Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Shami Chakrabarti - Liberty

Shami Chakrabarti is the director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties) - a charitable trust . Liberty is both an unincorporated association made up of members, and a non-profit making company that employs staff and runs campaigns. The organisation provides advice and information for human rights. For 75 years, Liberty’s causes have been many and varied. They have taken a stand against the misuse of police powers, censorship, and the use of torture. They have fought for gay and lesbian rights, equal pay for women, freedom of speech and assembly, aswell as for children.

The website below shows much more detail and worth a look:


Barack Obama

Some background information

Barack Obama was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. They didn't have much money, but they taught him values from the Kansas heartland where they grew up. He took out loans to put himself through school. After college, he worked for Christian churches in Chicago, helping communities devastated when steel plants closed. Obama turned down lucrative job offers after law school to return to Chicago, leading a successful voter registration drive. He joined a small law firm, taught constitutional law and, guided by his Christian faith, stayed active in his community. He went on to earn his law degree from Harvard in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Soon after, he returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. Finally, his advocacy work led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate. On November 4th, Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States of America. Obama and his wife Michelle are proud parents of two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

What are his policies?

  • The economy:
    By common agreement, his most pressing challenge. Mr Obama inherits an annual $455 billion budget deficit. And yet he has promised to boost spending on education and health care while cutting taxes for 95 per cent of Americans.
    Under the Obama plan, which he says he will finance partly by savings in Iraq, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase. Mr Obama wants to reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for America's wealthiest families.
    In business, he promises a more level playing field, cutting loopholes and tax deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industries. He has attacked the greed and excessive pay on Wall Street. Mr Obama pledges to reform bankruptcy laws and ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies.
    The Obama economic rescue plan would provide $50 billion to "jumpstart" the economy and prevent a million Americans losing their jobs. The package would include a $25 billion "state growth fund" to prevent states cutting services or increasing property taxes. A "jobs and growth fund" will invest $25 billion into US infrastructure, including road and bridge maintenance, and school repairs. On housing, Mr Obama says he will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. He says he will also make sure homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and they will give a tax credit to all middle-class home owners.
  • Foreign policy.
    In a speech in July, Mr Obama outlined five main foreign policy goals: to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to finish the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban, to stop nuclear weapons and materials getting into the hands of terrorists and rogue states, to make secure America's energy supplies and to rebuild the country's strained alliances. And less war war, more jaw jaw.
    To quote from the official Obama website: "The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don't like. Not talking doesn't make us look tough – it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe."
    Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
    Obama says the Iraq war was a mistake from the start. He wants immediate cutbacks to America's 130,000-strong force, pulling out most of them within 18 months of his taking office.
    He is more worried about Afghanistan, which he has called the "central front" in the war on terrorism. He has said he would be willing to launch attacks on enemy forces in Pakistan with or without that country's blessing. Critics crowed over the apparent naivety of his pledge to pursue open talks with the Iranian government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But his efforts to curtail its nuclear programme and encourage its economic modernisation might not look so far-fetched if a more moderate Iranian president takes over next summer.
  • Healthcare.
    Healthcare is one of the key issues for Mr Obama. He supports universal health care. It is wrong, he says, that 47 million Americans have no health insurance. He wants to use tax credits to encourage more businesses to insure their staff as well as set up a separate new healthcare system that will cost more than $1 trillion.
  • The environment and energy.
    Committed, he says, to addressing climate change, Mr Obama wants to cut carbon emissions by reducing America's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. He proposes to cut America's vast oil consumption by at least 35 per cent, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030.
    He supports innovation - creating five million new "green" jobs - and finding alternative energy sources, such as hybrid cars and "clean coal". He opposes a greater reliance on nuclear power and drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. That innovation will require investment. Condemning the current regime as one of the most anti-science administrations in US history, Mr Obama supports doubling federal funding for basic research.
  • Trade protection.
    Free trade supporters are worried that Mr Obama may usher in a new era of protectionism. He has criticised the North American Free Trade Agreement (with Canada and Mexico) for not helping American workers and wants to amend it.
    Mr Obama also wants to end tax breaks for US companies that "send jobs overseas" and fight to ensure public contracts go to bidders who will provide work to Americans.
  • Immigration.
    Obama says he does not believe that America's 12 million illegal immigrants can be deported and instead suggests they be given a "pathway to citizenship". He supports a guest worker programme and backs granting driver's licences to illegal immigrants. But he did vote in favour of building a 700 mile fence along the Mexican border.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Free family Tree Chart for the development project.

I came accross a great website that helps you to make a family tree, and guess what it is totally free!! It lasts for 7 days.


Monday, 10 November 2008

Definition of 'successful intervenist community education'

This is my definition of how I understood it:

Where a community interacts with eachother in order to help everyone achieve ones own potential. This can be achieved by communities providing various agencies and centres including SureStart, Community Centres and HomeStart working together to provide everyone with the chance of making a possitive difference in their lives, (what ever the individual believes is their own achievement). We are all individuals, who have our own goals and by a community providing the life chances gives a person the chance to improve their living style - should they want to.

Moral development - Kohlberg (1973)

Lawrance Kohlbergs theory - The Stages of Moral Development, was inspired by the work of Jean Piaget (Education and the Develpoment of Morality). It also came from an interest in moral dilemas that children, adolescents and adults face, and constucted a series of stages and development.

The Stages of Moral Development
Kohlberg constructed six stages which coinsided with three levels, these being Preconventional, conventional and post conventional.

Preconventional Level (up to age nine):
~Self Focused Morality~
1. Morality is defined as obeying rules and avoiding negative consequences. Children in this stage see rules set, typically by parents, as defining moral law.
2. That which satisfies the child’s needs is seen as good and moral.

Conventional Level (age nine to adolescence):
~Other Focused Morality~
3. Children begin to understand what is expected of them by their parents, teacher, etc. Morality is seen as achieving these expectations.
4. Fulfilling obligations as well as following expectations are seen as moral law for children in this stage.

Postconventional Level (adulthood):
~Higher Focused Morality~
5. As adults, we begin to understand that people have different opinions about morality and that rules and laws vary from group to group and culture to culture. Morality is seen as upholding the values of your group or culture.

6. Understanding your own personal beliefs allow adults to judge themselves and others based upon higher levels of morality. In this stage what is right and wrong is based upon the circumstances surrounding an action. Basics of morality are the foundation with independent thought playing an important role.

Participants (only males) were told stories, depending on their answer depended on which stage the subjects were at. Lots of different dilemas were given. One particular study focused on the Heinz Dilema - known as the Druggist Dilema.

The Druggist Dilema: Heinz steals the Drug in Europe

A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: "No, I discovered the drug and I'm going to make money from it." So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.

The question to the paricipants was:
Should Heinz have broken into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?

From a theoretical point of view, it is not important what the participant thinks that Heinz should do. Kohlberg's theory holds that the justification the participant offers is what is significant, the form of their response. Below are some of many examples of possible arguments that belong to the six stages:

Stage one (obedience): Heinz should not steal the medicine because he will consequently be put in prison which will mean he is a bad person. Or: Heinz should steal the medicine because it is only worth $200 and not how much the druggist wanted for it; Heinz had even offered to pay for it and was not stealing anything else.

Stage two (self-interest): Heinz should steal the medicine because he will be much happier if he saves his wife, even if he will have to serve a prison sentence. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because prison is an awful place, and he would probably languish over a jail cell more than his wife's death.

Stage three (conformity): Heinz should steal the medicine because his wife expects it; he wants to be a good husband. Or: Heinz should not steal the drug because stealing is bad and he is not a criminal; he tried to do everything he could without breaking the law, you cannot blame him.

Stage four (law-and-order): Heinz should not steal the medicine because the law prohibits stealing, making it illegal. Or: Heinz should steal the drug for his wife but also take the prescribed punishment for the crime as well as paying the druggist what he is owed. Criminals cannot just run around without regard for the law; actions have consequences.

Stage five (human rights): Heinz should steal the medicine because everyone has a right to choose life, regardless of the law. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine because the scientist has a right to fair compensation. Even if his wife is sick, it does not make his actions right.

Stage six (universal human ethics): Heinz should steal the medicine, because saving a human life is a more fundamental value than the property rights of another person. Or: Heinz should not steal the medicine, because others may need the medicine just as badly, and their lives are equally significant.

According to the theory, it is unlikely that a person regresses backwards in the stages.

Websites that may be of interest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg (Although this site should not be quoted, I believe that it is beneficial as it gives a good insight).

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Amnesty International

Children and human rights Amnesty International 12:57pm
Source: www.amnesty.org

Across the world children are denied their human rights, including for example, their right to.......

This website is what I believe Brian was talking about on Tuesday, it has lots of information about deprived children including child soldiers (which is good for Lin's lesson), education and the childs right to it and lots of facts and figures which will be useful.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Research on Donald Schon and Martin Buber

Martin Buber

Martin Mordechai Buber was born February 8, 1878 in Vienna. Sometime in late 1903, Martin Buber encountered the work of the Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-60), the founder of Hasidism. He began to engage with the religiousness of Judaism and the belief that man is made in the image of God (Vermes 1988: 8). There followed a period of intense study (five years). One result was a number of publications: The Tales of Rabbi Nachman (1906); The Legend of the Ba'al-Shem (1908); and Ecstatic Confessions (1909). In 1909-11 in Prague, Martin Buber delivered what were to become famous lectures on Judaism to the Jewish student organization Bar Kochba. These lectures (published in 1911 as Three Addresses on Judaism) stand in contrast to Orthodox Judaism with their emphasis on essence rather than observance. From 1916 to 1924 he edited Der Jude, an influential journal (and was working on his path breaking book I and Thou - published in 1923).
From 1924 to 1933, Martin Buber lectured in Jewish religion and philosophy at the University of Frankfurt. At this time he was also working with Franz Rosenzweig on a new German translation of the Hebrew Bible (Verdeutschung der Schrift). Under Hitler, he had to curtail his university teaching (he resigned his professorship immediately after Hitler's seizure of power) - but he continued to organize adult bible courses. In 1938 he finally left Germany to join the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
He died at home on June 13, 1965 - and was buried in the cemetery Har-Hamenuchot in Jerusalem.

The idea's of martin Buber's work

Silence, for Buber, plays a crucial part in dialogue. Indeed, it could be argued that 'attentive silence' is the basis of dialogue (Avnon 1998: 42-3). This is an idea that may seem strange at first sight, but is fundamental to the experience of groups such as the Quakers. But his method was not pedagogical in the narrow sense. He was little concerned with the how of teaching, with such matters as syllabuses, methods and examinations. What concerned him was the why; how to give the pupil a sense of his identity, of his organic unity, how to show him the way to responsibility and love. This is what Buber looked for when judging the success of a teacher. And it was this emphasis which led teachers to come to him, slowly and then sometimes in groups, not to consult him about technical problems but to ask him what they should teach, how they should reconcile conscience and faith.

The importance of Martin Buber's work

He was basically a teacher - for me, the greatest teacher of our generation. He was an educator in the true sense of the word and within the limits of his own definition of it. He did not try to impose a self-evident formula upon his pupils, but posed questions which forced them to find their own answers. He did not want his pupils to follow him docilely, but to take their own individual paths, even if this meant rebelling against him. Because for him education meant freedom, a liberation of personality. Perhaps, too, it is as a great teacher, embracing a consideration of the whole of human existence in his approach to his pupils that his influence on our time will be most enduring.
The right way to teach, he said, was 'the personal example springing spontaneously and naturally from the whole man'. This meant that the teacher should constantly examine his conscience. Indeed, every man should do this; but a teacher most of all, as he could not teach others if his own example was flawed.
The purpose of education was to develop the character of the pupil, to show him how to live humanly in society. One of his basic principles was that 'genuine education of character is genuine education for community'….'For educating characters you do not need a moral genius,' Buber declared, 'but you do need a man who is wholly alive and able to communicate himself directly to his fellow beings. His aliveness streams out to them and affects them most strongly and purely when he has no thought of affecting them.'
The real teacher, he believed, teaches most successfully when he is not consciously trying to teach at all, but when he acts spontaneously out of his own life. Then he can gain the pupil's confidence; he can convince the adolescent that there is human truth, that existence has a meaning. And when the pupil's confidence has been won, 'his resistance against being educated gives way to a singular happening: he accepts the educator as a person. He feels he may trust this man, that this man is taking part in his life, accepting him before desiring to influence him. And so he learns to ask….
But his method was not pedagogical in the narrow sense. He was little concerned with the how of teaching, with such matters as syllabuses, methods and examinations. What concerned him was the why; how to give the pupil a sense of his identity, of his organic unity, how to show him the way to responsibility and love. This is what Buber looked for when judging the success of a teacher. And it was this emphasis which led teachers to come to him, slowly and then sometimes in groups, not to consult him about technical problems but to ask him what they should teach, how they should reconcile conscience and faith.


Did Paulo Freire take Buber's methods and ideas eclectically?

Many people believe this to be the case - will continue at a later date. the findings of Paulo Freire is closely linked.

Donald Schon

Donald Alan Schon (1930-1997) trained as a philosopher, but it was his concern with the development of reflective practice and learning systems within organizations and communities for which he is remembered. Significantly, he was also an accomplished pianist and clarinettist – playing in both jazz and chamber groups. This interest in improvisation and structure was mirrored in his academic writing, most notably in his exploration of professional’s ability to ‘think on their feet’. On this page we review his achievements and focus on three elements of his thinking: learning systems (and learning societies and institutions); double-loop and organizational learning (arising out of his collaboration with Chris Argyris); and the relationship of reflection-in-action to professional activity.

The ideas of Donald Schon

Donald Schon (1973, first published 1971) takes as his starting point the loss of the stable state. Belief in the stable state, he suggests, is belief in ‘the unchangeability, the constancy of central aspects of our lives, or belief that we can attain such a constancy’ (Schon 1973: 9). Such a belief is strong and deep, and provides a bulwark against uncertainty. Institutions are characterized by ‘dynamic conservatism’ – ‘a tendency to fight to remain the same’ (ibid.: 30). However, with technical change continuing exponentially its pervasiveness and frequency was ‘uniquely threatening to the stable state’ (ibid.: 26). He then proceeds to build the case for a concern with learning

The importance of Schon's work

Public and private learning, and the learning society
While it is Donald Schon’s work on organizational learning and reflective practice that tends to receive the most attention in the literature, his exploration of the nature of learning systems and the significance of learning in changing societies has helped to define debates around the so called ‘learning society’. Indeed, Stewart Ranson (1998: 2) describes Donald Schon as ‘the great theorist of the learning society’. He was part of the first wave of thinkers around the notion (other key contributors include Robert M. Hutchins 1970; Amitai Etzioni 1968; and Torsten Husen 1974). Hutchins, in a book first published in 1968, had argued that a ‘learning society’ had become necessary. ‘The two essential facts are… the increasing proportion of free time and the rapidity of change. The latter requires continuous education; the former makes it possible (1970: 130). He looked to ancient Athens for a model.

This information is situated on the website below.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Dyslexia video from teachers TV

I am doing a presentation this week on Dyslexia, just in case it does not work or I do not have time to show it, here it is:

Smiley Sunglasses

Lee Pascal, author and teacher, has been studying dyslexia for over 35 years. In this engaging and light-hearted workshop for TAs, he tackles the serious subject of dyslexia and offers real insight into how dyslexics think, learn and remember. He also looks at strategies and techniques for helping them with spelling and reading.
After an introduction to the subject of dyslexia, Lee talks about the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approach to learning that dyslexics find most useful. He engages his audience with some participatory games and passes on useful tips about how to support dyslexic students with spelling.
"Joined up writing" and "joined up speaking" are just two of the methods he advocates. He also looks at spelling techniques - look, cover, learn, remember - and concludes with the moving story of a boy who grew to love reading, but only once books were made easy enough for him to understand.
Key points:
Valuable exercises and techniques to help pupils with dyslexia
Lee Pascal shares his vast experience in an engaging manner
May help you to identify and rectify problems with spelling

A fab website on SureStart Centres

I have found a fantastic website all about SureStart Centres, this was very useful when learning everything that is needed to know. Try it and let me know if you found it useful x


Sunday, 19 October 2008

Finance - Is it a strain?

For all of those people who feel that student life is a breeze and do not think that we actually struggle, think again. My partner has recently been made redundant, as I only work part time (under 16 hours) and a student, we thought we would be entilted to extra help.......I was totally wrong! We applied for help with Council Tax and Housing Benefit, only to learn that we do not qualify. They are taking my student loan as well as the grant as colateral, it obviously does not matter that this loan has got to be paid back with interest added when I am working full time after the course has finished. So in actual fact the money that is supposed to be for travel expenses, equipment and living expenses, actually all of this has got to go towards the rent and bills. What is the point of having help with uni expenses if nothing goes towards it?
Also my partner applied for job seekers allowance - because he was earning and paying NI contributions he gets 'Contribution based JSA', this means that he gets an extra £4 a week and we are not entitled to Free School Meals, clothing costs or extra help with any other aid. If he did not work he would have been entitled to Income - Based JSA, and we would have been entitled to Free School Meals etc. I feel that this is extremely unfair for the working class who by no fault of there own have been made reduntant. Where is the insentive to work?? The Government Stratagy is to eradicate povety by the year 2020. With all of this in place, I can't see it happening, people seem to be penalised for trying to help themselves, which is completely wrong. Everyone should get the same requardless if they had been previously working or not. Does anyone agree that this should be the case or have I totally got it wrong??

About myself

I am currently working towards a BA Honors Degree in Early Childhood Studies and I am in my second year, hoping to go on to Warwick University for the final two years. I work part time as a Ward Hostess at George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton. I enjoy what I do as I interact with the patients and staff regulary and feel that I make a difference. I have two children - Ashleigh(aged 11), who is at Mount Grace High School in Hinckley and Jordan (aged 8) who is in the juniors at St Mary's Primary School also in Hinckley. I have two Staffy's called Jade and Sasha who are the soppiest dogs you would ever get to meet!!!