Links with YouTube

I haven’t been writing for a while. I’ve just had a thought that you might be interested in my youtube activities.

So here are two of them. Please don’t attach to me the items on youtube that follow mine. Just me; that’s all I want you to notice.

1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75JqZSj_Glo

2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRAoGZsVsyo

Thanks for your visit. I hope to write more soon.

Regards,

royciebaby

On This Matter Of Phonics

The old demon of oversimplification is back again with the teaching of reading. Of course phonics is a useful word attack skill but it is not the centre of the universe. Reading is a very complex task – perhaps more so than ever before in this contemporary world. Phonics alone simply cannot deal with it. There are 44 phonemes in English and only 26 letters. 

Here is a little visual I made to illustrate my point. It speaks for itself.

As a teacher today I would see phonics as an important part of a wider teaching program. So much more than sounding needs to happen. We need to immerse the children in language. Read them stories often. Use classroom drama to illustrate words. Play music to enhance listening. Get them to write often and read their stories to a friend or to the class. Lend books, especially illustrated ones, for home reading, ideally involving parents. Do readers theatre. Practice with cloze tests. Play Scrabble. Do crossword puzzles. Among other things, all this promotes skills with context.

Context clues are an important part of word attack. Watch what happens when I put an invented word into context. The word is xzn. On its own it is meaningless. Now for context: I drove the family xzn into the garage, checked the tyres and filled it with petrol. See what I mean? You decode the word into the idea of a car based on context clues and you are probably right. You need to give children many, many contexts. Let them guess. Give them practice. Immersion in language to me is vital. Words need to be everywhere. I remember in practice teaching taking my students into infants classrooms where everything was labelled: “table,” “chair,” “desk,” “window” and so on.

Next I speak of sight words. My infants and primary teaching coincided with the Dolch sight words. In the 1930s and 1940s Dr Edward William Dolch researched word frequencies and made a list of 220 words, mastery of which would enable you to read a high percentage of common verbal material. He also supplied 95 high frequency nouns.

The Fry Sight Words list is closer now to present day needs. Sight words require drill. Once you know them your reading flows more easily so you can focus on other words.

The value of memorised sight words is that common words or irregular sounding words can be recognised at a glance without letter by letter analysis. This fluency is important for oral reading. So oracy itself has needs beyond phonics drill. I have respected for a long time the social value of reading aloud – say in play performance or verse speaking – the latter a valuable activity that unfortunately is often neglected these days.

What is the purpose of reading? It is a lot more than mere barking at print. Meaning is the key, the crux, the life moulding force. So we have word attack. We decode. Then comes meaning – that intangible, mystic outcome. If we are good with meaning, it gets us out of trouble. If we are bad with it we elect monsters into government. 

In all my years of teaching (50) and study I have not found a better description of the levels of comprehension than the one given by Nila Banton Smith. It’s a good analysis to work on.

The author suggests that comprehension be divided into four distinct categories of thinking skills: (1) literal comprehension, the skill of getting the primary, literal meaning; (2) interpretation, the probing for greater depths of meaning; (3) critical reading, the evaluating and passing of personal judgment; and (4) creative reading which starts with an inquiry and goes beyond implications derived from the text.

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED034657

Of all the outcomes of teaching it is hard to find a more rewarding one for the teacher than the gift of reading. I have seen the light in the eye of the infant child when the first words begin to flow, and I have seen the glow of pride from a PhD student when a thesis abstract has been accepted. The significance of effective reading is vast.

The shoulders of so many giants are waiting for us behind the print that we read. There lies the wisdom of the ages. There lies the ability to detect political sham and advertising trickery. All this is too important to be reduced to simplistic formulae or league tables based on pseudo-tests derived from false premises.

I’d now like to finish with a poem I wrote some time ago. Thanks for your company.

Back to Basics

Or Teaching Reading Is Not As Simple As It Sounds

Kill off all the metaphors, cancel connotations

With your universal phonic imposition.

Blow up all the phrases with well directed lasers

So reading fits your toxic proposition.

Mangle all the meanings, disintegrate depiction

While shackling wide-eyed infants to their stint.

Put their thoughts in traction through stereotyped infraction

And teach them only how to bark at print.

Massacre analogy and mutilate sublimes

As you advertise a false belief that sells.

Vandalise all contexts with pedagogic pretexts

Confining every dream to decibels.

Standardise existence, by removing all resistance

To the sometime invalidity of rules.

Violate felicity with a claim of authenticity

That ratifies your covenant of fools.

Dream on of a place where thought abounds,

And the poor as they read become rich;

Where elegance transcends predictable sounds

And the meaning soars far above pitch;

Where all of the wonder as authors are read

Flows free as the winds from the pages,

While diversity chooses how children are led

To a world beyond phonemic cages.

28 April 2007

A Little Book Of Monsters

Dear Reader

An election is approaching its voting day in Australia as I write. It has inspired me to make a little chapbook. If you would like to find a little more on chapbooks you can do so here.

The title of my chapbook is A Little Book Of Monsters and the monsters in my imagination are politicians. I am going to post the pages below. I have designed a cover. Here it is and here are the pages of my little book.

My Chapbook Cover

So there you are. Just a little bit of fun. Thank you for coming to this place and for reading down to here. Recovering from injury so hope to write more frequently. Best wishes, Royce.

My Latest Book

Dear Friends, sorry to have been away for a while. I have just published this book with Amazon: An Advanced Survival Guide For Dishonest Political Bastards. I started the book with a review by a fictitious senior lecturer from Sydney University writing (fictitiously) in The Sydney Morning Herald.

I thought the “review” might be readable on my web site so here it is. This second book is a sequel to one published in 2005 without the “Advanced.” The new book will be available in e-form and paperback in a few days. Thanks for your visit.

Critical Review

Dr Adrian Arbiter’s Critique*

Royce Levi, in his Advanced Survival Guide, has provided an ironic historical satire about political behaviour in the modern world. To do this the writer adopts an assumed right wing persona and proceeds to praise devotedly “approved” historical figures as ideal role models. These models of political behaviour are certainly not angels. To the mocking writer they are.

They notably include moguls Joseph Pulitzer, Randolph Hearst and Edward Bernays as well as Australia’s highly successful John Howard and another prime minister Harold Holt. History is the key: political mores are linked to past events in both peace and war. The order in the House is actually organised disorder tied to political agendas.

There is a touch of parody in the writing. The so-called “advice” consistently reeks of extreme, ruthless, political gamesmanship. Big tongue in big cheek.

The how to do it subject matter is presented in roughly historical order, with a pointed warning at the head of Chapter1. There we are told that “Every House of Government is a theatre of pretence where myths and legends are acted out in the masks and costumes of  false reality.” 

We meet first Joseph Pulitzer, “giant of influence,” and “power broker extraordinaire.” His media magic, involving “stunts, exposés, ‘Crusades,’ innovative illustrations, and sensationalism,” is portrayed as a source of immense power. Note the difference between a democrat and a plutocrat: people power versus rich power. We meet the powerful Greek word: kratos: ‘power.’ The Pulitzer Prize, still ranking as one of the highest social achievements, is even today still an indication of Pulitzer’s power.

Then we find Randolph Hearst, via what is known as the Yellow Press, providing us with more strategies of political power. Newsman Hearst is presented as a powerful role model closely linked to success in politics. “His papers attacked President McKinley, even suggesting he be removed from office by force. In 1901, at the height of the Hearst abuse, McKinley was assassinated.”

The Advanced Survival Guide also delves into the life of the omnipotent Edward Bernays. Much is made of this man’s importance, his extensive impact on generations of humanity. “It was Bernays’ vast personal influence, his mind control of the masses, that determined so much of the shape of the twentieth century. “

It is in the mind games of politics that Bernays is declared indispensable. The man’s own words provide the evidence: “…we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” This is golden guidance for politicians who are au fait with mind control populism.

Attention to the main figures above is far from the complete story. The text abounds in allusions to other mind play, ranging from Plato and his cave (see Chapter 12 p. 42 ) to Nixon’s “silent majority.” The text is the author’s personal journey, rich in its variety and often surprising. One of the surprises is the array of Des Carts axioms such as “as fit as a diddle,” scattered throughout the text. Approval from the French philosopher René Descartes seems unlikely.

Extensive referencing is another feature of the book. Sources are meticulously recorded. One can assume that because this is a “guide,” the author’s intent is to encourage in the probationary politicians expansive and rigorous reading. Web sites as well as specific texts are thus referenced.

The Epilogue is a puzzle. At first sight it seems to be an off-topic collection of irrelevancies. Maybe, we are told, the supplement comes via social media from a recently retired prime minister. At the beginning and end of the Epilogue however, there are significant editorial notes. They point out that politicians are dealers in off-topic subjects. “Skill with talking to fill out time is standard political practice. At the extreme level is the American filibuster, but far more common is the long-winded beside-the-point speech in defence of disastrous policies.” 

Apart from the entertainment value of many of the Epilogue’s items, the author seems to be deliberately having fun with sayings. He provides his own defence: “Political methodology depends, indeed thrives on glib-tongued, fluent irrelevancies that hide ill-timed, unsuitable or inconvenient reality.” The variety makes interesting reading.

We discover via the narrative of this text, a new political term: in-for-a-structure. “It refers to the very common practice of selling off state property or services and then using the funds to build tall buildings. This creates the illusion (or is it delusion?) of creative power. As the writer puts it, “No negatives. Do it. Sell off the family jewels and look masterly.”

The tone of the writing seems to deserve my final words – words about its jocular spirit. Humour and satire have long been linked to each other. Lemuel Gulliver’s (Jonathan Swift’s) adventures are one of the best examples of this. 

Mock heroic urgings abound in the text. An example: “Your task is to use Bernays on the reasoning-impaired masses and, through them, win the power and the glory O so ready and waiting for YOU…We use ’em! Confuse ’em! Enthuse ’em! Advance triumphant you partisan know-it-alls. Go! Go! Go! Fool the fools.” 

With those words from the text I leave you to your own reading.  Adrian Arbiter.

___________________________________

  • Dr Adrian Arbiter is a fictitious Senior Lecturer in Politics at Sydney University writing in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Memories of a Second Class Cricketer

A Good Innings

I

Because cricket was for many years my chief escape from what are sometimes  laughingly called serious affairs, I promised myself I would never write about it. This is the seventh book I promised never to write.

Benny Green A History of  Cricket  Barrie and Jenkins, London, 1988.

For my agnostic father Alex, cricket was a religion. Perhaps it was an obsession.

Whatever it was, he bowled countless leg breaks or wrong’uns to my brother Vic and me in our backyards or on holidays wherever we went. That was probably the reason I hit Australian leg-spinner Peter Philpott for four leg-side boundaries on the Sydney Cricket Ground for Combined Country against Sydney in 1957. I don’t wish to imply I was ever a first-class cricketer, so that makes those boundaries an even greater achievement for my Dad.

During our annual visits to Berrara, a camping place of long ago (in the Forties) south of Nowra, off Fisherman’s Rock Road, we took a big spade and made a turf wicket for the “Test” matches that went on through the school holidays. There were plenty of players from the tents around us.

Mum and Dad were parents of the Great Depression and I was born in the alleged winding down year, 1933. Dad made me a billy-cart for Santa one Christmas, and added a cricket bat he also fashioned himself. Lots of cricket bats followed though, real ones, with compound cricket balls (cork not leather)  to play with as times changed for the better.

I remember buying a Stuart Surridge bat from Mick Simmons’ sports store:  George Street, corner with Campbell Street. Simmons made his money first from tobacco and then branched into sporting goods. Creams and shirts were bought there too. I loved going into that shop. Mick also would employ famous sportsmen to serve there, another big attraction for me and many others. Sport was not a corporate business then so the “stars” of the time were probably often glad of that job.

As I write, other sporting stores of my era come to mind. I bought my first wicket-keeping gloves from Bert Oldfield’s store, 243 Pitt Street Sydney. He taught me where to stand behind the stumps, advice I kept for the rest of my wicket-keeping days. A funny anomaly in those first cricket days was the sticky stuff we used to put on wicket-keeping gloves. Now I realise that if you didn’t concentrate, didn’t watch the ball and thus moved too late and snatched, the glue was a waste of time and money.

Yes times did move on as I’ve implied. In that past, you oiled your bat with linseed oil  – quite a test of your loving care. I think I remember rolling it with a broom handle and bouncing cricket balls on the surface to harden it. How different things are now – iron clad surfaces already on some of the bats you buy!

I remember too Stan McCabe’s store. He was a very quiet man who always served you courteously and humbly.  I bought in particular practice cricket balls from him. I was very sad to hear of his untimely death when it happened long ago now. His deeds against bodyline don’t die.

My introduction to Sydney Grade cricket came from Glebe South Sydney. This was because we moved to Newtown. I have learnt that the administrators of the grade competition decided, I think around 1910, that you had to live in the area of the club you played for. That aimed to strengthen the competition and draw crowds. So because I lived in Newtown, off I went to Jubilee Oval Glebe via the Glebe Point tram.

Albert (Tibby) Cotter, Warren Bardsley, Charles Kelleway and Bertie Oldfield all played for Glebe. Cotter, Bardsley and Kelleway also went to Forest Lodge Primary where Bardsley Senior was headmaster for many years, having taught one time in Warren, New South Wales. Oldfield was secretary of the Glebe Club in 1915.

Tibby Cotter was actually killed, in his life’s prime,  at the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917. He chose to join the cavalry charge although not strictly required to do so. As I write, the centenary of that event is being celebrated with full military honours. We can actually join the celebration of this and other fatal events for a deposit of $500 AU and then further payments. Death and destruction have strange bedfellows these days.

We young Glebe players were cared for paternally by a small group of senior players. I remember especially Jim Bowden, the First Grade keeper and later a Sheffield Shield umpire. A lucky friend for me. There was practice at the nets and there were practice matches mixing the grades on the main oval.

It was a great inspiration for us lower grade players to practice with the seniors. Ron Kissell, a state player, was there. He played eleven first class matches for New South Wales between 1946 and 1952. Bobby Madden was also there, an opening batsman briefly for New South Wales and a soccer player for Australia. I remember when he was dismissed for 99 for the state. 

One of the umpires in those practice matches was George Borwick, an umpire in the Bodyline series. Mrs Borwick made and served, with other ladies, afternoon tea for us. That was the kind of community we had then and will always need.

Mr Borwick was an influence on me. I remember a durable piece of advice: “If you think you are not out, look in the scorebook.” That has stabilised me many times since.

I was chosen in the club’s Green Shield (under 15) team as a leg spinner. I remember in a match at Waitara Oval that the fence was far to close for my bowling..

I made it into Fourth Grade as a batsman however, and so began a beautiful friendship. Then a wicket-keeper was needed so I volunteered. The friendship blossomed. Jim Bowden was a great help to me down a few years.

Those years passed and I worked my way up into Second Grade. Never to First Grade with that club.

Then came the family move to Ferodale, four miles north of Raymond Terrace on the Pacific Highway. In his usual way, Dad fostered my cricket interests as well as all the others. In conversation with Doug Rawlings, the manager of a shoe-store in Raymond Terrace, Dad found a link with Northern Districts Cricket Club in Maitland.

Another beautiful friendship began there, both with Doug and family and with cricket. Maitland has a special place in my life. I met my wife there much later. The cricket too is a lasting memory.

I remember Doug Rawlings, a memorable man who drove me up from Raymond Terrace each Saturday, and often rolled the wicket before a match. Col Johnstone, a State second eleven player, was our captain and my mentor. Our opening bowler’s name was indeed Mudd. The other opener was Keith Smith – a source of inspiration too as he had lost an arm in a factory accident. He batted quite well and bowled very well. He got a hat-trick against a visiting Sydney team (Western Suburbs). There, with those true friends, I studied the game further.

Inter-district cricket was one of the joys of that time. I met Doug Walters then, a while before his fame. He was a Dungog lad. I noticed the strength of his forearms.

The inter-district cricket led to selection in the Combined Country team of 1957.

Combined Country Selection

It all happened because I had resigned from teaching for a year to play cricket. First came the selection trial match at Tamworth. I survived that. On next to another match in Armidale. I survived that. Finally on to Grafton Oval. No mistakes there either, and I remember taking a diving catch out near square leg. That may have helped me gain selection in the final team.

At this time of writing I interpose a momentary reflection on Robert Holland. “Dutchy” has just passed away. Fate has been kind to me as I had the honour of playing Golden Oldies cricket with him in Vancouver and in Queensland.

A most inspiring person. Kind, humble and gifted in sport. I was present at the Sydney Cricket Ground when he took ten wickets against the West Indies when they were at the height of their power. I lost my voice for a week or so from cheering. I remember his Lords achievement of many wickets too.

Another kindness of fate was my sitting next to him in an Air New Zealand plane en route to Vancouver for twenty-odd hours. There was so much to share on that lucky journey. He told me of his talk with Bill O’Reilly when he Robert was chosen for Australia. O’Reilly told him the bowler was captain when the bowler bowled.

When he went to England, Robert saw fit to talk to the great English leg break bowler Douglas VP Wright, whom I saw dismiss Don Bradman with a lifting “leggie”  at the SCG just after the war. Wright apparently took eleven hat-tricks in his cricket lifetime. The advice from the Englishman, who by the way had a long run up and spread his arms like wings just before his last stride of the delivery, was to bowl the third ball of the hat-trick fast and on the stumps.

“Dutchie” was a gentle man; he was humble and not intent on winning above all else. I am so lucky to have known him and he gave me a stumping in one of his Golden Oldies overs. I am sad he has gone but memory eases the pain a little.

Now back to my narrative… (I will go on writing from here soon.)

Au revoir to the reader,

Royce

Gateway

My Time With Gateway

This is a little story about a university group. It is a tale of adversity, determination and, in many cases, ultimate triumph. The students who joined that group had experienced life the hard way. Some had been floored by drugs, there were several divorcees with children, one candidate had MS and used to talk to me each week about how his friends were getting weaker and sometimes dying; I have a beautiful painted shell given to me by one of several indigenous members of the group, and there was a blind student who typed her answers deliberately without using brail.

Gateway was a program, funded by the Federal Labor government in 1989, at the University of Wollongong. It was a spin off from the similarly funded “New Start” program, which my colleagues and I ran at UWS, two years before, with promising success.

This so-called equity scheme was a one-semester course for non-matriculated students to give them a chance to enter university. There was an English component, a mathematics component, and introductions to various aspects of university life, such as the library and the student union.

I am not a mathematician so my information on that is zero, except to say that the staff member was a revered member of the Mathematics Teachers’ Association, had both feet on the ground, and was a highly experienced university teacher.

As for English, we taught them that when you speak, you write on air, but when you write for formal occasions such as essays or examinations, it stays there for everyone to see and judge. We focused on the university essay and ways to make it good. We discussed especially the power of the sentence as a package of meaning; faulty package: damaged meaning.

We explained that every essay, whether it is an assignment or an exam question, ALWAYS has two components: the topic words, which tell you what to write about, and the directives, that tell you how to write about it. So, for Compare and contrast Sydney and Melbourne as modern cities, the topic words are Sydney and Melbourne, and the directive is compare and contrast as modern cities. To succeed here, you must talk about both cities; you must both compare and contrast them and not merely describe them; you must also discuss them as modern cities, not (necessarily) as football teams.

There is another essential. To do well you must have worked hard and know a lot about the two cities. The point though was that a fountain of knowledge sabotaged by irrelevance or incompleteness leads to at least disappointment, if not failure. Naturally spelling, grammar, style and narrative structure were among the outcomes of the weekly marking and post mortem discussions.

Can you decrypt this code I filled their first essays with: KTTQ?

It was Keep To The Question. Failure here still is a common weakness.

Candidates were given a 250-word essay to write each week. It was marked and returned to them in the next lesson a week away. There was always a post mortem session on strengths and weaknesses before the next lesson started. Words in excess of 250 were penalised. Too many, and the essay was marked but with a zero score. They were all informed of Blaise Pascal et al.’s famous words: “I am sorry I have not time to write you a short letter; I have to write you a long one.”

We worked through some of the commonest university tasks: description, analysis by resolution of controversy, analysis through definition or clarification, analysis through interpretation, the writing of technical reports and individual creative responses. We learnt the best way: with quick feedback from our mistakes. Everyone had to give a speech before the class group (a terrifying task for some) and we nurtured each other through that and every other ordeal. It was good for me as the teacher too. To teach is to learn something twice. Notice I prefer the word “teach” to “lecture.”

Now I want to talk about a few people I remember specially. No names, as we have such respect for each other, and they seem to be sitting beside me now, although it is part of two decades ago.

In one of the night classes, a man and a woman were sitting at the back of the room. I said to the class, “I might bring my ‘thesises’ next week to show you.” Within about two minutes, both of them were standing up waving their dictionaries at me. “You should have said “theses.”

I was a student of Professor Wilkes, at Sydney University. He had spent much of his life getting rid of Latin and Greek endings in English. I brought them my Collins Dictionary, which Professor Wilkes edited, and there was my version too. But I agreed with them that their version was easier to say.

The male student is a lawyer now. During his Law studies, he became World Champion Client Interviewer. It was a very big contest, run for law students around the world. He won the final in Scotland. The woman who waved the dictionary was an expectant mother. The baby joined us about a week after the Gateway course finished, and I had the delight of giving a present to a beautiful baby girl. Her mother was a brilliant student, went on to an honours degree and a position at the university.

On another occasion, I was spoken to on the telephone by the daughter of a potential student, who was seeking admission to the program for her mother. It turned out that both the mother and father were involved in a bus disaster some time previously in Queensland. Both were unconscious for a long time and both eventually survived. Recovering, they returned to Wollongong and were getting on with their usual life when the father dropped dead at the family home. The daughters wanted a remedy for the empty sadness.

We admitted the mother to the course. I could hear the screams of joy from her daughters in the background when I rang to tell them. That student walked with the aid of a walking stick. I remember her delightful, meticulous, small handwriting, and her willingness to discard her former ways and try something new. One of the first things I had said to each beginning class was “Warning! Warning! This course is dangerous to your preconceptions.”

The vision I remember most, however, of that particular brave person is her long walk to the stage on Graduation night, without her walking stick, in a beautiful, sparkling, black dress that contrasted with her neatly arranged, white hair. She entered university and studied with one of her daughters.

On another memorable occasion we had a call from the Secretary of the Steelers Rugby League Club, seeking a place for one of his young players. I was impressed by the caring attitude of that League official and his concern for the player’s welfare. The young man was qualified to enter the course, so in he came. He did the course, but was a star second-rower in First Grade for many seasons, with no time for university. Perhaps he could have used his entry qualifications later in life.

I remember too, a brave and diligent divorced mother with children who was badly treated by a recalcitrant ex-spouse. She dreamed of becoming a family lawyer. She became one.

We had a very popular leader of a musical group, suddenly dreaming of becoming an academic. Through Gateway, he gained university entry and an Honours degree in Creative Arts. He went on to his PhD thesis. Alas! When he passed away two years ago, I lost a true friend.

I am not sure I can explain the success of this group. In the six years I taught in the program, I could feel a sense of their bonding, their support for each other in a common cause. It is something that is hard for teachers to create, and even harder to define.

The Gateway group was the most successful of any identifiable undergraduate group in the University. Changes came, with lack of funding from the Federal Government, but I was gone then and the struggle belonged to somebody else. Sadly that gateway is now closed.

I still have a message from one of the women in the very first Gateway class, on a card given to me on my retirement from the University. It says, “Royce I will never forget you.” She had won the University Medal for Psychology.

Somehow, when I think of all my failures, of all the things I wish I had done better, people like these tap me on the shoulder and say, “Never mind; you did your best.”

So here I am in the wasteland of advanced maturity. Can you imagine how I feel, with my background, when I see the barriers to university study placed on students today. Wherever I go – OfficeWorks, Woolworths and Coles checkouts and elsewhere – I wish young people good luck with their studies and with their HECS payment. Almost always they smile back and thank me.

I have three degrees, each taking six years of part-time study. Because of the whims of time I have not paid one cent of HECS.  In fact the Department of Education of New South Wales actually paid for my first degree’s university tuition.  Such a golden age that was. Somebody then understood that the thousands of pupils in my 50 years of teaching would all fill workplaces and pay taxes. Lord what fools these present day political mortals be!

And what bigger fools vote for them!

Afterthought

If you have failed in one of those diabolical, terminal, one-off qualifying tests and still want to go to university, don’t give up. Go for it as a provisionally matriculated student. You’ll have experience on your side. R.

On Testing English

Words are loaded pistols according to J P Sartre.

You certainly can shoot yourself in the foot with those unruly, dangerous little things. Some political power-seekers are showing  prodigious naivety when they claim a one-off test of English skills will be a valid and reliable measure of acceptability for new citizenship. This Fallacy of the Crucial Experiment, the implied existence of evidence that doesn’t exist, is the Trump Card of too many leaders now in power. Today, when I hear a politician speak, I tend so often to think both feet are wounded and there isn’t a leg to stand on.

My evidence won’t take long.

Here are three pieces of writing for hypothetical assessment. Let’s see what hypothetical marking achieves.

Sample 1

Fellers of Australier,

Blokes an’ coves an’ coots,

Shift yer bloody carcasses,

Move yer bloody boots.

Gird yer bloody loins up,

Get yer bloody gun,

Set the bloody enermy

An’ watch the blighters run.

MARKING: Spelling Errors 7; Comma Splices: 3; Vulgar Words: 5; Excessive Abbreviations: 3; Capitalisation Errors: 0; Punctuation Errors: 0; Style Ranking: Extremely low class, repetitive and undignified. Test Result: FAIL.

Sample 2

The soil on which we now live was not a gift bestowed by Heaven on our forefathers. But they had to conquer it by risking their lives. So also in the future our people will not obtain territory, and therewith the means of existence, as a favour from any other people, but will have to win it by the power of a triumphant sword.

MARKING: Spelling Errors 0; Comma Splices: 0; Vulgar Words: 0; Capitalisation Errors: 0; Punctuation Errors: 0; Style Ranking: Elegant and emotionally moving.                            Test Result: DISTINCTION.

Sample 3

Hi Royce

How are you doing?

Congratulations on your marriage. I wish you and your wife would be happy.

Royce I would like to thank you on your assistance during I study here. Royce here is my souvenier. I do hope you still remember me by this souvenier.

Although  my structure sentences are not good, I still receive your corrections. Again, thank’s very much on your assistance.

(Name withheld )

MARKING: Spelling Errors 2; Comma Splices: 0; Vulgar Words: 0; Excessive Abbreviations: 3; Capitalisation Errors:3; Punctuation Errors: 4; Style Ranking: Much improvement needed in sentence structure. Test Result: FAIL.

FINAL DECISION: Candidate 1 Citizenship Denied; Candidate 2 Citizenship Approved. Candidate 3 Citizenship Denied

Sources:  Sample 1 Candidate 1 C J Dennis. Extract from his poem  “The Australaise.” Sample 2 Candidate 2  A. Hitler Extract from Mein Kampf, page 556. Sample 3 Candidate an unnamed student from Indonesia completing a Masters program at an Australian university. Special Note: The Sample 3 student became aware that I was a widower who had married again. The souvenir was just a little card. The student went on to graduate. The date was December 29, 1992. I still have the card. Another graduate, on becoming aware of my second marriage at age 62, sent me a card from Thailand hoping I would soon have lots of little grandchildren. Such people would still be honoured in my life now, for as long as they desired, if they could survive the regulations.

politifact-photos-Standardized_test_image

[Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons; photographer unknown]

EPILOGUE: The Earth is peopled not by categories but by extremely complex human beings. Progressive, structured assessment over a period of time, with workshops and teaching is an essential way to rank us. A study-guide controlled, hit or miss showcase of pretence test is not.

But I’ve been a teacher K to university for the last fifty years or so and politicians don’t seem to listen to us.

r.

Afterthought

Here’s a little poem I wrote some years ago. It may be relevant; I don’t know…

Dear Teacher Did You Read It?

‘Our headmaster thought the school was marvellous and wouldn’t face up to facts.’ A fifteen-year- old school-leaver, quoted in The Newsome Report: ‘Half our future’–1963 (England)
Dear teacher did you really read my story really truly read it really truly?
What I said was true–
My darling mother died when I was only ten.
It is true I didn’t understand we’d never meet again.
It is true I longed just one more time to hold her hand in mine.
It is true I jigged away on trains
To the end of every line.
It is true my father ran away
When his world seemed to end.
It is true I searched the human race and couldn’t find my friend.
It is true you are busy every day planning and doing your work.
So much to read and so much to say that it’s only rest you shirk.
But why did you talk about full stops and little slips of the pen
And give me an E on my report card and make me write it again?
Dear teacher did you really read my story really truly read it really truly?

August 2006

PS: I love C J Dennis. He is one of my favourite writers. He provided good material for this piece however. r.

Incompetent Scientists Trumped

Bilge

Creative Commons Is Our Image Source

Vale Global Warming AKA Climate Change

NOTE WELL:The Hogwash, Bilge, Claptrap And Hooey Are Over

AT LAST OUR REALITY IS VERIFIED, VALIDATED AND ENDORSED

All Hail to Post Truth!

Now we can put the lies of 98% of the world’s scientists in their rightful place.

Look at this example of what we can now cast aside forever…

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient or paleoclimate evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.3

The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling:

If you want to read more of this claptrap go here.

Ah but the folly of all the rot, moonshine, hooey, garbage is over now. The recent brave, dramatic act of the Australian Treasurer:  holding up before the cameras a piece of coal as a stage prop, is now bearing fruit.

Yes It’s All Over! Scientism Bites The Dust!

We now have the world’s most powerful ally.

2016-08-08-1470670721-3250713-donaldtrump
Image From Creative Commons

President Donald Trump Agrees With Us…

Wow! What an ally!

Take a windswept look at this:

President Trump’s proposed budget plan calls for a $100 million cut in funding for climate change programmes. 

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a press conference: “We’re not spending money on that anymore” because he said federal climate change programmes are a “waste of your [tax] money.”

Wow! Wow! Wow! Now he is spreading the word around the world. Jobs! Jobs for the miners and coal CEOs will follow.It’s great!  Great! Great! Great! Great! Great! Great!

Yes! The Age of Action at last has arrived, thank Gold;

Truth and Certainty.

Now it’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye to stormy weather,

r.

On The Matter Of Unjust Laws

Obedience to the Law is on our Australian minds just now. Fascinating questions on a recent  ABC’s 7.30 Report concerning cutbacks to penalty rates and obeying the law as a duty.

Just thinking…

Saint Augustine: An Opinion

A law proven unjust is no longer a law.

Now here is a law passed by a democratically elected government:

The Enabling Act:  Source: http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Reports2013/hitlerenablingact.htm Date March 1 2017  6.58 AM.

“Law for Removing the Distress of Volk and Reich.”

The protection of the frontiers of the Reich, and with them the life of our Volk and the existence of our economy, is now in the hands of our Reichswehr which, in accordance with the terms imposed upon us by the Treaty of Versailles, can be regarded as the only really disarmed force in the world. In spite of its small size prescribed therein and its totally insufficient arms, the German Volk can regard its Reichswehr with proud satisfaction. This slight instrument of our national self-defense came into existence under the most difficult conditions. In its spirit, it is the bearer of our best military traditions.

Those reading this who, like me, were alive during World War II, will understand my attitude to that particular law. Of many more examples, I choose just one more:

1640 — 1660: The Critical Period: Custom to Law when Status Changed to “Servant for Life”

  • 1639/40 – The General Assembly of Virginia specifically excludes blacks from the requirement of possessing arms
  • 1642 – Black women are deemed tithables (taxable), creating a distinction between African and English women.
  • 1662 – Blacks face the possibility of life servitude. The General Assembly of Virginia decides that any child born to an enslaved woman will also be a slave.

You can read more on my second example here.

My consent for them is not engineered.

I have nothing more to say so I will make this my shortest ever post.

Thanks for being here and happy thinking dear reader,

r.