Making us think.

October 5, 2011

Adults can be tricky. They lead busy lives, they have many responsibilities and distractions. They often have preconceived and firmly held ideas and many of their likes and dislikes are already set. I am no different.

You put me in a learning situation and I have high expectations. If I am highly motivated in the subject matter I get frustrated Read the rest of this entry »

Of Fried Eggs and Teflon

June 14, 2011

It is surprising how as children grow into teenagers, they become covered in Teflon. Able to deflect housework with a single scowl, parental wisdom slides off them like eggs in a frypan. Even when the chips are down, they continue to deflect. It’s not their fault. It is their mother’s … their teacher’s … their sister’s …. Even if you weren’t there, somehow you are responsible. And, of course, as a parent, you are. Those Teflon shields mean that is hard for them to own up to mistakes, hard for them to assess their own behaviour. That is our job as parents to help them do this.

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What is in your professional toolbox?

April 17, 2011

Early education research tried to be like a science – it tried to use controls in its design methodology and tried to find quantifiable laws for us to work by. The early critics of this approach suggested that this was not addressing the individuality of the learner and the laws probably could not apply to all people.

Of course, those of us in education know that learning can be complicated. That is why most teacher training courses include multiple techniques and Read the rest of this entry »

Education – is it mature enough?

November 10, 2010

When it comes to some topics such as climate change, health and education, the layman is often left to consider if the experts agree on anything. Of course they do, but some areas of knowledge are not exact sciences, and will continue to attract controversy.

The physical sciences of physics, chemistry and engineering all are based on reproducible evidence which creates an element of trustworthiness. The evidence has to be convincing. Some evidence is so convincing science refers to the equations that represent them as laws. It is Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Out of the Bag.

January 24, 2010

I was working in a supermarket as a checkout operator and packer in the mid eighties and I used to faithfully pack up our customer’s groceries in brown paper bags. They had a nice square bottom and placing items into the bag was easy. The mouth of the bag was always open, the sides stood up straight, and they were strong. If you were worried that it wasn’t strong enough, you could always ‘double bag’. Even better, you could always use a box and supermarkets always had lots of boxes.

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All I want for Christmas ….

December 23, 2009

The twilight saga has crystallised something for me. Who would have thought that a story about an immortal being who unconditionally loves a flawed and very normal young girl would become so popular? And that popularity is not limited to teenagers, but to older folks as well (“twilight mums”). The story lines over the saga are a mix of Pride and Prejudice (Edward is the new Mr Darcy), Romeo and Juliet (New Moon), bits of Wuthering Heights – not original concepts, but storylines that endure. Yet, I remember feeling like Bella, knowing that somehow, impossibly, an immortal being loved me, no matter what.

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Smile – though your heart is broken…

September 25, 2009

benchI was sitting in a coffee shop the other day sneaking a quiet cup of coffee by myself when I recognized a lady who walked by.  I wasn’t sure how I knew her.  She was laboring under the weight of many bags of groceries, and she stopped for a rest just outside the coffee shop window.  She sat on a park bench with her groceries around her feet and next to her on the seat. She had the look of someone tired, beaten down, and struggling.

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Waiting for the Universe …

August 4, 2009

bikesSometimes things just seem so unfair. When my little daughters used to compete in Irish River-dancing, I can remember one particular occasion where middle daughter gave it her all. She wasn’t being favoured by the judge in this competition but she took it on the chin, and didn’t give up.

She changed her hair style, altered her costume, and as a final resort, re-choreographed her whole dance to the hardest, most complicated hard-sole steps she could muster. She worked in all sorts of flurrys and arm movements, head movements and pointed her little toes as hard as she Read the rest of this entry »

False Prophets

July 21, 2009

prophetThe world is full of false prophets.  Not those religious types that predict the world’s end, but those that have lots to say about all manner of other things. People have access now to so much information – information that was once locked in books or only a few had access to. To find out about something, you only have to “google it”.

 One of the tell-tale signs of a false prophet is the inability to tell facts from theory.  Of course as a reader, you may not know the difference yourself so Read the rest of this entry »

Committ(e)ed to Education

July 21, 2009

committeesIn terms of being professional and making decisions – it does strike me as quite odd that teaching is one of the few professions where people deter the most important decisions to committees.  While there is no doubt that teaching is definitely a social-cultural activity and as such, knowledge is validated by the collective, education seems to defer most decisions to the collective.

Why is this? Are educationists afraid of making decisions? Education at its Read the rest of this entry »