Month: January 2016

Keeping Your Teen Motivated In School

“What is this?” Vicki asks Stacy, as she glances at the report card and back at her daughter.

Stacy did nothing in school. She had failed to attend most of her classes and her grades were E and D in all her courses. The teachers all wrote ‘Stacy could do better if she made an effort.’ What was Vicki to do? She had tried everything to get Stacy more motivated about school and everything had failed.

Vicki is in a similar position as a lot of parents. Teenagers are on the threshold of adulthood. Oftentimes they are already burdened by adult problems that they take onto themselves or which is thrust upon them and at that stage of their development keeping focused on school activities while tackling life issues is very difficult. Teens need to see the value of education to factor it into their future plans but this age group generally lives in the now and plans for their future often become relevant to them after they leave school.

According to Kaylene Williams from California State University and Caroline Williams from the University of Wisconsin, ‘the five key ingredients impacting student motivation are: student, teacher, content, method/process, and environment.’[i] They state that ‘the student must have access, ability, interest, and value education. The teacher must be well trained, must focus and monitor the educational process, be dedicated and responsive to his or her students, and be inspirational. The content must be accurate, timely, stimulating, and pertinent to the student’s current and future needs. The method or process must be inventive, encouraging, interesting, beneficial, and provide tools that can be applied to the student’s real life. The environment needs to be accessible, safe, positive, personalized as much as possible, and empowering.’[ii] All this is true. But outside the school environment there are also home factors that affect student learning and motivation to stay in school.

Teenagers are big children, who have a greater interest in socializing with peers. They are always in a hurry to grow up and gain autonomy over their own lives but lack understanding what autonomy requires; so the nagging parent and jailing school to them are their impediments to freedom. They are inexperienced with the responsibility of adulthood and idealize freedoms without understanding that sometimes an adult sacrifices freedoms for his or her pursuits.

Teenagers need to be comfortable at home in order for their minds to be relaxed enough to absorb knowledge. Their interests must be encouraged and not discarded for the pursuit of the interests of the parents. If the teen wants to be an artists, a musician, a dancer or a writer but the parent wants their young lady and young man to become a doctor, a teacher, an engineer or an investment banker, a conflict occurs between the guardian and the child. It is best to encourage the teenager in their own interest while encouraging them to pursue other interest like the sciences, the arts or gaining a technical skill like auto mechanics or aerodynamics; so that they understand they can pursue several interests.

What generally happens is that the teen that is seeking autonomy clashes with the parent who wants to maintain control over their blossoming young adult., especially when the young adult is more interested in sex and partying rather than cleaning their room and studying. From the minute a young adult begins to feel trapped at home they will seek avenues of escape. Escape usually comes in rebellion where they seek to be the very opposite of their guardian having now seen the guardian as the enemy.

Happiness is key to all success. Adults have a hard time becoming less protective of their teens and becoming more supportive as a guide. They cannot stop themselves from trying to prevent their children from having negative experiences, as one of the roles of parents is to protect the child. No one can be sheltered from experience but people can be guided through the difficulties they are bound to face making their own mistakes. Offering guidance is the role of the parent.

Teenagers who are actively involved in their school ‘s sport, music, art or skill programs tend to have a drive to want to stay and succeed in school. ‘Students discover their own rewards by mastering new challenges and making unique contributions in a significant and meaningful context.’[iii]

“Your teachers said to let you become more involved in clubs at school and I did. For what purpose? Where are you coming from? You are not going to one more club meeting!” Vicki shouts.

This is the second weekend Stacy has come home late in the night. She allowed Stacy to join clubs and school and she suspected that Stacy was spending time doing everything else but club activities.

Like Vicki, it is easy to get despondent when your child is wayward but remember that students come to school to learn, as well as to socialize and build relationships with their peers. If their boyfriend or girlfriend is threatening to breakup with them, they will skip school and head across town to mend their relationships –they are mini us. Making them out to be worthless and unambitious is negative behavior fuelled by our own fears. When they become actively involved in school, they do not become derailed when those relationships unravel because they are better able to handle disappointments having other good experiences happening for them.

Exposing teenagers to the various income earning acts that school prepares them for can encourage their drive for a profession. Taking them to the hospital to see nurses and doctors at work, or a carpenter’s shop to see a chair assembled can have a lasting impression on teenagers. When they are little children we dress them up in professional costumes to stimulate their desire for a profession. A physical effort to regenerate their interest at the teenage stage is also needed. Become positively interested in who your child is and help steer them to success. Arranging visitations to university and college fairs can also make the stress of higher education just another stage in the adventure of education. Do not become despondent when he or she showed no interest and was only looking at the smart phone or tablet.

Treat teenagers as little people. It is impossible to force their wills. Trying to do so is like two bulls colliding. The parent at this stage of the young adult’s development still needs to maintain a friendship with the child. As thinking beings, teens must be spurred to challenge themselves because they are the only ones who can stop their own regression or propel themselves forward. They are ripening fruits. Parents must therefore remember they are teaching their teens to master life, not to sheepishly follow into the footsteps they wish them to take. Love and respect your teenagers, get involved in their lives and teach them that there is more to life than socializing and following what they see on TV; so set a good example.

In 2005, the Parent Institute published a parent guide called ‘Seven Proven Ways To Motivate Children To Do Better In School’. They were to set proper expectations, help your child set goals, show your child that you think school is important, support your child’s learning style, speaking encouragingly to your child, reinforcing learning at home and in the community and encouraging your child to be resilient. All of which are necessary for a non-performing student to become motivated to succeed and stay in school.

The principal thing is to be supportive of your child. This means offering your child encouragement and applaud their efforts of improvement, no matter how small the growth is. To reinforce the educational values you need to establish them by spending time with your children to understand their needs them and to ensure that they get all they need to succeed. Nothing is easy with a problematic teenager but reinforcing values and encouragement go a long way.

[i] Williams, Kaylene C & Williams, Caroline C. Five key ingredients for improving student motivation. California State University, Stanislaus & University of Wisconsin, Madison.

[ii] Williams, Kaylene C & Williams, Caroline C. Five key ingredients for improving student motivation. California State University, Stanislaus & University of Wisconsin, Madison.

[iii] Williams, Kaylene C & Williams, Caroline C. Five key ingredients for improving student motivation. California State University, Stanislaus & University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Saving the Natural Smile

“My head. Oooh!”

“Where did you say was hurting you?”

“My teeth! Oohh!”

Has this ever happened to you –your tooth feels as if it is killing you and your entire head is engulfed with pain but nobody understands a word of what you are wailing?

For those with toothaches, or gumboils and those who are constantly extracting or filling holes in their teeth, have no fear there are dental specialists who may be able to remove that infectious problem without removing the beloved tooth. There are also lifestyle changes that can be made to our diets to save our natural and beautiful smile.

Whether the pain and discomfort occurred because a previous root canal left bacteria, which keeps spreading, or because a faulty crown or a missing filling exposed a nerve in the pulp to bacteria, or the pain is because of some new infection to the mouth; these are minor problems that an endodontist can alleviate and that can be corrected by proper nutrition.

Visits to the endodontist can save the tooth –where possible- by removing the infected pulp in a popular procedure called an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy will not allow you to call in sick from work. After surgery clients are able to resume their regular routine the following day.


Endodontists are specialists with two or more years of additional dental study, who can perform up to twenty-five root canals a week, while the regular dentist in America is restricted to two root canals per week. The endodontist is equipped to properly examine by x-ray, the pulps and cavities of the mouth but root canals and apicoectomy should not be the reason we run off to the endodontist or dentist, proper mouth care is.

By the time we are ten, we understand that if we eat excessive amounts of candy we will rot our tooth and the dentist will have to extract it; but, in our teenage years we graduate from sweeties to biscuits, cheese tricks, donuts, sodas and fries and continue the practice through most of our adult years. Some of us shy away from that kind of food, which we call junk and stick to a properly cooked meal to save ourselves trips to the dentist, not understanding that food processing includes heated and frozen foods and that all changes to raw foods hasten the decay of our teeth.

If you have no intention of replacing your natural smile with artificial tooth and fillings then a lifestyle change is what is needed in your diet. Fred D. Miller, D.D.S in his book ‘Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition’ says that during his forty years of dental practice the patients he treated regularly stopped losing their teeth because he advocated education and taught them the effect of different foods on the teeth, what types of foods should be eaten and when they should be eaten.

The mouth, Dr. Miller says, is the barometer of health -’you cannot scale and clean teeth without seeing systemic degenerative diseases of the body at work unless you are blind. Spongy bleeding gum and loose teeth are oral manifestations of multiple deficiencies, a part of the syndrome of degeneration.’[i] Dr. Miller also quotes Dr. Pickerill, a New Zealand dentist who had studied fifteen hundred school children as saying the “fruit has been shown to be one of the best detergents and excitants of the solvent and neutralizing power of the saliva.” As such Dr. Miller recommends that fruits, as the detergents that cleanse our mouths, should be eaten after meals. If you have eaten a piece of garlic and need that odor gone? Try squeezing a lime into a half a glass of water a drinking it and see the disinnfecting power of fruits go to work. That smell will be gone.

Carbohydrates are fermentable foods that rot the teeth and most of what the majority of persons consume is processed foods that are mainly simple carbohydrates and simple sugar. Processed foods include snacks and juices from the supermarket, food cooked over a stove or frozen in a fridge that are denatured to a state where it loses its enzymes and micronutrients. The recommendation is that ‘in between meals, snacks –which are fermentable foods- should be followed by a detergent food unless there is opportunity for brushing the teeth and cleansing the mouth after eating.’[ii] It is imperative we remember our detergent foods are our fruits.

Eat more natural foods and fewer commercially processed foods. Begin to include plenty of fruits and leafy greens with other mineral bearing vegetables. If you eat meats, eat modest quantities. Have milk and eggs if you are not vegan. Follow all meals with a detergent food (fruit) last. This is nothing we have not heard but failed to implement and as a result tooth decay is now a major health problem. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH in his article The Prophylactic Extraction of Third Molars: A Public Health Hazard states that ‘Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion’. Do not fall in the numbers. Let us begin to preserve our beautiful and natural smile by eating right

[i] Miller, Fred D., D.D.S. (1978). Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition. New York, NY: Arco Publishing Company, Inc.

[ii] Miller, Fred D., D.D.S. (1978). Healthy Teeth Through Proper Nutrition. New York, NY: Arco Publishing Company, Inc.

The Impact of Technology on Education

The Impact of Technology on Education


A plethora of knowledge is now at the press of a button and the slide of the screen with these smartphones, tablets and laptops -just as science fiction movies had us daydreaming when we had the imaginations of children. We are more like The Jetsons but far from Star Trek capabilities of being beamed in a flash of light into outer space. We exist where learning occurs in the palms of the hand on smartphones, rather than in the roofed dens of lecture halls and classrooms where lecturers, tutors and teachers taught oversubscribed classes. We are at virtual libraries and virtual schools because the technology available to us has liberated the learning space.

With the wide array of easily accessible information on the Internet, the cable and the local networks, students are now under much more compulsion to assess the soundness of information before passing on information as knowledge. The over flux of information from the one billion users of the Internet has learners free to dispel with conventional knowledge for alternate knowledge –like naturopathy’s challenge of pharmacology- where people are beginning to experiment with leaves and assessing pills, testing both alternate and conventional knowledge to see which has sound wisdom.

Human beings have been building upon the centuries of knowledge passed down to each generation by the creation of better and better technology -the Internet is no different. This piece of technology has impacted on education to liberalize knowledge. Now at the touch of a button, press of a key or swipe of the screen, someone in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Australia, or from just about any part of Earth can learn to do just about anything on a smartphone, laptop or tablet. There are do-it-yourself articles and videos that can be found all over the Internet. It is possible to learn to identify the nucleus of a cell or learn to knit because there are thousands of sites online and thousands of online tertiary campuses teaching people whatever is of interest to them.

The sea of knowledge on the Internet has left many confused about what things are factual. This mass use of technology has not ensured that works like Einstein’s theory of relativity, which is freely and easily accessible on sites like Gutenberg are ever seen by students. Very few students studying the theory actually read what its inventor had to say and are not truly able to understand nor critique what knowledge has been passed by Albert Einstein to our generations to come. They read critiques on the great thinkers, assume the source knowledge would be too complex for them to grasp and never take the time to leaf through the source works of Rene Descartes or Marcus Garvey. This is the same across all disciplines and knowledge becomes lost in plain sight.

The sourcing of material is a big problem for students because of the impact of technology. Students watch on the nightly news hurriedly investigated political and social matters believing the broadcast to be factual and when thoroughly investigated the half-truths turn out to be lies.

Lecturers and postgraduate markers complain that students are sourcing tertiary sources as primary sources –in other words they have mistaken the print in newspapers for that in encyclopedias. Not every article found on the Internet is a primary source to be counted as knowledge that educational disciplines are built on. An article on the benefits of molasses in treating iron deficiency anemia can either fit into an article on naturopathy or a medical journal, or both, depending on how the article is written and the authority of its sources.

Our societies have become so advanced that students are now carrying the world’s libraries in the palms of their hands because of technology. Technology has changed access to information by the interconnection of our computer networks on devices such as laptops, tablets and smart phones. Some students are propelling themselves forward because of the access to technological but some students are still too busy with the entertainment value of technology to grasp technology’s educational uses. Technology is everything. Movies and music videos have stolen the interest of teenagers by advances technology has made in cinematography Commercialization has capitalized on teenagers fascination with the television and use educational gimmickry to culture a love for the products. Technology has significantly impacted how and why we educate ourselves.

In a research conducted by Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles, the authors -Malgorzata S. Zywno
and Judith K. Waalen- in their article, ‘The Effect of Individual Learning Styles on Student Outcomes in Technology-enabled Education’, noted that technologically assisted students with particular learning styles more than the conventional learning. The research showed that ‘[t]he largest increases in achievement were found among students with active, sensing and global learning preferences.’ Diifferent personalities and learning styles have been able to benefit from the various education techniques afforded by technology. Some persons are more auditory than visual, some need repetition for learning, some need interactive learning, et cetera, and with auditory, visual devices at their fingertips, students can choose the learning styles that suit them best.

Even toys are designed to mimic technology to teach children about life. A parent buys a toy phone or drone for their child to spur the child’s curiosity. That interest grows with the child, who in the possible future grows to love gadgets or to design a plane.

In the article ‘Changing Instructional Practice: The Impact of Technology Integration on Students, Parents, and School Personnel’ by Jennifer A. Alexiou-Ray, Elizabeth Wilson, Vivian H. Wright & Ann-Marie Peirano
from the University of Alabama, the research conducted showed that 92% of students reported a positive impact in technology making the learning experience more fun and interesting.

Technology has immensely impacted on distance learning and now thousands of schools are now accessible from the comfort of the bedroom or office boardroom because distance learning is self motivated and designed around the student’s schedule. Forbes reported that e-learning was projected to earn U.S. $107 billion in 2015.

Publishing houses have also caught up to technology and have reduced the number of printed books to accommodate the growing electronic books now accessible on hand held devices. The New York Times reported that ‘e-book sales soared, up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010’.

Technology is impacting education in a huge way. Never before have we had such access to knowledge.




Studying Made Easy

Studying From Your Own Notes


The number one rule to studying is to always relax. If the subject is approached with undue pressure, it is like short-circuiting the brain –very little knowledge will be absorbed for the test.

Notes made in class or during self-revision are the first things to be revised before a test. These notes briefly sum up what the teacher took an entire session to cover. If the notes are incomplete, a quick look through the textbooks will allow for jotting in missing information. The new notes will also provide for additional studying, as well as self-assessment to determine preparedness for the exam. Relax.

Jot down questions and self assess yourself on every topic. Answering questions allows for any information not covered in self-notes to be jotted in. By constantly rewriting self-notes the reviser becomes abreast of the topic and will fully understand what is required to cover the topic being tested.

Revise with other persons only when you have grasped the study material. Going unprepared to a study group will cause a panic because everybody else will seem more knowledgeable than you.

Proteins For Vegans

Everybody must retain protein in her and his diet to keep the body fit and spruced. The tendency of some persons when they remove meat proteins from their diets is to consume lots of fruits and vegetables and stick mainly to complex root starches such as sweet potatoes and yams –all of which are healthy choices- but no meal is complete without proteins. Every cell in the human body contains chains of protein. Everything we do –even a basic smile- involves muscular activities that require protein. Despite our body’s inability to do without protein, the body does not store protein.

The cells in the human body use the protein eaten on a daily basis to maintain the repair and functioning of the muscles like the fuel that keeps our engines revving. What protein we do not use, we excrete as waste or convert to sugars and fat. If the body is malnourished of proteins, its muscle mass will waste away and the skin will become thin and flaccid. This condition of the muscles is generally due to a lack of exercise and insufficient protein in the diet. Vegans have to be careful of robbing their bodies of its necessary proteins by sticking to a carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables rich diet that lacks protein.

From a handful of nuts a vegan can get the equivalent protein found in a serving of meat. Nuts in their natural state are rich in protein, fatty acids, fiber and Omega 3. According to The Peanut Institute in the United States of America ‘large population studies show that when eaten daily in small amounts, peanuts reduce the risk of many chronic diseases (Sabate, 2006; 2009).’

Unless the intention is to gain weight, do not rapidly consume a jar of peanut butter. Doing so will make a vegan gain seven pounds of muscle mass in one week. The good thing about this weight gain is that it is mainly the muscular body and not the stores of healthy fat deposit in the skin that gets built up.

It is important to eat a variety of proteins. Protein makes up our skin, the muscles in the eyes, the hair, the nails , the blood –every single cell in our body has protein. Proteins are found in peas, beans and nuts. Like fruits and vegetables, eating cashew only will not give us the proteins and other nutrients found in peanuts, coconuts, walnuts, cocoa, coffee, lima beans or red pigeon peas. Cocoa, for example, produces chocolate and when eaten in the raw state within minutes will make the body become warm because it is rich in iron and good cholesterol both of which fuel the body.

The juice from the coconut can replace almost all the nutrients needed by the blood and is recommended by doctors worldwide as dehydration fluids to nourish the body after vomiting and diarrhea. Coconut water was used intravenously by soldiers in the Vietnam War, as a replacement for the blood lost from wounds on the battlefield. In Jamaica, the juice is said to be the only fluid that washes the heart and the meat of the young coconut –the sperm like fluid that germinates the nut is good to improve male virility. These are just some of the benefits that can be gained from consuming a variety of nuts.

Some healthy protein sources for vegan include non-GMO soybeans, wheat berries, coconuts, cocoa nuts, coffee beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, cashews, peanuts, walnuts and almonds, pigeon peas, gungo peas and black-eye peas.

Boiling and blending the soybeans with the wheat berries as a drink can create a very special treat. For flavor add vanilla, almonds and peanuts with two spoons of cane sugar in a glass or drink it warm in a mug like porridge. This is a treat you will not cloy of. It is a protein rich shake containing all the fibers and protein the body needs for the day. It will build the muscle mass in no time.