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Margaret Thatcher – some thoughts on life and leadership April 12, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, human quality, UK.
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Love her, hate her. Whatever it is, Margaret Thatcher is now history’s iron lady.

She is well known for having her own guts that don’t bend when she believes in it. Certainly not a Great leader who would command a perfect 100 percent respect from all kinds of people. I wouldn’t expect the working class people to like her. Neither would the middle income people would favour her. She has a hard fist on the economy. Perhaps there was no detour to save the country from an ailing system where companies had relied heavily on state support. You cannot exactly blame her for the hard handedness. But neither can you genuinely appreciate what had become of it either. She is a highly controversial leader to be agreed upon as a great leader in that sense.

But when you look upon how she handled high officials in her cabinet, you would have to admire her persistence. It is exactly the undying spirit that she stood out from her modest family background to rise above most as a formidable political figure with a very pragmatic perspective towards life. She seems to see many things as business but she was always on the go. Perhaps too much on the go. Often one may have to ponder if family was in her mind as she ran for politics. Would life be called a success when family commitments are not fully met? Would leadership be fully commended when people suffer? Should so many suffer?

I like her for her guts. I like the fact she was tough. In politics and in business, you have to be tough. Bending over is a no brainer. But her hand in policies that wreck many people’s lives did not exactly get better. Change requires pain in many instances. But I truly believe in mitigating such sufferings to a bare minimum. Sometimes the way forward is actually taking a step back. Iron fists sometimes don’t work well in some areas. Then again, the Falklands war was the best iron fist she ever pounded on. Integrity of the nation on the world stage is one of the most important concern from a great leader. She did it without fear.

Her greatness lies in saving the country from the brink of national collapse. However, her failure was to sacrifice the less economic well off to suffer amidst such huge radical change. It’s pretty hard to call her a 100 percent true heroine. But one thing you can be resolute about her is her staunch determination to rise from the ground. She is also very fortunate to have a doting husband who was always supportive of her.

As much as I admire her guts, I have some doubts about her as a true peoples’ heroine. In international politics and business, she was a great leader and a master heroine. But as a true people’s leader, I doubt she had a superior score. I could recall some of our humanities tutors at college many years back, who were British, did not like her at all. I could understand the sentiment. If I were them, I wouldn’t either.

A leader must always bring the thought of the people first. Maybe trying circumstances then forbade her to do so. Perhaps the initial change must include great suffering. But when the suffering becomes recurrent, then it is a problem not to be ignored. It’s a personal thought here that perhaps some people may come against it, but as a student who used to live in the United Kingdom, I could dare say people don’t generally show detest for nothing. Especially when people are generally kind and reserved. – Karen Fu

Reference link:
1. New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/world/europe/former-prime-minister-margaret-thatcher-of-britain-has-died.html?smid=pl-share

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What Makes Great Teaching – John Hattie and Pasi Sahlberg February 9, 2013

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, education, UK.
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Excellent talk held  at the University of Manchester about education. I can’t help but to agree with most of the aspects on teaching. Highly passionate teachers are one, to ensure that students are truly happy and rewarded by an enriched education experience is another. While attaining superior skills is crucial, I always believe that we need teachers who genuinely feel the passion to teach. Monetary compensation is one, ensuring the true integrity of teachers is another. The intellectual capacity must come in lieu with ethics that strongly adhere to staunch integrity about what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust. Without moral ethics, it makes little sense if getting top skills that in the end will do nothing good for a sustainable living environment.  Learning should be fun and the ability to play is actually a prime requisite for research. For if you can’t get interested and move things around, enjoy what you are doing; how can you really assimilate the knowledge learnt and thus generate more original pieces of thought? I can’t agree more with another statement that politics should get out of education.  Wished I were in Manchester then. I think I learnt the most about what education should be and what learning is about way more naturally and successful than I was in Singapore. The environment was different and it allows the freedom to romp and try different things in an open and interactive manner. Great gift on the eve of the lunar new year. Education should be free. It should be for people who want to learn and have the passion to do so. It is not about power and money as the prime goal as it will not churn a great learning environment that will make the world a truly human and beautiful one.

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The ultimate question for all teachers and teacher educators? Interesting perspectives of new teachers progression, appetite and development. Equally important questions about the profession and whether the focus should be on teachers or learners.

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Iron quote from the Iron Lady – Former UK PM Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher (1979-1990) February 22, 2012

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, faith, human quality.
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“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think, we become.”
– Margaret Thatcher (biopic on her life, Iron Lady, now being shown).

Love the powerful lines. What else could you do online? What else could you do in person to become who you are and what you are made of. — Karen Fu