Reading the latest issue of Jamie McKenzie’s From Now On – there’s an article by JM himself entitled Beyond Cut and Paste. The article discusses the fact that students often cut and paste because of the poor quality of the assignments which are set for them. McKenzie suggests having a meeting of all teachers and coming to an agreement that lazy assignments – e.g. find out all you know about Captain Cook and write 750 words – be abandoned and replaced with assignments which challenge the students e.g. asking them to compare Captain Cook with other famous sea captains. Questions have been McKenzie’s focus for a good number of year now – teachers posing challenging questions and students developing their own questions – but it’s good to be reminded of this.
One of the delights of being back in Wagga Wagga is the gum trees which can be found around the campus and elsewhere. Gum trees are, of course, eucalypts and there are many different kinds. One feature of some of the gums is that they shed their bark and have wonderfully smooth trunks which glisten in the Australian sunshine. You do have to be careful if you have the urge to feel just how smooth the trunks are, as there are often long trails of ants scurrying up and down the trunks. The picture below is of some gums just near my office on the campus.