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Changing Education From The Ground Up – Sir Ken Robinson

I have always loved listening to Sir Ken Robinson talk about education. I love that he puts ideas out there and is not afraid to challenge educators or the education authorities.

This was an interesting speech. He is always a very engaging speaker, and offers some humorous insights, throughout but it seemed a bit milder than some of his earlier talks (or maybe that was me). However it is still worth listening to. The video, created in conjunction with the RSAis 24 minutes long. One part that struck me was “you cannot improve education by alienating the profession that carries it out. It would be like trying improve medicine by vilifying doctors. You can’t do that!” Hence education needs to improve from the ground up not by politicians making edicts but by encouraging those who are teaching. Our education departments here in Australia need to listen to this as well.

Sir Ken Robinson addresses the fundamental economic, cultural, social and personal purposes of education. He argues that education should be personalised to every student’s talent, passion, and learning styles, and that creativity should be embedded in the culture of every single school.

Russian Roulette: a prequel to Alex Rider series

A surprising novel as I did not expect another book that related to the Alex rider series but this is a welcome addition. I have only just finished and I have boys eagerly awaiting it.

I love the proliferation of good series for young adults, specially for boys. Many of our boys are not really adventurous (or great readers) and when they find a book they like, they would rather re-read it than take a chance on a new book that they might not like. Series make it much easier for me. If I can help them find a series they like they (and I) are very relieved. A few books they feel they have a connection to. After they have read a series,  we go to the “if you liked…., you might like……” approach.

My idea is to get them into the habit of reading and reading books that they enjoy. It is slow but with little steps we aim to increase their positive reading experiences.


Russian RouletteRussian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was surprised to find this book. I enjoyed the Alex Rider series and thought like many others that it was finished which was the cause of much sadness for many of my students.
In a way it is a prequel to the Alex Rider series. It was fascinating to discover how the Alex Rider’s biggest enemy, the Scorpia assassin Yassen Gregorovich, came to be the man we encountered in the Stormbreaker. It was fascinating to see this character as a boy. We learn how brutally Yassen’s (born Yasha) family and childhood was ripped away. We see how he is forced into one difficult situation after another. He has to make many decisions that eventually lead him to be that character in the Alex Rider series. It is interesting to compare Alex and Yasha as boys. The characters are very similar but their circumstances drive them in completely opposite directions. It does however make the reader see Yassen in a different light and we fell some empathy this contract killer. In Russian Roulette the connection between Yassen and the Rider family is explained and why Yassen does not kill Alex when he had the chance at the end of Stormbreaker.
This was a good book and a must-read for all the Alex Rider fans.
Website: http://www.alexrider.com/Home

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