Online Education For Children: Free Versus Paid Membership Sites

Education is gradually tilting today from the classical classroom as we knew it, towards a virtual context thanks to the internet. This trend comes with challenges which raise the following concerns:

1) How well prepared and credible are the contents published by personally owned websites online?

2) How can educators deal with irrelevant and immoral content on learning websites displayed through affiliate marketing and advertising networks; that tend to sway away users from their initial track?

3) Are paid membership sites a better option for educators who need to be sure of the quality of material they use and children who need to be protected against viewing obscene content?

Generally, most people feel that free things are expensive in the end on the one hand and other hand people fear falling victim to internet scams under cover of paid membership websites which end up still being poor in content. Some even end up being completely void of content. It is therefore up to educators to carefully examine and select the content they intend to use, be they on free or paid membership sites.This is not in a bid to discredit material coming from such free websites but it is more of a hinting note for those regularly using them. It is also a hint for parents and home-school tutors who let their kids wonder into dark corners of the internet without guidance. It is very obvious that children will be carried away by flashy adverts displayed through advertising affiliate programs and published through some of such sites; and these most often interfere with the site content. This can be detrimental especially to children who are left on their own to study, play games online or to search for educational materials.

Webmasters who create learning material for children are gradually becoming aware of the implication poorly presented or obscene content could have on their reputation and website ranking online. But with the dilemma of relying on advertising through their websites as the only source of income, it is hard for them to fully control user behavior on their sites. This continues to resonate the fact that paid membership sites remain a better option for children who undertake self-study on the web. They are also better for teachers of pupils who may not have time to cross check the quality of their materials before use. Their advantage lies in the fact that users have the possibility of contacting webmasters and laying complaints in case they find difficulties using site contents appropriately. The decision about using free or paid learning materials online for kids can be made more beneficial by instructors if prior assessments are always done.

The Importance of Religious Education

Religious education deals with informing all aspects about a particular religion. It is also referred to as religious instructions and as part of this instruction, various aspects such as customs, rites, rituals, doctrines and beliefs are discussed. It is considered different from normal academic education.

It is often debated if religious educations should be conducted in schools. However, there is growing opposition to this because it goes against secular beliefs and also because children who d not belong to that religion will feel pressurized at being taught something that they do not generally practice. On the other hand, those who support religious education in school feel that it will only encourage children to be more responsible as adults and also behave more soundly. For example, it has been noted that, this education in British Schools has brought about an exposure to not just the Christian religion but also other faiths in the world and this in turn has enhanced the child view of the world and also their interests in religious pursuits and religious understandings.

Being a religious educator is an interesting career option and it is the best choice for someone who wants to pursue a career in this field. Teaching in the subject can be handled in an in-depth fashion and various religious beliefs can be explored such as birth life and death, in detail, with information provided on general beliefs and practices that need to be followed. This education can be done in a public schools and it ca also be done in private schools and in elementary schools.

It is an important facet of a person’s life and it is vital that it is undertaken at the right age, so that the value of religious beliefs, customs and traditions are imbed early on and are consequently followed in later years of a person’s life.

Educators – Dealing With a Toxic Environment

“Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

In the unfortunate instance where you have found yourself working in a toxic environment, the negative ramifications are countless. You have some choices about what you can do…and not a single one of them is easy to do….However, neither is it easy (nor healthy) to try to work day in and day out in an environment that is eating you up. The ideas in this article are not listed in any particular order. Since you are a teacher, I will assume you are smart and can figure out which one you haven’t tried yet–and try that one.

  1. Get out. Leave. Find a different school or a different school district where you can work. This is ALWAYS an option. It may not be the easiest option, but unless you spend your days in prison (as a prisoner, that is), you can leave. You could also leave education altogether, but that is a tragedy if you choose that option because toxic colleagues drove you out.
  2. If you CHOOSE to stay, consider every way possible to alert management (short of tattling) about the problems that exist. If the administration is the problem (and I know this is often the case) then you may have to go higher. It depends on how bad you consider the situation to be.
  3. One of my favorite quotes (and the basis for a workshop I do entitled “Conciliating the Tiger: Do You Have a Choice)?” is this one by Konrad Adenauer: “An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.” Buy and read the book, The No-Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workpace and Surviving One that Isn’t, by Robert I. Sutton. It’s fabulous!
  4. Identify the source of the toxicity. Is it a person with whom you work? Is it the language that is used at school? Is it the politics, back-biting, or gossiping? Is it parents who berate teachers and no one does anything about it? I don’t know what it is for you, but if you’ve identified your place of work as a toxic environment, you first need to figure out what the source is.
  5. Once you identify the source of the toxicity, determine if you can have any effect on eliminating that toxin. For example, if the people around you constantly tell racist jokes or make unconscionable statements, is there a way to get them to stop or will it take something from a legal standpoint to eliminate the toxic situation?
  6. If the toxin can/should be removed, take steps to make that happen. If you know it can be, then take action. It’s scary and uncomfortable, but I go back to my original statement–it’s unbearable to spend 8 – 10 hours each day in a setting that you find unbearable. Do something about it. It’s not just affecting you, it’s affecting other adults–and it’s having a negative impact on the children or teenagers at your school.
  7. Draw attention, in a professional and assertive manner, to what is happening–to you and to others in the school. The cost of losing great employees is usually (although not always) of concern for a principal, superintendent, parents, school board members, and others with a vested interest in the success of an organization. Think through carefully what you want to say to someone in this role and then bravely present your thoughts.
  8. Buy and read the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. There is no better book anywhere to help you think through how to have honest, direct, meaningful conversations–as well as to consider the cost when you don’t. It’s in paperback and is a bargain.
  9. Boldly deal with the toxic situation head on. A bad day or week at work is not a toxic situation. It’s a bad day or week. Something doesn’t become identified as toxic until it has been continuing for weeks, months….years. When it’s taking a toll on your health, productivity, relationships outside of work, and so forth, then you need to do something about it.
  10. Here’s a question: Are you adding to the toxic environment? If so, take immediate measures to communicate more professionally on the job. Most of us can look at ourselves and realize that we have a few areas of our lives where we can improve, too. Just check it out with yourself and see if, by any chance, you are contributing to–or exacerbating–the toxic situation.

Note: For the purposes of this article, I am referring to a psychologically toxic environment vs. a physically toxic one, i.e., one filled with hazardous chemicals and the like. If you are in that type of environment, you need to be calling OSHA or some other agency.

I hope these ideas help you if you’re in this situation. I’ve been there…and I needed a kick in the ____ to get moving on making changes. If you, thankfully, aren’t in this situation, but have a friend or colleague who is, send this article along to that person.

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