These schools want to wipe away gender stereotypes from an early age

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By: Gary Hadler, Director and Co-Founder ITS Education Asia

These schools want to wipe away gender stereotypes from an early age

I was just reading this article ( http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/28/health/sweden-gender-neutral-preschool/index.html ) and thought I would share it with those that follow our blog and add some comments on it.

To me the article seems to imply that Gender stereotyping and the associated teaching is what creates the differences between men and women.  Removing gender stereotyping in schools the result will be more well rounded adults.  Problems faced by both girls and boys are the result of the gender stereotyping that has been part of their upbringing.

Personally as an educator I find the premises of the Swedish experiment/model questionable.   Men and women grow up to be very different for the most part in every society in the world.  This has been true throughout history.  In my view, it is not the education model that results in the differences.

Back when I was younger my first extended experience living overseas was when I spent 3 years as a volunteer aid worker in Western Samoa.  One of the things that really struck me about the experience was that a) A lot of what I thought was human nature from my experience growing up in Australia I discovered was actually learnt behaviour for my culture and environment and b) Many things I thought were learnt behavior from my culture and environment were probably human nature.

I tend to think that in an effort to be more ‘politically correct’ educational theorists are getting carried away and are imposing their ‘strange’ views on generations of children to try to prove some pet theory.  The premise of these preschools is that trying to remove gender stereotyping from the education system at a young age will result in better adjusted people.  I personally would like to know what they are basing this assumption on.

It may be the case that the opposite is true.  It may be the case that children growing up in this model will simply be more confused about their identity and place within a general community.  The idea that not calling a young child boy or girl but ‘hen’ is gender neutral seems pretty silly to me.  After all hen is a female chicken.

There is also the reality that when outside the school environment these young children are going to be back in society where gender stereotyping is common.

To me the question education models need to be addressing is discrimination and equity not simply trying to promote their own views on how to resolve problems.  I would not support this model of confusing very young children about their gender.  Equality and openness about all issues is what I believe education models should be teaching.

I would welcome others’  thoughts and comments on this topic.

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When exam results go wrong…

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by Ruth Puentispena, Exams Officer, ITS Education Asia

 when-exam-results-go-wrong

Results are out and you did not do well. Maybe you had a bad exam day or week or session – in any case, you’ve missed your offers and have lost places at your first, second and third choices.

It is not the end of the world.

Just because you didn’t do well doesn’t mean you can’t go to university in the autumn. There are many different pathways to higher education and ITS can help you.

If you took UK A-levels, then the first consideration is re-taking some or all of your A-level units. ITS is the only Edexcel Exam Centre in Hong Kong offering re-sits in the October exam session. Apart from that, we also hold IAL exams every January and June. Preparing for these tests with us will also allow you to get all the help you need, along with premium guidance on university applications, including help in writing your personal statement and getting predicted grades for your next round in order to ramp up your chances of getting in to the programme of your choice.

Some of you may be considering taking a gap year. The important thing is to know how to spend your time wisely. Taking an internship or part-time work in a field you are interested in pursuing is a viable option; or you could take some sort of short course or foundational year. With our vocational and diploma courses in Fashion and Dress-making for example, you gain a range of skills and begin to experience more of a work-based rather than school-based environment. Remember that everything you do should help make your later university applications more competitive, while at the same time allow you to gain and hone the necessary skills you’ll need to succeed at university. Unfortunately, the days of simply going to travel for a year are over in terms of that being a good CV entry. If you have missed out on a place at a top university this will not cut it. For those whose aims are lower down the scale, travel is still a highly valuable option as long as you do learn from it.

For IB and DSE graduates, you can spruce up your qualifications with additional A-level results. ITS offers 12 month long A-level courses both in-house and online for anyone interested in adding to their results, as in the case of students who decide they want to do university courses but realize that requirements for admission aren’t met by their current grades. These are available both live and in video format. At the end of the course you will have the option of applying directly to UK based universities at the yearly Clearing Fair held in mid-August.

For those who do not want to wait around and need to get on a course immediately, ITS runs a BTEC HND in Business. This is equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor and articulates into a third year top up from a UK university either by going to the UK, taking a year with a transnational partner in your home country or online. This means you would end up with both a graduate diploma level in Business and a Bachelor such as a BBA.

There will always be a way to get to where you want to go. Let ITS be your guide in as you choose your Pathways To Learning. Call +852 2116 3916 or email to speak to a counsellor today.

 

 

 

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Strauss-Howe Generational Theory – is it the new crystal ball or pseudo-science?

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By Dr. Orville Leverne Clubb, Head ITS Education BTEC Centre

“There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns.  If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself.  What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. What we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish. There is no free will. There are no variables.”

― Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

strauss-howe-generational-theory-is-it-the-new-crystal-ball-or-pseudo-science

Today the word “millennials” is in common use.  I found that the word’s origin is from the “Strauss-Howe Generational Theory” by two pop historians, William Strauss and Neil Howe.  Strauss and Howe’s work is a theory of U.S. generational repetition. Their theory’s hypothesis states that US history moves in 80-year cycles.  Each generation moves through 20-year periods of influence in the cycle called turnings. There are four turnings in a cycle. Each cycle will have highs and lows. The fourth turning or last turning in a cycle is normally a major crisis in history like the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II. Each of the four generations embody fundamental characteristics, and these characteristics repeat themselves throughout history.

The cycle begins with an optimistic period of hope for growth and prosperity called a “High”. This period is immediately after the end of the previous cycle. The prosperity and wealth of the High period “turns” (turning) into a time of social unrest and uncertainty as fundamental questions concerning morality and ethics begin to be asked, this period being known as an “Awakening”. As an Awakening rolls forward, society begins to withdraw inward from wider social issues and causes, focus on amassing individual and familial wealth, and becoming distrustful of once trusted institutions and symbols of authority. This period of social value decay is called by Strauss and Howe an “Unravelling”. After an Unravelling, an accelerated countdown to a period of “Crisis” begins, climaxed by a major civilizational level crisis such as war or deep political upheaval surrounded by a number of smaller seminal events featuring further breakdowns in the economic and social fabric. Using this theory, our current cycle calls for a major defining crisis.

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist is greatly influenced by this theory and is looking for an apocalyptic “fourth turning”, such as WW III. This would allow the US to go through a cleansing and in a new “High” will return the US to former American values (make America Great again).

William Strauss passed in 2007. Neil Howe is still active and still trying to refine the theory.  In a resent web posting by Neil Howe “Where did Steve Bannon get his worldview? From my book”, Howe describes the fundamentals of the theory:  “We reject the deep premise of modern Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional societies: that social time is a recurring cycle in which events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what philosopher Mircea Eliade calls “reenactments.” In cyclical space, once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order.

In an article by Tim Fernholz, Bannon was not dealt with in a very flattering manner.  “His views revolve around several key themes that can be explored at some length, but briefly summarized: American society is at a turning point in history and facing social collapse thanks to a decadent generation that has forgotten the values that made America great. Only by re-embracing white, Christian nationalism can the US regain its pioneering chutzpah. He even made a film on the topic, called Generation Zero”.

Generational theory is growing in popularity.  Dr. Graeme Codrington in an article “Detailed Introduction to Generational Theory in Asia” attempts to apply the theory to the countries of Asia, South East Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions. In his article Codrington points out theories of the cyclical nature of history is not new. He states: “Greek historian, Cicero; Greek writers, Heraclitus and Homer; Chinese philosopher, Lin Yü-t’ang, and the writers of the Old Testament (especially the book, Judges), show that this cyclical nature of history and generational development has not just been recently noticed.”

In computing we talk about “the software life cycle”, there is the “product life cycle” for manufacturing and even “Empire life cycles” theories. There is clearly merit in life cycle theory. It suits our view of our existence. But to what extent does that give it validity? Until next time….

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Downloading of Culture – 2

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By Dr. Orville Leverne Clubb, Head ITS Education Asia BTEC Centre

If someone were to put a proposition before men bidding them choose, after examination, the best customs in the world, each nation would certainly select its own.

– Herodotus

downloading-of-culture-2

 

I concluded my last blog titled “Downloading of Culture – 1” with: “A major conflict can occur if a child has been given a different culture by the home key people to that of the environmental culture of the child’s new formal school. As a child that moved from the Deep-South of the US to California while in primary school and had to deal with difference peer-groups, I can tell you that school peer-groups can be very mean and unwelcoming”.

As we continue the discussion with the “Culture Fundamentals Stage”, which is Piaget’s “Pre-Operational Stage”, imagine an immigrant child that is of different ethnicity dealing  with  entering a formal schooling system that is different from the child’s home culture.

In an article from The Economist entitled “Where immigrants go to school is more important than where they came from”, it was stated “Migrants can face a twin disadvantage. They are often concentrated in struggling schools. And, at least at first, they may suffer from having to toggle between languages at home and in class. Two-thirds of pupils born outside their host country use another tongue at home.”.  In addition to language, think of the additional ethnic/racial baggage such as physical features, food,  and religion.

Continuing with the computer analogy, we use “programming languages” to program computer behavior. Likewise, we use natural languages to programme human behavior, and store human cultural knowledge. The immigrant child now finds himself in a situation where he is being given formal cultural programming in the schooling system that does not match his home environment training.  This can be worse if the immigrant child is a minority in a school that is a majority of the external environmental culture.

Social Identity Theory explains in-groups and out-groups. It is in the Cultural Fundamental Stage that a human first start to seriously use Pejorative Language to describe a cultural out-group. I remember when I moved to California at the age of nine I was suddenly a “gringo”. Since then I have been a “haole” in Hawai’i, “gweilo” in Hong Kong , “hung mo gwei” in Singapore, “septic” in Australia, “farang” in Thailand…  These are racist terms used to define outsiders. (the hyperlink takes you to a list of racist terms *Warning some terms are very offensive*)  The immigrant child has to survive in a culture that he is not prepared for and may have to accept bullying and insults.

There can be a battle for the home culture to be kept intact from the home key people.  I have a feeling (but no proof) that this is the reason that some immigrant children are able to excel in their academic studies in the U.S. I remember my school days where the Asian students were always at the top of the class. Studying and achieving good grades was a way to gain social status since they did not fit into the main stream environmental culture.

By around 11 years of age the individual has advanced into the  “Cultural Functional Stage” the cultural equivalent of Piaget’s “Formal Operational Stage”. Members of a culture will normally have a fully functional understanding and awareness of the physical environment and culture that they are functioning in. They will understand the language, food, dress codes, gender expectations, etc.  However, I believe that the immigrant person has an identity crisis. Being pulled on one side by their programming in the Cultural Introduction Stage and continual pressures by the home key people to “know your roots”, date people from your own culture … Remember the idiom Birds of a feather flock together ?

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Why might you consider the alternate BTEC route to a degree?

Blogroll, ITS Educational Services Comments Off on Why might you consider the alternate BTEC route to a degree?

By Dr. Orville Leverne Clubb, Head ITS Education Asia BTEC Centre

Why might you consider the alternate BTEC route to a degree?

When the opportunity surfaced to work with ITS Education Asia (ITS) as their Head of BTEC Centre, offering the BTEC Higher Nationals qualification(s), it was a perfect fit.  Prior to taking the post, I had retired after a career of 40 years in higher education.  I began to feel I needed to continue to contribute to society as an educator and welcomed the opportunity.

I am a believer in non traditional paths to formal education. I am aware that there are many people who deserve a chance to advance themselves through higher education but due to many different reasons don’t have the opportunity for a traditional higher education path. I feel the BTEC HND is an excellent alternative to direct entry to a traditional university programme for a bachelors degree (or masters).  In Asia, a student can achieve an internationally recognised UK awarded bachelor degree in 3 years by taking  our two year full-time BTEC HND followed by a one year topping up degree. Topping up degree programmes are available either here in Asia or you can go to the UK for the topping up degree course.  Basically, the BTEC HND is equal to the first two years of a British bachelors degree and the topping up degree gives the final year for the award of a bachelors degree.  Depending on your goals, if you wish, in a place like Hong Kong, that means you can have an internationally recognized master degree in 4 years, rather than 5 using the local traditional route.

At ITS, we decided to become a BTEC Centre since BTEC qualifications are  recognized in more than 70 countries worldwide, and in 2013/2014, 2.58 million learners registered for BTEC programmes and other vocational qualifications.

My personal story; when I was a young person, I did not take high school (secondary school) very seriously, I did not achieve grades good enough for me to get university admission. For my first career, I spent more than four years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted man.  While on active duty in the military I had time to think about what I wanted to do with my life. When I left active duty as a veteran of the Vietnam War, I was given an allowance to pursue four years of education.  I decided that I would use the allowance to pursue a bachelor degree.   Not having the grades in high school to gain direct admission to university, I had to find an alternative route to reach my goal. I was able to take advantage of the Hawai’i Community College system to study for an associates degree and then, articulate to the University of Hawai’i Manoa to finish my B.A. in Psychology. Some years later, through continued studies, I was awarded a PhD from a UK university. Prior to the Marines, I was a construction worker.

My experience as a young man made me a believer in nontraditional routes of higher education.  The BTEC HND is an excellent alternative to direct entry to a traditional university programme.

 

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