I want to begin this discussion with a somewhat gruesome analogy. Imagine that a patient is brought into a hospital following a nasty car accident. They have a broken leg, with suspected damage o the femoral artery which could cause life-threatening internal bleeding, and a broken arm. In this scenario, imagine if the head of the surgical team walked into the room and demanded that all efforts were focussed on fixing the broken arm. When the patient’s condition worsens due to the lack of treatment for the torn artery, the lead surgeon blames the other doctors for not doing a good enough job on the arm, and later insists that the hospital put all of its time and resources into improving the treatment of broken arms.
Does this sound absurd? I hope so. Yet it is this absurdity which we see played out in public discourse about education on an almost daily basis in Australia, and in other industrialised nations, primarily the U.K. and U.S.A. Here’s how: Continue reading
Some time ago I posted about how my submission to present a paper at a conference had been accepted, and I was getting quite excited about the prospect of sharing some of the work I’ve been doing on curriculum development with colleagues in a wider context.
My expectation was that I would be presenting the paper voluntarily, and my school was going to support me in this by absorbing the $350-400 cost of relieving me from my teaching duties for the day, and chalk it up as a Professional Development activity (as one of the professional teaching standards is explicitly about engaging with the wider teaching profession, it is entirely fitting).
Now the politics of these kinds of conferences can be a little tricky. Recently, fellow teacher-blogger Darcy Moore wrote this fairly concise piece about the issues of asking teachers to write/present/work for free when event organisers are charging sometimes quite high fees for people to attend the conference. Continue reading
The place of religion in society is a sensitive issue that trickles down into education. The Howard government’s School Chaplains program was the centre of a lot of criticism and only ensured that the issues of scripture and religion in supposedly secular public education would continue for the foreseeable future.
While there are plenty of prominent critics of religion, there are also plenty of people with access to a public platform who are willing to jump to the defence of their beliefs. Sadly, because all religions are based on the need for belief grounded in faith, rather than evidence, the arguments in defence of religion are similarly lacking in evidence and it is not uncommon to hear otherwise intelligent people offering up illogical, inexcusable non-sense as justification for why we should all submit to the authority of the institutionalised authority of a supreme being.
So when Peter Sherlock, Vice-Dean of MCD University of Divinity (MCD stands for Melbourne College of Divnity!) posted a piece on The Conversation entitled “Don’t stop believing: religion has a place in Australia’s future” my expectations were of another logical-fallacy laden defence of religion by a believer with not only personal motivations for believing, but professional and financial motivations as well. I was not disappointed. Given that the most famous Sherlock in English literature was renowned for his near-infallible skills of logical deduction, by the end of this piece I hope that it should be pretty clear how this Sherlock’s name is somewhat at odds, if not an affront to, the customary associations of the name. Here goes…
This episode wa s alot of fun to make. I went to Teachmeet at the Wharf on Friday, 01 Nov to talk about English teaching strategies with a lot of enthusiastic educators, and was able to record some interesting interviews and presentations along the way.
It’s that time again when I, your good Capitan, must undertake yet another deconstruction of some ill informed publication about educational issues in Australia. This time, the topic is the assessment of teachers, and once again the writer produces ill informed, logically inconsistent arguments that, if not refuted, offer a dangerously skewed argument that I personally believe is counter-productive to what should be the the overall goals of any effective education system. To my more sensitive readers, I apologise in advance for the repeated (though entirely justified) use of the word ‘arsehole’ and any other expletives that have crept into in the diatribe that follows…