Friday, 15 October 2010

Vegetable Fritters

Wednesday morning was different.

The two kids I was working with were assigned to a cooking lesson, so if I wanted to do some observation and generate recommendations, I had to join the lesson.

These are both year five girls with physical impairments who spend the bulk of their time in a regular class, but are withdrawn (in the case of cooking - once per week) to work in small group settings run by a special needs teacher.

They're very well supported, and the SN teacher runs a highly organised programme so that every lesson is prepared to the max. The kids read though the recipe and instructions (in the form of pictographs because some in the group are still learning to read), are assigned tasks, and the teacher tends to stand back with arms folded as they do the whole job from go to whoa.

They start with a bare kitchen, so that even the tasks of getting the utensils, ingredients and various cooking tools out of the cupboard are part of the deal. The goal is the development of independence, but plenty of other skills - sequencing, counting, measuring, estimation, cooperation, verbal communication etc, are all in the mix - excuse the pun.

Both these girls have fairly major problems to overcome (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and Hemiplegia respectively) so succeeding in this is no small challenge for them. The upside is that they enjoy the practical sessions, so motivation is guaranteed. I think they look forward to these sessions all week.

The teacher was pretty pleased to see me, as the Teachers' Aide who normally helps out had called in sick and no replacement was available. I reckon I'd make a pretty fair Teachers' Aide.

It ended well. The fritters were great, although I'm no vegetarian, and would have preferred to sneak some meat into the mix. There was no chance - those kids have eyes like hawks.

My reports and recommendations were also much more comprehensive than usual, given the amount of information I was able to pick up during the process.

I might try to turn up with this group every Wednesday morning.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Election's Over

Now that the election's over, we've heard much less of the mindless "stop the boats".

It would be a good time to stop treating asylum seekers as political collateral, and begin to consider them as human beings.

We actually have a bipartisan approach in that both major parties see the issue simply as a political wedge. 

Wouldn't it be great if they could speed up the processing, shut down the detention centres, and let these people get on with their lives. Given that in this country we take a whole .4% of the world's refugees, I doubt anyone would notice - except perhaps the shock jocks and commentators like Blot and Blur.

That's wishful thinking, of course. There's always 5% of the population paranoid enough to swallow the slogans. And given the balance in the house, both sides will play it for the political advantage they can gouge from this 5%.

This makes interesting reading.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...