University Life

My opening argument:  Do it!  It may not be for everyone but how will you know until you try?

My closing argument:  Well I’m not done for another 4 years so hold that thought.

Why do people do this higher education business?  It’s bloody hard work and if you’re a little above the average age (ok, maybe more than a little) your patience is worn thin incredibly fast by Gen Y kids on top of your brain going why god why???

My answer is simple.  Because we’re all living in this bubble of what is expected of us.  I know I love quoting Huffington Post but Gemma Parry has 10 excellent points on why you should attend.  Read them HERE. I love the ideology of point 3 – cash – but unfortunately I am studying education so here in Australia, not a great career choice if you want to be Jordan Belfort and have a  bathtub full of hundies.  I will, however, have the job satisfaction so many people seek and never find.  I don’t doubt there will be kids I want to strangle, kids I can’t help but desperately want to, and kids that excel and I can only give them what I can before the curriculum demands the little time I have.

Language and learning are stepping stones to a life of being able to self-educate.  This has to start in early childhood.  Kale and Luke have an excellent case study in their writing on early language socialisation in Elsey.  She has shown that she has naturally acquired the ability to be diglossic in that she is able to shift between styles and types of language.  I was an odd kid and as soon as I could read I used to read Dad’s paper at the same time as him – only upside down – at the kitchen table over cereal.  It was still english but a new way to recognise language.

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Sometimes learning about a child and adapting is as much a learning curve for the teacher as the student.  The picture above applies to any language or Discourse you can think of.  A fullback in soccer and rugby league are very different things and require an insider to that language to explain.  The same is applicable in everyday life, not just teaching.  I have encountered in working with disability and aged care that there are many different levels of communication and social factors play a large part in some families.  A family with a disability such as a speech problem are excellent communicators but only within their own Discourse.  A child with no speech at all will have a secret language of gestures and some sounds to alert family to needs and wants.  The family quickly learns the patterns and a new language is formed.  The same is within schooling.  With such a multicultural nation we, as teachers, are needing to acquire greater skills in ensuring each student receives an appropriate education and are able to help each student achieve maximum potential.  The socio-cultural view of Cox is that learning is integrated – strong interrelationships exist between oral and written language learning.  This is especially true of bilingual children learning in a traditional classroom.  The written word makes more sense when utilised in speech patterns.  Edelsky describes language as profoundly social meaning that learning occurs by doing things with other human beings.  To be completely crude, my brother was toilet trained by being palmed off onto every bloke who went to the toilet to ‘see how it’s done’. The same goes for language.  The old saying ‘monkey see, monkey do’ is never more apt than in early childhood.

Language is a communication, both verbal and non-verbal.  It differs between cultures, demographics, foreign languages and levels of disabilities.  Language is the art of conveying meaning and understanding.  This could be English, German, sign language, braille, written word, charades, music.  They all convey meaning and association.  I’ve realised as a teacher just how much I don’t know about effective communication in classrooms and how I will need to learn to manage these various language barriers while being able to maintain curriculum.

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