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April 2019

Private Student Loans Can Be an Education Safety Net

Private Student Loans Can Be an Education Safety Net

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College students have all the necessary expenses accrued by any non-student: Food, clothing, housing, utilities, transportation, fuel, medical expenses, and a little allowance for recreation. But, they also must consider tuition, expensive text books, basic supplies, lab fees, student union fees, fraternity or sorority dues, and other costs associated with campus life.

A laptop computer, connectivity fees or equipment (air cards or cable hookups if the student is living off campus), special calculators, and a cell phone are more and more becoming requirements in daily life, and especially so for the college or university student. Students and their parents, or other benefactors, should sit down and draw up a monthly budget considering all the expenses and circumstances mentioned above as well as any considerations particular to a specific student. A handicapped student, for instance, will have a number of different issues to deal with.

Starting the School Year Right

Along with deciding which school they might like to attend, students should be heavily weighing how to finance the four years (or maybe even beyond) they will be probably be spending away from home. High school guidance counselors are well-equipped to steer students to the college or university that will best support their life and career ambitions. They are also well-equipped to help students figure out where the money will come from to help them afford their time at a particular institution of higher learning. Costs vary widely and wildly from institution to institution. The student should also recognize that taking a part-time job during the school year, and a full-time job during the summer, could or should be a part of their school life.

Show Me the Money

In an ideal world, the student will have been tucking away money from jobs held in high school to put toward their education. Smart parents will have been squirreling away money to help offset higher education costs. Many banks offer certain savings programs with special conditions to assist students. These types of accounts are available to both parents and children to set up. Any student should exhaust all avenues to get any money, no matter how small. These can be in the form of scholarships, federal student loans, grants, government agency programs, and the list goes on. Even churches or local charities sometimes gather funds to help get their senior high schoolers off to a good start on the road to a higher education.

Private Student Loans

In spite of all this help, a school budget can still turn up wanting. A private student loan may be the answer to supplement the accrual of cash from other sources. First, much shopping should be done to find a lender who will offer the best rates and terms. These can vary widely from lender to lender so a little prudence in shopping can save a lot of money. The student will have to undergo a credit check, as will the co-signers, if any, for the loan. And the student should understand that … Read More

Why You Should Deliberately Use Systems Thinking in Education – Successful Instructors Already Do!

Why You Should Deliberately Use Systems Thinking in Education - Successful Instructors Already Do!

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Should Systems Thinking be part of Education? A resounding YES is the answer. Besides the wonderful things it does for students – like improving analysis, evaluation, and creative skills – it is simply the way we think and learn.

Any instructor who has had good success with their craft will tell you that ‘routines and procedures’ are an important part of setting up for good instruction. The students know what to expect, when, and how. They have a good idea of how the social culture of the classroom operates, what is expected of them, and how to go about doing well in their course and more. That is good instruction. That is also an example of the use of systems in education.

Of course, the many and multi-faceted uses of systems thinking in education and instruction goes further than what has just been explained, but the greatest power of systems in education is in the simple structure of routines and procedures and basic instructional patterns.

Think about this: anyone who has ever worked in an environment in which you did not know the expectations, when things are to be done, how they should be done etc knows the ultimate frustration that results. You know you are in some sort of system, but you cannot see it or seem to learn about it.

Systems thinking is most powerful when it is about using knowledge of the systems surrounding us and making clear how those systems operate so that we can use leverage to gain more from them. This becomes very clear in any comprehensive approach in which systems are utilized for maximum instructional and learning gain!

Systems already have a place in education. They just need to have their place clarified and consciously utilized so that we can gain more and, benefit more. There is a good deal more to say on this subject and much more, I will say. Systems thinking in education is a wonderful field that can be used with conscious effort for excellent and very beneficial results.

Try deliberately using systems in anything you teach today! Start by thinking about the ‘whole’ rather than the fragments, parts, or bits of knowledge you want to impart. Come at your instruction by first making a picture in the learner’s mind of what the ‘entire’ concept is all about and how the parts fit together. When you have this communication in place, the fragments, parts, and bits have a place to land! A sticking point, I call it. When learners have frameworks in place, they can learn, store, and recall with much greater ability. Your job is to communicate the system. Good instructors have been doing this forever.… Read More