Saying No to New York

Spending time in a metropolis like New York when you don't know where to find anything, don't know any of the people, the weather is gloomy, immediately getting lost when exploring confusing city streets, is like living in limbo - every day is essentially the same and you can't change it. You just while away the hours. So in order to not go nuts or fall any further into a depression, I started just walking out of the hostel and going straight into Central Park. This was an area I understood.

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How to Gain Perspective

The best way to gain perspective is by creating space between you and the problem. Even if you don't know what the problem is, or even if there is one, by physically removing yourself from your typical environment you will come to recognise; what is important to you, what is tying you down, and you will start to discover just who you are. Travel is, above all, the quickest and most effective way to create space, and gain perspective.

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"Yes" will take you a long way.

In 2006, the book "Yes Man" sparked a change in my life. I know, it sounds absolutely corny, but it totally did. Wallace, the author and protagonist, was a fairly similar to me - pessimistic, a little too clever, used sarcasm and sharp wit to try and cover up areas where actually we felt vulnerable. But he commits to an experiment where he simply starts saying yes to things. The change was spectacular. I needed something spectacular in my life.

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Waitahanui River, Taupo

Looking at the test-print in my hands I'm aware of the way that even this moment that I've captured here is going to fade away. The digital scan of it does not do it justice, and this copy is yellowed and marked with age. Until I find the negatives, I'll have to be content with these poor reproductions, each one of which introduces more entropy into the equation.

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Re-imagining the Wheel: Part 2

I have a suggestion as to how we can guide the process. The following list is collection of benchmarks that I propose we use to both examine our existing structure, and use as a guide, as we build and improve upon a modern education system. I present them here with the aim that they foment discussion, and quite honestly I hope that someone smarter and more qualified than I can improve upon them.

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Blood Pool - Beppu's Entrance to Hell

This pool is just one of many in this area, and on top of that, there are different facilities that have their own pools and style of displaying them. What I liked the most, though, was that you could just fill your water bottles with the spring water! (No, it wasn't rusty red like this) It tasted wonderful, good to drink but I wouldn't use it to make tea!

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Hot Lunch - Have a Steamy Time in Beppu

I've always enjoyed geothermal attractions, and these don't disappoint. They're not overly flashy or upmarket, nor are they undeveloped. They're fairly simple and make good use of the beauty of nature that surrounds this area. In fact, Beppu was one of the greenest cities we visited in Japan, with many houses sporting trees and gardens and just a general lush feel to the whole area.

 
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Empowering Language Learning Students in China.

In 2015 I was working for a school in southern China which ... is often considered to be a model school for the future of education in China. The school gets a lot right: due to some great teachers and a lovely campus, the students have access to many wonderful opportunities, especially when compared with what the public school nearby has to offer.

However, there are certain key areas where the students are lacking valuable skills that are actively not being taught in the school. In addition to this, the lesson times were vastly reduced in order to pack extra-curricular activities into the school day: just 35 minutes for class per subject, each day. Yes, you read that correctly. The core subjects of Math, Chinese, Phys. Ed, and calligraphy class receive less than an hour per day for both instruction and for students to perform classwork. Science - depending on the student's age - is relegated to merely two or three classes per week!

My question became; If given only 24 hours to teach a language, which 5 skills or strategies should I focus on teaching? Click through to read my answers, and to add your own.

 
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