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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to Basics

I sometimes wonder at how amazing it is that I have grown a business essentially based around teaching the basics of communication.  These days our classes are not so much about "drama and performance skills", we have to go back to basics.  How to join into a discussion. How to speak your opinion. How to look people in the eye when you talk to them...and of course the list goes on. In years gone by, where did we learn these skills from?  I am fairly certain it was not from an extra curricular provider!  Don't get me wrong, we love teaching this stuff and seeing what a difference it makes but I do think that sometimes we need to go back to basics.
 We are so busy in our lives that often we don't have time to sit down and talk to our children or the neighbours children or any children! Many of us don't often eat together or play together.  The holiday period is a great time to reconnect with each other and I have enjoyed doing this.  I am often surprised with the depth of conversations we have and we all enjoy it. 
I had coffee with a friend yesterday who is an English teacher.  We were talking about this exact thing.  I was wondering how a student can do all the study for English, tell you all about the study they have done, have a clear understanding of the work but when it comes to the exam, receive an average result.  Of course there are lots of reasons for this but we decided that in many cases it is simply due to the fact that our youth are not used to pushing a pen across a page for 3 hours at a time. I remember the callouses on the fingers, the aching arm, the three pens needed to complete some exams.  Many students get into the exam room and run out of stamina and cut answers short. Why?  Most likely because they are used to submitting all answers type written, spell checked, grammar checked and neat and tidy.  A written exam requires you to deliver on all of the above and provide an answer to the question...tricky stuff if you are not used to it.   She told me that some year 12/13 students will even fail a written exam because the spelling is so bad.  So, fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) for my teenagers this year, mother will be encouraging no PC written homework unless it is specifically requested and many more conversations around the dinner table....back to basics.

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