23 October, 2009

Do you believe in the power of puppets?

Give a child a soft toy and they will talk to it. Give a child a puppet and they will talk through it. A puppet can help open new lines of communication and play every day, they really delight and engage children, even the most shy! Just simply watching a puppet show can be a form of art therapy.

Puppets have been used since ancient times, all over the world. Fascinatingly, the use of puppets is believed to have originated 30,000 years ago and originally, they were used to animate and communicate the ideas and needs of human societies.

Still used today, puppets can animate and communicate the ideas and needs of a child, providing excellent ways for children to work through their fears or vocalise their feelings through puppet play. The benefits and uses for puppetry is vast, here are just a few:

* Engaging pupils in a difficult or new subject
* Encourage and engage shy/diassociative children
* PSHE Skills
* Developing empathy, imagination and communication
* Speech therapy, such as stammering
* Trauma therapy
* Communication aid for children diagnosed on the autism spectrum

Puppets can be especially useful with individuals, in small groups and in Circle Time discussion. Puppets can be used to teach languages, as shown on Teachers TV:

KS1/2MFL - Absolute Beginner

Puppet Play in India

And this video from Teachers TV shows how puppets can be used with an early years class Early Years - Using Puppets

Puppeteer Tips

Using puppets can provide excellent ways for children to work through fear or vocalise feelings through play. Older children will respond well to puppets too - even adults! However, with older children the activity needs to be shorter and more focussed.

In a classroom environment a puppet can help children settle into their new class or school. Children will become quite vocal when a puppet is in sight, so this can be a great way of encouraging and engaging shy children.

Working with puppets

The key to being a good puppeteer, is to make your puppet come alive and don't ever allow the children to see the puppet become lifeless; for example, letting them see you take it off your hand. You would introduce your puppet, as you would do another child or adult, then when puppet time is over, have the children say their goodbye's to the puppet and leave the room, puppet still alive and waving. Once out of sight, you can safely remove the puppet. Alternatively, you can put the puppet to bed back in a box or a bag and subtly remove your hand whilst it is hidden inside.

Think about your puppet as a real live person, so that if you are talking with your puppet, you are looking at it and it is looking at you. Also, make sure the puppet looks at your audience/child too. If your puppet is talking to the children, make sure the puppet is looking around from one child to another, as if it is you that is talking to them. Eye contact is a great way of ensuring that your audience remains engaged with the puppet. On the flip side, you can of course use a lack of eye contact to show that your puppet is trying to ignore you by avoiding eye contact, or to avoid answering a question, this can be done by making your puppet look up to the ceiling or down to the floor.

Your puppet does not need to be constantly moving, it just needs to be nice, natural smooth moves, rather than jerky ones. Practice in front of a mirror or with friends, this will enable you to get used to bringing your puppet alive in a realistic way.

It is worth thinking of a good name for your puppet too, as this will help the children bond with it.

Puppet emotions

Making the puppet display emotions is very useful for reinforcing that the puppet is alive and will engage the children, retaining their interest.

Here are some puppetry emotions tips:


Keeping the mouth of the puppet open slightly suggests a smile, whilst rocking the head gently from side to side can suggest a carefree mood.


Moving the puppets head so that it is facing downwards can be used to suggest sadness. If the puppet has movable arms, you can use these to suggest crying.


Move the puppets head so that it looks at you slowly, and then looks away again slowly. By repeating this a few times it can appear that the puppet wants to engage in a conversation, but is embarrassed to do so.


Making the puppet glance quickly back and forth suggests that the puppet is concerned about something.


There are a couple of ways to express anger. You can make the puppets head tilt to one side (looking away from you if its you the puppet is cross at) or keep the head upright and still, so that the puppet appears to be looking fixedly away from you).


The obvious one is to make the puppet yawn, but slow movements can also be a good way to show the puppet is tired and ready to go back to bed. Or you can have the puppet nod off by drooping the head in nodding off movements.

A voice for your puppet

It is up to you if you want your puppet to speak or not, not all puppets have a voice and if you are not confident to put on a voice for your puppet, then you don't have to. You can tell your audience that your puppet is very shy and will have to whisper to you.

Giving the puppet a voice can really add to the session but if you are not sure what voice to use, or want to build up your confidence first, then this is the best way to go. You can always say that your puppet has a sore throat.

To make it seem as though your puppet is really talking, move the mouth once for every syllable, again, this might be best practised in the mirror as getting the puppet in synch makes it all the more believable.

Introducing your puppet to the class/group

Puppets, even though they are adorable, can be quite frightening if suddenly produced without a nice introduction, so to save those tears, perhaps place the puppet in a box, a bag or keep it outside the room, and start by saying, 'I've a special friend that I'm hoping you might be able to take care of for me. Hes a little shy, so you'll need to let him know that you'll all be his friends. Can you whisper to him, "It's alright, you can come out now?"' This can create an interest and a bonding with the puppet and you can encourage the children to help the puppet to settle in his new classroom or group.

A puppet can become a useful asset, it can visit regularly and tell the children what it has been up to over the weekend, you could take photographs of the puppet doing different things and then discuss them on the next visit.

To make your puppet more real, you may want to think about what it would do at weekends, reading books, watching television, listening to music etc. Does your puppet have any brothers or sisters? What is your puppet's favourite colour?


* Stage a play - you may need more than one puppet for this
* As a confidant for a child - a child may respond to questions asked by the puppet, rather than you
* Explain difficult concepts - this could be to promote literacy or numeracy, or some social and emotional concepts
* The puppet can get things wrong in class and you could see if the children can help the puppet, this is an excellent way to reinforce key concepts and the children will not even realise that they are learning!
* Use some books or play scripts, such as The Power of Puppets, for stories that you can act out with the puppet, or make up your own...or ask the children to write a story for the puppet.

Read, Learn & Flourish!

For your success!

08 October, 2009

Educators Get Linked to the World

By C. Radhakrishnan

This is a wonderful time to be alive. The technological explosion of the nineties, sweltering over into the 21st century, has changed almost every aspect of our lives. On balance, this change has improved our standards of living, extended our expected lifespan, and made our lives easier. But it can still be a little irresistible at times. Dear fellow Educators; do you know the pace of change that’s happening around?

The New Era

We have moved at breakneck pace from the Industrial Age, where you probably started your life, into the Service Age, and through it into the Information Age and the Communication Age. Today, we are surrounded by the world of technology, computers, the Internet and wireless communications. Every advance in technology leads to even greater faster advances in communication until it is almost impossible to keep up. Even this change is felt in our classroom. Can you imagine classrooms with smart boards, smart tables and internet facilities in classrooms before ten years? Now just have a look at our classrooms, all amenities are at the tip of your finger. Do you use or do you well acquainted with globally connected classrooms? If not, it’s not too late to introspect and adapt to smart classrooms and smart teaching.

Computer Skills are Learnable
If you are not yet computer literate and Internet fluent, make a decision, this very minute that you are going to develop these skills. Look upon modern technology as simply different ways to communicate with other people. Your job is to figure out how to use modern technology to improve the quality of your teaching-learning process and prepare students to enjoy life in a hyper technology age.

Just Do It!
Today, you can get set up with a computer, open an Internet account, and be communicating with your family and friends in a couple of hours. You can create your own email address and then send messages all over the country, and all over the world. You can get in touch with almost anyone in a few seconds, at the touch of a button.

Techno-teaching - Give a try!
21st century kids are much fond of technology and internet. So teaching must also change from traditional chalk and talk method to techno-internet based teaching. Children we teach are already connected to the world on internet, then why we educator hesitant to do the same. Do you expect bright teaching career, then chase technology, otherwise be prepared to doom in the techno-typhoon.

Easy Life and Shopping!

Once you are familiar with internet your life would be more comfortable and easier. One of the most exciting uses of the Internet is for shopping. You can check out the price of any product or service for sale anywhere. You can buy at the best price available and have it shipped directly to your home in a couple of days from anywhere. Today, teaching is predominantly women dominated and Women especially use the Internet for shopping more and more because it is so easy and convenient.

Get Started Today!

Today, virtually everyone is on the Internet and has an email address. When you make a decision to get connected to the world, you will be amazed at how easy it is to learn, and how much enjoyment and pleasure you will get from it. Just give it a try.

Action Resolution for this Diwali Break!
If you do not already have an email account, then set one up and find a friend or family member that you can begin email correspondence with. Suppose you have no one to interact on internet, don’t worry, I am there ready to interact with you all the time. Now don’t wait; get an email address right now. Set a resolution for this Diwali vacation – “I would be a computer literate and globally linked person.”

For your success!

07 October, 2009

Use verbal reinforcement to improve behaviour

'Catch the student behaving well and praise him,' is a classic piece of behaviour management advice. The obvious drawbacks to this advice are generally:

• the overall perceptions of the observer: Some members of staff are so negative they will insist that it is impossible to see a particular pupil doing something well
• failure to use the opportunity to reinforce your rules and expectations.

When using praise it is all too easy to become a 'praise robot'. Random comments (such as 'That's excellent! Well Done! I'm really pleased') are often lost on the recipient as they do not fully understand why the comment has been made – Why is that excellent? Well done for what? Why are you really pleased?

When teaching aspects of behaviour, use the same model as when you are teaching any other part of the school curriculum. That model is:
• Explain what is required in clear, non-negotiable statements or instructions.
• Check for understanding by questioning students about your instructions.
• Give the students opportunity to practice.
• Be consistent and regularly refer to the original instructions.

When using praise with any student, there is then plenty of opportunity to both offer a word of praise and also reinforce your agreed rules.

Some students see many of your verbal instructions and comments as an annoying interruption to their classroom time. They will often describe members of staff as 'always going on about something' or 'constantly picking on me'. Verbal reinforcement is intended to not just have a direct and positive effect on the target student, but also on all other students who can hear the dialogue. For example:
'Well done, Gary, you have put your things away.'
'Thanks, Michelle, you're looking at me and listening.'

These are the types of verbal reinforcement that will not only deliver your approval and praise to a particular individual, but will also remind all other students in earshot about your expectations.
Setting a positive atmosphere in your teaching environment is essential if you are to meet the needs of students who crave attention and are prepared to do almost anything (good and not so good) to receive it. Contrary to what you may think, most students also enjoy your approval, although they may not openly admit to it! Using verbal reinforcement meets all those needs.

Your phrasing becomes positive rather than negative, ie:
• 'John, I said no running in the corridor!' becomes 'John, thanks for walking in the corridor.'
• 'Michelle, hello! You're keeping us waiting,' becomes 'Michelle – good, you're looking at me – I can see you've finished.'

Strangely, use of this technique not only has a positive effect on the target student (who no longer feels that you are nagging) but it produces additional results:
• It forces you to think carefully about what you are saying and how you are going to say it. The effect is quite powerful. Your thought processes and non-verbal mannerisms become positive. This is read by both the target student and others in the class.
• Your style of delivery will be noticed by the other members of the class and they too will receive the clear reinforcement being delivered to the target student. This eliminates the need for you to constantly nag the class with negative reminders.

For many members of staff, this is not a technique which is readily and easily brought into regular practice. You may well need to prepare some verbal reinforcement comments and to make them part of your everyday language with students. As with all verbal techniques, however, it is worth remembering that in all forms of received communication, more than 80% is non-verbal. You may practice getting the word content right, but if your body language, tone and volume is telling the student something quite different then at best the technique will be ineffective. At worst, it could be perceived as sarcasm by the student. Either way, the intended outcome will be missed and the situation could escalate.

Whatever form of verbal reinforcement you choose to use, make sure that your non-verbal messages are saying the same thing!

Courtesy: behaviour.teachingexpertise.com

02 October, 2009

Seven Traits of Great Leaders

All great leaders have some aspects of their personalities in common. Outstanding leaders share seven qualities:

1. Great leaders identify, cultivate, and inspire enthusiastic followers. Some people are successful but are not leaders. They work best on their own and enrich themselves. Great leaders enlist the cooperation, support, and loyalty of others. Few businesses can survive and thrive without people to carry out the leaders’ programs. Good leaders not only understand their employees, but motivate them to do their very best work.

2. Great leaders focus their efforts. Good leaders concentrate their efforts to reach goals. Those who do not focus their efforts will never achieve marked success in anything. No one is large enough to be split into many parts; and the sooner we stamp this truth upon our minds, the better our chances for success. Waste comes with trying to do too many things at once.

3. Great leaders face and overcome great difficulties. Adversity can destroy some people, but all good leaders have faced adversity and bounced back to greater glories. Change those stumbling blocks to stepping stones on the path to success. Strive vigorously to use everything that comes to you, whether pleasant or unpleasant, to your advantage. Do not allow an unpleasant letter, a disagreeable criticism, an uncharitable remark, or another trial to cloud your day. If you can make no other use of your misfortune, use it as a point of departure for a new and determined effort.

4. Great leaders expect more from themselves than they do from others. Great leaders set an example for their followers by demanding more of themselves. They work more hours, take on more challenges, initiate more programs, and give the full measure of their energies to their work.

5. Great leaders are not afraid to make tough decisions. Whether leading a nation or a corporation, every day the leader faces problems that require decisions. In some cases there is adequate time to think, assess, and evaluate all of the circumstances surrounding the problem, but quite often an immediate decision is needed. The good leader must make such decisions.

6. Great leaders have a vision and utmost faith in themselves to fulfill that vision. Great leaders have all had their visions. They knew what they wanted to accomplish, visualized its outcome, and devoted all their energies and emotions to accomplish that vision. Most important, they truly believed in their own capability to do this. It makes a great difference whether you go into a thing to win, with clenched teeth and the vision of winning firmly in your mind. Determination to win is half the battle.

7. Great leaders are ambitious for themselves, their companies, and their people. One of the saddest things in life is to see men and women with a faded ambition, a lost life aim. No quality requires more guarding than ambition. It will not live and keep growing if it is not nourished; and the moment we begin to disregard it, we begin to go downhill. If your ambition is not alive, you should strengthen it in every possible way. Visualize the thing you want to be; keep it in your mind constantly; and work for it with all your might.

Self-Directed Learning

C. Radhakrishnan

“The only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered, self- appropriated learning.” Carl Rogers

Self-directed learning is often considered the ultimate goal of education. The human race needs self-directed learning for survival. This basic human potential, knowing how to learn, is a necessity for living today. Probably the most important skill for today’s fast changing workplace is skill in reflection. The highly motivated, self-directed learner with skills in self reflection can approach the workplace as a continual classroom from which to learn and succeed in all chosen profession. This article is devoted to illuminate these principles as they apply to schools and to life.

During childhood we are naturally inquisitive and self directed in learning. For instance children ask parents many questions and try to learn new things. But, what happens to this inquisitiveness after they join the school? Do we discourage/encourage self-directed learning? Do we train our teaching community for teaching children how to be a self-learner? Do our schools and education boards promote a curriculum that fosters this kind of learning? Whenever we talk about self directed learning these are some questions that crop up in our mind. However, for most of these questions we have to answer in the negative. One fact we all can agree, our schools should be more self-directing in learning. All educators must understand, what is important is not the age, but the learner’s situation. In fact, the learner’s “need to know” and self-directing capacity increases steadily during childhood and rapidly during adolescence. Schools can foster the development of learners’ skills of self-directed learning through enquiry-based learning. Encouraging self-direction does not mean giving learners total control and responsibility but rather providing incremental opportunities to facilitate independence for lifelong learning.

What is Self-Directed Learning?

In this, the individual takes the initiative and the responsibility for what occurs. Individuals select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, which can be pursued at any time, in any place, through any means, at any age. There are many different definitions of self-directed learning. Ideas such as personal responsibility, autonomy, independence, and lifelong learning are all part of self-directed learning. In self-directed learning, the focus is on the learner taking the initiative in the learning process. Ultimately, the learners decide what needs to be learned; sets the learning goals; determines what resources, both human and material, are required; applies pertinent learning strategies; and evaluates the final results. Through self-management (how learners manage the resources, their actions and the social context) and self-monitoring (the process of monitoring, regulating and evaluating learning strategies), learners become responsible for their own learning. Now it’s very clear that self-directed learning refers to the willingness or ability of the learners to take control, make choices, and take responsibility for their learning.

Why is it necessary to help students take responsibility and initiative for their learning?
Advances in technology and learning demands of the information age are changing the nature of learning. The 21st century is marked with an ever increasing need to learn new skills and develop new perspectives and understandings. In this age where change is constant, the teacher’s role cannot simply be to fill students with information. Although basic content knowledge is important, there also needs to be a focus on process. As knowledge and skills change from day to day, what is important is to teach students how to learn. By teaching students to reflect on how they learn and by developing their skills to pursue their learning goals, students will be empowered to change from passive recipients of information to active controllers of their learning.

What factors influence Self-directed learning?

1. Self-concept: The learners’ self-concept or belief about themselves as learners develops on a continuum with learners possessing various degrees of self-direction. Previous success in learning improves learners’ general self-concept and capacity for self-direction. Learners have a psychological need to be self-directing but may consciously choose to be more dependent in areas where they lack previous experience or knowledge.

2. Experience: Learners accumulate life experiences that are a rich foundation and resource for new learning for themselves and others. Experience must be valued as it is related to personal identity.

3. Readiness to learn: Learners are ready to learn as they accept and learn to adapt to new roles, such as a team captain, school leader, class prefect, or wish to escape from present roles.

4. Orientation of learning: As learners mature, they prefer problem-centred learning that they can immediately apply to relevant situations to increase their competency and help them live more effectively.

5. Motivation: People are motivated to a greater extent by internal factors such as self-esteem, satisfaction in the work, and quality of life than by external motivators such as good jobs, promotions and higher salaries.

Ten Myths of Self-Directed Learning:

1. One is either self-directed or not.

2. Self-direction means learning alone.

3. Self-direction is a fashion.

4. Self-direction takes more time than it’s worth.

5. Self-directed learning mainly involves writing and reading.

6. The facilitator is passive.

7. Self-directed learning is aimed at those who voluntarily choose to learn.

8. Self-directed learning is aimed at middle class adults.

9. Self-directed learning will destroy traditional and institutional programs.

10. Self-directed learning is the best method only for adults.

How educators and institutions can best facilitate self-directed learning?
The following list summarises points made by several writers (Ash 1985; Bauer 1985; Brockett and Hiemstra 1985; Brookfield 1985; Cross 1978; Hiemstra 1982, 1985; and Reisser 1973) regarding how adult educators can best facilitate self-directed learning:

• Help the learner identify the starting point for a learning project and discern relevant modes of examination and reporting.
• Encourage adult learners to view knowledge and truth as contextual, to see value frameworks as cultural constructs, and to appreciate that they can act on their world individually or collectively to transform it.
• Create a partnership with the learner by negotiating a learning contract for goals, strategies, and evaluation criteria.
• Be a manager of the learning experience rather than an information provider.
• Help learners acquire the needs assessment techniques necessary to discover what objectives they should set.
• Encourage the setting of objectives that can be met in several ways and offer a variety of options for evidence of successful performance.
• Provide examples of previously acceptable work.
• Make sure that learners are aware of the objectives, learning strategies, resources, and evaluation criteria once they are decided upon.
• Teach inquiry skills, decision making, personal development, and self-evaluation of work.
• Act as advocates for educationally underserved populations to facilitate their access to resources.
• Help match resources to the needs of learners.
• Help learners locate resources.
• Help learners develop positive attitudes and feelings of independence relative to learning.
• Recognize learner personality types and learning styles.
• Use techniques such as field experience and problem solving that take advantage of adults' rich experience base.
• Develop high-quality learning guides, including programmed learning kits.
• Encourage critical thinking skills by incorporating such activities as seminars.
• Create an atmosphere of openness and trust to promote better performance.
• Help protect learners against manipulation by promoting a code of ethics.
• Behave ethically, which includes not recommending a self-directed learning approach if it is not congruent with the learners' needs.
For educational institutions and employers engaged in providing self-directed learning experiences, Hiemstra (1982, 1985) and Brockett and Hiemstra (1985) recommend the following:
• Have the faculty meet regularly with panels of experts who can suggest curricula and evaluation criteria.
• Conduct research on trends and learners' interests.
• Obtain the necessary tools to assess learners' current performance and to evaluate their expected performance.
• Provide opportunities for self-directed learners to reflect on what they are learning.
• Recognize and reward learners when they have met their learning objectives.
• Promote learning networks, study circles, and learning exchanges.
• Provide staff training on self-directed learning and broaden the opportunities for its implementation.

What can teachers do to encourage self-directed learning in schools?

1. In schools, teachers can work towards self-directed learning a stage at a time. Teaching must emphasis self-directed learning skills, processes, and systems rather than content coverage and tests. The teacher’s role, as facilitator, is to empower learners by promoting student involvement in learning, helping learners to develop skills that support learning throughout life, and helping learners to assume personal responsibility for learning. For the individual, self-directed learning involves initiating personal challenge activities and developing the personal qualities to pursue them successfully.
2. Self-direction exists on a continuum that increases with maturity, the learner’s motivation, and his/her ability to identify needs and access information. The learning environment determines if inquiry and self-initiative are encouraged and supported. Thus such an environment should be created by teachers in schools. Then the students use many strategies to achieve the learning outcomes, including seeking interaction and support from others yet maintaining primary responsibility for the learning.
3. Schools should cultivate a self-directed learning culture to inspire students. This involves many learning situations such as discussions, interviews, experiments, auditing, role-plays, field visits and a variety of social settings. The facilitator/teacher is very active, supporting the learner, negotiating meaning, promoting critical thinking, providing resources, and modelling meta-cognitive thinking in a nurturing learning environment. Although self-directed learning causes a shift in the teacher’s role as the “source of knowledge”, this change is also necessitated by the needs in an information society.
4. Teachers can encourage self-directed learning skills and learner responsibility through a collaborative learning environment. For that the teacher can assume an interactive role, to help learners participate in planning learning activities, locating resources, and assessing needs and progress in achieving goals, and generally guide them from dependence to better stages of learner control and independence. In order to provide opportunities for responsibility and self-direction in learners, the teacher must accept a change in educational role to facilitator, manager, resource supporter, motivator, and modeller of learning strategies. At the same time the teacher must make educational decisions regarding learner and curricular needs. In collaboration, learner and facilitator analyse issues to help gain new perspectives and understanding. Collaboration becomes a fine balance as the facilitator, while still ensuring the foundation knowledge is covered, and gives the learner more choices and control within the learning framework (Garrison, 1997; Morrow, Sharkey, & Firestone, 1993).
5. In converting facilitator-centred schools into learner-centred schools, motivation plays a key role in goal completion and is a determining factor in self-directed learning. Research indicates that the collaborating role of the teacher and learner control is a motivating factor that promotes positive attitudes in learners. Students are intrinsically motivated when they are able to choose their own topics of interest and are actively involved in sharing understanding. Through learner-centred activities, interaction, and choice, students can be empowered to develop self-directed learning skills and take more responsibility for learning.
6. A proper system of feedback also plays a significant role in self-directed learning. As interaction among students and between teacher and learner increases, closeness and understanding increases. For the success of teaching self-directed learning, teacher feedback must be prompt and frequent. External and internal feedback is necessary for the learner to self-monitor learning strategies as he/she accepts more responsibility for the learning. By encouraging students to reflect on the process of learning, including the trials and tribulations, they will begin to understand their own learning styles and thinking. By using meta-cognitive strategies, students learn how they learn and develop a range of thinking processes for problem-solving and lifelong learning. When teachers model learning strategies such as questioning, summarizing, predicting, and clarifying, students can transfer these strategies to other learning situations.

The teacher can empower students to accept responsibility for learning and facilitate self-direction skills. Students have varying degrees of self-direction, depending on the situation and subject matter, but this does not mean that the learner must make all decisions or learn alone, nor does it mean that the learners require no instructional support. Learners require library-search skills, data collection and analysing skills and information literacy skills in order to access vast resources including the Internet. The teacher’s task is to find a balance between the tendency to control the learning and the desire to provide the learner with autonomy. The reality is that the teacher needs to abandon traditional control in his/her shift to shared collaborative responsibility with the learner for learning activities. As teacher and student share control, the teacher is ready to provide instructional and motivational support while the student assumes more responsibility. Collaborative control facilitates motivation and responsibility and self-direction in learners. In order to persist in the learning goals, the learner needs to perceive value and anticipate success in the activity (Garrison, 1997). Therefore, the teacher must motivate the learner through encouragement and relevant meaningful activities.

Self-directed learning has existed throughout the ages as a means for people to meet life’s challenges and for survival. Scholars throughout Western civilization, such as Aristotle and Socrates, used the tools of self-directed learning. Ancient Indian ‘Gurukul’ system also emphasised the same principle of Self-directed learning. Gradually, our educational systems degenerated into a system that emphasises rote learning and memorisation. However, recently, many educationists, scholars and policy makers in different countries of the world started deliberating on ways to bring back self-learning culture into our educational systems. Surely, this positive trend will help us to restructure current educational practices that make learning a nightmare for many students.