Why is the Shift Toward Online Education Happening?

This paper deals with the question: Why is the shift toward online education happening? This is a complex issue that involves questions of educational access, paradigms for teaching and learning, competition and globalization among universities, the development of new and better online technologies, and the financial pressures facing higher education. A huge transition is underway.

The same networking and computing technology that has revolutionized global commerce, and many other facets of modern life, is now being targeted at education. Partnering the Internet with modern course management systems makes it possible for universities to offer online coursework on a global basis. The critical task that lies ahead is to create and disseminate curricula of high quality that students can embrace and educators can sustain. For more details visit to [http://www.guardadsense.com]. The overall objective of José’s Online Education Forum is to examine the realities of college and university online teaching, and the processes of education using today’s information technologies. Collectively, the authors of this paper have taught over a hundred different university-level courses online, both graduate and undergraduate, mostly using the Internet. The issues and insights discussed in this Forum will provide educators with important tools and the understanding needed to effectively embrace the world of online education.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 The Sloan Consortium

In a Sloan-C survey of 1170 Provosts and Academic VPs, more than half indicated a belief that online education would be ‘critical for the long-term’ in higher education. Surprisingly perhaps, the same percentage said that they believe success in achieving learning outcomes is already equivalent between online and traditional teaching methods. And there was also a consensus of opinion among these respondents that the quality of online courses would continue to improve, with a third of them believing that online teaching quality will soon surpass the quality typical of conventional teaching. These opinions may be surprising for many of us in the teaching profession, coming as they do from such high level and influential administrators. They signal a fundamental change in perceptions about the potential of online education in the immediate future.

1.2 Overview

The objective in this paper is to investigate and assess why this shift to online education is happening. Several factors can be cited beginning with improvements in access to educational services using online technologies and changing paradigms for teaching and learning that integrate well with these technologies. Other factors include heightened educational competition and globalization, the ongoing and often dramatic improvements in online systems capabilities, and the underlying economics of providing online education versus conventional means. The following sections of this paper explore each of these factors individually.

2. ACCESS TO EDUCATION

2.1 Access for the Masses

The ability to use information technologies effectively is one aspect of achieving success in today’s society, both for individuals and for organizations as a whole. The current job market requires educated workers who are capable of changing and adapting as business and cultural realities shift and evolve in today’s fast-paced, global economy (Kantar, 2001). Information technology is enabling the development of this kind of economic world structure. For more information logon to [http://www.instant-adsense-dollars.com]. It is also making possible the education of the workforce that this new economy requires by providing new capabilities for teaching and learning online.

Online education offers the promise of increased access to high quality education for the masses. Exactly how this is going to occur is not clear yet, but there is no doubt that online education is rapidly becoming an established modality. The development of the modern world economy demands an educated workforce. Places like the three It’s (India, Indonesia, and Ireland) and more recently China, are finding that the need for an educated workforce is overwhelming the capabilities of their traditional educational systems. In America and Western Europe, the same economic and political pressures associated with ‘equality of opportunity’ contribute to demands for equal access to a quality education for all who seek it.

Competitive PreSchools – Characteristics of a Good PreSchool

Preschool education has been pegged as a foundation to successful education and even success in adult life. But not all preschools are created equal, not even the most expensive ones. Here are characteristics and features a good preschool should have:

  • Clean and secure location. This is a non-negotiable for preschools. We are talking about kids younger than six years old who will be regularly attending classes. It is crucial that even on the way to school they feel secure. No health and safety hazards should be anywhere near the school. A good preschool should not only attend to the mental well-being of a child but also his or her physical well-being. Kids must be able to associate positive feelings and images with the school.
  • Complete and safe facilities. Setting up a room won’t be enough if we want quality public preschools. There are basic facilities kids need round the clock and facilities that are required to keep the school kid-friendly and hazard-free. Simply put, a preschool must have a toilet room, a sanitary area for eating, a separate area for trash, a clinic or medicine cabinet, a no-slip flooring and cabinets for toys and other materials. Furniture and any equipment must have no sharp edges. Electric outlets must have covers and anything else that pose harm to kids should be kept out of their reach and eyesight.
  • Feel-good atmosphere. A preschool should have an atmosphere welcoming to young children. It should not seem boring, rigorous or threatening. The classrooms should be well-ventilated and well-lit. Positive and colorful images and designs should be visible for kids. Staff and teachers should be helpful, friendly and accommodating. Kids must be able to see that they are going to have fun in class and that the school is a place where they can both play and learn.
  • Trained and caring teachers. It is no joke taking care of young kids, what more to teach them. A serious endeavor into preschool education must be accompanied with willingness to invest in teacher training or re-training. If kids are taught the wrong things in preschool, it defeats the entire purpose of the program. Preschool teachers must know how to teach the alphabet and counting, how to read stories and sing songs, how to motivate kids through games, and how to manage a class of young children. They must be caring and nurturing, and should never resort to coercion or physical punishment.
  • Low teacher-student ratio. Studies on the effects off preschool education on academic and life success all say the same thing regarding its potency. Preschool education cannot achieve its goal if it is of low quality, and a factor in quality is the teacher-student ratio. Ideally, one teacher should only handle seven to ten students. The maximum for each class is twenty. Sometimes, having teacher aides or assistants also helps in managing a large class. Young learners need a lot of supervision and personal interaction. If the government is serious with putting up public preschools, the current teacher-student ratio in public elementary schools should not be tolerated in the preschool level.
  • Holistic approach and curriculum. A preschool must not only prepare a child intellectually for entrance into the big school. It must also help children develop their other aspects. Preschool cannot be too focused on academic subjects. It must also address the development of social skills to prepare kids for a bigger group or class. As early as preschool, good qualities and values like self-confidence and love of country can already be introduced. Creativity and self-expression should also be a priority in the curriculum, keeping kids motivated and interested in schooling. In the words of Dr. Barbara Willer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “Your 3- or 4-year-old will learn the fundamental building blocks of reading, writing, math, and science, as well as how to interact with teachers and classmates…[but] the overarching goal of any preschool should be to help a child feel good about himself as a learner and to feel comfortable in a school-like setting.”
  • Some structure or routine. What differentiates a preschool from a daycare center is that it has a more defined structure. A good preschool has a set schedule for activities, from writing lessons to play time to nap time. It also requires regular attendance-it is not mere babysitting. In the class, routine chores may be done to instill in kids a sense of capability and responsibility. These can be as simple as helping out in distributing materials or in tidying up the room. This structured quality of a preschool ascertains that the kids are not wasting time but are learning each day.
  • Variety of Instructional Materials. Kids need a lot of stimulation-their intellectual stimulation is highly dependent on sensory stimulation. A good preschool has to have a wide variety of instructional aides. Pictures, storybooks, recorded songs and models or realia are some of these. Kids are also very tactile learners. Manipulatives such as puzzles and peg-boards help kids develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination essential for writing and other tasks. Buttons or marbles are less expensive items which can be used for teaching counting. The idea is for children to have fun while learning.
  • Play area and materials. It is but natural for kids to play. Therefore, there should be an area or time for play. Aside from the usual toys, blocks should be available. These help develop spatial and problem-solving skills as well as creativity. Play can also come in the form of art (children love to draw). The school should never run out of paper, crayons and clay. The idea is for children to learn while having fun.
  • Physical activity. You heard it right! A good preschool is not afraid to get physical. Kids must have the opportunity-everyday-to move about and play, whether indoors or outdoors. This helps them practice their motor and other physical skills.
  • Language-sensitive, language-rich. Since kids will learn more about language-and learn a new one, at that-in preschool, they must be as exposed to it as possible. Whether the new language is Filipino or English, there should be materials available everywhere. Posters on the walls, labeled objects and storybooks should be staples in class. On the other hand, the preschool must also be sensitive to the community’s mother tongue. Many countries have multi-lingual education, and preschools must care not to ban children from using their mother tongue. Moreover, teachers should not hesitate to use the mother tongue in explaining and teaching.

Educational Competitions – Geography Bee

Geography Bees are performed locally school by school, but there are also regional, state, and national competitions. The National Geographic Bee, previously the National Geography Bee, is open to fourth through eighth grade American students. The annual Bee is hosted by Alex Trebek and has students from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Pacific territories, as well as Department of Defense Dependents Schools.

To get to the national bee is no easy feet. School level competitions begin in November. There is no limit on the number of competitors, though there is a minimum of 6 participants required to host an event. The Bee begins with preliminaries, where competitors are split into groups of twenty. Each is asked one question from 7 categories. Each question is worth 1 point, and the top scorers advance to the second round.

The second part of competition has two parts – a final and championship round. The 10 finalists are cleared of previous points, and are eliminated after two incorrect answers. Once the third place winner is decided, the two semi-finalists go head to head. Third place eliminations don’t happen until all students have voiced an answer, because if all players are incorrect no one is eliminated.

The championship round is played between the two semi-finalists. Before the question is asked, points are cleared once more. The same questions are given to the two participants simultaneously and are repeated twice. Participants have 15 seconds to write down their answers. Three questions are asked, and the competitor with most points at the end of the round is declared the victor.

To qualify for state competition, all school-level winners take a written test. The top 100 qualify for the state bee, which follows the same rules as the local bees. National competitors are the winners from state and territory bees. Other than an increase in preliminary questions from 7 to 9, rules are identical. Nationals are held in late May.

Educational Competitions – Science Fairs

Science competitions are a great way for your students to apply the abstract lessons they learn in the classroom. Not only will they be able to give real-world application to those ideas, but science competitions are also a great way to learn team building, communication and teamwork. Whether you are working with students that need to be additionally challenged to push themselves or students that need an extra bit of encouragement to try harder in the classroom, science competitions can be great motivators.

There are many competitions for your students to get involved in. You can host your own event at your school, or encourage your students to apply for local, regional or even national competitions. The most famous national science competitions are hosted by the US Department of Energy, ExploraVision, and Siemens, and often offer lucrative scholarships for the winning teams.

The Department of Education’s Science Bowl is not only a traditional science fair but a competition similar to quiz bowl, as well. High School and Middle School students are asked questions from every area of science. In addition to the “Jeopardy” section there is a model fuel-cell car competition. This Science Bowl is the only national competition sponsored by a government agency.

ExploraVision and Siemens competitions are for students K-12 in the US and Canada. They are run as the science fair you are familiar with; teams competing against each other for US bonds and scholarships. Recently, ExploraVision has been more about inventions and Siemens has leaned towards green improvements and ideas.

Associates Degree Distance Education – Great Way To Achieve Your Educational Goals

Enrolling into associates degree distance education programs have become increasingly easy with many programs that are being created to meet growing consumer demand.

Once in a degree program, the main reason for students not being able to complete their degree has been the difficulty of taking time out from a hectic schedule. Working parents, business people and other professionals have discovered that the hustle and bustle of daily life have made their educational goals seem near to impossible to achieve. Associates degree distance education programs provide a solution to this problem.

The Benefits of Higher Education Can’t Be Beat

Generally, career opportunities open up after one has graduated from an associates degree distance education program. It’s no surprise, employers look to resumes with reputable job track records as well as educational level. When two applicants have similar job experience, usually the one with better educational background will be selected. Some employers are direct: they will not offer positions to persons without a certain level of education.

Competition in the job market is tough at any time, and it behooves the professional to stand out from the crowd to be noticed. Ensuring that you are hired above the competition takes preparation and unfortunately there are certain so called pre-requisites to prove to potential employers that one is right for the job. Education is one.

A Natural Choice For Our Times

Associates degree education program may be less daunting to someone who wishes to obtain a higher degree because it usually takes two years to complete versus four for a bachelor’s degree. This choice is akin to climbing a hill instead of a mountain in order to reach a higher position in life.

And it is much easier to settle into your favorite chair, at home, to start class then it is to make the long drive to a cold, uncomfortable classroom after a stressful day at work. Sipping a cup of hot cocoa with your favorite CD music playing in the background while completing a homework assignment doesn’t sound too bad at all, when thought of in this manner.

The time that one usually spends surfing online is being replaced by searching for information for homework. Furthermore, one does not have to worry about hiring a babysitter or not being able to see one’s spouse. These are the benefits of opting for an associates degree distance education. Of course, the key to studying effectively is self-control and the ability to block out distractions at home.

Conclusion

An associates degree is a excellent addition to a resume and it is also a route to achieving a higher sense of self-confidence and self-pride. Psychologically, such a degree can make a person feel more capable and intelligent. No wonder so many people are taking up associates degree distance education courses!

Competition and Cooperation

BASIC VALUES:

Many worthwhile values have been perceived to be inherent in sports participation, yet they are not accessible automatically to everyone who participates. There are values that are not only worthwhile to pursue but need to be made available and accessible to more youth. It’s not a matter of saturating a community with organized sports leagues or merely upgrading physical education programs in the schools. Many youngsters, including many who participate do not really benefit from sports for a variety of reasons, but at least in part because of the “win-at-all costs” concepts prevalent today. Participation in sports should be a vehicle for all-around personal growth and the development of a positive self-image. For participation in sports to be a growth experience the concept of “winning must be put into its proper perspective.

There are winners and there are “winners”. Everyone needs to “win” sometimes if he or she is to gain satisfaction from any sport. Winning can however, be broadened to include progress on many levels. Each individual can learn to set their own personal goals and define “winning” in their own personal way. Coaching styles should be directed in such a way as to develop the skills and attitudes that help an individual to feel in charge of their own life and to feel like a winner. An approach is needed which provides the essential experiences which not only make sports values more accessible, but provides the motivation to participate in the sport, learn the necessary skills, and develop the self-esteem necessary to approach life with confidence — and that’s what it’s all about.

An important issue has to do with how children perceive themselves. If they have a very weak perception of the power they have over their life, or believe that they are dependent people, at the whims of their environment, then we need to strengthen and encourage the perception that they can affect many things in their life through the efforts which they put forth. By trying, by thinking, by extending their best effort, they can affect what happens to them in their life. If my perception is, “I can’t do anything,”: then my attitude is “why try?” and my motivation is zero and all the capabilities in the world, all the skills in the world, will be useless. On the other hand, if my perception is “I can do something,” then my attitude is to try and my motivation is high and even if I don’t have the skills or capabilities, as long as the perception stays alive I will innovate, try, work and ultimately develop the capabilities I need to achieve.

Sports programs can provide an important ingredient in developing an environment that cultivates three basic perceptions:

1. I am a capable person who can do things for myself.

2.I am an important, contributing part of things greater than myself.

3. I have the power to influence what happens to me in my life.

Of course this means that the adults who work in this environment must understand these perceptions and how they are developed. In creating this environment you must make sure that youth are involved because they want to be. They need to be appreciated for themselves and taken seriously as a person. They need to be listened to. There has to be an effort made to make sure youth are not asked for more than they have been prepared to deliver. Youth need to be perceived as having a significant role to play in life and a major purpose of the program is that they will achieve a realization of that purpose if they stay with the program. Everyone (youth, leaders, and parents) needs to support one another.

Unfortunately, there are many who work with competitive sports programs who are not trained or who do not believe in the principles that will help youth to grow and develop. Coaches need to have technical expertise in the sport and work at the application of their expertise according to effective principles of teaching sports skills, teamwork and individual growth and development. Coaches need to be effective counselors. They need to be dedicated to the idea of helping each individual to achieve on what ever level each is capable of through the utilization of physical skill instruction and the application of principles pertaining to the development of positive perceptions and positive self-image. Children who have the greatest possibilities for top athletic performance and in life itself are those whose parents pay particular attention to the child’s upbringing (in all aspects) during the first seven years.

Athletic performance, as well as success in life therefore, begins the day the child is born. As early as six months to two years children can be provided with activity and recreation experiences such as a beginning water adjustment and learning to swim. Not with the purpose in mind of aiming at future Olympic competition but as an ideal form of fun, relaxation and physical conditioning throughout life. If a youth is interested, he or she may be encouraged to get involved in a competitive experience. Sports programs should take into consideration all those who desire or might desire to begin preparation for “making the team” by fostering and working with community programs which teach basic athletic skills at all levels. Ideally, a child develops his or her athletic ability while progressing up through various levels of advancement. Adequately skilled staff at all levels give students every opportunity for making the team.

We want to encourage the type of continuity necessary to develop excellence through a comprehensive and progressive program. A child’s aspirations should be directed toward certain goals in life. Whatever he or she plans to be “when he or she grows up”, experiences along the way should encourage the striving for excellence (not necessarily perfection) – never mediocrity. Setting the goal for participation on a competitive team may open up the way for a valuable learning experience, developing desirable attitudes; learning new skills; developing dedication, self-discipline, self-denial, and physical fitness, attributes lacking in many of this nation’s youth and adults alike. Over the long haul, it’s striving for excellence that counts. Teachers and coaches who are most concerned about personal development – the development of desirable attitudes, and winning as a by-product (in that order) – teach, develop and enrich the youngster. He learns the price he must pay in hard work, determination, and frustration, whether he or she becomes a champion or competes for personal pleasure. The experience youngsters have will condition their mind, as well as their body for a more positive existence. Teachers and coaches who are sensitive to this overall philosophy and who can relate to youngsters, especially ages twelve and under where guidance, empathy and genuine love are of primary importance, are worth their weight in gold (and most assuredly would not be paid what they are worth).

An athlete conditions his or her body physiologically for greater physical efforts by progressively increasing the physical stress, combined with proper habits of nutrition, sleep, etc.. As the body adapts to the stress of short, easy workouts, the athlete increases the amount of stress by doing longer, harder workouts. He must also condition himself psychologically in a similar manner. In the crucial transition period of increasing competitive drive, the child needs a compassionate coach who displays more than the ability to be well organized and a thorough knowledge of the sport, important as these factors are in the effective coach. A coach should not be merely be ambitious and able to get good results but also know how to handle and understand children. A coach working with children during their formative years can do a great deal to develop desirable or undesirable attitudes. The children under such guidance unconsciously adopt the attitudes the coach displays. This applies not only during workout sessions and other team functions, but also in the type of personal relationship the coach develops with each individual youth. Most athletes develop a strong loyalty to their coach and have confidence in his or her ability. It is important, therefore, that a coach this ability, but also that they have a conviction of the value and dignity of the individual. Justified confidence is the cornerstone of any program. An over-critical parent who questions the coach’s ability and methods can undermine this confidence. Coaches who must constantly protect themselves from the criticism the team’s parents are in danger of losing much of their capacity to coach effectively. Coaches make errors in judgment just as we all do; compassion and understanding on the part of the parents is a necessary prerequisite for a successful program. Parents must clearly understand that the pressure on coaches to “win-at-all-costs” comes from parents. In working with youth in the community or in organized school athletic programs, the growth and development of each individual child MUST be more important to everyone concerned than the numbers on any scoreboard.

The Objectives of Sport

1. To provide opportunities for social and emotional development.

2. To furnish a wholesome and worthwhile physical and recreational outlet.

3. To provide opportunities to learn sportsmanship and develop awareness of team cooperation.

4. To provide an educational environment.

5. To provide opportunities to learn good health habits.

6. To provide training and competition that will aid in the development of worthwhile attitudes.

7. To provide a wide base of experience for all and not just the highly skilled.

8. To provide opportunities for developing good working habits and self-evaluation.

These objectives are met by having properly supervised and organized practices and competitive experiences with opportunity for team functions not limited just to competition. A coach must be able to develop the proper types of practices and competitive experiences that correspond to the level, skill, and scope of achievement of the various ages and abilities on the team or within an individual’s ability. A Coach needs to be willing to teach team members to set goals in other aspects of their life such as school and establishing good health habits. Activities need to be organized in such a way as to maximize participation in competently developed practices and competitive opportunities, with tensions minimized and development within the scope and good sequential development of all team members. Nowhere in the list of objectives, is the development of national champions or a winning team mentioned. Mediocrity should be no one’s goal – everyone should strive for excellence. However, the real winner in sports is often not the winner of the race, for he or she may be achieving that goal at the cost of failure to attain some of the other goals available in such a program, which may be more important. It must always be kept in the forefront of one’s mind that the only justification of any sports program is that it exists for the benefit of the child’s long-term development not for the fleeting contents of the scoreboard.

The question of children’s readiness for competition has to be answered on an individual basis. Even more, it depends on the wisdom of parents and coaches to make competitive sports ready for children. I cannot think that the agony of one child’s defeat can be the thrill of another’s victory, or that winning is the only reward and losing is punishment. Children and psychologists know this to be untrue. The drive to tackle physical barriers and, later, to compare one’s ability with others is a natural part of a child’s development, vital in forming feelings of competence and a secure self-identity. All are key ingredients for competitiveness and self-motivation in sports–and doesn’t have to come at someone else’s expense. Learning to win and to lose are parts of the same process.

Parents and coaches need to be able to conduct a dialogue helping to develop guidelines to make informed choices — not whether competitive sports are good or bad, but what kinds of sports, under what circumstances, help or hinder what types of personal growth in which specific children. This is why it is so important to take time to know and understand the child and to design an approach to that individual when it comes to teaching and training for a particular sport. It is hard to debate that winning is important, but children are more important. In 1979 two groups, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed a Bill of Rights for Young Athletes

A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR YOUNG ATHLETES

Each child should have:

1. The right to participate in sports.

2. The right to participate at a level commensurate with their maturity and ability.

3. The right to have qualified adult leadership.

4. The right to play as a child and not as an adult.

5. The right to share in the leadership and decision making of their sports participation.

6. The right to participate in safe and healthy environments.

7. The right to proper preparation for participation in sports.

8. The right to an equal opportunity to strive for success.

9. The right to be treated with dignity.

10 The right to have fun in Sports.

Adults can make it impossible for young people to learn how to cooperate by developing a climate of cooperation within a competitive experience. Young people will face enough competition in their life. In fact, adults should work to control some of the intense competition that young people may face. Children under the age of 12 should not be forced to deal with a “win at all costs” philosophy in any organized competitive team sport. Sports programs for youth need to adhere to the following rules:

1. Anyone who wants to play can play.

2. Each participant plays an equal amount of time.

3. No awards are given for winning a game but for: Participation, Meeting personal or team goals, and Effort

Young people need good recreation programs. They do not need to deal with the pressures of winning in order to build the ego of the coach, parents, or youth leaders. During middle or late adolescence they are much better able to deal with that type of pressure. But if they are not prepared for it by being allowed to develop free of that intense pressure, severe personality deterioration can occur. This same problem occurs in classrooms where teachers assign grades through the use of a normal curve. There is absolutely no justification for such a practice and parents should see to it that such practices halt. Schools should use a system of criterion referenced grading. Here the criteria for receiving a certain grade are specified at the beginning of the course. They should be challenging, but if every student meets the criteria for an “A” grade then every student in the course should receive an “A” grade. To just say that only 10% may receive an “A” and 10% must fail is the height of educational stupidity.

MYTHS ABOUT COMPETITION.

Adults must make sure that they do not use competition as the sole method of motivating young people. Youth should not be measured by or compared to others. Each young person should be taught to measure their own progress based on the goals that they have set for themselves. It is very easy to fall into the trap of using competition to motivate. There are even fairly well developed sets of myths that support this approach.

MYTH 1: Our society is highly competitive and children must be taught to succeed in a “survival of the fittest” world. Many advocates of competition insist that schools and homes must emphasize a dog-eat-dog theory of survival in the occupational world. To be better than the Joneses is the deepest desire of such individuals. Yet the truth is that the vast majority of human interaction, in our society as well as in all other societies, is not competitive, but cooperative. We are a social species. Cooperation is a biological necessity for humans. Without cooperation, no group, no family, no organization would be able to exist. Even in fighting wars and conducting competitive activities, there are vast underpinnings of cooperative agreements concerning how the competition or conflict will be conducted and the ways in which antagonists can express their hostility toward each other. There can be no competition without underlying cooperation. A study of social psychology suggests that competition is a very, very small part of interacting with other individuals in our society and probably not a very important type of human interaction.

MYTH 2: Achievement, success, outstanding performance, superhuman effort, the rise of the great leader, drive, ambition, and motivation depend upon competing with others. The appeal of this myth to persons who wish to see greatness is overwhelming. Where is the great person who will set the world straight and show us a better way of life? The truth is, however that higher achievement does not take place within an environment of forced competition. Performance can actually go down under competitive goal structures, and a person who is superior in one situation may be markedly inferior in another. The use of competition will, under most conditions, decrease the quality of a person’s work and will in no way determine who is the best person to achieve under a variety of conditions. Competitive motivation interferes with one’s capacity for the adaptive problem solving necessary in dealing with complex issues with others. The only children who are motivated by competition are those who believe they have a good chance of winning. Persons do not exert effort to achieve the impossible. Competition is threatening and discouraging to those who believe they cannot win, and many children will withdraw psychologically or physically or only half try in competitive situations. Children are motivated when a goal is desirable, possible, challenging, concrete, and requires positive interaction with others. A competitive goal structure does not affect any of those variables in a positive way unless the child believes he has an equal chance of winning. The whole area of intrinsic motivation shows that motivation does not depend upon competition. Even in extrinsic motivation situations, competition will exist only when there is a limited amount of the reinforcer (it cannot be shared with everyone), and when every child believes he has a chance to win. As children grow, parents need to foster and encourage the child’s ability to deal with others in a cooperative way. Having an appropriate set of rules to follow and being helped to gain effective communication skills are two very important component parts of this process. An additional element has to do with the feelings of acceptance and the closeness as well as the emotional relationship that exists between parents and children.

Children must be helped to feel accepted without conditions by both parents. There is probably no set of skills more important to a human being than the skills of cooperative interaction. The vast majority of human interaction is cooperative in nature. Without cooperation among individuals, no group, family, organization, or school would be able to exist. Without high levels of cooperation there would be no coordination of behavior. No two individuals could communicate with each other or interact without cooperating to form a common language and agreed upon forms for behavior. Occupations, education, exchange of goods and services, or any other type of coordinated human action would not exist without cooperation. Cooperation is the most important and most basic form of human interaction and the skills of cooperating successfully are some of the most important skills a person needs to master. Competition in various forms is also an integral part of our lives, and yet most do not fully understand the positive and negative consequences of it. We have for too long ignored some of the destructive elements of competition and have also failed to teach the necessary skills for effective cooperation. Much current research seems to indicate that certain forms of competition in current vogue in sports, classrooms and in the family have a tendency to create environments which are destructive. Perhaps one of the reasons why competition is overused and even has destructive results when used appropriately is because children are not taught effective cooperation skills. Children must feel good enough about themselves to be able to decide whether or not they want to compete in a given situation. Many feel that they have no choice and that in order to be accepted, or to be a “winner” they must compete. They need to be able to see participation as a value in itself and have the communication skills necessary to be able to participate in an effective way. How Parents can Enhance the Development of Cooperation

1. Give children a part in planning. Let them decide on the distribution of chores and the penalties for not following through.

2. Be specific. Make sure everyone knows exactly what is expected of him or her and when. A written chart seems to work best, at least at the start.

3. Be generous with praise. Nothing encourages effort more than sincere appreciation.

4. Be flexible. If a child makes a team and practice gets him home late for a while, help to arrange an equitable job swap among siblings. Many unexpected things may come up that make keeping an exact schedule difficult. If you are understanding (and yet firm), you are more likely to gain like treatment when your schedule requires extra help.

5. Answer all questions clearly and cheerfully, no matter how obvious the answers may seem to you. Don’t ever say anything disparaging or ask, “Can’t you figure that out for yourself?” Or you might say “I’d like you to try to find that answer. Would you like me to help you do that?”

6. Don’t take over. It really punctures a child’s morale to see that you don’t think he or she can manage a task and they will be much less likely to want to try again.

7. Keep the lines of communication open. Meet together at specified times to discuss how things are going, what needs change or improvement.

8. Keep your values straight. Remember that cooperation is the goal, not perfection. An occasional lapse in an overall pattern of responsible behavior is best forgiven and forgotten. We all sometimes put off our chores.

9. Relax. If you have been a meticulous housekeeper and a neatnik, the odds are against your children measuring up to your standards. That doesn’t mean you must tolerate sloppiness, but it does mean that everyone will be happier and you will gain a lot more time for yourself if you don’t throw a fit every time things are not done to your exact specifications. Kids can be absolutely great, but they are still kids, and we can’t expect them to perform like miniature adults. Don’t come unglued at every spill or accident, it will make your children more nervous and less likely to want to cooperate. Remember this advice given by one mother to another who complained about her son not making his bed every day: “Why not ask him to close the door so that you won’t notice?”

10. Be generous with praise. Be generous with honest sincere praise. IF NO ONE NOTICES, WHY BOTHER!

ATHLETIC COACHING: CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

A former NFL Athlete

After a stint in the NFL I moved into School coaching. I was convinced that the Vince Lombardi school of coaching football was not the approach I wanted to take. To produce an excellently conditioned, disciplined, and motivated team, I had experienced an approach that was authoritarian and brutal. Jerry Kramer, in his book, Instant Replay, stated that Vince Lombardi “Made football players of men and men of football players.” To me, that statement said that there was something about Lombardi’s coaching which brought the most out of his players; personal maturity and athletic prowess. The coaches I have been associated with, both as a player and as a coach, who used this particular method produced winning teams, but I couldn’t see any changes in the athletes’ personalities. Players who were bigoted remained bigoted. Selfish, egotistical or immature athletes remained as they were or sometimes got worse but seldom if ever changed for the better. Athletic prowess was gained; the teams won their games but personalities stayed the same or deteriorated; there was little or no positive growth in attitudes, beliefs or personal characteristics. The athletes did experience a feeling of togetherness. I think mainly because of the coercion which they all experienced together and the common fear of punishment if they didn’t win. For illustrative purposes only, I would compare this type of togetherness to that experienced by suppressed minorities, being forced to feel a part of the group for the cumulative advantages and solidarity offered by the group–more or less as a defensive measure.

As a result of my observations I started looking at the kids as people not as trainable horses. I listened more, and analyzed the affect generated by my presence and the learning structure which I had created. I started paying attention to what was happening to the athletes in terms of personal growth as well as athletic ability. I started making changes based on outcomes which I could logically predict. The first thing I did was to break the role relationship which generally develops between coach and players, which hamper open communication. (From my experiences, communication in Lombardian structures is characterized by a “one way” communication, directed to the players from the coaches, with little room for feedback, thus inhibiting a two way information flow between players and coaches.)

With much hard work the old role relationships were dismantled, trust was developed, communication lines were opened. This was evidenced to me by the verbal and non-verbal interaction between the athletes and myself. Formal conversations became informal, personal exchanges. Eye contact became meaningful, and smiles and other non-verbal communications became more prevalent over time.

Sport as a subset of larger society, teaches athletes to behave in certain ways, and these ways are used by these individuals in later life to meet similar situations. More specifically, athletes are taught to meet situations in particular ways. Example: Bill is taught to meet pressure with pressure in his defensive tackle position. later in life, Bill meets pressure with pressure at the office, instead of rational thinking. The attitudes are the key. Attitudes and beliefs are learned within a coaching, learning, teaching environment which individuals keep with them in whole or part of their lives. It is important to establish coaching methods, which will satisfy parents and children, and refrain from teaching attitudes, which will be nonproductive or destructive when, transferred to non-athletic situations. Coaches should create situations where open communication, joint decision making, and cooperation in human interactions, can be learned and experienced.

There are four basic relationship statements:

1. Individual and personal growth lead to team growth.

2. Team growth can in turn lead to individual growth.

3. Individual growth can be equated with team growth.

4. Team growth can not necessarily be equated with individual growth.

I want to allow for the greatest amount of individual personal growth. My goal is to structure coaching in such a way to allow for possibilities of growth and not to place arbitrary limits on that growth. I want athletes to consider the other team as something to help achieve our goals, not as an enemy. Our goal is to achieve excellence.

I never praise a team for winning a game. Winning is reinforcing in itself. I praise the team for working together, accomplishing their goals and achieving excellence. Football then can become an art of preparation, execution, and accomplishment, rather than a game of violence, played by men trying to destroy each other, to win at all costs. On the game day I am not the decision maker – I am the consultant. The decision making process is totally in the hands of the team members. This way team members learn how to think, how to make decisions and how to set and reach specific goals.

CLOSING THOUGHTS.

Rudyard Kipling observed that it was a rare man who can treat winning and losing as the same. But we can try harder than we are. After losing a 7-6, 7-6 match to Poland’s Wojtek Fibak in a recent tennis tournament, Vitas Gerulaitis of the U.S. refused the traditional handshake, prompting Fibak to charge, “Young American sportsmen don’t behave like gentleman or even humans. They act like machines that have to win every time. They never learned how to lose.” By changing our definition of winning we create a situation where each individual is in charge of his or her own success rather than being at the mercy of others. Competition can be exciting, worthwhile and can create an opportunity to learn and grow depending upon the kind of structure and setting in which it occurs and whether individuals are there because they have freely chosen to do so and have chosen for the right reasons.

HELPFUL BOOKS:

Reaching Out – Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self-Actualization David W. Johnson, Prentice Hall

Learning Together and Alone – Cooperation, Competition, and Individualization David W. & Roger T. Johnson, Prentice Hall

Joining Together – Group Theory and Group Skills David W. & Frank P. Johnson, Prentice Hall

Commercialisation of Higher Education in South Africa

Introduction and Literature Review

South African education policies place priority on addressing historical education imbalances, but should also be sensitive to the demands of an ever-increasing global knowledge-driven environment. The educational system cannot be dominated by the needs of the domestic educational system of South Africa ignoring the trends exerted by the global world (OEDC Annual Report, 2004:44). Higher education in South Africa should realize that they operate and function in a knowledge-driven global environment in which both domestic and foreign students demand access to the best quality education at the best reputable institutions of higher education in the world.

In this regard, most definitions of internationalization of higher education include the following: “Internationalisation is a process that prepares the community for successful participation in an increasingly interdependent world … The process infuse all facets of the post-secondary education system, fostering global understanding and developing skills for effective living and working in a diverse world” (Francis, 1993 cited by Patrick, 1997).

The position of higher education in South Africa should be evaluated considering the re-integration of South Africa into the global community. South Africa was rapidly re-integrated into the world community by obtaining almost immediate membership of influential international organisations after 1994. Kishun (1998:59) indicated that South Africa became a member of among others the following international institutions: United Nations; Organisation of African Unity; Commonwealth; International Olympic Committee; Federation of International Football Associations; and Lome Convention. Integration of influential international institutions is a necessary but not sufficient pre-condition for internationalization of higher education. Sustainable internationalization should be closely aligned to the emerging global trends and events in the education sector.

An analysis of the basis on which internationalization of higher education occurs is needed as well as the benefits of the internationalization process. This research is conducted against this background.

Problem Statement

Whilst South Africa is in a process of transition regarding higher education to address the imbalances of the past, the question arises whether the South African educational sector is able to compete in the global economy which regard knowledge as a commercialised commodity.

Methodology

A sample size of 781 respondents from six institutions of higher education in South Africa was selected. Senior students were randomly selected using the convenience sampling technique. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed to measure the perceived competitive profile of institutions of higher education in South Africa. The questionnaire constitutes five measuring foci, namely:

· Section A: Institutional information regarding the location where the respondent is enrolled.

· Section B: Biographical information in terms of gender, type of student and country of origin.

· Section C: Decision criteria used to select an institution of higher education.

· Section D: Four competitive dimensions of higher education institutions, including strategic competitiveness, institutional competitiveness, product competitiveness, and tactical competitiveness.

· Section E: Open-ended questions, aimed to identify the reasons why respondents choose a specific institution of higher education, their opinion on the institution’s competitive reputation, and the factors that may influence the international competitiveness of the particular institution.

The data was transformed into two opposite categories, namely those who agreed with the statements and those who disagreed, enabling the researchers to derive a hypothesized agreement-disagreement distribution. Those who neither agreed nor disagreed were allocated to the disagreement group set giving and expected disagreement response set of 57% (p=0.57) and an agreement response set of 43% (q=0.43). The Binomial test was employed to determine whether the observed distribution correspond with the hypothesized distribution using a significance test level of 0.05. Furthermore, the level of agreement or disagreement with the selected competitive statements and the extend of agreements between the respondents from the different institutions on the various statements were determined by executing four statistical procedures, namely: ANOVA to compare the means of respondents from the different institutions; determining how much of the perception variation could be accounted for by the influence of the different institutions of higher education; determining the averages for each strategic dimension to obtain an indication of the level of agreement with the competitive statements; and determining the standard deviations to obtain an indication of the extend to which consensus exists within the sample.

Findings

With regard to the strategic competitiveness of South African institutions of higher education to engage in a seamless network the respondents were of the opinion that South African institutions of higher education give low priority to attract foreign students, are not well known for attracting foreign students, are not actively involved in exchange programmes of students and lecturers, and do not have active engagements or agreements with other tertiary institutions, businesses and communities.

On the issue of institutional competitiveness, the majority of respondents were of the opinion that institutions of higher education in South Africa have the ability to attract quality students, does not have an international student culture, offers qualifications that are internationally accepted, can claim international reputability on post-graduate level, offers competitive tuition fees, deliver research outputs that are internationally recognized, and are not easily accessible.

In terms of product competitiveness the majority of respondents indicated that institutions of higher education in South Africa have active orientation programmes to familiarise foreign and domestic students with the institutions, provide safe and secure learning environments, provide leading information technology for academic growth and excellence, do not easily adapt to the needs and wants of students, and provide convenient service packages to students.

With regard to tactical competitiveness institutions of higher education in South Africa have the ability to compile a diploma or degree offering that meets or exceeds international standards in terms of offering subject content of international standard, having internationally acclaimed staff, aggressively marketing its qualifications internationally, claiming international acceptable through-put, and having acceptable grant and loan schemes accessible to students.

Conclusion and Recommendations

The majority of respondents are in agreement that institutions of higher education in South Africa are able to compete internationally on the four competitive dimensions (strategic, institutional, tactical and product). Internationalisation requires that institutions of higher education in South Africa should emphasise a somewhat loosening of the relationship with Government, despite the paradoxical need to create new transformational bodies to address the imbalances of the past. Internationalisation of higher education implies that internationalised institutions operate on new super ordinate levels which has its own legal, administrative and revenue-raising powers.

In terms of strategic direction institutions of higher education might consider at least one of the following internationalization approaches:

· “Would-be internationalization”: Applies to academics and institutions wanting to be involved in internationalization but facing problems in being considered on equal terms.

· “Life or death internationalization”: Countries, their academics and institutions, which view internationalization cooperation as indispensable for their status and role in the global world.

· “Two areas”: Academics and institutions have the option of striving for either more national or more international status and orientation. The academic field in which one is operating often determines this.

· “Internationalisation by import”: Countries and institutions that treat internationalization only as coming from outside, by hosting foreign students and publishing research. It should not represent a separate strategy towards internationalisation.

References

Kishun, R. 1998. Internationalization in South Africa. In The globalization of Higher Education. Scott, P. ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.

OECD Annual Report. 2004. Education. p.41-45.

Patrick, K. 1997. CSDF project full report: Internationalising the University. Melbourne: RMIT.

Why Rediscovering A Competitive Educational System Is What America Needs Now

The federal government needs to have its powers downsized from the current state of affairs that exists. Our fore fathers envisioned a competitive educational system between the various states instead of current federalist system of one size fits all. The current system has mostly stymied competition of ideas and it now encourages standardization of education for the American youth.

American college graduates would find themselves greatly embarrassed if those graduating were to take an early twentieth century seventh grade examination. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were stretched heavily a hundred years ago. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were known as the three R’s. Graduating students from high school had to be proficient in their understanding of the three R’s.

The American work force was the best-trained and most efficient work force in the world in the early and middle years of the twentieth century due to the education the workers had received during their childhood. Each individual state was solely in charge of what the citizens basic schooling was to receive. The voters saw to it that elected officials provide their children with a first class education. States were in competition with one another in the quality of education the children received.

The 1960’s began the era of federalism in the schooling system. The Secretary of Education was a new federal cabinet position created in Washington DC to take control of the educational system. The individual states began losing control of the educational system that existed in their state. The Secretary of Education began instituting policies that has resulted in sky rocketing cost of education and an overall reduction in educational quality. The United States educational system that had once produced the world’s highest quality work force has degraded into a system that now ranks toward the bottom of the industrialized counties.

The National Guard in Arkansas rejected 30% of its applicants last year due to poor results of the required screening test for entry into the reserve armed forces. The math scores of the applicant’s were particularly low. The military does not have a very difficult testing system and even then the overall test results were alarmingly low. This nation will be incapable of having a well-trained work force if those being educated are unable to pass a simple military entry examination. The future of this nation will be in great economic and military peril if the youth of today or not properly educated to face the problems of tomorrow.

The solution to our educational problem lies in the past. Returning the control and responsibility of education back to the state legislatures will allow this nation to rebuild the same quality of trained workers that this country once enjoyed. The federalist educational structure stresses social justice concepts while the state-run educational system stresses reading, writing, and arithmetic. Contrary to the socialist thinking the federal bureaucrats do not care more about the education of this nations youth than the states and parents. It is time once again for America to return to the wisdom of the past and let the states determine how to educate our children.

What do you think America? It’s something for you to ponder over.

Value of Competition

Many worthwhile values have been perceived to be inherent in sports participation, yet they are not accessible automatically to everyone who participates. There are values that are not only worthwhile to pursue but need to be made available and accessible to more youth. It’s not a matter of saturating a community with organized sports leagues or merely upgrading physical education programs in the schools. Many youngsters, including many who participate do not really benefit from sports for a variety of reasons but at least in part because of the “win-at-all costs” concepts prevalent today. Participation in sports should be a vehicle for all-around personal growth and the development of a positive self-image. For participation in sports to be a growth experience the concept of “winning must be put into its proper perspective. There are winners and there are “winners”. Everyone needs to “win” sometimes if he or she is to gain satisfaction from any sport. Winning can however, be broadened to include progress on many levels. Each individual can learn to set their own personal goals and define “winning” in their own personal way.

Coaching styles should be directed in such a way as to develop the skills and attitudes that help an individual to feel in charge of their own life and to feel like a winner. An approach is needed which provides the essential experiences which not only make sports values more accessible, but provides the motivation to participate in the sport, learn the necessary skills, and develop the self-esteem necessary to approach life with confidence — and that’s what it’s all about. An important issue has to do with how children perceive themselves. If they have a very weak perception of the power they have over their life, or believe that they are dependent people, at the whims of their environment, then we need to strengthen and encourage the perception that they can affect many things in their life through the efforts which they put forth. By trying, by thinking, by extending their best effort, they can affect what happens to them in their life. If my perception is, “I can’t do anything,”: then my attitude is “why try?” and my motivation is zero and all the capabilities in the world, all the skills in the world, will be useless.

On the other hand, if my perception is “I can do something,” then my attitude is to try and my motivation is high and even if I don’t have the skills or capabilities, as long as the perception stays alive I will innovate, try, work and ultimately develop the capabilities I need to achieve.

Sports programs can provide an important ingredient in developing an environment that cultivates three basic perceptions:

1. I am a capable person who can do things for myself.

2. I am an important, contributing part of things greater than myself.

3. I have the power to influence what happens to me in my life.

Of course this means that the adults who work in this environment must understand these perceptions and how they are developed. In creating this environment you must make sure that youth are involved because they want to be. They need to be appreciated for themselves and taken seriously as a person. They need to be listened to. There has to be an effort made to make sure youth are not asked for more than they have been prepared to deliver. Youth need to be perceived as having a significant role to play in life and a major purpose of the program is that they will achieve a realization of that purpose if they stay with the program. Everyone (youth, leaders, and parents) needs to support one another. Unfortunately, there are many who work with competitive sports programs who are not trained or who do not believe in the principles that will help youth to grow and develop. Coaches need to have technical expertise in the sport and work at the application of their expertise according to effective principles of teaching sports skills, teamwork and individual growth and development. Coaches need to be effective counselors.

They need to be dedicated to the idea of helping each individual to achieve on what ever level each is capable of through the utilization of physical skill instruction and the application of principles pertaining to the development of positive perceptions and positive self-image. Children who have the greatest possibilities for top athletic performance and in life itself are those whose parents pay particular attention to the child’s upbringing (in all aspects) during the first seven years. Athletic performance, as well as success in life therefore, begins the day the child is born. As early as six months to two years children can be provided with activity and recreation experiences such as a beginning water adjustment and learning to swim. Not with the purpose in mind of aiming at future Olympic competition but as an ideal form of fun, relaxation and physical conditioning throughout life. If a youth is interested, he or she may be encouraged to get involved in a competitive experience. Sports programs should take into consideration all those who desire or might desire to begin preparation for “making the team” by fostering and working with community programs which teach basic athletic skills at all levels. Ideally, a child develops his or her athletic ability while progressing up through various levels of advancement. Adequately skilled staff at all levels give students every opportunity for making the team. We want to encourage the type of continuity necessary to develop excellence through a comprehensive and progressive program. A child’s aspirations should be directed toward certain goals in life.

Whatever he or she plans to be “when he or she grows up”, experiences along the way should encourage the striving for excellence (not necessarily perfection) – never mediocrity. Setting the goal for participation on a competitive team may open up the way for a valuable learning experience, developing desirable attitudes; learning new skills; developing dedication, self-discipline, self-denial, and physical fitness, attributes lacking in many of this nation’s youth and adults alike. Over the long haul, it’s striving for excellence that counts. Teachers and coaches who are most concerned about personal development – the development of desirable attitudes, and winning as a by-product (in that order) – teach, develop and enrich the youngster. He learns the price he must pay in hard work, determination, and frustration, whether he or she becomes a champion or competes for personal pleasure. The experience youngsters have will condition their mind, as well as their body for a more positive existence. Teachers and coaches who are sensitive to this overall philosophy and who can relate to youngsters, especially ages twelve and under where guidance, empathy and genuine love are of primary importance, are worth their weight in gold (and most assuredly would not be paid what they are worth).

An athlete conditions his or her body physiologically for greater physical efforts by progressively increasing the physical stress, combined with proper habits of nutrition, sleep, etc.. As the body adapts to the stress of short, easy workouts, the athlete increases the amount of stress by doing longer, harder workouts. He must also condition himself psychologically in a similar manner. In the crucial transition period of increasing competitive drive, the child needs a compassionate coach who displays more than the ability to be well organized and a thorough knowledge of the sport, important as these factors are in the effective coach. A coach should not be merely be ambitious and able to get good results but also know how to handle and understand children. A coach working with children during their formative years can do a great deal to develop desirable or undesirable attitudes. The children under such guidance unconsciously adopt the attitudes the coach displays. This applies not only during workout sessions and other team functions, but also in the type of personal relationship the coach develops with each individual youth.

Most athletes develop a strong loyalty to their coach and have confidence in his or her ability. It is important, therefore, that a coach this ability, but also that they have a conviction of the value and dignity of the individual. Justified confidence is the cornerstone of any program. An over-critical parent who questions the coach’s ability and methods can undermine this confidence. Coaches who must constantly protect themselves from the criticism the team’s parents are in danger of losing much of their capacity to coach effectively. Coaches make errors in judgement just as we all do; compassion and understanding on the part of the parents is a necessary prerequisite for a successful program. Parents must clearly understand that the pressure on coaches to “win-at-all-costs” comes from parents. In working with youth in the community or in organized school athletic programs, the growth and development of each individual child MUST be more important to everyone concerned than the numbers on any scoreboard. The Objectives of Sport

1. To provide opportunities for social and emotional development.
2. To furnish a wholesome and worthwhile physical and recreational outlet.
3. To provide opportunities to learn sportsmanship and develop awareness of team cooperation.
4. To provide an educational environment.
5. To provide opportunities to learn good health habits.
6. To provide training and competition that will aid in the development of worthwhile attitudes.
7. To provide a wide base of experience for all and not just the highly skilled.
8. To provide opportunities for developing good working habits and self-evaluation.

These objectives are met by having properly supervised and organized practices and competitive experiences with opportunity for team functions not limited just to competition. A coach must be able to develop the proper types of practices and competitive experiences that correspond to the level, skill, and scope of achievement of the various ages and abilities on the team or within an individual’s ability. A Coach needs to be willing to teach team members to set goals in other aspects of their life such as school and establishing good health habits. Activities need to be organized in such a way as to maximize participation in competently developed practices and competitive opportunities, with tensions minimized and development within the scope and good sequential development of all team members. Nowhere in the list of objectives, is the development of national champions or a winning team mentioned. Mediocrity should be no one’s goal – everyone should strive for excellence. However, the real winner in sports is often not the winner of the race, for he or she may be achieving that goal at the cost of failure to attain some of the other goals available in such a program, which may be more important.

It must always be kept in the forefront of one’s mind that the only justification of any sports program is that it exists for the benefit of the child’s long-term development not for the fleeting contents of the scoreboard. The question of children’s readiness for competition has to be answered on an individual basis. Even more, it depends on the wisdom of parents and coaches to make competitive sports ready for children. I cannot think that the agony of one child’s defeat can be the thrill of another’s victory, or that winning is the only reward and losing is punishment. Children and psychologists know this to be untrue. The drive to tackle physical barriers and, later, to compare one’s ability with others is a natural part of a child’s development, vital in forming feelings of competence and a secure self-identity. All are key ingredients for competitiveness and self-motivation in sports–and doesn’t have to come at someone else’s expense. Learning to win and to lose are parts of the same process.

Parents and coaches need to be able to conduct a dialogue helping to develop guidelines to make informed choices — not whether competitive sports are good or bad, but what kinds of sports, under what circumstances, help or hinder what types of personal growth in which specific children. This is why it is so important to take time to know and understand the child and to design an approach to that individual when it comes to teaching and training for a particular sport. It is hard to debate that winning is important, but children are more important. In 1979 two groups, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed a Bill of Rights for Young Athletes A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR YOUNG ATHLETES

Each child should have:

1. The right to participate in sports.
2. The right to participate at a level commensurate with their maturity and ability.
3. The right to have qualified adult leadership.
4. The right to play as a child and not as an adult.
5. The right to share in the leadership and decision making of their sports participation.
6. The right to participate in safe and healthy environments.
7. The right to proper preparation for participation in sports.
8. The right to an equal opportunity to strive for success.
9. The right to be treated with dignity.
10. The right to have fun in Sports.

Adults can make it impossible for young people to learn how to cooperate by developing a climate of cooperation within a competitive experience. Young people will face enough competition in their life. In fact, adults should work to control some of the intense competition that young people may face. Children under the age of 12 should not be forced to deal with a “win at all costs” philosophy in any organized competitive team sport. Sports programs for youth need to adhere to the following rules:

1. Anyone who wants to play can play.
2. Each participant plays an equal amount of time.
3. No awards are given for winning a game but for: Participation, Meeting personal or team goals, and Effort.

Young people need good recreation programs. They do not need to deal with the pressures of winning in order to build the ego of the coach, parents, or youth leaders. During middle or late adolescence they are much better able to deal with that type of pressure. But if they are not prepared for it by being allowed to develop free of that intense pressure, severe personality deterioration can occur. This same problem occurs in classrooms where teachers assign grades through the use of a normal curve. There is absolutely no justification for such a practice and parents should see to it that such practices halt. Schools should use a system of criterion referenced grading. Here the criteria for receiving a certain grade are specified at the beginning of the course. They should be challenging, but if every student meets the criteria for an “A” grade then every student in the course should receive an “A” grade. To just say that only 10% may receive an “A” and 10% must fail is the height of educational stupidity. MYTHS ABOUT COMPETITION.

Adults must make sure that they do not use competition as the sole method of motivating young people. Youth should not be measured by or compared to others. Each young person should be taught to measure their own progress based on the goals that they have set for themselves. It is very easy to fall into the trap of using competition to motivate. There are even fairly well developed sets of myths that support this approach. MYTH 1: Our society is highly competitive and children must be taught to succeed in a “survival of the fittest” world. Many advocates of competition insist that schools and homes must emphasize a dog-eat-dog theory of survival in the occupational world. To be better than the Joneses is the deepest desire of such individuals. Yet the truth is that the vast majority of human interaction, in our society as well as in all other societies, is not competitive, but cooperative. We are a social species. Cooperation is a biological necessity for humans. Without cooperation, no group, no family, no organization would be able to exist. Even in fighting wars and conducting competitive activities, there are vast underpinnings of cooperative agreements concerning how the competition or conflict will be conducted and the ways in which antagonists can express their hostility toward each other. There can be no competition without underlying cooperation. A study of social psychology suggests that competition is a very, very small part of interacting with other individuals in our society and probably not a very important type of human interaction. MYTH 2: Achievement, success, outstanding performance, superhuman effort, the rise of the great leader, drive, ambition, and motivation depend upon competing with others. The appeal of this myth to persons who wish to see greatness is overwhelming. Where is the great person who will set the world straight and show us a better way of life?

The truth is, however that higher achievement does not take place within an environment of forced competition. Performance can actually go down under competitive goal structures, and a person who is superior in one situation may be markedly inferior in another. The use of competition will, under most conditions, decrease the quality of a person’s work and will in no way determine who is the best person to achieve under a variety of conditions. Competitive motivation interferes with one’s capacity for the adaptive problem solving necessary in dealing with complex issues with others. The only children who are motivated by competition are those who believe they have a good chance of winning. Persons do not exert effort to achieve the impossible. Competition is threatening and discouraging to those who believe they cannot win, and many children will withdraw psychologically or physically or only half try in competitive situations. Children are motivated when a goal is desirable, possible, challenging, concrete, and requires positive interaction with others. A competitive goal structure does not affect any of those variables in a positive way unless the child believes he has an equal chance of winning. The whole area of intrinsic motivation shows that motivation does not depend upon competition. Even in extrinsic motivation situations, competition will exist only when there is a limited amount of the reinforcer (it cannot be shared with everyone), and when every child believes he has a chance to win. As children grow, parents need to foster and encourage the child’s ability to deal with others in a cooperative way. Having an appropriate set of rules to follow and being helped to gain effective communication skills are two very important component parts of this process. An additional element has to do with the feelings of acceptance and the closeness as well as the emotional relationship that exists between parents and children. Children must be helped to feel accepted without conditions by both parents. There is probably no set of skills more important to a human being than the skills of cooperative interaction. The vast majority of human interaction is cooperative in nature. Without cooperation among individuals, no group, family, organization, or school would be able to exist. Without high levels of cooperation there would be no coordination of behavior. No two individuals could communicate with each other or interact without cooperating to form a common language and agreed upon forms for behavior. Occupations, education, exchange of goods and services, or any other type of coordinated human action would not exist without cooperation. Cooperation is the most important and most basic form of human interaction and the skills of cooperating successfully are some of the most important skills a person needs to master. Competition in various forms is also an integral part of our lives, and yet most do not fully understand the positive and negative consequences of it. We have for too long ignored some of the destructive elements of competition and have also failed to teach the necessary skills for effective cooperation. Much current research seems to indicate that certain forms of competition in current vogue in sports, classrooms and in the family have a tendency to create environments which are destructive. Perhaps one of the reasons why competition is overused and even has destructive results when used appropriately is because children are not taught effective cooperation skills first. Children must feel good enough about themselves to be able to decide whether or not they want to compete in a given situation. Many feel that they have no choice and that in order to be accepted, or to be a “winner” they must compete. They need to be able to see participation as a value in itself and have the communication skills necessary to be able to participate in an effective way. To compete or not to compete should be a clear personal choice.

Recognizing Navigational Tools For the Future of Education

I have to laugh when I think of the times I watched the television program, “Flash Gordon,” as he putted through outer space in his make-believe space ship, talking on his make-believe wireless radio, and dressed in his make-believe space suit. Well, I’m not laughing anymore. Today we have shuttled astronauts into outer space, have men living in a Space Station, have space suites that take your temperature and gauge your heart rate, and wireless communication devices that send pictures to Planet Earth. Far fetched from reality? Not anymore. As we speak, the future is starring us in the face, waiting to see how we will promote her in the next 5-10 years.

How did science-fiction become reality over the past 50 years? Let’s consider one aspect of innovation: the learning environment – post secondary education. Why post secondary education, you may ask? As post secondary education population increases, programs to accommodate students will develop into curriculum that affords students the freedom to create and design systems they toy with on a daily basis. Are there risks involved in this adaptation process? There are risks involved when change occurs, and leadership should be aware of how to diplomatically confront the risk areas that could slow down progress. Some of the risks that could be encountered due to change are:

o Systems risks

o Subsystem risks

o People

o Financial/economic risks

o Societal/Cultural risks

If communication between systems, subsystems, people, and cultures within the organizational environment has established a strong communication system, risks factors will be at a minimum as long as the creative teams are honest and upfront about their reservations to change.

Let’s look into the future through ‘futureoculers’ and see how the universe of learning can be brought into the present. I want to introduce to you five (5) key trends that I believe affect the current learning environment, can create change, and renovate the perspective of learners and educators for students of the future. These trends could be the key in creating a new perspective in post secondary education for an institution. The key trends are:

o Competitive classroom learning environments – campus on-site/online/distant

o Increase in technological tools

o Teaching/learning environments-more hands on

o Global expansion capability-internal and external

o Student input in the creative learning process

Navigational Systems

Before the five (5) key trends are defined, there needs to be an acknowledgement of how the trends will be supported and regulated through a changing environment. According to de Kluyver, and Pearce, II, having the right systems and processes/subsystems enhances organizational effectiveness and facilitates coping with change. Misaligned systems and processes can be a powerful drag on an organization’s ability to adapt. Therefore, check what effect, if any, current systems and processes are likely to have on a company’s ability to implement a particular strategy is well advised. Support systems such as a company’s planning, budgeting, accounting, information and reward and incentive systems can be critical to successful strategy implementation. Although they do not by themselves define a sustainable competitive advantage, superior support systems help a company adapt more quickly and effectively to changing requirements. A well-designed planning system ensures that planning is an orderly process, gets the right amount of attention by the right executives, and has a balanced external and internal focus. Budgeting and accounting systems are valuable in providing accurate historical data, setting benchmarks and targets, and defining measures of performance. A state-of-the-art information system supports all other corporate systems, and it facilitates analysis as well as internal and external communications. Finally, a properly designed reward and incentive system is key to creating energy through motivation and commitment. A process (or subsystem) is a systematic way of doing things. Processes can be formal or informal; they define organization roles and relationships, and they can facilitate or obstruct change. Some processes or subsystems look beyond immediate issues of implementation to an explicit focus on developing a stronger capacity for adapting to change. Processes/subsystems aimed at creating a learning organization and at fostering continuous improvement are good examples. As an example, processes or subsystems are functional and maintain the operation of the system; the system may be Student Services and the subsystem may be the Financial Aid office or Admissions. Subsystems can be more in depth in relation to office operations, which involves employee positions and their culture; financial advisors, academic advisors, guidance counselors. These operations are functions performed on the human level and could have a positive or negative impact in the development of key trends. If employees are valued and rewarded for their dedication and service, the outcome will be responsible, committed employees for the success of their subsystem.

The Navigator

Every navigator needs a map, a plan, a driver to give direction to for a successful trip. In this case, the driver is several elements:

o Service integrity, reputation

o Affordability with an open door concept

Hughes and Beatty relate drivers as Strategic drivers; those relatively few determinants of sustainable competitive advantage for a particular organization in a particular industry or competitive environment (also called factors of competitive success, key success factors, key value propositions). The reason for identifying a relatively small number of strategic drivers for an organization is primarily to ensure that people become focused about what pattern of inherently limited investments will give the greatest strategic leverage and competitive advantage. Drivers can change over time, or the relative emphasis on those drivers can change, as an organization satisfies its key driver. In the case of post secondary education, drivers help measure success rates in the area of course completion ratio, student retention, and transfer acceptance into a university and/or the successful employment of students. Because change is so rampant in education, it is wise for leadership to anticipate change and develop a spirit of foresight to keep up with global trends.

Drivers can help identify the integrity of internal and external functions of systems and subsystems, as mentioned previously, by identifying entity types that feed the drivers’ success. They are:

o Clientele Industry – external Market – feeder high schools, cultural and socio-economic demographic and geographic populations

– Competitors – local and online educational systems

– Nature of Industry – promote a learning community

– Governmental influences – licensed curriculum programs supported by local, state, and federal funds

– Economic and social influences – job market, employers, outreach programs

o College Planning and Environment – internal

– Capacity – Open door environment

– Products and services – high demand curriculum programs that meet, local, state, and federal high demand employment needs

– Market position – Promote on and off-campus activities that attract clientele

– Customers – traditional and non-traditional credit and non-credit students

– Systems, processes, and structures – trained staff and state-of-the art technical systems

– Leadership – integrity-driven, compassionate leadership teams

– Organizational culture – promote on-campus activities promoting a proactive environment for students

According to Hughes and Beatty, these functions can assimilate into the Vision, Mission, and Values statements to define the key strategic drivers for developing successful environments.

Navigating Towards a Destination

With the recognition of systems, subsystems, and drivers, we can see our destination in the distance and their value in building a foundation to support the five key trends. The five (5) key trends will help define strategic thinking in a global perspective; the understanding of futuristic thinking that encompasses: risk taking, imagination, creativity, communication among leadership, and a perspective of how the future can fit into today’s agenda. The five (5) key trends are:

1. Competitive Classroom Learning Environments – campus on-site/online/distant

One of the major attractions in education today is to accommodate a student at every level: academically, financially, and socially. These three environments are the mainstream of why one school is selected over another school. Today there is a change in tide. Students who once competed for seats in post secondary schools are becoming a valued asset as post secondary schools compete between each other for students. High schools are no longer the only feeder into colleges. Today, students are coming from home schools, career schools, charter schools, high risk schools, private schools, religious schools, work environments, and ATB tested environments. So, how can the educational system attract students and keep them motivated in an interactive learning environment they can grow in? Wacker and Taylor writes that the story of every great enterprise begins with the delivery of a promise, and every product a great enterprise makes is nothing but an artifact of the truth of that promise. So what great enterprise can be created to attract new students? By creating learning/teaching environments, post secondary schools can prepare students to meet the demands of everyday life and their life in the community. Schools can consider incorporating a learning model to enable professors and/or community leaders/entrepreneurs to team teach in the classroom/online environment. Team Teaching will contribute valuable views into the learning environment, as well as, give students the working community’s real-time perspective. In an excerpt from “The University at the Millennium: The Glion Declaration” (1998) quoted by Frank H.T. Rhodes, President Emeritus of Cornell University, for the Louisiana State Board of Regents report, Dr. Rhodes wrote that universities are learning communities, created and supported because of the need of students to learn, the benefit to scholars of intellectual community, and the importance to society of new knowledge, educated leaders, informed citizens, expert professional skills and training, and individual certification and accreditation. Those functions remain distinctive, essential contributions to society; they form the basis of an unwritten social compact, by which, in exchange for the effective and responsible provision of those services, the public supports the university, contributes to its finance, accepts its professional judgment and scholarly certification, and grants it a unique degree of institutional autonomy and scholarly freedom. To experience education is learning, to exercise knowledge is freedom, and to combine them is wisdom.

2. Teaching/learning environments-more hands on

As post secondary educators relinquish hands-on-chalk-board teaching styles and establish group teaching models, students will develop a greater understanding of the theme of the class environment as well as the professor in developing an understanding of the class cultures’ stance in learning. Educators are discovering that inclusive learning styles are revamping the teaching model and becoming a positive influence in retention, better grades, camaraderie among students, and a greater respect for the professor. As professors learn to develop relationships with students, interaction will transpire, lecturing will be condensed into a time frame and interactive learning between students and professor will enhance the classroom environment.

3. Global expansion capability-internal and external

Students are surrounded by virtual global environments or are impacted by global elements: the clothes they wear are made overseas, the games they play on their electronic toys are created overseas, the war games they play are created to identify with global war games, etc. The only draw back to this scenario is a truly global learning experience. What they are seeing is not what they are getting; a real time global experience. James Morrison writes that in order to meet unprecedented demand for access, colleges and universities need to expand their use of IT tools via online learning, which will enable them to teach more students without building more classrooms. Moreover, in order for professors to prepare their pupils for success in the global economy, they need to ensure that students can access, analyze, process, and communicate information; use information technology tools; work with people from different cultural backgrounds; and engage in continuous, self-directed learning. Christopher Hayter writes that post secondary schools need to be ‘Globally Focused’ for the 21st century that includes a global marketplace and be internationally focused. This means ensuring that skills needed to compete in a global marketplace are taught and that the mastery of such skills by students is internationally benchmarked. It may also mean a new emphasis on learning languages and understanding other cultures and the business practices of other countries.

More and more businesses are expanding into the global marketplace, opening corporate offices in foreign countries and hiring and training employees from those countries. Are our college graduates being trained to assimilate into cultures and work side-by-side with employees who may not be able to relate to them? Developing curriculums accommodating social and cultural entities will propel a student into higher realms of learning and create change in the individual student as well as support their career for their future.

4. Student input in the creative learning process

Professors are the gatekeepers in education. However, as Baby Boomer Professors begin to exit the educational workforce and head down the path of retirement, younger generation professors will take their place bringing with them innovative teaching methods that can expand the learning process. Are post secondary educators equipped to prepare for the onslaught of younger generation educators needed to be trained for this mega shift in the workforce? Most important, will those professors caught between Boomers and Xer’s be willing to adapt to change in the education industry to accommodate incoming generations? I believe younger generations will impact even the technological industry and challenge change that will equip them for their future. Previous generation students slowly adapted to technological advances. The good news is change can occur, and educators can utilize life experiences from students familiar with technology tools and create fascinating learning environments.

5. Increase in Technological tools

In an Executive Summary written for the National Governors Association in a report called “Innovation America – A Compact for Post Secondary Education,” the report reads that while post secondary education in the United States has already achieved key successes in the innovation economy, the public post secondary education system overall risks falling behind its counterparts in many other nations around the world-places where there have been massive efforts to link post secondary education to the specific innovation needs of industries and regions. According to this report, American post secondary education is losing ground in the race to produce innovative and imaginative realms in education. Can this trend be counteracted? With the cooperation of post secondary educational institutions within each community, leadership can create co-op learning environments that can be supported through e-learning and online teaching that can provide virtual reality technology to enhance real-time learning environments. Through Business Development operations currently established in post secondary institutions, a shared technology program can be created that will afford students access to ongoing virtual business environment settings and prepare students with knowledge and insight into a specific industry. As students prepare to transfer, graduate, or seek employment after completing a certification program, virtual experience in the job market can help a student assimilate education and work experience to their advantage. This concept could challenge Human Resource departments to create new mandates in accepting virtual-experienced college graduates as they enter the workforce.

Reaching the Destination

As Flash Gordan lands his Spacecraft on unclaimed territory, you imagine yourself slowly turning the handle to the spaceship with your spaceship gloves, opening the door with explosive anticipation. Your heart racing, sweat running down your brow, and your eyes at half mask waiting to see a new world; a world filled with beauty and potential when suddenly, the television shuts off and your Mom is standing in front of you telling you to get up and go clean your room and stop daydreaming! Ah, Mom, you say to yourself, you just destroyed my imaginary planet! Oh, by the way, did I mention that this was you as a child growing up and using your imagination?

Now that I’ve created a visual world of potential for you can you see the power within to see the future from the present and help others visualize the potential benefits of change in their lives and the lives of others in an organization? T. Irene Sanders states that thinking in pictures helps us link our intuitive sense of events in the world with our intellectual understanding. Now, more than ever, we need to integrate the techniques of imagination and the skill of intuition with our analytic competencies to help us see and understand the complexities that vex us daily. Visualization is the key to insight and foresight-and the next revolution in strategic thinking and planning.

Can you SEE the systems, subsystems, drivers, and the five (5) trends with a visual perspective in a post secondary educational environment? This is the nature of Strategic Thinking, which can or is taking place in your organization; a cognitive process required for the collection, interpretation, generation, and evaluation of information and ideas that shape an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage. The need to stay abreast of progress, technology, and global opportunities will be the change in drivers that will validate the creative elements needed to stay attuned in a global perspective. The author’s intention of introducing Flash Gordan into the paper was to create a visual image and demonstrate imagination fulfillment to a present day reality. Is there anything out there that cannot be done if it is fine tuned and prepared for a service of excellence? What are the risks involved by not exercising strategic thinking in the elements mentioned in this article?

Education is not about the present it’s about the future. The five (5) trends are only a beginning adventure into an unknown space. Do you remember when you were in college and wished things were done differently, be more exciting, more adventurous? Consider the age groups becoming proficient in technology. Will post secondary educators be prepared to teach/instruct future students? Educators must invite strategic thinking into the system and take the risks needed to build post secondary education back into the global futuristic race of achievement. In an article written by Arthur Hauptman entitled “Strategies for Improving Student Success in Post secondary Education” (07), he concluded his report listing four elements:

1. While there is a growing rhetorical commitment to student success, the reality is that policies often do not mirror the rhetoric. Whether intentional or not, policies in many states are at best benign and often antithetical to improving student success.

2. Policy focus in most states has been to lower tuitions or the provision of student financial aid. This ignores the importance of ensuring adequate supply of seats to accommodate all students as well as providing a proper set of incentives that encourage institutions to recruit, enroll, and graduate the students who are most at-risk.

3. Some progress has been made in developing contemporary practices that have great potential for providing the right incentives in place of redress this traditional imbalance. But much more needs to be done in this regard.

4. Efforts to create incentives for students to be better prepared and for institutions to enroll and graduate more at-risk students have the potential for greatly improving rates of retention and degree completion.

Can the five trends be a stepping stone in rebuilding or strengthening the weakest link in the system? The evidence of deficiency is public, and that’s a good start. Educators have the choice to rebuild and prepare for the advancement of our future; our students. I encourage you to take the five (5) trends and see how they can accommodate your institute of higher learning.

Choice and Competition in Education Markets