The issue of assessing students has come under fire in recent weeks, with international tests revealing student performance is plummeting. Science presenter and particle physicist Professor Brian Cox has said, "if the measurement of ... a student’s progress ... is removing time from practical science, then it had better be bloody useful because practical science is bloody useful."
The problem I see with assessing students in the uniform way in which most schools do — most usually through written assignments and tests — is that it's a one size fits all approach to measuring performance. It doesn't work for many because students are complex, dynamic and diverse.
Trigger warning: this post contains challenging references to rape and sexual violence.
I was moved by Madeleine Holden's piece in The Spinoff today, about Brock Turner, the 19- (now 20-) year-old Stanford student athlete sentenced to six months imprisonment after, in January last year, he raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. It's a passionate bit of writing, angry actually and, rightfully so, Holden asks the question, "What culture raised Turner to become a rapist?"
Today's NZ Herald editorial lambasts Labour's policy proposal for free tertiary education as an expensive fix with little purpose. Admittedly, I wasn't overly convinced by Andrew Little's stumbling announcement but, all in all, I think scrapping student loans is a move in the right direction, steering us away from the neo-liberal semi-dictatorship John Key's Government has been creating in the last eight years.
The editorial says there are better things to which to add funding and that thousands have repaid their loans but, in the same publication, Raybon Kan glibly disagrees:
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The question of diversity and inclusion in schools is by no means a new one. Some do it well, some refuse and most, I would say, are just not sure where to start.
Preparing a keynote for Auckland Careers and Transition Educators –whose "main focus is on the career education of youth and their transition into the wider world of employment, training and/or further education", I began by reflecting on the question, "Can we get straight from diversity to inclusion?" It occurred to me that, no, we can't.
The Ministry of Education's new curriculum guidelines released last week, aimed at improving sex education and diversity for students, seem almost too good to be true. Actually they are, because they are not mandatory.
Recommendations for non-gendered uniforms, same-sex partners at school balls, reviewing toilet spaces and making sport less gender-specific are no-brainers in our day and age — actually they've been no-brainers for decades.
These guidelines show surprisingly courageous change leadership from the Ministry. But there's always some right-wing plonker, who purports to represent the moral majority, ready to go into bat for the status quo (as I posted about recently).
Just a quick reflection on the first days of the year, an affirmation of sorts. I notice I've taken on my reclusive role, usual for this time of year, not having left the house this year yet, other than to sit on the deck to read, drink, socialise, admire the beautiful nature-laden part of Auckland I am blessed to live in, and/or reflect.
It's been a stressless, easy ride into 2015. May it continue.
The only event of note was a slight over-indulgence of leadership juice on 1 January, ending with my falling on the floor. A few years ago I had upper and lower back injuries, leaving me without power in my upper arms/shoulders and no longer able to walk. Unable to lift myself from the floor anymore, particularly after a wine or two, I invested in a Bupa medical alarm half way through last year — it seemed less strenuous than weight training, at which I failed miserably to endure.
New Zealand's relatively small population, land mass and infrastructure creates so much opportunity to lead the world in recognising some fundamental changes that would improve society in general. Here's my bucket list.
Happy New Year!
In life, being wrong, or making mistakes, means learning.
In education — at secondary and tertiary level, at least — being wrong most often means failing.
At Papatoetoe High School they have a diverse range of wonderful student leaders each with their own unique approach. To help challenge assumptions students have around leadership, support the growth of new leaders, and provide valuable evidence for the students’ 3.8 Achievement Standard, Physical Education Teacher Alexandra asked the 2012 Leadership NZ Alumni to take a couple of minutes to respond to the following questions on leadership.
Here are my answers:
Yes definitely. A leader is someone who has a strong idea about how the future could be, an understanding of how that change could be made, an ability to communicate the vision and to inspire others to go along for the journey. A manager is someone who ensures people, processes and systems work in order to make sure the journey is as smooth as possible and the end point is reached or, if it can't be, to inform the leader of why not. In most effective enterprises, there is a strong relationship and feedback loop between those in leadership and management. I think it's important to note as well that leadership and management are roles people play. For example, in different parts of my work I may swap between leadership and management roles, depending on the circumstances.
"As Love Draws Near" tells the story of how we all have the opportunity to move from fear to love by removing the labels that tie us down. The core message of this video is to encourage people to engage in social change and for individuals to accept diversity and who we really are.