Thursday, November 10, 2011

20111116 The Occupy Brisbane Movement.

The Occupy Brisbane Movement.

A few months ago a small band of insignificant protestors gathered in Wall Street New York to make their voices heard regarding their perceptions of the 'greed of the corporate world' in America.

Like so many ideas that come from the United States of America it had at least two attributes: it was appealing and it was stupid.

Instantly and all around the world, at least two more people behaved in such a manner as to suggest that this was regarded as a fairly good way to take advantage of the rebellious idea that it was now ok to camp in a public place. And so, the daring few carried their tents into Post Office Square and made a stand for what they truly believed to be true. They were determined, they were resourceful, they had no idea what they wanted nor how to get it but that was not the purpose. Their purpose was to get some attention and pretend to be just like their American idols.

The basic idea of a protest is fairly simple: the protestors make everybody else feel uncomfortable until everybody else makes the protestors feel comfortable. This tactic has been astonishingly successful, and has proven to be necessary for the survival of the species, among those younger members of our society who have yet to develop their ability to speak, walk, or use civilised and customary systems of personal hygiene.

From the outset, the Occupy Movement has either deliberately or ignorantly refused to be part of the very system of change that is needed to meet their demands. If they only knew their demands.

The false hope that the Occupy Brisbane movement has created is sad to the point of being criminal. During the Occupation of Post Office Square, the news reported the industrial action at Qantas. One person actually asked the Occupy Brisbane movement to take action. This plea for help was a turning point in my perception because it occurred to me that some people in the fair city of Brisbane actually believed that a bunch of people sitting in a park had real power.

From these events, it is evident that there are people who believe that a public protest is the first order of action for change in a civilized society. The Queensland education system could not be so incompetent that it has utterly failed to tell students how the political system works. That is not the case. The Queensland Curriculum includes lessons at the year 9 level:

• Contact between cultures has produced movements to improve democratic participation and citizenship rights for specific groups
e.g. government policy and legislation to increase opportunities for participation in electoral and government
processes for women, Indigenous people and young people.

So, the question remains on why these people continue to follow a leaderless and illegitimate political movement. Possibly, they either missed class that day or they do not have the equivalent of a year 9 education.

In an effort to guide some of the wayward followers, I asked them if they had writen to their local member about their concerns. Not one of them had done so. They had a feeling of helplessness and isolation and that their concern would be disregarded. I asked others if they had looked at any of the policies of the existing parties to see if their concerns were already being addressed. Again, nobody had taken the time, about 3 minutes of research on the Queensland Government website, to find out.  While chatting with the supporters on facebook, I came to a realisation that there really are people who need to be protected from themselves. These people are truly a danger to society. As a political movement, it is a sad dismal failure. As a joke, the Occupy Brisbane Movement is an elaborate social success that went severely bung.


Friday, February 11, 2011

1102111230 Teaching English as a Foreign Language is for young people.

1102111230 Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

I never honestly considered that an on-line course to be an English teacher would be highly regarded by the teaching profession. A four-year degree course which includes the psychology of learning, effective formative assessment and a one-year practice in the classroom does not favorably compare to mucking about for 120 hours on the internet. Even though I managed to do well and was awarded good marks for my lesson plans,
the teacher's comments never mentioned anything specific about my work: it was like they were cut-and-paste from a spam generator. The "print-it-yourself" on-line certificate does not carry any authority and there is something hollow and artificial about it. It lacks an essential ingredient. Like carob. Having said that, the only people who consider the qualifications from Bridge TEFL seriously are, oddly enough, the people at Bridge TEFL. The final part of the course is job placement with their agency. I received this reply:

Dear David,

Thank you for considering BridgeTEFLJobs for placement in South Korea. As a warning, placements are extremely difficult to secure in South Korea when the applicant is nearing the age of 50. We apologize for this difficulty. This is not a policy of BridgeTEFL, but of the employing agencies in South Korea. Each school has its own guideline for hiring teachers and currently most teachers being hired are from 22 to 40 years of age. If you are outside of this age group, it might take longer to find a school. Being that the retirement age in Asia is presently 50~55 yrs, it is highly unlikely that anyone nearing or past 50~55 yrs will obtain a decent job offer.

In light of this information, you may want to consider teaching in other areas, such as Latin America. If that sounds appealing, we strongly suggest enrolling in a TEFL Certification course in-country for numerous reasons:

* Allows time to acclimate to the culture
* Provides an opportunity to look for housing
* Usually includes free language lessons
* Encourages networking (with potential employers and classmates)
* Greatly improves your chances of being hired

Please visit for a map with locations where we are currently offering such courses.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to continue with your placement in South Korea in spite of the aforementioned difficulties.


Matt Clark

BridgeTEFL Jobs Advisor, BridgeTEFL
915 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80246
(303) 785-8861 (direct)
1-888-827-4757 (Toll-free USA & Canada)
0-800-028-8051 (Toll-free UK)


Dear Mark,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I understand that this is not a policy of Bridge TEFL or your personal feelings, because age discrimination is illegal in the USA, Canada, England, France, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, some of the more interesting parts of Asia, anywhere East of the Urals, the Baltic States and the Antarctic Territories.

I sincerely hope that you live long enough to experience this yourself.

David Nightingale.
TEFL Graduate