Mobile Phones Banned in Schools?

Just in case you’ve missed it, there’s a bit of a debate going on about whether or not mobile phones should be banned in schools. Opinions vary hugely and there are good arguments on both sides. Here’s a brief summary of the conversation so far…

Phones are a Distraction

Teachers are complaining up and down the country that many pupils waste valuable class time on their phones either on social media platforms or texting friends in another class. Not only does this distract them from their own learning, but if teachers are having to constantly disrupt the class to ask a pupil to put their phone away, other young people are losing out on teaching time.

The Chief inspector at Ofsted is fully behind the idea of banning phones as she doesn’t see their place in the classroom and believes that the ban would help to tackle low-level disruption and bad behaviour in classes.

 

Effect on Test Results

To further back-up the above arguments, a study conducted by the London School of Economics looked at schools in 4 English cities and discovered that in those where mobile phone use was banned test scores increased by 6%. It also showed that kids gained an extra week of education throughout the academic year when they were not allowed their phones.

 

Less Pressure

A former Ofsted boss was quick to point out that there are positive aspects of smart phones and social media – it facilitates collaboration and allows young people to connect more easily – however, it does open the door wide to cyber-bullying and other online discriminatory behaviours.

The Headmaster of Eton school revealed that Year 9 boys (aged 13-14) have their phones taken off them overnight. According to him, the boys are actually relieved at not having the pressure to be active on social media and parents are aware of the time restrictions to make sure they contact their kids when they know they’ll have their phones.

 

But…

 

Phones as Learning Tools

A spokesperson for a technology company which runs tech workshops for teens maintains that phones can be educational if used in the right way; they have seen some schools use technology in hugely beneficial and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for the kids.

A British government official was also quick to point out that school is meant to prepare young people for adult life, and one aspect of adult life is being able to self-regulate technology usage. By banning phones in schools, how will kids learn to monitor themselves and take responsibility for their own decisions and actions regarding their phone?

 

The debate is in full-swing and here at Labels4Kids we can see both sides. What do you think? Should phones be banned in schools?

How to Boost Confidence in Children

Nearly every interaction you have with your child will have some form of impact on their self-confidence – what you say and what you do but equally what goes unsaid or undone. As a parent it is important to be able to identify situations where your child needs support and encouragement but it is also crucial that you identify those situations where your child needs to figure things out for themselves and learn from their own mistakes. Here is just a brief guide on how you can boost your child’s self-confidence in different circumstances.

The important thing is taking part

Everybody loves to win and kids are no exception. However, their motive is not always as clear-cut as it may seem – sometimes they simply want to win for the sake of winning but in other situations they want to win so as not to let other people down, especially their parent or guardian.

Whether they’ve just been through school exams or a test, a football match or school show, even something as simple as learning how to do fractions or reading a whole page of a book by themselves – whatever the accomplishment and no matter how small it may seem, be encouraging and supportive of and excited for your child! Highlight to them that it doesn’t matter how well they scored or whether they didn’t draw a picture as well as another child, so long as they tried their best you are so, so proud of them and their achievements have no bearing on how much you love them.

 

Don’t always come to the rescue

Sometimes the best way to learn is by making mistakes. If you (or your kid) messes up, it’s more likely that you will remember what lead to the mistake and not repeat the error. If children learn early on that their decisions and actions have consequences, they will be more likely to think things through before pursuing a given course.

By allowing children to stretch their wings and make their own mistakes, you show that you trust them and it can give them more sense of responsibility for their own actions. This can be a huge boost for their confidence, especially when they get it right!

Encourage their curiosity

Allow your kid to explore different activities to discover what they really enjoy and feel passionate about. When a child is genuinely interested ins something – be it dinosaurs, cooking or anything in between – they take pride in learning as much as they can about it.

Another source of confidence is if your child pursues hobbies that they are good at. For example, if you child is good at football (or even if they aren’t going to be the next Messi or Ronaldo but that doesn’t stop them loving playing) encourage them to pursue it! Not only is it good exercise and fun but it’s a great way for them to learn all sorts of other important life skills and lessons – how to work as part as a team, how to lose (and win) graciously, how to make friends… the list goes on. When your child realises all that they can do, this will do wonders for their self-belief.

Don’t exaggerate

Kids need a lot of encouragement no matter what they’re learning to do – crawl, ride a bicycle, read a book, make friends at school. However, it is important not to make too much of achievements. If they are told that every tiny thing that they manage to do is amazing and wonderful (even if that’s what you’re thinking), they won’t realise when something they accomplish is genuinely worth celebrating.

So be careful not to over-exaggerate achievements – if every drawing that your kid does is “the best drawing you’ve ever seen”, a time will come when your child starts to doubt whether your praise is sincere. Use your words to build up and encourage, this is important, but don’t be too effusive with your praise.

 

Decision making

Introducing decision-making to your child at an early age is a great confidence booster. Of course, this should be done within reason. Letting your kid decide whether or not to go to school or their bed time is not a good idea! But occasionally giving them a choice of 2 or 3 things for dinner and letting them choose between them can be a gentle way to introduce the art of making decisions.

There are lots of other ways that a child’s self-confidence can be boosted; for more ideas check out these articles by  Working Mother and the Independent.

The benefits of reading for children

Benefits of reading for children

Books are a crucial part of childhood development. The stories kids hear when they’re young are the ones that they remember most, and reading together with a parent makes them even more memorable. My kids are obsessed with Peppa Pig so they love this personalised Peppa Pig book.

Reading is more than just a moment where children can let their imagination reign – it has more benefits than you may think. Here are some benefits of reading for children.

 

Language development

Reading is no different from any other skill, it requires constant training and practice. Luckily, reading is a very popular hobby, and many children love to read books. It has been shown that it helps to improve their vocabulary and their reading skills.

The power of discovery

I strongly believe that the more you read the more you learn. A new perspective, a different way of seeing things… But most importantly, reading will motivate your children to know more and to learn more.

 

Social inspiration

It is not always easy to know how to behave in a certain situation and I’m speaking as a grown adult! Books can actually help children to learn what is and is not appropriate or expected in certain social settings; they teach your child about relationships, situations, personalities, and what is good and what is bad in the world they live in.  Fantasy books also feed children’s imaginations and provide inspiration for when they play.  Fairy tales fascinate your kid, and help them to distinguish between what is real and what is not.

 

Team work

As a child or adult we love to sit on our comfy chair or couch and read. However, sitting next to your child, reading something and seeing their eyes widen with curiosity and enjoyment is priceless. It will be one of those special memories that you will cherish forever.

 

Most importantly, it’s fun!

I could talk about the benefits of reading all day, however, I will wrap this post up by saying that it’s one of the most enjoyable, healthy and fun thing to for you and your kids. The main take away point is that reading is not only something that you and your kids can enjoy together but it is also an activity that is hugely positive for their development.

 

The Internet and Social Media in Schools

Social media platforms and the internet are currently very hotly debated, with sometimes worrying links between their usage and serious issues being drawn. However, there not everything is bad about them – they have some very, very good points as well as the bad. Today, many schools are taking advantage of these new tools available to them – here are just three of the ways the internet and social media are beneficial in a school setting.

 

Student-School Communication

Schools are increasingly using social media platforms to communicate school news, make announcements and provide other useful information to students and parents alike. By using communication methods familiar to young people, it is more likely that pupils will engage in school life and be aware of exciting opportunities. Online platforms also offer room for pupils and staff to interact and bring up any issues, be they personal or to do with the school. It also opens a (supervised) space where the students can interact.

 

eLearning

Staying focused and engaged throughout the entirety of the school day has always been a challenge, but especially now for young people who just about learned how to text before they did walk. What’s more, not every teaching style is suitable for each individual pupil, which is where the internet is a real gift. From academic papers to kid-friendly learning sites such as BBC Bitesize, the internet has it all. Even YouTube has some great learning materials. By exploring different platforms, pupils are sure to find something that clicks for them which can be hugely encouraging for those who genuinely struggle to learn in a classroom environment.

 

Enhanced Researching

Gone are the days when doing research meant trawling through stacks and stacks of books at the library. Today, although still a very time-consuming business, it is so much easier and faster for pupils (and people in general) to find the information that they really want. Expert opinions and academic papers and journals are now available at the press of a button and even books can be accessed and read online (many free of charge). Keeping track of and organising research is also easier than ever, with online platforms such as Google Drive allowing documents to be shared and worked on simultaneously by numerous people, facilitating group work.

 

These are just three of the ways schools have started to use the internet and social media to improve the school experience for their pupils – does your school use these tools? What’s your opinion on their use in a school setting?

Children’s Online Safety – Tips for Parents

The internet is an amazing and scary place. It offers a seemingly endless sea of knowledge, shopping opportunities and the ability to communicate with friends, family or colleagues on the other side of the globe, among many other great functions.

Technology and smart devices have become such a normal part of everyday life that it’s sometimes easy to forget that despite all the good things they have to offer, there is a very dark side to modern technology.

As adults, most of us are at least partially aware of some of the warning signs to look out for and know to be cautious about giving out personal details or following suspicious links. Kids, on the other hand, are for the most part still too innocent to know when something is dodgy and for this reason can easily be exploited or exposed to harmful content.

I think it’s safe to say that in today’s society, it will be impossible for you kids to completely avoid technology – even if you ban it at home, many of your child’s friends will have smart phones or tablets, and more and more schools are implementing apps and internet-based materials into their teaching.

There are, however, measures that you can take to drastically decrease the likelihood of your child becoming a victim of the internet.

This guide put together by VPN Mentor is thorough, easy to follow and breaks down the risks posed by every type of modern household technology. It also gives easy steps that parents and guardians can take to inform their kid and keep them as safe as possible while still allowing them to enjoy the many good things these devices have to offer.

It can be a delicate and sometimes embarrassing subject to bring up with your kids but we need to be vigilant to the faceless criminals out there who will not hesitate to take advantage of an innocent child who is not aware of the repercussions of the choices they make online. This post isn’t meant to frighten you or encourage you to swear off technology – not at all. There are so many good and wonderful people and services on the internet – but we just do need to be careful and make sure that our kids are too.

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