“UNWANTED” AT BOTH ENDS OF THE AGE SPECTRUM – TWO

“UNWANTED” AT BOTH ENDS OF THE AGE SPECTRUM – TWO

THE ‘OLD’ PROBLEM

Young children are not the only unwanted. Increasingly, senior citizens are becoming manor nuisance value because of their encumbrance imposed upon the system.

What happens to and for old people, The chronologically enhanced senior citizens, is increasingly an issue perturbing the community.

The saga is associated with retirement villages and old people‘s homes is concrete evidence of this issue being more than a tipping point. Regardless of what is said And notwithstanding how politically correct or “polite” conversations might be, the old ones are increasingly a bugbear on more youthful members of society as a whole.

Bundling people into aged care is wonderful for shareholders of businesses listed on the stock exchange. Plenty is paid for care that is often very minimal.. For these institutions and many retirement villages old people are cash cows. In reality, they are “bloody nuisance” and are very poorly provided for by carers. The care that must be provided detract from profits!

I am at 73 and look upon the situation confrontingly aged with concern and apprehension. What’s happening and what has been revealed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care has strengthened my affirmation and belief in euthanasia.

Too many people are unwanted. Living at home or with relatives there’s no longer possible. Being in nursing homes with minimal care is untenable. (Granted, many old people in homes are difficult to manage because of Alzheimer’s and dementia; however care providers have staff Who are largely and trained and in terms of the work they are doing a “not fit for purpose”.)

It would be far better and more equitable if euthanasia was available for people to choose an option so that when they became totally dependent, they could opt out.

And that is what I want to be able to do.

“UNWANTED” AT BOTH ENDS OF THE AGE SPECTRUM – 0NE

Both young children and senior citizens are increasingly sharing a rather sad definition. Many who are very young and also very old “unwanted“ and “unloved”.

THE SITUATION WITH CHILDREN

I believe that too many children are born almost by accident. They are not really wanted, rather than being an outcome of social interaction that wasn’t intended to be reproductive or at least was not planned in that regard.

Then there are parents who having given birth seem to believe that the bringing up of the children becomes an institutional responsibility. Their arrival fills some sort of a social obligation but as for the rest of it, rely on childcare centres schools and other institutions to do the upbringing. There often seems to be no parental conscience whatsoever about this abrogation.

it is small wonder that there are insufficient foster families to look after the burgeoning needs of unwanted children. Nor is it surprising that so many of these young people find nocturnal exercise in damage, vandalism, assaults, or just wondering aimlessly.

What we’ve done and what modern society is creating In this regard is abhorrent. The fact that parents are not held accountable for their neglect Is beyond coherent understanding.

THE IMPACT OF BAD APPLES

The metaphor “an apple for the teacher“ is one quite often used today. The phrase denotes the sweetness of apples and the way in which they align with the goodness of teachers. The idea of an apple for the teacher was one that was possibly among the very first as a way of recognising the contribution of teachers to student. It was about recognising teacher quality and appreciating the work the teachers did for children in their classes.

However, the “apple“ is less appealing if preceded by the adjective “bad“. Unfortunately these days there are a minority of teachers who have achieved the notoriety of being “bad apples“ because of misconduct and actions that are contrary to the values and ethics of the teaching profession.

The propensity of the community to overlook what is good dwelling instead on what is bad, means that these teachers gain notoriety that applies not only to themselves but impacts upon the professional as a whole. Teachers come to be viewed with suspicion, with people wondering what might be going on beneath the surface.

It is awful that the reputation of teachers and the status of teaching as a worthy profession can be sullied and besmirched by a few. Sadly, that’s the way it is.

Truancy – a blight on education

TRUANCY has for all children, regardless of race colour and creed, the most important aspect of education is their attendance at school. Far too many children missed time from school and that loss is their undoing.

When out and about in the northern suburbs of Darwin on any school day it is a common site to see many, many children who should be in school taking a ‘day off’.

This constant absenteeism from school by many children is having a deleterious impact upon their education. Sadly, their parents do not care.

Schools employ truancy officers in urban areas to chase up children who are absent but they have only limited success in this mission.

The employment of truancy officers in remote schools, a Nigel Scullion initiative, prove to be singularly unsuccessful. Many many millions of dollars was spent on this initiative for extremely limited success.

Without doubt, chronic absenteeism in bush schools will continue to mitigate against meaningful educational outcomes for indigenous students. Many indigenous students in rolled in urban schools also miss huge slabs of time. That is despite the efforts of truancy officers, School Based police and liaison officers. I am personally aware of this from the viewpoint of observation.

Non-attendance leads to minimalist learning.

The Wilson Review into indigenous and in the Northern Territory in 2014 identified a lack of school attendance as being a key issue in children not achieving the basic stations of education. astoundingly, the Wilson Report intimated that attending school three days a week (60%) would be a reasonable outcome. Wilson was probably working from a position where school attendance was far less and that 60% would be a step in the right direction. However, it is nowhere near enough. School attendance needs to be full time.

Sadly, non-attendance at school is an issue that anecdotally at least seems to be embracing a greater and greater percentage of our educational institutions. It’s impacting upon students at all levels and young people of all persuasions.

While there can be merit in the carrot and stick approach, The stick at times seems to be a very limp reed. Until the attitude toward attendance changes and takes on the new realism we are in the Northern Territory can look forward to a continuation of mediocrity in educational outcomes.



NUMBULWAR’S CEILING DICTIONARY

NUMBULWAR’S CEILING DICTIONARY

Working with indigenous children to develop wall dictionaries was certainly a great way of extending vocabulary in remote communities. Having children draw pictures of particular subjects, objects and community focus points which then carried naming words offered an extended familiarisation.

These dictionaries on walls enabled students to develop ready reference points for words they used when writing. After a time, the need for referral became less as children learned how to use these words from The viewpoint of innate knowledge.

At Warburton Ranges in Western Australia in the very early 1970s, I developed the concept of wall dictionaries.

We moved to the Northern Territory in 1975. Our appointment was to Numbulwar, at the time called Rose River in South – East Arnhemland. My classroom had less wall space than desirable for the affixing of a developing dictionary. Walls were certainly used but more space was needed!

To this end, and with the children I extended the dictionary to embrace classroom ceilings. The charts we developed needed to be securely affixed because of a tendency for them to detach and fall down if insufficiently secured. Naturally, the fans were turned off whenever any charts were being added.

It worked!

ENGLISH IS A KEY TO INDIGENOUS EDUCATION

‘BILINGUAL’ ENGLISH

Much has been written said over many years about the difficulties and challenges of helping Indigenous children in remote communities come to terms with an understanding of transactional English.

As one prominent politician said in the Northern Territory in the late 1970s, regardless of emphasis on Vernacular language, English is our language of universal communication and transaction.

Over quite a few years working in communities in both Western Australia and The Northern Territory, I had community leaders say to me that they wanted their children to be able to read, write, speak and communicate in English. On many occasions I had these leaders say to me that our job as educators was to look after the Literacy and Numeracy needs of children and that English was key to the role we filled.

I had the same leaders say that they, the local people, we are responsible for local cultural revisitation and reinforcement for children.

While the principal of bilingual schools, I tried very hard to take into account the advice offered by leaders of these communities.

There were ways and means of building an understanding of English, particularly in the field of literacy. In following posts, I’ll outline some of these. They worked, it worked well!

LET TEACHERS SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT

HIGH VIZ PRINCIPALS STEAL THE GLORY

I was recently reminded of the bouquets and brickbats that are a part of education. Thinking about how they are shared within organisations was part of this reflection.

I came across several news stories featuring successful school programs. All involved innovation with changes to teaching and learning practices also being included.

The stories were in print media. They were supported by a photo which included students, evidence of their enterprise and the school principal.

So many of these celebratory stories that focus positively on school outcomes identify with principals.

I believe the focus should be on teachers and staff members who have supported the students in their successes. It should be for principals to know that appreciation will extend to them because they are school leaders.

Teachers who have worked directly with children should be more regularly focussed upon to receive plaudits and accolades. It does little for morale if teachers who have done the work with students leading to their recognition, are asked to stand aside so the school principal can grab the limelight.

Teachers are generally selfless so on the face of it, nothing might change. However a ‘see me’ leadership attitude does little for school atmosphere.