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Rudd's $1m pursuit of happiness

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Guest, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    THE federal government has spent $1 million this year delivering positive psychology workshops to staff and teachers, a Senate hearing has heard.

    The opposition says the "happiness'' workshops were an extravagance that couldn't possibly have increased productivity or well-being as intended.

    American psychologist Martin Seligman, who heads the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, ran the residential workshops at Geelong Grammar School in Victoria during January.

    The commonwealth spent $642,000 sending 100 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) staff to a five-day course.

    It also spent $350,000 sending government and non-government teachers to two other five-day workshops earlier in the month.

    Under questioning from coalition senators, DEEWR officials told the Senate estimates hearing that Prof Seligman, the author of numerous self-help books including Authentic Happiness, had up to 15 support staff at Geelong.

    "That's larger than the prime minister's entourage,'' Liberal senator Brett Mason said, adding that the cost was too high given the climate of belt-tightening and the global financial crisis.

    Liberal senator Michael Ronaldson said the department should have used a local provider instead of someone from the United States.

    He also questioned the effectiveness of the workshop for DEEWR staff.

    "Did you have to be unhappy to get one of the gigs (at the conference)?'' he asked the Senate committee.

    "Why would you be paying $6,500 for people to be taught how to be happy when you didn't actually know if they were unhappy?''

    DEEWR deputy secretary Ewen McDonald said the staff workshop was all about investing in skills.

    "Part of that is building the sort of organisation that is as productive as it can be and as motivated as it can be,'' Mr McDonald said.

    "Good productivity and motivation comes from people being able to deal with adversity as it arises.''

    The department said that when staff were unhappy they weren't productive.

    Staff rated the course 4.5 out or five, Mr McDonald said, which led Senator Mason to quip: "So everyone was happy''.

    DEEWR secretary Lisa Paul told the estimates hearing similar management courses often cost up to $12,000 per person, even when using local providers.

    Senator Kim Carr, representing Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard, accused the coalition of belittling an international expert and a standard training program.

    "You are simply trying to denigrate and ridicule individuals,'' he said.
     
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Sounds lke a sensible use of tax payers money.

    Now if only Rudd could spend a few billion more and put the remaining 21m people in Australia through the course then we would be the happiest country in the world. 

    Sounds ike a good course for stressed out Bankers at the CBA.
     
  3. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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  4. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Sounds very Scientology
     
  5. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I have been to a two day course on Positive Psychology. It is the latest craze in the psychological world, is becoming mainstream, though I must say that I am quite dubious regarding aspects of what is underpinning the whole movement. It is very big in certain independent schools. Knox Grammar could do with a bit of happiness training atm.
     
  6. Guest

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    Speaking of Knox I thought this article by Richard Neville showed that times and community attitudes were different 40 or 50 years ago. 

    Richard Neville: my school of hard Knox Wednesday, 25 February 2009

    Futurist and former Oz magazine editor Richard Neville writes:

    Three teachers from Sydney's Knox Grammar school have been arrested by police on charges of indecently assaulting children. The acts allegedly occurred in 1979, 1984 and 1987, which suggests the victims have brooded over the assault for decades.

    Some students from Knox came to the court after learning of the arrests and said they were shocked. One boy blurted out that "the school has a proud tradition and this is very disturbing", which is true. When I attended the school half a century ago, assaults on children were almost a daily occurrence. A current charge relates to a teacher "repeatedly stroking a boy's p-nis with his hands", while in my day, the teachers repeatedly stroked our bare bottoms with canes.

    Afterwards they said, "Let this be a lesson to you".

    Such assaults were vicious and had been going on since 1924, when Knox was founded by the Presbyterian Church (now the Uniting Church). It is why the school’s official colours are black and blue. Even today, a journal of Knox rugby supporters is proudly entitled Black&Blue.

    Even the school song emphasises the hands-on physicality of a Knox education: "Do not think that we'll forget, the lessons that we treasure yet". It seems the students who filed the latest complaints have not forgotten their lessons.

    It was at prep school in the 1950s where some of the teachers unleashed their inner sadist. I saw boarders as young as seven caned for minuscule infringements as soon as they stepped out of the shower, watched by trembling infants. An older boy was flogged until his backside bled, which elicited a rare complaint from the steely matron to the icy house-master, himself a dab hand with the lash. The victim's crime? Caught red handed at the back of the bicycle shed stroking his p-nis. Keep in mind that the school motto, Virile Agitur, means "doing the manly thing".

    In 1953 Knox acquired a new headmaster from Scotland, John Couper, who wanted to focus on music and art, and always carried a souvenir of his homeland, a tawse, a thick leather strap used for the purpose of teaching Latin. Despite this, he was at heart a dreamy poet, and was sacked by the governors in 1956. Most of the teachers went on strike in his support and were sacked. Knox became known as the school without a head. It never had much of a heart and by now it hardly had any teachers, though school fees were not reduced. Our class pretty much put itself through the final year without being distracted by teachers or corporal punishment.

    It was long after my day that some of the Knox staff seemed to have initiated a cultural shift from sp-nking to w-nking. Perhaps they were trying to keep up with the times. In one of the recent assaults on a student body, a teacher allegedly recorded it on a digital camera.

    As today's revelations of alleged Knox goings on may unleash a witch hunt against gay teachers, I should mention that in my era of "beat 'em black & blue", the most compassionate teachers were closet homos-xuals, who rarely resorted to violence. Back then, the "stroking of p-nis" activities usually took place between the boys, often in the back of the classroom, and did not require a teacher’s helping hand.

    As I write, s-xual assault complaints from former students at Knox continue to roll in and the school has offered counselling to former pupils. This will be interesting. lan Paterson, headmaster of the school during the 1980s, said he would not comment on the recently aired allegations, except to express his disbelief that such a thing could have occurred.

    "I hadn't a clue what was going on," Dr Paterson said, but headmasters rarely do. So let this be a lesson to you, sir.
     
  7. Fluffy

    Fluffy Well-Known Member

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    Knox was well known in my time as a school that got up to a lot behind closed doors.
     
  8. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I can say with some knowledge that in times past, what went on in many schools, by today's standards was pretty average. Most have cleaned up their acts out of necessity.
     
  9. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    and now their chickens are coming home to roost
     
  10. clontaago

    clontaago Well-Known Member

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    $6500 pp is a bit steep.

    Rub and Tug is only $60.
     
  11. The Gronk

    The Gronk Well-Known Member

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    you pay one dollar per second eh?
     

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