Rock Music

Rock music features vocals, electric guitars, a powerful backbeat, and the occasional saxophone. A key element is Rock n Roll, and the terms are used interchangeably. "Rock n Roll" is a nautical expression and refers to the motions of a ship. It entered black spiritual music in 1916; "Rocking" was used by African Americans to describe the bliss they experienced at religious events and their accompaniment music. Simultaneously, black secular musicians used the term for dancing or sex.

Wynonie Harris' 'Good Rocking Tonight' started the "rock" fad in 1947, because people became aware of it only in 1954, due to tracks like 'Shake, Rattle, and Roll' and 'Rock Around The Clock'. In the mid-50's, when Rock n Roll scaled popularity charts, record companies began promoting singers. RCA backed Elvis Presley – the first superstar rock musician, Decca backed Bill Haley and Buddy Holly, while Capitol promoted Gene Vincent. Thus, R & B artists faded into oblivion.

In 1955, 'Rock Around the Clock' was the biggest hit in rock history. Bill Haley & His Comets toured Europe and Britain was quick to adopt rock. Cliff Richard scored the first "" British Rock "" hit with 'Move It'. Subsequently, The Beatles rose in popularity and launched a US tour with a rapturous response, dubbed 'Beatlemania'. In their wake other British bands headed to the US, notably Rolling Stones. This spawned crude imitators in the US, dubbed as "" Garage Rock "". In late 1950s, there was an antagonism towards electric instruments and revival of traditional music, leading to the birth of "Folk Rock."

Rock as a socially-unifying force was seen in rock festivals of the late '60s, the most famous of which was Woodstock – a three-day arts and music festival. It represented the culture of the 1960s and the "Hippie Era". Many famous musicians appeared during the rock festival, which was captured in the movie, 'Woodstock'.



Source by Marcus Peterson

Teacher Education and Teacher Quality

1.0 INTRODUCTION

One of the sectors which fosters national development is education by ensuring the development of a functional human resource. The institution of strong educational structures leads to a society populated by enlightened people, who can cause positive economic progress and social transformation. A Positive social transformation and its associated economic growth are achieved as the people apply the skills they learned while they were in school. The acquisition of these skills is facilitated by one individual we all 'teacher'. For this reason, nations seeking economic and social developments need not ignore teachers and their role in national development.

Teachers are the major factor that drives students' achievements in learning. The performance of teachers generally determinates, not only, the quality of education, but the general performance of the students they train. The teachers themselves there beforeought to get the best of education, so they can in turn help train students in the best of ways. It is known, that the quality of teachers and quality teaching are some of the most important factors that shape the learning and social and academic growth of students. Quality training will ensure, to a large extent, teachers are of very high quality, so as to be able to properly manage classrooms and facilitating learning. That is why teacher quality is still a matter of concern, even, in countries where students consistently obtain high scores in international exams, such as Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). In such countries, teacher education of prime importance because of the potential it has to cause positive students' achievements.

The structure of teacher education keeps changing in almost all countries in response to the quest of producing teachers who understand the current needs of students or just the demand for teachers. The changes are attempts to ensure that quality teachers are produced and sometimes just to ensure that classes are not free of teachers. In the USA, how to promote high quality teachers has been an issue of contention and, for the past decade or so, has been motivated, basically, through the methods prescribed by the No Child Left Behind Act (Accomplished California Teachers, 2015). Even in Japan and other Eastern countries where there are more teachers than needed, and structures have been instituted to ensure high quality teachers are produced and employed, issues relating to the teacher and teaching quality are still of concern (Ogawa, Fujii & Ikuo, 2013 ). Teacher education is there no joke anywhere. This article is in two parts. It first discusses Ghana's teacher education system and in the second part looks at some determinants of quality teaching.

2.0 TEACHER EDUCATION

Ghana has been making deliberate undertakings to produce quality teachers for her basic school classrooms. As Benneh (2006) indicated, Ghana's aim of teacher education is to provide a complete teacher education program through the provision of elementary teacher training and in-service training programs, that will produce competent teachers, who will help improve the effectiveness of the teaching and Learning that goes on in schools. The Initial teacher education program for Ghana's basic school teachers was offered in Colleges of Education (CoE) only, until quite recently when, University of Education, University of Cape Coast, Central University College and other tertiary institutions joined in. The most striking difference between the programs offered by the other tertiary institution is that while the universities teach, examine and award certificates to their students, the Colleges of Education offer tuition during the University of Cape Coast, through the Institute of Education, examines and award Certificates. The training programs offered by these institutions are attempts at providing many qualified teachers to teach in the schools. The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher training programs in order to ensure quality.

The National Accreditation Board accredits teacher education programs based on the structure and content of the courses proposed by the institution. Here, the courses run by various institutions differ in content and structure. For example, the course content for the Institute of Education, University of Cape Coast is slightly different from the course structure and content of the Center for Continue Education, University of Cape Coast and none of these two programs matches that of the CoEs, though they All award Diploma in Basic Education (DBE) after three years of training. The DBE and the Four-year Untrained Teacher's Diploma in Basic Education (UTDBE) programs run by the CoEs are similar just, but not the same. The same can be said of the Two-year Post-Diploma in Basic Education, Four-year Bachelor's degree programs run by the University of Cape Coast, the University of Education, Winneba and the other Universities and University Colleges. In effect even though, same products attract same clients, the preparation of the products are done in different ways.

It is through these many programs that teachers are prepared for the basic schools – from nursery to senior high schools. Alternative pathways, or programs through which teachers are prepared are seen to be good in situations where there are shortages of teachers and more teachers bought to be trained within a very short time. A typical example is the UTDBE program, referred above, which design to equip non-professional teachers with professional skills. But this attempt to produce more teachers, because of shortage of teachers, has the tendency of contracting quality.

As noted by Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010), the factors that contribute to the problems of teacher education and teacher retention are varied and complex, but one factor that teacher educators are concerned about is the alternative pathways through which teacher education occurs. The prime aim of many of the pathways is to fast track teachers into the teaching profession. This short-changed the necessary teacher preparation that prospective teachers need before becoming classroom teachers. Those who favor alternative routes, like Teach for America (TFA), according to Xiaoxia, Heeju, Nicci and Stone (2010) have defended their alternative pathways by saying that even though the students are engaged in a short period of pre-service training , The students are academically brilliant and so have the capacity to learn a lot in a short period. Others argument that in subjects like English, Science and mathematics where there are usually shortages of teachers, there must be a liberal opening up of alternative pathways to good candidates who had done English, Mathematics and Science courses at the undergraduate level. None of these arguments in support of alternative pathways, hold for the alternative teacher education programs in Ghana, where the academically brilliant students shun teaching due to reasons I will come to.

When the target is just to fill vacant classes, issues of quality teacher preparation is relegated to the background, somehow. Right at the selection stage, the alternative pathways facilitate the requirement for gaining entry into teacher education programs. When, for example, the second batch of UTDBE students were admitted, I can say with confidence that entry requirements into the CoEs were not adhered to. What was emphasized was that, the applicant must be a non-professional basic school teacher who has been engaged by the Ghana Education Service, and that the applicable holds a certificate above Basic Education Certificate Examination. The grades obtained did not matter. If this pathway had not been created, the CoEs would not have trained students who initially did not qualify to enroll in the regular DBE program. However, it leaves in its trail the debilitating effect compromised quality.

Even with regular DBE programs, I have realized, just recently I must say, that CoEs in, particular, are not appealing the candidates with very high grades. This as I have learnt now has a huge influence on both teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. The fact is, teacher education programs in Ghana are not regarded as prestigious programs and so apply with high grades do not opt ​​for education programs. And so the majority of applicants who apply for teacher education programs have, relatively, lower grades. When the entry requirement for CoEs' DBE program for 2016/2017 academic year was published, I noticed the minimum entry grades had been dropped from C6 to D8 for West African Senior Secondary School Examination candidates. This drop in standard could only be attributed to CoEs' attempt to attract more applicants. The universities too, lower their cut off point for education programs so as attract more candidates. The universities as challenged by Levine (2006) see their teacher education programs, so to say, as cash cows. Their desire to make money, force them to lower admission standards, like the CoEs have done, in order to increase their enrollments. The fact that, admission standards are internationally lowered in order to achieve a goal of increasing numbers. This weak recruitment practice or lowering of standards introduce a serious challenge to teacher education.

The Japanese have been able to make teacher education and teaching prestigious and therefor attract students with high grades. One may appeal that in Japan, the supply of teachers far exceeds the demand and so authorities are not under any pressure to hire teachers. Their system will not suffer if they do all they can to select higher grade student into teacher education programs. To them, the issues relating to the selection of teachers are more important that the issues relating to recruitment. However, in western and African countries the issues relating to recruitment are prime. It is so because the demand for teachers far outweighs that of supply. Western and African countries have difficulties recruiting teachers because teachers and the teaching profession is not held in high esteem. Teacher education programs therefore do not attract students who have very good grades. It is worth mentioning that, it is not the recruiting procedure only that determinates whether or not teacher education will be prestigious, even recruiting candidates with high grades, ensures that after training, teachers will exhibit the two characteristics essential to effective teaching – quality and effectiveness . Teacher education can be effective if the teaching profession is held in high esteem and therefore able to attract the best of applicants. Otherwise, irrespective of incentives put into place to attract applicants and irresructive of the measures that will be put in place to strengthen teacher education, teacher education programs can not fully achieve its purpose.

In order to strengthen teacher preparation, there is the need for teacher preparation programs to provide good training during the initial teacher training stage, and provide and sustain support during the first few years after the teachers have been employed. That is why Lumpe (2007) supports the idea that pre-service teacher education programs should ensure teachers have gained a good understanding of effective teaching strategies. Methodology classes there before should center on effective teaching strategies. Irrespective of the pathway the training program takes, the program must be structured such that trainees gain knowledge about pedagogy, including the knowledge of subject matter. They should also get enough exposure to practical classroom experience like the on-campus and off-campus teaching practice. Whether or not there is the need to fill vacancies in the classroom due to the high teacher attrition, many countries face, teacher preparation programs should aim at producing quality and effective teacher and not just filling vacancies.

3.0 DETERMINANTS OF TEACHER QUALITY

Teacher quality has such intense influence on students' learning. Anyone who has been in the teaching business will agree that teacher quality is central to education reform efforts. Priagula, Agam & Solmon (2007) described teacher quality as an important in-school factor that impact significantly on students' learning. Quality teachers have positive impact on the success of students. Where the students have quality and effective teachers the students make learning gains while those with ineffective teachers show declines. With respect to the classroom teacher, teacher quality is a continuous process of doing self-assessment so as to have professional development and a self-renewal, in order to enhance teaching. For the teacher educator, an effective or quality teacher is one who has a good subject-matter and pedagogy knowledge, which the he / she can build upon.

Outstanding teachers possess and exhibit many exemplary qualities. They have the skills, subject matter, and pedagogy to reach every child. They help equip their students with the knowledge and breadth of awareness to make sound and independent judgments. Three determinants of teacher quality will be considered here. They are; Pedagogical knowledge, subject-matter content knowledge and experience.

3.1 PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

Trainees of every profession receive some sort of education that will give them insight into and prepare them for the task ahead. That of the teacher is called Pedagogical Content Knowledge or Pedagogical Knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge can be described as, knowledge the teachers use in organizing classrooms, delivering the content to students must show mastery over and for managing the students entrusted into their care. Generally speaking, pedagogical knowledge is knowledge the teacher uses to facilitate students' learning. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is in two major forms – teachers' knowledge of the students' pre-concepts and teachers' knowledge of teaching methodologies. Students come to class with a host of pre-concepts relating to the things they are learning. The pre-concepts may or may not be consistent with the actual subject-matter that is delivered. Teachers must have a good idea of ​​both kinds of preconception, in order to help students, replace the inconsistent pre-concepts or build upon the consistent pre-concepts to bring about meaningfulful learning. Teachers must have a repertoire of teaching methodologies for facilitating students' learning. When the methodologies are applied wrongly little or no learning occurs in students. In effect when either of the two is weak, the teacher becomes a bad one because that teacher will not be able to execute his / her responsibility in the vocation he / she has chosen. Due to this during teacher preparation, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is emphasized.

Teachers gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge from various sources. Friedrichsen, Abell, Pareja, Brown, Lankford and Volkmann (2009) distinguished three potential sources of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. They listed the sources as professional development programs, teaching experiences and lastly teachers' own learning experiences. During their days as students in teacher education programs, teachers are assisted in various ways to gain Pedagogical Content Knowledge. For examples, during practice, they learn how to put the pedagogical skills they learnt. Teacher education programs and other professional development programs create avenues for teachers to gain pedagogical content knowledge through workshops, lectures, working together with colleges, and in teaching practice. Then their experiences in their classrooms as they teach students lead them to gain insight into which methodologies work under best under specific situations. That last source is usually ignored. It indicates that the professional knowledge of the teacher begins to develop long before the teacher becomes a candidate entering into teacher education. This means, the way teachers teach influences to a large extent the prospective teachers' professional knowledge and beliefs. This type of learning is, generally, overlooked by teachers at all levels because unintentional and informal, it is.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge can be gained through formal and informal means. Learning opportunities for pedagogical content knowledge, basically, designed by institutions, based on learning objectives which generally are prerequisites for certification, constituents the formal means. In formal learning, students have clear ideas about the objective of acquiring pedagogical skills. Informal learning, on the other hand, is not organized intentionally. It takes place incidentally and so can be considered as 'side effect'. As Kleickmann et al (2012) described it, it has no goal with respect to learning outcomes, and it is contextualized to a large extent. This is often called learning by experience . Informal, but deliberative, learning situations exists. This occurs in situations such as learning in groups, mentoring, and intentional practicing of some skills or tools. Werquin (2010) described informal, but deliberative, learning as non-formal learning. Unlike formal learning, non-formal learning does not occur in educational institutions and does not attract certification. Whether pedagogical content knowledge

Pedagogical Content Knowledge is used to bridges the gap between content knowledge and actual teaching. By bridging the gap, it ensures that discussions of content are relevant to teaching and that discussions themselves are focused on the content. As such, Pedagogical Content Knowledge is something teachers must pay attention to. Teachers who possess and use good Pedagogical content knowledge have good control over classroom management and assessment, knowledge about learning processes, teaching methods, and individual characteristics (Harr, Eichler, & Renkl, 2014). Such teachers are able to create an atmosphere that facilitates learning and are also able to present or facilitate the learning of concepts by even lazy students. They are able to make learning easier by students since teacher with high pedagogical content knowledge can be classified as quality teachers. It is worth noting that it is not pedagogical content knowledge only that makes good teachers. A teacher will not be good if he / she is master of pedagogical knowledge but lacks subject matter content knowledge.

3.2 SUBJECT-MATTER KNOWLEDGE

The goal of teaching is to help learners develop intellectual resources that will enable them participate fully in the main domains of human taught and inquiry. The degree to which the teacher can assist students to learn depends on the subject-matter the teacher possesses. That is to say, teachers' knowledge of subject-matter has influence on their efforts to assist students to learn that subject-matter. If a teacher is ignorant or not well informed he / she can not do students any good, he / she will much more harm them. When the teacher conceives knowledge in such a way that it is narrow, or do not have accurate information relating to a particular subject-matter, he / she will pass on these same Shallow or inaccurate information to students. This kind of teacher will seriously recognize the consistent pre-concepts and challenge the misconceptions of students. Such a teacher can introduce misconceptions as he / she uses texts uncritically or inappropriately alter them. It is the teacher's conception of knowledge that shapes the kind of questions he / she requests and the ideas he / she reinforces as well as the types of tasks the teacher designs.

Teachers' subject-matter matter content knowledge must go beyond the specific topics of their curriculum. This is because the teacher does not only define concepts for students. Teachers explain to students why a particular concept or definition is acceptable, why learners must know it and how it relates to other concepts or definitions. This can be done properly if the teacher possesses a good understanding of the subject-matter. This type of understanding includes an understanding of the intellectual context and value of the subject-matter. The understanding of subject matter generally reinforces the teacher's confidence in delivering lessons, thereby making him / her a good teacher.

3.3 EXPERIENCE

Experience is one of the factors that account for variations in teacher salary, the world over (Hanushek and Rivkin, 2006). The fact that salary differences are based on the number of years the teacher has served, suggests that employers believe the teachers experience makes him / her a better teacher and such a teacher who must be motivated to remain in the service. Although some studies like that Hanushek (2011) have claimed that the experience positively influences teacher quality only in the first few years, and that beyond five years, experience ceases to have positive impact on teacher efficiency, common sense tells us the one who has been Doing something for a long time does better and with ease. Experience will there continue to pay, since, more experienced teachers have the propensity to know more about the subject-matter they teach, and think and behave appropriately in the classroom, and have much more positive attitudes towards their students.

Teachers who have spent more years of teaching, usually, feel self-assured in their skill to use instructional and assessment tools. These teachers are able to reach even the most difficult-to-reach students in their classrooms. They also have greater confidence in their ability to control the class and prevent incidence that might make the teaching and learning process difficult. Their experience makes them much more patient and tolerant than their counterpart with few years of experience (Wolters & Daugherty, 2007). Novice teachers progressively gain and develop teaching and classroom management skills needed to make them effective teachers. They spend time learning themselves – trying to fully understand the job they have entered. The teachers who have spent more years teaching have earned a rich store of knowledge the less experience teachers will be trying to build. Teachers' sense of effectiveness is generally associated with good attitudes, behaviors and interactions with their students. This is something the experienced teacher has already acquired. These explain why more experienced teachers are usually more effective teachers than the novices.

Another reason more experienced teachers tend to be better teachers than their inexperienced counterparts, is that, experienced teachers have gained additional training, and hence, have acquired additional teaching skills, needed to be effective from direct experience. Usually the training of teachers does not end at the initial teacher training stage. After graduation, teachers attend capacity building seminars, workshops and conferences. These give teachers the opportunity to learn emerging teaching techniques and also refresh their memories on the things they have learnt. Such seminaries, workshops and conferences mostly add to the teacher's store of knowledge. The other advantage the experienced teachers have is that they have encountered more situations to develop the skills needed to be effective teachers through additional direct, and sometimes indirect experiences. That is to say, they have encountered challenging situations which save them the opportunity to build their skills. Whether they were able to overcome these challenging situation or not, does not matter so much. If the teachers encounter difficult situations in their classes, they learn from them. If the teachers are able to overcome difficult situations, they get to know how to resolve such situations at the next encounter, otherwise their reflections and suggestions from co-teachers give them ideas about how to approach same or similar situations. They also have a greater chance of being exposed to current and competent models. More experienced teachers have a higher chance of demonstrating superior self-efficiency in most areas, because they have learned the needed classroom management and instructional skills from their colleges. Teachers who have been in active service for many years are most likely to be classified as quality teachers, because of what they have learned from in-service training, capacity building workshops and seminars, their interaction with other teachers and what they have learned from experience In their classrooms.

4.0 CONCLUSION

Teacher education aims at providing teacher education program through elementary teacher training for teacher trainees, and in-service training for practicing teachers in order to produce knowledgeable and committed teachers for effective teaching and learning. To realize this mission, teacher education programs have been instituted for the training of teachers. These programs differ from one country to another. Even within the same country, there may be different programs training teachers for the same certificate. These alternative programs are a created, particularly, where there are shortages of teachers, and attempts are being made to train large numbers of teachers at a time. These alternative programs facilitate the teacher certification requirement, allowing those who under normal circumstances would not become teachers. This introduces serious challenges. Because large numbers of teachers are needed within a short period, their training is somewhat fast-tracked resulting in what is usually referred to as half-baked teachers – teachers of lower quality. Applicants who did not gain admission into the program of their choice come into teaching only because they have nowhere else to go. Such applicants tend not to be dedicated to the teaching service in the end. Fast-tracking elementary teacher preparation actually harm the mission for which the initial teacher training institutions were created. This is because the teacher produced through such training are usually not of high quality.

Teacher preparation has a direct impact on students' achievement. The most important in-school factors upon which student's success hinges, is a teacher who has been well prepared. A well-prepared teacher is one who has gone through a strong teacher preparation program. It is therefore necessary for educators to work to create needed improvements in teacher preparation. To strengthen teacher preparation, teacher preparation programs must provide strong preparation during the initial teacher training period and give support to fresh teachers until they are inducted. Pre-service teacher education should emphasize the acquisition of effective teaching strategies. This can be done in methodology classes and corresponding field experiences. Students who have quality teachers make achievement gains, while those with ineffective teachers show declines, therefore having high quality teachers in classrooms has a positive impact on students' achievements.

Pedagogical content knowledge, subject matter content knowledge and experience determines the quality of a teacher. Teachers make subject-matter accessible to students by using Pedagogical content knowledge. Pedagogical content knowledge has two broad areas of knowledge: teachers' knowledge of students' subject-matter pre-concepts and teachers' knowledge of teaching strategies. What Pedagogical content knowledge does is that, it links subject-matter content knowledge and the practice of teaching, making sure that discussions on content are appropriate and that, discussions focus on the content and help students to retain the content. The teacher's job is to facilitate the learning of subject-matter by students. The degree to which the teacher can assist students to learn depends on the subject-matter content knowledge the teacher possesses. Teachers who possess inaccurate information or comprehend the subject-matter in narrow ways, harm students by passing on the same false or shallow subject-matter knowledge to their students. The last of the three determinants of teacher quality is experience. Teachers who have served more years gain additional and more specific training by attending seminars, conferences and workshops and in-service training and so tend to understand their job better. They also may have met and solved many challenging situations in their bedroom and therefore know exactly what to do in any situation.

5.0 REFERENCES

Accomplished California Teachers (2015). A coherent system of teacher evaluation for quality teaching. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23 (17) 1-23.

Benneh, M. (2006). Particular issues on teacher education and training in Ghana . Dakar, Senegal: UNESCO.

Friedrichsen, PJ, Abell, SK, Pareja, EM, Brown, PL, Lankford, DM, & Volkmann, MJ (2009). Does teaching experience matter? Examining biology teachers' prior knowledge for teaching in an alternative certification program. Journal of Research in Science Teaching , 46 , 357-383.

Hanushek, EA (2011). The economic value of higher teacher quality. "

Education Review 30 , 466-479.

Hanushek, EA, & Rivkin, SG (2006). Teacher quality. "In EA Hanushek, & F. Welch (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of education , vol. 2 (pp.1051-1078).

Harr, N., Eichler, A., & Renkl, A. (2014). Integrating pedagogical content knowledge and pedagogical / psychological knowledge in mathematics. Frontiers in Psychology , 5 , 924.

Kleickmann, T., Richter, D., Kunter, M., Elsner, J., Besser, M., Krauss, S., & Baumert, J. (2012). Teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge: The role of structural differences in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 20 (10). 1-17.

Levine, A. (2006). Educating school teachers. Washington, DC: Education Schools Project. Retrieved from http://www.edschools.org/teacher_report.htm

Lumpe, TA (2007). Application of effective schools and teacher quality research to science teacher education . Journal of Science Teacher Education 18, 345-348.

Ogawa, H., Fujii, H., & Ikuo, A. (2013). Teacher education in japan through training program with experiment study. Chemical Education Journal (CEJ), 15 , 1-10.

Priagula, C., Agam, KF, & Solmon, LC (2007). How stackholders can support teacher quality . Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Werquin, P. (2010). Recognizing non-formal and informal learning: Outcomes, policies and practices . Paris, France: OECD publishing.

Wolters, CA, & Daugherty, SG (2007). Goal Structures and teachers' sense of efficiency: Their relationship and association to teaching experience and academic level. Journal of Educational Psychology 99 (1), 181-193.

Xiaoxia AN, Heeju, J., Nicci, N., & Stone, E. (2010). Recruiting, preparing, and retaining high quality secondary mathematics and science teachers for urban schools: The Cal teach experimental program. Issues in teacher education 19 (1), 21-40.



Source by Sylvester Donkoh

After the Olympic Games – The Final Standings

During the Olympic Games, one of the things that interested me was the debate about the medals table. Some people were saying that the method of publishing the rankings so that gold medals were counted first, then silver and so on, led to a distortion of the achievements of each country. Thus, as one commentator pointed out, a country with only one gold medal would be higher in the rankings than a country that had fifty silvers.

Clearly this would be wrong, but this absurd situation is perhaps unlikely to ever happen.

The organisers of the Games, as they were Chinese, would naturally go along with the system as it currently stands, since they beat every other country in the number of gold medals by a healthy margin.

I have found two sites that give slightly different rankings for the final standings. The NBC report ranks the countries on the total number of medals, while the report from BBC Sport adopts the more official line. Is it merely a coincidence that the NBC version puts America at the top, while the BBC, being British and moreover the only major TV channel that is ad free, remains more impartial? Could it be that the NBC reporters could not tolerate the idea of the USA coming second in the final rankings? It is undeniably true that America won more medals of all colors than any other country, but can it really be right that a country should come first in the rankings through the fact that it achieved more second places than all the other countries?

Some might say that the USA in the next few years is going to have to get used to being second in many other ways than in sport. I would not presume though to have any opinion about that, since I have no expertise and little interest in economics or politics.

It was suggested that there should be a points value assigned to each medal, thus Gold=3, Silver=2, Bronze=1. The idea being that you would be including ALL the medals in the count (not only the golds), but recognizing that the medals have a different relative value. I spent a happy five minutes or so calculating the outcome of this system,and I found that the positions of the top 6 countries for 2008 was identical to that given in the BBC report, and in the official rankings, and the same thing happened when a Gold medal was given a points value of 4. I have no idea how all the countries places would be affected, since I lost interest in calculating after the top six.

So I think you’ll just have to accept the fact, China won. But after all, they should do, they have a population in the gazillions. If Jamaica had had the same population as China, then the gold medal tally of Jamaica would have been 3600. Who said the Jamaicans were laid back?



Source by Robert Paterson

Port Vs Starboard

In the sport of sailing, instead of using the terms right and left, we use Port and Starboard. Port is synonymous with left; Starboard with right. Port is also depicted with the color red and Starboard with green. If you’re into wine, Port is a type of wine and wine is red. If you’re not into wine, an easy way to remember which color is which is to think about which word is shorter and which is longer. Port is shorter than Starboard; Port has 4 letters, Starboard has 9. Red is shorter than green; red has 3 letters, green has 5. Port is short, red is short. Starboard is long, green is long. Left is short, Port is Short. Right is long, Starboard is long. Port, red, left. Starboard, green, right.

Got it? Great!

In sailing, there are many terms that you never hear anywhere else. Port and Starboard are two of the most common terms you’ll hear. Why did sailors centuries ago pick Port and Starboard instead of left and right?

Starboard most likely has its original from Old English term steorbord. Steorbord means the side of the ship which is steered. Steor means steer and bord means the side of the boat. Many boats back then did not have a rudder to steer with. Instead the skipper used an oar. Since most people were right-handed, the skipper would generally place the oar off the side of the boat to their right. Over time, Steorbord morphed into the term we now use for the right side of the sailboat, Starboard.

Port, on the other hand was not commonly used until the 1840s. The term larboard was used. Larboard is a combination of the word lade meaning to load and bord ;meaning the side of the boat. Ladebord meant the side of the boat on which to load which morphed into larboard. In the 1840s, the English’s Royal Navy started using the word Port to refer to the left side of the boat as Larboard was easily confused with Starboard. Since the side of the boat most often used to load stuff on and off when in port was the left side, Port became the obvious choice. Porters would load supplies on the Port side and steering would be done on the Starboard side.

Today, Port and Starboard are synonymous with left and right and used by sailors all over the world.



Source by Tony Towle

How To Get Your Kid Interested In Dance

A lot of people ask me how they can get their kid interested in dance. Personally I do not see a problem, as most kids love movement, and it is not a matter of getting your kid interested in dancing, it is finding out what type of dancing will suit your kid best.

All young children have natural energy and a natural tendency to move. I have yet to see a child that does not enjoy moving his or her body to music. The trick is to nurture this love, and encourage your child to explore movement. For young children a creative movement class could be the answer, as they are encouraged to explore how their bodies move in an imaginative way with or without music and fun props.

A love of dance and music is something that all parents should encourage in their children. From before birth it is claimed that classical music played each day develops the brain. It has also been proved that musical children are better at mathematics and other problem solving skills are developed.

Similarly encouraging movement and the exploration of movement has many benefits. Muscle tone and coordination are improved, balance is tested and confidence is built. There are many pre school activities that your kid can partake in to help him develop control of his body, and dancing is one that he or she is sure to enjoy.

At this level, the dance training should never be too formal. Children must be encouraged to use their imaginations and move in a free and natural way. A few ballet basics and stretches can be touched upon, but the emphasis at this age level should be on fun and exercise. Trying to work on technique at too young an age will put a lot of children off taking formal dance classes later on, as they will associate dance with hard work or even worse boredom.

Here are some ideas to foster a love of dance in your kid.

1. Play all sorts of music at home, even the stuff that you do not need like. Your children will then learn to appreciate all different types of music.

2. Tell them stories and let them act them out in front of you with movement in their bodies as you read. Encourage them to use facial expression and big and small movements with their bodies to tell the story.

3. Let them do a dance for you to some music that they like, or tell them to put on a dance show for you. This will also help them to develop confidence.

If your kid does not enjoy ballet class, he or she may enjoy a modern, hip hop or ballroom class more. There will always be a dance form that your child will love, you just need to find it.



Source by Michel Maling

Once in a Lifetime Fly Fishing on the Cimarron River

Two of my favorite New Mexico rivers to fish are the San Juan River and Cimarron River. This story is about the Cimarron. The Cimarron River is in Northeast New Mexico and emanates out of Eagle Nest Lake. Located on the eastern edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this dry fly gem flows eastward through Cimarron Canyon State Park along US Hwy 64. After flowing into several other rivers this water ultimately reaches the Mississippi River. New Mexico Game and Fish estimates nearly 4,000 catchable sized wild browns per mile, this is unquestionably the healthiest wild brown trout fishery in the state and one of the healthiest in the southern Rocky Mountains. Most of the wild browns are 10-14 inches with the occasional big boy. This fishery is not well known but can still get a little crowded close to the roads during mid summer.

I can easily get to the Cimarron within a one-day hard drive from my Fly Shop near Tyler, Texas and be fishing late that afternoon or early the next morning. The high mountain scenery is beautiful and the fishing is great.

My story begins in the middle of June 2002. During June, the stonefly hatch is in full swing on the Cimarron and big browns will eagerly attack a size 14 or 16 Stimulator with regularity. This is my favorite time of year to fish this river. This is dry fly fishing at its best.

Unfortunately, if you remember, this was during the time wild fires were engulfing many parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. The Cimarron Canyon State Park was surrounded by a couple of such fires.

I arrived at the Pine Ridge Hotel, only about a mile from quality fishing water, late Monday evening. This is a quaint little four-room hotel nestled near the entrance of the state park. After checking in, the hotel owner told me that the park was closed and had been since Friday. Because of the fire dangers, it was closed to everything including camping, hiking, picnicking and YES… fishing. Every park pull off was barricaded in bright yellow. It seems like every other tree had a Park Closed sign nailed to it. I couldn’t believe it. I had driven 12 hours strait to spend some personal time dry fly fishing and… wouldn’t you know it… No Fishing. I was sick. If you have ever wanted to see a big man cry this would have been a great opportunity.

There were no other places near by that I could fish unless I had a guide to fish some private waters that were near by. I called my good friend, Doc Thompson, of High Country Anglers. Doc is the best fly fishing guide for the small streams of Northeast New Mexico including some private areas of the Cimarron. He was booked. No chance for me to fish any private water.

I was considering cutting my losses, packing up my gear and heading home with my tail tucked between my legs when I saw the park ranger turn into the motel parking lot. I eagerly approached him, explained my predicament and pleaded with him to be merciful on this misguided Texan. He indicated that there was little he could do. He was ordered by higher-ups to close the park. The area was very dry and the fear of the forest fire spreading was at an all time high. He finally gave me a minuscule window of hope when he said that if the wind didn’t pick up or change directions during the night he would ask if he could open the park the next day. No guarantees. There was only a small chance of things falling my way but I decided to wait it out and see.

The next morning, bight and early, I walked to the hotel owners desk with my fingers and toes crossed. “Great news” the owner said, “you can fish.” The park ranger called the hotel and told the owner to go tell Tex he can fish. The ranger opened the park to fishing only. No one could camp, hike or picnic. Fishing only. Best of all, he left all of the barricades and Park Closed signs up. My head began to buzz with this scenario. Could it be true? Is it possible that any where in this country there is a stream that is full of big browns, full of fish eager to slam dry flies, has had no fishing for five days, has Park Closed signs on every other tree and has bright yellow barricades at every pull off? Is this really happening? And most of all… is this really happening to me? YES… it was!!!

I almost broke a leg and a fly rod getting to river so quick. I was the only person fishing this 12-mile stretch of quality trout water. The ONLY person. The river has had no fishing pressure for five days. None. Notta. Absolutely zero. What a magnificent opportunity. I hit the water at 8:00 am. Knowing that the stonefly hatch would began at a bout 9:00 am, I tied on a size 16 yellow Stimulator with a Copper John dropper on my 2wt rod. For the next hour, the catch was 50/50 on the dry and nymph. When the hatch started, I removed the nymph in order concentrate on the dry. My stimulator was repeatedly demolished by hungry trout. The hatch started around 9:00 am and eventually tapered off around 2:00 pm as the day warmed. During that time, I landed more than 40 nice brown on a dry. Most of them were in the 10 to 12 inch range. Some a little smaller and some a little bigger. The whole time, I saw no other person on the river. I was in total fly fishing bliss. Later that afternoon, as the temperature began to drop, they started hitting hard again and did so until just before dark. I lost count of the total number of fish that I caught that day. After a while you just quit counting. The fishing was phenomenal and the solitude was even better.

During the day, when I would take brake at my parked Jeep for a shot of Joe or something, people would drive buy giving me the stare of disgust. I could see their lips mumble something like, “that idiot Texan… can’t he read the signs?” I was in no way interested in setting them strait. I wanted the entire state on New Mexico as well as the whole wide world to think the park was completely closed and may never open again.

That evening, back at my room, the harsh realities of that summer were vivid. I sat on my front porch and watched the helicopters and other large aircraft drop loads of water on the forest fires that were scattered along the mountainside. Huge walls of smoke draped the horizon. I couldn’t help but become sorrowed because of the destruction that was unfolding before my eyes. When it was too dark to see, I retired to the confines of my room.

Later that night, as I lay packed tight in my cozy little bed, I found it difficult to sleep. As my mind drifted from the fires outside and danced with thoughts of my day of fishing, I giggled as I felt myself swelling with contentment. My angling experience kept running through my mind. I couldn’t help but wonder what the next day would bring. Would my fly fishing solitude come to an end? Guess what… it didn’t.

I hit the park early the next morning to be faced with the very same scenario. The signs and barricades were still in place and no one was in sight. Using the same flies and techniques I enjoyed equal success as I had the day before. It wasn’t until late that afternoon did I see the only other car in the park. The word was finally out. By then, it was OK. I enjoyed a few hours of good fishing the next morning before heading back to Tyler.

Is there a moral here? I don’t know. It was defiantly a fishing trip that I will never forget. In retrospect, however, it seems really unfortunate that my memorable fishing trip was at the expense of so much. The southwest lost an awful lot of good forest and helpless wildlife during that horrible time. Homes were gone and lively hoods were destroyed. I suppose the saying remains true, “someone’s good fortune is usually at someone else’s expense.”



Source by Steve Robbins

Help Out In Your Community

We are all in this together. Together, we all not only survive, but thrive. We can all meet and beat any challenges out there because there is a tremendous synergy or collective power that lies within each one of us that is multiplied when we work as a team in our community. However, these superpowers, unfortunately, will lie dormant in us and refuse to come to the surface if we don’t fully participate in life through helping out.

Don’t hide from responsibility. Don’t point the finger at others expecting them to be the one to get the magic started. It should be every one of us, including you, who fully participates in life and gets the magic started through the selfless act of helping others in our communities. After all, making ourselves responsible for this action simply means taking the word responsible and breaking it up to the concept of being able to respond. And we all want that power don’t we? Being able to respond to whatever need arises?

Oh, by the way, in responding to the needs of our society we are not really walking in no-man’s land here. If we were to take a closer look at this helping thing, I think we would all see that there are already a lot of people paving the way to greatness for us within our communities. They do this through helping others. Trust me; through helping out, we won’t be doing anything new or never tried before. It’s not odd or difficult to lend a helping hand. This helping out within our communities that I am talking about is called service leadership. Simply put, it is leadership through service.

Now teens, go learn, lead, and lay the way to a better world for all of us. Remember to be actively seeking ways to help out in your communities, and before you know it your helpful ways will turn you too into one of those community leaders like our firemen, nurses, or coaches. And once again, thanks in advance for all that you do, and all that you will do…



Source by Daniel Blanchard

Pre Playoffs 2013 and Outlook for Next Season

What a surprise – the last match happened to be the cruel game in the season 2012/2013; That time the opponent turned out to be the champion of last season, the Eisbären Berlin. This was a tough team to beat for the Tigers, since only a victory could have replied in obtaining rank ten, which was the prerequisite for the pre playoff games. Once more, my older son, Tobias was part of this historic triumph, similar to the year before, when we were testimonies of the unbelievable victory versus Adler Mannheim resulting in the direct participation of the plays.

This thrilling game against the official champion of 2012 was extremely exciting, but the Tigers performed sensational well, keeping the top players away from their goalie and even scoring six times where the defense only allowed two goals which was pretty awesome in this situation. If the Tigers had scored one more goal, the Eisbären Berlin would not have even obtained the right to play their first game at home; Anyway they were lucky that way.

Late afternoon, the crowd in the stadium was astounded again having achieved the pre playoffs this season. Who should have been the team to be beat that time? Soon it became clear, that the Augsburg Panthers were the opponent.

Occasionally, I was right to forget about all those other games before and start off at zero – anyway, it was obvious that the Tigers had to play their best hockey.

First of all, the Tigers had to head to Augsburg; Almost 6,500 crazy spectators followed this game, a huge fan community of Straubing was in mid this crowd of passionate people. In the long run, after the second overtime which basically rented about 20 minutes, the Tigers set the lucky punch and lead 1: 0 in the series.

Then, I tried to grasp a valuable ticket for the next home game taking place two days later at the Pulverturm, when I was accompanied by a close friend who had already experienced a lot of fairly emotional games.

In fact, we were part of a great game of my beloved Tigers: they were intensely cheered by nearly 6,000 fans. Finally, we won 4: 1 and reached the quarter finals versus the sharks of Cologne, whose head coach Uwe Krupp was not too glad about this constellation.

It goes without saying that I attempted to get both tickets for the home games which was not easy anyhow. Since Cologne won the first match pretty easy with a 6: 1 victory the Tigers had to bite back soon. Their first home game was a real highlight again, because our players managed to beat the sharks 5: 2. At that moment, everything was again again and you always firmly believe in your team anyway.

Next match in the huge Lanxess arena was shown on TV and I watched it, there was no doubt.

The first 10 minutes turned out to be rather even with both teams working on several good chances to score but then the fiasco happened: the sharks scored 3 goals within almost almost one minute which was simply too much for the Tigers' soul. It was unbelievable how something like that could have occurred after those first positive impressions. Anyway, the Tigers did not yet recover from this shock and historically lost 0: 5.

The third game had to be won, this was pretty much clear for the fans. I was still confident referring back to our first home match. Positively speaking, the Tigers got ahead with an excellent blue liner after the first period. The crowd did its very best this evening cheering on during the entire game, which was amazing to observe.

Unfortunately, the Tigers did not quite pay attention for a few minutes which reflected in two quick goals for Cologne. This was in fact very frustrating since we could not harvest our efforts before. After the sharks scored for their third time, it seemed to be a long way to come back. This was true, which was a real pity because the Tigers fought extremely well and did an excellent job despite the backlog.

In the end the Tigers lost 3: 6 although they put so much emotion into the game in the last period coming back from 1: 5 to 3: 5. You never know what could have happened with a quick 4th goal.

Any, the sharks from Cologne lead 3.1 in the series and the final countdown should take place within 48 hours. This very last game was quite tied up until the end of 3 periods; It ended 1: 1 and the overtime had to decide for the first time in the series. The Tigers clearly had all opportunities to remain in the series and cling to their chances. Could they still believe in this dream?

However, one bad and lousy change of the defense enabled Cologne to hit the decent goal and win 2: 1 climbing up to the half finals.

Neverheless, the Tigers did a great job taking into account that they had to cope with a few major injuries of very important players during this series. There was no way to compensate versus such a top team like Cologne, which lastly achieved the DEL final against Berlin.

I guess you already know who won the final? Like in the prior years the Ice Bears of Berlin turned out to be the best team of the league again. But you should not forget that Berlin was pretty lucky to reach the 4th position of the table when they lost their last game against the Tigers.

Anyways, I will always cross the fingers for any season to come but I will not hold up the expectations too highly, because the Tigers are still an underdog but have already achieved so much before.

One should never forget those wonderful miracles on ice! There are certainly no strings attached for the future.

Outlook – Still dreaming?

How will the story of my beloved Straubing Tigers continue in the future?

Of course, you always look back to their previous success story. However, you can not expect such a highlight every other year, there is no guarantee.

Basically, you can not predict a similar performance on ice which the Tigers had experienced the year before.

However, you should not neglect that this team of lower Bavaria has certainly achieved quite a bit during the last 6 years of being a solid member of this prestigious league in Germany.

They have well deserved respect and recognition of the remaining teams. On the other hand, the crowd and the critics always try to demand an even better performance year by year.

That way, the coaches and the managers obviously suffer from a higher pressure which needs to be minimized in terms of long term success and a stable environment.

Again, it's time for searching and picking the right players for the next season still to be planned and organized even if the last game is not yet finished.

The head coach basically takes care of reasonably delegating all required tasks to the assistant coach regarding the goals; Besides, the sports manager has to focus upon screening interesting players overseas learning their money in the AHL (American Hockey League); Above all, the European market will be critically observed, too.

One of the favorite countries has always been the Swiss League, in particular Bern or Zurich. This is due to the predilection of our former coach Daniel Ratushny, who preferred two excellent players during the last two years. Those two elegant skaters have already paid off, since they happened to become the most valid players for the team of the Straubing Tigers.

Anyways, let's see what happens after the sixth season for Straubing. I firmly believe that you still need to be patient while waiting for the success which will come true sooner or later.

I shall always cross my fingers for the Straubing Tigers and hope for numerous thrilling and exciting matches taking place at the traditional stadium close to the historic site of the Pulverturm; This is a famous tower of ancient times where ammunition once was stored to be alert if the enemy was close to the city.

Let's count on the well known 'Pulverturm Roar' coming back soon.

Last but not least, I would like to draw your attention to another hockey highlight still to come sometime in the future.

Since the icons and heroes of the championship 2005, namely Billy Trew, Trevor Gallant and Calvin Elfring do not play any more for the Tigers but will certainly finish their career sometimes, there will definitely be a special farewell game in Straubing sooner or later.

It's certainly going to be a very personal event with lots of emotions and memories. I firmly believe the organization of the Straubing Tigers will try to figure out an interesting advantage worthwhile to go there.

I am fairly curious, when this match is going to take place and I will certainly acquire a ticket for this historical game; This will be a must in the eyes of the passionate Tigers fans.



Source by Hermann Grassl

Is Your Heart Committed? Is His?

Women, in particular, are looking for commitment. Hollywood, the media, and dating websites all focus on getting a marriage proposal. The art of seduction pre-dates expert Cleopatra. Dozens of books have been written about getting an unavailable man to say, "I do." For six years, Carrie Bradshaw of "Sex in the City" tried to get Mr. Big to commit.

But is there a commitment of the heart? It's one thing to get married, it's another to have a deep emotional connection. Both men and women often create obstacles to getting the love they want. They may avoid inconvenience with time spent at work, watching television, engaging in hobbies or sports. Addiction by either spouse blocks intimacy. Women complain their husbands spend too much time on the computer or watching sports. Yet, women may spend time cleaning, volunteering, or criticizing their husbands or boyfriends or be over-emotionally involved with their children. To be clear, I'm not talking about the demands of raising young children or the necessity of working two jobs to pay the bills. Stress makes intimate harder, but does not need to eliminate it, unless it's an excuse.

Fear of discomfort may show up in the bedroom. One man complained about his wife's coldness. He had an affair, only to discover that he was now impotent with his new lover. As walls build, the lack of communication usually will ever affect sexual intrusion.

Not infrequently, one spouse is unconsciously married to someone else. In one marriage, the husband's heart was still committed to his late wife. It was as if her ghost slept between them. In another, the husband cheated, but it was not the lovers who had stolen his heart – it was his mother! In another case, the husband was unfaithful, but the real cause of their financial problems lay in the wife's emotional marriage to her older brother, who died when she was a child. It sometimes happens with twins who are so close that no one else can share that intimate. It also can be a problem in step-families. One single mom found fault with every boyfriend, but she was not ready for romance. She did not realize her overly-involvement with her son was the problem. Similarly, in a marriage one parent may avoid intimacy by using a child of the opposite sex as an emotional surrogate. In these cases the unavailable partner is unconscious of their contribution to the very maritime problem about which they complain and think it's their mate's fault. Frequently, they must grieve and let go before they can open to their spouse.

People rarely believe that getting the love that they seek might be a problem. Connie finally overcame her pattern of loving abusers, and found Mark, a kind and gentle man. Being loved proved to be more terrifying to Connie than the familiar abuse. Her entire life and personality had been built around the belief that she was unlovable. She was sure that Mark would leave when he discovered the "truth" about her that she imagined was bad. Mark had his own self-esteem issues, and before Connie, he had always dated overweight women, in whom he ever lost sexual interest. He worried Connie would leave. Sharing their fears, not only helped them to heal their wounds, but moved them closer to a commitment of the heart.

What makes intimate so difficult? It requires vulnerability – risking openness. Everyone's been hurt before, and I mean everyone. From childhood onwards, people get hurt even by well-intentioned parents, by friends, teachers, and lovers, and by losses due to death, illness, rejection, and divorce. Animals, including humans, are programmed to avoid pain. It's hard-wired into your brain in order to survive. It requires awareness, intention, and courage to feel everything that may arise once the heart is open. If it's been wounded before, no one wants to re-open an old wound. Opening your heart to love will open those wounds. But it's also an an opportunity to heal, rather than seal them it over.

Copyright © Darlene Lancer 2010



Source by Darlene Lancer

Women & Chocolate

Sinful is how women has always described chocolate. But yes so, do you know that 99% of all women love chocolate and that they may actually prefer chocolate more to than sex?

What exactly about chocolate is it so wonderful? Well, in fact it is not just the women who love it but almost everyone would love it too. I believe you enjoy chocolate just as much? It always feels so nice to have it melted in your mouth, delivering its wonderful taste right through your tongue, does not it?

Well its wonderful taste aside, chocolate contains phenylethylamine – the same chemical that is released in your brain when you fall in love; Leading to that increase in the pounding of your heart, feeling of a sudden rush of excitement. "Love Chemical" is what some would call it. It is also believed by researcher that phenylethylamine in turn causes the brain to release mesolimbic dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain, another chemical where its presence is at peak during an orgasm.

Neverheless, the sweetness from chocolate also triggers the release of endorphins. Think about those blissful feeling you had after a wonderful session of lovemaking. That is the effect from the production of endorphins in your body. Sometimes that is why some women actually remarked that they felt a feeling of elation when eating chocolate.

Well, a perfect gift for your love, chocolate will be. Just like buying roses during Valentine's Day, chocolate can never go wrong. In fact, the two could have been the best combination ever. Do you know that roses also contain the "Love Chemical", Phenylethylamine? That explains for its distinct scent.

Giving of chocolate, as gifts of love has been long popular in Japan since the late 1950s. A bit different though; During Valentine's Day, the ones doing the giving are the women instead and usually, chocolates were sent as gifts to confess their love for that special guy. Heart-shaped chocolates would usually be given. To divertless balance out this unique custom, "White Day" was later invented in Japan. On 14th of March it falls, one month after Valentine's Day exactly. During this day, guys who received the chocolate will be given the chance to reciprocate their valentine gifts with soft, fluffy marshmallows. This would be the happiest day for girls who receive their fluffy gifts. Is not it so lovely?

Well, giving of chocolate as a gift of love has today, definitely become more and more popular. Along with the greeting card, your message of love will be delivered. Filled with your most genuine love, each chocolate will contain. Melting one's heart as they melt in the mouth, warm up their heart as sweetness run through their tongue.

Why not send some to your loved ones today, brightening up their day with a chocolate so full of love.



Source by Rick Valens