Current Affairs

Traumatising students for politics

21 May 2004, 12:31 PM in Current Affairs

Three teachers in California schools have been suspended for showing the video of the decapitation of US civilian Nick Berg.

Gina Grossini, an art teacher at the El Capitan High School in Lakeside, California, told students: "That's what we get for being in a war we shouldn't be in"

The video has apparantly been used by both sides of the political fence

At Villa Park High School in California, English teacher Stephen Arcudi justified showing the video by saying atrocities are occurring on both sides in the Iraq war.

Now I don't care what reasons you give, there is absolutely no justification for showing this video to kids. They simply will not be able to deal with it and it may well traumatise them permanently. This kind of political soap-boxing at the expense of our kids is simply beyond the pale.

The video itself is a demonstration of the barbarity of Islamic Terrorism, but while the event itself can and should be discussed with students, the images and sound from the video do not need to be shown.

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Tassie oposition pledges smaller classes

13 April 2004, 12:14 PM in Current Affairs

The Tasmanian Opposition has said that it wants the state Labor Government to use some of it's expected $80 million budget surplus to fund smaller class sizes in Tasmanian public schools.

The Opposition's spokesman for education, Peter Gutwein, says the Liberal Party is committed to introducing a cap of 25 students for grades two through to six. He says while presently prep and grade one classes are capped at 25 students, his party would cap them at 20.
"When we announced our class size policy we costed it at around $13 million, so the money is there and all that we are asking for is for education to get its fair share."

If there will indeed be an $80 million surplus and if $13 million is what this scheme would cost, then it sounds like a good idea. Reducing class sizes is almost always a good idea.

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How classroom relationship affected the students

10 April 2004, 12:21 PM in Current Affairs

More information about how Jeffrey Sinclair's relationship with student Nicki Shackle affected the students in his classes. Students who were in his class at the time have told The Daily Telegraph how the flirting during class and his subsequent removal disrupted their learning and damaged their marks.

"I graduated from Baulkham Hills High School in the class of 2001 – no thanks to Jeff Sinclair. He was my Extension English 1 and 2 teacher and when he was pulled out of the school, myself and the entire grade suffered as a result."

"We were mucked around for most of the year and we didn't get our teacher back. It was a very tough year for everyone."

Continue reading "How classroom relationship affected the students"

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Affair teacher awarded compo for 'psychological injury'

6 April 2004, 8:50 AM in Current Affairs

'Affair' teacher's compo to spark law change

A teacher who was sacked for having an affair with a student was awarded almost $28,000 compensation for stress .... Jeff Sinclair was removed from the classroom of a Sydney high school in 2001 and given an administrative job after allegations he was having an affair with teenage student Nicki Shackle. He is 33 years her senior.

When I read about this, I was disgusted. It doesn't matter whether they had sex or not. A romantic relationship between a teacher and student, which neither of them deny, is unacceptable. As the department said, it breaches the trust that is essential between teacher and student.

It is no wonder to me that the profession of teaching is given such a bad rap when these types of events occur. How do we get parents to trust teachers when teachers have relationships with students (even if it’s not sexual) and not only get away with it, but are given compensation for psychological injury when they're disciplined for the relationship?

If the law does allow this kind of relationship to occur, it needs changing.

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Youth anti-sex harrassment scheme

31 March 2004, 11:15 AM in Current Affairs

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward has announced a new scheme to combat sexual harassment in schools. The program has apparently run successfully in trial runs in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide last year.

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Jobs for the boys

29 March 2004, 16:03 PM in Current Affairs

I just saw this article in The Age where Mark Latham promises to deliver 'thousands' of new male targeting boys in years 10, 11 and 12 through a campaign to promote the 'status and benefits of teaching', create 'pathways' for boys to become teachers and encourage older male teachers to act as mentors.

Did I miss something? Was it not Mr Latham who shot down the government's attempt to offer more places to male student teachers to increase numbers? And an advertising campaign targeted at male high school students is the best alternative the opposition can come up with?

Mr Latham, please make up your mind, either you believe we need more male teachers or you don't.

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