Friday, 18 September 2015

Spring on the MacIntyre

Wattle - Look at what it grows in.

My travels this week took me to the MacIntyre district, that slice of country where the Queensland border dips south for a bit, and between the lean green hungry country of the Granite Belt to the north east, and the brown rolling downs to the north west.

It's a pleasantly different part of the south west, apparently resembling areas in Texas, USA.

That is, according to oral history, how the town was named.

I lived and worked for a time in both Inglewood and Goondiwindi, so the area is, for me, rich with nostalgia.That was over 45 years ago. Both Texas and I have changed a bit since then.

What hasn't changed about that part of the world is the display of spring wildflowers.

The contrast between the brown hues of the often rocky countryside and the colorful blooms of the roadside plants is frequently stunning.

There's verbena and wattle. The verbena are regarded by some as a pest, but I'm told they're harmless. If there are any cow cockies out there with a better idea, let me know. My ignorance of botany is boundless.


(Taken with my trusty Sony Xperia).

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The More Things change, the More They Remain the Same.

Yesterday I spent all day at a workshop run by the local education district.

It was funded by the MSSWD* programme, set up by the last federal government, but terminating because the funds have dried up under the current administration. The last of the Regional funds were used up by the conference.

Obviously, when it comes to priorities, bombing Syria is much more important than supporting kids with disabilities.

But I digress.....

The conference was focused on Inclusive Practice, and featured Dr Adam Fraser, of "Third Space" fame.

His presentations were interesting and relevant, but didn't really tell me anything I haven't learnt (the hard way) in forty-four years in special education. He just presented it in an engaging way, and used lots of millennial jargon.

It did seem to impress the young women in the gathering, however. Which is OK, because they (young women) made up the by far the largest part of the audience. The proportion of men in the business is now so low, that we're almost a curiosity.

The Third Space concept is this bloke's trade mark, and he does talk a lot of sense about organisational culture. I could have done with some of this thirty years ago, when I was first a principal. It would have helped me avoid lots of angst.

But back to the audience. There were literally hundreds of them, some from as far away as Charleville and Cunnamulla. Given that Cunnamulla is about a ten hour drive west, and it was Saturday, that's commitment.

At one stage Dr Fraser asked us what had changed most since we had started in the field. Given that I was the oldest person in attendance, and I reckon my perspective was probably different from most, I piped up - "These days, everyone's a hustler".

This seemed to confuse him a bit, and he reshaped it to say we are a bit self-absorbed. This was not what I meant. These days, innovative leadership is seen as a commodity to be bought and sold, rather than a talent to be freely shared, and I find that a bit disappointing.

It was, however, inspiring to be part of a group who were obviously fair dinkum about what they were doing, and keen to learn and share. I also picked up some new knowledge (about sensory learning) and some new skills (using embedded features in Microsoft and IOS).

Teachers are a special breed. They have to be to remain in the profession these days.

This is the unchanging bit.

*More Support for Students with Disabilities

A Pinch of Common Sense

Courtesy I found this posted in Facebook a few weeks ago, when the faux outrage about mandated vaccination first began to ...