Author Archives: admin


Why you should audit your body language in the workplace

Many of us KNOW our body language influences our communication. But how often do you audit your actions?

Yes! Audit.

Habits come and go. Perhaps you stopped avoiding eye contact. Nice going! But what if you compensate by fidgeting? Do you even know which habits you should stop?

And no, you can’t expect everyone to simply accept you as you are. If you’re in a business environment, you rarely have time to build trust or evoke respect. Your etiquette during a first meeting determines what others think of you.

What if one individual is the key to your future success? Will your current etiquette and body language seal the deal?

You have to monitor your eyes, facial features, hands and even your positioning in relation to others.

That’s a lot to keep track of! But getting the hang of is worth it. One simple handshake can communicate the confidence your new boss is looking for. Prevent accidentally insulting your new colleagues. You don’t want to ruin your brand new working environment.

And that’s the power of using business etiquette and body language optimally. It literally determines your future.

We compiled a few guidelines in this infographic by Swiss Canadian Capital to help you understand these nuances. If you want to be successful, know exactly what you’re communicating from now on!


Read More

Five platforms that can help you move your interests from being a hobby into a successful career

Elsewhere on these pages, we have looked at ways to turn your hobby into a career. Here, in the follow-up post, we look at the platforms that can help you achieve that.

Skillshare  is an online learning community, with thousands of courses to teach you everything from design, to calligraphy, coding and cooking. Whether you want to hone your own skills or teach a growing audience of learners, then sign up to this platform.

YouTube is a video hosting platform that is perfect for anyone who enjoys vlogging, editing video and talking to and educating a massive audience. Whether you are interested in doing make-up tutorials, reviewing gadgets or simply vlogging about your life, all you need is an account and a camera.

Etsy is an e-commerce platform which allows you to showcase and sell items that you make yourself. Whether you are fantastic at creating wedding stationery, party accessories or jewellery, this platform allows you to sell your products and communicate directly with your customers.

Acast  is an audio platform and podcasting app which hosts thousands of podcasts on every topic – from pop culture and politics, through to travel, food and history. If you are interested in hosting your own show, getting your voice heard and producing engaging content, then podcasting is definitely a good option for you.

SoundCloud () is an online audio distribution platform, which allows budding musicians to record, upload and promote their original music. If performing is all you ever dreamt about, uploading your music to SoundCloud is a great way to grow your fan base and make sure your music gets heard.

Caitlin Thompson is US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast

Read More

How to turn your hobby into a career

Did you choose to pursue your career because it was something that sounded glamorous, or perhaps suited your degree, or had the promise of a healthy pay cheque every month? Perhaps, but have you ever thought about turning your interests into a business or a career? Following something you are passionate about is likely to bring you more job satisfaction and keep you motivated on a day-to-day basis, according to a 2016 study by the National University of Singapore, there are professional CV writing services that can help you get the perfect CV for your jobsearch and start working in what you truly love.

Two companies that have a lot of people who changed their careers to pursue their passions are audio platform and podcasting app Acast and online learning community Skillshare, who’s combined best advice this is:

Look for that ‘driving force’
When it comes to hobbies, it could be something that you simply enjoy doing once in a while, or it could be something that drives you to accomplish new things, discover more about yourself and speak to others who are passionate about the same things as you. Harriet, Emma and Natalie, hosts of Badass Women’s Hour podcast ( comment: ‘we decided to start our own podcast after running a Badass Women’s Hour event and we thought that if we recorded it and put it into a podcast, we could take the conversation to a bigger audience. It has never been easier to turn a side hustle into something which could start to pay your bills. And what you learn along the way are skills you can apply to any career move you might want to make during your lifetime. The hardest thing is often building the confidence to get started!’

Perfect, perfect, perfect
Sharpen your professional skills – whether your passion lies in business, tech, design, or photography these industries have one thing in common — they are ever-evolving. And it’s harder than ever to stay on top of industry trends, but if you’re looking turn your hobby into a career, staying up to date is crucial for your business. Skillshare, an online learning community with 17,000+ classes, has millions of members, many of whom are freelancers or creative professionals with side hustles. With their Skillshare membership they have access to a complete library of over 17,000 classes allowing them to continually improve their skills as the demand of their jobs change or new technology arises. The subscription also allows you to acquire skills across a variety of disciplines, which is especially important for entrepreneurs. “I’ve spent the last year building my own start-up,” says Skillshare student Tom, “and I used Skillshare to augment nearly every step of that process. We are officially launching in one week, and I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Find a platform
Once you have established that you want to make your hobby into a successful career, you should find a platform to help you promote yourself and your passion, advises Sophie Herdman, Content Manager UK at Acast. It could be as simple as making a website for your business, or it could be signing up to a podcasting platform to get your voice heard, or an online community to teach your skills to others. Whatever the best option is for you, make sure to research the platform thoroughly – you want to be in control of your creative output, but also for the platform to protect your interests and provide you with guidance whenever you need it. For example, at Acast, we could help podcasters to launch their podcast and earn money.

Join a community
Starting your own business or going it alone as a freelancer can be isolating!  Having a community of likeminded professionals to help answer your questions, share advice, and fine-tune your skills can be instrumental to your success. Unlike other online learning platforms, Skillshare is designed to foster collaboration between students and teachers. Who knows? You just might find your next mentor!

Spread the word
Once you have chosen the right platform for you, use your existing network to spread the word about your new venture – tell friends and family, previous business associates and all those you met while perfecting your craft and skill. Social media is also a great way to reach and widen your target audience – participate in discussions surrounding your new career, make new connections and respond to your followers. All of this will help solidify your reputation and bring in a steady stream of listeners, followers and perspective clients.

Caitlin Thompson, US Director of Content at Podcasting platform, Acast

Read More

The best and worst states for language learning – and how you can learn wherever you are

A report published in June by the American Councils for International Education revealed the percentage of K-12 students enrolled in a foreign language learning classes in the United States. And the results vary widely from state to state, ranging from over half to less than 10% of the student population learning a language:

States With Highest Language Enrolment

5. Vermont
Foreign language enrolment: 35.03%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Latin

4. Maryland
Foreign language enrolment: 35.23%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

3. Wisconsin
Foreign language enrolment: 36.29%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, German

2. Washington, D.C.
Foreign language enrolment: 47.17%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese (but Russian was a close 4th)

1. New Jersey
Foreign language enrolment: 51.18%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

States With Lowest Language Enrollment

46. Oregon
Foreign language enrolment: 10.83%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

47. Montana
Foreign language enrolment: 10.11%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

48. Arkansas
Foreign language enrolment: 9.09%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, German

49. Arizona
Foreign language enrolment: 9.08%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

50. New Mexico
Foreign language enrolment: 8.50%
Top 3 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese

No matter where you live, language learning is a hugely valuable skill. So if you’re in a state where the provision isn’t so great – or even if it’s fabulous, the tips from the linguists at language learning app Babbel can help you get speaking a new language in weeks:

1. Make Learning A Daily Routine
Did you know you can form a new habit in as few as 21 days? Developing a daily routine of practicing your language helps you to more effectively build and retain that knowledge for the long term. And if you think you don’t have the time to pick up a new habit, think again. Having a language-learning app (like Babbel!) you can use for just 10-15 minutes each day means you can build your new habit into your current routine — learn on your commute, on your lunch break at work, or in any of these 50 situations, in which you’re likely wasting time.

2. Absorb The Culture
One of the most exciting parts about learning a new language is opening the door to a new universe of literature, film, and food. In addition to helping you practice your language skills and broaden your vocabulary, foreign books and films give you a deeper understanding of another culture. You can experience so much without buying a plane ticket — all you need is an internet connection to stream foreign language films, listen to music, or discover new book recommendations.

3. Infuse Language Learning Into Daily Life
Whatever it is that you like to do with your spare time, try incorporating your newfound language skills. If you enjoy cooking, learn all the ingredient names and cooking terms in your new language. When you’re out shopping or at a restaurant, narrate the transactions and conversations you’d need to know in your new language. The more you can contextualize the language in things you enjoy and already do — instead of memorizing useless expressions (like asking where the disco is) — the more likely you’ll retain it.

4. Personalize Your Learning
Why would you spend time reciting conjugations of a verb you already know? Or learning expressions you’ll never use? Personalizing your learning experience ensures you are learning effectively. Using an app like Babbel also means you can learn at your own pace — you can take as much or as little time as you need to master a concept before moving on to the next one.

5. Visualize Your Success
Success doesn’t happen by accident. Visualizing the reasons why you are learning a language in the first place will keep you motivated to learn. Maybe you’ll be using your newly acquired language skills on an upcoming trip, connecting with extended family from another country, or simply keeping your mind sharp — imagining the kind of person you’ll become and the experiences you’ll have with a new language can be a powerful tool to keep you motivated when the initial novelty of learning wears off.

6. Just Do It!
Sometimes, self-doubt or nerves can take over when you think about trying something new. If you promise yourself to spend just 5 minutes practicing each day, chances are high you’ll get through your entire 10-15 minute language lesson without even realizing it.

The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

Read More

Shares jump as investors rebel at education publisher Pearson

Investors in education group Pearson have delivered a rebuke to Chief Executive John Fallon hours after he set out a new cost-cutting plan to try to revive a business hit by the rapid move to digital learning.
Plans to cut costs by£ 300 million annually by 2020 helped to send Pearson shares up as much as 15 percent but Fallon warned of a long road ahead.
Investor anger was evident at the company’s annual meeting where nearly 70 percent of shareholders voted against its remuneration report in a symbolic protest over the company’s performance under Fallon. Check out these stock investment companies to see which one could work for you, they’re the best so far this year. Give them a visit.
The 173-year-old British company has been hit by a sharp downturn in its biggest markets, issuing five profit warnings in four years, as students ditch more expensive text books for second-hand copies and digital services.
“For the next year or two we think the negatives will continue to outweigh the positives so we are running the business on the basis that things will not get better any time soon,” Fallon told reporters.
“But they will get better, there is a point in two or three years time when that pendulum shifts.”
Employing 35,000 people, the British group provides everything from textbooks to school testing, college courses and online degrees around the world.
Having grown rapidly since 2008, it started to lose its way in 2015 when the U.S. economy recovered, encouraging more people to take jobs rather than go into higher education.
In 2016 the shift to digital services in the U.S. stepped up a gear, leading to an “unexpected and unprecedented” 14 percent drop in the U.S. higher education teaching materials market.
Investors are divided between those who think governments will always need to invest in digital learning services, and those who think the industry is facing the same disruption as that already endured by the newspaper and music industries.
Fallon, who is under fire for his handling of the downturn, said the company’s move to digital products was helping the company to become more efficient. He has taken out more than 650 million pounds of costs in the last four years.
Pearson will review its U.S. school courseware publishing business, which it said had been slow to switch to digital. It said the division required high levels of investment and was facing a challenging market environment.
Pearson, which had lost a quarter of its market value in the nine months before Friday’s update, said first-quarter trading had been in line with guidance and stuck to full-year targets.
Analysts said the new plan should boost earnings. “Each 100 million pounds of savings assumed in 2018 would add around 20 percent to consensus earnings per share,” analysts at Citi said.
However not everyone was convinced.
“Past evidence suggests that extra cost savings at Pearson do not lead to more profits, it just offsets revenue declines,” said Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum who has a key “Sell” rating on the stock.
The strong share bounce failed to soften the blow when Fallon appeared at the company’s annual meeting on Friday, with 66 percent of investors rejecting the non-binding remuneration report, which assigned Fallon a 20 percent pay rise in 2016.
Private investors asked the board whether they were “asleep on the job” and “paying for failure”. Chairman Sidney Taurel said Fallon had inherited a very complex business when he took over in 2013 and noted he had spent his bonus on new shares.

Read More
Education Health

College is 'the gateway to marijuana'

College is increasingly a gateway for young adults in the U.S. to begin using marijuana and the risk keeps growing the more “normalized” pot use becomes, researchers say.
“We have been expecting marijuana and cbd oil capsules use to increase among young adults,” lead author Richard Miech said.
Young adults today as compared to those of the past are less likely to hold the belief that occasional marijuana use will negatively affect their health, said Miech, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“We’ve seen again and again that when this belief trends down then marijuana use increases (e.g. in the early 1990s), and, conversely, that when this belief trends up then marijuana use declines (e.g. in the mid-1980s),” he said.
Miech and his colleagues think the recent string of U.S. states having legalized recreational use of marijuana accounts in part for the declining proportion of young adults who believe that occasional marijuana use is harmful to health, but is not forbidden for adults because of their age, and they can purchase it in some states and countries, as other services like adult material and escorting from sites likes
“It is likely that at least some young adults interpret this wave of legalization as a signal that marijuana use is safe and state-sanctioned,” he said.
To see how that is affecting recreational use among young people, the study team analyzed data from annual surveys of more than 50,000 adults and adolescents. The surveys have been ongoing since 1975, and are funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Miech said.
They focused on participants who were 19 to 22 years old between 1977 and 2015 and had never used marijuana before their senior year in high school. That was around 64 percent of participants.
About 9 percent of 19-year-olds and 15 percent of 22-year-olds not in college started using marijuana after high school and those percentages remained stable through the entire study period, the researchers report in American Journal of Public Health.
Among college students, the proportion that started using marijuana ranged from 13 percent to 17 percent between 1977 and 2012, then those numbers crept up to between 18 percent and 21 percent from 2013 to 2015.
“We found that marijuana initiation did increase among young adults age 19-22 since 2013, but only among those in college. There was no change in levels of marijuana initiation among 19-22 year-olds who were not in college,” Miech said.
The college environment appears to promote substance use, perhaps in part because of the lack of parental supervision, lots of free time and a party culture, Miech said.
“For what it’s worth, higher levels of substance use in college is also seen with binge drinking (5+ drinks in one sitting): youth age 19-22 are much more likely to binge drink if they are in college as compared to their age peers who are not in college,” Miech said.
Parents should know the majority of young adults who attend college do not initiate marijuana use, Miech added, but the number is increasing.
“There are many reasons why college students might try or use marijuana,” said Christine Lee, director of the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors at the University of Washington in Seattle, who wasn’t involved in the study.
“We surveyed incoming first-year college students on why they tried or use marijuana . . . . For some, experimentation was a motivator. Young adults might just want to try it and see what it is about. For others, they might use marijuana for reasons such as for social bonding, relaxation, boredom, to fit in, or to enjoy the feeling,” Lee said by email.
It would be helpful to begin to identify whether there are high-risk periods for marijuana initiation such as the first six weeks of college, as the study authors suggest, or specific events such as 21st birthdays, particularly for students living in states where recreational marijuana use is legal for those 21 and over. You can also invest in Marijuana stocks.
“If we can identify certain risk periods, it would be easier for colleges to target resources and prevention activities to those times,” she said.

Read More

What you need to produce a successful school garden

Planting a successful school garden requires a lot more than just soil, seeds and water, say researchers who have come up with a planning tool that can help ensure school gardens thrive and endure.
A teacher or parent may be the driving force behind getting a garden started, but once the teacher leaves the school, or the parent’s child graduates, gardens can wither away unless they have been well integrated into the school community, the study team writes in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
School gardens have a host of health and educational benefits, from getting kids to eat more fruits and vegetables to boosting academic achievement in science, math and reading, they write.
To better understand what it takes to help a garden thrive, Kate Gardner Burt of Lehman College in New York City and her colleagues looked at successful gardens at 21 local elementary and middle schools, and mapped out the characteristics of gardens that played an enduring role in the life of the school.
Based on these findings, Burt and colleagues defined a four-level process toward successful school garden integration. Dubbed the GREEN Tool, it’s the first evidence-based guide to planting and nurturing sustainable school gardens, the researchers say.
Among the common themes for success that emerged in the research, Burt noted in a telephone interview, was that schools that established a garden committee early on were able to cope with challenges more successfully.
“The other really important piece to integrating the garden that consistently came up in my discussions and interviews was the idea of professional development,” she added. “Many teachers who don’t have horticultural experience might be really intimidated to get into the garden.”
Professional development sessions that focused on the garden – even informal ones hosted by a garden coordinator at lunch or after school – can help motivate teachers and build their confidence, she added.
Having neighborhood partners and reliable funding for the garden were found to be important keys to sustainability. The planning of the physical garden space and planning for upkeep were also identified as critical components.
Connecting the garden to curriculum was another key step. Once teachers become more comfortable with the garden, they can begin to see the possibilities for teaching through planting and gardening, Burt said. “Using gardens as a mechanism to teach math, that opens teachers up to all kinds of grant possibilities and opportunities.”
In the surveys, for example, more than 95 percent of the schools used the garden for teaching science or nutrition classes. Another 76 percent used it to teach agriculture, 71 percent used the garden for English language arts, 67 percent used it for math, 62 percent for environmental science, history, health and home economics, and 57 percent of schools used the garden for art class.
Tying school gardens to academics can be another way to strengthen their roots, Burt said. “If students can learn any of the core academic subjects better by using the garden, then we can provide more compelling evidence for why gardening should be sustained in schools.”

Read More

The ten happiest words in the Norwegian language (and why you need them)

According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, Norway is the happiest country in the world. Norway ranked so highly due to a number of the traits that the citizens possess, such as caring, freedom, honesty and generosity. In short, the next time you meet a Norwegian you might say ‘Norge er it fint land’ – Norway is a wonderful country.
While the report may make you want to pack your bags right now and move over to this wonderful place, you may want to brush up on some of the local lingo before making the move, or get some of the Norwegian happiness just by learning a few words. Fortunately, the Norwegian expert from language learning app Babbel, has the perfect (and happiest) 10 words to get you started:
Happy – lykkelig, fornøyd or glad
While the first two words literally translate to ‘happy’, glad i deg actually doesn’t have an English equivalent, but roughly means ‘happy/glad in you’. The clever Norwegians came up with the phrase to differentiate between the different kinds of love, so you’d use this particular example when speaking to your friends.
Laugh – latter 
As we’ve established, Norwegians (and other Nordic countries, according to the World Happiness Report) are very happy. So it must come as no surprise that they regularly bryte ut i latter, meaning to literally ‘break out in laughter’.
Funny – morsom, gøy 
Literally translating to ‘funny’, morsom is typically used to describe someone or something is being funny or humorous, whereas moro and gøy are what Norwegians would use to describe ‘fun’.
Smile – smil, le
An easy one for English speakers to remember, the Norwegian for ‘smile’ is pretty much the same in both languages. To make matters even easier, le, translating to ‘laugh’ is just the final two letters of the English ‘smile’.
Cosy – kos(elig)
Most of us are already familiar with the Danish concept of hygge that has infiltrated the English-speaking world over the winter months. Kos or to kose seg is very similar and doesn’t have a direct English translation, but is used to describe a feeling of warmth and simple pleasure, from having a cup of coffee with friends, going for a walk or simply enjoying a book.
Great – kjempefin, flott
You can use either of the above words to say that something is ‘great’ in Norwegian. You can say that an outfit or a person is flott. Norwegians like to spread happy vibes around them, and use superlative words on a daily basis.
Wonderful – herlig
This word doesn’t just mean wonderful and can be used to describe such positive things as ‘delightful’, ‘glorious’ and ‘lovely’. For example, if you bump into a Norwegian and the day is particularly fine, you can say for en herlig dag which means ‘what a lovely day’.
Good – bra 
If you’ve ever seen any of the infamous ‘Nordic noir’ original series, such as The Bridge or The Killing, you will already know this word. Norwegians, just like the Swedes, use bra to describe something ‘good’ or being ‘well’ themselves.
Have fun – gøy
Norwegians like the feeling of kos, and have a good time. If you’re speaking to a Norwegian, make sure to tell them ha det gøy, which means ‘have fun’, ‘have a good time’.
Good luck – lykke til
And to finish off this brief lesson in Norwegian happy phrases, lykke til! If you are still determined to move to the happiest country in the world, hit up a language app like Babbel for a full course in Norwegian, which will get you fluent in no time.
Miriam Plieninger is Director of Didactics and part of the Management Team at Babbel, the app for web, iOS and Android which makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

Read More

Blackstone in talks to acquire Ascend Learning

Private equity firm Blackstone Group is in advanced talks to acquire Ascend Learning LLC, a privately held U.S. maker of educational software, for more than $2 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal would underscore the appetite of buyout firms for companies in the educational software sector, at a time when corporate America and schools are using more digital tools to enhance learning and reduce some of their operational costs.
Blackstone has prevailed in an auction for Ascend Learning, and is now negotiating terms with its majority owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, the sources said last week.
A deal could be announced within days, the sources added, cautioning that it was still possible that negotiations would end without a deal.
The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Blackstone and Providence Equity declined to comment. Ascend Learning did not respond to a request for comment.
The transaction would be the latest private equity deal in the educational software sector. In 2015, private equity firms TPG Capital LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP acquired Ellucian Company LP, a U.S. provider of software to universities and colleges, for $3.5 billion, including debt.
Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, Ascend Learning offers software programs for testing and certifications in various industries, from nursing to sports medicine. The majority of its revenue comes from the healthcare and public safety sectors.
Providence Equity also owns Blackboard Inc, a U.S. software company that provides learning tools for high school and university classrooms.
It explored a sale of Blackboard in 2015, but then ultimately decided to put it on hold. The private equity firm sold scuba certifier Professional Association of Diving Instructors earlier this year.
Based in New York, Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative asset manager, with more than $360 billion in assets under management.

Read More

Canadian course that teaches nail care and dinner party chat comes under fire

A Canadian school course that teaches girls about dinner party etiquette, polite conversation and nail care has come under fire from critics for being a throwback to the 1950s stereotype of women as ornamental objects.
Launched last month by a school in rural Alberta, the optional “Women Studies” course is aimed at helping 11-to-15-year-old girls to “navigate adolescence with their self-image and self-esteem intact”, school authorities said.
The lesson plan includes a field trip for students to learn how to plan recipes, table settings and music for a dinner party. Students will also learn nail care and application and how to choose the most flattering hairstyles and clothing.
“In this age of social media, girls are being frequently compared to others and exposed to messages about how they aren’t good enough unless they dress and behave a certain way,” said Michelle Savoie, a teacher at Eleanor Hall School who designed the course.
“The goal is to improve the way they see themselves and other women around them,” she said in a statement, adding that she wanted to teach girls to be “confident, strong and independent”.
However, the course has sparked a backlash that has prompted school officials to say they would review the course.
One critic, University of Alberta Professor Christina Stasia, said the course promoted sexist, outdated stereotypes.
“It doesn’t really equip girls with anything to navigate the barriers they will be encountering as they grow up,” she was quoted as saying by local media.
A 2015 U.N. report raised concerns about persisting inequalities between women and men in Canada.
The country fell to 35th place in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 global gender gap index – which measures disparities between men and women in economics, education, health and political empowerment – from 19th place two years earlier.
Commenting on the school’s Facebook page, one woman wrote: “I’m just wondering, are you teaching boys about how to dress for their body shape and what hairstyle suits them best?”
Alberta’s education minister David Eggen said he wanted school officials to immediately revamp the course.
“We informed them that all problematic or offensive components must be changed. They have assured me they will make appropriate changes,” Eggen was quoted as saying by local media.

Read More
1 2 3 4 5 13