LIFE PASSAGES & LEARNING PATHS

April 28, 2017

 ELF 17 Rotorua Web
“Why can’t they be like we were,
Perfect in every
way?                                                                     
What’s the matter with kids today?”
Kids – Bye Bye Birdie                                                 

Why are young people like they are? What can we do so they can do better? Some key answers will be provided at Education Leaders Forum 2017  Life Passages & Learning Paths, to be held in Rotorua on 23 & 24 August.

ELF17 is about making a positive difference to individuals and their communities by understanding life shaping developmental and environmental factors and path changers in the journey from infancy to adulthood.

Key research findings

The forum will pick up on key research findings from world leading New Zealand longitudinal studies. These include the University of Otago’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study founded by Dr Phil Silva. This internationally renowned study examines the progressive results of ongoing research into the lives of 1,000 New Zealanders born 46 years ago in Dunedin.

Other relevant findings will come from the University of Auckland’s Growing Up in New Zealand study which is keeping tabs on the growth and development of initially 6,000+ children from a variety of ethnicities. The study aims to improve the lives of their generation and answer the fundamental question: What makes us who we are?

Cross-Sector Collaboration

The 2017 forum will be the eleventh in an annual series involving Education leaders and aspiring leaders from across the learning spectrum from early childhood to post-tertiary education. It will also be highly relevant for those working with children, youth and families in Social Welfare, Health and Justice agencies.

Speakers from different sectors will explain how collaboratively those who work with children and young people can help influence the choice of individual learning and earning pathways for the better and draw on support networks when intervention is needed at different life stages. Better life trajectories, based on individual talents, passions and personalised goals, add up to better outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

Stimulating Speakers

Speakers include Dr Phil Silva , Founder and Past Director, Dunedin Longitudinal Study; Ass. Prof. Susan Morton,  Director, Centre for Longitudinal Research, University of Auckland; Dr Reremoana (Moana) Theodore , Co-Director, National Centre for Lifecourse Research (NCLR); Dr John Langley ONZM, Strategic Lead- Evidence Informed Practice, Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki; Ass.Prof. Nicola Atwool, Social Work Programme, Dept of Sociology, University of Otago; Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee, Chief Education Advisor, Ministry of Education; Dr Annelies Kamp; Ass. Prof. Leadership, College of Education, University of Canterbury; Dr Craig Jones, Dep. Sec. Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education; Sue Blair, Director, Personality Dynamics Ltd; Jackie Talbot, General Manager, Secondary-Tertiary Group, Ministry of Education;  Dr Gaye Tyler-Merrick, Coordinator: PGDip.Ed (endorsed in Positive Behaviour Support), UC and Dr John Boereboom, Director, CEM (NZ) – Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring.

See Programme as at 21/4/17

Making a real difference for children

ELF17 will have a strong strand linked to the aims of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. It is also relevant to learners at all levels, including the highly gifted, in terms of unlocking their potential.

As well as developmental themes, ELF17 will pick up on the fast changing environment, especially in terms of rapidly evolving learning places and work spaces, and the implications for educators in terms of enhancing teaching and learning and strengthening connections with parents, employers and communities.

While early childhood years are crucial for facilitating the development of healthy and engaged adults who become lifelong learners there are other key life passages where timely intervention can make a huge difference. This can come from the personal attention of an interested teacher or the support of another sympathetic adult, often outside the immediate family circle.

Positive Goals
 “Hope is necessary. It is a necessary concept. What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”  Michele Obama

It is important to give children hope in terms of their future prospects, as demonstrated in Dr Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology work. Better work pathways are revealed by helping learners set personalised goals based on their talents and passions. Better learning and work outcomes help to break the cycle of material and cultural poverty.

ELF17 is supported by the Ministry of Education and the Wright Family Foundation

Lyall Lukey, ELF Convener      lyall@smartnet.co.nz

*Blinks
Overview: ELF 2017
All Speakers
Programme
Registration Options


Tomorrow’s Skills: Action Now

July 13, 2016

“…we’re about to be late for tomorrow.”  Alvin Toffler
 Toffler, the author of Future Shock who died at the end of June, issued the famous wake-up call above to an earlier generation. Will  too many learners currently in New Zealand’s education system be late for tomorrow’s  new world of work?

Education Leaders Forum 2016 Tomorrow’s Skills will help educators  understand the implications for all learners of technological , economic  and social Shift and the  fragmented future of work , which will bring both threats and opportunities.  Forum participants will also access timely strategies and resources  for preparing learners now to adapt to the future by developing an appropriate skills portfolio.

Yesterday’s Schools?

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn,” Alvin Toffler
 “Tomorrow’s Schools” was implemented a quarter of a century ago in a world which no longer exists. Drones, electric cars, 3d printing, hover boards and virtual reality will all be our collective reality as we move into in the Fourth Industrial Revolution which transcends the digital revolution of the last 50 years.

Wireless farming  is a reality in the Waikato and an example of much more than number 8 wire ingenuity. My stepfather, who immigrated as a 10 Pound Pom in 1951 and got his first job as a tie-wearing herd tester in the Waikato, would be flabbergasted.

In a digitised and globalised new world the nature of work is changing rapidly in terms of what is done, where and by whom, with huge implications for education and training. As technology becomes more pervasive, traditional trades disappear and a different mix of skills is demanded by employers .

The ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements is increasingly critical for education and training organisations in order to seize the opportunities presented by these trends and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.

21st Century Skills: A different mix

In today’s world, technical and digital literacy is of equal importance to English literacy and it is essential that progress be made in the way we educate and prepare our children.” Ian McCrae CE, Orion Health
The term “21st Century skills” contains the idea that the demands of the 21st century are sufficiently distinct from those of the previous century to make educational reform a necessity. Instantaneous access to information and the speed at which it dates have rendered an information-based education system redundant.

Education is not only about preparing people for the world of work, but employment readiness and adaptability are imperatives. Laying and strengthening the foundations for transferable cognitive, social and ICT skills is a lifelong journey from early childhood.

A 2015 Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Google Driving the skills agenda: Preparing students for the future shows how evolving business needs, technological advances and new work structures are redefining what are considered to be valuable skills for the future.

The EIU’s extensive research programme examined to what extent the skills taught in education systems around the world are changing. It inquired into the extent to which 21st Century skills, such as digital literacy (including coding), creative problem solving and live and distance teamworking and collaboration are complementing traditional skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic.

The recent – and some would say belated -announcement that digital technology is to be formally integrated into the New Zealand Curriculum picks up on the importance of preparing children and young people for a future where digital fluency will be critical for success .

The integration of skills

“Teachers need to understand that these are not taught skills but modelled skills,” B. Schreuder
Are young people learning the skills they need to adapt to New Zealand’s rapidly changing workplace?
21st Century skills cannot be taught in isolation: they must be integrated into every learning area via group projects, not bolted on as additional subjects for individuals, so that social and cognitive skills development becomes inseparable from knowledge sharing.

To be work ready students need to understand deadlines, to be able to work under pressure and to prioritise. They also need ongoing opportunities to gain experience of public speaking, networking, multimedia production and non-digital creative pursuits in music and the arts.

Opportunities and Threats

“Recent discussions about the employment impact of disruptive change have often been polarized between those who foresee limitless opportunities in newly emerging job categories and prospects that improve workers’ productivity and liberate them from routine work, and those that foresee massive labour substitution and displacement of jobs. Both are possible. It is our actions today that will determine whether we head towards massive displacement of workers or the emergence of new opportunities.’  World Economic Forum report The Future of Jobs 2015

People are on the move, changing jobs more often and switching careers or taking a portfolio approach to how they earn their living.

Work changes bring both opportunities and threats. There is the obvious risk of increased employment insecurity. More than half of the new jobs in advanced economies since the 1990s have been temporary, part-time or self-employed. At the same time the “portfolio economy”, self-employment and new business startups present big opportunities not available a generation ago.

Up to two thirds of new job entrants are getting their first job in roles that will either look very different or be completely lost in the next 10 to 15 years due to automation.

The changing economy certainly creates risks for individuals as well as organisations. As business models change, often abruptly because of disruptive technology, people will have to master multiple skills if they are to survive in such a world—and keep those skills up to date.

Microcosm or Time Capsule?

L > C  For an organisation to survive its rate of learning must be equal to, or greater than, the rate of change in its external environment.” Reg Revans
How well is the education system preparing young people for the future of work? It would seem that many young people are not being prepared for the right jobs and roles. Many are enrolled in fields of study that will be radically affected by automation.  They will need to learn how to learn and how to unlearn.

For all the outlier progress in some pockets of educational innovation, the world of education is not changing at the same pace as the world of work and the rate of technological disruption. Education at all levels needs to be a microcosm of the changing world not an anachronistic time capsule.

All involved in education and training need to reinterpret the world through new lenses not extrapolate the future from past experiences and present perceptions. Only then will they be able to truly help learners navigate their personal pathways to the future.

*Upcoming Event The tenth annual Education Leaders Forum Tomorrow’s Skills-Pathways to the Future will be held on 23 & 24 August 2016 at the Waipuna Conference Centre in Auckland. ELF16 is about the seismic shifts happening in the world of work, the demand for different skills and the implications for education at all levels. More at http://www.smartnet.co.nz/ 

Lyall Lukey, Convener of Education Leaders Forum 2016- Tomorrow’s Skills

 

 

 

 

 


Conferences: Where ideas have sex

August 25, 2010
“It’s not important how clever individuals are; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.”   Matt Ridley  

In the recent TedTalks video When ideas have sex Matt Ridley shows how the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart is the collective brain.

Given the proliferation of live and online professional development opportunities, what is the value of conferences for busy professional leaders?

Designed properly, live conferences are ideal for stimulating some cerebral rumpty dumpty through the sharing of experience and the fusion of new ideas.

A passive spectator-sport conference breaks the day into six slots and fills each with a speaker.  A bag and a pen may be the only legacy of an overdose of input. There is little output and no outcomes.

In contrast, a forum designed to be more interactive puts participants in the centre of the meeting process and builds in plenty of time for knowledge cafes and the other informal knowledge flows sparked by digital starters, short keynotes and open dialogue.

But even after a most stimulating event, post conference depression can easily set in. Many ideas are stillborn because of a lack of nourishment. Good intentions meet quotidian realities, the trivial many drive out the important few and all that is left is vague guilt about a lost opportunity.

Ed Bernacki, Canadian international speaker and founder of The Idea Factory, says: “As a speaker on innovation, I have opened several conferences recently with a simple question… ‘How many people have attended a conference like this before, made notes, and never looked at them again?’”  According to Bernacki usually two-thirds of the audience sheepishly raise their hands.

These events may have been fun, entertaining and informative. They may have rated highly on conference surveys. But were they a success? Was the investment effective?  Not unless they were a springboard for action back at the coalface- and not if participants didn’t have personalized takeaway resources plus the motivation to turn ideas into action.

For this reason he conceived the Conference Navigator Guide, a tool to help people get more from the event at the time and afterwards by helping them filter and manage the flow of new contacts, information and ideas.

The Guide helps bridge the crucial gap between inspiration and execution by challenging participants to act on the ideas surfaced and by providing the resources to help make this happen.

Ed Bernacki is an innovation facilitator at Education Leaders Forum 2010*, to be held in Rotorua 20-21 October.

The theme of this year’s forum is Cultivating Learning and articulates a living systems approach to growing education professionals based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in relationship with each other rather than in isolation. In the words of Margaret Wheatley: “To create better health in a living system, connect it to more of itself.”   

The annual forums, which started in 2007, connect islands of practice and increase the diversity and richness of the learning ecology-an open and complex adaptive system comprising elements that are dynamic and interdependent.

 The forum involves people from across the whole learning spectrum so they can be more aware of what is happening upstream and downstream from their own niche. As Etienne Wenger points out, the best insights often occur at the boundaries between learning communities.

As well as gaining fresh perspectives, education leaders in different sectors and at different levels confront similar challenges, both in terms of their own professional renewal  and in how best to engage their colleagues in professional development and in coming to grips with a new curriculum and new learning media.

At ELF 10 extra value will come from the harvesting of ideas and resources for upload to the Centre4ELF website. There will also be some distilled policy input for education ministries and other stakeholders, but the main outcome is what individuals commit to do in their own learning community.

Cognition Education is the Major Sponsor of Education Leaders Forum 2010. The Cognition logo with the green Koru symbol and the leaf unfurling refers to the unfolding of learning and fits perfectly with this year’s theme of Cultivating Learning.

ELF Supporters include Waiariki Institute of Technology, Core Education, Massey University, Learning Media, Te Kura (formerly the Correspondence School) and Lukey Resources.

 

#BLINKS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNFRg1Tu1y8     Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex 
http://www.smartnet.co.nz/events/ELF/2010.htm Education Leaders Forum 2010
http://www.smartnet.co.nz/events/ELF/2011.htm  Education Leaders Forum 2011     Wellington,  31 Aug-1 Sept

 #Lyall Lukey  25 Aug 2010
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
 https://bluggerme.wordpress.com  My other blog

 

 


 
 
        

Older Neurons: Hi-Ho Silver Lining

July 11, 2010

“Keeping active can increase your brain power.  Scientists have discovered that the human brain can improve with advancing years, dispelling the common belief that a person’s mental faculties peak in their twenties.”  Steven Swinford and Richard Kerbaj*

Even if some of us are  still not  sure what we’re going to do when we grow up, many of us more mature people are a bit apprehensive about the possible onset of the dreaded Mental Brewer’s Droop in its various manifestations, from minor short-term memory loss to the big A.  (Don’t forget that next week is Alzheimers Awareness and Appeal Week*).   

But it seems that while short-term memory may, in fact, decline with old age, long-term memory in most people remains unaffected and a person’s vocabulary, emotional intelligence and social skills may all get better.

In their recent article Brain Power Peaks In The Silver Set * Swinford and Kerbaj pulled together an interesting synthesis of recent studies which are part of a wider reappraisal of research into intelligence that began several years ago and which “has overturned the notion that intelligence peaks in the late twenties, prompting a long, slow and inevitable decline.”*

Older people are able to retain and hone an effective a range of skills. Until now some in the more mature ranks have been more concerned with dandruff than dentrites, but it appears that expert knowledge is stored in brain cells known as dendritic spines which  seem to be protected against ageing by a metaphorical silver lining.

When it comes to decision making, it also turns out that older people are more likely to be rational than young people because their brains are less susceptible to surges of dopamine, the feelgood hormone that can lead to impulsive reactions and dopey decisions. Despite slower brain speed, older people apparently solve problems more efficiently, drawing on “cognitive templates” of how they resolved similar problems in the past. The key is the process for problem solving not the content of the answer.

We know that top sports people are considered over the hill in their mid-30s but many of the most influential people in politics, business, law, literature and science are in their late fifties and sixties or older. Management gurus W. Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker were both still lecturing in their mid-90s.

Not only changing demographic patterns but also the loss of significant cognitive resources have led to demands for the retirement age to be lifted in some professions in the UK.

 New Zealand no longer has an obligatory retirement age, though age 65, when national superannuation kicks in, has become the target retirement age for many New Zealanders,  but an increasing number are staying on in the work force, not necessarily because they have to but because they want to. However, the older and more experienced often struggle to hold on to their present positions, let alone gain new ones.  

The ageist struggle starts more than two decades earlier for executive aspirants. Over the years there have been different  invisible barriers in respect to senior management jobs. First the class ceiling, which kept out those from the wrong side of the school tracks; then the glass ceiling, which kept out women. Now it’s the crass ceiling which favours the young and brash at the expense of the mature and experienced.  In the light of the findings above, this is waste management.

My view is that “retirement” should be spelt “retyrement” and it  should be about finding new ways of getting traction for one’s distilled experience and knowledge in a society which  is data and information rich but knowledge and wisdom poor.

We’ve heard a lot about Generations X and Y. Let’s now hear it for Generation S-the  65+years old silver set. Those of us in this age bracket are in our element: just as silver is precious, with the highest electrical conductivity of any metal,  the new research demonstrates that  silver-lined neurons are pretty good at conducting the impulses which are the functional units of the nervous system. With the right physical and mental exercise,  neurons can be kept in better nick at later life passages for more people than hitherto thought.

A sad minority have real problems. In 2008 about 40,000 Kiwis, or about 1% of the population, sufferered from dementia.  With demographic changes, this number is predicted to rise by 400% by mid century.

But pre-shroud every cloud  has a silver lining. Synonyms for silver include bright, lustrous, resplendent and sterling.  Most members of Generation S are capable of rendering sterling service if they keep their knowledge and skills polished.

Switched on Neuron

 Let’s go on the attack and claim back the feel good 60s song Hi-Ho Silver Lining back from English football clubs like Everton who, after England’s World Cup performance, deserve a song with a much whiter shade of pale and make it the anthem of a resplendent Silver Generation.

Hi-Ho Silver Lining*  (Scott English / Larry Weiss)
You're everywhere and nowhere, baby,
That's where you're at
Going down the bumpy hillside in your hippie hat
Flying across the country and getting fat
Saying everything is groovy
When your tires are flat     
And it's hi-ho silver lining
Anywhere you go now, baby
I see your sun is shining but I will make a fuss
Though it's obvious
Flies are in your pea soup, baby  
They're waving at me
Anything you want is yours now,
Only nothing's for free
Life's a-gonna get you someday,
Just wait and see
So put up your beach umbrella
While you're watching TV
And it's hi-ho silver lining
Anywhere you go, well, baby
I see your sun is shining but I will make a fuss
Though it's obvious

*BLINKS
Brain power peaks in the silver set Steven Swinford and Richard Kerbaj  Sunday Times  27 June 2010 www.alzheimers.org.nz   For information and to donate
http://themindperspective.files.wordpress.com     Neuron visual etc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD7KkJopku8  Hi-Ho Silver Lining- first released as a single in March 1967 by The Attack and a few days later by Jeff Beck  Vid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYPoRFRhVzE&feature=related  -Everton Fans at  Wembley Singing Hi-Ho Silver Lining  Vid
Send “Hi Ho Silver Lining” Ringtone to your Cell

 #Lyall Lukey11 July 2010
http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz
https://bluggerme.wordpress.com  My other blog


Slumdog Paupers-One child at a time

May 8, 2010

 Such a beautiful, inspiring woman and a great leader. I especially liked what she said…about being the one who is transformed, by the children… I’ve come to believe that we can learn just as much from children, they are our teachers too. And sometimes it’s more so a matter of relearning what is vitally critical to our hearts and happiness, that we’ve lost under the layers we’ve gathered as we’ve grown up.” Sussana-Cole King

It wouldn’t do for the policy analysts closer to home, but educating the poor is more than just a numbers game according to the remarkable Shukla Bose, the founder and head of the Parikrma Humanity Foundation, an Indian not-for-profit organisation which runs four extraordinary schools for poor children.

On TEDTalk* she tells the inspiring story of her groundbreaking Foundation, which brings hope to many families in some of India’s slums by looking beyond the daunting statistics and focusing on treating each child as an individual.

This is quite a different way of ensuring that no child is left behind-by lifting their eyes to the universe of opportunities revealed by learning.

#Lyall Lukey 8 May 2010 

http://www.lukey.co.nz/  http://www.smartnet.co.nz

*BLINKS

http://www.ted.com/talks/shukla_bose_teaching_one_child_at_a_time.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-03-31 

Full bio and more links Shukla Bose

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtZKwp6cjd4  Nat King Cole Stardust


Nancy Wake-the path of most resistance

June 14, 2009

 “Freedom is the only thing worth living for.  While I was doing that work I used to think that it didn’t matter if I died, because without freedom there was no point in living.”  Nancy Wake

 Nancy Wake lives on as New Zealand’s unsung World War II hero.  After fighting with the French resistance she became one of the most highly decorated people of the war.  She received the British George Medal, the American Medal of Freedom and not one but two Croix de Guerre from the French as well as the Medaille de Resistance and later the Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur.

After Australian journalist and rugby player Peter Fitzsimons wrote her biography in 2001*, her adopted homeland belated recognized her. In 2004 Nancy Wake was, at long last, awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia.

 In 2006 Nancy received the New Zealand Returned Services Association’s highest honour, the RSA Badge in Gold, as well as life membership for her work with the French resistance during the war. But at Government level she has not been given any recognition in her native land. It’s about time that was remedied while there is still time. 

Born in Roseneath, Wellington in 1912 Nancy has French Huguenot, English and  Maori ancestry. The family moved to Sydney when she was 20 months old. After  her father deserted the family Nancy, the youngest child, chafed at the restrictions of her religious mother.

The book which sparked young Nancy’s imagination was Anne of Green Gables, with its young,  forthright and unconventional central character and portentous opening lines: 

“The good stars met in your horoscope,

Made you of spirit and fire and dew.”

Nancy’s first awakening led her to run away from home at the age of 16 and became a country nurse under a false name, a lesson in subterfuge and coping with crises which stood her in good stead later in her deadly resistance missions in occupied France.

Her eyes were really opened when, as a young journalist, she was witness to an act of Nazi violence in Vienna. From that moment on she was determined to do all she could to free Europe of the Nazi plague.  She married a French businessman as the war broke out and lived a double life in Marseille as a member of high society and of the underground network, helping downed British airmen and others escape to Spain over the Pyrenees.

 Nicknamed the White Mouse by the Germans in the early part of her underground activities, she was anything but. In the words of her George Medal citation “Ensign Nancy Wake’s organising ability, endurance, courage and complete disregard for her own safety earned her the respect and admiration of all with whom she came in contact.”

Forced to flee to London via the mountain route, after months of training in the British Special Operations Executive, she returned to France by parachute in April 1944 in order to follow the path of most resistance.  Wake became a liaison between London and the local maquis group. She coordinated resistance activity prior to the Normandy Invasion and recruited more members. She also led attacks on German installations and the local Gestapo HQ.

 On the one occasion, in order to replace the radio and codes her wireless operator had been forced to destroy in a German raid, Nancy rode a bicycle for more than 130 miles through several German checkpoints without official papers.

During a Maquis raid in the closing stages of the European war, when the aim was to tie up as many German troops as possible and prevent them moving to the D-Day breakthrough, she killed a sentry, who had wounded her with a bayonet , with her bare hands, using a karate-like blow that had been ingrained in her by her SOE training and practiced thereafter, just in case.

Her strong personality, shrewdness and common sense- reinforced by her access by clandestine radio to military supplies delivered from England by parachute-gave her the unchallenged leadership of a large number of French patriots, a signal achievement in itself in a  male  military milieu.

 She was regarded as the bravest of the brave by her fellow resistance fighters. Colonel Paishing, the leader of the Spanish Maquis, delivered the piece de resistance for this resistance heroine: “She is the most feminine woman I know…. until the fighting starts! Then she is like 5 men!”

Nancy Wake is still alive, aged 96, in a London nursing home. She regards herself as still a New Zealander, though her last visit here was 85 years ago, and she has kept her New Zealand passport.

 She lived on the knife edge during her two quite different and extraordinary chapters of World War II. ** It may not be too late to put her on centre stage and give her the recognition that she so richly deserves in her native land.

                                                                                                    

*Peter Fitzsimons, Nancy Wake: A Biography of Our Greatest War Heroine, published by Harper Collins, 2001. http://www.harpercollins.com.au/

**http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/wake.html


Chinese Materialism-a new dialect?

June 7, 2009

 “This is a society in which materialism reigns.  Young people go after enjoyment and so on.  You can understand why they don’t care as much about society’s advancement or democracy.”   Zhang Xianling    

 Zhang’s teenage son was shot during the 1989 protests. She is an “advocate for the dead”-one of the founders of Tiananmen Mothers, a group of Chinese activists pushing for a change in the government’s position over the suppression of the “counter revolutionary”  Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

 The group wants the right to mourn peacefully in public, no more persecution or imprisonment of participants or their families and a full public investigation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiananmen_Mothers

 A lot has happened in China in the last 20 years, but there has been little change to the government’s Tiananmen intransigence, apart from a surprising one-off government payout of  70,000 yuan in 2006 to one of the victim’s families.

 In 1998, less than a decade after the Tiananmen tank tragedy, slumbering and lumbering state owned enterprises were reformed, with millions being laid off.

 In 2002 the Chinese Communist Party opened its membership to private entrepreneurs-the secular equivalent of opening the membership of the Roman Curia to card-carrying atheists. 

The 2003 Chinese manned space flight and the 2008 Olympics were twin markers of China’s centre front arrival on the global stage.

In the last two years China has got up to grab a bronze in the GNP marathon in the Economic Olympics, becoming the world’s third largest economy by pushing Germany into fourth place.

 Compared with 20 years ago, China’s youth at home and abroad are more pro-Chinese government and anti-West and also more confident and proud of China’s new place in the sun. Being banker to the United States is quite satisfying, too, if a little nerve racking right now.

Like Marx and Madonna, the young are openly adamant about living in a material world, even if they are clinging on by their fingernails to the economic rollercoaster in the current downturn.

 Protest precautions last week on China’s monolithic mainland were on high alert. The Internet was interdicted, the Web watched  and live memorial ceremonies banned.

 But  in the cosmopolitan microcosm of Hong Kong,  150,000 people took part in the annual candlelight vigil to mark this year’s 20th anniversary of the crushing of the protest movement in Tiananmen Square and elsewhere.  They literally kept the flame of non-material aspirations burning as brightly as Blake’s Tiger. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJSkeVZOKms

 No revolution in the offing, even with the spectre of millions of unemployed graduates  let alone others, but the evolution of China is at another fascinating stage as it moves towards a new balance in the ever changing unity of opposites foreshadowed by the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx. 

We need to attune our ears to the new dialect. It will be more subtle than a pop song, but very material.