Roles and Responsibilities in the Educational Environment

With the advent of more and more student-centered learning approaches and other new methods to increase active involvement of learners in their own learning process, the traditional roles and responsibilities of both teacher and learner have changed in several ways. However, in one area, they remain the same.

In a traditional educational model roles and responsibilities are clear and well-defined. Teachers are responsible for effective delivery of content as well as assessing learning achievement. They are the knowledge experts and their primary role is to impart that knowledge to their learners in effective ways.

Learners are responsible for attending class and completing reading and other assignments as proscribed*by the teacher. Although their first role in the process is as passive listener, listening requires paying attention during class. Outside the class, their role becomes more active, requiring reading and completion of assignments selected by the teacher.

Some traditional teachers felt their responsibility began and ended with quality presentation of content and later assessment through examination. The responsibility for paying attention and studying was left up to the learner. In some university and post graduate environments, class attendance is left up to the student.

Today we look for active student involvement in the learning process, but what does that mean? Are all learners capable of making decisions on their own with little or no input from the teacher? Do they know enough to select their own class projects and assignments?

Some critics see student-learning environments that allow unabridged freedom of choice as an abdication of the teacher's most important responsibility - to ensure learning is taking place. Indeed, some go so far as to say some contemporary attempts at active involvement are little more than anarchy, allowing the "inmates to run the asylum."

Even under traditional approaches, good teachers often refused to accept without question the actions of students who showed no interest in learning. So it should be with today's educational approaches, be they discovery learning, student-centered learning, or any other active involvement technique.

When John Dewey's progressive education led to some classrooms allowing total student freedom, Dewey himself cautioned the teacher was still ultimately responsible to ensure learning took place. He saw the teacher's role as that of coach and facilitator who still maintained the ultimate responsibility for ensuring an effective educational environment.

In today's language, one might say the teacher is still "the adult in the room", in that he or she knows what needs to happen for learning to take place. Some teachers approach the challenge of achieving appropriate student involvement as something of a contract negotiation.

At the first learning session, focus is on what the teacher will bring to the process and what the learners are expected to do. A good teacher allows sufficient time to ensure expectations and standards are discussed and understood by all. In addition, good teachers are willing to modify expectations if necessary and to accept student input.

However, once the expectations for teacher and learner roles and responsibilities are set, it is the teacher's job to see that they are adhered to.

Best Universities in Australia

Studying in a reputable university makes a big difference in your future employment. Conversely, choosing the wrong school can even spoil your career path. Since your future is at stake, the importance of choosing a top school becomes significant. If you are interested in pursuing college education in Australia, this article will help you ponder the right college for you.

Australian National University

ANU is a public teaching and research college that is situated in Canberra, Australia. It offers a wide range of programs in seven colleges that include Arts and Social Sciences, Asia and the Pacific, Business and Economics, Engineering and Computer Science, Law, Medicine, Biology and Environment, and Physical and

Mathematical Sciences.

University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne is a public college situated in Melbourne, Victoria. Boosting their excellence in biological and health sciences, UOM consistently ranks among the top universities in Australia as well as worldwide.

University of Queensland

Also known as UQ, the University of Queensland is a public college located in Brisbane, Australia. UQ's strength in research helps them become one of the premier learning and research institutions worldwide.

University of New South Wales

UNSW is a research focused college in NSW, Australia. It boasts recognitions in their Computer Science, Engineering, Math, and Psychology courses. This is why employers give high regard for university graduates.

University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is a public learning institution situated in Sydney, NSW. It offers a wide range of dynamic courses which relatively offer bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees. The University of Sydney upholds to be a student-centered learning and teaching environment.

University of Western Australia

UWA has successfully helped shape the careers of over 100,000 graduates. It is the oldest one in the state of Western Australia, holding quality education since 1911. The institution has been recognized internationally as an excellent research-intensive college.

University of Adelaide

Established in 1874, the University of Adelaide is the third oldest one in Australia. Adelaide has major strengths in wine and food, health sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, information technology and telecommunications, environmental sciences and social sciences.

Monash University

This belongs to Australia's top educational institutions, providing high standards for research, teaching and scholarship. Monash offers courses in arts, commerce, engineering, education, law, medicine and science.

Macquarie University

Recognized for its innovative curriculum and excellent teaching and research, it continues to rise up to the international university rankings. The institution constantly produces outstanding graduates to earn high salaries for employment.

Queensland University of Technology

Located in Brisbane, QUT gives emphasis in courses and research development that include Built Environment and Engineering, Business, Creative Industries, Education, Health, Law and Justice, and

Science and Technology.

People are still fascinated to judge your potentials based on the school you attended in college. This is why choosing the right university must be taken seriously. With so many reputable schools in Australia, you have to adopt a meticulous approach before deciding on which university you wish to enroll.

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Learn Spanish Interactively Through the Internet

While there are other options available for the Spanish language enthusiast, if you want to learn Spanish interactively, the best way to start is through the internet. The internet is no longer just a place where people post texts and a few pictures. Most web designs today are marvels of interactivity, and this same ingenuity is applied in online education. Today, millions of people from all demographic categories are flooding the internet to avail of the easy knowledge that comes with it. You can too, and use it to learn one of the most relevant languages of today.

The Usual Choice

If you are like older people, you may think that the classroom already has it all. A certain level of individualized instruction through lhmited classroom size and a dedicated teacher, as well as the venue for using many types of learning aids, from the visual sort to those that appeal to people who learn best through auditory means. But just when you think that the classroom is the best way to learn Spanish interactively, here are surprising changes for you.

Evolutions in Learning

Studies show that the effectiveness of classroom setting learning is slowly diminishing. Browse through any child-rearing magazine from now till the last five or so years and one of the common themes you will encounter is the changing attention spans of most young children, and the growing disparity between the means to knowledge acquisition and information assimilation between the present generation and those from the past. For the average child, the textbook his or her parents used to learn Spanish is simply much too long and much too cumbersome. If you are a child of this generation, there is an effective way to learn Spanish interactively.

Technical Considerations

One of the main benefits of online learning begins with the technical ease which accompanies electronic courses. Without the need for much of a physical set-up, most courses are either accessed directly through a web browser on your computer, or through internet-connected programs downloadable from the service provider's website. Updates in all modules can be received in a few seconds, and even billing options are more accessible. Accessibility is also one of the benefits in which an online approach to learning the Spanish language is unparalleled. But, the benefits extend much further.

Socially Improved Learning

One of the most important discoveries in education today is the collective realization of the academe of the importance of student-centered learning through group interaction. Most progressive educational systems today know that learning and schooling is a two way process of which the teacher is not the sole giver, and the students are not immobile receivers of information. This is one of the best advantages of learning the Spanish language through the internet. Add to this the many visual and audio feeds added in most courses, and you have a classroom minus all the hassle of the concrete and all too tangible.

So, if you're thinking of ways to learn Spanish interactively, go online now.

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Details of E-learning Solutions and Learning Management Systems

E-learning solutions have emerged as the most reliable way of propagating content for educating a group of distantly located learners. This solution can be used for teaching the same course material to infinite number of learners via the Internet, corporate or college intranet and CD ROMs or DVDs. E-learning services are divided into two major categories, namely asynchronous learning and synchronous learning. While the former is a self paced learning programme, wherein the students themselves go through the content, the other is a group learning programme, which involves being taught the same material alongside others in a collaborative manner.

Asynchronous learning is further bifurcated into Self Paced Courses and Discussion Boards. A self paced course is a convenient mode of learning, as the learner can choose the time and place to go through the content. In this category of e-learning solutions, students choose the modules that will equip them with the skills needed to carry out a task optimally in the least amount of time. Developed using e-learning authoring tools, a self paced course has features like multimedia, interactivity, bookmarking and tracking.

Self paced learning uses a combination of text, graphics, animation, audio and video to create captivating content for the learners. On the other hand, bookmarking allows users to mark the point where they conclude the lesson for the day and start from the same point next time. Other features of self paced learning include simulation, online assistance, multiple bookmarking, searches, and notes and highlights. On the other hand, a discussion group, the other type of asynchronous learning, is centred on discussion forums, bulletin boards and message boards for interactive learning among students enrolled in the course.

Synchronous e-learning services involve multiple channels of disseminating content, such as a virtual classroom, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, shared whiteboards and applications and chats. Each mode of communication and learning is vastly different from the other, yet ensures that learners grasp the concept being taught optimally and learn to apply it in real-world setting conveniently.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is crucial for enrolling learners in the course, allocating the content to them and evaluating them upon completion of any module. These can also be used for preparing reports that clearly state the progress of the students or a team. The training management component of the product involves scheduling a virtual class, developing blended learning content, defining requirements from the programme and authoring. Likewise, the employee management part of a LMS takes care of skill evaluation, division of training modules on basis of skills, performance reviews, hiring and succession management.

Gireesh Sharma is a journalist an author specializing in topics related to E-learning services, Learning Management System and e-learning solutions.

Life Centered Career Education

Life centered career education address the needs of students with learning disabilities, students with mild mental disabilities and students at risk. The curriculum includes various training programs that provide education and training to develop skills useful to this challenged segment of society. These programs teach students to function independently and productively as family members and citizens. The process of learning incorporates training in liaison with family members or available friends.

The first step in the training process is to assess individuals and determine whether such training would be beneficial to them. For this purpose, there are various verbal and non-verbal tests.

On the basis of these assessments and certain observations, a student is accepted in the correct type of training program. The present level of competencies is determined and an individual educational program (IEP) is prepared with a set of objectives. This plan is a program of education for the particular student. Systematic instructional content is prepared and elaborated into a curriculum in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Life centered career education allows society to address the needs of the physically or mentally challenged segment of population. The main components of this training are daily living skills, personal-social skills, occupational guidance and preparation.

The curriculum focuses on reaching the goals with a lot of flexibility provided to the trainer and the student.

Daily living skills segments teach students to manage day-to-day tasks such as personal activities, food preparation, household management and personal finance management. ""Personal social skills"" segments focus on relations with other people. These enhance the self-confidence of the student and hence improve his decision-making skills. Lastly, a very important part of the training is to find a suitable job for the candidates. Life centered career education addresses this concern by training students and providing occupational guidance according to the specific competency skills.

Assessment is a very important part of life centered career education. It includes various assessment devices along with the requirements for testing. Overall, life centered career education opens up opportunities for growth and personal satisfaction to the people who participate in these programs.

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Get to Know IIPM Mumbai

The Indian Institute of Planning and Management was founded in 1973. Its curriculum focuses on national economic planning and management process control techniques. Dr. Chaudhuri took the position as Research professor and founder Director in 1973 he has also been the founder director of management courses at IMT Ghaziabad. The first full time, residential Post Graduate diploma program was started on August 12th 1974.

There are 250 permanent faculty members as well as 200 visiting faculty. These are spread through the seven branches. The faculty also teaches abroad regularly and in so doing, along with workshops with faculty from Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and other leading business schools, they expand their knowledge and perspective constantly.

The institute and faculty has gathered a large knowledge and learning base. There has also been growth in the activities area. Students visit organizations such as the United Nations in Geneva, ILO, Credit Suisse and World Bank. They have maintained the core management education area. The educational procedures are now directed to education and rural development programs and research, public relations and human resources training.

The academic campuses are based in New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. All of the campuses are focused on several academic programs. The full time program in National Economic Planning and Entrepreneurship is a two year full time Master's residential program leading to an MBA degree from the International Management Institute in Belgium. Students can transfer their credits to IMI Belgium. Integrated Programme in National Economic Planning and Entrepreneurship is a Bachelor's program, a three year full time residential leading to a BBA degree from the International Management Institute in Belgium.

The European Exchange Program is a great learning experience. All students who have completed the first year program are eligible to go to the International Management Institute in Belgium. They would be able to intermingle with international faculty and students. The IMI faculty encompasses American, Asian and European professors and students from around the world. The student will go on tours, academic and corporate, to Brussels, Paris and Bruges allowing them to have a true insight into global organizations.

The campuses are housed in modern buildings. The libraries are on their won floors and used quite frequently. They are internationally supported and are considered to have one of the most complete library supports. There is Wi-Fi and intranet available. The libraries have computerized indexes to ease sorting through the books, magazines, journals etc.

The new Delhi campus is the largest of all business schools. The IIPM Tower in Qutab Institutional Area is in one of the best institutional areas. This area also has campuses of many international organizations such as USAID, DFID and the UN as well as Ernst and Young. The Tower in Bandra is a beautiful work of architecture. Acres of green terrain are home to the New Delhi campus. Interestingly, there is a Scottish flavor here. Castle type architecture and woods abound.

The institute has air-conditioned auditoriums that seat over 1000 and conference rooms available at all times. Add that to computer labs with 24 hour support and grand libraries and it is more than functional. The campuses are truly a study haven.

There is quite an array of sports facilities including cricket, badminton golf, and swimming and of course billiards. Lawn tennis and table tennis are also available. Sports activities are encouraged. Softball, football and chess are always available. The organized sports are inter-class and inter-collage.

There is hostel amenities for students and others visiting from across the world. This is great for group studying and discussion. There is 24 hour faculty if needed. The cafeteria and canteen keep the student and visitor well fed.

The distinguishing character of the institute is in preparing its students to be managers with enquiring minds and effective communication skills. The learning perspective leans toward project-based, learning activities that are long-term, student-centered, interdisciplinary, and integrated with true applications in issues and practices. This gives the student a firsthand knowledge of practical applications as well as the opportunity to work with others from differing backgrounds.

I recommend that you visit IIPM Mumbai or the official website of IIPM Mumbai.

21st Century Skills - Beyond the Buzzwords

Education is a field filled with buzzwords, from RTI to collaborative development to differentiated instruction to student-centered learning and beyond. The latest trend in this time of "change" is 21st century skills.

21st century skills encapsulate all that teachers have been begging for in the post-NCLB era: creativity, problem-solving and learning beyond fact recitation. Like most ed buzz words, this one emanates from a genuine, intelligent approach to preparing kids for their future. This approach would free teachers from the stifling bonds of NCLB and it just makes sense.

After pleas from teachers, Obama has picked up the 21st century skills torch and is blazing it through policy, tackling the easiest aspect first. Technology in the classroom is a commonsense factor to 21st century learning since ours is the internet age. Obama plans to fund computer and broadband access in schools nationwide. But tackling tech is the easy part. Implementing it on a nationwide policy level will be harder than installing computers. How do you give a standardized test on creativity? This murkiness led one Washington Post writer calls 21st century skills "a pipe dream whose literature should be tossed in the trash."

Personally, I'm reminded of an episode from The Office. The inept boss, Michael, asks the receptionist, Pam, to write down "everyone's indefinable qualities. Just write down what people are doing all day in a way that is helpful."

Later on, he asks about their scores from the day.

Pam: "I think they're even. At various times, you gave Jim 10 points, Dwight a gold star and Stanley a thumbs up. I'm don't really know how to compare those units."

Michael: "Check if there's a conversion chart in the notebook."

Turns out, there isn't a conversion chart.

And so goes the problem with generically testing for "the kinds of research, scientific investigation, and problem solving that our children will need to compete in a 21st-century knowledge economy." (Obama)

Regardless of how difficult and complex it will be to make this shift, I agree with policy analyst Elena Silva:

Whether or not the trendy label of "21st-century skills" lasts, says Elena Silva, a senior policy analyst at the Education Sector in Washington, what's important is the evolving research on how people learn. Teachers were long taught to cover content first and wait for children to get older before having them apply it, she says, but now research shows that "people learn best by learning content at the same time they are acquiring [and applying] new skills."

Annie Condron is the Editor in Chief at TeachHUB.com. TeachHUB.com is a new, online resource center designed by teachers, for teachers and is tailored to address the everyday needs of teachers both inside and outside of the classroom. To read more articles from Annie Condron as well as access other teacher recommended education tools, visit http://www.TeachHUB.com.

CBSE

The Central Board of Secondary Education, commonly known as CBSE, is a body that facilitates the education system in India. The board caters to private schools, kendriya vidyalays, government schools, central Tibetan schools, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, and public schools across the country. There are approximately 9000 schools within the jurisdiction of the board. The CBSE headquarters are in Delhi. However, the school has regional offices in its every jurisdiction. The ones that are located outside India are taken care by the Delhi office.

CBSE is a financially independent body that does not receive any grant-in-aid from the Center or the State governments. It meets its expenses from the examination charges and fees taken for different courses as well as from the sale of its publications.

CBSE conducts final examinations for higher secondary and senior secondary every year under the All India Senior School Certificate Examination. The result is the basis for admission in colleges and other institutes. It also conducts the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) for admission in medical colleges in India. It even conducts the prestigious All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) whose scores are used to seek admission in undergraduate courses of engineering and architecture.

CBSE plays a pivotal role in devising rules and strategies for conducting examinations. They work upon the marking strategy, course curriculum, examination schedule, centers for examination, etc. beyond this, they take the visionary role of evolving the education system that brings out the best in every student and helps them take the career of their choice.

The board also takes up the challenging task of promoting vocational education to reduce the rate of unemployment and help students find job-oriented careers. Thex also work hard to introduce innovative teaching methodologies that are student-centered and promote effective learning. India for long was plagued with the prevalence of rote memorization as a learning approach. The board played a prime role in gradually shifting the focus from this passive approach to an interactive learning approach.

Besides students, teachers also need to keep themselves up-to-date with latest trends in the education system. CBSE regularly conducts workshops and guest lecturers for its teachers to help them move ahead on their learning curve and incorporate their learning in their teaching plans.

CBSE falls within the domain of Right to Information. One can file an RTI application on its web portal and gather further assistance on the RTI procedure from the concerned authorities.

Check for more on CBSE.

Ethics in Education - What Role Should Teachers Play

John Dewey, the father of progressive education, promoted the revolutionary notion for his time that formal education should be about more than the acquisition of bodies of content knowledge. He strongly believed education should go beyond the mastery of knowledge and skill to include learning to use classroom content in daily living. Not only that, the practical application should be towards promoting the "greater good."

Buried in his approach was the belief that there are in the world actions that can be deemed to be "good" and some that can be deemed to be "not good." A sense of what is right and what is wrong, or what is fair and what is unfair is the underpinning of ethical or unethical behavior.

Daily living can be thought of as a series of choices made, many involving discriminating between things that might be considered "right" and things that might be considered "wrong." A set of principles allowing one to make these judgments forms the ethical core of the individual. Dewey disciples believed ethical considerations should permeate the classroom.

However, this view was not universally accepted and even today there are educational environments where those in control believe education should be about knowledge acquisition with the ethical considerations of using or abusing knowledge reserved for other venues.

Other environments, particularly those seeking to incorporate student-centered teaching approaches into educational practice, take the opposite view. In either case, teachers can play a role in raising ethical issues with their students.

The most pragmatic role might be to serve as "devil's advocate", constantly introducing alternative choices into class discussion. Posing a contrarian view followed by questioning the class or allowing group discussion on the "rightness" or "wrongness" of both the original assertion and the contrarian point provides students the opportunity to express and test their own ethical positions.

There are some who believe ethical formation stems from religious beliefs. This, however, cannot be; as the world is filled with individuals with no religious affiliation of any kind who still manage to develop a well defined set of ethical principles.

While religion, legal prohibitions, and societal norms might contribute to the ethical development of some, the process that applids to everyone is self-discovery. Think of it as the kind of informal education or learning that has been taking place for centuries. A young child pushes another child in a playground setting, evoking a punch in response. The child begins to learn that pushing is not good. In the future, faced with a similar situation, the child experiments with a different approach.

The teacher as devils advocate is merely presenting students with alternative choices. The cycle needs to be completed with a discussion of the consequences, positive and negative, of each choice.

In theory, there is no reason teachers cannot play a role in influencing the individual ethics of their students. In practice, the question is not whether teachers could play a role, but rather should teachers play a role. Introducing ethical dilemmas is consistent with the requirements of an active learning or student centered learning environment, as long as the dilemmas represent issues relevant to the student.

Today more and more educational environments are moving towards more student involvement and alternative teaching methods where ethical concerns should be a welcome addition. Teachers in settings that still emphasize traditional approaches may face a tough choice.

Lectures in Experience-Based Learning - Will They Go the Way of the Dinosaur?

Lectures have been the "whipping boy" of educational reformers for well over a hundred years. Challenges to the effectiveness of traditional approaches to education begin with castigating the passive nature of the lecture process.

Proponents of discovery learning and experience-based learning and student-centered learning and inquiry communities all point to the picture of students all over the world sleeping peacefully in their seats while the lecturer drones on and on. This, they say, is hard evidence of the need for a different approach.

Granted we now know active participation on the part of the learner makes learning possible. Brain research indicates what educational reformers have believed for decades is true - passive learning is hardly optimal. To many, nothing better epitomizes passive education than the lecture method.

However, is it conceivable for a good teacher to infuse some principles of experience-based learning into a traditional lecture? Here are four ingredients that might make this possible:

• Passion
• Engagement
• Relevance
• Transference

Passionate Presentations

A lecture that appears to be boring to the teacher delivering the message will certainly be boring to the students. Most teachers are passionate about their subject matter. Infusing a lecture presentation with energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Great storytellers throughout history not only have great stories to tell, they tell them in great ways.

Social and Emotional Engagement

Passionate presentations invite emotional engagement from students. If it appears to them you as a teacher care deeply about the content you are presenting you open the door to their interest and engagement. Humor and stories of your own real-life experiences regarding the content of the lecture lay the foundation for two of the most important components of experience-based learning - relevance and transference.

Relevance

It can be difficult for learners of any subject to relate to an idea or a concept in the abstract. However, sharing personal experiences of how the subject matter has been relevant in your own life or in that of some other real person invites consideration of how the content might be relevant in each of your students' lives.

Transference

Although using questioning techniques to open up a dialogue with students is appropriate at many points in an experience-based lecture, tapping into higher-level thinking of creating something new is critical. Invite your students to reflect on how they might make use of what you are teaching in their own daily lives. Nothing stimulates creative thinking like envisioning how abstract ideas or concepts might be put to use in meaningful ways.

Transforming lecture notes from a mode of passive delivery to an active, experience-based delivery is not easy. It requires reflection on your own personal experiences and the experience base of each student in the class. Few humans can resist a good story. Stories are rooted in a multitude of personal experiences. A good story invites listeners to compare and contrast their own experience with that of the characters in the story.

If you are truly interested in infusing experience-based learning into your lectures, start with the mind of a storyteller.