HWYD Learning

Here's What You Do -Learning

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

First Aid, CPR, and AED Certification is Worth It

Have you always thought about getting CPR certified but didn't follow through? 

What stopped you? 

Were you worried about having to do mouth-to-mouth? Were you worried about the responsibility of having a critically injured or ill person depend on you?

(Take a deep breath...)

HWYD Learning thinks you need to give CPR certification a chance.

We realize you may not have the slightest interest in health care. We know you might worry that it's just too much. But here are some points we think are relevant:

  1. You can make a life and death difference in a matter of minutes with some very, very basic skills.
  2. CPR has changed. The focus now is on chest compressions. Get over your worry about the mouth-to-mouth thing. Besides, we know there's a good chance you kissed someone in the past you hardly knew. You survived it. 
  3. There are actually three basic parts to the course: basic first aid, CPR, and learning to use an AED. If you have children, we think you probably already know basic first aid. This part is just a check to make sure you are doing everything you can. CPR is about compressions and mouth-to-mouth if possible or if necessary. AED units shock a heart back to its normal rhythm and are automatic. They talk to you, have directions and pictures, and are easier to use than that spinning farm animal toy with the animal sounds. Seriously.
  4. The entire training takes five hours. You have video, a workbook, and practice equipment. It's *may even* be a free course, offered in community settings, and might be the most single valuable skill you every get to put to use.
  5. In many states, such as in Georgia this year, high schools are now required to teach CPR to their students.
  6. You can also complete the training online.

If you can, it would be nice to complete your first CPR class face-to-face, but at HWYD, we love online learning technology. Don't worry about the online course if you would prefer that. It's a great program. Go for it! After completing the online CPR material, you will have to complete a skills check with a certified instructor.

In fact, the American Heart Association offers many online courses. Check them out! 

So what can you expect?

In a face-to-face environment, you will sit in a room with a certified trainer. You will review the training materials together, probably in a group discussion format. The video is helpful, especially in timing the CPR compressions. In the online program, you will have the same videos and book resources.

The trainer in my most recent re-certification class said to time the compressions like you would for "Staying Alive," by the Bee Gees, but I was thinking, "TiK ToK," by Ke$ha. I am guessing Vivaldi's, "Spring," would work, too.

You'll get to practice on the dummies. Here is Maurice. We saved him. A lot.

You'll train on the AED - an Automated External Defibrillator. Ours looked like this. See the pictures on the pads? It tells you everything to do, including whether or not you need to resume CPR.

For this model, you turn it on, pull the pads out of the back, attach according to the pictures, and wait. It will tell you if a shock is needed after monitoring the victim. If they need one, the unit will charge, and the red light comes on when it's ready to go. You press it. Then it tells you what to do next. 

This video shows how to use a different AED model. The bottom line is: all AEDs tell you exactly what to do. At least know where the nearest one is in your work place, at sports practice fields, at the gym, at your place of worship, etc. Our trainer said that AEDs are responsible for one life-saving event every month at the Atlanta airport by bystanders.

The American Heart Association will be happy to direct you to a CPR course or answer any questions you have. The online course is $39.95 according to the AHA website, but you may be able to get it free through an organization like your work or service club. Just like with anything else, the more you know, the better prepared you'll be. Also, check out courses at the American Red Cross if you get the chance.

And guess what else! There's a CPR app, too. It's free, so go ahead and download it!

So, get learning!

Andrea & Steve

Additional photo sources:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dispelling the Language Fluency Myth

What does it mean to be fluent in a language? 

More importantly, 
how necessary is it to be fluent in a language to use it?

(Take a deep breath...)

HWYD Learning thinks that you don't actually have to be all that fluent to use a language. 

We know this may offend, so let us explain... 

Do you know everything there is to know about English, the language you are reading this in? How would you feel about this statement: 

The epicene subject of this painting is breathtaking.

That's English. Did you have to look it up?

So what is fluency about, if not the words?

To be truly fluent in a language, (whatever that means), you need to live in the culture. Sorry. It's a hard truth. The language is about more than the words. More than the grammar. It's about the slang. The body language. The historical events that find their way into snarky news headlines and snide bar jokes. It's about the iconic corner drug store and weekly market haggling. It's about the hot button issues and holiday values. So even if you know academically the full nuance of the words and structure of a language - in reading, writing, and listening - you will miss a lot in communication without the day-to-day use. Even study abroad programs don't necessarily provide this because it's easy to cocoon yourself in the already overwhelming sea of a new dialect, a new town, a new school, new foods, new cultural practices, maybe one new family you are living with, etc. It's a super-duper fantastic life-changing experience. And it's on the road to fluency for sure. But you won't transform into a perfectly native-like speaker with just one extended visit.

One major barrier to so-called fluency is that native speakers in different sub-cultures use their language to communicate differently the world over. That means, yes, if you live in Barcelona, Spain for six months, you'll still have a lot to learn if you relocate to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 

So, "fluency," is sort of arbitrary, no?

You now say, despairingly, "So if I can't drop my life as I know it and relocate to become fluent in another language, should I even bother to try to learn one?"

Um... yes! Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Why not?! 

Even 15-20 phrases or a handful of food or clothing items in your vocabulary will take you a long way. You know, many people around the world will describe themselves as able to speak six or seven languages. There are a handful of those people who are fully fluent in all of them, but most speak enough to get by. Or at least establish some sort of relationship with another person in that language, no matter how limited that communication is. 

Caveat: Be forewarned, regardless of your level of fluency, you will always find a judgy-judgerton somewhere among academic non-native speakers and native speakers alike. Some people can be notoriously snobby about their own language skills, but regular, normal people, not so much! They love to help you along in the language. You also need to be aware that your own ability with a language will come and go...and come again...and go again...with use. It's not static. It can and will change depending on your effort and exposure.

These snobs are yummy.

So shrug off any snottiness that comes your way and enjoy your own path to learning! 

And this brings us to the real reason for this post. 

We've been asked hundreds of times, "Is Rosetta Stone a good way to learn a language?" Even  more so, people marvel at how little they feel is learned in a traditional language classroom. Have you really stopped to think about how many minutes or hours you spent exposed to language in that environment?

So is learning a language worth it even in small quantities?

Of course it is. Any method you choose or have the opportunity to take advantage of is a good method. It's not magic, though. Don't think that it is. Your motivation and pursing of knowledge is actually the only thing that matters. Oh, and time. There are no good shortcuts for that.

Language resources, just like all other information nowadays, are out there free all over the internet. Of course, you can buy programs like Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, etc. Are those programs going to give you that beautiful academic nuance? No. Are they a substitute for day-to-day fluency? Not even a little bit. Are you going to be literate enough to read the newspapers and, "get," most of it? Definitely not. And forget literature. 

Does that mean studying language in school or buying language programs are a waste of time and money? 

If you don't stick to it, yep - it's a waste. Well, sort of. HWYD Learning doesn't really subscribe to the idea that learning of any kind is ever a waste. But it certainly may mean that if you find the materials expensive and level of work tedious, you might need to sell anything you've purchased on Ebay and move on to a hobby you enjoy more. The only real waste is in your disappointment if you are seeking some imaginary idea of, "fluency." If you are really seeking, "fluency," then you need to drop everything, enroll in classes somewhere for a year or two, and move abroad. 

However - if you want to be able to communicate in the language, read a little, write a little, shop a little, meet lovely people on vacation who don't speak your language, understand road signs, grow in the language over time, augment your logical reasoning skills, and have a better understanding of your own language and culture, then by all means, start learning!

The ACTUAL Rosetta Stone
source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/insunlight/

We are in constant pursuit of languages at HWYD Learning. Our, "fluency," waxes and wanes. In this age of proliferating technology, news broadcasts are literally minutes away in hundreds of languages simply by browsing the iTunes app store. There are the aforementioned Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur Programs. Most local bookstores have Living Language and Language for Dummies and a whole host of resources at your fingertips. Try googling, "mooc," for a language you are interested in. Massive Open Online Courses and websites like LiveMocha or even Quia are also amazing resources. If you are in the UK, the BBC has a fantastic suite of language learning resources online as well. Usually the videos are not accessible in the US. 

It's a fantastic moment when all of the gibberish begins to sound like individual words and even syllables, and finally(!) you can get a meaning every now and then. It's a little like when you sing along with a favorite song before and after you know the actual lyrics. (Anybody remember the song, "Secret Agent Man?" We were so happy to learn those were the lyrics. More than a few people heard, "Secret Asian Man." Beginning to tease out words in a language is like a lot like that ah-ha moment.)

James Bond: An Iconic Secret Agent Man

Learn songs in your target language. Watch soap operas and movies in your target language. Whatever you need to immerse yourself as much as you can. If you are still in college or high school, look at online programs. Colleges seem a little behind the online high schools. If you go this route, try to choose a program with good, solid interaction with a teacher.

Speaking of foreign language teachers. And actually teachers and professors in general. Even a bad instructor, (most likely), knows more than you do about the subject. Occasionally, they won't know more, but they definitely will know something you don't. You are always better figuring out what that is and learning it than focusing on how they could be a better instructor. Just like they need to focus on what your learning strengths are and how to teach you...not how you could be a better student. Make sense?

So, get learning!

Andrea & Steve

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome to Here's What You Do (Learning)!

Hey There!

We're Steve and Andrea.

You may be familiar with our sister blogs, Here's What You Do (Altanta), Here's What You Do, (Travel), Here's What You Do (D├ęcor), Here's What You Do (Gourmet), Here's What You Do (Consumer), and Tablescape Times Three. Now, we are happy to announce Here's What You Do (Learning). We are avid readers and consumers of information. We take classes. We travel. We parent. We train.

In short, we are always learning new things. 

With our careers spent in education, technology, and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial adventure, we are uniquely positioned to offer our creative road map to learning, self-improvement, professional development, educational opportunities, and even parenting.

In HWYD (Learning), we are going to tackle questions like:

  • If I want to learn a foreign language, is Rosetta Stone a good value?
  • Why should I bother learning CPR?
  • What do I need to consider before letting a teen babysit the kids?
  • Which history podcasts are the most entertaining and informative?
  • How do I determine what graduate program could have the most impact on my salary?
  • How are gifted children with learning disabilities overlooked in education?
  • What do I need to know about traveling with the children overseas?
  • Are online classes right for me?
  • Are online classes right for my child?
  • What are the signs of a good doctor?
  • Do I really need Six Sigma?
  • What is the best way to launch a writing career?
  • What monuments are really worth taking the kids to based on our budget and limited time?

Mount Rushmore, Keystone, South Dakota

What is the best use of my time and money?

We realize there is a lot of information out there about what to do and how to do it. At Here's What You Do, we would like to distill as many opportunities as possible for you based on intrinsic value as well as worth.

Some educational opportunities are relatively painless: a good book, a podcast, even a night at the movies. But some require a little effort like a good CPR refresher or salsa lessons. And some require a lot of money and a lot of effort, such as pursuing a graduate degree or putting a child through a prestigious boarding school.

Here's what you need to know about us. We are actively engaged in all of the above. And so much more. We have learned foreign languages. We have relocated to other countries. We have pursued all kinds of opportunities - both academic and whimsical. And some were seemingly dead ends while a surprising assortment of them were not!

Whatever we do, we try to be smart about it. We want to make the best use of our time and money. Life is short! We hope to provide advice that distills the salient issues and share a little of what we have learned as well.

Here's What You Do (Learning)

No topic is off the table. All ages. All subjects. Academic. And otherwise. Book reviews. Controversies. It's all here.

So, get ready!  Check out our Facebook page.  Like the page to add it to your Facebook feed.  It's gonna be fun!