Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Clamour to Cringe

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  • Don Christie,

    Craig, you did appear to make a claim that our children are sat in cold classrooms surrounded by incompetent teachers.

    If this *is* the case then it seems that such conditions create some very positive educational outcomes.

    Do you have any other research of facts that you can bring to the table. I know your writing is entertaining but I am looking for a little more substance.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Kyle, you don't get it. It is not intelligent to debate policy. That is what bureaucrats do. Politicians pick on something isolated and silly, like hip hop tours are when they're taken out of all context. That is intelligent.

    I'd feel a whole lot safer if National just said they were going to leave all policy to the bureaucrats, and spend their time in government intelligently debating hip hop tours. But I have a sneaky suspicion it ain't so.

    I stand corrected, Ben. Of course, its totally unreasonable to expect civil servants to communicate clearly with us stupid peasants; or provide clear and direct answers when elected members of Parliament and uppity media folks ask impertinent questions. Who do I think I am, a citizen of a parliamentary democracy?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    What I would like to see;

    1) resourcing for children with dyslexia (not currently recognised as a learning disability and as such no resources are allocated to specifically diagnose dyslexia and then help these children). I believe this would have a large impact on our 'long tail' of underachievers. Larger proportion of prison imates have dyslexia than the general population.

    2) better resourcing and support for schools to deal with severe behavioural and emotional issues of students. Schools do not have the people and other resources to deal with what some students need and the other outside groups do not have the necessary resources to help the schools. These kids then leave schools not getting the help they need and are out of view of the 'system' - until they end up gettng the attention of the police and/or mental health professionals.

    I could go on... however what i am trying to say is that there are so many opportunities not being taken to make a signficant positive difference in some childrens lives. And obviously making a significant positive difference in their lives benefits the whole community as well as the individual. I betcha its way more more cost-effective dealing with the issues when they're young than spending money building more prisons etc.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    CIA RAG IRAN PA
    is an anagram of ?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, you did appear to make a claim that our children are sat in cold classrooms surrounded by incompetent teachers.

    Balls, Don. Sorry, I can't really be bothered being more polite but I'd love to introduce you to a few teachers who will be devastatingly blunt about their views on teacher recruitment and retention, training standards and infrastructure/resourcing issues. To get kinda back on topic, yes let's give all due credit where credit is due for improvements. But let's also keep a clear eye on where failures still exist -- they're real, complex and aren't addressed by either hysterical overstatements or jargon-clotted denial.

    And I make precisely NO apologies for criticising politicians and civil servants who use language to obfuscate rather than communicate.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh and how delightfully predictable that was, Kyle. Just for the record, can I engage in a discussion without having a detailed manifesto to hand? And could you in future shit-can the dopey innendo that I 'follow a standard National Party line' rather than expressing my own views in good faith?

    You can engage in a discussion however you want. Just, you were asked for policy, and provided none. Or at least provided what often gets trotted out as either National Party or ACT policy, which is not actually policy at all, it's... whinging about the current state of affairs.

    I don't mind whinging, particularly when things are crap, which they often are, but it's not policy. Policy is "we will put more money into XXX and change the law so that YYY", rather than "man people at the Ministry of Education talk crap".

    And I didn't say, or indeed use 'innendo' to say you were following the standard National Party line. Just found it entertaining that what came out of your post was exactly what people find frustrating about John Key. How you got to the post is up to you.

    To take a relatively mind example, could you make any sense of what the Education Ministry spokeswoman on Close Up last night was going on about?

    Can't say I watch Close Up. From your comments, I'm not sure why you watch it either :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Craig, if it's a choice between civil servants making policy without telling us what it is, or politicians, I'm undecided which is more democratic.

    As for clear and direct answers, I'd fall off my chair if any politician was ever so bold (without simultaneously being a complete liar or a political irrelevance). If I actually did want to know what policy is about something, the civil service is totally the place to go to for answers. It might be a long and frustrating search, sure, but very often the search for specific answers to specific questions is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    teacher recruitment and retention, training standards

    maybe paying a decent salary would be a good start.
    I imagine a lot of people would be put off from a career in teaching as it doesn't pay well.

    I am a new teacher (recently finished my Grad Dip) and will start on $41k next year. This is sigificantly less than what I got in my previous job. I am also anticipating it will be a 'harder' job (work, stress, responsibility etc). I am, however, lucky enough that due to my partners salary job satisfaction can come top of my list.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    CIA RAG IRAN PA
    is an anagram of ?

    nice!....(pauses to ponder how long Steve was doodling with Craig's name to come up with that....quickly finding an anagram generator to amuse himself)
    Again Crap Air
    Pagan Car Air I
    A Car Nag Pair I

    I nominate Steve's anagram for Anagram of the year.

    No offense intended Craig :o)

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    I can't really be bothered being more polite

    Well, I wasn't expecting you to make an exception for me.

    they're real, complex and aren't addressed by either hysterical overstatements

    So, let's hear it without the hysteria, please.

    If the solution is more investment in training, salaries, infrastructure tell us.

    Also tell us what would be a good way of paying for that investment. Should it be through taxation, fees, PPP's? Any thoughts?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ok
    Iran nuclear threat
    Anagram = Clean in a rare truth.
    beat that for weird.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    beat that for weird.

    LOL very very good. I wonder if that's the amazing new intel. CIA codecracking machines have finally had Allah speak directly to them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Should it be through taxation, fees, PPP's?

    taxation, definitely.

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Again, back to the original post - the point Russell was making that all the policy, funding and everything else that goes into the education system does seem to be keeping us near the top of the educational pile on a world-wide basis. Yes, we have problems and a disappointing "tail" of under-achievers but it's a big ship that takes a while to turn. I beg your forgiveness for horrible overuse and mixing of metaphors.
    As soon as you discuss raising taxes for education or health or whatever, you get howls from the right wing "less tax/user pays" fraternity.
    I admit now that I think taxation is the most efficient way of funding public services and I agree that I would rather pay more up front for primary health services and education than later for poor health and prisons. Over simplified, I know but I'm sure you get my lefty drift.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    god. that's annoying.

    Lost my entire post.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • tim kong,

    Disclosure #1: I am a third year teacher.

    Disclosure #2: I am knackered.

    Literally hanging out for the last day of school. Like most teachers I'm assuming, whether it be the 14th or the 20th of December.

    I have not read the PISA reports, so I can't speak to them. I do worry about the long length of the underachievers though.

    I struggle to make sense of my students, and I'm sure they struggle to make sense of me some days. The trick is trying to make sense of it all together. That's where the learning is.

    I demand high standards, real effort, reflection and honesty. I expect the same from my students. I struggle with parents who don't like that I demand these things and then demand that their students be treated with respect regardless of their behaviour.

    IMHO the new curriculum is a powerful document. Despite the concern of Mr Minto it is to me a groundbreaking shift on what the purpose of education is - that will require passion, care, concern and a desire to make our place a better one. All those need to come from parents, teachers, students, communities - anyone who's interested in the future of the place.

    Max - welcome to the most noble pursuit on the planet. I use noble in the sense that teaching is a pursuit that is decent, unselfish, righteous and worthy. You will be frustrated, challenged and despairing at times. See through the paperwork, the politics, the constant planning.

    Be there for your students.
    Be the one positive, passionate, purposeful person in their lives.

    Give them hope.
    Give them dignity.
    Believe in them.
    Believe in the possibilities that they are.
    Every day.

    That might be in teaching them how to balance algebraic equations, how to make sense of a piece of text, or just be greeting them with a smile each day.

    All that might sound like pablum and hokey to some. But we adults seem to have forgotten to believe in our young people. We reduce them to statistics or put them into boxes.

    I showed Apple's 'Think Different' TVC to my students today and we had a discussion about the vocabulary and what it meant. I didn't think the challenge would come from explaining 'round peg in a square hole' - but then how do you argue with a student who states: "You could do that if the peg was smaller than the hole."

    My 12 year olds only recognized Muhammed Ali and Mahatma Gandhi, but when I asked which individual did they think was the most important, several considered, then answered carefully: "The little girl at the end ... because that's us."

    The kids are alright.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I didn't think the challenge would come from explaining 'round peg in a square hole' - but then how do you argue with a student who states: "You could do that if the peg was smaller than the hole."

    Lol. There's a kid that'll go far.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Literally hanging out for the last day of school.

    'Literally'?? (see discussion on 'Word of the Year' thread.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Literally hanging out for the last day of school.

    'Literally'?? (see discussion on 'Word of the Year' thread.

    Sounds like indecent exposure to me.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    "The little girl at the end ... because that's us."

    The kids are alright.

    Aw thats cool, thanks

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Surely 'hanging out', if it refers to a body part, would be the tongue? But isn't 'hanging out' just a phrase that means 'being somewhere (or with someone) for a while'?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Max Call,

    Thanks Tim Kong - I hope that the other teachers at my school will be like you :-)

    Fruit Bowl of New Zealand… • Since Jun 2007 • 153 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    I salute you Tim. I want to pay more tax and employ more people like you and pay you more.

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 297 posts Report Reply

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