Monthly Archives: November 2013

Eight Year Olds not Interested in Science, Study Finds

Science in the kitchen tuitionEducationalists in Ireland have found that students lose interest in science as early as eight and it is almost impossible to stimulate that interest in students as they grow older.

This trend maybe a problem world wide as students in the US and Canada are also loosing interest in the sciences and math.  Currently in Canada, high school students are switching from the science stream to an arts stream because they are either not interested in the sciences or find them too difficult.

Dr Anne Looney, chief executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in Ireland believes that young students, especially 10 year olds, must be stimulated to main and/or develop an interest in the sciences and maths.  It is believed that a more inquiry based and problem-solving approach to teaching the maths and sciences should be used to encourage and maintain an interest in these subjects.

Science and math are all around us; and parents and educators need to incorporate these everyday events and factors that are science and math saturated.  For example, math is in the kitchen.  Every time we bake a cake, we use math to measure the ingredients.  Every time we light a match to start a gas stove, we are enacting the theory of thermodynamics.  When we look at the stars at night, we are engaged in scientific discovery and wonderment.  We must take math and science out of the classroom and into the world where a child can see math and science in action.

Then a student needs to solve problems and experiment; he/she needs challenges to develop a love for learning and for incorporating into his mental framework those facts discovered from the problem or experiment.  We need to take students away from dry facts, rote learning, memorising and give them a taste for science and math in life – out in the real world where they are part of nature, part of our daily living.  It is then that the sciences and maths will retain their flavour.

Studying in Canada Goes to Education Fair, FCC Lahore

IMG_0225The invitation to attend FCC’s first Education Fair was an occasion to present some of Canada’s finest universities and the opportunities in Canada that await some of Pakistan’s promising students.

The fair was well attended by FCC students and we saw about 100 students, most who were interested in studying in Canada at the Master’s level.  The majority were interested in studying at Canada’s higher ranking universities so the University of Alberta as the University of Choice, which was acceptable to me because as the only representative of the University of Alberta in Pakistan, I was keen to share about this premier Canadian university.

The University of Alberta is a world ranking research intensive university, ranking in the top 100 of the world.  Many of the students at FCC were interested in Biotechnology, Computing Science, Chemistry and other technical/scientific disciplines.  Some were keen to study in Canada in Psychology, English Literature and Political Science and related disciplines.  The diversity of research areas and departments at the University of Alberta means that it can challenge its graduate students in the fields of their choice; so the University of Alberta was the most popular destination for the FCC students.

For students who want to fulfill their dreams of higher education in Canada, consider contacting Helen Khan at Alberta Rose Education Centre to discuss all of your studying in Canada pursuits.  Representing the University of Alberta, she also represents an number of other colleges and universities in Canada and is well versed in post-secondary education in Canada so can help you in all your ambitions to study in Canada, either at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Employment Opportunities in Canada after Graduation

Study Canada Research1One of the big concerns for any graduate, whether an international student or domestic student, is this:  will I be able to get a job after studying in Canada?  The evidence points to a big, resounding yes; especially if you have a degree in the sciences or a technical field.

The fact is that employment opportunities increase with educational attainment.  Statistics for 2010 given out by Statistics Canada show that for upper secondary graduates who studied in Canada, the employment rate was 72% and for those from polytechnic institutes the employment rate was 78%.

Several factors play into these rates.  The rate is based on disciplines across the board, so even those disciplines like English literature, Political Science and other humanities fields that have an overpopulation of graduates, are included in that 72%.  Therefore, if the statistics were limited to disciplines such as Math, the sciences and engineering, the employment rate would be considerably higher.  The problem is that we have a dearth of graduates in Canada from the sciences, engineering and maths.

One of the reasons behind this is that high school students in Canada are dropping out of math and science and only studying, what we call, the ‘artsy’ courses or simply put; the easier courses.  This is adversely affecting the labour market in Canada.

What this means to an international student who wants to study a bachelors, masters or PhD in a math, science or engineering discipline, the chances of employment after graduation are high.

The Canadian government and Canadian educational institutions are committed to having an international presence in the country and they welcome students from abroad to study in Canada.

So, if you will be finished your FSc, O/A Levels, you will want to look at studying in Canada at the bachelor’s level.  If you have finished your first degree, and have a CGPA of 3 or higher, then there is a good possibility of getting into a quality university to study in Canada.

For more information on studying in Canada, and programs available, call Alberta Rose Education Centre for an appointment to discuss your educational goals in Canada.

Should Pakistan have English Medium Classrooms in Primary Grades?

tuition english math sciencehe-books-as-symbol-of-education-step--milestoneThe recommendation, according to the “Policy and practice:  teaching and learning English in Punjab schools” report, is that Pakistani students should not have an English medium education until Grade 6.  Students in the primary grades 1 to 5 should have an English course only, and then be introduced to English-medium instruction in the higher grade levels.  Research was conducted in several major cities including Lahore, Sahiwal and Multan.

It seems that much of the problem with English medium classrooms is that the teachers are not adequately equipped to teach in English, especially in Maths and Sciences.  Mixed language usage, or Urdu utterances only account for some of the problems in an English-medium classroom.  Teachers themselves are not competent enough in English to teach math and science concepts so the student is disadvantaged.

By waiting until the student is older, the researchers believe that the students will achieve better marks in maths and science if they can learn in Urdu first.

Scientists cannot agree on what is the best age for a child to learn a second language.  Some say that the child should learn the language before the age of 6 or 7 and others say that learning a second language should happen before the child is 10 or 11 years of age.  The bottom line is that learning a language as a child makes acquisition of that language easier.  So, if English-medium instruction did start at the 6th grade, then they would still be in that prime age for acquiring a second language.

But as I read over the report and reflected on some of my teaching experiences in Pakistan, I propose that the student’s age level is not the real issue.  Until the English competency of teachers improves, it doesn’t matter what grade is the starting point for English-medium instruction, the students will always lag behind.

The report states that Urdu only utterances occurred in 23% of English classes with 15% in Math and 19% in Maths.  That means that in a high portion of English courses, English is not used sufficiently to make a student competent.  In fact the student might be better off in Maths or Science.  Therefore the student may not have a sufficient knowledge of English to start English-medium instruction, even if they wait for the higher grades.

I have had Grade 8 students give me the wrong definitions of words because that is the definition their teacher gave them.  A read of a Grade 9 English text show grammatical errors.  For example “Blue Mosque reflects the architectural style of both Ottoman mosque and Byzentine church” should read “The Blue Mosque reflects the architectural style of both an Ottoman Mosque and a Byzantine church”.  A question is asked as “Why Sultan Ahmad Mosque is also known as Blue Mosque?”  It should read, “Why is the Sultan Ahmad Mosque also known as the Blue Mosque?”  These examples are not isolated ones, but rather the norm in a system where English cannot be taught properly, regardless of the grade level unless the school board texts are revamped and the teachers, at every level become competent to teach in English.

How to get a Student Visa for Canada

This Could be on Your Passport!aRumour has it that Pakistani students are not getting visas; and to some extent that may be true.  But rather that taking a defeatist view, one should ask, “Why is it that some Pakistani students are not getting visas to study in Canada?”

First of all, we need to clarify that the Canadian government gives student visas to Pakistani students.  There is no concise figure, but there are a good number who get their visas and are now studying or will be studying in Canada.  So why do some students get them and others don’t?

The best place to go is to the source, so a review of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website reveals the secret to successfully getting a visa.  The secret is honesty and willingness to abide by the rules and policies as stated by the Canadian government.

The premium thing that an immigration officer looks for in a student application is a demonstrated intent to respect the requirement that a study permit holder must leave Canada after the end of the authorized study period.  They want to know that the student will attend classes, complete their degree and then go back to their homeland.

They may look at several factors to determine this:

  • The length of time a student will be spending in Canada
  • The means of support and enough support
  • Obligations and ties in the home country

Of course there are a few other factors that the Immigration officer will take a look at, but for the most part, they want to have the assurance that the student who is applying for a study visa to study in Canada is committed to complying with the law.

Having said all of that, all of the above does not mean that students cannot work in Canada or become permanent residents.  Canada is committed to recognizing the “contribution of international students to Canada’s economy and cultural environment”.  The government has developed programs that attract students to stay and work in Canada after completing their studies.  The student can participate in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program or the upcoming Canadian Experience Class.  At some point during this time they can even apply for permanent residency.

So dual intent is recognized by the government but they do want the student to go through the proper channels and do it legitimately.

So pursue your dream and get ready to study in Canada.  For consultancy services contact a Canadian who knows about Canadian universities and colleges.

Watch for other upcoming articles where other reasons for rejection may be discussed.

You Love Math and Don’t Even Know It

Math owl tuitionEveryone loves math.  Your response to that statement might be, “Not me!  I hate the stuff!”  But the real truth is that you do love math.  Oh, maybe not the math that you are taught in school.  That is because of the way that math is taught.  Math in school is taught in a way that makes many hate it, or at the best consider it dry facts and number crunching.

But there is a math that is pure and beautiful.  It is seen in the symmetry of a flower.  Have you ever noticed the number of petals in a flower and the perfect symmetry that makes us say gorgeous?  Or what do you think of the planets in their orbit?  Is there any math involved in that?  Of course there is, lots of it, and it is what makes the world go round (literally).

We have a natural love for math, yes, you were born with it.  You see it when you are gripped by a particular song or piece of music, you see it when you marvel over an artist’s handiwork, and you exercise this mathematical ability every time you admire anything with beauty and structure in it.

Patterns are found in both math and music.  When a scientist or a mathematician looks for patterns in the natural world they are doing the same thing you do when you listen to music.  Or if you create your own masterpiece you are exploring; experimenting with patterns.

Perhaps you need to look at math differently.  Don’t look at it just as a subject you have to pass; a subject with lots of numbers, problems and rules.  Look for symmetry, geometry, numbers and equations in other places, places where your maths teacher has not yet explored.  You may well find that you do love math and that you can do math after all.

And if you find out you love math, you will probably excel in it and get those high marks you always dreamed of.