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Daily Archives: August 23, 2008

This has bowled me over completely!

I just had an email. I have decided not to say from whom, except that I taught him towards the end of last century… Those who were there will know.

I’ve been meaning to write to you for a while. Recently I saw Othello with A** and we got talking on Shakespeare in general and at some stage the conversation drifted towards the role of great teachers and pedagogues and subsequently to you. I vividly remembered how we did Richard III with you in year 11. This was such a memorable experience, because you taught us not dogmas and second hand and second rate opinions, but through stimulated discussions, taught us to think and explore for ourselves. I’ll never forget how you played Bach’s Air for us in class when we read Maestro. Things like this and your discussions gave such resonance to your teaching, that I can without a doubt say, not to have had a more inspiring teacher than yourself and that I will for the rest of my life be grateful for having had you as teacher in year 11. I’ll let Goethe sum up what I’m saying 🙂 :

“A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows and rows of natural objects, classified with name and form”

What can I  say? Other than “Thanks!”

The writer originally came from Bosnia. I do remember conversations about that.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in education, personal

 

Not just for Bruce!

Note the OTHER category where you may insert your own answer! Really scientific — not! But I look forward to seeing what happens. Oh, and I can delete really silly or offensive responses, and will — if they happen. The options rearrange randomly to avoid donkey votes.

More polls.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in diversions, faith and philosophy, religion

 

Jim Belshaw on teacher accreditation

I commend Jim’s post Problems with teacher accreditation. I could not have put the issues any better. And I must agree with his coda:

As a broader comment, the NSW Government’s obsession with standards and measurement does not seem to have made NSW a model for good public management.

Too true!

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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in current affairs, education, Jim Belshaw, NSW politics

 

Pat Dodson’s indigenous reform call

This story in today’s Australian could mark the beginning of a positive development in Indigenous policy here in Australia.

INDIGENOUS leader Pat Dodson has entered the push for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal identity and culture, arguing for a new “Australian Dialogue” and declaring that with the Stolen Generations apology the nation has moved into a “post-reconciliation” period.

In a major speech at Notre Dame University in Broome, Mr Dodson said the nation would be enhanced “by the full and proper recognition and protection of its indigenous cultures” and argued for a “courageous” dialogue on constitutional recognition beyond changes to the preamble.

In the speech that paves the way for a powerful alliance between the nation’s most influential Aboriginal leaders, Mr Dodson, Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Noel Pearson, which has been strained in recent years, Mr Dodson called for an end to what he called a “futile battle of ideologies” over the direction of Aboriginal policy.

“We can bicker for another century as to whether Nugget Coombs was right or Sir Paul Hasluck really had the solutions to the health and wellbeing of indigenous people,” Mr Dodson said in the Nulungu Lecture at Notre Dame on Thursday.

“But this futile battle of ideologies will not improve the life of one single Aboriginal child, will not lower the percentages of Aboriginal people residing in our nation’s jails and quite frankly will not assist Twiggy Forrest find 50,000 jobs.”

Mr Dodson said there needed to be “a new platform of principles crafted for challenges beyond the traditional discourse based upon our mutual prejudices”.

But he warned that “the constant mantra of assimilation” had the potential to lead Aboriginal people to become “a mutant white man” while Australia presided over “the extinction of the oldest living culture on earth”.

Mr Dodson said the federal Government’s apology to the Stolen Generations in February had drawn “a line in the sand” and he believed the nation had moved into a “post-reconciliation period”.

But parliament, he said, should now look at compensating the Stolen Generations “for what it has acknowledged responsibility for – the attempt to destroy us as a race of people by taking away our children”.

He also backed an indigenous bill of rights, and said Australia’s failure to ratify the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights had left Australia as a “pariah on the world stage”.

He said customary law should be an admissible legal defence, although he told The Weekend Australian last night this did not mean customary law should be an absolute defence. He said the rights and responsibilities of indigenous people should be enshrined in laws to prevent governments overriding statutes such as the Racial Discrimination Act.

Urging a “courageous” re-writing of the constitution, he said: “The nation will be enhanced by the constitutional recognition it accords indigenous peoples because governments need to be made accountable in their dealings with Aboriginal peoples.

“They need to justly and constructively engage via negotiation on the alleviation of the disastrous health, education and social ills bedevilling indigenous Australians and embark courageously in dialogue on constitutional recognition beyond a preamble.”

While relations between the nation’s most senior Aboriginal leaders have been strained over the Northern Territory intervention and horrific levels of child abuse, Mr Dodson said the debate over social welfare reform and crisis intervention, rights and responsibilities, was a false dichotomy.

“Both matters have to be dealt with and both should involve the free choices of the Aboriginal peoples,” he said. “Anything less is simply a further contribution to the ongoing destruction of what is left of our uniqueness as indigenous people and our capacity to determine our own futures as equal citizens in an Australian democracy.”

He said indigenous people needed to be able “to fully participate in the economic life of the nation while being assured that they have not had to surrender their identity and cultural ways in the process”.

Mr Dodson said the conquest of Aboriginal people in the pursuit of “gospel, glory and God” had been disastrous not only for indigenous people, but also mainstream Australian society, “because it was trapped in its own sense of superiority and angst for assimilation”.

Mr Dodson and Mr Pearson attempted to bring together what Mr Pearson called “a radical new centre” in Aboriginal politics at a meeting at Port Douglas in Queensland in 2004, when the Howard government was ascendant. Since that time, there has been a disengagement between the two indigenous leaders, but never a personal breach.

Mr Dodson’s relationship with former ALP leader Warren Mundine, on the other hand, is marked by hostility. Mr Mundine last night condemned Mr Dodson’s support for customary law as a criminal defence, saying it opened the way for a defence against the abuse of children.

There are too many issues there to take up now, but I wanted to mark this speech for the record. On the last point, I believe there are times when customary law needs to be taken into account and I do not believe this is an either/or all/none proposition. I think Dodson’s articulation of that is superior to Mundine’s. I am encouraged by the idea of “a powerful alliance between the nation’s most influential Aboriginal leaders, Mr Dodson, Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Noel Pearson.”

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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in Australia, Australia and Australian, current affairs, Indigenous Australians