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South-African Teacher Uses Hip-Hop to Make Math Fun for Students

Kurt Minnaar, a 33-year-old math teacher at Cape Town’s Eben Dönges High School uses hip hop beats and rhymes to make math lessons more enjoyable for his students.

Singing or listening to music during math class is usually frowned upon, but in Kurt Minnaar’s classroom, it’s actually a pre-requisite. The former choreographer and hip-hop artist is using his musical background to make the process of learning math a lot easier and less boring for his students. Minaar says that most kids today are into music and beats, and he’s basically taking the traditional math curriculum and fusing it with what they love to make it easier to learn and remember.

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Indian Textbook Encourages Kids to Kill Cats as an Experiment

The authors of a Class IV textbook in India recently came under fire, after it was revealed that in a lesson on the importance of breathing they were literally encouraging the kids to do an experiment involving suffocating a cat.

It sounds hard to believe that a school textbook for environmental studies could teach children as young as 9 years old to kill an animal as an experiment, but it’s sadly true. Twitter user Lola Kuttiamma shared photos of the book passages concerning the absurd experiment, and people understandably were outraged about it. “Living things breathe”, the textbook explains. “No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes. “You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the Boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten in the box with no holes has died.”

Wow, is that educational or what? And they’re not even suggesting using adult cats, but cute little kittens. Not that grown cats would have made it any more acceptable, but kittens just make it sound even crueler. And if you thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, you were wrong. The textbook, entitled “Our Green World: Environment Studies”, also features a couple of pictograms, with one kitten alive and well in the box with holes in it, and the other, well, dead.

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Chinese School Creates “Grade Bank” That Lets Students Borrow Grades to Pass Exams

In an effort to ease the intense pressure that its students face in China’s notoriously rigid exam-based education system, a school in Nanjing has created a “grade bank” that lets students “borrow” grades so that they can pass exams, and then repay them in subsequent tests.

Oh man, I wish we had something like this when I was in school, because this system sounds awesome! So here’s how it works: the innovative mark bank allows students to loan marks to make up for a failing grade in any exam. But, just like regular banks, it requires “clients” to pay back the loan on time, with interest. Thus, students have to make up for the loan by scoring extra points in future exams. Some teachers also allow the students to repay the bank by conducting lab experiments or giving public speeches. Pupils who default on their loans are blacklisted by the bank, just like in real life.

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Portland ‘Adulting’ School Teaches Millennials How to Be Functional Grownups

Millennials (people born between the early 80’s to the mid 90’s) are often labeled as lazy, spoiled and unable to act mature enough to handle adulthood, but a new ‘adulting’ school in Portland, Maine, is trying to change things by teaching millennials the skills required to function as real adults.

Unless you spend a considerable amount of time online, the word ‘adulting’ probably sounds very strange, but I’ll have you know that in 2015 it was nominated for word of the year by the American Dialect Society. It has used by a number of high profile websites in the titles of popular articles, and several big brands have used ‘adulting’ in their marketing campaigns. But you’ll mostly find the word on social media, relating to things usually associated with adulthood. The verb ‘adulting’ currently has two meanings – 1. to behave in an adult manner; 2. to make someone behave like an adult.

Growing up was never easy, but some people seem to think that it is particularly difficult for adults. One of these people is Rachel Weinstein, co-founder of the Adulting School, who got the idea for the project while working as a psychotherapist. “I noticed as a therapist that a lot of my client’s well-being seemed to be affected by a lack of some really important skills,” she said. “And I know over the decades with teaching to the test, and other changes in education, schools have had to cut a lot of Home EC classes. And that’s some of the stuff that people really need to learn and aren’t necessarily taught unless parents really impress those skills upon them.”

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Teacher Installs Cycling Machines Under Students’ Desks to Help Them Concentrate

After noticing that her eight grade students had problems focusing during math class, a North Carolina teacher decided to channel their energy in a different way – cycling.

It doesn’t sound like the most common thing to do during math class, but Bethany Lambeth, a teacher from Wake County, says that ever since she installed cycling machines under her students’ desks, the quality of their work has improved greatly, they are more focused, and, most importantly, they are no longer fidgeting all the time.

“Before, they were drumming on their desks, they were touching other people, they don’t do that anymore. Their feet are getting the movement out,” she said. “There has been a huge increase in the quality of our student’s work and a decrease in the amount of missing work.”

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Chinese Parents Are Taking Kids as Young as Three to ‘CEO Training Courses’

In a bid to give their children a head start in life, wealthy Chinese parents are enrolling them in all kinds of early education programs, including CEO training courses.

Chinese state media reports that an early education institute in Guangzhou, China’s Guangdong province, is offering a ‘CEO training course’ for kids aged between 3 and 12, at a price of 50,000 yuan ($7,500) per year. Kids attend two classes per week, during which they engage in activities such as filing in missing words in sentences and stacking up toy bricks. That doesn’t sound like anything special, but according to a promotional brochure released by the institute, the course “enables young children to become a powerful, competitive leader”.

There’s no denying that China probably has the most competitive educational environment in the world, which means parents would do almost anything to make sure their children don’t get left behind, but experts believe such extravagant courses ultimately benefit the parents rather than the children. They regard their kids’ attendance to such classes as evidence of the family’s social status, completely disregarding the fact that the syllabus they offer is of no real value.

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Filipino Man Turns His Home into a Public Library to Help Kids Learn to Read

Retired Filipino accountant Hernando Guanlao has found a wonderful way to spend all his free time – he’s set up a public library right outside his home and he regularly hands out books to poor children for free.

Hernando’s little library is very relevant to the society he lives in, where many children drop out of school to support their families. He says that he set up the library to honor his parents and the only inheritance they left him – an insatiable love for learning. “As a Filipino who didn’t have the opportunity to go to other places, I wanted to do something before I turned 70 that would help other Filipinos,” he added.  “And books are my means to do that, so I can bring people joy, and help them not feel left behind. It seems to me that the books are speaking to me. That’s why it multiplies like that. The books are telling me they want to be read… they want to be passed around.”

Readers are allowed to take as many books as they like, and return them whenever they please. According to Hernando, “The only rule is that there are no rules.”

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For the Past 7 Years, 100% of Seniors at This School Have Been Admitted to College

Urban Prep Academy, an all-male charter high school in Chicago, has set the bar really high for learning institutions in the US. Despite getting most of its students from the Windy City’s lowest income neighborhoods, it has managed to achieve and maintain a 100 percent graduation rate for nearly a decade. But even more impressive is the fact that every senior in the past seven years has gone on to attended college on a scholarship.

Most recently, the entire class of 2016 celebrated ‘College Signing Day’, with each student announcing the college or university he has chosen to attend. The class has collectively received over 1,500 college admissions, with over $15 million in scholarships and grants. “It’s a great day,” said senior Rudolph Long, speaking to CBS Chicago. “I feel great. We all made it. We all come from good environments so to see us all going to college is nice.”

The all-African-American, all-male charter high school’s unprecedented success has been attributed to its unique mission – to elevate the students’ self esteem while focusing on test scores as well. While most successful schools have stringent admission criteria, Urban Prep makes no distinction between applicants. Any Chicago resident is welcome to apply. A lottery selects 450 students out of approximately 1,500 applications each year, to attend Urban Prep’s three campuses in Englewood, West, and Bronzeville.

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Roadside Education – Indian Factory Worker Opens Street School to Teach Slum Kids

For the past 15 years, factory owner Kamal Parmar has been running an after-school program for slum kids in Ahmedabad, India, helping them with basic skills like reading and writing and even preparing for their school tests. 

Parmar’s story begins one afternoon 15 years ago. He was standing outside his metal fabrication workshop, near the slums of the Bhudarpura neighborhood, when he met a few kids returning home from the local municipal school. They were ecstatic about the end of their exams, which they claimed to have aced, so he decided to stop them and ask them a few questions. That’s when he made a shocking discovery – the students, even the older ones, did not know how to read.

“I took their exam paper and asked a few questions to some of them,” he says in a 2014 documentary titled Footpath School. “But none of them knew any answers. I thought to ask a few others. I asked them to read, but they did not even know how to read. Surprised, I asked them what did they write in their exams. All they knew was identifying the alphabet. And that left me thinking that something should be done for these children. And that is how, 15 to 17 years back I started this school.”

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This Amazing Seattle Preschool Also Doubles as an Elderly Nursing Home

A facility in Seattle has come up with an innovative way of caterung to both the very young and the old.  They’ve paired up a preschool with an elderly nursing home, so that the children and the 400-odd residents at the home have an amazing time with each other.

The preschool, called the Intergenerational Learning Center, is located within Providence Mount St. Vincent senior care center in West Seattle. For five days a week, the kids interact with the residents in fun activities like dancing, art, music, lunch, storytelling, or sometimes just visiting.

According to Evan Briggs, a filmmaker and adjunct professor at Seattle University, who is planning to make a film about the unique center, the elders undergo a “complete transformation in the presence of the children.” She noticed that just moments before the kids came in, some of them seemed half alive. “It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”

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College Graduate Tries to Sell Diploma for $50,000 After Failing to Find a Job

Although she graduated from Florida State University four years ago, theater major Stephanie Ritter has yet to find a decent job in her field. Fed up of the situation, she’s actually put up her diploma for sale on eBay for $50,000 – $10,000 more than her student loan debt. She says that the drastic solution is the only way for her to validate her “use of time between 2007 – 2011.”

“I thought this piece of paper has so much worth to so many people, but for a theater major, it couldn’t mean less,” she said. “I’m doing the exact same things and probably getting paid the exact same amount as people that dropped out halfway through freshman year, except I’m still $40,000 in debt and they’re, well, not.”

So for $50,000 – or the best offer she can get – Stephanie is offering her original diploma in mint condition, which has “never been used to get a job before.” The price also covers her college experience in a nutshell. The buyer will be treated to a tour of the university, “including everywhere you would have gone/eaten/partied in your four years at FSU.” She’s adding access to all of her college memories and Facebook albums for six months, a show at the FSU School of Theatre, and a tour of all her favorite Publixes including sweet tea at each location.

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Barber Gives Free Haircuts to Kids Who Read to Him

Courtney Homes, a barber at Dubuque’s Spark Family Hair Salon, recently came up with unique way of charging children for haircuts – he asked for stories instead of money! He’s passionate about supporting kids reading, so he had his little clients read out loud to him as he worked on their hair.

“The kids would come in, and I would say, “Go to the table and get a book you might like, and if you can’t read it, I’ll help you understand and we can read it together,” Holmes told reporters. “To be honest, I was amazed, the line started with four kids, and next thing I knew it was like 20 kids, all waiting for a haircut and eager to read.”

Homes conducted the unique initiative during the second annual Back to School Bash at the city’s Comiskey Park. Lots of kids showed up to get free haircuts and read to Homes in return.

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Chinese Parents Take Kids on Luxury Villa Tours to Stimulate Them to Become Rich and Successful

Chinese media reports that a growing number of parents are taking their children on special tours of luxury villas, to stimulate their desire to become wealthy and successful.

On weekends, most parents take their kids to the playground, maybe to a museum, shopping mall or on a relaxing picnic, but in China, some parents use these family outings to inspire their young ones to study hard so one day they can afford to live a life of luxury.

Companies like Heming Island Resort and Spa, in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province, offer families the chance to visit luxury villas worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which are meant “to stimulate a child’s desire to become wealthy and successful”. These holiday homes are apparently becoming a popular tool for parents who want their offspring to learn that being rich is a sign of “high social status and success”.

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Mom Asks Police to Pretend to Arrest Her Misbehaving 10-Year-Old Son to Teach Him a Lesson

Thoroughly exasperated by her son’s misbehavior, a mother from Columbus, Georgia, came up with an innovative method to teach him a lesson. She teamed up with the local police force to stage an arrest of her fifth-grade son, hoping to scare him into behaving well at school.

33-year-old Chiquita Hill said that her son Sean’s teacher complained about him being “rude and disrespectful, not listening, talking back, and not doing his school work,” for the umpteenth time. She was running out of options and desperately looking for a solution, because she was scared that Sean’s behavior could escalate into serious disrespect for authority as an adult. That’s when she got the idea for a fake arrest.

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Hong Kong Toddlers Take Special Classes to Make Sure They Get into the Best Nurseries and Kindergartens

Believe it or not, the kindergarten scene in Hong Kong is so fiercely competitive that tiny toddlers are expected to take special classes to get prepped for nursery interviews!

You might wonder what the big deal is about nursery school – kids just play and take naps, right? But parents in Hong Kong actually view it as an important phase that could determine their child’s future. They strongly believe in the cascading effect – admission to the best kindergartens will lead to the best primary schools, best secondary schools, and eventually, the best universities.

“It’s the only topic that comes up when you go out for lunch, which school your kid got into, which school are you applying for and how are you preparing your child for it?” one mother revealed. “My friends have sent me spreadsheets with a detailed timetable of when schools are available for applications and how to apply.”

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