Thursday, November 16, 2017

Let children dress up as boys or girls, CofE tells schools

Most of the Anglican clergy appear to be dressup queens so it figures

Children should be free to try out “the many cloaks of identity” including dressing up in girls’ or boys’ clothes without being labelled or bullied, the Church of England has said.

In advice to its 4,700 schools, which teach a million pupils, the church said that children should be allowed to “explore the possibilities of who they might be”.

The advice is included in guidance on homophobic bullying, which it has updated to include transphobic and biphobic bullying. “In the early years context and throughout primary school play should be a hallmark of creative exploration. Pupils need to be able to play with the many cloaks of identity (sometimes quite literally with the dressing-up box),” the guidance says.


Technology at the Forefront of Education

Jaime Casap, education evangelist at Google, opened the 2017 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference and Exhibition, held November 9–11 in Phoenix, with an examination of the evolving state of education in the US and how it has changed—for better and for worse—with the advance of technology. The future is now, Casap says, and librarians and educators need to know how to connect with and teach a generation of learners who have spent their whole lives in a digital world.

Casap relayed a personal anecdote to illustrate the power of technology education to change lives—studying computer science allowed him to escape poverty as a kid living in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood during the 1970s and 1980s. He also had stats: Computer science majors earn a salary 40% higher than the average college graduate. But a gap exists between where we’re going and where we are, he says. In Arizona, only 10% of schools offer Advanced Placement computer science courses. Today’s learners are digital natives, and schools must offer them tools and resources they need to thrive.

Casap said that without new technological tools educators won’t be able to reach digital natives. “Imagine what life is like for kids who have grown up in a digital generation,” he says. “How they think about learning is different because of the world they grew up in.” Today’s learners are autodidacts when it comes to digital technology, he says, and the educational system has to be retooled to adapt to that. Instead of adhering to old models that stress rote memorization of facts, educators need to teach students problem-solving skills that allow them to use technologies that are already a part of their everyday lives.

“Information on its own is a commodity,” he says. “We need to teach kids how to apply it. We need to teach kids how to find information and put it together.”

Casap stressed that we are at the beginning of this new model, and librarians and teachers are at the forefront of its adoption. “Kids today have hundreds of libraries at their fingertips,” he says. “Librarians need to help kids navigate this information and use it correctly. We need strong digital leaders, and libraries and librarians are key to this new digital economy.”

This notion of using technology to reach learners in new ways was a theme throughout the first day of the conference. It was best exemplified at the IdeaLab, a digital session where 25 presenters from school libraries and vendors used tabletop video displays to demonstrate educational topics. The displays created a more engaging viewing experience than often-static poster sessions, but it was the topics themselves that pointed to the future: using 3D printing and computer modeling to make models of animals that can be dissected in classrooms, reducing the use of real specimens; creating immersive learning experiences with green screens and video editing; and teaching students to use Microsoft’s collaborative software OneNote as a research tool.


Australia: Children forced to learn about gay sex, workers sacked for speaking their minds and bakers taken to court over cake: The fears lurking behind the same-sex marriage bill

Parents losing the right to object to gay sex education, workers being sacked for expressing an opinion and bakers taken to court over cake.

With a 'Yes' vote result on Wednesday, conservative federal politicians have painted a troubling picture of Australia if same-sex marriage is legalised.

Even Labor senators are worried, with several backbenchers voting against any gay marriage bill on religious freedom grounds, to the chagrin of their party leader Bill Shorten.

Maverick Queensland crossbencher Bob Katter is so worried about parents losing the right to object to their children being taught the Safe Schools program under gay marriage he wants the law changed.

The Katter's Australian Party leader and renegade Nationals MP George Christensen, a fellow Queenslander, are working on a parliamentary bill that would give parents the right to pull their kids out of the controversial gender theory lessons.

Mr Katter, who holds the vast far-north Queensland seat of Kennedy, said the legalisation of same-sex marriage would force children into learning about gay sex and relationships.

'I don't want anyone to underestimate the damage that is being done here to the people of Australia,' federal parliament's longest-serving MP told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday night from Mareeba, south-west of Cairns. 'It opens the way for them to teach same-sex marriage in school.

'There are people preaching and teaching, and I use the word "preaching" before I use the word "teaching", because there are some very aggressive people involved in the homosexual movement in Australia. There are huge, grave dangers there.'

Mr Katter said the teaching of homosexuality in schools would cause lifelong damage to students. 'You are very vulnerable at that age,' he said.

'Unfortunately and sadly, these kids in the 12 to 15 age bracket are influenced to go down that pathway, they're looking at a much darker life than they would otherwise have.'

Mr Katter, who has been a state or federal MP since 1974, is also worried about workers falling foul of state anti-discrimination laws, and losing their jobs, for expressing an opinion critical of gay relationships.

In September, a Canberra woman was fired for saying 'It's okay to vote no' on Facebook, with her boss Madlin Sims calling it 'homophobic hate speech'.

Ms Sims, who runs a party entertainment company, said the woman was fired because she was 'extremely out and proud about her views on homosexuals.' 'As someone who has an responsibility to the vulnerable people we work with, could not risk her voicing those opinions to any children of ours,' she said. 

'It was never about giving people a fair go, it was all about punishing people that had different beliefs ... if a person thinks differently about homosexuality,' Mr Katter said.

New South Wales Nationals Senator John 'Wacka' Williams is worried about bakers being sued if they refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

'They might be hugely Christian, they don't believe in same-sex marriage, they refuse to bake the cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony or reception and hence they get sued,' the farmer from Inverell told Daily Mail Australia.

'Likewise, if it's a same-sex couple have a bakery and they don't want to bake a cake for the heterosexual marriage, I don't want them getting sued either.'

Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson is proposing a bill that would give bakers and florists the right to refuse to provide goods or services for a same-sex wedding.

'A baker could not refuse to bake a cake for someone who is gay who's having a birthday but they could decline to provide services to their wedding,' he told the ABC's 7.30 program on Monday night.

'So it's very limited and narrow. It's only about a wedding and that's in recognition that weddings are different from other things.

'People hold very strong views about it.'

It's a rival bill to one being proposed by West Australian gay Liberal senator Dean Smith, which would only give exemptions to church and religious groups when it comes to performing a same-sex wedding.

Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley, who voted 'No' in the $122 million gay marriage postal vote survey, is concerned about protecting religious freedom.

'We certainly need protections around religious freedoms so that we can avoid anti-discrimination cases like we saw in Tasmania against Archbishop Julian Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops in 2015,' she said about the case that was withdrawn last year.

Labor senator Deborah O'Neill, who hails from the NSW Central Coast, said she reserved the right to vote against a gay marriage bill, even though her boss Bill Shorten is in favour of redefining marriage.

'I will be exercising my conscience vote that I am entitled to in the Labor Party and I will be making that decision when the time comes,' she said.


No comments: