Do you teach about dinosaurs?

29 06 2010

The wisdom of Calvin:

Click for full strip

Why do clearly bright and passionate kids not perform so well in class?


Is this anti-racism comic being racist?

9 05 2010

Take a look at this comic:

This is clearly a comic against racism, but is this particular page racist?

Click the image for the complete comic.

Read the rest of this entry »

School is out

3 11 2009

I survived!

Hooray! Huzzah! All limbs and most senses still intact. And there is a whole month left for the real teachers to try and undo the damage I did and set those poor little souls back on the right path. Yippee!


Last day of practical teaching was last Friday (I got a cute card with pretty colours!). I handed in my post-prac report and philosophy statements in yesterday. And today was spent cleaning and dealing with the Race that Stops the Nation. Oh, and tomorrow I’ll have to return to school because I stole my supervising teacher’s Math text (Sorry!)

Standard broadcasting will recommence shortly, starting off with the main lessons learned about dealing with living and breathing students, Education Queensland, classroom controversy, and the terrors of technology integration in the classroom.

60 Second Science: Kids competition

12 08 2009

Through the ABC Teaching Science mailer.

Children in Australian schools can win cash prizes by creating a 60 second science video. The video can be filmed or animation, and must “demonstrate and explain a scientific experiment, principle or concept.” (Full rules here)

Registration closes at the end of September. The prize has been set up thanks to funding from the Victorian Department of Education – but there is a $1000 of prize money available in each state ($400 and $100 for first and second in primary and secondary divisions).

Entry forms available here.

No, really? Teachers use sarcasm in staff meetings

12 08 2009

via the AiR some time ago

This is an interesting academic paper (draft?) investigating the use of sarcasm, relying on conversations taped at school leadership team meetings. It is not a surprise that teachers (or anyone, really) use sarcasm (I was actually watching UK series Teachers, when I was reading throgh this) – this was just the setting that served a more sociological investigation into what sarcasm is and how do people use it. Something the authors say isn’t studied enough.

The author defines sarcasm as “ a witty or ironic remark used to evoke laughter, tease, challenge, or criticize.” He then subdivides each episode of sarcasm into these different categories. The number in brackets is the number of times such a usage was identified during the taped meetings.

Joke (20) Sarcasm in which one or more individuals make others laugh without targeting another individual.

Tease (11) Sarcasm in which one or more individuals playfully mock another individual.

Criticize (21)Sarcasm in which one or more individuals criticize another individual (either present or absent), program, or event.

Challenge (5) Sarcasm in which one or more individuals challenge another individual’s statement.

Other (4) Episodes identified as sarcasm that fit neither the above categories nor a single new category.

Going by modes you could say that the main uses of sarcasm amongst school staff are to make jokes and criticise. Joking is all well and good, but criticism sounds a little negative. You could further merge the tease, criticize and challenge categories into a “hostile” category, in which sarcasm is used to confront another individual, or bring down a program or event. That makes “negative” use of sarcasm far more prevalent than joking.

I’m putting negative in inverted commas, because the authors make some attempt to suggest that sarcasm is a tool used to make the confrontation less hostile. The point against the other party is still made, but it avoids a big kerfuffle. Such as an example when a remark is made about a teacher arriving late for the meeting and grabbing a muffin. The sarcastic comment lets everyone know that lateness is being watched for, but keeps the mood light.

The researchers only investigated dialogue that occurred between staff at the school. Do people vary in their use of sarcasm when with friends rather than co-workers? Or, more importantly in the educational setting, how about when dealing with students? Not only can poor use of sarcasm damage rapport building, but bad habits of teachers would surely rub off on students.

Lying to children is good for them

7 03 2009

Somone often tells me:

Adults you know and trust will not only lie to you, but they’ll do it because its fun.

There’s stories about the bogeyman, Santa Claus giving presents, zombie Jesus, the Tooth Faerie trading scheme, and of course, what exactly really did happen to Rover when Mummy forgot to check her rearview mirrors.

Is fun the only reason why we befuddle the youth in this way?

Well, now scientific studies have given us another reason: It works!

When 186 four-year olds were given carrots called “X-ray Vision Carrots” ate nearly twice as much as they did on the lunch days when they were simply labeled as “carrots.”

Animal experiments on carrot-marketing were stopped by the ethics commitee
Early carrot-marketing studies conducted with standard animal models were halted by Cornell’s ethics commitee

…Oh… dear…

I think that might fall under “false and misleading claims” line found in in most advertising codes.

I don’t think this quite matches up with calls to improve schoolyard scientific literacy by not only promoting the concept of “X-ray vision” (that’s not how x-rays work!) but also that eating lots carrots is good for your eyes.

You can’t try to promote good nutrition and make children more aware of how the food choices they make affect them by just simply to get them to follow the whizz-bang empty marketing jargon that got us here in the first place.

Lying to children is NOT good for them.

Image: Carrots! by marmotto (CCbyA-NC)

Think of the children

8 11 2008

New Humanist has its annual BAD FAITH poll open for crashing.

The list is full of burning stupid. But burning stupid really is not enough these days.

Only one nominee really stands out as a despicable abomination worthy of complete and utter scorn.

The Governors of St. Monica’s

Other people are on the list for saying something silly to atheists, believing dinosaurs walked with people, or getting some old dude’s book banned. The Governor’s have done something much worse.

They have blocked preventative medicine from reaching children.

That’s right. A vaccine was developed that reduces young women’s risk of cervical cancer tremendously, and yet these bastards have told doctors they can not give it to their students. Why?

Because without the threat of cancer their students will become sluts. There’s strong faith in human conviction there.

The idiocy is that it’s not like there is HIV, gonnorhea, siphilis, and a whole host of other nether-region nasties they can fall back on to scare young ones celibate. (But, don’t worry us godless medical scientists are working on cures for those too).

These horrible people are supposed to be looking after the children in their care. They wouldn’t ban dentist vans because they encourage kids to eat too many sweeties. Or would they?

People who let children get lethal diseases are scum. It’s pretty simple choice really.

Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter are leading on reputation alone. And some crackpot Islamic creationist is third just because he pissed of Richard Dawkins. Go over, have a scan of the contenders and vote for someone who is really evil.