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Continuing Education For Teachers

Learning is a lifelong process. Nothing is more apt than that proverb which applies to teachers and educators across the world all over. Teachers undergo courses in continuing education as an annual ritual. The purpose is to ensure that obsolescence doesn’t creep into their knowledge and that it is current. Additionally, continuing education courses are targeted at equipping teachers with methodologies that assist students in learning in multiple and innovative ways. For teachers, the upside is in sharing best practices and managing behavior of students and classrooms effectively.

To ensure that teachers are at the forefront of the latest educational developments with respect to methodologies and technologies, continuing education is provided. Continuing education for teachers can be compared to a bridge that connects the best practices of individuals and groups within the field. The purpose of continuing education is to keep teachers up to date and hone their teaching mechanisms in order to derive effective outcomes from students.

In the past, continuing education for teachers was nominal. It usually contained self serving slides or presentations and similar other tools that educators just needed to click and complete. There was no follow-up, collaboration or discussion to test their effectiveness. However, this has changed in recent times with tools for continuing education becoming more robust and effective. Consequently, the tools of today not only provide self learning but also assess and measure effectiveness through several touch points such as additional learning materials, working with peers and experts, completing assignments and participate in discussions on related subjects within specified time frames. Examples of this online technology that is blended with offline learning is Michigan’s LearnPort and PBS Teacher’s Line.

The focus is not just on eLearning in isolation but also through interaction actively with groups both through online and offline forums using the latest internet technologies across the county and world. Web 2.0 tools are also being used more often in current times such as Twitter, Wikis, Podcasts, Skype, Moodle, Ning, Flat Classroom and Google Docs. These social networking tools are quite useful in professional development of teachers and educators. They facilitate removal of barriers such as territorial boundaries and time zones.

Additional forums of continuing education for teachers include seminars, webinars, workshops and conferences along side courses provided in college campuses and school districts in-house. Non-profits and governmental associations also provide continuing teaching programs in relevant areas and subjects for teachers. Examples are courses conducted by Connecticut Education Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and American Association of Physics Teachers. Such organizations deploy continuing education either state-wise or subject-wise as appropriate. Private companies are also known to join the fray offering continuing education courses for teachers.

Continuing teaching courses may be focused on specific teaching subjects such as Mathematics and Physics could be meant for enhancing their educational methodologies. The latter also covers latest technologies that can be brought into the class rooms. Virtual class rooms are an example. Additionally, they could also equip teachers with heightened capabilities in classroom management and related tasks.

Shift Your Paradigm and Say Bye Bye to Stress Once and for All

Stress – it’s everywhere in today’s society. It’s the classroom, the workplace, the household. It’s in little league, our finances and relationships. It’s even a large part of family life. But as peaceful, natural, aware parents unplugged from many mainstream ideas, we have unique tools to work with. We already challenge the status quo in everything we do – from saying no to unhealthy vaccines to non-violent communication to our relentless questioning and researching everything – so why do we STILL experience stress and what can we do about it?

Now I can sit here and write out a million and one stress relief techniques to help you and your children, and they’ll work. But instead, I want to share with you the two ideas that form the root of all stress and by understanding them, will help shift your perspective.

The first idea I can sum up in one phrase for you right now. “Life is just a string of experiences meant for soul growth.” When you truly wrap your mind around this idea, truly understand it and start to implement it in your everyday life – your world starts to look very different indeed, and you immediately feel the effects.

Here’s what I mean: when you teach your child from a whole being perspective, rather than just intellect you are acknowledging the biggest part of your child – his spirit. “Our bodies are our vehicles,” my son says, and “Earth is our school.” We need our ‘vehicles’ for all the amazing experiences that life has to offer. We need Earth to experience all these amazing things! Home Educators like myself choose to do so for a larger reason, we don’t want to leave out essential parts of our children’s education! Education is bringing out that which is within – they already have it within them, they already know it. We have to bring it out and help them nurture it.

Life is a journey. I remember some years ago when I would get very worked up about something and experience a lot of stress about things – that’s life! I thought. But it’s not. Now I look at everything for the larger meaning – what am I supposed to learn from this experience? Why did this happen and how can I grow from this? When you ask these types of questions – suddenly life is not as stressful because you realize that life is not made of up of random moments… there are no coincidences and everything and everyone is there to teach you and help you grow – if you allow it to be so. When you deny the connection of it all, life feels disjointed and disconnected – random events happen to the victims we become. But once you start looking for those connections and that synchronicity, those things suddenly appear everywhere in your life, and life takes on a whole new meaning.

Children are never too young to start understanding this. I started helping my own children with this when they were 4 and 5. I have been known to say “Mistakes are only learning opportunities” and they are – if we take the time to learn from them. Entrepreneurs know that it takes many mistakes to get it right, so do scientists and engineers. How many times did Edison and Ford fail? A ton of times, but they never gave up. So as you share this with your children and start to see the connection in everything, the meaning in everything and that yes the old cliche is actually true “everything happens for a reason,” there is a sense of peace and flow that becomes a part of your everyday living. There is no stress because you know the larger meaning behind everyday happenings, or at least that there is a larger meaning.

Since they were little, after a mistake I would reply, “it’s okay honey… tell me what you think you learned and how you think you will do it differently next time.” In the beginning of course the mistakes are small… but as they grow and the mistakes are more important to them (like my son leaving his wallet with $30 inside at a Community center) they soon learn truly important life lessons. I don’t have to lecture; I don’t have to make them feel guilty or bad…. I let them learn from the learning opportunities, as life should be. Even when “bad” things happen, we have an opportunity for soul growth, we learn to forgive another, how to present things differently and so on.

The second paradigm shift to be made to be stress free is to understand where stress comes from. Stress is caused by our minds as we concentrate on thoughts of events that have not yet happened or do not exist. It is our worry of situations that have not even occurred that cause us stress! Maybe it’s what the boss will say after she finds out what we did, or worry about how an event will go tomorrow. But the idea is that stress is created in the mind and then produces effects in the body.

We have over 70,000 thoughts a day… why do we stop and focus on those stress producing thoughts? Why not just let those thoughts pass right on by? You accomplish nothing but stress by choosing the stress-producing thought over a more pleasant thought – so why do it? If “because I worry” is your answer then you’re coming right back to our question. Your mind is your tool. You can choose to worry, thus creating stress; or you can choose to use your mind and your thoughts to create your life and fulfill your hopes and dreams.

In my family, we advocate using positive thinking and visualization to create what each member wants in life. Everything you see in the material world was once a thought in someone’s mind – a simple thought! Today Olympic athletes are using positive visualizations regularly to improve their performance and win. Why can’t everyday people do it too? We can and millions of successful people do. So stop stressing about situations and events that do not even exist yet and turn that mind power into creating something much better and much more positive. Stop worrying and use all that creative energy for something truly good.

So I want to encourage you starting today to implement these two new ideas into your family to alleviate stress once and for all. Remember, life is just a string of experiences meant for soul growth and your mind is your tool for success.

Kids Toys Are Toys For All Ages

As we grow old, our preferred toys or those that were given to us changes, sometimes they don’t. It may vary depending on our age, gender, or our preference. Our parents provide us initially with kids’ toys to capture our attention and obedience. As we progress, they offer us important things such as love, care, and trust.

These things are much special than any material things that we would receive. The memories that kid’s toys give us, however, will remain for such a long time when compared to any gifts that we would receive.

Parents are very excited to shop for their child even if the baby is not yet born. At the time that the ultrasound reveals the gender of the child, the whole family is thrilled to give the child the best thing they could give. Parents and caregivers usually choose the right kids toys to be offered to children. If the child is below one year old, toys that might cause possible choking are avoided.

Being a child, stuffed toys, blocks, puzzles, cars, and dolls are the most common toys. Bicycles, building blocks, coloring workbooks, and other materials could be given as the child grows older.

Funny how teenagers and adults can still find themselves satisfied with the same kids toys offered to them when they were small. Though their likes are now focused on things that are useful and those popular in the society, kids toys are still as important as the latest gadget or the latest fashion trends. Males still prefer to have motorcycle or car toys in their closets as an ornament while females are happy shopping and receiving cuddly stuffed toys or dolls.

Cars are frequently referred to as “toys for the big boys”. A small child is very happy when his parents bought him car miniatures but as he reaches adulthood he wanted that miniature to be a real one. Having a car is like a dream come true for many adults.

Though real cars are what big boys go after, some of them still love collecting toy cars and keeping them in their homes as decorations, keep sakes, or simply as toys they can still play with. Some people continue to have fun having collections of their plaything. They even spend more just to complete the collection because in one way or another they are happy with what they are buying, or they just love bringing out the kid in them.

Toys are usually given to kids or children for fun, amusement, and learning. The memories they carry along with them, however, are the main reasons why the same toys are loved and cared for by teens and adults. There is always a kid in every adult. There is nothing wrong with having dolls, stuffed toys, puzzles, cars now that you are old. Many admit that kids’ toys are toys for all ages; it’s the memories and the comfort they bring that makes them wanted by children, teenagers, and adults alike.