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Anne Fox

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    French and TEFL, CALL

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  1. As I believe that the state should be secular, opposing the passing of laws that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching would be a fruitless path to pursue. Laws enacted to provide and protect teenage mothers may be said to 'encourage' such pregnancies outside marriage, but on the other hand fit in with religious obligations such as charity and compassion. Doug Whose religious teaching should that be, then?
  2. I do not understand why the level of taxation should be linked to morality. I also do not understand why the level of 40% has been picked (well I do really, you're in the UK aren't you?). Here in Denmark the top level of tax is 61%. Taxation is determined by three tiers of government, state, regional and local and if the three add up to more than 61% then 61% is the maximum you pay. So here the question would be 'Is it morally acceptable for taxation to be above 61%'. Again though, the figure is completely arbitrary. It is a headline figure which, in the UK, takes no account of National Insurance and Council Tax, things which the Danish tax figure more or less include. It also doesn't take account of indirect taxes like VAT (sales tax) which here in Denmark is very high again at 25% while in the UK itis 17.5%. What people seem to forget is to look at what you get in return. I feel safer and better looked after here in Denmark than I did when living in the UK. Whether I feel 33% better looked after (difference between Danish tax and UK tax, superficially) I really couldn't say. I must say I get fed up hearing about people complaining about high tax levels (even accepting that I have done this myself in an earlier post). What people should consider is what you get back in return. I especially have little sympathy with vicars in the UK who object to paying £200 council tax. I was in Lithuania earlier in the year and years of lack of public investment is all too evident in the state of the roads, street lighting and so on. I also get fed up with the argument about people's right to choose because inevitably here they are only thinking of things which affect them personally such as health and education. How many people, left completely to their own devices would set aside money to pay for defence, roads, art and combatting alcoholism? I simply can't imagine any family sitting down to consciously allocate money to these items. Yes, I think that 61% hurts (and you don't have to be a particularly high earner here to be at that level) but I have this feeling that I get a lot back in return and I doubt I would be here writing to you today if I hadn't been able to avail myself of the excellent child care facilities here. Nor would my children have had such a wealth and diversity of experiences had they stayed at home with me. I think that a large part of whether you approve of the taxation level or not is related to the level of trust in Government institutions. If there is a high level of incompetence and corruption then any percent taxation could be interpreted as morally wrong.
  3. Oh dear yet another leftie but beyond that vague label I wouldn't know exactly how to express my political idealogy. Like many who have already replied, my family background may account for this since I come from a Labour voting household plus I lived in Harold Wilson's constituency. Like John I was interested enough in politics in my late teens to read biographies and autobiographies of prominent politicians. I acted as polling officer at a couple of elections which gave me a bit of insight into the political process and at one point in my career I was even union rep (mainly because it was a small organisation, everybody else had done it too many times and they couldn't believe their luck when someone new was recruited). But, like one of the previous replies, I did get disillusioned with the pre-occupation with detail and the letter of the rulebook. The Thatcher and Major years were wilderness years as far as I was concerned and again, to echo something said before, I did get more involved with various pressure groups at that time than I had ever done before. In 1993 I moved to Denmark, another Nordic socialist utopia. I do believe in progressive taxation but do think that the 61% my husband pays and the 45% or so I pay is too much in relation to what we earn especially when we live in an era of welfare cuts. One has the feeling that one pays more and more for less and less. But having said that I had a salutary experience a couple of months back when I was in an international group and we had to do a little role play about how far we could get in life in our country. The questions centred around issues such as getting insurance if one is HIV positive, being able to get into the local tennis club if one is working class, having access to reasonably priced childcare, going to university and so on. I ended up at the front of the queue because in Denmark almost nothing is impossible for me. This does not come from my wealth or income but from the welfare fabric and spirit of egalitarianism which makes up the fabric of Danish society. There is no doubt that had I stayed in the UK I wouldn't have had half the opportunities that I have had here in Denmark to pursue an interesting part time career whilst having my children cheaply and well looked after and for people to understand when I need to leave early to collect the children from school or take a day off to look after them when they are ill. My children go to school with children from all sorts of backgrounds but there is no way you can predict who lives in the big house. The school caretaker lives in one of the big houses and the graveyard digger lives in another one. But what is bothering me now is that the last UK general election is probably the last one I will vote in for a long time. British expats are registered to vote for 15 years after they leave. I have no right to vote in the Danish elections unless I become Danish. We came to Denmark for job reasons. We may leave just as easily for job reasons. It makes no sense to become Danish for a dozen years and then become Italian or Spanish or whatever as we change jobs. Your nationality is not something that you change lightly. I used the occasion of the last UK general election to try and lobby MPs and MEPs about this but there is very little sympathy or understanding for our situation. The truth is that most expats couldn't care less about voting so very few are registered. And yet in a Europe of free movement of labour it seems unfair that one loses one's right to vote if one exercises that right. My biggest plea is for participation and engagement in the political process at some level whether it be at the level of the political party, local government, trade union or single issue pressure group. I understand that party politics says increasingly little to a disillusioned electorate but I would like to see some innovative thinking about political decision-making. Perhaps not quite in the style of 'The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer' but something rather more sophisticated and engaging.
  4. I am an EFL teacher in an adult vocational center in Denmark. I also run a website to help people learning French at http://Anne_Fox.homestead.com Lately I have become more involved in developing blended EFL courses and I am now heavily involved in European projects. So far these have to do with increasing inter-cultural competence of adult education teachers, the creation of a portal to help disabled people study IT and languages and more are in the pipeline.
  5. My name is Anne Fox, half British and half French and been living in Denmark for the last ten years. My day job is as an EFL teacher and in this regard I am involved in three major EU projects with emphasis on inter-cultural competence, helping the disabled enter the labour market and strengthening local democracy through IT. As all three are kicking off this month, I am not entirely sure what I have let myself in for yet. I just know that it all sounds incredibly interesting. My hobby is running a website for learners of French for which I both develop interactive exercises and collate useful links. Find it at http://www.homestead.com/Anne_Fox
  6. Learn French is designed to give learners advice and opportunities to improve their French especially spoken. Special features include a Talking Page into which any text can be pasted and then heard plus an oral forum in which participants can post spoken contributions. The site aims to identify other helpful websites and distributes a regular newsletter highlighting one or two such sites approximately 15 times a year. Users also have the opportunity to request personalised vocabulary games.
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