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Issue No.5 - Deeper than Blackboard Knowledge

Every truth has four corners:
as a teacher I give you one corner,
and it is for you to find the other three.


Truant – Learning Elsewhere?

The Land Under Our Feet


Strange Compassion

Ethics or being Jane

Animals and War

Aliens Among Us

Inside the Magic Lantern

Too Busy with Living to Live

Ground Level

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Creative Teaching Space.

Teaching and training present us with many challenges and still we continue to explore many ways to open student learning. Ideas come and go, we attempt to engage, we succeed, we sometimes feel at a loss. There is a large world out there, beyond and deeper than the blackboard. Ideas should spiral out and open new possibilities. We should take all ideas with a grain of salt. Experiment and see what you can find. Be creative. Model this creativity. Enthuse yourself as well as the students. Encourage open mindedness and questioning. The curriculum is only a starting point and connector to a rich world within and outside us. Every day we should be exploring new ideas, scanning them and absorbing them, relating them back to our experience, applying them, or simply reflecting, stepping back and finding new depths.

He points and he writes. But does he invite? We see and listen but does he just perform? Where do we lie in this situation? Have we been here – passive and quiet? Have we ever been enthused? Why? What is information? Is it simply given to us? The gospel, the elite, the hierarchy and its status. Or is it a path to somewhere else – facts, maybe – but maybe also tools that become part of us and change as we change.

Truant – Learning Elsewhere?


Sing a song of sunlight
My pockets full of sky-
A starling’s egg for April,
Jay’s feather for July;
And here’s a thorn bush three bags full
Of drift-white wool!

They call him a dunce, and yet he can discern
Each mouse-brown bird,
And call its name and whistle back its call.
And spy among the fern
Delicate movement of a furred
Fugitive creature hiding from the day.
Discovered secrets magnify his play
Into a vocation.

Laughing at education,
He knows where the redshank hides her nest, perceives
A reed-patch tremble when a coot lays siege
To water territory.
Nothing escapes his eye:
A ladybird
Slides like a blood-drop down a spear of grass;
The sapphire sparkle of a dragon fly
Redeems a waste of weeds.
Collecting acorns, telling the beads of the year
On yew tree berries, his mind’s too full for speech.

Back in the classroom he can never find
Answers to dusty questions, yet could teach,
Deeper than blackboard knowledge,
Geometry of twigs
Scratched on a sunlit wall;
History in stones, and seasons
Told by the field’s calendar-
Living languages of spring and fall.

Phoebe Hesketh

How can we, as teachers, bring this outside knowledge into the training room or classroom? Can we open the curriculum to such an extent that we find connections between its content and the interest of our students? Sometimes this will be clear.

At other times we should explore poetics and metaphor to find a link. "This is John’s passion, how does this connect to what we are studying? What does John’s interest make you feel? John, what keeps you interested in this? How can John’s interest help us with what we are studying?"

The Land Under Our Feet

Where are we when we meet? Where is our training or classroom placed? Where is our workplace? What was on this land before? What would it have looked like a hundred or a thousand years ago? What natural world is at work now – beneath our feet or outside the windows? Ants, worms, mice, microbes, birds and the sounds of nature. Listen to these, note them. Take a walk and make notes. Take a field trip. How can nature connect to maths? Explore the symmetry in that tree or leaf. What can the land beneath our feet tell us? An archeological site tells us of a human past and a geological past tells us that this land is moving and has moved. This land supports our training room. Where has this land come from? What human tracks have walked on this land?

Olegas Truchanas

The natural world contains an unbelievable diversity, and offers a variety of choices, provided of course that we retain some of this world and that we live in the manner that permits us to go out, seek it, find it, and make these choices. We must try to retain as much as possible of what still remains of the unique, rare and beautiful. It is terribly important that we take interest in the future of our remaining wilderness, and in the future of our National Parks. Is there any reason why, given this interest, and given enlightened leadership, the ideal of beauty could not become an accepted goal of national policy? Is there any reason why Tasmania should not be more beautiful on the day we leave it, than on the day we came? We don't know what the requirements of those who come after us will be. Tasmania is slowly evolving towards goals we cannot not see. If we can revise our attitudes towards the land under our feet; if we can accept a role of steward and depart from the role of conqueror; if we can accept the view that man and nature are inseparable parts of the unified whole – then Tasmania can be a shining beacon in a dull, uniform and largely artificial world.

- Excerpt from Olegas Truchanas' opening speech to exhibition of paintings about Lake Pedder (19 November 1972)

‘Wildness’ – a documentary

Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis were perhaps Australia's greatest wilderness photographers, their work synonymous with campaigns to protect Tasmania's natural heritage. They shared many things including a bond that was more like father and son. Both came from Baltic Europe, a place of lakes and forests where people nurtured their relationship to the land. Both migrated to Tasmania where their passion for nature became a crusade to save an environment under threat. And both died in the wilderness, doing what they loved, leaving a legacy in their extraordinary images. Their philosophy was simple and remarkably effective: if people could see Australia's wild places and see how beautiful they were, they may be moved to save them.

- Produced by Michael McMahon, Directed by Scott Millwood, Executive Producers: Richard Moore, ABC TV Arts & Franco di Chiera, Film Australia.

The Dombrovskis tribute page: International Photography Hall of Fame.

Geoff Wise is my name.  I describe myself as a bushwalker turned photographer. I had an idea that the bush should be seen by all people. That idea developed into an interest in wilderness photography and that interest is now an obsession. An obsession that is physically demanding, intellectually challenging and emotionally exciting – a great mix, I have found. I do believe that there are many parts to play in the preservation of our wilderness. I see my part in the conservation process as bringing images of the wilderness to those who want to see it.  To those who have seen it, my images are a reminder of why it is so special. The wilderness must be cared for.  It gives balance and health  to our world and its people.  At its best, the wilderness is incredibly beautiful and being there a humbling, spiritual experience. I live just outside of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales. These are my Images of Tasmania.


What are your favorite CD or Album Covers? Explore their design and listen to the music. Create your own designs for existing or non-existent musicians. Create fictitious bands, songs, lyrics and histories. Bring these to life through interviews.

Click on the pictures for websites exploring album cover design:

Here are two beautiful covers that I have come across. Mississippi John Hurt is an old man, and next to him stands the ghostly image of his younger self. The saxophonist Stan Getz as a teenager, an intensity and depth in his eye almost predicting his future in jazz.

Getz older

And here below the great satirical cartoonist Robert Crumb has drawn Mississippi John Hurt. Robert Crumb is a fascinating, at times confronting, cartoonist. I will never forget the amazing film called Crumb by Terry Zwigoff. It was an extraordinary journey through the life of Crumb including the lives of his troubled brothers – ignore the review on the above site and read this Rolling Stone Review. The soundtrack is also a gorgeous recreation of ragtime music.

Crumb Museum (Beware some adult content)

Strange Compassion

Throughout the ages artists have shown extraordinary compassion, an ability to not only step into the shoes of others – empathy – but also a capacity to try and understand, and dignify, the lives of people very different from their own. Through the ages there have been some quite extraordinary examples of artists showing very modern understandings, well outside their times. In a time of asylums, and the unspeakable treatment of people with mental illness, Dr. Hugh Welch Diamond photographed inmates with an understanding and dignity.

19th Century Asylum Inmate in Striped Dress and Lace Cap, early 1850s
Dr. Hugh Diamond, Sandor family collection.

A tender smile. Why is she in this place? What is her story? Recreate this image. Interview her.

Seated Woman with Bird.   Why this bird? How does she feel? What story exists here? Recreate this image. Interview her.

The American photographer Fred Holland Day produced this photograph of a young Negro girl. It is askew with only part of her face in frame. It is strangely modern and intriguing. This is a time when photographs were highly stylised and posed. Who is this girl? What is her story? Bring her to life. What stories can she tell?

The French painter Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) is most famous for his painting of the Raft of the Medusa, a haunting painting that documents the drama of shipwreck. In July 1816 the ship La Medduse went aground on the coast of present day Mauritania on its path of carrying French passengers to Senegal. One hundred and fifty people were crammed onto a makeshift raft. Twelve days later the raft was found with only fifteen survivors. The horror of the cannibalism, madness and suicide on board shocked the French populace. Speaking to survivors, as well as having body parts from morgues brought to his studio – Study, guillotined headsGericault intensely studied human form, and the drama of the incident, to bring the ordeal to life. The painting was both a highly dramatic reconstruction of a real event as well as a political statement on the incompetence of government policy at the time. In an equally compassionate gesture Gericault also visited an asylum to paint five oil paintings of the criminally insane (1822-23). These studies stand as a curious attempt to capture and understand the image of mental illness:

Assassin Le Fou, 1822-1823
(The Mad Assassin)
La Folle ou Monomanie de l'Envie, la Hyene de la Salpetriere, 1822-1823 (Insane Woman)

And here we return to Tasmania, to a northern city of Launceston, and an image of the Invalid Depot. These ex-convicts are now frail and elderly. What stories can they tell? Recreate this image and explore the possible lives of the individuals.

Nowadays we hear of programs for youth at risk. Here is an example from the 18th century involving the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi at The Pio Ospedale della Pietà. Innovative education programs are not necessarily new.

Animals and War

How can war be seen from a different angle? Animals provide many new perspectives on war.

Dolphins in war

"The U.S. Navy has been using marine mammals for more than 30 years. Dolphins are uniquely suited for numerous missions including mine detection, mine location and detecting (enemy) swimmers," Lt. Cmdr. John Bernard, a U.S. Navy spokesman at the Pentagon, told United Press International's Animal Tales. "Marine mammals help save lives using their natural ability."

Dogs throughout history and Dickin Medal

This award is given to animals showing bravery in time of war.

RIP a mongrel dog that was picked up by the Civil Defence Squad in London E14. He received the Dickin Medal, 'for locating many air raid victims buried by rubble during the blitz of 1940'.

Beware Balthazar

Overview of The Dickin Award

This site at the Australian War Memorial gives an overview of the medal and is an excellent starting point for what is a very detailed and informative AWM website.

Australian war Memorial site on Simpson and his donkey

A legendary story in Australian folklore.

Perhaps your students can write poems about animals in war. The perspective of an animal can provide great artistic license. The film Beware Balthazar by Robert Bresson is a profound and deeply moving film following the life of a donkey. It is often cited in top ten film lists.

Ethics - or being Jane

The following strategies are designed to support Tasmanian teachers in the implementation of the Being Ethical component of the Personal Futures strand of Essential Learnings. The ideas can also be used by teachers, in a variety of contexts, looking for practical means of exploring Ethics.

Like any of the strategies that I present, take them with a grain of salt. They are often only pointers for ways in which you can approach the curriculum. Adapt them to the needs of your students. Reflect upon the strategy and see how it may inform you of other possibilities e.g. how can I use poetry to explore this concept?

The web provides many resources that we can dip into. I am particularly fond of using artwork to explore concepts. This is because artwork can be very powerful and is presented in ways that can grab all types of learners whether they are auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learners. (Darron reverts to jargon – you get my drift!). Art e.g. the creation of characters, is also extremely useful as it provides the protection of a mask. We are not talking directly about our experience. This can foster many safe contributions from students. On the other hand you may at time choose to draw upon personal experiences. Everyday we make choices, and we are surrounded by a mass of issue based media, whether it is editorials, letters in newspapers, or contributors to talkback radio.

An important starting point when exploring Ethics is to anchor the discussion very much in the everyday. A word such as ‘ethical’ immediately sounds academic and we may need to break this intellectual perception by finding everyday words that students can relate to. This fits in very well with the first standards of many of the Essential Learnings key elements. After all, experience often starts in the everyday and moves increasingly to a more abstract and conceptual level – echoed in the later strands – where concepts, self-reflection and societal considerations take place. In relation to Ethics a deeper understanding also involves a greater awareness of the complexity and multiple perspectives involved in experiences and ideas – hence later references to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Here are the Performance Guidelines covering this strand.

Students who are being ethical:

Understand that fundamental values include respect, trustworthiness, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship, justice, equity and civic virtue and apply that understanding to specific contexts.

Demonstrate an understanding of the origins of contemporary ethical principles.

Demonstrate empathy in their relationships and intellectual processes.

Use ethical values and ethical decision-making frameworks to analyse and evaluate the actions of themselves and others.

Articulate their ethical reasons and justify ethical positions held by themselves and others.

As you can see much of the wording is of a particular style, involving words that cover relationships with others, relationships with ourselves – our choices – and relationships on a whole – as civic human beings. In addressing the first standards it is important to breakdown this language to its very basics and to address the everyday experience of Ethics.

George Hegel, 1821: Education is the art of making man ethical.

Dalai Lama:

Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our greatest joy should come when we are motivated by concern for others. But that is not all. We find that not only do altruistic actions bring about happiness but they also lessen our experience of suffering. Here I am not suggesting that the individual whose actions are motivated by the wish to bring others' happiness necessarily meets with less misfortune than the one who does not. Sickness, old age, mishaps of one sort or another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which undermine our internal peace anxiety, doubt, disappointment these things are definitely less. In our concern for others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about ourselves an experience of our own suffering is less intense.

What does this tell us? Firstly, because our every action has a universal dimension, a potential impact on others’ happiness, ethics are necessary as a means to ensure that we do not harm others. Secondly, it tells us that genuine happiness consists in those spiritual qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on. For it is these which provide both for our happiness and others’ happiness.

- Ethics for a New Millennium, by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

S T A N D A R D 1
Understands that self and others have needs and rights, and can describe actions in simple ethical terms.

Explore what we mean by the word "Needs". Let students write down sentences that use the word ‘need’, e.g. "I need a bath, I need some food, I need to feel warm." Encourage students to note whenever they hear the word ‘need’. What is a person really saying when they say ‘need’? This can touch on the concept that a need is something that we really need to have in order to survive. It is different from a ‘want’. A want can be something such as a new bike. One can survive without a bike. A need is something such as a clean living environment to protect us from disease. If students can list and compare ‘wants’ with ‘needs’ they may be able to identify that one involves choice and perhaps luxury – a present – whereas the other involves a deeper need needed by most people. This connects students slowly to the concept of rights – more than one person.

Let students identify their personal needs via charts e.g. "My needs: at school, at home, with my friends, etc". Let students recognise the places in which their needs have to be met rather than you presenting it as the teacher. You may even be able to get students listing "What a ______ needs?" Here you could have: baby, parent, elderly person, police, etc.

Collect a variety of needs and let each student identify what they think are their personal needs. They may like to prioritise these – my 10 most important needs. Compare the responses.

You may like to draw upon Maslow's listing of basic human needs: physiological, safety, love, esteem, self-actualisation, to reinforce those presented by the students. Remember though it is useful to draw this sort of learning into the process at a later date. Don’t jump into taxonomies straight away. Let students create their own lists first.

Thus, the true background to a unit of study is the stimulation of students’ imaginations and mental energy to the point where they are ready to connect with ideas that require content knowledge to become understood. What we normally call ‘background’ data (facts, terms, historical references, key concepts, and important persons) are reserved until students are ready for them and can relate to the larger picture. Pp 126

When we introduce new material, we should tie it to the students’ frame of reference. Fads, TV programs, and teenage life are apt vehicles for students’ to translate core content material into their own idioms and experiences and then, with our help, to transpose their ideas and opinions back again to the course curriculum. Pp 127

- Robert L Fried, The Passionate Teacher: a practical guide, Beacon Press Boston 1995.

Once students have identified that there are many needs within the classroom, start to explore the concept of rights. Makes a list: "We/You have the right to…" A student says that he has the right to not be bullied. Discuss this. What is bullying? Why do students think bullying wrong? Why do we have a right such as not being bullied? How should we behave towards others? Explore the other rights listed in group work.

Has a student ever seen another person being picked on? How did they feel? This can draw a connection between rights and feelings. After all rights come from feelings e.g. one day somebody decided that it was not really very pleasant to see another person being called names. Why do some people feel really upset when they see another person getting hurt?

The Bully Asleep

One afternoon, when grassy
Scents through the classroom crept,
Bill Craddock laid his head
Down on the desk, and slept.

The children came round him;
Jimmy, Roger, and Jane;
They lifted his head timidly
And let it sink again.

‘Look, he’s gone sound asleep, Miss,’
Said Jimmy Adair;
‘He stays up all the night, you see;
His mother doesn’t care.’

Stand away from him, children.’
Miss Andrews stooped to see.
‘Yes he’s asleep; go on
With your writing and let him be.’

‘Now’s a good chance whispered Jimmy;
And he snatched Bills pen and hid it.
‘Kick it under the desk, hard;
He won’t know who did it.

Fill all his papers with rubbish-
Paper, apple cores, chalk.’
So they plotted, while Jane
Sat wide-eyed at their talk.

Not caring, not hearing
Bill Craddock he slept on;
Lips parted, eyes closed-
Their cruelty gone.

‘Stick him with pins! Muttered Roger.
‘Ink down his neck! Said Jim.
But Jane, tearful and foolish,
Wanted to comfort him.

John Walsh

Question: Is it ethical for me to be printing the above poems on my website? Am I breaking Copyright and not buying a text that can contribute to the payment of the writer? Here I have a few qualms. What is my defense? I am using poetry and other media as starting points and as much as possible am initiating teachers – and ultimately students – to many new writers, painters, etc. This information is being presented freely and within an educational context. Where possible I am providing links to further information about the artist so that you can follow any further information by buying e.g. texts. Still, is this ethical?

S T A N D A R D 2
Understands that values can be applied to describe behaviour and acts within rules and norms.

Here students start to realise that values underlie behaviour. Students can explore the rules that we live by – the classroom is a good starting point – and understand the types of behaviours underpinning the practicing of these rules.

Students can draw up a list of classroom rules. This can be done in groups and a process of consensus used to draw up an agreed list. Charts can be used: ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’.

Why do we need such rules? What would a world without rules be like? You may like to refer to the text of Lord of the Flies, p.36, "There aren’t any grown-ups. We shall have to look after ourselves….We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have hands up like at school." Why does Ralph find it important to make rules like this?

Or you can even read excerpts from Robert Cormier’s text The Chocolate War. In both texts/films a world is established in which young people create their own rules. It is ironic and well documented in psychological surveys that quite often the rules that children come up with can be much harsher than those initiated by adults.

Students can identify in groups the types of nice words we use in talking about good behaviour – caring, supporting, nice, pleasant, polite, good, thoughtful, considerate, gentle, sensitive, well mannered, courteous. Students can draw up lists from discussions and by referring to a thesaurus. You can even create lists of opposites.

Once these words have been identified selections of them can be passed to other groups. Groups can then list the types of behaviours – practices – under terms e.g. caring – ‘listening carefully when a person is upset and trying to understand what they are feeling.’

Students may like to create their own character through which they explore the concepts of Being Ethical. A good starting point is to draw an outline of a person on the board and to decide if it is male or female. Then give it a name. Students can then come out one at a time and add to this shape words or ideas that fit in with the character. They can write personal details within the figure e.g. is often scared, and more general external ideas on the outside of the figure e.g. has two sisters. By reading what other students have written you can quickly create a character. You can then bring him or her to life by interviewing his or her parents or friends. Finally you can interview the character. An individual student can be the person interviewed or you can use a technique in which a question is asked, "How do you like school?" and either a set group of students or anyone from the class chooses to speak for that person. Soon you will have lots of ideas flowing and you can bring ethical concepts into the characterisation – "What does Sharna value most when she is with her friends? What does Sharna dislike about the way some people treat her at school? How does she feel? What does she do about this?" By creating a character(s) you open many safe opportunities for exploring ideas that may be a bit personal and confronting to troubled students.

Explore what a world without rules would be like. What would it be like if rules and punishments constantly changed? How have students felt when they have received a different punishment to e.g. a brother or sister? This opens possibilities for discussing fairness and consistency in rules, behaviour and consequences.

S T A N D A R D 3
Understands how to use values and emerging ethical principles when choosing to act and when exploring the behaviour of self
and others.

A good starting point in exploring this standard is to explore the differing opinions within the room. By physicalising values we can soon see the many stances we take when responding to a question. See Values in edition 3 of The Creative Teaching Space.

Students can continue to work with the character that they have created – or a personalised approach – and explore key ethical moments in greater depth. Take a concept such as ‘respect’ – Sharna is receiving little at school – and explain how it is that Sharna can be given more respect. Does she have to show more respect to others? What does Sharna have to do if she is shown little respect by her classmates?

Having explored the characterisation you can then take the details and relate them to a broader everyday perspective. It is your choice whether you want to stay within characterisation or move into a more generalised discussion. What is respect? You may like to use the methods explained in my article Starter Suggestions where you can go through a process of exploring a word’s definition, meaning, etymology, everyday use and use as an acronym. This enables students to explore a concept in depth. You may even like to take passages from e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and show how such words are used.

Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

You can even draw up lists:

Respect is:__________

To respect we must: __________

Students may also like to explore proverbs or fables that relate to specific behaviours. The Aesops Fables website has many parables online and the moral lesson.

Here is the example The Bald Man and the Fly.

A FLY bit the bare head of a Bald Man who, endeavoring to destroy it, gave himself a heavy slap. Escaping, the Fly said mockingly, "You who have wished to revenge, even with death, the Prick of a tiny insect, see what you have done to yourself to add insult to injury?' The Bald Man replied, "I can easily make peace with myself, because I know there was no intention to hurt. But you, an ill-favored and contemptible insect who delights in sucking human blood, I wish that I could have killed you even if I had incurred a heavier penalty." Lesson: Revenge will hurt the avenger.

Students can be initiated to parables from other cultures and philosophies or religions to demonstrate similar and varying ethical stances. Here is a Buddhist parable, the type normally spoken at talks after meditation.

The Hungry Dog

There was a great king who oppressed his people and was hated by his subjects; yet when the Tathagata came into his kingdom, the king desired much to see him. So he went to the place where the Blessed One stayed and asked: "O Sakyamuni, canst thou teach a lesson to the king that will divert his mind and benefit him at the same time?"

And the Blessed One said: "I shall tell thee the parable of the hungry dog:

There was a wicked tyrant; and the god Indra, assuming the shape of a hunter, came down upon earth with the demon Matali, the latter appearing as a dog of enormous size. Hunter and dog entered the palace, and the dog howled so woefully that the royal buildings shook by the sound to their very foundations. The tyrant had the awe-inspiring hunter brought before his throne and inquired after the cause of the terrible bark. The hunter said, "The dog is hungry," whereupon the frightened king ordered food for him. All the food prepared at the royal banquet disappeared rapidly in the dog's jaws, and still he howled with portentous significance. More food was sent for, and all the royal store-houses were emptied, but in vain. Then the tyrant grew desperate and asked: "Will nothing satisfy the cravings of that woeful beast?" "Nothing," replied the hunter, "nothing except perhaps the flesh of all his enemies." "And who are his enemies?" anxiously asked the tyrant. The hunter replied: "The dog will howl as long as there are people hungry in the kingdom, and his enemies are those who practice injustice and oppress the poor." The oppressor of the people, remembering his evil deeds, was seized with remorse, and for the first time in his life he began to listen to the teachings of righteousness."

Having ended his story, the Blessed One addressed the king, who had turned pale, and said to him:

"The Tathagata can quicken the spiritual ears of the powerful, and when thou, great king, hearest the dog bark, think of the teachings of the Buddha, and thou mayest still learn to pacify the monster."

Explore Proverbs. These are often presented as Values statements The grass is always greener on the other side: what other people have looks better than what we have ourselves.

If we are looking at a key concept such as respect consider other media that may explore such a term. Look at e.g. pop songs and their lyrics. A word search of the CD Now site will show when ‘respect’ is used in songs.

Can you find the lyrics elsewhere?


Aretha Franklin

(oo) What you want
(oo) Baby, I got
(oo) What you need
(oo) Do you know I got it?
(oo) All I'm askin'
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

I ain't gonna do you wrong while you're gone
Ain't gonna do you wrong (oo) 'cause I don't wanna (oo)
All I'm askin' (oo)
Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit) when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my profits
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

Ooo, your kisses (oo)
Sweeter than honey (oo)
And guess what? (oo)
So is my money (oo)
All I want you to do (oo) for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin' (just a little bit)
You're runnin' out of foolin' (just a little bit)
And I ain't lyin' (just a little bit)
(re, re, re, re) 'spect
When you come home (re, re, re ,re)
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I'm gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)

See if you can find paintings that explore such concepts. This is a good and alternative way of introducing students to ethical concepts. Norman Rockwell’s paintings often cover key concepts. The picture below called The Problem We All Live With shows a young Negro American girl being escorted to school during racial tensions. A tomato has been thrown at her. What respect is she being shown? The issue – should black Americans attend this school? Do all children have the right to attend schools? Discuss the issue with the class. Why would some people be protesting? How could people respond in sorting out this problem?


Classical painting has also been extremely valuable in exploring ethical positions. In the days when most people were illiterate, paintings told stories and reinforced moral positions that people were expected to take up in society. Here is a reading of the painting The Ambassadors by Holbein. It demonstrates the many subtle points placed in the painting by the artist. This is very true of many classical paintings where something as simple as a set of scales was meant to represent the justice of the individual portrayed.

How do we have ethical principles reinforced nowadays? You may like to explore drink driving, anti smoking or anti smacking or anti logging campaigns that can be represented by television or print adverts – new ways of reinforcing values!

What is this man thinking? What is he feeling? Explore the life of a tree.

S T A N D A R D 4
Understands how to use valid ethical principles to make choices in developing a personal position. Demonstrates ethical Behaviour by caring about their actions and those of others.

As students develop they become even more aware of the complexity of issues and the difficulties in applying ethical positions. This is because ethical positions can so widely vary. Abortion to one person may be seen as a choice or a right, to another as a form of murder. Similarly some people may see war as an inevitable means to an end, violence justifying an ultimate peace. To others war is simply murder and is immoral.

An interesting example of the fine line between war and murder is in the extraordinary stories of the Japanese soldiers who held out on islands for many years after the second world war, unaware that the war had ended and still in military roles.

  Hiroo Onoda at the time of his capture and belated surrender in 1974.

Hiroo Onoda stayed on Lubang Island in the Philippines until 1974 when he was finally encouraged to believe that the war had ended. Onoda became a national hero – a man recognised as being incredibly loyal to the cause of Japan. While his book No Surrender: My Thirty Years War is a fascinating account of guerilla warfare, and sheer survival, the story has slowly been reappropriated over time. Was Onoda a murderer? It is claimed that he killed over twenty locals in the years after the war to his eventual discovery. It is also argued to what extent he is being used as a symbol for the right wing in Japan. People who are survivors of tragedies can become heroes and represent particular values. At the same time did they originally operate on these values or have they been used for the values and gains of others?

Here is a website giving an overview of Japanese Holdouts.

Elephants Are Different to Different People

Wilson and Pilcer and Snack stood before the zoo elephant.

Wilson said, "What is its name? Is it from Asia or Africa? Who feeds it? Is it a he or a she? How old is it? Do they have twins? How much does it cost to feed? How much does it weigh? If it dies, how much will another one cost? If it dies, what will they use the bones, the fat, and the hide for? What use is it besides to look at?"

Pilcer didn't have any questions; he was murmuring to himself, "It's a house by itself, walls and windows, the ears came from tall cornfields, by God; the architect of those legs was a workman, by God; he stands like a bridge out across the deep water; the face is sad and the eyes are kind; I know elephants are good to babies."

Snack looked up and down and at last said to himself, "He's a tough son-of-a-gun outside and I'll bet he's got a strong heart, I'll bet he's strong as a copper-riveted boiler inside."

They didn't put up any arguments.
They didn't throw anything in each other's faces.
Three men saw the elephant three ways
And let it go at that.
They didn't spoil a sunny Sunday afternoon;

"Sunday comes only once a week," they told each other.

Carl Sandburg

Explore how we can see the world differently. Take e.g a cow and explore the many different ways that it can be viewed and differing values we can attach to it.

What if you are: A Hindu, Farmer, Vegetarian, Child, or Vet?

The following song from the first edition of The Creative Teaching Space explores the perspective of a Taliban fighter: Outside of the Inside (from The Old Kit Bag album) by Richard Thompson. Songs, poetry or photographs are excellent for taking us into another persons’ perspective and values. How might a fanatic see the world? How is it different from our own? Is it important to try and step into the shoes of others? Why? How can we change another person’s values? The concept of change in values is a good introductory activity to Standard Five.

Students can explore how ethical concepts may be difficult to apply. What appears to be ‘fair’ or ‘just’ to one person may be completely different to another. After all fanatics believe they are being just even though they are being violent. To explore how terms such as ‘fair’ or ‘just’ differ simply ask for and compare definitions and examples within the classroom. Some people think that capital punishment is fair and just. How would your perception of capital punishment change if you were part of a victim’s family, the criminal, the criminal’s family or an outsider? You may even like to refer back to the invented character, Sharna, from earlier. Interview differing people in her life and investigate how they might see set incidents. Students may even like to interview their parents, or grandparents, to see how their values differ.

Let students explore the ethics of the typical Spam from Nigeria. Here is a useful way of working with Spam rather than hitting the ‘Block Sender’ button!

How ethical is the letter below? How does it play with the reader? Why would such a scam come out of Nigeria? Investigate the nation.

Here is a website that documents scams from Nigeria – and yes they are a big part of their economy.

The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. Your students may even like to explore the ethics of chain letters.

Dear ( ) (Ignore the spelling errors)

I am Barrister Frank Odafe, a legal Solicitor and I was the Personal Attorney and legal adviser to Mr.Edward Davies, a national of your country, who used to work with Mobil oil Company Nigeria Plc.

On the 21st of April 1999, my client, his wife and their three children were involved in a car accident along Sagamu Express Road. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended relatives, this has also proved unsuccessful. After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his relatives over the Internet, to locate any member of his family but of no avail, hence I contacted you.

I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Security Company where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the Security Company where the deceased had a deposit valued at about Ten Million United States Dollars ($U.S10,000,000) has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days.

Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over two years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are from the same country so that the proceeds of this account valued at Ten Million United States Dollars ($U.S10,000,000) can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money. 55% to me and 40% to you, while 5% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require, I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up any claim we may make.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me by my email to enable us discuss further. Best regards,

Frank Odafe.










The Ethical Precepts and Philosophical Tenets of Zen Buddhism
 reveal a number of important values. Are these important in our culture? What values do we tend to live by?

S T A N D A R D 5
Understands that emotional response and social contexts influence evaluation of the actions of others and the modification of personal actions and beliefs.

The more sophisticated students become in their understandings of Being Ethical so they become even more alert to the complexity in ethics – grey areas and the tug between personal values and social responsibility. Students also see how values change over time and how they are affected by external circumstances. Also students should become even more aware of differing ethical positions across societies and universal concepts such as international rights.

Any current social issue can be explored within the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some issues at stake in Australia at the time of writing this edition of the magazine have included in Tasmania the right for same sex couples to adopt children – not accepted – and the banning of the film Ken Park by the National Censorship Board. Do people have the right to choose what films they want to see? Should an official body have the right to ban a film? Students may like to take issues such as these and explore them in depth. How do stances differ? Does the same sex adoption issue conflict with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Does this declaration hold up across cultures? What if one lives in a very conservative and religious state? Should not these people have a right to decide? Is this not democracy? What about the rights of a minority though? Students may like to discover the many minority groups that exist within our society.

Five Ways to Kill a Man

Edwin Brock

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this
properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation's scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways
to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat
is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.

As the above poem suggests viloence has been very much a constant throughout the ages. It has been surrounded by all sorts of paraphernalia and political contexts. Ethical decisions don’t operate in isolation. Personal ethics can clash with a country’s ethics. Ethics can clash within and across countries. Sometimes whole cultures can follow unethical political decisions such as genocide – Rwanda, Cambodia, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia. People can also represent moral stances – Alexander Solzhenitsyn or Nelson Mandela. Who are the heroes of your students? Why are they heroes? What values do they represent?

Students can create their own ethical questions e.g. Should people be allowed to be killed by others? Similarly they can ask ethical questions that represent dilemmas. The Ethical dilemmas website shows just how difficult it can be to take positions. Many contradictions and moral problems come up.

What is the morally right thing to do in the following cases?

The sheriff in a southern town is guarding the courthouse against a mob that is about to storm it by force, in order to capture a black prisoner and lynch him even before his trial. If the mob is frustrated, many people may be killed in the ensuing riot. Should the sheriff deliver the prisoner to the mob?

A rich man and a poor man commit the same type of crime. The rich man is fined $10,000 while the poor man is sent to jail for one year. Is this fair?

You are shopping and notice a woman stuffing a pair of stockings into her purse. Do you report her?

You are waiting with a few other people to board a bus. The bus pulls up and before you can board the driver gets out and goes into the convenience store to get a coffee. You are the last to get on the bus. Do you pay your fare?

It is 3 a.m. and you are late getting home. As you approach the intersection you notice that no one is around. Do you drive through the red light?


In Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment the main character plots and carries out the murder of an old woman who has a considerable amount of money in her apartment. After killing her, he steals the money. He argues that 1) she is a malicious old woman, petty, cantankerous and scheming, useless to herself and to society (which happens to be true), and her life causes no happiness to herself or to others; and 2) her money if found after her death would only fall into the hands of chisellers anyway. Whereas he would use it for his education. Is this action justified?

Chapter V1

"But you say she is hideous?" observed the officer.

"Yes, she is so dark-skinned and looks like a soldier dressed up, but you know she is not at all hideous. She has such a good-natured face and eyes. Strikingly so. And the proof of it is that lots of people are attracted by her. She is such a soft, gentle creature, ready to put up with anything, always willing, willing to do anything. And her smile is really very sweet."

"You seem to find her attractive yourself," laughed the officer.

"From her queerness. No, I'll tell you what. I could kill that damned old woman and make off with her money, I assure you, without the faintest conscience-prick," the student added with warmth. The officer laughed again while Raskolnikov shuddered. How strange it was!

"Listen, I want to ask you a serious question," the student said hotly. "I was joking of course, but look here; on one side we have a stupid, senseless, worthless, spiteful, ailing, horrid old woman, not simply useless but doing actual mischief, who has not an idea what she is living for herself, and who will die in a day or two in any case. You understand? You understand?"

"Yes, yes, I understand," answered the officer, watching his excited companion attentively.

"Well, listen then. On the other side, fresh young lives thrown away for want of help and by thousands, on every side! A hundred thousand good deeds could be done and helped, on that old woman's money which will be buried in a monastery! Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens of families saved from destitution, from ruin, from vice, from the Lock hospitals--and all with her money. Kill her, take her money and with the help of it devote oneself to the service of humanity and the good of all. What do you think, would not one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds? For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and a hundred lives in exchange--it's simple arithmetic! Besides, what value has the life of that sickly, stupid, ill-natured old woman in the balance of existence! No more than the life of a louse, of a black-beetle, less in fact because the old woman is doing harm. She is wearing out the lives of others; the other day she bit Lizaveta's finger out of spite; it almost had to be amputated."

"Of course she does not deserve to live," remarked the officer, "but there it is, it's nature."

"Oh, well, brother, but we have to correct and direct nature, and, but for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that, there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty, conscience--I don't want to say anything against duty and conscience; --but the point is, what do we mean by them. Stay, I have another question to ask you. Listen!"

"No, you stay, I'll ask you a question. Listen!"


"You are talking and speechifying away, but tell me, would you kill the old woman yourself?"

"Of course not! I was only arguing the justice of it. . . . It's nothing to do with me. . . ."

"But I think, if you would not do it yourself, there's no justice about it. . . . Let us have another game."

Raskolnikov was violently agitated. Of course, it was all ordinary youthful talk and thought, such as he had often heard before in different forms and on different themes. But why had he happened to hear such a discussion and such ideas at the very moment when his own brain was just conceiving the very same ideas? And why, just at the moment when he had brought away the embryo of his idea from the old woman had he dropped at once upon a conversation about her? This coincidence always seemed strange to him. This trivial talk in a tavern had an immense influence on him in his later action; as though there had really been in it something preordained, some guiding hint.

The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock contains many excellent questions that you and your students can similarly construct. These often present a conundrum as the choices have value either way e.g.

Would you be willing to go to a slaughterhouse and kill a cow?

Do you eat meat? If there was a public execution on television would you watch it?

For a $ 1 000 000 would you be willing to never again see or talk to your best friend?

You could make up questions such as:

Would you ------------ if you knew it was going to benefit--------------?

Cut off your arm for ten million to charity?

Sell your possessions to pay for a life saving operation for friend?

Take a million dollars for charity to participate in the execution of a child molester?

See what sorts of questions that you can come up with.

Are Benettons adverts ethical?

Explore ethical positions in insightful and deeply personal songs:

What Good am I?

Bob Dylan

What good am I if I say foolish things
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die,
What good am I?

So who really did kill Davey Moore? Is a part of ethics passing the buck and not taking any responsibility? Who does the buck stop with?

Professional Jealousy

Van Morrison

Professional jealousy, can bring down a nation
And personal invasion, can ruin a man
Not even his family, will understand what's happening
The price that he's paying, or even the pain

Professional jealousy, started a rumour
And then it extended, to be more abuse
What started out as just, black propaganda
Was one day seen to be, believed as truth

They say the truth is, stranger than fiction
But a lie is more, deadly than sin
It can make a man very, bitter and angry
When he thinks that there's someone, is going to win

Professional jealousy makes other people crazy
When they think you've got something that, they don't have
What they don't understand is it's, just not easy
To cover it all, and, stand where you stand

Professional jealousy, makes no exception
It can happen to anyone, at any time
The only requirement is, knowing what's needed
And then delivering, what's needed on time

The only requirement is to, know what is needed
In doing the best you know how, deliver on time
The only requirement is, to know what is needed
Be best at delivering the, product on time.

Explore Ethics within the movies. Cowboys carry particular moral stances that have had a very big impact not only within the movies but how some of us may see masculinity. Even to this day Bruce Dern gets insulted for having killed John Wayne’s character in the film The Cowboys. What does this tell us about Wayne and his iconic status? What other film stars have represented ethical positions? Is this the reason why the recently deceased Gregory Peck is most remembered and revered for his role in To Kill a Mockingbird?

Would you believe that there is even a book called The Simpsons and Philosophy: The Doh! of Homer? It looks at ethics within this family. Your students may like to investigate the ethics and values within televisions favorite families: The Addams Family, Happy Days or The Brady Bunch. What values are being expressed? Look at the values and ethical positions within your favorite TV shows.

Just for the fun of it explore and change the ethical and moral positions in fairy tales. A number of texts have been written on Politically correct fairy tales. Perhaps your students can rewrite them according to certain moral and ethical perspectives. Could be lots of fun!

Little Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood walked on along the main path. But, because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western-style thought, the wolf knew a quicker route to Grandma's house. He burst into the house and ate Grandma, an entirely valid course of action for a carnivore such as himself. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist notions of what was masculine or feminine, he put on Grandma's nightclothes and crawled into bed.

You might like to also investigate what strategic computer games are available that allow students to make ethical decisions.

Students may like to scrutinise Ethics statements available on the net to see the concepts and the types of language that they use. Here is an example:

NAESP Policy Statement 1100.3

An educational administrator's professional behavior must conform to an ethical code. The code must be idealistic and at the same time practical, so that it can apply reasonably to all educational administrators. The administrator acknowledges that the schools belong to the public they serve for the purpose of providing educational opportunities to all. However, the administrator assumes responsibility for providing professional leadership in the school and community. This responsibility requires the administrator to maintain standards of exemplary professional conduct. It must be recognized that the administrator's actions will be viewed and appraised by the community, professional associates, and students. To these ends, the administrator subscribes to the following statements of standards.

  1. Makes the well-being of students the fundamental value in all decision making and actions.
  2. Fulfills professional responsibilities with honesty and integrity.
  3. Supports the principle of due process and protects the civil and human rights of all individuals.
  4. Obeys local, state, and national laws.
  5. Implements the governing board of education's policies and administrative rules and regulations.
  6. Pursues appropriate measures to correct those laws, policies, and regulations that are not consistent with sound educational goals.
  7. Avoids using positions for personal gain through political, social, religious, economic, or other influence.
  8. Accepts academic degrees or professional certification only from duly accredited institutions.
  9. Maintains the standards and seeks to improve the effectiveness of the profession through research and continuing professional development.
  10. Honors all contracts until fulfillment or release.

Finally, examine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relate an issue to it. Does a person with a disability, who has no wheelchair access to a cinema, fit within this framework? What about other minority issues? You may also like to use a process of closure where students have to identify missing words within the text.

Article 26

Everyone has the right to ----------. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be ----------.. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

Education shall be directed to the full development of the human ----------. and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and ----------. among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

----------. have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their ----------..

Can you and your students find any surveys on the web detailing the values people hold?

Attitudes towards sex      
World Values Survey

Aliens Among Us

Imagine taking an alien perspective and looking at an area of study as if through new eyes. How would an alien view the material? Try and remove it from a human view. What new meanings start to emerge?

While this is an exercise of the imagination your students should be able to come up with many interesting perspectives. Wars may be seen as human weakness, people as curious oddities that behave strangely. In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five Billy Pilgrim is put into a glass cage by aliens who watch him, and his mate, as if they are animals in the zoo. This was one of many creative techniques that Vonnegut used to create new perspectives on the events of the Second World War. It is as if an alien perspective was needed – humanity needed to get beyond its own cruel perspectives.

Billy Pilgrim says that the Universe does not look like a lot of bright little dots to the creatures from Tralfamadore. The creatures can see where each star has been and where it is going, so that the heavens are filled with rarefied, luminous spaghetti. And Tralfamadorians don't see human beings as two-legged creatures, either. They see them as great millipedes – 'with babies' legs at one end and old people's legs at the other,' says Billy Pilgrim.

Imagine the many ways that aliens (if there are any) may view us. Most scientific films portray aliens as vicious invaders. Why? Compare these to E.T. In the underrated film Explorers the aliens first encountered are in fact children. The aliens have not wanted to visit earth and see the human race as extremely cruel. They have built up a very distorted view of mankind based on their belief that intercepted media transmissions e.g. science fiction movies are real representations of mankind.

What would aliens see if they arrived on earth at a particular time? How would an alien perceive a television or microwave oven? An alien perspective may be a great opportunity of exploring cargo cults and first encounters. Humans see the world as if through alien eyes. What did New Guinea tribesman see when they saw aeroplanes for the first time. What did aborigines see when they first saw ships?

Other aboriginals neither fought nor ran. They treated the high sails of the great ship with an indifference that astonished those aboard. South of Sydney four fishermen with spears were riding their tiny canoes in a small inlet when the largest man-made object in all Australia sailed into sight. The Endeavour even sailed within a quarter of a mile of their bark vessels: but to the astonishment of the botanist Banks and all who were lining the side of the ship the fisherman ‘scarce lifted their eyes from their employment.

The Triumph of the Nomads, Geoffrey Blainey, Sun Books 1983.

Suddenly Lok understood that the man was holding a stick out to him but nether neither he nor Lok could reach across the river. He would have laughed if not for the echo of the screaming in his head. The stick began to grow shorter at both ends. Then it shot out to its full length again.

The dead tree by Lok’s ear acquired a voice.


His ears twitched and he turned to the tree. By his face there had grown a twig: a twig that smelt of other, and of goose, and of the bitter berries that Lok’s stomach told him he must not eat.

The Inheritors: William Golding – a primitive man’s first experiencing of a bow and arrow.

Explore how people from ancient cultures may view western man. The John Frum cargo cult is a fascinating example of how an event has been reappropriated into a culture’s myth.

The centre of the Jon Frum cargo cult today is based in the village at Sulphur Bay, [also called Ipeukel.] The Jon Frum Church here houses the movement's most sacred red cross. On Friday evenings, Jon Frum supporters come from the nearby villages to dance. Every year on the 15th of February, Jon Frum day is celebrated. This is the day when the Sulphur Bay people believe that Jon Frum will return, bringing with him all the cargo he has promised. Prayers and flowers are offered at the red cross in the village church. This is followed by a flag-raising ceremony and a military parade. Islanders carry rifles made of bamboo, painted to appear as if they have red bayonets.

About 100 men march under the command of two village elders dressed as US Army sergeants. The soldiers have the letters "USA" painted in red on their bodies. These soldiers consider themselves to be members of the Tannese Army, a special unit of the American armed forces.

The stories of First Contact are like alien encounters, often tragic moments that mark a substantial change for one culture. Here is a link to the fascinating Australian documentary First Contact. One story in this documentary is how New Guinea tribesmen, in first contact with whites demanded that the men pull down their trousers – the assumption: we wear small loin clothes to cover ourselves, so these men must be extremely well endowed to wear so much cloth.

Tasman’s Journal: First contact with Tasmania

25 Nov.

This land is the first land in the South Sea that is met by us and is still unknown to European peoples, so I have given this land the name of Anthoonij van Diemenslandt in honour of the Hon. Govr General our illustrious master who sent us out to make this discovering.

2 Dec.

That round this east point they found numbers of gulls, and wild ducks or geese, but inland they had seen none; however, indeed they heard the cries therefrom. They found no fish but various mussels (in various places lying stuck together in clusters).

That the land is widely covered with trees that stand so thinly that one may pass through everywhere and see into the distance. So that on landing, always one could get sight of the people or wild animals, being unimpeded by thick, dense forest or thicket which should give freedom for exploring.

That in various places to landward they had seen many trees which were deeply burnt a little above the ground. The earth here and there had been worked by hand and baked as hard as flint by fires.

A little time before we sighted our boats (which returned to the ships), we occasionally saw thick smoke rising from the land which lay about west by north from us). We presumed that our people gave this as a signal because they were so long in returning, for we had instructed them that precious time should not be wasted unprofitably, and to return with speed partly in order to report their findings. But also  (if they saw there no advantage) to be able to go and investigate other places.

Our people having come on board, I asked them whether they had also been thereabouts and had made fires, whereupon they replied:  "no." But at various times and places in the wood they also had seen some smoke ascending. So that here without doubt there are people who must be of extraordinary stature.

Journal of Joseph Banks
: First contact with aborigines

15 January 1770

15. In the course of the last night we were drove to the Eastward more than we had any reason to expect, so much that we found ourselves in the morn past the harbour we intended to go into. Another however was in sight into which we went: the land on both sides appeard most miserably barren till we got pretty deep in when it began to mend by gradual degrees. Here we saw some canoes who instead of coming towards us went to an Indian town or fort built upon an Island nearly in the middle of the passage, which appeard crowded with people as if they had flockd to it from all parts; as the ship aproachd it they wavd to us as if to invite us to come to them but the moment we had passd by they set up a loud shout and every man brandishd his weapons which none of them were without. The countrey about us was now very fertile to appearance and well wooded so we came to an anchor about long cannon shot from the fort, from whence 4 Canoes were immediately dispatchd to reconoitre I suppose and in case they were able to take us, as they were all well armd. The men in these boats were dressd much as they are represented in Tasmans figure, that is 2 corners of the cloth they wore were passd over their shoulders and fastned to the rest of it just below their breast, but few or none had feathers in their hair. They rowd round and round the ship defying and threatning us as usual and at last hove some stones aboard which we all expected to be a prelude of some behaviour which would oblige us to fire upon them; but just at this time a very old man in one of the boats express'd a desire of coming on board, which we immediately encouraged, and threw a rope into his canoe by which she was immediately hawld up along side and the old man (contrary to the opinion of all the other Indians who went so far as to hold him fast for some time) came on board, where he was receivd in as freindly a manner as we possibly could and had many presents given to him, with which he returnd to the canoes who immediately joind in a war dance - whether to shew their freindship or enmity it is impossible to say, we have so often seen them do it upon both those occasions. After this they retird to their town and we went ashore abreast of the ship where we found good wood and water and caught more fish in the Seine than all our people could possibly destroy, besides shooting a multitude of Shaggs. The countrey however did not answer so well to Dr Solander and myself as to the ship, we finding only 2 new plants in the whole even.

Captain Cook's Journal

Sunday, 29th.--In the P.M. wind Southerly and Clear weather, with which we stood into the bay and Anchored under the S. shore about 2 Miles within the Entrance in 5 Fathoms, the S. point bearing S.E. and the N. point E. Saw, as we came in, on both points of the bay, several of the Natives and a few butts; Men, Women, and Children on the S. Shore abreast of the Ship, to which place I went in the Boats in hopes of speaking with them, accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia. As we approached the Shore they all made off, except 2 Men, who seem'd resolved to oppose our landing. As soon as I saw this I order'd the boats to lay upon their Oars, in order to speak to them; but this was to little purpose, for neither us nor Tupia could understand one word they said. We then threw them some nails, beads, etc., a shore, which they took up, and seem'd not ill pleased with, in so much that I thought that they beckon'd to us to come ashore; but in this we were mistaken, for as soon as we put the boat in they again came to oppose us, upon which I fir'd a musquet between the 2, which had no other Effect than to make them retire back, where bundles of their darts lay, and one of them took up a stone and threw at us, which caused my firing a Second Musquet, load with small Shott; and altho' some of the shott struck the man, yet it had no other effect than making him lay hold on a Target. Immediately after this we landed, which we had no sooner done than they throw'd 2 darts at us; this obliged me to fire a third shott, soon after which they both made off, but not in such haste but what we might have taken one; but Mr. Banks being of Opinion that the darts were poisoned, made me cautious how I advanced into the Woods. We found here a few small hutts made of the Bark of Trees, in one of which were 4 or 5 Small Children, with whom we left some strings of beads, etc. A quantity of Darts lay about the Hutts; these we took away with us. 3 Canoes lay upon the beach, the worst I think I ever saw; they were about 12 or 14 feet long, made of one piece of the Bark of a Tree, drawn or tied up at each end, and the middle keept open by means of pieces of Stick by way of Thwarts. After searching for fresh water without success, except a little in a Small hole dug in the Sand, we embarqued, and went over to the N. point of the bay, where in coming in we saw several people; but when we landed now there were nobody to be seen. We found here some fresh Water, which came trinkling down and stood in pools among the rocks; but as this was troublesome to come at I sent a party of men ashore in the morning to the place where we first landed to dig holes in the sand, by which means and a Small stream they found fresh Water sufficient to Water the ship. The String of Beads, etc., we had left with the Children last night were found laying in the Hutts this morning; probably the Natives were afraid to take them away. After breakfast we sent some Empty Casks a shore and a party of men to cut wood, and I went myself in the Pinnace to sound and explore the Bay, in the doing of which I saw some of the Natives; but they all fled at my Approach. I landed in 2 places, one of which the people had just left, as there were small fires and fresh Muscles broiling upon them; here likewise lay Vast heaps of the largest Oyster Shells I ever saw.

Monday, 30th.--As soon as the Wooders and Waterers were come on board to Dinner 10 or 12 of the Natives came to the watering place, and took away their Canoes that lay there, but did not offer to touch any one of our Casks that had been left ashore; and in the afternoon 16 or 18 of them came boldly up to within 100 yards of our people at the watering place, and there made a stand. Mr. Hicks, who was the Officer ashore, did all in his power to intice them to him by offering them presents.

Inside the Magic Lantern

We have probably attended slide shows in our lives – some interesting, some incredibly boring. Your students may like to explore the phenomenon of the slide show and how this is increasingly being extended into electronic photography and the display of information via jazzy computer programs.

What do people capture on slides? What does this tell us about them? What slides may have been taken by a famous person from history? What commentary can be added to slides during a slide show. The Australian comedian Glen Robbins once created a character called Uncle Arthur who would present film nights to family and friends. His commentary was very funny – one man’s fascination can be totally boring yet also hilarious to another.

Your students may like to borrow a camera and take slides and present a show either on a screen or via a computer or PowerPoint presentation. They may also be interested in finding and presenting older slides from home. The last slide show I went to was of Ballarat in the 1950s. It was a most interesting show as I could see how things had changed. You may even be able to find old slides tucked away in a cupboard at work.

It may also be worth exploring the history of slides. I will never forget the wonderful opportunity I had in visiting Llandrindod Wells in England. I happened to visit a museum just before it officially opened. I was given a delightful tour of the many Victorian projectors and slides that a collector had acquired. Many were very beautiful. This culminated in a showing of slides. This area of entertainment predated yet inspired cinema. Increasingly slides became more sophisticated in how they represented scenes. With special levers some allowed the scene to move from day to night. Others showed characters that moved or simply exotic locations foreign to the Victorian eye. The techniques created a visual need in the audience that was later picked up by the penny arcade viewers and the eventual evolution of moving pictures. Slide shows were one of the first examples in which art, and eventual photography, merged with technology to create cinematic experiences.

I will never forget those nights as a child in which I would turn off the light and put on my magic lantern. Images would come to life in the intimacy of the dark. There is certainly a world created in slide photography as its viewing requires a projector and the dark. Even to this day National Geographic photographers still like to work on slide film. Its texture is different and tends to bring a greater depth, texture and light to the portrayal of people or places.

The rat swallower was the most popular lantern sequence of all time. If an audience had never seen it before, their excitement at the primitive cartoon could literally bring the house down. One pioneer lanternist described his first ever lantern show in a village hall in the 1850s.

The first picture was presented on the screen. This if I remember right was a man swallowing rats. This caused a stomping and a shouting as would eclipse a more civilized audience and made the beams of the floor spring and as luck would have it the screen framework fell over towards the lantern. And crash – the frame knocked the lens out of the flange and the lantern over.

Victorian Britain through the Magic lantern: Steve Humphries, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1989.

Too Busy with Living to Live

Rene Magritte man in bowler hat:

The Man in the Bowler Hat

A. S. J. Tessimond

I am the unnoticed, the unnoticable man:
The man who sat on your right in the morning train:
The man who looked through like a windowpane:
The man who was the colour of the carriage, the colour of the mounting
Morning pipe smoke.

I am the man too busy with a living to live,
Too hurried and worried to see and smell and touch:
The man who is patient too long and obeys too much
And wishes too softly and seldom.

I am the man they call the nation's backbone,
Who am boneless - playable castgut, pliable clay:
The Man they label Little lest one day
I dare to grow.

I am the rails on which the moment passes,
The megaphone for many words and voices:
I am the graph diagram,
Composite face.

I am the led, the easily-fed,
The tool, the not-quite-fool,
The would-be-safe-and-sound,
The uncomplaining, bound,
The dust fine-ground,
Stone-for-a-statue waveworn pebble-round (Naughty Us)

Ground Level

Imagine the world from a child’s perspective. Remember how places once seemed much larger to your child eyes. How does the world look from a ‘closer to ground’ perspective? How do meanings change?

Here is a photograph from Jacques-Henri Lartigue: In My Room: Collection of my Racing Cars, 1905

Explore the life story of Jacques-Henri Lartigue.

As a child he was given his first camera and he photographed for most of his long life. Much of his photography has a natural charm as if the skill was developed in the play and unself-consciousness of growing up. Look at the Instants from a Life Link on this broad site.

Message in a Bottle

A year has passed since I wrote my note
I should have known this right from the start
Only hope can keep me together
Love can mend your life
But love can break your heart
Ill send an SOS to the world
Ill send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle

(Message in a Bottle : the Police)

Let students create their own messages in a bottle and launch them into the sea. Students can also create their own messages and email them to others who can put the message into a far distant ocean. Message in a Bottle Server.

There is a lot of tremendous science to be learned from the movement of bottles or junk across the world’s oceans. There is even the famous case of a scientist who, when realizing that a container full of rubber duckies had been lost at sea, saw the opportunity to chart the movement of the pacific. The date of the container loss was reported and this was cross-matched with the duckies washing up on shore.

Messages in Bottles

Imagine that a bottle has washed up on a nearby shore – use a balloon if you are in land. The bottle was written at a particularly time in history, from a particular person in the time of the area that you are studying. What was written? Why was it sent?

Sandia Lab - Message in a bottle

You could even explore its being found at an earlier time. What did the person do with the message? Students could write a story or diary of the movement of a bottle. What lands did it come near? What shipping? How did land vary? How has technology changed in the years since it was released? The message is very discolored and unreadable. What scientific techniques can be employed to reveal light on what it says and who wrote it? What if the message reveals new truths on an event? What if it was released during wartime? Why? What would it say?

It could even be written by an escaped convict such as the quite extraordinary story of Mary Bryant’s escape from Tasmania:

Mary Bryant escaped in the Governor's six-oar cutter with her husband, baby son, three-year-old daughter and five other Convicts. They then rowed to Timor, (5000 Kilometres from Sydney) navigating the uncharted Great Barrier Reef and the Torres Strait. Upon arrival in Timor, they claimed to be shipwreck victims but were soon identified as Convicts and sent back to England for trial. On the return journey, Mary's husband and son died of fever. Sadly for Australia, the English press found her tale of perseverance quite stirring and so rather than transport her once more, she was freed into the community: Convict Escapes.

Here are some interesting examples of message in a bottle stories. They may stimulate ideas in your students: Message bottles in history.

"The strangest case was perhaps that of Chunosuke Matsuyama, a Japanese seaman who was wrecked with 44 shipmates in 1784. Shortly before he and his companions died of starvation on a Pacific coral reef, Matsuyama carved a brief account of their tragedy on a piece of wood, sealed it in a bottle, and then threw it into the sea. It was washed up 150 years later in 1935 at the very seaside village where Matsuyama had been born."

"In 1953 a bottle was found in Tasmania 37 years after it had been dropped overboard by two Australian soldiers on their way to France in a troopship. The mother of one of the soldiers recognized the handwriting of her son who had been killed in action in 1918." Historical note: Australia fought for her mother country, England, against Germany on the battlefields of France and Turkey during World War I. Remarkably, Tasmania is a State in the country of Australia.

"A message found on a beach in Maine in 1944 read: 'Our ship is sinking. SOS didn't do any good. Think it's the end. Maybe this message will get to the U.S. some day.' It was identified as coming from the USS Beatty, a destroyer torpedoed with heavy loss of life somewhere off Gibraltar on November 6, 1943." Historical note: the bottle from the sunken American warship floated to the shores of that country during World War II. The destroyer was probably sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic Ocean off the Southwest coast of Spain.

Heard Island is a fascinating and pristine island in the Southern Ocean under the dominion of Australia. Scientists have to regularly clear its beaches of debris that has washed in from distant places – mostly lost buoys – yet also plastics that have worked their way into the food chain.

Darron Davies

© Copyright In Clued - Ed 2009


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