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Long-Term Effects of the Summer Slide: How It Follows Your Child into Adulthood
After a long ten months of grueling office work, you put aside your glasses, rub your eyes, stretch in your chair, and think, “Finally, it’s time for my two-month vacation.” You put in the notice to your boss, who okays it without a second thought, and you leave without looking back. You are buzzing with excitement. You see amazing weeks ahead, weeks of splashing by the pool, eating unreasonable amounts of barbecue, and spending time not doing much of anything. You know what you do not see? Any work whatsoever. True bliss, indeed. You may have read that with a puzzled look on your face, wondering, “What dream-like workplace is this and where can I find a job like this?” but you probably know instinctively, “This cannot be real.” And you are right. It is not real. What workplace gives you two whole consecutive months off to do whatever your heart desires without concern for money? However, you may have very well realised: school does this. It takes the summer off every year, releasing your child into leisure and freedom. Unfortunately, this system is also giving children an unrealistic expectation about the real world and forming the habit of tuning out at the same time every year. Their attention naturally starts dipping by May and into June--and it is hard for them to recover until much later in the year if left unchecked. You may already know about summer learning loss, or the “summer slide”--it is a phenomenon that happens every summer when children lose a significant amount of what they learned in the past school year. One study shows that upcoming fourth graders lose approximately 20% of what they learned from third-grade reading and 27% of what they learned from third-grade math. As for upcoming eighth graders, they lose about 30% of seventh-grade reading skills and 50% of their seventh-grade math skills. This is not to say that children need to endure grueling schoolwork every single month of the year, but they do need to remain invigorated when it comes to self-learning and growth. Summer vacation creates complacency that the real world just does not provide, leading to a disjointed sense of responsibility when entering adulthood. They are used to having long periods of break. They are used to healing burnout this way. They are used to putting their brain on sleep mode. However, this may affect them as working adults who realistically would get around two weeks of paid vacation time the whole year, as well as never-ending “homework,” whether it is work-related, like checking emails, or life-related, like tuning up the car. On top of that, there is no excuse for learning loss in the workplace. No boss wants an employee who forgets how to make an Excel spreadsheet, no hospital wants a doctor who forgets how to suture, and no government wants a president who cannot remember the Constitution after a summer on the golf course. The usually overlooked task of being a parent, as well, takes on a rigorous 24/7 schedule. June to August seems like a good time for your child to relax because school can be challenging and taxing mentally, but you, as a parent who continues on that 24/7 schedule, have to be careful that he or she does not stop learning altogether. It is a harmful habit to take two or three whole months to prioritise leisurely activities. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that education will reform in time for your child to have school year-round with shorter, more frequent breaks. This is where supplemental education steps in, in possibly the most important way--by significantly preventing loss of learning. Beyond making sure your child retains what he or she learned in the past school year and advances ahead for the next, JEI Learning Centre instills a belief that learning and progress never ends. Through a steady workflow that is optimally created for stress-free but productive learning, your child will be more prepared for not only a new school year but also adulthood. The adoption of self-learning and self-motivation is key. We do not want children to tune out. We want to help them to take responsibility for their own learning and thrive! Summer learning does not have to be as intense as school learning, but it does have to be there. Find a Centre near you and enroll your child in one of JEI’s summer programme to keep their brain on full power mode!
Must-Have Skill for Children #2: Cleaning Their Own Rooms
Parents are forever telling their children to keep their rooms clean by picking up toys, making their beds, and throwing away rubbish. That is why, for the second installment of our ‘Must-Have Skill for Children’ series, JEI Learning Centre wants to bring to your attention National Clean Up Your Room Day! Although hard to enforce, the act of cleaning up their rooms positively influences children’s lives in ways that JEI Learning Centre is all about! Improved self-discipline and self-confidence are among the pillars that make up JEI Learning Centre’s sturdy foundation for learning and growth, and these lessons can be translated into everyday life. It starts with this simple habit which leads to major improvements in: Self-Discipline and Sense of Responsibility As much as you love your kids, it can be challenging to get them to take initiative and do what is best for themselves. Once the school bell rings, children think of all the free time they have with little to no intention of using a portion of that time productively. The problems here are lack of self-discipline and sense of responsibility. The only way to cultivate them is through the force of habit. The best habit to start with would be something small that gives way to immediately visible results, like cleaning a personal space. Establishing a certain day of the week for children to clean their rooms gives rise to a routine that they can get used to, and this will translate into the rest of their lives. Also by encouraging them clean, they will keep things better organised throughout rather than making a mess to locate an item or letting things pile up. They will realise that behaving in a mindful way will decrease the work later on. Give them the responsibility of their own space and they will act more responsibly. Self-Learning and Gratitude Hands-on experiences lead to self-discovery. They are great ways for children to learn something new, perfect a craft, and even find out new things about themselves, like how they like to organise. They will learn the concept of self-learning and proactivity. By continuously doing something over and over again, they will naturally improve and stretch their growth mindsets instead of miraculously expecting things to be perfect without doing anything. For example, when a parent cleans their room for them while they are out at school, they come back to a pristine room and then expect it to be maintained without having to do anything about it. They take the act for granted, but taking the act on themselves will make them appreciate what their parents have been doing for them. Plus, when they see all that they have, they will realise they do not need more toys because they have plenty already. Still, a fun way to get them motivated to clean might be to hide fun surprises throughout the room for them to find throughout the process. They don’t have to be toys, but can be motivational quotes, pieces of candy, or funny pictures! Self-Confidence and Sense of Accomplishment Enabling them to take on this repeated project is about taking control of their lives, which in turn increases their sense of confidence and accomplishment. Imagine a room going from a pigsty with messy blankets, strewn toys, funky smell, and no floor in sight to catalog-ready with a perfectly made bed, spotless floor, and an organised desk. The difference will be so tangible, and afterward, knowing that they were the ones to put in the effort to enact this change, the children will feel satisfied with themselves. This can act as a catalyst for other things. A clean room results in a clean mind, but the act of cleaning also results in more energy to create similar results elsewhere in life. Children will be on a roll. They will be proud and eager for more. However, in the chance that they do not feel all that great after cleaning their rooms, this can also provide a good lesson that not everything in life is enjoyable but some things are still necessary. It’s a teachable moment, either way. == Let your children create an environment that is good for themselves by their own choice and effort. Decluttering will save them time in the long run as they will not have to look for missing items, the mind feels safe and focused, and a clean environment releases stress and nurtures independence. There are endless benefits to this skill, as long as you make sure a positive attitude and mindset are practiced throughout. What may seem like a mundane, tedious task is actually a necessary and fulfilling one--so set up a routine now for your children to have fun with it and grow!
Getting Students Motivated: Gamification in the Classroom
One of the most difficult aspects of education is keeping students motivated. Within the past decade, researchers have been exploring gamification of the classroom. Gamification turns the learning experience into a game with rewards to keep students motivated. Information technology researcher Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah and her team define gamification as “the application of game-design elements to non-game activities.” In traditional learning environments, students are reprimanded for their shortcomings. This makes learning appear punitive to the student, incentivising them to do the bare minimum required to avoid reprimand. Gamification, on the other hand, provides positive reinforcement, rewarding good behavior. The success of gamification lies in providing instant gratification for learning. It not only makes learning fun but also makes doing the bare minimum seem less appealing. At JEI, we incorporate elements of gamification into our programme. Many of our Centres use a reward system that involves prizes. Ruma Varshney, the Director of our Hillsborough Center, uses what we call “JEI Money” to incentivise students to develop good study skills. “[Students] get JEI money in every class based on their performance, homework, tests, and focus in that class, which they can use to buy things from our prize cabinet,” Varshney explains. “If anything is not 100%, they don’t get the expected amount of money in that class.” And this competition pays dividends. A research team led by Anthony Brewer showed in a lab experiment that gamification using a scoring system and prizes increased task completion from 73% to 97%. We see similar results in our JEI Learning Centres. “Both of these things have really helped us to keep the children motivated and get the best out of them,” says Varshney. Our scientific approach to learning is what makes JEI the leading provider of supplemental education worldwide. To get started with our programme, find a JEI Learning Centre near you today!