Thursday, July 20, 2006

I will survive...

...i am telling myself this because I am trying not to get stressed out with all the work i have looming ahead of me. Im doing 4 papers (which is the norm) but they consist of two stage 3s (Geography - Pop, Health & Society, & Hist - Nazi Germany) a stage 2 (an English one on shakespearean tragedies) and a stage 1 (social psychology). And i just found out the other day that my stage 3 hist one is 100% coursework. Yes it will be nice only having 3 exams at the end of the semester, but still it means a lot of pressure during the semester. And i havent even had my first lec for the English one yet. However in saying that i think im going to really enjoy all of my papers this semester, they're shaping up to be pretty interesting. Esp the Geography one which covers some topics i really like such as population issues and migration and all that kinda stuff, which i know those of you reading this right now will be goin *yawn* about but whateva :P

As for exam results for my papers last semester, i ended up gettin pretty much what i was wanting to get so that was good :)

Backtracking to the hols...they were pretty good overall. Altho wud've loved another week off (had 3 weeks off all up) but yeah as they say thats the way the cookie crumbles. Was good getting to catch up with friends i hadn't seen in awhile from highschool days, hangin out with uni friends, swing dancing, going to the movies (saw pirates of the carribean 2), gettin to hit the snow for a little bit and just laxing out. Oh yeah and i also worked my normal days - sometimes i sorta wish my job was the type where you could pick up extra days during the holidays but alas its not. On the other hand, it is an excellent job to have during the semester coz it pays pretty well and i dont have to do too many hours. But yeah i think i'll still apply for some extra work down at my dad's work sometime, so i can get onto saving for a round the world trip that i really want to go on next year...

Cant think of anything else to bore you with at the mo, so will just leave it here for now. Some pics of my recent snow trip coming this space :)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Murphy missed a few laws...

Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease your nose will begin to itch or you'll have to tinkle.

Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of the Telephone: When you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal.

Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law: If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will start to move faster than the one you are in now. (works every time)

Bath Theorem: When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Theatre Rule: At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

Law of Coffee: As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers: If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Dirty Rugs/Carpets: The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Location: No matter where you go, there you are.

Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Brown's Law: If the shoe fits, it's really ugly. Oliver's Law: A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Wilson's Law: As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Here's the proof...

...that NCEA is an incredibly stupid system, to put it politely (not that we didnt all know this). But yeah have a read of this - its long, but worth it.

NCEA cuts students' drive to learn, says report
Wednesday July 5, 2006
By Derek Cheng

The NCEA encouraged a "minimalist approach", with many students lacking the motivation to do more than the bare minimum to pass, a report has found.

The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and released yesterday, revealed that two-thirds of students' feedback criticised the National Certificate of Educational Achievement as having a negative influence on the motivation to learn.

It said design flaws were a disincentive for "high achievers and all students" to want to achieve; students could avoid subjects seen as too hard, ignore parts of a course they didn't like, or not sit exams once minimum credits were achieved.

"There is evidence that the 80-credit requirement encourages a minimalist approach by students." The report said:

* Many students found it hard to be motivated to do more than the minimum 80 credits required to pass an NCEA level. * Many indicated there was little motivation to aim for "merit" or "excellence" when these credits carried no extra value.
* Those who did aspire to do their best said the grading system was too broad and did not properly reflect performance.
* Students perceived the system as "illogical and unfair"; they could fail a standard despite passing "merit" or "excellence" questions.

Education Minister Steve Maharey admitted there were concerns and promised to resolve them. He said the Government and the Qualifications Authority were already working to address specific concerns - the 80-credit threshold and the broadly defined grades - outlined in the report.

"These are good practical issues we have to solve, but none of this suggests that NCEA is not a good, strong system ... [The report] rather says, 'Here are some refinements you should make', and we will make them."

Mr Maharey said motivational issues were not unique to NCEA, but NCEA was in a unique position to address them. "Unlike the old system, NCEA allows us to play to a wider range of strengths and tailor solutions to individual students so they can try harder."
Schools would help the types of students - boys, pupils from lower-decile schools, and those doing lower levels of NCEA - who the report identified as not striving to do their best.
Though it was ultimately up to students to motivate themselves, methods such as effective teaching would encourage them.

He praised the report - which drew from the responses of teachers, parents and 6000 pupils from schools nationwide - for providing significant student-based research and a basis for further study.
In spite of problems, the report said schools, teachers and students generally supported NCEA, particularly its flexibility.

But the National Party's education spokesman, Bill English, said this trait of NCEA was a double-edged sword. "The more flexibility you have, the easier it is for students to pick the easy way through. It provides more options but at the cost of motivation and real achievement for the middle-ground student, who are the majority and the ones we should be targeting.
"The system needs significant change, less flexibility and stronger standards. The Government is in denial about the weaknesses of NCEA and the students know them inside out and are exploiting them ruthlessly."

Steve Benson, senior manager of learning policy frameworks at the ministry, said more students than in the past were leaving school with higher qualifications.

No need to excel, says student
NCEA is an "unfair and unjust" system, says Anne O'Hagan, a Year 11 student from Waihi College. The 15-year-old was so "sick of it" that she wrote a letter to the Herald last week in protest. The problem, she said, was getting the same reward for assessments regardless of how far above the bar you were. "You get the same amount of credits for an 'achieve' as an 'excellence', and you don't have to put much effort in to get an 'achieve'.
She said the system should give more credits for higher marks. "The more recognition you get, the more you push yourself further. Otherwise it just keeps everyone at the same level."
She said NCEA opened more doors - her school offered subjects such as tourism and horticulture - but she would rather be under the old system of School Certificate. "That way we know how well we do."

Though NCEA did little to motivate her to excel, her parents more than made up for it. "I'll do the best I can, otherwise I'll get in trouble with my parents."

Other quotes from the report (by unnamed students):

* "When you know you will pass anyway, why study? And after you have 80 credits there is no motivation to do better."
* "No need to try hard, no motivation to work hard. Can slack off for most of the year and still pass."
* "Higher achievers get the same amount of credits as the basic achievers - no incentive to gain higher marks."
* "I can look as good as someone who gets 100 per cent as long as I pass."
* "It encourages people to be average."