Posts by 81stcolumn

  • Speaker: Not even a statistic,

    If I may......

    We need to stop thinking and reinforcing the view that things like this don't happen in the spaces that we inhabit.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Now win the argument,

    "raise the standard of entry into the teaching profession by requiring the Teachers Council to establish and maintain a vigorous process for pre-screening entry into all initial teacher education programmes. "

    I did wonder if somone was going to pick up on this.

    To what “standards” does this statement refer?

    This at best seems miscommunicated. AFAIK universities, not the Teachers Council have the final say over who gets on to courses. I'm pretty sure applicants are police checked and reasonably sure that references are requested. Most institutions undertake personal interviews as part of the admissions process. I'm not sure what latitude the Teachers Council has in this matter. Raising standards may also refer to the way in which teachers are trained or the capabilities/motives of those applying. I would of course be delighted to see teaching become more attractive and rewarding than it is at the moment, which might help a great deal with the quality of those applying. I would also like to see the qualification extended over two years. But I’m not sure this is a problem for the Teachers Council to solve. Indeed on the basis the above statement it is unclear what the problem is. I do know this. Becoming a better teacher, like any other form of learning requires time and support, neither of which is self-evident in the current set of proposals.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Now win the argument, in reply to linger,

    John O’Neill who is widely cited in the Stuff article made a similar point to one which has been raised here: There is a difference between evidence based policy and policy supported by evidence (policy in search of evidence). Both Labour and Nats have fallen into the latter trap, it may also be that NZ is in danger of losing the ability to implement the former process.

    Small classes will work if they are supported by a reduction in regulatory and compliance overheads (read testing and national standards) and if teachers are allowed to exploit pedagogies that make best use of the extra available time (not teach to the test).

    O’Neill also states the obvious in that if you want to tie in the tail (underachievers) then target your resources at the tail.

    I would echo Hattie’s point about the best effects – giving teachers a day a week in which to learn, mark work properly and give proper feedback may be of more benefit.

    learning how to give good feedback is not as easy as it seems......

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The People's Poet is dead!,

    Goodbye to one dangerous brother.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Autism, ABA and being a bad mother,

    I don’t know if this really belongs here but I have wanted to get this out for days.

    A fair proportion of the work on the pathology* of autism points to early developmental differences that become manifest later in life. There clearly has been a struggle to identify a single common feature that would form the basis of a coherent diagnostic system. This is a problem for anyone figuring out how to help and damning for those who want a cure.

    i) Without clarity over causal factors the concept of a cure is improbable if not impossible.

    ii) The lack of an unambiguous diagnostic marker at birth or pre-birth means to say that key developmental differences are already in place at the time of identification. These differences are in all likelihood irreversible. In this context the concept of a cure is also redundant.

    iii) Evolution provides a developing brain with a high degree of plasticity and the need for coherent environmental stimulus. This is part of what makes us human. Where a brain is formed differently shortly after birth the relationship between brain and environment continues on a different trajectory. This new trajectory is determined by the scope of the original developmental shift but it still continues and is shaped to a greater or lesser extent by environment. The combination of an unexpected trajectory and an unstable environment means to say that each autistic child will have different needs and in turn different brains.

    iv) Different brains means to say that any attempt at treatment has to be on a case by case basis. The basic behavioural component of ABA has clear rules, but the environment in which it has to operate is multi factored. The key issue here is; does the behaviour analyst know what to reward and what not to? How would they know? This must involve a degree of trial and error at best. However both the expectations of society and what has worked in the past will be driving factors here. With this in mind trial and error gets harder as expectations conflict with the reality of a different brain that quite often cannot be described by the owner. The point here is that even if ABA were to be recognised as a useful way to steer development, it still needs a model of patient matching which comes back to a better understanding of the condition itself. Interestingly a possible alternative is a lot of structured observation (the sort of thing that siblings and grandparents can be quite useful for). What we have at present is a lottery.

    Some other points:

    Developing children respond to a diverse range of environmental cues. The life outside “treatment” remains and is influential in unpredictable ways regardless of the intent of caregivers. This can be a good and bad thing.

    We have learned from injury studies just how adaptable brains can be. Many of the same life problems can be solved in vastly different but nonetheless effective ways. It happens all the time.

    The very fact that I can write this is testament to the power of care, patience and to some extent maturation; I guess I got lucky.

    At some point when I am a little more settled I may write about the discourses surrounding adult treatment and cures along with why I personally don’t care for TMS.

    Writing like this does have consequences so if you will excuse me….

    *What separates “difference” from “pathology” is a moot point - as eccentricity might speak to mental illness. This is the curse of psychology, in that much of what is discussed as illness/pathology has to be socially constructed. The people described as having a particular pathology" should where possible have a significant stake-holding in its construction and description. This is to my limited experience not always the case.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The sphere of influence,

    So poor Judith is the victim in all this:

    “It is actually a forum where people can be very abusive towards me and I’m just not doing it.”

    Of course, none of the stress she is under has anything to do with her corrupt behaviour or dishonesty….

    And to think not all that long ago she was the one scaring people on Twitter. Now that the Twitterverse is turning against her, I wonder if she’ll start calling for it to be Mubarak-ed?

    Quiztime! Who said on twitter;

    "vile, wrong and ugly, just like her jacket today"?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: The Colorado Experiment,

    or 50% oregano thanks to the local skinheads we’d buy from

    Perhaps more fun than trying to smoke a mixture of curry powder and golden syrup, as was once the case for a bunch of hash fiends of my acquaintance.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Sneaking it out of the shop:…,

    In late 1987, I got another record store job, this one working out the back at the big Virgin store in Marble Arch. Richard Branson had just taken the company public and the accountants had begun to arrive, but there was still a touch of the counter-culture about the place and the people who worked there, who nearly all seemed to be on the way to one dream or another.

    Looking at the time line you only just missed the days of the “Virgin Party”.

    Richard Branson used to run an annual employee party at the Manor just outside Oxford. As I understand it the majority of employees were invited an interesting mix of airline staff, music sales and industry peeps. It was a ticket only affair and the tickets were sent out before the event. Proper popstars and management went up to the Manor itself and everyone else partied in the grounds. There were marquees, bouncy castles music free food and drink etc. The event ran from early afternoon until late, it was credited as quite a night too.

    I was there for what was probably the last year that it ran, doing some security and goforing on the day. I started on the gate with Richard meeting greeting and directing traffic; red tickets to the grounds green tickets up the drive and a walkie-talkie to check “the list”. It was interesting watching how Branson stood at the gate for at least two hours shaking hands and switching on his seemingly sincere smile for incoming celebs etc. A good proportion of the Cooltempo and Virgin roster turned up during the day and were directed up to the manor (one well known band then signed to WEA showed up crammed into a yellow Vauxhall Chevette – those were the days). Mid afternoon Richard was off to party and I was left on the gate with a couple of others.

    Shortly after Richard took off, people started arriving in numbers, all with tickets. Then a lot of people started turning up with tickets, I mean a lot of people. I got called away from the gate and got sent for supplies. Over the next couple of hours a handful of us took a truck and cleaned out some off-licenses, the better part of a cash and carry along with several fast food outlets. The food and drink still ran out because there by was by now a huge number of people all turning up with tickets. We tried rationing the food and drink and then had to shut the gate altogether (which resulted in the main road back to Oxford being blocked at one point). There was a near riot in the grounds with people trying to leave and other hungry, thirsty people wanting satisfaction. At one point I was stood on a trestle table that got charged as two slabs of warm canned lager arrived (I tried to defended myself with a yellow fluoro jacket!). The Police eventually turned up and shut everything down. It appears that a disgruntled employee or printer had printed several thousand extra tickets and they were being given away on street corners in Oxford and London.

    While my experiences of Richard Branson were mixed, I always admired the fact that he kept writing the cheques and running the credit card for as long as possible that day. I also know that when it got ugly, it was scary and we were lucky that nothing serious happened. I guess a combination of the police, the accountants and the scare put an end to what was quite an employee party in its day.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Godfather…,

    Had no idea about the connection – when you said Leyton Buzzards I thought of “I’m hanging around” and the picture of Russell Harty on the cover.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Godfather…,

    Yep felt very strange on Tuesday......

    And the weekend came starting with Your Love, a track which I swear just brought the joint to a halt when we first played it. But we white boys in the UK caught on quick and off to Black Market Records we went.....

    Its fair to say a number of us owe House music if not Chicago a living; given the above, my list is inspired by rather than a tribute to.

    Playing in the background of te doco posted earllier. The same crew gave us the sublime break for love.

    Adonis stitches nicely with the bookend of this set.

    Lets not forget that Frankie was born in New York. This from the late Manny Skretching; I figure that anyone who mixed Jungle owes this one.

    And the boys all sorted for E's and whizz ran off with the ball and came back with this (its all in there somewhere). This track kept me in a living for a whole year..... the break starts at 3:00 and who could fail to be inspired. The "pump it up boy" sample came of course from Chicago.

    Stuff the Isle of Wight the real Woodstock of a generation in the UK was found around the M25 it was something else to see 2000 or more spotty herbetesses and herberts dancing to this as the sun rose.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Chicago and and especially Frankie Knuckles.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 707 posts Report Reply

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