Tuesday, April 27, 2010

censure et autres at school

I am very annoyed !!!! For the last 2 weeks, I cannot print at school, I cannot receive school email and twitter and Gmail are blocked !!!!!

sometimes I wonder if we are really in 2010. Maybe I am in a fourth dimension where I thought that computers had been invented but in fact I am in 1767 and electricity is still a mystery !!!!

You could ask now “ but Froggieflo why is Gmail blocked at your school??”, and this I couldn’t answer because I have been thinking about it and I couldn’t find any plausible answer. I have been told that I should use my “school email” address, which by the way I cannot access via my apple mail. I have to go online to check my email. Which would not be a problem if I could access it outside of school, because, who knows why, we can only access our email box only at school. Gmail is much reliable and I can access it everywhere even on my Itouch !!!

Do you want to laugh??? I hope you are sitting because this one is quite funny. As of yesterday, students at school are given a gmail address. They had NO email address until yesterday !!!! so students can access their gmail but not the teachers.

And now you would want to ask me “but Froggieflo it is now 2010 (but os it?), I am sure you can work with teachers using Twitter, for sure it would be in the interests of your students that you communicate with other teachers. So Froggieflo tell me why is Twitter blocked?”. Well once again I cannot answer. I have been thinking about it for the last month, and I don’t seem to find a good reason why you would not want teachers to be connected with others.

HA it is SO good to laugh sometimes !!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"There are only two reasons to learn something. Either because you need it or because you love it."

Yesterday @Johnpnz asked me what were my thoughts on this quote

"There are only two reasons to learn something. Either because you need it or because you love it."

He asked me on Twitter but I couldn’t answer in only 140 characters . So here is my answer to him.

I wanted to write something about it for a while anyway but I couldn’t face to put my thoughts on a page as I was still fuming.

I was lucky enough to go to Learning At School Conference in Rotorua last February. Like a lot of teachers, I thought this conference was fantastic, but (there is always a BUT!!) I went to a workshop which made me very angry. I went to see this lady who I had seen before and thought she was amazing. Well since L@S I have changed my mind. This lady said we should be able to see in the future and see what we need to learn. According to her, it is unnecessary to learn French (she actually took this example in her workshop) if we are not going to use French in our professional life later.

As you can imagine as French teacher and as a lover of languages I was bloody pissed off !! She could have taken any other examples and it would have been the same thing as I think you shouldn't learn things just because you will need it.

Here comes my answer to @Johnpnz :

I think of course we need to learn things because we need them. If I were living in a forest I would need to learn how to hunt efficiently- and very quickly- in order to survive, no doubt about it !!

I have learned heaps of things just because I like them. I have learned how to sign (French sign language) just because I like it, I don’t need it, I didn’t want to get a job where it could be necessary, I have learned Latin (although I was very bad at it!!!) just because it is interesting.

So I would say that of course we learn things either because we need or because we love them.

What makes me sad in NZ is the fact that we don’t give the opportunity to students to do something just for the pleasure or just for the pleasure of culture. We ask our year 9s or Year 10s to choose their options according to which job they are thinking doing later ( maybe in 10 years or more). It seems that we consider that knowledge which is not needed is obsolete. Why would you learn French or biology if you are not going to use them later???
I am a learner, and proud of it. You know when we play the game “What would you do if you were winning the Lotto?” , I would answer that I would pay my mortgage and install double glazing of course, but it would also give me the opportunity to learn even more. To be honest, I love my job, I think it is the best job in the whole world, but after teaching, marking, doing duty at lunch time, looking after my baby in the evening, carry on work at night at home etc.. I am very tired and I cannot find the time and the energy to learn what I would love to. I always wanted to learn pottery, Russian, Arabic...not because I need them, but because I would be very happy to go to bed thinking I can create a vase (not only I want to, not by need) and I could have a conversation with people in Egypt and/or in Algeria. Exactly like now when I am happy to go to bed knowing a bit of biology and geology although I don’t need to.

Sometimes it feels like Education is seen by Schools and Governments like a water tap which has been set to only have a few drops of water running. Why can we not open the tap full and let kids learn just for pleasure ???

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hannibal in Lebanon

This morning I was watching the news on Aljazeera - thank you Stratos for broadcasting it on your channel. Today the accent was on how history is taught in Lebanon. It was of course very interesting as it always is on Aljazeera.

I thought the most surprising bit as a teacher was when teenagers were asked which History character they admired. I have heard Hitler, Napoleon, Hannibal and some Lebanese men.

While I was watching I asked myself what would the kids I teach answer. I am sure they would say Dan Carter, you know the guy half naked on our billboards with tight buttocks! Don’t take me wrong it is nice to have men with tight buttocks, but I am not sure if my students have ever heard about Hannibal and even Napoleon. I remember that once when I asked my students what they knew about Hitler, they told that “he was a very nasty man”.

Although I teach in NZ, I know this is happening in other countries as I used to teach in England. So it is not the usual excuse that we live on an isolated island in the middle of the ocean.

On the Aljazeera news, the students were capable of discussing their opinions and their point of view on History in their country. I would love to see that in my class (although I don’t teach social sciences) and not hear that Hitler was a nasty man.

The classroom seemed bare, they had a black or white board and students seemed engaged and passi