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Interland

Interland is an interesting resource that gamifies teaching about online safety.

Sunday – Day 19 Lent

Sandy and I went to church today and then travelled via the riverboat to Leicester Square where we ate at Misato Restaurant.

The church service was a good one about inclusion and the church’s doors being open to everyone. I took communion, as I often do, even though I’m not a ‘confirmed’ member of any church. I can’t say that I’m a believer or a non-believer since I take much of Christian religious language to have symbolic rather than literal significance.

I read that today, 24th March is Telemann’s birthday.

Georg Philipp Telemann (24 March [O.S. 14 March] 1681 – 25 June 1767) (German pronunciation: [ˈteːləman]) was a German Baroquecomposer and multi-instrumentalist. Almost completely self-taught in music, he became a composer against his family’s wishes. After studying in MagdeburgZellerfeld, and Hildesheim, Telemann entered the University of Leipzig to study law, but eventually settled on a career in music. He held important positions in LeipzigSorauEisenach, and Frankfurtbefore settling in Hamburg in 1721, where he became musical director of the five main churches. While Telemann’s career prospered, his personal life was always troubled: his first wife died only a few months after their marriage, and his second wife had extramarital affairs and accumulated a large gambling debt before leaving Telemann.

Wikipedia.

I listen to all the pieces recommended by Clemency Burton-Hill but only share those that I find particularly appealing.

21 March – Mendelssohn


Felix Mendelssohn Piano Trio No.1, op.49 in D-minor

Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)

Mendelssohn died aged just 38. But he had accomplished so much.

I am reading ‘Year of Wonder‘ by Clemency Burton-Hill. It looks at one piece of classical music each day. A worthwhile book, it prompts listening .. and that leads to more wonderful pieces.


Mendelssohns – Piano Concerto No. 1 in G minor (op. 25) , Yuja Wang, Kurt Masur (Full)

Equinox

I need this. We need this .. Renewal. Rebirth. Monteverdi is a Renaissance composer and this piece of music celebrates, O Zepher Return, celebrates the return to Spring.

From Wikipedia: An equinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane (extended indefinitely in all directions) of Earth‘s equator passes through the center of the Sun.[3] This occurs twice each year: around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator. In the northern hemisphere, the equinox in March is called the Vernal or Spring Equinox; the September equinox is called the Autumnal or Fall Equinox.

Monday: Day 13

I prepare my meditation space .. but still much needs to be thrown out before I can meditate.

A letter to Stephen Timms

Handed in at my surgery on Friday. pic.twitter.com/CPf4GtJMdJ— Stephen Timms (@stephenctimms) March 18, 2019

There must be a minimum standard beneath which no person should be permitted to fall. Situations like this must be considered an emergency and be corrected immediately.

No Means What?

If Theresa May’s ‘deal’ has been rejected twice by Parliament that suggests that the MPs who voted against it think that there is something intrinsically wrong with it and that they will say no again when asked again to approve it on 23rd March. Unfortunately my naive logic fails because:

1. MPs rejected the deal for different reasons. Some want no Brexit, some a softer Brexit and others a harder Brexit.

2. May is saying to the hard Brexiters that they should accept her deal because however it is presented it can be made harder later. That’s to say that the ‘Irish Backstop’ which guarantees no ‘hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland can be disregarded unilaterally at some future time. Thus she is acting in bad faith towards either the EU or the hard Brexiters.

If the hard Brexiters buy May’s guarantee that the guarantee to the EU is not a guarantee then they will vote for the deal and Parliament’s ‘no’ will become a ‘yes’.

Saturday: Day 11

I’m off FB for Lent. That was my only public resolution.

I have other resolutions/observances to observe but let’s say that it’s taken some time for me to get into the full spirit of the thing.

We were with Lisa, Dane and the children this afternoon and evening. It was a home blessing rather than a house warming. I thought it was nice. I thought that we should bless this Earth too. I thought that we on this Earth should recogognise each other as part of One Family. This is surely the greatest religious observance.

No intention to write an essay every day but writing helps me reflect, even if there is no one to reflect with. FB is valuable for that, having people reflect my thoughts back to me. But now is a time to go inwards.

I want you to panic

“I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

Greta Thunberg

The Pros of History Teaching

A secondary school that asked pupils to list the “pros and cons” of slavery for homework has come under fire from parents, who say it is “racist, inappropriate and offensive”.

The exercise was given to Year 11 GCSE pupils, aged between 15 and 16, by a history teacher at the Hazeley Academy in Milton Keynes, and was derived from an AQA teacher’s guide on “Britain: migration, empires and people” study topic.

In the module, students are asked to examine the reasons why the British Empire pursued the transatlantic slave trade instead of piracy, with the stated aim to show how “plantations proved to be more profitable than piracy”.

As homework for the course, a teacher at Hazeley Academy asked students to list the “pros” and “cons” of slavery in a table, seen by HuffPost UK.

Sabrina Aries, the mother of a student who complained that the exercise was inappropriate, said she swiftly raised the issue with the headteacher, both via email and in person.

More on Huffington Post

This article tells us little about the methodology and scope of the history lessons during which students were asked to list the pros of slavery (though I am not impressed by the photograph of an answer template). There is definitely a case for understanding the motivations and belief systems of abusers and abusive structures but to talk about the ‘pros’ of slavery is wholly insensitive and like talking about the pros of genocide, rape or child abuse.

History teaching at its best can offer invaluable insights into who we are as humans and into the way we treat each other. It can help us think about today, about how we go here and where we we need to go and so on. But because it is a powerful educational tool it has to be used carefully and sensitively with regard to content and methodology. I don’t think that history can be properly studied without also studying ethics. ‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’ is a well known saying but I think the truth is that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not take ethical lessons from it. Britain benefited enormously from being a slave trader in the past, Britain benefits enormously from being an arms trader in the present. Unless we are able to use history in the context of ethical dialogue it is worse than useless, it is a tool of oppression. A story like this should prompt a discussion about the purposes of teaching history and maybe the purposes of education in general. It is not simply an issue about the ‘politically correct’ use of language.

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