Pamela Chan/BCFamily.ca/Editorial

“Speaking as a social scientist, there are so many things wrong in this article that I have to disagree…quantifying meanness is just ridiculous. Comparing mean children accross cultures near impossible. Abstracting from children’s attitudes to stickers to religious morality would be ludicrous if it wasn’t worrying. And before you start, I’m an atheist and have never believed religion to be necessary for morality, but this is just bad science. It’s meaningless.” (Comment left on related TheGuardian.com article, 8/11/15, 12:15)

I’ve been reading references to this study about how children from faith backgrounds are more selfish than others. On closer inspection the findings don’t hold up. I’ve met a lot of children and adults in my time, from all kinds of backgrounds all over the world, and I haven’t seen trends that support the conclusion of this study. People from faith backgrounds (as in Jewish, Christian, Hindu etc.) haven’t cornered the market on being selfish people

“A common sense notion and a theoretical assertion from religious metaphysics is that religiosity has a causal connection and a positive association with moral behaviors [8]. This view is so deeply embedded that individuals who are not religious can be considered morally suspect [9, 10].” (Link to research study)

Really?

There are people from faith-backgrounds AND non-faith backgrounds  worldwide who believe all kinds of unfounded rubbish about “the other”. They will always find like-minded people to be on their team and applaud their world views. The cacophony of noise from both sides cancels each other out.
 photo Fullscreen capture 2015-11-019_zpsqxnb9k8z.jpgMeriam-Webster.com

I know judgmental people from non-faith backgrounds who are vocal critics of people from faith backgrounds. This doesn’t mean all people who are from non-faith backgrounds act this way. But isn’t it ironic that some of them are judgemental while they point their fingers at the ways of “the other”?

One of my favourite guiding principles is a saying that comes from Costa Rica.

Wisdom is grounded in humility and a sense of wonder.

When we point a finger at others we need to look at ourselves first. We all live in glass houses. Deep self reflection is always a good idea before throwing a stone.

In my travels across Canada, the United States and around the world, I’ve found that people from different faith backgrounds than my own share many similar ideas about life. But there are also subtle differences in perspective and there can be emphases placed on topics that aren’t at the forefront of my own faith background.  You can learn a lot from others when you sit back, open your ears and listen.

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Love is the most important message in my own faith and it appears as a top priority in other faiths too.

We don’t talk about this focus enough. Other than romantic love, how else is love expressed in our world?

People from non-faith backgrounds also share a commitment to the notion that love is the answer. This is why we all have a common goal in our lives and a common sense of purpose. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

You can comment about this posting on the BCFamily.ca Facebook page. Your contribution matters so don’t be shy!

Daily Dish Archives: Pamela Chan, BCfamily.ca

Related

See other Guardian.com comment at 6/11/15 12:01

I Believe (That Love is the Answer), Blessed Union of Souls

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Recent picks at the local library that appealed to me.

Pamela Chan, Editorial/BCFamily.ca

As a child living in Ireland, I loved visiting the local library after weekly ballet classes. I can still remember entering the old building, located on the corner of a street south of Dublin.  I had a selection of favourite authors and cherished the new book that I checked out every week.  My love of books – and appreciation of libraries – goes back to my early schoolgirl years.  Years later, while I was completing my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, my favourite place to read and study was in the Art History library and the reading room in the main library.  When I think back to my time at university (the first time round), my mind often wanders back to the libraries.

If you’ve visited a local library recently, you probably noticed that there is no shortage of people checking out their local branch.  Yet I am still amazed at how many people I know who don’t go to the library – ever.  In fact I’d hazard a guess that many of the core people in my life do not use their local library.  We know all about the benefits of visiting a library with children but it’s easy to forget that libraries are one of the best deals in town for all of us.

1.  If you love magazines you’ll discover all kinds of titles at the library. In Coquitlam, for example, you can check out online magazines using your library card and the Zinio service (via the library website).   If you like the tactile experience of reading on paper, libraries carry a large selection of magazines on topics from art to men’s health and everything in between.   If you don’t have the budget to buy magazines (especially imported or more expensive subscriptions), or you can only afford to buy a few, go to the library and check out back issues from the previous month and earlier.  Plus the library is a good way to discover new titles.

2.  A lot can be said about books at the library. Some books are brand new and hot of the presses (often on display) while others are old classics. You might already know about a title and author or you might (most likely) discover new titles while browsing.  You can also benefit from areas in the library where the librarians will display their suggestions for books. Some people do a lot of research about the books that they want before they visit the library.  Some even put books on hold that are popular. If you know that you probably won’t want to hold on to a book after you have read it, checking it out from the library makes sense.  To save time, you can check out the availability of a title and its location before you visit the library.

3. If you’re planning a party or event, the library will probably have a good selection of books and magazines to help give you ideas. If you’ve been wanting to check out Pippa Middleton’s latest party planning book for example – hands up here -  chances are one of the libraries that you can access has it. Of course you can go online to pinning/tagging sites to read excellent blog posts and website articles. This is true but don’t forget that you can also check out magazines geared to your interest via the library’s e-resources programme.  There’s also something very satisfying about reading a book that was planned in its entirety about a specific topic.  When I’m planning an event, I like to have magazines and books around me as I sketch out my ideas.

4.  The library is also a great place to find DIY books, gardening, cooking and other How To books.  Depending on the season, you might also find displays of books around a seasonal topic such as gardening.  Here in Coquitlam the two libraries closest to me (Poirier and Central) do an excellent job in this regard.

5. Libraries are cozy and peaceful. In recent years most libraries have either been either or built from scratch. You can find attractive settings for tables and deep chairs – even fireplaces – that will keep you comfortable as you wile away the hours reading, browsing or waiting for your children to finish using the library.  You can even find hot drinks for sale in case you need refreshment. (Do watch your bags though.  Some libraries have issues with visitors who aren’t interested in their services – if you know what I mean.)

6. Computers in libraries aren’t just for looking up book titles. If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use the library computer to check out the many e-resources and programmes that are available on the library’s website. My children also enjoy using the educational computer games at the library.

7.  If you still have a DVD player, you can check out movies from the library.  You never know what titles you might find. I noticed that the French language section in my library includes French and foreign films.  You can also discover new and favourite music CDs and audio books. I’ve checked out a lot of Puntamayo CDs from various libraries.

8.  The entrance to a library is a good place to find pamphlets, local papers and other information about community events.  Don’t forget to linger and explore as you exit.

9.  Libraries often have areas where they sell used books for a dollar or so.  Libraries also host book swaps and sales.  It’s exciting to find a classic cookbook or intriguing autobiography for under $5.

10.  Watch the library website, bulletin boards, local papers and keep your ear to the ground.  There are all kinds of events taking place at libraries that are free – anything from a presentation about Persian New Year to a Lego event.

Don’t forget that you can volunteer at your local library.  If you are a teenager looking for a volunteer opportunity, a library is a good place to start.

Bonus: Lastly – and most important – libraries are places where you can dream. You can flip through an article about gorgeous estates in England or you can roll up your sleeves and start researching a new business idea. Check out your local library’s website for e-resources to help with job hunting and career planning.   In my local library, the Ebsco Host service online helps me to look up PDF copies of articles from journals in a professional field that is relevant to me. You can request to have your library bring in books and items from other libraries.  Here in the Tri-cities area I can even register to use my Coquitlam library card in the neighbouring library in Port Coquitlam.

Now that I’ve shared some highlights that I’ve experienced, I’m off to check out the Learning Mandarin programme on the Pronunciator.com website – courtesy of a subscription via the local library.

Related

The benefits of reading in print – a good overview from 2013.

You can comment about this posting below, on the BCFamily.ca Facebook and Google+ pages or on Twitter. Your contribution matters so don’t be shy!

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My husband is looking forward to digging into these titles.  The new title with stories by Neil Gaiman et al. title sounds intriguing.

Today I happened upon TheSprog.Blogspot.ca which was featured on Miss 604′s site.  It turns out that Lisa Corriveau was a Vancouver Top 30 Blogger for 2012.  I was at the Top 30 Mom Bloggers reception earlier this year and was one of the Top 30 Bloggers for 2011. (Note to self – check out all the winners!)

While reading the blog I soon noticed that Lisa is taking part in the Monday Listicles project put together by  NorthwestMommy.com. It sounds like a fun project and I like that it is organized within the Pacific Northwest.

Diving in – here’s my Top 10 for how my life is different from the younger me ten years ago.

Different

* I drive!

This is a huge difference.  Since I lived in Japan for many years, and was living on a tight budget before and after my years in Japan, owning a car and driving was never an option. After I got married my husband encouraged me to drive.  We moved to a suburb of Vancouver last year and I had to face the music – or should I say the Walk Score in our neighbourhood (17 versus 97 in Yaletown).  The skills I learned when I passed my test in ’07, before my twin pregnancy and before my twins arrived, would have to be put to use.  If you are a new driver or you’re learning to drive after 30, check out my post on this topic and do share your thoughts with me. I can relate!

* I’m not in school.

Good grief -  I have been in and out of University from age 17 until age 35.  In my mid 20s I completed a Montessori teacher (directress) training proramme and went back to complete a Master degree when I was 32, taking a year off to deal with a medical disability. I love studying and research work.  Indeed I was fortunate enough to take on three research contracts while I completed my last degree. It’s a pipe dream of mine, but I’d like to complete a PhD in my field as well.

How about you? What are your academic aspirations?  How are they coming along? Do you have any academic pipe dreams that you’d like to put into action?

* I’m married.

This is a major change and isn’t one that I’ve written about on this site.  I got married when I had just turned 38. This means I spent many years as a single adult and have a deep understanding of what it means to be a single woman in today’s world.  When it comes to any topic that compares single women to married women, or women who have children to those who don’t, I take a split perspective on the matter.

* I’m a mum.

Of course this is a major change too.  Ten years ago I was a devoted aunt, and I am still strongly committed to my three nieces. Except I now have three more nephews and a niece by marriage.  Ten years ago I had just finished up a contract as a teacher working with young children. I’ve been fortunate to have children in my life regularly since I became a Girl Guide leader in 1993.

* I no longer rent.

I have enjoyed most of the places I’ve lived in, and ten years ago I was living in quite a few as I shifted from one location to another on campus at UBC and then lived in two flats in Metro Vancouver before getting married.  I don’t miss being beholden to a landlord and have to admit – now that I’m in a house – that I don’t miss hearing neighbours through the walls.

* I don’t walk on the wild side.

It would be a stretch to say that I’ve lived a wild life, but let’s just say there are a few lifestyle choices I’m not favouring anymore.  I’m not blowing through international airports regularly, like I’m making a quick dash through a subway station. I’m not dancing in clubs in Florence at 2 in the morning. (Read night clubs catering to gay men.) I’m not single and dating men who are fun, fascinating and brilliant  – but who live life in the fast lane. I’m still having fun but my activities are definitely more sedate.  Like the Slow Food/Eat Local movement, I’m taking it slow -  savouring each moment in my local community.

* I’m done with cell phones.

Half the time I can’t find mine, or if I do it’s not charged. (See The Evolution of Cell Phone Nomophobia.) This situation might change.  I might even buy a smart phone, but the need to cruise the Internet while I’m on the go hasn’t hit me yet, and I don’t expect it will anytime soon.

* I’m not dashing about

Ten years ago I had just finished an active period of traveling internationally and was still popping over to Barbados.  Since then I’ve made trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska (quasi international) various islands in Greece and that’s it!  After a lifetime of living overseas (in six countries) and popping round here, there and everywhere, it’s been a quiet decade for me travel-wise.

* I’m still interested in political parties but don’t volunteer

Ten years ago I was a keen volunteer for my Federal political party association of choice and, I think it’s fair to say, I was pretty darn good at it. Having young children, no childcare programme and volunteering for political party associations doesn’t go together very well. Ditto for attending political party events, which tend to be adult oriented.  This is not only my loss, but I think my political party of choice is losing out too. If events and initiatives could be ones where you could sometimes bring your children along, more Canadians would engage with political party activities in British Columbia and Canada.

* I’m not fashion-focussed.

It used to be that I’d scour fashion magazines and watch for hot international trends. I was passionate about Frank Magazine and Wallpaper. I’d want a specific perfume or from Italy or I’d ask my brother to send me a type of makeup product from Canada.  I’d order from international fashion catalogues, or hunt down handmade leather sandals in Barbaods. I’d frequent stores in Japan that featured unique, affordable brands from the local market. When I traveled I’d make a point of buying upscale street fashion in the cities that I visited.  More recently I wrote a piece called Time for a Fashion Reboot.  Here’s a quote from this piece:

Recently  I experienced a bit of an unexpected ego smack when someone from a different age cohort let me know indirectly (but oh so directly) that my belief in my ability to dress well and look good was misplaced.  Let’s not go into the nasty details.

Nowadays I buy pieces on sale at The Bay, Sears or Costco.  If I can find something online and have it sent to me with no shipping charge, I’m in! My wardrobe is acceptable but doesn’t knock my socks off.  I’m waiting for What Not to Wear to pay me a visit. Sadly I hear you can’t nominate yourself and it seems they never cast in the Vancouver area.   :(

How about you?  What are some of the significant changes that you’ve experienced in the last ten years?

You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or by visiting the BC Family Facebook page. Your opinion matters so don’t be shy!

Daily Dish Archives: Pamela Chan/Publisher, BCfamily.ca

Since my twins were born in 2009 my head has been pretty much face down in front of my feet.  New ventures take some planning and are slow to reach fruition.  Not long after the twins were born I did attend sessions held by nurses in the local Round House Community Centre in Yaletown. Once the children were able to crawl, parents were invited to join a different group.  At this point I had to pull out of the classes.  Going into a confined space with children crawling in two different directions and getting into the space of other women’s babies was not my idea of a good plan.  In the year that followed my household has been consumed with details surrounding selling out condo, temporary accommodations and moving to the suburbs.  Simply getting through the day, providing healthy meals, regular naps, maintaining an organized environment  and organizing opportunities to play and learn at home has been my main priority.

After  two months in our new home in the Tri City area, a light bulb went off in my  mind.  I’ve been trying to find play group options without too much success. I have joined various Meetup.com groups but haven’t had too much luck so far.  Although there are some opportunities on the horizon.  Then I remembered that four years ago they started an early learning programme in this area for pre-Kindergarten children.  Why this programme had not been in the forefront of my mind, I can’t tell you.  One of my space cadet moments, as the expression goes! A few minutes of research on Google brought me to the Strong Start programme information for my neighbourhood elementary school (which is just up the road). It turns out this school was a pilot school for the programme four years ago.

The very next day, armed with my children’s birth certificates and proof of residence (a piece of mail), I headed up to the school in the pouring rain and found the Strong Start room.  The facilitator greeted me with a warm “hello” and welcomed me into the programme space.  There were a little over a dozen children there with their parents – mostly mothers, but there was also two men.  As outlined on the Strong Start web page, we found a painting and drawing easel, two craft centers, educational toys, fantasy play items such as  a large doll house, a sand pit, a building block area, library corner and circle time rug.   An hour before the end of the morning session the children were invited to clean up, wash up and sit down for a healthy snack that was provided by the programme and prepared by one of the mums.  This was followed by a circle time featuring dancing, singing and story telling.  Before the children left, they were invited to read books with their caregiver.

As this is a parent participation programme, parents help with snack and cleaning up.  This is a free programme, however you will have to register your child when you start attending.  (Bring a copy of the birth certificate and a document proving your place of residence.)  Some programmes run in the mornings and some run in the afternoon.  You can choose one in your region that matches your child’s nap pattern.  If you can have your child attend a programme in the school he or she will attend later, that is the ideal option.

It should be pointed out that there is an ECE trained facilitator on site; however, the individual parent is expected to stay with his or her child, interact, support and monitor their progress.  Additionally, while the programme is for children ages 0 – 5, it is probably more appropriate for a child who can walk.  Although there are books, simple toys and a carpeted area that are perfect for the younger baby.  The programme space provides the parent of a young child with the opportunity to meet other parents.  This is an important opportunity at a time when parents can feel quite isolated in our communities. That said, it is fair to say that there is something for the parent and child of any age between 0 – 5.

If you are a parent of a child who needs opportunities to socialize with other children in a stimulating environment, one of these programmes would be a good option. They appear in local public schools and also take place in rural areas.  For a full list of locations, check out the list of Strong Start programmes online.  If you’re not sure if the programme is right for you and your child, do check take a look rather than delaying a visit.  It would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity if it could work for your child.

Although my children a a few months shy of their second birthday, they are old enough to attend this programme on a regular basis.  My Montessori background influences my belief that children from age 2 1/2 to age 4 (for example) should be in a programme half day, five days a week.  Once they no longer need a nap, they are able to stay in a full day programme.   As you can imagine, many programmes do not offer this opportunity. Many children as old as five years of age are attending programmes three mornings a week.  In many households where one parent is not working, a fee-based pre-school is not an option.  That said, I hope to be able to bring my children to this programme as much as possible.

Related

The BC Ministry of Education’s policy information about Strong Start BC

We’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy! You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or visit us at our Facebook page.

Daily Dish Archives Pamela Chan/Publisher, BCfamily.ca


As I stood on a street corner with my double stroller and twins by my side, half way up a long hill I was walking on to get to an appointment, I noticed a car making a turn around the corner.  The driver was a woman who  publishes one of the more popular websites that you may know if you are a Vancouver mom or dad. As I watched her driving off I couldn’t help but think “gee she must be one busy woman”.  Make no mistake about it –  women who are publishing  websites for and about moms and families are busy.  Their sites typically involve multiple postings per week; guest postings; competitions; give aways; sponsorship and advertising programmes; reviews of local activities; and, products and external participation in social media and local media initiatives such as television and newspapers. As another woman who publishes a similar site mentioned one day, she was able to pull herself away from her computer to attend to an activity.  These women pitch their sites as “go to places” for expert content on all things “mom” related.  They have to work hard to push that content out.

Whether you’re working in an office with children in school and daycare, or working from home at a home based business, balancing time spent at work and time spent caring for children – especially young children – is a challenging task.  You have X amount of hours in a day and have to accomplish Y amount of tasks. How much you accomplish in each of your chosen categories depends on how efficient you are, how you prioritize your time and – quite frankly – how much help you have.  Family members, nannies, daycare, babysitting and school all provide assistance with children so that you can work at an office or work from home.

I mention this random street corner thought  because I have learned a lot about what it takes to publish a website and to achieve your goals for your website during this past year.  I have many ideas about what I would like to do with this website and during the past year I have been able to decide what I do not want to do on my site.  At least not right now.  I have also had to make firm decisions about allocation of my time.  I don’t have access to a car, walk everywhere with my children, and currently have no help during the weekdays.  This situation may or may not change in the near future. I can appreciate what it takes to develop the websites that I see available online, and commend everyone who makes an effort to publish a website, no matter how extensive or simple the design may be.

Here are a few of the issues that came up this past year:

- When you publish your own website, if you don’t have the resources to engage external help – even if it’s the resources of time and skills offered by a spouse – you will spend a fair bit of time learning how to design and self publish your site.  WordPress is a great place to start as there are also useful themes and plugins for WordPress that have been developed.  If something goes wrong with your site, you will also be the one trying to fix your site.  Hopefully you have good site support from the company hosting your site.

- Not all technical issues can be solved by the technical support division at your domain provider.  If your problem is on the WordPress end, you may have a harder time figuring out what has gone wrong.  Sometimes the issue may be very simple.  Perhaps you have to tick off a box or put in a word in some part of the settings.  The smallest issues can prove to be a big obstacle.  You will flounder about, for awhile, and feel quite distressed until you can find someone who knows how to fix your broken site. (I’m putting my hand up here because this happened to me.)

- Upgrading your version of WordPress, for example, and your theme is a tricky business.  Proceed with caution.  If you aren’t sure how to proceed, get help!

- You will soon discover that one of the biggest fan bases for your site are the people who try to hack into accounts or simply inundate your site with spam comments.  Yes those lovely people living in Eastern Europe and down the street set up automatic bots to make frequent visits to your site, testing out your security measures.  Do some research and install as many of the popular security plugins as you can to protect your site.  Back up your site frequently and use complex passwords that you change from time to time.

- If you track the popularity of topics on your site, you might be surprised to learn which topics people favour. Here at BC Family a story about being crazy for cupcakes and another about Harumika  dolls are, hands down, the most popular postings.  Montessori topics come in as a popular third choice.

- Social media can be a nice complement to your site.  A Facebook page and Twitter account can enhance the content of your site if you have your website and the social media applications linked together.

- When you getting through your day, ensuring that all tasks related to looking after family and home are complete, publishing content on your site does not happen.  Sometimes this state of affairs can continue for days!  Thankfully you can continue to contribute content to your home page via widget inserts on the margins and links to your Twitter and Facebook page accounts.

- Don’t compare your website to similar sites that offer up similar content.  You simply cannot compare the quality of your site to others as every person allocates their resources of time and money differently.  If you’re choosing to keep your operations simple, you will also have to accept that your output will be less extensive.

- People like to read your website and your content on Social Media.  Sometimes they will indicate that they “like” your content (on Facebook).  Less frequently they will comment either on your website or on the related Facebook page.  If you have a comment section that requires moderation, this may deter people from commenting.  However it also deters spammers from leaving ridiculous comment content. You are most likely to receive comments on your website if the commenter knows someone mentioned in the posting, or has a professional connection to the content in the posting.

- You may not receive feedback from your friends and peers about your site too often, but take note when they do comment opinions.  You might be surprised to hear from a friend that she enjoys reading your site.  You didn’t even know that she reads your site!  Give yourself a pat on the back.

- You will be amazed at how much spam comments your site receives.  Setting up a filter to keep this content out of sight is a necessity.

- You will be faced with questions about priorities for content on your site.  Should you write about products and local events?  Should you provide giveaways and run competitions?  Should you link up with businesses and provide opportunities for moms’ children to model for a partner company or appear on TV? Or should you push the envelope and write about less typical topics focussed on community issues and issues that affect families around the globe? Does the average Vancouver mom or dad want to read about the latter as well?

- Whatever focus you choose, how much time should you take to develop your content?  Should you research topics in depth and edit postings extensively before publishing, or should you try to work as quickly as possible so that you can push out a certain amount of content per week?

- If you have guest postings on your site, what is the benefit for these guests? Is it enough to mention their businesses and websites?  Where do you draw the line between guest postings (eg I went to the beach and want to tell you about it) and advertorials (eg I’m a health specialist and here are links to my website and my bookstore.) It seems that both types of content can find a comfortable place on these types of sites.  Where you run into more murky ground is in the area of product reviews.

- Why is it that I never see all out negative reviews of products on a mom-focussed website?  For example, “here at our website we received the following product for a review and we want to tell you that it did not meet our expectations.  We feel that you can find a better version of this product elsewhere.”  Is there not a conflict of interest when a publisher gets to keep the product or use it in a giveaway?  Isn’t it in her best interest to review the product in a positive light? Vague references to deficiencies doesn’t cut it.  If you don’t really like the product or service, please be direct.  Product reviews?  It’s a tricky proposition. Yet product and service reviews can also draw readers to your site. This must be why they are so popular on mom-focussed sites. I’ve put shout-outs on BC Family regarding products based purely on my own interest and initiative.  I haven’t been contacted in advance by the company I discussed and, in many cases, I’m not even sure that the company is aware that I’ve written about their product.  Sure I didn’t get any benefit, other than the opportunity to provide content on my site. I’ve been critiqued for being too generous on this score. What can I say?  I love to support great products and fabulous companies.

- Sometimes you set up an arrangement with someone to meet with you or provide content for your site and the plans fall through.  Despite your best efforts, you don’t reach your goal.  It’s a shame, but in these circumstances I’ve had to either put the idea on hold or cut my losses.  People get busy.  Life gets in the way.  What comes around for me is also going around for other people.  Such is life.

- Should you monetize your site and how should you go about does this? Some people launch their sites quickly and with confidence. Within a year they are confirming that they have hundreds – if not thousands – of followers on social media, and large numbers of readers on their site. They have sponsors and advertisements and have set up relationships with other businesses. Their website is a business and they have implemented their business plan full on. Other websites do not have a stitch of advertising, yet they can also be very popular. The final nominees for this year’s Canadian Weblog Award are a case in point. Most of the websites in the Family and Parenting category are humble in their presentation and design.

- Website publishing provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about the community and world in which you live. It also provides a platform to enable an exchange of ideas with people who live down the road or around the world.  Sometimes you can encounter a negative reaction to content on your site, but for the most part if your outlook is positive, supportive and optimistic, you will encounter other people who support a similar world view.  If you want to write in a more critical tone, assume that your content will be challenged and have confidence in the content that you produce.

- When you have the chance, read other people’s sites, support their efforts, and share the love… of publishing.

A few months ago I mentioned to a neighbour – a retired teacher – that I publish a website.  “Oh you have a BLOG, she replied.”  I couldn’t help but feel this was her way of correcting me. What she should have said was “Correction. You share your personal feelings in an online journal.  You do not publish a website.”   Perhaps this would have been true ten years ago. Today she is out of step with the type of content and site formats you are finding on the internet.  All blogs are websites.  Not all websites published by people like me are blogs.  Some websites, for example,  include a blog that is linked into the main homepage.  The website Yoyomama.ca and its linked blog are a fine example of this format.  On this site, for example, the Daily Dish postings are written in a blog format.  They are inspired by personal stories and are topics affecting my life. What matters is that there has been a significant increase in the number of self-published sites during the past decade. People who publish their own sites are free to design, define and promote their sites in whatever creative and innovative manner they prefer.

Nowadays I’m more likely to find exciting and relevant content on privately published sites, rather than sites published by organizations and institutions.  Women around town and around the globe, in particular, are producing informative and visually gorgeous sites every day.  If you are thinking about entering the fray, go for it!  I applaud your enthusiasm.  You have much to contribute and there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say.

We’d love to hear from you so don’t be shy! You can comment about this posting using the comment function below or visit us at our Facebook page.

Related

Book:

We Blog: Publishing Online With Weblogs

Video: Women speak up about their passion – blogging – and time management

Daily Dish Archives Pamela Chan/Publisher, BCfamily.ca


Pamela Chan (BCFamily.ca)

Training for the new democracy must be from the cradle – through nursery, school and play […] through every activity of our life. [...]  When we change our ideas of the relation of the individual to society, our whole system of education changes.  

Forty years before John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural speech, Mary Parker Follett wrote that “the question which the state must always be trying to answer is how it can do more for its members at the same time that it is stimulating them to do more for themselves.  No, more than this, doing more for them must take the form of their doing more for themselves.”  (Follett, 1918, p. 237)

Mary Follett is considered to be one of the early leaders in the area of business management, and her influence on the politicians, academics, educators and business people of her day was far reaching. Yet ten years after her death, in 1933, she had been all but forgotten. This was particularly the case in the United States, where her ideas were kept alive in the business classes at Harvard University.  In England a few academics still revered her, and in 1941 Metcalf and Urwick published her papers in a book entitled “Dynamic Administration”.  In the 1950s Mary P. Follett and W. Edwards Deming were the two key influences in the revival of Japanese industry.  An association dedicated to her work exists in Japan to this day.  The interest of the Japanese, with their own cultural context of amae, or mutual relationships, is not surprising.  Follett saw circular behaviour as the basis for an integrated relationship in business.  She believed that control over others brought disastrous results and that it would be better if each worker could influence the other at the same time.  Interest in her work has been increasing recently; however, copies of her original writings are still hard to come by.  As a renewed interest in her work increases, the academic and business worlds are eagerly awaiting the imminent publication of new books about her life and ideas.  

Mary Follett’s influence in the academic and political worlds was strong from the start of her academic career.  Follett was born into an upper middle class Quaker family in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1868.  She had access to the best education available to women in her day and eventually attended university at Radcliffe College, when it was still known as The Harvard Annexe for Women.  There she studied economics, government and philosophy.  Part of her undergraduate experience was also spent in England at Newnham College, Cambridge.  At Newnham she read history, law and political science.  Her father died when she was young, and her mother was ill throughout her undergraduate years.  Due to the efforts required to look after her mother, she graduated summa cum laude from her undergraduate degree at age 30.  Not long after her graduation, she published her thesis as her first book, entitled “The Speaker of the House of Representatives”.  It was well respected at the time by academics and politicians, and received an enthusiastic review from Theodore Roosevelt.  It is still considered to be one of the best written works looking at examples of good practice in Congress.  In 1924 she published her second book entitled “Creative Experience”.

One of Follett’s most important legacies comes from her work as a social worker.  After graduating from college she worked in the Roxbury neighbourhood of Boston. Over the course of a decade she developed the idea of the community center – that schools can be used after hours for recreational and vocational use.  Where schools were not available, community centers were built.  Such an idea is taken for granted now, but it was a revolutionary concept in the early 20th century.  Her experience working in this area taught her a lot about notions of democracy and led her to write more for a wider audience – particularly the business world.  She felt that good practice amongst business people would have a significant impact on other institutions.  Looking at the current widespread influence of business ideas in non-business settings, such as Covey’s “Seven Principles”, it can be seen that her opinion has stood the test of time.

In the Appendix of her first novel, “The New State”, Follett outlines her ideas on education – ideas that are particularly relevant today as the Canadian and American governments and Departments of Education look at introducing renewed interest in citizenship into schools.

Training for the new democracy must be from the cradle – through nursery, school and play […] through every activity of our life.  Citizenship is not to be learned in good government classes or current events courses or lessons in civics.  It is to be acquired only through those modes of living and acting which shall teach us how to grow the social consciousness.  This should be the object of all day school education, of all night school education, of all our supervised recreation, of all our family life, of our club life, of our civic life.  When we change our ideas of the relation of the individual to society, our whole system of education changes. (Follett, 1918, p. 363) 

In these ideas, Follett’s interest in the role of each individual as part of the community can be seen. In regards to schools, Follett would have favoured a communitarian approach to education.  Each stakeholder in the child’s education – the child, parent, teacher, administrators and members of the community – would participate in the life of the school.    In her writings Follett also emphasized the importance of experience. However she felt it was not to be vague experience randomly applied to unrelated enterprises.  In the school environment leaders would be sought out according to what experience the person had in relation to the task at hand.  It would be the job of administrators to have an indepth understanding of the capabilities of staff members.  They would also need to encourage a working environment where staff members could voluntarily step forward and willingly offer their services for leadership roles.

The work environment of the school is replete with diversity. This can be one of the largest challenges for school leaders as they try to develop positive school climate and school culture. Teachers come from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.  They have differing levels, types and amounts of experience.  Some teachers are more progressive, while others are more traditional in their teaching and interpersonal styles.  Some have specific ideological leanings that are reflected in their teaching methods.  They may support the ideas of Howard Gardner, Rudolf Steiner or Maria Montessori.  Some teachers do not support labeling children with conditions such as ADHD, whilst other teachers do.  When personalities, lifestyles and political agendas are added into the mix, the degree of diversity becomes broader.   These factors will have a direct impact on the school climate and culture.  The leadership of the school will have an important role in ensuring that the diversity in background and outlook of the staff members supports the school’s climate and culture in a positive way.  The challenges are great, as many teachers are nervous about the range of diversity they find in schools.  Rather than coping with it, they retreat or build safe areas within which they can operate unchallenged and undisturbed.  Mary Follett acknowledged this reality by advising that we should not let diversity bring out feelings of hostility.  Rather we should look at differences with an optimistic and, as she called it, civilized outlook.  “How interesting this is”, she wrote.  “This idea has evidently a larger content than I realized; if my friend and I can unify this material, we shall separate with a larger idea than either of us had before.” (Follett, 1918, p. 40)

Mary Follett had a lot to say about the role of diversity in society and within groups of people.  She felt that variety was essential.  “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim”, she wrote.  “We attain unity only through variety.  Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, nor absorbed.”  (Follett, 1918, p.39)  This attitude is in stark contrast to a school workplace where school leaders might weed out teachers who are willing to follow school procedures, yet continually challenging the status quo and presenting alternative solutions.  When teachers with alternate perspectives are kept out of the school, one is left with a teaching staff that can often appear bland in their perspective and levels of motivation.  Or as Follett wrote, groups without variety “die simply of non-nutrition.  The bond created had not within it the variety which the human soul needs for nourishment”.  (Follett, 1918, p. 39.)

In the same passage Follett suggests that we should not ignore differences.  To do so could result in corruption.  Rather we should learn to like diversity and learn the technique of agreeing.  If we dislike differences we will feel divided.  If we learn to embrace diversity as a positive concept, as something that unites us, we shall welcome it.  Follett thought that such a concept had important implications for society.  In a school this can relate, for example, to how decisions are made.  If votes are taken and decisions are based on the concept of majority rules, the true measure of how each staff member thinks cannot be valued. Follett would say that this is a 19th century concept of democracy.  If the results of surveys or informal opinion taking reflect the opinions of the majority, the opinions of the rest of the population will not disappear.  They will remain under the surface, and will contribute to a growth in discontent.  She later wrote that we should “never, if possible, allow an either-or situation to be created. […] That gives us at once a Yes or No question; we will do it or we won’t do it.  That is fatal to the best thinking.  There are almost always more than two alternatives in a situation, and our job is to analyze the situation carefully enough for as many possible to appear.”  (Follett, 1941, pps. 219 – 220)

Mary Follett’s belief in diversity was grounded in her own practice of valuing every interaction she had in life.  Whether she was speaking with a politician, or the clerk at a hotel desk, she made a point of taking the time to listen carefully to that person’s life stories and experiences.  Her personality has been described as leaning towards simple living, yet charismatic and uplifting in outlook. (“Mary Parker Follett”, 1994 – 95) In a school there are many types of jobs being performed.  Non-teaching staff members include custodians, administrators, secretaries, and bus drivers, for example.  Teaching staff members include homeroom/grade level teachers, specialist teachers and special education teachers.  Each of these staff members will bring their own unique perspective to the workplace.  Administrators can benefit from Follett’s attitude by taking the opportunity to seek out conversations and to see each one as an opportunity to hear stories and experiences, the content of which could shed light on what is happening in the school.

During the mid to latter part of the 20th century the focus in North America, and the United States in particular, has been on the individual.  This attitude was in contrast to the focus on groups in communist countries.  As communism has gradually disappeared from many key places on the world’s political scene, there has been a resurgence of interest in the role of the community.  Some North Americans feel that we have gone too far in separating the individual out from the community and neighbourhood where he lives.  Groups, such as people from different faith backgrounds, are suggesting that it is important to not separate matters of faith into the private realm from the public realm. From differing positions related to various faiths and/or secular beliefs, citizens can comment on the processes that take place in the public realm. Follett’s ideas about the individual and society differ from the predominant view of the individual that was held for most of the 20th century, and provide inspiration for the realization of this ideal of a more diverse experience.

Follett’s ideas about cultural diversity are featured prominently in an American home lifestyle magazine published after recent terrorist attacks.  The quote “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim” is printed under a photograph.  In it five linked hands show different skin tones, and suggest people of different cultural backgrounds coming together.  Appropriate to Mary Follett’s own lifestyle, the magazine is called “Real Simple”.  As Americans look back in time and search for traditional values and ideas at the core of the American ethos, it is not surprising that they would turn to the highly respected, but often undervalued and forgotten ideas of Mary Follett.

Follett uses the idea of diversity to look at integrating diverse opinions and coming up with new and creative solutions, rather than settling on compromises in which everyone loses to some degree.  As a basis for this attitude, she suggests that within the context of a group or workplace one should never be complacent about the ideas that exist.  “Know that another theory, another cause exists, and seek that.  The enhancement of life is not for the comfort-lover.  As soon as you succeed – real success means something arising to overthrow your security. “ (Follett, 1918, p. 38.)  If we can look elsewhere for ideas when a theory has been accepted, it is not much more difficult to search for a common solution when ideas are not cohesive.

Follett felt that collective bargaining was an acceptable temporary solution to resolving conflicts that arise within the workplace.  She acknowledged that to some degree it has helped to protect the basic rights of employees.  In these processes she saw that people had the tendency to defend their own opinion and to be blind to the position of the other side.  She suggested that each side should make an effort to understand the position of the other. All of the facts related to the situation should be made available to all parties involved.  In the case of labour disputes in British Columbia educational institutions, she would want to see that each side had an in-depth understanding of the somewhat different perspectives and priorities of the other side.  Rather than reaching compromises that involved weakening each side’s initial proposal, she believed that each side could work together to build a new and better solution.  The role of the mediator would be important.  Follett recognized that such a process would require much more of the mediator, than is currently found in collective bargaining processes.  She referred to this process as integration and felt that it could only occur when the diverse opinions of each side are confronted.  (Morton & Lindquist, 1997)  Follett wrote about this concept in an article about psychology of concilitation and arbitration.

I have said that integration is the best way of setting controversy, and perhaps that implies that the chief qualification of arbitrator and conciliator should be that he himself be able to find an integration, usually a pretty difficult task.  Probably the main reason why we do not have more integration is that it requires much more thinking on the part of arbitrator or mediator. […] Unless those chiefly instrumental in settling [a] dispute [have] conferred many times with each side separately, it is doubtful whether the final joint conferences [will] be successful.  (Follett, 1941, p. 241)

Follett provided a more comprehensive attitude towards a cooperative process that is increasingly respected as an ideal in current concepts of collective bargaining.  She encouraged continuous co-operation between employer and worker.  Together the employer, management and workers can build an improved work environment.  She pointed to the example of England, in her day, as a country where there were examples of constructive contributions made by labour to the management.  By encouraging this continuous relationship, teachers would not see the aim as simply to avoid strikes and conflict, but rather as an attempt to benefit from all types of knowledge and experience of everyone working in the school.   As details regarding special education are brought to the negotiation table during labour disputes in British Columbia, involved parties would do well to take this long-term notion of cooperation into consideration.  (Follett, 1941, pp. 227 – 228) 

Follett further cautioned that as processes such as arbitration involve taking evidence from both sides into consideration, it does not involve the exchange of ideas between both sides that might lead to modifications and changes on both sides.  She felt that people come to this process with the wrong attitude.  Since the aim is to award one side or the other, or come up with a compromise, people come into the situation looking to support their side’s position.  They are usually not open to the possibility that the other side might have something valuable to say that might shift their own perspective. (Follett, 1941, p. 235)  Most disputes in schools are handled at a local and more intimate level.  Follett’s ideas can encourage administrators to help develop an environment in meetings that encourages an exchange of ideas.

In order to work together towards a creative solution, an understanding of the role of the individual in relation to the group, and requisite sentiments within the group must be developed.  Throughout her writings Follett emphasizes the importance of relationships.    “Evil is non-relation”, she wrote.  “The source of our strength is the central supply.  You might as well break a branch off the tree and expect it to live.  Non-relation is death.”  (Follett, 1918, pps. 62 – 63)  Teachers, in informal discussions about their workplace, often remark that it takes time to build relationships amongst staff members.  The new principal will sit back and observe the new environment.  She will take the time to speak with others in large, medium and small sized groups, and talk with staff members one-on-one.  She will ask questions about why things are done in a specific manner and will elicit suggestions for change.  As this process progresses she is gradually building relationships.

Every school year new teachers start working at a school.  In some schools, such as international schools, the turnover of staff members can be relatively high.  Opportunities to meet not only in large staff groupings, but also in smaller and one-on-one meetings, are important.  If staff members feel that they are simply warm bodies in a meeting listening to people talk at them, the development of relationships will be inhibited.  Social events for the staff members are equally important to encourage the establishment of relationships.  Some employers go so far as to bring their staff on retreats or Outward Bound trips to help foster the strengthening of relationships.

While these activities focus on the whole group, Follett did not neglect the importance of the individual.  She felt that our “separateness, our individual initiative, are the very factors which accomplish our true unity with men”.  (Follett, 1918, pg. 84) She took a hard look at individualism and concluded that it was directly related to the collective experience.  Within the broader context of the group, the individual has the scope to develop her individuality.  (Follett, 1918, p. 73)  Follett believed that this potential was possible through cooperation, and that collective thought and collective will are an important basis for cooperation.  This can only happen if each person takes part in the life of the group.  In meetings and planning sessions at school, if some staff members dominate whilst others watch quietly, full participation is not occurring.  Collective thought does not exist.  As an incentive she later wrote that one should not perceive the interests of the individual as being against the interests of the organization.  “In the long run what is to the advantage of the organization will be to the advantage of the individual.”  (Follett, 1941, p 217)

Follett’s response to the 20th century focus on individuality was to say that “true individualism has been the one thing lacking either in motive or actuality in a so-called individualistic age, but then it has not been an individualistic but a particularistic age.”  (Follett, 1918, pg. 74)  She made a connection between the value of true individualism and its relationship to the group.  This connection helps to validate her emphasis on the seemingly contradictory notions of diversity and the importance of the group.   In order to build empathy amongst people, which is an important outcome and support for relationships, we must live a group life.  She felt this was the solution of national and international problems and anticipated the formation of an organization such as the United Nations.  “True sympathy will come only by creating a community or group of employers and employed.”  (Follett, 1918, pg. 47)  These ideas are particularly relevant to concerns about the development of school climate, involving the teacher as an individual and as a member of medium to large sized groups.

The role of leadership is important in the development of an integrative approach to interaction.  Follett saw the power of leadership as an equivalent to the power of integrating.  The leader does not control the group through domination, but by stimulating what is best in it.  She is remembered for having said “The person who influences me most is not he who does great deeds but he who makes me feel I can do great deeds.  Many people tell me what I ought to do and just how I ought to do it, but few have made me want to do something.”  (Follett, 1918, pp. 229 – 230)  As the collective will to participate develops, a sense of purpose will develop.  This is a natural evolvement within a group that is not elicited through artificial means.  In a school, a leader exemplifying the aforementioned characteristics will help to engender relationship building and an environment where individual employees can contribute their ideas and experiences.  Follett believed that “purpose forms the will at the same time as the will forms the purpose, which finds no separation anywhere in the social process.  We can never think of purpose as something in front that leads us on, as the carrot leads the donkey.  Purpose is never in front of us, it appears at every moment with the appearance of will.” (Follett, 1918, p. 277)  Professional development opportunities should enhance this process rather than being seen as the process that brings about agreement on a sense of purpose.  The development of a sense of purpose is an ongoing, year-round process.

It is often said that a school needs a unifying vision, a purpose that will bring the staff together.  Follet wrote that “confidence will [never] be attained except by making the aims of employers and employees the same.” (Follett, 1941, p. 219)  The leaders within a school need to have the ability to encourage participation and understand how a sense of purpose develops.   Follett argued that it was critical for people to not let their own sense of responsibility be taken over by outside agencies and other people.  This concept has implications in areas such as special education. 

It is all too common for teachers to take the attitude that their aids and outside special education teachers are responsibile for their students.  Follett wrote that “only the active process of participation can shape [one] for the social purpose.” (Follett, 1918, p. 277)  Administrators need to develop modes of communication that can bring people who share a common goal to a shared view of responsibilities and a sense of purpose.  Only then can creative solutions be found for current challenges.  Instances of labour disputes in British Columbia educational institutions and changes to the process of Special Education funding indicate that there are prime opportunities for individual stake holders to create a commonly shared sense of purpose.

Some of Follett’s most notable ideas center on the concept of the neighbourhood. Her outline for the development of neighbourhoods can be transferred to the school community.  These are ideas that encourage diverse groups of people to establish interpersonal connections.  Schools that hold monthly departmental meetings, and provide few opportunities to come together as a community, would do well to consider her five main ideas.

Follett points out that meetings should not be sporadic or occasional, but rather they should be regular.  Group discussions should be part of these regular meetings, however they should not include debates. All too often staff meetings either do not involve any type of communication beyond moving through a tightly controlled meeting agenda.  When communication does occur, it can quickly disintegrate into a debate.  In debating, Follett wrote,  “you do not try to see what ideas of your opponent will enrich your own point of view.  […]  In a discussion you can be flexible […] you can grow as the group grows, but in a debate all this is impossible.  (Follett, 1918, pp. 209 – 210) 

Staff members and other members of the school community should have the opportunity to learn together in lectures and classes, and share experiences whilst doing social activities.  Regular connections amongst people in the school community, and with people outside of this community, should take place.  Through these interactions, relationships and increased mutual understanding will develop.  Out of all of these experiences, members of the school community should develop the ability to take increased responsibility for all aspects of their school, not simply their own individual areas of interest.

Mary Follett’s writings cover a broad range of topics that can be informative for civic leaders, educators, politicians, and active members of neighbourhoods and communities.  It has been said that interest in her work may have died simply because she died.  One of the driving forces behind the success of her ideas was the impact of her charismatic personality.  She had untiring optimism in people and their capabilities, and this attitude can be seen in her work.  Underlying all of her ideas is the premise that if you can believe something is possible, you will succeed.

References

Davis, A. (1997, August).  Liquid Leadership: The Wisdom of Mary Parker Follett (1868 - 1933).    Retrieved November 26th, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://sunsite.utk.edu/FINs/Mary_Parker_Follett/Fins-MPF-03.txt

Follett, M. (1918) The New State. New York: Longmans, Green and Co.

Godfrey, P. (1999, April). Creating a Global Neighborhood:  Mary Parker Follett

Responds to David Korten.  Retrieved November 26th, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.hbg.psu.edu/Faculty/jxr11/99_4_1godfrey.html

Horne, J. (1997) Mary Parker Follett:  Visionary Genius Finds Her Own Time  Retrieved November 26th, 2001 from the World Wide

Web: http://wwww.auntl.org/mary.html

Liebmann, G. (2001).  Six Lost Leaders:  Prophets of Civil Society.  Oxford:  Lexington Books.

Mary Parker Follett: Leadership Thinker Ahead of Her Time.  Leadership Vol. V (2) (1994 – 95, Winter)  Retrieved November 26th, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.spst.edu/Leadership/winter94.htm

Metcalf, H. & Urwick, L. (1941) Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary

Parker Follett.  London:  Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Ltd.

Morton, N. O’R & Lindquist, S. (1997, July).  Revealing the feminist in Mary Parker

Follett.  Administration & Society, 29 (3), 348 – 372.  Retrieved November 25th, 2001 from Academic Search Elite on-line database (Public Administration, 9706264753)

 

Related:

Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management

The New State: Group Organization, the Solution of Popular Government

 

Research Corner Archive

What do you think about this topic? Let us know by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Ada Lovelace Day 2010

1. What is your background in science and technology? What was your major in university and graduate school?

I am a mechanical engineer, with a specialization in thermal processes (the “fluids” part of mechanical engineering, not the “solids” part). In graduate school I did a MASc., in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, but in collaboration with the Faculty of Chemical Engineering. My area of research was waste treatment of toxic industrial wastes.

2. In what kind of position do you currently work?

Well, currently I’m on maternity leave, but my last job was in the investment banking industry as a business analyst for cleantech/green energy projects

3. In the elementary years girls are engaged with the hands-on science in their classrooms; however, the interest of many drops off during the high school years. Based on your own experience, what happened during your youth that created a positive environment for your science career? On a similar note, what could be done in schools to encourage girls to continue on in the sciences?

I did junior and high school in a school that specialized in exact sciences, where each student would have a “specialization”. Mine was Math. I think that motivated me to go into the sciences.

Schools should improve their vocational services for students. They should bring speakers from different industries so that students can hear about what they do, and ask questions. Also, a mentoring program could help.

4. What type of informal science learning (eg experiences in science museums) did you favour growing up?

We had wonderful vocational services in our school. We would go to a place where we could sign up for different activities, and see what professionals in those fields did. I did something related to agronomy (didn’t like it), something related to mechanics (liked it), and other things.

5. Are there new types of informal science learning that you think is or could be popular with girls?

Science competitions are fun and are a very good way to motivate both male and female students.

6. Females enroll in advanced science classes at the same rate as their male counterparts; however, many drop out. Why do you think that is? What could be done to keep girls in these programmes?

Perhaps it is a self esteem issue. Girls always want to be perfect, and if they don’t perform the way they think they should, they feel that they have failed. Boys, on the contrary, don’t care that much, so they are happier with lower grades.

Surprisingly, some professors (I’m talking engineering, which is what I know) favour boys more than girls, and that is very discouraging for girls. More female professors would help empower girls. Also, like I said before, mentoring programs work wonders.

7. Do you see any evidence of injustices and bias toward women in how scientific research is developed and structured, how data is collected, how experimental results are interpreted and how results are reported to wider audiences?

I believe there is. I’ve even heard distasteful jokes such as “not too bad for a woman”

8. What institutions in our communities can help to promote and sustain the interest of girls in the sciences?

In Vancouver both UBC and APEGBC, together with SCWIST, did a wonderful job organizing mentoring programs for female engineering students. Also, the Minerva Foundation for BC Women did a lot to empower girls.

9. Can you recommend any museums, science centers, zoos, aquaria or botanical gardens in your area where you feel innovative programmes encourage dialogue that inspires young female scientists?

I can’t think of anything specific. Perhaps also reading about the history of science. You’ll find a lot of brilliant women, not all recognized as they should (see the story of Lise Meitner, very sad in my view, but the worse thing is that this still happens today).

10. What are your thoughts about the following research findings?

• In some education settings girls are less likely to explore and invent and are more likely to collaborate with their fellow students.

This is socially conditioned by the role that girls and boys are expected to play

• While taking part in hands-on science learning and science fair projects girls focus on the human body while boys are drawn to computers and physical sciences.

Same as above, Girls are brought up to be more “nurturing” than boys

• In science competitions girls create projects based on research while boys are more likely to try experimental research.

Yes, and for the same reason, girls have also proved to be better wealth managers, investment bankers, etc.

• Gifted high school girls are more likely to engage with science enrichment experiences more often than

Perhaps they feel empowered?

• In naturally occurring conversations in the home, parents are three times more likely to explain science to boys rather than girls while they use interactive exhibits in science.

True, again, this is socially conditioned. It is our job to change it.

11. Which female scientists and/or technology experts have inspired your own educational and professional experiences?

A neighbour of mine, who studied Nuclear Physics. I was a child then, and thought that was very cool.

12. Do you have any closing thoughts you would like to share?

In the work place there are many instances in which e.g. a woman brings up an idea in a meeting, and somehow magically the merit of her point goes to the man sitting next to her. It has happened to me before. My only advice would be to firmly, but politely (we are women after all ;-) ) correct the mistake ON THE SPOT. Often it is just an honest mistake from another man who couldn’t really process in his brain that the good idea had come from a woman!

Here are some locations for information about Montessori schools and the Montessori programme:

Information about Dr Maria Montessori

MONTESSORI IN THE HOME

Bringing Montessori into your home

The Wonder Years – A Montessori home environment

Parenting for independence blog post

Practical life in the home - a good list of undertakings that a child will appreciate

Summer vacation – a practical life approach

Summer reading ideas

Montessori at home: the senses

Montessori prepared environment at home

How to create a prepared environment

MONTESSORI AT HOME WEBLOGS

Lavenderandlimes.blogspot/kids

Montessori for everyone – Montessori home schooling

Moose Huntress – Montessori at home website

Happy Hearts home schooling blog links

Adventures of a rainbow mama

Chasing Cheerios - a homeschooling weblog

INFANT TODDLER YEARS

The Montessori Method for the Infant Toddler (Links and lists of resources for the 0 – 3 years.)

Parenting books for the infant years

Secrets of childhood – infant center

Baby’s Montessori room


The first three years of life

WEBSITES

Montessori videos
on You Tube

Montessori videos on Vimeo

Montessori for infants and toddlers

A general Montessori website

Montessori content on Blogger

Montessori images on Flickr

SUPPLIES

BST Montessori Materials

Montessori Research and development

Nienhaus.com

Comprehensive list of Montessori materials resources

Infant toddler supplies

Little Red Riding Hood: Supplies for infants and toddlers

Montessorimaterials.org

Etsy stores with Montessori tags

Goose Designs on Etsy

Spore: A modern Montessori material

How to make homemade material

Michael Olaf Infant and Primary years supplies

Montessori for everyone supplies

Montessori books on Amazon.com

MONTESSORI TEACHER’S WEBLOGS

Itty bitty love

Montessori on the shelf

Moveable alphabet

Montessori Secrets

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