While shopping at one of my favorite boutiques, I ran across this adorable little trinket that had a modest inscription on it that read: “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful”. The timing was perfect for me to receive this message because I had just recently decided to end a long-term friendship that had become severely dysfunctional and was weighing me down emotionally. Like most people who experience an end to a long-term friendship, whether it was a positive experience or not, the finality of the split left me feeling relieved and out of sorts all at the same time. Feeling beautiful was probably the last thing on my mind at the time because the “friendship” had become so offensive to my psyche. It felt like an all-out assault to my spirit in an attempt to systematically convince me that I had nothing to offer. Yet, when I read the caption on the little ornament that day in the boutique, it spoke to me in a way that I cannot describe. I felt like my soul had just awakened by a fierce inspiration! I thought how wonderful it would be if each of us could feel the same reassurance that I felt that day by simply taking a step back and appreciating our own God given beauty! Not just the physical beauty, but our entire beautiful self, inside and out. I reflected on how important it is never to give anyone control over our perceptions of ourselves because God created each of us in his own image and He did not make any mistakes on any of his creations!Even though we know in our heart that we are uniquely designed by God, we all at some point in our life have fallen victim to allowing ill-intentioned “friends” or that nagging voice in our head that try to persuade us that we are less than. In so doing, we fail to fully appreciate our own individuality and the marvelous qualities that we have to offer. Not recognizing or appreciating our own unique beauty is similar to the inference in the quote by Alice Walker that says: “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it”, (The Color Purple). That may be putting it a bit bluntly, but sometimes we need a candid wake-up call. The same concept applies to how we view ourselves, not just how we view a color somewhere in a field. Even though we get the point, I have noticed that women in particular repeatedly fall into the trap of comparing themselves to others and not embracing their own beauty. Physical beauty has become such the end all, that many people have such blind envy of others because of their physical appearance that they have no regard to the personal struggles someone might be going through, despite how well put together they may appear on the outside. In spite of this and as straightforward as it may sound, if each of us would begin to practice being our own kind of beautiful, then we would realize that each of us is beautiful just the way we are.At any rate, although physical attractiveness can be quite enticing, outer beauty is fleeting. Therefore, a person’s character, morals and values should be the factors that true beauty should be judged. These core traits are not merely handed down through great genetics and more importantly; they never fade away. Remember the old saying, pretty is as pretty does? If someone is lacking in these three intrinsic fundamentals, then it really does not matter what they look like on the outside. Physical beauty has no correlation at all to the goodness or essential quality of a person. OK, for those who may be a little harder to persuade maybe we can take gradual, baby steps toward adopting this revolutionary standard of looking at beauty. For the sake of compromise, let’s say the new standard of judging beauty can consist of a combination of both physical and inner characteristics. However, in all fairness the fundamental core of who a person is should at least carry a higher weighted average than what the person looks like. Fair enough? Well, until this notion becomes widely accepted, which quite frankly may take an act of God; I will suggest a few simple ideas to help remind everyone to honor God by simply being your own kind of beautiful on the inside and out.One way to practice being your own kind of beautiful is to celebrate your God given gifts and beauty. The fact that each and every person on this earth is uniquely designed, down to our personalized fingerprints, is astounding! Whether it is an internal or physical characteristic that makes you uniquely beautiful, you should focus on just one trait at a time and celebrate it. We have so much to be thankful for, so celebrating one thing at a time can be as simple as showing gratitude for having that distinctive attribute. Once you begin to do this on a regular basis, you will begin to naturally appreciate how wonderfully designed you are. For example, I have always been into physical fitness, sometimes more than others, but overall I have been blessed that God has made me physically strong and healthy. Although I could have chosen to sit around and focus on someone else’s physical attributes, I have chosen to celebrate my own. As such, I joined a hiking club and push my physical endurance to the limit on a regular basis by hiking through rugged terrain to reach altitudes that I never thought I would reach by foot. A couple of added benefits are that for one I meet interesting, like-minded people and in addition I am keeping physically fit by doing something I enjoy. If you have never been hiking, you cannot imagine the beauty that can be seen from the vantage point from atop a mountain. For miles on end, there is the beauty of nature, including speckles of purple in a field of flowers. I thank God each day for giving me the physical ability to be able to do these types of physical activities; particularly after having been bound to a wheelchair for several months after an injury. I celebrate my blessings every chance I get by putting my gift to use. The more I use it, the more physically and mentally strong I become. You will be surprised at how doing simple things like this can help you discover your blessings which you may have overlooked in the past because you have spent so much time comparing yourself to someone else. So, get out there and keep it moving by discovering or rediscovering your beautiful self!This brings me to my next piece of advice that I will offer to you to practice being your own kind of beautiful which is to stop comparing yourself to others, period. Many times, no matter what our station is in life or how many compliments we receive from others, we somehow still feel like we fall short in comparison to someone else. What I have discovered is that a person will not be able to fully appreciate their own beauty if they continue to try and emulate someone else’s beauty. It is irrational to look at the external beauty of someone else and feel envious. First of all, envy is a sin and secondly physical beauty is fleeting, so why even bother. So, instead of comparing yourself to others you should thank God for creating you in his own image. On this subject, I want to share how moved I was by a speech given by Iyanla Vanzant entitled, “You Matter”. In it she stated something that really grabbed my attention regarding the whole concept of how wasteful it is to compare yourself to others. In her speech she said, “It is an act of violence to compare yourself to other people”. That is such a powerful statement! In order to fully appreciate the full force of this statement, you have to take a moment and absorb its significance. If you really think about it, not only is it an act of violence, it is also irreverent to compare yourself to others which in a way marginalizes your own beauty and uniqueness. Ironically, I found this concept also works in the reverse as it reminds me not to look at others with such a critical eye and to appreciate the fact that they too are uniquely designed by God. Psalm 139:14 says, ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well”.One final suggestion that I will impart on the subject of being your own kind of beautiful is that it is important to appreciate and not emulate others’ beauty. It is one thing to admire a person’s beauty, however, you have completely crossed the line if your adoration of another leaves you feeling demoralized. Fortunately, there is a healthy balance between celebrating your own beauty and appreciating others’ beauty; particularly without feeling jealousy which is a by-product of emulation. The most confident women are those who embrace their own beauty and can appreciate others for their beauty in a healthy way. This confidence is reflected in many ways such as being graceful in how you carry yourself as it will reflect in how you view others. As the saying goes, “Elegance is [the only] beauty that never fades”. As I stated earlier, beauty is unique to each individual and it does not always mean physical beauty. Yes, it is important to strive to be your best self, inside and out. However, you do not have to jeopardize your self-worth in the process by impersonating others. That is why it is important to check yourself from time to time to ensure you keep a healthy balance between appreciating versus emulating others. Feeling confident in who you are and what you have to offer will allow you to appreciate others at a greater level for who they are without feeling envious by trying to imitate them.In summary, because each of us is uniquely designed by God, we all have an abundance of reasons to appreciate and celebrate our own beauty. Of course, beauty can be viewed in many ways either inner, outer, or a combination of both. We can begin the transformative thinking of being our own kind of beautiful by actively celebrating our own uniqueness one trait at a time. Once we begin to do this, we will become comfortable in our own skin and will be able to appreciate others for their beauty without allowing jealousy or envy to invade our space. No one has a right to try to make you feel that you have nothing to offer. As Iyanla Vanzant stated in her speech, “You Matter”. You do not need anyone to define you or to complete you because God has already done an awesome job at that. Embrace this concept and live it on a daily basis. In other words, start each day by boldly being your own kind of beautiful!
Being Your Own Kind of Beautiful: Learning to Appreciate Yourself
Student Loan: Loan Magician
Loans.Loans, loans, loans that’s what everyone is talking about, on internet, on radio, on, television in news we see advertisement for loans everyday, everywhere. “You want to buy a hat, a cat, a house, a car, you can get a loan”. “Getting loan was never easier”. “Live life the way you want”. These are all the sentences that are clouding the media nowadays. And of course this has increased the ratio of people borrowing loans from banks and other lending organizations. A number of people are making their dreams come true due to these loans, which was otherwise impossible. You can get loans for multiple things like for starting a business, purchasing a house, or getting a car so on and so for. You can simply apply for the loan, buy your desired object and keep on paying small installments for years without even noticing it. Instead of waiting for long years of tough work to buy a house or establish a business of your own you can get some help from one of the diverse kinds of loans and benefit yourself from this golden opportunity.Fantasies, dreams have no end. But in order to actualize them you need enough resources, now you have several opportunities to do what you always wanted. For different reasons or things you have varied kinds of loans. Be careful about the interest rates and other specifications of a loan. That will help you in generating the best results financially. You can get loan on really low rates if you play safe, I mean pay your installments on time and if you manage to pay it before time that would be more than good that will drag you in the line of good borrower, which will be very useful if ever in future you need to get the loan again. Unsecured loans are the most fascinating and tempting loan kind that has ever come across my knowledge. You are at minimum risk especially you are simply free from any possibility of repossession of your home or any other asset.Whereas on the other hand the creditors are at high risk by giving you an unsecured loan as they provide you loan just on the assessment of your income and repayment capacity and therefore the monthly installments are a bit higher and the repayment duration is also shorter as compared to secured loans. But for everything you have to pay a price, there is nothing free and of course you are getting money without giving any of your owned possession’s guarantees, which is a very big thing? This doesn’t stop here; you have other benefits too of unsecured loans that can’t be overlooked. First you can find a number of companies who are offering unsecured loans and thus get it on a very competitive rate. As for an unsecured loan you are not to provide a number of documents with the loan application the process of the approval are much faster than that of secured loans. It can be obtained in the time span of as short as 72 hours.Besides this there are other loans you can think of like secured loans but of course you should be dead sure that you’ll pay the loan before the deadline, as for secured loans you have to put any of your asset as a guarantee to bank, there are cheap home improvement loans, house buying loans, small and big business loans, personal loans, bad credit loans, pay day loans, car loans etc… there are just few things to keep in mind while applying or before applying a loan such as the interest rate, type of rate (fixed or variable), terms and conditions (repayment time in months or years), deposit (down payment), associated fees (broker, origination, prepayment etc.), insurance required by the lender. For best financial results see all the terms and conditions and be crystal clear about the things and then apply. This will give you ample tendency to work out your way out victoriously.Loans are never (most of the times) an effectual, result-oriented solution for your long term monetary needs! Taking loans is becoming a fashion, I think more then 50% of advertisement on media is directly or indirectly about loans. But frankly speaking I believe loans are not more than debt traps. There are so many alluring names as payday loans; cash advance loans, check advance loans, post-dated check loans or deferred deposit check loans. But beware! Don’t charmed by such attractive offers, think twice about borrowing a loan before you go ahead with this and honestly realize, do you really need a loan? Is it inevitable? Is this loan for frivolous, like a holiday? Or for something real serious an urgent need, Can you borrow money by a more traditional way, I mean from a relative, maybe a part-time job or you can think of selling an asset. Try to convince your creditors for some more time to pay your bills. Find out what they will charge you for that service – as a late charge, an additional finance charge or a higher interest rate. Don’t put your foot into a trap yourself if you can avoid it.Did you ever think why you drag your self in to a situation where you are left with no money and need loan desperately? Strive to mend this; if you are a lavish spender and you always spend more than you earn then it is a terrible practice. To overcome this condition, if you opt for a payday loan, it will be a “chancy solution”. Payday loan companies often take the advantages of your need and lead you in debt ensnare. Try to make a more realistic and practical budget, and figure out your monthly and daily expenses. Avoid superfluous purchases even undersized every day items. Their costs add up and may become a huge amount at times that makes real big difference. Also, put aside some savings, even small amounts will do to avoid borrowing for emergencies, unexpected expenses or other such instances. I know it’s simply impossible to write your requirements in black and white and consume money according to that but one should make a strict line that you are not spending more than this and this is only for your own advantage.Check out if you can go for overdraft protection on your checking account? If you are a regular most or all of the funds in your account user so then if you make a mistake in your checking (or savings) account ledger or records, overdraft protection can assist in protecting you from further credit problems. Do find out the terms of overdraft protection. Want any help or working out a debt repayment plan with creditors or developing a budget, contact your local consumer credit counseling service. Almost in every state there are non-profit groups that offer credit guidance to consumers. These services are available at very little or no cost. Don’t forget to check with your employer, credit union or housing authority for no- or low-cost credit counseling programs. If you decide that a payday loan is inevitable, borrow only as much as you can afford to pay with your next paycheck and still have enough to make it to the next payday.While taking a loan it’s never only the interest rate to take care of it’s only a part, there are a whole lot of other inevitable expenses that makes it really, really expensive. The rate on a payday loan may be 500% per year or even more. Borrowing 200 dollar for 2 weeks at 500% will cost you 38.36 dollar. Just compare this to borrowing 200 dollar for 2 weeks at 36% (2.76 dollar) or 12% (.92 dollar). Suppose if this loan is refinanced four times, the cost difference increases dramatically! In actuality, it will cost you nearly 200 dollar to borrow 200 dollar for ten weeks. Gosh! It’s a lot. Besides the insurance rate there are also arrangement fees and prepayment penalties to consider. And many ‘no fee’ credit lines have a pre-payment penalty. This is the way broker and lenders make their money. Do work out the total cost of your loan before committing? Compare the APR and the finance charge (which includes loan fees, interest and other types of credit costs) of credit offers to get the lowest cost.Borrowing loans can be helpful when you are having temporary cash flow crisis or are facing a financial emergency and need money on a short-term basis. Don’t rely on loan or don’t make long-term planning depending on loans only. If you already have one loan outstanding, then you should avoid taking out another such loan. Also think about the aggravations if you can’t be able to repay the loan at specific date to the payday lender!! I hope you are getting my point. Now this was what I call a bird’s eye view about the loans advantages and disadvantages. But if still you are not satisfied and wants to dig in more to know minute details about different types of loans, I’ll give you some info about it as after all you are the best judge for your own problems and needs. Doesn’t matter what someone says it’s always you who know what you need to do?I have already given you a transparent idea about secured and unsecured loans. Now else than this there are home loans, bad credit loan, bad credit auto loan, personal loan, debt consolidation, payday loan, mortgage loan, auto loan, student consolidation loan, business loan, home equity loan and pay day advance. See you can get loan for anything and everything. There are so many different kinds of flexible and non-flexible loans that help you to keep going ahead in life.
Loan products.Pay day loan.Hmmm…! The dead line of paying the installment of a credit card is coming near. And still didn’t get your pay. Well laugh your worries away. The payday loan will help you to pay on time. After you get your salary you can pay off your payday loan, but don’t make it a habit? For short-term loan this is the best sort of loan you can go for.Home loan.Everyone either he is a prince or a commoner want to own a home of his own, in old days people use to work whole their lives to buy their own house. But in this struggle the best boom period of life flies away. Now enjoy your life to the fullest, get a home loan and build the house of your dreams and live in it like a king. You can buy, build or renovate a house by acquiring various types of loans that suits you the most. There are mostly three kinds of it:o You already own a house and want to renovate it. You can get a loan for renovating your house by putting your house for collateral security to the bank for the loan.o Secondly you have a plot and want to build your house on it. Then again the place will be the collateral security and you’ll be provided loan to build the structure of the house on it.o The third type is that you neither have a house nor a plot and you want to buy a house in that case you will get the loan to build your house but the house will be on bank’s name till you pay the loan fully.
Else than this there are different rules and flexibilities for diverse home loans. Like:o The mark-up rate will vary for a salaried person or a businessman. It can start from 11% for a salaried person and 12% for a businessman though different banks and other companies may differ from this rate.o For construction, purchase & balance transfer you can have 3 to 20 years times to pay back the loan.o For renovation it can be from 2-20 years.o For home purchase you can get the amount of loan that can vary from – 0.5M to 20M.o Whereas for home renovation approximate loan can be form – 0.5M to 7M.o For home construction you can get up to – 0.5M to 10M.
This could be the approximate loan to value ratio you can get for these different home loans.o For Home Purchase – 80:20 for salaried employees, businessmen and self-employed professionals who maybe in the business for five years and 75:25 for businessmen and self-employed professionals who can be in the business for last 3 Years.o For Home Construction – 70:30 for salaried employees, 70:30 for businessmen and self-employed professionals who maybe doing business for last five years and 65:35 for businessmen and self-employed professionals who are in the business for last three years.o For Home Equity- 70:30 for salaried employees, 70:30 for businessmen and self-employed professionals who can be in the business for last five years and 65:35 for businessmen and self-employed professionals who are in the business for last three years.o For Balance Transfer Facility – 80:20.Car loan.Car is not luxury anymore it’s a necessity; you are handicap without a car. If you cannot afford a car with your salary and trying desperately to save some money for buying a car but unfortunately every month something new comes up to eat up all your savings then get a car loan and make your life easy and you can use your savings in paying the installment of your loan every month. For car loans the rules are almost same as house loans. The payment will vary with the difference of new or used car, car model or price.Bad credit car loan.Happy news for the bad credit raters, now you can also enjoy the pleasure of shopping the way you want; there is high competition in those who are ready to give loan to those who have bad credit rating for car and even for house. Or if you are doing a business you can still get a loan. Actually roughly all sorts of loans are open to bad credit rater now. Though they’ll charge more interest rate and other charges but still you have a facility of loan to enjoy.Student loan.Learning is a weapon no one can steal. Education is of no comparison with anything, I think it’s a must get thing for everyone. But sometimes due to monitory resources one has to discontinue his or her education but now you can freely get education as much as you want, you just have to get a loan and study to your fill. Student loans for the benefit of students are on quite competitive rates and are much more flexible than other loans to provide maximum chance to a student to be carefree and get education as easily as possible.Business loan.Doesn’t matter how much good salary you are taking? A business (of course here I am talking about your own business) is a blessing. There is no tension of getting deadlines from your boss. No pressing for reaching office at so and so time. And there are definitely more chances of growth. Now if you want to start a business or re-establish it on a small platform or on a bigger level there are all different sorts of loans to benefit you in your goal. Your business may have helped you construct your home, now your home can assist you build your business. A business loan is normally against Residential Property. It is an evergreen credit line that the customer can use for his/her business expansion.o Business loan can be for business expansion.o Or for staring a new business.o You can get loan for a small business set-up as well as fro a bigger business project.o Business loan offers you the facility of availing a financing up to 70 % of your property value. So that now you can have a chance to avail a higher amount against your assets, you can plan your growth and expansion exactly the way you want to.o There is another kind of loan you can get for business purpose, you can give a business plan to a bank and make the bank a sort of business partner. In this way you are saved the worry of putting your house or any other asset as collateral. This type of loan is very useful for heavy industry.Personal loan.We all dream, but there are few who dare to put the power gear of their life to make their dreams come true. It’s much easier to fulfill your most dear fantasies now with the prospect of personal loan. The most interesting part in going for personal loan is you’ll be not asked the reason for getting loan.o Personal installment loan is extremely flexible. You can borrow any amount ranging from 50,000 to 500,000 for 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54 and 60 months. Whatever suits you! Isn’t awesome, what else you need for a good start? Although there can be pre-payment penalty if you desire to pay the loan before the agreed tenure.Other Loans.Besides these chief and main objects there are other prospects for which you can get loan. Those may not be as important for all but you can still avail the chance to do other things with loan like if you desire to redecorate your house but you are short of money for that you can get branded or non branded furniture of your choice besides this you can also buy other home appliances on installment.So now you can see how many options are open for you to make your next move. You can easily choose to do what suits you the most. Loans are almost for everything you are thinking of doing in your life. Due to high competition in market the rates are also quite flexible and in addition you are allowed to choose from a lot of flexibilities to relax you for paying back any loan. From a business to petty thing for your personal use you can get loan.
Increase Dealership Sales – the Importance of Automotive Sales Training
How many times have you driven by a car dealership to find salespeople huddled or lined up by the showroom door like vultures waiting to pounce on the next customer?In today’s market, spending has significantly decreased, and dealerships must be more proactive in creating a maximized sales environment and managing sales activity if they want to sell more cars and generate profit.On top of this current problem affecting auto sales, in-store traffic is at an all time low, as many that need to purchase a vehicle do the majority of their research and kicking of the tires online to determine what they want and can afford, and then call the dealership, rather than browse the showroom like the good old days.The advent of the internet has changed how people shop for cars. Isn’t it time your sales training changed to adapt to get current with the times?Sales training in the auto industry typically used to just be for the sales team. The managers would send their crew to a seminar where they would learn about the latest and greatest tactics and techniques in showroom behavior. The salespeople would return to their dealerships all pumped up and ready to implement what they just learned. Then two weeks later, it is back to business as usual.
Why This Does Not WorkBottom Line: You need effective automotive sales management to have effective salespeople. Managers need automotive training as well as the auto sales staff.Most sales managers became sales managers because they had high success as a salesperson. That does not necessarily make them good at managing a staff, in the same way that the best player may not make the best coach.
Think of the auto sales manager as sales coach. A coach oversees performance and creates strategies based on a player’s ability to execute. The sales manager should oversee his or her staff in the same manner and get trained on how to manage effectively to increase automotive sales.Automotive management training ensures that the managers can comprehensively supervise the showroom and track the individual progress of his or her staff. They will train with the sales staff and should then learn how to set up an in-house continual training regimen.Salespeople may indeed learn valuable skills from seminars, but the main difference between training and learning is that training is the repeated application of learned skills. There is not a lot of opportunity for salespeople to repeatedly apply what they learn in the period of a single day, or even a week. Training is something you do, not something you did.Automotive BDC and Telephone TrainingCar dealers need to know how to handle inbound sales calls and talk potential customers into the showroom instead of out. While many salespeople do not want to talk about price, customers will inevitably bring it up, so it is crucial to be prepared and know how to handle the issue of price when it comes up.Furthermore, auto dealerships, and especially the sales staff, need to be informed about current programs. For example, the last hot topic of the auto industry was Cash for Clunkers. Salespeople should know, first off, whether their dealership is participating in a certain program. Then, they should know the exact requirements of the program, and what kind of rebates or incentives their dealership is offering. Once they are sufficiently educated, they need to practice explaining the ins and outs of the program, so that by the time they have a customer on the line or in the showroom, it feels like second nature to them.This is where telephone sales training comes into play. Although many auto salespeople feel at home in the showroom, they are ill at ease when it comes to handling the phones. There is great debate about the pros and cons of the automotive BDC or business development center. For many dealerships, the BDC staff is made up of telemarketers. On one hand, they have experience with handling inbound and outbound calls. On the other hand, they may know very little about the automotive industry. What if you could combine your auto sales staff with your BDC? With telephone sales training, you can.With effective telephone training, the auto sales staff will not only be able to handle inbound calls, but also follow up with unsold prospects, and call back sold customers to generate repeaters and referrals. Although there are many good training programs out there, one of the best, in my opinion, is FirePhone, which is part of Proactive Training Solution’s ADAPT VT virtual training program.One of the main elements of FirePhone is the virtual role-play, which allows salespeople to get ample practice with virtual callers before moving on to real callers. FirePhone also provides scripts for almost any situation, so that the sales staff always knows what to say. Whether your dealership uses FirePhone or another program, having a sales staff that is skilled on the phone will allow you to cut costs and save money that would otherwise be spent on an outside BDC.In SummaryAn ongoing automotive sales training program that incorporates both the showroom and the phone lines is what will keep your dealership efficient and productive during these tough economic times. Through much practice and sound management coaching, the auto sales staff will become more at ease with various situations, have more confidence with the potential customer, and close more sales transactions.
Commercial Loans – A Boon for Farmers
There are times when farmers find themselves in a sudden bind when it comes to collecting required finances for their farms. Getting loans for farms on a short notice to handle unexpected emergencies is quite a necessity these days, especially considering the amount of machines and other farm supplies available in the market and the economy we are dealing with. There could be many reasons why you may require a quick farm loan – it could be that you want to buy a new machinery to improve the quality of farming tasks and save time or to settle an unforeseen expenditure.Whatever the reason may be, getting farm loans depends entirely on your credit history. Having a positive history, without any debt will make sure that you get the loan soon and with a reasonable rate of interest to boot. However, a progressively worse credit history might make your chances of getting a loan more difficult and you will be charged with more interest. Taking a secure loan will be an assurance of a lower rate of interest but it may be an extremely difficult task.If you are unable to get loan due to whatever possible reasons or do not want to worry about ever increasing interest rates, getting commercial loans is another way to go about things. You can get a good amount and use it for whatever farming purpose you have in mind. These loan programs are dedicated to meet individual needs of farmers and ranchers so that they can fulfill their demands and increase overall productivity. Commercial loan providers offer customized payment dates along with stable long term payment dates so that the farmers can focus on their operation instead of constantly increasing rates.A loan will help you buy required machinery, and tools that will eventually increase your productivity and bring higher monetary benefits and improve cash flow. Commercial loans, if taken from a reputed provider will offer stability and less risk because such loans have no payment penalties and ensure suppleness in your operation’s future. You will never be financially penalized for refinancing your farm or selling it.However, in order to save yourself from spam sites, it is important for you to search for a reputed farm loans provider. Browse the web to find out the list of providers and check what past and present customers have to say about the services. Consider the provider only if you are completely satisfied with the review.
Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination
An enormous amount of research shows the importance of self-determination (i.e., autonomy) for students in elementary school through college for enhancing learning and improving important post-school outcomes.
Research by psychologists Richard Ryan, PhD, and Edward Deci, PhD, on Self-Determination Theory indicates that intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable), and thus higher quality learning, flourishes in contexts that satisfy human needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Students experience competence when challenged and given prompt feedback. Students experience autonomy when they feel supported to explore, take initiative and develop and implement solutions for their problems. Students experience relatedness when they perceive others listening and responding to them. When these three needs are met, students are more intrinsically motivated and actively engaged in their learning.
Numerous studies have found that students who are more involved in setting educational goals are more likely to reach their goals. When students perceive that the primary focus of learning is to obtain external rewards, such as a grade on an exam, they often perform more poorly, think of themselves as less competent, and report greater anxiety than when they believe that exams are simply a way for them to monitor their own learning. Some studies have found that the use of external rewards actually decreased motivation for a task for which the student initially was motivated. In a 1999 examination of 128 studies that investigated the effects of external rewards on intrinsic motivations, Drs. Deci and Ryan, along with psychologist Richard Koestner, PhD, concluded that such rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation by undermining people’s taking responsibility for motivating or regulating themselves.
Self-determination research has also identified flaws in high stakes, test focused school reforms, which despite good intentions, has led teachers and administrators to engage in precisely the types of interventions that result in poor quality learning. Dr. Ryan and colleagues found that high stakes tests tend to constrain teachers’ choices about curriculum coverage and curtail teachers’ ability to respond to students’ interests (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999). Also, psychologists Tim Urdan, PhD, and Scott Paris, PhD, found that such tests can decrease teacher enthusiasm for teaching, which has an adverse effect on students’ motivation (Urdan & Paris, 1994).
The processes described in self-determination theory may be particularly important for children with special educational needs. Researcher Michael Wehmeyer found that students with disabilities who are more self-determined are more likely to be employed and living independently in the community after completing high school than students who are less self-determined.
Research also shows that the educational benefits of self-determination principles don’t stop with high school graduation. Studies show how the orientation taken by college and medical school instructors (whether it is toward controlling students’ behavior or supporting the students’ autonomy) affects the students’ motivation and learning.
Self-determination theory has identified ways to better motivate students to learn at all educational levels, including those with disabilities.
Schools throughout the country are using self-determination instruction as a way to better motivate students and meet the growing need to teach children and youth ways to more fully accept responsibility for their lives by helping them to identify their needs and develop strategies to meet those needs.
Researchers have developed and evaluated instructional interventions and supports to encourage self-determination for all students, with many of these programs designed for use by students with disabilities. Many parents, researchers and policy makers have voiced concern about high rates of unemployment, under-employment and poverty experienced by students with disabilities after they complete their educational programs. Providing support for student self-determination in school settings is one way to enhance student learning and improve important post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Schools have particularly emphasized the use of self-determination curricula with students with disabilities to meet federal mandates to actively involve students with disabilities in the Individualized Education Planning process.
Programs to promote self-determination help students acquire knowledge, skills and beliefs that meet their needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness (for example, see Steps to Self-determination by educational researchers Sharon Field and Alan Hoffman). Such programs also provide instruction aimed specifically at helping students play a more active role in educational planning (for example, see The Self-directed Individualized Education Plan by Jim Martin, Laura Huber Marshall, Laurie Maxson, & Patty Jerman).
Drs. Field and Hoffman developed a model designed to guide the development of self-determination instructional interventions. According to the model, instructional activities in areas such as increasing self-awareness; improving decision-making, goal-setting and goal-attainment skills; enhancing communication and relationship skills; and developing the ability to celebrate success and learn from reflecting on experiences lead to increased student self-determination. Self-determination instructional programs help students learn how to participate more actively in educational decision-making by helping them become familiar with the educational planning process, assisting them to identify information they would like to share at educational planning meetings, and supporting students to develop skills to effectively communicate their needs and wants. Examples of activities used in self-determination instructional programs include reflecting on daydreams to help students decide what is important to them; teaching students how to set goals that are important to them and then, with the support of peers, family members and teachers, taking steps to achieve those goals. Providing contextual supports and opportunities for students, such as coaching for problem-solving and offering opportunities for choice, are also critical elements that lead to meeting needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness and thus, increasing student self-determination.
How to Build a Better Educational System: Jigsaw Classrooms
The jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements.
In the early 1970s, in the wake of the civil rights movement, educators were faced with a social dilemma that had no obvious solution. All over the country, well-intentioned efforts to desegregate America’s public schools were leading to serious problems. Ethnic minority children, most of whom had previously attended severely under-funded schools, found themselves in classrooms composed predominantly of more privileged White children. This created a situation in which students from affluent backgrounds often shone brilliantly while students from impoverished backgrounds often struggled. Of course, this difficult situation seemed to confirm age-old stereotypes: that Blacks and Latinos are stupid or lazy and that Whites are pushy and overly competitive. The end result was strained relations between children from different ethnic groups and widening gaps in the academic achievement of Whites and minorities.
Drawing on classic psychological research on how to reduce tensions between competing groups (e.g., see Allport, 1954; Sherif, 1958; see also Pettigrew, 1998), Elliot Aronson and colleagues realized that one of the major reasons for this problem was the competitive nature of the typical classroom. In a typical classroom, students work on assignments individually, and teachers often call on students to see who can publicly demonstrate his or her knowledge. Anyone who has ever been called to the board to solve a long division problem – only to get confused about dividends and divisors – knows that public failure can be devastating. The snide remarks that children often make when their peers fail do little to remedy this situation. But what if students could be taught to work together in the classroom – as cooperating members of a cohesive team? Could a cooperative learning environment turn things around for struggling students? When this is done properly, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
In response to real educational dilemmas, Aronson and colleagues developed and implemented the jigsaw classroom technique in Austin, Texas, in 1971. The jigsaw technique is so named because each child in a jigsaw classroom has to become an expert on a single topic that is a crucial part of a larger academic puzzle. For example, if the children in a jigsaw classroom were working on a project about World War II, a classroom of 30 children might be broken down into five diverse groups of six children each. Within each group, a different child would be given the responsibility of researching and learning about a different specific topic: Khanh might learn about Hitler’s rise to power, Tracy might learn about the U.S. entry into the war, Mauricio might learn about the development of the atomic bomb, etc. To be sure that each group member learned his or her material well, the students from different groups who had the same assignment would be instructed to compare notes and share information. Then students would be brought together in their primary groups, and each student would present his or her “piece of the puzzle” to the other group members. Of course, teachers play the important role of keeping the students involved and derailing any tensions that may emerge. For example, suppose Mauricio struggled as he tried to present his information about the atomic bomb. If Tracy were to make fun of him, the teacher would quickly remind Tracy that while it may make her feel good to make fun of her teammate, she is hurting herself and her group – because everyone will be expected to know all about the atomic bomb on the upcoming quiz.
When properly carried out, the jigsaw classroom technique can transform competitive classrooms in which many students are struggling into cooperative classrooms in which once-struggling students show dramatic academic and social improvements (and in which students who were already doing well continue to shine). Students in jigsaw classrooms also come to like each other more, as students begin to form cross-ethnic friendships and discard ethnic and cultural stereotypes. Finally, jigsaw classrooms decrease absenteeism, and they even seem to increase children’s level of empathy (i.e., children’s ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes). The jigsaw technique thus has the potential to improve education dramatically in a multi-cultural world by revolutionizing the way children learn.
Since its demonstration in the 1970s, the jigsaw classroom has been used in hundreds of classrooms settings across the nation, ranging from the elementary schools where it was first developed to high school and college classrooms (e.g., see Aronson, Blaney, Stephan, Rosenfield, & Sikes, 1977; Perkins & Saris, 2001; Slavin, 1980). Researchers know that the technique is effective, incidentally, because it has been carefully studied using solid research techniques. For example, in many cases, students in different classrooms who are covering the same material are randomly assigned to receive either traditional instruction (no intervention) or instruction by means of the jigsaw technique. Studies in real classrooms have consistently revealed enhanced academic performance, reductions in stereotypes and prejudice, and improved social relations.
Aronson is not the only researcher to explore the merits of cooperative learning techniques. Shortly after Aronson and colleagues began to document the power of the jigsaw classroom, Robert Slavin, Elizabeth Cohen and others began to document the power of other kinds of cooperative learning programs (see Cohen & Lotan, 1995; Slavin, 1980; Slavin, Hurley, & Chamberlain, 2003). As of this writing, some kind of systematic cooperative learning technique had been applied in about 1500 schools across the country, and the technique appears to be picking up steam. Perhaps the only big question that remains about cooperative learning techniques such as the jigsaw classroom is why these techniques have not been implemented even more broadly than they already have.
Have Your Children Had Their Anti-Smoking Shots?
In the early 1960s, social psychologist William McGuire published some classic papers showing that it is surprisingly easy to change people’s attitudes about things that we all wholeheartedly accept as true. For example, for speakers armed with a little knowledge of persuasion, it is remarkably easy to convince almost anyone that brushing one’s teeth is not such a great idea. McGuire’s insight into this curious phenomenon was that it is easy to change people’s minds about things that they have always taken for granted precisely because most people have little if any practice resisting attacks on attitudes that no one ever questions.
Taking this logic a little further, McGuire asked if it might be possible to train people to resist attacks on their beliefs by giving them practice at resisting arguments that they could easily refute. Specifically, McGuire drew an analogy between biological resistance to disease and psychological resistance to persuasion. Biological inoculation works by exposing people to a weakened version of an attacking agent such as a virus. People’s bodies produce antibodies that make them immune to the attacking agent, and when a full-blown version of the agent hits later in life, people win the biological battle against the full-blown disease. Would giving people a little practice fending off a weak attack on their attitudes make it easier for people to resist stronger attacks on their attitudes that come along later? The answer turns out to be yes. McGuire coined the phrase attitude inoculation to refer to the process of resisting strong persuasive arguments by getting practice fighting off weaker versions of the same arguments.
Once attitude inoculation had been demonstrated consistently in the laboratory, researchers decided to see if attitude inoculation could be used to help parents, teachers, and social service agents deal with a pressing social problem that kills about 440,000 people in the U.S. every year: cigarette smoking. Smoking seemed like an ideal problem to study because children below the age of 10 or 12 almost always report negative attitudes about smoking. However, in the face of peer pressure to be cool, many of these same children become smokers during middle to late adolescence.
Adolescents change their attitudes about smoking (and become smokers) because of the power of peer pressure. Researchers quickly realized that if they could inoculate children against pro-smoking arguments (by teaching them to resist pressure from their peers who believed that smoking is “cool”), they might be able to reduce the chances that children would become smokers. A series of field studies of attitude inoculation, conducted in junior high schools and high schools throughout the country, demonstrated that brief interventions using attitude inoculation dramatically reduced rates of teenage smoking. For instance, in an early study by Cheryl Perry and colleagues (1980), high school students inoculated junior high schools students against smoking by having the younger kids role-play the kind of situations they might actually face with a peer who pressured them to try a cigarette. For example, when a role-playing peer called a student “chicken” for not being willing to try an imaginary cigarette, the student practiced answers such as “I’d be a real chicken if I smoked just to impress you.” The kids who were inoculated in this way were about half as likely to become smokers as were kids in a very similar school who did not receive this special intervention.
Public service advertising campaigns have also made use of attitude inoculation theory by encouraging parents to help their children devise strategies for saying no when peers encourage them to smoke. Programs that have made whole or partial use of attitude inoculation programs have repeatedly documented the effectiveness of attitude inoculation to prevent teenage smoking, to curb illicit drug use, and to reduce teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. In comparison with old-fashioned interventions such as simple education about the risks of smoking or teenage pregnancy, attitude inoculation frequently reduces risky behaviors by 30-70% (see Botvin et al., 1995; Ellickson & Bell, 1990; Perry et al., 1980). As psychologist David Myers put it in his popular social psychology textbook, “Today any school district or teacher wishing to use the social psychological approach to smoking prevention can do so easily, inexpensively, and with the hope of significant reductions in future smoking rates and health costs.” So the next time you think about inoculating kids to keep them healthy, make sure you remember that one of the most important kinds of inoculation any kid can get is a psychological inoculation against tobacco.
Early Intervention Can Improve Low-Income Children’s Cognitive Skills and Academic Achievement
National Head Start program conceptualized while psychologists were beginning to study preventive intervention for young children living in poverty.
As a group, children who live in poverty tend to perform worse in school than do children from more privileged backgrounds. For the first half of the 20th century, researchers attributed this difference to inherent cognitive deficits. At the time, the prevailing belief was that the course of child development was dictated by biology and maturation. By the early 1960s, this position gave way to the notion popularized by psychologists such as J. McVicker Hunt and Benjamin Bloom that intelligence could rather easily be shaped by the environment. There was very little research at the time to support these speculations but a few psychologists had begun to study whether environmental manipulation could prevent poor cognitive outcomes. Results of studies by psychologists Susan Gray and Rupert Klaus (1965), Martin Deutsch (1965) and Bettye Caldwell and former U.S. Surgeon General Julius Richmond (1968) supported the notion that early attention to physical and psychological development could improve cognitive ability.
These preliminary results caught the attention of Sargent Shriver, President Lyndon Johnson’s chief strategist in implementing an arsenal of antipoverty programs as part of the War on Poverty. His idea for a school readiness program for children of the poor focused on breaking the cycle of poverty. Shriver reasoned that if poor children could begin school on an equal footing with wealthier classmates, they would have a better of chance of succeeding in school and avoiding poverty in adulthood. He appointed a planning committee of 13 professionals in physical and mental health, early education, social work, and developmental psychology. Their work helped shape what is now known as the federal Head Start program.
The three developmental psychologists in the group were Urie Bronfenbrenner, Mamie Clark, and Edward Zigler. Bronfenbrenner convinced the other members that intervention would be most effective if it involved not just the child but the family and community that comprise the child-rearing environment. Parent involvement in school operations and administration were unheard of at the time, but it became a cornerstone of Head Start and proved to be a major contributor to its success. Zigler had been trained as a scientist and was distressed that the new program was not going to be field-tested before its nationwide launch. Arguing that it was not wise to base such a massive, innovative program on good ideas and concepts but little empirical evidence, he insisted that research and evaluation be part of Head Start. When he later became the federal official responsible for administering the program, Zigler (often referred to as the “father of Head Start”) worked to cast Head Start as a national laboratory for the design of effective early childhood services.
Although it is difficult to summarize the hundreds of empirical studies of Head Start outcomes, Head Start does seem to produce a variety of benefits for most children who participate. Although some studies have suggested that the intellectual advantages gained from participation in Head Start gradually disappear as children progress through elementary school, some of these same studies have shown more lasting benefits in the areas of school achievement and adjustment.
Head Start began as a great experiment that over the years has yielded prolific results. Some 20 million children and families have participated in Head Start since the summer of 1965; current enrollment approaches one million annually, including those in the new Early Head Start that serves families with children from birth to age 3. Psychological research on early intervention has proliferated, creating an expansive literature and sound knowledge base. Many research ideas designed and tested in the Head Start laboratory have been adapted in a variety of service delivery programs. These include family support services, home visiting, a credentialing process for early childhood workers, and education for parenthood. Head Start’s efforts in preschool education spotlighted the value of school readiness and helped spur today’s movement toward universal preschool.
Family-Like Environment Better for Troubled Children and Teens
The Teaching-Family Model changes bad behavior through straight talk and loving relationships.
In the late 1960′s, psychologists Elaine Phillips, Elery Phillips, Dean Fixsen, and Montrose Wolf developed an empirically tested treatment program to help troubled children and juvenile offenders who had been assigned to residential group homes. These researchers combined the successful components of their studies into the Teaching-Family Model, which offers a structured treatment regimen in a family-like environment. The model is built around a married couple (teaching-parents) that lives with children in a group home and teaches them essential interpersonal and living skills. Not only have teaching parents’ behaviors and techniques been assessed for their effectiveness, but they have also been empirically tested for whether children like them. Teaching-parents also work with the children’s parents, teachers, employers, and peers to ensure support for the children’s positive changes. Although more research is needed, preliminary results suggest that, compared to children in other residential treatment programs, children in Teaching-Family Model centers have fewer contacts with police and courts, lower dropout rates, and improved school grades and attendance.
Couples are selected to be teaching-parents based on their ability to provide individualized and affirming care. Teaching-parents then undergo an intensive year-long training process. In order to maintain their certification, teaching-parents and Teaching-Family Model organizations are evaluated every year, and must meet the rigorous standards set by the Teaching-Family Association.
The Teaching-Family Model is one of the few evidence-based residential treatment programs for troubled children. In the past, many treatment programs viewed delinquency as an illness, and therefore placed children in institutions for medical treatment. The Teaching-Family Model, in contrast, views children’s behavior problems as stemming from their lack of essential interpersonal relationships and skills. Accordingly, the Teaching-Family Model provides children with these relationships and teaches them these skills, using empirically validated methods. With its novel view of problem behavior and its carefully tested and disseminated treatment program, the Teaching-Family Model has helped to transform the treatment of behavioral problems from impersonal interventions at large institutions to caring relationships in home and community settings. The Teaching-Family Model has also demonstrated how well-researched treatment programs can be implemented on a large scale. Most importantly, the Teaching-Family Model has given hope that young people with even the most difficult problems or behaviors can improve the quality of their lives and make contributions to society.
In recent years, the Teaching-Family Model has been expanded to include foster care facilities, home treatment settings, and even schools. The Teaching-Family Model has also been adapted to accommodate the needs of physically, emotionally, and sexually abused children; emotionally disturbed and autistic children and adults; medically fragile children; and adults with disabilities. Successful centers that have been active for over 30 years include the Bringing it All Back Home Study Center in North Carolina, the Houston Achievement Place in Texas, and the Girls and Boys Town in Nebraska. Other Teaching-Family Model organizations are in Alberta (Canada), Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.