Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Speaker: A true commitment, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Having your partner jailed, losing his income? Which becomes losing your home and struggling to feed your kids?

    Wouldn't it be nice if such an event triggered an automatic support system, both social and financial. Would be happy to have my taxes do something like that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A true commitment, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Domestic abuse is bullying. The motivations and the methods are the same. The pervasive effect on the victim is the same.

    Aye. I was just thinking out loud that perhaps one approach is to address the general bullying that pervades our society. The assumption that if I can make someone do something they don't want then I have "won". Again without wanting to take focus from the specific, just trying to figure out how much of our culture we need to change. Depressingly, we may need to change all of it.

    I'm not sure I'm right though - there really does seem to be something special about the expectation that men have some dominant right to commit violence on women. Something that goes beyond mere bullying.

    As I said just thinking out loud and very happy to be wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Not even a statistic, in reply to DeepRed,

    “Defence lawyer Steven Zindel argued there was little or no impact on the 4 year old victim and there was no coercion.

    “There’s not the coercion, I know that is because she is young. There is also no immediate effect on her.”

    WTF! I thought Rosemary was a little hard on the legal profession, but no, she’s right.

    That’s on the same wavelength as that case where the defence lawyer Keith Jefferies said the victim should have “kept her legs closed”. The kind of guy who says ”do as I say, not as I do”.

    To me this is why the way we try rape cases must change. Because as it stands lawyers are obliged to pollute the court with this crap to protect their client.

    With a different structure it might be possible for lawyers to defend the facts of the case without resorting to the behaviour that results in reasonably minded people to consider them to be scum (mostly they aren't scum, they just know behaving like scum helps their client).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A true commitment,

    Sorry for a half-formed thought but doesn't some of this come under bullying as an accepted part of our culture. Abuse of power, the abuse of political power, the abuse of physical power to achieve your goal.

    We see it in our business structures. We see it in our sporting heroes.

    And sadly because women so rarely have physical or political power they are the usual victims.

    Even more sad is that when women get power they so often devolve to the same abuse of power. I guess that's a bit of this that I find as disturbing as anything else.

    Not trying to distract from the very real and specific issue of violence against women but just trying to see what parts of our culture enable the continued violence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Actually Bart I fully support teaching science in Maori. It’s a great way to update Maori.

    I have no problem with working to save/update Maori. But I have a problem with doing it at the expense of science. There really is no need to teach science in Maori, you can do it for fun and fun helps children learn. But if you want those children to succeed in science then you must teach them excellent English skills. Yes I know that's unfair but it really is the language of science at this time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    I would offer some links

    Please. I tried to find recent stuff but got bogged down by companies selling language training.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…, in reply to HORansome,

    I wouldn’t go so far to say its a myth: rather, it’s a controversial hypothesis (although the evidence is still on there being a thing called “first language acquisition phase”, the point at which learning languages requires less effort on the part of a child learner). That particularly article you cite is a) pretty old and b) doesn’t even really do all that a rigorous survey of the literature of its time.

    Yeah. Sadly google didn't help because instead of finding the science I'd read in the last couple of years on the topic you end up with propaganda pieces from companies wanting to teach you their system for learning languages.

    I agree there really is a period where the brain lays down pathways in the language centres but that is really early. What most folks are talking about when they say children learn languages easily is the period between about 2 and 7 or so, a period when parents feel comfortable about shifting to another country without disrupting their children's education.

    The other half of the statement is that adults can't learn languages easily which really isn't true. What is true is adult don't learn languages.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    What could be more useful than communication? None of your science or engineering or medicine or law happens without it.

    Yup. It's one thing to do science, it's another thing to communicate it, to other scientists and to the general public.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    So Chinese and German children shouldn’t learn science until their English skills are up to understanding books and lessons in Natures Own Language?

    It's fine at early stages but the sciences are almost their own language and as you progress learning the exact meaning of a word in the field as opposed to the standard (loose) English definition is critical. It gets to the stage where when you try to read stuff from another field you simply can't understand without consulting a source from that field. Doing that without good English comprehension skills is another layer of difficulty.

    And while I'm certainly not foolish enough to think English is the language of Nature I am also not going to ignore the dominance of English in science today.

    Those Chinese children you so casually mention are now paying English speaking scientists with authorships so that their scientific research can get published in the international literature. Those German children learn English anyway but certainly by the time they choose science as a career their English skills (especially written) are excellent, because unlike previous centuries English is now the language of science.

    So yeah, if you are planning a career in science in the 21st century make damn sure your English skills are the best they can be. By all means learn other languages, it will be good for you in many ways, but to plan a career in science without taking the time to become excellent in English is foolish.

    My single biggest regret from my high school years is that I did not take English seriously enough because nobody told me how important it was to be able to communicate in the language of 21st century science. I paid for that failure by having to learn how to write good essays at the same time as I was learning my science.

    There are lots and lots of great reasons to learn another language and lots of reasons in New Zealand for that language to be Maori. But when it comes to learning science, do it in English, because later if you choose a career in science you'll have to anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools:…,

    Just a comment about learning second languages. It is a myth that children learn languages faster than adults.

    The problem for adults is that usually they attempt to learn the second language at the same time as doing many other things and hence apply themselves less intensely to the task. Children are often in an environment where they have to learn to be understood and hence are very strongly motivated to focus on the task and are also faced with fewer things to learn at the same time so spend more time and effort on the task.

    That said I personally find languages less than easy and always have, even as a child. I can do "sorry" "thank you" and "hello" in several languages as a result of travel but not much more.

    I find myself with mixed feelings about Maori. As a scientist the language of science is now English, so attempts to teach science in a language that other than English annoy me. But learning any language is good for the brain and Maori has a special place in New Zealand. Also languages open a window into cultures, just as we discovered that saying sorry in some languages is complex because apologies are culturally different, so learning Maori offers up the opportunity to see some of the culture that is not obvious.

    I can see pluses in teaching Maori in schools and can't see minuses, everything you learn helps, so yeah go for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

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