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Leadership Advice-Follow your own path

Have you ever wondered why successful people are always successful and always have good luck? People describe these people as having the magic touch! Have you ever asked yourself why? Is it luck, were they born lucky or have they created their own luck?

To answer the statement as to why successful people always have the magic touch, first ask yourself why do so many people fail to achieve greatness in such abundant times? Why do so many people retire with nothing? The answer is simple- We try to conform.

The problem with conformity is we are following the wrong people. We are following the 95% of people who have no aspirations, have no money, or have any real idea about where they are going in life.

Quote of the day:

Don’t go where there is a path, go where there is no path and leave a trail.

simon-pape-187-unsplash
leadership advice- Follow your own path to success

If you study successful people closely and study what they do and did in their life you will find they didn’t follow others and in deed made their own path and left a trail for others to follow. Think Nelson Mandela, Michael Jordan and even Michael Jackson. These people were all very successful people and saw the world differently to others. None of them were born into fame or wealth, they had to create their own way and they didn’t do it by following someone else’s blueprint.

If you want to be successful, start thinking differently to the 95% of people around us who are not successful and start going down your own path to success and leaving crumbs for others to follow.

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How to prepare for NAPLAN

In Australia, every school age student in year 3,5,7 and 9 sit NAPLAN tests in week 5 of term 2. This is a huge stress to families and students alike. Lots of students get really anxious and apprehensive about sitting the NAPLAN tests.

As a parent what can I do to settle my child’s anxiety? Is it better for my child to just not sit the test? Do they need to sit the tests anyway?

NAPLAN are standardised tests in english and mathematics across Australian schools. As a parent NAPLAN results give you a very clear indication as to where your child is sitting academically compared to other students in the same year level. This information is very handy  for a parent as it gives you a reference point year to year as to their growth across subjects every 2 years. As a parent you would be hoping to see big jumps academically each time they sit the test.

NAPLAN tests
sitting NAPLAN tests

I always believe that it doesn’t really matter where your child is academically, so long as they are doing their best. What matters most in your child’s education is the growth year to year. Is your child progressing year to year is the most critical indicator to look at.

If you are not seeing progress and growth in their NAPLAN results year to year then some very important discussion points could be had with the school. You could look at some of my homework and study tips here or visit my website.

As to the question- Does my child need to sit the tests? Definitely yes is my answer. The information you get as a parent from the NAPLAN results is so important as discussed above. NAPLAN also helps introduce the concept of sitting for exams, even at a very young age. Currently students in year 11 and 12 have to sit rigorous exams to get entry into universities and to pass their Certificate of Education from high school. Practice sitting tests at an early age will certainly be of value long term.

As a parent what can I do to help ease my child’s stress and anxiety about sitting NAPLAN tests? As a parent you can start to talk with your child about what NAPLAN is and why sitting the tests are important. You can also talk with your child about just doing their best in the test and that you will be proud of them no matter what the result so long as they did their best.

Children get very stressed over NAPLAN because they are worried about not doing well or because they think they will disappoint you if they do poorly in them. You need to keep reassuring them that this is not the case if they do do their best. Some kids just don’t cope with stress very well, regardless of what stressor prevents itself. In this instance working on ways to deal with and manage stress in general would really be of value and the early you pick this up the better.

If you have concerns or have more questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or email me on educatingtheway@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Should Schools Ban Homework?

Should schools ban homework? Is it really worth the fight and aggression getting your children to do homework each night? If you are asking these questions every day and getting no answers, then read on and discover the truth about homework.

There is lots of evidence and research out there that suggests there is little benefit to doing homework at a primary school and early secondary level. Rigorous homework programs for children at primary school and early secondary levels are really a waste of time and not really worth the fight each night with your kids.

At these early levels of schooling it has been proven that the improvement in academic outcomes is minimal when they are forced to do lots of homework. It is really not worth the effort for the reward.

Is homework valueable
Should we ban homework?

I have been in education for 20 years and am currently a principal class member of a large regional school. I believe in the findings that homework at these early levels is not worth the effort for such little results, however I do believe in students spending time at home reading and getting organised for school.

There is a strong correlation between kids who read and kids who succeed in life. I believe that we should find ways to get our children reading and learning to love reading. This is where we can really make a difference in their future, not forcing kids to do pointless homework that is really not relevant.

As a parent I have the philosophy that I pay my children to read books for pocket money- not getting money for chores around the house. I have the stance that if they want to earn some money at home, then all they have to do is read a book. My kids have developed a love of reading and became great readers in a very short amount of time by our family adopting this stance on reading. As a result of their prolific reading, my wife and I are much poorer!!!! but more importantly, our children are thriving at school as a result I believe. My oldest child at the age of 12 red The Diary of Anne Frank as their first book for money many years ago. I recall tears running down the cheeks as the final page was red and a life long love of reading was created. My child earned $5 for reading that book at the time.

Check out my article on the importance of children reading here.

Homework however, is very important at a middle to late secondary school level and the reward for homework is definitely worth it and really should be a key focus if improved academic outcomes are desired. Check out my articles on homework and study tips here.

Please leave a comment about your thoughts and experience with homework.Press the follow button to make sure you don’t miss any articles relating to education and leadership and if you enjoyed this article, please press the like button.

Inspirational leadership

My inspirational quote for the day is:

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

I love this quote. This quote reminds me of my own leadership journey to becoming a principal class member and the power of reading. When I wanted to move beyond being a general teacher into an educational leadership role within a large rural secondary school in Australia I was given some solid advice by my mentor at the time- read, read and read!!

To move into any leadership role you need to read, and read often. This can’t be overestimated. Read the latest research coming out in your field, read leadership books, read books on motivation and read just for fun.

As a leader, you need to stay ahead of the others in your organisation and reading certainly helps you achieve this.

Being a leader means you need to implement change, particularly in an educational setting. To implement change you need to have ideas on what needs to change and how you are going to implement this change. Reading certainly helps you think beyond what you already know and helps create these ideas for change.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your favourite book. How did that book help you in your leadership journey?

Which school is better?

The importance of choosing the correct school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. School is a place where your child will learn to socialize outside the family unit, learn new skills and grow among their peers into young adults. A positive schooling experience can be vital for your child’s future success.

 

Picking your child’s future school can be a very difficult decision, particularly when there is choice- private versus public. There is often choice even between private and public schools, which makes the decision even more difficult.

 

So what do I need to look for in a school? What makes a good school for my child? Where should I send my child to school?

 

best school for my child
What to look for in a school

 

Private versus Public debate

 

Don’t get into the brainwashing argument that your child will automatically get a better education in a private system than a public system, or that my child will be with a better quality of people at a private system than in the public system. The strong argument going around is that private schools produce better academic outcomes than public schools. All this is not true. Don’t buy into these arguments. Make your decision on real information and facts.

 

Many public schools in my opinion outperform many private schools, and can offer really terrific programs and academic results.

 

Have a look at the school

 

Take a look at the school with your child. Ring the school and ask the principal to give you a tour. Ask for the tour to be in school hours and have a good look around and pay attention. Do the kids in classes look happy, engaged, and showing respect to the teacher and their peers? Can I see engaging learning taking place as I walk around? What does the library look like and how clean and well-maintained does the classrooms and facilities look like? Do the grounds look inviting with plenty of play equipment and sport facilities? These are very important indicators of a good school and are worthy of note.

 

From the tour, would you go to the school if you were a kid again? What impressions did the school make on your child? Did your child like what they saw?

 

Often the personalized tour is the best way to see what is really happening behind closed doors so to speak.

 

Most schools offer an information evening and tours. These can be fantastic, however they can be quite staged and artificial

 

 

Where does your child want to go to school?

Often the decision on where to send your child to school has already been made by your child anyway (in their head anyway). How your child feels about the future school is super important. They may have very strong feelings on the school. These feelings may be due to the fact that friends of theirs are already there and enjoying it, it may be due to the fact that their friends are all going to that school next year and they don’t wont to have to make new friends. It may also be due to the fact that they have a great art course and facilities, or woodwork program for example and this really appeals to your child.

 

As a parent, you have some important decisions to make if your child has already strong feelings about the school they want to go to particularly if it is a private school. Private schools can be extremely expensive and over time costs can really add up for a family, particularly if you have more than one child. As mentioned above, private schools do not necessarily mean a better schooling experience for your child. Please look a little deeper before making a decision on a private school- consider all options.

 

If your child has strong feelings about a particular school and it is within your budget, then I believe it is seriously worth considering as your child actually wants to go to that school and will be happy attending there- In the end, isn’t this what we want anyway???

 

 

What does the school offer your child’s strengths and weaknesses?

 

Every child is different. Every child has different needs and has had different experiences in life. Every child has aspirations that will be unique to that child based on their unique talents and skills. What can a school offer your child to tap into this reservoir of skills, talents and needs?

 

Have a look at the schools programs (usually on the school’s website). Do they have a literacy intervention program or advanced academic program for example? What are the school’s extra curricula programs like? For example, do they offer camps at each year level, music or sport programs?

 

Talk with your child about their interests and ask the principal how they can cater for their needs. If your child has a disability, can the school cater for their disability and make accommodations so they can access the curriculum (this is a necessity and every school by law needs to make these accommodations).

 

 

What are some of the policies and philosophies of the school?

What are the schools values? Does this match your values as a parent. Do the school values support your child’s needs? Each school has a unique set of values that make it unique. Some school values focus on academic outcomes, some schools focus on success for everyone, some schools focus on relationships and building global citizens for example. Spend time looking at the values and consider if they match your values.

 

What values do you consider important? For example, do you believe in healthy relationships? How does the school support bullying? How does the school fit within the community or think about sexual education or healthy eating? Please take time thinking about these things before making a decision.

 

If you want to know more about picking a school for your children then please leave a comment or email me on educatingtheway@gmail.com.

 

Please leave a comment on what you look for in picking a school.

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