Monday, December 31, 2012

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Time Teaching Abroad

Ghana Teaching Project by Andrea Aach-Gries
Ghana Teaching Project by Andrea Aach-Gries (Photo credit: Frontierofficial)
by Brett Isis

It occurred to me that some people may go to teach abroad and assume that just because they are in another country that amazing things are going to happen to them.

In some cases this may be true, if you lie low and don't do much, it will probably still be a great experience.

Of course this is the "easiest" path, stay in your comfort zone and let time pass you by.

But that's not the kind of person you are, that's not why you've chosen to teach abroad, is it?

Depending on which country and city you're teaching in, this will be more relevant to some of you than others. Some of you lucky people will get placed in cities where you are one of very few foreigners, which will make following these steps easy.

Others will end up in huge metropolises with McDonalds on every corner and an operator service that will send you text messages in the language of your choice. I write this more for the latter situation.

For those of you preparing to go abroad, put these items on your to-do list and if you're already abroad maybe you need a reminder of why you're there.

Learn the language

You don't need to be fluent and if you're only planning on staying for a year you probably won't be. If one your goals is to experience the culture, knowing the basics will give you the confidence to get out there and explore.

You have lots of options for learning, 1 - 3 week intensive courses are a great way to get the basics fast, a good school might cost you some money but you will come out of it with enough knowledge to continue learning on your own. Many private teachers are available and if you get 2 or 3 friends together you can split the cost. Some schools will provide free lessons and of course you can always use on-line language software.

Eat the food

Going alone will probably involve some trial and error but that's part of the fun. Better yet, go to lunch with the locals from your school, they'll tell you all the best stuff to order. Teaching abroad will open a whole new world of experiences for you. On top of this, immersing yourself in the culture and the local food will probably save you a lot of money versus eating a western restaurants.This leads me to the next topic ...

Save some money

This isn't possible everywhere or with every job, but once you've figured out what your cost of living is, create a budget and stick to it. I found it easier to stick to a budget overseas than it was at home. Less temptations I suppose.

Even if it's only $200/month over a year, that's $2,400 that you will have to travel or get set up back home. It will feel really good to have some extra coin in your pocket when you need it. Not to mention it's a great habit for the rest of your life.


Got to get out of that comfort zone, once you've settle in to your job and neighborhood you may start to forget about all the exciting adventures that are waiting for you just hours away. Depending on your work schedule you may need to figure out how to make the most of your 2 and 3 day weekends, and trust me you can do a lot.

A lot of you probably have your days off during the week which is all the better, you can go almost anywhere without having to fight the crowds. If you followed step 1, using your local language skills will save you a lot of money in transportation.

Spend time with the locals

Naturally we all want to buddy up with people that we can relate to, and this is a good thing. But don't forget to spend time with the people that can teach you the most about what life is like in their country. Ask a lot of questions, most people love to talk about themselves so give them a chance. Find out what is important to them and why things are the way they are.

Now I'm going to print this out and hang it on my wall as reminder to practice what I preach!

Have a great day!
Brett Isis
Founder and director of operations at Teaching Nomad

Brett Isis, founder of Teaching Nomad is an entrepreneur originally from Colorado, USA. He brings with him many years of professional experience in different fields including human resources, recruiting, event management and business administration. At Teaching Nomad he handles much of the day-to-day operations and business development of the company.

Brett lives with his fiance, Sophia, and when not working they enjoy traveling, scuba diving, snowboarding and live music. Visit for more information about our teach abroad programs.

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The Benefits Of Integrating Music In The Classroom

English: SALEM, Oregan (Sept. 23, 2006) Lt.j.g...
Music class at McNary High School (Wikipedia)
by Miriam B Medina

"95% of Americans in a 2003 Gallup Poll believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education; three-quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education." Gallup Poll, ' American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003.

In these difficult economic times, many schools have been hard hit by budget cuts. Some schools in Pennsylvania have been forced to cut gym class from their curriculum because there's simply no money for it.

No money for Gym class? The fact is, as we get closer and closer to the "fiscal cliff" that we keep hearing about, government budgets are getting tighter and tighter. All programs that are included in the curriculum of each school system around the country right now are being subjected to careful scrutiny, leaving school Administrators to wonder if their school will face the budgetary ax.

Just like gym class, music classes and music departments within many school systems have come under scrutiny, have been threatened, downsized, or even eliminated.

This is a shame, since most students respond very well to music. Music is food for the brain, and in a day filled with learning, can bring a much-needed and very fulfilling respite from numbers, letters, science and history. Music is culture, and schools should teach students the importance of culture in society.

So if a music program is downsized or eliminated, it is up to the creativeness of the teacher to explore a different instructional approach, one that will benefit the student at a much higher level, helping them better learn and grow by integrating various aspects of music into the classroom on a daily basis.

Think about it, music can be taken advantage of and can be a teaching tool. There's certainly more to music than what you learn in chorus class or what you learn when you are taught to play Three Blind Mice on a plastic recorder or flute in the 3rd grade. Music can and should be a part of your school experience, even if there isn't money in the budget for a music department.

How is this possible? With creativity and intelligence, most everything is possible. For example, If the subject matter relates to the issue of immigration, then the day's lesson can focus on dances, costumes, musical instruments, and sounds of music from different ethnic groups and from various cultures that have emigrated to this country.

Music grabs the attention and soothes the soul, calming students and igniting their inner creativity at the same time. This type of stimulation encourages students to listen, to analyze and to describe what they see, hear and even sing.

Music adds excitement and rhythm to almost any classroom lesson, whether kids sing along, dance, or just listen to the music while it is played.

Think about it, how much do we learn from Nursery Rhymes and simple songs when we are kids? The ABC's are taught with a song. Holiday tales, how to ties shoes and simple morals are taught with song. So music can be used in major subjects such as math, social studies, and even in reading or the language arts.

There are many ways to incorporate music into the classroom, without having to run up taxes and without destroying budgets. Teachers can use a slide projector with music playing softly in the background, which both stimulates the minds of the students and helps them retain the information.

Simply put, music makes the class as interesting as it can possibly be, and will help the children walk away fulfilled, in better moods, and will even help them better retain the lessons that are being taught.

Music is just too important to be discarded over budgetary issues, and our children are too important to skimp on. We have to find a way to teach children the value and benefits of music, in a way that is affordable.

I'm pretty sure that this can be accomplished with some ingenuity from the most important asset of every school system, our teachers. They don't have to re-invent the wheel or even think too far outside the box, they just have to utilize music as a teaching tool. I think they'll find that it makes their difficult and often under-appreciated job that much easier.

Miriam Medina, a member of the American Association for State and Local History, and National Council for History Education is website manager, researcher and historian with 14 years of experience.

The History Box has proven to be invaluable to denizens of various prestigious educational institutions, writers, historians, researchers and scholars worldwide. If you wish to find out more about Music resources for use in the Classroom, please visit:

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Do We Want For-Profit Schools in Australia?

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...
Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Annette Rome, Casual Lecturer, Melbourne Graduate School of Education at University of Melbourne and Adam Smith, Board member at Australian Council for Educational Research, The Conversation:

For-profit education is something that really doesn’t exist in Australia … yet.

But in many other countries around the world it has become a normal part of education and there are now many companies providing a range of educational products.

One of these, for example, offers a “platinum-style” education costing up to $US100,000 or so, all the way down to a cheaper “basic model”.

This company aims to cater for five million students by 2024 and may offer its shares to the public to fund further expansion.

The idea behind many of these companies is to fill a gap, providing cut price education relative to the established private schools in countries such as the United Kingdom. But these groups are also now considering heading our way.

Do we have for-profit education?

Currently the majority of Australian schools are not-for-profit. Being non-commercial is a pre-requisite for government funding, whether they are independent, Catholic or government. They are all required to put any profit they make back into the school.

So even the so-called “totemic schools” ultimately plough money back into the provision of extra facilities, services and scholarships for students. Certainly no single or group of individuals directly gains financial advantage from involvement in such schools.

The for-profit institutions that do exist in Australia do not operate in the primary or secondary school sectors. In Australia we have an expectation that government is primarily responsible for the core provision of school education. This is outlined in each state’s Education Act.

In addition to legislation, culturally we have an expectation that government will be the primary provider of school education.

Public culture

This expectation works, to a point, as our nation has the infrastructure to do this. Interestingly some countries where private providers have grown most rapidly have been in Eastern Europe, parts of Asia and Latin America – where suitable infrastructure often does not exist.

There are those who suggest that we, as a nation, should rethink the orthodoxy that certain services such as education must be delivered exclusively by the public sector or on a not-for-profit basis. This is a complex discussion and one that will need to consider cultural, educational, economic and even philosophical issues.

Are we talking about private, stand-alone institutions or are we talking about the government handing over the provision of public education to private providers? Perhaps it is timely that we examine again what we want in providing an education for our citizens.

Shift in thinking

If we see education as reflecting the societal goals of the host culture, then a certain schooling product is envisaged. If the goal is one of profit, where a subset of the citizenry is advantaged, then a different paradigm will exist.

At present, there is a move towards greater school and community partnerships, and indeed this is a federal government imperative. If the $5 billion dollar education funding boost estimated by the Gonski review is right and the government is unwilling or unable to provide this, then one response might be to outsource provision to private providers.

The recent Review of Funding for Schooling estimates $1.4 billion was provided to schools from private sources including donations in 2009. While education is still coming to terms with the involvement of not-for-profits in the delivery of education, we are challenged to ensure that schools and teachers remain at the heart of reform and innovation.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

5 Ways to Get Smarter

Mind Mapping
Mind Mapping (Photo credit: For Inspiration Only)
by Jesse L Ford

The brain is an amazing organ; the coordination centre of sensation and intellect.

There used to be a misconception about our brains, our intelligence, and our IQ. We used to think that we were bound to live with the intelligence level we had at any given time.

New research has shown that we can become more intelligent, smarter, and increase our IQ levels by taking some specific yet simple actions. These are the actions to take to become smarter and more intelligent:

Action #1: Reshaping The Brain

Lets start with our brains. Our brains have elasticity and plasticity. Over the course of your life, your brain has the ability to reshape connections when faced with new experiences. At any age, the brain can grow new neurons and the more mental stimulation you get, the more brain function is improved.

By brain training exercises and games you can improve your attention, problem solving skills, memory, and processing speed.

Action #2: Learn a Foreign Language or Two

New research suggests that learning a foreign language gives you a mental boost. It also protects you from age related mental decline and lowers the risk of developing problems of memory loss or mental decline.

Those who speak several languages have a reduced risk of developing cognitive problems. Learning a foreign language provides the brain with a mental workout that fine tunes the brain and makes your brain more powerful.

Nowadays you can learn a foreign language in the comfort of your own surroundings and just by devoting about 20 minutes a day over a period, you can learn to speak a foreign language. Learning new languages contribute to make you "smarter". Let's face it, it makes you appear to be more sophisticated as well.

Action #3: Do Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual thinking tool that helps you get information out, generate ideas, and analyze information. Mind mapping jogs your creativity and helps you think in a more lateral way. It helps with cognition and maximises the power of the brain.

When you need to think and generate information which is something that we do very often, mind maps help you to make the most of it and really use the power of your brain. At work and at home, you can use mind mapping for your thinking and analysis of information.

Action #4: Diet and Exercise

There are certain types of foods that help to boost your brain power like blueberries, oily fish, whole grain foods, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, brown rice, and broccoli. Talk to your doctor about your diet and about exercise so that you can get a diet and exercise plan that is scientific and really works for you.

Action #5: Increase Knowledge

Your brain has the ability to do more and you can stimulate the brain through brain training, brain games, and learning foreign languages. In addition to improving cognitive ability, you should also increase your knowledge while stimulating the brain. Read books and explore new areas of study. It helps to keep your brain sharp and makes you more knowledgeable while doing so.

Jesse Ford is a developer, author, and publisher. His interest and expertise is new thought, spirituality, personal development, and utilizing your inner power. Visit to get more information, tools, and resources that can guide and help you to create a brighter, happier, and more fulfilling life.

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Making Short Term Goals For Language Learning

Cover of "How to Learn Any Language"
Cover of How to Learn Any Language
by H Gordon

Learning a language is definitely not the easiest thing in the world. Many people start out with great intentions, only to lose steam a few days or weeks in. What's the reason for this? Why is it so hard to stay on track when you want to learn a new language?

Well, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they don't set definite goals for themselves. They have this vague idea or notion that they "would like" to learn a language.

So they buy a language program and start out. However they realize that they have tackled a huge monster and then they lose resolve and peter out.

One way to resolve this problem and stay on task is to make smaller, short term goals that actually have a tangible endpoint. Saying you "want to learn a language" is too vague, that's why it suddenly seems impossible.

But, if you make a goal that in three weeks you'd like to be able to comfortably order lunch in the language that you want to learn, then you are well on your way to success. Or, say you want to be able to basically understand a Spanish TV sitcom within three months. This is a tangible goal, and is much more likely to get you results than saying you'd "like to learn Spanish."

Once you've set some goals for yourself, then the best thing to do is to work backwards and see what steps it's going to take to get you there. If you want to be able to listen to the Spanish sitcom, then you should definitely focus on listening as your main form of learning.

If you want to order lunch, start out with the basics of greeting people, then move on and make sure that you learn most of the vocabulary you'd need for food and a restaurant, and how to ask for the check, etc.

Don't stress too much about grammar - your goal is to understand and be understood. It's OK if you get a few things wrong. In fact, be prepared and willing to make mistakes - this is the best way to learn!

This language learning philosophy is taught by many omniglots. You have to start speaking the language to learn it. You have to have a need to use it rather than a want. Making those short term goals is a great way to make that happen.

If you want more information on tips and tricks that will help you learn a new language more quickly and easily, check out our new article on how to learn any language.

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A Brief History of Home Study

English: The Open University in London
The Open University in London (Wikipedia)
by Rajni Nayak

A revolutionary advert appeared in the Boston Gazette in 1728.

It was for a correspondence course that taught a new method of shorthand.

This was the first of many steps in the development of what have become known as home study courses.

In 1858 the University of London opened up its educational doors for students of all ages to study outside its campus via an external programme.

More and more institutions followed suit and early on in the 20th century home study courses became ever more popular.

But it was the birth in the UK of the Open University in 1969 that gave full credence to such methods of learning. This significant step in the history of home study courses cannot be underestimated. Now the OU as it has become known operates throughout the world offering a vast choice of both subjects to study, the level of qualification you can attain.

This has been followed by an ever increasing number of red brick universities, colleges and specialist providers of home study courses. Qualifications via home study are considered just as acceptable as those obtained by attending lectures or classes in a school, college of further education or university.

What are the Advantages of Home Study? Cost and convenience feature highly on the benefits of studying at home.

1. Cost

a. A home based course is often much cheaper to buy than the equivalent course at a college because the overheads of the supplier are far lower than those of a college. There is no need for large buildings with classrooms to light and heat. Tutors replace teachers and respond to student's queries and assignment assessment rather than being involved in the actual teaching process.

b. Obviously the student incurs no travel costs and does not need to hire a child minder whilst studying.

c. Materials are also much cheaper as many courses include tuition by TV or internet and any research that the home study courses need doing can be done via the internet.

2. Convenience

a. Just compare a journey to a from a college on a set day or time every week to the ease of home study courses which can be completed in the comfort of your own home at a time that fits round your lifestyle.

b. Most colleges have a fixed enrollment date (usually in September) but you can start distance learning at any time of the year.

c. If you have a family to look after or are employed even studying part time at a college or university is extremely difficult. But studying a similar course at home can be done whilst you still look after your other commitments. You really can "earn while you learn" with home study courses.

How to Choose your Course

Care needs to be taken in choosing from the vast array of home study courses available from a variety of suppliers. But just follow the steps below for a safe, enjoyable and successful learning experience.

1. Decide what subject you want to study at what level using the internet for your research.
2. Choose at least three suppliers that offer the course that fits your requirement.
3. Carefully compare the courses, costs and support offered by each supplier.
4. Look on their Facebook sites and read their blogs.
5. Ring them up and get a feel for the support you will get.
6. Compare your findings and choose the course and supplier you feel most happy with.
7. Do not base your choice on cost alone; assess all the factors before choosing.

Home learning courses have become a most advantageous way to expand educational access while improving the quality of training. Get connected with Home Study Zone that brings list of distance courses from home in UK at the international level.

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Making Global Links: Māori Cultural Experience Educates GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Team

by admin, GlobalLinks Newswire:

English: WF (School of Business) Building at A...
AUT city campus (Wikipedia)
Fourteen GlobaLinks Learning Abroad senior management staff and directors recently joined members of the AUT University whānau in New Zealand to learn about Māori culture, language, history and people, and engage with staff members from Te Ara Poutama and International Student Support.

The event was captured in a news article, “Making Global Links,” on the AUT University website.

Jason King, from AUT’s Te Ara Poutama, has spent time working with GlobaLinks and when he was asked by the company whether he could help produce an International Noho Marae programme like the ones run for international students by the International Student Support office of Student Services, he jumped at the chance.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad works in the field of international education, serving both students and advisors. New Zealand is just one of the countries they work with internationally and AUT University is one of the universities they send students to.

Cynthia Banks CEO of GlobaLinks praised AUT as a wonderful university to have a relationship with. “AUT is the single best partnership we have,” she says.

Staff from GlobaLinks Learning Abroad USA, Australia, London and Thailand attended, and Shelia Houston, the Director of Operations in the Pacific Region, said the Noho Marae was a fabulous thing for her staff to do.

King, from AUT, says this is the first time GlobaLinks Learning Abroad has come to AUT and done anything quite like this with a New Zealand university. “This relationship is not just on paper,” he says. “GlobaLinks’ taste of New Zealand is coming from AUT.”

Dean of Te Ara Poutama Pare Keiha says GlobaLinks is an incredibly important stakeholder for AUT in terms of international students. “We are privileged to have been able to share the Noho Marae experience with some of the GlobaLinks staff so that they understand the experience student receive when they come to AUT.”
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Why As a Tutor You Should Not Take on Every Student

English: A tutor with this students in the cla...
English: A tutor with this students in the classroom of a plantation house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Daniel Ceccon

As a tutor, you will regard your professional career as your biggest asset.

With it comes your reputation both with students and your academic peers. This reputation is the most important thing you have.

While qualifications can be earned relatively quickly to improve your skills, your reputation is much tougher to change if you have encountered professional problems which affect it.

One way to protect your reputation is to be proactive in choosing which prospective students to accept. A potential student is likely to consider which tutor they want very carefully, and you should do the same with them. A student who doesn't fit well with you can not only be a burden on your teaching job, but it can also harm their chances of getting the most out of their education.

It is part of your duty as a tutor to look out for the best interests of your students, and so if you feel that the personalities of you both do not fit well together then you must take the step of refusing that particular piece of work.

This can be better in the long run for both you and the student. There are lots of tutors available in today's marketplace so the student will be able to find a different and more suitable teacher for their educational needs.

It is certain that over your teaching career you will encounter people who have personalities which clash with yours. It is very difficult to reconcile such problems, and may be best for you to decline to teach that individual. Your long-term career prospects are more important than your short term jobs.

If your students don't trust your teaching ability they are unlikely to pay full attention to what you try to teach them. This lack of listening will lead to a very poor learning experience. If you are teaching in a multi-student environment, a small segment of students who have this kind of problem will negatively affect the rest of the class.

It is your duty as a teacher to make sure that all your students receive the best educational experience possible from your classes, even if this means that some of them are better suited to being in other classes with other tutors.

It can be difficult to know how to tutor some students - and these problems can grow over time. If you spot a problem student early on then it is much easier for everyone to rectify the issue at that stage rather than let it develop and grow into a bigger hassle later on.

Experienced tutors will tell you that problem students can lead to you spending 90% of your time with 10% of the people you teach, and this leads to worse academic performance for your entire class.

As a premium tutor you must be willing to decline to teach students who are unsuited to your teaching style, personality or the level of teaching you provide in your subject.

As your teaching career progresses, you will become better at seeing problems early on and taking proactive steps at that stage. If you're just starting out as a tutor then do not hesitate to speak to colleagues about any issues you are concerned about.

The way to enable yourself to become a premium tutor is to use a service such as tutor traits. have developed up a system that allows you, as a tutor, to position yourself in the market at the premium end of the tutoring market, in your own local area.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

The What, Why and How of Business Colleges

English: Photograph of Cleary Business College...
Cleary Business College, Ypsilanti, Michigan (Wikipedia)
by Valeria Stephens

Business colleges are usually private, career college or vocational training centres, found all around the world, and as the name suggests, offer students the opportunity to learn business workplace skills.

They often have a foundation of courses based on the modern version of secretarial or administrative assistant programs, and many institutions have a long lineage, evolving out of stenography or typist training.

Some schools can have a pedigree longer than a century, adapting their curriculum and course offering as the decades passed, to fit new workplace demands.

Why a Business College?

All reputable modern schools will make sure students learn the function and use of a computer, now an indispensable piece of office equipment, and provide an introduction to various industry standard software programs.

This training is valuable not just to students with no office work background, such as recent high school graduates, but also older workers, who started their careers before any of the new technically based business methods were standard. They may be perfectly comfortable with typing, but benefit from skill updates at business colleges, so they can stay competitive with a younger workforce.

Furthermore, recent immigrants with existing credentials from their country of origin can use a diploma from a business college to demonstrate their ability to function in their new country.

What can you study?

Programs at a business college aren't just limited to standard fare like keyboarding or word processing software, nor are they limited to taking dictation or sending emails.

Accounting clerks, in accounts payable or receivable, or in the payroll department, can also find accounting programs at business colleges, but also language programs, great for immigrants, and marketing programs and management classes for career growth.

Thus other terms to describe these institutions, like office administration colleges, can be synonymous to or indicate specialized course concentrations.

What are programs like?

Because of their career skills training focus, schools, be they general business colleges or specialized, like dedicated office administration colleges, schools will usually aim for professional environments that duplicate the workplace.

Individual colleges will have their own training systems, which may vary between computer aided course work completed on a flexible schedule or traditional classroom instruction, but one of the main advantages of these schools is the short duration of the programs, sometimes less than a year, great for students looking for directly applicable career skills and fast employment.

How do you enroll in business colleges?

High school students can get advice from their school's guidance counselling office, but for students in other circumstances, most business colleges maintain admissions advisory staff who will take the time to go over funding and employment opportunities even before enrollment, helping students choose a course of study that is right for them.

Schools that have flexible programs may even offer constant enrollment, while more rigid programs will be restricted to set start dates with application deadlines.

Visit the Academy of Learning College for more information on business courses and programs.

Valeria Stephens is a Copywriter at Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

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The Role of Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Clinical Research

Improving Clinical Research Training: New UCSF...
Clinical Research Training (CTSIatUCSF)
by Valeria Stephens

Clinical research demands exact science and impeccable quality.

Whether the end product is a scientific theory, a medical cure or a consumer product, if data is not reliable, thousands through to millions of dollars may be wasted, producing defective material or pursuing an incorrect avenue of study.

In fact, in pharmaceutical quality control or matters of engineering, human lives can depend on getting drug dosages perfect and consistent, or structure and chemical composition exact.

What Is Clinical Research?

Clinical research is a several stage, highly controlled process in medical science, testing the effect of a drug, device or biological agent on human subjects. A pre-clinical stage concerns itself with animal or possibly cell culture tests, but everything up to clinical practice, the process of putting a treatment or product into use, falls under the label of research.

What is the Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

Quality assurance is the various activities in a quality system, while quality control is more concerned with the outputs. Thus, quality assurance concerns itself with preventing mistakes before they happen, while quality control looks at the products produced by a system to check them for defects.

While the two terms are applied synonymously in popular speech, there are essential differences to the two terms in science.

Drug development in particular generally goes through four stages to obtain approval from a country's national body. Acronyms and exact regulations vary, from the FDA and EMA in the United States and the European Union, to the Canadian Health Canada.

In every step, pharmaceutical quality control provides the necessary check to show all laws are being followed, and the thing being measured is actually what scientists think it is, including checking for cross contamination of test samples, but results submitted to regulatory bodies must demonstrate the methods used for quality assurance as a matter of due diligence.

Scientific research of all kinds also applies statistical methods, assuring that results that occur are not due to mere chance. All scientists receive training in both statistical methods and quality assurance and quality control, but research projects will usually have dedicated personnel double checking all principles are followed.

These team members measure quantities, equipment function and quality, and keep track of all the variables that may go into a study. Clinical research laboratories, especially those involved in drug research, will also turn to external certification bodies to gain further reputable qualifications for their research facilities.

Health and Safety Inspectors also apply quality assurance and quality control to the laboratory and workers themselves, for their own protection. They make sure materials are being handled safely, with the correct protective equipment such as full coverage, non-slip foot gear and splash proof goggles.

Visit the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) Inc. for more information on pharmaceutical quality control.

Valeria Stephens is a Copywriter at Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

La Trobe University Attacks Freedom of Speech

Union Hall, La Trobe University
Union Hall, La Trobe University (Photo credit: crafterm)
by John, December 14th, 2012, En Passant:

At least three La Trobe University student activists are under threat of expulsion for their participation in a campaign to stop major cuts in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) Faculty writes Socialist Alternative.

Midway through 2012, the university announced that they were cutting hundreds of humanities subjects and sacking 41 full time equivalent staff.

In particular the university is gutting linguistics, art history, gender sexuality and diversity, and religious studies.

A peaceful student campaign of civil disobedience was launched in opposition to the cuts. Hundreds of students and staff held meetings, and participated in demonstrations and occupations during second semester. Such opposition to the cuts was met with hostility from the administration.

The university went out of its way to silence students. It employed tens of extra security guards and deployed them around campus. At a demonstration on Open Day one of these security guards physically assaulted a student.

The incident was shown on national television and the security guard was stood down for the day. Students were followed around campus, filmed, photographed and threatened by the administration. Staff were instructed, under threat of dismissal, that they were not allowed to participate in any demonstrations.

In a stunning display of hypocrisy Vice Chancellor John Dewar claimed that the demonstration on Open Day was “fantastic”, and that the campaign added “colour and movement to life on campus”.
Now, months later, three students have been served with “general misconduct” charges from the university and are under threat of expulsion.

A number of students have been charged with serious offenses. One female student is accused of “breaking the ribs” of one security guard and assaulting four others. The students unequivocally reject the charges.

Danica Cheesley, one of the accused said: “These accusations are pure inventions of the university [and] designed to silence dissent. Students have every right to engage in peaceful civil disobedience against outrageous attacks on our education. As far as I can see, I have been charged with organising and encouraging students to protest in support of their education.”

The “misconduct” hearings are closed and the students are denied any right to legal representation. In fact, the university statue states that, while the accused “may be accompanied by a support person”, such a support person cannot even be a “person with a law degree”, let alone a “legal practitioner”.

In other words, anyone who might actually be in a position to inform the accused of their legal rights is prohibited from accompanying the accused to the hearing!

La Trobe Student Union Disabilities Officer Emma Dook, who is not one of those charged, has come out against the university’s victimisation of education activists: “This is a kangaroo court. If the university seriously wants to accuse students of assault let them take it to an actual court of justice. At least there you could rely on a serious investigation and some level of public scrutiny.”

Students are launching a La Trobe Free Speech Defence campaign against these outrageous charges. There will be a meeting on Tuesday 18 December at 6pm at Trades Hall in Melbourne. All supporters of public education and freedom of speech on campus are welcome and encouraged to come. To get involved or to find out more call Danica (0433 667 951) or Jess (0448 390 383).

Join the facebook group “La Trobe Free Speech Defence”. Sign this to defend the La Trobe Three.
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Companies, Universities Must Collaborate on Skills Gap: Study

Maryland Business Roundtable For Education Meeting
Maryland Business Roundtable For Education Meeting (Photo credit: MDGovpics)
by Anna Willard,

Companies should get more involved with university courses to close a skills gap and ease graduates' path to employment, according to a report on Wednesday.

Fewer than half of young people and employers believed that new graduates were well prepared for work, the study of data in a diverse group of countries found, a problem that may contribute to soaring levels of youth unemployment.

Higher education institutions, however, believed that nearly three-quarters of their leavers were ready for the workplace. "Employers, education providers, and youth live in parallel universes," the McKinsey report found. "They have fundamentally different understandings of the same situation."

The consultancy analyzed education-to-employment initiatives from 25 countries and surveyed youth, education providers and employers in Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Britain and the United States.

Total unemployment among young people has risen to 75 million, according to the International Labor Organization, as the global economy has slowed and the debt crisis in Europe worsened.

Policymakers in several countries have debated how the shortage of skills has contributed to the figures. A study from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank in June said there was little evidence the jobless rate was being kept high by a skills gap.

But nearly 40 percent of employers surveyed by McKinsey between August and September said it was a leading reason for entry-level vacancies.

The report split employers into three groups, based on their degree of involvement in the process of recruiting. "Only one of them, accounting for less than a third of the cohort, is successful in getting the talent it requires," it said. "What distinguishes these employers is that they reach out regularly to education providers and youth, offering them time, skills and money."

It said bosses, educators and students rarely communicated. This meant that universities found it hard to predict job-placement rates for their graduates, and young people did not know which subjects were linked to employment and good pay.

Moreover, only half of young people believed that paying for higher education would improve their chances of finding a job. McKinsey said countries needed to review their education systems to see if employers in a particular industry seeking certain skills could work more closely with educators.

It said limited financial or staff resources, lack of hands-on training opportunities and employers' reluctance to fund training unless it is very specialised could all be barriers to better cooperation.

But these could be addressed by better use of the Internet for practice situations and to ensure consistency at a low cost and by introducing an improved standard curriculum that would be complemented by top-up training with employers.

Written by Anna Willard; Edited by Will Waterman.
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BOOK REVIEW: The Uncertain Future of American Public Universities

Maryland Named a Top 20 Public University for ...
Top 20 Public University for 11th Year (UofM)
by Daniel Mark Fogel, UTNE Reader:

The future of American public universities is under threat as student debt skyrockets. As student costs skyrocket, driven by steep drops in funding, the viability of public higher education is under threat.

In Precipice or Crossroads? (SUNY Press, 2012), top experts in higher education address a broad range of issues central to the question of whether the quality of these institutions - and of American life and democracy - can be sustained. 

In the following excerpt from the introduction, Daniel Mark Fogel discusses the past, present and uncertain future of American public universities.

This volume poses a question of pressing importance to the American people.

Today, 150 years after the Morrill Land-grant Act generated the reigning paradigm of public higher education in the United States - a model combining accessible and inexpensive undergraduate, graduate, and professional education; research, discovery, and innovation; a commitment to the practical application of knowledge to address economic and social challenges; and a mission of service for the public good - our great public universities are under threat, and some would say they are facing their hour of maximum peril.

They are among the finest centers of education and knowledge creation anywhere. Seven of the top twenty research institutions in the world according to a recent ranking are American land-grant universities and as such they strongly support, with their private peers, Fareed Zakaria’s observation that “Higher education is America’s best industry.”

America’s public universities greatly exceed their private peers in scale and in the importance of their contribution to national prosperity, competitiveness, and security.

They perform more than 60 percent of the academic research and development in the nation. They educate some 85 percent of the students who receive bachelor’s degrees at all American research universities, and 70 percent of all graduate students.

They award more than 50 percent of the doctorates granted in the United States in eleven of thirteen national needs categories - including between 60 to 80 percent of the doctorates in computer and information sciences, engineering, foreign languages and linguistics, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, and security.

Without the expansive capacity they provided after World War II to receive returning veterans and, later, the children and grandchildren of the veterans’ generation, America’s postwar prosperity and power would have been unthinkable and unattainable.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NAPLAN and the Maintenance of Mediocrity

Queensland Teachers' Union reps at Queensland ...
Queensland Teachers' Union reps at Queensland Industrial Relations Commission conference re NAPLAN testing, 100419 (Photo credit: David Jackmanson)
by Phil Cullen, On Line Opinion:

In their sequacious pursuit of fear-based kleinism and zombic functionalism, there is a quixotic determination amongst Australian politicians, measurers and testucators to establish and maintain a test-based school culture at any cost.

It’s so true. These discrete, identifiable groups seem to believe that the more you test children and frighten them with the consequences of failure, the more that school children will want to learn ... better and harder.

These control freaks spend millions of dollars to make sure that the stakeholders in learning - teachers, pupils and parents in particular - will do as they are told.

They take advantage of the present era of a fading democracy, of the support and controlled silence of the brotherhood of media interests and of the ease with which good people can be ‘milgramed’ to perform deeds that are quite contrary to their basic beliefs and ethics.

At this point in time, these ‘buz baz’ showmen are confident that they have manufactured sufficient consent for their mission to succeed, so they are prepared to spend more enormous amounts of tax-payers’ dollars to stream-line the process on-line.

The ultimate mission is to make sure that measurers, on behalf of the test publishing industry, eventually flood schools with test-coping equipment, ipads and high-tech test-preparation programs as well as test-oriented curriculum programs.

There is no sincere learning base to the mission. There is no compassion for the feelings of children nor any effort to encourage and extend the basic love of learning.

These Australian schadenfreudes gathered in early December, 2012 to ignore serious research, to flee from the advice from international authorities where achievement is enjoyed, celebrated and applauded, as they continue their cruel assault on the enjoyment of learning.

They support the maintenance of mediocrity because they don’t know any better; and they prefer not to deal with issues of LEARNING. Measurement pundits’ backgrounds are so limited that they even advocate that fundamentals of literacy and numeracy have to be parroted and practised before any form of learnacy can be undertaken.

They know, all too well, that most school children suffer from some forms of High-stakes Naplan Testing Disorder [HSNTD]. Manifest in every home of a Year 3, 5, 7 or 9 pupil and in every school during the April-May period each year, the condition is widely known and is deliberately ignored by these test-freaks. They just don’t care. One has to wonder about them.

Let’s take a few examples of how public ignorance is maintained and how they control proffered cognitive, expert teacher advice in their pursuit of mediocrity's one-size-fits-all credo ...

1. The impact of NAPLAN on the well-being of students and their families was researched by the University of Melbourne and published by the Whitlam Institute at the University of Western Sydney in November, 2012.

8353 teacher stake-holders who operate at the sharp end of the testing program reveal that NAPLAN testing has resulted in [1] a narrowing of teaching strategies; [2] a narrowing of the curriculum; [3] damage to children’s health and well-being; [4] negative impact on staff morale and school reputations. In an open democracy, that’s sufficient evidence for a halt to be called. But...

On 30-11-12, a debate was conducted on Melbourne Radio about the limits of NAPLAN testing, during which the CEO of ACARA [Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority], expert measurer, Robert Randall was asked: “This study finds that children are sick, stressed and sleepless because of the tests. How concerned are you by that finding?”

Mr. Randall responded: “One answer I’m going to say, you know, we’re concerned about it. We welcome this report and others for us to have a look at, to get information so we take that information on in order to improve our program".

"But equally we will challenge, if you like, the methodology and some of the information. [We know more than they do] ... it’s some students and in some circumstances and we need to work those things through, but we need to be careful that this is not a claim about the whole populous, the participation.”

MoM:- The floggings will continue until teacher morale improves. We testucators don’t like the way that teachers volunteer their observations.

To read further, go to:

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It’s Conference Season: Or What Was I Thinking of When I Submitted this Abstract?

Presentations (Photo credit: xmacex)
by Claire Aitchison, Doctoral Writing SIG:

By and large, I love conferences. I love the reward of being away from work (the further the better!) and the legitimacy of sitting around all day being entertained by, and engaged in, ideas.

It’s great to find out what’s going on, what the hot topics are, and who is doing what. And even though it can be terrifying, it’s great to have a go at putting out your ideas.

But you don’t often get to a conference without presenting, which means that you’ve previously had to have written the conference abstract and had it reviewed and accepted.

When I run workshops on writing conference abstracts, we talk about successful abstracts engaging in the conversations of the field; making a contribution - for example, by extending or critiquing that conversation; the importance of addressing the conference theme and so on.

I refer to the rhetorical moves that occur in much scientific abstract writing (eg, see Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2009)  and in the social sciences (eg see Thompson and Kamler, 2013 and Belcher 2009), and we critique and discuss abstracts. We don’t often talk about the conditions in which abstracts are written.

Oh! What was I thinking when I submitted that abstract back in April?!!

When I was a doctoral student I (mostly) scrupulously prepared for conferences; my abstracts were well considered and thoroughly based in what I’d been doing. I would spend many weeks reading, writing my conference paper and constructing the PowerPoints.

I wrote scripts to go with the PowerPoint presentation, recording what I would say against each slide. I timed my presentation, and rehearsed and rehearsed. In those days, the conference really was the focus of my attention. I was well prepared and it usually went OK (well, apart from the pounding heart, sweaty palms and speedy delivery!!).

These days, it’s not uncommon for me to throw together an abstract imagining that in four or six month’s time, I will have found the time to do it justice. These days, I put up my hand to attend conferences as a way of forcing myself to do some new serious reading, thinking and research.

I no longer have the luxury I had as a PhD student to put the conference at the centre of attention. And, these days, I’m a bit more forgiving when I attend a less-than-perfect presentation.

I know how it can happen. For example, this year, for the first time, I had a conference abstract sent back to me. A Conference Abstract rejection!!! Shock, horror! I admit, I was taken aback, but, when I looked at it afresh, it did fall short. What can I say? I dashed it off, late at night, hours before it was due; and it read like it!

At the recent and wonderful AARE - APERA 2012 Conference  the exceptional quality of submissions for the annual Doctoral Award was attributed in part to the highly focussed, concentrated nature of doctoral study.

I, for one, have never again had the satisfaction of the intense research gaze afforded by doctoral research candidature. Perhaps this is a poor indictment on contemporary academic lives? Or a note to celebrate the joy of doctoral research candidature? Any thoughts?
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The Future of Learning Is Online

English: Student demonstrators march past the ...
Student demonstrators march past the London Houses of Parliament in opposition to planned spending cuts to further education and increases in tuition fees (Wikipedia)
by Steven R Turner

Last week saw students once again march into London to protest against the outrageous University tuition fees; once again the protests fell on deaf ears.

Almost two years on, a study from UCAS has shown the applications in University courses have plummeted by almost 8%.

More and more people are not going to University because:

A - They cannot simply afford it; and
B - Online education offers a cheaper convenient service for students.

Learning online has really taken over in the past couple of years, more students are logging in to learn from the comfort of their own home without having the added pressures of being in 30,000 pounds worth of debt. Many students will miss out on education simply because of financial issues, education should never be only available to the richest of us.

If people want to learn then they should have the right. Obviously the government's views are questioned, taking away EMA from college students and raising the tuition fees to 9,000 pounds a year, fewer students are attracted to the university route.

Luckily online education can provide the student with the same basis of learning with the added bonus of not having to worry about being in 30,000 pounds worth of debt at the end of it. Now that is a daunting thought for any prospective student. Online education is the future, it is current, it is cool and as mentioned above it is cheap(er).

Learning in a classroom can cause stress, students at school/university/college are always under pressure or under some form of deadline. Online education offers a different alternative, not only can you work at your own pace, you can speak to your friendly tutor whenever you want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The constant access is a beneficial part to any students learning curve, unlike in university where you find yourself chasing lecturers all the time for information about an assignment, online you can just simply log in and speak to your lecturer anytime.

The online learning phenomenon is national and growing by the day. YouTube, usually seen as a fountain of lowbrow media and a gathering point for insensitive internet "trolls," has become a source for education, with lectures placed on the website, added with information videos about any subject of your choice.

Schools are awakening to the benefits of "flipping the classroom," which uses textbooks and providing students with something they are more familiar with. The internet.

Online learning may really become the main education method in the future. Want to experience the latest online learning platform? Just follow Acadsoc Online Education Center:

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Climate Change in Schools

Art / Climate Change Project
Art / Climate Change Project (Photo credit: flamingbear)
by Staff, Utne Reader:

Teaching climate change in schools is never easy, but science teachers now face the objections of global warming skeptics and climate change deniers.

Telling a classroom full of 12-year-olds that a polar bear lost its home today is probably not a fun task. Try telling them that with sea-levels and extreme weather on the rise, they might be homeless someday as well.

It’s tough news to break, but since the scientific community reached a consensus on climate change, science teachers have been trying to work it into their curricula.

In addition to pedagogical questions, these teachers have to deal with the wrath of climate change deniers, writes Edward Humes for Sierra (September/October 2012).

According to a poll by the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, eight in ten teachers have faced climate-change skepticism from parents or school administrators.

In Tennessee, teachers are encouraged to teach the “scientific strengths and weaknesses” of global warming, giving voice to a controversy that does not actually exist.

And in San Mateo County, California, parents accused a teacher of brainwashing students with An Inconvenient Truth. Signed permission slips are now required for classroom screenings of the documentary.

But science teachers have a couple of influential allies. The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network offers peer-reviewed lesson plans focused on scientific research, and Next Generation Science Standards has proposed climate change be added to its voluntary national standards.
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Three Practical Steps For Academics To Take To Reduce The Impact Of Contract Cheating

Illustration for Cheating Français : Illustrat...
Cheating (Photo: Wikipedia)
by Thomas Lancaster

Contract cheating is an undesirable undertaking within college and university education.

This form of cheating occurs when a students gets a piece of work completed for them which they then hand in as if they wrote this for themselves.

This is a dangerous trend within education since the student is getting academic credit, which may lead to an award, for a piece of work that they didn't create themselves.

This gives a false expectation about the skills that the student will have when they join the workplace.

The good news is that the literature related to contract cheating contains many case studies and suggested methods that will help academics to combat this growing problem.

This article identifies three popular practical steps which can be used to reduce the impact of contract cheating. They should be considered in light of the wider assessment processes within which this form of academic misconduct falls.

First of all. steps should be taken to make sure that work is completed within the classroom wherever possible. This means that students cannot leave and get their work completed somewhere else. This also allows academics some time to become familiar with their students and the work that they are completing. Where it is impossible to completely monitor this, checkpoints can be placed within assessment so that student progress can be monitored in some other form.

Second, the weighting of any piece of work on which contract cheating may be possible should be considered. It should be impossible for a student to pass a module based on contract cheating alone. In many cases, this will mean that coursework will need to constitute under half of the work on a particular module. This can be supported by other forms of assessments which are taken under controlled conditions; these include examinations, vivas and presentations.

One third method to consider when aiming to reduce the impact of contract cheating is of interest. Consideration has been paid to the use of Honour Codes, where students are compelled to report other students who they believe to be cheating. With this method, students who do not report cheating that they know about are said to be equally as guilty as the cheaters themselves. Where this method is plausible according to the local assessment regulations it is well worth considering further.

In summary, the growing problems associated with contract cheating do need careful attention within education to avoid this reaching the levels of wider student plagiarism. Coursework should be set so that it can be completed within supervised sessions wherever possible.

The weighting of work completed outside the classroom should be closely considered so that students cannot pass purely in this manner. The availability of Honour Codes should be investigated and used wherever possible. Only by such a multi-pronged approach can the impact of contract cheating be reduced.

Thomas Lancaster is an academic who regularly researches and presents on contract cheating. More details about Thomas Lancaster can also be found on his professional presence, which also contains many blog posts related to cheating and plagiarism issues.

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Body Language - The Teacher's Silent Messenger

Body Language
Body Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Richard D Boyce

Your body language transmits signals to your audience that are read as part of your presentation.

If you are transmitting nervous gestures or are too casual, the audience gets the message.

This will strongly affect your message and the way the audience (your class) will interpret what you say.

It is important to remember that the audience in a public address is on your side. They want you to be successful in delivering words in a way that adds something special to their day.

On the other hand, the 'terrors' of your class will use any distraction (poor body language) to divert their attention from what you want them to do or learn.

Body language can be a useful tool in your teaching 'armour' if used appropriately. It can add emphasis, excitement and emotion to what you say and help motivate your students to learn.

Public speaking clubs place great emphasis on teaching their members how best to use their body language to assist their speaking. Teachers need always to set a good example of how to speak well and could learn from the techniques taught in these clubs.

As a member of such a club, I learnt the 'Do's and Don'ts' of body language. Therefore, I have divided this article into two sections. They are (a) The 'Do's' and (b) The 'Don'ts' of body language.

The Do's Of Body Language

The aims of these 'Do's' are to relax you and to keep the concentration of your students on what you are saying and not on your mannerisms. Practise these to gain that attention.

• Find a comfortable stance that is not too casual. It must allow you to gesture with ease as well as to move to demonstrate or write on the board or use a technological aid.
• Keep constant eye contact with your class.
• Smile often. That's easy because it only takes 12 muscles to smile but 72 to frown so why frown at all?
• Lean forward towards a person while listening to their question.
• Nod, when appropriate.
• Use gesture to add meaning to what you say.
• Make sure you maintain close contact with the class, i.e. stay close to the body of the class, e.g. near the board.
• Show your enthusiasm for what you are doing in your voice, your gesture and the way you stand.

The Don'ts Of Body Language

Here are some of the 'Don'ts' of body language that you should avoid because they can and will distract your audience and lessen dramatically the message of what you have to say.

• Don't shuffle, sway, or pace up and down.
• Don't be immobile. You lose the visual impact that your body language can add to your words.
• Avoid meaningless and repetitive gestures.
• No gesture (this means that your aural communication will not be reinforced because of the lack of visual communication usually given by gesture).
• Deadpan expression. By having such an expression you are not using a valuable asset (facial expressions) to convey sincerity and/or the importance to what you say.
• Nervous appearance. This gives the impression that you are not sure of what you have to say or are teaching. Remember you will always know 99% of the time much, much more than your students. Therefore, be confident or break the topic up into small manageable slices to ease your nervousness.
• Colourless language. This does not add interest or excitement to what you say or teach. It won't excite you, either so your body language will be colourless as well. No one says that when you teach you must use boring language. Use words that add colour and excitement to what you teach. Make it a goal to look for ways to add colourful language to your lessons.

Finally, it is important to stress here that your body language is part of the whole package which is you. If you are not excited about teaching your students new skills and watching them develop, your students will see that in how you present your teaching program.

They will see that what you are doing is not important enough for you to present it in the best possible way. Therefore, why should they get excited about it or regard it as important if you give the impression it is not?

This article is one of many on speaking and listening in the classroom to be found in an eBook called, "Speaking and Listening for the Teacher and the Student". It is available on the website

Our author gained valuable experience on speaking during his time as a member of the public speaking organization, Rostrum. He used that experience to help trainee teachers improve their lesson presentation. Listening is also an important skill for students. In the eBook, he writes about how he taught listening skills. He frequently used oral problem solving quizzes to enhance these skills.

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