February 27, 2011

Provincial Elections, Yes or No?

For the past few weeks, we’re being bombarded with promotion videos, ridiculous campaign ads and bullshit speeches given by our politicians.

But, how important are these Provincial Elections? And how do or may these elections affect our students and teachers?

Lets take a look at some facts first and than I’ll tell you how important it is for us to vote against the current coalition. Here are some of the current “Cabinet-Rutte” education cuts and how much money it produces;

- Abolish the OV-studentcard (€65 – €95 million)

- Havo & VWO will take 1 less year to complete

- Double college money (€500 million)

- Basic grant (basisbeurs) will be transformed into a loan system (€350 million)

- Parents will be forced to pay for extra school materials, which are now subsidised.

- Less school hours, less courses, less teachers and shorter course hours (1.5 billion)

- Reduce the amount of profiles you can choose. (€854 million)

- Shorter studies in general. (€312 million)

- My personal favourite cut: make students pay a ridiculous amount of €3000,- for every extended school year (With retroactive pay!!!!), meaning, the current 80.000 slacking students will be held responsible for another €240 million.

Remember, there are many more cuts planned that will influence students and children who have a hard to catching up with the rest of their classes, these are just some of the destructive cuts.

To sum this up, an increase in school costs, less hours, less teachers, bigger classrooms, shorter educations and they DARE to make us pay DOUBLE the college money (HBO: from €1620 to €3240 each year)

You concerned? Read futher!

February 25, 2011

Ready, Aim, Fire!

For a while now school has been grinding my gears it takes a tremendous part of my time, and will continue so for a few years. I can say I have learned a lot and gained a good cup education and experience. Here are some tips for surviving the jungle so you don't lose your way and get eaten by yourself while screaming for mummy '' What am I doing here?''.(1) Begin early with studying, try to learn as much as possible make notes and pay attention. (2) Ask for help from you fellow students and study in groups, but don't make it a tea party because you don't want to be like a bunch people talking all day. (3) When you get the time make a summary from what you learned every 3 weeks, so you can be up to date. (4) Ask for support lessons from students who already done the classes, with their experience you can see the traps that are waiting for you ahead.
With these four steps get through that jungle it may be dark, but once you reach the other side you will be jumping for joy.

February 20, 2011

Downward or Upward spiral?

Many of our classes and its students participate in the YEN (Young Enterprise) project, which involves them in creating, maintaining and liquidating a student company, offering a product or service at a reasonable price to achieve a profit.

One very important thing I’ve noticed and experienced is that these YEN projects are incredibly sensitive to teamwork, meaning, one person is able to disrupt the group’s motivation en enthusiasm, even if there’s a whole crew to take over his or her work

Perhaps the tips written below help you to avoid such problems and increase a group’s or individual’s enthusiasm and performance, during the first and/or second semester.

I myself divide the YEN period in three; 1) Start (Establishing) 2) Mid-way (Maintaining) 3) Dismantle (Liquidating).

Reading further will show you how to prioritize activities in the first phase to work and cooperate in harmony!

Look, Listen, Scream

While some students sail the accountanSEA, some others fly the management plain. Both are not easy to tackle, like we see in the Superbowl. But some students faces look like The scream by Edward Munich. Sometimes I ask myself why some schools have so many drop out students.
Is it not the school who should be supporting the students not to stop and push us to make it. For example the little engine that could never stopped oh hell no he went and puffed until he puffed his last puff. In other words we are all little engines and we can make it to the top on this big mountain called HES. On the other hand some teachers really want you to pass and care about their students.I once heard a teacher say ''if you fail I fail because it's my job to make you pass''. Wise words from a wise teacher. So remember to always do your best in class your teacher is trying his/her best to teach you, Teachers don't become teachers because of the money or the fame, they become teachers so they can teach a new generation their knowledge.

February 17, 2011

Critical Opinion Leaders and why we love them

Teaching Critical Thinking has set me thinking even more about the role of teaching and learning. The website www.themindfulthinker.com, created by my colleague James, has generated a lot of feedback - or should I say a few students have created a lot of content and critical feedback. Now the funny thing is - although some of what they say is at times quite irritating, (especially when I don't agree), I still love the fact that they are writing their opinions. And when they dare to voice these opinions in class - even better! This week, I found myself bouncing up and down and shouting at the class (in enthusiasm of course) - "Be 'not normal' - allow yourselves to be extraordinary! Go beyond the fear of being seen as a 'nerd' or 'too serious'!"
It feels to me, as someone who grew up in many other countries, and worked in a few other countries, that the tendency of youth in the Netherlands to have to 'fit in' and 'do normal - doe gewoon' really doesn't work when it comes to the job market. That is - if you want to be more than a cashier at the local supermarket. I have found that original thought is greatly appreciated. An opinion  - an ability to look at life in a critical/analytical manner is needed.
So, what I'm saying is this - will the silent majority please speak up?

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

 Buddha quotes (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

February 16, 2011

Summer school in Seoul

Spring hasn't even begun and we are already receiving mails that influence our summer plans. A few days ago we TMA(Trade Management Asia) students have received a mail about summer school in South Korea. A lot of us TMA students watch Korean drama’s or/and listen to the music and it has been THE topic of this week in my class. I never would have guessed that I wanted to go to school in the summer break and many of my fellow students feel the same.

So what is this summer school exactly. From what I know, it’s a five week school program for which they offer 40 courses given in English, which are not only economic courses, but also courses about Korean culture. They also offer a Korean language course. There are also a lot of out of school activities offered. The total package of mandatory fees is 2900000 Korean Won or 1921,88 euro. If you would like to get picked up at the airport and like to stay at the dormitory it’s an additional 311,48 euro. This all does not include the fee of a plane ticket and I don’t think it covers the food cost either.

Although I’m pretty sure I won’t get to go this year, since the fee for this summer school is not reachable within my budget, I do look forward to the information meeting about it tomorrow. Maybe if I start saving up now I can go next year.

For some summer schools in the UK check out the following links(the schools are not really cheaper, but the transport to there most likely is):

Newcastle University

University of Cambridge

University of Sussex

Or if you want to improve your Japanese language skills I found this school: http://www.genkijacs.com/groups.htm

And another option for our summer is a ten day surfing camp organized by our school. This is 399 euro and no studying has to be done. Hmm...so many options, what to choose?

February 14, 2011

Students' Hidden Talents

We, teachers, know our students mostly from how they do in class, how well they write their assignments and how high they score on their exams. What we DO NOT know is that some of them have hidden talents, big talents, that should be highlighted, talked about, shown to the Hogeschool of Amsterdam, staff, students and also to general public. Those students make HvA proud!
Once I was on facebook, and I came across a few song recordings of my 1st year IBL student aka Dimanyte. I listened to some of his tracks and absolutely loved it. Ok, you have to like hip hop and rap to love it too and I realize that not all generations might appreciate this art, but both students and teachers should get a chance to hear it. It is impressive!

A few days later I was on facebook again and I found a video of another student of mine, this time a 2nd year student, who made this awesome video of doing card tricks. I was  astonished!
And he sings too! Can you believe how talented our students are?

These are just two examples, but I can bet money that there are a lot more within the walls of HvA that we do not have a clue about. We should definitely do something with this talent. Spread it, show it, give it a chance to be exposed to the passionate supportive audience that classmates, teachers and friends can be. So how about HvA Got Talent Concert sometime this year?

February 12, 2011

"Cogito Ergo Sum"

While taking a sip from a good cup of relaxing tea I was thinking. Why do people you don't even know care about you? Some may think it's strange whereas others think it's just kind. As for me, I wonder: why? We always think about everything we see or come in contact with for example subjects in school or friendships. We spend our entire lives musing, wondering, considering. How would life be if we did not think. What would life be like, if we didn't think at all? So many questions I ask myself, but in a way answers are given on a road which develops with mistakes. When it comes to school, our senses are trained to achieve our goals. Because of that there is something I learned this week: how harder the task, how greater the challenge. That is why many great historical individuals accomplished great objectives while thinking beyond the limited area. History is rich but many people do not want to be millionaires with own knowledge. This world turns just like all individuals facing a dark side when scared or confound. Being safe in the darkness, not exposed to the light creates safety. Thinking beyond the grey area of society creates new historical figures.

"Cogito Ergo Sum" (I think therefore I am)

Kenjiro, M