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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!
How Writing Haikus Can Benefit Your Child
In the twilight rain these brilliant-hued hibiscus . . . A lovely sunset - Matsuo Basho Poetry can be overwhelming for young children, with its flowery writing and loose structure, but if you want them to move on from Dr. Seuss’s fun rhymes, you know what makes the perfect stepping stone? Haikus, the concise form of poetry created by the Japanese. Traditional haikus follow a rigid set of rules. Each one is composed of three lines. The first and third lines must include exactly five syllables while the second line must have seven. Introduce your child to the unique art form this month to celebrate National Haiku Poetry Day on National Poetry Month! There are many benefits to doing so... Can be therapeutic Fight anxiety and fear with haikus! Haikus are about the here and now; they ask you to view your situation objectively. The focus on the present and “what is” rather than “ what ifs” is a great way for your child to practice mindfulness instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future. Maybe before they take an important test, they can write a haiku first! Fosters an appreciation for nature Haikus are not only about the present moment but also nature, from flowing rivers and towering mountains to blossoming flowers and iridescent moons. This asks children to observe their surroundings and grow more interested in their home, the earth. Having children dedicate these poetic homages to nature will get them to see the beauty of their natural surroundings. Provides a fun challenge The set rules of structure for haikus enable children to improve their language skills and gain confidence in expression. Children face the challenge of fitting what they want to say within the 5-7-5 syllable format. This experimentation with syllables should inspire children to look up new words or synonyms and stretch their creative minds. Helps ease them into poetry Writing haikus allow children to express themselves creatively, yet in a more cut-and-dry fashion than more complex forms of poetry may allow. The set rules for the structures of haikus make them great stepping stones into forms of poetry with much looser structures, which could initially be overwhelming for children. Start with haikus, and then give your child free rein to experiment with all different forms! #JEIHaikuChallenge If you are you up for a challenge, this weekend, take your child into nature, whether it is your favorite hiking trail or the backyard, with a pen and paper. Then, share what s/he wrote on social media using hashtag #JEIHaikuChallenge! We look forward to reading your child’s masterpiece! If you want to further your child’s study of poetry, literature, vocabulary, language, and writing skills, JEI Learning Centre provides great programmes that will do just that! Visit a centre near you to find out more about the JEI English and JEI Reading & Writing programmes.
Must Have Skill for Children #1: Reading a Road Map
In today’s digital age, does your child know how to read a road map? What may be considered a dying skill in this digital age, is still an extremely important skill worth having. Life is full of adventures, and what better way to navigate one than with a handy map on National Read a Road Map Day! Many may be content using a GPS to get from point A to point B, but it is not the most reliable tool without basic skills as back up. What if your child cannot recognize the symbols the GPS uses? Is that a railroad track or a bridge? Who knows? Not to mention, this technology typically relies on some type of power and/or the Internet. Without one or the other, a GPS is practically useless. How would your child get out of a rut in the future without a handy physical map in the car? Apart from the obvious practical aspects, learning how to read a map at an early age helps children with their education. At a young age, they are only just developing their spatial awareness and intelligence. Adults may take this for granted now, but children are still learning about positions, locations, and directions! It is hard for them to merely envision these concepts, which is why the JEI Learning Centre’s programme, Brain Safari, encompasses workbooks dedicated to mastering them. Children can learn the difference between North, South, East, and West with maps provided in the specialised workbooks provided throughout the programme. In order to read a road map, children will learn not only about positions, locations, directions, and distances but also symbols and compasses. The legend, or map key, is a box on a corner of a map that shows what each symbol means. The symbols can vary depending on what sort of map it is, so it is important to look at the legend first. This should help children recognise landscapes and realise that symbols are stand-ins for real objects and concepts. The dashed line is a symbol for a real road in some cases or a dirt path in others. An arrow pointing one way on a street means that is a one-way street, which is another important distinction. The compass rose also on the map should help children learn the directions north, south, east, and west, further increasing spatial intelligence. Some map compass roses may show only “N” for “north,” so make sure your child knows all parts of one to be prepared for any situation. Pair up the map with a compass, and your child will be a navigating master in no time! Keep in mind, though, that for some children, it is easier to navigate by landmarks while, for others, it is easier to navigate by directions. Practicing both will be the most helpful! On top of that, JEI Maths introduces the Metric System and the concept of distances as maps are scaled versions of the real world. A map may have a scale of 1 cm to 1 km, meaning 1 cm on the paper map would be 1 km of ground in real life. This is a fun way for children to apply math and number concepts to daily life. To have your child interested in reading maps, there are many fun ways to go about this and apply it to real life. You could have a scavenger hunt or create a fake treasure map! Your child could even draw her/his own map for an imaginary or real area. Children sure love national parks and amusement parks--but a GPS is useless there. Have them grab a map when entering the park and use that to find the best way to landmarks or favorite rides. For more real-life application, whenever going on a familiar route, say aloud the directions so your child can learn how to get there and consequently feel confident about learning directions to somewhere new in the future. For example, in the car, you can narrate, “And here, at this corner with the church, we turn right! At the next stop sign, we turn left and keep going past the bagel shop until we see JEI on the right.” Reading physical maps is a lost art, but it is a fun and important skill to tackle nonetheless! To further amplify the talents that reading a map entails, such as following instructions, figuring out directions, and learning distances, take a look at the Brain Safari and Maths programmes offered at a JEI Learning Centre near you.