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Viewing entries tagged with 'education'

Making difficult decisions easier

Posted by Philip on 17 May 2017, 12:10 pm in , , ,

Sometimes making big decisions, especially life changing ones, can be really difficult. Whether or not to quit a university course or a job, end a relationship, make an expensive purchase — how do you decide?

guy with angel and devil sitting on each shoulder whispering/shouting in each ea

Writing a list of pros and cons is the standard advice, but I don't find that useful. Often there are as many pros as cons and discovering that just makes it harder to decide.

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What we're not saying about porn

Posted by Philip on 10 May 2017, 4:38 pm in , , , , , ,

There's a lot of moral hysteria about pornography — sorry to state the obvious. The panic targets both the industry and its main audience, young men.

 guy watching porn on laptop

Summed up, the industry exploits women and its products create bad sexual attitudes in men towards women. I'm referring to straight porn — I think things are different with gay porn but that's not the point of this post.

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Assessment – where it works and why it doesn't

Posted by Philip on 8 April 2017, 11:32 am in , , , , ,

The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."

Students taking a test

The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and  diverse.

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Rape culture — how do we address it and end it?

Posted by Philip on 8 June 2016, 1:33 pm in , , , , , ,

Trigger warning: this post contains challenging references to rape and sexual violence.

I was moved by Madeleine Holden's piece in The Spinoff today, about Brock Turner, the 19- (now 20-) year-old Stanford student athlete sentenced to six months imprisonment after, in January last year, he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. It's a passionate bit of writing, angry actually and, rightfully so, Holden asks the question, "What culture raised Turner to become a rapist?"

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Tertiary education – expense or investment?

Posted by Philip on 3 February 2016, 8:33 am in , , , , , , ,

Today's NZ Herald editorial lambasts Labour's policy proposal for free tertiary education as an expensive fix with little purpose. Admittedly, I wasn't overly convinced by Andrew Little's stumbling announcement but, all in all, I think scrapping student loans is a move in the right direction, steering us away from the neo-liberal semi-dictatorship John Key's Government has been creating in the last eight years.

The editorial says there are better things to which to add funding and that thousands have repaid their loans but, in the same publication, Raybon Kan glibly disagrees:

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From diversity to inclusion

Posted by Philip on 16 June 2015, 7:41 am in , , , , , ,

Update:
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The question of diversity and inclusion in schools is by no means a new one. Some do it well, some refuse and most, I would say, are just not sure where to start.

Preparing a keynote for Auckland Careers and Transition Educators –whose "main focus is on the career education of youth and their transition into the wider world of employment, training and/or further education", I began by reflecting on the question, "Can we get straight from diversity to inclusion?" It occurred to me that, no, we can't.

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Gender neutral education recommendations a huge step forward

Posted by Philip on 1 June 2015, 11:13 am in , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ministry of Education's new curriculum guidelines released last week, aimed at improving sex education and diversity for students, seem almost too good to be true. Actually they are, because they are not mandatory.

Recommendations for non-gendered uniforms, same-sex partners at school balls, reviewing toilet spaces and making sport less gender-specific are no-brainers in our day and age — actually they've been no-brainers for decades.

These guidelines show surprisingly courageous change leadership from the Ministry. But there's always some right-wing plonker, who purports to represent the moral majority, ready to go into bat for the status quo (as I posted about recently).

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Four days into the year of balance

Posted by Philip on 4 January 2015, 11:42 am in , , , , , , , , ,

Venn diagram - freedom & security in overlapping circles, support in the overlapJust a quick reflection on the first days of the year, an affirmation of sorts. I notice I've taken on my reclusive role, usual for this time of year, not having left the house this year yet, other than to sit on the deck to read, drink, socialise, admire the beautiful nature-laden part of Auckland I am blessed to live in, and/or reflect.

It's been a stressless, easy ride into 2015. May it continue.

The only event of note was a slight over-indulgence of leadership juice on 1 January, ending with my falling on the floor. A few years ago I had upper and lower back injuries, leaving me without power in my upper arms/shoulders and no longer able to walk. Unable to lift myself from the floor anymore, particularly after a wine or two, I invested in a Bupa medical alarm half way through last year — it seemed less strenuous than weight training, at which I failed miserably to endure.

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14 things I'd like to see happen in 2014

Posted by Philip on 31 December 2013, 9:07 am in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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New Zealand's relatively small population, land mass and infrastructure creates so much opportunity to lead the world in recognising some fundamental changes that would improve society in general. Here's my bucket list.

  1. Economies other than financial — eg. resources, time, value — are discussed, considered viable and used in more viable ways.
  2. As the Pope pointed out, poverty and wealth inequality is officially recognised as the cause of most, if not all, social problems.
  3. Government invests in technology — such as breath tested ignition locking and GPS-enabled vehicle intelligence — to lower vehicle-related deaths and injury, rather than more policing.
  4. New conversations about universal needs — such as shelter, food and clothing — begin to create the conditions for nobody to be homeless or hungry.
  5. Government portrays a true representation of society's diversity in social campaigns.
  6. Schools use a wider understanding of diversity as a way of making education more accessible and relevant for students.
  7. Labour wins the election.
  8. Politicians have job descriptions and regular performance appraisals.
  9. The internet is used to enable more democratic, public involvement in local, regional decision-making.
  10. The Zeitgeist Movement and Venus Project's ideas and designs of a resource-based economy become common knowledge and popularised.
  11. I win Lotto. Just kidding — Lotto is abolished and proceeds are used to alleviate poverty.
  12. Everyone realises that alcohol and drug addiction is about dosage, not about substances, and are symptoms of poverty and wealth inequality (see 2 above).
  13. Apple, Microsoft, Android, Google etc stop competing and start collaborating to make some really cool shit.
  14. Lorde doesn't forget where she comes from.

Happy New Year!

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What's wrong with education?

Posted by Philip on 19 November 2013, 2:06 pm in , , , ,

Quite simply, it's not ok to be wrong in education.

In life, being wrong, or making mistakes, means learning.

In education — at secondary and tertiary level, at least — being wrong most often means failing.

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