Kevin Blissett: Out of the Cave

Leadership, Classroom 2.0, Curriculum, China

New Blog Site

Due to the consistent blockage here in China of sites like Blogger and WordPress, I’ve purchased my own website and moved it here. Come on over.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Current Reality

Nice cartoon below reflecting contemporary communication. Hat tip: Mashable

sm-cartoon1

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Sad State of Medical Care in China

The chances of getting top notch medical care throughout most of China are not high. I know this because I have lived in three different provinces with my family, and we have received one missed diagnosis or treatment after another, particularly here in Xi’an, a city of more than six million. I have had to become my own family doctor to a great degree; moreover, I consistently hear from other foreigners living here in China about similar experiences with shoddy healthcare.

To illustrate the point, a couple of years ago my son had walking pneumonia, which was properly diagnosed via a blood test. My three-year-old was prescribed a medication which is ineffective against this type of pneumonia. I got online and investigated many sources indicating that he should be on Azithromax. I went back the hospital and told them they had misprescribed the medication, and they consented to put my son on Azithromax; however, they insisted that he take the medication in three courses. ALL of the literature on Azithromax says it should be taken in one course over five days…period. I kept my son on one course of the medication, and he was fine by the end of the week. Scary! This type of treatment has been repeated on several occasions. (Doctors here could not even read an x-ray which clearly indicated that my wife’s foot was broken. We got confirmation in the Philippines, of all places.)

One of our teachers  recently had to have an emergency appendectomy, and the doctors almost killed him. He was evacuated to Australia and his doctors there were absolutely astonished at the incompetent care he had received.

As poor as the care is for patients not having life threatening illnesses, the chances of getting proper care if you have AIDS or hepatitis are close to nil, as is evident here.

Lingling had a long history of being ill. From infancy, she suffered colds and fevers, but when her mother took her to the county hospital, doctors would invariably prescribe some medicine and then shoo mother and daughter away, insisting there was nothing wrong with her.

But when Lingling contracted a fever two years ago, Wang Yuehong decided something had to be done and took her daughter to a larger hospital in Xi’an, in nearby Shaanxi province. Tests immediately confirmed the doctor’s suspicion: Lingling was HIV-positive. Ms Wang said she had never heard the word Aids before.

Doctors determined that Lingling had been infected from a contaminated blood transfusion given to her at her county hospital when she was 18 months old, the same hospital that insisted there was nothing seriously wrong with her. 

My family has decided that any serious illness will not be treated here in China, unless stabilization is needed before being evacuated to Hong Kong. In the meantime the government has vowed to make healthcare a priority, though I’m not holding my breath.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Effective Field Trips

fieldtrp

Our school just went on a field trip to a business area here in Xi’an called Xiao Zhai. Our teachers divided students into teams which had to use their Chinese-as-a-2nd-language abilities to get local cooperation with scavenger hunt style photographs they were assigned to collect. Upon returning to school, students were asked to put their photos into a powerpoint and make a presentation to the other students. The team with the best overall photos would be the winner. 

I thought this was an effective field trip for the students involved, and it got me to wondering about other ways to create rewarding and stimulating field trips for the future. I stumbled across this post from Langwitches that details ideas for creating effective learning environments outside of the classroom:

What is in a Field Trip? The answer should be LEARNING! The reasons  should include:

  • an integral part of the broader curriculum
  • extending learning beyond the classroom
  • learning through hands on activities
  • taking learning off the page
  • building a learning community
  • connecting it back to learning in the classroom.

Ask yourself, if every field trip you are taking your students on is a learning opportunity that connects back to past/future lessons in the classroom in some way?

Field Trip 2.0 serves up additional technological pointers for enhancing education outside the classroom:

Pre-Activitites
  • Google Earth
  • Google Maps
  • K-W-L
  • Video Conferencing
During Trip
  • Geocaching
  • Digital and/or Video Photography
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Audio Recordings
Post Activities
  • Create Digital Field Guides
  • Analyze Photos for Details
  • Create Narrated Slideshows, Movies, or Podcasts
  • Comic Strips

April 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Schoolgirl Punished to Death

It’s really difficult to know what to say when I read something like this. These types of events, however, seem to occur all too frequently in Asia due to the cultural, social, and professional demands put on students and teachers. Granted, discipline in American public education is probably too lax, but some of the tactics I read about, hear about, and have observed in many Asian classrooms are truly terrifying.

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CV Is the Tip of the Iceberg

Do you rely on resumes or cv’s to vet candidates as part of your hiring practices?  Bert of Open Loops doesn’t; and he’s got good reasons for not doing so. Great advice for supervisors and HR departments.

As someone who interviews, checks references and makes hiring recommendations, I seriously have begun to ask myself why people bother to send resumes.  Years ago, before the Internet, advanced HR departments and a surplus of workers (You have seen the recent unemployment figures, right?), resumes may have been the best way to determine if an applicant is right for the job, but no more.  Further, any  manager, recruiter, or supervisor who uses a resume for anything more than a pre-screener should have his or her credentials questioned as well, for doing so increases the chance that the wrong applicant will be hired and opens the organization up to lawsuits.

Read more.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Online Education

Lifehacker has a helpful article listing some more great places to get free online education. Among the more interesting offerings to me are these:

  • language learning programs
  • skills trading quid pro quo sites
  • online university courses
See the article for details.
With the continued proliferation of all things internet, this trend of providing open source materials for mass consumption will continue far into the future.

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Endorsements

“Kevin Blissett is a self-motivated and highly effective leader in any field related to education – whether teaching or acting in an administrative position. I would give him my highest recommendation.” March 1, 2009

—Richard Gallerno, Chairman of Foreign Languages Dept., Xi’an Hi-tech International School


“Mr. Blissett is a passionate teacher and knows how draw out students’ potential ability. His class is one of my best classes for developing my ideas, and he has a generous and expansive mind. He also is eager to administrate the school intelligently and supportively.” 20 March 2009 

-Grayson Kim, year 13 philosophy student, graysonckim@gmail.com

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Subjects Taught

These are the subjects I’ve taught for extended periods over the course of my career:

  • Secondary English and Literature (5 years)
  • AP Spanish 1-4;  Middle School Spanish (16 years)
  • Senior Philosophy (3 years)
  • Secondary Humanities (10 years)
  • Secondary History (1 year)
  • Secondary and Primary ESL (2 years)
  • Primary Math (1 year)

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment