THIS IS THE MOST EFFICIENT METHOD TO LEARN LANGUAGESLearning to speak several languages ​​is one of the most challenging but also most rewarding challenges. In addition to being able to communicate with a person who does not speak our mother tongue or having more job opportunities, being bilingual or multilingual allows you to develop cognitive processes that can even help you delay the mental effects of aging (such as memory loss).

If you want to learn another language, either as a hobby or because it will be useful to you in your work, but you are having a hard time being consistent in your studies, it is likely that you need help to find the best way forward. Sometimes, the fact that pronunciation is more difficult for us or that we do not understand grammar rules can be a reason for demotivation.


However, it is possible not only to learn another language but several. And you don’t have to spend hours in classes or reading books, and learning grammar. Multilingual people have developed different ways to become familiar with another language, and faster than you imagine, you can already communicate in another language. So do not miss these tips to master another language.





It is very important to know why you are learning a new language, and keep it in mind so that you always stay motivated. If you don’t have a good reason youporn, chances are you won’t be fully committed. So the best thing is to have a clear objective that helps you to be constant.




One of the best ways to learn a language is to use it as much as you can and practice every day. You can use different tools: listen to podcasts, watch movies or series, talk to yourself, write emails or anything you can think of to practice.


Learning a language with a friend or partner is a great way to learn. Not only will it help with your motivation, but having someone you are accountable to will be a way of not missing a lesson. Also, you will be able to practice with each other and you will improve much faster. If no one you know is learning the same language as you, apps like Tandem let you find someone to speak to and improve.


Choking yourself with texts and rules may not be the best option to learn effectively and lastingly. That is why a great piece of advice is to approach the language as a child would: with curiosity, without fear of making mistakes and without feeling self-conscious about making mistakes.

Think about it, when a child is learning to speak they make mistakes all the time. However these are necessary to develop their use of the language. It is the same in your case, even if you are an adult. Likewise, using fun ways to learn (songs, games, YouTube videos, writing poems, etc.) can be a great alternative to keep moving forward without so much pressure.


In that sense, the most important thing is to leave the fear of saying something wrong or not speaking perfectly. If you can, the ideal would be to talk to natives or foreigners to practice. To feel more comfortable, you can learn a phrase like “I am learning and I want to practice,” so that your interlocutor knows and feels more secure with you.

This will also allow you to make that language your own.



Learning a language involves not only speaking it, but also understanding it. Therefore, learning to listen is key, especially in natural and “street” situations, in which people tend to speak more quickly and informally. Listening is also important so that you can correctly imitate the pronunciation.

However, this not all. Speaking is not only a mental action, but a physical one. When we talk, we move our muscles in particular ways to make different sounds. If a language has a sound that isn’t in your native language, a great way to learn how to pronounce it is by watching others. See how they move their mouth or tongue and try to imitate them.

For this, YouTube is a great tool.




Studying is one of the oldest activities carried out by man. Even so, there are few who today can call themselves “study masters”, those who know the appropriate techniques to retain knowledge in the shortest possible time.

Before we go any further, let’s be clear: I’m not here to teach you how to memorize texts. For this, there are countless manuals that bring together the most efficient mnemonics techniques developed for this purpose. However, it is not the case.

Do you want to make efficient use of your time while studying and really learn for the long haul? You are in the right place. Keep reading to discover this compendium of infallible ideas to study and not die trying.




There is nothing better to start a study day than to translate knowledge into your own language, with your own words. Although it may take some additional time, developing your own notes requires you to do a detailed review of the content to rewrite it. Also, writing it down again helps you fix knowledge xnxx.

Additional recommendations? Use colors. One highlighters. Post-its, labels, footnotes. All of these elements are visual shortcuts that you can use to highlight important information and make it easier to read quickly.


Planning is the key. It applies to almost all aspects of life. Especially when it comes to studying. Do you need to obtain timely knowledge and do you have a finite, albeit sufficient, time? Take the opportunity to develop your study plan, taking into account your specific objectives.

Before making a study plan, it is recommended to answer the following questions:

What do you need to learn? What is your goal with that?

How much time do you have to do it?

What resources do you have at your disposal?



There is no better way to understand the theory than bringing it to the real world, especially if you are one of those people who get lost in technicalities or very complex languages. Consider fictitious examples, hypothetical situations where what you have learned finds its place to explain reality.

This is especially useful in college majors such as Finance, Accounting, Statistics, Business, Physics, and many others, especially those related to numbers.



Are you one of those people who tend to be mostly visual? This technique will be indispensable for you. Take the time so that, within your notes, you have graphic representations of the key concepts that you must learn. These images should be simple and easy to remember.

Note that your reference drawings may be semantic, figurative, linguistic, or free association representations. Let your imagination fly!


Do you feel ready for your exam? Before the dreaded day of the final evaluation, prepare small drills yourself. This technique will allow you to identify not only the areas that you need to prepare a little more. But, in addition, it will help you mentally prepare for the final moment.

An alternative to mock exams is joint study sessions, where your friends or fellow students ask you key questions. A fun and dynamic way to learn!

These are some of our best study techniques, designed to help you succeed like a champion in your next exam. Which are yours? Tell us below.




Changes in the contemporary world and the role of politics (Part 2)

Although the real amount of room for manoeuvre has been much reduced, there are elements which differentiate between one government and another. On the one hand, if we cannot differentiate them on the basis of questioning the need for a healthy macro-economy, it is equally certain that there is, for example, no deficit index which defines the macro-economic health of a country. Everything will depend on savings rates. In Chile, savings have grown a great deal, which means that the healthy deficit margin will be substantially different from that of any of its neighbours who have half its savings capacity. On the other hand, and this is essential, the difference between certain policies and others will be found in income and spending policy. If we accept the macro-economic objective of equilibrium and stability, our assessment on the fairness or unfairness of government action must rest on the sources of income chosen and what that income is spent on: that is who pays, how do they pay and how much do they pay, and who are the beneficiaries of the way in which that revenue is spent. Here there are differences indeed! And it is on this difference that I propose we focus debate and concentrate our thinking if, as I believe, we have certain areas of consensus.

On the other hand, I am concerned, in the midst of all these phenomena which we are living through, about how we define our room for political manoeuvre and what the role of the state should be. In fact, areas of consensus apart, we are facing collision between liberal democracy and the juggernaut of economic liberalism, understood as fundamentalist liberalism which excludes the role of the state and is irritated by the existence of political authorities. Let me put it this way, there are liberals in the field of economics, or liberal economists, who may be a danger both to the liberal democracy and the open society to which, for all their imperfections, we aspire and have the good fortune to belong. It is as though those liberals were seeking to achieve some sort of complete breakdown of all the rules of the game, excluding regulation and political intervention of any kind, on the pretext that ‘the market will sort out the problems’. But let us think about deregulating health, for instance. We Europeans have the example of the ‘mad cow crisis’ fresh in our minds; that crisis showed how the market does not sort out everything. As a result, we cannot resign ourselves to a collision between something that strikes us as positive – namely liberalizing the economy and opening up national economies to the world – and something that would strike us as negative, namely abandoning social cohesion and the degree of integration which we have achieved within our societies. No-one should forget that the social legitimation of liberal democracy, over and above voting, is precisely the fact of social cohesion. And we cannot resign ourselves to letting this collision happen between the two sides of a type of organized co-existence which I describe as liberal democracy, the one I like best out of all those experimented with in the course of history, fed up as I am with saviours and revolutions that produced one day of flame and 50 years of smoke, as Malraux used to say.

For that reason I suggest that we think about the role of the state, in full awareness of the fact that the nation State is in crisis.

We have, on the one hand, what I would call a supranationality crisis. The European Union, like Mercosur, is a model within which the symbols of sovereignty, as understood in the 19th Century, are starting to fade. In Europe, there is going to be a single currency, which will put an end to the idea of marking territorial boundaries by minting money; and there will also be integrated armed forces and a common defence policy, which will get rid of the spectres of war that have haunted 20th century Europe. In short, the supranationality crisis, which encourages us to put the genuine nationalist crises of the past behind us, has very positive sides to it.

On the other hand, the nation state is caught in what I would call the internationality crisis. Even in little countries, citizens feel central government to be remote, giving rise to demands for some kind of approximation to achieving representation for local areas, going further than clearly identifiable differences such as those which we know in Spain in the case of Catalonia or the Basque country. Ordinary citizens want the representation of their interests to be closer to them. The centralist state model is now in crisis, just as – mercifully – the communist-type totalitarian interventionists’ state model was, or that of the national populist state.

How should we define the model that we are putting forward? We can have a state – one without fat, a muscular state properly designed to do its job. But we cannot a gross, bloated state, laying down social policy according to the criteria of populist ‘clientelism’, which we have seen so often, nor can we have a purely skeletal state that bows to whatever interests are pushing it. We need to get beyond the model of the populist and clientelist state, but we cannot except the watering down of politics and the public interest in favour of the interest of market economy, which sometimes confuses the interests of the consumer, and we are all consumers, with the interests of the big economic groups. The latter, of course, loudly demand total freedom, and above all, captive markets. Businessmen are always more liberal when it comes to other businessmen than they are when it comes to themselves. They demand liberal measures from other businessmen and from other countries, but they also demand that if at all possible, their own market should be a captive one and that they should be allowed to carry out mergers which will eliminate the competition.

We need to look for a role for the public authorities. Not an entrepreneurial role, but perhaps a managerial one. To put it succinctly, we could say that the task of the state would be to endow countries with physical capital and human capital. Although the language I am using here may seemed to be aimed more at businessmen than at listeners on the Left, I genuinely want the other side to listen to us on the Left and understand us. For that reason, I am not speaking about social spending. That would be using terminology familiar to us. If we want our reasons for believing fairness to be a necessity if a growth model is to be sustained to penetrate the conceptual world of our partners on the other side – i.e. businessmen above all – I would prefer them to view educational or health spending not as ‘social’ expenditure, but as an investment in human capital. No more and no less than capital essential if they are to sustain their growth model. Their model. And sustain it tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

We ought to speak clearly to the business world, and we ought to be clear in our own minds: if we take as our example the whole of Latin America and its educational systems, the development model which they want to practise is not sustainable. Not only is it not fair – that goes without saying. It is also not sustainable. In terms of time spent in education, Latin America scores less than half of what the developing countries of South East Asia enjoy, and only a third of their school uptake. We should think about this, and should the business world: how are we going to be in a position to contract and take on properly trained young people within the next ten years? I am not speaking about big businesses which might even decide to provide the vocational training themselves; I am thinking of the 50 million small and medium sized undertakings – who are they going to take on? Twelve percent of the workforce? It is not just that these undertakings do not offer training for their workers; the businessmen themselves fall short in terms of human capital levels: they have no information, they have no training, and, most alarmingly of all in this climate of market-worship, they have not access to credit, because they are not reliable. And we will find it very difficult to improve their situation by means of fiscal measures, because a large number of the SMEs lie outside the tax circuit.

Our efforts to define the role of politics and political matters should go hand in hand with putting a break on a fashionable worldwide phenomenon that seems to me to meet to be rooted in a kind of subconscious fascism. I refer to the image of the corrupt politician, the useless politician, the speech-spouting politician unconcerned with reality. This image prevails in many of our societies. Undoubtedly, certain positions have earned this reputation. But it is worth taking a rather harder look at the phenomenon, and there is no better way of doing so than to look at the example provided by a survey carried out by a Spanish television company. Seventy-five percent of those questioned claimed that being a politician meant having all the advantages and being able to take advantage of everything. Here, we should note the very interesting answers to a second question. Seventy-five percent of those interviewed said that they did not want their children to become politicians. Any other career or job was regarded as more prestigious than entering politics.

To conclude this presentation of the ideas that we are dealing with and the frame of mind in which we are tackling the work of the ‘Global Progress’ Commission, I would like to leave you with one last thought. After the Cold War, we found that we had inherited a certain amount of ‘world dis-order’. We need to organize this relative dis-order, and there are tremendously exciting developments there to help us do so. Let us stay here in Latin America for the moment. The USA did not believe that there was any future for Mercosur. But Mercosur continues on its way, not without difficulties. The USA did not think it was feasible for Chile to reach an agreement with Mercosur. And Chile an agreement with Mercosur. The US view of this subregional body has changed. All the agreements achieved then the Mercosur framework are liberalizing and, on the contrary, we hear voices from the north talking about ‘fortress Mercosur’. These integration developments show ways forward, encouraging us to advocate that a good way of organizing the new unipolar world might well be what I term ‘open regionalism’, as a realistic attempt to rebalance international relations.

With your permission, one final thought, or rather a further underlining of what I think is a vital point. Different political and economic models have produced results as far as economic growth is concerned. But as Héctor Aguilar Camín says, ‘for decades Mexico has been growing at an average rate of 6 or 7% and, nonetheless over half of the Mexican population has never found about this growth’. It was the Keynesian period following the second war and during the war. That period has ended, but now we are witnessing another phase of growth, and large scale growth at that. Here in Latin America too. I share the view of the liberals that our responsibility is to encourage conditions for growth and I am not ashamed to say so. That is why I began by referring to macroeconomic stability. On the other hand, I do not share the liberal view that everything else – fairness, social cohesion and solidarity – will simply happen by itself. Because that has not been the case, it is not the case, and it never will be the case. For that reason we need to find the path of social cohesion, not just because of fairness, or some heartfelt emotional impulse towards solidarity, but because the model of coexistence and growth in which we are currently living – let’s call it liberal democracy – will not indefinitely hold out against the development of an ever widening gap between the richest and poorest members of society. It anyone selfishly follows this model of growth without fairness, they will jeopardize there own model, and there will always be some populist demagogue ready to smash it in six months. Or a saviour of the motherland. Who knows. Thank you.


Changes in the contemporary world and the role of politics. Part 1

Major changes in human history have always been accompanied by revolutions in the way human beings communicate with each other. What some people call the discovery of America, and others the meeting of two worlds, should be considered as a communications revolution. In our own day, we are taking part in the great communications revolution that allows us to know in real time terms what is happening anywhere on the planet. And it is a worrying fact that information saturation means that we pay relatively little interest to what is actually going on in any given part of the world, unless CNN draws our attention to it. There may be events just as serious and dramatic going on in another country, but our dependence on the media is so appalling that all we will know about is the particular country that CNN happens to train its cameras on; our dependency actually determines our responses and feelings, and even our ability to think.
We are in the midst of a technical revolution which affects industrial relations, the way people co-exist with each other and, most definitely, social relations. More specifically, this revolution is affecting concepts like solidarity. In the first and second industrial revolutions, solidarity was a shared living experience. With the disappearance of the major industrial complexes and production lines and their replacement by semi-intelligent machinery, it looks as if man has gone back to his primitive way of life as a shepherd – a shepherd of machines. He is no longer part of the machine, as in the first and second industrial revolutions. What consequences will this change have for solidarity, over and above the emotion and sentiment which nestle within any relationship built on solidarity? The impact is going to be simply incalculable. Developed societies are already experiencing a transformation which is shattering the living experience of coexisting in a spirit of solidarity within companies, families or urban districts. Today, the urban districts are empty, while companies are no longer companies where men and women form part of the production line, but companies where far fewer men and far fewer women run or monitor the machine – I repeat, they are shepherds looking after herds of machines. These changes improve working conditions, but they create a shocking employment problem, and they are shattering the experience of solidarity as a shared and living thing, the experience which characterised the first and second industrial revolutions.

Alongside the communications revolution and the breakdown of solidarity in the classical meaning of the word the third characteristic of the globalized world, from an economic point of view, is the explosive freedom of movement of capital. Now, while it is certainly true commercial transactions have increased in volume, they also increased at similar rates following the First World War, and indeed, there have been various historical periods when the growth rates of international trade have been as high as they are today. So where is the novelty of the phenomenon today? The novelty resides in the fact that what is increasing is not merely trade in goods and services, or investment in production; the movement of capital is also increasing at dizzying speed more as a virtual reality than one in which actually transfers of money take place. We all have the data burnt into our brains: every day the exchange markets of the world see 1.3 to 1.4 billion dollars in circulation, i.e. the entire value of the annual GDP of Latin America. And, this ‘dragon’ that makes its daily tours it way round the exchange markets comprises less than 10% of real trades, the remaining 90% being money that is looking for money in the exchange markets. That is the new phenomenon.

Now that we have a clear grasp of these realities, the first question which arises is: what real room for manoeuvre do governments have? Or to put it more bluntly, can a left wing government have any room for manoeuvre to implement domestic macro-economic policies which are not concerned to achieve equilibrium? These issues are worth discussing; but I would say that healthy macro-economic policies are a sine qua non for growth on a solid foundation, without inflation and without compromising the system’s distributive capacity.

About free trade and globalization

On the 5th of March, the U.S. Administration decided to impose tariffs between 20 and 30 percent on sixteen of the most imported steel products. The background is diminishing profits and lack of effectiveness among large U.S. steel producers. Rising imports and falling prices have pressured major U.S. steel companies, but instead of the necessary restructuring of the porno gratis industry, the steel industry lobby has influenced the U.S. Administration and President George W. Bush to impose heavy tariffs to “protect” the domestic steel producers.

The previously convinced free-trader Bush seems to have betrayed his ideals. Numerous individuals, organisations, and political parties that support free trade and globalisation were delighted when the freedom-fighting President took office last January. But now, Bush has disappointed all of us by suddenly adopting protectionist ideas.

The U.S. steel companies’ need for governmental protection is not surprising. All industries will sooner or later be driven out of business if they are reluctant to adjust to new and changing circumstances. In today’s global economy restructuring is inevitable, companies simply cannot stay competitive without renewing and reforming their business. What is surprising is that President Bush has given in to their demands for profits without having to face international competition.

If President Bush were a genuine free-trader who held principles higher than steel lobby arguments, these tariffs would have been unthinkable. Free trade is free trade tariffs are protectionism. While “protecting” U.S. steel workers, unions, and companies, Bush is at the same time damaging the rest of the steel-producing world. Listening more to domestic lobby organisations than following his former free trade ideals is also damaging to his reputation. According to a study cited in Time magazine, the tariffs will increase unemployment in steel-consuming industries (eight jobs killed for every job ”saved” by the tariffs according to one study). Moreover, the U.S. tariffs have opened the door for other countries to raise their own trade barriers, referring to the U.S. decision. EU officials have already mentioned the risk of trade-war between the U.S. and some of its major trading partners, for example the European Union. This would be a severe backlash for the world economy, which recently has been moving in the direction of free trade.

Protectionism, tariffs, and trade barriers ought to be dead and buried in the 21st century. The way of free trade, competitive industries and deregulated economies is the only way to follow if prosperity — in industrialised as well as in developing countries — is the goal. Government interventions and subsidies to inefficient industries do not foster economic growth. Free trade and liberalization do!

About the campaign
The initiative to this campaign was taken by the executive board of Fria Moderata Studentförbundet, a confederation of conservative and libertarian student clubs at the universities in Sweden. We believe that free trade is one of the most fundamental principles of a free society, and that free trade increases both liberty and economic prosperity in a society. We are well aware of the obstacles on the road to international free trade. This campaign is, however, an attempt to take a small step in the right direction. It happens that the leaders of the world actually listen to good arguments from ordinary people. It actually happens.

The Old Rural School As I Remember It By Velma Fowler Matson – PART 2

The typical academic school day followed this pattern: At 8:30 A.M., the first bell was rung- its clear tones summoning the pupils and they soon began to arrive. At 8:55, the bell was tapped once to remind the children to take care of all those last mi nute duties before they got into their seats where they must be by the time the 9:00 bell finished ringing. Then, for about fifteen minutes, there were “Morning Exercises” which were not exercised at all, but a title for the beginning moments of the schoo l day. Sometimes, teacher read aloud from a good book, other times a quiet game was played or everyone sang. At such times, everyone began by rising to his feet, faced the flag and lustily sang the first verse of “America” or “The Star Spangled Banner.” O ther favorite songs included “Tenting on the old Campground”, “The Old Oaken Bucket”, “May Old Kentucky Home” and “Swannee.” The ingenious teacher would also plan little surprises for morning exercises. This cut down on tardiness, as no one knew when thes e surprises would come and no one wanted to miss a thing.

At 9:15 began a schedule of ten-minute classes, which lasted throughout most of the day. If there was only one or two pupils in a class, sometimes classes were combined. For the first session of the day, there were reading classes chart class and the f irst six grades, geography for seventh graders and history for eighth graders. The older pupils studied their lessons while the teacher brought the little ones up to the recitation bench, grade by grade, to recite. As soon as these little ones had finishe d and were given seatwork, they were under the supervision of one of the older pupils who had previously been assigned to this duty, so teacher could go on with inert classes. There was keen Competition for this assignment. At 10:00, the little ones of th e first three grades were excused to go outside to play and their assigned helper aided them in putting on boots, coats mittens, etc. At 10:30, all the rest received a fifteen-minute break unless some poor, hopeless pupil had misbehaved or failed to study his lesson. After recess, there was arithmetic for everyone, proceeding in ten minute or shorter classes as before. A versatile teacher could, at times, have one at the recitation three arithmetic classes going simultaneously- one at the blackboard and o ne at their seats. Again, an older student was employed as a helper until the little ones were excused early for the noon hour period. At 12:00 everyone was ready for the hour-long break. At 12:55, a bell tap denoted that fun was over and preparations wer e made to start classes at 1:00 P.M. Chart class Grades One, Two and Three had Reading again, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Grades had Language and Spelling, Seventh Grade had Orthography, Spelling and simple Grammar and Eighth Grade had real hard-core Grammar following much the same procedure as in the morning. There was recess from 2:30-2:45 P.M. after which one big Language class for all the little ones was held and then they were excused for the day. They could go home, but many preferred to play outside a nd wait to walk home with older siblings. At 3:00 P.M., Eighth Graders had an Agriculture class followed by Health classes for Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Grade and the last class of the day was Eighth Grade Civics. Pupils who were not reciting could always prepare for the next day’s lessons, but much learning took place just by listening to other classes recite. How could one teacher do all this in those few short hours? Many teachers learned to expedite classes in many ways. Student help was utilised proficiently. Pupils were encouraged to get help from others it was not considered cheating and the wise teacher could tell if it became such. Time-savers were iced-one raised finger meant,

“May I leave the room?” etc. And yes, there was regimentation. Every student knew his class schedule and was on time at the recitation bench. No one wandered aimlessly around the room or disturbed others. Preparations were completed during those five-minute periods before school began. And a teacher did have some help in knowing what to teach and what not to teach. The state put out a detailed course of study of what should be covered in each grade. The state also provided a graded book of poems and mu ch memorization of such was required. Also, every teacher of rural Seventh and Eighth Graders had to teach toward the state exams, more of which will be told later.

The county commissioner of schools could be counted on to check each school at least twice a year. These visits were never announced, so the teacher had to be prepared at all times. If the teacher was having trouble or anything was reported amiss the commissioner came more often. Therefore, even though the commissioners were good people, the rural teachers dreaded extra visits.

The fifteen-minute recess breaks in the morning and afternoon were barely long enough to do anything except take care of personal needs and make preparations for the next classes, but usually a rousing game of “Dare Base” or “Pom Pom Pull-away” was started with everyone, big and little joining in and everyone going in to classes rosy-checked and sweaty. When classes were dismissed for the noon hour, out came the five-pound metal syrup pails into which mothers had packed wholesome farm foods-sandwiches, boiled egg, a chicken leg, a small jar of canned fruit and a baked goodie- a cookie, a cupcake, a piece of pie or cake, etc. Good as the lunch might be, it was very often bolted down in order to get out onto the playground. The above-mentioned games might be played, but more often during this longer period, the little ones went off to their own small games and the older ones engaged in a game of baseball, “Andy-Over” or others of like nature. Occasionally, an older boy and girl could be seen holding han ds and strolling along the periphery of the playground. “Puppy love” was common for some students stayed in the rural school until they were sixteen years of age or older.

The compulsory school age was from seven years of age until sixteen unless one received an eighth grade diploma before that time. As distances to school were often long, many children did not start to school until they had reached their seventh birthday. This, along with the fact that many older children were kept out of school many days to help with the work of the farm and household meant that most pupils were fifteen years old when in the eighth grade.

Many of them elected not to take the state exams and stayed in school until their sixteenth birthday and some even longer as the farm work permitted.

Long, teacher and pupil before those dreaded exams endured hard hours of study. The rural school year was usually eight months, so after school was out for the year, the student must continue to study and review for about a month before examination day . The exams were never held in the pupils own school. Bright and early on exam day, the horse was hitched to the buggy and the pupil went to town to the local high school. It was a frightening and traumatic experience for many, even before the questions w ere passed out. Each farm boy or girl felt so alone in this strange situation. A stern examiner was at the front of the room, where many other pupils had gathered, but for the most part were unknown to each other. Few questions were asked after exam paper s were passed out and instructions given – everyone was too scared. Seventh Graders took exams in Health, Geography, Penmanship, Orthography and Spelling.

If a passing grade was received in these subjects, the student need not take that subject in the Eight Grade. Questions were hard and mostly essay type, so it took a long time to write the answers. One question in Penmanship was to write from memory one of the following: the first verse of “America” or the “Star Spangled Banner”, the preamble to the Constitution, the “American’s Creed” or the first part of the “Gettysburg Address”. No one knew which one it would be, so all of them had to be memorize d. And, not only did the handwriting count but also the spelling and punctuation. Even after one year’s experience, Eighth Graders found exam day no easier. They took exams in History, Arithmetic Grammar, Agriculture and Civics. Most adults today could no t pass those tests, nor do they need to. There were questions about the “Dred Scott Decision”, whereabouts finding the cost of wallpaper for a room, of figuring compound interest, of diagramming complex and compound sentences, about breeds of cattle and r otation of crops and how a bill becomes a law to name a few. After a student passed these exams and became the proud possessor of an Eighth Grade Diploma, high school was a snap for him, should he choose to attend. Many a rural student became valedictoria n or salutatorian of his high school graduating class. Sorry to say, the percentage of rural pupils attending high school at that time was not great. In those days, one did not need a high school education to become a farmer or farmer’s wife.

The rural school was the center of the social life of the district. A “schoolmarm” was not considered “worth her salt” unless she could produce a good Christmas program. There was usually a little program for each holiday, but the Christmas program wa s the “piece de resistance”. Early in the school year, the teacher began planning and sending for Christmas books and materials. By Thanksgiving, she had decided on her program and chosen students for the roles in plays, monologues, dialogues, recitations , skits, etc.

Her “Thanksgiving vacation was spent hand copying such parts. There was no typewriter available and she didn’t know how to use one anyway. Parts were handed out to her students and they were supposed to study them at home. Morning exercise period becam e a time to practice Christmas songs. About two weeks before Christmas, practice on the whole program began in earnest and lessons were all but forgotten. Makeshift costumes and props were brought from the farm homes. About a week before the program, two or three fathers raided some one’s lumber pile and came to build a stage, Mothers hustled up enough bed sheets for stage curtains. But wait – there is more to come. About three days before the program, teacher and all pupils, big and little, armed themse lves with ax and saw and went to the woods to cut a tree and gather greens for wreaths trimmings. Back at the school, the tree was set up and bits of foil, lace and cloth, scraps of colored papers, yarn and ribbon, tin can tops, walnut shells and all the things that have been saved for decorations for the tree and room. Teacher might have some tinsel ropes and artificial icicles, but all the rest was hand made including the strings of popcorn brought from home. Then, there were a couple of days of intense practice and the big day was at hand. One practice all the way through and it usually was a bad one, as the participants were tired of it and they were too excited anyway. Desks were cleaned and put in order, most everyday necessities were packed away an d school was dismissed early so everyone had plenty of time to get ready for the big event.

Sleighloads of people began arriving early, each with a lantern to help light the building. Every parent greeted his neighbors and tried to find a desk in which he could be semi-comfortable. Pupils scurried around to get into costumes, find their props , etc. Finally, the big moment was at hand, the curtains were pulled and the whole school stood on the stage facing the audience to begin the performance with traditional Christmas Carols Silent Night Jingle Bells, etc. And from that time on, inspite of the poor last practice, the program usually proceeded smoothly, but if there should be a small mishap no one seemed to mind, as mothers, fathers and grandparents beamed proudly upon their favorite to be proud! Even the teacher had cause to be proud! Aft er the program, many pupils seated themselves awaited the arrival of Santa Claus. He could be one of the district farmers but it worked out get someone unknown to her pupils. Each pupil received a small gift from the teacher and a bag or box of candy and nuts sometimes from the teacher and sometimes from the school district. (This was a negotiable item at contract time.) But it was the “schoolmarm” who really received the gifts, usually a home-made item an apron, a crocheted doily, embroidered pillow cas es, a box of fudge, a fruit cake, etc. from each family in her school. And, she had to open them, admire them and sometimes model them. Each child was so very proud as she opened his family’s gift. Now, it was all over. Each family collected its brood and left but poor teacher, had to stay to bring about some semblance of order to get ready for the schoolhouse annual Christmas vacation cleaning that is, she did if she expected to go home that night with her own family, who were apt to attend her program. No wonder, that she needed a two-weeks’ vacation.

Besides the Christmas and other holiday programs, teacher was expected to put on one or two all-district spelling “bees” and couple of box socials each year. These last brought in the funds for a new flag, a few library books, another picture or other things, which the district budget did not cover. The last day of school was also a gala occasion under teacher’s supervision. Near noon, families began to arrive with well-filled lunch baskets and everyone partook of a bountiful picnic dinner. Teacher was responsible for the program, which consisted mostly of games and contests for all ages. After this everyone went inside and sat down while Certificates of Promotion, awards, honors and prizes for the games were passed out.

The demise of the one-room rural school came with the demise of the small farm and large farm families. School enrollments became smaller and smaller. At first, the rural school did not want to give up its autonomous position, so two or th ree school districts would band together to make one school and pupils were transported in a covered wagon or “hack”. Later, there was consolidation with the graded school districts in the towns. The one-room rural school became a thing of the past, but i t had served a purpose and left a great legacy. Some very good academic learning took place within its walls. But even more important were the values implanted in those of us privileged to attend one of them – the values of love, compassion, independence, unselfishness, helpfulness, industriousness, patriotism, honor honesty integrity and many more.

The one-room rural school from which the preceding remembrances were derived was Towne School, District #6 fractional (Wilcox and Monroe townships, but located in Monroe on old M-20 between White Cloud and Woodville). The writer, Velma Fowler Matson at tended this school, from the fall of 1916 until the spring of 1923. Her teachers during that period of time were Jessie Davis, Helen Gleason, Mabel Wilson, Blanche Boss and Milo Fry. Helen Gleason provided the inspiration for Velma to become a schoolteach er.

In subsequent years, Velma’s brothers, Byron and Arthur and her sister, Ruby also attended this school. Her father, Clarence Fowler was on the school Board from about 1916 to 1942, when the school property was sold. Her mother, Belinda Fowler, sometime s provided room and board for the schoolteacher, although not while Velma was in school there.

In those days, the population was not very mobile, so most of the farmers in the district remained for many years. Other pupils who stayed in this school through out their elementary years came from the following families: the Townes, the Halls, the Ka isers, the Richards, and the Bouchers, the Swartzs the Leenhouts and the Kersteins. Many others attended this “little red schoolhouse” from time to time, but the above families were more or less permanent.

The school’s last year of operation was the 1936-1937 school year. Because of a governmental “mix-up”, the Civilian Conservation Corps was ordered to demolish the building within two or three years after its closing. The district was paid for the demol ished building and soon put the property up for sale. It sold in 1942 and thus ended the saga of one one-room rural school.

The Old Rural School As I Remember It By Velma Fowler Matson – PART 1

Having attended a rural school for the first eight years of my formal education and then teaching in rural schools for eleven years, gives me license, I think, to expound upon their characteristics – good, bad or otherwise. I must admit, though, that i n the interests of a good story, the information contained in this paper is about the rural school of my childhood. By the time I was teaching, some aspects of the rural school had changed, although the main characteristics remained the same.

“What is a rural school?” you ask. A rural school contains a plot of ground, the buildings, (of which more will be said later) as well as the school district and the people within its boundaries. A map of the said boundaries of many school districts c ontained the epitome of gerrymandering. No one really knew why these boundaries were so irregular. Perhaps it was because of the density population or lack of it, or of the distances to walk, or of some families’ preferences or of some other reason, but o nce there, those boundaries pretty much stayed that way. Some districts were entirely within one township, others spilled over into two or more townships and were known as fractional districts. In those days people lived quite distant from each other, but families were large, so there was usually a large school enrollment. It was not uncommon to have four or five members of a family in the same school. I personally remember attending school with seven members of the same family.

A three-man Board governed the district and I mean “man”. Never, in those days was there a woman Board member. The Board consisted of a Director, a Moderator and a Treasurer. The only qualifications were to be a man and to be respected by your neighbor s in the district. Many a rural school board member did not have an eighth grade education, yet the whole business of running the school was in the hands of this Board and the “schoolmarm” was directly responsible to these men. Except for the one big annu al district meeting, the three men conducted all business relative to the school.

The school building was usually set upon quite a large plot of ground. (Land was cheap and some community-minded farmer would be glad to donate a corner of his farm especially if it were likely the school would bear his name and besides this, it usuall y meant that his own children would not have to walk far to the “seat of learning”. Sometimes, this also meant that the “Schoolmarm” boarded at his home which also enhanced his standing in the community.) As a general rule, the only buildings on this plo t of land were the schoolhouse with woodshed attached and two little outbuildings in back. At that time, they were not labeled “His and Hers” or any other such designations, but believe me we knew which was which. Two-seaters were the rule of the day, but occasionally a third hole at a lower level was added to accommodate the little folks.

The school building was usually a rectangular structure with a shed attached to the back. In one end of the building was a cloakroom sometimes a separate room, but more often a part of the big room. The roof was always peaked with the chim ney at one end and the belfry at the other. Inside the big room, in the center or in one corner was a big pot-bellied stove. Students near the stove toasted while those on the outer edge needed an extra pair of “long-johns”. The teacher’s desk was up front. Directly in front of her desk was a long recitation bench. Behind this, packed in like sardines and solidly nailed to the floor were rows of double seats for the pupils. Not much attention was given to putting a child in a desk to fit his size. In fact , in the interests of discipline and help to the teacher, many a tiny boy or girl was seated with big sister or brother. Six or eight tall narrow windows the only light, as electricity was then unknown in rural areas. Tucked in somewhere around the room w ere homemade shelves for the few library books and for the water bucket and wash basin. It was a real sign of progress when the water bucket and dipper were replaced with a so-called fountain the kind where a huge glass jar was inverted onto a standard an d the wastewater ran into a pail under it. Many a time did the teacher turn around during an arithmetic class just in time to see a stream of water from the overflowing pail, streaking toward her high-top shoes. Hands were all washed in a tin basin and wi ped on the same cloth towel. Wainscotting of a dark color, so not to show many dirty handprints, came up about four feet from the floor with a lighter-colored painted wall above it. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin or other early patr iots looked sternly over the pupils from their pictures on these walls. Lucky were those students whose school’s walls also held a Rosa Bonheur or still life painting. Every self-respecting patriotic school also had an American flag displayed on one wall as well as one flying from a flagpole out of-doors. Somewhere near this flagpole was the deep well that provided a cooling draft of water after a hard game of baseball during recess, as well as to meet the needs inside the building.

The teacher was almost always a single lady and had to be a “paragon of virtue”. She also had to be a tireless worker with the “patience of Job”. First of all, because of the transportation of the time, it was necessary that she board in the district. It was not always easy to find a place and when one was found, it usually left “something to be desired”. Sometimes, it was with one of those big families and she would have to share a room with one of the younger girls. There was no privacy, so teacher s tayed at the schoolhouse as long as daylight would permit. However, with all her duties, there was always work to be done there. Her typical day went something akin to this: She arose early, dressed for school, ate breakfast, packed her own lunch and walk ed to school whatever the distance. Upon arriving, she carried wood and kindling from the woodshed and built the fire. As the building was warming, she carried in the day’s water for drinking and washing hands. The room was tidied, lessons for the day wer e reviewed, plans were made and questions, plans and instructions were written on the blackboard. Time was always too short, as pupils soon began to arrive with things to share, questions to be answered, quarrels to be settled, etc. etc. From 9:00 A.M. un til school was dismissed at 4:00 P.M., not one moment could she call her own. During the day, she “wore the hats” of superintendent, principal, counselor, teacher, coach, nurse, janitor, referee, baby-sitter and others. Decisions to be made were her own – there was no one to help or advise and no telephone to call for help should she need it. Even during recesses and the noon hour, she was on playground duty. When 4:00 P.M. came and the last child had left, she drew a sigh of relief, picked up the broom, did the sweeping, checked the buildings and grounds, began her planning for the next day’s lessons and on and on. Finally, as the sun was getting low in the sky, she trudged her weary way toward her boarding home, loaded down with a big pile of papers to correct. Yes, it took a special kind of person to be a teacher in a one-room rural school. And if she were that special person, she received her reward in the satisfaction and joy of her work. Her pupils lobed and respected her – they wanted to help her and to share with her. “An apple for the teacher” was no trite expression. There were apples for the teacher and many other goodies as well. Until a monitor schedule could be set up, the pupils vied with each other over who would clean the erasers, wash th e blackboard, raise the flag, ring the bell, etc. Students wanted to learn for her and learn they did in spite of many adverse conditions. Parents, in general, were behind her in her efforts and gave cooperation. Most of them were advocates of the old say ing, “If you get a licking at school, you will get another one when you get home”. Therefore, seldom was such a punishment needed. Parents taught respect and honor for the teacher. Many a young female student was inspired by her “schoolmarm” to become a teacher in later years.

Winners of the 2004 ICT R&D Small Grants Programme

Acacia and Connectivity Africa, the two African ICT4D programmes of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, awarded six small grants for research on the effects of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on African communities, and for innovative ICT applications in support of sustainable development on the continent.
The grants of up to CAD $30,000 each were awarded as part of the 2004 ICT R&D Small Grants Programme, out of a total of almost 50 applications.
The winning proposals include a plan to develop a prototype low-cost, solar powered computer in rural Nigeria, a study of how ICTs are changing the work of African journalists, and a project to assess the impact of ICT skills on employment prospects for youth in rural areas of Kenya and Tanzania. Many of these small-scale research projects aim to address the policy and practical barriers that prevent marginalized communities from communicating and accessing information using new technologies.
IDRC supports the use of ICTs for African development through the Acacia Programme Initiative and Connectivity Africa. Acacia is a programme to empower sub-Saharan communities with the ability to apply ICTs to their own social and economic development. See: Connectivity Africa supports innovative approaches to improving access to ICTs on the African continent.



Alternative billing methods for Internet services
Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Tanzania

COSTECH will develop alternative methods of measuring and billing for Internet use that will render the services more accessible and affordable to low-income users.
Contact: Ali Ayub Kalufya.

Expérimentation de livres électroniques pédagogiques en éducation supérieure
Centre d’études supérieures du multimédia et de  l’Internet (CESMI), Sénégal; Informatique documentaire édition électronique (IDEE), Canada/Sénégal.

This project involves the production of a collection of electronic law books, which will be tested at the Faculty of Law, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar. 
Contact: Marc-André Ledoux.

How are “early adopters” among African journalists and newsrooms using ICTs in their work?
Journalism & Media Studies Department, Rhodes University, South Africa

Working with journalists in the Highway Africa network, this project will develop baseline data and a typology of the use of ICTs in African newsrooms.
Contact: Prof. Guy Berger.

The impact of ICT on youth livelihood strategies in Kenya and Tanzania
Global Education Partnership (GEP), USA

GEP will assess the impact of ICT and entrepreneurship skills on the prospects of youth in rural communities.
Contact : Ed Marcum.

Information programme on rural telecommunications in Africa
Panos Institute, United Kingdom

This project will examine the current status of rural telecommunications and rural telecommunications policy in four African countries.
Contact: Kitty Warnock.

Tropicalized computer in rural Nigeria
Fantsuam Foundation, Nigeria

This project will research and pilot a low-budget, solar-powered computer suited to rural settings in tropical climates.
Contact: John Dada.