Euler was a prolific mathematician and was said to have “wrote mathematics as effortlessly as most men breathe.”
He was born in Basel, Switzerland and was the son of a Protestant minister who had himself studied Mathematics.
In this blog article, I thought it may be interesting to take a look at the educational systems and ethos of primary and secondary schools in Japan and the Netherlands. It is important to note that both countries are listed in the world’s most educated nations. I hope this article will inspire and educate. I aim to give an insight into how other countries teach their younger generations and ultimately shape them into better people for the good of the future. Perhaps we can all learn from these nations and reflect and seek to improve ourselves. Some points mentioned in this article must be remembered in our everyday lives and may not be reserved just for the classroom.
The Japanese schooling system is quite similar to what we have here in England. There are public and private schools available and public school is compulsory. Pupils attend elementary school or shōgakkō, which is designed to develop the pupils’ minds, bodies and personalities.
Hippocrates is commonly known as the The Father of Modern Medicine and he lived in 460-730 BC on the Greek island of Cos. He pioneered the medical practice and ethical ethos that modern medical practitioners and doctors adhere to. Even now, medical doctors take the Hippocratic oath upon qualifying.
However, Hippocrates together with other classical Greeks, also pioneered the Scientific method as he believed that all causes of disease and phenomena have natural rather than supernatural causes and he advised that we should be careful with our observations before making any rash conclusions. In other words, Hippocrates echoed Thales’ (Greek scientist/mathematician, 624/623 –548/545 BC) belief that it isn’t what one knows, but how one knows!
If you ask neighbouring businesses and residents around the area, chances are they will bring up a good knowledge of the Academy building and its history. Dr Sergis and I were keen to find out more information ourselves, and so on one rainy afternoon, I decided to embark on a bit of research.
I visited the Dugdale Centre in Enfield and made my way up to the top floor, which houses the Enfield Archives. These archives are free to use. A kind, bespectacled man asked me what he could help me with and after telling him, he began to pull out boxes and boxes of photographic records and books and of course, maps. With historical research, particularly of this nature, it is important to work backwards. Map records show there was no building before 1850. There were plenty of open spaces and green areas back then.
The following are the most important things to look for when trying to find a tutor for your child.
Qualifications: A person with a degree will have specialist knowledge in the area that they claim to teach.
Patience: Teaching requires an abundance of patience and dedication to students. A good tutor will gladly encourage his or her students and praise them for their efforts.
Personality: A good tutor should always inspire his or her students, have a positive attitude and always be approachable.
Flexibility: A tutor should alter their methods or style of teaching according to the student’s own pace and learning requirements.
Proximity: It would be ideal if the tutor lives or works near you as this would ensure he or she will show up promptly for sessions.
Feedback: A good tutor should always be prepared to give regular feedback to the parents on the progress of students.
Creativity: It’s essential that the tutor motivates students and encourages their creative talent in order for them to achieve their best in exams.
Affordability: Tutors will charge anywhere between £15 to more than £80 per hour. The more specialist the tutor, the higher the price. It’s best to visit the tutor and ask what he or she is offering and to find out their style/methods of teaching. Cheaper prices don’t necessarily mean good quality teaching.
Mental Health at School- can we be doing more?
We all have experienced periods of stress at school and have all got our own ways of dealing with it. It should never stop us from trying to achieve our goals and actually enjoy our school life. So, are schools really beginning to take note of this? I have recently come across some intriguing articles that have got me thinking.
One teacher based in America created a wonderfully colourful ‘check in’ chart for her students. Each section of the chart has various phrases from ‘I’m great’ to ‘I’m not doing great’ and students are to place a post-it note in the area they associate with at the time. She uses this as a weekly check in on her students every Monday and has a chat about their past week. I thought this was a wonderful idea from this truly forward-thinking teacher. So why can’t we take note of our American brothers and sisters? I have adopted a similar (but not as wonderful) chart at the Academy. I then realised that students are often reluctant to talk about their feelings, but I want to try and change this. I have placed the chart in my office as I understand that it’s best to give some privacy to students who wish to talk about their day. I’m hoping that once they have spoken to someone about their issues or worries, they’ll feel confident enough to settle down to some learning. I am really hoping to incorporate this in the new academic term.
Another intriguing article has got me thinking about how schools deal with discipline, particularly on punishments such as detention. Is this really helping? One elementary school in Baltimore, USA has teamed up with the Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the US which provides health programs such as yoga and mindfulness. Together, they have set up a ‘Mindful Moment’ programme for disruptive children. The programme teaches the children to ‘wind down and reflect’, as well as focus on their breathing in times of stress. Children having a difficult time are sent to the ‘Mindful Moment’ room where trained staff are there to help. They can also choose to go themselves at any time. Specialists spend around 5 minutes in a targeted discussion with the child and then a further 15 minutes going through mindfulness exercises. The programme is helping children to overcome any trauma they may have or are going through. It teaches them to be aware of it but enables them to release it. It seems that the programme goes so far as to affect their home life in a positive way too, as children are teaching their parents how to ‘breathe out’ their stress and tensions’. Local schools in surrounding areas who have also adopted the programme have seen a decrease in suspension rates and an increase in attendance.
At school, writing poetry helped me to cope with my worries and stresses; it was an escapism, as there was no real place to be calm at school. I felt like the teachers were too busy to hear my worries. I think having a creative hobby also helps. Keeping a journal may be beneficial. One can write all their worries and thoughts down and leave them there.
I am hoping that schools take note and invest more of their time into mental health and well being strategies and support for their students, as I feel this is vital in a young person’s life. School should be a safe haven, not somewhere they dread going!
As humans, we have evolved a complex brain that has the capacity to process sensory information from our surroundings. This has contributed to our survival against all odds over hundreds of thousands of years. Our unique brain has enabled us to out-compete other, more powerful animals with better and more specialised sensory organs than ourselves. Consequently, we have developed sophisticated agricultural societies from our early beginnings as hunter-gatherers.
Over millennia, we have built sporadic civilisations whose survival depended on our capacity to control our environment and our self-destructive tendencies as an animal species. A revolution in human thinking and a new way of understanding ourselves and our environment occurred some 2500 years ago, when a few inspirational, bold thinkers started to view our world in a unique and objective way. These people dismissed the old Gods and belief systems that generations of societies had adopted and offered us a renewed hope for our survival as a species. They taught us to consider events as having natural causes (they called such events ‘phenomena’) that we could rationalise. They told us that we should have no fear of any irrational or superstitious beliefs, but to have faith in our ability to control our own destiny. These few, enlightened individuals created mathematics, science and all the other different subjects, arts and ethics that underpins our modern Western values.
They taught us to rise beyond our basic needs and overcome our self-destructive animal instincts and thus become better individuals. We like to refer to them as the Ancient Greeks and they still continue to inspire us and to strive to understand ourselves. They believed that only then can we have hope for humanity to survive as a species, provided we ‘achieve the highest element in ourselves’, as Aristotle wrote (384BC-322BC).
With our ever-advancing world, which is full of new and exciting technological inventions, where does education fit?
It seems like schools are already realising the benefits of technology in the classroom and are already implementing online textbooks and are still using interactive whiteboards. Students are encouraged to get to grips with the online world at school from early on and the skills they learn never leave them.
I came across the term ‘educational technology’ recently, but what exactly is it? Well, it is the use of digital technology to help aid learning. It is a whole field of technology devoted to the development and application of these educational tools. Its core areas include software, hardware and other IT processes which are there to help encourage and facilitate the learning process.
Awareness and implementation have already begun around the world, with the USA taking the lead. The UK is also incorporating some of these new tools. Some examples of this innovative technology include Cloud computing, which is now taking on an essential role in both schools and the workplace. Other educational areas being transformed by technology include Language, Science and Social Studies.
Mobile learning is becoming increasingly more popular due to its convenience and accessibility. Tablet based learning is on the rise and it is something that we have considered here at the Academy for a while. I would also personally recommend students in sixth form and university to purchase a tablet, as they are far more portable and can be fairly cheap. Students can easily build a virtual learning environment through the use of apps. You can easily access online textbooks and papers, which may especially be useful for degree level students.
With so many young people who buy into the virtual world, one wonders whether games will be big in the realm of education. This may help get students engaged and properly absorb what they are learning. I believe some corporations have now clocked onto this. Something which has always fascinated me and something that may develop many uses in a learning environment is 3D printing. This is done through computer software and an image or object is created using this design and a very high-tech bit of machinery. Another area that particularly fascinates me is that of wearable technology, which is basically technology that you can wear on or even in your body. These include Smart watches and Occulus virtual reality headsets and microchips.
So, with all that being said, how does this affect the Academy? We have thought of incorporating interactive whiteboards, but as I and countless other students have seen, they are costly and breakdown easily. Our trusty standard whiteboards never break down! So, I believe it is all about balance. Like many businesses, we must try and keep up with the current. The main thing I think technology can help us with is the variation of activities we can do in the classroom. We can further open up the world of learning to every single student, and that is a wonderful thing.
We may increase our use of technology in the classroom in the future, although we still firmly believe that you cannot beat the traditional book! That won’t stop us from trying to improve our services and improve the experience our students have with us.
The introduction of free schooling for the working-class population in the 19th century was to train individuals to have the necessary skills and knowledge for the following main categories of labour:
Dr. Andrew N. Sergis, BSc(Hons), PhD, CSci, CChem, MRSC, Cert. Ed(FE), ATP
The academy is committed to providing excellent tuition that is affordable for everyone in order to build success for all. To achieve this, high-quality teaching and professional guidance is always guaranteed.
— Dr. A. N. Sergis