Tag Archives: education

Unauthorized Practice of Law: What’s a Paralegal-To-Be Got To Do With It?

Books on Law

Your journey toward becoming a paralegal is not without hearing the term “UPL” every now and then. UPL (unauthorized practice of law) may be part of your Introduction to Paralegal Studies classes, law management course, and paralegal ethics course — practically all the courses you take.

Its appearance on all of your paralegal courses online and offline means one thing: understanding of the subject matter is important.

Understanding the UPL

Unauthorized practice of law occurs when an individual does not have the legal license to practice law or even offer legal advice. The policy applies to paralegals, too.

In most states, UPL is a felony case; for others, it is mere disciplinary matter. To get a better grasp of your state’s take on the matter, you can ask the local paralegal association or check the state’s statutes.

As a new or aspiring paralegal, doing research is not the only task you need to perform. You also need to learn about recent changes to the law or have knowledge of local paralegal associations.

How States Define the Practice of Law

While each state has its own definition of authorized law practices, it’s not always clear. In most cases, state law does not explain UPL in detail; what counts as unauthorized or not remains a blur to some practicing paralegals.

Fortunately, the NALA’s Model Standards and Guidelines for the Utilization of Paralegals gives a brief but informative summary of activities paralegals should never do, including:

  • Set your personal legal fees
  • Establish the attorney-client relationship
  • Offer legal advice or opinion
  • Represent clients in court, except administrative courts

Legal Advice: Your Role

Paralegal experience from school and on-the-job provides you with a good grasp of the legal world. Naturally, family, friends, and acquaintances may want your opinion.

To answer them is tempting; after all, you’re just helping out.  But it’s one thing to be the armchair lawyer during light discussions or matters outside the school or firm. It’s another thing, however, to have your advice affect other individual’s legal rights. You’re not only potentially harming that individual, but also putting your career as a paralegal at risk.

As a future paralegal, you will have an important role that affects the lives of others. Avoiding UPL now keeps you from making mistakes that will impact your career, the lawyers you support, and their clients.

Start Your Career in Early Childhood Education

Teacher teaching the kidsLove children?  Start your career with a course in early childhood education, begin on the path to a rewarding job in teaching or childcare, and make a difference to the lives of young children.

Completing early childhood education courses in Singapore can lead to a range of exciting careers with great prospects and good pay. Prominent institution James Cook University Singapore stresses the importance of an excellent pre-school learning, saying it truly makes a difference to the lives of children.

Gaining this valuable qualification will open the doors into a career with babies and pre-school toddlers as a day-care “educator.”

Early Years Teacher

Commonly known as a nursery teacher, qualified individuals work with babies and small children up to the age of five.  Sometimes they work with children up to eight years old in after-school club settings or private day-care centres.

Their main tasks are to ensure that each child is safe and happy in their surroundings, to encourage good behaviour and to support children in learning through play. Like any teacher, they will plan activities to do with the children in advance of the nursery times.

Fun for children

Activities vary and include supervision of free-play with a selection of toys, crafts (painting, gluing and sticking), singing songs and reading stories.  If the weather permits, they will also supervise children playing outside with ride-on cars, sandpits, climbing frames and other outdoor toys.

They should be able to foster a strong relationship with the children’s parents and provide them with regular updates and reports on their child’s progress in the nursery.

Good pay

The best place in the world to be a teacher is Singapore.  According to Varkey Gems Foundation Global Teacher Index, 2013, Singapore pays the best wages of any developed country, with gross salaries of over $45,755 per annum.

What is more is that Singapore encourages people to be early childhood educators. Ideal candidates should have an easy-going nature, are patient, calm when dealing with children’s challenging behaviour and have creative flair they can bring to classrooms.

For the creative, fun-loving types that can think on their feet and bring out enthusiasm in the young but want to be recognised for what they do, teaching is a rewarding, expressive and higher paid career that can open doors for children and teacher alike.

A Country of Math Whizzes: Singapore’s Love Affair with Numbers

Math Equation on a BoardStereotypes are normally a negative concept. When it comes the generalization that ‘Asians are good at math’, however, Singapore seems determined to live up to the stereotype. The city-state is consistently topping global rankings in mathematics, in fact. Their secret? An innovative approach to teaching elementary math.

The Singapore Mathematics Method

The ministry of education employed a team of teachers in the 80’s to develop the aptly labelled ‘Singapore Method’. They studied behavioral science and traveled to different countries to observe effective teaching methods. They also relied on the studies by the American educational psychologist Jerome Bruner which stated that people should learn in three stages: first by using real objects, followed by pictures, and then through symbols.

After their observations, the researchers settled on teaching a curriculum that focuses on modelling mathematical equations using visual aids and colored blocks.

Focus on Mastery

The Singaporean curriculum in schools and universities focuses on fewer topics but is particular about discussing it in greater depth. Students don’t just study math to get an answer for their exams later on — they learn how the equation works. There are 13 to 15 concepts discussed per grade level, and the Singaporean Method enables them to master each one.

Layered Lessons

The American approach to teaching math involves revisiting lessons months, even years, after students first learned them. This is often jarring for both students and teachers. On the other hand, the Singaporean curriculum focuses on one skill and uses it as a foundation for future lessons. This makes the progression from one concept to another easier and more natural for learners.

Aligned with Common Core Standards

Policymakers based the formulation of the Common Core standards on the success of other high-performing countries. It is no surprise, then, that some parts of the Singapore Method align with them. Further efforts to calibrate their educational system have pushed the state introduced new textbooks in 2014.

Singapore’s not-so-secret method on how to excel in mathematics involves using visual aids and focusing on mastery when learning equations. This tried and tested technique might encourage other countries to follow suit and step up the math education efforts.