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07 May 2017 |
'We won't have classes next Monday because of the public holiday on Tuesday.' My tutor tells us this cheerily, as if he has done us a favour. I'm studying a degree that costs $4000 each semester, about $60 per hour of actual teaching time. This includes a subject where instead of being able to meet with faculty members, we must skype them. If that's not the most expensive skype call ever, perhaps the critics are correct, and young people should stop complaining about the potential increase of fees.
30 April 2017 |
I decided to homeschool for one year, to give my daughter a chance to recover and to build her confidence. I never expected to fall in love with the lifestyle. Twelve months later, I gave in to my younger son's entreaties and began homeschooling him as well - just for one more year. In Victoria, the registration process is simple and straightforward. It is not surprising, then, that Victoria has the highest number of registered homeschoolers. But this may soon change.
17 April 2017 |
Paddy was a mediocre teacher, even if that is the unreliable opinion of a colleague who has great sympathy for what must go on in an English class. He had a weakness not uncommon among the literati and which may well have been a reaction to the rigid pieties of his Tory background. In his case, the consumption of alcohol caused him to become tiresomely scrupulous, seeming to lose the capacity for dissimulation and verbal artifice that are necessary qualities for life in the modern world.
05 April 2017 |
Recently Gilbert Baker, the man who designed the rainbow pride flag, died. The flag was designed to be a symbol for the LGBTIQ movement, representing the diversity of the community. Within the same news cycle, it was reported that Catholic Notre Dame University in Sydney had had pride flag stickers torn down from its student association office. Schools' main concern should be the welfare of students, but that is difficult when they have an arm tied behind their backs in regards to LGBTIQ students.
20 March 2017 |
The Dalai Lama is turning 82 this July, and he may be the last in his line. The religious and political ramifications of this are often lost on the general public. Many people in largely Christian Australia don't know the significance of a Mikveh in Judaism, can't explain why the Buddhist Middle Path is so important, or recite what the Five Pillars of Islam are. There are as many diverse interpretations of Hinduism as there are for Christianity, and as many insightful Buddhist stories as there are in the Bible.
19 December 2016 |
I have no idea how many students I've taught in two countries. I remember, usually, the high achievers and their troublesome and often troubled opposites, but most are a blur: the human memory has its limits. On the other hand I think I can name all the teachers I ever had: this, of course, is much easier to do. There was more evidence of this today. I was in the Kalamata post office, waiting my turn and clutching a fistful of cards bound for Australia, when a bearded young man asked me a question.
21 November 2016 |
I wondered why my daughter was able to get an education with a brain injury and I couldn't get one with a normal brain? So I decided to copy what we had done with her. In short, I started reading again and started patterning sentences. Do I care about Direct Instruction, or Noel Pearson and the Cape York Academy? No. I care about seeing children find the joy in learning and embracing with courage and confidence the opportunities an education can provide.
03 November 2016 |
Amid the furore surrounding Minister Birmingham's disclosure of figures showing massive discrepancies in public funding between some independent schools and low-SES schools, some facts need scrutinising. Systemic Catholic schools draw for their enrolment from lower-SES postcodes than independent schools. Postcodes being an indelible predictor of the educational chances of Australians, balancing systemic school funding against that of independent schools is politically and ethically problematic.
18 September 2016 |
Australia is now planning for an economy that has more elderly people. Death rates are declining and life expectancy is increasing. Our population should reach 36 to 40 million by 2050; the number of Australians aged 65 and over will go from 3.5 million to 9 million. In 1970 we had 29 per cent of the population under 15 and 8 per cent over 65. In 2050 we will have about 17 per cent under 15 and 23 per cent over 65. We need to plan to help the next generation care for the generation above them.
01 September 2016 |
In the golden era, I suppose, only a handful of people, selected for their potential to contribute to certain class formations, went to university. And then there was a shift, and this occurred with the supposedly democratising process of neoliberalisation. But neoliberalisation went a bit far and now we don't know how to tell our students that while they are entitled to real attention from their teachers, a lot of the time their teachers are basically volunteers for the charity called their expensive education.
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