The Peculiarities of Learning Foreign Languages: Learning Styles

Learning styles are various approaches or ways of learning. They involve educating methods, particular to an individual that are presumed to allow that individual to learn best. Most people prefer an identifiable method of interacting with, taking in, and processing stimuli or information. Based on this concept, the idea of ​​individualized "learning styles" originated in the 1970s, and acquired "enormous popularity".

Today we can speak about different styles of learning, which depend on our personality and psychological qualities. What we should take into account defining our learning styles is the following:

1) interest, attitudes and sources of energy

– extroversion (orientation towards the external world)

– introversion (orientation towards inner world)

2) preferences for gathering information

-sensing (obtaining information from sensory input)

– intuition (gathering information by going beyond the immediate experiences of life to consider possibilities, probabilities and other aspects that are not immediately available to our senses).

3) how judgements and decisions are made

– thinking (becoming objective, logical, personal, looking for causes of events, and pros and cons of every situation)

-feelings (subjective and personal judging of the situation)

4) lifestyle orientations

– judgement

– perception

Based on this information different widely used models of learning styles were appeared. One of them is the Index of learning Styles developed by Richard Felder and Linda Silverman in the 1980s. According to this model four dimensions of learning styles can be pointed out:

Sensory-intuitive

Visual-verbal

Active-reflective

Sequential-global.

Having read the information about all these dimensions it was difficult for me to define my prevailing learning style. But the special questionnaire helped me solve this problem. It was suggested to visit the special site and to answer a number of questions about my own attitude to these or those tasks in learning practice. My result was quite good from my point of view. Almost all dimensions are in balance, only in one dimension visual-verbal I had a score 5-7 (a medium preference for the dimension Verbal).

Having done this questionnaire I came to the conclusion that it's essential to be a balanced learner eg not to have a prevailing learning style, but to have abilities to acquire different types of information: visual, verbal, through our senses etc.

So I had to think over how to provide my students with a balanced learning experience. And I understood that it's necessary to use this questionnaire for them in order to point out their preferences in learning. And after that I should use different types of presenting information and also different types of tasks and projects thinking about the prevailing learning styles of my students.

For instance, if I present a new topic it's better use visual presentation which students can see while I am speaking. Visual learners can summarize this information using Mind Maps. Verbal learners should present a short summary or rendering of this information. For those who like facts and details (sensory learners) we may give a task to analyze additional information at home and prepare a short report of important facts regarding this topic. For sequential learners you may give a problem-solving task (state a problem and give them some time to find alternative decisions). And after that it's good to use Round table task or Debates concerning the problem of this topic (doing this task active learners can demonstrate their abilities and at the same time reflective learners can take part in decision-making).

Summing it up I would like to underline that it's important to have a personalized approach to every student paying attention to his demands and expectations. That is why teachers should be creative in teaching and use a wide range of tasks and activities in order to help students with different learning styles.

Tips on Learning a Language

If you are learning any foreign language, you will have to put a considerable amount of time and effort in it. Even the most linguistically gifted people need to work hard to learn a new language. Therefore it is crucial that you stay motivated, however it is not always easy to actually do so. I have collected some tips for learning a foreign language during the time when I was learning English, German and Dutch, that might be useful for all those trying to learn a foreign language.

Tip 1: Make the right choice

There are over 6,000 spoken languages, so you better chose a language that you either need to learn or really want to learn, because it will take you 10,000 hours to learn it. Unless learning foreign languages is your hobby, you should focus on the foreign language that in your situation makes the most sense. In some parts of the world English can be considered a “world language” but economical changes in Asia make Chinese also very interesting to know. Languages of the neighbouring countries can benefit you as well, since specially in the boarder regions the economical exchange makes it profitable to know each others languages. A decision on learning a language doesn’t have to be dictated by economy, it could also be your personal life. I have met quite a lot of people that want to learn the most strange languages because that’s the mother tongue of their spouse or their parents. Whatever your reason might be, make sure it’s something that will last all the time that you need to learn the language.

Tip 2: Decide how far you want to go

This is something no linguist will ever tell you, but it’s very important for you to decide on. Whatever course you are following, the assumption is always that at some point you will be using the language you are learning, just like the natives. In many cases that’s totally beyond the ambitions and needs of the student. If you are going for holidays to Italy or Spain, you don’t need to be able to read the literature in Italian or debate in Spanish. You need very simple grammar and very specific words. This means you will not actually be talking correct Italian but people will understand you and you will understand them, you have reached your goal! On the other hand if you want to be able to study in a foreign language, your intimacy with the language has to be way deeper. Just remember this is your choice!

Tip 3: Don’t over do it with the grammar

This is how I was taught at school. Grammar, grammar, grammar. At certain moment I could do German grammar exercises without understanding the sentences. But that’s not the point, now is it? On the other hand, I was watching lots of cartoons and movies in English, without that much of grammar lessons and my English during school was way better than English of my peers.

Tip 4: Make it a routine

Sure it’s not always a pleasure, specially in the beginning you just need to sit down and learn things. It’s the best to make it your daily or weekly routine. One hour of learning words or grammar exercises a day, will get you very far. Do it always at the same time of day and you’ll get used to it.

Tip 5: Live the language

In an ideal word you would be living in the country the language you are learning, like in my case of the Netherlands and Dutch. Then you can experience the language all day, every day. You pick up stuff almost from the air. If you combine it with lessons you’ll be talking the language in a no time. If you are not that lucky you can always go for holidays to the country where they speak the language you are learning. Just make sure you go alone. If you go with your friends or spouse, this is not going to work at all. If you are going for holidays take some short lessons during that time. It will help you to meet people that are also learning. This worked out perfect for me, when some time ago I went to London to practice my English. The classes that I took were not that relevant but I met few people during these classes or just at school and we were hanging out together for two weeks speaking only English. This is what you want, just talk with other people on different levels of advancement, no teachers so no one to correct or explain what you wanted to say, no fake topics to talk about.

Tip 6: Involve everyone around

If you are one of the lucky one’s and you do learn the language of the country you live in, make an advantage of everyone around you to learn and pick up stuff. When I have reached a certain level of confidence in my Dutch, I have informed everyone at work that starting from now on, I’ll be writing internal emails in Dutch. Then I have introduced a “Dutch day”. It was one and always the same day of the week that I was supposed to talk only Dutch and everyone was supposed to talk Dutch back to me. Only if it was totally unclear what I was saying, we were switching back to English. It was hard in the beginning, but people were happy and eager to help. Then after a while I had two, three, four and five “Dutch days” a week. Just be really firm in it. Not everyone will be aware of your “language day” so explain shortly the idea in the language you are learning.

English As a Second Language Education Requirement For Amnesty Seekers

Both candidates running for president, McCain and Obama, have their own amnesty plan for the twelve million or so illegal aliens in the county. Historically, one of the requirements for amnesty was certification of the applicants' level of English proficiency or a minimum number of hours of classes in English as a Second Language. This was the case, a language requirement, in the early 90's when amnesty was given by President Bush Sr. But, eighteen years later, who is going to test let alone provide all of these people with these educational services?

Of course the tradition education system has the facilities to accommodate these people but it would take a few years of committee meetings to agree what, when and how to teach or test these new immigrants. The public education system barely handles the work load that it has before it now. Its decision making system is also very bureaucratic and therefore makes decisions very slowly with the end result leaving the decision makers not fully satisfied. It also leaves the actual needs of the students not very well met. There are also private education services that provide tutoring for students after school.

They are market driven so adjust what they teach and where they provide their services according to the needs of the market. But the teaching and testing of the new immigrants would only be a temporary niche market. Also, would it be financially viable enough for them in order to set up a bricks and mortar facility for these temporary students. The next possible option to provide theses ESL educational services for the new immigrants are the Non-governmental Organizations, NGOs, or Not-For-Profit, 501C3 organizations.

These groups range from religious groups like churches and synagogues to The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. They have facilities in place and volunteer staff that could step up to the whiteboard and teach English as a Second Language. Currently, some churches have experience providing English as a Second Language lessons to foreign students studying here in the US. Fairview Missionary Church – Angola, Indiana provides such an ESL program to the foreign Engineering students at the local University. While most of their current students' language proficiency level is much higher than the average illegal aliens; it would be a relatively easy transition to focus on this new group. Another possible option for these new immigrants to learn English as a Foreign Language and meet the amnesty requirements would be to take an internet based ESL course. The cost of the course would depend on who was providing it. However, online education in other subject areas has proved to be very effective and popular.

It provides universal access to education. One website providing the opportunity for students to learn English online for free is English4All.net. They provide regular lessons, video lessons as well as a chat room for the student to practice their conversation skills in. English4All's chat room is hosted by an avatar that is programmed with Artificial Intelligence. This makes the chat room open twenty four seven for as many students that want to improve their English. In the end, all of the above opportunities will more than likely be provided by various communities. While amnesty is not popular with segments of the population, it is not feasible to deport twelve million people. Whoever wins presidency will not undoubtedly provide some kind of a pathway to citizenship for these new immigrants.

Follow a Plan to Educate Your Preschooler

Many government and university studies show that what happens during the first five years of a child’s life determines all that follows, including social behavior and academic performance in school, college, and later in life. A child whose educational foundation is laid properly during this early development phase has the best possible chance to succeed in school and in life. Parents therefore, cannot wait for the educational system to lay this foundation; it is too late when our children go to school – the preschool period has come and gone!Clearly then, it is our duty as parents to lay the right educational foundation during the early childhood development period; a truly daunting and forbidding responsibility. Many parents feel overwhelmed once they realize the enormity of the task. After all, it is a multi-faceted challenge that includes developing your child’s vocabulary, fine and large motor muscles, imagination and social skills, to name a few. Many parents respond with questions such as: How do I approach this task? Where do I start? Which resources are available, and where do I find them? Where is the “Preschool Mastery 101” class?For you to become your child’s kindergarten teacher, so to speak, you need a system that not only tells you what to do, but also provides tools and tips to help you succeed. You can think of such a system as having two parts: Part 1 that provides the framework to lay the right educational foundation by giving information about the following aspects:• The importance of actively developing children before they go to school.
• Identification of the most important areas to develop.
• Identification of and provision of strategies for each of the three most important learning styles.
• How to balance work and play by making learning a fun experience.
• How to stimulate a child’s imagination and develop the skill to “think outside the box”.
• How to help my child make friends so that he or she is not lonely and unhappy.
• Tools and Tips to help you develop a child’s vocabulary, imagination, math and motor muscles.
• How to plan your child’s development process with a step-by-step example.A Part 2 that provides the tools to help you succeed in laying your child’s educational foundation. For example:• Where and how to get educational material.
• Ways to develop your child’s math skills.
• Check lists to measure your child’s progress.
• A monthly planner, so that you can properly structure your child’s education.What can I do today?
Vocabulary is the single most important aspect on which to concentrate during the early childhood development phase. Is a well-developed vocabulary more important than math skills? Yes! It is because everything we learn, even math and music, is explained to us through words. Although we use symbols in math and music, we learned the meaning of those symbols through the spoken word. So, if your children do not fully understand what is being said, they will always be left behind!One of the best ways to develop your child’s vocabulary is to read them stories. Reading stories to your child, and talking about the story, benefits your child in many ways. It develops your child’s vocabulary, imagination, and is an opportunity to spend quality time with your child.Conclusion
Being willing to develop your child during the early childhood development phase is a great first step. Once parents understand their responsibilities, many parents start with enthusiasm, but then seem to lose their way. In most cases, it is because they don’t have a roadmap in the form of an education plan. To lay your child’s educational foundation successfully, get an educational system that shows you what to do. Then create a daily plan end stick to this plan!

Day Trading Tips – Tips Every Day Trader Should Know

What are the simplest day trading tips every trader should know?I once met a day trader who has been very successful in the markets, and I asked him if there were any golden rules I should apply to my trading.He told me that there were many rules, but I would not be able to apply them in practice, even if he told me.Finally I convinced him to let me in on some of his secrets, and he told me, but emphasised that it takes a lot of practice to be able to work with them.Here are the excellent tips on day trading that he gave me:1) Watch the trading calendar and never be in a trade ahead of a report.2) Never trade on FOMC meeting days.3) If a volatile day is expected, at least stay out of the market during the first hour.4) Find a trading mentor! No matter how well you think you can trade, the mentor will pinpoint your weaknesses and save you a lot of bad trades, while keeping the good ones going.And then I thought, that sounds good, but how do I use the trading calendar to predict volatility, and how do I find a mentor that knows all of this, and can answer my every question?After looking around and talking to many serious traders, I finally decided that I needed some education. I new what I wanted, and finally I found a great educator. Not only do they have a serious and very effective training program, but they also were able to answer so many of my difficult questions. Questions like how do I make sense of the trading calendar, how do I spot dumb money moves, how do I deal with conflicting indicators and many more questions.Getting educated helped me out a lot, even though I have moved on from their original trading strategy, as I have slightly changed their rules. I combine everything they taught me together with what I learned from others and the results are great.In fact, the rules mentioned above, are not to be used as hard and fast golden rules. For example I will now trade on FOMC meeting days, but I know that the early session trends to have 90% probability of fizzling out, in fact the whole day will be nothing but false moves.To a new trader, FOMC meeting days can be so intimidating. Imagine expecting a massive rally to take place, and buying big, only to find that it goes nowhere. Imagine how many unnecessary losses this trader will incur that day.Getting educated was my best choice ever, it was the best spent money in my life, and it has really paid off ever since! And it’s not just the money; they also saved me a lot of frustration. After attending the mentoring program, I can make a living trading the markets, just 4 days a week. Only 4 days a week! There are others who think, that they have to trade all day long and 7 days a week. And guess what, they give back most of their gains. They make less than they would in my 4 day trading strategy!

4 Advocacy Tips to Empower You, When Special Educators Try to Use an Unapproved IEP!

Are you the parent of a child with Autism receiving special education services from your school district? Have special educators in your district tried to change your child’s IEP services, without your approval? Are you frustrated and not sure whether it is even allowed and what to do about it? This article will give you information about why school districts cannot implement a child in special education’s IEP, without parental approval; and four advocacy tips to empower you as you overcome this roadblock!Several courts have ruled including the US Supreme Court; that school districts must seek a due process hearing if they want to implement an IEP, without a parent’s approval. For example: If your school district states that your child with Autism no longer needs special education services, and they are going to stop the services; they are required to file for a due process hearing. Unfortunately, you may have to be assertively persistent in your advocacy to make sure that school employees understand this.Advocacy Tips:1. If your school district develops an IEP at a meeting that you do not agree with; the next day send the school district a letter, explaining to them in detail why you disagree with the proposed IEP. Keep a copy for yourself, and hand deliver the letter to the school district.2. If your school does not file for a due process hearing (before implementation of the unapproved IEP), you may file for a due process hearing yourself, and ask for a “stay put” placement as well as services (from the last agreed upon IEP). You should also ask the hearing officer to change the burden of proof to the school district, since they refused to file, since most States place the burden on the party that files (only six states (CT, DE. NJ, NY, NV, and WV place the burden of proof always on the school district).3. If the school personnel do file due process so that they can implement an IEP that you do not agree with (or if you are ready to file to stop the school from implementing an unapproved IEP); make arrangements to take your child to a qualified evaluator for an independent educational evaluation (IEE). This will help you determine your child’s disabilities, or specifically what related and special education services your child needs. The evaluation report can be used at due process as your evidence that the schools proposed IEP will not provide your child an appropriate education.4. If your school district does try to implement an IEP that you do not believe will give your child an appropriate education, this may leave the school district vulnerable to be required to pay for a private placement or services. IDEA 2004 allows parents to seek private placement and services for lack of a free appropriate public education (FAPE); and then seek reimbursement. Finding a child ineligible for related and special education services has required many schools around the country, to bear the cost of the child’s private services and schooling.In the above example if educators states that your child with Autism is no longer eligible for special education services, you may be able to seek private services and/or placement, and then file due process for reimbursement of the private services cost.As a parent you need to assertively and persistently advocate for your child, so that he or she can be ready for post school learning and a productive adult life! Good luck!