October 21, 2014

Gough Whitlam

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Gough Whitlam was a big influence on my life in terms of my personal critical thinking and understanding of issues in Australia and the world.

I was a teenager in the 1970s struggling with understanding anything and everything. I was on the edge of potential VIetnam conscription, benefited from a free university education and medicare and experienced the cut and thrust of The Dismissal. The geographer in me also appreciates and understands his role in regional development.

Dad was a pharmacist on Elizabeth Drive Liverpool and we lived in the seat of Werriwa in my pre teen years and Dad met him several times at community events. He was talked about in a lot of adult conversations that I listened into for a decade.

I saw him once in first year university talking to students on the university lawn at Sydney University. One year I was at a book expo in Darling Harbour and while looking a a book in a stand I looked across at the Oxford University stand and saw him with a glass of champagne in his had.

He was larger than life when I saw him up close and he noticed my shock at seeing him. He just smiled at me and did a cheers with his glass. I have never forgotten that kind gesture.

I will have a nice time reflecting on Gough Whitlam during my run tonight.

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September 8, 2014

Give and Take by Adam Grant: Part 9 – Out of the shadows and action for impact

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Give and Take by Adam Grant: Part 9 – Out of the shadows and action for impact

IPart 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4 I Part 5 I Part 6 I Part 7 I Part 8 I

The brightest negotiators  got the better deals for their counterparts.  They understand  the opponent’s best interest and provide better deals at little cost to them.  Also deep down reputation is important.


Actions for impact

  1. Test your giver quotient
  2. Run a reciprocity ring
  3. Help others to craft their jobs  or craft your job in incorporate more giving
  4. Start a love machine – recognition program
  5. Embrace the five minute favour
  6. Practice and become an advocate of powerless communication
  7. Join a community of givers
  8. Launch a personal generosity experiment
  9. Help fund a project
  10. Seek help more often


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August 29, 2014

NSW Draft Geography Syllabus – personal reflections

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Hi all,
Here are my personal reflections on the Draft Syllabus – submitted to BOSTES. Would be interesting to see other personal reflections if you have had a chance to have a look.
The second paragraph states “Geography emphasizes the role of the environment in supporting human life from local to global scales….” A couple of comments here:
The environment does support (and impact on) humans, however, there is no direct mention of how humans support (and impact on) the environment. Should the latter point be specifically mentioned? Though an extrapolation of the later section of the sentence on interrelationship implies this is possible.

There is an appropriate distribution and sequencing of key terms from Stage 4- Stage 5.

Stage Statements:
Throughout the Outcomes there are terms like describe and select though in the Stage 4 statements there seem to be dominated by higher order terms such as explain and examine. For example perhaps the first sentence could read “describe geographical processes” and then build to the higher order terms.

Covering the four topics for each stage is achievable and logically progress from Stage 4 to Stage 5. Personally I like the option of virtually fieldwork, though I do acknowledge that it could be used as an argument in some schools to not have fieldwork excursions.

Geographical Inquiry:
My only comment here concerns what might be missing. Maybe in the domain of ‘inquiry’ the following idea might be relevant. Through the inquiry process the students may be motivated into some sort of action to help or improve the geographical world – perhaps point four could be a statement on doing something with the acquired, processed and communicated geographical information eg. Geographical Action.

Specific Content Outline:
The description of concepts, tools and skills is very clear. Just a specific comment on tools – endorse the broadening to spatial technologies (as long as it is viewed as more than just hardware and software i.e.: including web tools) and the additional of visual representation instead of just pictures.
Within each topic the Outcomes the topic descriptions, key inquiry questions, concepts skills and tools are clearly portrayed.

As for the content outlines:
• I did not interpret that they had to be covered in the order presented though I believe some may believe this to be the case. Is it possible to have a sentence clarifying this point at an earlier stage?
• Is it possible to clearly identify each of the subheadings above the bullet points in each of the Stage defined topics?
• Is there an expectation that all the bullet points are to be covered? If this is the case then the document bullet points are fine as they are.
• If there can be flexibility in the coverage of the bullet points could there be either:
o An overarching statement earlier in the document stating there is flexibility in the number of bullet points covered provided all the outcomes are assessed.
o A statement after the heading “Students…” which reflects the notion of ‘such as’ or something like this.
I like the geographical content which we are required to examine as it is interesting, relevant and has a good mixture of breadth and depth.

Year’s 7-10 Life Skills outcomes and content:
Like and not really in a position to comment

Continuum of Learning K-10:
This displays an appropriate mix of key terms and content which is sequenced in a logical manner.
cheers Martin
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August 28, 2014

Give and Take by Adam Grant: Part 7 -The scrooge shift

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Give and Take by Adam Grant: Part 7 -The scrooge shift

IPart 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4 I Part 5 I Part 6 I Part 7 I Part 8 I

The altruism debate – Wikipedia

From enemies to allies- people are motivated to give to others when they identify as part of a common community.

The search for optimal distinctiveness

On the one hand we want to fit in : we strive for connection, cohesiveness, community belonging, inclusions and affiliation with others. One the other hand we want to stand out: we search for uniqueness, differentiation and individuality.  Optimal distinctiveness is where we look to fit in and stand out.

Reciprocity ring

In a class each student would make a request to the class, and the rest of the class would try to use their knowledge, resources and connections  to help fulfill the request.


I found this the hardest chapter to connect to its title, though the information is really quite practical.  I am a big fan of sharing and not worrying if someone else uses the idea

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August 21, 2014

UWS – Future of Australian Suburbs

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Future of Australian Suburbs

Robyn Dowling and Emma Power

Article:  Sizing home, Doing Family in Sydney, Australia



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