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Must-have skill for children #2: cleaning their own rooms
Parents are forever telling their children to keep their rooms clean by picking up toys, making their beds, and throwing away garbage. That is why, for the second installment of our ‘Must-Have Skill for Children’ series, JEI Learning Center wants to bring to your attention National Clean Up Your Room Day! Although hard to enforce, the act of cleaning up their rooms positively influences children’s lives in ways that JEI Learning Center is all about! Improved self-discipline and self-confidence are among the pillars that make up JEI Learning Center’s sturdy foundation for learning and growth, and these lessons can be translated into everyday life. It starts with this simple habit which leads to major improvements in: Self-Discipline and Sense of Responsibility As much as you love your kids, it can be challenging to get them to take initiative and do what is best for themselves. Once the school bell rings, children think of all the free time they have with little to no intention of using a portion of that time productively. The problems here are lack of self-discipline and sense of responsibility. The only way to cultivate them is through the force of habit. The best habit to start with would be something small that gives way to immediately visible results, like cleaning a personal space. Establishing a certain day of the week for children to clean their rooms gives rise to a routine that they can get used to, and this will translate into the rest of their lives. Also by encouraging them clean, they will keep things better organized throughout rather than making a mess to locate an item or letting things pile up. They will realize that behaving in a mindful way will decrease the work later on. Give them the responsibility of their own space and they will act more responsibly. Self-Learning and Gratitude Hands-on experiences lead to self-discovery. They are great ways for children to learn something new, perfect a craft, and even find out new things about themselves, like how they like to organize. They will learn the concept of self-learning and proactivity. By continuously doing something over and over again, they will naturally improve and stretch their growth mindsets instead of miraculously expecting things to be perfect without doing anything. For example, when a parent cleans their room for them while they are out at school, they come back to a pristine room and then expect it to be maintained without having to do anything about it. They take the act for granted, but taking the act on themselves will make them appreciate what their parents have been doing for them. Plus, when they see all that they have, they will realize they do not need more toys because they have plenty already. Still, a fun way to get them motivated to clean might be to hide fun surprises throughout the room for them to find throughout the process. They don’t have to be toys, but can be motivational quotes, pieces of candy, or funny pictures! Self-Confidence and Sense of Accomplishment Enabling them to take on this repeated project is about taking control of their lives, which in turn increases their sense of confidence and accomplishment. Imagine a room going from a pigsty with messy blankets, strewn toys, funky smell, and no floor in sight to catalog-ready with a perfectly made bed, spotless floor, and an organized desk. The difference will be so tangible, and afterward, knowing that they were the ones to put in the effort to enact this change, the children will feel satisfied with themselves. This can act as a catalyst for other things. A clean room results in a clean mind, but the act of cleaning also results in more energy to create similar results elsewhere in life. Children will be on a roll. They will be proud and eager for more. However, in the chance that they do not feel all that great after cleaning their rooms, this can also provide a good lesson that not everything in life is enjoyable but some things are still necessary. It’s a teachable moment, either way. == Let your children create an environment that is good for themselves by their own choice and effort. Decluttering will save them time in the long run as they will not have to look for missing items, the mind feels safe and focused, and a clean environment releases stress and nurtures independence. There are endless benefits to this skill, as long as you make sure a positive attitude and mindset are practiced throughout. What may seem like a mundane, tedious task is actually a necessary and fulfilling one--so set up a routine now for your children to have fun with it and grow!
From student to educator, Director Amy Ko talks teacher appreciation
During National Teacher Appreciation Week, JEI Learning Center wants to show appreciation for the hardworking educators who have dedicated themselves to our Self-Learning Method and unstoppable students. Today, we put the spotlight on a special member of our community. Director Amy Ko of the JEI Learning Center of Merrick, New York was once herself a student of the JEI Self-Learning Method from second grade up to freshman year of high school, the final grade for which we offer programs. However, that was not to be the end of her involvement in the JEI community. Under the guidance of Hane, her Instructor who became the Bayside Director, Amy flourished under the Self-Learning Method and she became so appreciative of the Instructors before her that she took the mantle herself, joining them in their ranks at age 20. As an Instructor, she assisted children like herself to realize their full potential under the leadership of Directors Hane at Bayside and Joy at Great Neck, two JEI educators who continued to be positive influences long after she was a student. “Those two Directors have been a great impact on my life,” Amy told JEI Learning Center after we reached out to her for National Teacher Appreciation Week. “After being an Instructor for 8 years, Joy gave me insight about the Center in Merrick and has helped me become a Director.” Her unique experience transitioning from a student to Instructor to Director is why JEI wanted to put the spotlight on Amy this week. As an educator, she excitedly spoke about her most rewarding experience: My most rewarding experience as a JEI Instructor [is] having students come in and say I helped them ace their tests. Also, they [are] so much happier due to their grades improving and their school teachers praising them. JEI’s mission is to help children realize their infinite potential. This is a shared passion of Amy, which is why she has spent so many years dedicating herself to the supplemental education of JEI: It brings me joy to help them bring their inner potential to the surface. To be able to help the future generation and bring a smile to both [the students’ and parents’] faces helped me realize I wanted to continue in this [industry]. As rewarding as the experience is, being an educator also has its challenges that put her to the test. After all, self-learning in essential to every aspect of life. Amy practiced self-learning herself throughout her entire undergraduate career and reinforced that knowledge during her career as an Instructor: Everyone learns and comprehends material differently. So, I’ve learned to be more patient and understanding and less strict. I want to be there for the students and have them enjoy their time of learning instead of pushing and stressing them out. As a teacher, I need to make sure my students are understanding the material and going about it at their pace. When asked for tips and words of wisdom to pass onto students, parents, and educators alike, Amy revealed her secrets to success: I think the most common tip I try to give my students is to take their time reading and understanding the material. Also, to stop feeling rushed while they are completing their work or test. For problem-solving questions, I teach them to take each sentence apart as they go, and if they need to sketch a picture, they should. In addition to this, always ask questions because a question can never be wrong. Answers just differentiate from the way it is asked. Knowledge empowers you is what I would like to pass onto my students. She also recalled the quote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” from educator Thomas H. Palmer’s ‘Teacher Manual,’ noting grit as an important trait to teach children: “I think a person who tries their hardest to reach their highest potential is more admirable than someone who doesn’t try at all.” Amy says that giving up and quitting should not be the first response anyone, especially a student, should think of, which is why Instructors play an important role: they encourage students to feel more confident and always keep trying. JEI Learning Center wants to thank Amy for always doing just that and for being an important member of our community. We look forward to working with her for many more years to come and witnessing the great wisdom she relays to her pupils, present and future. Her passion and dedication to students prove that National Teacher Appreciation Week should be celebrated year-round.
Getting students motivated: gamification in the classroom
One of the most difficult aspects of education is keeping students motivated. Within the past decade, researchers have been exploring gamification of the classroom. Gamification turns the learning experience into a game with rewards to keep students motivated. Information technology researcher Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah and her team define gamification as “the application of game-design elements to non-game activities.” In traditional learning environments, students are reprimanded for their shortcomings. This makes learning appear punitive to the student, incentivizing them to do the bare minimum required to avoid reprimand. Gamification, on the other hand, provides positive reinforcement, rewarding good behavior. The success of gamification lies in providing instant gratification for learning. It not only makes learning fun but also makes doing the bare minimum seem less appealing. At JEI, we incorporate elements of gamification into our program. Many of our Centers use a reward system that involves prizes. Ruma Varshney, the Director of our Hillsborough Center, uses what we call “JEI Money” to incentivize students to develop good study skills. “[Students] get JEI money in every class based on their performance, homework, tests, and focus in that class, which they can use to buy things from our prize cabinet,” Varshney explains. “If anything is not 100%, they don’t get the expected amount of money in that class.” At Varshney’s Center, the prize cabinet is filled with toys, games, art supplies which students can buy for $20-$1000 in JEI money. She even offers gift items for parents around Mother’s and Father’s Day. Many of our locations, including Hillsborough, also award a student of the month. Varshney explains that the student of the month is awarded for showing a positive attitude towards learning. Criteria include focus, willingness to learn, consistently completed homework, and classroom engagement. “They are given a trophy, and we put their picture in our lobby for the entire year,” Varshney told us. “This has been a great motivator, and introduces a positive competition among students.” And this competition pays dividends. A research team led by Anthony Brewer showed in a lab experiment that gamification using a scoring system and prizes increased task completion from 73% to 97%. We see similar results in our JEI Learning Centers. “Both of these things have really helped us to keep the children motivated and get the best out of them,” says Varshney. Our scientific approach to learning is what makes JEI the leading provider of supplemental education worldwide. To get started with our program, find a JEI center near you today!