CHANGE HOW WE EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN

My name is Paul David and I am a native English teacher.

I am an educator and I want to talk to you today about ways in which we can change how we educate our children.

The scandinavian country of Finland is an example to the world as to how education should go forward in the future.

Let’s take a look at their model.

First of all, let’s stop treating kids as robots and respect their individual learning needs.

We must cut the class size to a maximum of twelve.

Quite simply, big classes do not work and they are not needed.

We must develop the teacher-student relationship and encourage effective interaction which will involve the parents as well.

Not only that but we must eradicate the concept of the large classroom and reliance on text books.

Greater emphasis must be placed on the training of teachers through college and university and the application of teaching methods.

Technology should be embraced such as I-pads, interactive whiteboards and other visual aids but not to the extent thatr a student feels he does not need to attend class or indeed need a teacher.

What’s more, let’s minimize practical tests and examination and give more importance to assessment and evaluation.

And let’s kick out the grind and stress caused by homework.

There is no evidence anywhere to say that homework serves a purpose.

If this revised strategy is applied, it will make for a brighter future for all children of the world.

Give education an opportunity to flourish and benefit the student.

Give the student a platform to feel motivated to learn rather than just scored to meet the pride of the parent.

Finland may well be a fairly low populated country of under six million people and that perhaps makes it easier for the educational model I have talked about to work.

But whether in Indonesia or the United States, Hong Kong or Cameroon, the methods of education must change.  And change for the better.  Thank you.

I shall be recording a version of this text and posting it on You Tube under my handle paul.cibubur.

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WHAT A LOAD OF COBBLERS!

The 25th October is St. Crispins Day.

On this day each year, the market town of Northampton in central England provides entertainment for its residents in celebration of its patron saint.

Crispin is the patron saint of leather and shoe making and Northampton is the town at the heart of the shoe making industry in England.

Oak bark is aplenty along with fine leather fetched at the local cattle market.

Who would be a tanner?

More than a hundred shoe factories set up in Northampton during the evolution of the nineteenth century from workshop to factory.

Brand names were established for the highest quality of footwear which are still highly regarded today.

Dr Martens, Churches, Crocket and Jones, Greens, are but a few of those brand names.

Cobblers, the trade title for the worker who makes shoes and boots, became the adopted nickname of Northampton Town Football Club.

The trend of shoe-making in the town probably started around the time of the civil war in the middle of the seventeenth century when hardy boots were needed and worn by both roundheads and cavaliers in combat.

That trend continued for the Napoleonic, Crimenn and Boer Wars of the nineteenth century and then of course for both the first and second world war of the twentieth century.

A mental hospital was built in 1876 on the outskirts of the town at Berrywood and carried the name of St. Crispins for many years.

It is a fine pavillion style building with magnificent views across the Nene Valley.

It was built on expansive grounds with its own self-contained working farm, market garden, shoemakers, tailors, carpenters and upholsterers.

The hospital was at the forefront of abandoning the notion of bedlam and straight-jackets to provide patients with occupational therapy.

Since 1995, the site of the former hospital has long been redeveloped for housing but there is one derelict section which still exists to this day.

Notably, on the south facade, there is a 190 foot clock tower which serves as a landmark of a bygone era.

A footnote to the story is that of the unfortunate cobbler who ended up at the aylum in the 1920s and who apparently haunts the ruins as a ghostly apparition.

He might not be alone.

You might well say that all of this is a load of cobblers but this, I tell you, is a fascinating story.

DESCRIBE A FARM

This is a simplified English language lesson about describing a farm.

The keywords of the lesson are highlighted.

A farm is a place in the country where crops are grown in the fields and livestock is kept to produce food.

When I say livestock, I mean animals such as cows, sheep, lambs, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks and geese.

You might also refer to them as cattle and poultry.

They produce the dairy and meat produce which is then sold at the local traditional market.

But farms can also be orchards and gardens as well as plantations and vineyards.

Fruit, vegetables, cereal, herbs are just a few examples of what can be produced on a farm.

Livestock graze on pastoral land watched over by shepherds.

Farmland is fenced in to prevent the livestock from escaping and unwelcome intruders such from infiltrating upon the demise.

There are barns for storing hay, farm equipment and keeping the livestock safe.

There is a milking and shearing shed as well as birthing pens and broiler houses for keeping chickens and rabbits.

There are also Greenhouses scattered around.

Farmhands labour around the clock and occasionally find romance with the farmers daughter or the milk maid.

Farms can be simply run as a smalll subsistence farm only to provide a living for the farmer and his family..

They can run as a co-operative with other people, a bit like a community venture or they can be run as a big business farm factory.

The success of farming depends on irrigation, cultivation, climate and technique.

An educated  farmer understands the laws of nature and the four seasons of the year.

Farming is a labour-intensive job, much less so than in the past with the hand held hoe and the harnass of the buffalo or oxen with the plough but nevertheless intensive just the same with the mechanical tractor and combine harvester.

Farming has, of course, entered the twenty first century and embraced technology like never before.

Museums exist to educate and create public awareness about where food really comes from and to give that unique experience of  life on a country farm to a city dweller.

There are petting zoos too to provide a hands-on experience to life down on the farm to young children and a chance to milk a cow.

And Organic and Hydrophonic farming are a consumer driven trend in not using pesticide or chemicals in the growth process of the crop.

In the modern era, farming is extended to fish and birds in fisheries, ponds or aquariums and aviaries as well as wind and even cannabis farms, whether legal or not.

That is all I have got to say about describing a farm.  Thank you very much.

LIFE CYCLE OF A PLANT

This is an English language lesson aimed at elementary school students learning English as a second language.

The topic is Life Cycle of a Plant

Plants are very important.

They make oxygen and are an essential agent for the ecology of the planet.

Plants provide food for people and animal to eat.

Plants need water, air, light, temperature and time to grow.

Not all plants need soil to grow.  They just need the essential nutritients such as mineral, potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.

There is something called hydrophonics which enables plants to grow without soil.

The word ‘hydrophonics’ is taken from the Greek language and means ‘water labour’.

Some plants produce flowers but have no leaves or stem.

The Rafflesia from the Indonesian rainforest of Sumatra, is a case in point and actually the largest known flower in the world.

Trees, shrubs, grass and flowers are all types of plants.

Birds, insects and the wind all play an active role in the pollination of the plant.

Pollen enables the plant to reproduce more seeds.

There are, in fact, six stages of the life cycle of the plant.

They are:

  1. The seed is planted and made ready to grow. This is called germination.
  2. Roots and shoots grow from the plant
  3. Flowers grow from the shoots
  4. Pollen from the birds, insects and wind fertilizes the plant.
  5. The flowers produce fruit
  6. The fruit makes new seed. Seeds continue the cycle when the plant dies.

And so the life cycle of the plant begins again.

 

WORD WATCH

Life     Live     Leaf     Leave

Types   Tips     Trips

 

KEYWORDS TO PRACT

Life cycle                    Stages              Oxygen

Pollen                          Fertilizer          Germination

Seed                            Roots               Shoots

Temperature                Ecology           Hydrophonics

Nutritients                   Reproduce

THE KERIS OF INDONESIA

One of the things which symbolizes the culture custom and tradition of Indonesia is the Keris.

It is the most valued, revered and treasured of all heirlooms passed down through the generations to the Javanese man and compliments him in his best traditional attire.

The Keris is regarded as a sacred personal weapon and an object of great spiritual attachment, serving his protection, performing rites, conferring good luck, fulfilling his desires and being a symbol of social status.

The Keris is a traditional dagger made from iron, metal, alloy and meteorite nickel. Its componentss are the handle, sheath and blade.  Each blade has a series of waves, always odd in number.

The nickel is most sought from the great meteorite which crashed in Prambanan, central Java in 1729.

The remains of the meteorite are today in a museum in the city of Surakarta.

In fact, a traditional Keris may have its blade from Java, its handle from Bali and its sheath from Madura.

A typical Keris measures about 12 to 15 inches in length.

It is most distinctive for its curved handle and its assymetrical blade which means one side of the blade is wider than the other.

The Hilt is the handle of the Keris.    It is gripped at waist level with the blade parallel to the ground.

The hereditary symbolism of the Keris is seen on the curved shape of the Hilt and the Sheath which are decorated with the design of a mythical bird, beast or plant and engraved with a motif.

The Empu is the Lord and Master of the Keris.

He indujlges in spiritual deeds such as fasting, meditation and entering into a trance to fashion the Keris with his bare hands over the red hot fire.

The Empu’s knowledge of literature, history and occult science help to  perfect the Keris for his commissioner,shaping the Hilt to fit smugly into his (and only his) hand while using the mystique of fragrances, oils, poison from plants and venom from snakes to endorse its magical powers.

The Empu also calls upon the mythical spirit of the Rhodem, Jinn and Genie to help make and keep the power of the Keris which is endorsed over time by the ritual bathing of the Keris with jasmine, lime, sandalwood  or apple blossom.

Hence the concept that it is a stabbing weapon and not a knife or a sword and its potency is feared by anyone who is confronted by it or who seeks to take what is not his.

The stabbing effect is never better illustrated than in the folklore tale of when Princess Kirana, disguised as a man in combat against Prince Panjji, her betrothed,  mistakenly stabs him with a Keris in the heat of battle.

A Keris is an uncomparable work of art.  Yet compare the time it takes an artist to paint a masterpiece and an Empu to finish a Keris.

The keeper and the Keris are as one and the same.  The Keris can be anthromorphic and be depicted as a living thing in place of its keeper.

All culture faces an almighty challenge against weather, time, theft, vandalism and peoples general indifference to things of the past.

And who today wants to be an Empu in the modern era when they can make a living in an office, factory or on the internet?

The age of the master craftsman may well have passed forever but the era and aura of the Keris can never leave the Indonesian people or the Javanese heartland where it all started and the Malay archaepeligo to which it later spread.

Nature takes cares of its own.

 

STORY BEHIND THE MONA LISA – ENGLISH LESSON

This is an English language lesson for foreign students studying English.  It is suitable for students of all ages.

This is is the order in which the tasks of the lesson should be done.

  1. Listen to the story without reading the text
  2. Listen to the story read slowly in phrases and write it down as you hear
  3. Listen to the whole story read again to make any corrections
  4. Try reading what is written with the unchecked mistakes
  5. See and write down the correct version of the story
  6. Do not make any deletions or changes to the original (wrong) story you wrote
  7. Compare your wrong story against the right one and learn from your mistakes
  8. Read the correct version of the story several times both silently and aloud
  9. Memorise the correct version of the story
  10. Speak the story from memory several times
  11. Write the story down from memory without looking at any written version of it
  12. Check for any mistakes and then write it again
  13. Speak it again to achieve fluency in speaking the text
  14. Always take a note of any difficult vocabulary and pay attention especially to nouns of people and places.

This lesson is a shorter version of the same story which I have also posted on my blogsite under a similar title.

This is the text of the story for the lesson.

The Mona Lisa was just turned fifteeen years old when she married a rich Italian silk merchant almost twice her age,

Leonardo da Vinci admired her very much and painted her portrait.  She was very beautiful and had an enigmatic smile.

The portrait took many years to complete.  Leonardo lived in France and the painting was gifted to the French King when he died in 1519.

It was once stolen from the Louvre Art Gallery in Paris but thankfully it was recovered and it hands there today for the whole world to see.

About two years ago, special state-of-the-art light technology revealed that the real Mona Lisa was a hidden painting behind the one we now see and know.

Leonardo has tricked us all.

NOTE

The lesson can also be used in the following ways

  1. Present the story to students with around twenty deliberate spelling mistakes and have them correct the text either individually or in pairs.
  2. Once the students are familiar with the text, have them speak the text with missing words and they must speak the text with gap-fill words. It should not be necessary to create a word bank for the students.
  3. A game can be played in groups to guess how many adjectives and/or nouns are used in the story
  4. Allow a time lapse of about a week and ask a student to spontaenously speak the text. The student may be allowed to read it aloud to class first or 15 seconds to glance at the text in his/her student book beforte speaking to the class

Good luck with the English lesson!

 

THE RAPE OF A GOOD GENTLE MAN

THE RAPE OF A GOOD GENTLE MAN

Where once the clothes were worn,

The body is laid bare.

And where once the message was solemnly sworn,

There languishes deep despair.

 

The fundamental foundation of basic belief

Denies no man on earth.

And there is no reasonable relief

For unsustainable loss of self-worth.

 

Take a moment to look into my eyes

And tell me what you see.

Are you someone so sightless, so more wise

Than the gentle man before thee?

 

For all these gotten yester years,

The price has been expended.

Far beyond the fields of all my fears

And the mystical mist descended.

 

When once the voice was softly spoken,

The message was hardly heard.

When just once the unbreakable became broken,

Can say not a single word.

 

Conscience is summoned to perish the soul

For the sins not yet confessed.

Self-esteem, granted, relishes an ever greater role

For personal pride to repel the tempest.

 

Hopes of a honourable man are harboured

In this dry and darkened dock.

A world of dreams so brutally barbered

By the  timeless chimeless clock.

 

Who once was such a gentle man,

Has suffered the forlorn fickle fate.

He who once was a migrant to this distant land,

Has fallen victim to the weight/wait.