Saturday, November 20, 2004

Feminism's booby trap

A very interesting article from Joanna Murray-Smith. There is always so much writing about the feminist-mothering-work-childcare issue in national papers. So much of it doesn't quite hit the target. Murray-Smith is a persuasive Australian voice and a fantastic author (Emma and I heard her at Stephanie Alexander's resturant a few years back) and here offers some sobering thoughts and provocative questions.


Sunday, November 14, 2004

professional renewal

The latest EIA (140) (English In Australia) has just arrived, so I spent a luxurious few hours reading on Saturday morning while Austin slept (our new arrival - I'm keen to change the spelling to 'Austen' though). This edition is a 'review of texts' but interestingly enough it reads more like a professional conversation (or at least some of the reviews do). I'm a little ashamed to say that the ass. editor, Mark Howie, sent me some books to review for this edition and I didn't end up finishing them. I hope he'll speak to me again. Generally, I figure that reviews should be a chance to engage in professional reflection and argument rather than a bland recount of the book and it's virtues as a classroom resource. Many academic pubs do this - the ubiquitous 'review essay', but VATE and AATE have rarely asipired to these heights. The VATE newsletter is often poorly lacking in this kind of critical discourse. There are pressures of course to make reviews accessible and 'helpful' to those 'time-poor' teachers looking for ready-made resources for year 8, period 6, but this latest EIA seems to have found the middle ground and done both quite well. Read the editorial here. I hope that Mark Howie is around for a while - he seems to have something interesting to say.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Will the sneering at the religious now stop?

It seems that a debate along the lines of this article are brewing in Australia as well as America. Well, not in terms of Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini's argument about an open debate, or what he calls, 'an inclusive, thoughtful and respectful debate on this issue, a debate that reasons rather than labels', but certainly one where 'religion' and 'seculariism' are pited against one another in crude and simplistic terms - the clash of 'fundamentalisms' perhaps? I get tired of this same old rot.

I imagine that things will get ugly and our governments will be playing plenty of wedge politics.