(Full Transcript for video) “So, I’ve been seeing a lot of things talking, people making commentary, interestingly enough, the ones I’ve noticed have been making the commentary are wealthy black people, making the commentary about we should not be rioting, we should not be rioting, we should not be tearing up our own communities, and then theres been an argument of the other side of we should be hitting them in the pocket, we should be focusing on the blackout days where we don’t spend money. But you know, I feel like we should do both, and I feel like I support both, and I’ll tell you why I support both. I support both because:
The #blacklivesmatter movement has (I hope) got us all thinking about how to be anti-racist – how to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
However, I think we are going to find that being anti-racist is much broader than simply anti-black-and-brown-people racism – being anti-racist means being anti-oppression, and in this short post I’m going to try to explain why I think we classroom teachers (I talk in particular about language teaching because that’s my profession, but my point applies to all teaching) have some learning to do. Let me start with something surprising:
As language teachers:
I don’t think we should be telling our students HOW to speak – I don’t think we should be judging THEIR utterances by OUR “native-speaker” standards. We should be helping them develop ideas about THEIR OWN standards, and helping them work towards THOSE standards, not our own.
And I don’t think we should be telling them WHAT to say – I think we should be helping them to find THEIR OWN voices, to say what THEY want to say, not what WE want them to say.
Yes, as educators we have a role: we can suggest topics and roads of enquiry, and prod them with questions to encourage deeper thought.
Japan (finally) declaring a state of emergency over Covid-19 means teachers and schools are all scrambling to come with ways to teach online. After a (online!) meeting yesterday I came away with what I think is a pretty good fast-starter arrangement for online teaching, so this post is to give you what I know so far, so you’ve got something to build on.
This method (hack?) uses google classroom as the primary method of communicating with your students to tell them about video classes, set assignments etc, and pretty much any audio/video chat application for doing the actual lessons.
(Zoom is popular, and has a great “breakout rooms” feature, tho it does have well-documented security issues – see my short discussion below)
UPDATE 2020-04-10: I realized it’s possible to simplify this even further: You need: 1. A method of sharing links and short messages with your students: Google Classroom might be good (especially if you want to set assignments, share documents etc) but to get online teaching started all you really need is a group for each of your classes in ANY messaging app: once you have them all in one place, you’ll be able to arrange meeting etc to further organize. 2. A method of talking live with your students: any group talk-to-each-other app, some teachers may even feel that no video just audio will work, which will broaden the possibilities
Firstly a diclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I AM NOT A MEDICAL RESEARCHER. I AM NOT A SPECIALIST IN ANY WAY. I AM A TOTAL LAYMAN WITH A PHONE, AN INTERNET CONNECTION, AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF EMOTIONAL AND COGNITIVE BIASES THAT INFLUENCE MY JUDGMENT. DO NOT FOLLOW MY ADVICE. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. MAKE YOUR OWN JUDGMENTS. TAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS.
Ok, with that out of the way, here are my layman thoughts:
A blog post (link below) by another layman with an internet connection (a Japanese national living in Australia) suggests a hypothesis that the differences in speed of spread and severity of infection between different regions of the world may be due to BCG vaccination programs, with the important distinction that not all BCG vaccinations are the same, and that the so-called “Japan Strain” (an older strain, used in Japan and several other countries, particularly in Asia) may be more effective in providing resistance to the Covid-19 virus (this would explain why some countries with a BCG program are experiencing rapid spread: they use other strains that do not provide the same resistance).
In my response to Hideo’s death I somehow ended up sharing my grief on social media (which is very not usually something I would do). I discuss this in the final section of this post, but first, the posts themselves, culled from my social media for that week:
自治会会長と話して、ウイルスでイベント中止の動きに揃いましょうって。ご了承下さい、近い内に… I talked to the head of the neighbourhood association and we decided to cancel this event to help contain the corona virus (many public events are now being cancelled) we’ll reschedule once things have calmed down…
I’ll be doing my next Climate Emergency presentation at my local neighborhood association, it’ll be in Japanese but please come if you can, the more people show up the bigger the impact, and the bigger the impact the greater the chances of it leading to real action.