Author: wp_atlas

26 Nov

Play as a tool for Learning

We all acknowledge the importance of education in the life of an individual. While some see education as inculcating morals and values in a child, others see the need to enroll children in schools. Yet, a few assure that it is in the need of a child learning a trade. Understanding and acknowledging the importance of all three aspects of education from different perspective, we need to emphasize the importance of sending children children to school. Schools afford the child access to learn from not only teachers, but students alike. A child learns about arithmetics, spoken and written words,  economics, science, and philosophy of how the world works. All these, though, should not limit the child to a Teacher_Student environment. An important question we need to ask ourselves is this. How important is play to the education of a child?

 

Needless to say, kids love to play. The freedom to make merry and laugh heartily is nothing compared to the solemn quiet of a classroom. Play to children is a means of self expression and self actualization. Majority of doctors, lawyers, and teachers dreamt up their professions from role playing while they were children. Should it not then be that play be a medium of learning?

 

ATLAS Initiative in conjunction with NIBCARD, on Wednesday, the 7th of November organised the African Board Games Fair for students in secondary school. Children from different schools like Prudence Secondary School, Adroit Secondary School, Oregon Junior High School, and Agidingbi Grammar School, were in attendance. The event introduced the students to Nigerian-Made games and exciting competitions. There were games like the 17-step game, Nwanyi-aga, Homia, and the most popular of them all, Luku-Luku.  These games trained the minds of the students. The Luku-Luku game in particular was to train the eye and hand coordination in the children. The game was an avenue for them to learn arithmetic and geography.

Children with special needs were not left out of the fun. They participated in the games with the aid of an interpreter.

Educating a child should not always be restricted to the four walls of a class room.  Room can always be made on the playground.

28 May

My Tech-Week Experience (Volunteer)

                   “THE MIND ONCE ENLIGHTENED CANNOT AGAIN BECOME DARK” – Thomas Paine

ICT is a said to be an integral part of modern life. Information and communication technology (ICT) in education is important because it has quickly become one of the basic building blocks of modern society.

“Teach me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” (An ancient Chinese proverb).  This quote came as a reminder of what ICT training does; real-time learning. It goes a long way beyond the theoretical lessons been taught in class we were able to assign two kids to a computer so they could work together and understand better.  These kids were trained on Web Development with the use of JAVASCRIPT, CSS, and HTML through which they were able to design a greeting card with styles and colors of their choice.

 

There were several moments were you could catch a glimpse of the excitement on the faces of the kids who were ready and eager to learn despite the inconveniences. It was one of a kind because Tech-Week was planned to serve these kids who won’t have had such an opportunity if not out of volunteering.

I was put in charge of the coordinating unit which was not my first experience in the case of dealing with school kids. However, this seemed totally different from what I am used to, which was dealing with kids in a religious setting (in a church). Some kids were not really producing outcome as expected after learning during practice. This was a tough moment where I saw myself organizing and motivating the kids and letting them understand that designing is like a language for expressing themselves. At the point, I came to realize that volunteering could bring experiences that call for extra effort than you had prepared for.

Finally, this project has shown me the importance of practical learning – how fast one can learn in a short while, unlike theoretical learning. Also that ICT is the future of human interactivity, and that future is NOW!

Looking forward to TECH-WEEK 2.0

25 May

Glory’s Journey With ATLAS

I returned to Nigeria in August 2017 from Cyprus, originally just for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program which was to last for the next one year. I had studied international relation in Cyprus for a period of three and half years which was an interesting and challenging period.
I first had my volunteering experience during the early period of my return from Cyprus. I volunteered for Deeper Life Bible church, Apo, Abuja, as a team lead of the sanitation unit. During my time as the team lead, I successfully got all the children involved and excited in the sanitation exercise. This was an awesome experience because I had never had the opportunity to work with a large number of children before.
By November 2017, I was posted to Lagos state for my National Youth Service program. Therein, I was assigned to my place of primary assignment at ATLAS initiative, where my full-time volunteering experience began. ATLAS is an acronym for Access to Learning and School, which is a social enterprise that seeks to address issues of inequalities in access to education and learning particularly in marginalized communities. Working at ATLAS wasn’t a coincidence for me, because I knew it was a learning organization and I was interested in my personal development and grooming my passion to serve humanity. I am enjoying my role as a public relations personnel, which means work feels like play for me.
My very recent experience on one of ATLAS’s program, was on the visit to Epe local government area, for the Access2School project. Epe is a small town close to Lekki lagoon on the out sketch of Lagos, which has about 200,000 inhabitants. Although a suburban, Epe is opening up for infrastructural development.

The Access2School project is focused on bridging the learning gaps between vulnerable marginalized children from rural communities by facilitating their return to formal education. On our first trip, we conducted a community mapping exercise, where we identified stakeholders (visiting the local government officers, traditional rulers (OBA’S), community members and NYSC local government Inspector) within the local government. This process had a lot of exciting moments for me, I was opportune to meet with Oba’s of Poka and Dr. S.O Adewale Oluepe of Epe. This I was experiencing for the first time.
This experience has helped improved my level of exposure, and built my confidence as a public relations personnel. I have learnt so much about the Yoruba culture, most especially a lot about Epe as a rural community. I feel a lot of fulfillment knowing I was part of the success story of children being enrolled back into school through the Access2School project. And so this marks the beginning of a new chapter of my life as a volunteer under the platform of ATLAS Initiative.

27 Mar

Children in school are not learning

It is no news that majority of students in school are not learning. Here, we would delve into the reason why this is, and express our suggestions of possible solutions to this issue.

To be clear, these are just our opinions and we would like to know yours 

  • Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences.
  • A school is an institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers.

If you want to find a child who lacks quality education today, one of the best places to find them is in school. It’s quite ironic that the citadel of learning has now become the breeding ground for “half-baked” graduates. The initial good news is that the children are in school getting some form of education in the least. But the bad news is that their presence in school does not translate to acquisition of knowledge. Hundreds of millions of children are starting school, going day after day, year after year, but not really learning.

Schooling without learning is just time served.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is not excluded from this list of having to school without adequate quality education.

Some primary reasons why kids in school don’t learn include:

.

  1. Inadequate learning facilities & environment (Such as good chairs, desks, classrooms, e.t.c): Lack of comfort leads to short attention span and lack of proper assimilation and retention of information.
  1. Emotional problems from home and family: Emotionally stressful events that are experienced by some children in their homes causes for them, the inability to focus or pay attention in class. In such conditions, learning cannot take place.
  1. Archaic and Uninteresting method of teaching: Students, especially the younger ones can only absorb and retain large amounts of information when they don’t appear as ordinary words on the board. Audio and Visual tools, as well the use of physical objects in the representation of information.
  1. Lack of interest: The culmination of the aforementioned would lead to disinterest in learning. Then the school stops being about acquisition of information, but rather, a routine.
  1. Medical challenges: such as dyslexia, cerebral palsy, brain tumor, ADHD

 

The Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education), Target 4.1 was set up to address this issue. It states “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”.

 

Here are listicles of suggested solutions:

  • Provision of Conducive Learning Environment and Adequate Learning Facilities

Comfort is very essential when it comes to learning. There must be adequate learning facilities provided in a conducive environment to ensure that quality learning takes place. It is important that students are provided with adequate facilities for play, in order to relieve them of stress they might experience at home. Competent counselors that would be available to help the students with issues and develop proper coping strategies are also important.

  • Modern & Participatory Teaching Methods

It is not only essential that the children are able to hear the words of their teachers, but are also able to see examples of what they are being taught. For instance, it would be much easier to remember parts of the skeletal system when one sees an actual skeleton and can reference one’s body parts

 

That is how we can turn good news on schooling into good news on education and ensure all children are in school – and learning.

16 Mar

Situation of Out of School Children in Nigeria

The target of the sustainable development goal 4 is to achieve the overall improvement in the access to inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. However, there has been no sign of any rapid reduction to meet this target. On the contrary, there has been a slow down since the year 2000 compared to the earlier years on the global scale ,  the most affected people are the youth of secondary school age. With regards to gender, the female are the highest out of school on the global scale. Poverty and other structural problems are the reasons behind the challenges. One of the structural problems includes menial jobs that youth find after lower secondary which diverts their attention from education to trying to contribute to the family income at that stage. This increases the number of out of school children. Also, the level of income is one other significant pointer that reflects the tendency of a high number of children being out of school in a given country.

Considering the regional level, sub-Sahara Africa where Nigeria is included has the highest level of out of school children in all categories e.g. sex, age. Nigeria’s plight   in the sub-Sahara out of school children as at 2016 is between 20% and 40% at the primary school level. Another problem that persists at the regional level is the gender disparity which have been considerably reduced in other parts of the world while sub-Sahara Africa remains unchanged.

Therefore, it is evident that poverty should be tackled alongside access to education.

There is about only a decade left to achieve the SDG4- which is quality education. Hence, it is a matter of urgency. The innovation of new strategies and policies as well as a pool of resources to achieve this goal will bring about the rapid decline in the number of out of school children, such strategies include support for helping the parent to invest in a business that could provide funds to send their children to school. Also such business will allow the child to focus on education rather than joining the contributing to the family income through a menial job.

The ultimate strategy, however, is to engage the school and government who are also direct stakeholders to re-examine their policies in view of 2030. While the school can consider their cost, the government can ensure that allocated funds get to the targets in the right amount and time. Social enterprise should be supported as the serve as an intermediary that bridge the distance between government and school while they also accelerate the fulfilment of the access to education which is measured by a number of out of school children.

The SDGs -4 only remain achievable goal if all these stakeholders would create a synergy for the next decade.

9 Mar

Effects of Out of School Children in our Nation

There are several ways of engineering a society. They include laws, norms, rules and procedures.  However, these will remain unfruitful without adequate education which is simply providing an institutional structure for training members of the society. The youth and children are the most malleable members of every society, this is why they are the future of a nation. To determine the future of a nation, consider the education and training given to the youth and children. Therefore, when they are out of school it simply means that the future of the nation is at stake. The aspects that are endangered include economy, security and politics.

Children of today are the human resources that should contribute to the workforce of the country in the future but when they are not educated it negatively affects the future workforce. The problem is not their lack of employment, rather they would be found in menial jobs that do not contribute to the economy of the country neither does it help in its technological advancement. This is why our society suffers from backwardness as it will remain behind the advanced economies. However if the society ensures that children are provided access to quality education, more professionals are then  produced for the benefit of the economy and improved GNP (Gross National Product).

When children/youth are out of school, their idleness  leads to the increase in social vices and community crime rate. Pickpocketing, burglary, drug abuse, destruction of government property. Children lose the cultural fabric of the society making the society chaotic.

Politically, leaders of the country were produced in schools. Hence if these children do not have access to quality education, the chances of getting good leadership in the country is quite dim, the future will be in shambles. Experiences such as not knowing the right principles of democracy will cause wrong persons to come into power. Today youth sell votes, although being out of school is not the only reasons for that, however, lack of education is a major cause of ignorance, and are incapacitated and they cannot change anything

The solution is not just sending them to school, which is a starting point. More to it is the provision of quality education that is effective in reaching the youth to take right steps in nation building.

2 Mar

21st Century Learning

Learning as an act has changed over several central just like a chameleon, leaning puts on the nature of the current century in which it is taking place for example in the classical Greek period, students decide who their teacher should be, Socrates choose Plato and Aristotle admired Plato to be his teacher. The reverse has been the case since the introduction of the University setting. Universities provides the teachers and courses for student today. However learning in 21st century is characterized by variant of learning style and resources which is not limited to a location, hence being influenced by the ongoing globalization process which is integrating the diverse would.

The act of learning can therefore be put into a 21st century category which are

Four Cs of learning

-communication

-collaboration

-critical thinking

-creative innovation

Communication: covers beyond the verbal, written and local patters to the non-verbal, non-written and so on. The following are the new and easily comprehended medium of learning; these involve pictures, sounds, sign- language, body languages and symbols. Furthermore, understanding values and attitudes that can be interpreted in their individual content are necessary for 21 century learning. Media and technology have aided the promotion of these in short videos that are produced to enable easier comprehension.

Collaboration: since all these communication elements cannot be found in similar form in one location, there is need for collaboration. In a diverse team where the teacher is from another part of the world as well as every team player is different, a need arises where every team player is required to work with one another efficiently. School (organization) do not only promote respect but tap from the cultural diversity from the team. A new hybrid of communication element are developed towards the common goal which enable effective collaboration.

Critical Thinking: the 21st century learning has transcended beyond the “yes sir” kind of learning, where every idea is internalized without questioning. Schools and other learning institutions now experience the authority of what they teach, being challenged by new research. Therefore critical thinking is necessary to identify areas that need development beyond the traditional why of doing things. For example there are deductive and inductive research that reflect the practicality and efficiency of critical thinking.

Creative Innovation: do you know how to tell a story? Then you can sell everything. This is creativity. Creativity is presenting ideas that are conventional in an unconventional way, think of the design of a Maserati made into a Jacuzzi. Creativity will be learning mathematics in a computer game or English language in a voice recognition device. These are techniques created through team brainstorming. Creativity comes within environments that are both conventional and unconventional.

Learning in 21st century has therefore taken new shape with pointers to the globalization process. Communication style has led to collaboration that provides critical thinking and creative innovation.

28 Feb

The Importance of Play in Learning for Children

Play enables children to hone their creativity skills by making use of their active imagination, physical, cognitive, and emotional concentration. Play is essential to a healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very young age engage and interact with the world and people around them. It has been shown to help children adapt to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills.

Socio-emotional learning is best integrated with education; it concerns if some of the forces that enhance children’s ability to learn are elevated at the expense of others. Play at unscheduled time that allow for peer interactions are necessary components of social-emotional learning.

 

Benefits of Play Learning Includes but not limited to the Following:

  1. Play allows children to explore a world they can master, building their confidence, while practicing adult roles, improving their interaction with other children or adult caregivers.
  2. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies and strengths that lead to enhanced resiliency they will need to face future challenges they encounter.
  3. Unsupervised play learning allows kids to grow interpersonal skills, to resolve conflicts, to share, to negotiate, to learn self-advocacy skills and team bonding.
  4. When play is child-driven, kids practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their areas of passion, and eventually engage fully in the interests they wish to pursue.
  5. Ideally, much of play involves adults, but when a play learning activity is controlled by adults, children adhere to strict rules and directions and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership, and group skills.
  6. In contrast to passive entertainment, play builds active, fit bodies. In fact, it has been insinuated that encouraging unstructured play is an exceptional way to boost physical activity in children, which is one key strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic.

 

Conclusively, play is a simple joy that is appreciated as part of childhood and should not be neglected. Play learning is fundamental to the academic atmosphere. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional growth of kids as well as their cognitive development.

21 Feb

Poverty and Education

The relationship between education and poverty still exist as a persistent epidemic of the 21 century. The lack of necessary knowledge and skills that could ensure an improve life standard contributes to this epidemic. Studies have shown that the basic level child education is important to any other stages in the life of every child. This is because the learning that takes place at the basic level, leads to the continued success in subsequent educational level, working years and other ramifications of life. This stage is a prime stage because it creates a foundation for the development of social and emotional cognition in children. It provides for a pattern of assimilation that is carried through a significant period of their lives.

 

The impact that basic education provided to children and youth is the hope of the opportunity to increase the standard of living of their family. It is also readily appreciated even by the poorest of families. Funding basic education will be well appreciated; even the poorest and deprived families perceive the importance and are relieved from trying to cut out of nothing to provide it for their children’s education.

 

The correlation between security and education is expansive because it has to do with securing a job, productivity, society and the nation’s future. If anyone is worried about insecurity in the nation, the issue of security includes the providing the basic education. Illiteracy and innumeracy are a tremendous deprivation of the opportunity to be productive in the societies. The outcome of this is a chaotic nation. The milestones to increase the security and productivity of a nation are funding of basic school education towards the direct reduction of the basic deprivation.

 

“If we do not enable children with skills they need to the job out there, we are going to live with profound negative impacts across the globe. There’s no way a country can progress without training the mental faculty of our children because that will build the abilities and God giving talents” (Dr. Amoah-Asare)

 

Therefore let us intensify our efforts in funding basic education as it would translate to nurturing a child, caring for a family and building a national security.

21 Feb

Child Bullying – It’s Effects and Lasting Solutions

Bullying is an act perpetrated by one or more individuals, who intentionally cause fear, harm or intimidation to others.

It’s a disturbing fact that children all over the world are being bullied on a daily basis, but it’s even more disturbing when you find out that your child is being bullied. Most bullying occurs at school where children come together every day, making it almost unavoidable.

 

Children who are being bullied usually keep this problem to themselves, because they think that telling a teacher or a parent could result in a dilemma which could fuel up the bullying. They become quiet and withdraw from participation, and sometimes display anger tantrums or show signs of bullying their younger siblings at home.

 

Child Bullying is also one of the key reasons kids stay out of school regardless of their parents being able to afford to send them to school, many kids do not want to go to school because of this issue. Bullying has a negative impact on child’s performance in school. They become timid and are shy to ask questions in class relating to their studies.

 

Parents are usually the last to know if their child is being bullied, so it’s essential for them to look out for signs. So what would you do if you find that your child is being bullied? Confront the bully? Confront the bully’s parents? Confront the teacher for doing nothing? Report the problem to your child’s school?

 

Firstly, consider your child’s feelings. If they are willing to talk to you about the problem, then try to work through a lasting solution with them. Remember, it is your child who is the victim so let them know that you will support them in their decision. It might be that your child is being bullied by several other children and any rash decisions taken by you could make matters worse.

If matters do get worse you might have to consider removing your child from the school, but that’s no guarantee that a similar problem won’t occur in another school. Hence the need to find a lasting solution. Another point to consider is the level of bullying. It may well start with verbal abuse leading to psychological torment and eventually result in physical violence.

 

If you speculate that your child is being bulled, it can lead to a real dilemma, and as a responsible parent, you have to make the right decision based on the facts. But there is also one other option that might just outweigh all the others, and that’s to make your child “bully-proof”.

 

Bullies tend to pick on kids who they consider to be weaker than them, or have a disability or are timid or are not able to fight back. They use fear to dominate their victims. If you could teach your child to face up to the bully and to defend them self, even physically if they have to, then the bully will no doubt find another, easier victim to pick on.

 

You should also consider building your child’s confidence, feeling confident in one’s self is a sure way to face any dilemma. Ensure your child’s self-confidence is worked on so that they wouldn’t be shy to talk or express themselves outside.