Five Minute Tips for Avoiding Homeschool Burnout – Part 3

In the world of homeschooling, the balance between enthusiasm and fatigue, excitement and concern, and joy and despair is usually an issue of proactive planning, solid academic progress, and a few indulgences along the way. Avoiding burnout is in part, connected to the above issues, but even if you have planned well and rewarded your children accordingly when they’ve deserved it, you may still find yourself struggling to find the joy in your homeschool program. Five minutes here and there, though, can truly make a difference and help keep you fresh rather than burned out.

As discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, homeschooling burnout is often the result of feeling behind, overworked, and under rewarded for your efforts. Taking a few simple steps and spending only a few minutes in planning can significantly offset those feelings, however. But there is still more to this issue. Sometimes, the feeling of being burned out is a result of inward-focus, not outward-thinking. In simple terms, sometimes we homeschoolers spend too much time thinking about ourselves, our programs, our children, our day, our activities, and on and on and on. We spend far too little time thinking about others. The result is that we tend to lose friendships over time, we wonder where “we” went as parents, and we forget that we have a life outside of school.

There is no fault in pouring yourself into your family, and I will be the first to advocate for that. But, if you are only thinking of your own interests, then you will lose touch with the rest of the world around you. One of the primary reasons that most homeschoolers begin to homeschool is to effect change in the lives of their children, to equip them with the skills to be effective adults, and to teach them to interact with others with integrity, solid character, and leadership skills. However, if we fail to interact with others around us, then those skills will be untested.

Because of this, one of the most powerful ways to avoid homeschool burnout is to get involved outside of the home. This presumes the fact that your students are on track, making solid progress in their academic pursuits, and gaining the skills that they will use outside of the home, but once those things are well underway and incorporated into daily plans, then you can begin to plan for outward-thinking time.

The five-minute version of this is to send a card or note to someone just to encourage them. Make a call to a friend just to see how they’re doing. Think about others for a few minutes every day, those who are outside of your home, and teach your homeschool children to do the same. You would be surprised at what a difference it makes just to spend a few minutes thinking about someone else. For instance, you could undertake a letter-writing campaign to soldiers, and in five minutes, write one letter each day. The impact that your family could have on others in such a plan is tremendous, and all in only five minutes every day.

If you have more than five minutes, go visit a friend with a surprise package of cookies, hand-deliver a note, or take on a volunteer project as a family outside of the house. Homeschoolers are in a unique position to be able to plan for the unexpected by planning their time to suit their schedule. Perhaps your family would want to serve for a meal delivery through a community organization. Those things can be planned for, incorporated into your schedule, and thus create an outward focus as long as you are planning your time wisely.

The combination of proper planning, core subject progress, rewards for attainment of goals, and giving time to your community or others will help to keep the homeschooling parent and student from feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated. Avoiding burnout is about the combination of activities, and if you are feeling out of order in your homeschooling program, check the order and emphasis of the things you are doing each day. If things are askew, spend five minutes each day, working to reorder these aspects of your homeschool program. You’ll find more success, a sense of accomplishment, and all of your feelings of burnout will fade away.

(To see Part 2 of this series, click here.)

Rethinking High School

How we educate high school students in the U.S. needs to change. Our high schools are no longer relevant to the needs of 21st century learners and the system must be restructured. This restructuring will allow students to choose from a variety of new study options. The days of “one size fits all” for secondary education services are coming to a close – it is now about providing students with a “customized” course of study in their pursuit of a high school diploma. Students should have a choice among the traditional high school model, a community high-school model (a hybrid between traditional and online instruction), and an early-college model that will allow students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree by taking a fifth year of high school.

Central to all three high school study options, or combination of options, is an intensive focus on making each learner’s secondary school experience a successful one (particularly at the freshman level), and offering ubiquitous student access to the Internet both in school and at home (using a variety of mobile computing devices). A synopsis of each program option required in a restructured high school include:

Freshman Academy

Research has shown that the transition between middle and high school is one of the most difficult developmental challenges a person faces in life. Students who are not successful in 9th grade are six times more likely to drop out before completing high school compared to their peers. The reasons for such a high failure rate include a variety of student factors upon entering high school:

– Physically and emotionally changing;

– Different setting with different expectations and experiences;

– Moving from a school environment designed to nurture children to one that

is designed to produce independent young adults;

– Academics are more challenging;

– Young teenagers are immersed with older teens.

A Freshman Academy helps to ameliorate these potential problems and issues by creating a “school within a school” environment as part of the larger high school student population. This is done by clustering 9th grade teaching teams and classrooms together, and utilizing group of upper classmen that will provide peer support. The program ensures that teachers have adequate student-focused common planning time and engage in cross-curricular instruction. Parent involvement and peer mentoring are also key components of the Academy.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Technology plays a large role in our students’ lives today. Personal devices can enhance and enrich learning opportunities both at home and at school. High schools today must be committed to allowing responsible, learning-centered use of personal devices at school so as to provide as many pathways to understanding and learning as possible for students.

Access to robust wireless networks is vital to student success these days using a variety of mobile computing devices. These devices can be either school-provided or personal laptops, tablets, or smart phone; however access to the Internet must be filtered to be in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Access from a personal device should be primarily for Internet use, but students can be given access to their own email account and document folder on the school’s network server.

For purposes of allowing students ubiquitous access to the Internet for instructional purposes, “technology” means a privately-owned wireless and/or portable electronic hand-held equipment that includes, but is not limited to: existing and emerging mobile communication systems and smart technologies, portable Internet devices, hand-held entertainment systems or portable information technology systems that can be used for word processing, wireless Internet access, image capture/recording, sound recording, and information transmitting / receiving/storing.

Hybrid Community High School

The creation of a hybrid community high school, in addition to traditional high, merges traditional and online learning into one customizable secondary education program. This hybrid is particularly attractive to students who do not do well in the traditional high school setting, such students at-risk of academic failure, gifted students, or students who are just plain bored and need something different. This merger results in one, united flexible-program high school for “non-traditional” high school students who, for one reason or another, would prefer to complete many of their required credits online instead of in the classroom.

Every student attending the hybrid program receives a graduation plan during their enrollment period that best meets their individual needs. To ensure that students have the best opportunity for success with a program of this sort, a mandatory three-week (15 day) orientation is required of all new students designed to prepare them for independent online work using an online curriculum (such as e2020), while the faculty assesses each student’s strengths and weaknesses.

In my school district, students are required to complete a series of in-classroom courses that include: Career Cruising, Effective Note-Taking & Study Skills, and Strategies for Academic Success before being placed in one of three tiers that allow for independent work online anywhere, any place, and at any time. Each tier is designed to offer a customized blend of in-school support with a student-centered approach to providing educational services online on the student’s terms, not the staff’s terms. Students are assigned to an instructional track based on in-class performance, online attendance and activity, grades, and level of self-motivation after they complete orientation.

Students are reevaluated at the end of every session, at which time they may be assigned to a new instructional tier based on the above criteria. Tier 1 students are required to attend class five days per week, receiving the most in-class support and supervision. Tier 2 students receive in-school instruction 2 to 4 days per week. Tier 3 students need only attend school one day per week. In all three tiers, students are able to work an unlimited number of hours at home and have access to e2020 courses 24 hours per day. All students have access to teacher support via email or phone. Additionally, students in the hybrid community high school program must have access to the regular high school program and allowed to take courses there and participate in the full range of extracurricular programs alongside their traditional high-school peers.

Early College Program

It is widely accepted that a majority of today’s jobs, eight or nine of every 10, require education beyond a high-school diploma. It is also known from U.S. Census data that most adults in the U.S. have not yet completed a two or four year degree. Although nearly 70% of high-school graduates start some college classes, only about 20% actually complete a degree. One significant problem today is that many students find that completing a college degree is difficult because of the many conflicting financial and time commitment priorities they face in today’s economy. A successful pathway to a college degree now requires a coordinated collaboration among high school, college, family, and community partners.

In my school district in Michigan, we have developed an early college program for a cohort of 50 committed students who agree to a rigorous academic program beginning in the 11th grade and continuing in a dual-enrollment program with a local community college through a 13th year in order to obtain both a High School Diploma and an Associate’s Degree. The program also provides an occupational track for students who wish to pursue a one year Certificate or Associates degree in a skill based area of technology, health, or business.

The cost of tuition for obtaining the Associate’s degree is paid by the school district, which utilizes it’s per pupil state aid payments to fully fund the program. There are very little out-of-pocket costs to the students. The savings on two full years of college tuition alone is estimated to range from $8,000 to $50,000 and beyond. The early college program also reduces the amount of actual time it will take a student to complete a degree by one year, which could provide one extra year of potential income in their lifetime. This earning opportunity value could range anywhere from $25,000 to $80,000 or more, depending on the student’s degree. Although textbook expenses are covered, some personal transportation costs will be the obligation of the student; although bus service between our high school and the community college is provided free of charge.

Early college students are enrolled in both high school and college for grades 11, 12, and 13. These students will complete a traditional six-year college education (four years of high school and two years of community college) in only five years, thereby accelerating their baccalaureate and/or graduate degrees.

Students with the Associate’s Degree are eligible transfer to most colleges and universities throughout the country. Because the first two years of tuition will be paid for by the school district, the student eligibility for sports scholarships, academic scholarships, and/or Pell grants will be extended to the year following the 13th year. Students do not lose eligibility for opportunities for college scholarships or federal financial aid because of their participation in our early college program.

Students who may not wish to pursue a Bachelor’s degree program are eligible to enter into a career program that provides employable skills while earning credits toward an Associate’s Degree or completion of a Certificate in the field of technology, computer occupations, nursing, and health/medical areas. Those obtaining an Associate’s Degree in any the community college’s technical/career program are eligible to transfer to universities or colleges that have approved Bachelor degree agreements with the community college for their specific area of study.

Through a unique partnership, counselors from both our high school and the community college provide services to early college students that support them throughout high school and their 13th year.

Summary

By rethinking how high school instruction is delivered, American secondary education can begin offering a truly customizable to its students. In so doing, we can produce high school and Associate’s degree graduates with a comprehensive set of critical thinking and tech-savvy skills that will serve our country well as these students compete for the new jobs in our global economy.

Top 8 Popular iPhone Apps

There’s an App for that?!?

Ever heard the expression “There’s an App for that”? Well it’s true! I have an iPhone 3G and I promise I have downloaded at least 50 or more “Apps” since I purchased this phone in 2008. I once had 5 pages of “Apps”. Now I’m sure some of you more serious “Appers”,a term I created for App users, have all 8 pages full of applications, but I was astounded when I noticed I had accumulated 5 whole pages!

Even though I have many “Apps” I must say the following 8 are the ones I feel are essential to my life. No matter how many applications I delete these will be on my phone more than likely until I get a new phone, which will be never, so these are lifers.

– IM+ Lite – This is the free version of “IM+ Push for Twitter” which costs $9.99. This is an all time favorite since it allows iPhone users to chat with all of their friends whether they are on AIM, MSN, Yahoo, etc. So if you want to “IM” with everyone without switching from one “App” to the next this is the one to download.

– Facebook
Who isn’t on Fackbook now-a-days? I know I am and this “App” makes it easy to access my account quickly. With this app you can chat, post comments, update your status, view photo albums, and much more. One major drawback is that you cannot change your profile picture; otherwise, this app is the way to go!

– Mover – is a newer “App” and a great one if I might add. This app allows you to exchange information and photos with other iPhone users without emailing. Just slide the photo or video over to your friends phone with your finger. Cool or what?!

– Multiplayer Tiki Spades -1 know it’s a game, but it’s one of the better games on the iPhone if you’re a gamer. This is a free “App” and it allows you to play spades with other users or the computer. You play on teams and earn points.

– Indeed Jobs – This “App” really comes in handy when you’re sitting at your current job thinking “Gosh I need a new Job”. Well you can use this app to search for new jobs in your area. It works just like the regular website – you are able to view, save, and email jobs to yourself or others.

– Y’.Music – The best “App” ever if you want to be able to listen to talk radio, music, comedy shows, and more. I worked at a job where I was able to listen to music and soon became bored after I had listened to all of the music in my phone. I downloaded this application and my days at work suddenly became so much more interesting listening to stand-up comedy and talk show radio.

– Snap Words – Another great “App” for you gamers. I was out with my friends one day at a restaurant and one said ” I wish we had Outburst or Madgab” and I thought well maybe there’s an “App” like that, so I checked and sure enough “Snapwords” came up. It is just like Outburst. So get a team and start playing!

– Bible Stories -I love my Bible, but sometimes you want to just skip to the stories, right? Well this “App” features all of
the stories of the Bible. Great for reading to your children at night or refreshing your memory.

High School Does Not Go High Enough

At Santa Monica College, a 34,000-student, two-year community college in California, students sometimes sit on the floor to hear professors speak. This is not part of a New Age approach to learning; there aren’t enough seats.

Over the past few years, demand for classes has grown dramatically, while budget cuts have forced the college, along with others in the California system, to reduce course offerings. As a result, according to administrators, nearly every class offered is filled to capacity. Instructors sometimes waive class size limits to allow additional students to enroll, even when that means seating some pupils on the floor. Many other students, however, are turned away, forced to take the classes they need elsewhere or to wait and try again the following semester.

In response, the college devised an unusual solution. It will add more of the most in-demand classes – generally basic courses in English, writing, math and science that are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements or transfer to four-year schools – for an extra price. After state-funded classes fill up, students will have the option to enroll in additional sections only if they are able to pay the full price of what it costs the college to offer those classes. Currently, each class costs students $36 per credit hour. The new classes would be five times that – $180 per credit hour. The new program could start as soon as the upcoming summer and winter sessions, eventually to be expanded to the entire academic year, officials say.

There is something wrong here. Santa Monica should get some points for creativity and good intentions, but too few for the program to merit a passing grade. An institution that enrolls students in a particular course of study has an obligation to make the classes necessary to complete that program available in the standard amount of time, at the prices students have been told to expect to pay. Anything else is clearly a bait-and-switch.

On the surface, the problems facing Santa Monica College are budget cuts and the state’s refusal to raise tuition rates to cover a larger portion of costs. The true issue, however, runs deeper. In today’s economy, an associate’s degree, or maybe even a bachelor’s degree, is the new high school diploma – the minimum level of achievement necessary for most middle-class jobs. Yet community colleges are not equipped to be the new high schools.

Our current educational structure evolved in the early decades of the 20th century to meet that era’s requirements. Primary school taught the basic reading, math and civic skills that everyone needed in order to function in society. Secondary school then offered a path to a middle class that was expanding as American manufacturing did. Both were made available, for free, to all students, by local school districts. Meanwhile, states and private institutions created a university system for those students interested in the relatively few professions that required higher education.

Now a high school diploma alone is inadequate for most careers, but it is still the highest level of education guaranteed to students for free. The result is that many students who try to follow the path to middle-class financial stability that education offers find it clogged with their fellow students, as in the case of Santa Monica College, or prohibitively expensive. The goalposts have moved, yet we haven’t yet changed the rules of the game.

In order to continue to offer students the same opportunities as in the past, we need to reform our system to ensure that students can meet new standards. If an associate’s degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, then the public should pay for every willing and qualifying student to get that associate’s degree.

One way to achieve this would be to provide the necessary funding for community colleges to accommodate all interested students, sans tuition. But why have two separate systems to achieve the single objective of a suitable publicly paid education? Another approach, and one that could save a lot of public money and student time, would be to incorporate more higher education into what is now the high school curriculum.

Already, many high schools offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, which allow qualified students to study at a college level without leaving high school campuses. In order to apply these classes toward college degrees, however, students must pass expensive exams and then enroll in colleges that offer credit in exchange for high exam scores. These courses, therefore, offer little benefit to those who aren’t college-bound. Furthermore, they generally replace traditional high school courses, rather than following them, meaning that they are available only to those in accelerated programs.

Why not enable students to walk away from graduation with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in hand? Some high schools already permit students to do this, through partnerships with community colleges. Wyoming Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, launched a program last month to allow students to dual-enroll at Grand Rapids Community College in order to earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in five years, with the public school system paying the community college tuition.

Other schools offer fully integrated four- to six-year programs that grant students both degrees. One such school, Bard High School Early College in New York City, allows highly motivated students, selected through an admissions process, to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years within the New York City public school system. The program is modeled after the private Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Massachusetts, which accepts students after 10th or 11th grade and grants an associate’s degree (but not a high school diploma) after four years, and a bachelor’s degree after two additional years.

Another New York City school, developed through a partnership between the public school system, the City University of New York and IBM, offers a six-year technology-focused program, which grants graduates a high school diploma, an associate’s degree and a position “‘first in line’ for a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class,” as Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it. (1) Chicago recently announced that it too will partner with technology companies, including IBM, to open five new high schools based on the same model next fall. The schools will enroll roughly 1,090 freshmen. “We want to hire them all,” Stanley Litow, IBM’s vice-president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said of these soon-to-be graduates. “All they need to do is be able to successfully complete a curriculum through Grade 9 to 14 that’s gonna be their ticket to a good-paying job and to the middle class.” (2)

These schools offer a model that every district in the nation could follow. Of course, not every student needs high school through grade 14. Those headed for another four years of schooling in college, for example, likely have no need or desire to spend an additional two years in high school first. But there is no reason high schools cannot be structured to allow both four-year and five- or six-year courses of study, with four-year paths resulting in just a high school diploma and five- or six-year paths resulting in both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, or a newly defined credential that would be similar.

As grade 14 replaces grade 12 as the new “ticket to the middle class,” we will also have to address the needs of students for whom an on-campus education isn’t appropriate, particularly those who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. While these students can obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), often quickly and inexpensively, to certify high school level education, there is currently no similar way to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to an associate’s degree. As we work on paving the main road through associate’s degree-level education, we also should build this new parallel route. Those who already have the skills an associate’s degree represents, or who are prepared to acquire those skills on their own, should have an effective means of communicating this to employers and four-year colleges.

There are a lot of obstacles to the system I envision, but they are purely man-made. Local high schools are financed through different mechanisms than are community and four-year colleges, though of course society ends up picking up the tab regardless. Different unions represent faculties at such institutions, different organizations accredit them, and we have established different requirements for credentials and certification of faculty.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we care enough about getting real value for our education dollars, by providing every able and willing student with a 21st century education and credentials to match 21st century life.

Students deserve to get the education they need for today’s world without having to pay an exorbitant price. And they deserve to get that education at desks, not on the floor.

Sources:
1) P-Tech, “General Information”
2) The Chicago Sun-Times, “New six-year tech high schools in Chicago to offer associate degrees “

How To Learn English Grammar Through Pictures

Have you ever peeped into your mind? Do you see your mind as a dense jungle of words or as a huge album of pictures? In fact your mind is a wonderful universe of your own which nobody else can enter unless you invite. How can you invite one to enter your universe unless you have words? Words are the keys to open the doors of your mind. With each word you utter you open a door to your listener and he sees some part of your universe.

Have you ever thought that the words you use create pictures in other people’s minds? How do words come to you to express your thoughts if there were no pictures in your mind? First, you see a person, an animal or a thing, then, you learn the name. As soon as you learn the name, it hides itself behind the picture of the person, the animal or the thing you saw. Whenever you hear the word or see the word the picture appears in your mind’s eye and whenever you want to say something pictures followed by words emerge.

Once you understand this truth about learning languages, you can find the correct path to learn ENGLISH. Start learning English through pictures. Look at a picture and then learn to read it using words. Don’t try to memorize words. Just remember the picture and word together. Words cannot survive without pictures. The more words you have, the better you can express your thoughts. Then, you can open all the doors of your universe and invite others to come and see your own wonderful creations. That is what great writers do by creating master pieces with words. Learning English through pictures is the one and only method of successful Learning.

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling

In order to get an unbiased assessment about homeschooling, it is best to fairly weigh the benefits and advantages of homeschooling, as well the disadvantages and limitations of the said educational program.

Homeschool happens when the parent/s or guardian/s decided to pull the children out of their regular school environment and decided to become the children’s educator. The motivations of each parent or guardian may or may not be different from one another but all are aiming to give a more quality education to their children as they see fit.

Not different from any other issues, homeschool have its gains and losses. Below are the advantages of homeschooling:

a. It reestablishes the role of the family as the core of educational basis of each child;
b. The family becomes the central figure in the child’s life as the parents mold their children influencing them with their social, moral and educational growth.
c. Homeschool has community-based socialization as opposed to the school’s classroom-based one. This will help the children to interact with people of different ages and stature; not limiting their exposure to the issues and life of their same-aged classmates

It is also said that home school provide a more realistic view of what the world really is unlike being confined to a room with kids of the same age and behavior. It has been argued that the best way to mold a child is by the beauty of example.

d. Homeschool advocates are insistent that academic excellence is more achievable with homeschool than with the unfocused learning done in regular / public schools.
e. The parents also understand that each child has a pace, making the lessons learned appropriately without the need to hurry or delay the schedule because of the student’s different levels of comprehension
f. The curriculum is also designed to work with the child’s pace and learning style.
g. Homeschool also gives a chance for the family to bond together longer. It is a common sentiment that American families nowadays are drifting apart because of unshared interests and beliefs.

Now, the ones given are only a part of the many advantages of homeschooling. These are the ones that fulfill the four different aspects of parent’s motivation: religion, academics, socialization, and family.

On the other hand, with every advantage comes a disadvantage. No educational program is perfect, and imperfection means disadvantages. Below are some of the most commonly raised ones about homeschool:

a. One disadvantage is the lack or insufficient interaction of homeschoolers with the kids of their own age. It should be accepted that the kids need to know how a normal kid of his age react as to know how the social norms will assess him.
b. Another is the limited resources of homeschooling as compared to the state budgeted schools. Limited resources means limited educational materials that will greatly help the children achieve academic excellence.
c. And the third one is the parental limitations that in turn also limit the child’s learning potential.

All in all, a parent must properly weigh all the considerations before deciding for the next phase. Always keep in mind that in your hands is the future of your child.

International Schools – The Right Grounding Place For Your Child

Children are the building blocks of every society, and for every society to flourish and thrive, it is essential that its children receive the right guidance from their parents and education from its schools. This helps the children build a secure future for them along with strengthening the pillars of society. In today’s modern world, schools provide the initiative to provide decent education to children, and amongst the galaxy of schools with varied missions and goals, international schools are slowly stealing the limelight.

International Schools usually offer the IB/ICSE curriculum that was once the forte of the children of diplomats and ambassadors posted in different countries as part of their job. As international schools make their mark in India, they now offer the best possible educational programs that combine international methodologies along with a touch of localized essence.

With the advent of globalization and increased awareness of the world, children are now exposed to a world of myriad opportunities. The world boundaries are now shrinking and there are now distinct possibilities for younger children. International schools function on the maxim that children are the future of the world. As children experience the world of international education, international schools in India root their foundation in time tested core Indian values. The focus is on a world of knowledge, competence, and opportunity.

Today, most international schools in India imbibe an international approach with a global curriculum and an emphasis on skills and knowledge that have a worldwide appeal. Children today deserve the best of core values as well as international education as well as grounding in values and culture. For this reason, the schools are burdened with the task of igniting young minds as well as providing them with attention within as well as outside the classroom. With education in the right direction, children become courageous and develop their integrity as well as excellence. Parents can thus see their children evolve into a confident and mature child.

International schooling is centered on the belief that one goes to school to learn and simultaneously develop new relationships with their peers and faculty. The principal aim of the teachers and the rest of the staff are to develop a strong bond between the children and the institution of learning and mould them into responsible and global citizens. Most international schools in the country converge interactive teaching along with learning practices that covers a broad curriculum policy. This caters to a multifaceted development of all learners across the school. The result is an all round development of the child’s social, emotional, intellectual, as well as physical development.

Children get motivated to achieve higher academic standards, where they nurture the skills to become global citizens by imbibing a sense of national pride along with national understanding. With the aim of nurturing responsible citizens of the future, international schools of today pool in their experience and confidence to create a committed, responsible, and understanding child.

Principles of Speech Communication

Speech making is perhaps one of the innate abilities of man, irrespective of one’s citizenry, or ethnic affiliations. Yet many people speak without understanding that it is a special ability without which communication between people and groups would not be possible.

Speech communication differs from normal day to day talking in which one speaks sporadically without considering ethics and skills. However, it is similar to every day communication in that they are both driven by the aim to communicate meaningfully.

Speech making is an organized communication aimed at sharing specific message about a given subject to create impact towards solving human problems.

This article provides guidance in the following areas:
Types of speech
Sages/steps in the speech making process and
Structure of a speech

Types of Speech
The onus remains squarely, on every speech maker to identify the type of speech most suitable to his/her purpose. For emphasis, it should be known that the aim of your delivery should be the sole factor dictating the style/type of speech you should choose to use.

Generally, there are, for conveniences, sake, four basic speech types, viz:
• Argumentative speech
• Persuasive speech
• Educative speech and
• Informative speech.

Argumentative Speech Type
Arguments imply elaborate presentation of all perspectives to an object or a subject of discussion, before settling down for the most applicable option. What comes out of an argument as most acceptable may not necessarily be truer, or better than other options, but the process of arguing makes it best, when compared to the others. This is why one choosing this type must bear in mind that it is his/her approach to it, and the ability to convince that determines the success or failure of the entire process.

While this may be closely related to persuasive essay, the dissimilarity lies in using points to convince at all cost.

To argue therefore, the speech maker needs to clearly and exhaustively raise every point of the issue and state facts about it. And this statement of facts is the “why” of the validity or not of your argument.

Persuasive Speech Type
As the name indicates, this type of speech is meant to stimulate a favourable disposition towards the subject of your concern or to appeal to audience to see it your way and act as you desire.

Companies, individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that depend on project grants are often required to their proposals in brief, before forums of grant agencies. In doing this, they are expected to give brief, straight-to-point run down of what they propose to do to achieve goal, if given grant. This summary must necessarily include a statement of methodology and justification why it has to be your proposal, and not that of another. You must convince that using so and so method, you will be able to achieve set goals within the specified time, without waste of resources and this, you must do without doubt.

A high point worthy of emphasis is that to persuade, a speech maker must JUSTIFY why you are convinced that your method is most suitable to deliver best result. Your entire exercise will be meaningless if it fails to provide justification.

Also, students defending their research projects/thesis/dissertations ought to bear this in mind, as they will at one time or another, need to persuade their tutors I favour of their work.

Educative Speech Type
Although teaching in a class room situation requires more than speech making skills, it would do you well as a professional teacher, haven undergone training in the profession, to add these to your skills. As one who teaches in a school or a religious organization, one makes speeches often, both officially and otherwise.

Advertising agencies as well make use of this type of speech as product display demonstration to teach prospective consumers of a new product a step – by – step approach to using it.

An educative speech provides a comprehensible how-to-do-it guide to given subjects and must be done carefully to avoid confusing consumers/students/audience/congregation.

Informative Speech Type
The aim of this class of speech is to make known. This may come in presentable form in which the speech maker delivers it to audience or may be a press release. Whichever the case, both the writer and giver of speech must choose words carefully in order not to mislead, as the aim is to give accurate, unmistaken information as at press conference, organizational report forums, annual general meetings, state of the affair reviews etc.

Whether as government official, a politician or celebrity wishing to tell subordinated, colleagues or fans and the mass media something, this type of speech serves you best, as it equally serves the technology company wishing to inform its market of its newest innovation.

Security agencies and Public Relations Executives of all manner of corporate entities should be versed in this type of speech, as they will find it useful in the course of their careers.

Stages in the Speech Making Process
As already stated in the introduction, why you make speech is to communicate towards an end. Thus, your speech can only be seen as a success if the aim is achieved at the end of the day. To achieve an aim, professional speech communication follows a procedure, which is here written as the stages/steps in the speech communication process. They include:

• Research: If you are to speak, it means that there is someone you are to speak to, about something, something of importance to both of you, and at a given time and place. Your first responsibility is to FIND OUT what it is you are going to talk about. Whatever it is, you must study it to know far more than you will need to talk about and in this case, it is necessary to preempt the likely questions your audiences are to ask, and provide answers in the speech you make.

where and when necessary, consult with people such as experts, who have better technical understanding of the subject than you and to these, pose ALL your questions and let their answers be the knowledge with which you confront the exercise, as these answers should be the basis of the speech you present. In doing this, you should avoid stating the obvious. By this I mean elements that can easily be deciphered and understood should not be your primary aim to explain, rather you will do more good to seek out areas that are not likely to be understood at first glance by the lay man and on these, place your emphasis.

If for instance your speech is a political manifesto, it will be more profitable to describe in detail, what you intend to do to solve certain societal problems and your conduct in office, should you be elected, than to dwell on the might of your political party or on the electioneering process – whoever your audience are already know how to vote and how strong your party is but even if they don’t, there are people stationed to teach them those.

If on the other hand your concern is a product/service as a PRE/Advertiser, or an issue intangible as those handled by spiritual leaders and programme facilitators, seek out beforehand, opinions and opposing views about the product/service/issue. Be sure to find out details about the product/service/issue as to how it functions or implications of every standpoint in an issue. It is only this detailed understanding of subject that places you above your audience to be able to grant answers to their every question, including the ones they are not able to ask.

When you have satisfactorily understudied the subject of your presentation, you should as well endeavor to study the people to whom you will be speaking. This may require going the extra mile to study the various groups of people likely to be present at your presentation as well as their depth of understanding of the subject. Also, their depth of understanding of the language of communication is of importance, as this helps your diction for proper understanding.

You may as well, need to take a closer look at the place and time of your presentation. Though this may not be of same relevance as the first two, but is advisable because the place and time of an event contribute to a large extent, to the atmosphere of the event and in effective communication, the atmosphere is as important as the message itself as it colours the meaning of a message. This is why “good morning” at a time may be a greeting and at another time, a disturbance, as “yes” may mean yes at time but mean “no” at other times.

• Speech Writing: A well-researched speech may often end up poorly delivered if it is poorly documented, as many speech makers find the Read Only Strategy (ROS) more convenient than any other method. For a speech to be remarkable, its research, documentation and delivery must be sufficiently mastered.
Whether commissioned to write a speech for someone else to deliver or not, speech writing requires an interplay of excellent writing skills controlled by specific facts gained through research conducted at the initial stage with appropriate and accurate choice of words and illustrations, analogies etcetera.

Here are the basic formats of speech writing: the scripted speech, the semi-scripted speech, the outline speech and the unscripted format.

Scripted Speech: Earlier I mentioned ROS (Read Only Strategy) which is my description for a speech that is pre written and delivered verbatim unfortunately, this leaves no room for improvisation thus, where the speech writer is different from its presenter, the latter may have little or no idea about the technicalities of the subject of discussion, as he/she only read what is on paper. In this case, questions asked pose a great challenge to the presenter and may often be a source of embarrassment. A person delivering speech using ROS, without sufficient rehearsal may get pronunciations wrong and dodge questions at the end of the exercise as politicians do, because they are hardly involved in the creation of their speeches. However, this is the most used type of speech, practiced by political icons and celebrities because of its convenience.

The hugest merit of this is the convenience and the fact that individuals who are extremely shy or incompetent can hide away their weaknesses behind the paper already written for them. Also, the speech presenter may not need to have a deep knowledge of the subject, provided the writer of the speech does a good job. It is of advantage to persons who make many speeches within limited time and have little or no time to rehearse.

Notwithstanding, the problem with ROS is that it leaves the audience bored, as the speech maker is buried in the paper rather than keeping contact with the people to whom the presentation is being made.

The Semi – Scripted Speech Format: a speech is semi – scripted when only the principal lines of thought are written down, leaving the rest to be done on the spot of delivery. The preacher in a religious event may for example, write down a theme and scriptural texts while leaving the connected sentences to the process of delivery.

This method, a combination of ROS and improvisation proves beneficial when the speech writer is the same as the one to delivers. Otherwise, it becomes almost impracticable to deliver a semi – scripted speech prepared by somebody else. Where it is feasible, the writer and presenter must necessarily require massive effort at rehearsals which may not always be forth coming.

Out – Line Speech Format: Highly flexible and creative method that only notes in sequence, key points while leaving connected sentences to the delivery point. The advantage of this lies in the fact that where the atmosphere does not permit certain lines of thought or use of language, the speech maker changes direction. And because it is outlined rather than scripted, prevailing circumstances, at event venue, such as mood, time and language suitability are easily manageable. However, this method is most successful where the speech writer is the speech maker or where the latter has equal in-depth knowledge of subject and shares similar views with the former.

Unscripted Speech Format: This, otherwise referred here as improvisation or impromptu, is a speech format that requires no prior writing at all. Its success solely depends on the speech maker’s ability to improvise, that is, to create instantaneously, a spontaneous response to the situation. This, experience has shown, is the most effective speech style that does not fail to take audience along, as it is a child of circumstance.

Often you are asked to provide a repertoire or vote of thanks without warning. Using this format, you get your data from the prevailing circumstance and must immediately become a millionaire in thinking and in language if your audiences are of the millionaire class or you can be a road side mechanic if those are the people you are to communicate to.

The problem with this is that for beginners, improvisation could be challenging, as it requires tact and a lot of self-confidence.

• Rehearsals: After your documentation, the next stage is rehearsals. This simply means a trying out of yourself, a practice simulating the actual presentation you will be doing.
When doing this, critique your eye contact, facial expressions, gesticulations and general comportment. While practicing in front of your mirror may not be exactly similar to doing it in front of a thousand people, it gives you an idea of your look and performance and allows you to improve on those areas. You may like to present to your friend, spouse or kin to have their inputs.
• Speech Presentation: The essence of all the activities carried out from stage one is to achieve a remarkable presentation, such as would leave a desired impact by achieving the goal pursuant of which the speech was meant to be made. It therefore cannot be over-emphasized that this is the most vital aspect of the entire exercise, as it is the only thing people see and know about. Audiences do not follow you to your closet to see that you have researched your piece well but they will decide whether or not you have done well once you have delivered. For this reason, I like to say that it is better to conduct a poor research, do a poor documentation but superb presentation rather than having it the other way round.

To aid your performance in this regard, a couple of problems have been identified and solutions proffered here:

Overcoming Stage Fright: The incidence of stage fright is one menace too many that ruins otherwise, a remarkable speech. Your ability to manage this is as important as the other elements in the process involved, as your audience are not lenient, but are always looking for loopholes to capitalize on in unmaking your effort.

Ironically, everyone has some level of stage fright. The only difference being that some see the high tensed atmosphere and the rapid beating of their hearts as a positive force that complements their strength of delivery, while others fret at it.

What constitutes stage fright is fear; fear of the many eyes gazing at you, possibly “dissecting” and finding fault in whatever you are telling them, what you wear and the entirety of your being. Surprisingly, all this is more imagined than real, as audience hardly have any doubt until you give them a reason to. When you give the impression that you are in control, they accept that you are and thus, look up to you for answers.

Your appearance and perhaps gesticulations which you may have seen as errors become model to be emulated. This is why you must make your fear work for you.

There are several tricks to achieving this, two of which are suggested below:
Ice-Breaking – this refers to a ploy of ventilating tension rising from high expectation and an aura of formality. Audience expecting or rather, awaiting your presentation are kin and formal. This formality exerts more pressure on you, as you feel intense need and anxiety to deliver. In extreme cases, this raises doubts inn you as to whether you can satisfy them or not so you begin to stammer, jump words on the speech or add nonexistent words to the already prepared piece.

To break-the-ice, you can tell a short, relevant story or begin by doing an out of the way exercise like giving a joke or introducing yourself. This breaks the air of formality and helps both you and your audience relax enough to conveniently and enjoyably face the business of the day. By the time you have made your audience laugh or you have expended your pent-up tension telling a story, you will have made the atmosphere informal enough and gained the rapt attention of the audience.

Pen Cap Trick: Another way of managing stage fright is by directing the tension to your finger tips rather than to your head and mouth. This is possible by keeping your fingers actively engaged, as the natural course of function of the human system directs pressure/energy to a part of the body that is engaged in an activity. Therefore, if your attention lies only with your eyes and vocal cord, they will have to find a way of expending all the energy directed at them and in the process, mistakes could be made.

Splitting this pressure from your upper region to another section helps to keep balance in the overall management of tension and helps you coordinate and concentrate better in the efficacious delivery of your speech. The trick is to keep an object in your hand which your fingers will be compressing while you do the talking.

Because this activity is more physical than the intellectual role of speaking, more tension/pressure in exerted and expended here, leaving your heart with less thuds per time, and your concentration devoid of excessive anxiety.

However, it is advised that you pick an object that would not attract more attention than the speech. Something small enough to be completely hidden in your pals, and that does not make noise would do. Many people use paper clip, which they bend and straighten many times, while they speak. I had used pen cap made of plastic.

Looking, not Seeing: When presenting a speech or any creative work before an audience, many beginners find that they get lost if they focus on keeping eye contact with specific members of audience. The fact that your audience are taken along more when you keep eye contact with them is not to say that you must pay attention to the expressions on the faces as this will, more often than not, distract you. You can look in the direction of your audience generally without seeing of focusing on any one in particular. That way, everyone thinks you are looking at the next person and you end up achieving satisfactory presentation at the conclusion.

Diction: This had been touched earlier, but cannot be exhausted. The language of presentation should be chosen in line with the characteristics of the audience. Generally, a verbose speech is unnecessarily lengthy and full of jaw breaking language that make everyone clap for you not for the meaning and sense derived from your presentation, but for the amusement. The bottom line is to communicate, not to impress.

Structure of a Good Speech
A good speech, like every good piece of writing, is not just poured out at audience, but is meaningfully communicated only when it meets a prescribed, conventional specification. Every speech, good or bad has the following components, which either makes or mars it, depending on the writer/presenter’s ability to weave the various components into one beautiful piece or failure to do so, which leaves the work deformed like a physically challenged man.

• An introduction: this being the first line of your presentation, it is the most important as it sets the tone and mood for the rest of the presentation. If therefore, your introduction is good, it captivates audiences’ attention and stirs up interest: sends questions, expectations and anxieties running in the minds of the audience. So also does a poor introduction kill their appetite, so that rather than get anxious to get the rest of the gist from you, they get anxious to dispose of your time wasting presence. Speech makers of reasonable experience will tell you that the most embarrassing moment of their careers was when an audience just stared at them indifferently, while they made frantic efforts to get their attention. Often, they’d ignore you and fill in the gap by telling stories and holding pockets of briefs underground.

To avoid such pitfalls, your introduction must stir interest and be interesting enough for one man to tell another to keep quiet let him hear you well, as each speech must be worth the time spent to receive it. Otherwise, they would just switch off psycho-mentally, while leaving you to make the noise.
To achieve this, you can ask a rhetoric question, use an anecdote (a short analogical story) or a catchy quote but which must be relevant and which would make your presentation easier to achieve.

• Linkage: while some may argue rightly that the body of a speech and this section are indistinct, there is a need here to split them for the purpose of proper better understanding. A linkage is a sentence or two that connect the introduction with the details’ section (body) of the presentation.
• The Body of Details: Haven captivated the interest of your audience in the introduction and properly linked it using appropriate word, the emphasis now rests on providing all the details that are the main thrust of the presentation. All the points you may have gathered in the research will now be knit together beautifully and well explained to answer the questions your audience are likely to be asking. Your points must be well explained and objectively convincing enough that at the end, your audience will be left in no doubt (even if their own opinion differ), but rather have clear understanding of your impressions.
• The Conclusion: the last line of a good presentation should leave a lasting impression on people’s minds. Often, a relevant quote or rhetoric does the magic but the speech writer or (and) the presenter should understand that the relevance of the devices to subject or occasion as well as your accuracy of expressions is what leaves indelible marks on the minds of audiences. The conclusion should be food for thought, something people should remember long after they may have forgotten everything else, including the speech maker.

Basic Principles by Dreg En Ay

College Level Speech Class is Life Preparation For People With Stage Fright Or Speaking Apprehension

Get Your College Education:

When I first started college classes I have to admit that it was not on my top list of importance. Even now I still admit that it is not all that important to me. The real importance is life itself and what my part in life is. College is a tool to prepare you for what life holds.

When I say that college prepares you for what life holds I do not mean that it prepares you for your career. I hear that constantly! “If you ever plan to succeed in life, you need to finish your education.” “If you ever plan to make a decent income, you need an education.” “If you want a good job, you need to get a college degree.” I could go on and on about how deceptive those statements are but the first one is still the closest to the truth.

Preparation for what life holds:

When someone says, “If you ever plan to succeed in life, you need to finish your education.” they are most often referring to financial success and finishing a college education. The statement is true but success is not based on money and education is not a college degree. Let me re-emphasize that. Success is NOT based on money and education is NOT a college degree.

When it comes to finances, I am one of the least successful people there are. I have lived in homeless shelters and in the homes of friends. I have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars that belonged to other people and have been unable to pay them back. I often feel like my life is a failure. Even now I am unable to find employment and I have no income. I live off the gracefulness of others, but not intentionally, I really do try sincerely to do what is righteous.

Real Success

When I look at my children who are 3 and 4 years old, I realize that my success will be decided by how well I communicate my love to them. They do not want my money but they want my acceptance. When I look at my wife I feel completely wretched when I am unable to provide for her financial needs. My success will be found in how faithful I am to communicate my love to her.

Speech Class:

Public speech class was a fear of mine and I was given a government grant to earn an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, which I completed without a speech class by successfully manipulating my degree completion plans to evade it. I came to a point of realization however. After seeing that my education did nothing to help me find work, I realized that my true success was dependent upon my ability to face stage fright, and communicate freely. That is why I went back to school and voluntarily forced myself to take speech class where I would be required to stand up in front of other people and speak to them as a group. It was difficult but worth it. If you are in line to take a public speech class I encourage you to not drop out but work toward your life success by conquering your fear of being rejected by others.

Jobs For Speech Therapists

Currently, speech therapists can find jobs easily as there are a number of ST vacancies in various medical environments in the United States. Qualified therapists with patience and strong interpersonal skills can work with patients suffering from hearing and speech impairments. Speech therapists improve the quality of life of these patients by diagnosing and treating disorders in cognitive-communication, articulation, voice, hearing impairment, swallowing and disorders resulting from stroke or traumatic brain injury.

A Range of Career Options

Speech therapists can find jobs in schools, colleges and universities or go for research and development activities to improve their knowledge about human communication processes and develop products to evaluate and treat speech-language disorders.

Candidates who have a Master’s degree in SLP from a university recognized by ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) can work as speech therapists. They should also meet the associated licensure or certification requirements.

Work in an Environment You Have Dreamt of

With the best employer, you can find the very job you have been dreaming of. Candidates can work on temporary, contract or permanent basis anywhere in the U.S for long term, short term or travel assignments. With SLP jobs, you can have many benefits including:

o Section 125 Cafeteria Plan
o Short-term disability insurance
o Immigration processing for international candidates
o Continuing education
o Health insurance
o Professional liability insurance

Whether you are a fresh candidate or an experienced hand in SLP, your salary and benefits may vary depending on educational qualifications, experience and specialty, type of setting and geographical location.

How to Get the Best Jobs for Speech Therapists

To address the increasing needs of speech therapists, most healthcare staffing solution providers employ the best professionals in different working environments such as hospitals, social services, education authorities, health services, rehabilitation centers, community clinics, state and federal government agencies and institutions. Recruiters help both jobseekers and job providers by matching the right professional with the right facility.