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Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 1) 388

by xaxa (#48807299) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Why should English classes be more about works of fiction and theatre by dead white European males and less about communicating your own ideas to other people?

Here's some of what I had to study when I was approaching 16, in 2002. You'll note the opposite criticism has been made -- "the inclusion of the poems represented an "obsession with multi-culturalism"."

I had trouble writing and analysing fiction, and always received poor grades. A few months before the final exam the teacher set me some work to analyse and write something more factual -- I think it was articles from a popular science magazine. That was easy, I got As. It was a topic most English teachers didn't enjoy teaching, and avoided, but the examination board allowed it as an alternative.

Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 1) 388

by xaxa (#48807173) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Primary school teachers in the UK are paid a lot less than secondary school teachers, I assume because the job is a good bit easier.

Both my parents were secondary school teachers. They'd both manage a long break in the summer, at least 6 weeks, but made up for it by working well over the official hours in term time. I guess before they had children they might have valued the summer holiday less, and normal weekends / evenings more.

(Legal minimum holiday here is four weeks (20 days), but the actual average is 26 days. In both cases add 8 public holidays (Christmas day etc).)

Comment: Re:To be fair... (Score 1) 388

by xaxa (#48807119) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

Right, agreed. So, once upon a time we had typing classes. Would you then expect the typing teacher to take on teaching shop and engineering courses that were about how to build a typewriter? No.

Actually, yes, but probably against their wishes. (But their alternative is being made redundant, so can you blame them?) My dad started as a woodwork teacher, which was replaced by engineering drawing. He'd failed his A level at that, but his school presumably couldn't find anyone else to teach it, and asked him. Apparently it was a stressful summer learning. That was more gradually replaced by IT, meaning "using software", which I think he did quite well at -- "using software" had the flexibility to mean using art + design + CAD packages. The children he taught got As, but if he hadn't retired a few years ago he'd be one of the teachers stuck trying to teach Hello World to 12 years olds -- I'd passed his level of programming when I was 9 or 10.

He also taught geography for a couple of years, I think covering for a long-term sick colleague, and PE (sport) similarly.

Similarly, I remember seeing teachers at my school change subjects. Sometimes it's fine -- a decent chemistry teacher can teach physics, biology and maths pretty easily, especially to children under 15 or so. But the teachers teaching computer science probably aren't the maths teachers, but the general technology / business teachers who have little choice but to struggle with the new subject.

I'm critical of teachers for a lot of things, but not knowing how to teach Towers of Hanoi isn't one of them. Demanding that someone who knows how to teach Towers of Hanoi get paid the same as the social studies or health teacher IS one of them.

I'm familiar with that one! In the last few months I've run out of patience with the public sector scientific organisation I work for, so I'm looking for a developer job elsewhere. I'm aiming for around double the pay... (Although the situation isn't quite the same. I have highly technical, general, transferrable skills, the scientists have highly technical, extremely specialist, less-transferrable skills, so they're "worth" less.)

Comment: Re:To be fair... (Score 2) 388

by xaxa (#48804133) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

It's one thing for a teacher, like my computer science teacher in high school, to be expected to understand computer SCIENCE. It's another to expect them to know a bunch of software packages. That's one of the big problems with computer education in schools; the idiots putting together the curriculum don't understand the difference between conceptual learning and facility with using systems.

That is the issue here: it used to be knowing about software packages, the "idots" have changed it (see here and here, among others) to include some programming. FTA "It seems that switching from an approach that emphasised computer literacy to one that actually wants students to do more difficult things is the reason for the problem."

Comment: Re:Better way (Score 4, Informative) 289

by xaxa (#48750345) Attached to: Extra Leap Second To Be Added To Clocks On June 30

arbitrarily-picked Greenwich, UK,

Greenwich wasn't arbitrarily picked. The only options were Paris, Berlin, London and Washington DC -- they had the necessary observatories. London was already in widest common use, and the anti-meridian falls in a convenient place (not crossing anywhere important).

Comment: Re:I answer work e-mail from home. (Score 0) 82

by xaxa (#48704763) Attached to: Pew Survey: Tech Increases Productivity, But Also Time Spent Working

I am online all the time, I answer work e-mail from home at all hours. I can't technically discipline anyone for not replying to me off-hours, but it does get remembered.

British law states that, "workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days (eg if you finish work at 8pm, they shouldn’t start work again until 7am the next day)." and "Workers have the right to: (a) an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week, or (b) 48 hours each fortnight". source

I set my phone to not check my work email outside working hours, and not at all while I'm on holiday. I don't think it would be a bad thing if the majority of people were normally prevented from accessing email (and other work systems) during these periods.

Comment: Re:Learn to drive (Score 1) 214

by xaxa (#48703453) Attached to: New Year's Resolution for 2015

I already use a bicycle for my commute, and most local journeys. I intend to continue with that, especially as it keeps me fit.

Driving a car will let me transport more stuff or passengers than a motorcycle. I'll investigate the cost of owning a car for a while, mostly to get some practise after I've passed the test, but after that I'll probably just rent one as required.

Comment: Re:Cheaper (Score 1) 349

by xaxa (#48699053) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Europe and the USA are similar in size (the Baltic and North seas have to be flown over). The EU has 500M people, all Europe has 750M, but the GP is a bit out anyway.

It's more like $100, especially if we make the comparison fairer by not sticking only to Western European cities or tourist destinations. Frankfurt to Athens at the end of March is $200 return, for example.

Non-EU places can be more, e.g. Minsk to Paris is $350-ish return.

The $50 flights are for flights between some of the key global airports (e.g. London to Frankfurt) or tourist destinations (e.g. EMA in England to Venice -- $70 return).

Comment: Re:OT: one-way (Score 2) 349

by xaxa (#48698899) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

We booked with Delta on the way down and US Air on the way back. It takes a little more work because you're shopping for plane tickets twice, but I'd bet in most cases, it's worth it.

I booked a flight to Greece and a separate return from Albania. That flight back from Albania was cancelled a few days before. I was refunded, but I had to book another flight (with a different airline) quite close to the date, so it cost me ~£150 more than the original flight.

European regulations mean that if I'd booked it as a round trip (even if it's A to B, C to A) the airline would have to get me home at no extra expense, and compensate me if there's a significant delay.

Comment: Re:what else is new (Score 1) 234

by xaxa (#48695167) Attached to: Being Colder May Be Good For Your Health

Fahrenheit is still used (unofficially) in UK, along with pounds, stones (and hundredweight); inches, feet, yards, chains, furlongs and miles; Gas Marks; guineas etc.

Fahrenheit is used much less than pounds/stones or inches/feet/yards/miles, including unofficially. Many -- very possibly most -- old people use Celsius, and the BBC weather forecast (on TV) hasn't given temperatures in Fahrenheit for many years.

The other line moves faster.