Joan of Arc, who has become famous for her role in the French victory against England in the Hundred Years War, can also be identified by her rebellion against the gender expectations of the time and the threat she posed to the powerbase of the Catholic Church as a result. Accepted as a prophet of God among the French, and as a soldier and military commander, Joan subverted the patriarchal powerbase of the Catholic Church, and it is for this reason above any other that she was executed in May 1431.
Joan of Arc was born around the year 1412 during the Hundred Years War, which by this time had been waging fitfully for almost eighty years. The village she was born in – Domremy – was situated in Eastern France, which had severely suffered as a result of the violence and plundering of the conflict.
Tomorrow When The War Began is the first in a series of Young Adult novels by Australian author John Marsden. It has become a popular text for study in Australian schools, particularly for years 9 and/or 10, so I thought I'd write a quick introduction and review.
I've been noticing recently that schools in our area are failing to give students sufficient (and sometimes relevant) homework. I was a bit unpleasantly surprised, and thought it would be a good topic for a blog post. Please share your opinions and experiences in the comments, as I'd love for this particular topic to become a discussion. I think it's so important that we truly consider the value of homework and take pains to improve its use in our homes and school systems.
Lets take a moment to think about the purpose of homework, using maths as our main example. Homework is designed to maintain, rather than extend, student learning. Students learn a skill at school, like how to do long division, and then take home work that allows them to practise that skill. Once they've practiced that skill in various circumstances (i.e. through applying it to a variety of different styles of questions), they are ready to move on to a separate skill.
If students don't do their homework regularly, they lose the skill. This means that when the class moves on to something else, these children are left behind. And if they continue to neglect their homework (or if they are not given homework at all), they can fall further and further behind. Furthermore, if the skill is a fundamental skill like times tables or division, a students' inability to easily use this skill will have a detrimental impact on everything else they do in this subject. Their speed and accuracy will be affected, and as a result they are likely to be labelled incapable or unintelligent, when in reality all that's happened is they've missed out on developing a solid foundation in the core mathematical skills.
Think of it this way: when your child learns a new skill, they are developing new pathways in their brain. When they practise that skill over and over again, they are wearing that trail into a well-paved road that is easy to find when they need to use it. Homework is there to pave the road and widen the lanes so that when we go back to use it, we can find our way to the solution with as little fuss as possible. Using this same analogy, we could say that a desired outcome of homework is that it allows us to follow our well-paved mental roads to new skills and problems with limited roadblocks.
However, not all schools are giving adequate homework and not all schools are giving relevant homework. That is why parents need to be aware of their children's homework schedule and be willing to create or provide supplementary homework if need be. It can be hard to initiate a new homework schedule or program at first, but keep in mind the desired outcome. A little extra effort now can mean a world of difference to their future learning experiences, as well as improving the opportunities available to them.
I came across an interesting article at Discover Magazine's blog site, and thought I'd share it with you. This is a very interesting article and the author has some excellent comments, but I think it misses the point ever so slightly. The focus should be on critical literacy in general, and students taught to apply skills of critical evaluation to all sources of information, whether science, news or otherwise.
Also, I believe that students (and people in general) need to be encouraged to be active learners throughout their lives in order to be active and effective citizens. If, for example, we don't know enough about the scientific issues that are so important in politics and society today (to use the example from the following article), we need to be willing to research those issues ourselves and engage with them critically in order to form informed and intelligent positions. An understanding of and ability to apply critical literacy skills can help to achieve this. We as a society are too complacent, and much of this can be addressed through our education system.
What’s More Important: Science Literacy or News Literacy?
Our primary contributor is Elissa, who is a qualified high school teacher and Irlen Screener.