Sunday, July 25, 2004

my ecological footprint ...

... is way to big, despite it being less that average for Australia.

6.5 in fact. I could do much better. I am a high car user and should get a bike again - I rode around for years, but for the last couple it just hasn't been happening.

Nice relaxing day - back to it tomorrow. Should be a fun week though - CLe and I are taking our Let's Talk classes to a public speaking event in town on Tuesday - the state final of the Plain English Speaking awards. Thursdaym KB and I are going to a nearby high school for a literacy meeting - I'm not sure what it's about but should be interesting.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

reading down


The Closing of the American Book

I've hung this up outside the English faculty staffroom ... interesting stuff.

There is a basic social divide between those for whom life is an accrual off resh experience and knowledge, and those for whom maturity is a process of mental atrophy. The shift toward the latter category is frightening.

Reading is not an active expression like writing, but it is not a passive experience either. It requires effort, concentration, attention. In exchange, it offers the stimulus to and the fruit of thought and feeling. Kafka said, "A book must be an ice ax to break the seas frozen inside oursoul."


to begin again

It has been almost a month since I posted last - and there are no feelings of guilt at all. I have been drafting plenty of posts, but this may be where they stay. It's been good to have a break - not that I'm prolific by any means, but things did become rather hectic near the end of term 2. I will have more to say about that later (one of the drafts that might be published).

Anyway, a new term means new challenges and of course, a continuation of many others. I'm sure we'll get round to all that stuff as the semester gains pace. Presently, things have been fairly interesting (a 'nothing' phrase of course). A couple of us went along to the annual VATE conference yesterday (SB, KB, CF, NV) and of course it was a great opportunity to catch up with all the folks from PIC - didn't see Katrina though. Saw Mel and Gordon (both still at Camberwell) and met Natalie B. The sessions were fairly average, but I always find the chance to talk about different ideas and feed the brain something other than kids and bells is a refreshing thing. Don Watson spoke very well (keynote), although some of the examples he used to highlight the pervasiveness of managerial discourse were teachers' reports on students - he oversimplified the pressures that many teachers are under to adopt the kinds of language that he is attacking - he made it sound like the teachers were dodgy, when I think he might have come at that one a little more intelligently - I mean, to his credit, he was delibrately being provocative to an audience of English teachers, and hey, I'm all for anything that might shake up the mounds of stuffy old dinos that crowed in to the hall like moths to the Watson flame. It certainly made me think how often I have adopted the discourse of 'new capitalism' (Lankshear) to write abstractly about student achievement. In the future, I will make more of an effort to ground my report comments more sensibly in the east metropolitan venacular.

I dropped into a few sessions put on by teachers working in private/exclusive schools and had the distance b/w these places and where I work starkly reinforced - generally through 'normal' comments these people made about technology use in their schools, and students' atitudes towards work and their futures.

Met Julie Faulkner (RMIT) again. Previously introduced by Ilana a few years back, while finishign her PhD (pop culture and schooling). She invited me to come and speak to her English method students in mid October. Sounds interesting - a lot of water for the bridge before then though.

Helen H encouraged me again to nominate for VATE Council - 'elections' are coming up in August. In fact, Brenton emailed me today on the same thing. I'm not sure. It seems that you really need a faction to nominate so that there is some chance of getting things done. Jill was on council for a while and resigned, or decided to take a break, as she saw nothing happening. Brenton's comments are similar. I'm sure I can offer somethings, but I feel stretched to thin already - esp. with the VIT/Monash research project coming up - writing the book chapter Brenton wants for the new edition of 'Responding to students writing',  and following up my thesis with something for EIA - I don't want to take this on and then find that I'm resenting it in a few months. Nominations close on Wednesday. What do you think?

E is away till Wednesday in Adelaide, and then we are moving into our new house on Friday night and Saturday. Should be FUN. Baby is alright. But E is kind of loosing her mind (occasional lapses!)

Mmm, this is good, I'm feeling like I want to write again ...