Category Archives: School and Education

“Deutsche Absurdität”

Die Zeit: Der Schleier in der Schultasche. “Was in Österreich und Nordrhein-Westfalen diskutiert wird, gilt in Frankreich schon seit 15 Jahren: ein Kopftuchverbot an Schulen. Was hat es bewirkt?”

“Die Äußerungen von Bundesinnenminister Horst Seehofer (CSU), der Islam gehöre nicht zu Deutschland, findet [der französische Islam-Experte Olivier] Roy allerdings alarmierend: “Zu sagen, man sei ein christliches Land, weil es christliche Feiertage gebe, ist absurd. Die meisten Menschen denken bei Pfingsten an ein langes Wochenende im Frühling, nicht aber an die Entsendung des Heiligen Geistes”, sagt Roy. Wenn der Innenminister wirklich ein christliches Land wollte, dann müsste er sagen: Weil wir Christen sind, öffnen wir unsere Grenzen für Flüchtlinge, wie es der Papst eingefordert hat. “Aber da hört das Christentum dann schnell auf.” Über diese deutsche “Absurdität” kann Roy schmunzeln, wird aber ernst, wenn es um die Kopftuchdebatte geht. “Es kann nicht um ein Verbot für eine bestimmte Religion gehen. Alle religiösen Symbole müssten gleichermaßen in Schulen verboten sein.””

A new look at the moon

NASA Goddard: Tour of the Moon in 4K. (YouTube, 4:56min)

“Take a virtual tour of the Moon in all-new 4K resolution, thanks to data provided by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. As the visualization moves around the near side, far side, north and south poles, we highlight interesting features, sites, and information gathered on the lunar terrain.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Bekleidung und Umweltschutz

Umwelt im Unterricht: Die Textilbranche, “Fast Fashion” und Wege zu nachhaltiger Bekleidung. (2016)

“Die Textilbranche ist stark von der Globalisierung geprägt. Die Produktionsschritte verteilen sich weltweit auf diejenigen Standorte, an denen die geringsten Kosten anfallen. Das ermöglicht niedrige Preise für die Verbraucherinnen und Verbraucher. Doch Umwelt- und Sozialstandards werden auf diese Weise häufig vernachlässigt, zum Teil mit katastrophalen Folgen. Das zeigt zum Beispiel der Einsturz des Fabrikgebäudes Rana Plaza in Bangladesch im Jahr 2013. Welche Folgen haben die Produktionsbedingungen für Mensch und Umwelt? Welche Ansätze zur Verbesserung gibt es?”

Umwelt im Unterricht: Wie PFC in die Umwelt gelangen.

“Immer wieder berichten Medien über Funde von sogenannten per- und polyfluorierten Chemikalien, kurz PFC, in der Umwelt: Im Wasser, im Boden, in der Luft – diese Chemikalien sind inzwischen auf der ganzen Welt nachweisbar. Sie sind biologisch nicht abbaubar, und für einige dieser Verbindungen wird eine toxische und krebserzeugende Wirkung vermutet. Doch wie gefährlich sind PFC tatsächlich für Menschen, Tiere und die Umwelt? Woher kommen sie überhaupt? Und wo sind sie überall verbreitet?”

Buchempfehlung dazu: Heike Holdinghausen: “Dreimal anziehen, weg damit?” Kostet bei der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung nur einen Euro.

Perfect pitch

Last night, this MetaFilter posting sent me down a rabbit hole: What makes this song great? with links to videos by Rick Beato. I listened to 2. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic and then found my way over to videos about perfect pitch:

Perfect Pitch: How Theory and Ear Training Work Together, in which Rick Beato explained how the taught his eight-year-old son Dylan, who has perfect pitch, music theory. Dylan has perfect pitch and can sing pitch perfect as well. (I won’t even mention his skills on the piano, which you can see in other videos.)

Rick Beato also has videos on what perfect pitch is and why you cannot develop it as an adult: Why Adults Can’t Develop Perfect Pitch and Perfect Pitch vs Relative Pitch: Which Is More Important?

It turns out you can lose your perfect pitch, though, as happened to vibraphonist Gary Burton after being “without a heartbeat for half an hour” and having been reanimated: Retiring The Mallets (NPR).

For good measure, here’s another little kid with perfect pitch, who probably doesn’t know the names of the notes yet, but can tell if someone is singing a song too high or too low: Claire and the Crosbys: Perfect Pitch Test! (5-year-old Claire vs Dad). Of course, you probably all know her from singing You’ve got a friend in me and from being on the Ellen Show multiple times.

“We have a right to a safe education.”

The Washington Post: Thousands of students walk out of school in nationwide gun violence protest.

Some quotes from the students – and one senator – that stroke me:

Fatima Younis, a student organizer with Women’s March Youth Empower, one of the lead coordinators of Wednesday’s walkouts:

“We want our Congress to know that some of us will be old enough to vote in the midterm elections, and the rest of us are going to be able to vote in 2020 or 2022, and they’re going to lose their job if they don’t do what we want to keep us safe”.

Dominic Barry, 16, a junior at Minnetonka High School southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul:

“We’re tired of sitting around and listening to politicians tell us what they are going to do without ever actually doing anything. And we’re also just kind of tired of adults not making it happen — adults saying what they are going to do and then just entirely blowing us off”.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.):

“We need to make sure that every member of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, people of all political stripes, are more afraid of the next school massacre, more afraid of the next death on our streets, more afraid of that, than they are of the NRA. Let’s go get them.”

Gabe Ozaki, a 16-year-old junior:

[He] addressed his schoolmates first, saying, “Every person who has ever died in a school shooting started their day like we did today.” He went on to say that he thinks America is being robbed of its youth, but that he and others are energized by a wave of activism.

Larnee Satchell, 17, a senior at Hartford Magnet:

“We will not allow our elected officials to just tweet their thoughts and condolences without any gun reform. We need Congress to enact a resolution declaring gun violence a public health crisis. We need Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We need Congress to expand background checks to all gun sales.”

Freshman MaKayla Woodard:

“I’m walking out because they weren’t safe and we aren’t, either” […] The teen, whose father hunts, said she wants to see stricter background checks and mental health screenings for those seeking to buy guns. And she opposes President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers, saying she worries that a police officer will mistake an armed black teacher for an aggressor. “If a cop sees a black teacher with a gun, that teacher will get shot,” she said.

Bonus article:

The Toronto Star: U.S. teacher accidentally fires his gun in the classroom. He was trained in gun use. “The incident comes amid a national debate on how to protect students from mass shootings. A male student was reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.”

Arming teachers to protect children at school instead of changing gun laws sounds like a daft and downright dangerous idea to this foreigner who is not American, but is a teacher at a highschool (grades 5 through 13 here in Germany).