He loves to go awandering . . .

December 16, 2009

Gerry Brownlee may not want to go awandering with David Parker but he showed that politics can be fun during question time today:

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog


December 16, 2009

I’m slipping – only 7/10 in today’s Dominion Post politics quiz – and it took me 50 seconds.

Mrs Worthington

December 16, 2009

Noel Coward would have been 110 today.

Just wondering . . .

December 16, 2009

. . . what happens to the half used bottles of complimentary shampoo and conditioner which are left in hotel rooms?

Are they refilled or is it okay to take them?

And what about the other toiletries? Is it okay to take the bottle if you’ve used the hand cream? Or to take it even if you haven’t used it?

Then there’s the pen.

Is it okay to take it because its a promotional tool for the hotel which reminds you – and whoever else uses the pen – about it?

Or is souveniring of these little things petty theft which adds to the costs for the accommodation provider?

Apropos of this, I was chatting to an airline steward as the plane was coming in to land.

His first stay in a hotel was an overnighter for work.

He was delighted with all the little bottles in the bathroom and took them home for his children.

Then he discovered all the wee bottles in the fridge and took them too. A couple of days later the hotel caught up with him and explained the contents of the mini bar weren’t complimentary.

Thank you . . .

December 16, 2009

. . . to whoever planted the pohutukawa on the road side between the centre of Wellington and the airport.

They look glorious.

An introduction to snails

December 16, 2009

Escargot sounds better than snail, but whatever they’re called I’ve never summoned the courage to eat one until last night.

Then it came served to each diner on a china spoon as a pre-dinner offering and it would have been rude to turn it down.

I looked, lifted it slowly to my mouth, tasted it somewhat gingerly and to my surprise I liked it.

The dominant flavour was mild garlic and the texture was similar to a tender scallop.

The dinner was an end of year gathering at the Museum Hotel in Wellington. The meal was delicious – groper accompanied by steamed vegetables and followed by crème brulee. The service was superb and my fellow diners delightful.

Knowledge is power

December 16, 2009

I came across some old school reports last week.

They were pretty positive but there was nothing in them to indicate how the child being reported on was doing in relation to the norm for her age and stage or, just as important, in relation to her potential.

In light of that the aim of providing school reports in plain English which show parents how their children are performing doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

Teachers say that they already know which children are failing and they ought to. But if this is the case why don’t parents know too?

An Education Review Office report to be released today has part of the answer:

. . . some teachers and principals are ignoring achievement data for year 1 and 2 pupils that does not show positive results. In some cases the information has not been given to boards of trustees and parents.

Knowledge is power and at the moment teachers have knowledge about children which isn’t being shared with parents.

The move to national standards ought to change that but identifying children who aren’t learning well is only the start.

Giving them  the help they need to ensure they reach their potential must follow and the responsibility for that doesn’t lie only with schools.

Not all children turn up at school ready to learn. Some don’t speak English and some who do have poor language skills. Some haven’t been read to, some don’t recognise numbers or colours. Some are hungry. Some lack social skills, some have behaviour problems.

National standards will indentify children with literacy and numeracy problems. They may identify teachers who aren’t up to scratch and they will also point to families where the parents are failing their children.

The success of national standards won’t rest on what they show but what’s done about it. The focus will be on schools but some of the problem, and the most difficult part to address, is what happens, or doesn’t happen, in homes.

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