "Obama was a very striking figure for Americans." (A New President, 78)
  • Summarize the chapters or compile marked lines in the form of paragraphs.
  • Add quotes and your comments.
  • Write a closing paragraph in your own words.
  • Compile your work and proof read it.

Tips
The typical scholarly review is limited to between 500 and 750 words
Select any renowned scholar book
Always look for a publisher rapport
Don’t criticize the writer harshly
Do not review older books  

Don’t include
Footnotes
A bibliography

Very long quotations from the book or other reviews

Information about the author's life unless that is the theme of the review

Best of Luck!

 

Decision Making Skills

Successful leaders have the courage to take action while others hesitate.”

- John C. Maxwell 

How many of you want to go for a beach walk on this weekend? How many of you want to change cell phone this month? How many of you know that where they would be after 10 years? What would you like to wear for a party tonight?  

These questions seems to be uncomplicated, but in order to take the right decision, one has to rethink every statement before making any final opinion. 

Many a times it happens that a teacher punishes student or make wrong judgment for the students without even clarifying the issue. Education provides us learning opportunities; but what if the skills are not being developed within the students? It’s a fact that at times, even teachers face intricacy to take right decision. Many a times it happens that we repent on our taken decisions. It could be about any thing; like taking a decision to marry or choosing a career to embark upon. 

Decision making is a life skill training, which helps a person to be independent in their life and to make right judgment. Still the top notch colleges and universities teachers are using the same teaching methodologies. Paper pen work is still going on but it seems as if the teachers are not willing to take skills development classes on a serious note. But the matter of fact is, until and unless teachers try to develop skills within themselves and in the students, it is roughly hard to estimate teachers’ capability and interest in personal and child’s grooming. Subjects are to give knowledge, but skills are to give leadership qualities. 

In this article, we will explore on of the ways of making a decision. 

No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. . ." - Isaac Asimov

Decision making is a complex process which helps us to take action and produce final choice. When we have multiple options or very limited options, we usually think to select one by comparing and examining them before making any final decision. But many a times, we take decision without thinking. Third law of motion states, to every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. In the same manner, the way we think gives us the result in the same way.  

Six Thinking Hats is the best method to take a good decision by analyzing situation from all the perspectives. It helps you make better decisions by pushing you to move outside your habitual ways of thinking. 

White Hat: With this thinking hat, you spotlight on the data available. Look at the information you have or you may also gather the information from the historical data, and see what you can learn from it. Look for gaps in your knowledge, and either try to fill them or take account of them.
Red Hat: Wearing the red hat, you look at the decision using intuition, and emotion. Also try to think how other people will react emotionally, and try to understand the intuitive responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning. Such exploratory research will help you to know about others feelings, which may help you to take right decision on right time.
Black Hat: Narrow your thinking horizon and look at things critically. It will surely help to make your plans tougher and more resilient. It can also help you to spot fatal flaws and risks before you embark on a course of action. Often it happens that we leave to evaluate the negative side of our thinking, which may raise problems later on. By looking at the problem in advance, we can prepare to face difficulties easily.
Yellow Hat: It is the optimistic approach to think and evaluate the situation. It gives an outlook to the opportunities and benefits of the decisions, if taken. It helps you to think positively leaving aside other dimensions. Yellow Hat thinking helps you to keep going when everything looks gloomy and difficult.
Green  Hat: The Green Hat stands for creativity. This is where you can develop creative solutions to a problem. Remember, problem itself is a problem unless you know how you can turn in into an opportunity. Your creative ideas and tools can help you to tackle with the entire circumstances with no trouble
Blue Hat: The Blue Hat stands for process control. This is the hat worn by people chairing meetings. When running into difficulties because ideas are running dry, they may direct activity into Green Hat thinking. When contingency plans are needed, they will ask for Black Hat thinking, and so on.

 

Corporal Punishment (part 1)

Students Just Like You! Or they dislike you! Well, knowing this is a well guarded secret for a teacher. If you want to know whether you are a good teacher or a dictator, just ask these questions to yourself:

  • What do you feel when you look at children?

  • What will be your reaction, if you find students shouting in your class?

  • How many times did you find your students appraising you genuinely, or how many times you felt that your students abhor you?

  • After ending your class, do you feel energetic or lethargic?

You will get so many answers to analyze yourself by student responses to the above given questions.

In my school, 50 students were questioned: what is the one line, which comes to their mind for their teachers? Few of the responses are given below:

  • I hate you teacher!

  • I love my teacher. She is like a role model for me.

  • What the hell is going on with our Math teacher? Is she mad?

  • I am fed up of my teachers stupid threats!

  • Teacher, I respect you more than my parents, because you always counsel me like a parent.

  • Dumb and Stupid!

  • Go to hell Miss ......

  • I guess Sir ..... wife beats him regularly, that's why he takes out his frustration on us

  • If I was the Principal, I would have thrown my teachers out of the school.

  • Our teachers are like devils!

  • Teachers always support us and they always do good for us. They are really concerned about our future.

  • I am damn sure that Sir .... was given severe punishments when he was a student. Now he has become mental and throwing tantrums on us.

  • My dear teachers, God bless you all!

  • A teacher must learn how to respect us.

  • My teacher always insults me in front of all the students. I want to kill my teacher one day!

These are some of the very unsympathetic and ruthless statements made by the students. Why they said such is based on their own perception. But what makes them to say all that is something, which is to be assessed. Corporal punishment is the result of student's awful attitude in most of the cases. Corporal Punishment is a very common illegal act, performed by many teachers worldwide. Despite reading so many articles, news headlines, laws, etc., some teachers love to be staunch all the time.

The word "corporal" is an adjective which modifies a noun to clarify that it is of the physical body (the corps). Punishment is another word for retribution, the enforcement of undesirable conditions upon someone in response to a previous act that was considered by the punisher. Corporal punishment, then, is defined as unwanted retaliation inflicted upon the physical body of the recipient in response to an act that was undesirable to the person inflicting the retaliation.  (Retrieved from: www.irregulartimes.com/cpdefinition.html on March 21st, 2009)

Corporal punishment is an ineffective discipline strategy with children of all ages and often is dangerous. Corporal punishment most often results in its victim's anger, resentment, and low self-esteem. It teaches violence and revenge as solutions to problems, and perpetuates itself, as children imitate what they see adults doing.

How many times you have read or heard that students look at the personality of a teacher? But truly, students look more at your attitude and behavior than any thing else.

Mr. Rehman, Arif recalls and shares his bitter experiences of corporal punishment in the following examples:

No. 1

When I was in class 1, I took private tuitions from teacher who was our art teacher in school, because both of my parents were working.  But then in class 2 or level 2, when my mother realized that teacher had like 50 students studying at one time, she and my elder sister decided to teach me at home. When I was taking private tuitions from her she was so nice to me but after that her attitude changed completely towards me. She became evil with me in the sense she always gave me low grades in courses she taught, always punished me and always tried to find reasons for beating me. Since she was responsible for selecting students for various extracurricular activities like poetry competition and art competition, she never selected me and always disapproved my work. 

No. 2

I remember that I was in class 4, when one day, our English teacher told us that she was going to collect our class work copies. We had one copy each for English language and literature. Our teacher asked the monitor (CR: Class Representative), to collect language copies first. After she and CR collected English language copies, she asked everyone to take out their English literature copies and then they both went into the teacher’s room to place copies in teacher’s closet. When I checked my bag for my literature copy, I realized that I gave the literature copy first instead of the language one. I came in front of class near the chair of the teacher, and waited for her to come, so that I could inform her. Then she came and shouted at me by saying ‘Why are you standing here, go to your seat’, I informed her that I had given her the wrong copy first and the copy in my hand was the language copy and I also said sorry to her.  She didn’t said anything but started slapping me on my face and head and back and chest.  She might have beaten me 50 times and the whole class was viewing this beating as I was standing in front of the classroom. While she was beating me she was saying ‘why did you give me the wrong copy, didn’t your hear what I said?’. She beat me up, took English language copy from me and after she finished beating me, she ordered me to bend on my knees in front of class. I was crying and was bent on my knees for the entire period. I wasn’t a bad student, but still she had beaten me and treated me as if I was a prisoner and did something very wrong.

Teachers claim that corporal punishment is the only solution to maintain discipline in a classroom; but challenging and good teachers articulate that there are many alternative ways through which we could transform students' inappropriate behavior without using any punishment.

We all have hearts! For years, I have been constantly seeing so many articles in the newspapers and magazines about the quality of a good teacher. In fact, I have also written a few articles on it to salute teacher's dedication and determination to groom children. But, if even a single teacher in this world uses corporal punishment, then it is like a taboo for the whole community of teachers.

 

Corporal Punishment (part 2)

"Help me! Rescue me!  Ouch, she is beating me so harshly!" - a student whispering while getting a severe punishment from a teacher.

"Please teacher; sorry teacher; beg you teacher; don't hit me, please!"  - a guy begging to save her life while crying.

Such statements are frequently spoken by abused students, many of which are heard by few of us; because sometimes, we mislay our heart under the pouch and forget to bring it to our classrooms. Why would a teacher use corporal punishment in a classroom? It is maybe that the teacher was beaten by his/her own teacher when he/she were young or the teacher feels there are no other alternatives. 

Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that all children have a right to education, and that discipline in schools should respect children’s human dignity. A school that is not safe is not a good place to learn. In most countries, children spend more time in schools than anywhere else outside of their homes. Schools have an important role to play in protecting children from violence.

But in many countries, physical punishment is a routine part of school life. Teachers can be cruel, humiliate children, physically abuse them, or even use sexual violence. Teachers do so because they think it makes pupils work better or because they want to show their power. Violent discipline teaches children to fear, but it doesn’t teach them to use their own initiative. It teaches them that violence is a good way to solve conflicts, but it doesn’t teach them values like tolerance and justice. It can also make them feel bad about themselves. Bullying between children may not be seen as a serious problem. Many countries have no laws to protect schoolchildren and students from discrimination. [1]

During the recent years, corporal punishment has widely spread in the world, more than it was ever practiced. Recent movements have, however, identified corporal punishment as a form of child abuse, but it is still practiced and will be practiced, unless some laws are enforced against using it in classrooms. 

The reason could be any to punish students; but mostly, when teachers are not trained, they cannot think of any alternatives, so they usually give punishment to maintain discipline in his/her classroom.

According to my observation,
a few reasons for using
punishment are: 

Aggression
To Maintain Discipline
To Generate Fear in Students
Psychological Disturbance
Depression
Low Salary
Lack of Coping Skills
Unfamiliar to Alternative Methods
Lack of Interest in Teaching
Prove that you are an Authority
Forgot to Pre-Plan lesson
Can't Answer Student's Queries

There are many types of corporal punishment; some of them include:

  1. Spanking 
  2. Slapping on head
  3. Insulting
  4. Hitting with Blade Scale
  5. Make Child Stand on Desk
  6. Biting
  7. Whipping
  8. Cuffing
  9. Belting
  10. Whacking
  11. Pinching
  12. Biting
  13. Pulling hair
  14. Grabbing or yanking
  15. Stand under Sun
  16. Caning on the back
  17. Not letting a child go to the bathroom, eat, drink or sleep
  18. Stand in an uncomfortable position
  19. Forcing a child to do exercise as punishment
  20. Putting red pepper in a child’s mouth
  21. Snatching Lunch Box
  22. Threatening
  23. Writing hundred times your name
  24. Eating Chalk

The majority of corporal punishment incidents result in minor to major injuries, such as soreness and redness of the skin, pierced body parts, etc. Although injuries requiring medical attention are rare, the use of corporal punishment has the potential of causing injuries such as ruptured blood vessels, nerve damage, muscle damage and brain hemorrhage. Such injuries may result in permanent structural damage and disability.

Salima Moosa shares her bitter experience in the following words:

"When I was in class 5th, once, my classmate didn't bring her workbook. Everybody knew that our teacher would kill that girl. She begged me to give my workbook to her. I did so as I thought that she might be rescued if I could help her out. Teacher checked her workbook, which was, actually of mine, and she was praised by the teacher. When teacher came towards me, I informed my teacher that I hadn't done my work. She slapped me non-stop 8 times on my cheek. But I sacrificed for my friend. I lied to my teacher, because she was a wild beast. She never listened to the students with love. I hate that teacher! For me, she was ill. Currently, I am a professional teacher, and I always try alternatives. I care for my students and students respect me a lot."

Sana Korji, student of Higher Secondary says,

"I was punished by my teacher when I was in 6th class. Actually my fee was not paid due to some financial crisis. Our Head Mistress forced the teacher to warn me. My teacher warned me that if I would not pay my fees then I would not be able to take exams... When my exams started, but my fee was not paid, the teacher didn't give me permission to take the exams... I stood for 2 hours out of the classroom and that’s a story from one of the best reputed schools.  At that time I felt very bad because I learned very hard for my exams but can't take them just because my fees were not paid... I felt that instead of giving me punishment, the teacher should have understood my feelings and my problems, and should have asked me why my fees were not paid or was there any problem... "

News in View: On December 18th, 2008 , a 10 year-old 5th grader named Chao Qun Zheng went to his elementary school in HeNan , China . When his teacher, Guo, found out that young Zheng had not completed his homework, she flipped out. "She was very angry at the time," he said. "She ripped and twisted my cheeks with both her hands and then she lifted me off the ground."

The teacher held the boy up until one of his cheeks actually ripped off and the boy was bleeding profusely. Without hesitation the teacher reached down and picked up Zheng's cheek skin, put it on his face, and instructed the boy go home immediately.

When the parents saw Zheng, they immediately took him to the hospital where it took 52 stitches to have his cheek sewn back on. Zheng's father has reported the case to the police and is expected to press for damages. [2]

A 13-year-old Pakistani boy who was beaten by his teacher for not completing his homework is preparing to undergo a third surgery.  Mudassar Aslam, a Class IX student of Himayatul Islam High School in Hyderabad, has already undergone two major intestinal surgeries after his teacher beat him.  Aslam was rushed to Liaquat University Hospital on November 21 after he complained of severe abdominal pain. His teacher, Buland Iqbal, trashed him with a stick after tying him up. The boy told the Dawn newspaper: "I was beaten with a stick after two other students tied my hands. He (Iqbal) also ordered I do 100 sit-ups which caused pain in my stomach."

Aslam was not allowed to leave for home even after he complained of excruciating pain. His elder brother Owais said he took Aslam to the hospital when he noticed his abdomen was swelling like a "balloon". The doctor attending on Aslam said his blood pressure and his pulse rate were very high when he reached the hospital and he could have suffered a brain stroke. "The intestines were jumbled and perforated and had turned blackish due to blocked blood circulation for which the first surgery was performed. But as it was leaking, another attempt was made," the doctor said.

"A third operation to enable him to pass stool and urine will be needed after two to three months." The school is yet to take action against the teacher. And Aslam's family has not reported the matter to police because "they would get into trouble".

The boy's father, a daily wage laborer, has lost his job for staying away from work to be with Aslam in the hospital. [3]

Teacher of a school in Multan severely beat a 7-year old girl student for failing to complete homework. According to Geo News correspondent, the teacher hit young Alizah on not completing homework, bruising her back and arms. Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif taking notice of the incident, ordered RPO Multan to submit a report of the incident. [4]

Teachers are role model for most of the students, so they want their teachers to listen to them. The days are gone when students accepted a staunch and dictatorial teacher. The time has come to rethink and change our pattern of teaching. 

In the next article, consequences of Corporal Punishment will be shared.

References:

Kwast, E. & Laws, S. (2006). United Nations Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Children Adapted For Children And Young People. Geneva : Publishing Service, United Nations. p. 25

CAFé, k. (2009). Angry Teacher Rips Student's Cheek Off. Retrieved on April 10th, 2009 ; from kosongcafe.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

Beaten by teacher, Pakistani boy prepares for third surgery. (2007). Retrieved on April 15th, 2009 ; from www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/50291/International/2/20/2

Girl child badly beaten for not doing homework in Multan. (2009). Retrieved on April 16th, 2009 ; from http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=74963

How many times you have read or heard that students look at the personality of a teacher? But truly, students look more at your attitude and behavior than any thing else.

 

 

Corporal Punishment
(part 3)

"Corporal Punishment can harm your relation with your student more than you can expect. You will get hatred in return for sure"   (Sewani, M. 2009)

"A Creative Teacher is one, who uses logic, before making any judgment."   (Sewani, M. 2009)

In the previous series of articles on Corporal Punishment, I tried to define Corporal Punishment; explained the reasons for using corporal punishment; explored its consequences and shared few real examples from the lives of the victims of Corporal Punishment.

I agree that discipline is necessary for the productive future of our students; but punishment is never the best way to maintain it. The effects and deep scars of Corporal Punishment are dangerous, as it might ruin our students' lives. A teacher must understand that the students are human, not demons. So try to be humble rather than rude. Teachers have no rights to punish students for maintaining discipline. Students consider teachers as their role models, but it takes no time for them to consider the teacher as a devil.

Corporal Punishment is a taboo which brings out nothing but insanity. It is the intentional infliction of physical pain for the purpose of punishment.

In my previous articles, I exposed out few bitter examples of Corporal Punishment. Here is one more incident:

An 11-year-old girl died after her teacher severely punished her for failing to answer a question in class. Shano was in a coma and was undergoing treatment for “ventilatory failure” in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Lok Nayak Hospital . The incident occurred at the MCD Girls Primary School in Bawana of Outer Delhi on Wednesday. A student of Class III , Shano had reportedly failed in the final examinations earlier this year. In the class, the police said, her teacher Manju reportedly asked her to translate a word into English. As she did not have an answer, Manju allegedly made her “sit like a hen” outside the class in the scorching heat. The girl started bleeding from the nose after a while and fainted. Shano’s younger sisters, who study in Class II in the same school, ran home at 1 pm, after the school got over, and informed their mother, Rihanna, about the incident.

(Retrieved, June 25, 2009 from http://www.indianexpress.com/news/punished-11yrold-student-dies-in-hospital/447841/)

I do remember one of our teachers, who insulted and punished me because I asked her to return my jumbo art book. She stole 4 books of mine and threatened me not to complain to the Principal.

Sears, Macoby, and Levin (1957) found that warm, affectionate mothers reported that their spanking was an effective method of discipline, while cold, hostile mothers indicated that spanking was ineffective.  

Here are some of the alternatives to Corporal Punishment, which you can adopt:

A teacher must take training to understand the social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning.

A teacher must set some rules in the class in the beginning of the academic years. The rules should be decided with the equal representation of the students.

A teacher must learn to control their temper.

A teacher should act like a normal being rather than a dictator.

A teacher must accept their mistakes rather punishing students.

A teacher should avoid giving over loaded homework to their students. If teachers are keen to do so, then they must try this trick on his/her own self.

A teacher must learn the psychology of their students before making any judgment.

A teacher must avoid taking family revenge from the students.

If a student does make a mistake, try to teach them what is right.

Create a child friendly environment in your classroom.

Use discipline codes which are fair and consistently enforced, emphasizing positive behaviors of students.

Use a lot of love when you discipline your students.

Lastly, the more corporal punishment a child receives, the more likely the child will demonstrate physical aggression against an individual outside of the family.

Need For Action Research In Education

(part 1)

The challenges in the field of education are escalating day by day, which have created a demand for conducting quality research to improve education standards. Not enough research is being conducted by educators to find solutions to the challenges, but as an individual, a teacher can at least endeavor to conduct research to improve standards of teaching as well as his/her own skills. Research is considered to be a more formal, systematic, intensive process of carrying on the scientific method of analysis. Research is a vast and multi-dimensional concept that has many dimensions. It is an endless quest for knowledge or an unending search for truth. It brings to light knowledge or corrects previous errors or misconceptions and adds in an orderly way to the existing body of knowledge. 

Out of many types of research, Action Research is the most systematic research that helps teachers to improve their curricular practice. 

Kurt Lewin (1946) has been credited with the development of the idea of Action Research. The evolution of an action research agenda in education has been influenced by people such as Kemmis (1983), Ebbutt (1985), Elliott (1991), Hopkins (1985) and others. 

Action Research is not mainly concerned in obtaining generalized scientific knowledge about educational problems, but in obtaining specific knowledge concerning the subjects involved in the study. It is a type of applied or decision-oriented research, but with the stipulation that the researcher is the same person as the practitioner who will make and live with the decision. Many times people think that Action Research is a job for specialists; a teacher is also a specialist in his/her field who can conduct effectual quality research while teaching.

It is a bitter truth that the standard of education in my country is dubious, as there is no central education policy. There are more than 30 boards running in Pakistan, rather than having one. On the other hand, there is no quality assurance provided by the officials of the relevant department. At the same time, when a teacher tries to implement any new component, it is criticized. The management never allows a teacher to bring any changes in the course, but as a leader of a class, new teaching methodologies and strategies can be applied through action research for the same course planned by the school management.  The purpose of Action Research is not only to bring changes in the curriculum but also for those who are to improve the practices. Action Research has helped a lot to improve classroom teachings in Pakistan. It can also help teachers of public and private schools to reflect back on teaching practices and later learn from their own assessment.

If the teachers are encouraged to come out with their problems and are provided the necessary facilities in the form of guidance and help in conducting Action Research, they can solve their problems with great satisfaction. 

Action Research has many characteristics: it is focused on the immediate problems and is applicable in a local setting; it aims at improving classroom and school practice and for the improvement of professional efficiency; it also helps private and public sectors to improve person capabilities; it broadens and depends the general as well as specific fund of knowledge; new interests, new motives and new insights can be acquired through it. 

Action Research can be easily taken up by a school teacher and can tackle day-to-day problems easily. Let’s take an example of a class where a child usually finishes the activity before time is up. As a researcher and creative teacher, making this child sit still will never work.  The teacher can try new strategies, like giving that child more tasks or some more complex activity which can meet his/her level of understanding. In the same manner, a teacher can record her teaching in a camcorder or on an audio tape and see/listen to it later on to see his/her weakness and strength. A reflective diary is an alternative way for a teacher to checklist the student's learning. Moreover, it helps to know one's skills and provides ample opportunities to learn from his/her own mistakes.  

Action Research on the part of the teacher helps students to acquire skills in problem solving and scientific methodology. It enables teachers to organize instructional procedures on a more reliable and sound basis. It develops an attitude of inquiry in the teachers which can help them to find the causes, analyze the causes, and try to diagnose the problems.

Thus, Action Research can powerfully and rapidly develop the technique of teaching. It can assist in creating new interests and add confidence in the ability of the individual teachers. If the teacher is sympathetic to the spirit of research then it can help him/her to improve the practices and can surely play a major role in raising the standards of education.

Daily Classroom Improvement with Action Research

(part 2)

Most of the readers of Star Teaching are teachers, and practicing classroom teaching. Classroom action research begins with a question or questions about classroom experiences, day to day issues, or challenges. We, the teachers are always in a phase of learning from our very own experiences. Action Research helps us to polish our skills in many ways. It works as a magnifying glass and helps teachers to examine aspects of teaching and learning and to take action to change and improve.

For a good Action Researcher, maintaining a reflective diary is must.  Writing day to day challenges and looks for the improvement that helps to solve day to day class challenges.

An example of maintaining a reflective journal is provided below:  

EXTRACTED FROM A PERSONAL DIARY:

My aim of conducting an Action Research was to find the challenges of a secondary class and to improve the teaching standard. For this purpose, I first visited the school to evaluate the lesson plans and activities of all the secondary classes. I also interviewed the class teachers, in order to get a brief introduction about the teaching strategies that were being used by them.

After evaluating everything for a couple of weeks, I came to the conclusion that there were numerous severe problems going on in the school. The lessons plans were not up-to-date; the activities were not available for most of the secondary classes; the classroom set up was not being provided to the students; most of the teachers were not trained; the curriculum was based on rote learning; the grading system was not up-to-mark; students attendance was short; teachers were not enthusiastic to teach with much motivation; etc. 

At last, I decided to take the 7th grade as a real challenge for me, because 7th class was the most affected one in terms of proper learning. Keeping in view all the major problems, I took an initiative and designed lesson plans in such a manner that were not only activity-based, but also the students' participation and teachers' learning was the key motive and slogan of my plans.  

My Focus

The developed some important points which helped me a lot to observe and record my performance in the classroom. I selected 1-2 areas regularly and the areas given below were successfully achieved during my teaching practicum:

1.         Made linkages with students’ beliefs & identity

2.         Served as a role model by demonstrating enthusiasm, curiosity, and a joy of learning

3.         Effectively motivated students to improve student learning

4.         Effectively supported and assisted students in meeting their academic, social and emotional needs by being sensitive to these needs

5.         Actively involved the students in the learning process

6.         Assessed student performance on a regular basis

7.         Balanced student and teacher interactions to promote learning

8.         Created an environment that maximizes learning

9.         Praised student achievement appropriately

10.       Demonstrated care, respect and fairness for all students by maintaining positive interactions

11.       Promoted polite and respectful student interactions

12.       Addressed inappropriate student behavior in a positive manner

13.       Allowed all students to ask for help whenever they need it

14.       Ensured that the students get a good grounding in the key messages inherent in the curriculum

15.       Gone beyond the curriculum to discuss/address issues

16.       Adopted different teaching strategies to teach the curriculum (e.g. group work, role play etc.,)

17.       Asked questions related to the curriculum that promote critical thinking skills

18.       Displayed student work around the classroom

19.       Used appropriate strategies to manage discipline

20.       Established classroom management strategies that support learning, respect and dignity of students

21.       Made the curriculum relevant to the students so they see  the connection between the curriculum and their daily lives

22.       Encouraged students to question rather than simply accept what is delivered in class

23.       Encouraged creative thinking in the class

24.       Kept an up-dated  reflective journal on the classes taught

25.       Used technology appropriately to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the classroom

 

Day 1:

The day prior to my practicum, I visited my classroom and managed the classroom setting. There were around 30 students as per register of the classroom. So to cater to them and to make them sit comfortably, the seating arrangements were changed so that I can move quickly and the students can also feel as a center of learning. To make teaching effective and for the on-going learning process, I also prepared a bulletin board with a lot of interesting games, news, speeches of Imam, etc.

Today was my first day. I was a bit nervous. I had a vast experience of teaching at the primary level, but after a gap of around 2 years, I was supposed to come across the students of religious education center. I was not confirmed whether the students would accept me as their teacher or not. But I was confident, that the teaching style of mine would definitely inspire them and will motivate them to accept me as their teacher.

I had a lot of expectations from all the students. Although I hadn’t met any of the students before, I was sure that their level would be quite more advanced. I was not there to be a dictator, so my rule was very clear: to be a teacher and a friend. I had fully planned the lesson and activities. The topic I planned was an Introduction to Nasir Khusraw. As a teaching aid, I used the whiteboard, OHP, flashcard and game cards.

As it was my first day, I reached the center on time.  I saw that the Prefect, who was standing in the class, had threatened those students who were talking to each other. That scene was unbearable for me. That was the worst way to build ethics in students forcefully. I humbly requested the heads not to send such Prefects in my class next time. Firstly, I greeted all the students and developed some classroom rules, which students promised to follow regularly. Then, I gave my little introduction to my students and asked them their name, hobbies and aim in life. After the familiarity, my students felt a bond of attachment with me and I felt as if they were much more comfortable with me. Then I began my lesson with the story of an old woman who received her degree at the age of 80, without any hesitation. Then I threw a few questions, including "Who gave our parents, grandparents and forefather’s guidance?" I appreciated their comments. Later I clarified their concepts about Daai and Pir and also told them how they all worked hard to spread the message of Imam. So many questions were raised about how they spread Is mail ism. With the help of different examples I cleared their concepts. Students were told about the early life of Nasir Khusraw. I also told them that he learned many different languages. To create an interesting class, I made them learn some very interesting Arabic words. That was the most interesting part of my lesson, which made them realize, that like Pir Nasir, they can also learn different languages if they want. Later, the concepts of different religions were briefly explained to the students.  I tried my level best to keep knowledge attitude and skills in the lesson plan. In order to develop ethics I integrated some Quranic verses in my lesson.

I used the OHP for introducing many things as the part of my effective teaching, and that worked well. During my class, I found few students who were very reserved but I believe that within a couple of days, they will also participate in the classroom discussion. Two of the students tried to create a disturbance in the class. I found one challenged student in my class who found it difficult to solve the math puzzle, which was later given as the part of activity time. I assisted him to achieve the target. The students were excited and eager to learn; that’s what I observed after today’s session. Many times, students raised questions together, which puzzled me a lot. So, I introduced a norm that if any student wants to ask anything, they can ask by raising his or her hand.

The successful area of my teaching was the story, which I used as an introduction, and the activities, which students loved. I served as a role model by demonstrating enthusiasm, curiosity, and a joy of learning. The area of improvement was the management of time. The time was short, but the lesson took 10 more minutes to complete.  I will try my level best to teach less, but more effective from the next time. I also learned that it is the environment which makes student naughty.  If the teacher is humble and can teach students according to their expectations, then they will listen to you for sure. The question answer session was interactive, but only 3-4 students willingly participated. I will definitely pay my attention particularly to the students who did not participate in the class.  

DAY 2:

Today, I was much more confident to take my class actively. The students were now familiar with my teaching style. I assumed that there will be an interactive class and I will be able to achieve all of the entire objectives on time. I will test them by an on-going assessment system and through group activity.  The students will be able to realize the importance of intellect and I hope that they will understand the importance of education in our lives.

Today, I taught them about what intellect is and what its importance is. I was resourceful and fully planned. My objectives were to tell students what intellect is, and what was its importance, and how we can take advantage of the creation of Allah. I started off my lesson very well. I tore 10 rupee notes and then asked students who need it. In this way the whole analytical thinking was raised, which was liked by the students.  The students participated with full enthusiasm in class. I explained them that if we use intellect properly, we can resolve most of our problems easily. Many students quoted Hadith, Quranic Verses and regarding intellect. I tried to integrate my lesson with it as well.

The group activity was thoroughly enjoyed and students realized that to take decisions on their own. The students were very sharp. They threw many questions while the other students answered it effectively. Retaining activity and paper work was also good. 3 students in my class were not participating actively. So I tried to involve them as well by asking them questions.

Over all, it was a successful class where students thoroughly enjoyed the class. Students also brought some board material, which showed their keen involvement in classroom. I took 50 minutes to complete my lesson. The area of learning is to manage time again. I will definitely try to overcome this problem soon.

My strength was my voice and my pre-planning, plus the integration of activities was my strength. Group activity worked well. Diversify concepts and then accepting each other comment made them to work in a group while thinking genuinely.

The students were enthusiastic and eager to learn and participate. Most of the students eagerly listened to me and also shared their view without any hesitation

I will try to give quality knowledge within time limitation next time and will try to avoid others distraction in class, which was going on again and again. Observer appreciated me a lot. I tried to manage class without the help of any teacher. The resources were not available due to which I pre-planned and managed it at my own cost. 

DAY 8:

Today I taught students about role of intellect in Islam. I was resourceful and was well planned. I was sure that the students will like the topic. Once again, I used a different strategy to start my class. The mind map activity was given to the students in the beginning and was asked to go through it for two minutes. They read it and then gave their own interpretations. I linked it with the Is mail i tradition of intellect, and motivated students to work voluntarily for Imam in their own capacity, as it is our tradition to work for Imam. 

Intellectual importance and how it helps us to understand the creation of god was a healthy discussion between me and my students.

I provided opportunities for students to express their opinions and to criticize arguments and positions that reflect different views and also encouraged students to believe that what they learn in class is useful in life.

Later, an activity of situation was played by the students in groups, which was successful. I saw all the students were very much eager to come forward to share their views. Today class was little bit disturbed, because of group activity. I can’t blame students because I can’t force students to be quiet all the time. I want them to express, as it’s the part of my teaching.

The success of my lesson was my command over the subject and the area of learning is time management. I pre-planned a lesson of 45 minutes but it took 55 minutes. I guess that I should plan my lesson in such a way that I could complete my lesson on time. One parent also came and she was angry that I made her child sit in the class for extra 10 minutes. I will try to over come it.

DAY 12 :

Today was my last day. I was very much confused how the students would feel after knowing this news that today was my last day with them. During a short span of time, the bond of attachment between me and my students was built strong on the basis of trust. I was shocked that few of the students already knew that it was my last day. One of the students presented me a card, and all the students wrote sir I miss you on the board, which touched me deeply.

The topic of today’s lesson was the measurement of intelligence. The class was planned with a lot of activity based teaching. I was fully resourceful. I started my class by raising few of the questions related to their intelligence. I also gave the chance to the students to share their views about intellect. The class was wholly based on discussion. Integration of Quran was also made. Three activities, based on their lesson were planned. One was the friendship test; the second activity was to find out the number of A in a jumble page of alphabets by the students; and the third activity was to form 25 words out of the few alphabets given to them. All these activities explored their creativity and made them analyze that if they want, they can use their intellect properly. Few situations were also given, which showed them that we can measure intelligence in our daily lives, by giving priorities to those things first, which are more important. Students were very active and participated actively in all class activities. Book reading was also done.

Today, the class got over on time. There was no mess in class. The sitting arrangement was proper and the activities were well planned. The best part of today’s teaching was the enthusiasm of students and me. Activities were also the secret of my lesson success. The area of improvement is to be slightly slow in delivering my lesson, as I usually get excited and speak very fast, which might irritate my students.

I am assigning a task to the teachers. The topic of research is, "CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN CLASSROOM". I suggest teachers to keep a reflective journal and note day to day activity. Once you are done with it, edit it and e- mail to munirmoosa@yahoo.com. I will reply you back with my comments.

Primary Field Decider Scale

PRIMARY FIELD DECIDER SCALE

Developed by: Munir Moosa Sewani, Supervised by: Dr. Hameed ur Rehman 

For most of the students, choosing the right field is a daunting task. Although the teachers and education counselors are putting in a lot of effort to solve the queries of students, still, these students are puzzled in selecting the right fields to embark upon. Unfortunately, all the standardized tests are only providing students with a list of fields they can move on with, but the element of measuring one's potential is missing. It is very important to make students aware of their own potential and interests to make the best decisions earlier in life. Keeping in view the demand, the test was designed for the students of UAE a year ago. After an extensive research, the test has been amended and now it can be used anywhere around the world. A pilot test was recently conducted among the sample of 50 students. On the basis of the results, the counseling of the students was conducted at my residence. The success ratio of the test was 92.8%. Students found it very interesting to access their own potential. Thus, the results will help the teachers and education counselors to counsel students with a much greater success rate. This test does not claim that it will prove to be a mantra for your success; however, it will surely be helpful for individuals and for the teachers/ counselors to make the best decisions on the basis of students’ potential and skills. Thus, so far, the test is genuine and I hope that the students and teachers will find it very fruitful. 

Note: It is very important for the respondents to fill all the items. Once filled, send in your hard copy with all your details to munirmoosa@yahoo.com. The cost of evaluating each document is 20$, however, 50% discount is being provided to the readers of Star Teaching, exclusively.

PART 1: FAT (Field Analysis Test)

It is a short-term test, which has been designed for the students to know their interest so that they could take a wise decision to carry out

Select at least one and at most two for the questions given below: 
1. Which one of the following would best describe your interest?

Movie and Music 
Cooking 
Surfing Net 
Web Designing 
Playing Games 
Experimenting Things 
Outing 
Playing Mind Games 
Making Creative Things 
None  

2. Which one is your Favorite subject?

Mathematic 
Biology 
Chemistry 
Physics 
Computers 
Economics 
Commercial Geography 
English 
Urdu 
Islamiat 
Pakistan Studies 
Home Economics 
Art and Craft 
None 

3. Which Subject you hate the most in your school life.

Mathematic 
Biology 
Chemistry 
Physics 
Computers 
Economics 
Commercial Geography 
English 
Urdu 
Islamiat 
Pakistan Studies 
Home Economics 
Art and Craft 
All  

4. What were your results in your Secondary school classes

Outstanding 
Very Good 
Good 
Average 
Poor  

5. Select the trait that applies you the most.

Conventional 
Reasonable and Reliable 
Responsible, Organized and Calm 
Productive 
Practical 
Sincere 
Reserved 
Hospitable 
Warmhearted 
Innovative 
Open Minded 
Short Tempered 

6. Whom do you inspire the most?

Athletic coach 
Hair stylist 
Physical therapist 
Astronomer 
Banker 
Politician 
Doctor 
Pilot 
Web Designer 
Counselor 
Librarian 
Social worker 
Teacher 
Engineer 
Movie Director 
Minister 
Nurse 
Food service manager 
Carpenter 
None 

7.How many hours could you spend on studies?

Less than 1 hour

1-3 hours

3-6 hours

6-9 hours 

 
 

PART 2: IBR TEST 

Analyze the picture and select the best suitable answer:

I see a face in the card

I see a scary face in the card

Things look like they're whirling around in the card

It looks like we're looking down on people or something in the card

I see a mask in the card

I see a flower in the card 

2. Analyze The Picture and give your answer in the space provided:

Example: A young woman is waiting for someone.

PART 3: SITUATION ANALYSIS 

Karim studies in class 6. Till class 5, he secured top positions in academic, as well as extra curricular activities, but this year, he is not showing keen interest in his studies. Teachers complain that he is dumb, while his parents know how brilliant he was during the previous years. Can you suggest the ways to help him out?

PART 4: MT

Would you like or dislike performing the activities given below:

Please write L or D after every answer:

 

Paint a wall

Solve your brother or sister or friend math sums

Design a card for your friend

Suggest your friend about hard working

Use money lavishly

Help your parents in their work

Monitor a machine on an assembly line

Repair household appliances

Do internship, if get a chance

Write an article

Guide students for the future

Love elders and sick people

Buy groceries

Assemble electronic parts

Drive a truck to deliver packages to offices and homes

Paint houses

Perform lawn care services

Handle calls

Change the decoration of your house

Select best color for wall painting

Write a song or compose music

Perform social work

Spray trees to prevent the spread of harmful insects

Test the quality of parts of scooter or car, before buying

Love to read books

Buy a pet

Mess kitchen and experiment new things

Better idea to brought Pakistan Film Industry back to its original position

Help poor and needy people

Study human behavior

Participate in Science Exhibition

Diagnose and treat sick animals

Study the personalities of world leaders

Know the better solutions to the problems of education in Pakistan

Know the names of few medicines

Study the structure of the human body

Accept mistakes

Loose hope

 

 

If one shop is closed, find other to buy ice cream

Like to be in touch with current affairs

Love to pluck flowers

Avoid self medications

Play a musical instrument

Draw pictures/ painting

Act in a play

Play a part as a team leader

Write scripts for movies or television shows

Click photographs

Edit movies

Pose for a photographer

Supervise the activities of children at a camp

Injection by a doctor, when ill

Do volunteer work at a nonprofit organization

Help people who have problems with drugs or alcohol

Collect donations for poor people

People know you

Counsel people who have a life-threatening illness

Teach disabled people work and living skills

Attending workshops

Manage a supermarket

Sell products to earn good profits

Start your own business

Sell automobiles

Bargain from shopkeepers

Know the prices of latest computers and other gadgets

Check assignment/ class work before submission

Look for freebees

Spend time building own website

Spend time on net

Submit assignment on time

Calculating monthly expenditures of you family

Take notes during a class

Keep all certificates/ degrees in safe

Keep daily diary for routine check

Handle customers

PART 5: RST

Tick the scale that applies to you. 

1. Your ability to speak in a way that convinces others of your point of view. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

2. Your ability to clearly explain complex matters verbally. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

3. Your ability to entertain others when you speak. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

4. Your ability to speak in public to a group of people. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

5. Your ability to write a convincing argument. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

6. Your ability to write very clear instructions. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

7. Your ability to write in an entertaining manner. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

8. Your ability to compute numbers quickly in your head. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

9. Your success with mathematics at school. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

10. Your ability to analyse issues in a logical and systematic way. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

11. The extent to which you find yourself naturally analysing what people say and deciding whether it is logical and consistent. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

12. The extent to which you are drawn to find out why things are the way they are, and to seek to understand the underlying reasons. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

13. Your success with sciences at school. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

14. The extent to which you find yourself analysing the form and design of objects in the world. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

15. Your ability to visualise something in your mind and reproduce the visualisation in an artistic form or design. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

16. Your sense of direction and your ability to find your way around in the world. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

17. Your ability in technical and mechanical things and in understanding how things work. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

18. Your ability to understand how things like engines or buildings fit together and your ability to make or fix them. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

19. Your ability in sports and as an athlete. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

20. Your ability to create new and innovative products and services to meet the needs of others. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

21. Your ability to sing, or to play, write or conduct music. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

22. Your ability as an effective listener 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

23. Your ability to teach skills and knowledge to other people 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

24. Your ability in taking care of, helping, healing and meeting the needs of others. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

25. Your ability to prioritise your daily activities and then carry out your tasks according to the priorities you set. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

26. Your ability to work harmoniously as part of a team. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

27. Your level of computer literacy with software such as word processing, spreadsheets/databases, internet/email and other specialist software packages. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

 28. Your ability and willingness to learn new skills and knowledge quickly. 

Bad Fair Good Excellent

 

Behavioral Disorders in Children
Specifically to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(part 1)

Introduction

Behavior Disorders are conditions that are more than just disruptive behavior. They are related to mental health problems that lead to disruptive behavior, emotional and social problems.  Any of various forms of behavior that are considered inappropriate by members of the social group to which an individual belongs are also termed as behavior disorder.  

Studying Human Behavior is a typical task. All humans behave according to the situation. There is no perfect stuck behavior in any individual which can help us to calculate the perfect behavior pattern in everyone. It varies from time to time, place to place, and based on situations. Some persons are good in one environment, while they behave differently in other places.

From a youngster to an old person, anyone can have a behavior disorder. Early diagnosis and the right medical and psychological treatment can help a person to overcome it.

In my research, I have tried my level best to evaluate three major behavior problems, their symptoms, and remedial measures. ADD- Attention Deficit Disorder is one of the examples of behavior disorder shared in my research, which is commonly found in a school-going children. True life examples are also integrated in my research. In short, this research is an initial step to understanding different behavior problems.

Before learning about Behavior Disorder, we must understand what behavior is.

Behavior

We all have different behaviors in different situations. Human behavior is unpredictable. The way we move, talk, express our ideas, our gestures, and our way of communication, thus, all the aspects of our personality, can be linked with behavior. The manner of conducting oneself; anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation; the response of an individual is called behavior. In short, the way an animal or human behaves or acts is also termed as behavior. 

According to Wikipedia:
“Behavior refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.”

According to the famous writer William G. Van, 2001:
“A person's way of doing things; pattern of actions; the way a child acts, reacts, or relates to others, both positively and negatively is called behavior.”
[1]

Behavior Disorder

Behavior disorder can be found in any person of any age. We can’t say that behavior disorder is only present in a housewife or a businessman; in children or a teenager, etc. In society, you may find many people having behavior disorder, or you might observe it in the future ahead. Behavior disorder could be genetically transferred, or it could be generated due to some shock or any other incident that occurs in life.

According to psychologists: 
“Behavioral disorders: Disorders affecting behavior and emotional wellbeing." [2]

Behavior disorder means abnormality in the way of acting or behaving of a person. Behavior disorders include mental health problems with a focus on behaviors that both identify emotional problems and create interpersonal and social problems for children and adolescents in the course of their development. [3]

Warning Signs

The general signs which can indicate any sort of behavior problem in any human are:

  • Harming or threatening themselves, other people, or pets

  • Damaging or destroying property

  • Lying or stealing 

  • Not doing well in school, skipping school 

  • Early smoking, drinking, or drug use 

  • Early sexual activity

  • Frequent tantrums and arguments

  • Consistent hostility towards authority figures 

If you see signs of a problem, ask for help. 

Causes of Behavioral Disorder

The causes of all sorts of behavior disorders are unknown. However, the common causes for a behavior disorder may be one of these:

Organic disorders

Various organic disorders, such as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, cocaine or amphetamine intoxication, cerebral hypoxia, and nutritional disorders, can produce psychotic behavior. Endocrine disorders, such as adrenal dysfunction, and severe infections, such as encephalitis, can also cause psychotic behavior. Neurologic causes include Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Psychiatric disorders

Psychotic behavior usually occurs with bipolar disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia, and some pervasive developmental disorders.

Drugs

Certain drugs can cause psychotic behavior. However, almost any drug can provoke psychotic behavior as a rare, severe, adverse, or idiosyncratic reaction.

Surgery

Postoperative delirium and depression may produce psychotic behavior.

Bitter life experiences

It is my personal observation that behavior disorder may occur in any individual who passed through any mental stress. Bitter life experiences sometimes make a person disturbed, and thus, an individual behaves with a lot of changes in attitude and behavior.

In this research, we will particularly focus on the behavior disorders in children. All kids misbehave sometimes, but behavior disorders go beyond mischief and rebellion. With behavior disorders, your child or teen has a pattern of hostile, aggressive, or disruptive behaviors for more than 6 months. Students who are referred to as having "conduct disorders" and students who are referred to as having "emotional disabilities," "behavioral disorders," "serious emotional disturbances," or "emotional and behavioral disorders" have two common elements that are instructionally relevant:

(1) They demonstrate behavior that is noticeably different from that expected in school or the community;

(2) They are in need of remediation. [4]

In each instance, the student is exhibiting some form of behavior that is judged to be different from that which is expected in the society. The best way to approach a child with a "conduct disorder" and a child with a "behavioral disorder" is to operationally define exactly what it is that each child does that is discrepant with the expected standard. Once it has been expressed in terms of behaviors that can be directly observed, the task of remediation becomes clearer. A child’s verbally abusive behavior can be addressed, whereas it is difficult to directly identify or remediate a child's "conduct disorder," since that term may refer to a variety of behaviors of widely different magnitudes. The most effective and efficient approach is to pinpoint the specific behavioral problem and apply data-based instruction to remediate it.  

 

Behavioral Disorders in Children
Specifically to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(part
2)

Here, we will discuss about one of the common behavior disorders, found in children; i.e., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What is ADHD?

ADHD means Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This disorder is characterized by short attention span and poor concentration. Symptoms begin in childhood and can persist into adulthood. ADHD often makes it difficult for children to control their behavior in school and social settings. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity. ADHD can lead to a variety of academic problems, particularly in learning to read. When a student has been assessed and diagnosed with ADHD a reading assessment is recommended.[5]

According to School of Psychology ,   “A syndrome (a group of symptoms or signs), that is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties, resulting in inattentiveness.”

We can also say that it is a condition of the brain that results in excessive activity (hyperactivity), impulsivity, and difficulties with focusing attention. “It is a disorder in which a child cannot maintain attention and has poor impulse control. They may be restless and overactive.”

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder affecting about 3-5% of the world's population. It typically presents itself during childhood, and is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control or impulsivity, and distractibility. ADHD is currently considered a persistent and chronic condition for which no medical cure is available, although medication and therapy can treat symptoms. [6]

ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, but over the past decade has been increasingly diagnosed in adults. About 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD retain the condition as adults. ADHD appears to be highly heritable, although one-fifth of all cases are estimated to be caused from trauma or toxic exposure. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, life style changes, and counseling.

The scientific consensus in the field, and the consensus of the national health institutes of the world, is that ADHD is a disorder which impairs functioning, and that many adverse life outcomes are associated with ADHD.

Classification

ADHD is a developmental disorder, in that, in the diagnosed population, certain traits such as impulse control significantly lag in development when compared to the general population. Using magnetic resonance imaging, this developmental lag has been estimated to range between 3 to 5 years in the prefrontal cortex of ADHD patients in comparison to their peers; consequently these delayed attributes are considered impairment. ADHD has also been classified as a behavior disorder and a neurological disorder or combinations of these classifications such as neurobehavioral or neuro-developmental disorders. [7]

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) identifies three subtypes of ADHD:

  • ADHD-I or ADHD Primarily Inattentive (previously known as ADD-H or Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity);
  • ADHD-HI or ADHD Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive;
  • ADHD-C or combined type (previously known as ADD+H or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity).

The majority of studies have looked at ADHD-C, with much less work done on ADHD-I.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of ADHD are:
Distractibility,
Difficulty with concentration and focus,
Short term memory loss,
Procrastination,
Problems organizing ideas and belongings,
Tardiness,
Impulsivity,
Weak planning and execution

However, not all people with ADHD exhibit all symptoms. It is common for persons with ADHD to display symptoms only when they are doing tasks that require excessive, prolonged, or elevated levels of attention or are placed in environments that are too distracting, so that once stimulus is removed they function normally.

But, in many cases this is not possible, intervention is needed to cope with these stimuli.

Psychologists categorizes the symptoms of ADHD into two clusters: Inattention symptoms and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity symptoms. Most ordinary people exhibit some of these behaviors but not to the point where they seriously interfere with the person's work, relationships, or studies or cause anxiety or depression. Children do not often have to deal with deadlines, organization issues, and long term planning so these types of symptoms often become evident only during adolescence or adulthood when life demands become greater.

According to an advanced high-precision imaging study at the United States National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health, a delay in physical development in some brain structures, with a median value of three years, was observed in the brains of 223 ADHD patients beginning in elementary school, during the period when cortical thickening during childhood begins to change to thinning following puberty. The delay was most prominent in the frontal cortex and temporal lobe, which are believed responsible for the ability to control and focus thinking, attention and planning, suppress inappropriate actions and thoughts, remember things from moment to moment, and work for reward, all functions whose disturbance is associated with a diagnosis of ADHD; the region with the greatest average delay, the middle of the prefrontal cortex, lagged a full five years in development in the ADHD patients. In contrast, the motor cortex in the ADHD patients was seen to mature faster than normal, suggesting that both slower development of behavioral control and advanced motor development might both be required for the restlessness and fidgetiness that characterize an ADHD diagnosis. [8]

Aside from the delay, both groups showed a similar back-to-front development of brain maturation with different areas peaking in thickness at different times. This contrasts with the pattern of development seen in other disorders such as autism, where the peak of cortical thickening occurs much earlier than normal.

Hyperactivity is common among children with ADHD but tends to disappear during adulthood. However, over half of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms of inattention throughout their lives.

Inattention and "hyperactive" behavior are not the only problems with children with ADHD. ADHD exists alone in only about 1/3 of the children diagnosed with it. Many of these co-existing conditions require other courses of treatment and should be diagnosed separately instead of being grouped in the ADHD diagnosis. Some of the associated conditions are:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (35%)
Conduct Disorder (26%).

These are both characterized by extreme anti-social behaviors. These disorders are frequently characterized by aggression, frequent temper tantrums, deceitfulness, lying, or stealing.

Primary Disorder of Vigilance

Characterized by poor attention and concentration, as well as difficulties staying awake. These children tend to fidget, yawn and stretch, and appear to be hyperactive in order to remain alert and active.

Bipolar disorder

As many as 25% of children with ADHD may have bipolar disorder. Children with this combination may demonstrate more aggression and behavioral problems than those with ADHD alone.

Anxiety Disorders

Commonly accompany ADHD, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. OCD is believed to share a genetic component with ADHD, and shares many of its characteristics. Although children with ADHD have an inability to maintain attention, conversely, they may also fixate. [9]  

 

Behavioral Disorders in Children
Specifically to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(part 3)

Causes of ADHD:

  ADHD is generally inherited, but it can also be caused by various problems including difficulties with pregnancy, birth, early childhood severe illness, and environmental toxins. ADHD tends to run in families. More than 20 genetic studies provide evidence that ADHD is an inherited disorder. At least 2 genes have been associated with the disorder. Most children with ADHD have a close relative who also has it. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about one-third of fathers who suffered from ADHD during childhood have children with it. Children with affected parents are three times more likely than other children to develop the disorder, and identical twins are both likely to be affected. [10]

Genetic factors

According to a majority of medical research in the world ADHD is today generally regarded as a chronic disorder for which there are some effective treatments, but no true cure. Evidence suggests that hyperactivity has a strong heritable component, and in all probability ADHD is a heterogeneous disorder, meaning that several causes could create very similar symptom logy. Researchers believe that a large majority of ADHD arises from a combination of various genes, many of which affect dopamine transporters.

As the authors of a review of the question have noted,

"Although several genome-wide searches have identified chromosomal regions that are predicted to contain genes that contribute to ADHD susceptibility, to date no single gene with a major contribution to ADHD has been identified."[11]

Studies show that there is a familial transmission of the disorder which does not occur through adoptive relationships. Twin studies indicate that the disorder is highly heritable and that genetics contribute about three quarters of the total ADHD population. While the majority of ADHD is believed to be genetic in nature, roughly one-fifth of all ADHD cases are thought to be acquired after conception due to brain injury caused by either toxins or physical trauma pre-natally or post-natally.

Environmental factors

The estimated contribution of non-genetic factors to the contribution of all cases of ADHD is 20 percent.

The environmental factors implicated are common exposures and include alcohol, in utero tobacco smoke and lead exposure, believed to stress babies prenatally. Complications during pregnancy and birth—including premature birth—might also play a role. It has been observed that women who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have children with ADHD. This could be related to the fact that nicotine is known to cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in utero, but it could also be that ADHD women have more probabilities to smoke both in general and during pregnancy, being more likely to have children with ADHD due to genetic factors.

Another factor that may be correlated with ADHD is mobile phone usage. A study surveying over 13,000 children found use of mobile phone handsets by pregnant mothers raised the risk of hyperactivity, emotional problems, and conduct problems, much to the researchers' surprise.

Diet

Studies have found that malnutrition is also correlated with attention deficits. Diet seems to cause ADHD symptoms or make them worse. Many studies point to synthetic preservatives and artificial coloring agents aggravating ADD & ADHD symptoms in those affected.

Professor John Warner stated,

“Significant changes in children’s hyperactive behavior could be produced by the removal of artificial colorings and sodium benzoate from their diet.” and “you could halve the number of kids suffering the worst behavioral problems by cutting out additives”.

More recent studies have shown that approximately 60-70% of children with and without allergies improve when additives are removed from their diet, that up to almost 90% of them react when an appropriate amount of additive is used as a challenge in double blind tests, and that food additives may elicit hyperactive behavior and/or irritability in normal children as well.

A study from 2008 concludes that Omega-3/Omega-6 supplementation reduces ADHD symptoms for some, but for the majority it has little or no effect.

Head injuries

Head injuries can cause a person to present ADHD-like symptoms, possibly because of damage done to the patient's frontal lobes. Because these types of symptoms can be attributable to brain damage, one earlier designation for ADHD was "Minimal Brain Damage".

Social factors

There is no compelling evidence that social factors alone can create ADHD. Many researchers believe that attachments and relationships with caregivers and other features of a child's environment have profound effects on attentional and self-regulatory capacities. It is noteworthy that a study of foster children found that an inordinate number of them had symptoms closely resembling ADHD.

Furthermore, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can result in attention problems that can look like ADHD, as can Sensory Integration Disorders.

Other possible causes and risk factors of ADHD include the following:

  1. Brain structure
  1. Brain chemicals (i.e., neurotransmitters)
  1. Medical conditions
  1. Learning disabilities
  1. Mental health conditions (e.g., conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder)
  1. Tourette's syndrome

Alcohol and drug abuse (including nicotine) during pregnancy can cause poor motor and muscular development and sensory impairment; problems with learning, memory, attention, and problem solving; and problems with mental health and social interactions. [12]

Lead poisoning found in infants and children exposed to paint that contains lead has been implicated in ADHD. Specifically, it causes irritability, poor concentration, and distractedness.

Psychological Problems and Disorders

Following are the characteristics of a person having ADHD:

The characteristic features of ADHD—inattention, impulsivity, and motor hyperactivity—lead to impaired function in school, work, and social environments.

Family problems like abuse, neglect, separation, and divorce tend to exacerbate low self-esteem and symptoms in many children who suffer from ADHD.

Hyperactivity typically fades after childhood.

Symptoms of inattention include the following:

Children

  1. Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained attention
  1. Disorganized (e.g., at school, at home)
  1. Easily distracted (e.g., by peripheral conversation, refrigerator noise)
  1. Forgetful in daily activities
  1. Loses things (e.g., toys, books, tools, assignments)
  1. Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork and activities
  1. Unable to complete tasks (e.g., schoolwork, chores)
  1. Unable to sustain an activity (e.g., playing, reading, listening, conversing)
  1. Inattention in girls is most often expressed as daydreaming, which may go unnoticed. A lack of self-sufficiency may result from problems with inattentiveness, which poses developmental problems for children and adolescents.

Adults 

  1. Disorganized
  1. Forgetful (e.g., missing appointments, deadlines)
  1. Loses things (e.g., keys, wallet)
  1. Unable to complete tasks (e.g., home repairs, work reports)
  1. Unable to cooperate with coworkers

Symptoms of impulsivity include the following:

Children

  1. Aggressive (e.g., rough handling of objects, accidental breakage, physical injuries)
  1. Blurts out responses (e.g., answers without being called on at school, interrupts)
  1. Generally impatient (e.g., unable to stand in line or wait turn)
  1. Intrudes on others (e.g., interupts conversations or games)

Girls are less likely to engage in or cause physical fights. Fear, depression, and mood swings are more common in girls with ADHD than in boys.

Adults

  1. Erratic temper, aggressiveness
  1. History of excessive job changing
  1. Impulsive purchasing, decision making
  1. Substance abuse

People who have problems with impulsivity have a greater tendency to injure themselves and/or others. They may not consider the consequences of their actions when, for example, grabbing hot pans, driving recklessly, or roughhousing (especially children).

Hyperactivity typically fades after childhood. Symptoms of hyperactivity in children include the following:

  1. Activity appears to be driven
  1. Unable to remain seated
  1. Runs and climbs excessively in inappropriate situations
  1. Restlessness in adolescents
  1. Talks excessively
  1. Fidgets
  1. Noise making, unable to play quietly

These symptoms tend to occur more frequently in busy or highly stimulating group settings, like classrooms, family gatherings, and parties. Typically, more stimuli and more activity cause greater distraction, hyperactivity, and shortened attention span. [13]

 

Behavioral Disorders in Children
Specifically to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(part
4)

Diagnosis

Many of the symptoms of ADHD occur from time to time in everyone. In patients with ADHD, however, the frequency of these symptoms is much higher and impairs regular life functionality, typically at school or at work. Not only will they perform poorly in task oriented settings but they will also have difficulty with social functioning with their peers. No objective physical test exists to diagnose ADHD in a patient. In the USA these criteria are laid down by the American Psychiatric Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), 4th edition. Based on the DSM-IV criteria listed below, three types of ADHD are classified:

ADHD, Combined Type: if both criteria 1A and 1B are met for the past 6 months

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type: if criterion 1A is met but criterion 1B is not met for the past six months.

ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion 1B is met but Criterion 1A is not met for the past six months. [14]

Consequently, ADHD is the current nomenclature used to describe the disorder as one distinct disorder which can manifest itself as being a primary deficit resulting in hyperactivity/impulsivity (ADHD, predominately hyperactive-impulsive type) or inattention (ADHD predominately inattentive type) or both (ADHD combined type).

DSM-IV criteria for ADHD

Either A or B:

  1. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

·        Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.

·       Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.

·        Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.

·        Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).

·        Often has trouble organizing activities.

·        Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn't want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).

·        Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).

·        Is often easily distracted.

·        Often forgetful in daily activities.

B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

Hyperactivity:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
  • Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
  • Is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor".
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Impulsiveness:
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  • Often has trouble waiting one's turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

The American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline for children with ADHD emphasizes that a reliable diagnosis is dependent upon the fulfillment of three criteria:  

  1. The use of explicit criteria for the diagnosis using the DSM-IV-TR.
  1. The importance of obtaining information about the child’s symptoms in more than one setting.
  1. The search for coexisting conditions that may make the diagnosis more difficult or complicate treatment planning. [15]

Medical Diagnosis

A thorough medical examination is important to identify other conditions that may be responsible for symptoms or that coexist with ADHD and require treatment. Hearing and vision assessments should be included in the examination. The most important diagnostic tool is the clinical interview.

Generally, 6 or more symptoms, some of which must be present before age 7, must cause significant impairment for 6 months. Impairment must be seen in two settings, such as home and school, or home and work. Finally, symptoms must not be caused by another condition.

Differential diagnosis is necessary to distinguish ADHD from other mental health disorders and medical conditions, such as the following:

  • Depressive disorder, bipolar disorder
  • Conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Lead poisoning
  • Seizure disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Normal developmental activity [16]

Clinical interview of a child involves evaluating signs and symptoms; family history; home environment; academic, social, and emotional functioning; and developmental level. A variety of evaluative rating scales and clinical tests may be administered to patients, parents, and teachers to help sort out the signs and symptoms of ADHD.

Psychological testing may be used in the diagnosis of ADHD. For instance, the continuous performance test (CPT) measures and evaluates a child's attention span and ability to maintain focus on a task. An intelligence quotient (IQ) test may indicate a learning disability. However, psychological testing alone cannot be the basis for diagnosis.

In children at least 5 years old, "soft signs" may appear early and suggest the presence of ADHD. Soft signs include the following:

  • Coordination difficulties
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Constant, involuntary movement of the eyes (nystagmus)
  • Visual-motor control problems (hand-eye coordination)

Evaluation of an adult can be difficult and involves obtaining a childhood academic and behavioral history—including educational, vocational, and personal difficulties—as well as an evaluation of signs and symptoms. Observations of a spouse or significant other and recollections of parents can be useful.

Many adults have coexisting conditions, such as the following:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Migraine
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Thyroid dysfunction [17]

Treatment/Medications

Singularly, stimulant medication is the most efficient and cost effective method of treating ADHD. Over 200 controlled studies have shown that stimulant medication is an effective way to treat ADHD. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behaviour modifications, life style changes, and counselling. Behavioral Parent Training, behavior therapy aimed at parents to help them understand ADHD, has also shown short term benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphatidylserine, zinc and magnesium may have benefits with regard to ADHD symptoms.

ADHD is a complex condition that can mimic other disorders; therefore, diagnosis plays a crucial role in the disorder. A physical exam by a doctor will help rule out physical illness such as a thyroid disorder, hunger, constipation, infection, or other disorders that could cause hyperactivity or inattentiveness. After the diagnosis of ADHD is made, options for treatment should begin with behavioral therapy and medication. Sometimes behavioral therapy is used alone but most often it is a combination of behavioral and medication therapies that are most effective.

The behavioral therapies include dividing large assignments into smaller more manageable tasks, giving the child rewards for completing certain tasks, speaking with a therapist, finding a support group, and manipulating situations to benefit the child's needs. Giving the child no time limits while taking a test, seating the child away from as many distractions as possible, and giving the child less homework may benefit a child with ADHD. To learn more about behavioral therapies, click on the "Helping Yourself" link above. [18]

Medication is also a first-line option, but should typically not be used without behavioral therapy. At this time there are only a few medications that are approved for the treatment of ADHD. One class of drugs is called stimulants, and they work to improve concentration and allow the child or adult to focus on activities. This drug class includes dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Stimulants have been shown in studies to be effective in children with ADHD, with 70%-95% of children responding positively. If one stimulant medication does not work, another in the same class should be tried. The effects of long-term treatment with stimulants are not completely understood. It does not appear that stimulants stunt the growth of children as was previously thought. It is recommended that treatment with stimulants be reevaluated every year. Some unwanted effects from stimulants may be increased jitteriness, and decreased appetite; these effects tend to diminish over time with repeated use. Additional adverse effects may occur if more than the prescribed dose is taken, or use is not closely monitored by a healthcare professional. [19]

Recently, drug companies have been making newer longer acting formulations of stimulant drugs. This includes a newly developed skin patch containing methylphenidate that can be worn on the hip. The patch, called Daytrana, is approved for use in children aged 6 to 12 and carries the same side effects as other methylphenidate medications. These new longer-acting medications are helpful because they allow ADHD medication to be dosed just once a day. This also avoids the problem of children having to take a dose of their medication while in school. [20]

A more recent drug available for the treatment of ADHD is atomoxetine (Straterra). Atomoxetine is a non-stimulant medication that has been shown to be effective in children and adults with ADHD. It is currently considered a second line agent, and used after two unsuccessful treatment attempts with stimulants. [21]

Antidepressants are another class of drugs that are used when treating ADHD. Antidepressants are considered second-line therapy to be used in patients that have ADHD with depression or when the stimulants are not working. Tricyclic antidepressants work in the body to prevent the nerves from taking up the chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine believed to be low in the brain in ADHD. The medication allows these chemicals to stay around longer in the blood and be used by the body in a more productive manner. Two tricyclic antidepressants are sometimes used to treat ADHD -- imipramine and desipramine. There are other medications that have been used for the treatment of ADHD but are not approved by the FDA. This type of treatment is called "off-label" use. These drugs include bupropion, clonidine, and guanfacine. [22]

Stimulants
The following stimulants are used to treat ADHD:

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin®, Concerta®, Methylin®)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®, Dextrostat®)
  • Amphetamine: combined dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine (Adderall®)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse®) [23]

Non-Stimulants

Atomoxetine HCl (Strattera®) may be used to treat ADHD in adults and children. Strattera is a non-stimulant that increases levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. It is available in oral capsule form in several dosage strengths. Strattera usually is taken once or twice a day, with or without food.

Antidepressants

Antidepressant medications affect many of the same neurotransmitter levels as stimulants. Fewer studies have been performed regarding the use of these drugs to treat ADHD. The following antidepressants are sometimes used to treat ADHD:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., nortriptyline, Tofranil®, Norpramine®)
  • Bupropion (e.g., Wellbutrin®)
  • Venlafaxine (e.g., Effexor® XR) [24]

Tricyclics (e.g., amitriptyline, clomipramine) have shown some effectiveness, but more research is needed. Children who take tricyclics may have a greater risk for heart problems than adults. Patients taking tricyclics must be monitored for possible cardiac side effects, such as rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure (hypotension).

Bupropion (Wellbutrin®) stimulates the effects of dopamine and may reduce hyperactivity and aggressiveness, which makes it especially useful for children. In adults, it is typically less effective than stimulant medication.

Venlafaxine (Effexor®) affects the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine and may be best suited for reducing attention problems. Some studies have found it to be effective in adults.

Mood Stabilizers

Antiepileptic drugs such as carbamazepine (Tegretol®, Epital®) and gabapentin (Neurontin®) are not FDA-approved to treat ADHD. These drugs can effectively treat symptoms of bipolar disorder and may be used in people with ADHD who experience mood swings. However, gabapentin may actually worsen oppositional behavior in some ADHD cases. [25]

 

Reflective Writing - A Learning Process

Reflection lies somewhere around the notion of learning and thinking. We reflect in order to learn/explore something, or we learn as a result of reflecting. In our day-to-day life, we experience so many things, which eventually we forget when time comes to explore it. Reflective writing is the best way to keep you remembering your day-to-day experiences and to share it with others. It is a learning tool for the classroom practitioner.

Reflective Writing is an evidence of reflective thinking. It is a conscious learning process where we share our experiences. Such writing helps us to evaluate our positive points, while at the same time, it provides us learning opportunities and to improve the areas, where some furnishing is required. It is more personal than other kinds of academic writing. It is mostly done by the classroom practitioners to gain further insights from their work through deeper reflection on their experiences.

Some researchers suggest that teachers move through a series of concerns that impact the focus of their reflections. So we can say that reflective writing may be a means of becoming clearer about something.

Donald Schn (1999) in Educating the Reflective Practitioner writes about reflection-in-action. He describes a process of learning by doing with the help of a coach. This is after all the way we all learned to talk as infants. As mature practitioners we are able to exploit the process more fully. To maximize our learning we can question and challenge the coach, ask for clarification and together build new understandings. In this way we learn to be reflective with our partner.

Another helpful way of understanding the process of reflection is described by Stephen Brookfield in Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. ( Brookfield , 1992) describes the process of hunting out our assumptions and critically examining them. Look for the assumptions that underpin your practice and then play devil's advocate and develop a contrary argument. You now have two sides of an argument to evaluate. This is engaging in personal critical reflection. An example might be your assumption that there is no place for collaboration between students completing assignment work, that it should be all their own work if the assessment is to be valid and accurate. Think back to your own collaboration with your partner in peer review.  Did collaborating increase the product of your learning? Did you learn more than you would have done alone? Could this be the case when our students work together?

Reflective writing is a vigorous process. One needs to brainstorm before turning formal ideas in black and white. Many times, it happens that we feel burdened writing a piece on regular basis. The best way is to maintain a reflective diary and to write it on regular basis.  When you feel something challenging in your classroom, grab the paper and pen, and start writing a few lines to remember.

The first step to begin with is to describe what you know --- what you can see and hear, what a person tells you, and so on. While you are in a classroom, ask yourself questions such as the following if you are trying to describe a person, event, or learning context: What is the physical description? What behaviors are observed? What is going on? When did it occur? Who was involved in it? Where am I at that very moment? What is the perspective from which I am observing and what are the perceptions of others about it? How does my perspective impact what I see, hear and know? What did me and others do?  

While you are describing a scene, you are likely to consider why things happened the way they did. You are moving into analysis. This process is critical to reflective practice. To analyze something, one needs to be conscious. You must be optimistic, while at times, you need to criticize things as a positive tool of learning. You can ask a few questions to yourself like why do I think things happened in this way or what are the other ways for that thing to happen? Why did I choose to act the way I did or what alternative act was better to opt for? What was I thinking and feeling? What were the feelings of others? How might this have affected my choice of behavior? How might the context have influenced my and others experience?

Being able to describe something and figure out why it happened isn’t enough to improve one’s teaching. A reflective practitioner needs to see the overall meaning of events in order to use them to improve teaching practice. Consider the following questions: Why did this seem like a significant event to reflect on? What have I learned from this? How could I improve? How might this change my future thinking, behaving, and interactions?

Later, try to find the implications. The most powerful reflection focuses on student learning – how you will shift your practice to improve learning for your students. Edit and compile it once you are done with something achieved. Celebrate your writing with the other colleagues and amateur teachers.

The example of my reflective writing will help you to see how a reflective writing is written.

Reflecting upon my teaching always provides me many dimensions of learning. It helps me to improve and overcome my weaknesses. When I entered the field of teaching, I was an amateur. I had many questions in mind: will the students accept me? Am I really creative enough to bring about changes in teaching profession? For a couple of months, I was in denial- I did not accept criticism and thought myself as a best teacher! But I wasn't. I learned gradually that without reflecting on teaching practices, it wouldn't have been possible to improve. As time passed, I started reflecting upon my teaching. This was actually a transformation process and taught me how to be a reflective teacher.

During eight years of secular and religious teaching, I came across many challenges. I accepted these and they've served as a real evaluation tool for analyzing my teaching growth.

Here I'm sharing one student's examples whose life was changed because of my little effort.

On the first day of my teaching at Religious Centre to class 1, I came across a slow learner child. While I was teaching, he distracted the attention of the others. When I asked questions, he was blank. For few days, I avoided him. The more I avoided, the more he misbehaved. I talked to his parents. When his parents told me that he was a slow learner, I felt ashamed how I ignored him on the basis of his behavior. That event changed my life. At that time, I decided to carry on learning about his problem. I read books and developed different activities and designed easy lessons. I also gave him extra time. I used activity based methods of teaching. At the end of a year, he was able to learn a few things. The headmaster decided to fail him. Being a responsible teacher, I decided that rather than de-motivating, we should appreciate him for learning something. He was shifted to class two. After few years of repetition, he was promoted to class three, where fortunately, I was given a chance to be his teacher again. His mother was guided by the headmaster to send him to our Special School . Being a responsible teacher, I denied this and took his "Adaptive Behavior Skill" testing, which I learned during my Master Trainer in special education.  I identified him as a slow learner not a disabled child.

During class 3, I involved him more in class activities. He was allowed to sit wherever he wanted to sit in class. I also taught him basic skills. His parents were happy with my efforts. At the end of the year, he learned a few things. But again, his gradual learning and improvement in behavior was an achievement.

While teaching him, I observed his interest in graphics, so I told his parents about it. I've wherever possible raised my voice against others to keep him in the Centre and continue to learn. I feel it's important to cater to such children. For there will be many more like him who'll need the attention of the teacher and the Centre. We as a team can make a difference in their lives. This is something which hopefully will be understood in years to come with more awareness of children with special needs.

The tool of appreciation and extra attention brought change in his life. Today, I'm happy that although he's studying gradually, he's working as a graphic helper with his dad too.

I believe that every child can learn, regardless of his/her abilities/disabilities. Accepting challenges and demonstrating confidence to bring change is the sign of a reflective practitioner.

 

 

The Relationship Between Teacher and Student: A Symbol of Love and Understanding  

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." (William Ward)

For an ordinary person, a teacher is a person who teaches students, but for students, the role of a teacher is far beyond our expectations. A teacher is a role model for many children. They imitate their teachers and many a times share all those things which they can’t even express in front of their parents.

When I joined the profession of teaching a decade ago, I had no idea about this field; but as time passed, I realized that this field has given more than what I had expected. But this field demands love, care, sympathy, understanding, and above all, a good relationship with students.

It's truly said “Children are like a pot of flowers. If you’ll give them proper attention, they’ll grow up properly; but if you’ll give them lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed.” (Munir Moosa Sewani, 2006).

A teacher is a very important person in every student’s life. Understanding the needs of students is a challenging task for teachers. That trust can only be built if there is a good relationship between a teacher and a student. Research was conducted and 50 students were asked the question: what is the one line, which comes to your mind for your teachers? (Research conducted by Munir Moosa in March, 2007) Few of the responses are given below: I am fed up of my teachers because of their stupid threats! My teachers always support us and they always think good for us. They are really concerned about our future.

I am sure that sir (name undisclosed) was given severe punishments during his childhood. Now he has become mental and throwing tantrums on us. My teacher always insults me in front of all the students. I want to kill my teacher one. I love my teachers because I truly feel comfortable in taking their views in solving my personal problems.

These are some of the statements commented by students. What makes them say all that is something, which is to be assessed by us. Despite reading so many articles, news headlines, laws, etc., some teachers love to be staunch all the time. But a challenging teacher begins his/her teaching career by building understanding with their students.

During my 4th year of teaching, one of my students of class 3 said the following words to me “Sir, mayray daddy smoke kartay hai- mujhay bohat ganda lagta hai lekin woh kisi ki nahi suntay aur mummy ko be maartay hai isi liye may bohat darr jata hu. Aap please daddy ko bolo woh aap ki baat maan lay gay.” (Sir, my dad is a smoker and I dislike his habit of smoking, but he never listens to any one and always hit my mom, that’s why, I often feel insecure. Please talk to my dad; he will surely listen to you). I was deeply touched when the first time student started trusting me. That trust was based on student- teacher relationship. Students start trusting you if you are sincere to them. Days are gone when a staunch teacher was considered as the best one. Today, students need a good teacher not a villain; they need to learn rather than listening to dictating lectures; they need a friendly teacher rather than a strict one.

The relationship of a teacher and student is very sensitive. Once it is built with a positive gesture, a teacher can expect good outcomes of teaching.

According to a research review co-authored by Christi Bergin and David Bergin at the University of Missouri, students with positive attachments to their professors and institutions display higher grades and higher standardized test scores. Moreover, research was conducted in which the results concluded that children are more comfortable with their teachers than their friends, only if teachers are sincere to them. We all are teachers in some way or the other, but how many of us have achieved the level of satisfaction, is the question we need to ask ourselves. I would appreciate the readers to read the story provided below:

Once, a new child got an admission in my class. He just shifted to Pakistan from Afghanistan. When all the students saw him, they started hitting him, and made faces as if they did not like him. Few of the students even complained to me about his dirty clothes, while the others made lame excuses because they did not want to sit with him. One of the brilliant students of my class complained, "Munir Sir, this boy smells horrible. He is so shabby! I don't want to sit with him at any cost." At that time, an idea clicked to my mind to solve this dispute. The very next day, when I entered the class, that innocent Afghan student was sitting at the back, while other students were making fun of him.

One of the students, who were just sitting beside me, informed me that my socks were torn. Another student looked at my shirt and informed me that my shirt sleeves were torn. (Actually, I was already aware of that, but pretended as if, I had no idea). I replied, "Oh! I didn't know that; what should I do now? I think it's better for me to leave the class because I have worn tattered shirt and socks, and it's my presumption that you all would not allow me to be in your class in such a scruffy way."

One of the students exclaimed, "So what if your shirt sleeves and socks are torn. You must not leave the class at any cost. We don't want any other teacher to teach us." Another student exclaimed, "Hey! I have an idea. Let me ask the section head if she can arrange a safety pin for you?" At that time, I sparkled and replied, "My dear students, you all know that I have worn torn clothes, then why have you all requested me to be in your class?” One student responded, "You are our beloved teacher, and we don't want you to leave the class because you are the best teacher and we have no problem with your torn attire."

I replied, "You all love me and accepted me in any case. In the same manner, this new student has worn torn clothes and odor comes from his cloth. But is it wise enough to throw him out of the class or tell him not to come to school from the next day, just because of wearing untidy clothes?" I further added, "He is also human, and God always tell us to help every one. He is like your brother. If any of your brothers is in need, it's your duty to help." All the students realized and felt sorry for their harsh behavior. They all shook hands and welcomed that Afghani child. The very next day, I was surprised to see that boy's glinting face. It was like a miracle for me to see him mingling with other students. Spare clothes, books, stationary, etc, which were brought by the students for him. I still remember one of the students even brought soap and taught him how to clean his face and hands properly. My students are my strength and their motivation to help others makes me feel proud. 

The above story clearly reflects student- teacher relationship. If your students trust you, then the teaching can be performed successfully.

Here are some tips for teachers to have better relationships with their students. Few of the advices, I would like to give to the teachers are:

* Always love your students and care them like your own children.

* Respect your students and never hurt them in front of other students.

* Avoid corporal punishment; that will only left scars in their minds.

* Take your students for outing with the permission of your school so that students can feel cozy with you.

* Become a good counselor and provide them your valuable suggestions, whenever necessary.

* Mother Theresa beautifully quoted “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless. So be kind to your students.

* If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach." –Therefore, we must look into our pockets rather blaming children for any failure.

* A sincere teacher does not look for one who performs the appearance of work. It means that appreciates student’s efforts and never let them down. If they do not perform well, help them to learn it and try to find the reasons behind it.

* Student-teacher relationship must be healthy, based on cooperation, mutual understanding with little bits of strictness.

* Never discourage students in sharing their ideas. Let them speak and give their views without any discrimination.

* Always be natural and express yourself without any hesitant.

* Give them chance to write on their own. Don’t ever try to showcase your skills. A sign of a good teacher is appreciating children efforts rather making them promoting rote learning.

* Know each an individual child’s capabilities and abilities and explore their creativity.

* Give them time to relax in class.

* If they regularly feel bored when you teach, try to arrange educational activity for them as an alternative resource to complete your curriculum.

* Give them incentives or reward when they perform good work. The reward could be a gift, star, stamp or just a good verbal slogan like Bravo! Keep it up! This positive gesture is required especially in primary classes.

* Try to teach according to the psychology of the students.

* Always remember that children are very sensitive, so treat them with gentle love.

* They notice each and every thing- from our dress to our gestures, so always be prepared for every thing.

Children usually ask us many questions and some times we don't know the answer to some questions. At that moment, just try to be loyal and tell your students that you'll search it and will tell them tomorrow or day after. In this way you'll not only gain trust and confidence, there will also be a strong bond of relationship on both sides.

Be a role model for your students not only by wearing extremely nice apparel, but also through your positive attitude and knowledge.

If any student makes any mistake in their copy, don’t punish them to re-write. That is the worst solution for a teacher. Look at your mistake because it is the teacher’s fault if a child does any mistake.

The tips will surely help all the teachers to build a stronger relationship with their students.

Best of Luck!

 

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