Education

I am stuck: writing

 

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I am stuck. I mumbled these three words over and over before shutting the computer crudely and slapping the screen flat. I was tired of trying to coin words for an essay question that I barely understood what it required. Before that essay, I was an Olympic diver or at least I thought I was one. I had been congratulated many a times for penning enthralling heart-touching poems. My posts had received many a likes. I was on the verge of self-publishing a novel. My manuscript was coming out just nicely. I could churn out professional and personal essays that were sitting at my table, internet, or hard drive. So, I was on top.
But here was an essay that made me ask myself: Can I write? Not tangibly. Not literally. Not technically. I was already doing that. Rather, the question was, can I make the words warble? Does my prose have that sensible thing to speak to readers? Am I exceptional at presenting not narrating, or narrating not presenting, or designing an entire cosmos that wasn’t there before for purposes of enthralling and sweeping readers off their feet?
So why was I getting stuck and hard pressed for ideas if I am a good writer. Suddenly, it dawned on me that a good essay idea or prompt is not the be-all end-all idea. So, I resorted to pushing on. But I was not going to go back to the computer just yet. Instead, I dug into a few lazily thrown magazines and read almost everything in them whether interesting, relevant, long, short, well-written, or not. All the while, ideas kept crossing my mind. Trains of thoughts, I may say, filled my mind. Then, I took a nap – healthy nap. When I woke up, I did so with a start, and my fingers were itching to meet the keyboard to write continue with the story from where I had left it.

 

 

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The Sound of Silence

The most obvious response to an insult would be an insult. Critics usually go round and round battling through words. Debates, arguments, and fights have one thing in common – competing parties. However, these are not the only ways to pass messages and ideas. There is a different, probably better, way of dealing with issues. People expect complaints, particularly when they know they have done something wrong to someone. Committees, executives, and other prominent professionals engage in thorough exchange of words. Meetings last for hours and others can take almost a whole day. It sure takes time for debaters to come to a consensus.

However, not every situation needs this activity to spur productivity or to pass a point. Some situations call for calm. Picture a hospital ward, a chapel, or any other place that commands respect. The precincts are always silent. Think of how we make friends, we don’t show how well we can debate on the first day. We don’t. We try to act as calm as we can be. Silence has power. It is loud. I have heard myriad people saying  they need a friend’s company more than the conversations that may crop up while hanging out. Silence is loud. Think of the last time you kept quiet for a long time. Eventually, calls started trickling. Unless you switched numbers. Silence ends arguments. It invites second thought, and even third and fourth thought. For this reason, I don’t argue, debate, or fight much. I just shut up and scream silently.

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Pedagogy

Teaching is interesting. Very interesting. Especially if you get to teach at university level. All you have to do is lecture. Your pedagogical skills will make your work either much easier or mighty hard. Most tutors, lecturers, and even professors lack the simple, but essential skill that draws the line between dictation and education – pedagogy. It is an art and a science, particularly instructional theory, which underlies education. Content pedagogy, a requirement for every effective teacher, refers to teaching skills that can help one to impart specialized content or knowledge of a particular subject area. Effective lecturers, teachers, tutors, and professors have to display a wide array of abilities and skills that build a learning environment conducive enough for students. Content pedagogy assures students that they can make it both personally and academically. Universities and middle level colleges integrate this combination of abilities and skills in the teaching profession in their standards, which also entails disposition, indispensable information, and commitments that require educators to practice excellently.

Many lecturers miss this point. They think that lecturing or tutoring is all about utilizing the available technology around and transmitting information from digital sources to student’s memory chips, which most of the time run on flash memory – they forget the moment they walk out of the lecture hall. While technology is here to improve learning, its application can only lead to success if teachers can explore their interaction between technology and pedagogy. Teachers lack dedication in pedagogy making many students bog down in their performance or drop from courses altogether. These implications are chilling, particularly because the practices exist in our very own local universities and some international training centers. In short, we can only become teachers, tutors, or lecturers once we embrace pedagogy. Then can we integrate educational technologies and pedagogy and spur critical thinking on both students and teachers.

Delineating the best teaching methods and acknowledging those who achieve effective methods are the first steps in changing education. In-depth studies show that teachers who use cooperative approaches in their delivery of content help students develop their generic skills. Cooperative learning entails myriad principles: individual responsibility, positive independence, group maintenance, appropriate grouping, interaction time, and cooperative skills. Cooperative learning approach provides guidelines for managing the classroom and ensuring that learning takes place. Some of the tenets of the cooperative learning approach such as pairing students, forming generic question stems, formulating dyadic confrontations, sending students to discussion corners, facilitating blackboard share, drawing gambits, and asking students to paraphrase what authors have said can help improve a class’s performance.Image

What do you get from social sites?

The list of social sites is ever growing as days go by. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Blauk, Flixster, Instagram, Jaiku, Nexopia, etc. Social apps and websites exist for every imaginable cause. Some are for meeting new friends, while others are for posting photos. Some social sites also offer their members with a good opportunity to blog. You probably have more than 10 different identities if the details used in social sites are anything to go by. I have many accounts myself. Some I have forgotten usernames while others I don’t even have a clue what the password is anymore. Despite that, I am always persuaded to open a new social site every day. Last week, I registered my details on some social site so that I could have access to research articles. I got the research and now I can’t remember my login details anymore. So my prime question today is: what do we get from these sites?

Since we all spend time on these social sites, it then follows that the interaction, information, and communication that takes place on these platforms influences us. Many articles feature social networks and posit that they have business value or cause behavioral influence. People have found jobs through social applications and sites while others have lost their employment contracts. Companies seem to take social networks seriously as they get important insight and trends from their high traffic and analysis. It is common to come across advertisements on social networks these days. In fact, I recently stopped frequenting Facebook because of the overabundant advertisements that keep me distracted long enough to cause me to forget about my work. Marketers are finding social platforms a safe haven where they can market their products. Well, bloggers are also making a killing by attracting followers and consequently appealing to companies who want to increase their leads. I am sure you now see how deep and tangled the web can be.

My interest, however, is not how you can land a new job, increase sales, meet new people, or communicate flawlessly with them. I interested in the hidden benefits, or demerits. We are living in hard times, filled with economic strife and highly devastating events that cause emotional turmoil and physiological distress. Some of us live alone and are clouded with loneliness. Devastating events surround us, and we don’t stop questioning why they have happened to us. So where do we run to when we are bundled with problems? Hospitals corridors fill with patients who need treatment for diseases they could have easily avoided or managed. Counseling is becoming an important profession by the day. We lack peace within ourselves because of problems from our environment.

My advice: when life seems to be fast-paced and you seem to be losing track, pause and bounce back to one of the social platforms. It does not have to be your favorite. You see, doctors provide various diagnosis to solve chief complaints from their clients. I am also recommending various interaction with myriad social networks depending on the prevailing situation. Posting photos on a social network say Instagram draws attention and generates comments making you happy. Seeing yourself on the web will generally make you happy. Try to be lively on social networks and monitor your health trends. Well, sometimes it may prove hard. Credible sources associate social networks with lowered risks of cardiovascular diseases improved mental health, and lower mortality rates. So, next time you visit twitter, Facebook, or Google+, know that you stand to benefit.

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Extraterrestrial life

Extraterrestrial Life

 For decades, people have spread rumors regarding life outside the word, a phenomenon that has received support from tales on myriad encounters with extraterrestrial being. Some have argued that gods and the beginnings of life occurred in alien worlds. Over the years, science has also fuelled this debate and researchers from NASA claim to have come across conclusive evidence. NASA researchers claim to have found significant evidence proving a certain meteorite holds simple forms of life. This meteorite, they say, came from Mars and landed in Antarctica. Since them, researchers have come out, ignited by the ‘Mars fever’ and try to perform several studies. These studies will continue several years into the future, and possibly come out with the truth. This paper presents various arguments regarding life outside the earth in a bid to shed more light on the issue.

Mike Devarian, employed in one of NASA’s laboratories was fond of pointing out that a tragic disease that left one scientist and those who supported him changed their views. The picture an earth –centered view prevailed for thousands of years after the death of Aristotle. The astronomical view held by Aristotle came out clearer through elaborations by a different philosopher from Greek, Ptolemy, who died in A.D 168. Ptolemy established an intricate scheme to assist in the estimate orbits made by Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. Scientists named the scheme the Ptolemaic scheme and it led to remarkable success, although it depended on incorrect physical principles. Later, Roman Catholic backed claims regarding the solar system as the clergy behind the proposition designed his own way of thinking. Therefore, it is not strange that surprising thoughts concerning the possibility of life in other planets existed for more than one thousand years.

Until recently, Mars appeared as the best candidate for a body that has features such as those on Earth. However, scientists have never stopped searching for other candidates in case Mars disappoints them. Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons has received several mentions by scientists as another good candidate that can support life. Descriptions of this moon place it highly and scientists cite that, albeit it has high temperatures, it can possibly support life. They support their propositions by giving examples of hot vents and hot regions on earth that sustain life. According to them, the essential perquisites for life are sources of energy and liquid water. Europa, they say, is one of the extraterrestrial bodies that have those prerequisites. Heat present in the body is warm enough to support life while water located under layers of ice can do the same.

Current findings purport that there exist some habitable in regions in the universe that can support extraterrestrial life. These regions exist in planets that orbit stars where the temperature ranges between zero degrees and one hundred degrees Celsius. Additionally, regions around stars support liquid water, which is an essential requirement for life. Reports from current operation under the guidance of NASA give more neutral regarding space bodies with capacities to support life. According to Landau (2013), the NASA scientists gave reports to one of their web pages with three names of planets that qualify as candidates for habitation. The three planets, discovered by a satellite named Kepler, lie in the midst of one hundred and fifty thousand stars. Scientists give several descriptions two of the bodies, Kepler 62e and 62f, which are part of a five-body system.

Theories regarding life in other planets go back a long way in history to the times of Greek philosophers. Over the years, there appears to have been more theories and tales on possibilities of life in other planets and bodies other than the earth. Scientists working with NASA have tasked themselves with activities to verify claims and their own suspicions. Several years back they stated that Mars was one of the candidates that could support life. They went steps further to find other bodies supposing Mars disappoints them. They came across Europa and Kepler planets, which they say consists of the essential prerequisites of life. Today, no one has conclusive findings regarding life in other bodies other than the earth, but studies have made remarkable steps that keep claims by scientists and enthusiasts relevant.