Archive for November, 2010

Good News Day

This front page made me smile so much yesterday I broke my usual rule and bought The Australian:

PRIVATE SCHOOLS’ FURY OVER MYSCHOOL WEBSITE

Turns out the poor buggers have found some inaccuracies in the way their finances are reported.  It makes it look like they are getting paid WAY too much money for the services they provide, or something totally unbelievable like that.

I say: suck it.  Where were you last year when NSW public school teachers and unions were the only ones out there willing to put their neck on the line to criticise the MySchool website?  Sitting quietly on their hands and calling us whingers, that’s where.

STATE REJECTS PM’s CURRICULUM AS SUBSTANDARD

Which state you ask?  Oh, that’d be NSW.  Again.  As far as I can see, the only state with the balls to take a stand against ACARA.  Again.

Now, I realise full well that teachers in every state and territory think that their curriculum is ‘the best’.  But that’s not what this is actually about.  This is not just about some east-coast superiority complex.  This is about (in the case of English, at least) the inadequacy of the curriculum on offer.

I love my new home in Queensland, but for sheer determination to kick against the pricks, I am proud to say ‘go the Blues!’  On National Curriculum issues, NSW is proving well and truly to be the big sister of Australia – she might not always be right, but at least she’s brave enough to fight for what she thinks is right (inaccurate newspaper reporting be damned).

SIDDLE BLOWS ENGLAND AWAY WITH HATTRICK

OK, so any real Australian knows that this was the only real story of the day.

If you don’t know what a hattrick in cricket is, it’s when a bowler gets three batsmen out in a row.  It’s very hard to do.  Since the start of the Ashes in 1877 there have only been eight other hattricks, making Siddle’s the ninth. And it was his birthday!

What a good news day!

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So, what do you actually do?

Recently I’ve had explain to more and more people what I do in my job as a University Lecturer.

This is tough, because no matter how much I try to jazz it up, until I get another ‘big research project’ that I can talk about, the description just sounds like ‘oh, you know – reading and stuff’.  And ‘my head is like a giant computer that mostly knows about teaching English’ just sounds a bit loony.

Up until last week I was still in teaching time.  This made life easier – I could describe giving lectures and grading essays.  But now that I’m on the research clock…well, things are a whole lot less defined.

I saw a great summary in a faculty email today of the three core criteria comprising our definition of research activity:

  • publications,
  • HDR supervision,
  • research grants/consultancies.

That’s a nice list to use I guess.  And given that I don’t have any students to supervise yet, or any research grants, I guess that leaves me with publishing over the summer.

So, in terms of what that means I will do with my actual time?  With the actual minutes of my day?

Looks like I am up against a lot of computer time, more self-directed learning, lots of getting to know journals in the field, and reassembling bits of old writing into new hopefully interesting things to read…so much to do and so little to talk about, in short.  But, so far, I still love it.

I wonder if my blog will get boring?

I wonder if I’ll need glasses soon?

 

Too Much Reading

 

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Noam Chomsky on the Role of the Educational System

Chomsky argues that schools are a system of indoctrination of the young:

Even the fact that the system has a lot of stupidity in it, I think has a function.  You know, it means that people are filtered out for obedience.  If you can guarantee lots of stupidity in the educational system, you know like stupid assignments and things like that, you know that the only people who’ll make it through are like me, and like most of you I guess, who are willing to do it no matter how stupid it is, because we want to go to the next step.  So you may know that this assignment is idiotic and the guy up there couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag, but you’ll do it anyway because that’s the way you get to the next class and you want to ‘make it’ and so on and so forth.

Well there are people who don’t do that, you know.  There are people who say ‘I’m not gonna do it, it’s too ridiculous’.  Those people are called behavioural problems.

Thanks for the link Bianca – I love getting angry with Noam.

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