Thursday, 6 May 2010

This time again ...

Whoa ... well its nearing assignment completion (for all lecturers) and exam time again. I really cant believe this (academic) year has flown so quickly. In fact, I think I have only posted once or twice. It's been yet another struggle - time constraints, technology (!) and personal conflicts - but I'm here!!! And for that I can breathe a massive sigh of relief! This year has taught me not to be cocky - I don't know everything (even though sometimes i like to think i do), I don't have 64 hours in one day and I'm not indestructible. It's normal to think I can't manage,it's perfectly acceptable to cry and stamp my feet when things go wrong and I do not need to feel bad if my schedule goes to pot! I'm human!!!

So .. Warwick is around the corner. Part of me is really excited. I feel as though I'm nearing completion. My goal is within reach. Yet, I also feel as though I'm leaving behind a massive security blanket that I want to take with me. It's difficult - be happy to be moving on or be scared that our cushion has gone???

Lets see what the next few weeks bring .....

Friday, 22 January 2010

Its hard to comprehend ...

I've just been reading reports regarding the two brothers (11 and 12)that have admitted to the terrible torture of two children (9 and 11) last April. Although I was aware of this case, just having a 'mosey' round the Internet this evening has bought up several open forums where members of the public have had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the case. I was amazed at the amount of people who have said that these two boys are evil and that they should be locked up indefinitely. Some persons have even gone as far to say that they do not deserve life! I was more shocked to then consider that prior to doing this course, I would have been amongst the vast majority of people who made such comments, (I do not include the right to life in this statement - too strong even for my uneducated views).

Yes, what these brothers did was despicable. They conducted prolonged beatings and acts of sexual humiliation on two Innocent boys -but why? Saying "Oh, they were born evil" is a cop out! Without going into the 'great debate", even if a person is born with innate tendencies, they still are influenced by society, and such strong tendencies (in my opinion), would not go unchallenged in 10 years of life.

The brothers were (reportedly) subjected to a life of regular beatings themselves. They witnessed violence on a daily basis, had open access to extremely violent films and gaming software. Inappropriate sexual references and conduct was not shielded from these boys. I am not making the point that blame can be laid at the feet of the manufacturers of this media. I'm not even placing the blame on the parental guidance (I do not know enough about them to comment). It is apparent, through reading numerous reports, the brothers knew what was done to them (directly and indirectly) was wrong, so why did they repeat such acts, and more on two unsuspecting children? I would hazard a guess that it was because they knew they could get away with it. Their parents (or carers) who subjected them to atrocities, did so with no consequence. So if they could do it - why couldn't the brothers?

What I think I'm doing here is a basic observation of myself. Only 18 months ago, I would have probably had these boys locked up, attending psychiatric clinics and wearing a hat saying "I'm a nasty piece of work". Now, although what they did was wrong, they did it for a reason. Not just because they are evil, but they have not been socialised, taught, shown - whatever phrase you wish to use - the appropriate way to live within society. Actions have consequences.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

interesting experiment

As a spin off from my reading information on the inclusion of ICT into almost every aspect of daily life in the 21st century, I am curious as to how I would cope / manage / live a week in MY life without the intervention of 21st century technology.

Academically - I am not adverse to picking up a pen and notebook to assist me in my data collection for essays, assignments etc... however, my information resources are mostly 'virtual'. The delivery of teaching at nwhc is often through technological media, hence my learning is (mostly) reliant on ICT.

As a mum, I endeavour to provide a healthy diet for my family, using fresh produce on a daily basis, yet I shop one a fortnight. Mine (and my families) recreation includes watching television, playing games consoles and 'surfing' the web. Although we part-take in other activities, could we manage without these things completely?

Necessities of life - I dont post letters, I email or facebook people i need to contact. I dont go into town and manually transfer monies, I do it all online. I dont always go and pick my own spuds - someone in ASDA does it for me then delivers it to my doorstep. And so on..... Yes, these functions, services and outlets are there to be used and to make our lives a little less stressful and busy. Can we cope without them? I'm interested to find out. I'm sure my son and hubby may not be, but its an experiment I may very well undertake in the not to distant future.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

following on from Sir Terry Leahy class discussion ...

I have just caught an interview on the lunchtime news regarding Sir Terry Leahy's comments n the poor products of the education system. Ian Cheshire (Chief Exec. of the Kingfisher Group, who own, amongst others, B&Q), in part backed the notion that many children are leaving schools without 'Employability skills'. Unlike Sir Leahy, he didn't lay the blame solely at the feet of the education system. He claims that a lack of social skills is also to blame. Many children (and adults) lack good interview, communication and basic skills. He (Ian Cheshire) discussed the notion that many children now do not have a Saturday or part-time job, an outlet that would provide the opportunity to develop many 'life-skills'.

Does our curriculum allow time for the development of said skills? As Clare commented, many teachers face the prospect of a rigorously time-tabled day to accommodate the National Curriculum's prescribed outcomes? for thought.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Brians homework - Curriculum model for the 21st Century

My previous blog threw around some ideas concerning the structure of the school day. Although I still feel that for many parents (especially ones in employment), the constraints of 9am - 3pm prove problematic. Through the promotion and implementation of Extended Schools, the Government has recognised the need for extension of the school day. Although this is not a solution for all, and certainly not the initial reasoning behind the scheme, the logistics of organising the structure of a school day to suit all shift patterns, work rotas and employment types would be impossible. This not mentioning being counter productive to the education of the children attending the establishment.

I feel that the way to look forward is by looking back. The importance of education has progressed through the passage of time, mostly as a by-product of the society in which it dwelled. Compulsary education for 5-10year olds came into effect in 1880 following The Forster Act. Government recognised that for national progression, economic growth and global positioning, the United Kingdom needed to educated its' children. Children were 'taught' what they needed to thrive within their community. This is not a negative by all means, as in 1976 PM Callaghan also made clear that the purpose of education was to "equip children to fulfill a constructive place in society, and also to fit them to do a job of work". Enabling our children to survive in society is paramount, to me, to all that was recognised in 1880.

In my opinion, preparing children for the society in which the live is equally as important as aideing them in learning how to read, write and manage artithmatic (the three componants of education that have remainded constant). Do not mistake me, I believe strongly that the latter are fundamental skills that are required in day to day living. I also strongly believe that learning life skills such as problem solving in real situations (ie moral dilemmas, shopping tasks, journey planning) is a massivley important area. An area that can either stand alone or support an academic area. The difficulty in this task - a curriculum for the 21st century - is tapering everything down to subjects. Learning, especially in primary classrooms, comes from a multitude of media. Pinpointing one educational outcome from one 'input device' is not possible.

Returning to the structure of the schoolday, although I have no substansiating evidence, I do have a strong opinion on younger children having more academic sessions after lunch. My child, and many I am aware of, hit the 'lunch-time lag' post 12.30pm. I can speak from experience that the outcome of some tasks is measurabley different post lunchtime than prior to lunch. Tying in with learning life skills, I would propose that academic topics/subjects that have been taught during morning sessions can be complimented and supported with more practical and 'real-life' session in the afternoon. Many learning areas covered in extended schools include such tasks. If they are deemed important, they should be implemented into the classroom so all children get benefit from them.

As in history, society has dictated 'what we need' to survive. It is therefore that I say I would argue with confiction that the education provided in the 21st century reflect the 21st century itself.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

21st Century curriculum (?)

Firstly I must state that I am just playing around with ideas at the moment. I'm doing it publically so as to invite any input others wish to offer (and for which I will be extremely grateful).

Intially I am not going to look at the content of what I believe to be an appropriate curriculum for the 21st century, but more at the way day-to-day schooling is organised / structured. A (primary) school day for many begins at 9.00am and ends at 3.15pm, with a break for lunch at approximately 12.30ish.

I'm now calling on the extpertise of parents out there. Do your children seem more alert and aware prior to the 'lunch time lag'?

Although the curriculum covers a wide array of subjects, inevitally some academic subjects will be scheduled for the afternoon 'slots'.

Speaking purely as a mother of a 6 year old, I know that after lunch he will not be ready for heavy academia.

Returning to the 'timing' of the school day. How many parents have a 9.15am - 3pm job? Do we all work within the constraints of school hours? Do we all work part time?

Im just trying to build a picture. We recognise that society is changing - we are becoming more involved and reliant on ICT. For this reason, we are incorporating it into early learning - and this is found to be acceptable.

Would it be acceptable to presume that in early years many children perform more positively during morning sessions?

Like I said, this is an idea in it's infancy. I need to research it further.

Please get involved, I would love to hear any thoughts (they dont have to be supported by theory / fact / research either.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

hyperlinks - thanks Kat x

Access to moodle - check
Warwick log in sorted - check
Athens log in sorted - check
Blogging - check
Virginmedia tv working - +&*#$! - er, i mean uncheck
Target child secured - check
Older person identified - check
Hyperlinks - YEY - check

Thanks once again to the knowledge sharing within our group, I am now able to hyperlink successfully within text. Oooh, lets look at Lin's blog.