5 Myths About Studying Foreign Languages

In today’s multi-cultural world the concept that, the more foreign languages one knows, the better his chances are to make it in live, reigns supreme. There is some merit to this logic, but obtaining a good level of fluency is not as easy as it seems.

To avoid falling victim to popular misconceptions, the easiest way to protect yourself is by getting to know them first. This is why in this article we have presented the most popular myths, of which you have to clear your mind before going in the deep water. Continue reading “5 Myths About Studying Foreign Languages”

Innovative Practices in Education

The traditional method of education is outdated, and everyone can easily see it. We hear the voice of dissatisfied students, teachers and parents more frequently… Ant it seems that the conventional education can’t provide the modern society with optimum knowledge anymore. Therefore, we witness the introduction of new modern practices which are different from the existing principles. Many of those systems still remain at experimental level but the more developed systems show great potential and promising results which are many times better than the results achieved by the traditional methods of education in recent years.

Why are the innovative practices in education so successful?

Many of the currently developed educational programs rely on the alternative approach to the training process. Each of us is so used to the typical image of school – half empty classroom with a boring blackboard, – that any interesting and different approach automatically attracts new followers. It’s very pleasant and productive to spend the lesson under informal conditions, in the form of a conversation with the teacher, isn’t it? As a matter of fact, many modern educational practices are focused on making the education less formal. This greatly stimulates the interaction between the students and the teacher, reduces the psychological stress caused by the teacher’s authority, while the students become more independent and strive for real knowledge, not just high grades.

Countries with innovative educational practices

Many European countries incorporate modern practices into the traditional education. May be that’s one of the reasons why so many young Bulgarians seek education abroad. The possibility of getting a better education outside Bulgaria actually represents a belief that the things are quite different out there. Yes, the things are quite different. The European countries listed below are of the utmost interest for Bulgarian students, not without reason.

Germany

education in Germany

Although some people may doubt that the “strict Germans” can invent something innovative, in recent years the alternative methods of education become increasingly popular in Germany, for example Fachhochschule – a university that offers a huge base of practical knowledge in each specialty it works with. Many of the studies are carried out in the form of workshops, not lectures. Students participate in projects that best match their skills, they have more freedom in their decisions and ideas, and the final result doesn’t matter as long as the student manages to make the most of the practical classes. Fachhochschule has become an example for many schools and universities in Germany, and this method is very popular today, while the traditional education is practiced only in classic universities which have very reputable and prestigious teachers, and simply can afford it.

Estonia

education in Estonia

This is the country that has found a perfect balance between the traditional and alternative education. The established form of education is still lecture but it becomes more and more outdated giving way to more modern methods of education, may be under a certain influence by the neighbouring countries which have achieved a great success using those methods. The group classes become more and more popular, and the creative approaches to problem solving are largely encouraged. Electronic education becomes a basic idea for many schools and universities.

Denmark

education in Denmark

Danish students attend lectures, perform individual studies and prepare individual or group projects. Like in Estonia, the truth also lies somewhere in the middle here. The classic method of attending lectures still works, but the system innovations also work equally well. Starting an individual project is quite a challenge even for the most intelligent student. The projects are selected in such a way as to stimulate fast and precise thinking, interaction and creativity. Presenting a global problem as a study question is a common practice. When we talk about things that we are really interested in, we tend to think and talk more, and to analyze the words that we and our conversation partners speak. The projects are difficult to execute but very creative and interesting, so no one can complain of boredom. Maintaining a proper level of interest is the most important task for any teacher, however, it seems that it’s not a problem for Danish teachers.

 

Finland

In Finland, teachers are almost like pharaohs as everyone has an absolute trust in their knowledge and competence. And there is a perfect reason for that. Teachers have the right to use any methods to conduct their classes optimally. In other words, the end justifies the means. This made many teachers to become very creative in their attempts to control and diversify the study process. Finland is considered as a country with the best education in the world. The established educational system works flawlessly. It can’t be considered as completely “innovative” because it has been used for 40 years already, but nevertheless, it constantly develops and changes, always providing ideal conditions to the students. Less classes, more games, no exams, no homework – a heaven for any student!

Bulgaria

And finally… we can be proud that our own country has contributed to the development of alternative methods of education in the world. Suggestopedia is a teaching method developed by the Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov, and it focuses on the environment as a driving force in the teaching process. The essence of suggestopedia involves acting on the subconscious level and stimulating the memorization and assimilation of a certain material using non-academic side activities. Although not widely known, this method has many followers in the world and even private teachers who practice it using specific courses. The successful implementation of the course requires the participants to be relaxed and calm, and the class to be carried out “in a playful manner”. Interestingly enough, suggestopedia enjoys greater popularity in other countries than in Bulgaria.

It is proved that the described methods work, and the teachers who practice them in the teaching environment achieve better results compared to the standard methods of education. In fact, the common thing between all alternative methods of education is the change of environment. A clever man once said that there must be 3 conditions for an adequate dialogue: a sender, a receiver and environment. The teacher is the sender of the message, and the student is the receiver. The only thing they need for establishing a good contact between each other is a good environment, be it verbal or virtual.

The Need for Additional Education

Bulgarians need additional education.

Does anybody disagree with that?

People learn their whole lives. Or at least this is how it should be. Many of us think that education stops with graduation from school or university followed by “hard life” – looking for a job, etc. Nevertheless, many graduated Bulgarians have a hard time trying to find the right job corresponding to their qualification.

It seems that diploma is not enough…

This paradox is typical not only for our country but we will focus here on Bulgaria because our reality is strictly determined by the place we live in. In recent years, we are trying to increase the level of many activities according to European standards, and education is one of them. In order to find what we need for reaching those standards, we have to draw a parallel between Bulgarian and EU education. It is known that Bulgarian education doesn’t correspond to European education in many aspects, for example the teacher’s qualification, the motivation of students, the application of knowledge, etc. The application of acquired knowledge is the factor that significantly distances us from European standards.

As previously mentioned, many people in Bulgaria work in areas different to their education. Moreover, the job for which the person is not qualified requires acquiring new knowledge. Statistics show that many European citizens continue learning in one way or another after completing their higher education. Many western universities offer post-master’s or doctoral degree programs. 70% of European citizens continue their education after graduating from university, while in Bulgaria, the number of people continuing their education is 50%. Interestingly enough, the parallel between the level of employment of educated Europeans and Bulgarians is also approximately 70%-50%! Is it a coincidence…?

A 20% difference may not seem too dramatic, but these 20% are crucial for finding a job for which a Bulgarian citizen is qualified. Even the jobs with specific requirements are constantly adding new ones which, on the one hand, can be motivating but, on the other hand, can drive an ordinary jobseeker to desperation.

How can we acquire the much needed new knowledge after completing our secondary and/or higher education?

Daskal.eu has a solution to this problem. A part of the platform is dedicated solely to courses for adults, and aims to facilitate the process of acquiring additional knowledge necessary for the stabilization of the employment system and meeting European standards. In other words, our virtual courses conducted by qualified specialists can help you keep up with the latest trends in job requirements and gain new knowledge you haven’t been able to acquire during your standard education. That way, the 20% difference between the educated European and Bulgarian citizens who don’t continue their education after graduation from university will be eliminated.

Let’s go back to the beginning: people learn their whole lives. This saying is very old and true. It is proved that once we stop feeding our mind with information, it begins to wither. Constant training is very beneficial for the brain, it keeps our mind in shape which is extremely important for being effective and productive in our work. Modern Bulgarians often don’t have the necessary qualification because they don’t read, write and memorize things anymore, while all these factors are the building blocks of the education. There are many reasons to continue learning, but we are focusing on only two of them because they have the highest priority for Bulgarian citizens. The courses provided by Daskal.eu may not only give you new knowledge but also refresh your old knowledge or fill the inevitable holes in your education.

The part of the platform dedicated to courses for adults is very easy and comfortable to use. It may have a positive effect on your work and make you an effective and qualified employee. Our specialists will provide you with the best out of school education at acceptable prices.

What other advice can we give you except… start your additional education with Daskal.eu now?

The Role of the Recommended Literature for Summer Vacation

For most children, summer vacation is a symbol of carefree games and entertainment. Despite their desire to have free time to enjoy the hot weather, they must not forget about education. The latest published data about the illiteracy of Bulgarian students is more that shocking – more than 40% of them have problems with reading. The research has been made by the Centre for Demographic Policy, and published in 2013.

Moreover, many of them don’t understand what they are reading and can’t reproduce it, i.e. to understand the meaning and tell what they have read. Here comes the role of parents. The vacation itself is a very good time for the children to continue improving their knowledge.

At the end of the academic year, students receive a list of recommended literature which they should read before moving up to the next grade. What is its actual role? Reading fairy tales, short stories, poems which will be studied later is recommendable. However, during summer vacation children must maintain their level of knowledge. Reading not only the main works of an author, which will be studied during the next academic year anyway, gives children a wider view of the author’s work. For example, if in a certain grade children study only one chapter of Astrid Lindgren’s novel “Pippi Longstocking”, why can’t they read the whole book?

The growth of illiteracy, and mostly of the functional illiteracy, signals a serious problem in the educational system. The recommended literature plays an important role in reducing this fact. Reading books during summer may be not only a pleasant experience for children but also a habit which they can repeat like adults. Skipping most of the works of many authors at school and the impossibility of studying more works of the classic authors such as Ivan Vazov, Hristo Botev, Aleko Konstantinov, Yordan Yovkov, Elin Pelin lead to narrowing child’s view. Depending only on the reading books for the specific grade, children don’t understand the whole conception of important works, such as “Bay Ganyo”, “Under the Yoke”, “Geratzite”. The novels, novelettes and short stories like these, as well as other works emblematic for that period of time, describe its characteristics and specific moments. Reading only one chapter, a fragment or only one poem from a whole series or a cycle doesn’t show its completeness or initial idea.

Teaching children to read the literature recommended at school instils a sense of responsibility for work done by them, enriches their spiritual world, makes them more interested in different facts and events described in the specific literary work. For example, one of Ivan Vazov’s emblematic short stories ”Grandfather Yotzo is Looking” is a mirror of the desire for progress in Bulgaria after the Liberation. A time of uplift which is difficult to learn by using only historic facts and dates. The personal enrichment of the students gives them greater freedom of thought and expression. Subsequently studying the historic events from a specific period of time, children can develop their own perspective on the past and learn interesting details about its customs.

Reading, if not all, at least some of the books from the recommended literature continuously improves their intellectual development.