Top Benefits of Reading Books – Why You Should Read Every Day

With the predominance of digital audio and video in our daily lives, we left reading a little aside. However, these media present the facts without giving us a chance to reason. On the other hand, it is often said that reading is a passive activity. Nothing is further from the truth. Reading is a complex activity which consists of a large number of different acts.

We read to find out who we are and to enrich our lives. Reading is an act of connection. We look from where we are to what is around us and to the possible avenues of future. Reading largely forms our understanding of being a part of an existential community where we can share thoughts and emotions. When we read, perhaps, we are not in the same year together, not even in the same room, but we are close. We are having “a meeting of the minds.”

The great books wait for us forever in the back of our memories, ready to give service when needed. If another language is present that means a further enrichment of the reading experience. Literature is a humanizing force that allows us to get in touch not only with our senses and feelings, but also to feel and recognize the thoughts and emotions of other people.

We read from serious books of information, but we can read just for fun too. The latter is one of the most enjoyable means to escape from our ordinary lives. I believe teachers should put more emphasis on reading for enjoyment instead of worksheets and homework. The school curriculum shouldn’t forget that flexibility also to varying the types of materials students read.

There are many benefits of reading. Let’s take a look at what the top benefits are as to why we should read books every day. READING enriches vocabulary, improves memory, facilitates the acquisition of experience, facilitates the learning in general, expands knowledge of the language, improves our writing, awakens intelligence, improves focus and concentration, improves analytical thinking skills, activates the imagination, clarifies ideas, reduces stress, perfects the culture, provides us with solutions to problems already solved by others, puts us in touch with the brightest minds of the present and the past, widens our outlook and gives more opportunities to make a success, help us to understand the inheritance we have, and it helps in the process of building a strong and generous personality.

Certified IPC-A-610 Training Course

The IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies is a worldwide standard for the inspection of electronic assemblies published by the IPC. This certification program will help you meet customer requirements as well as develop any company dedicated to ISO-9000 or other quality assurance initiatives.

The IPC-A-610 training and certification provide certified IPC trainers with training materials and detailed plans for training application specialists (CIS) including those in quality, management, procurement, program management and others. It allows both suppliers and buyers of electronic assemblies to “get on the same page” with respect to the outgoing quality level of the assemblies.

In IPC 610 course there are numerous topics covered. They are listed below from the IPC 610 Class for CIT’s:

  • Introduction
  • Roles and Responsibilities of IPC Registered Instructors
  • Terms and Definitions
  • Foreword
  • Handling Electronic Assemblies
  • Discrete Wiring Assembly
  • Component Installation Location/Orientation
  • Soldering
  • Mechanical Assemblies
  • Coatings
  • Laminate Conditions
  • Surface Mount Assemblies
  • Marking
  • Cleanliness
  • Review of Instructor Skills & Effective Use of Instructional Materials

The typical class for an instructor is taught in a classroom and takes 4 days to administer and test out of. While there are no hand soldering or wire preparation skills taught in this class there are plenty of examples which take the student through the meaning of the specifications, drawings, and tables as found in the standard. The class itself is lecture-based and is interspersed with photos to highlight some of the specifications for illustration purposes. At the end of each teaching module in the IPC 610 course, a review consisting of sample problems helps students and the instructors to see how well the material is being absorbed by the IPC 610 class instructor candidates. The testing for the IPC-610 class is done online with nearly one-half of the questions being in an open book format with the other half being in a closed book format. Instructors passing the IPC 610 class consist of a copy of the specification, an instructor’s guide, a slide set of the teaching materials and a copy of the IPC-TM50 which goes through terms and definitions.

The IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies is a worldwide standard for the inspection of electronic assemblies published by the IPC. This certification program will help you meet customer requirements as well as develop any company dedicated to ISO-9000 or other quality assurance initiatives.

In the IPC 610 class for application specialists (CIS candidates) the modules which are useful in the particular business are taught along with the required background modules. The background modules for the IPC 610 course are modules 1 and 2 which have to do with the administration of the program, EOS/ESD guidelines, terms and definitions as well as things like the range of magnification required for inspection of the assemblies. The business then “pick and choose” other modules which are appropriate for the business. For example, if a firm is building wire harnesses then perhaps only the sections on soldering and wires/terminals will be instructed and tested in the IPC 610 class. If the business is a contract manufacturer building circuit board assemblies then perhaps only the sections in the IPC 610 class on soldering, through-hole and SMT will be useful in the business. If the business only does wire wrapping ten perhaps the module on wire wrapping will be useful to take out of the IPC 610 class.

Whatever your need come to BEST for your IPC 610 class experience!

MAT Degree – Is It Worth It?

Currently, a MAT degree, or Masters of Arts in Teaching, will bump up your prospects as a teacher-increasing your opportunities for leadership positions in your school, and most likely raising your pay at least eleven thousand dollars. Most Education universities offer programs that allow you to earn your teaching license and MAT at the same time so you can kill two birds with one stone and meet state requirements while making yourself more marketable. The MAT degree is meant to broaden and deepen teachers’ knowledge and instructional skills. MAT degree programs are designed to help new or experienced teachers hone their classroom skills, advance their careers, and refine their pedagogues, and bring teachers up-to-date on advancements in technology, theory, and methodology in the field of education.

So what’s the problem?

Studies show no correlation between advanced degrees and student performance. The current conversation about education reform is to link teacher’s pay to performance and not to credentials. Research professor Dan Goldhaber explains that research dating back to 1997 has shown that the students of teachers with master degrees show no better progress than students taught by teachers without advanced degrees.

Arguments are made that the Education colleges do not focus enough on experiential instruction, which makes a difference for the success of beginning teachers. Some argue that it isn’t enough to say “the more education, the better the teacher.”

Patrick Welsh, English teacher at T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., believes that credentialing has become an “absurd process,” that plagues schools who have to follow rules that don’t improve them. He sites personal examples he has seen of teachers or administrators without credentials that were better at their job than others with them. He calls the system of today, “A charade that confuses taking mind-numbing education courses with being a “highly qualified” teacher and has ended up filling schools with tenured mediocrity the kids don’t deserve.”

Katherine Merseth, the director of teacher education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has even made the statement that of the nation’s 1,300 graduate teacher education programs, only about 100 were competently doing their job and the rest could “shut down tomorrow.” Historian Diane Ravitch called teachers’ coursework “the contentless curriculum,” and writer Elizabeth Green reports that the programs focus too much on broader teaching theories than on what she and many others consider more important-experiential training.

Even still, teachers and administrators continue to advocate for the MAT and often agree that it is worth the investment because of the incentives and because they believe that it can make a difference. “We are persuaded that university-based preparation is key to acquiring the knowledge and skill we value,” said C. Kent McGuire, dean at Temple University.

“We do look carefully at the institutions from which such degrees were conferred because not all advanced degrees are created equal,” McGuire explained further. One such preference is that MAT graduates have studied at research institutions.

McGuire also points out that it is important to make a distinction between the credentials used in selecting and hiring a teacher, and the information or criteria used to reward performance. “Training and experience factors, by themselves, turn out to be fairly weak predictors of effectiveness,” he said.

In addition, better teacher training has worked in other countries. Finland’s school reforms started in 1963 as an attempt to recover their economy. In 1979, reforms required teachers to earn their masters in theory and practice at one of their eight state universities at state expense. This decision, and the selectiveness of these schools, helped teaching in Finland become a prestigious profession. Now Finland’s Education system is one of the top in the world.

The real question is-what makes a good teacher? Welsh might agree that there is a certain talent some teachers have for communicating and connecting with their students, and connecting their students to the subject they are teaching. Education cannot teach talent; if someone is not born to be a teacher, or does not love teaching, then maybe a MAT is not for them. But if it is their calling, then more education can only improve their performance by increasing their pedagogical knowledge and confidence. A MAT degree doesn’t make a teacher a good teacher, but can aid a good teacher in becoming a great teacher. So is it worth it? The answer depends on your own idea of what the future holds for you, and whether you are willing to put in the effort to make it worth your experience.

Knowledge is an opportunity to expand on creative and innovative thinking and to always work towards improvement. Getting a masters or doctorate in education cannot inherently make a teacher better, but it can give them the opportunity and knowledge to work towards their goals.

Lifelong Learning and Workplace Learning: Relevant Education for a Knowledge-Based Economy

Introduction

Education is a human right issue for both personal enrichment and development. The Namibian Constitution made a provision for all people to have access to education. This is also supported by goal 4 for Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Goal 4 aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Today’s world is ever changing rapidly, in terms of social, economic, political and digital connectivity and usage. The changes requires individuals to adapt and adopt by acquiring relevant new knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies in a wide range of settings to remain relevant and unlimited. Lifelong learning opportunities would enable the acquisition of such relevant new knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies, for individuals to meet life’s challenges, remain relevant and sustain their lives, communities and societies in this digital world.

According to Toffler (1970) “the illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Lifelong learning is about learning, unlearning and relearning through acquiring and updating all kinds of abilities, interests, knowledge and qualifications from the pre-school years to post retirement.

Learning means the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught. Unlearning is seen as deleting and replacing obsolete knowledge. Relearning means learn material that has been previously learned and then forgotten. Lifelong learning activities promote the development of knowledge and competencies that will enable adaptations to knowledge-based societies, while at the same time valuing all forms of learning. Lifelong learning (LL) is therefore an indispensable guiding principle of educational development.

The commonly understood definition of lifelong learning is ‘all learning undertaken throughout life which is on-going, voluntary and self-motivated in the pursuit of knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies for either personal or professional reasons.

What is Lifelong Learning?

The provision of learning through formal, informal and non-formal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives with the purpose of fostering continuous development and improvement of knowledge and skills needed for employment, community service and/or personal fulfilment. As could be deduced from this definition, lifelong learning is all-encompassing and integral to the vision of a knowledge-based economy and/or society. Lifelong learning can enhance our understanding of the world around us, provide us with more and better opportunities and improve our quality of life.

Types/categories of lifelong learning learners

• Skill-seeking – Learners who need to attain new or improved skills for the purpose of bettering themselves and be able to solve the challenges they face (or meet in the future) in their lives.

• Problem-centred – Learners who only want to learn specific skills needed to deal with a specific problem that they have encountered or might encounter in their particular life situations.

• Task-centred – Learners who only want to concentrate on tasks directed towards reaching some specific goals or solving a specific problem.

• Life-centred – Learners with great experience background and faced with a variety of issues in their everyday life and want to focus their attention on real-world/life challenges/situations and solving real-world problems. They also want to focus on applying newly gained knowledge and/or skills to everyday and real-world situations.

• Solution-driven – Learners who are interested in focusing their efforts to solving problems in real life situations, especially those found in their immediate communities and/or environments or dealing with tasks directed towards reaching specific goals or solutions.

• Value-driven – learners who require guidance why they should participate in learning endeavours and what benefit is there for them. These learners need to be motivated by other to explain to them why they should learn.

• Externally motivated – Learners who are motivated by such factors as better jobs, better salaries, and increased promotional opportunities.

• Internally motivated – Learners who possess strong internal motivation to learn, such as developing their self-esteem, confidence, recognition, career satisfaction, gaining skills to manage their time better or improving the overall quality of life for their families or communities or both.

• Active learners – Learners who are just willing to participate in the learning process (they could be internally or externally motivated or no motivation at all).

• Hands-on – Learners who prefer learning by doing rather than by listening and interested in being provided with opportunities to apply their newly gained skills right away.

• Self-directed – Learners who perceive themselves to be independent and responsible for their own learning, planning and directing their own learning activities. According to Fisher, King and Tague (2001) a self-directed learner takes control and accepts the freedom to learn what they view as important for them.

• Expert /experienced-based – Learners are practicing (working) in a specific field and want to gain knowledge/skills in that specific field for the purpose of improving their practice. These learners bring real-life experiences to the learning situations, thereby influencing the learning process and make it relevant.

• Independent – Learners who are more self-reliant and learn by utilising previously gained knowledge, skills and work experience in order to accomplish things for themselves. These learners rely on their own personal experiences, strengths and knowledge in seeking answers to problems and to solving such problems

Why do we need lifelong learning?

• Upgrade job

• Start a business

• Learn about a subject or to extend their knowledge

• Meet new people

• Develop self-confidence

• Participate in social networking

• Develop personal skills

Individual’s capacity for lifelong learning

• Capacity to set personal objectives in a realistic manner

• Effectiveness in applying knowledge already possessed

• Efficiency in evaluating one’s own learning

• Skills to locate the required information

• Effectiveness in using different learning strategies and learning in different settings

• Skills to use learning aids and resources, such as libraries, media and/or the internet

• Ability to use and interpret materials from different subject areas

The benefits of lifelong learning to society

From those critical statements regarding the importance of lifelong learning it emerges that lifelong learning holds both private and public benefits. The benefits of lifelong learning to society, business and the individual include, among others:

• The economic benefits of lifelong learning both for employment purposes and high earnings are regarded by many as the most important. People who have no jobs engage in lifelong learning in order to gain employable skills and to make a living. Those with jobs engage in lifelong learning so that they can upgrade their skills to be able to be promoted to higher positions in their jobs and earn more money.

• Enhanced employability which means lifelong learning adds value to the person’s ability to gain productive employment and make greater economic contribution to his/her organisation and to society as a whole. This is because lifelong learning enables more people to gain skills and competencies required for the job market.

• Reduced expenditure in unemployment and other social benefits and early retirement (in countries that have those benefits), which means if there are more people with skills and being productive government will concentrate the limited resources to developing infrastructure and create jobs rather than spending it on people who are unable to find work or not willing to work. Infrastructure development means more good educational and health facilities as well as roads and other transport infrastructure for promoting economic development. More jobs means there are more people contributing to government income through taxes and supporting the overall development of the country.

• Reduced criminal activities in societies that have high unemployment rates (Namibia is a good example) of which many of the criminal activities are due to citizens who have nothing productive to do, but having a lot of time on their hands to be idling and/or engaging in mischievous and unproductive activities. Lifelong learning opportunities enable people to gain useful skills and competencies so that they are more employable and there are plenty of opportunities for people to be engaged in productive and worthy causes. We are told that criminal activities are on the increase in societies where there is high unemployment, high illiteracy and /or less educated citizenry as well as where there are high levels of poverty.

• Increased high social returns in terms of civic participation and community involvement in activities that are aimed at improving the standards of living of all people in society. Lifelong learning enables citizens to be active in community development activities and thereby improving their health and well-being as well as generating and nurturing creative ideas for business and innovation development. Lifelong learning also increases high social returns in terms of civic participation and community involvement, for instance volunteering for good causes in their communities and societies thereby enabling government to save through increased civil society involvement.

Career development in the age of lifelong learning

Lifelong learning has been more linked to improving work activities through improving workers’ attitudes towards work and their productive capacities. Workplace learning whether formal, non-formal or informal is targeted to career development of employees. Lifelong learning helps people to develop their potential and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies required for the job market. They are required to constantly learn at the workplace. For the lifelong learning system to work at the workplace, where learning is mainly informal, there must be a self-regulating system that enable employees to access relevant information about the labour market and development in the economy. It has been proven across the world that people who are educated are more likely to find decent employment than those with no education. This mean that lifelong learning is currently being used for career development and progress in the labour market as much as it is being used for leisure and community development purposes.

Career development is an important aspect for the labour market as all employees aim for higher salaries, promotions and other incentives that comes with one’s job or employment contract.

Eraut (2007) found that most of the workplace learning of mid-career professionals is largely done in an informal way through consultation and collaboration. The joy of learning and the opportunity to apply the newly acquired skills to the workplace are the best sources of motivation for learning in one’s life.

Approaches to learning at the workplace

Eraut (2004) have identified five approaches for the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies for lifelong learning at the workplace.

• Group learning: participation in group activities such as team-working towards a common goal or outcome or group set up to work on special projects or for a special purpose. These circumstances will force members of the group to learn communally in order to accomplish their tasks.

• On the job training through social learning activities allows employees to observe others and learn as they learn new practices, new perspectives as they work alongside each other on a routine task or specific project.

• On the job training through understudy / deputizing allow employees to learn from those with more expertise than them but working in the same organisation / institution.

• On the job training by external expertise (consultants) through performance audits, consultancies, workshops.

• Assessment activities such as monitoring and evaluation are some of the approaches used by organisations to enable employees learn about their progress and address gaps.

Work processes through which employees learn better

• Group participation process: through asking questions and participating in decisions;

• Tackling challenging assignments/tasks/ roles;

• Through being supervised, coached and being mentored, shadowing and or reflecting;

• Working alongside colleagues, locating resource persons within the organisation as well as listening and observing others;

• Through problem solving, trying things out, suing models or mediating artefacts and learning through mistakes;

• Consultation with other employees and management;

• Visiting other sites/attending conferences and participating in short courses;

• Working with clients;

• Consolidating/ extending/ giving and receiving feedback;

• Working/studying for a qualification, working for a reward.

Factors affecting modes of learning in the workplace

Learning factors

The factors that enable employees to be proactive in seeking learning opportunities

• Challenging and value of the work: under challenged and over challenged might impact negatively on the person’s ability to learn;

• Feedback and support;

• Confidence and commitment; and

• The ability to recognise learning opportunities

Work context factors

The factors that attract the employees to the organisation and motivate them to learn and contribute to the goals of the organisation.

• Feedback and support (especially during the few months in a new job);

• Allocation and structuring of work;

• Encounters and relationship with people at wok; and

• Expectations of each person’s role, performance and progress.

Suggestions for employers

Promote Media and Information Literacy (MIL) to enables employees to be informed readers in today’s hyper connected world.

MIL enables employees to interpret the complex messages they receive in today’s hyper connected world.

References

Eraut, M. (2007). Learning from other people in the workplace. Oxford Review of Education, 33 (4), pp.403-422.

Eraut, M. (2004). Informal learning in the workplace. Studies in Continuing Education, 26, pp. 247-273.

Fisher, M, King, J., &Tague, G. (2001). Development of a self-directed learning readiness scale for nursing education. Nurse Education Today, 21, pp. 516 -525.

Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock. New York: Random House.

Should Lecturers Read Copiously From PowerPoint Slides To Students?

The act of teaching is aimed at reaching the hearts of the learners so that the content to be delivered would elicit the required learning outcomes. One viable instrument that lecturers who are technologically inclined and that has also been generally adopted as the modern trend of lecture delivery is the PowerPoint presentation slides using a projector and the computer system. As its name implies, PowerPoint slides showcase the powered or main points of a lesson. Explanations of these powered points shown on the screen are occasionally given by the lecturer as the lesson progresses. It is noted today that most lecturers copiously read from the PowerPoint slide projected to the students in verbatim. This is raising great concern amongst educational managers, and students alike.

Most of these people feel that when a lecturer copiously reads from PowerPoint slides, it is a sign of lack of preparation on his or her part for the lesson. Owing to this, such lecturers are not able to offer the learning content with much fluidity affecting the teaching and learning activities negatively. Students are unable to focus fully on the lesson since their minds are thwarted to the unpreparedness of the lecturer. Also, since the lecturer is profusely reading from the slides, it greatly affects the required constant eye contact with his/her students.

Good preparation, which is a benchmark of a good lecturer, is evident in how s/he delivers the lesson via the PowerPoint slides. Instead of copiously reading from the slides, s/he only refers to them at few glances while engaging in the delivery at length with emphasis on eye contact with the students. Doing this would signal to him the effect of the lesson to the students, whether it is sinking well with them or not, so as to make the necessary changes in the delivery style as and when it becomes necessary at any point of the lesson delivery. This does not imply in any way that a lecturer cannot read any of the powered points. S/he can only do this when an emphasis is being made or a quotation becomes relevant in driving home a point. Flexibility with the PowerPoint presentations and not using the glued words on the screen bolsters the confidence of the lecturer as well as the confidence students have in his/her ability to accurately deliver the content to be taught. Lecturers need to remember that the PowerPoint presentation is a facilitating device for the lecture delivery and not the lecturing medium or lecturer. It must be used effectively to aid in the smooth delivery of content.