English In The Nursing Syllabus

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WHY SHOULD ENGLISH BE INCLUDED IN THE NURSING SYLLABUS?

English is the language currently used for most of the international transactions.

English can widen your horizons and help you to deepen your scientific knowledge and create work-related opportunities.

CONFERENCES:

Most scientific congresses, seminars and conferences are currently held in English and visiting lecturers, colleagues and tutors often prefer to use this language.

WORK EXPERIENCE:

There is a demand for nurses everywhere around the world. Nurses can gain valuable experience by working overseas and also obtain higher qualifications in specialised fields.

Aid-workers are required in war-torn nations and areas of natural disasters.
Besides, work is avaliable for nurses in tourist resorts and health care clinics.

EDUCATION:

You can surf the internet for information and research updates and most of the time you will have to do this in English.

You can read and use American and English Medical, Nursing and Scientific Journals-which often take time to be translated.

You can watch documentaries and TV programmes in their original version.

MANUALS:

Instruction manuals for various machines and instruments of common use in your place of work are frequently written in English.

PATIENT CARE:

Patients who cannot communicate their needs to hospital personnel are at a distinct disadvantage and very often have a slower recovery rate.

Besides, patients may present case histories or medication details in English, and it would be very useful for you to understand them.

Do you need any more reasons for considering English as an essential part of your training as a nurse?

Maybe you can think of any other reason…If so, add it to this list and start working to improve your English!

Source: Universidad de Cantabria

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Debate: The Right To Privacy VS The Right To Information

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Motion: This House Believes That The Right To Privacy Should Supercede The Right To Information.

The following is an English version of an article in the September issue of Cuestión de Derechos, written by Privacy International‘s Head of International Advocacy, Carly Nyst.

To read the entire article (in Spanish), please click this link.

Background:
The Chinese government installs software that monitors and censors certain anti-government websites. Journalists and human rights defenders from Bahrain to Morocco have their phones tapped and their emails read by security services.

Facebook processes information about you.

Facebook also takes down wall posts after States complain of “subversive material”.

Google hands over user data to law enforcement authorities that includes IP addresses, location data and records of communications.

The USA government conducts mass surveillance of foreign phone and internet users.

Each of these acts threatens both an individual’s freedom to express themselves, and their right to maintain a private life and private communications.

In this way, privacy and free expression are two sides of the same coin, each an essential prerequisite to the enjoyment of the other.

To freely form and impart ones political, religious or ethnical beliefs one needs an autonomous, private space free from interference, from the State, private sector or other citizens.

blue eye Equally, infringements on the right to privacy – physical or online surveillance, monitoring of communications or activities, State intrusion into private, family or home affairs – prevent an individual from exercising their freedom of expression.

This point has been made most recently by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, in a landmark report to the Human Rights Council in June 2013. The report marks the first time the UN has recognized the impact of State surveillance on free expression and other human rights, and has condemned the latest trends in government surveillance.

The report is a timely reminder of the serious implications of surveillance for civil liberties, particularly given that hardly a day passes without news of governments spying on journalists, hacking into emails, or demanding social networks turn over user data.

It is clear that this widespread surveillance is not just about gathering information on a citizenry.

It’s also about suppressing our ideas and our thoughts, controlling our actions and our words.

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Free expression and privacy in the digital age

In the modern world, almost every act online is an act of expression. Participating in an online chat, networking with friends and colleagues, and surfing websites and reading news, downloading files — these are all acts of imparting or accessing information.

In online interactivity, there is content generated and stored, some of which is publicly available, most of which is amongst select individuals and groups.

Yet each of these acts also generates transactional information, and can be monitored by unintended parties.

In turn, nearly every act of expression is now observable to communications providers, and in turn, the State.

This is without precedent in human history.

We could previously communicate with our friends and colleagues without it being known to anyone else.

We could move around cities, countries, and continents and meet with whomever we wished without it being known.

We could follow and join groups and movements without having to disclose identities.

We could publish and distribute pamphlets, posters, brochures, newspapers and books without knowing the creator, publisher, and reader.

The ability to act without being observed was innate to the act of expression so we benefited from privacy as we expressed ourselves by living our personal, political and professional lives.

Most importantly, we believed that these were rights worth protecting, enshrining in constitutions and promoting through advocacy and protecting in law.

The protection of free expression is now generally considered a common good.

Some States speak out in favour of its protection and admonish those who do not support it in the modern era, and in particular for the internet.

blue eye No State, however, promotes the right to privacy.

Now, when States and human rights mechanisms speak often of promoting free speech and the importance of facilitating access to and use of the internet and new technologies, they rarely admit the implications of new technologies for the right to privacy.

They knowingly support free expression in the modern context while ignoring the right to privacy that has so long enabled and supported free expression.

Put in a more worrying way, they want to see more people communicate and express themselves, particularly in countries where they are at risk for doing so, while turning a blind eye to how they are placing themselves at greater risk of identification, profiling, and persecution for having done so because of the surveillance that is now all too possible and probable.

Instead of enjoying equal promotion to free expression, privacy is often subjected to claims of cultural relativism – the catchphrase “privacy is a Western concept” is regularly lobbed at privacy advocates – or subjugated to concerns of security, development or growth.

The right to privacy has not been fully developed by human rights protection mechanisms; the UN Human Rights Committee last issued a General Comment on the right to privacy before most modern technologies – including the internet – were in mainstream usage, and it persists to neglect privacy considerations in its Concluding Observations on the human rights records of State parties.

It has rarely recognized the interdependent and mutually reinforcing relationship between privacy and free expression.

This essay begins by elucidating the deprioritisation of the right to privacy in human rights and political discourses.

It then goes on to establish the clear links between privacy and free expression, illustrating the interdependent relationship between the two rights by examining State control and surveillance of communications.

It concludes by making recommendations for specific State actions to protect and promote the right to privacy, and calls for a stronger statement by UN human rights mechanisms on the mutually reinforcing relationship between the two rights.

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Privacy – absent from the agenda

The failure of the international community to develop a stronger statement of the meaning and application of the right to privacy may be in part due to the challenges in defining the content and contours of the right. Although privacy is internationally recognized as a fundamental right, and has its foundations in the constitutions of scores of countries, as diverse as Chile, Ethiopia, and Nepal; in numerous regional and international treaties; and in the jurisprudence of courts across the democratic world, it is far more than a functional legal construct that’s validity derives from its existence in national or international law.

Despite its essential role in shielding individuals from government and corporate intrusion into their homes, communications, opinions, beliefs, identities and bodies, it is often claimed that it is an evolving social norm.

It does face a changing environment with new forms of data generation, storage, processing and surveillance, and as such it cannot be a static concept; its content and confines are contested, subject to never-ending games of tug-of-war between individuals, governments and corporations.

Innovation and change – not just in technologies, but in migration and border flows, security and conflicts, attitudes and priorities – inform and challenge our conceptions of the private and the public.

The continual development of new means to undermine or protect privacy gives rise to new discussions about how to contextualise it, and new questions about its salience in changing contexts.

“Privacy” may have no fixed meaning or core content; our conceptualisations of privacy are bound to vary across historical periods, cultures and places.

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Understanding and protecting privacy is also challenged by the constant evolution of technologies that transform the way we think about the private and public spheres.

Technological change alters our relationships and interactions with governments and the corporate sector, and changes how we think about the realization and protection of human rights.

This is particularly so when it comes to our communications – how we form and impart our beliefs and opinions.

In order to enjoy privacy of communications, individuals must be able to exchange information and ideas in a space beyond the reach of the State, the private sector and other members of society.

As technologies increase the reach of the State, place power in the hands of the private sector, and create new societies and citizenries online, privacy protections are increasingly CRUCIAL.

Of course, the failure to protect and promote the right to privacy is about more than an inability to agree on a definition or conceptualization of the right.

Rather, because the right to privacy is the fundamental safeguard of the citizen from the State, it is viewed by the State as a barrier to control, an OBSTACLE to STATE POWER.

Privacy is at the heart of the most basic understandings of human dignity – the ability to make autonomous choices about our lives and relationships, without outside interference or intimidation, is central to who we are as human beings.

Autonomy is not just about the subjective capacity of an individual to make a decision, but also about having the external social, political and technological conditions that make such a decision possible.

Privacy confers those external conditions.

As private autonomy is a key component of public life and debate, privacy is not only a social value, but also a public good.

Yet by the State that seeks to control its populace, it is viewed as an impediment, an OBSTACLE, and thus is conceptualized as UNDERMINING security, development, and modernization.

Individuals are offered simplistic, FALSE CHOICES between competing values: dignity or convenience; freedom or control; our rights and freedoms, or security, modernisation and development.

**States tell us that stability cannot be ensured if anonymous online expression is unregulated, that communications must be visible by the State in order to prevent terrorism and cyber crime, that interactivity without observability would lead to illegality.

**All of these are FALSE CHOICES, casting technology as a means for evil; and privacy, as the preserve of darker forces in society.

Privacy and Security

The idea that we must choose between privacy and security has too often pervaded the political and economic discourses, creating a FALSE DICHOTOMY and spurring over-simplified arguments about the role of technology.

The discussion reveals no nuance, no consideration of the values and priorities tied up in privacy and security, no reference to the potentials of technology or the changing nature of threats and security, no indication of the other choices that exist.

**It has cast security and privacy as competing concepts, rather than interlinking and potentially reinforcing values.

**Technology has the potential to reduce, rather than increase, the Privacy vs Security divide.

The challenge is to improve access to and understanding of technologies, ensure that policy makers and the laws they adopt respond to the challenges and potentialities of technologies, and generate greater public debate to ensure that rights and freedoms are negotiated at a societal level.

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Privacy and free expression – making the link

Technologies have blurred the line between public and private thought and expression; courts across the globe are confounded by questions about how to characterise social media musings and blogs, how to think about data like location, IP addresses and cookies.

Today, more than ever, privacy and free expression are interlinked; an infringement upon one can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other.

This is particularly so in the case of communications surveillance.

**The things an individual says to another person, their intimate feelings and opinions, who they have relationships and connections with, what newspapers they read and what movies they watch, where they go and who they talk to: each of these pieces of information are incredibly sensitive and personal.

They have long been considered the preserve of an individual’s private life, not for exposure to or infiltration by anyone without consent or without exceptional justification.

Innovations in some technologies have facilitated increased possibilities for communication, and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information sharing, and cross-cultural dialogues.

At the same time, changes in technologies have given rise to increased opportunities for State surveillance and intervention into individuals’ private communications.

Digital “back doors” are built into mobile telephone networks to enable State surveillance; technologies such as mass interception systems and voice and speech recognition technology enable countrywide surveillance.

Social media monitoring tools, deep packet inspection, and trojans are used to monitor individuals online.

Data generated by internet companies about internet users’ online activity are accessed by States, who are increasingly mandating the retention of such data.
Who is watching you

The range of expression that might be surveilled has also grown.

Whereas surveillance was historically aimed at private conversations taking place on the telephone, in the modern era, a vast portion of the expressive power of citizens is channeled through surveilable channels, including not only private one-to-one conversations, but books, magazines, conversations between groups, outlines and finished works, family records, library searches, radio shows, live video and digitized historical cultural artifacts.

Modern technology increases access to all of these items and more, at the risk of making all such access knowable by powerful state actors.

When the most confidential and secret parts of an individuals’ life are exposed to the possibility of intrusion, the freedom to express oneself cannot be genuinely enjoyed.

Rather, individuals Begin To Be Afraid that their thoughts, words and relationships will be the subject of interception and analysis.

Restrictions on the INFORMATION that individuals can access on the internet obstruct their ability to freely give and receive information and knowledge.

**Requirements that individuals identify themselves online, or as a prerequisite to access internet or phone services, can result in their de facto exclusion from vital social spheres, undermining their rights to expression and information, and making social inequality worse.

**Infringements upon private life thus have a chilling effect on free expression, causing individuals to censor their communications and inhibiting their ability and willingness to participate and engage.

The Right To Seek and Receive Information is also chilled when the government or the private sector has unchecked access to what information an individual accesses.
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A visitor to a library, a bookstore, or a newsstand might expect that their choice of reading material will remain private and that they will not be identified or persecuted because of what they choose to read.

**But, when reading matter is delivered over the monitored electronic network, that guarantee can no longer be met.

States now potentially have access to all books, websites, newspapers and magazines an individual reads, the movies they watch and the music they listen to.

Article20UDHRInfringements upon privacy and free expression also have interrelated impacts on the right to freedom of association and assembly.

The monitoring of communications allows the State to know and scrutinise relationships and exchanges that individuals might otherwise want to remain confidential.

Surveillance, while impacting individuals’ ability to freely express their opinions, might also impact to whom they are able to express such opinions.

Individuals’ abilities to organize are also restricted: where previously membership lists were sometimes mandated in order to intimidate individuals from joining organisations, it is now possible to discern their interests from online activities, location data of their mobile and related internet services, or use of scanning technologies to identify all people within a given physical space, such as a public protest.

These activities of registration and identification can now take place without the knowledge or consent of the individuals – a return to covert information gathering on political participation.

Certain groups are particularly vulnerable to violations of their rights to free expression, privacy, and information.

issue-migration

**Because privacy enables individuals to work in a space unhindered by authority, journalists rely on privacy protection in order to receive and pursue information from confidential sources, including whistleblowers.

The protection of sources has long been established as a requirement implicit in the right of freedom of expression.

An environment where surveillance is widespread, and unlimited by due process or judicial oversight, cannot sustain the presumption of protection of sources.

Even a narrow, non-transparent, undocumented, executive use of surveillance may have a chilling effect without careful and public documentation of its use, and known checks and balances to prevent its misuse.
Internet-Privacy-1
Internet filtering, monitoring, and restrictions on anonymity online severely impede the ability of journalists to conduct research and investigations, and to publish their work to specific or general audiences.

Not only do such measures impact upon journalists’ ability to freely express themselves, they also inhibit the important functions that the media plays in maintaining transparency and accountability of the State.

Journalists are also particularly vulnerable to becoming targets of communications surveillance because of their reliance on online communications and smartphone devices.

This is especially so where journalists are focusing their investigations on political or religious affairs.

Human rights defenders and political activists are also disproportionately subjected to surveillance and censorship.

Surveillance of human rights defenders in Colombia, Bahrain, and Algeria has been well documented.

In such countries, human rights defenders and political activists report having their every phone call and email monitored, and their movements tracked.

Freedom of expression and freedom of information allow human rights defenders to challenge abuses to human rights; without the privacy to conduct investigations and communications away from the prying eyes of the States, this becomes impossible.
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Recognition and commitment

It is CRUCIAL that States – and the UN human rights mechanisms of which they are members and subjects – recognize the importance of protecting and promoting the right to privacy, both as an essential end in itself, and as a fundamental prerequisite to free expression, thought and information.

The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression drives these conclusions home.

The Special Rapporteur emphasizes that “communications surveillance should be regarded as a highly intrusive act that potentially interferes with the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society”.

The Special Rapporteur goes on to make a number of recommendations to States, including the following:

Communications surveillance:
– must be regulated by legal frameworks,

– must be strictly and demonstrably necessary to achieve a legitimate aim,

– and must be subject to the principle of proportionality.

– Illegal surveillance by public or private actors should be criminalized;

– The provision of communications data by the private sector to the State should be sufficiently regulated and monitored by an independent authority;

– Anonymity online should not be outlawed, nor should encryption.

With each new piece of technology, a dangerous cat-and-mouse game emerges – increased connectivity also leads to a greater chance of a breach of confidentiality.

That is why the Special Rapporteur calls upon the UN human rights mechanisms to update their conceptualisations of the right to privacy in the context of new technologies.

Without this, existing protections will not just become outdated.

Rather, inaction to reconceptualise how our privacy is protected will leave the door wide open for States to abuse new technology, violating our rights in the process, all because those with the power to do so refused to act.

Conclusion:

Any State that is serious about promoting the right to free expression must get serious about promoting the right to privacy.

A free and open press is nothing if the journalists writing for the papers are at risk of surveillance; if the individuals who read the online news sources are being tracked and their data recorded.

Just as security cannot be used to justify the suppression of minority opinions, so too it must not be used to justify the monitoring, profiling, tracking and general unwarranted interference with our lives, our autonomy, and the development of our personalities.

Privacy is the fundamental barrier that stands in the way of Complete State Control and Domination.

Without it, the Social Contract is broken, and individuals cannot exercise their democratic rights to participate, build, grow and think.

A citizenry unable to form or communicate private thoughts without the interference of the State will not only be deprived of their Right to Privacy, they will also be deprived of their Human Dignity.

For the ability to freely think and impart ideas is essential to who we are as human beings.

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Chile’s Plan Nacional de Inglés “English in English”

 

Busca establecer una estrategia de comunicación con principal foco en que las clases
de inglés sean en inglés. Hoy el principal problema es que las clases de inglés se hacen en español.

I. Objetivo
“Que todos los niños de 5° y 6° Básico puedan tener una conversación en inglés”

Esto en términos de mediciones internacionales, se refiere a que alcancen Nivel
A1 en Habilidad Oral:

 Comprender y utilizar expresiones cotidianas de uso muy frecuente, así
como frases sencillas destinadas a satisfacer necesidades inmediatas.

 Puede presentarse a sí mismo y a otros, pedir y dar información personal
básica sobre su domicilio, sus pertenencias y las personas que conoce.

 Puede relacionarse de forma elemental siempre que su interlocutor hable
despacio y con claridad y esté dispuesto a cooperar.

II. Justificación

¿Por qué desarrollar las habilidades orales?

 El inglés oral favorece la educación superior, el mundo laboral y la
investigación. Facilita la interacción con los actores de manera inmediata y
efectiva.

 El 94% de los profesores de inglés usa inadecuadamente la gramática, la
pronunciación, el vocabulario y tiene poca fluidez. Es decir que hay gran
dificultad para que las clases sean hechas en inglés. (Evaluación Docente Mide
UC, 2012)

 Dentro del proceso educativo es la menos reforzada de las 4 habilidades
básicas de los idiomas. (Yasna Yilorm, U. Austral, 2016)

¿Por qué en 5° y 6° básico?

 Hoy el currículum nacional establece la asignatura de inglés como obligatoria
desde 5° básico, por lo que existe el material provisto por el Estado, los textos
escolares y las condiciones para el aprendizaje del inglés.

III. Acciones

El Plan Nacional de Inglés “English in English” se sustenta en 3 ejes de trabajo
fundamentales:

1. Docentes:
 Durante el año 2019, profesores de inglés serán capacitados en
Teachers Academy: Colegios bilingües de excelencia capacitarán a 400
docentes de inglés de 5° y 6° básico de establecimientos educacionales
municipales durante 2019.

o Jornadas de capacitación presenciales con talleres prácticos agrupados
en torno a tres ejes: Aprendizaje centrado en el estudiante, Aprendizaje
basado en Proyectos y Habilidades Orales.

Se espera contar con mínimo un colegio bilingüe en cada región que imparta esta capacitación: Programa comenzó en enero con 80 profesores en el Colegio Internacional Nido de Águilas.

 Plataforma digital para fortalecer Redes de docentes de inglés:
Fortalecer y ampliar las redes de docentes de inglés, llegando a 5.000 profesores al 2021.

o Implementación de plataforma digital (Centro de Innovación del Mineduc) que permite y potencia el trabajo colaborativo: Piloto comienza en marzo en la RM y se amplía a las demás regiones a partir de mayo.

 Certificación para docentes con buen desempeño y compromiso: Se certificará a docentes que cumplan con los siguientes requisitos:

o Aprueben los cursos de Apropiación Curricular I y II impartidos por el Plan Nacional de Inglés.

o Ser miembros activos de las redes de docentes de inglés, asistencia mayor
al 80%.

Además, quienes obtengan mejor desempeño en la certificación podrán postular a una beca al extranjero.

o Segundo Semestre 2019: serán becados los 25 primeros docentes con mejor desempeño.

 Nuevos Estándares de Formación Inicial (CPEIP):
Elaboración de nuevos estándares de formación inicial de los profesores de inglés, tanto pedagógicos como disciplinarios.

2. Alumnos:

 Apoyo de Voluntarios Angloparlantes en sala de clases:
200 voluntarios angloparlantes apoyarán presencialmente a docentes de inglés de 5° y 6° básico, fortaleciendo las habilidades orales en sus alumnos, trabajando de manera colaborativa con el docente.

 Profesor Angloparlante Virtual:
10 establecimientos educacionales participarán de un plan piloto durante el primer semestre 2019.

 Talleres Extracurriculares:
Talleres extracurriculares semanales de actividades formativas y lúdicas que fomenten el desarrollo de las habilidades de expresión oral en inglés a través de metodología Presencial y Virtual. Está comprobado que obtienen un 24% de mejor desempeño en cualquier medición, los alumnos que interactúan en inglés fuera de la sala de clases.

3. Currículum:

 Currículum temprano y continuo: El 2019 se ofrecerá por primera vez un currículum continuo de inglés desde 1° básico hasta 4° medio.

Hoy, un 57% de los establecimientos que tienen matrícula de 1° a 4° básico, imparten clases de inglés en dichos niveles.

Meta 2022: Que el 80% de los establecimientos impartan inglés desde 1°
básico.

 Estudio Piloto en alianza con el BID para evaluar el impacto que tiene iniciar la enseñanza del inglés en 1° básico, a diferencia de partir en 5° básico.
Resultados del estudio: diciembre 2019.

Descarga a continuación los documentos asociados a los resultados del Estudio Nacional de Inglés:

– El Desempeño Profesional de los Profesores de Inglés (2012) Según los Datos de la
Evaluación Docente*

Presentación Estudio Nacional de Inglés 2017.

Informe de Resultados Estudio Nacional de Inglés 2017.

Infografía Estudio Nacional de Inglés III medio 2017.

Plan Nacional de Inglés “English in english”.

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SocioEconomic Segregation In Chile: Can Separate Schools For The Rich And The Poor Ever Be Equal?

racing-twinsI recently identified, in “Where Is The Teaching And Learning Of English In Chile Going? Quo Vadis?“, structural inequality as the heart and soul of Chile’s seeming inability to teach English successfully to Chilean students from poor socio-economic backgrounds. I remind new readers that students from privileged socio-economic backgrounds are learning English fantastically well. Therefore, it would seem plausible (to me) that the solution to the problem of unequal educational outcomes for poor vs rich students is to provide greater economic resources to poor students. Well, the Chilean Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) is doing that.

Subvención Escolar Preferencial (SEP)

mineduc-edificio-AThe objective of the Preferential School Subsidy Law (SEP) is to improve the quality and equity of education in schools that serve students whose academic results may be affected by their socioeconomic conditions. These students are determined as priority and preferred by the Ministry of Education.

By receiving greater financial support, access to professional help to deal with academic deficiencies and/or psycho-social needs, and access to a diverse, cultural enrichment activity program, the “playing field” is level. Consequently, the chances of success are “equal” for the rich and the poor.

Equality of opportunity is more likely in these conditions, for the rich and the poor. In theory, it doesn’t matter if you are born rich or poor, your chances of success are the same, no matter whether the accident of your birth has placed you with rich, highly-educated parents, or with poor, high-school only (or less) educated parents.

Here, we must stop and ask the question: Can money make up for the disadvantages that a child from a vulnerable socio-economic background has experienced, since his/her birth?

Chile-Experiment

Apartheid In Chilean Education System

Before you answer the question, please consider the fact that these two students, the rich student and the poor student, will never be in the same classroom, never be in the same school, never participate in any social, academic, or extracurricular activity together…

That is the reality of the Chilean educational system, namely, the fundamental pillar of a society that separates its children based on how much money their parents have.

I am no sociologist, but it seems to me that the reproduction of socio-economic inequality (wealth, class, political power, etc.) is the desired goal of this system. I am happy to entertain the opposite interpretation, that the Chilean education system’s desired goal is the production of a homogenous, equality-based society that values merit (a meritocracy) over wealth and social class (a plutocracy).

March

However, the uncomfortable truth is that the Chilean education system is the most segregated educational system on the planet (OECD, 2015).

The incomes of the 10% richest in Chile are 26 times higher than those of the 10% poorest.

Since the mid-2000s, inequality has decreased by 1 point in Chile.

Poverty in childhood has negative effects on their educational results (outcomes) and later in their labour market performance and can lead to the entrenchment of poverty and inequality in future generations.

How Can Socio-Economic Integration Be Addressed?

map

New York State launched a program to promote economic diversity at low-performing schools, while school districts like Denver have recently tried to create more integrated schools through choice-based lottery systems.

Socio-economic segregation keeps too many students from succeeding, and low-income students who attend more affluent schools boost their chances of attending college by almost 70 percent. What’s more, the learning of more affluent students generally tends to hold steady in more diverse schools, according to the book, A Smarter Charter, by the Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter.

That’s right. When rich kids go to school with poor kids, the rich kids learning does NOT suffer.

The positive effects of socioeconomic integration go well beyond educational outcomes. It’s also central to social cohesion and social mobility, and according to a group of Harvard economists led by Raj Chetty, upward mobility is, as the New York Times explained, much “higher in metropolitan areas where poor families were more dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods.”

Research in the USA by Raj Chetty looks to cities where children’s chances of moving up out of poverty remain high. Cities with high levels of upward mobility tend to have five characteristics:

1. lower levels of residential segregation,
2. a larger middle class,
3. stronger families,
4. greater social capital, and,
5. higher quality public schools.

**

2001 - 2014 https://t.co/0R8V5gCbgk

In sum, I have made the effort to make it clear that simply “throwing money” at the problem of disparate educational outcomes for the rich and the poor, though noble in and of itself, is almost surely destined for failure.

I am not being a pessimist, nor am I simply making a prediction.

The evidence I have presented leaves no other logical conclusion available. Keeping Raj Chetty’s research in mind, Chile meets Zero out of Five (0%) of the characteristics that promote social mobility. In Chile:

1. The rich live with the rich, and the poor live with the poor.
2. Chile’s “middle class” is heavily indebted, experiencing no rise in wages.
3. Single-parent households are the norm rather than the exception.
4. The poor have little “social capital” to speak of.
5. The school system segregates the rich and the poor.
6. The Chilean education system is the most segregated in the world.

Finally, if upward, social mobility is the goal, the Chilean education system is an abject, deplorable F-A-I-L-U-R-E.

If reproduction of the status quo is the goal (the intergenerational transmission of wealth, social class, and power), then the Chilean education system is the BEST in the world.

Which is it?

**

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#BookReview: Leaving The Pieces Behind by R.M. Demeester

Pieces Behind Blurb:
Serenity Rupert, a former foster child, is struggling to keep it together with no money and a life in shambles.

With no family to turn to, she’s desperate to find a job to pay rent. When things seem to be their bleakest, William, a kind and charming stranger appears and helps her find employment.

With her life back on track, Serenity ventures to reconnect with her estranged family and discovers William’s arrival in her life may not have been as unexpected as it seemed.

Is William the key to Serenity making peace with her past or does he have ulterior motives?

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My Review:

Leaving The Pieces Behind, by R. M. Demeester, is an intriguing read. We are alerted by the blurb that things may not be as they appear on the surface. The prologue is useful in setting the scene. Abject poverty, hopelessness, a tired single mother in poor health, and three children, including our protagonist, Serenity Rupert, are introduced to us. Serenity is the oldest sibling, her sister is Harmony (a misnomer) and her brother is Dayton. Why Dayton? It strikes me as the kind of name a poor person would give their child because it is the kind of name they think that rich people would give their child.

As the story continues, Serenity, now a young adult, has lost her job working at a bakery. She has recently bailed her brother, Dayton, out of jail. As a result of this, she is not going to be able to pay her rent, which is due on Friday. So, here’s what happens next:

I leaned against the wall by the window, at just the right angle that enabled me to steal my neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal. I couldn’t afford my portion of the internet bill, and so my roomies had changed the password on me. After I got my signal, I scrolled through the job listings which didn’t require years of experience. I stopped at one: Local Business, Cashier Wanted. I could do that. Thirty hours a week, eight-fifty an hour. I did the math in my head. It was more than I would make with unemployment.

Author R. M. Demeester obviously believes that the most important thing is to tell the story. Demeester allows the reader access to the thoughts, emotions, spoken words, and deeds of Serenity as the story goes forward. It is a dialogue-driven, fast-moving, narrative technique that keeps you turning the pages quickly.

We are not given superfluous information, no imagery techniques, not even time or place. Having said that, just in case this information about time and place (setting) is important to you, the author provides enough clues and contextual information for an active reader to establish a time line to match the story to historical and cultural reality.

The absence of explicit time and place means that everything is happening fast in this story. As a result, we have no other option but to experience the story through the eyes of Serenity. Serenity takes the reader by the heart and guides us through the story of her life. We become both complicit with her and confidant for her. She is us (the reader) and we are her (Serenity).

So, I turned page after page, with only one thought in mind, namely the ultimate happiness of Serenity. She definitely deserves to be happy, to have a happy ending, considering the misfortunes she has had to deal with all her life.

So, we actively become complicit with her, all the while hoping she will overcome the obstacles she must face to understand her past. All of this impacts on her present life, and makes her future either a possibility, or an impossibility. Again, this is a very unique, intriguing tale.

★★★★★ I recommend this book highly ★★★★★

It is for teens, young adults, and adults from age eight (8) to eighty (80).

This is a story about how the circumstances of your birth can determine your entire life story. It encourages young people to be resilient, to rebel against hopelessness, to take whatever comes your way in life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but-above all- to never give up your right to dream big dreams and to fight to make your dreams a reality…

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Where Is The Teaching And Learning Of English In Chile Going? Quo Vadis?

The_Chilean_National_Cover_for_Kindle
Nowadays (2019), the teacher of English in Chile, is a language teaching professional. I say that frankly and sincerely, based on my personal participation and observations of the past 18 years, as a teacher trainer, educator, and English Language Teaching (ELT) author.

Chilean teachers of English have shed their amateur status. The years 2001-2014 were years of slow but steady growth towards the development and consolidation of a highly trained, competent,confident professional English teacher who understands what it takes to successfully teach the English language to Chilean students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

I know there are many, nonetheless, who would point out to me that there is a contradiction, in reality, with what I’m saying. The results of the Chilean National English Test, testing only reading comprehension and listening comprehension (excluding speaking and writing), have never been good. Never.Ever.

Every time there is any kind of national test, the global results, on a combined, national scale, are frustrating. Again and again, disaggregation of test results reveal a socioeconomic performance gap. Students from high socioeconomic groups, and thus high cultural capital, perform extremely well. Conversely, students from low socioeconomic status groups perform poorly.

In this sense, the obvious “solution” is to do the same things with the disadvantaged students (poor) as you are doing with the advantaged students (rich). This suggests to me an experiment. Swap out (exchange) the teachers. Send the teachers from the disadvantaged schools to the advantaged schools, and vice versa.

Yes, of course such an experiment is immoral, unethical, and impractical. Therefore, that leaves me with only speculation as an option in this exercise. My speculation is that nothing would change. In other words, even the best teachers would not be able to overcome the effects of poverty in poor students. On the other hand, even the worst teachers would not have a negative effect on socioeconomically advantaged students.
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Where am I going with this?

Yes, I’m saying that Chilean English teachers, regardless of their teaching and learning context, are highly competent, well-trained, and knowledgeable about what works. It follows, logically (if I am correct), that teachers are NOT the problem.

Indulge me please. For now, accept that I am correct. Teachers are not the problem. They are professionals, both in terms of pedagogy and the discipline of English Language Teaching (ELT).

So, let’s ask two questions:

1. What is it about being “poor” that works against successful language learning?

2. What is it about being “rich” that promotes successful language learning?

I’ve asked two questions. The man who can answer both questions is Pierre Bourdieu:

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I know. Bourdieu speaks French, and the subtitles were in Spanish. So allow me to be Bourdieu’s English translator:

Bourdieu:

“The transmission of capital (wealth)… The rich father can give money to his child to start a business, for example, if his child is not successful as a business student at a university (where all of his children study at). Because of the father’s financial support, his children will do well in life. In this way, the socioeconomic status of the father will reproduce itself in his child, because they will not become simply, a common wage “worker”.

Bourdieu continues: “Another kind of “capital” is cultural capital. This is harder to define, so what is it? First of all, cultural capital is how well you can speak your mother language (“good French”, “good Spanish”, “good English”). Anybody can speak a language, even immigrants after living in a country for a year. But in a school, that everyday, conversational language means absolutely nothing. If you speak that way in school, you get failing marks.”

Bourdieu continues: “It is not only the language that matters, but also everything else that the language conveys. It is everything that you acquire in a family that has culture. For example, listening to the father tell stories, reading books, including fairy tales and children’s stories. All of this is capital, and it is a very valuable resource.

Some have more than others, and this unequal distribution provides incredible benefits. If everybody had the same amount of cultural capital, everybody would speak perfect French (perfect Spanish, perfect English, etc.). If this were so, there would be no benefit to speaking your mother language perfectly. These differences that exist allows you to benefit from your ability to speak your mother language better than someone else.”

Bourdieu continues: “A study by an American sociologist shows that middle class children know how to respond to the teacher appropriately, to give the teacher the answer s/he is looking for. Why? Because they are both (teacher and student) from the same social class.

The teacher says, “My treasure, “my darling”, “my precious” “my dear”. The children’s mother speaks to them in the same way at home. As a result, the students are content, happy, and they can learn better. Their teacher has shown them that she likes her students. So, the children then get good marks and they are happy, content students.

Bourdieu continues: “We can say there are “stages prior to knowledge” (pre-learning), even before the children go to school. These are important things for children to know, such as how to behave, not to throw your book bag on the floor, keep your books clean, neat, and tidy.

Also, connected to this idea of cultural capital is the “good disposition” (buena voluntad), called “docility”. “Docility” comes from the Latin, which means, “you allow someone to teach you” (se deja instruir).”

Bourdieu explains: “We can see this by observing the different levels of success between boys and girls in elementary school. Girls are better students than boys. Girls have better results than boys in elementary school. This continues right through until the last years of high school.

“Why? Girls are more docile than boys. Girls let the teacher teach them. That is not to say that docility is the nature of girls. Not at all. What happens is that girls have been “trained” (socialized) to NOT be aggressive, disruptive, confrontational, or to cause conflicts. This is NOT the case with boys!”

Bourdieu: “We can say that girls are “prepared” to give schools what the school requires from them, namely, a good disposition (buena voluntad), to look at the teacher as if they are seeing someone who is a dear friend who they have not seen in a long time (como si la profesora se hace falta). This behaviour is rewarded with good grades. The good grades initiates a virtuous cycle, the behaviour is repeated again and again and again.”

Bourdieu: “I’ve explained a few factors, but it is much more complicated than this. I don’t want to say more because it would be hard to believe me. It is enough to say that nowadays, in all contemporary societies, (developed and undeveloped), the reproduction of inequality happens as a result of the transmission of cultural capital.

Even in the United States what I’ve just told you about cultural capital is true. You hear people say things like “social mobility”, “self-made man”, etc. to refer to the USA. But studies in the USA, inspired by the work I’ve done in France, show the same results. The transmission (reproduction) of cultural capital matters. Inequality in the USA (because of cultural capital) is even greater than in France!

Bourdieu: “In the USA, access to university is doubly controlled by cultural capital in two ways: 1. economics, because a university education in the USA is extremely expensive, and 2. because of the cultural capital that is acquired in the family. Japan is the same way.

For example, one of my students did a study about the children of samurai in Japan. Inequality perpetuates itself. This is not automatic, but here is my question:

Is inequality good for anything?

Fundamentally, it is a problem. That’s the way I see it.

A colleague and friend of mine, Mary Douglas, studied an archaic (old) society in which there was a very low level of inequality. The society functioned quite well…”

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Dear reader, are you still with me? If so, now is the time for me to conclude. What I have done here with Pierre Bourdieu is try to make the case that teachers of English in Chile are competent, well-trained professionals.

I am saying that Chilean ELT teachers know what they are doing, as the debate video below clearly exemplifies…
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The problem with the teaching and learning of English in Chile is not teachers, wouldn’t you agree?

The problem is inequality as a result of the transmission (reproduction) of cultural capital.

According to the OECD (2018): “Chile’s income inequality gap is also more than 65% wider than the OECD average, with one of the highest ratios between the average income of the wealthiest 10% of its population and that of the poorest 10%.” Click here to read the full report.

Clearly, inequality is so high in Chile that it hinders the growth potential of the entire country. The OECD recommendation in the report is to “further increase social spending to reduce inequalities.” Inequality, there’s that word again.
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To conclude, I fundamentally believe that Chile has some of the best-trained English teachers in the world. The knowledge, skills, and abilities of Chilean English teachers are world-class, by any standard you choose to use. Wouldn’t you agree, based on the video above?

That said, everyone needs to understand that teachers are not politicians. Teachers do not have their hands on the levers of power that influence inequality in Chile. Let us not forget that in 2016, Chile, Mexico, and the USA had the highest rate of inequality of all 34 countries in the OECD. In 2019, very little has changed…

So, where is English Language Teaching going in Chile? If inequality does not improve in this country, the results for the most vulnerable, the poorest students, will not improve.

The day Chile solves its basic problem of inequality, it will also solve its English Language Learning problem. Again, Chile already has a world-class teaching force of highly trained, competent English Language Teachers.

Quo Vadis, Chile?
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Author Interview: Scottish Writer Kirsten Nairn

ASAKirsten Nairn has a secret. It’s so hush-hush that even her family and close friends don‘t know what it is. The only people she’s shared this secret with are her readers and me. Would you like to know what her big secret is?

Kirsten is a romance writer. Her first contemporary romance novel, A Sorry Affair, debuted on July 31, 2017.

Kirsten lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. Her favorite city is Edinburgh. She thinks it’s the most romantic city in the world and used it as the setting for A Sorry Affair.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Kirsten let’s get to know her a little better.

Thomas Jerome Baker: Hello, Kirsten, and welcome to my blog. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Kirsten Nairn: Thank you for having me.

Thomas: What inspired you to be a writer?

Kirsten: I’m not sure anything inspired me as such, but more I just needed a shove to get me to put pen to paper! I work full time, have two children and naively thought I’d start writing when I was on maternity leave. It took me another 14 years to get me to a point where I had a spare, quiet moment to write.

Thomas: Is writing your full-time profession?

Kirsten: No, I do it as a hobby at the moment. I’d love to do it full time, but it’s not viable at the moment. Maybe when I retire…

book bed

Thomas: How long have you been writing?

Kirsten: Only about 3-4 years, although I had lots of stories in my head before that.

Thomas: How many books have you written?

Kirsten: I have one book published and three more manuscripts almost are ready for submission, another two ‘in-progress’.

Thomas: Which genre do you write?

Kirsten: Contemporary Romance.

Thomas: What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?

Kirsten: Nothing challenging about the genre just the actual writing process.

Thomas: What are you working on now?

Kirsten: I am really trying to get my current manuscript ready for submission, but I am also working on another about a holiday romance which blossoms, turns into a long distance relationship and in turn focuses on the dilemma of the main character and the choices and decisions she has to make.

lady

Thomas: Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Kirsten: Well, my inspiration for the story above came from something I saw written in the sand at St. Andrew’s beach- I won’t give it away here as it features in the story. My inspiration for A Sorry Affair came from a conversation I overheard on a train.

Thomas: What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

Kirsten: The marketing and promotion process- it’s all completely new and daunting, however I have built an author platform from scratch, developed a website and connected with people all over the world.

Thomas: What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Kirsten: If you have an idea, just find time and space and start writing. Hopefully the words will flow. Don’t think about it too much to begin with and get it all down on paper.

Thomas: Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

Kirsten: (smiling)I write in secret! No one, not even my family or friends know I write or have published a book.

Thomas: What message are you sharing in your books?

ASAKirsten: My stories are mainly high on the angst and emotional turmoil of some relationships, but there’s usually a happily ever after of sorts. If there’s any message it’s that all relationships have ups and downs and everyone makes mistakes. Whether we can move on and accept them is the big question.

Thomas: What are your favorite books?

Kirsten: Oh way too many to mention. I love all the John Irving books- The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire. Lord of the Rings, The Harry Potter series, Twilight, the classics, such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, anything by Mhairi McFarlane and Nick Spalding.

Thomas: What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

Kirsten: Any films from the books listed above, but I also love the film, About Time, directed by Richard Curtis and in fact, anything by Richard Curtis.

Thomas: When you’re not writing where can we find you?

Kirsten: Working, running around after my children and their animals, running on my own, at the gym.

Eilean-Donan-CastlesThomas: Where can readers find you?

Kirsten: Yes, of course. Here are my social media links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Kirsten-Nairn-1886899944963399/

Twitter https://twitter.com/KirstenNairn

Google plus https://plus.google.com/116661743998012242113

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/chrnairn25/

Website https://kirstennairn.wordpress.com/

A Sorry Affair ‘landing page’ https://asorryaffair.wordpress.com/

Thomas: Great. Where can we find your books?

Kirsten: (smiling) I don’t publish exclusively with only one publisher. You can find my books in a lot of different places!

Amazon
Kobo
Waterstones
Smashwords
Goodreads
Barnes and Noble

Thomas: Thank you so much for this interview Kirsten. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking with you.

Kirsten: You’re welcome Thomas. I enjoyed it too!

ASA

A Sorry Affair
by Kirsten Nairn

Synopsis

Jen and Mack are the perfect couple; meeting at university, moving in together and engaged to be married. Then, one day, Abbi turns up on their doorstep and throws a huge spanner in the works of their seemingly well-oiled relationship. On that day, Mack’s life is turned upside down and it seems there’s no way back.

Resigned to the fact that the relationship is over and Jen is selling the house, Mack is forced to go back home and live with his parents. He comes to blows with his father, who was close friends with Jen’s father, and emotions run high when past hurts are revisited.

Despite several letters from Mack, years pass without any word from Jen. The reader is left in suspense, always wanting more and wondering: Is it really the end for Jen and Mack???

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TÉCNICOS PARA CHILE: LEA ARTIBAI (Concurso 2019 Postula Ahora)

LEA

En los últimos 10 años, el Instituto Lea Artibai Ikastetxea ha formado a más de 18.000 estudiantes y creado más de 550 empresas. Actualmente realiza 60 proyectos de investigación y cuenta con la colaboración de más 300 empresas.
LEA-ARTIBAI01-big
Lea Artibai Ikastetxea pertenece a la red de empresas de Mondragon, el cual es el mayor grupo cooperativo del mundo. En la actualidad, la institución desarrolla proyectos de colaboración con: Marruecos, Mexico, Arabia Saudi, Chile, Holanda, Alemania, Inglaterra y Francia.

Lea Artibai Ikastetxea es un centro de enseñanza superior que se encuentra en Markina-Xemein. Se creó en 1957 y nuestro objetivo es trabajar a favor del futuro de la comarca. En los últimos 10 años hemos preparado a 18.000 estudiantes y creado más de 550 empresas. Tenemos muy buena relación con empresas de Euskal Herria y con las del extranjero. Visítanos y conoce nuestro sistema especial de enseñanza.

Ciudad de la sede: Markina-Xemein (Vizcaya)


Ex-alumnos procedentes de Chile

Por una parte participa Sergio Alegria que realizó el programa Experto en Logística y Producción. Supply Chain Management durante el curso 2016-17 y por otra Nayaret Sepulveda que en 2017-18 cursó el programa de Ciencia y Biotecnologia de los Alimentos.

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chile

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2019 becas

Objetivo del Programa

El Programa nació formalmente con el Decreto Supremo N° 664 del 29 de diciembre de 2008.

El Programa Técnicos para Chile, de alcance nacional, tiene como fin contribuir al mejoramiento de la calidad de la formación técnico profesional, a través del otorgamiento de becas de perfeccionamiento desarrolladas en el extranjero.

Podrán postular docentes y titulados de educación superior del sector Técnico Profesional, habilitados para ejercer docencia en instituciones de EMTP en especialidad, de acuerdo al Decreto N° 352/2003 del MINEDUC.

Así, la estrategia se enfocará en la entrega de becas para la actualización de competencias para los agentes educativos del sistema de educación TP, debido a la necesidad de perfeccionamiento por parte de dicho sector y el efecto multiplicador que implica el perfeccionamiento docente para todo el sistema TP.

En cuanto a las pasantías en el extranjero, estas buscan actualizar competencias, tanto docentes como prácticas, que permitan:

a) contar con docentes con las competencias necesarias para poner en práctica las modificaciones del currículo TP.

b) contar con docentes de especialidad, que puedan asumir eficientemente la implementación de nuevas tecnologías (de taller y/o laboratorio), acordes a las exigencias del mercado laboral.

CONCURSO 2019 (postula ahora)

Fichas de los programas

Postula Aquí

GUÍA DE PREGUNTAS FRECUENTES CONVOCATORIA 2019

11.- ¿Cuánto dura la etapa de postulación?

Actualización: La etapa de postulación es entre el lunes 21 de enero y hasta el 18 de marzo de 2019, postulación inicia al medio día y finaliza a las 14 horas, horario de Santiago de Chile.

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#BookReview: Apostle Unbound, by Richard Godwin

Godwin

Welcome to The Theatre Of Dreams.

★★★★★ Apostle Unbound, by Richard Godwin, is a gripping crime suspense thriller, exactly as the book’s subtitle proclaims it to be. I am in full agreement with that. I would also accept the book in the occult suspense genre. I also think that “Theatre Of Dreams” would have made a fitting subtitle had it been chosen as such.

The setting for this story is primarily in London. The plot takes you from London, to Mexico, and also to Las Vegas. A serial killer, Karl Black, has been captured and put behind bars. This serial killer, with a diabolical mind, has managed to influence the son (Elijah) of the policeman (Frank Castle) who captured him (Karl Black) to recreate the same horrendous crimes that Black did.

That accounts for the opening line: “The journey took Frank Castle back to the place of hidden identities, the father seeking a son he wished he didn’t have.” That sentiment holds up from first page to last, because Elijah is not the kind of son any decent man would ever be proud of.

So, why is Frank Castle looking for Elijah, his son? As I alreaady said, his son is a serial murderer, who is under the influence of another serial murderer. It is a clever plot, and if you’re like me, you are tempted to just turn to the last page and see how everything turns out in the end.

I didn’t do that. I recommend that you don’t do that either. Yes, the book is only 238 pages long, but I read all 238 pages in one sitting, about 2 hours reading time approximately. That said, this book presents the reader with a complex human drama that is evident in the first line of the book.

On each successive page, page after page, the tension mounts. Author Richard Godwin keeps you in suspense, gradually increasing the level of suspense by skillfully weaving in a large number of secondary characters and incidents.

This is not a distraction because it adds substance and background to the fundamental issue being dealt with: a policeman is hunting down his own criminal son. Everything else must contribute to developing and “fleshing out” that basic question which I now ask you: What would you do if Elijah (serial killer) were your son?

If crime fiction is your genre, and you enjoy fast-paced, high-suspense, with an unexpected twist for an ending, then this is your book. I want to add, finally, that given the kind of world we are living in nowadays, it isn’t even necessary to suspend disbelief. That is to say, the events in this book fit within the boundaries of the evening news on any given day.

I give this book 4 and a half stars out of 5 because, in my opinion, the story clearly demands that Mexico, at the latest, is the place for Frank Castle’s demise. Because it isn’t, a sequel, with a future confrontation of good versus evil, with Frank Castle as protagonist, is again necessary.

Besides Frank Castle, I identify one other character (Stone) with the strongest possible motivation to pursue Elijah into the bowels of the earth to bring him to justice. I feel like the author didn’t have the courage to eliminate Frank Castle, and thus leave any future confrontation with Elijah in the hands of another character. This is rare for me, but I freely admit that the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending.

Highly recommended for lovers of crime fiction.

★★★★★

About The Author

Biography

Richard Godwin is the critically acclaimed author of Apostle Rising, Mr. Glamour, One Lost Summer, Noir City, Meaningful Conversations, Confessions Of A Hit Man, Paranoia And The Destiny Programme, Wrong Crowd, Savage Highway, Ersatz World, The Pure And The Hated, Disembodied, Buffalo And Sour Mash, Locked In Cages, Crystal On Electric Acetate, The Glass House, Android Love, Human Skin, Insincerity, and Confessions Of A Gigolo.

His stories have been published in numerous paying magazines and over 34 anthologies, among them an anthology of his stories, Piquant: Tales Of The Mustard Man, and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Mammoth Book Of Best British Mystery, alongside Lee Child.

He was born in London and lectured in English and American literature at the University of London. He also teaches creative writing at University and workshops. You can find out more about him at his website www.richardgodwin.net , where you can read a full list of his works, and where you can also read his Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse, his highly popular and unusual interviews with other authors.

Richard Godwin
@stanzazone

Goodreads

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Multi-Genre Author Thomas Jerome Baker (Interview by Scottish Author Kirsten Nairn)

ASA Interview by Kirsten Nairn, Scottish author of the novel, A Sorry Affair. You can find out more about Kirsten and her work here:
My Website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Goodreads, and Pinterest.

1. Thomas, what made you start writing?

Kirsten, I honestly believe I have always been “predisposed” to writing. What I mean by that is I am an “autodidact”, a person who learns without the benefit of a teacher or formal education. A very important tool for me as an autodidact is writing.

For me, my writing process involves the evolution of my initial thoughts, ideas, and observations into its final, polished form. In the end, what I have is clarity, something that is meaningful to me. This process of arriving at clarity in thought and word is what motivates me to write again and again, in a wide diversity of genres. In sum, it is how I learn, as a human being, and make sense of the world around me.

2. What do you think of when you think about your readers? Do you have a constant reader like Stephen King or do you write for a friend/loved one?

I am writing to tell my story in a meaningful way.

It involves me starting out without knowing what is going to happen in the end. Many times, I am surprised by what is there on the final page. But, if I have the feeling that the story, as I have told it, is faithful to itself, to its essential nature, then I write those fateful words, “The End.” The story is finished, and it will find its reader(s).

I am only the writer…

3. Do you have a writing process/formula, or is it more random?

I have a process that goes like this: 1.Tell the story. Write, and write and write until the story is done. 2. Read the story. Happy? Content? Satisfied? No? Go back and rewrite. Yes? 3. Do the editing. 4. Publish.

4. Who are your favourite mainstream authors?

Kirsten, my AllTime Favourite Number 1 writer is William Shakespeare(s). As you know, there are some people who doubt that his body of work was done by just one person, or several. So, for me, my favourite authors are the Shakespeares(s), if you will allow me to answer that way. The writing of Shakespeare transcends time and place. It captures the human condition in all its various expressions.

5. Have you tried other formats like articles/screenplays/plays etc, or do you stick to novels?

I am a multi-genre author, including both fiction and non-fiction. I have not yet attempted a screenplay or a play, but I honestly don’t rule it out as a future possibility for me.

6. Do you consider writing a hobby or a profession?

Kirsten, this is a great question. The hobby or profession dichotomy asks a writer to consider their profession in terms of whether or not they are able to make a living at it. My conservative guess is that fewer than 10% of writers are able to make a living only by writing. However, history gives us multiple examples of great writers who never earned a dime in their lives. Only after their death did the world “discover” their wonderful literary works.

Let me name a few people: William Blake (considered mad by his contemporaries), Soren Kierkegaard, Henry David Thoreau, Du Fu (Chinese poet), John Keats (his contemporaries hated his work), Emily Dickinson (poet), Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick), John Kennedy Toole (1981 Pulitzer Prize winner, he committed suicide 12 years BEFORE he won the prize)… I rest my case.

To sum up, I am a professional writer not by my ability to earn a living at my “profession”, but by the dedication with which I pour all of my talent, skill, and ability into telling the best story I possibly can, while always seeking to grow as a writer. I think that is a definition of a professional writer (me) as opposed to a successful, commercial writer (which I am not).

7. Where do your ideas come from?

My life. That’s the short answer, but let me explain that answer more fully. I have lived and worked in Europe, North and South America, and I have visited 25 of the 50 states in the United States.

This international life experience and extensive travel has brought me into contact with an incredibly diverse group of people. As a soldier (10 years), nurse (10 years), and teacher of English (20 years), my life experience has given me an infinite number of topics I can write about (from first-hand, first-person experience) in both fiction and non-fiction. That automatically lends credibility to my writing. This creates a bond of trust between reader and writer.

A further consequence is that when I meet someone new, I automatically suspend my judgements and prejudgements. This allows that new person to genuinely be someone greater than the sum of their individual parts. This is a transcendental way of being validated by another human being, which for me results in a much deeper and richer communicative experience.

You end up learning things and sharing things about yourself and the other person that you ordinarily would not have had an opportunity to do. All of this ultimately finds its way into my writing for the reader(s) to enjoy. In other words, “My Story Becomes Your Story.”

8. When it comes to marketing and promotion, how do you approach this area?

To be honest Kirsten, I’m not very good at self-promotion. Fortunately, social media (and interviews like this one) gives me a viable avenue to get my work in front of people who otherwise would not have a clue about my writing. It is sometimes time-consuming, but it is economically the only viable option I have right now. Having said that, I’m quite comfortable using it to maximise my earning potential.

9. What would you most like to sit down and discuss with your readers?

I sometimes choose to let my stories go off in directions that some readers would rather I hadn’t. I don’t seek controversy for the sake of controversy, but if the story demands a certain path, I won’t avoid it simply because it might “turn off” some readers. I sincerely believe that a story will always find its readers, so I don’t avoid controversy in the hopes of achieving greater commercial success.

emily and david Two books come to mind that exemplify this: 1. Emily and David’s Quest, and, 2. Jewish & Nazi Shoah U-Boat Catchers: An Amazing Tale of Holocaust Betrayal. Both books are difficult to read because neither one gives readers what they expect, and quite frankly, would rather have, namely, a triumph of good over evil. In both books, you find human frailty, weakness, and to a certain extent, a shocking turn of events that goes beyond the limits of credulity.

10. About what would you most like to chat with your favourite author?

I think Shakespeare (the man) is a person who would not measure up to the mythological literary persona that has been created around him. So, I’m thinking this is a guy who would find it extremely funny that we hold him in such high esteem now and have done so for the past 600 years.

In that sense, having a beer with him and listening to him clarify what his life was really like would be a fascinating way to spend an evening in London before taking in a play at the Globe Theater.

11. Where do you see yourself in five years? What is coming up for you, new book/project wise?

Currently, I am in the final year of studies at Universidad Católica Silva Henriquez in Santiago, Chile. I’m studying for a degree in Career and Technical Education, which will be my fourth career after being a soldier, a nurse, and an English teacher. That’s my priority at present, so writing has had to take a backseat to that aspiration.

I see myself in five years time able to dedicate increasingly more of my time to writing, maybe at some point opening a bookstore dedicated exclusively to the more than 100 books I’ve written already.

Teaching Academic Writing

12. What are your greatest writing influences?

Kirsten, Academic Writing is my response. What do I mean by that? Well, Academic Writing always builds on previous knowledge. It either validates what we already know or extends that knowledge in some way. In other words, the “new” always has some elements of the “old” contained within it.

Writing books is similar to what you have with Academic Writing. It is a way for the dead (the old) to speak to the living (the new). Voices from centuries past whisper words of wisdom, wonder and advice into your soul. Accordingly, I am influenced by every single writer who I have ever read, both the living and the dead. It is impossible not to acknowledge that in the search for oneself, one finds those who came before us somewhere within us, connected to the stories and the ways in which we give form and meaning to our stories.

I would go so far as to include not only those writers who we accept and admire, but also those writers who we reject and despise. For me, this is an inescapable truth. My originality is embedded in the originality of those who came before me. I am a part of them, and they are a part of me, in their totality as human beings.

13. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to use your platform as a way of presenting my thinking about writing and writers with you and your readers. I appreciate the work you are doing very much in this regards. Have a wonderful day!

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