Monday, February 27, 2012

Tips for Adult Learners

In my experience as an adult educator and life-long learner, I have found that adult learners returning to formal study for the first time, have often had negative learning experiences at school, and as a result of this, they lack confidence when it comes to studying and learning. These barriers to learning need to be addressed. Being an adult learner is different to learning at school:

    As an adult learner you bring with you many life experiences, and these experiences will assist you in your studies
    You will probably be more motivated than you were at school - most adult learners have a reason for learning, ie goals.
    You will find that you have many more demands on your time, therefore planning and time management skills are critical to your success.
    You are responsible for your own learning.

Six Tips for Adult Learners

1. Ask for help

Don't try to be superman - let your family and friends help you! Don't be too proud to accept help if it is offered, or to ask for help if you need it.

2. Time management

Most adult learners have very busy lives as they juggle work, family and other commitments with the demands of studying. It is critical that you have a timetable for studying. Get a diary and schedule in your classes. Block out time for regular study and record the due date of your assignments. Do not procrastinate - make your learning a priority!

3. You are responsible for your learning

Learning is a two-way process. Your teachers will impart their knowledge, but you need to make sure that you learn it. You are responsible for your learning, and for ensuring that you understand and process the new information.

4. Be an Active Listener

Being an active listener does not mean sitting quietly, it means to be focused on listening, taking relevant notes, and asking questions if you need clarification. A Samoan lady that I was teaching once relayed the following story:

5. Take notes, or create mind maps

During your class, or lecture, make sure that you take written notes on important topics. You won't remember everything that is discussed in class, so it is important that you record the information that you need.

An alternative to writing notes, is creating mind maps. A mind map is a visual representation, and is a good alternative to writing pages of notes. Visual learners often find that mind maps make information more memorable, and therefore easier to recall, that written notes.

6. Don't Let Your Fears Wreck Your Opportunities

In order to learn we must take risks and try new things. When we try new things we often make mistakes, and we learn from our mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not learning. It is okay to mistakes!

When you first start a course of learning it can seem quite daunting and the end result may seem a long way away. As you progress, you will become familiar with the learning programme and comfortable with your teacher and other students. It is important to have a positive attitude and keep your end goal in sight. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Five Tips to Study Effectively

Discovering how to study effectively is going to give you an advantage in a world where finding employment is getting harder every year. There are more people leaving schools, colleges, and universities all the time, who are more than qualified for the jobs that they go for, and you have to be at their standard, or better if you want to compete; that's were realizing that you need to get better grades is essential.

In this article, you're going to get five study tips that will help you learn to study in a better, and more structured way than you may be doing now, and that should make the whole process easier for you. If you can study in a more relaxed, and structured way, then you have every chance in the battle to get better grades.

Study Tip 1: Organizing Deadlines

Without organization, you're never going to get anywhere with your studies. You're going to have to know what you need to do, when you need to do it by, and set your priorities based on that.

Get a calendar that you can put on the wall where you study, and then write your deadlines on it, so that you have plenty of warning when an assignment needs to be completed. If you have a specific thing that you struggle with, it may be best to allow yourself more time to complete it, but don't let the other things slip; or the chance to get better grades may start to slip, too.

Tip 2: Organizing Notes

Just as important as organizing when your assignments are due; when your tests fall; or any other deadlines that you're aiming for; is making sure that all of your notes are well organized.

When you've been taking notes on a subject, it's too easy to lose them. The best thing to do is to organize them as soon as you can after you get home, by putting them into a notebook on the subject that you leave at home as a study aid, and expand on the notes as best as you can.

Doing it this way means that you aren't going to be searching through books, or loose bits of paper, trying to find those relevant facts, and then trying to remember what your brief notes were actually supposed to remind you of.

Tip 3: Goals

Motivation can be a key factor in getting you through those tough study periods. Although the overriding goal is to get better grades, there has to be a bigger picture.

What do you want to do when you've finished and passed in all of your subjects? Is there a particular job that you want, and you have to get better grades to ensure you have the right qualifications to get it? If you have the bigger picture in your mind, and not something smaller that may seem less important, then that's going to give you the incentive to learn how to study, and get the passes that you need.

Tip 4: Paying Attention in Class

This may be one of the most difficult tips of them all.

It can be far too easy to drift off, when the teacher is talking about something that doesn't interest you. Those times, however, are precisely when you should be paying the most attention to them - unless the teacher has drifted off, too, and is telling you about their last vacation - because, this is the part you're going to struggle with later.

If you're interested in a subject, and pay attention, the chances are you're going to do well in it. If you aren't interested, and don't pay attention, you're going to find it hard to remember, hard to study, and you may end up failing on that topic. So, pay more attention to the bits you don't like, it will make all the difference when you need to get better grades.

Study Tip 5: Take Breaks

Are you one of these people who stay at their desk trying to work something out, only to discover that you seem to be getting worse, rather than better at understanding the subject? You need to give yourself a break so that your brain can relax a bit.

Your concentration may be starting to drift, and what made sense a few minutes earlier, doesn't anymore. Your brain needs to have time to let things sink in; so give it that time, you'll be able to come back to your studies feeling fresher, and those facts may just start to make sense again.

If you need to learn how to study, those are just a few tips that will make your life so much easier. Pay attention to the things that you need to. Take notes on the things that have you struggling. Moreover, make sure that you're organized. Taking the time to let everything sink in to your overworked brain is going to pull it all together. Do all of that and you'll soon get better grades; that's how to study effectively.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun Outdoor Learning With Kids

Some of the best childhood skills and development goals are learnt passively, whilst outside and having fun. As a parent, it is all too easy to obsess about literacy and numeracy development whilst excluding a more holistic approach to education that sees a child expressing themselves naturally and following their own instinctive creativity. Outdoor learning is a great way to engage your child through their desire to play, build and imagine - developing skills intuitively, organically and through trial and error. But when it comes to the range of outdoor learning resources available, it is easy to understand why parents get confused.

Much that is available online promises to help your child with a particular skill or ability, but how do you know it is suitable for them? They key thing is to tailor anything you buy to your child and make sure that they are going to be interested before you stump up the cash. Although many manufacturers are keen to emphasise the universality of what they provide, only you know your child well enough to realise that forcing them to play a game which will help with phonics development will last all of five minutes if they are more interested in making shapes in the mud. Instead, find something constructive, like letter pebbles that can be incorporated into building games, or an outdoor chalkboard that will let them unleash their creativity in a way that is not subject to artificially imposed boundaries.

Outdoor learning resources need not be high-tech or expensive to be effective. Just hunting for letters as you walk down the street, or using crayons to make wax rubbings of sign numbers are great ways of engaging a child with the outside world and showing the relationship between concepts and things. Some children prefer to explore things rather than being told about how they work and if that is the case, then find a way of stimulating their minds - incorporating their interest into the outside world.

A nature trail is a great way to stimulate a child's imagination and ideas that have been explored outside can be brought back home to prompt them in other games and activities. Outdoor learning is not just about developing new skills in the orthodox sense, it is also about giving them the confidence and ability to engage with the world in new ways and help them to navigate their own learning experience with ease. By doing so, you ensure that nothing is hindering them on the road to great educational success.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Five Steps To Creating A Rare Earth Magnet

The rare earth magnets so important to current and future technologies are produced in a five step process. It begins with getting the raw materials out of the ground and end with manufacture of magnets designed for some particular use. All five steps are currently concentrated in Asia, particularly in China.

Mining and concentration

Mining rare earths is often carried out either by an open-pit process or by in-situ leaching. Once the ore-bearing material is out of the ground, it is run through a crusher or mill to break it into small particles, and then the actual ore is separated out in a process called concentration. This usually involves gravity separation, froth flotation or magnetic separation.

Getting oxides from ore

The result of separation is ore, the raw, unprocessed rock that contains rare earth metals. The actual metal is present in the form of oxides, which are made up of one or more atoms of rare earth elements chemically bonded to one or more oxygen atoms. The process of separating oxide from ore is a chemical one, and may involve roasting, acid leaching, salt or caustic fusion or high temperature sulphation. A second step in the process is the separation of the rare earth oxides from one another, which requires myriad steps of sequential solvent extraction or ion exchange.

From oxides to metals

Elemental rare earth metals may be recovered from their oxides in three primary ways: electrolysis, precipitation and gaseous reduction. Metallothermic reduction employs sodium in a calcium chloride bath to extract metal from rare earth oxides. Calcination, in contrast, uses only heat; the oxide's temperature is raised in an over or furnace to extract metal. Other processes, such as vacuum distillation, sorption or oxidation-reduction employing mercury amalgamate, are useful in certain circumstances.

Producing magnet alloy powders

Commercial magnets are not made from pure rare earth metals. Neodymium-iron-boron magnets, for instance, are made of an alloy of these three elements. To produce the alloy, the elements are added, in powder form, to a vacuum induction furnace in specific ratios and then heated. The resulting alloy is cooled and then broken down by chemical and physical means into powder.

Making magnets

Magnets are made in two main ways. The classical process involves heating and compressing the magnet powder until it coalesces into a mass. The bonded magnet process, also called rapid solidification, requires melt-spinning a thread of neodymium-iron-boron alloy containing nano-scale grains in random magnetic orientation, which is pulverized, combined with a polymer and molded into magnets.

Current production of rare earth oxides is almost totally confined to China. 97 per cent of mining, concentration and separation takes place in China, as does almost all refining. 75 to 80 per cent of magnet powder production and magnet manufacture also take place in China. Up to 25 per cent of these processes also occurs in Japan, with most of the rest occurring in Europe.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tutoring Is Essential for Every Student

Millions of students across the nation need additional help both in and outside of normal school hours in an array of subjects. Students who are struggling in math, science, social studies, history, or reading and writing require tutoring services so that they may have a chance to continue on to the next grade. For those who do not receive these services, continuing their education can be a massive challenge and burden to the state public school system.

Many tutoring services are available in mid to large cities across the nation. These services can often sit down with students as a class or one-on-one in order to enhance their understanding in an array of subjects and disciplines. For students who are struggling in a specific area, tutors can help those overcome challenges and hurdles by focusing on their weaknesses in cognitive interpretation. Those students who require this type of help often experience a dramatic increase in understand of their subject areas, approaches, and handling of a given class.

There are many tutoring services that exist for an array of services. Many college students are often available to help those in lower courses, while other companies establish places within the marketplace to help younger students in dire need of math and reading assistance. As such, many companies who provide these services are experiencing an increase in demand as public schools are strained to allocate additional resources to struggling students. As parents and guardians are also strained, often working longer hours for less money, those companies able to assist these students at a reasonable rate are being used more and more during afterschool hours and on weekends.

Those who are servicing this need are indirectly helping the cause of public education. Those students with special needs in subjects such as math, reading, and social science are being helped by supplemental services provided by individuals and companies that make themselves available for this demand. Nevertheless, as long as school systems do not efficiently allocate resources to its student base, there will be a need for this form of educational help that will often be serviced by private entities.

Despite this, students should always approach help if they find that they need assistance with their studies. While those resources may be funded by the public educational entity or through a private business, those students with educational needs should be serviced by whatever resource is available. As such, parents and schools should take particular consideration to those entities willing to step up and provide students with additional educational help. If students require the additional help and resources to pass a given class or subject, those resources should be incentivized to help students when teachers and parents are not available. If these are taken into consideration, it may be possible to supplement a child's education with the resources to help he or she with problems they may be experiencing with a specific subject area.