Archive for August, 2011
In this week’s episode of Q&A (from the Melbourne Writer’s Festival) there was some interesting discussion about young people and apathy in politics.
I was especially glad to head from Omar Musa, an award winning Australian slam poet who my students recently brought to my attention. An extract from the episode transcript follows; the full episode can currently be viewed on the ABC website (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3299482.htm):
OMAR MUSA: I can’t speak for previous generations but when I talk for my generation, I see a lot of selfishness. I see a lot of materialism. I see a lot of superficiality and I think that’s something that we should all be – as artists we should all speak up against. I mean I think people have enjoyed such a good standard of living for so long in Australia, that – all right there’s – from the way I see it, there’s two different types of apathetic people in Australia. There are those who are apathetic because they feel that the government is not properly representing them and that they have no alternative choice and then there are those who are apathetic because they feel so entitled to this prosperity that we have that they can’t feel any sense of compassion to those who are vulnerable and, you know, I think that’s something we need to interrogate as a society, you know. I just see that there are problems in this society. I mean I’m proud to be Australian but, you know, as someone who is patriotic, I feel that it’s my responsibility to criticise and to ask these sort of questions about our past. Why is a dog whistle – always, you know, it invariably works in Australian politics. I mean a pugilistic wing nut like, you know, Tony Abbott almost won the last election by using the dog whistle when most people don’t even like the guy, you know. And so why is it that that sort of stuff works.
TONY JONES: In that same poem, My Generation, you talk about witnessing Prime Ministers slain, hush coups in the halls of parliament house. I mean does that sort of taint your view of politics, when you see something like that happen?
OMAR MUSA: Yeah, definitely. I mean it’s got to a point where it feels like it’s a choice between the devil and deep blue sea, you know. You’ve got this pugilistic knob head on one side and then you’ve got this sort of gutless wonder on the other and so I understand that – the young lady that asked the first question, I understand that feeling of apathy but I guess it’s times like this when it’s more necessary than ever to speak up and to question these sort of things.
These sentiments were followed by some very stirring words by Afghani activist and writer of A Woman Among Warlords Malalai Joya including the insistance that
The silence of the good people is worse than the action of the bad people.
I wonder what role I will play in the grand scheme of de-apathising the ‘youth of today’, including my own generation? Surely the answer must lie in art, like Omar’s poetry, and in active protest, like Malalai’s…not just in retweeting exclamations of outrage and sharing witty remarks about news articles on Facebook? Not that I’d be without those things mind you
I’m planning my first University excursion
With my small class of six students studying their Grad. Dip. in Education (secondary English), I will be heading into Brisbane city to attend events that are part of the Global Poetics Tour:
Slam poets Jive, Ken and Mahogany will be slamming into Brisbane for the Australian Poetry Slam competition, which has its second Brisbane Heat on Friday 9th September. I think that’s the event we’ll be going to…although the Sunday event also looks pretty appealing: Black Star Tribute ‘Words or Whatever’ at the Black Star Cafe in West End.
I wonder what event my students will choose for the excursion – we make the selection in tomorrow’s tutorial!
I dig gamification. I also dig Games Based Learning (GBL).
But sometimes when I’m watching these concepts get promoted, big alarms go off in my head.
Take a look at this list of some key elements of gamification:
Doesn’t this remind you of anything? Add that together with our enthusiastic embrace of digital and electronic teaching, and the ‘games & machines’ motif becomes really familiar. I’m thinking Skinner, and Behaviourism, and Pavlov’s dog…which means that we need to think about the ethics of gamification, stat.
…GO YOU GOOD THINGS!
Adam Bennett (Sydney Morning Herald) August 9, 2011
[NSW Education Minister] Mr Piccoli on Tuesday announced the state government would postpone the implementation of the national curriculum by 12 months because of a lack of commonwealth funding and uncertainty about the content.
NSW will now introduce the Australian curriculum in English, Maths, Science and History in 2014, with the planning phase beginning in 2013.
Mr Piccoli said that while the NSW government remained committed to the reforms, schools couldn’t prepare for its introduction in 2013 with funding issues still unresolved and the curriculum’s content not known.
“Schools needed to know in June of this year precisely the content of the national curriculum and to know that there were funds available for professional development,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“The final document won’t be signed off until at least the ministerial council meeting in October, and that simply does not give the schools in NSW and the more than 100,000 teachers the opportunity to receive the professional development, and to be in a position to implement the national curriculum in 2013.”
Thank you New South Wales for Standing Up and Putting Your Foot Down, while the rest of the educrats and Ministers around this country smile and nod and agree to bring in a curriculum overnight when they Quite Frankly Should Know Better.
That’s MY State of Origin!
I used to be on the book selection panel for the PRC in New South Wales…great to see it so well participated in in Queensland as well.
I wonder if I can get some posters for it sent to me to put up at Uni? It’s a shame – so many great programs like this get passed over by teachers each year who just don’t get reminded of the dates!
The Premier’s Reading Challenge is on again and the aim for 2011 is to top 75,000 student participants.
Children from Prep to Year 7 are encouraged to pick up a book and get reading between May 9 and August 27, with all who complete the challenge receiving a signed certificate by the Premier.
Schools can register online until May 27. Last year, 71,000 students completed the challenge, reading more than one million books.
The challenge for students from Prep to Year 2 is to read or experience 20 books, Years 3 and 4 to read 20 books and Years 5 to 7 to read 15 books between May 9 and August 26.
Guidelines, registration details and booklists are available on the Premier’s Reading Challenge website.