WARNING. The National Parks service has declared this area to be a National Sacrifice Zone. The Sacrifice Zone Program was developed to manage parcels of land whose clean-up cost exceeds their future economic value. p235 "Snow Crash" Neal Stephenson.
Trying to get a flight out of Christchurch last night proved challenging. The 5.30 Air NZ flight was delayed and delayed and delayed, I was too tired to care – but when I saw the uber affluent Koru Club members being furtively issued with new boarding passes and spirited off to a different boarding gate I smelled trouble. So when without any obvious trigger the tour party of 25 rose as one and ran talking in tongues out of the departure lounge, I ran with them. Sometimes my inability to master any language apart from English doesn’t matter.
Sure enough as we hit the ticketing desks the PA announced the cancellation of the flight to Auckland. And then my troubles began. The tour party might not have had Koru Club wealth on their side but they had the negotiating power of numbers and were immediately whisked off to the Qantas flight –the rest of us had to get our flights rebooked.
After a significant wait we were lurched from disgruntlement and rumouring that this cancellation was a “bolder than the biscuits” cost cutting initiative by Rob Fyfe and his executive team at Air NZ, into agitated Brownian motion by an announcement that we wouldn’t be re-ticketed until we had collected our bags now unloaded onto a luggage carousel in another part of the airport.
The carousel side trip kneecapped my early queue advantage - by the time my bag swung into sight riding the black rubber conveyer belt wave, and I elbowed my my way back to re-ticketing, the crowd of “disgruntled at the thought of being trapped in Christchurch” had swelled six times in size, like some superporous aquagel human organ toy left in a bucket of water overnight. On reaching the ticketing counter the presence of two passengers called Artichoke on the same plane created a bottleneck that made me feel vulnerable to outbreaks of ticket rage by those still waiting ….and meant they were paging me for the flight when I was still waiting for a boarding pass ….but I did get on a flight … and although it was delayed, I did get home.
Why do I blog this? Well the upside of all these economically driven delays in getting back to Auckland was that I had time to finish reading a book Lucychili recommended - Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson does not have enough sex to make it a good plane read, but it does have a future world view interesting enough to block out all the NBL scandal mongering going on in the A and B plane seats adjacent to my C. If only I had links to basketball in New Zealand I’d have “intel” worth thousands. All I can offer is that someone called Brin ought to be highly alert.
Snow Crash introduces the idea of Sacrifice Zones where “clean-up cost exceeds their future economic value”.
I like the honesty in this descriptor. Just imagine if we introduced a similar honesty into education. How many Sacrifice Zones could we identify?
The first would have to be our teacher training programmes – most of the public were stunned and the rest of us mortified to read in the local papers this week that New Standards have been developed for New Zealand Graduating Teachers.
In future graduating teachers will have to:
* Know what to teach.
* Know about learners and how they learn.
* Understand how contextual factors - including personal, social and cultural - influence teaching and learning.
* Use professional knowledge to plan for a safe, high-quality teaching and learning environment.
* Use evidence to promote learning.
* Develop positive relationships with learners and the members of learning communities.
* Be committed members of the profession.
Source: Teachers Council's Graduating Teacher Standards
You can just imagine the budget for those airfares to and from Wellington, the consultation, and the months of conversation teasing out the idea that teacher graduates ought to “know what to teach”.
There is much talk in schools about the proliferation of tertiary training providers in New Zealand and the government funding of tertiary training that sees “bums on seats” drivers for assessment of teacher trainees rather than competence.
It’s a “The best things in life are free But you can give them to the birds and bees I want money (That's what I want) That's what I want (That's what I want)That's what I want (That's what I want) That's what I want (That's what I want) Flying Lizards Money kind of scenario in teacher education and for that matter health nowadays.
The cost of doing teacher education properly “exceeds its future economic value.”
Teacher training is a sacrifice zone.
The release of these New Standards was disquieting for even the most cynical observer of teacher training. So much for all that rhetoric about personalisation, e learning and meeting the needs of the 21st Century learner, the people around me were asking
“Just what did you lot unleash upon unsuspecting kids in New Zealand schools before these standards were introduced?
“What made it necessary to develop such blindingly minimal standards for professional competence in 2007?” And
"Just what does the need for the development of these standards imply about the integrity and professional ethics of the staff working in teacher training institutes across New Zealand."