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Showing posts from August, 2014

Protesting the sinister Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - fix it or scrap it!

Tomorrow, I shall join other concerned people in the Grimsby area to spread the word about a sinister EU-US trade deal called TTIP. The campaign has been organised by 38 degrees, whose aim is to collect as many signatures as possible on a petition to stop the British Government joining TTIP. The letter from all of us to Vince Cable explains :
Dear Dr Cable,
Please do not join the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It claims to improve international trade but is used by big international corporations to make it impossible (or at least very difficult) to impose environmental regulations and propositions if they are against their interests. It's already being used in many parts of the world to kill regulations protecting people and the living planet. Countries that have had to pay, or are in litigation with, big corporations under investor-state rules are Australia, Canada, Argentina and El Salvador, among others. Investor-state rules shut down democratic alternatives.Wh…

The Tyger: from 'could' to 'dare'

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There are so many burning questions in Blake's hot, flaming poem about the life-force, about creation, about inspiration, a poem that Kazin rightly calls a 'hymn to pure being' (Kazin, Alfred. "Introduction". The Portable Blake). There is beauty and there is violence in the Tyger - innocence and experience, 'good', 'evil'. These contradictions, these seeming opposites, are unresolved in the poem and in us, and we can only see and acknowledge the fearful symmetry of the Tyger burning bright in the forests of the night. The change from the functional 'could' to the challenge and risk of 'dare' over the course of the poem leaves us even more in awe of the complexity and grandeur of this process of life, of being, of becoming.

Ebb & flow & writing

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I have had a number of writing plans over the years – I'm not saying that any of them ‘failed’ or I ‘failed’. It’s just that we humans are all process, our energies ebb and flow, drifting out under the moonlight, rushing in with the morning sun. More prosaically, sometimes we just don’t feel like it. For a short while now my writing energy has been low, so - Inspired by this post about managing the writing energy - I’m trying out something different.

Starting Monday, I shall attempt to get up at 5am – and write, just write!

Minimising distractions and really focusing, I shall start with the intention of not checking emails, news or social media – not opening the browser seems like the ideal way to manage that.

So, it’s word processor and notes only.

I shall try to write until 8am.

Three hours is a good hit and the lack of distractions at that time of the day will help achieve it.

After that, I should shall will might ought to really probably feel okay about the world – exe…

Unfenced Existence: Tetney Marshes

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Cleethorpes is a lovely, characterful place - if busy with families enjoying their hols at this time of the year. Walking South along the Humber, beyond Cleethorpes, beyond the 'Pleasure' park, past the caravans and the moored yachts, it is possible to walk in peaceful isolation in a unique and desolate landscape: the Tetney Marshes. Wikipedia tells me that the marshes
"cover over 1,500 hectares of coastal mudflats, salt marsh, dunes and saline lagoons on the north Lincolnshire coast, the reserve forms an important part of the Humber Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area, administered by the RSPB as the Tetney Marshes nature reserve, which functions as a grazing marsh and home of lagoon sand shrimps".  So, it's probably a good thing that there aren't so many human visitors, I guess. Still, I'm moved to share my experience, as I found the walk in such an environment to be remarkable. Here's the 25 mile (there and back)…

Freedom to Learn Section I: Difficulties and Opportunities (part one)

In Section I, Rogers presents the barriers and enablers to humanizing the classroom.
1. The Challenge of Present-day Teaching Rogers relates his experience of visiting a classroom in 1981, where the teacher “is clearly being a person in the classroom, not a mask or fa├žade” and where he shows his obvious liking for the children, as well as his openness with them. The children develop their own cooperative systems as part of a democratic framework of engaged freedom of choice in project-based group and individual learning. Standardized achievement tests show that the children have learnt more than would be expected, but the significant learning is much more impressive: increases in self-confidence, creativity, self-discipline in learning. Unfortunately, the same teacher is leaving at the end of the year due to more rigid, bureaucratic and authoritarian policies being adopted by his school.
1.1 Obstacles This section looks at some of these negative elements affecting education…

Why teaching is more difficult than learning

Teaching is even more difficult than learning … and why is teaching more difficult than learning? Not because the teacher must have a larger store of information, and have it always ready. Teaching is more difficult than learning because what teaching calls for is this: to let learn. The real teacher, in fact, lets nothing else be learned than – learning. His conduct, therefore, often produces the impression that we properly learn nothing from him, if by "learning" we now suddenly understand merely the procurement of useful information. The teacher is ahead of his students in this alone, that he has still far more to learn than they – he has to learn to let them learn. The teacher must be capable of being more teachable than the students. The teacher is far less assured of his ground than those who learn are of theirs. If the relation between the teacher and the taught is genuine, therefore, there is never a place in it for the authority of the know-it-all or the authoritat…

Who the hell makes those missiles?

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Compare and Contrast:
World's largest arms exportersThe 'big five' permanent members of the United Nations security council So, that's who. It's the responsibility of all of us.

If you live in UK, you can sign a petition calling on David Cameron to stop selling arms to Israel: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gaza-david-cameron

Freedom to learn: Introduction

Rogers describes his purpose in the book as assisting "our youth to learn, deeply and broadly, and above all, to learn how to learn."

He sees educational institutions as conservative, rigid and resistant to change, charged with teaching the 'basics', what is right and wrong and how to obey and follow.

"This book takes a very different stance. It believes in young people. It gives evidence that in a genuinely human climate, which the teacher can initiate, a young person can find him or herself respected, can make responsible choices, can experience the excitement of learning, can lay the basis for living as an effective concerned citizen, well informed, competent in knowledge and skills, confident in facing the future."

Rogers quotes a parent, who says that "People who can't think are ripe for dictatorship!". This is a good indication of Rogers' overall project, which centrally questions the role of authority in teaching and learning.

This …

Freedom to Learn for the 80's in the 21st Century

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I've decided that I shall make a summary of Carl Rogers' book Freedom to Learn for the 80s openly available on the web, so what I'll do is post chapters here as I do them, then I'll create a separate and permanent page of the whole thing once I finish.

Rather than an overview here (I'll write that last), here is a review from Amazon that gives a fair flavour of the book and its impact:
This is a seminal text in the area of learning and teaching, and was part of the revolution that moved education(some of it!) into a more student centred approach. This book, especially the section entitled 'for the teacher' has hardly ever failed to be a ground breaking read for trainee teachers, lecturers and trainers alike. Most educators cannot fail to deeply effected by Rogers' passionate and personal insights into the subject of facilitating learning and the nature of interpersonal relationships within the classroom. This has been a required read for all new lecture…