post

Less or Fewer

image

Ok … so even my best friends will tell you I’m a bit of a grammar pedant. :)

But I’m sure I’m not alone in wincing every time I see the horrible muddle people make when using “less” or “fewer”.

Examples? An an article headline this morning … Less People Want to be Nurses. Or a notice in every lift (elevator) of a large building: If travelling two floors or less please use the stairs if you are able to do so.

And that big building? The campus of a national University! Ouch!!!

[Rant mode ON]

Come on folks … surely it’s not an impossible task to get this one right? For something that is … well … “en masse”, for want of a better word, use LESS. But if you could possibly … perhaps even conceivably count ’em … use FEWER!

So…

That hill has less forest
… and fewer trees.
A beach has less sand
… fewer grains of sand.
Less fruit in the bowl
… fewer pieces of fruit
Less water in the lake
… fewer drops of rain.
We travel less distance
… and fewer kilometers
See less of a crowd
… and fewer people.

MORE practice = LESS confusion + FEWER mistakes! :)

[Rant mode OFF]

I feel better now. ;)

post

Memorable Aussie Advertising

Following on from my previous post – Not Happy Jan – I’ve reflected on some of the other advertising jingles and sayings that have become part of our Aussie culture.

Below is my list.

(Sadly there’s one for which I couldn’t find the ad anywhere on the web … an old ad for Solvol soap with the line “Wash your hands Geoffrey! … With Solvol Geoffrey!” Apparently nobody has posted that one anywhere yet.)

I like Aeroplane Jelly …”

This is the origional 1930s version, but the jingle reappeared in ads in the 1980s. I think just about every Aussie who grew up here between the 30s and the 80s could sing you this one.

“We’re happy little Vegemites …”

As with the above jingle, the tune definitely stuck in Aussie minds. But the expression of being a ‘happy little Vegemite’ also became a part of our idiom.

“Put another shrimp on the barbie …”

Whatever people may have thought about this tourism ad, saying ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’ crept into our conversations.

“Louie the Fly”

This one’s a classic. As children, we even started calling flies ‘louies’!

“You’re soaking in it … “

This is the Aussie version – there’s a US version as well.

“Go on Freddie … drink it!”

Not a hugely attractive or memorable advert this one … but “go on Freddie .. drink it” became part of our idiom for some reason.

“A real Norm”

From the Life Be In It ads – a name for someone who’s lazy. This is one of the series of ads they made – I liked the poem. :)

“The 14th of February, 1966 … “

Ok, so not really a saying. But as a kid the words for this jingle to the tune of “Click Go the Shears” definitely stuck in my brain!

“Slip, Slop, Slap”

This is the original from 1981, with Sid the Seagull. Apparently one of the most successful anti-cancer ad campaigns ever run.

video

Not Happy Jan!

I recently used the phrase “Not happy, Jan!” in a Facebook post … and a response from a colleague and friend, Jan Somers, in Belgium reminded me this is a peculiar Aussie expression. I explained and assured him I wasn’t having a go at him at all. :)

We’ve picked the saying up, from all places … a TV advertisement! It’s become a common catch phrase for anything that annoys us or gives us that ‘grrrr’ moment of frustration.

For all my international friends and readers, here’s the original – a Telstra advertisement from 2000. It still makes me smile! :) For the curious, the boss is played by well-known Australian actress Deborah Kennedy.

quote

Peter Henschel … On Learning

Learning is fundamentally social. Learning is really a matter of changing identity, not just acquiring knowledge. That knowledge is integrated in the life of communities. When people develop and share values, perspectives, and ways of doing things, they create a community of practice. The challenge to all of us in education, on behalf of students and organizations, is to create, negotiate, nurture, and sustain the communities of practice in which effective learning takes place.

(Peter Henschel, 1949-2002)

post

Resilience and a Revolution in School Discipline

education_blocksAs an ex-teacher, I’m still passionate about education – about what needs to happen in our schools to make them safe, vibrant and successful learning spaces for both students and teachers.

I’ve written about this before in other blog posts: The More Things Change (a personal reflection on my own teaching experience) and A Passionate Plea (in which I reflect on the similarity between many school and prison, but also highlight examples of inspirational schools doing things differently).

One aspect of many schools that I believe needs to change is their disciplinary policies and strategies. Much of the action that’s taken in response to poor behaviour from students is less than effective – frequently not effective at all!

It’s a fact that poor or ‘unacceptable’ behaviour – from swearing and fighting through to not completing homework or being out of uniform – rarely has anything to do with what’s happening at school but everything to do with what is happening in that student’s life outside school. Good teachers know this. The best teachers act on it.

So it was with delight I read about yet another example of a school that’s ‘getting it right’. :)

It’s Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Washington State, USA, where the Principal has led a ‘revolution’ in school discipline, focusing on resilience.

Jim Sporleder, principal of Lincoln High School, had always taken a compassionate approach with students, but realised this wasn’t enough.

As says in a blog post where he outlines this new approach:

Before I learned about how toxic stress impaired a student to problem-solve or to take in new knowledge, I disciplined students in what I thought was a respectful approach. I took time to listen, I shared with the student why his or her behavior was inappropriate, and then I gave what I thought was a consequence that matched the infraction … I used to have a saying: “Discipline teaches; punitive discipline hurts”. I’ve had a history of being a relationship guy, and I have always interacted with students fairly and built positive relationships.

Two years ago I was introduced to the ACE Study and how toxic stress blocks the brain’s ability to process information. The student is in a fight or flight mode. This is when I took a hard look at my discipline philosophy and accountability and realized that I had been working with students who had toxic stress in a way that just didn’t work. Yes, I had to look in the mirror and say, “Jim, you are wrong, and you need to change”.

And how did he change and change the school?

I told them I was committed to making this a safe place, a place of learning and a place where they felt cared for.

At Lincoln it started by building relationships. We made changes on how we communicate on a personal level with students. We prove we are trustworthy through transparency. We set a goal to have a safe and welcoming learning environment.

Still sceptical? The results of this new approach at Lincoln High School have proved themselves over and over again, including an 85% reduction in suspensions and:

As a result the culture of our school has dramatically improved. I see the success in students every day in our classroom and in our community. When young people are able to process their emotions there’s more time for learning. We have a healthier environment where students aren’t afraid to take risks.

Watch the video below and be inspired! Jim’s blog post is also well worth reading!