Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dark arts at Macquarie University

I had no intention of posting again today, but I couldn't resist this one. I waAncient History Weeks thinking of of one my New England blogging colleagues when I wrote, Le Loup's A Woodrunner's Diary. His blog is full of strange arcane things connected with past life at a period, a sort of living history blog.

want to know which is best, a rifle or a smooth bore musket? L can tell you. Want to light a fire by striking sparks? Again, LL can tell you.

Anyway, yesterday Clare, youngest, went off to Macquarie University dressed in a toga. Today, she borrowed some money to buy kerosene for her fire sword!

Turns out it was Ancient History Week at Macquarie University.

Now as a sometimes curmudgeon who complains that universities were not what they were, I have to say that of all the Sydney universities Macquarie sometimes reminds me of a real university.

To my mind, universities are not just about getting through to that ticket, but a brief space in life to do new things, to experiment.

I think that this holds for all ages, not just the young. New England has always had a lot of mature age students. My experience with them has been the same.

If you look at the poster, you will see that one of the sponsors is the Macquarie Dark Ages Society MACDAS). Now we mustn't actually use that term any more, it's unfashionable. Still, it's not a bad name.

Clare battle mode As part of the week, MACDAS put on some mediaeval battles. Anybody could join in but, sensibly, you had to do some basic training first.

Youngest, never averse to a battle of any type, happily joined in.

I think that Clare was a bit of a surprise to MACDAS. She has great upper body strength, is an actress and is used to wielding weapons of various types!

It's hard to believe that this is the girl who, on the best teacher and professional advice, had such bad coordination that she might not be able to complete the HSC without permission to use a computer, such bad coordination that she might struggle to complete normal schooling. Highly advanced in some areas, she registered as well below her age in others.

I am in danger of getting onto another of my hobby horses, that linked to professionalisation, medicalisation, the need to find problems to solve, the difficulties of dealing with kids who fall outside parameters defined as normal. 

Of course, some kids have problems that need professional help. Yet the reality is that most kids work their way through problems, that help often hinders because (among other things) it makes the kid focus on the perceived problem.

In Clare's case, she actually never saw the limitations. Sport and activity cleared the coordination problem. Her spelling is sometimes dreadful, so is mine, but she has also completed three books. Clare's only problems are nothing to do with those identified, but instead reflect focus and interest.         

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