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Pauline Crawford

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Everything posted by Pauline Crawford

  1. Great reminder for us all to get active again. Unfortunately it is near the end of the year for Australians. I will look at yr 10 students instead of senior ones. I had even forgotten my password because lazy me usually replies to an RSS message. I will be more proactive because I have been relying on others.
  2. What is happening in the World? A prominent Australian politician has spoken out against head scarves. That was followed by a round of comments that showed this was contrary to Australian legislation to discriminate against any groups. Doesn't Royalty wear skirts on official occassions? Do clotes really "maketh the man" or are we able to look past external ornaments to the person?
  3. I haven't accessed this forum for a while and I am gobsmacked at the increased number of members and posts. Well done international team.
  4. What a great idea. I read some monstrosity called "My Mother's House" in yr 10 at school. We had compulsary books and this was from the free choice section. I can't remember it now, but there was something shocking in it. Perhaps there were bodies under the floorboards, but it was the first "wicked" book I ever read. As I was a voracious reader as a child, I suspect that all the books in the Children's Library in Adelaide had been checked for a body count. I must admit to being absorbed in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little house" series. That was my first introduction to another family and to...... snow. Then I read To Kill a Mockingbird by myself at 14. We "studied it" the next year and I hated the dissection, but found more meaning. Catch -22 started me thinking and challenging. But the one that really sticks would be 1984 (which I read well before 1984, and again later.) I see his world around me today. Those shifting borders of detente, and distrust still concern me. Interesting to think that what we read at 15 and 16 has such an impact. I have "converted" a war mongering 16 yo youth over to the pacifist side this year. He was keen to read spy thrillers and I have funnelled Chomsky and anti war propaganda to him. He's now spearheading an Amnesty International chapter at school. The POWER of words.
  5. It would be interesting to read about the values and norms important to this group. Blind obedience? Critical questioning? Evaluation of resources? Discussions from another's point of view. It might be difficult to teach debating, where it is important to be able to take a position contra to your personal beliefs. I am usually a pinkie leftie, but this mrning I am feeling right wing enough to suggest that in order to register as a school, the curriculum must show these aspects. PS Will my signature automatically appear?
  6. Maggie, There is a discussion about Assimilate taking place on the History Forum <{POST_SNAPBACK}> The Assimilate discussion is interesting because their website seeems to imply that everyone is really happy with the product. Good to see the forum back on line
  7. As a parent I am constantly besieged by my 11 yo to include chips with lunch. "every" does it. He doesn't want to be the unusual one. But I insist and we "discuss". I am told that if school frowns on fatty food it infringes civil liberties. Probably one weighty thought is that the fat levels are not important to the invincible young. Try telling them about clogged arteries and middle age spred. Even tooth decay will never happen to them.
  8. In South Australia a relief teacher is paid more than a permanent teacher, and is expected to deliver work set and marked by the absent teacher. We all "do reliefs" in our regular role (often one a week, depending on the absence rate at the school). The absent teachr marks work and the relief teacher tries to engage students with meaningful tasks. YEUCH One school I taught at required all teachers to submit a "relief" for every class to be held in case of an emergency. On my first day teaching in Singapore I was presented with a piece of paper with Chinese writing on it that looked suspiciously like a relief slip. I tried to feign innocence but had it thrust back at me. Yes it was an extra lesson. Contracts need to be at least 4 weeks and they are expected to set, mark and deliver with a 25% pay loading.
  9. I read somewhere that this debate has started. Two of my students have recieved emails about the project. But where can I follow the discussion? Please? Pauline
  10. Thanks I will keep looking for research
  11. Back before my time, a knowledgable person collection a parcel of information and published this as a "book". Teachers took this to classrooms and students all had to look at the same page and learned together. It certainly made exams easier to set and mark. Next, teachers read widely, photocopied information and took sheets of paper to classrooms. Now, we skim and scan widely, download and ask students to watch a screen at school or work from home. I cannot teach the same material over and over. I change to suit the needs of my class members. (Remember skimming through a variety of sources to find the better way to make information more accessible to young Jimmy?) In some ways we are going backwards because so many of us are constantly reinventing the wheel. It's time to recognise that teachers have skills in changing information to knowledge. How can we find a way to include active teachers into the production process of e-learning materials? I like the AST post as long as individuals do not end up totally out of the classroom. The suggestion that things are different in US schools is interesting. I am not convinced that teachers there have the same autonomy as Australian teachers. I would not dare to do more than one multiple choice quiz in a term and I would never use anything similar in an English classroom without being lynched by students.
  12. HI Grzegorz At this point are you asking for information about sportspeople? Can students nominate a person from their own country but afterwards not vote for someone from their counrty? Is that the idea? If there is a nomination from Australia, would we be considered? Pauline
  13. I am looking forward to the debate structure. I have two students primed and both are aware that the discussion is starting in Europe and that they will probably not be aware of some of the content. But I think it is important that students realise that they are part of a whole world. If students can be aware that not all participants have access to the same information it would be good. After all, we southerners could happily debate the impact that the Asian Bird Flu has had on tourism and employment in the travel industry. Not a topic of great interest above the equator I believe. I think it is as important for us to take part in a discussion of Euro -centric issues as it is for northerners to see our responses. Our yr 12 History students do study the holocaust, but at this point I think that an issue related to current European life would be easier.
  14. This sounds thorough Richard. When do you want the names of students? I think an Australian input will be useful in that Europeans will need to explain many of these concepts. Australia has the geographical size and the cultural diversity, but of course not the population. We don't have the land borders and immigrationis a very contentious issue. eg Where does "Europe" begin? I guess it ends with Ireland. Is Greenland part of "Europe"? (Tasmania is always being left off the map of Australia.) As an outsider to the issue I would also like to consider the local laws. We now have national road speeds. How unified are European laws regarding, say copyright, divorce, capitial punishment, interest rates in banks? I only mention this because I feel the age group will be interested in aspects that will affect the individual. PS what does PM Mean please?
  15. You have challenged me to find that book. South Australian students have a range of choices with the novels and plays they study. In fact a percentage of the final year English Studies assessment is given to an individual projest. Yes, literatue of the working class is available through biographies or similar. Angela's ashes, "Tis ect. Sally Morgan's My Place follows the early life of an aboriginal girl who has been denied her heritage. Several Bryce Courtney novels follow a recent similar theme. Even "My left foot" reflects working class families. I'm not sure of the content of ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’
  16. Hi, I am Pauline Crawford, a secondary teacher from Adelaide, South Australia. Having taught a range of subjects for the last 22 years, I am now at the Australian Science and Maths School in Bedford Park. We are a secondary school within the state system in a joint project with Flinders University. Our brief is to reform Science and Maths teaching an interdisciplinary curriculum that is ICT rich. This involves writing, delivering and evaluating curriculum for students in their 10th, 11th and 12th year of schooling in preparation for tertiary study. It also involves working with teachers from across the state. My love is the teaching of English and I enjoy incorporating Information Literacy skills into curriculum areas other than English. As a teacher librarian, I am a amazed at the wealth of information available electronically. My challenge is to assist teachers and students to turn this into knowledge. I am excited at the prospect of sharing with educators internationally.
  17. I have been teaching 100 minute lessons for six years and I like it. This year I will have 1x100 and 2 x 50 min. I am going to give it my best. With the 100 min lessons you can do a variety of tasks in one lesson and also finish things off. It menas that if students are absent, they miss a capsule of work but I find it easier to track. Here in South Australia we used to have 3 x 13 week terms. For 15 years we have had 4 x 10 weeks and this is administrative so that replacement teachers are not paid for the 2 week vacation between terms. I do not like the four term option because we now have one more wind up and wind down towards the end of term. starting. The school I am at at present has an integrated senior Science, Maths and English curriculum, (no languages, no arts, no Drama). Every yr 11 and 12 students (16 - 17 years old) must take options for one History/ geography load. They will sit external state exams at the end of the year. This is the second year of the school, with the first yr 12s starting next Feb. In most SA secondary schools, senior students take 5 classes, with 250 minutes for each. One must be a Eng/Humanities subject, and one must be a Maths/Science. This means that senior students have uncommitted time across the week depending on the line structure of the timetable. Depending on the school, they go home, work in the library or go to the public library. In truth, they go shoppping often. Many schools supervise free time for yr 11 students in a common room. Some have a larger library and expect the teacher-lib rarian to supervise. I refuse that option becuase you are usually left with the ones who don't want to do anythng but talk. All tests are completed within the lesson time, with continuous assessment forming 70% (I think) of the final mark. The final exam is worth 30%. Every subject has at least one state wide moderated task. eg Geog has a major research report, English studies has a reading project with a journal and a considered response or 2500 words. Biol has a social issues report. There are some subjects that are school assessed. That means no exam, but each assessment task is moderated across the state. I subit examples of my marking and I am told by a central body to lift or lower my marks. It is the height of insult and embarrassment to have to change your marks, so teachers don't "cheat". I submit my program at the beginning of the year along with a rationale that describes my class. Each of my assessment tasks is checked by a central moderator (usually another teacher who is "responsible" for about 6 schools). We all take turns to apply to be a moderator, depending on experience and skill. Students collect their work into a folder, and examples of each grade band are submitted for final moderation. There is always the threat of random moderation, just to keep the troops honest. I have never been randomly moderated (touch wood). Usually a fist year out of teacher new to the cours gets randomly moderated. Good luck with the 80 minutes. But challenge the five terms. Especially for the younger students. I would not support the four week Summer break as an industrial issue. And I find a two week break is not long enough to unwind, given that there is the temptation to set assignments due so that I can mark in the break. A REALLY dumb idea. Four weeks is too short to justfiy a sabbatical to visit sunny Australia. Actually our long break is in the northern Winter.
  18. Thanks Marco. Yes what is a VLE?
  19. I have two students from an Australian school, but they will not be back from summer holidays until the first week in February. What do you mean by "debate"? Are you thinking of a formal comment and rebuttal style or an educated on-line discussion?
  20. Congratulations John. You have spiked debates on such a variety of issues. As I mentioned elsewhere, I am an Australian trawling overseas lists for interest. (While guzzling white wine on a hot afternoon.) I find the enthusiasm of some of these responses invigorating. Here in SA we are beginning to allow our students to ignore the world they live in. That so few could identify the politicians responsible for Education decisions is deplorable. It is patronising to think that the "powers that be'" will be responsible and we as teachers and students need to sit back and just let this all flow around us. I was fortunate to go to university at a time that a Labour Government in Australia believed that tertiary education was a right, not a priviledge. Today, I would graduate with a debt of some $20,000. And to think that I bought a new car after teaching for one year. That would not be possible today. While we are not allowed to openly be biased in classrooms, I now believe that we need to find ways to encourage active thought in our students. We teach citizenship at year 9/10 level in as an unbiased way that any individual can make it. The system of government is explained and students are encouraged to contact their local member of parliament on an issue of importance to them. Many students get responses, at least from a secretary. In the next twelve months (remember, I am about the start a new school year), I plan to be as politically as active as I can be with my home class. I have their attention for 30 mins each day and will be raising a few social issues in that pastoral time. (As well as being caring and sharing and the multitude of other things expected of a home room teacher. On tonight's TV news it was suggested that teachers are responsible for our road toll of youth. More young people die in car accidents than from any other cause and somehow teachers and the education system are to blame.)
  21. Reading bulletin boards is so much like being the office worker at the Nurses' social gatherings. There are so many subject specific words and language as to exclude yet encourage a foreigner. Although I recognise that this is a British education initiative, as a non-Brit I want to learn. I always enjoy Graham's comments (having been a sleeper on a MFL list for some time.) But I actually still have access to a "blackboard" with chalk and think it has merit. One thing I miss with the electronic age is the immediacy of blackboarding interesting ideas (spelling even) and asking students to add comments. As yet I haven't found an electronic way to do this. As for DVDs I am frustrated by their inablilty to fast forward to the exact section I want, to play back more than once and to allow me to do the things I could do with my VCR. Are British schools so well resourced that all students can access a computer every lesson? The site I work at at the moment is encouraging web based lessons, but we have 5 computers for each secondary class of 25 plus. Even word processing is an adventure. One last question, "What is ofsted?" please? Also I completed a university unit using Web Ct and can not speak strongly enough if its inadequacies. It was sterile, unfriendly, hard to navigate and BORING. Sorry. I am now challenged to find a better solution. I have been using an intranet system with my students with an email response. I write a message and all respond. As a teacher librarian, as well I have an email system where students ask for help with research topics by email. I reply and really use it to make face to face contact. But at least I am forwarned as to what the student is trying to find.
  22. It has just been reported that Becta has just negotiated a new deal with Microsoft. According to the press release schools will be paying between 20% and 37% less for licences, saving them around £47m in total. I know little about software prices but is this really a good deal? I respond to your literacy comments with interest as an Australian teacher watching from afar. It is interesting to see the number of ads in our newspapers for teachers for England, particularly the London area. What is happening? Why can't the UK education system supply teachers? Are conditions so bad that few want to teach? In Australia we are being chastised by government groups and the media alike for literacy and numeracy standards. I must admit that over the past 10 years, of the 6 student teachers I have worked with only one has been "grammatically correct". (In fact one was so "interesting" as to not know the names of the few rivers we have in Australia and to make several mistakes with the names of our few states and capital cities.) But she was out teaching secondary geog and English the next year. As I listen to the news reports on the TV I cringe at the incorrect sentences. Can only my 48 years hear them? Advertising prides itself on imaginative spelling. So how do we teach our native speakers the difference, let alone migrant or second language learners? Can't resist but to add that it is too hot here to think much more than my next glass of chardonnay. PS Where is the spell checker?