My School Aid



1:36 pm 0

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky..."

I bet a lot of you read that with the tune in your mind! As a matter of fact, I'm quite sure the song alone has brought so many memories of when you were really little to you: all the rhymes you learnt in Nursery and primary school, the excitement of singing them and all the memories that come with them. This is completely normal and the interesting thing is that the time difference between when you first learnt them and now is overwhelming!

Well, they are nursery rhymes and you still remember them, but come to think of it, do you remember -vividly - how to define many of the terms you learnt 5 months ago? 2 months ago? Last week? It's very hard for most people to reply all the above questions positively, despite the fact that the time difference between when you learnt them and now is relatively small. This is perfectly normal as people tend to remember less things, at a time, as they grow up.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will never depart from it". This is a popular maxim that explains, in clearer terms, that children are much more likely to remember and apply what they have learnt faster and better than adults. This is due to the fact that the brain of the child is relatively free and can be likened to a sponge (it can soak up as much information as possible, per time). Most experts who are concerned about the brain and education of children believe that children have more neurons actively creating new connections than adults do, so they can learn much more easily than adults can. Also, the brain of a child is very creative and free from stress. Adults, on the other hand, have a lot of things to think about, per time. Their brains are put to unnecessary stress and tension, thereby making it a herculean task to remember even the slightest of things -some people even forget their own birthdays!

As adults, in order to improve the way we remember things, it is pertinent that we apply some memory rules. Psychology Today lists 8 strategies for remembering:

1. Become interested in what you're learning. We're all better remembering what interests us. Few people, for example, have a difficult time remembering the names of people they find attractive. If you're not intrinsically interested in what you're learning or trying to remember, you must find a way to become so.

2. Find a way to leverage your visual memory. You'll be astounded by how much more this will enable you to remember. For example, imagine you're at a party and are introduced to five people in quick succession. How can you quickly memorize their names? Pick out a single defining visual characteristic of each person and connect it to a visual representation of their name, preferably through an action of some kind. Here's another example: How often do you forget where you left your keys, your notebook, or your wallet? The next time you put something down somewhere, pause a moment to notice where you've placed it, and then in your mind, blow it up. If you visualize the explosion in enough detail, you won't forget where you put it. Remember: Memory is predominantly visual.
3. Create a mental memory tree. If you're trying to memorize a large number of facts, find a way to relate them in your mind visually with a memory tree. Construct big branches first, then leaves. Branches and leaves should carry labels that are personally meaningful to you in some way, and the organization of the facts ("leaves") should be logical. It's been well recognized since the 1950's we remember "bits" of information better if we chunk them. For example, it's easier to remember 467890 as "467" and "890" than as six individual digits.

4. Associate what you're trying to learn with what you already know. It seems the more mental connections we have to a piece of information, the more successful we'll be in remembering it. This is why using mnemonics actually improves recall.

5. Write out the items to be memorized over and over and over. Writing out facts in lists improves recall if you make yourself learn the lists actively instead of passively. In other words, don't just copy the list of facts you're trying to learn but actively recall each item you wish to learn and then write it down again and again and again. In doing this, you are, in effect, teaching yourself what you're trying to learn—and as all teachers know, the best way to ensure you know something is to have to teach it. This method has the added benefit of immediately showing you exactly which facts haven't made it into your long-term memory so you can focus more attention on learning them rather than wasting time reinforcing facts you already know.

6. When reading for retention, summarize each paragraph in the margin. This requires you to think about what you're reading, recycle it, and teach it to yourself again. Even take the concepts you're learning and reason forward with them; apply them to imagined novel situations, which creates more neural connections to reinforce the memory.

7. Do most of your studying in the afternoon. Though you may identify yourself as a "morning person" or "evening person", at least one study suggests your ability to memorize isn't influenced as much by what time of day you perceive yourself to be most alert but by the time of day you actually study—afternoon appearing to be the best.

8. Get adequate sleep to consolidate and retain memories. Not just at night, after you've studied, but the day before you study as well. It is far better to do this than to stay up cramming all night for an exam.
Read More



2:02 am 0

The worst piece of praise I’ve received after a talk is, “you were the best speaker today". You may be asking what is so bad about that, but first of all, it undercut all the other speakers. Moreover, it reminds me of the fact that in many other cases I won’t be the best speaker, so now I feel nervous and self-conscious. Instead of encouraging me, this comment makes me unbalanced in the future.

Some people treat praise like a limited commodity. They believe that the key to advancement and success must be to absorb and stock up as much recognition and admiration as possible. This is the philosophy we learn in school, and then we get honed to brutal efficiency in the working world.

Praise creates what I call a virtuous cycle — the more you give, the more you enhance your own supply. When done right, praise primes the brain for higher performance, which means that the more we praise, the more success we create. And the more successes there are, the more there is to praise.

The research I’ve been doing over the past five years shows that the more you can authentically shine praise on everyone in your ecosystem, the more your potential, individually and collectively, rises.

I’m willing to guess that most people recognize that praise is invaluable. The problem in most of our businesses, schools and relationships isn’t just that we fail to praise enough; it is that we have been praising the wrong way. I would go so far as to say that our current model of praise de-motivates our teams, exacerbates internal strife in our families, and places a cap on our potential. By telling someone they are “better” or “the best,” you are placing a limit on your expectation for what they can achieve. I say to people, many times, if you want to enhance others, do not compare them. As a tutor, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, because I thought I was intuitively praising others; but no matter how good my intentions are, if I excitedly say to a child “You were the best one out there!” I just taught them that my love and excitement were predicated on their position compared to others.

Nothing undercuts Big Potential — the success you can only achieve in a virtuous cycle with others — more than comparison praise. The easiest way to stop comparison praise is to eliminate superlatives, like “the best,” “the fastest,” “the smartest,” “the prettiest.”

Why do we have to diminish everyone else in the room in an attempt to praise one individual? Comparison praise feeds into the Small Potential — the limited success that you achieve alone — mentality that success, leadership, creativity, beauty, love, or anything else that we care about are limited resources. When you tell a group of people that only a certain percentage of them can be successful, you are dampening everyone’s drive and ambition. The easiest way to stop comparison praise is to eliminate superlatives from our vocabulary — “the best,” “the fastest,” “the smartest,” “the prettiest.” Instead, follow what I consider an non-volatile law of praise for leaders and parents: Do not compliment someone at the expense of others.

In the working world, the pox of comparison praise appears in the form of performance reviews, particularly those that “grade” employees on a numerical scale. They may sound harmless enough in theory. However, when managers mistakenly believe that only a finite number of their employees can be “A” performers, they end up demotivating and stirring up resentment among all those who end up with lower grades.

In a fascinating article, David Rock from the NeuroLeadership Institute posits a few more reasons why performance reviews should be obsolete. He argues that the numerical rating systems used by many companies don’t take into account how work gets done today. Work is happening in teams more than ever, he says, with many people working on multiple teams that are often spread throughout the world. But one may ask would people get less praise and less constructive feedback if we were to eliminate performance reviews? Actually, the opposite is true. Of the thirty top companies studied by the NeuroLeadership Institute, managers were actually giving constructive feedback and praise three to four times more often in the absence of performance reviews. Luckily, some companies are embracing this idea.
Back in 2011, the management at Adobe called a town hall meeting to discuss what they had found to be the biggest stumbling block to engagement scores and happiness: the 1-to-5 performance rating system for the employees. They did away with the system completely once they recognized the negative impact it was having on attracting and keeping good talent. Even GE, which famously pioneered the idea of ranking employees and then eliminating the bottom 10 percent, has largely done away with this outdated system. There’s an old saying: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If we really want to enhance others, we must stop comparing.
Read More



10:13 am 0

One question that virtually every student asks while still in school is the question of what will happen after their program ends. Many people already have the answers, but a vast majority of students are vaguely unaware of what they will do, and this makes them venture into different things while they are still in school. Here, Marvellous Bassey, a fresh graduate of the University of Uyo talks about how she nurtured a teaching career while she schooled. Excerpts:

May we meet you?

I am Marvellous Bassey, a graduate of Linguistics from the University of Uyo, a Linguist and French teacher. I am also into modelling and TV presenting.

How recently did you graduate from the University of Uyo?

I graduated in October 2016, that was when I finished with my research project and all other school-related matter. Though the official date as I have it on my certificate is February 2017.

So, you're a fresh graduate and you already have a job! That is something that does not happen very frequently in this country, seeing the way the economy is going...

Yes, that is true. One truth I have come to learn is that people that believe there are no jobs are those who do not have value to offer. I'm not being harsh, but that is the plain truth, take it or leave it!

So, what you're saying in essence is that there are jobs in Nigeria.


You seem to be currently employed in your basic field of study. Is there any specific way it happened?

Actually, I did not just start teaching French now; I have been teaching French right from my first year in school. I already have the idea that people who speak French in Nigeria are treated as gold everywhere they go. So as an edge, I ensure I tell people around me that I speak French. The first opportunity I had to teach French was through a roommate who was teaching in a school that needed a French teacher. Since she knew I speak French, she recommended me and since then, the recommendations have been rolling in till date.

You said you had been teaching French since your first year in school. How were you able to make out time to work and learn at the same time?

Well, it was not easy, really. I was working during my spare time in school; There were days I did not have classes so I fixed my teaching on those days and I taught once in a week. At a point where I needed to teach everyday, it was for two hours, daily so any two hours of the day that I was free, I would rush to the school(s) teach and rush back to catch up with lectures.

Did it, by any means, affect your academics?

Yes it did! At a point, specifically in my 3rd year, my G.P dropped. My schedule was so tight that I started missing classes; I missed a few tests and my reading suffered. It really affected me, you know, it's the principle of "you can not eat your cake and have it".

While all these were happening, why did you not just stop altogether?

I could not stop working;that was where I was able to sustain myself throughout my university days.

Well, seeing as you were able to combine schooling and work, would you encourage other students to work while they study?

Well, I would say yes and I would say no

Why is that?

Yes, because schooling while working was a plus to my life. Schooling has high financial demands and if you come from a family that can not meet those demands in totality, or you are self-sponsored, it is a wise thing to work. It is as a result of the fact that students want to meet up with the financial demands of school that they indulge in so many dubious and dirty activities, but working earns you legitimate money. Secondly, teaching was one of the ways through which my knowledge in French language expanded. My proficiency in French did not only come as a result of what I was taught in school, but what I also taught in schools. Also, working while schooling adds this prestige to your profile. While I was in school, people that knew I was working held me in high esteem and even after I graduated, those that knew I worked while schooling tend to make certain comments that accord respect; It has a way of telling people that you are responsible. I would also say "no" because working while schooling is a big distraction. I wanted to graduate with a first-class degree but 80% of why I did not was the fact that I was working.

That is pathetic, but does it not also provide an avenue for the student to add value to their certificate as you said earlier?

Yes, it does. As it stands now, I have a 5-year working experience in teaching. And that alone is a plus to my CV

Wow! That is really interesting

Yes, it is. In addition, If a student squarely needs academic excellence or badly needs a first-class, working should not be on such student's list.
Read More



5:56 pm 0

Live like an ant! 

Ants are organised and disciplined: Ants living as ungoverned species is what dazes me. Don’t be misled, they are not controlled, not even by the queen -her sole responsibility is reproduction and nursing. They have no commander, overseer or ruler yet every member has a very high sense of responsibility of what to do and when to do it. As higher animals (so scientists say), we possess the instinct in an advanced form naturally, but somehow for one reason or the other, we pushed the reset button.

Unselfish unity and Teamwork: In every colony, every individual ant has its responsibility; from the queen who repopulates the colony, to the soldier who protects the species working via a huge network of individuals. In humanity, there is a bright future if we can learn to work as a TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More.

Spirit of Sharing: If a scout ant finds a resource which provides more than a single serving, he quickly leaves a trail of pheromones to help other ants find the shortest path to it, thus saving time to reach it. In humanity, I have come to realise that many people hoard information and resources, if only we can emulate that spirit of Sharing, certain life issues would not even exist and the struggle for success will be short-lived.

Action in Time: There is a saying which goes: "work while you work and play while you play, to be useful and happy, this is the way". Ants do not procrastinate, they do not halt necessary activities to send a tweet, update a Facebook status or reply a BBM message. They understand and execute their utmost priority in the right time and the right season.

Amazing sense of discipline: The ant distinguishes when to work and when to play, hibernate and when to scout. It stores food in summer and gathers it’s food at harvest. Except you are being paid to reply a Facebook message or tweet within the hour, you shouldn’t waste so much of your time on unfruitful activities. Discipline yourself and put all your time to proper accountable use.

Ants are tireless and persistent: Ants work all through the summer piling up stock for the raining days, they recognise that there would be rainy days, so they work endlessly when they can. They do not give up easily; as a matter of fact, they never give up.  Try placing a huge rock on the path of an ant, it will find a way around or over this ‘problem’ rather than sit in self-pity.

Ants dream big: An ant-hill is made up of earth, that is sand and dirt that leads into many tunnels of their nest. This huge nest is not built in a single day, and its size is determined by the size of the colony which continuously expands as the colony population increases. The hugeness of this nest is never undermined by their individual size.

Other characteristics of the ant vary from their incredible speed, to their strength and many more. But the most important moral is that to be a more successful specie and build a more promising society, we as humans must be ready to evolve from our current state of selfishness, laziness and idleness to united and hardworking individuals. Also, we must adopt long range vision as individuals, adopt the right attitude with absolute integrity and initiate great team work in whatever we do.

Live like an ant!
Insight gotten from Oshodi Moses Ayoola
Read More