Tree Art

I love the lateral thinking here 🙂

Tree Art. thanks to Seth Snap



This is reblogged from Seth Snap’s  blog filled with thoughtful photography and reflections.



Emotional Appeals and Persuasion

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Emotional appeals may activate deep seated beliefs through appeals to values such as:

  1. Sense of family (Eg. ‘This is family-friendly’, ‘Our families are under fire!’)
  2. Sense of justice and fair play (Eg. Language such as ‘rights’, ‘fair go’, ‘Aussie Battlers’)
  3. Sense of pride, identity and belonging (Eg. National pride, Gay Pride, pride in one’s team etc)
  4. Sense of tradition and the familiar (Eg. Anzac Day Parade; ‘We mustn’t change’)
  5. Sense of decency, etiquette, manners and decorum (Eg. Language like, ‘Imagine behaving like that!’ ‘It’s the decent thing to do!’)
  6. Sense of duty and obligation (Eg. Language like, ‘We owe it to our children to…’)
  7. Sense of entitlement and privilege (Eg. Language like, ‘We’ve worked hard for…’)
  8. Sense of respect and honour (Eg. ‘The young ones have no respect!’ ‘What a hero!’)
  9. Sense of security and safety (Eg. ‘If this goes ahead, nobody will be secure!’)
  10. Sense of compassion and mercy (Eg. ‘What terrible suffering!’ ‘I forgive…’)
  11. Sense of the common bond of humanity, Brotherhood and Sisterhood (Eg. ‘Together, we shall rebuild!’ ‘We women/men must ensure that…’ )

Persuasive and evocative language can access primal emotions such as:

  1. Fear and anxiety (Warning people of reasonable, potential threats can motivate action but fear mongering is deliberate, unreasonable and extreme playing on fear to manipulate or to sensationalise.)
  2. Guilt and shame
  3. Anger
  4. Desire for power

Social change can threaten values held by individuals and groups, generating powerful feelings of fear or outrage. This response may be subtly manipulated by writers using language with connotations or cultural allusions or more blatantly stirred up by inflammatory or emotive language. Personal attacks of people opposed to the writer’s position are known as attacking the opposition and may include mockery, sarcasm, pejorative statements, name calling or mudslinging (comments or narratives which bring up someone’s alleged negative personal history). Commentary which is critical of those resisting change may include phrases like ‘sacred cow’.

When such powerful emotions are evoked, they can generate irrational responses from members of the public and ‘knee jerk’ reactions by policy makers. This may be just the outcome a writer desires. On the other hand, it may be an unintended result.

Consider this adage: *“The pen is mightier than the sword.”*

Words are powerful and should be governed well.

*This version of the adage originated from Cardinal Richelieu’s speech in Act II, Scene II of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play script, Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy.*

Controlling Killer Mosquitoes


Here’s a link to a short talk by Hadyn Parry on attempts to control the dengue fever carrying mosquito:

Filmed Nov 2012; posted Jan 2013. TEDSalon London Fall 2012;

Below are URL links to research being conducted at Monash University and James Cook University within an international team approach.

“The Australian field trials of the Eliminate Dengue Program are part-funded by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through the Grand Challenges in Global health Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”

It is very refreshing to know that some extremely, even excessively, wealthy people, like Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, also have a strong social conscience. Philanthropy is most definitely something to be encouraged when it demonstrates such vision and ethical integrity.

Kudos to all involved in such brilliant and important endeavours.


PS: Advertising works! My curiosity was aroused when I read an advertising banner over a Freeway in Melbourne for Monash University research into eliminating this dengue fever carrying pest. It’s gone now (replaced by Christmas ham ads!)

EAL Listening & Responding #1

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I think you will find the BBC’s Learning English website a very helpful and interesting website:

For practice with listening and written responses here is an introductory link:

When you have listened and responded to this, you can find other topics on the website.

If you feel more confident, select a short talk which interests you.

You could:

  1.                 write down 5 – 10 new words, or words used in a surprising way;
  2.                 find the main argument or idea
  3.                 identify the supporting arguments or ideas
  4.                 write down any questions you have about the topic — What else do you want to know about it?

I hope you enjoy these links,


A Challenge with a Difference: Drop-by Drawing@NGV

Here’s the challenge: Step out of your comfort zone!

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This is one of my granddaughter’s early artistic attempts using an iPhone app. It was way out of her comfort zone but it was an eye opener for her. 


The NGV is offering a wonderful creative and free experience: Drop-by Drawing. Over the next 3 Sundays, between 2pm & 4pm, anyone interested in giving drawing a go will be offered inspiration and guidance by an artist.

It’s not English — and it’s not cricket. It’s  a different way to see the world around you and express yourself in a visual way.

I think it’s all in black & white, so no need to worry about colour choices 😉


I hope to make it to at least one. I hope you do too.

See you there?


A Short Talk on Antisocial Phone Tricks

Today I found this short 3 1/2 minute speech, ‘Antisocial Phone Tricks’, by Renny Gleeson on from 2009.

From the title, what do you anticipate hearing?

Before you click the link, I will give a language alert. The speech is clear but there is one image containing a word which may offend. I apologise for this; However, I consider the message to be very important.

OK, now the teacher in me steps forward, without apology.

Below are some questions to exercise your critical thinking skills:

Were you surprised by what he spoke about or was this what you expected?

What did you think of his speaking style? Did he speak clearly and with variation in delivery? Were the graphics always matched to his spoken word for clarity and impact? Were there too few, the right balance or too many? Why do you think so?

What is the main point of his speech? What key ideas did he raise?

Did Gleeson use new vocabulary to you or use known words in different and surprising ways? How did this add to or detract from your listening experience?

How did he use humour to challenge attitudes? Did it work for you? Why or why not?

When do you think he made his intended purpose clear to you?

Is this a wake up call in 2013? Is it any less or more relevant today?

Do you agree with Renny Gleeson’s parting request? Would you view or word it differently?

For those of you studying the VCE Context Exploring Identity and Belonging, there are a couple of interesting images towards the end of the speech. Try a screen capture of them and place a copy in your folio of materials to consider. In fact those studying any of the other three Year 12 Contexts – Encountering Conflict, Imaginative Landscape, Whose Reality? – or Year 11 Contexts  – Eg. Technology and Society, Future Worlds, Migrant Experience & Growing Up – are sure to find material in this talk and presentation of interest.

Wishing you happy and satisfying thinking,



Firewalls of the Mind and Hypertextuality


This link is to beedieu‘s (Barbara Dieu) fascinating photograph of graffiti on The Berlin Wall before it was brought down. Is it really on the wall or is it a digitally manipulated image? See this post by Barbara Dieu:

The ‘graffiti’ reads: “BLOG AND BRING DOWN THE FIREWALLS OF THE MIND”. Dieu references the phrase “firewalls of the mind” within it. Comments follow in which someone asks if Vance Stevens knew his phrase had been used. He replies that he did and gives a reference link to an article referencing both his first use of the phrase in a publication and Barbara Dieu’s photograph in an exploration of the benefits and barriers to using ICT in teaching practice:                                         

This describes a wonderful example of hypertextuality. Moreover, my description of the hypertextuality demonstrated in these posts has links inserted within it which are also a demonstration of hypertextuality.


Furthermore, the photograph and related blogs raise issues about:

1. the credibility of the photographic visual image in the digital era and the implications of this;

2. the context of The Berlin Wall and what leads people and societies to build such walls then, decades later, break them down again;

3. the value of graffiti as valid social critique and commentary or art (or the harm in its anti-social sentiments and anarchistic aesthetic);

4. the effectiveness and desirability of blogging and other internet based social intercourse in changing how people think about things, educational processes and society generally.

Keep your eyes open and your mind sharp.

Preparation for Close Reading of Text

In preparing for studying text in VCE English, remember that one of the criteria for outcome and exam responses will be a demonstration of close reading of text.

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Read all texts during the summer holidays – at least once. If you have a Shakespeare play, you may wish to search YouTube for a  decent performance to help with understanding Shakespearean language. Although in old black & white movies, Orson Welles has provided wonderful interpretations of some plays.

Write a paragraph or two in response to each text. You may make a summary of the storyline, comments on characters or themes or have questions or observations about the text. Alternatively you could write a reflective piece about your summer reading (A4 page). Perhaps bear in mind the Context you will be studying.



Use colour coded sticky notes to tag pages with significant events, turning points, character development, theme development, symbol & other language use.

You can also tag along the horizontal top of the text for one area (Eg. theme & symbol) and the vertical right side for another (Eg. characterisation/character development/relationship/turning points).


Use pencil initially to underline significant lines & make annotations in margins.

Begin to cross reference pages: Eg. dialogue later shown to be untrue or ironic.


Develop a grid in Word or Excel in which you tabulate symbols, relationships, key quotes, page numbers etc related to particular characters. Ask to see an example.


Begin with dot point summaries about 1. Characters & 2. Plot events.

Work toward writing insightful paragraph summaries for each.

Wishing you enjoyable and insightful reading,


First Post

First things first: a warm welcome to blog readers and participants.

We all have a list of first times in our lives. Many of them form significant turning points and memories. Well this is my First Post.


I was inspired to set up a blog after reading Lauren Cook’s article about the use of blogging in classroom teaching practice. This article was published in the latest ‘Idiom’ (Vol 48 No 3 2012), the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English magazine. After reflecting on the ideas presented in this article, I considered how a blog could be a very useful tool in my tutoring role.

I am holding high hopes that this could be a great way to:

  1. share ideas and relevant internet links with students;
  2. create a repository for my teaching notes; and
  3. provide a medium for interactive and reflective learning processes beyond teaching and tutoring sessions.

I look forward to sharing this exploration with you.



Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (where it’s trying to be a warm and sunny summer but is more like autumn heading for winter).