Compromised Immune System – 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Immune Deficiency

Most of us never really think about what a strong immune system does for quality of life until something happens to weaken it. A compromised immune system means that germs that in the past have been pretty harmless now have the potential to be life threatening. Here are 7 answers to frequently asked questions about an immune system that is no longer functioning the way it should.  

1. What causes the immune system to become weakened?  Some people are born with the condition because of an abnormality in one or more cells, and this is called primary immune deficiency. Others acquire the condition because of poor diet, prolonged stress, consistent lack of sleep, lengthy use of steroids and/or antibiotics, certain types of cancers, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer.  

2. What are the symptoms? Frequent illness, recurring illness, and difficulty in getting completely better are some of the most common symptoms. If this becomes a pattern for any length of time, seek medical advice to determine the cause. Seeking professional help promptly gives you the best chance of restoring your health.  

3. Is there an effective cure? The answer to this question hinges on the cause of the problem. Many times an aggressive change in lifestyle can boost the immune system. By eating a healthier diet, eliminating chronic stress by changing jobs, career, or personal relationships, you can strengthen your body’s ability to stay well. For more serious causes medication is almost always involved and only your doctor can evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate answer for your chances of a cure.  

4. Are there certain diseases that leave the immune system weaker? Many of the childhood disease can diminish the body’s capabilities to stay healthy such as Chicken Pox and Measles. Luckily there are immunizations that prevent many more children from ever contracting these diseases. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis can also cause problems.  

5. Is this disease based on age or gender? No it is not. Infants can be born with immunodeficiency, and given the wrong set of circumstances anyone’s immune system can become compromised.       

6. Are there natural remedies that help? There are a number of things you practice daily that will help. The importance of clean hands can not be underestimated. Frequent washing of hands greatly reduces the amount of germs you contract. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, at the office, and with you all the time in a pocket or purse. Avoid large gatherings where exposure to germs increases exponentially. Don’t be too proud to wear a mask if you know you can’t avoid contact with someone who is contagious. Use an air purifier to remove airborne germs before they can cause problems.  

7. What kind of air purifier will help the most? A high efficiency particle arresting air (or HEPA) purifier is most effective. Designed to eliminate particulates as small as .3 microns it is a non-invasive way to keep your air clean. HEPA technology is the same technology used in hospitals to insure clean air. And with a compromised immune system, clean air is one of the most important things you can have.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology specifies a two-way, short-range radio link that enables communication between PCs, mobile phones, PDAs, and other computing, electronic, and home theatre equipment. With Bluetooth, you can easily synchronize contact or calendar data between a PDA and laptop, talk on a hands-free phone, or print without cables. It is a cable replacement technology like infrared, but offers many advantages over infrared.

The Bluetooth specification focuses on keeping costs low, power consumption minimal, and the size small. Its low power consumption means it can be used in battery-powered devices. Bluetooth offers faster data rates and greater   transmission  distances compared with infrared and there are no line-of-site restrictions. It operates at the 2.4 GHz radio frequency, ensuring worldwide operability.


Bluetooth is named after a 10th century Danish king, Harald Blatand (Harld Bluetooth) who was known for uniting warring groups in current-day Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It was originally developed by Ericsson, but is now managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

The Bluetooth SIG is an industry group with members from the telecommunications, computing, and chip manufacturing industries. To date over 2000 companies are members. The Bluetooth SIG oversees a qualification program to ensure compliance with the standard and interoperability with other Bluetooth devices. Any device bearing the Bluetooth logo has successfully completed interoperability testing.

Technical Details

Speed: The gross data rate supported by Bluetooth is 1 Mbps. Actual data rates are 432 kbps for full-duplex and 721 kbps for asymmetric  transmission .

Frequency: Bluetooth uses the unlicensed ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) band at 2.4 GHz. In most countries, this band is available. In a few countries it is reserved for military use, but even these countries are moving to make the band available for general use. Because Bluetooth shares the same frequency range as 802.11b WLAN products, these two technologies cannot operate in the same space under some conditions.

Security: Bluetooth is designed to be as secure as wire using authentication and 128-bit encryption. Applications can also build their own security on top of the Bluetooth connection.

 Transmission  distance: Bluetooth’s typical range is up to 10m. The range depends on the radio power class used. A class 2 radio has a typical range of 10m. More powerful classes support longer ranges and have higher output powers. Most devices use a class 2 radio and mobile devices, like mobile phones, where low power consumption is crucial, can only use a class 2 radio.

Architecture: With Bluetooth, up to 8 devices can be connected simultaneously. A piconet is the term for a collection of Bluetooth devices connected in an ad hoc fashion. All devices are peer units, but one device acts as a master and the other slaves for the duration of the piconet connection. Each piconet can support up to 3 full-duplex voice devices. Within a 10m area, there can be up to 10 piconets.


Bluetooth is becoming the preferred wireless technology in the WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network). Personal applications include:

– Users can connect PCs to transfer files.

– Workers can collaborate on the same document using Microsoft NetMeeting.

– Users can connect to a printer without cables.

– Users can synchronize data between a handheld PDA and laptop.

– Users can listen to music via a wireless headset.

– Users can talk on their mobile phone with a wireless headset.

– Users can connect their laptops to the internet using their mobile phone’s GPRS or UMTS network.

Pyramidal Work Out

Day 2

Shoulder press (machine)

Lateral raises (machine)

Posterior deltoid (machine)

Bicep flat head curl (machine)

Preacher bicep curl (machine)

Day 3

Leg extension (machine)

Seated leg curl (machine)

Incline leg press,

Calf extension (standing-body weight)

Seated calf raises (machine).

Serious exercise” starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down. The first step in helping students and clients to include warm-ups and cool-downs in their workouts is educating them about the benefits:

Warming up raises the temperature of the body. For each degree of temperature elevation, the metabolic rate of the cells increases by about 13 percent.

The blood supply to the muscles increases, permitting a greater release of oxygen to feed them.

The speed and force of muscle contractions improve, along with a faster nerve impulse transmission.

Warming up helps prevent injuries. Muscle elasticity and the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments are increased. Synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, is released during easy activity.

Heart function is improved and ready for the increased demand of intense exercise.

The starting point in achieving good physical fitness is nutrition because better eating habits can be conveniently established at any time. It is also important because, if you want to exercise, what you eat affects your energy level during your workout. Maintaining a healthy diet can be easy as long as you remember one key word: balance. It’s okay to drink your daily mug of coffee as long as you limit yourself to one or two cups a day and allow your body to rehydrate with plenty of water. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means substances in caffeine draw water out of your body. The same is true for alcohol. If you consume either alcohol or caffeine, moderation should be a consistent way of life.

Alfredo Zapata

Fitness Expert


Some Interesting Common Cold Statistics For The New Season

Common cold statistics provided by government agencies indicate that on the average children have six to ten colds per year, but some children have as many as twelve. Seeking treatment for a common cold is one of the leading causes of doctor visits, though doctors can do little to treat the illness. Antibiotics are ineffective and should not be taken for common cold prevention or treatment. Over use of antibiotics is believed to be the cause of an increase in more resistant strains of bacteria.

What to take for a common cold is a matter of some debate. Practically everyone has there own home remedy and researchers have studied many of these for effectiveness and safety. Over the counter drugs such as antihistamines have been evaluated for their effectiveness in treating common cold symptoms and while research indicates that these products are safe when used as directed, many of them may be ineffective. One study showed that the most effective of these over the counter drugs is one called guaifenesin, an expectorant.

Common cold statistics relating to lost days of school indicate that 22 million school days are lost each year on account of the illness. However, many products should not be taken by children. The directions for a common cold remedy will typically say “not for children under 12” and may advise doctor consultation. Additionally, parents should not give child aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the established link between aspirin use, viral infections and Reye’s syndrome, a rare, but sometimes life threatening disease than can follow viral infections in children. A number of infant and toddler deaths have been associated with overdoses of over the counter cold remedies. When treating your children, read directions carefully, age and weight are factors. Those products that are designed for “children” are usually not safe for infants. Always check with your doctor before given any over the counter medication to a child.

Adult common cold statistics vary greatly. On the average, most adults have two or three colds per year, but some people have none and some have more than three. Those who care for school age children probably have more than the average. People who have asthma are more susceptible to colds. Scientists studying asthma patients found that they produce less than average anti-viral proteins. Anti-viral proteins, produced by specialized blood cells, can prevent a virus from being able to reproduce and can destroy viruses by attaching to them and causing holes in their cellular walls. Products that stimulate immune system function are sometimes recommended for a common cold, for this and other reasons.

Most immune system stimulants contain vitamin C. During an infection, vitamin C levels in the bloodstream decrease dramatically. Vitamins A, E and the mineral zinc are also necessary for proper immune system function. Other nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium are needed so that the cells of the body can easily absorb vitamin C. In other words, a good daily multi-vitamin, in addition to a well balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be good for a common cold and for overall good health.

The latest common cold statistics from Reuters Health Information concerns a study performed at the University of Virginia, in which researchers enlisted 15 people who were infected with the rhinovirus (the virus that causes the majority of common colds) to stay in a hotel room overnight alone. The objects in the room that the participants reported touching were swabbed and tested for active rhinovirus on the next day. The researches concluded that the virus remained active and capable of infected others for a day or longer. Previous information for a common cold causing rhinovirus indicated that the virus could remain active on surfaces for as long as three hours. What this new study means is that the virus remains active longer and is more easily transmitted than previously thought, making good health habits to prevent   transmission  even more important. To learn more about the common cold and natural products that may help reduce the number you get every year, please visit the Immune System Booster Guide.

In-Dependence – Some Thoughts on Meta Relationships

You are not independent. You are “in-dependence.” Independence is an illusion; it does not exist, anywhere. As an individual, as a society, as a nation, we like to view ourselves are independent. Especially in the United States which was founded on the principle of independence. But, think about it, what are you not dependent upon? Who are you not dependent upon? Dependence is not a bad thing; it has earned a bad rap due to issues of “co-dependence” which refers to a dysfunctional relationship between two or more people. We like to think of independence as freedom. But, freedom is a mental concept that has become distorted to mean no responsibilities, which is a fallacy. Freedom has more to do with our capacity to make choices and decisions for which there are consequences to which we are bound. The natural world, of which we are a part, is a complex web of dependence. We use our freedom to make choices and decisions within the confines of our dependence upon the natural world, which does include Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which we are integrally dependent upon the natural world and other people.

If we consider some of our basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, we readily see that without the soil, the rain, the sun and a conducive atmosphere, we would have no food. And, you will certainly agree that we are dependent upon food! Shelter too is based on utilizing natural resources: wood mainly, which comes from trees, which grows in soil, which needs sunlight and rain…and a conducive atmosphere. Clothing comes from natural fibers such as cotton and silk. Or, it is made from synthetic materials which are petroleum based and again part of the natural world’s resources.

One of our more basic needs is physical safety, security and protection. These needs too are dependent upon the resources of our natural environment. Whether it is a fortress built of stone, a spear of wood, a sword of metal, a gun, a cannon, a bomb….they are all built from materials outside of our individual existence, meaning we cannot simply materialize these things from within ourselves. We can imagine tools such as these, and so many others, from within ourselves…but, we cannot materialize them without the aid of natural resources. It has been suggested that “home sapien”, the knowing animal, ought to be renamed “homo faber” the fabricating animal. All of the tools and technology which surrounds us today is a fabrication utilizing the materials available to us…and without which, we would have nothing. We are dependent!

Higher needs have to do with social interaction…belongingness and connection to others. The complex division of labor in society requires that we interact with others; systems of exchange are devised of which money is only one. We are not so much dependent upon money as we are dependent upon exchange. We could not exist in society alone as a solitary individual. We are dependent upon others, and they upon us. The complexity of our dependence can be mind boggling. Just having food to buy at the market, or gas to buy for the car, involves a vast array of people doing varying different jobs. As you sit at your computer reading this article, you are reaping the benefits of your dependence upon a system of manufacturing, production and distribution of goods that dwarfs individual efforts. We are dependent upon the collective activities of society. And, in today’s world of globalization, we are fast becoming aware of our dependence upon the global marketplace, of which we are all a part.

Beyond our needs for belonging and connection with others, we have needs for knowledge. And, here again, we are dependent upon others…specifically, the mind of others, the mind of humanity, if you will. In that regard, we are dependent upon our ancestors, our history…our collective history. Knowledge grows, expands and becomes increasingly complex. We become dependent upon systems of data as well as the storage and   transmission  of that data. No one person can do this alone. And, in fact, any one person, you for example, is really composed of millions of component parts all intricately connected and dependent upon each other. The cells and organs of the body, the nervous system and it’s subsidiary systems of circulation, respiration, digestion, elimination, immunity….Where is there any independence?

We need a Declaration of Dependence. We need an awareness of systems and how they interact for it is within systems that we exist and it is within systems where dependence is an absolutely necessary functionality. We need a recognition and acknowledgment of Complexity. Complexity Theory states that “Complex Systems is a new approach to science that studies how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment.” (Wikipedia).

As an individual, we interact within systems; and the way we do that is through communication. Communication is a means of relationship and exchange, it is a means of understanding and knowledge. In a system of dependence, communication is critically important for without accurate and effective communication we would not be able to function. Our body is a striking example of complex communication in action. Just the mere act of walking requires sophisticated communication between cells, nerves, ligaments and muscles ranging from the tips of our toes to our eyes. Without that communication, we would easily and quickly fumble. Communication is THE critical ingredient in healthy dependence.

So, the next time you hear somebody expounding their independence, think about the complex systems upon which they are dependent to even vocalize their illusory perception and belief of their own independence. In fact, when you hear yourself falling into this trap…catch yourself and recall the truth: we are all in-dependence.

Tips To Find Best Dental Assistant Programs

Dentistry is an area of medical practice that will always be in demand. Assistants skilled in the field of dentistry are confident about their job prospects. One needs to undertake years of training and learning to get qualified as a full-grown dentist, but if a person, who is looking to exert their energy in an area of less job responsibility than a dentist, then dental assistant programs can be a good choice. Joining the right school with the sound schooling is what makes a great career in healthcare industry worthwhile. Bear the following tips in mind when searching for best dental assistant programs:

Duration of the Course:

Before you put your name for any of the dental assistant programs, you must consider how long the program duration is and how rigorous the training will be. The duration of classic training programs ranges within 6 to 9 months. With a 6-month program as a dental assistant, you can begin earning sooner, but your level of knowledge will be unlike a dental assistant with a 9-month training period, as these encompass a broader range of areas related to dental care under discussion. With one of these longer more in-depth programs, you will be in a better position to get more job opportunities. On the other hand, if you plan to carry on with advanced dental schooling in future, a program of lesser duration can prove sufficient to grant you the certification you need. Even if you do not intend to go on to higher education, a fundamental 6-month training gives you an opportunity to participate in placement programs and get you a good job.

What Is The Teaching Method Used?

Regardless of your choice of a six-month or nine-month dental assistant programs, you must ensure that the training blends wide-ranging education points and purposes, dedicated lecturing and practical training. This practical training part is supposed to be the central feature for you to try to find, as here they prepare you for the real thing via this facet of schooling. With practical training, you will be all geared-up when starting to work at dental clinics, hospitals and miscellaneous healthcare centers soon after your education.

What Is The Course Syllabus Made Up Of?

There are many facets concerning dental assistant programs. As healthcare is a serious question of public interest, suitable and appropriate training is indispensable to ensure that patient care and safety is not compromised in any way. Each patient deserves to get the best possible care. Thus, you must search for a training program that will educate you in the following crucial areas: (dental/medical) urgent situations, skiagraphy, dental orthopedics, dental terms and expressions, tooth morphology, disease   transmission , clinical procedures, oral surgery and preventive dentistry and nutrition.

Promoting Literacy in School Libraries in Sierra Leone


The heart of information literacy is contained within definitions used to describe it. Traditionally librarians have given ‘library induction’ or ‘library skills training’ in a limited role. Library users need to know where the catalogue is, what the services are, and most importantly where the enquiry desk is. This is not to reduce the value of traditional library induction, but libraries and information are also changing. The provision of information through a library in a traditional form has gone through radical alterations. Already in most library and information organisations staffs are adjusting their services with the provision of new media and access to information provision within these organisations. Thus librarians are talking about social inclusion, opportunity, life-long learning, information society and self development.

A plethora of definitions for information literacy abound in books, journal papers and the web. Some of these definitions centre on the activities of information literacy i.e. identifying the skills needed for successful literate functioning. Other definitions are based on the perspective of an information literate person i.e. trying to outline the concept of information literacy. Deriving therefore a single definition is a complex process of collecting together a set of ideas as to what might be, should be, or may be considered a part of information literacy. For example Weber and Johnson (2002) defined information literacy as the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to obtain, through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs, together with critical awareness of the importance of wise and ethical use of information in society. The American Library Association (2003) defined information literacy as a set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. While CLIP (2004) defined information literacy as knowing when and why one needs information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. Succinctly these definitions imply that information literacy requires not only knowledge but also skills in:

• recognising when information is needed;

• resources available

• locating information;

• evaluating information;

• using information;

• ethics and responsibility of use of information;

• how to communicate or share information;

• how to manage information

Given therefore the variety of definitions and implied explanation information literacy is a cluster of abilities that an individual can employ to cope with, and to take advantage of the unprecedented amount of information which surrounds us in our daily life and work.


Sierra Leone’s current educational system is composed of six years of formal primary education, three years of Junior Secondary School (JSS), three years Senior Secondary School (SSS) and four years of tertiary education-6-3-3-4. (The Professor Gbamanja Commission’s Report of 2010 recommended an additional year for SSS to become 6-3-4-4). The official age for primary school pupils is between six and eleven years. All pupils at the end of class six are required to take and pass the National Primary School Examinations designed by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to enable them proceed to the secondary school divided into Junior Secondary School(JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS). Each part has a final examination: the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) for the JSS, and the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) for SSS, both conducted by WAEC. Successful candidates of WASSCE are admitted to tertiary institutions based on a number of subjects passed (GoSL,1995)

The curriculum of primary schools emphasizes communication competence and the ability to understand and manipulate numbers. At the JSS level, the curriculum is general and comprehensive, encompassing the whole range of knowledge, attitudes and skills in cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Social studies are compulsory for all pupils. At the SSS level, the curriculum is determined by its nature (general or specialist), or its particular objectives. Pupils are offered a set of core (compulsory) subjects with optional subjects based on their specialization. Teaching is guided by the teaching syllabuses and influenced by the external examinations that pupils are required to take at the 3/ 4-year course. English is the language of instruction (GoSL,1995).

The countries two universities, three polytechnics, and two teacher training colleges are responsible for the training of teachers in Sierra Leone. The Universities Act of 2004 provides for private universities so that these institutions too could help in the training of teachers. Programs range from the Teacher Certificate offered by the teacher training colleges to the Masters in Education offered by universities. Pre-service certification of teachers is the responsibility of the National Council for Technical, Vocational and Other Academic Awards (NCTVA). There is also an In-service Teacher Training program (Distance Education Program) conducted for teachers in part to reduce the number of untrained and unqualified teachers especially in the rural areas.


In Sierra Leone as it is in most parts of the developing world literacy involves one’s ability to read, write and numeracy. It is the ability to function effectively in life contexts. A literate person is associated with the possession of skills and knowledge and how these could be applied within his local environment. For instance a literate person is believed to be able to apply chemical fertilizer to his crops, fill in a loans form, determine proper dosage of medicine, calculate cash cropping cost and profits, glean information from a newspaper, make out a bank deposit slip and understanding instructions and basic human rights.

Literacy is at the heart of the country’s development goals and human rights (World Bank, 2007). Wherever practised literacy activities are part of national and international strategies for improved education, human development and well-being. According to the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index Sierra Leone has a literacy rate of 34 %.Implicitly Sierra Leone is an oral society. And oral societies rely heavily on memory to transmit their values, laws, history, music, and culture whereas the written word allows infinite possibilities for transmission and therefore of active participation in communication. These possibilities are what make the goal of literacy crucial in society.

In academic parlance literacy hinges on the printed word. Most pupils are formally introduced to print when they encounter schoolbook. School teachers in Sierra Leone continue to use textbooks in their teaching activities to convey content area information to pupils. It is no gainsaying that pupils neither maximise their learning potential nor read at levels necessary for understanding the type of materials teachers would like them to use. Thus the performance of pupils at internal and public examinations is disappointing. Further pupils’ continued queries in the library demonstrate that they do not only lack basic awareness of resources available in their different school libraries but also do not understand basic rudiments of how to source information and materials from these institutions. What is more worrisome is that pupils do not use appropriate reading skills and study strategies in learning. There is a dearth of reading culture in schools and this situation cuts across the fabric of society. In view of the current support the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to establish literacy standards in school this situation has proved frustrating as teachers do not know how to better help pupils to achieve this goal. Thus they look up to the school librarians to play a more proactive role.


In everyday situations school pupils are expected to be able to identify and seek information they need. Providing a variety of reading and writing experiences using varied materials in the school library can help develop pupils’ literacy ability (Roe, Stoodt-Hill and Burns, 2004). The mode of assessment in schools in Sierra Leone includes class exercises, tests, written and practical assignments, as well as written examinations to see pupils through to their next levels. These pupils, for example, need to read content books and supplementary materials in school for homework. Pupils have even more literacy needs in their activities outside school. They need to read signs found in their communities, job applications, road maps and signs, labels on food and medicine, newspapers, public notices, bank statements, bills and many other functional materials. Failure to read and understand these materials can result in their committing traffic violations, having unpleasant reactions to food or medicine, becoming lost, losing employment opportunities and missing desirable programs. Equally so pupils need to write to their relatives and loved ones, instructions to people who are doing things for them, notes to themselves about tasks to be completed, phone messages for colleagues and many other items. Mistakes in these activities can have negative effects on them. Good literacy skills are especially important to pupils who plan to pursue higher education studies. The job market in the country calls for pupils to be literate. For instance most jobs advertised these days require people who have completed their JSS. The fact is that workers need to be able to understand graphic aids, categorized information and skim and scan to locate information. Also the nature of reading in the workplace generally involves locating information for immediate use and inferring information for problem solving. The reading and writing of a variety of documents like memos, manuals, letters, reports and instructions are necessary literacy skills in the workplace.


School libraries in Sierra Leone are perceived as integral aspect of the county’s educational system. These institutions bring together four major components of the school community: the materials, pupils, teacher and library staff. The main purpose for the establishment of these institutions in schools is to complement the teaching/learning process, if not to support the curriculum. This purpose is achieved in two ways: by providing pupils with the means of finding whatever information they need; and by developing in pupils the habit of using books both for information and for pleasure. Pupils need information to help them with the subjects they learn in school. The textbooks they use and the notes they take in class can be an excellent foundation. They may also be sufficient for revision purposes. But these could not be enough to enable pupils to write good essays of their own or to carry out group projects. School libraries then are expected to complement this effort and therefore are perceived as learning centres.

Pupils need information on subjects not taught in school. School libraries are looked upon as places pupils find information to help them in their school studies and personal development. Through these institutions pupils’ habit of using libraries for life-long education is not only developed but also school libraries could be used to improve pupils’ reading skills. In the school community both pupils and teachers use school libraries for leisure and recreational purpose and for career advancement. The culture of society is also transmitted through use of school libraries. Because of the important role school libraries play in the country’s educational system they are organised in such way that pupils as well as teachers can rely upon them for support in the teaching/learning process. Most of these institutions are managed by either a full-time staff often supervised by a senior teacher. Staffs use varied methods to promote their use including user education.


A pre-requisite for the development of autonomous pupils through flexible resource-based learning approaches is that pupils master a set of skills which gradually enable them to take control of their own learning. Current emphasis in teaching in schools in Sierra Leone has shifted from “teacher-centred” to “pupil-centred” approach thereby making pupils to “learn how to learn” for themselves so that the integration of process skills into the design of the school curriculum becomes crucial (GoSL,1995). It is in this area of “learning” or “information literacy” skills that one can most clearly see the inter-relationship between the school curriculum and the school library. For pupils to become independent users of information and for this to occur it is vital that they are given the skills to learn how to find information, how to select what is relevant, and how to use it in the best way possible for their own particular needs and take responsibility for their own learning. As information literate, pupils will be able to manage information skilfully and efficiently in a variety of contexts. They will be capable of weighing information carefully and wisely to determine its quality (Marcum2002). Pupils do recognise that having good information is central to meeting the opportunity and challenges of day-to-day living. They are also aware of the importance of how researching across a variety of sources and formats to locate the best information to meet particular needs.

Literacy activities in schools in Sierra Leone are the responsibility of content area teachers, reading consultants and school librarians. Of these the role of the school librarian is paramount. As specialist the school librarian is expected to provide assistance to pupils and teachers alike by locating materials in different subjects, and at different reading levels by making available materials that can be used for motivation and background reading. The school librarian is also expected to provide pupils with instructions in locating strategies related to the library such as doing online searches and skimming through printed reference materials. The librarian is expected to display printed materials within his purview, write specialised bibliographies and lists of addresses on specific subjects at the request of teachers. He should be able to provide pupils with direct assistance in finding and using appropriate materials; recreational reading can be fostered by the librarian’s book talks or attractive book displays on high-interest topics like HIV/AIDS, child abuse, child rights, human rights and poverty alleviation. In view of this the fundamental qualities expected of the good school librarian include knowledge of his collection and how to access it; ability to understand the needs of his users more so those of pupils; ability to communicate with pupils and adult users; and knowledge of information skills and how to use information.


Pupils’ success in school depends to a large extent upon their ability to access, evaluate and use information. Providing access to information and resources is a long-standing responsibility of the school librarian. The school librarian should provide the leadership and expertise necessary to ensure that the library becomes integral in the instructional program of the school. In school the librarian is the information specialist, teacher and instructional consultant. He is the interface responsible for guiding pupils and teachers through the complex information resources housed in his library (Lenox and Walker, 1993). He is looked up to assist and guide numerous users in seeking to use and understand the resources and services of the library. In this respect the school librarian should inculcate in these users such skills as manual and online searching of information; use of equipment; developing critical skills for the organization, evaluation and use of information and ideas as integral part of the curriculum (Lonsdale, 2003). The school librarian should be aware of the range of available information retrieval systems, identify that most suitable to the needs of pupils and provide expertise in helping them become knowledgeable, if not comfortable, in their use. Since no library is self-sufficient the school librarian can network with information agencies, lending/renting materials and/or using electronic devises to transmit information (Tilke, 1998; 2002).

As information specialist the school librarian should be able to share his expertise with those who may wish to know what information sources and/or learning materials are available to support a program of work. Such consultation should be offered to the whole school through the curriculum development committee or to individual subject teachers. The school librarian should take the lead in developing pupils’ information literacy skills by being involved with the school curriculum planning and providing a base of resources to meet its needs. He should be aware of key educational initiatives and their impact in teaching and learning; he should be familiar with teaching methods and learning styles in school; over all he should maintain an overview of information literacy programmes within the school (Herring, 1996; Kuhlthau, 2004).

Kuhlthau (2004) opined that information seeking is a primary activity of life and that pupils seek information to deepen and broaden their understanding of the world around them. When therefore, information in school libraries is placed in a larger context of learning, pupils’ perspective becomes an essential component in information provision. The school librarian should ensure that skills, knowledge and attitude concerning information access, use and communication, are integral part of the school curriculum. Information skills are crucial in the life-long learning process of pupils. As short term objective the school librarian should provide a means of achieving learning objectives within the curriculum; as long term information skills have a direct impact on individual pupils’ ability to deal effectively with a changing environment. Therefore the school librarian should work in concert with teachers and administrators to define the scope and sequence of the information relevant to the school curriculum and ensure its integration throughout the instructional programs (Tilke, 2002; Birks and Hunt, 2003). Pupils should be encouraged to realise their potential as informed citizens who critically think and solve problems. In view of the relationship between the curriculum and school library, the librarian should serve on the curriculum committee ensuring that information access skills are incorporated into subject areas. The school librarian’s involvement in the curriculum development will permit him to provide advice on the use of a variety of instructional strategies such as learning centres and problem-solving software, effective in communicating content to pupils (Herring, 1996; Birks and Hunt, 2003).

Literacy could be actively developed as pupils need access to specific resources, demonstrate understanding of their functionality and effective searching skills. In this regard pupils should be given basic instruction to the library, its facilities and services and subsequent use. Interactive teaching methods aimed at information literacy education should be conducted for the benefit of pupils. Teaching methods could include an outline of a variety of aides like quizzes and worksheets of differing complexity level to actively engage pupils in learning library skills and improving their information literacy. Classes should be divided into small groups so that pupils could have hands-on-experience using library resources. Where Internet services are available in the library online tutorials should be provided. Post session follow-up action will ensure that pupils receive hands-on-experience using library resources. Teaching methods should be constantly evaluated to identify flaws and improve on them.

Further the school librarian should demonstrate willingness to support and value pupils in their use of the library through: provision of readers’ guides; brochures; book marks; library handbooks/guides; computerization of collection; helpful guiding throughout the library; and regular holding of book exhibitions and book fairs. Since there are community radio stations in the country the school librarian could buy air time to report library activities, resources and services. He can also communicate to pupils through update newspapers. Pupils could be encouraged to contribute articles on library development, book reviews and information about opening times and services. The school librarian could help pupils to form book and reading clubs, organize book weeks and book talks using visiting speakers and renowned writers to address pupils. Classes could also be allowed to visit the library to facilitate use. More importantly the school librarian should provide assistance to pupils in the use of technology to access information outside the library. He should offer pupils opportunities related to new technology, use and production of varied media formats, and laws and polices regarding information. In order to build a relevant resource base for the school community the librarian should constantly carry out needs assessment, comparing changing demands to available resources.

The Internet is a vital source for promoting literacy in the school library. The school librarian should ensure that the library has a website that will serve as guide to relevant and authoritative sources and as a tool for learning whereby pupils and teachers are given opportunity to share ideas and solutions (Herring, 2003). Through the Internet pupils can browse the library website to learn how to search and develop information literacy skills. In order for pupils to tap up-to-date sources from the Net the school librarian should constantly update the home page, say on a daily basis, if necessary. Simultaneously the school librarian should avail to pupils and teachers sheets/guides to assist them in carrying out their own independent researches. He should give hands-on-experience training to users to share ideas with others through the formation of “lunch time” or “after school support groups”. Such activities could help pupils to develop ideas and searching information for a class topic and assignment.

Even the location of the library has an impact in promoting literacy in school. The library should be centrally located, close to the maximum number of teaching areas. It should be able to seat at least ten per cent of school pupils at any given time, having a wide range of resources vital for teaching and learning programs offered in school. The library should be characterised by good signage for the benefit of pupil and teacher users with up-to-date displays to enhance the literacy skills of pupils and stimulating their intellectual curiosity.


Indeed the promotion of literacy should be integral in the school curriculum and that the librarian should be able to play a leading role to ensure that the skills, knowledge and attitudes related to information access are inculcated in pupils and teachers alike as paramount users of the school library. But the attainment of this goal is dependent on a supportive school administration, always willing and ready to assist the library and its programs financially. To make the librarian more effective he should be given capacity building to meeting the challenges of changing times.


American Library Association (2003). ‘Introduction to information literacy.’

Birks, J. & Hunt, F. (2003). Hands-on information literacy activities. London: Neal-Schumann.

CLIP (2004).’Information Literacy: definition.’

GoSL (2010). Report of the Professor Gbamanja Commission of Inquiry into the Poor Performance of Pupils in the 2008 BECE and WASSCE Examinations (Unpublished).

___________(1995). New Education policy for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Department of Education.

Herring, James E. (1996). Teaching information skills in schools. London: Library Association Publishing.

__________________ (2003).The Internet and information skills: a guide for teachers and librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kahlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services. 2nd. ed. London: Libraries Unlimited.

Lenox, M. F. & Walker, M. L.(1993). ‘Information Literacy in the education process.’ The Educational Forum, 52 (2): 312-324.

Lonsdale, Michael (2003). Impact of school libraries on student achievement: a review of research. Camberwell: Australian Council of Educational Research.

Marcum, J. W. (2002). ‘ Rethinking Information Literacy,’ Library Quarterly, 72:1-26.

Roe, Betty D., Stoodt-Hill & Burns, Paul C. (2004).Secondary School Literacy instruction: the content areas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Tilke, A. (1998). On-the-job sourcebook for school librarians. London: Library Association.

_________ (2002). Managing your school library and information service: a practical handbook. London: Facet Publishing.

Weber, S. & Johnston, B. ( 2002). ‘Assessment in the Information Literate University.’ Conference: Workshop 1st International Conference on IT and Information Literacy, 20th- 22nd. March 2002, Glasgow, Scotland. Parallel Session 3, Thursday 21st March,2002.

World Bank (2007). Education in Sierra Leone; present challenges, future opportunities. Washington,DC: World Bank.

Building A Custom Chopper Motorcycle, Where Do You Start?

So you want to build a custom chopper? I do too, so the first question I asked myself, is where do I start. Should I make a business plan, a schedule, a financial statement, or should I just buy my wife some flowers and blindly proceed? I guess I should do all of the above but not necessarily in that order.

I will start by trying to justify this purchase and or endeavor, to do this I will make a list of my reasons for building a Chopper. 1) I want to ride a custom chopper, a totally cool stretched out, fire breathing, gas eating, pavement pounding, old lady scaring, 2 wheel monster. 2) I want to be able to say “I built that” when someone asks me where I got that totally sick bike. 3) I want to be able to customize the bike beyond the standard add on parts I can get for my current bike a Harley Davidson Fatboy. 4) I want to be able to make this dream come true, meaning I need to be able to pay for it. A $35,000 chopper is out of my current budget. 5) I have been talking about this for 5 years so why don’t I get to it and stop doing all the talking and start doing some building.

Now I have a few reasons on paper a will look at my options, then make a plan, a schedule, and find some extra money.

Let’s start with a my build options, and plan on a slow and steady approach. I realize I will need to do a lot of research before I start. I have 4 basic options, a kit bike, a rolling chassis, a start from zero build, or an extreme makeover of a current motorcycle.

Option 1) If I start with a motorcycle kit I maybe the farthest ahead from a mechanical perspective, and farthest behind from a financial point of view. What do I mean by this, well a kit bike has all the parts it just needs paint, labor, gas, oil and some love. The problem a complete kit bike will cost me $12,000 dollars right up front. This is a bit out of my spend a ton of money now then not be able to ride a bike for a year or two thinking. If I get a kit, I maybe able to get it together faster, as I will be motivated and have all the parts ready to go. As a first bike I think this is a very good option, when you consider all the expensive mistakes I may make along that way. One drawback to this option is the amount of customization I can do to the bike as it is put together. Because all the parts are in the kit, I may resist the urge to get new bars or different sheet metal, or other parts.

Option 2) Start with a Rolling chassis, this is the middle of the road option, spend a lump sum of money, about 1/2 of what the overall bike will cost and get a basic setup that all works together.

A Rolling chassis kit consists of a Frame, 2 wheels, the forks, and triple clamps and bars, all build and configured to work together. Add a motor and a transmission and all the major workings of the bike are in place. This setup helps avoid some of the major work needed to mix match and fit these items together. This option also allows for a ton of customization in the parts that people see and the parts that give a bike it’s personality. For me this is a very serious option to consider. I would only have 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the parts sitting around and gathering dust until I get time to get it together.

Option 3) Find each and every part one at a time and build a completely custom motorcycle. I know I could do this, but I also know I will encounter more unexpected and possibly expensive issues with this type of build. This option would give me a bike that no one would ever duplicate. This could be very good or this could be very bad. What if some possible combination of frame, motor, forks, or wheels didn’t work together? It would not be discovered until the motorcycle was all together. I think this option is better left to the serious professional who build bike all night long, as the are working on other peoples bikes, and running businesses during the day. I may consider this for my second custom chopper.

Option 4) Take an existing bike and start cutting and changing it. This is maybe as involved as chopping and re-welding the frame to create a new rake and angles. Or it could mean just getting a new frame and using the engine, transmission, and various other part to build a new machine. I like this idea, and I think it would be a lower cost alternative to all new custom parts. With this option you are also able to keep the current registration and title if the frame is not replaced. This is also a lower cost option because a lot of the miscellaneous parts can be reused.

I know that in one page all the possible combinations of Custom Chopper build can’t be completely explained, I just hope this information give you something to start with and build on. It has help steer me in the direction of a rolling chassis, so I better get shopping.

9 Fun Speech Class Activities

Speech classes are a lot more fun when everyone gets involved with special activities! Try some of these ideas to warm up your next class:

  1. Impromptu speaking. Give students various topics for them to speak on without any preparation. The topics should be relatively easy at first, such as “What is your favorite movie and why?” or “If you could only eat one food for a month, what would that be?”
  2. Lost on a deserted Island game. Present the scenario: Following a ship wreck, the entire class has been stranded on a deserted island. Each person is allowed to bring one object to the island. Have each student describe what that object would be and why. (You can extend this into a team-building activity by breaking into teams and have each team figure out how to creatively combine their items to increase survival).
  3. Tongue Twisters competition. Have two people come up at a time and take turns repeating a tongue twister. “unique New York” “Red Leather, yellow leather.” Faster, and faster. When someone messes up, they sit down and a challenger comes up. Someone can keep score with the class roster.
  4. Dramatic alphabet or numbers. Students can “lecture” the class by reciting the alphabet or counting to 30, but with gestures, drama and eye contact. A, BCD! E, F, G… , H? I, JKL-M… , etc.. You could emphasize the eye contact by adding this activity: the speaker is to make and hold eye contact for at least 3 seconds per person. All the students raise their hands. When the speaker initiates eye contact with someone, that person mentally counts to 3 and then lowers his or her hand, letting the speaker know that the 3 seconds is up. The speaker can then move onto someone else. You could even make it a competition.
  5. Dramatic reading. You, of course, could pick an intriguing passage, or you could do something like having them read definitions outloud, just to make it silly by being dramatic.
  6. Transitions exercise. Pass out 3 slips of paper to each of the students-and have some categories written on the board. (Places, People around the school, Foods, TV shows). Ask that each student pick 3 of the categories and write a word that falls into that category. Then collect the slips in a container. Each student goes up to the front of the room in turn and picks a slip and starts talking about whatever is on that slip. Then, after a little bit of time, you pick another slip for the student and say, “OK, Amanda, your next topic is… ” and then the student’s job is to transition from the one topic to the next. It’s OK for the audience to help. It’s OK to offer another topic if the student is stuck. Using “apples” and “New York City” as examples, transitions can be phrases such as: Now that I’ve told you about the health benefits of apples, let me tell you about the health benefits of living in New York City. Finally, let me tell you how New York came to be called the Big Apple.
  7. On the other hand. Have 2 students come up. Ask one student to speak “for” a topic and then the other person to speak “against” the same topic.
  8. One word story. Line up 7-10 students in front (actually it’s better if they stand in a circle) and have them tell a non-rehearsed, non-thought out story one word at a time, cycling to the beginning until the story comes to a somewhat logical conclusion. The key is that each person can only say one word at time and this includes the boring words like “and” and “the.” You could start the story by saying something like, “One.” (The logical thing to come next would be “day,” but it certainly could be something else).
  9. Sell a product. Have odd objects for students to “sell” to their classmates. You can introduce the FAB format and ask them to use it. F=Features, A=Advantages, B=Benefits. The focus should be on the benefits. Toilet paper, anyone?

Add a few fun activities and see the interest level soar in your class!

Functions of Minerals

When reading of nutrition and health, minerals and trace elements are often mentioned. We respond by eating lots of fruits and veggies, and maybe a vitamin supplement. We never doubt the validity of needing these things with names from the periodic table, but have you ever stopped and wondered what exactly it is they do for us? Or for that matter what are they and where do they naturally occur? Well you can stop lying awake nights, wondering about this!! Processed food cannot provide the services in the following list:

CALCIUM: Critical for many biological functions, including nerve   transmission , fat and protein digestion, muscle contraction, healthy teeth and bones, blood clotting, nerve functions, and more.

SODIUM: Muscle contraction, fluid balance, cell life and potential, and numerous other functions.

POTASIUM: Bone formation, fluid balance, blood pressure, muscle contraction, and many more functions.

PHOSPHORUS: Bone formation, assistance in the breakdown of fats, protein and carbohydrates.

MAGNESIUM: Muscle contraction, nerve  transmission , calcium metabolism, enzyme cofactor–ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO ALL KNOWN FORMS OF LIFE.

BORON: Calcium metabolism–an inadequate level of boron is also suspected in negatively influencing the body’s uptake of magnesium and calcium, possibly resulting in bone density loss and elevated blood pressure.

CHLORINE: Digestion, blood pressure.

COBALT: Essential for formation of vitamin B12, metabolism of fatty acids, and synthesis of hemoglobin.

SULPHUR: Protien synthesis, collagen cross linking, and ligament structure.

COPPER: Immune system, artery strength, helps form hemoglobin from iron and assist in metabolizing vitamin C and the oxidation of fatty acids.

CHROMIUM: Insulin action, cardiovascular health, glucose tolerance factor.

IRON: Blood formation, immune function.

SELENIUM: Immune stimulant, certain brain functions, acts as antioxidant. NICKEL: Immune regulation, brain development, and DNA synthesis.

IODINE: Thyroid functions, aids in upkeep of immune system.

MOLYBDEMUM: Enzyme action.

SILICON: Enzyme action, connective tissue.

TIN: Enzyme action

MANGANESE: Bone development and growth, metabolism of fat and energy, reproductive systems.

ZINC: Enzymatic reactions, reproductive health, growth and development, immune functions.