General Article

Conflict in the Classroom: Recognize Its Potential and Manage It

Conflict in the Classroom: Recognize Its Potential and Manage It

The potential for conflict is possible in any classroom environment. If it is not resolved there may be long-term effects on learner productivity, working relationships, and the overall learning environment. Conflict can disrupt the class when there are opposing views, opinions, needs, and beliefs, which in turn may lead to opposition and negative reactions. It is also possible that conflict can reach a productive conclusion when it has been resolved through meaningful interactions that result in stronger working relationships.

There are several cues that conflict may occur in the class, including growing tension, increased vocal volume or hand gestures, a recurring disagreement, or personal differences that prevent the instructor and learner from working together. There is a difference between a conflict and a dispute. Disputes often involve short-term disagreements about facts, opinions, or beliefs. Conflicts are escalated disagreements that involve perceptual and emotional reactions.

When there is a breakdown in communication it does not mean that a conflict has occurred. A short-term dispute or disagreement can be resolved quickly and if left unresolved it may become a deeply rooted problem that results in conflict. Resolving conflict begins by moving past emotions and initial reactions to find a common language that addresses the needs, interests, or demands of both parties.

During conflict resolution it is helpful to separate facts from feelings so that the heart of an issue is addressed and a plan for resolution developed. An issue may occur as a result of something being taken out of context or some form of miscommunication. Creating a plan of action is helpful for any conflict situation, whether real or perceived, as conflict engages the minds and emotions of both parties. A successful conflict resolution plan should work towards addressing issues and restoring a productive working relationship.

An instructor can take the lead during conflict resolution discussions and model dynamic communication. It is important to understand what the issue is really about and what it would take to resolve it to the satisfaction of the instructor and the learner. The results of this communication depend not only on the resolution plan but also on the sincerity expressed and the choice of words utilized. Having a focus on issues instead of feelings, while working together, is likely to resolve conflict. The most effective resolution is one that is agreed upon and accepted by both parties, one that negotiated through a process of collaboration.


Business Architecture – The Power of Knowledge Standardisation and Re-Use

One thing everyone on our team has noticed is that whilst the concept of business architecture is not new, it is not exactly in common use either.

We have also noticed that where it is practiced, to a demonstrably good effect, tends to be in the larger national or international organisations, who are often the leaders in their frequently means that, as they have deep pockets and ‘special’ needs, that they typically build their business architectures completely from scratch and to employ expensive consultants to help them do it.

There is nothing what-so-ever wrong with this, but not that many organisations in the grand scheme of things can afford the luxury of doing this work from scratch such that it is tailored 100% to their exact needs. This is a shame as we believe most organisations would benefit from the coordination and common understanding that building and having a business architecture makes possible.

Too many organisations feel that this sort of up-front outlay on ‘thinking things through’ is something they cannot all too often the truth of the matter is just the can’t afford not to do it!

The situation as we see it is simple. The largest, best and most profitable organisations can afford to build business architectures and they benefit accordingly. Smaller or less profitable organisations who could arguably benefit even more from the discipline and structure a business architecture can bring cannot or don’t feel that they can afford it and suffer accordingly.

So the problem from our perspective seems to be how to bridge this affordability gap.

We feel the answer, as has been the case in many other business contexts related to timescale and affordability issues, is to pre-package and re-use the knowledge through standardisation.

There are many examples through history of the winning ways of standardisation, including:

Language, spelling and punctuation so we can communicate more readily;

Mechanical fasteners (e.g. nuts & bolts) to be interchangeable across uses;

Railway lines to enable trains to run on one another’s networks;

Controls of automobiles so we can safely drive different models of car;

Electronic chip modules so that they can be easily used in many different designs.

We could list many more examples, but the above are probably sufficient to make the point about the benefits of pre-packaging and re-use through standardisation!

Yes, standardisation and re-use does mean accepting an approach that is not 100% tailored to you from the outset……although you can still work in this direction if you really feel the and more importantly can cost-justify it.

However, it also means you can get off to a running start, can take only what you need, can modify / extend only what you need and then get on with the business of the knowledge that you are starting work within an integrated structure in which all the key actors fit together and know their respective roles.

Also, for the benefit of our more skeptical , in our experience, depending on personal initiative and serendipity for this degree of coordination and control is not an equally good alternative!

Therefore we strongly support the use of a generic, cross-industry ‘starter’ business architecture. An architecture that to be sure all or most users will find a need to modify to their needs – i.e. delete parts, add parts, extend parts, modify parts, ignore parts, etc – until it is what you need it to be.

But the difference with this approach is that you now will have to hand a solid foundation on which to construct your own business architecture and not just some blank sheets of paper (or screen) with some modeling rules.

The latter being infinitely where to start, where to stop and how do you know if you are doing it right?

Further, we contend, as we do in most things, that the 80/20 Rule (i.e. Pareto Principle) strongly applies to business transformation initiatives.

When you really think about it why should most organisations, other than out of a form of conceit that they are so ‘special’, need or even want to re-invent the wheel of widely accepted business good practice?

We would argue that roughly 80% (give or take) of what most organisations do can be adequately accomplished in fairly standardised ways……think running a payroll system for instance. So re-creating those things falls into the camp of adding only 20% (or less) of the potential business typically just makes it harder to do things like outsource non-core activities or buy standard software!

Then there is the 20% (again, give or take) of what organisations do that are, and should be, unique to them……think ways particular to you through which you achieve high customer satisfaction rates. You DO NOT want to standardise is what sets you apart and differentiates you from your competition. This is where the 80% (or more) of the potential business value lives.

To us, common sense dictates (or, more accurately, shouts) that you should spend as little time, money or effort on bedding in the standard 80% of things you do every day as you reasonably can. This is so that you can spend as much time, money and effort as possible on the really important 20% that makes your organisation unique and special to your customers and other key stakeholders!

This is, by the way, quite a powerful argument for NOT undertaking to do 100% tailored business architectures as brought to you by very expensive consultants. It does in fact (surprise, surprise) support our view that starting from something that is already pretty in some cases good enough, and modifying it as your situation and opportunities dictate is a very pragmatic, cost-effective and attractive way to proceed.

We truly and sincerely believe that the only thing most organisations really need to give up to benefit from our approach is any conceit they may have that everything they do is ‘special’ and cannot be standardised or based on the re-use of knowledge to any significant extent.

We have news for those who think this by the way.

In our extensive experience of advising on business transformations and business architectures to organisations around the just ain’t so. Not even in the largest and most specialised of global players!

Department Of Education Website

Knowledge Is More Important Than Color

The ugly birth of racism among different races brought about a destiny killing complex that unfortunately still lives deep in the minds of many people today. No matter how much we try to either pretend or ignore its existence, the spirit of racism is very much alive among our societies.
Perpetrated, unfortunately, by the body that should have been fighting against it, racism has been the biggest blow to a man’s confidence and identity.
Traces of this vice can be found among people of different ethnic cultures but the biggest has been between white people and black people. For centuries now, white people have been taught and trained that they are a superior race to the blacks, and black people, through the slave trade that resulted from this teaching, have also been taught and trained that they are inferior to the white race.
This brain-washing has been so deep-seeded that to progress beyond this point; we will need a re-brain-washing in the right way, a retraining of our minds.
It’s not an easy job to simply tell someone, who has gone through this brain washing and thinks that anything black is bad while everything white is good, to tell them that there is nothing wrong with black, would almost take a rebirth of their mind to accept. Some people actually attribute the underdevelopment of Africa to the colour of the skin of the African man. Is the poverty in Africa inherent in the black man’s skin? Is the black man under a curse to live in perpetual poverty?
From my childhood, whenever I saw the picture of the devil, he was painted black, and Jesus was always painted white skinned. All the angels in my junior bible stories book were white, while their counterparts, the demons, were all black. The English language even has terminologies such as: “black sheep”, meaning “a member of a family or group who is considered undesirable or disreputable – really a disgrace”.
Some of the meanings of phrases used with the word “black” as quoted from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language are as follows and I quote:
“Black deeds” means: evil and wicked deeds.
“Black thoughts” means: cheerless and depressingly gloomy thoughts.
“He gave me a black look”means: his look was marked by anger and sullenness.
“A black day” means: a day full of disaster and calamity.
Other phrases used with the word “white” are as follows and I quote:
“That’s very white of you.” Means you are decent, honourable and dependable.
“White magic” is magic that is without malice and harmless.
“White” also means auspicious and fortunate, morally pure and innocent.
To “black out” means to lose consciousness while to “white out” means to correct errors.
The list goes on and on.
With this background from infancy, reprogramming your mind to think differently is not an easy bit.
Our society has been staged to uplift the white race and down tread the black race. This is why slave trade was considered “normal”, the black man was not regarded as a complete human, and this was even preached in church. The church which was supposed to fight the scourge was actually in the forefront promoting this evil act in the name of the Lord.
To this day, when an indigenous black man sees a white man, he feels like he has met an object worth of respect because he’s been trained to think that way; that the white man is above him; and likewise, the white man feels superior when in the presence of a black man. Many white men were taught and trained that the black man is supposed to work for them and not the other way round.
When I was growing up, whenever I did something that my mom liked, she showered me with praises, and this is how she’d go:
“Oh what a brilliant boy you are, you are a child of a white man, you are a white man, your skin deceives us all!!” she’d go on and on bragging about how “white” I was and I’d feel really great and proud.
On the other hand, when I messed up, black was all over me; “you black African boy, what’s wrong with you??” she’d scream; this was the time you hated to be black. I wasn’t the only one who had this experience in my childhood, but this upbringing unconsciously trains you that to be black is bad, you should have been born white.
Apart from the slave trading of black people of Africa, those that escaped and remained in their countries were subjected to the tragic effects of colonialism. The segregation, the mistreatment and torture from this epidemic further cemented the inferior complexes in the minds of the black people. Their lives became wholly dependent on the colonial masters that ruled them for years.
And when they could no longer manage themselves without the help of their masters, they were finally given the so called independence.
You cannot be truly independent until your thinking is independent.
The black people of Africa were colonized to think like their masters, to speak the language of their masters, to think that they were not able to rule themselves, they were colonized to think that their masters were smarter than them. They were trained to depend on their masters, and when this was eventually enshrined in their black minds, they got their independence.
In essence, the black man in Africa got his independence when he could no longer rule himself effectively. To this day, Africa is still struggling with issues of governance and poverty, not because Africa has no resources, but primarily because it does not have a mind of its own. Africa still economically depends on its colonial masters to a very large extent; the amount of international debt and aid accumulated in many African countries is a direct indication of this dependence and inability for Africa to rule herself effectively. Africa still has its master in the white man; and Africa lives by the economic policies of its master.
However, in spite of all this, you cannot continue to blame the past for your present and your future misdemeanour. We need to deal with this before we can make any significant progress.
Black people need to know that having an inferior perception of oneself will always cause your mind to function at below average. White people do not have a problem here, it’s the black man that has been looked down upon as having a below average brain, inferior to the white man’s brain.
An inferior self image, will always result into an inferior lifestyle.
To a person with this mindset, it would take a total transformation of their mind to understand that there is no difference between a black man and a white man except for the color of their skin; and that there’s no relationship between your achievements and your race. Unfortunately, your subconscious mind will always resist change from it’s prior training; this is a protection mechanism working in your system. Every person is either brain washed by them selves or by the environment in which they live to believe and think in a certain way. Brain washing can either be positive or negative.
The internet has become the greatest equalizer of all time, information that was once not available to you, is now available to all; the treasures that were once only for the select few, are now let out in the open for all.
There is a very interesting script in the christian bible which says:
Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge and their honorable men are famished and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Isaiah 5:13
The greatest enemy in your life is not your race, neither is it your fellow human being. Anything you cannot change, is not what you are up against – that’s not your enemy.
The greatest enemy in your life is called “ignorance”. What you do not know will always have an upper hand over you.
The text from Isaiah 5:13 above, implies that the main reason you are hungry and in bondage is that you have no knowledge.
Most of Africa fits this description perfectly; “into captivity and famished”.
When slaves were taken from Africa, they were forbidden from learning to read and write, lest they discovered themselves and knew what their masters knew. Have you ever heard of the phrase…
If you want to hide anything from a black man, put it in a book…??
Because Africa, in general, does not have a culture of reading, this prevents the creation of a pool of knowledge within the continent.
Knowledge will give you power to face your future with confidence.
Knowledge will break down those chains of inferior complexes resulting from racism and segregation.
Knowledge is indeed more powerful than color!!
But what is knowledge?
True knowledge is one that starts from knowing yourself first. Even a prince, if he does not know that he is a prince, he will live like a slave. Knowing yourself will direct the course of your life and will determine what you touch, what you study and eventually what you achieve.
Unfortunately, there is no college nor university in the world that offers a course about you and who you are; the greatest university that offers that course is inside you.
The greatest achievers of our time are people who learned how to manage themselves and placed themselves where they could perform and contribute effectively – it is people who knew their strengths, their weaknesses and their value systems. These people know exactly how best they perform and so they do not try to change themselves but rather harness the way they perform.
This is key number one to true success, to a fulfilled life; to happiness… discovering your true self will make your life easier and more enjoyable.
How painful and difficult it is to cut down a tree with a knife – though it looks like the knife might actually get the tree down some day, the job is easier done with an axe because a knife was not built for cutting down trees. But this is how many people are living their lives, pursuing a life for which they were not built and armed, and therefore finding it so difficult.
Are you finding life difficult? Is what you are pursuing too hard for you? Are you enjoying your work or do you dread it the minute you think about it? Are you saddest on Mondays and happiest on Fridays? Perhaps you are a knife which is trying to cut down a forest and the project seems to never coming to an end!! Or maybe you are an axe but you are busy only cutting vegetables and you feel so dissatisfied because your full potential is locked up and unutilized…
Many from the adult population in formal employment, actually don’t find fulfillment and satisfaction in their jobs; and because they have been locked up in the chase to make ends meet, they would not do anything about it apart from enduring the days, and for most, they find weekends as the only time they have to pursue their dreams, and their joy comes from what they do only in two days per week. Under performance in jobs comes primarily from people that are misplaced and only work to earn a living; they work because they have to, not because they enjoy it.
True knowledge of one self, is the beginning of a purposeful and therefore meaningful and enjoyable lifestyle; and knowledge is truly more powerful than color.

General Article

Need Skills? – Continuing Education Courses Are a Fast, Flexible Alternative to Bachelor’s Degrees

Need Skills? – Continuing Education Courses Are a Fast, Flexible Alternative to Bachelor’s Degrees

Kristina Ogilvie already had a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Humanities under her belt when she discovered an unknown talent and passion for graphic design. So rather than begin a four-year Bachelor’s program, she did the smart thing: she enrolled in a continuing education course.

For professionals like Ogilvie who are looking to enter a new field, continuing education classes are an attractive option in a tough economy. Not only are they faster and less expensive than Bachelor’s programs, but they often allow students to continue working while they gain the skills they need to make a career change. (Some courses are even offered online.)

In Ogilvie’s case, this new career will be one in which she can build on the graphic design talent she discovered in her current position as Department Assistant at Northwestern University. To complete graphic design projects that her department needed, Ogilvie taught herself the basics of Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and other essential graphic design programs. She hopes that the survey design course and Adobe Illustrator courses she enrolled in at The School of the Art Institute will take her to the next level.

“With these classes I’ll actually learn everything the tools can do, and how to make things look the way I want them to. I’m basically hoping to improve on what little knowledge I have of the creative suite, as well as think more like a designer and somehow be able to channel the rather far out ideas I usually have into more tangible, realistic designs. ” Ogilvie added.

These skills will also help her compete with other graphic designers in an economy that’s still on its way to recovery. And she’s not the only one using continuing education classes to further her career. A winter 2010 survey of community college presidents showed that enrollment across the country is up from 2009, with a portion of that growth in certificate, workforce and career enhancement programs.

And once she has her certification in hand, Ogilvie will be able to do more than just changer her career. She’ll be able to change her life.

“I’ve always wanted to move overseas, so I’m hoping this will make me a more attractive candidate to employers, and that it will help me get a more lucrative job,” Ogilvie said.

Want to learn more about graphic design programs?

Graphic design careers offer the opportunity to work with a variety of media, color palettes, and fonts whose names you can’t pronounce. They also offer some serious job opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, specialized design services (which includes graphic design) is one of today’s fastest growing industries.

Plus, many graphic design programs can be completed online, which allows you to get the skills you need on your timetable. For more information, check out this graphic design degree programs page.

Current Events In Education

What Is PRINCE2? What Does It Have In Store For Me?

PRINCE 2 is a European Government standard for managing large projects and has been widely adopted as the standard for project management for all types of projects within the private and public sectors. This Training is intended for Project Managers, project management staff, and anyone needing to systematize, plan and control an undertaking using a structured project management approach. The PRINCE2 structure provides the flexibility to set stage boundaries which are appropriate to the needs of the project. The PRINCE2 Processes includes Starting Up a Project, Initiating A Project, Directing A Project and Closing A Project.
PRINCE2 is for:
It is an ideal reference for any individual dealing with project management. An excellent start point for everyone wishing to understand the principles and use of structured project management in any activity. The training is for those with a requirement to learn the basics and terminology of PRINCE2. It is the maximum level qualification and is suitable for those with the need to administer projects within a PRINCE2 environment. The certification is an invaluable advantage to anyone’s career as it augments employment prospects and helps individuals do their jobs more efficiently, becoming an advantage to their employers.
Which PRINCE Provider Should I Adhere?
There are many providers of PRINCE2 training, however are all unique in their own way. Some providers offer online PRINCE2 which tends to have lower grades, as there is no interaction with a live trainer. Some providers offer PRINCE2 training in a classroom with a trainer, which is undoubtedly the best option. We at The Knowledge Academy recommend the latter methodology and hence have the largest public schedule, allowing delegates to get trained on PRINCE2 nationwide, offering the best rate of A� 525 for the full 5 day foundation and practitioner course. This allows Project managers to enhance their project management skills. However, there are no pre-requisites for this course allowing participants from different industries and sectors.

General Article

Counseling Continuing Education: Growing a Base of Knowledge

Counseling Continuing Education: Growing a Base of Knowledge

As anyone involved in the field can tell you, counseling continuing education is vital to grow a base of knowledge that can help patients and move you beyond the basics. Having a thriving and successful practice in any endeavor means learning on a continual basis. The entire industry grows as a result of having professionals who have moved beyond what they learned in their original schooling and have taken the opportunity to intensify their education with classes, workshops, and networking. Those states and private organizations that make no requirements of their counselors as it pertains to furthering their knowledge do not only their professionals a disservice, but their patients as well.

In most states, counseling continuing education is more than a suggestion; it is a requirement. This is not true in all states, however. Even in some states where there are no requirements, private employers will place those requirements on their employees, knowing that it will help raise the standard of therapy provided at the institution. Of course, an unfortunate side effect can occur within those states and organizations that have credit requirements. Rather than use those minimum standards as just that, professionals simply get what they need to stay employed and nothing more. The best professionals in the field see those requirements for what they are-minimums-and move beyond them each and every year.

Every therapy center depends on the knowledge and ability of their staff in order to build a reputation. And a reputation is all any such organization really has. Whether it is a government agency or a private institution, the goal should always be the provide the best care possible. This is an impossible goal to achieve if the staff is not immersing themselves in academics, learning the latest techniques and trends that are being developed around the country and throughout the world. Without this continual learning, the field grows stagnant and patients are no longer likely to make the kind of progress they should be making.

The soft sciences are living fields of study. They cannot exist in a vacuum, only to be read about in stuffy textbooks. What you learned in college ten years ago may be largely obsolete in today’s practice. However, if you never take the time to further your studies, you’ll never know this. There are a number of ways to accomplish counseling classes. Ask your employer or seek out ways to do so, even if it means going well beyond the minimum standards.