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What you want to say – 12th January 2022 January 12, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. NFB - January 12, 2022

Could this really be it for BoJo? A lot of Tory figures making the right noises, but does he just need to ride it out again?

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

I had the same question this morning reading the headlines. I kind of hope not if only because he’s so bad for them.

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sonofstan - January 12, 2022

Watching him flounder at PMQ – unreal.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

Awful. Lower than vermin. Rory Kinnear has a genuinely upsetting piece in the Guardian today which points up the sheer nauseating hypocrisy of BJ and the rest of them.

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Paul Culloty - January 12, 2022

And now that they have fallen 10 points behind Labour in a flash poll, expect the knives to further sharpen:

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Tomboktu - January 12, 2022

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2. Gearóid Clár - January 12, 2022

Kathey Sheridan in full-on panic mode in today’s IT. IT’s like something from Kevin Myers c.1999…

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/kathy-sheridan-will-the-real-sinn-f%C3%A9in-please-stand-up-1.4774075

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3. Jim Monaghan - January 12, 2022

I see the campaign for a combination of assessment and exam in the LC as debasing the entire system. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/what-other-options-are-there-for-the-leaving-cert-1.4773883
We have a huge drop out rate in Third Level and this makes it even worse. For example. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/drop-out-rates-in-some-third-level-stem-courses-hitting-80-1.4522466#:~:text=Between%2060%20and%2080%20per,to%20complete%20their%20college%20courses. The administrative solution to this is to bring standards down. For example https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/staff-protest-over-grade-inflation-at-institute-of-technology-1.3744533. I like to think my doctor and/or plumber knows what they are doing.
I see a reform of the written exam having merit but not assessment.
Teachers, like the rest of us, have conscious and unconscious biases.If you bring in other extraneous stuff like interviews etc. for entry to college places, then the private schools will skew the system.
Maybe have some exams or parts of them in Fifth Year. Reform the system do not debase it.
I don’t like stress, who does. But life is filled with stresses. People have to learn to cope with them.
Last point. Snobbery is driving the rush to Third Level. Doing an apprenticeship does not mean you are a lesser person. It does not mean you have less appreciation of culture than say a Commerce graduate. It might mean you have a more interesting job that someone in a call centre and maybe far more job security. Eg an electrician will not be replaced by a computer. A socialist society would have an option to take a year off say every seven years to pursue other interests at full pay.

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sonofstan - January 12, 2022

“. A socialist society would have an option to take a year off say every seven years to pursue other interests at full pay”

Absolutely.

Re the drop out rate in third level: figures have improved immensely here in England since the introduction of fees, and unis doing the sums regarding loss of income. I don’t support fees obviously, but it is clear that institutions can do way more to support students in difficulty when they have an incentive.

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JIm Monaghan - January 12, 2022

Fees act as a motivating factor, to be sure. better support as well. But when extra support is basically trying to get students to essentially redo the Leaving Cert. I wonder. And this goes down the system. many secondary teachers say that far too many students in First Year do not have primary school level.
80% drop out rate on STEM subjects.
Oh I have invigilated exams and have looked at first year exam papers in one institute. I was aghast at the low level. Questions that should have been a doodle in the Leaving Cert.

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sonofstan - January 12, 2022

I’ve taught at universities in Ireland and here in the UK. I used to think the LC was a better preparation than the narrow focus of A-levels, but I’ve reversed my opinion. You won’t get an A* at A-level by cramming a lot of disconnected info into your head, whereas, too often, LC students have learned to pass exams, but not to actually research anything. The only saving grace from my POV is that Irish students will generally have slightly more developed writing skills becuase they will have been writing essays throughout, whereas, depending on your choice of subjects, you might not at what we used to calll sixth form.

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Jim Monaghan - January 12, 2022

Interesting. Maybe some specialisation after Fifth year. And still on my theme, I am told the transition year is just a doss in most schools. There are a few teachers here, I wonder what they think, and please not a kneejerk reaction of teh “all our teachers, schools, students are just wonderful”

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6to5against - January 12, 2022

For what its worth, here a few of my disconnected thoughts on the matter, as a teacher…

There are loads of faults in the Irish system. And there are loads of faults in every other system that I’ve encountered too. Reforms should be ongoing and we should slowly move away from the enormous stress on the terminal exam, but it should also be recognised that has been ongoing already for some years. Some subjects have as much as 40% going for coursework/orals already.

The idea that students are getting through the leaving cert based on a huge amount of rote learning just doesn’t seem to be true, from my experience – or at least its hugely exaggerated. I teach physics and maths and even if you were entirely cynical, there would be very little benefit in trying a rote approach. Students tell me that there is some rote learning in aspects of some papers. Geography seems to get mentioned a lot.

Whatever about preparation for the skills needed at college, there is a benefit to students in the broad curriculum at leaving cert. We have engineering students in college who, as 18 or 9 yr olds have been studying poetry, or a language, or history. Similarly we have law students who have studied, say, quite advanced stats. That’s a good thing.

Too much of the 2nd level system is designed to accommodate colleges, who seem shocked that they might have to teach their own students important but basic skills. If they find their 1st year engineering students are a little lacking in, say, algebra skills shouldn’t they run a few more algebra classes?

I’m sure this doesn’t apply to SoS.

The points system gets the blame for distorting everything, and it does. But I feel its an offshoot of an unequal society. High points courses are to some extent so popular because they offer secure, high-earning careers in a society where many hard-working well educated people will struggle financially. If there was less fear of poverty and insecurity, there would be less obsession with status and high earning careers.

Pushing the entry into high-points/high-earning careers back a year or two will not remove this problem, It will just move it, and hide it, and allow more room for the children of doctors and lawyers to become doctors and lawyers.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

+1

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oliverbohs - January 12, 2022

Transition year = doss year shd not be a shock to anyone, and if they are shocked at that (and in a position where they’re influencing education policies), it’s purely performative. They wd remember RE class in all the years before it became a subject with exams attached. Another waste of time

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mal - January 12, 2022

teacher assessment and predicted grades and interviews are used in the UK and are absolutely biased. To my mind the solution to the pre-existing problems with the LC is for the existing CAO system to remain in place, but for there to be a greater emphasis on continuous assessment as part of the grade for each subject – at the moment subjects like History and Art have a project component, this could be introduced in other subjects as well. I grant that it may be the case that this would favour middle-class students as well, I don’t know – it would favour school attendance and work over a longer period so could disfavour smart kids who don’t work during the year but turn up on the day and pass their exams. But it would reduce the importance of the leaving cert and thus provide a safety net for students who end up not being able to take the leaving cert for whatever reason. The problem of conducting the LC under COVID is a bit trickier of course.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

I wonder about project work – though it depends on whether it is completed in school or out. if the latter I’ve seen with my own eyes parents ‘helping’ with that to an extreme. If the former I think it’s a really useful element of the mix. It’s all a balance really, giving people basic knowledge and skills, ensuring that they are able to analyse and critique, offering space for imagination and creativity and craft, encouraging both individual and collective effort (projects good for the latter).
I think there’s other areas that are important too. Encouraging people to be able to present materials, giving them confidence to speak, ensuring those who can’t do that easily for one reason or another aren’t ignored or sidelined. Even just writing this there’s so many factors, and primary is different to secondary is different to third level.

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sonofstan - January 13, 2022

“Too much of the 2nd level system is designed to accommodate colleges, who seem shocked that they might have to teach their own students important but basic skills. If they find their 1st year engineering students are a little lacking in, say, algebra skills shouldn’t they run a few more algebra classes?”

True enough – I’ve no real problem with teaching basic writing skills if I have to, and I’m not going to get on my high horse about it.
Big picture: only vague correspondence between ‘good at school’ and degree class, and out the other end, at the vocational end of what I teach, employers complain that we don’t prepare students for, ahem, ‘the real world’.
Which may suggest that trying to design anything to prepare for something quite different is a fool’s game. Let schools do what schools do, let universities do what we think we should be doing and let employers recognise that they need to train people, and ‘transferable skills’ are largely mythical.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

+1. I feel it would be more useful for pupils/students to get a sense of the different areas from vocational through to research not in terms of transferable skills which above a certain level is like you say really a bit of a myth but so they get to grips with or some sense of what they want to do later.

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pangurbán - January 13, 2022

how do you resolve the problem of parents or teachers ghost writing the project work?

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

If projects are inschool that would mitigate against it I’d hope. But as I mentioned before seen the dynamic you describe (though in truth teachers are usually a bit too busy to be doing that).

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4. Jim Monaghan - January 12, 2022

This is a good article. Ok be amused at me posting this. https://www.lookleft.ie/2021/10/the-campaign-against-the-campaign-against-tb/ This informer destroyed the careers of many doctors. The IRA executed her husband in the War of Independence, in part for ill treating Tom Clark
“While the State was unenthusiastic about playing a part in responding to the TB epidemic, McQuaid saw the growing realm of social services and believed they offered a new space for Church control. In 1939 he had scuppered plans from the Civics Institute to set up playgrounds, children’s clubs and child-guidance clinics with the help of Dublin Corporation because they were not run by the Church, involved a partnership with municipal and State authorities, and would bring in professional social workers.

He had opposed plans to amalgamate St Ultan’s with Harcourt Street Hospital as it would “for generations to come, hand over Catholic children to an almost exclusively non-Catholic control”. Dr Monica Mary Lea-Wilson, one of his informants at Harcourt Street, wrote to the Archbishop that it was “not advisable” for Dorothy Stopford Price (a Protestant) to be running a dispensary at the Royal City of Dublin hospital (“mostly RC babies and children”).

Mac Lellan details McQuaid’s behind the scenes moves getting medical professionals, voluntary organisations and politicians on side to undermine the Anti-Tuberculosis League, which had a majority of Catholics on its proposed committee but too many Protestants and even a known atheist. As the public meeting began, Monsignor Daniel Moloney insisted on reading a letter declaring the Archbishop’s belief that while an anti-tuberculosis league should be established, it should be done under the auspices of the Red Cross. The league was over before it began.”

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EWI - January 12, 2022

Mac Lellan details McQuaid’s behind the scenes moves getting medical professionals, voluntary organisations and politicians on side to undermine the Anti-Tuberculosis League, which had a majority of Catholics on its proposed committee but too many Protestants and even a known atheist. As the public meeting began, Monsignor Daniel Moloney insisted on reading a letter declaring the Archbishop’s belief that while an anti-tuberculosis league should be established, it should be done under the auspices of the Red Cross. The league was over before it began.

The RCC’s militant tendency would rather have TB/Covid than have truck with ‘godless’ medicine.

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5. tomasoflatharta - January 12, 2022
6. Michael Carley - January 12, 2022

You might want to correct the title of this.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

Oops. Thanks MC. Duly corrected!

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Aonrud ⚘ - January 12, 2022

And so was created the political divide between those who say it’s better now because more of it is accurate, and those who say it’s worse because it’s further away from today’s date.

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WorldbyStorm - January 12, 2022

And there was never agreement reached again on the site. 2021/2022, the year(s) of the Great Schism Over An Incorrect Date(s) on a Post.

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Tomboktu - January 12, 2022

Further splits arose over whether it was 12th January or January 12.

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 13, 2022

Feck it I was away when this split happened. And I’ve no idea what it is about. But I’m gonna take a side and the other crowd are the worst splitters ever. And I mean ever.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

Too right!

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Aonrud ⚘ - January 13, 2022

With hindsight, the split could have been avoided if I’d made a minor change instead of doubling down.

Which I suspect is applicable elsewhere too.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

Heheheh

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7. Aonrud ⚘ - January 12, 2022

Looking at the coverage of Johnson today, there’s this quote from Tory MP William Wragg, who’s calling for him to quit:

I don’t believe it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the prime minister, and indeed who governs this country. I think it is for the Conservative party, if not the prime minister in fact, to make that decision…

Just poor wording, I know, but constitutionally I suspect parliament might object to that one…

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Paul Culloty - January 12, 2022

It’s certainly an obligation here for the Taoiseach to secure the support of the Dáil, but because of the majoritarian tradition in the UK, it only comes into play there during hung parliaments.

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8. banjoagbeanjoe - January 13, 2022

A nobleman…
https://m.independent.ie/irish-news/ill-tie-myself-to-a-tree-to-protect-this-nature-reserve-vows-baron-of-dunsany-as-he-fights-rail-line-going-through-estate-41234583.html

I’m instituting a CLR competition for best answer to “I’ll tie myself to a tree”.
My submissio:

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 13, 2022

My submission: “I’ll drive the train”.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

“I’ll collect the wooden logs and the matches”

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EWI - January 13, 2022

“I’ll fight to the last peasant”

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alanmyler - January 13, 2022

I’d say the Baron will be safe enough, I wouldn’t be expecting the railway line to be extended to Navan anytime soon.

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Liberius - January 13, 2022

“Contract issued for oak sleepers”.

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9. Paul Culloty - January 13, 2022

I’m baffled at the mentality of individuals who respond to women detailing the various psychological and emotional reasons they feel unsafe walking alone with the reply “Not all men” – physicality and power dynamics that are major factors in relation to violence are predominantly male traits, even if only a minority of men are so inclined.

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sonofstan - January 13, 2022

Almost worse is the ‘let me explain what you should do about it’ approach: don’t go out after dark, stay away from lonely areas, bring a phone, tell someone where you’re going…. from blokes who never feel, or need to feel, unsafe anywhere.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

The lack of empathy is abysmal. And then there’s the old saws about how most of the violence is male on male and younger rather than older. These are true but irrelevant. Indeed one would think that that would increase empathy, or better yet again increase a sense that this should be intolerable in our society, but no.

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10. Starkadder - January 13, 2022

Goodnight, Not-So-Sweet Prince: the Queen of England revokes Prince Andrew’s military titles and royal patronages.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-59987935

Andy will have to take part in the Virginia Giuffre case as a private citizen.

Things must be really bad for the Firm if they have to take such a drastic and public step.

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WorldbyStorm - January 13, 2022

Agree completely Starkadder. Damage limitation all round.

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Fergal - January 13, 2022

The lad who went to the States with the American young one… he can’t use HRH, can he?
Neither can the Andrew lad.

The Queen’s husband is gone too. How many royals are left?

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benmadigan - January 14, 2022

the only Royals who actually went to war (Andrew in the Falklands/Malvinas, Harry in Afghanistan) have been stripped of their military ranks.
Karma’s a bitch!

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11. yourcousin - January 14, 2022

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yourcousin - January 14, 2022

My grandmother, who grew up in a literal shack and worked the beet fields as a child was a Local 7 retiree. Her home, while modest was the center of family and love for her three children, five grand children, and two great grand children before she passed (there are 4 more now). Her Union pension and health plan allowed her the dignity and respect all working people should have in retirement. It is a privilege and honor to be able this little bit in remembrance of her.

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WorldbyStorm - January 14, 2022

+1

Fair dues.

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12. tomasoflatharta - January 14, 2022
13. sonofstan - January 14, 2022

This is worth a read: he goes through the Cummings substack so you don’t have to. The comparison with Colin Wilson is spot on, I think

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/14/intoxicating-insidery-and-infuriating-everything-i-learned-about-dominic-cummings-from-his-10-a-month-blog

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14. sonofstan - January 15, 2022

Changing the rules to suit Jeffrey?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-60000812

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15. Paul Culloty - January 15, 2022

Apparently, no middle-class people use Ryanair, and working-class people never frequent M&S:

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WorldbyStorm - January 15, 2022

It’s almost laughable

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16. yourcousin - January 15, 2022

RIP Dallas Frazier. An amazing and underrated song writer.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas_Frazier

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17. sonofstan - January 17, 2022

With the license fee under threat…

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18. roddy - January 18, 2022

I pass this on whilst making no further comment.Headline from RTE site – “Suspended sentence for Kerry fireman for starting fire”

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banjoagbeanjoe - January 18, 2022

I read that story. You couldn’t make it up. In the future UI, with a Presbyterian chief justice or whatever, his likes will do time.

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19. banjoagbeanjoe - January 18, 2022

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