Humanity Needs to Be Controlled in Order to Function Efficiently. in Your Opinion, Is This the Ultimate Point of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Humanity needs to be controlled in order to function efficiently. In your opinion, is this the ultimate point of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Its true, mankind needs some form of control to operate peacefully, however I disagree that that was the ultimate point of George Orwell??™s book Nineteen Eighty-Four. In truth I believe that his ultimate point was something a little different; instead he was trying to deliver a message from between the lines of his book. A warning that is; if humanity continues to progress as we are doing so now, our future generations will suffer the consequences, the existence of a society controlled and bound down by its own mind, and by its own ???free will??™. Orwell has littered Nineteen Eighty-Four with evidence of this theory, and hopefully this essay will convince you that Nineteen Eighty-Four is actually spelling out a warning and not convincing us to become a totalitarian society.

One of the most chilling aspects of this book is the fact that it??™s not hard to see Winston??™s reality becoming our reality in the near future; Orwell makes definite links between the society of Nineteen Eighty-Four and our modern society, making the book feel very personal, and the effect is enhanced as we are looking through the eyes of Winston, who has a similar mindset to that of the reader. Would you agree that in our society you rarely have any privacy Your credit card allows people to know exactly where you are at what time, there are atleast 2 or 3 cameras on every semi busy street, be it ATM cameras, security cameras, phone cameras and not even to mention the giant satellites floating around- like the one that does the footage for Google Earth. Mankind is under watch 24/7 and we aren??™t even aware of it. The only difference between the society in 1984 and the society we have now is that the people in Nineteen Eighty-Four are aware of how watched they are; they know the uses of the telescreens, they know that the thought police are always right around the corner, they know that your greatest enemy could be your own flesh and blood- it was common for children to turn in their parents to the thought police, they were praised for it. Can you really see much of a difference between the two societies CIA vs the Thought Police, Telescreens vs Cameras; there is hardly a difference anymore- Orwell made and uses those common traits to the point that they feel almost familiar with them when you read the book, and its only when you take a step back that you realize that, if we can be so similar in that way, how much of a leap is it to be similar in the other parts of our lives How far away can a totalitarian government be, where control lives only at the top of the hierarchy pyramid, oh wait do we already have that

Nineteen Eighty-Four was a warning, it was telling us of how we will turn out if our society continues on as it??™s going – I believe it is also trying to scare us away from that reality by showing us the worst possible outcome, and by scare I mean literally freak us out enough to change. Orwell seemed to always be discomforting the reader, adding in scenes or language that are uncomfortable to read about. One of the most obvious examples of this is perhaps when Winston is walking around the prole district and a bomb is fired into the area, this an everyday occurrence so the whole experience blows over in a matter of minutes, as Winston walks away from the scene he sees a hand, ???Apart from the bloody stump, the hand was so completely whitened as to resemble a plaster cast. He kicked the thing into the gutter, and then, to avoid the crowd, turned down a side-street to the right.??? Usually a human is not that nonchalant when it comes to stranded body parts, the fact that Winston was unnerves the reader, the act is found almost inhumane and we put so much emphasis on being a normal human, and seeing some one that is practically a psychopath, it scares us- we shy away from that part of humanity and I believe that is what Orwell wanted us to feel all along- a fear of becoming that society.

There is also the fact that the entire society that is portrayed in Nineteen Eighty-Four is dystopic, if Orwell??™s goal were to say that humanity needs control then he would most certainly not portray this ideal society from that dystopian point of view. Orwell uses a number of different techniques to express this idea of a dystopian society, most of them being based around the atmosphere and setting. Oceania in the year Nineteen Eighty-Four has a distinct feeling of Europe during the mid 1940??™s, that is to say a state of war, or just post war; and what are war and dystopia if not synonyms The whole setting/atmosphere in Nineteen Eighty-Four is bleak, there are grey, eroding buildings that smell like cabbage, 85% of the population in Nineteen Eighty-Four live in the ghetto and there are limited-nil supplies of boots and razors those things alone make you think of a barren, unhappy place where everyone has holes in their winter jackets. Well everyone except the 2% of the population that live in every dystopian society that have their winter jackets made out of the finest quality mink fur, drink the finest quality of red wine while the rest drink mass produced ???victory gin??™ and have the most luxurious of living areas that don??™t smell of cabbage; there is a distinct hierarchy system set up in this society, one that is impossible to change. Orwell uses these themes to display the dystopian-ness of Nineteen Eighty-Four; the society is physically portrayed as dystopian to mirror the way that is dystopian mentally. Mentally it is a society that is oppressed by the use of their own mind, by the process called ???doublethink??™ and it seems that even at the very top of the hierarchy pyramid there is no escape, there is no leader anymore, it??™s a vicious cycle.

A warning- that is what Nineteen Eighty-Four is, there is no way that Orwell is trying to convince his readers that the world would be a better place when humanity is controlled, if that was his goal he would not have written his book portrayed in such a negative light, full of unnerving characters with psychopathic tendencies, atmospheres that feel like everything is dead or dying and then making it feel like this future is right around the corner, that if only we went a little bit more the right or the left our society could end up just like the one that Winston tries and fails to escape with the only thing he is left with are the horrifying consequences. We can only hope that Orwell wrote his book soon enough that humanity might take some heed and maybe be able to scrape past that future that we seem to be heading for anyway.

Tatiane van den Akker

Humanities Visit

Humanities Visit

Identify the space
The place I choice to write is not only interesting but an important part of history. This place is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. The Museum is located in North Carolina mountain area. The Museum is full of artifacts from the Cherokee Indian ancestors. There are countless paintings through the Museum, many of which are painted with bright beautiful colors. It also contains statues of famous Cherokee Indians and stories telling of how they lived before settlers came over from Europe.

Humanities Focus
Like many cultures in the class??™s text book the Cherokee Indians are in paintings and statues so to be remembered. Every painting tells a story with beautiful and eloquent designs. The art shows a part of the Cherokee culture. Such as a painting showing how the Cherokee people would stalk and attack their prey such as deer or fish. Most if not all of the art work and historical artifacts depict what life was like for the people of the Cherokee nation before the trail of tears. The trail of tears is the true story of how the Cherokee people where forced of their native lands and forced to move elsewhere in the U.S.

Cultural context
Many people each year travel to Cherokee to visit the place of the famous Cherokee Indians and also to relax while on vacation. Tourism is a very important part of Cherokee North Carolina. It is especially important for the Cherokee community. Tourism greats jobs for the locals and history lessons and entertainment for the tourist. Within Cherokee some people do festive Cherokee dances both part of culture and tourism. The museum is however one of the biggest parts to the Cherokee tourism industry, a long side with an amusement park called Ghost Town. Without tourism people would stop learning of the Cherokee culture and the community would lose many sources of income.

Cultural Significance
I am attracted to the Cherokee culture and land because I have Cherokee ancestors myself. Matter of fact many people in my community, which is actually not in Cherokee, also have Cherokee ancestors. For reason many of my friends visit Cherokee. Some go to find their roots and others for a relaxing vacation. Nationally the museum is seen as a Cherokee land mark like the White House in D.C. Also Cherokee is nationally recognized as an Indian reservation, where they have their own laws and rules. Although most of the rules are identical to the regular US laws, there are a few that differ. For example, the selling of alcoholic beverages is illegal on the Cherokee reservation. Throughout all of my travels I have found this place to be one of the most interesting places.

Critically Discuss the Changing of Family Values in Contemporary Japan as Represented in Tokyo Sonata (2008).

Name: Anthony Chan Long Yin

Date: 30/10/2012

Traditional male status in family

In the traditional family value, male status was very high and the father was usually the head of the family, has the greatest power in the home. This kind of family value could be traced back to Edo period or even earlier. But these kinds of family values were kept until 1970s-1990s. There are two reasons:

Japan had a serious slump after the failure of the axis in WWII. The production was stopped. About 40% of the nations industrial plants and infrastructure were destroyed, and production was reverted to levels about fifteen years earlier. The Japanese government announced the preferential policy of coal which is based on the global political and environmental factors. It focused on coal mining, refining, and distribution abroad again. As a result, there was a great demand for male workers, so the male social status rose.

After that, the Japanese government required the companies to adopt the system of life tenure, so the companies trained their employees when they are still adolescents, and to be their own assets. The companies arranged a blind date for their employees as to avoid their resign for commission. Women stayed at home as they are the main role to have a child to have a successor and take care of the family members, including father and their children, and further establish the status of the men home. Sasakis family is a traditional family in the Tokyo Sonata, Sasaki was born in the 1960s and he was full of traditional concepts. Sasaki thought being a Daikokubashira have responsibility to pay money for the daily life to his wife, Megumi, and also their children. It is the same as other families at that time.

Usually the fathers in most of the Japan families were used to order the other family members to do something he would like to see because he used to do that in the company when he was still the head of a department. It may cause a big gap between the father and the other family members especially the children.

Male Status decline

Unfortunately, because of the mixture of foreign cultures and globalization, the economic center has dispersed around the world. The mainland China has also become one of the most important transfer targets. As the labor cost in mainland China is cheaper than Japan, the whole department moved to the Mainland China. It makes many workers who live in idleness, and the system of lifetime employment was totally collapsed. It caused a increase in unemployment rate in Japan. A lot of workers and salaryman in big company became jobless. For instant, the case in Tokyo Sonata, the company which Sasaki worked for at the beginning of the movie could employ three postgraduate students with the cost of a Japanese worker in Mainland China. And the company decided to move the whole department to there and fired all the original workers.

The main reason of the male status was higher than women is that they are the most supportive person in the family which is the only economic strength, so they thought that they will loss their value if they loss their job. This is one of the reasons that Sasaki did not tell Megumi that he was fired. On the other hand, because of the social trend, the women expected their husbands have a well-paid and important post in the company because they will compare with their friends. The fathers knew that their wife do mind if they became jobless.

Also, following by the globalization, the new generation received different kinds of values, including family value. No one can talk freely and closely in that serious mode including Sasaki and his sons. We can see that two sons talked to their parents with two definitely different attitudes. They could not talk peacefully with their father because Sasaki always used an ordering attitude. Although two sons were born in a traditional family, they received a lot of information from another culture which made them resisted their father??™s attitude.

Result of Male Status declining

Males want to keep their self-esteem and status in their family and different decisions lead to different results. Such as Kurosu, after he lost his job, he started to hide this news from his family and set alarms to pretend that he still had to work. He knew that he and his family could not accept this fact. However, he found satisfaction in pretending still have a job. But when his wife tried to talk with him about his true situation, he still could not face it, finally he was found commit suicide with his wife which were died of gas poisoning.

In fact, there are a lot of solutions in this kind of situation. For example, his wife could find a job to solve the financial problem. It was unnecessary to stay at home and look after their daughter because she was already a year two student in high school. The thing they really could not accept is the subversion of the traditional concept.
Sasaki??™s family went to another way. When he was just fired, he also could not face it, same as Kurosu. He knew that he was losing value in the family because of the joblessness. He tried to keep his status at home with scolding Takashi and hurting Kenji But different with Kurosu, Sasaki started to find a new job actively. Although he did not want to lower his salary and post at first, he knew he had to find another kind of job which was being a dustman. At the same time, he started to put down his self-esteem, trying hard to be a good dustman. Actually his wife also could not accept this fact after she met Sasaki in the shopping mall. But she understood nothing could do with it afterwards so she tried to accept a ???new husband??? who was a dustman. There is a scene that representing the changing of Megumi which is after night sleeping in the house beside the shore. The sun rose up and she looked like considering about something. Then the music which appeared at the very beginning is played again. It means Megumi changed the mindset and this family was full of hope and seems that nothing bad happen before. In the movie, it describes the mental changing of Sasaki and his wife, from resistance to acceptation. Most of the families in Japan are experiencing this change same as Sasaki.

Changing relationship between members

Every coin has two sides. Lowering the status of males has also advantages. The relationship between members becomes closer because the father may have better communication with them. Nowadays being a father becomes harder and harder, because except earning money for daily expenses, they have to start to really take care about the family members??™ feeling. Putting the position lower may make the families have better relationship.

At the end of Tokyo Sonata, Sasaki went back home with his dustman uniform. Kenji first time actively talked to Sasaki ???you are strange by wearing this uniform???. Although it is not a position statement, it proof that the relationship between Kenji and his father became better because Kenji try to communicate with father. The change of father??™s status could let the father and son become friendlier.

Being a father in modern age, attitude should be friendlier rather than give order to the son. Foreign culture make the new generation think critically. So father usually explains why he asks for this to let them know how adult thinks. Actually their relationship seems like friends but not father and son. It can make the son feel that he is belonging to this family.

In conclusion, the traditional family values were gone when the lifetime employment system collapsed. Although it is bad for the economic of Japan and makes a lot of families turn into rupture, on the other hand it also makes a lot of family become closer and have better relationship. The traditional family value actually was built for the recovery of the economy. After rebuilding it, now the family concentration is going back into the kazoku, the nuclear family members.

Humanities Today

Humanities Today Paper
Kavonne Martin

Humanities Today Paper
Humanities is a part of everyone cultural background. Humanities is what establishes a culture. The humanizes reflects a culture??™s values, interest, belief, interest, events, traditions, environments, accomplishments, failures, life (teacher). This paper will explain what ???the humanities??? are and provide examples of the humanities in the American people time current time.

The Humanities

???The Humanities enables us to reflect upon our lives and ask fundamental questions of value, purpose, and meaning in a rigorous and systematic way ??? (Mass Humanities, 2011). The humanities consists of literature, visual arts, architecture, philosophy, music and performing arts. Humanities allow people to think more critically and about the issues in their society. Understanding humanities help people to appreciate the experience and cultures of others (Mass Humanities, 2011).

Use of Humanities Today

First music is a part the humanities that has become more and more intricate. Currently, music is divided into six recognizable period: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Twentieth Century. Each period brought their own style to the American. The Medieval period brought the music notation. The Renaissance period added religious composition called motets to the American culture. In the Baroque period is where the opera was invented. The opera form that is known currently began to coalesce out of experiments by Renaissance musicians and composers. Opera emulates a power of ancient music and drama (Soergel, 2005). Currently , more styles of music have been developed to allow people to express themselves such as hip hop, rhythm and blues, rap, pop, jazz, and heavy metal.

In today??™s society dance is still convey the same message as before in the past. People had dances for all types of events such as religious funeral processions, wars, hunting, medicine, for health and fertility. One of the most known styles of dance that is still as important today is the ballet. The ballet is a dance that has a story line. (Soergel, 2005).
The ballet dance style still many practice his or he lives to perform in the ballet. Although, the ballet was very proper as everything else in the world dancing went through many styles. In the 1930s the Peabody and foxtrot, the 1940s the jitterbug, and 1950 the stroll, mashed potatoes, and the cha-cha, music change with ever period. (Soergel, 2005) Currently, the new dance style are __________________.

Another part humanities that many don??™t recognize is the religion. Some people don??™t under a person religious preference has a major impact on a person??™s culture. One of the music world wide known religious humanities that has been use to century is the King James Bible. The King James Version is one of the greatest influence to the English language. Many children learned to read by mouthing the word from the only book many possessed in the early 1600s.. The translating of the bible in the English open many people to a wide range of literary types. The Bible includes historical narratives, personal letters, official documents, proverbs, and poems. The King James Version has been an inspiration to poets, dramatist, artists, and politicians (McGrath, 2001)


Humanities shape a society??™s culture. Humanities has a variety of parts, music, visual art, performing art, and religion. Music started out has simple, but now is more intricate. Dance today is still use to convey a message of what a society??™s culture. The Bible still have a major influence on the American culture. Humanities is what helps shape the human experience of exploring, assessing, and interpreting a certain culture (Mass Humanities, 2011).


Mass Humanities (2011) the Humanities. Retrieved from

McGrath, A. (2001) In The Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture.

Critically Discuss One of the Arguments Used by Descartes to Demonstrate the Existence of God.

History of Philosophy I


Critically discuss one of the arguments used by Descartes to demonstrate the existence of God.

“Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not”[1]
This statement by the sophist Protagoras summarizes to an extent (and not regarding the interpretation of Relativism that it was given) the basis of Descartes reasoning and especially the first two Meditations well only if one applies the following change to it: Replace the word man for thought (which in Descartes??™ definition of the word represents all consciousness). As a simplified summary, it is through thinking that he comes to the conclusion that he exists and it is because of thinking that he knows that his existence is a certainty. With this basis of his reasoning, the thought as ???the measure of all things???, he then tries in the third Meditation to prove the existence of God by emanating from the idea of God he has.
He comes to the conclusion that the ???Idea of God??? can??™t be adventitious as things obtained through the senses normally come suddenly whereas he was always aware of this Idea of God. Neither can it be invented by himself because firstly it seems unchangeable (???And it was not invented by me either; for I am plainly unable either to take away anything from it or to add anything to it???)[2] and secondly and more importantly because in order to produce such an ???Idea??? of perfectness and infinity of the highest degree of objective reality the producer himself must have such a high degree of eminent reality. The producer must be actually (and not potentially) infinite, which Descartes is obviously not and so it could only have been God that produced and placed this idea in him. Therefore it is innate, a thought I would like to underline and take further with an anthropologic remark.
Examining different cultures and different stages of the human evolution one can in every case observe the cultures in question having an Idea of and addressing themselves to some sort of supreme power, whether they call it God, Gods, nature etc. I claim that even people who call themselves atheists have an idea of God; they just call it or subconsciously think of it as destiny. The simple trust in one owns actions implies that we believe in something that oversees our actions and makes sure that we do the right thing. Humanity instinctively turns and has turned to an infinite being. It seems that with the loss of most of our guiding animal instincts through evolution, with our becoming humans, God has become a new instinct. With the loss of guidance God was a way of ceding our newly achieved responsibility for our actions to a different faculty. The thought of God as an instinct could speak for Descartes??™ persuasion of the ???Idea of God??? being something we didn??™t learn or were told but with which we were born with.
But what Descartes doesn??™t account for is that humans differ in their exact definition of God. A certain natural group could think of God apart from it being supernatural and infinite as a power which is everywhere and in everything, so that God can be found for example in a tree. Descartes??™ idea of God disagrees with this as it names unity as an important and necessary feature of God. In addition to that for Descartes infinity can??™t possibly be present or included in a finite and even extended thing like a tree. So how can we explain that although God assumingly is an instinct we were born with, people have different ideas of him The idea of God must be alterable and is therefore open to additional features we discover depending on our surroundings giving it an adventitious dimension. I claim that Descartes would have a different idea of God if he was brought up in the mentioned ???nature society??? and he would argue in the same way for this rather animistic definition of God than he now does for his rather ???Christian??? idea of God. A similar objection was raised in the second set of objections. It questions whether Descartes would have had this idea of God if he spent his life in reclusion. Native Canadians called the Hurons for example do not have any idea of God.[3] Consequently his idea of God might have been formed by former ideas or by his surroundings. Descartes??™ reply to this objection is that such native people as the Hurons or every person without this idea of God simply lack the ability to entertain this exact idea of God, but it is still represented in them, though unconsciously.[4] But how can he know that he has the capacity to entertain the right idea of God There are enough religions and cultures to state, which have a totally different idea of God. Are they all mistaken Did they all just not meditate thoroughly enough about their idea of God His capacity reply seems like an easy way out. Hence I abide by my claim that the idea of an infinite being might be innate, but his exact idea of infinity did underlie some external additions.
But if we assume that a perfect being created mankind and that this being placed an idea of him in us, why would it be such a vague and modifiable idea Wouldn??™t God in his perfectness place a perfect idea of him in us Herewith I want to question whether our idea of God really has this highest degree of objective reality that Descartes ascribes to it. It seems that our idea of God is obscure and may underlie changes, which makes it rather imperfect. Consequently it may have been produced by a being with less eminent reality than Descartes??™ God, for example by our parents.
In his comment on the Meditations Hatfield describes a scenario how we could have invented the idea of God ourselves. From the conclusion that the idea of a finite body could be formed on the basis of the idea of a finite mind, he derives that we could create the idea of God by emanating from the infinity of bodily things.[5] We could create the idea of an infinite God by for example looking at the sky or considering the endlessness of space. Descartes replies to this in the First Set of Replies. He draws a difference between ???indefinite??? and ???infinite??? things.[6] God is infinite in every respect, whereas the universe for example is only boundless in the certain manner that I ???do not recognize a limit???[7] and is therefore described as ???indefinite???. God??™s infinity is special as it has power and perfection which external infinity does not have, hence we cannot form its idea from the less formally real external infinity. This might be a sufficient answer to Hatfield??™s objection, but it still does not explain or why our idea of God is alterable and obscure.
In the first set of objections this confused way of perceiving the idea of God is compared to the confused representation of a chiliagon in the mind. You cannot adequately imagine its form with all the thousand sides. How then can we have a distinct and not confused idea of God??™s alleged infinite perfections[8] The claim concludes that we only have a general idea of God in ourselves but not this specific and clear idea of God that Descartes claims us to have.
Descartes seems to have two answers to this objection: Firstly, if we have a different idea of God and it has been changed by experience we have been simply deceived by our surroundings. Secondly and more importantly, regarding the incompleteness of our idea of God, he claims that we cannot comprehend it, which means that we cannot understand God to the full extent, but can only apprehend it. In contrast to this he says that he perceives this idea of God clearly and distinctly and even claims ???God provides much more ample and straightforward subject-matter for clear and distinct knowledge than does any created thing???[9]. I understand perceiving an idea clearly and distinctly as comprehending something. Descartes contradicts himself in order to cope with the fact that his idea of God isn??™t complete. Here the word infinity comes in handy for him as something we just can??™t grasp, but in my opinion God can??™t just be described as infinity (and he doesn??™t merely describe it as infinity), that makes it too simplistic. Through his radical doubting in the first meditation he places a benchmark of how sure you need to be about an idea in order to claim that the object it represents exists, I then ask the question: How can he be undoubtfully sure about the existence of a being of such absolute importance for him (as it presumably created him and therefore made it possible that he can even doubt) when he just ???apprehends??? it Following Descartes approach to existence in the First Meditation I claim that in order to express the truth about the existence of something you need to understand it with certainty, a rule that he should have applied for the existence of God.
In Addition it was not merely certainty that Descartes was after but he sought to establish the truth. The certainty he gets from perceiving something clearly and distinctly is to be understood as a ???certain knowledge of the truth??? and not the sort of certainty we ordinarily understand as certainty, which is certainty of belief.[10] Clear and distinct perception serves as his method to find the truth. However he never properly defines clear and distinct perceptions or how we can recognize them and here lies the problem.[11] We cannot determine whether he perceives the idea of God clearly and distinctly or not, as we do not exactly know what this includes and entails. Therefore we cannot say whether he succeeds in proving the existence of God or not, because his whole reasoning is based upon clear and distinct perception, which is itself not very clear.
In conclusion we could claim that Descartes succeeds in affirming his certainty of the existence of God and the reasons for doing so as well as a quite convincing way for us to find personal certainty about this issue. This means that he proved an ordinary certainty but not certain knowledge of the truth. He perceives the existence of God, with all the attributes he is suppose to have, clearly and distinctly, but an atheist, supposedly with the same intellectual capacity as Descartes and the same commitment to meditate about this question, might encounter problems in trying to perceive a divine existence clearly and distinctly. Firstly because it is not clear what it means to perceive clearly and distinctly. Secondly, as I claimed before, like Descartes??™ ???Christian??? idea of God, an atheist not having an idea of God was influenced or even brought about by his surroundings; his persuasion is too a certain degree adventitious. The atheist meditation might make him find a general and obscure idea of infinity innate in him. But how is he supposed to find in himself Descartes??™ specific idea of God as ???an infinite, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful substance???[12], which has created everything and additionally holds ???unity??? and simplicity???[13]
The time and the surrounding Descartes lived in created this certain idea of God in him. It also obliged him to treat the question of God in his philosophy and the fact that he sets up God as an metaphysical frame around his scientific reasoning during his times might have given his philosophy a completeness that made it more untouchable. If he had stayed true to the thought as the one measure of all things, instead of placing God as the origin of thought, he would have come to an even greater philosophical conclusion than he already has.

Word count: 1998 Words

[1] Quelle einsetzen
[2] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.35
[3] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.89
[4] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.98-99
[5] Gary Hatfield, Descartes and the Meditations, Routledge, New York 2003, p. 164
[6] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.81
[7] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.81
[8] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.69-70
[9] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.82
[10] Gary Hatfield, Descartes and the Meditations, Routledge, New York 2003, p. 145
[11] Gary Hatfield, Descartes and the Meditations, Routledge, New York 2003, p. 145
[12] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.32
[13] Descartes, The Philsophical Writings of Descartes Vol.II, Cambridge University Press 1984, p.36

Humanities Middle Ages

The Middle Ages: A quick Historical Background

The Middle Ages is a vast period in Human History that lasted for roughly a millennium, particularly geo-centered around the territories of the former Western Roman Empire. It starts from the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the beginning of the early Modern Period in the 16th century, a period history refers to as that of the High Renaissance marked by wide development and revolutionary thinking in the arts, humanities and burgeoning scientific practices. Some historians refer to the Middle ages as the Dark Ages because it is in this period where the feudal system and increased warfare between territories and pseudo warlords were frequent. This was expected however because of the power vacuum left by the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The feudal system allowed for a semblance of order: the peasants worked the land and in return they are provided protection by their feudal Lord who maintains strength of arms. This is how Monarchies came to strength in Europe with nobles as vassal lords controlling vast tracks of land for agricultural and administrative purposes. One are of power however remained – that of the seat of the Christian Church and its leadership. Much of the former Western Roman Empire, if not all was Christian and the church exerted great power in influencing people and the nobility. The Church and the feudal lords and nobles became great patrons of the arts and humanities and it is through their donations and patronage that great art happened.

The early Middle or Medieval Ages occurred from about 500 AD to 1000 AD. It is referred to as a period to be the Dark Ages as it the period that occurred right after the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. While monarchies and alliances started to be rebuilt around the ruins of the empire and new leaders and kings emerged, the conquest of Europe by the Huns, the Mongols, the Germanic peoples, the Arabs (Islam reached its peak at this point and via the Iberian Peninsula worked to penetrate Europe) and the Vikings came one after the other. It was a period of political and military struggle between factions and loyalties that made life hard for the most ordinary people as frequent warfare all but stopped the flourishing of trading centers and urban areas. It was the feudal system that eventually allowed for a sense of organized semblance in the social disorder of the Dark Ages which fostered the next period, that of the High Middle Ages. Development in this period further led to the Late Middle Ages also known as the Renaissance.

During the High Middle Ages (500AD to 1600 AD), the population of Europe was increasing, feudal Lords and nobles due to increase in labour source began to consolidate their influence and power, bringing about key social and political change that would ultimately lead to the Renaissance. This consolidation and increased trade among the territories saw the last of the barbaric invasions in 1000AD and even the Vikings have chosen to settle in Scandinavia in the same feudal system. Increased agriculture output saw the economic order change as specialist professions began to order themselves into guilds to further answer the demand – blacksmiths, glass makers, basket weavers, potters, dressmakers, and shoemakers were among the many and their cooperation as a union resulted in production levels never seen before. The idea of Laissez Fraire (free trade) began here. Markets were set up in major population centres that turned to become cities and key trading ports. Financial systems like banks also began to sprout. And as expected in the social network created by economics, burgeoning wealth and the exchange of ideas produced new ways of thinking that presented itself in philosophies, humanities & the arts (music, paintings, literature, architecture, etc.). Also, it is during this period that a series of invasion and attempts to retake the Holy Land happened. This period in History is known as The Crusades and a key source of political and social movement that influenced thinking and way of life during said period. Via the Crusades and via trade, influence Middle eastern (Sassanid, Quranic & Egyptian/Berber arts & ideas reached Europe and these were subsequently adapted into their way of life. For example, the ideas of Knighthood and courtly traditions can be traced to the Sassanid Asawaran Knightly caste who via trade and the Crusades reached Europe.)

The Late Middle Ages is the early usherment of the period of renewal and revival of what Europeans saw as the period of Classical Antiquity – the time of the Golden Age of Greece and Rome. This renewal period is what we now term as the Renaissance which started as early as the 1400 AD until the 1700 AD which was immediately followed by the Baroque.”He is a Renaissance man,” is a phrase that refers to one who is well rounded and expert in various fields of science & the humanities – one who strives for knowledge & enlightenment by not just reviving the Classics; a renaissance man they say is one who is determined to break the barrier, push for development a lot like the polymaths of the renaissance as we refer to that flourishing & feverish period in Europes History in the 14th to the 17th Centuries – Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Raphael & classical sculptor Michelangelo. Renaissance literally means re-birth. After the cultural stagnation of to the Middle Ages (this is the popular opinion about the Medieval Period anyway) an attempt at reviving the Classics of Antiquity started in the 12th century in centres of the Hanseatic League of what today is Germany, early Gothic Art in architecture found its way to Cathedrals in France & Italy. The works of Plato, Aristotle, Virgil & the arts, sciences & architecture of the Greek civilization became of interest to Philosophers, artists, musicians & alchemists. Many however refer to this period as High Medieval Ages, that movement that brought about the full bloom of the Renaissance.

The Humanities in the Middle Ages

Humanism is essentially a collection of ethical philosophies that have sprung as early as the Renaissance in Europe, the 7th Century in the Islamic Middle East and in Asia, around 563 BC in India through the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (the first Buddha), and around 551 BC in China during the time of Confucius. Humanism as a whole is aimed at using rationality in determining right & wrong; it also looks to ensure the dignity of man by seeking truth & morality through a human framework while avoiding transcendental explanations even if the arguments presented have a metaphysical connotation. A humanist endorses universally accepted sense of morality, the right & the good; belief without reason is always questioned although claims sometimes are accepted via a well supported debate (i.e. Confucian philosophy). We refer to the collection of disciplines that seek to study the human condition via analytical & speculative means (not empirical) as the Humanities. These include literature, art, languages, religious studies and music.

Early & High Middle Ages

In the early Middle Ages, literacy declined greatly due to the wars and periods of uncertainty. Education or the preserve of Humanities was largely due to the efforts of Monasteries, Cathedrals and religious orders who looked after libraries and written works for religious and scholarly pursuits. While the sciences stagnated however, the arts and literature became central to the Church as music, cantatas and literature were practiced and transcribed. The all-male choirs sang beautiful hymns that eventually became the Gregorian chants we now celebrate while books (especially the bible) were copied and rewritten page for page with accompanying beautiful illustrations. Latin was the academic language and in Highly Romanized territories in parts of Spain, France, Germany and Britain, monasteries and supported by monarchies continued the learning process following the Latin tuition – grammar, language, numbers and rhetoric. Saint Isidore of Seville produced a Latin encyclopaedia in 630 while Charles the Great of the Carolingian Empire tried to institute educational standards within his territories. In the neighbouring Byzantine Empire the Corpus Civilis or the civil law was written and put in practice, an adaptation of the laws during the period of Roman Emperor Justinian. Politics and military affairs and literature dealing with it in Roman and Greek including studies on the history and philosophies of War by Thucydides became the preserve of warrior-monarchs and kings like the great Charlemagne who lived from 768 to 814 AD and Otto I who crowned himself Holy Roman Emperor.

The high Middle Ages was the Golden age of Monasticism – monks of the Benedictine and the Cistercian Order contributed greatly to humanities as their abbes become centres of pursuit of knowledge. Monks studied nature and its healing powers. They become doctors of the period creating brews and ointments and producing varieties of beer and wine in the process. Ale & Beer at said period despite the alcoholic content was more beneficial to people due to their cleaner nature compared to drinking water especially in cities. The monks also copied by hand books and literary works from the Antiquities and in the process preserved much of the knowledge of the ancients. Anselm of Canterbury for instance rediscovered, copied & preserved the works of Aristotle. The Knights Templar on the other hand as Monastic order took on a military nature to protect Christian Pilgrims during the crusades. It is also in this capacity that they invented the first geo-financial management system.

The Hanseatic League, a group of key cities who organized an economic cooperation (Amsterdam, Cologne, Bremen, Hannover, Berlin) also sponsored an exchange of scholastic pursuits and artistic exhibitions – music, painting, theatre. This spirit of intensive trade via travel and exploration is what drove venetian Marco Polo to travel the Silk Road and eventually visit China, bringing awareness of the Far East to Europe by publishing a documentary of his travel entitled Il Milione. Marco Polo is credited for bringing the idea of gunpowder, spectacles & mass paper manufacture from the far East. Intense trade saw the invention of printing, water & windmills, spinning wheels 6 magnetic Compasses. Travellers & traders like Leonardo of Pisa via his book Liber Abaci in 1202 introduced Arabic numerals that greatly improved expressing and signifying mathematical equivalent. In painting, it is during this period that the likes of Jan Van Eyck under the patronage of Hanseatic nobles produced an outstanding body of work. Together with his contemporary Robert Campin, they produced minutely detailed presentations, correct in perspective oozing realism combined with richly complex symbolism & realistic detail.

Late Middle Ages & the Renaissance

For the late Middle Ages & Early Renaissance,when we talk about the arts we refer to how it is expressed in terms of the visual: sculptures, paintings, design – all works expressing realism & human emotion, moving & stirring those who gaze in its beauty & almost ethereal appeal. The final product however was rooted in methods & philosophies. For example, Leonardo da Vincis paintings on human form take on his view of the perfect man via his knowledge of antiquity. His Vitruvian Man is a perspective of methods & proportion using science & mathematics infused with the skill of rendering the human body. The artist Masaccio of Tomasso Cassai developed techniques to render light & plasticism in paintings, a humanist foundation that were later followed by the likes of Raphael and his friends Donatello, Brunelleschi & Alberti all of them students of Renaissance master Giotto. His work, The Madonna & the Child” now on display at the National art Gallery in London was once the altarpiece of the Carmelite Church in Pisa – influences of Roman & Greek emotions can be felt in his work while from afar his painting seem like a sculpture, as shadow & light play to create dimensions in his work.

Donato di Niccol? di Betto Bardi or Donatello his colleague on the other hand concentrated in creating perspectival illusionism especially in Bas relief or shallow sculptures although he is equally as gifted in paintings much as Alberti or Masaccio. His style & rendition in sculpting came to the attention of the Medicis who commissioned him for various works in Florence. The Bronze David in the courtyard of the Medici Palazzo was among his first works in Florence & this buoyed the Medicis even more, his David was the first free standing nude since the ancient times. Soon Donatello became a prized Medici artist. Of course, Raphaels “St. George & the Dragon” and Leonardo da Vincis “Mona Lisa” & the “Last Supper” shared more than center stage with Masaccios & Donatellos work. Michelangelos paintings of the dome of the Sistine Chapel fused religion & high renaissance art, classics that live to this day. Much of Baroque paintings & art coincide with that of Late renaissance as covered above. Bear in mind however that late renaissance & early Baroque encouraged the advent of the Rococo style, the use of forms in unusual presentation. A typical master is Italian artists Bernini.

The guiding influence on Renaissance philosophy is Humanism; Humanists try to push the boundaries & discover the extraordinary ability of the human mind by learning poetry, grammar, ethics & rhetoric. They are focused on the classics & reviving the greatness of the Greek & Roman golden age. Reasoning & Empiricism were employed in their study of texts from Antiquity. As such Plato, Aristotle & Socrates came to known of renaissance influences in intellectual thought. They influenced the likes of Niccolo Machiavelli who in his work, “The Prince” introduces Aristotlean concept of a Philosopher-leader. While his work discoursed power, mainly the retainment of it & how through it society devolves or evolves, he also brings to light issues of leadership not as a right (for those who inherit the throne) but as a responsibility to the willing. English Philosopher & lawyer Sir Thomas More wrote his novel Utopia, that imaginary, idealistic world that contrasts the corruptive, contentious social life in then Europe. Here he combined the ideal states of Plato & Aristotle & adopted the idea of religious toleration. Sir Thomas Moores work is still popular today. Theologians like Erasmus & Martin Luther started a movement & schism that questioned the corruptive practices of the Holy Catholic Church giving rise to the great religious schism.

Word Count: 2,430
Mundy, John H. (2000), Europe in the High Middle Ages, 1150-1309, Longman: Harlow, England.
Petrosyan, M. (1972), Humanism: Its Philosophical, Ethical, and Sociological Aspects, Progress Publishers, Moscow.

Critically Assess the View That Family Breakdown Is an International Social Phenonenon.

This paper will attempt to examine and discuss what is meant by family, what social factors have led to the breakdown of the family and, with reference to two countries in particular, how this is reflected in the social policies of those countries.

The notion of family has different connotations and meanings in different countries and cultures. However, sociologists have broadly divided the concept of family into two main types, ???the nuclear family, consisting of parent(s) and child(ren), and the extended family, consisting of parent(s), child(ren), and grandparent(s) or other kin.??? (Campling, 1993, p.6)

Whilst historically women and children have been defined in terms of their relationships to the family and kinship, men, whilst still within the kinship system, have primarily been defined in terms of their occupation. Thus, according to Campling, ???by definition the family has been an unequal institution premised on parental authority and power.??? (Campling, 1193, p.35) There is a clear patriarchal division of responsibilities, with the man being the bread-winner of the family and the woman being the primary carer. However, in the contemporary world this is no longer the case for many sectors of society, certainly in advanced western societies.

The Second World War brought about many changes for the women in England as they were called away from the traditional patriarchal family to work for the war effort. As many of the women had young children to care for the Government provided nursery care. This was to be many women??™s first real taste of how life could be if they were not tied to the home. The 1960s saw a drop in the birth rate as people began to trust the guarantee that the welfare state would look after them in the their old age so no longer needed to have large families to look after them in their twilight years. The introduction of labour saving devices into the home meant that women had more free time and gradually became more restless at home. An economic boom at the same time meant that there were labour shortages and as a result certain sectors of the employment market were extended to women, mostly part time. However women were very poorly paid in comparison to men and the gap between men and women??™s earnings only began to close in 1970s with the Equal Pay Act, which was supposed to ensure equal pay for the same job and whilst not perfect it did go a considerable way to closing the gap between men and women??™s pay. The Sex Discrimination Act was also passed in 1975, designed to outlaw sexual discrimination in the workplace. All of these changes led to more women both wanting and being able to work ad subsequently to massive changes in the division of labour as more and more women went out to work. Roughly fifty percent of Britains workforce is now female, undermining the post-war model of the welfare state, which relies on both full employment and the assumption that the man is the breadwinner. However, despite making up half of the nations labour force women are still over-represented in the lowest paid groups.

The Beveridge Report, upon which the modern welfare state was founded, was influenced by Keynesian economic principles and relied on full employment to underpin it assuming that the man would be the main breadwinner and the woman would be at home, in effect undertaking many hours of unpaid labour. These radical changes in the labour market and the family structure have effectively removed the underpinning principles and the discourse upon which Beveridge had founded his notion of care ???from the cradle to the grave??™. Add to this the declining birth and marriage rates of many western countries and it become clear that the patriarchal family has changed beyond recognition in recent years. The live birth rate in England and Wales in 2001 was 594,634, the lowest recorded figure since records began in 1838. ( Estimates suggest that and average of 2.1 children per woman is required in order for the population to adequately replace itself, however, the actual figure is between 1.58 and 1.74, way below the estimated requirement.

However, whilst birth rates are dropping, the number of children being born outside marriage has risen sharply. Figures at the end of 2002 suggest that as many as 40% of all children born in England and Wales are born outside marriage (,3604,859079,00.html), a figure which seems to be reflected throughout Europe, according to birth surveys. ( Several explanations have been suggested for this downturn in birth rates. Firstly, the social organisation of sexuality has changed considerably over recent years too. People are now both much more sexually liberated and knowledgeable about contraception than in previous decades. It is no longer necessary for women to remain chaste until they are married and is now socially accepted that both men and women may have several sexual partners before they eventually settle down and marry, if at all. Marriage rates are declining, as more people are choosing to either live together or alone. Figures suggest that as many as 11% of households in the UK, and 24% in Sweden are one person households. The number of lone parents has also increased dramatically, with an estimated 10% in the UK, compared to 3% in Sweden. (

Several steps have been taken in order to make life a little more comfortable for the increasing single parent families. In the UK, the benefits system in Britain is generally means tested, however, child allowance is not and is paid to all parents for each child, but any support above and beyond this is means tested. Income support is available to lone parents with a child under the age of sixteen. Furthermore, the Government has introduced several measures under its New Deal for lone parents in order to encourage parents back into the work place and encourage them to be less dependent on the state and lead more independent lives. Whilst parents do not have to be available for work with a child under sixteen years of age, at certain points through the duration of their time on Income Support they must attend a compulsory gateway interview with a lone parent advisor at the job centre. The aim of which is not to force them into work but to make sure they are aware of their options and opportunities and provide help and advice regarding in-work support benefits and help with child care fees. The New Deal offers lone parents help not only with finding employment but can also find suitable training courses for them, advise on help with the costs of child care and can arrange help with many other aspects related to returning to the workplace. For example, smart clothes for interviews might be required by a lone parent who does not have the means to afford them, New Deal can help them. If they need to pay a deposit for child care or perhaps need a bus pass for the first month but do not have the funds available, New Deal can help them. There are numerous ways in which the government is trying to encourage lone parents back into the workplace and away from a dependency culture. (

Whilst this is all relatively new to Britain, Sweden has operated in this manner for many years, having supported their benefits system on a policy of full employment, which has included lone parents. Perhaps the biggest burden on the income of lone parents who wish to return to work is the cost of childcare, proportionally it takes up a much larger amount than it would out of the salary of two parents. Coupled with the inherent conflict associated with the dual responsibility of both caring for the family and working, in many cases it can provide a perverse incentive to stay on benefits and out of the labour market. Sweden has developed its policies in tow major areas in order to accommodate women into the labour market and continue with their policy of full employment. It has invested heavily in day-care with public provision of childcare heavily subsidised by the government, in some cases parents pay as little as ten or fifteen percent of the childcare costs. It has also given parents substantial statutory rights with regard to parental leave. Maternity provisions could also be described as generous, which are available to all employees without qualifying rights, along with the right for parents to work reduced hours until their child is eight years old. (Cochrane & Clarke, 1993, p.194) According to Hill (1996), ???Where provisions for the care of children by others and labour market participation by women are widely accepted (for example, Sweden), there is some acceptance of the ???knock on??™ implications of this for the income maintenance system???. (Hill, 1996, p.71) It could be argued though that Britain is making efforts to provide parents with the same kind of help and assistance. As well as paid maternity leave for mothers, fathers are now entitled to paid paternity leave. Help is available to lone parents with the cost of childcare through a ???Childcare Tax Credit, covering 70% of childcare costs for low – and middle ??“ income families.??? (Powell, 1999, p.16)

As well as a drop in birth rates and marriages and an increase in divorce, homosexuality has also become much more socially accepted with same sex couples now cohabiting and raising children, further undermining the notion of the nuclear family as one man, one woman and 2.4 children.. There have been several amendments to the law with regard to same sex couples, bringing their rights more in line with those of heterosexual couples. Previously same sex couples were not recognised by the law and as such in the event of a death the partner could be excluded from funeral preparations, lose their home and access to children. Under laws which have been introduced in some parts of Europe and the USA people in same sex relationships are able to register their partnership, giving them the same rights as married couples, with the exception of adopting foreign children, artificial insemination and church weddings. These reforms have been applied in Sweden since 1995 (, however, the proposal fore a similar civil parity scheme has only been put forward in the summer of 2003 in the UK. (

Secondly, it has been suggested that economic changes might have contributed to the decline in birth rates. As well as having the choice about when children are conceived, as people??™s health improved and they began to trust the guarantee that the welfare state would look after them in the their old age, and as such, the need to have large families has declined. As people??™s material conditions have improved and standards of living increased desire for children might also have decreased due to the lifestyle changes brought about by having children. Lifestyle is obviously relative to income, and large families will obviously increase the cost of living and reduce the amount of disposable income left over for luxuries. Those with higher incomes will most likely have more luxurious lifestyles, but the average family still needs to maintain their income at a reasonable level in order to achieve a reasonable standard of living. Many couples might choose to have children later on in life, or not at all, in order that they can fully enjoy the benefits and freedom brought about by good careers and well paid jobs etc. An issue reflected in a recent survey in which, ???almost 25% of women with children in their 20s cited missing out on a career or putting their work life on hold as a disadvantage of becoming a parent before 30???.

Some commentators have suggested that the nuclear family was only ever a social construct rather than a reality. However, it is indisputable that given that certainly in the UK and to some extent in Europe the welfare state is based around the family and as such, analysis of the changes and trends in the demographics outlined above have serious ramifications for social policy. Merely quoting figures such as birth, death and marriage rates does not demonstrate the impact of these changes on society and the Welfare State. In order to assess the real burden of dependence we must contextualise the demographics and look at the burden of dependence. If birth rates are declining it stands to reason that the population is ageing. Children will be the economically active sector of tomorrow??™s society, and as there are less of them a declining economically active population will have to support an increasing number of old people. This has serious implications for the future of the Welfare State and for Social Policy.

The cost of running the National Health Service and Social Services is already high. Faced with a growing aged population, the burden on an already over-subscribed health service is only likely to increase, whilst the funding raised form income taxes is likely to decrease as the economically active population decreases. The NHS, formed on the basis of The Beveridge Report and Keynesian economic principles has already been described by some as being in crises. Changing demographics, medical advances, rising expectations and demand have all weighed heavily on an outdated system with constrained resources that is already struggling to cope. With this in mind the Community Care Act 1990 was introduced by the Conservative Government, despite Mrs Thatcher??™s earlier claims that there was no such thing as a society, only individuals and families. Cost-benefit analysis convinced her that community care was cheaper than running institutions. The family, whether immediate or extended, are considered to be community carers. Traditional gender roles mean that the burden of care usually falls onto the women of a family unit, thus when we talk about care within the family, we are usually talking about care by women. (Bond J, Bond S, 1994 p.112) The Conservative Government argued for the reassertion of traditional values and morals. They saw the family as being under threat from a permissive society, which threatened stability, a view similar to that of Talcott Parsons (1956) who stated

???the basic and irreducible functions of the family are two: the primary socialisation of the children so that they can become members of the society into which they have been born: second the stabilisation of the adult personalities of the population of the society.??? (Davies, Berger & Carlson, 1993, p.1)

The family operates best when it is stable and children are socialised into societal norms, which is not as easy to achieve when traditional morality is undermined by increasing divorce rates, full-time working mothers, more single-parent families and homosexuality being openly accepted. Various policies were implemented in order to try to re-establish family values. It could be considered that the concern with re-establishing the strong family unit and traditional morals and values was an attempt to displace the responsibility for care from the NHS back to the individual, or their families. Marxists might argue that this was another way of Bourgeoisie controlling the proletariat, forcing the woman into the home to take on a caring role and thus making the whole family reliant on the wage of the man, therefore making him more susceptible to exploitation.

Labour have advocated similar policies since their election in 1997. Although Tony Blair has also advocated community care, he has placed the emphasis on communitarianism through his Third Way Policy, rather then promoting it solely as a cost cutting measure.

???The Third Way has banished not only the belief that the market is the source of all evil, but also the simplistic notion that if citizens just pay their taxes, the welfare state will do the rest.???
(Etzioni A, 2001, New Statesman, Vol. 130, Issue 4543, p.25)

Communitarians believe that a strong family unit and sense of social responsibility would serve to lessen the strain on the welfare state. If the younger people of a community or family felt a social responsibility to care for the elderly there would be less need for welfare services such as home help. If more schemes like neighbourhood watch, for example, were set up crime would effectively be reduced. In short, people should give more to each other and take less from the welfare state. That is not to say that Etzioni, and thinkers like him, would encourage complete reliance on the community and dissolve the welfare state. More that they believe there are better ways of utilising its limited resources and if people were to rely on each other more it would free up more resources to be used in more constructive ways. Again this might be criticised for pushing the burden of responsibility back into the hands of the people and away from the Government, as well as adding to the dual burden already experience by mothers trying to juggle work and family life.

As well as the increased burden on the health care system an increasing ageing and decreasingly economically active population will lead to issues regarding payment of old age pensions. The UK Government might be considered to be proactive in this arena, proposing to raise retirement age to 70 years old, thus ???buying??™ some time before paying out pensions to today??™s economically active population. However, moving the goal posts in this manner can only postpone the problem short-term if the current trend in birth rates continues.

Many people have blamed the Welfare State for the perceived decline in family values and morality, for providing perverse incentives, particularly in respect of single mothers. However, this seems to be contradicted by the figures for lone parent families in Sweden, a mere 3%, compared with 10% for the UK. ( The Redistributive, or Social Democratic Model of Welfare, which Sweden operates, whose main concerns are with the social rights of its citizens and benefits are open to everyone, is considered to be much more generous then the UK system. So surely based on the reasoning of perverse incentives their incidence of lone parent families should be higher. It might be reasonable to suggest that rather than trying to hold onto outdated and disputed concepts of what the family is, Sweden has been more adaptable to changes in the family structure. They seem to have accepted that the nuclear family is not the way that most people live and has actively sought to increase its birth rate by offering its citizens better services in fundamental family based services. Sweden has developed its policies in two major areas in order to accommodate women into the labour market and continue with their policy of full employment. It has invested heavily in day-care with public provision of childcare heavily subsidised by the government, in some cases parents pay as little as ten or fifteen percent of the childcare costs. It has also given parents substantial statutory rights with regard to parental leave. Maternity provisions could also be described as generous, which are available to all employees without qualifying rights, along with the right for parents to work reduced hours until their child is eight years old. (Cochrane & Clarke, 1993, p.194) Schemes such as this in the UK might reduce the negative effect prospective parenthood might have on single people??™s lifestyles and encourage them to have children earlier then they currently are doing, thus offsetting some of the possible future problems or the Welfare State. However, surely this begs the question, in an age of consumerism, has the family now just become a lifestyle choice like any other purchase

Word count ??“ 3,529


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Humanities in Physics

Ahmad Othman
Professor Karn
English 1A
11 June 2012
Mechanics of the World
Cultures all over the world have changed and advanced their societies and technology from the discoveries of new innovations and theories in Science. The most important base of science and technology that made room for other advances in this field is the theory and applications of physics. Physics today has been improved because of the many contributions of different cultures that have preserved and enhanced the understanding of science. The different contributions in physics from different cultures have continued to change its society through technology, and developed higher understanding of the universe. sciences of many cultures were secluded to one area until now ; we have combined different understandings and innovations from diverse parts of the scientific discovery, which is the reason why physics is an outstanding subject to observe because it has drastically changed and advanced the human perception, art and religion.
Physics has contributed so much towards the perception of many human beings around the world and a good understanding how much it has had an effect on humanity is to start briefly early roots of physics. Numerous philosophers 2400 years ago studied the natural world to understand how it functions. Aristotle was the man who accumulated and sparked the main theories of natural physics we have today. An article called ???Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550??? by Edward Grant talks briefly about the philosopher and physicist Aristotle, the man who had changed many civilizations due to his discoveries. In the book it states that, ???Aristotle??™s efforts were destined to have a lasting effect, enduring for nearly 2,000 years in three different major linguistic cultures and civilizations??”Greek (Byzantine Empire), Arabic (Islamic civilization), and Latin (Western Europe) (Grant 47). After he died many of those civilizations used his theories as a base and began improving and enhancing on them for hundreds of years and even now. The future of man began to drastically change over the 2400 years after Aristotle??™s death, and the twentieth century was the most significant period of change.
The twentieth century radically changed humanities lifestyle forever and made many new discoveries and inventions due to physics. An article called ???Physics: Decade by Decade??? by Alfred B. Bortz discusses how natural physics again changed cultures all around the world by proving a old theory. The article states that, ???By the end of the eighties, the big bang hypothesis for the origin of the universe was gaining wide acceptance, thanks in large to further calculations by Fred Hoyle and his colleagues??¦???(Bortz 109). Many people knew this idea but thought it as heresy and when more proof came many people started believing the idea and incorporating it in their cultural stories like the movies in America that numerous amounts of people see around the world. So many changes in technology took place in the twentieth century that changed the normal iconic dirty farmer into a machine operator or a rough greasy mechanic into a professional technician. These changes were due to the sophisticated theories of quantum physics that Alfred B. Bortz wrote about in his article. He states that, ???Innovations in physics continued after that, of course, but most new developments were applications rather than theoretical breakthroughs???(133) This is showing the new theories produced by quantum mechanics beginning to change the technology by changing the way people think of electronic, mechanic or fluids which in turn changes the people. The impact that physics has had on humanity and continues to have, shows many domino effects such as changing the perception of humanity, which in turn changes their technology and then also their art.
Art was always simple until the end of medieval times, art was copying whatever someone see??™s. Then the renaissance came into play due to the many new discoveries and revolutions in science and government, which gave more room for many ideas that changed mathematics thus also changing art. An article called ???Applied Physics??? Arthur Beiser talks about the applications of physics having on art especially with today??™s new technology such as electromagnetic waves which play a key role. In art He writes, ???Electromagnetic waves transport energy and require no material medium for their passage, which Radio waves, light waves, X-rays, and gamma rays are examples of these waves, and they differ only in frequency??? (Beiser 108) .The discovery of electromagnetic waves has changed art by finding new ways of producing it by discovering the UV light we use in x-rays and many other light waves we use to produce the art coming from everyone??™s screens.
Many people through history have contributed a great deal amount in art but Newton was surprisingly the most influential. The father of physics also had a key role in shaping the art culture of today by making many theories and observations in light, which the eBook ???Quirky Sides of Scientists: True Tales of Ingenuity and Error from Physics and Astronomy??? by David Topper discusses. Topper states that, ???In his Opticks (1704), Newton admits that the spectrum is a continuum but still delineates the sequence of seven colors??? (139). These series of colors are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, the colors of the rainbow. Knowing these colors separate into these seven distinct shades, which can be mixed up in many possibilities to form any continuum of colors in the universe will be a major key role in producing many future paintings, cartoons and programs like adobe or solid works, both very important ingenuous platforms for engineering and design. The advancement in art through physics has changed the way many people see religion today.
The contributions physics has on art had majorly been based towards the architectural aspect. The book ???Biography of Physics??? by George Gamow shows how one of the formulas discovered by Galileo gave room for many new opportunities. In the book it says that, ???Apart from being the first formulation of the law of free fall, the above- quoted passage from Discorso also contains the first step in the development of the so- called ???integral calculus??™??¦ Galileo??™s law of the uniformly accelerated motion can be written as: Velocity= acceleration X time??? (Gamow 39). The free fall formula for measuring how fast or how long it took something to fall later produced the acceleration of gravity by deriving the formula so that acceleration equals velocity divided by time, which then produced the basic components of calculus, such as deriving. The advancement in Calculus then made it possible for today??™s robots to cut out very complicated and intricate designs from the computer. The book also has talked about the natural physical laws discover by Newton that came from Gravity and made the basis of all engineering today. The book ???Biography of Physics??? had stated that, ???Newton laid down the program of the so- called mechanistic interpretation of all physical phenomena, a point of view which dominated physics until the beginning of the present century???, this point of view will then be called ???Newton??™s laws???. These laws that built on the acceleration of gravity allowed architects even today to be able to design architectural marvels in a safe and structurally stable way that enabled the cathedrals, monuments and sky scrapers. The knowledge of gravity has made it possible to form structurally realistic and artistic architectural buildings that made the religious world accept physics in order to expand and advance their influence.
Religion has had a very narrow minded approach towards science and especially towards physics. One of the main problems religion had with physics was the astronomy and physical theories that Robert E. Kerbs explains in his article called ???Physics and Chemistry???. The article states that, ???Physics, as we know it, was practically nonexistent in Europe during the Medieval Period??¦ Rather, the study of nature was based on philosophical and metaphysical speculations??¦ and to question was often seen as an affront to one kind of god or another and thus discouraged??? (Kerbs157). The church controlled all aspects of life like government or ideas of what??™s right and they considered it heresy to prove the bible wrong especially if they use science for instance to show that the sun is really in the middle of the solar system and that we orbit around it, entails the bible must be wrong because it says that the earth is in the middle of the universe. Physics was rarely practiced in Europe because of this policy that the church enforced, bringing very little discoveries in physics in Europe. Then the renaissance started to emerge and many new physical laws were being discovered due to another religion. In the same article ???Physics and Chemistry??? talks about how the renaissance first emerged by explaining that, ???during the Renaissance (~1300??“1600), printing presses brought Latin translations of Arabic texts, based on classical Greek texts, to the Western world. These developments helped stimulate the concept of empirical experimentation and began to resemble what we know as physics and chemistry??? (Kerbs 153). The same reason why physics was held back in Europe was the same reason physics flourished in the Middle East by Islam opening the Arab nomads eyes and making them realize that they must invent, discover, and improve their society to so they might have a better future and be a better person. The golden age of Islamic civilization advanced and preserved the early works of the Greek philosophers and scientists, in turn making the European or western civilization discover new theories and innovations that put humanity in the twenty- first century. Religion has had a major role in physics whether good or bad and in the same instance physics also played a major role in religion.
Physics has contributed in many aspects in our life like our perception of the world, religion and art. The many contributions physics had on humanity can be traced back all the way to the cavemen era when the first man put an arrow on a stick and threw it at the right trajectory to kill his prey. Since the time of the Greeks understanding this subject has allowed our civilization to become an advanced society of human beings. Many had thought the twenty first century would be full of hover crafts and laser guns but many do not see what humanity has already accomplished through social media and advanced engineering tools.

Works Cited
Beiser, Arthur. Applied Physics. McGraw-Hill, 2003. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 30 May 2012.
Gamow , George. Biography of physics. 1st. New York: Harper, 1961. 1- 338. Print.Gorman, Robert F.? Great Lives From History. The 20Th Century, 1901-2000. Salem Press, 2008.? eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Gorelik, G. E., and Antonina W. Bouis. World Of Andrei Sakharov : A Russian Physicists Path To Freedom. Oxford University Press, 2005. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Grant, Edward. “Recent Titles in Greenwood Guides to Science and Religion.”? Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2004.? ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. Web. 6 May 2012.
Harding, Sandra G.? Racial Economy Of Science : Toward A Democratic Future. Indiana University Press, 1993.? eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Hargittai, Istva?n.? Martians Of Science : Five Physicists Who Changed The Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, 2006.? eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Jones Andrew, Zimmerman. “Newtons Law of Gravity.” N.p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2012.
Kagan, Jerome.? Three Cultures : Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, And The Humanities In The 21St Century. Cambridge University Press, 2009.? eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Krebs, Robert E. “Physics and Chemistry.”? Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2004.? ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. Web. 6 May 2012.
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Ramin Jahanbegloo.? In Search Of The Sacred : A Conversation With Seyyed Hossein Nasr On His Life And Thought. Praeger, 2010.eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 17 May 2012.
Shore, Steven N.? Forces In Physics : A Historical Perspective. Greenwood Press, 2008.? eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 6 May 2012.
Topper, David. Quirky Sides Of Scientists : True Tales Of Ingenuity And Error From Physics And Astronomy. Springer, 2007. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 31 May 2012.
Walker, James S.? Physics. fourth. 1. San Francisco: Addison-Wesley, 2009.? 

Critically Assess the Success of the Learning Environment

A. Introduction
For this assignment I will be required to thoroughly plan, implement, and evaluate the introduction of Effective Team Meetings within a Performance Management Framework. This initiative will show close involvement of the childcare team, parents/carers and children and the effective communication of information. It will also identify any issues arising and will demonstrate how effective action will be taken and the development of appropriate strategies. This assignment will include the critical analysis and effective application of underpinning approaches.
This assignment will show how I was able to demonstrate judicious use of supervisory, organisational and leadership skills, in the efficient and effective planning, implementation and evaluation of the team meetings.
I will then use Reflective Practice to critically evaluate my own role in the process, my value to the team and my personal and professional learning.
The setting where I will be implementing this initiative is my own playgroup ??“ Little Acorns. We currently have 17 children on the roll, and 4 part-time members of staff. (Due to Confidentiality issues, the name of the playgroup and other names throughout the assignment have been changed.)

Little Acorns Management Structure

When deciding what initiative or specific action to implement, I first looked at the current Playgroup situation and any specific needs or gaps that it might have in its management structure, staffing, curriculum, policies and overall service etc. I then decided to ask some KEY SWOT questions (Appendices 1) and do a Playgroup SWOT. (See below) We also brainstormed in class to come up with some ideas. (Appendices 2)

* Lack of Supervision
Having recently returned to the position of manager following a period of illness, I found that the support I had put in place during my absence was insufficient and as a result the staff had struggled and quality within the setting had dropped. In his book, Staff Supervision in Social Care, Tony Morrison lists ???reduced confidence, unclear expectations, lack of accountability, reduced competence, dysfunctional team dynamics and inappropriate worker autonomy??? as some of the consequences of poor supervision. The introduction of regular effective team meetings would be a positive step to beginning rebuilding an effective, enthusiastic and motivated team which in turn would have a positive affect on the quality of the provision.
* No regular team meetings
Team meetings at Little Acorns are currently held in response to specific needs or problems. This is often referred to as ???A Sticking Plaster Response??™. Unfortunately this has left the staff almost dreading the team meetings and has created a ???What??™s wrong now??™ mentality. Regular Team meetings would hopefully eliminate this. French (2008) puts forward the idea that, ???Regular scheduling of team meetings and Supervision presents the opportunity to consider patterns of issues arising in the service and to address these. Moving from a reactive way of working to a greater emphasis on developmental aspects of the work.???
It is also worth noting that Team meetings fit into a greater framework and is one of the core processes of Staff Development according to French (2008).
???The Five Primary processes which contribute to Staff Development are: Supervision, Appraisals, Team Meetings, Training, Mentoring and Coaching.??? Morrison (2010) also adds ???Mediation??™ to this list.
???Team meetings are an integral part of team and individual development as well as being the core to communication within the team.??? French. (2008)
Information Sharing, Decision Making, support, review, evaluation and planning, and Skill development are recognised as just some of the different functions a team meeting can have. No matter the focus of the Team Meeting its overall goal should be to improve the quality of the service. I would hope that Team Meetings would be the first step in Staff Development and that it would be the beginning of the process whereby I can ultimately introduce the bigger model of Supervision.
???All team meetings, conducted, and decisions made, should be under pinned by what is in the best interests of children and their families. Therefore the aims of the service should be central to all discussions.??? French (2008)
It stands to reason that Team meetings need to be effective and ultimately benefit the children and their families.
The Performance Management & Development System is a system that operates within the Irish Civil Service. It identifies 17 Behavioural Competencies. ???As part of this system, jobholders and their managers together identify the specific competencies needed to carry out their jobs.??? Human Resources Development Services (2010)
* Staff Competency
Competence simply means that staff ???..have the relevant, skills, knowledge, and understanding attributes to do a particular job in a particular context to an agreed standard??? McDonnell & Zutahl (2006)
Team Meetings form part of the ???Team working??™ competency, which falls into the ???Personal Effective Cluster??™ of competencies. Human Resources Development Services (2010) By participating in and making a positive contribution to team meetings, I feel that the staff will grow into a stronger effective team. As Human Resources Development Services (2010) suggests, ???Good team players participate willingly in group work and support team decisions.??? It also states that, ???A team is a group of people working together in pursuit of a common goal.???
Team Working is therefore a competency worth encouraging and promoting within the setting. It is also something that Siolta encourages.
???The provision of quality early childhood experiences requires, co-operation, communication and mutual respect. Teamwork is a vital component of Quality in Early childhood care and education.??? Siolta (2006)
* Siolta & Aistear
The introduction of the Siolta Quality Framework and the Aistear Curriculum has also influenced my choice of initiative.
???The introduction of new legislation as well as a developing body of knowledge about the needs of children will lead to change in Practise.??? French (2006)
Implementing the necessary changes in practice will require a concerted team effort Therefore team meetings will play a fundamental role if these changes are to occur.
???It is through critical thinking and reflection that individuals and teams can consider the changing needs and where necessary affirm, amend and extend the goals of the organisation??? French (2008)
* Workplace Stress
During this process of deliberation I also realised that the staff had possibly been under additional stress during my absence, and with the changes happening in the work place due to Aistear and Siolta, the staff may still feel additional stress.
In ???Putting Children First??™ (2008), challenging workloads, time constraints and professional isolation are listed as some of the factors that contribute to stress in childcare. It goes on to suggest, ???Regularly talking about issues and finding team solutions to problems can help to prevent stress.??? Therefore, the importance of regular, efficient team meetings that deal with relevant and pressing issues cannot be over emphasized, especially during these periods of change and uncertainty. ???By minimising and effectively managing workplace stress, services can improve the quality of care provided.??? Putting Children First (2006)

The implementation of regular, effective team meetings would not only have a positive impact on staff, but that is would improve the overall quality of the service and have benefits for all of its stakeholders.

Stakeholders of Little Acorns Playgroup

The above model is adapted from Morrison 2005

Siolta (2006) suggests ???Shared knowledge and understanding, clear communication among the team, within the setting; and with parents is a prerequisite of a practice and reflects a ???whole-child perspective.???
As the staff develop and become more competent and confident, their interactions with parents, families and outside agencies will become more professional. As overall quality continues to improve, the Playgroup??™s reputation will grow and its impact on the local community will begin to show. ???The development of connections and interactions between the early childhood setting, parent, the extended family and the wider community also adds to the enrichment of early childhood experiences by reflecting the environment in which the child lives and grows. Siolta (2006)

B. Planning & Preparation for the Team Meeting
Before approaching any of the staff with the idea of Effective Team Meetings I gathered as much information as I could on the subject. I then did some ???Smart Goal Setting??™. Butler (2008) states that ???Smart goal setting??¦helps a person focus more on what it is they wish to achieve because the person defines the goal in more detail.??? I then developed a Work Plan document. Both of these documents can be found at the end of this section.
Having gathered the relevant information, I then approached the Playgroup Leader during a break and shared with her the idea of holding Regular Team Meetings and my reasons behind this initiative. I also gave her some Information that I compiled, highlighting the important aspects of Team Meetings. This was information taken from Morrison (2010) and French (2006)
???Communicating effectively in the best interests of the child requires policies, procedures and actions that promote the proactive sharing of knowledge and information among appropriate stakeholders.??? Siolta (2006)
She immediately recognised the value of the idea and gave me her full support. Together we decided that we should have a ???Focus Meeting??™ where I would present the idea of Team meetings and communicate my ideas to all the staff. When deciding the day and time we took into consideration the family circumstances of the Playgroup Assistant and scheduled the meeting so as not to clash with her daughters ???Teacher Meeting??™. We decided on a Wednesday as that is the day that we had had meetings in the past, and it suited everyone. We also decided that we would have the meeting at 1.15pm to allow staff to get cleared up before the meeting. I also talked with colleagues and other Childcare Managers about their Team Meetings to gain some insight into the general rule of practise.
Even for a FOCUS meeting, it is important to have an agenda. A week before the meeting I drafted a simple agenda for the focus meeting and gave a copy to all members of staff and posted it on the notice board in the staff room.. A copy of the Agenda can be found at the end of this section. I also used this time to share informally about the concept if I was asked any questions, and made staff aware, that if they had any questions, they were to come and speak to me.
2. THE FOCUS MEETING (Planning for Team Meeting)
A couple of days before the Focus meeting I asked the Playgroup Leader if she would keep the minutes. As Mina (2004) points out ???Minutes of meetings are important documents, for recording consensus and decision-making, and for tracking the evolution of issues and the history of an organization.??? I gave her a durable, A4 hard back book that would become the ???Minutes??™ book, and some printouts on taking minutes. (Appendices 4)
During the Focus meeting I gave a 10-15min introductory presentation on Team Meetings and gave each member of staff the same information that I had given the Playgroup Leader previously that highlighted the importance of Team Meetings. This was information taken from Morrison (2010) and French (2006)
Following the presentation we had a short question and answer time. The staff where very quiet during this time and didn??™t ask any questions. It was decided that we would have a more in depth Q&A time during the next meeting. This would give staff time to read over the information they had been given.
As a group we decided to allow one week to give feedback; whether verbal of written, to either the Playgroup Leader or myself. The First Team Meeting would be organised a week following this to allow for preparation. The Playgroup Leader volunteered to present information on Qualities of Effective Team Members and I would present all other information. (Appendices 5) I presented the information in a positive and enthusiastic manner and hoped that my enthusiasm would motivate them in recognising the value and importance of Team Meetings.
As most staff work on a Wednesday it was decided that we would have the Team Meeting on this day after the children went home. The member of staff, who isn??™t normally in on this day, was happy with this decision, as she lives nearby. The Minutes for this meeting were recorded and can be found at the end of this section.

During the feedback period, a member of staff had concerns that the Team Meetings would be an opportunity for me to address individual ???Performance Issues??™ in front of all the staff. I assured her that this was not the purpose of Team Meetings, and that individual performance issues would continue to be dealt with on a ???one to one??™ basis.

With the help of the Playgroup Leader I then drafted the agenda for the meeting. We wanted to keep the first meeting simple and to time, so we kept agenda items to a minimum. The main purpose of the meeting was to ???Introduce Effective Team Meetings??™. The Playgroup Leader suggested we have the Team Meeting in the Playroom at the round table, as this would create a more comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
The Agenda was then distributed to all members of staff a week before the actual meeting. It was also posted on the notice board in the staff room. It was very important that staff were aware of the time and place of the meeting as early as possible, as they all would have to make necessary childcare arrangements for their own children. According to Allen & Economy (2011) By distributing the agenda and prework before the meeting, participants can prepare for the meeting ahead of time. As a result, they will be immediately engaged in the business of the meeting, and theyll waste far less time throughout the meeting. The Agenda for the team meeting is at the end of this section.
For team meetings to be effective it is important that the childcare team are motivated and enthusiastic. Morrison (2010) identifies several ways in which a supervisor can motivate staff. He first suggests that the team are clear about their roles and responsibilities and what is expected of them. I addressed this by making this an agenda item at the first meeting.
???Set up situations where workers can experience success and build their self-efficacy.??? Morrison (2010) The Agenda items and their actions are responsibilities and assignments that t I know the staff would be confident and capable of performing. Morrison (2010) also encourages supervisors and managers to allow workers to make their own decisions and set their own goals. I felt that the staff would benefit by being part decision making process and by the development of Team ground rules. This flexibility, choice and participation would be rewarding and encourage responsibility. Morrison (2010)
Availability and Approachability of Supervisor
Throughout the whole process, of introducing the concept of Team Meetings, I kept reminding staff that I was always available should they have any concerns or queries regarding Team Meetings. This ties in with what Morrison (2010) says about motivation, that supervisors need to demonstrate an interest and confidence in each worker as an individual and that it is important to listen to and investigate ??¦employee complaints.
C. Managing the Meeting

On the day of the meeting, I ensured that the heating would remain on for the duration of the meeting and proceeded to photocopy all relevant material for distribution. When the children had left, I arranged the seating at the round table and distributed another copy of the agenda, and a pen for each member of staff. While we were waiting to begin, I left the ???Minutes??™ opened at the minutes from our focus meeting and asked staff to look over them before the meeting began so we could then approve or amend as necessary when the ???Approval of Minutes??™ came up in the Agenda. I explained that this is what we would do before every Team Meeting from now on.
It is hoped that all members of staff would take it in turns to take minutes as this would develop their skill base, but for the first Team Meeting I decided to delegate this responsibility to the Playgroup Leader as she had already taken them for the focus meeting. My simple advice was that the minutes needed to be A B C. Accurate – Brief – Clear.
???There is one person who leads (or chairs) the meeting and makes sure the items on the agenda are being dealt with.??? Bruce etal (2011)
As chair for this meeting, I started the meeting promptly by welcoming all the staff and thanking them for coming. We then moved through the formalities and agenda. Allen & Economy (2011) suggested that if you announced the length of the meeting and then stuck to it, fewer participants would be looking at their watches, and more participants would take an active role in your meetings. For this reason, all agenda items were given a time allocation and I kept to this as much as possible.
As this was our first Team Meeting, the discussion would often deviate from the agenda. It was important that I continually brought the discussion back to the agenda point, in order for the meeting to achieve the goal of clearly presenting the subject of Team Meetings without running over time.
As Rautela (2009) points out, ???An effective and efficient meeting is one where the goal is achieved for which the meeting was held in the first place and takes place just as planned without any delays, interruptions or running late.???
As a group we together came up with some ground rules for our Team Meetings. When it comes to motivating staff, Morrison (2010) suggests ??? Wherever possible, allow workers to makes their own decisions and goals. Flexibility, choice and participation are rewarding and encourage responsibility.??? Being part of the process of developing the Ground Rules hopefully motivated the staff and gave team members a sense of responsibility and loyalty to the Team Meetings.
Ground Rules as Developed by Team
* Everyone turns off their mobile phones
* The meeting begins and ends on time
* We actively try to participate and contribute
* We come to the meeting prepared.
* Consensus would be used in decision making
Ground Rules as Developed by Team
* Everyone turns off their mobile phones
* The meeting begins and ends on time
* We actively try to participate and contribute
* We come to the meeting prepared.
* Consensus would be used in decision making

During agenda point discussion if an action was required, I checked with the Minute taker, that the name of the person responsible for the action was noted and also the date for completion. I also ensured that there was consensus and understanding before we moved onto the next agenda item. Allen & Economy (2010) give some good advice in this area. They suggest that unless they (Team meetings) are held purely to communicate information, or for other special purposes, most meetings result in action items, tasks, and other assignments for one or more participants. Dont assume that all participants are going to take their assignments to heart and remember all the details. Instead, be sure that someone has agreed to take on the job of record keeping.
Immediately after the meeting, I worked with the minute taker to summarize the general outcome of the meeting, as well as list the Actions and assignments that were delegated and a timelines. The minute taker assumed responsibility for copying this, and distributing it to all team members. See Table on next page.
General Outcome of Team Meeting. Dated: 22nd February 2012The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the initiative of ???Effective Team Meetings??™. The meeting itself was a great success with favour and support from all team members. The team developed their own Team Meeting Ground rules. They participated and contributed to all discussions. It was decided that Team Meetings would run on a trial basis for 6 mths. They will be held on the first Wednesday of the month at 1.15pm. As Playgroup will be closed on Wednesday 4th April, the team meeting will be held on Wednesday 28th March at 1.15pm.Action Plan |
Action | Assigned to: | Date |
Minutes at next meeting | Julie | 28/03/2012 |
Agenda drafted and distributed before next meeting | Kathy | 21/03/2012 |
Typing up & Distribution of Team Meeting Ground Rules | Karen | 01/03/2012 |
Parent??™s ???Service Evaluation??™ | Anita | 15/03/2012 |
Notice on Team Meetings | Julie | 01/03/2012 |
Learning Story update | All Staff to look over their key children and bring updates or concerns | 28/03/2012 |

As this was the first Team Meeting, I wanted to solicit some feedback. Over a number of days, following the meeting I informally asked staff a few questions regarding the meeting. For example, ???How do you feel the meeting went ??“ And how it went wrong. Were items on the agenda clear Was it too long etc.??™ Thankfully all feedback was positive.

D. Implementation of actions identified at the meeting.

???Firstly, supervision must provide a framework to enable staff to utilise their existing knowledge and skills. Secondly, supervision must help staff cope with processes of rapid change which require workers to adopt new roles, knowledge and skills.??? Morrison (2005)
Moyles (2008) would argue that the quality of a setting can depend heavily upon the quality, skills and effectiveness of those in charge. It is therefore important that I continue to show effective leadership and supervision. Missing or ineffective supervision can have a negative effect on the workers confidence. Knapman, and Morrison (2005)
By supervising staff during this period of change and increase work load, it is hoped that they would cope and develop into confident and competent workers. This will ensure that ???children and practitioners receive the best possible experiences and direction in their work and play and that parents and carers can have confidence in the setting. Moyles (2008)

Some of the effective supervision qualities that I demonstrated are outlined by Morrison (2005). It was vitally important that I communicated clearly the staff??™s roles and responsibilities regarding team meetings, and I feel that this was accomplished. Future Team meetings will definitely benefit the service and the children. I will be monitoring staff following the team meetings, to ensure their workloads are manageable and appropriate and at the same time supporting them in their work. All of these qualities will ultimately enhance the workers development and promote a supportive and positive atmosphere. Morrison (2005)
???The role/responsibility of the supervisor is to create a safe environment in which the employee can work through the developmental issues or challenges of each level in order to gain the necessary motivation, autonomy and self-awareness to successfully move to the next level of development.??? Pierce (2012)
It is hoped that with my effective supervision, staff will meet the goal of the organisation by successfully implementing Effective Team Meetings. ???The supervisor-worker relationship is the key encounter where the influence of organisational authority and professional identity collide, collude, or connect.??? (Middleman & Rhodes, 1980)


Action | Assigned to: | Support |
Learning Story update28/03/2012 | All Staff | As this involves all staff members I feel that planning for this should start first. As we are in the early stages of implementing Observations and the Learning Story, I feel that individual supervisory sessions might be helpful. Negotiations will need to take place with staff to work out the best times for this. |
Parent??™s ???Service Evaluation??™15/03/2012 | Anita | I would advise Anita to get the evaluation printed out as soon as possible, as parents can be slow in returning forms. Informal updates is probably all that would be required. |
Type up & DistributeTeam Meeting Ground Rules01/03/2012 | Karen | Karen is the administrator in playgroup and will need no supervision with task. An formal chat is probably all that will be needed to make sure the job is done within its time frame. |
Notice on Team Meetings01/03/2012 | Julie | Julie is creative and is competent using the computer. This task shouldn??™t cause any difficulties |
Agenda drafted and distributed before next meeting21/3/2012 | Kathy | Two weeks before the meeting I will need to audit the parent evaluation forms and see if any items can be added to the agenda. The Agenda will begin will Matters arising, that is basically a follow up of the action plan created at the last meeting. |
Minutes at next meeting28/03/2012 | Julie | Give Julie the handout on Minutes and spend time answering any questions. Show the previous minutes and give advice. This needs to be a planned supervision time. This could possibly be arranged for the week before the next team meeting. |

E. Reflection on Personal and Professional Learning

One of the earliest writers on Reflective Practice was John Dewey. His work went on to inspire others, such as, Donald Schon and David Boud. Boud et al (1985) defines reflection as an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it.
???Learning involves transforming experience into feelings (reflection),knowledge, attitudes, values (conceptualisation), behaviours and skills (active experimentation).??™ (Jarvis, 1995) Morrison (2005)

Kolb is one of the key theorists in this area and was greatly influenced by these early writers and went on to develop a theory of experiential learning. This is called The Kolb Cycle, The Learning Cycle or The Experiential Learning Cycle. According to Morrison (2005) Kolb states that adults learn from their experiences and that this procedure of learning includes four main parts. These include
* Experience
* Reflection
* Conceptualisation
* Active experimentation
I will be using Kolb??™s cycle as I reflect on my time completing this module and assignment.

Dewey (1933) identified the three characteristics or attitudes of people who are reflective as; open-mindedness, responsibility and wholeheartedness.
At the beginning of this assignment I compiled at SWOT.
Strengths | Weaknesses |
1. Have owned and managed my own playgroup for the past 7 yrs 2. Have lots of experience working with children and young people in different voluntary and church settings 3. Would be confident and outgoing 4. Love new challenges. | 1. Haven??™t studies for the past 7 yrs 2. Currently busy with other commitments. 3. Not familiar with assignment layout 4. Still recovering from illness 5. Easily overwhelmed |
Opportunities | Threats |
1. Opportunity to develop supervisory skills and gain a deeper understanding and knowledge about leadership and effective supervision. 2. I will also be able to use this knowledge in my playgroup and practically apply what I learn. | 1. Not sure if im physically fit enough to complete assignment 2. Afraid ill not be able to understand the assignment requirements 3. It might be difficult to implement changes in the workplace because of friendships. |

As I looked back and reflected upon my learning experiences during this module and assignment, one of the first questions I asked myself was, ???Did I achieve my original goals??? Broadly speaking, I feel that I did achieve my goals.
* I successfully ???Planned, Implemented and Evaluated a Team Meeting??™
* I successfully studied and completed all of the module content.


According to Kolb (1984) and Jarvis (1995), learning is activated by experience, either in terms of a problem to be solved, a situation that is unfamiuliar , or a need to be satisfied. Morrison (2005) When it came to this learning experience it was definitely unfamiliar as our playgroup didn??™t have team meetings; and it was a need that needed to be satisfied, in that, it was a requirement to pass a Fetec level 6 module. These were both motivators in my learning.
After learning in class about ???Effective Supervision??™ I realized the need to be capable and compentent when it comes to planning, implementing and evaluating the team meeting.

I enjoyed researching for templates and guides for effective team meetings, Agendas and minutes and found that in learning these basic skills like drafting an agenda, keeping minutes or chairing a meeting, I was developing my skill base. I now know that I will be able to successfully implement Team Meetings in my own setting, as this whole experience has given me the confidence to do this. When it came to drafting the Minutes template, I found that my first draft was too restrictive for agenda items. I then redrafted and decided to include just lines to allow free flow.

I also applied my knowledge of running effective team meetings, Morrison (2005). I did this by:
* Drafting and circulating the agenda a week before the meeting
* I started the meeting promptly and kept the meeting to the agreed time frame
* I kept the meeting ???on point??™
* Delegated tasks with specific time frames
* Set the date for a future meeting
* Achieved the meeting goal of ???Introducing Effective Team Meetings.??™

I feel that my evaulation, ???The team meeting was a success??™ is fair and a true reflection of the meeting; I had the full support of the staff throughout the meeting and positive feedback afterwards. Due to the fact that I had an motivated team, I didn??™t really have any difficulties or challenges to overcome, as they were all very supportive.
I had a very positive learning experience and because of the success of the meeting, I don??™t think I would do anything differently.

As highlighted earlier in this assignment, the staff had recently been struggling without clear direction and quality within the service had been affected. I wanted to start rebuilding the team.
The staff team were actively involved in: planning from the meetings, by participating in the focus meeting and then the actual team meeting. ???Teamwork is a vital component of quality in early childhood care and education.??? Siolta (2006)

???For team development programmes to be effective there muct be commitment form all team members to participate rather than just attend.??? French (2008) He goes on to suggest that: listening, understanding, speaking, questioning, clarifying and risk taking are some of the ways that staff can participate. The staff fully participating in many of these ways, during both the focus meeting and the team meeting. The Playgroup Leader helped with agenda planning, she took the minutes, the staff actively particapated during discussions and developed the Team Meeting Ground Rules. They also volunteer for tasks, or were willing when asked. Overall I don??™t think I could??™ve asked for a more committed team, for a successful team meeting.

As mentioned about, the Team meeting was an excellent opportunity for staff to be involved in the process of implementing an initiative, something they had never done before. According to Bruce et al (2011), it is very important for team members to feel that they have been part of developing a clear, shared sense of direction and principles. In this wasy they each person will align what they do with larger goals and aims, and feel a sense of pride and achievement.
Overall, I feel that the team members learnt a lot from the meeting, and that the experiences gained will be of benefit and will help them grow as competent, confident team members.

???Reflective practice is a process which enable you to achieve a better understanding of yourself, your skills, competencies, knowledge and professional practice. Gibbs (1988)

The Module
At the beginning of this module, I was a bit apprehensive that because I hadn??™t studied for 10yrs I would find it hard to adapt to being a student. The classes however, were great and I really enjoyed them. I think the subject matter, the class size and the tutor were all instrumental in helping me to settle and relax.
I chose to do this module, ???Supervision in Childcare??™ as I felt that this was a subject that I needed to learn. The course made me realise how much, my own playgroup needed effective supervision, as the benefits for it cannot be denied. It also made me realize that the staff are currently struggling because of lack of supervision. I am going to address these issues as soon as possible and hopefully implement ???Effective Supervision.??™

The practical subjects, such as ???Stress in the Workplace??™ and ???Motivation??™ were both informative and I felt that I could relate to a number of issues highlighted. I didn??™t really realize how the introduction of Aistear and Siolta could possibly cause added stress to staff. Again, the implementation of supervision will help me with these issues.

The Assignment
As someone who is used to public speaking, I wasn??™t too concerned about chairing a team meeting. I knew that I would be able to confidently and clearly present and chair. I also feel that my experience and time in a childcare setting gave me the needed confidence to introduce the initiative. The knowledge I had gained in class on ???Team Meetings??™ also gave me the confidence and belief that the introduction of Team Meetings would be good practice. I also feel that because I had a good relationship with staff, they were willing to give the meeting a fair hearing before making any judgements.

Throughout the planning stage I feel that I developed better time management skills and organisational skills, as I had to work around other work and family commitments.
I have had lots of experience in playgroup, developing hand outs, policies, leaflets, etc and had no problems drafting up Agendas or minutes.
During the actual meeting, I was abit reluctant to assign tasks, if there were no volunteers. I found this the most difficult part of the assignment. I know myself, that in the past, I would assume responsibility for a task, because I didn??™t like to ask people. Through this assignment, and the material covered in ???Supervision??™ I now realise that an important part of supervision is the ability to assign tasks and delegate. This is a definite weakness that I hadn??™t really considered, and will need to address.


I feel that in the case of this assignment I did extremely well and that I effectively planned, implemented and evaluated a team meeting.

However, as I reflect on this assignment, and the course module, I am now fully aware, that I really need to address Supervision in the Playgroup.
After learning about the benefits of supervision and the results of no or poor supervision, I realise the necessity of it and the role I will have to play in it. This obviously means I need to look at myself and evaluate my own role as a supervisor within the setting.

Although I have learned a lot during this time, I still feel there is much to learn regarding ???Supervision in Childcare??™; and as a result of this module and assignment, I know that I will be better prepared to develop the necessary skills needed to implement SupervisionS into my setting.

Structure for Assignment
Throughout this assignment I have used critical analysis and have included reference material for support.
A Introduction
1. Reasons for Implementing Team Meetings and Issues Arising. Also included in this section is a SWOT
* Lack of supervision
* No regular team meetings
* Staff competency
* Siolta & Aistear
* Workplace stress

2. Stakeholders & Communication. Communication is also covered in more detail in the Focus meeting section.
B Planning & Preparation for the Team Meeting.
1. Information Gathering and Communication for Focus Meeting.
* Considerations regarding day/time/venue for FOCUS meeting and decision making on Agenda items for FOCUS meeting are included.

2. The Focus Meeting
* This section covers all communication with staff regarding the team meeting and also covers the Consideration given to day/time/venue for TEAM meeting and the decision making for agenda items.

3. Motivating and managing a team
* Availability and Approachability Prior to the meeting
* Focus Meeting Agenda
* Focus Meeting Minutes/Record
* Team Meeting Agenda

C Managing the meeting
1. Preparation on the day
2. Chairing the meeting
3. Decision making and delegation of responsibilities
4. Outcome Table
* Minutes/Record of Team Meeting

D Implementation of actions identified at the meeting
1. The role of Supervisor/Leader and skills required
2. Action Plan Table

E Reflection on Personal and Professional Learning
1. Evaluation of my own role in this assignment.
* Kolb??™s Cycle of learning
2. Value of the team meeting to the team members
3. My Personal learning and My Professional learning.


Humanities Critique of Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane Critique
The character, Charles Foster Kane, was born into a humble and slightly deprived family. A mine that was given to his parents happens to be very rich in gold and the family suddenly becomes wealthy. Kane??™s mother soon puts him into the hands of a New York banker by the name of Walter Thatcher in order to give him a life more in his favor. Kane was raised in an extravagant manner but was still not fond of Mr. Thatcher. When Kane is an adult he then takes control of the The Inquirer and thought that it would only be fun to run a newspaper. He writes his Declaration of Principles stating that he will deliver the truth to his readers and to defend the people of the underclass. However, Kane almost instantly gets caught up in being the most-read paper and publishes yellow journalism, going against his word. He marries the President??™s niece, Emily Norton, and aspires to become a politician himself until his affair with a young singer, Susan Alexander, ruins his marriage and his chances for Governor of New York. Kane forces this new woman to perform opera against her liking and loses her partly because of this reason. After Susan tries to commit suicide he relinquishes her from the performing duties and they retire to his mansion, Xanadu, in Florida. Kane could not control his selfishness and ultimately dies in his mansion with meaningless possessions that were meant to make him feel accomplished.
Jedidiah Leland was a close friend of Kane??™s and was the reporter for the The Inquirer. Leland came from a family who had lost their money. He met Kane in one of the colleges that the selfish millionaire was expelled from. When Kane writes the Declaration of Principles, Leland wishes to keep the document out of admiration and the thought that someday that original paper would be worth something. He maintained the ideals and morality that Kane himself loses over time. He and Kane disagreed on the stories that were being published. He left his friend??™s paper when he realized that he really wanted to abandon the yellow journalism and publish true stories and wrote a negative, but honest, article about Susan Alexander??™s latest performance. He also sends a $25,000 check back to Kane along with the original Declaration of Principles since to him both have lost their worth. The last we know of Jedidiah Leland is that he is in a nursing home with nurses who he tricks to believe that he has stopped smoking.
Susan Alexander is the second wife to Charles Foster Kane. Kane knows that her mother??™s dream was for her to become a singer. Kane uses his power and wealth to push her to become a subpar opera singer. Although Susan continuously complains about being a singer against her will, coldness, and lack of attention from her husband, Kane still pushes the singing and even tries to persuade others into liking his wife. The pressure and humiliation promotes Susan to attempt suicide. After the singing had halted, she stayed with Kane in Xanadu surrounded by insignificant statues and solving jigsaw puzzles by the fire. She left Kane only when she could take it no more.
Emily Norton is Charles Foster Kane??™s first wife. He marries Norton, the President??™s niece, a time after taking over the newspaper and loves her happily. The couple begins their relationship as most other newlyweds, joyous and loving. The couple is seen passing adoring comments and attentively tending to one another. As Kane becomes more enveloped by the his newspaper the couple spends less meaningful time together. Kane is always talking about the paper or at the office and Emily gets fed up. She spites her husband by reading a newspaper other than his and eventually stops talk to him in the time that they do have together. The relationship ends when the love-nest of Kane and Susan is exposed.
There are actually a few reasons why Orson Welles chose to produce his debut movie in black and white. The black and white could make a statement that the story is not clear. The story could not be clear for multiple reasons. First, the whole movie is trying to solve the strange mystery of ???rosebud,??? and the black and white emphasizes the fact that nobody finds what Kane??™s last words meant. The black and white also stress the flashbacks of the story. Often memories are clouded and aren??™t perfectly remembered and would accent the secrecy of the life of Kane especially since it is also sometimes thought that the whole movie could be a flashback of Kane??™s recollection right before his death. The lack of coloring even sets off the gloomy and miserable plot. It provides a fatal and domineering feel to everything around Kane and other characters.
Welles also worked a lot with the lighting. He used high-contrast lighting to create depth and shadows. With the high contrast lighting he can put his characters in bright light or hide them in the dark like he commonly does with Jerry Thompson and the people being interviewed are being shown brightly. The lighting that Kane uses taken from theatre techniques also acts as a spotlight. By using the high-contrast lighting, Welles can direct the viewers eyes to a specific place on the screen or a certain person.
Camera angles in Citizen Kane are unique and change the characters. The camera varies from low-angle shots to straight shot to over-head shots. The varieties of camera angles were important to Welles because he even had holes put into the set floors. The straight shots are added to show that characters are equal to one another, on the same playing field. The shots shot from a low point looking up to a person gives that person power, as if someone lesser than they are looking up to them. This is often exhibited with shots of Kane. The over-bearing shots are shot to look down on a person. In shots with Susan and Kane, we frequently see Susan looking up to Kane, or Kane looking down upon Susan, as he towers and powers over her. All the control is given to Kane through camera angles.
The deep-focus lens also cast a new look over the shot. The lens made it so that objects in the foreground and background are completely in focus. Deep focus was particularly effective in scenes that depict Kanes loss of control and personal isolation. The space between the foreground and the background are symbolic of the space he commands, and the space in which he has no power.