Friday, May 29, 2009

Primary School Problems

I was thinking this morning about the training systems for teachers in Ireland, at all levels. I have various views on the topic, probably quite unusual or controversial. However it struck me today how there might be a correlation between falling numbers of male teachers and the statistical evidence that females tend to gain, on-average, more points in the Leaving Certificate than males (can't find the reference or precise terms). I would be interested to see what percentage of males applying to primary level teaching courses are successful and compare this to the percentage of successful females. I have long thought that interviews should be re-introduced for courses which lead to a professional qualification reliant on human relations. This could be incorporated into the CAO system in a similar way as the portfolios are for artistic options. Perhaps this would help to mitigate the effects of the high points required and encourage those who might be intimidated by them. There is also a strange situation in effect where Leaving Cert males do not think it is socially acceptable to express an interest in primary teaching, while society considers it a laudable choice. This arises from a dichotomy of thought in society. But perhaps that is a rant for another day on the status of teachers in the new millennium.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Excellent Hunky Dorys

Hunky Dorys are a brand of Irish crisps made in Meath and Lisburn. I had some in my sandwich today and they were tasty. But the best bit of all was the packet. Under allergy advice it has:
"Doesn't contain Kryptonite (but does contain soya)".
What originally caught my attention though was the advice:
Storage Conditions:
Treat Hunky Dorys like Gremlins. Keep them cool, dry & away from bright lights &strong flavours.

I don't remember the strong flavours being a problem for the gremlins but it's been a few years since I last saw it. Must re-watch!

The 3rd Annual Science, Engineering, Communications & Outreach Conference

On Thursday 21st May I attended this conference in Engineers Ireland. It was an excellent day, full of insightful presentations and discussions. I was delighted by the opportunity to meet some of the most eminent practitioners in the field of science communication and promotion. I took many thoughts, ideas and tips away with me and hope to have the opportunity soon to apply them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Confessions of a Science Librarian

On the blog list to the right -------------->
you will find a blog called Confessions of a Science Librarian.
Read the May 4th post entitled 'Is Canada losing the lab-rat race?'. In fact, read plenty of the articles as otherwise I'll have to keep linking to them.
In the aforementioned article we see that the worldwide epidemic of poorly paid lab-trapped souls is certainly rife in Canada. There will be no success in outreach programmes until we don't have to lie to prospective scientists and make science seem more glamorous than it really is.

Also of interest in terms of the dissemination of scientific ideas is this one day conference in Dublin. Perhaps I will see you there.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Book Review: Ender's Game

'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card.


Won the 1985 Nebula Award and the 1986 Hugo Award. A thoroughly enjoyable book. Set in the future, the tale centres around the life of a boy and the struggles he faces. Despite the science-fiction background this is a story of humanity with well-developed characters and a page-turning plot. My only complaints about the book are (1) there are ONLY 6 further books in the series and 4 in the related shadow series, hoping for more as he's still writing (2) The rest of my life was accidentally put on hold while reading these books, still recovering from the extreme sleep deprivation. I will tell you nothing further, I read the book based only on the recommendation that it was a good book and I'm glad no one spoiled it on me.