The solution to Britain’s knife crime and gang problem – Vicars?

Switch the T.V or Radio on right now and you are bound to soon hear about the latest tragic inner-city youth stabbing or person being shot dead for having a slightly different postcode or belonging to a different gang. Britain certainly seems to be having a problem at the moment, and coming from a south London council estate myself I find it very concerning.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on what can solve this problem, usually involving a long prision sentence (or worse if you listen to some TalkSport callers) but I found the suggestion from a group called “Churches together in England” to be quite interesting. They are suggesting that clergy move into some of the most badly affected areas and act as role models to those perpetrating the crime and belonging to the gangs.

Could this work? I genuinely believe that one of the major reasons some young people involve themselves in activities like this is because they have not had strong enough role models in their lives, and as such have looked at Gangster rappers and 70’s Gangster movies (just two examples) to provide templates, as well as “Ghetto” life in the USA, but I dont believe this is the primary cause.

Could these clergy really have such an effect that teenagers all over London and elsewhere who arm themselves because they are GENUINELY scared would be willing to follow a different path? or would an influx of white middle class men (or women) be seen merely as do-gooders and interferers, and put themselves in danger spreading a message that could be seem as other-wrodlty and completely out of sync with everyday life in these areas?

story can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2307209/Vicars-should-move-to-inner-cities-to-combat-knife-crime%2C-church-report-says.html

The Churches Together report is at: http://www.churches-together.net/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=27798

Digital Adventures in Milton Keynes

Tuesday saw me off, with colleagues from across the University, on a road trip to that most mystical and romantic of destinations: Milton Keynes.

We were there to visit the Digilab of the Open University. It is a ‘showcase for tools, technologies and resources illustrating how today’s technology can nurture tomorrow’s learners’ – as their website says. It is mainly a resource for the OU staff who design course materials.

They had an impressive array of games consoles (wii fit boards, 360s, PS3s, PSPs, DS Lites – etc), Mobile phones, PDAs, Macs to access Second Life on (with OU avatars to show visitors the educational islands), and much more. While we were there, some staff were working with the real-time, interactive education tool Elluminate, which looked very interesting.

I hope we can get more of this technology into our teaching – I just need to read a book I saw there called Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning Professionals….

Philosophy & Ethics Reading Group

Some developments for the Philosophy & Ethics reading group we run:

We’re hoping to set it up as an official student society which will give us additional benefits, and more importantly, a regular place to meet.

For this to be set up, it needs an official committee (of which Shelley Campbell has kindly volunteered to chair), and at least 10 signed up members.

Can you let Shelley know if you are willing to sign up (obviously you need to be a member of the University of Gloucestershire) by emailing her on s0510427@glos.ac.uk

We are also hoping to get a stand at the Freshers’ Fayre in order to widen our membership.

Please let myself or Shelley know if you have any other questions.

Ethics, Cheap Clothes and tough decisions?

Recent publicity here in the UK has focussed attention on the phenomena of very cheap clothing for sale in the UK. The spotlight recently fell on Primark – which defends itself robustly at http://www.ethicalprimark.co.uk/ – after the BBC showed a number of claims regarding the fashion chain’s alleged use of child labour: you can watch the programme below..

Is it appropriate for us to worry about this? Do we have a duty to take responsibility for the origins of that we buy? I am asking this, first, of some visiting Year 9 pupils (14 year olds) – who will make some comments – but comments from all are welcome..

See http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/2008/06/the-devil-wears.html for some interesting debate on this issue

Dave