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Archive for February, 2009


textingPhoto by kamshots

INTERESTING READ: A new study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology contradicts these thoughts and claims texting could have beneficial effects on children’s language skills. I’ve heard of studies that suggest texting could lead to the deterioration of English skills in children. Some teachers will even tell you they’ve seen text lingo such as shortenings, contractions, acronyms, symbols, and non-conventional spellings appear in homework assignments.

The study considered 88 children between the ages of 10 to 12. During the study, children were asked to generate text messages that described 10 different scenarios. From the study, children who texted regularly showed a richer vocabulary and were better equipped to express their thoughts in writing. In most cases, these children were also aware of the proper spelling of the words they were shortening. Through the course of the study, the children were also given traditional schoolwork. Here again, the students who texted regularly showed an edge.

According to Dr. Beverley Plester, the lead author of the report and senior lecturer at Coventry University, “The alarm in the media is based on selected anecdotes but actually when we look for examples of text speak in essays we don’t seem to find very many.” Plester goes on to say texting can help children since it exposes them to a variety of words. She also suggests the more exposure a person has to the written word, the more literate that person will become.

This isn’t the first study that suggests benefits of texting or instant messaging. Studies from the University of Toronto have also shown a positive effect on teenagers’ command of language as a result of instant messaging use.

What do you think, can texting and instant messaging improve kids’ language skills? Share your opinion in the comments.

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With unemployment rates rising, the financial market going nuts, and big telecoms companies planning layoffs, it’s hard not to worry about a recession here in the Caribbean.

In recent months, leaders from all around the Caribbean have been implementing measures in hopes of reducing the impact from this ongoing global recession. And like every other Caribbean island, Dominica is slowly beginning to feel the affects from the global financial crisis.

Most of us are in no position to do the analysis ourselves, but you don’t need to be an economist to know that if people are talking about recession, you should do some thinking about what you would do if one occurs.

But since we’re not actually in bad times right now, the real question is, what do you do in a job you have if you want to get ready for a downsizing in the economy? Many Dominicans are not aware of the direct affects this recession can have on their livelihood and keeping their jobs. Here are three ways to prepare for a job market that might turn sour:

Specialize

People then to think that if there are fewer jobs, a wide range of skills makes someone more employable. It’s not the case, though. In a tight job market as ours, employers can hold out for the perfect fit. And if you are not clearly defined as a specialist, then you are not going to be a perfect fit for anything.

If you only have a few years of experience, and you see layoffs threatening, try getting involve in some focused, short-term projects that will allow you to market yourself as a specialist in something when you have to get your next job.

Consider graduate school

In a down job market, grad school is a way to enhance your skills when there are no available jobs that will do that. Grad school can be a treacherous route, though: Be careful about spending money for a degree with no career path to follow it. But also, be careful of investing in a career path you wouldn’t want to follow.

Focus on the quality of mentoring

By cultivating a great mentor in your current job, you can make your job a spot where you can wait out an economic slump should one come. So instead of focusing on the negative predictions of economic doom, focus on the positive conversations that build a solid mentoring relationship, and you will weather the storm better because you won’t weather it alone.

Are you beginning to feel the affects from the recession? What are you doing to protect your career? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Editors note:This article was published in the Feb 27 issue of The Chronicle Newspaper

In the midst of a global economic downturn, cottage industries in Dominica ought to play a very important role in the economy of the country, and the government needs to do more to facilitate their development and sustainability.

Cottage industries exist where families produce marketable items with simple tools, through the work of family members only. They do not rely on expensive machinery, technical inputs or hired labor. Dominica has enormous potential to expand existing cottage industries – in pottery, leatherwork, woodwork, and various types of handicraft – and develop new ones.

In both rural and urban areas, thriving cottage industries would yield enormous benefits. In country areas, they would help farmers to supplement their main earnings from agriculture. In urban areas, they would provide full-time employment to persons who cannot find jobs, as well as offer part-time employment for those with jobs who want to increase their earnings.

It is not certain whether any accurate data exists regarding the contribution existing cottage industries make to Dominica’s economy, but there is no question that the revenues they generate are vital to the sustenance of many families and are essential to the country’s economic well-being. Moreover, they promote the attainment of marketable skills and create sources of income where none would otherwise exist.
The Roosevelt Skerrit administration has been very resourceful when it comes to raising funds for large capital investment projects like the Windsor Park Stadium, the Melville Hall airport and the “housing revolution”. It is time for government to show equal inventiveness with regard to sourcing funds for setting up cottage industries, as well as ensuring that Dominicans have access to sound advice on how to run small businesses.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the economic power of local cottage industries. Some of the products that these small industries produce have the potential to be world class. The government needs to direct more funds and technical expertise towards the expansion of these cottage industries and help develop the quality and marketing of the products so that there is increasing demand for them within the country and abroad.

It is clear that many of Dominica’s cottage industries need fiscal and tax incentives in order to get off the ground. The government has a responsibility to come up with practical development strategies and appropriate incentives to help them. With correct policy interventions and incentives, there is every reason to expect local cottage industries to develop exponentially, with all the attendant benefits to the economy.
Government has to take up the challenge of revitalising existing cottage industries and creating new ones across the island. To create an enabling environment for cottage industries, Government has to make distinct and affirmative moves. Any restrictions or taxation on cottage industries in Dominica must be reasonable and relevant; and any bureaucratic registration processes must be streamlined or eliminated.

Government can do much more to support this economic sector. Unless Government sends a clear signal of support, cottage industries would tend to shy away from any interaction with officialdom in the fear that this would lead to restrictions, increased taxation and other disincentives.

Government’s role is to create the right business climate for cottage industries by providing a wide range of incentives, and by pro-actively implementing appropriate policies, systems and legislation.

What some other ways you believe government can create the right business climate for the cottage industry in Dominica. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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