Posts by Yamis

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    One of the other acts at Coachella was Outkast, reuniting after a decade. It should have been epic, but everyone seems to have been left feeling rather underwhelmed. There are a few theories flying around, but this one is most intriguing. speculates that the Coachella audience wasn’t impressed with the lyrical hip hop of Outkast because it wasn’t as thrilling as the big-ass party experience of the EDM artists that are so hot right now. An unfamiliar sounding song, a gap between songs – these are all buzzkill moments that EDM shows never have.

    A lengthy Grantland article dissecting Outkast at Coachella.

    And some old Outkast sheeeeet… from 94.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Access: I Can’t See You, But You Should…,

    I thought the article on Adam Pearson in the Guardian a few days ago was really interesting. He suffers from neurofibromatosis and played a part in a movie called Under the Skin. He's had a bloody hard time of it by the looks of it but has come through it like a champ.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What Hekia Parata actually said, in reply to Sacha,

    but you have to pay to get them tested and diagnosedand who'd have thunk...decile-10 private schools were getting as much as five times more funding than lower-decile schools as applications for help skyrocketed last year. ... In 2012, a total of 3418 of the 143,000 pupils who sat NCEA-level exams got special assistance. Private Auckland school King's College, which regularly tops national academic tables, had 180 pupils sitting NCEA exams last year. Of those 44 qualified for special exam conditions.By comparison, neighbouring school Otahuhu College, which is decile 1 and had four times as many NCEA candidates in 2012, had no SAC applications.

    Thanks for that link Sacha. I had never seen that article. But the school I was alluding to is named in the article (not Kings).

    This is the concerning part:

    The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand says the system benefits wealthy parents at private schools who have greater access compared to poor parents whose children miss out.

    Applications for funding require parents to pay for a report from an educational psychologist to prove their children have special needs - which critics say benefits those who can afford it.

    The funding covers pupils with a condition that impairs their learning - including dyslexia, apraxia, ADHD and autism.

    I realise they would be worried that every man, woman, dog, and flea would want their kid tested for something if it were free or cheap enough, but surely there's some common sense that can prevail. Students who are identified as failing at an early age can get referred by teachers WHO KNOW THE STUDENT for free or minimal cost. And then in other cases where there are no real alarm bells going off then put the onus on parents/guardians. I'm shocked with those private schools though. If that's the number of students with some degree of learning issues they have then god help the rest of us at Common Muck College.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What Hekia Parata actually said, in reply to BenWilson,

    Perhaps you fix the long tail by identifying teacher needs, as much as pupil needs, rather than just presuming that mucking with their pay is going to help.

    OK, now on this (sort of). It get's me to another issue. We have students with likely (read: bleeding obvious) learning difficulties but you have to pay to get them tested and diagnosed so you can then get some funding for them (often for teacher aides, reader/writers for assessments, etc). But many of our families (and the school) can't afford to get them tested and diagnosed so they go without the help that they probably need. Meanwhile at a much smaller private school I know of they have more reader/writers for assessments than we do even though we'd have several times the need!!!

    I have the very occasional student who has a teacher aide, but in some classes there are 2-3 other kids that could certainly do with one but they go without and the student, class, and teacher :) falls through the crack... can'o'worms this one.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What Hekia Parata actually said, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ...some sort of national math tool.Is that Bill English?

    BOOM! :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What Hekia Parata actually said, in reply to JonathanM,

    If we assume we can do all that, we'd end up paying them according to how well they do compared to other teachers in the exact same environment. i.e. it may well be that teacher A in environment B might get more money than the exact same teacher in environment C, just because they adapt to the confounding factors better than other teachers might.

    The problem is there is no environment A, B and C.

    Every single environment is different in NZ. Every single one of them. You would need the Chinese alphabet to code them. The second you decide that a school is environment K, the next year they are environment W. We have individual cohorts of several hundred students that are significantly different academically from the cohort before or after them so you couldn't even do it within a school let alone as a whole. My classes are so disparate you'd be amazed. My principal when asked what decile we are replies "all of them".

    Another thing that would fall to pieces with performance based pay, or some value added system for funding schools would be co-curricular activities. If I'm being judged on my classroom results see you later to the sport that I spend hours on a week. In fact schools would take anything that took kids out of class, took teachers time away from planning and marking, assessing etc, and sacrifice it at the alter. They literally could not afford not to do that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What Hekia Parata actually said,

    A few teachers in my department began to tinker with the value added system last year and are carrying on with it this year (as part of some professional development time we'd been allocated). The teacher who's idea it was is from the UK and has been part of it there.

    I think it has some merit as a teacher/student tool. But certainly not as a mechanism to fund schools. That would be an utter disaster.

    In terms of it's use in our department the teachers looked at common testing that all our students had done in the junior school and made some projections as to what sort of marks they should be getting in their classes (though Achieved, Merit and Excellence leaves a fairly wide sort of mark to aim at). Anyways' they communicated with the kids individually what they should really be aiming for and could use it as a motivational tool. If students had tested highly and were 'intelligent' then if they were getting 'achieved' grades then they were politely talked to about it. Nothing hard out, maybe just a few words here and there. It can be those little comments, or chats, words of encouragement that make a big difference in individual student progress.

    Ultimately this group of teachers devised a little scoring system assigning value to NA, A, M, or E grades and so at the end of the year could decide if they'd 'added value' to their class as a whole.

    But considering they tailored this to suit our circumstances the idea of it being done effectively on a national scale is ABSURD. Not to mention all the things going on in our kids lives that can hijack their learning that we have no control over. It's kinda hard adding value to a kid who's been stood down for 4 days, or one who comes to school 2-3 days a week, or is truant from an assessment... or the size of a class. Last year I had a lower ability class of 17 and we destroyed the internal assessments (in a good way), but I've had the same class in other years with 28 or more in there and it's been nightmarish to teach effectively and get good achievement rates, often times when you go through why a student has underachieved it has very little to do with anything that you did, but none of those things could possibly be measured by some sort of national math tool. Possibly over several years and a dozen+ classes you could make some fairly solid conclusions as to the effectiveness of your teaching but I've had good 'achievement' years and not so good ones in no particular order, despite the fact that I'm more and more organised and am probably getting a little better at the craft each year. It ain't no guarantee.

    The idea of some sort of performance based pay has been mentioned in education circles since I started in NZ schools in 2006... it ain't gonna happen. It's UN-FUCKING-DO-ABLE.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Both sides of…, in reply to david kinniburgh,


    Great, great book. My top 3 in no particular order, The Grapes of Wrath (where the character Tom Joad comes from of course), For Whom the Bell Tolls, and the Autobiography of Malcom X. I need to get back into reading those book thingys.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Both sides of…,

    The Tom Morello - Ghost of Tom Joad, ... makes me think of Jimi Hendrix, which leads into this. The upcoming biopic where Hendrix will be played by none other than Andre Benjamin of Outkast fame. Will be interesting to see how he pulls it off.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cranks, self-seekers and the mayor, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    and the rest only marginally better reposts of the Independent, Observer or Daily Mail (with one about a week ago being a grossly overblown Daily Mail “OMG Beijing smog” piece of shit. It was bad on that day, but nothing like January 2013 and nowhere near as apocalyptic as the Daily Mail tried to pretend).


    Turns out it was an ad for a Chinese tourist destination that plays on that screen all the time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 855 posts Report Reply

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