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Separate but Inclusive: Special Needs Accommodations at After-School Events

My colleagues are not a shy and retiring group. If they need help, I hear about it.  If I make a decision they don’t agree with, I hear about it. I hear about it in-person, on the phone, over email, over instant message and over text message. Sometimes I hear feedback from these venues simultaneously! What I seldom get is silence. But, after reading Jean Winegardner’s post about making after-school activities inclusive, I’m going to listen a little more for the silence.

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More together, more often

How easy it is to get caught up in what we see as the challenges and pressures of our own lives and lose a little perspective. Or worse still create a false perspective. But then every once in a while, amidst our personal whirlwind something happens to make us stop and reflect on where and who we are. And just maybe to prompt us to re-calibrate ourselves in some way – to regain lost perspective or recognise a change that’s needed. That catalyst might be something up-close and personal like a relationship issue, something a little further away like a colleague who falls ill, or even something seemingly un-related to us a world away.

Last Friday that catalyst for me was the massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan. For me – no doubt like millions of people around the world – it brought out a range of emotions:  shock at its scale; horror at its brutality; sadness for the lives lost; gratitude for my situation and family; amazement at the Japanese people’s resolve and calmness; and of course empathy.

Indeed it’s very often during times of adversity that our identification with and understanding of anothers’ situation grows and we intuitively focus on what brings us together, rather than what separates us. We feel a certain ‘connectedness’. Not only with Japanese communities around the world, but every community – from the local to the international –  to instinctively understand that at this moment we can and must strive to achieve more together.

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Japan’s calm and communal attitude in the face of disaster

I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami which struck the country last Friday. The Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has described the natural disaster as the country’s worst crisis since World War II and the photos and video footage which currently dominate global headlines support this statement: mass fires, towns and villages have been washed away, a leak in Japan’s quake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power is causing radiation emissions to rise to dangerous levels and the death toll continues to rise. Scenes from hell. Read More »

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Do you have your own individual taste or do you follow the crowd?

The “nature versus nuture” is a famous age old debate. Are our individual physical and behavioural differences driven by our innate qualities we are born with – “nature” – or by our personal experiences – “nuture”?

But researchers from Cambridge University have added a new dimension to this debate. They believe people can be split into one of five cultural types groups – communal, aesthetic, dark, thrilling and cerebral – and have developed a questionnaire to prove this. Read More »

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International Women’s Day Across the Globe

March 8th 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which was set up by women in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Switzerland to protest against poor working conditions, low pay and male oppression.

There are many article out there highlihgting the fact that in many countries and roles across the world men still earn more than woman, but there also many positive articles pronouncing the great work that women are doing today.

This year the UN’s IWD theme is Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

This theme underlines the importance of education in progressing as a society as a whole and equality for all people. Read More »

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