Category Archives: Uncategorized

Language Learning Can Improve Your Odds

Open_book_2If you’re interested in a new job, then learning a new language can greatly improve your chances of landing one.  Bilingual jobs are on the rise, and demand is especially high in the fields of French and Spanish speaking jobs.  If you’re interested in brushing up on your second language skills, then your best options are to join a class or start a learn at home course.  We always recommend a combination of both, but depending on your circumstances you might only be able to do one or the other. 

What’s the best way to learn a language in a classroom though?  We have been reading a lot about whole language classrooms and how they can be beneficial:

“How can you create a whole language classroom? The first step is to plan a few whole language experiences that can supplement you present banal series or textbook. While whole language instruction can be an alternative to the use of basals, I believe that the textbook and the whole language approach can co-exist–at least until the teacher has the confidence and expertise necessary to be a total whole language teacher.

I particularly like activities that take the shape of cooperative or collaborative learning projects, such as growing a classroom garden, putting on a class play, or organizing a small business. You might want to design projects that encourage your students to read (following directions, researching the facts); to write (keeping journals, taking notes, writing stories); and to present their work (graphing their findings, dramatizing various scenarios, publishing newsletters).

If you are a high school English teacher, why not have your students create a classroom yearbook for a lower grade in your school district? Through this activity, your students will be developing and applying their writing skills, along with other skills such as time management and desktop publishing. A community service project, such as a recycling campaign, is a great motivator for students in the middle school. A project such as this challenges middle school students’ creative abilities and helps them see the relevance of academic and social skills. It also provides an outlet for their boundless energy. Primary teachers can try inviting a lovable hamster or guinea pig to join their classroom. Imagine all the reading, writing, mathematics, and computer-related activities that your students can do with your classroom pet as the starting point!

Tie your project into social studies or science. Many social studies and science topics lend themselves perfectly to a whole language approach. Ask yourself: What kinds of tasks will challenge the students to use their skills or require them to develop new skills? Some software companies have developed interdisciplinary packages that fit nicely within a whole language philosophy. Some packages to consider are Tom Snyder Productions’ Decisions, Decisions series; National Geographic Society’s The Golden Spike, and Wings for Learning’s Voyage of the Mimi.

Whole language teaching can be as involved as traveling around the world to learn world geography, or as simple as building worlds within your own classroom with books, videos, and personal computers. The secret is to be creative! The project doesn’t have to be big, simply one that motivates your students to get actively involved in reading, researching, calculating, writing, and sharing. When deciding what to do, don’t forget to talk with your students. They may have the perfect project.”

Excerpt from:  Marvelle, John D. “Technology in the whole language classroom.” Technology & Learning Apr. 1991: 32+.

Does Diversity Matter In The Workplace?

diversitygroupDiversity is a huge deal for companies these days as businesses are becoming more sensitive to the importance of having a diverse workforce. However, where does one draw the line between needing diversity and hiring the absolute best staff regardless of race or ethnicity? It’s a tough line to tread, and many businesses have put together some great principles in terms of keeping both of these criteria fulfilled.

There was once a big uproar at the University of Michigan regarding race and “affirmative action”. Many felt that the University was providing unfair advantages to black and other students who were not Caucasian. The University was required to fill a certain quota of minorities, and many felt that this was a ridiculous notion to follow. Many called it “positive discrimination” and called for its removal.

What about diversity in the workforce such as was the case in Michigan? There are many positives to having a diverse workforce in the first place. You have access to many more cultures and beliefs, as well as worldviews. It can help a company better cater to all customers, and the business will not have such a myopic standpoint.

Americanprogress.org states that: “A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labor in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.”

Diversity also looks good to customers as a whole. One company that stands out is Google. They are well known for a very diverse workplace and it seems to shine through in their diverse product and service line as well as the overall success of the company. But when one thinks of Google, one does never harbor any doubt that the company is looking out for all and not leaning towards the side of one race or the other.

Does computing tend to lean towards diversity in the first place, given the lack of “face time” that the employees must give to customers? Roger Feinstein of No More Sad Computer, a tech blog, seems to think so. Since computers tend to be a very universal language and one is never discriminated against in a computer lab given the “nerdy” nature of techies, it tends to lead towards a more accepting nature overall. Feinstein states that this is one of his favorite parts of working in the tech industry. “It’s so nonjudgmental, and I feel that I get to work with the most amazing people because of that.”

There’s definitely work to be done in terms of making all industries match that of the computer industry. Fashion, sales, and the beauty industry are starting to catch on slowly but surely, and you can see the difference in who these companies are featuring in their advertisements. Clothing company United Colors Of Benetton is notorious for their extremely diverse line of models, and other companies are following suit.