This week I won a national writing award for my book for schools, The New Zealand Wars. The Storylines Notable Book lists included this title in its YA non-fiction category. I’m quite pleased about that. I wrote the book intentionally for the YA market, but it’s there for all ages and is intended as a … More I won a national writing award
Back when I was at Napier’s Nelson Park School, a large-ish amount of time ago, I was always picked on by the teachers for writing with the wrong hand. The problem assumed crisis proportions in Standard 3, where kids had to write with fountain pens. Such pens were, of course, essential to a Proper Education … More A word about my handwriting, with apologies to Shakespeare
There has been a debate brewing this past week in New Zealand about whether to make teaching history compulsory in schools. New Zealand history, of course. At the moment it isn’t. Because I’ve been on the radio and TV a bit this past week, thanks to the promotion of my book on the Treaty of … More Should history be compulsory in New Zealand schools?
A while back I found a file with all my old high school reports – which, apart from their wonderfully silly judgements of my nature – reminded me of the adventures I had in high school English. In the first term of my sixth form year at Napier’s Tamatea High School I had a great … More Ironic adventures with my high school English teacher, part 483,586
A story caught my eye a while back about a university student who’d just graduated, despite being written off at school as worthless and ridiculed by university lecturers for misspelling. It turned out the student had dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, which sounds like a nightmare combination. In fact, all are manifestations of one basic issue: … More Why dyslexics get written off by teachers
There was a headline the other week on the Fairfax news site ‘Stuff’ about a southern New Zealand high school that was forbidding children to wear warm headgear – beanies – despite temperatures dropping into the negatives. Based on the report it appeared to me to be simple power assertion. Beanies weren’t in the uniform, … More When power assertion is disguised by the rules…
I am always astonished at the limitless capacity humanity has for intellectualising itself away from care and kindness. Many years ago, when I was at school, there was a coat cupboard at the back of the classroom. Next to the cupboard was a trestle table on which had been set a class construction project. The bell went. … More What ever became of all the good in the world?