Prescript – I am teaching a Summer Semester course at Griffith Univerity called ‘Community Internship’. There are 33 students in my workshops. This course provides an opportunity for students to develop a range of professional and personal skills while making a difference in their community through combining volunteering with academic learning through a community internship in which they undertake a 50-hour minimum volunteering. This week the students are doing their Peer Discussion assessments, where they discuss and analyse key aspects, events and learnings from their placements.

Imagine my surprise when during one of these sessions, Sienna Harris, who is working with the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, mentioned that her organisation was hosting a bicycle treasure hunt! After the assessment, I got the details – and here they are. I’m very grateful to Sienna for sharing this event here. Best of luck to the CoastEd crew for this event and to Sienna for completing her internship!

 

Free for the next two days?

Got your bike and not sure where to ride while visiting the Gold Coast tomorrow (19th Jan) and Friday (20th Jan)?

Well!!

What better way to enjoy the stunning Summer sunshine at the Gold Coast, than to grab your bike and some mates and participate in an explorative treasure hunt to learn more about the gorgeous local coast environment there?  Let’s go!

 

The CoastEd Bike Challenge – Gold Coast, Australia.

This activity is a fantastic community engagement initiative as it: raises community awareness about current coastal management projects, helps increase local knowledge, encourages direct social/educational engagement with the surrounding coastal environment, is a fun family friendly event, and best of all …. all done on bicycles!!

The focus of this event is a 1.5-hour treasure hunt bike ride around the local Gold Coast Spit region. On this bike ride you explore the north region on Thursday (19th Jan) and the south beaches on Friday (20th Jan) – so you can go for one session or both. The main idea is to enjoy a beautiful morning out riding on bikes while learning a little more about the diverse and unique coastal wildlife, plants and natural features of the Gold Coast beach area and how they are being managed.

I think this initiative is an innovative and memorable way to encourage more people to get out on two wheels as well as exploring the beautiful spit coastal area while getting updated on current coastal management challenges, responses and successes.

Not only a great day out on the bike – but a great way to wow your friends at dinner parties with your new found knowledge of Gold Coast coastal protection practices!

You can bring you own bike for free or hire a bike on the day.

 

North Spit Area (Thursday 19th, January 2017 ) and South Spit Area (Friday 20th, January 2017).

City of Gold Coast

Source: City of Gold Coast

 

It looks like the CoastEd team has been working very hard to put together a thoughtful, fun, informative and appealing series of community events. I hope we see more community events like this that are focused on getting locals (and visitors) out on bikes in an active, social and educational way. It is also great to see a summer program that is not pushy, exclusive, condescending or over-priced in content, audience or marketing.

So, if you are in the Gold Coast area over the next couple of days – book in, grab your bike and head down for some awesome bike-riding treasure-hunting coast-protecting fun in the sun!

 

CoastEd

Source: CoastEd

 

CoastEd Organisation Background

Prepared and written by Sienna Harris.

The CoastEd program is an educational component of the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management (GCCM) that began in 2001 to create a bridge between policy makers and the community. For the past 15 years, the program has worked in partnership with the City of Gold Coast City Council, who have assisted with funding the delivery of this outreach program to the local community and school-based groups. The program was implemented and developed in response to enquiries directly from the Gold Coast community about information, complaints and questions on coastal management. It started small at ten sessions per year and now caters for over 5500 participants at sixty sessions a year, providing an opportunity for Gold Coast community members and youth to learn about our local coastline. The CoastEd program seeks to increase the capacity of the local community to participate in coastal decision making through raising awareness of South-East Queensland’s current coastal and environmental issues. These include management issues, engineering structures, wildlife and its habitats.

Primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and community groups centred on the Gold Coast are offered free and subsidised education sessions based on a wide variety of topics that relate back to the region’s coastal zones. The interactive, hands-on sessions that run for either 30 or 60 minutes have been tailored around the Australian Schools Curriculum and the three main learning styles; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Schools are also offered optional curriculum-based worksheets tailored to the level of the participants. Although it was initiated on the Gold Coast, the sessions have also been run in schools from Brisbane to Northern NSW and can be delivered at the school, community hall, on campus at Griffith or on field trips that are undertaken on local beaches. The sessions are run by researchers in the fields of coastal management, marine science and environmental education, and involve surveys, flora and fauna identification techniques and primary data collection.

The information provided during sessions is based on the latest and most up-to-date coastal research because of the ongoing research conducted at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management and via current data that is provided through their partnership with the City of Gold Coast. Maggie Muurmans coordinates the CoastEd program, but the team also includes Peta Leahy, Daniel Ware, Sally Obst, Chantal Hujbers, Tom Murray, Tegan Croft, and James Gullison. The team’s knowledge and expertise in a wide range of fields have allowed them to produce Coastal Plant Pocket Guides for both the Gold Coast region and Western Australia, and a Rocky Shore Pocket Guide for the Gold Coast. As well, Teacher Packs ranging from Prep to Year 12, which cover the topics of Coastal Management and Engineering, Coastal Ecology, and Coastal Tourism and Recreation.

The CoastEd program also works closely in conjunction with other coastal management programs and initiatives that run through the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management; these include BeachCare, Dune Watch and Ocean Connect. On top of these other sessions and activities, Maggie Muurmans also runs School Holiday programs, (twice weekly) which are aimed at children, young people and families. These sessions and activities are interactive and hands-on, with a focus on connecting the community with their ocean environment for educative purposes, but also in the hope of building community stewardship and responsibility.

For my first post for 2017, I am keen to revisit one of the main reasons why I started this blog – which was as an adjunct to my PhD bicycle research and to help disseminate interesting academic research on bikes and cycling. So I am super excited about the research presented in this post, as this paper couldn’t be more perfect in paying homage to this blog’s humble research beginnings and considering  my fantastic 11-day mountain bike trip to Rotorua NZ is now coming to and end. I love the ideas of the first post for 2017 being research based on riding in New Zealand (and written by a top chick too!).

Although this blog has presented two other academic articles (by the same NZ academic) focused on a specific NZ bike rage incident (one from a sociological/biker perspective, the other from a videography analysis/micro-sociological point of view) – this is the first thesis and the first relating to downhill in NZ.

Such particular research is VERY hard to find in academic publications- so finding this paper made me very happy!!

I have been very keen to share this post for quite a while and now is the perfect time!

(I’m also excited as I have now found out how to attach the PDF document so that you can download a copy directly if wanted (see end of post).

 

Background on Scarlett Hagen and the NZ Downhill research

This research is Scarlett Hagen’s 2013 Masters of Physical Education thesis which investigates the Downhill MTB subculture in NZ. What a great topic to choose! I was stoked when I found this thesis last year as there is so few mountain bike specific research circulating.

I was drawn to this study for a number of reasons. Primarily because Scarlett is a former Junior Downhill Mountain Bike World Champion (2004). I much prefer academic research being undertaken by those who are embedded and who are participant researchers as opposed to external academics coming in and studying a demographic with little lived experience of the phenomenon being explored. The discussion is far more rich in detail and insights. Secondly, it is expanding an area that is sorely overlooked and misunderstood (DH), both in academia and the public spheres. It is written by an athlete-turned-researcher, features 3 top female athletes among the participants,  it is incredibly well written and engaging to read, is supported by sound and thorough methodology and academic analysis, and is a truly valuable addition to extending understanding about the DH culture and lifestyle. In so many ways this research is setting precedence and breaking stereotypes – as well as being a cracking good read!

Last year the Southland Times ran an article on Scarlett which reported that her Master thesis “was the first time the sport was the subject of a master’s thesis and earned her the highest grade possible (A+) and an almost $100,000 scholarship over three years to complete at PhD – work that is now underway. She is studying the sociology and psychology behind mountain biking and she hopes will contribute to understanding of the motivations and requirements of  mountain biking tourists and contribute to understanding of the trails for performance athletes.” It also gave some more details on Scarlett’s background and her business BikeSchool.

At this stage of my own PhD (coming up to my Early Candidature Milestone), it is very inspiring and motivating to read such a well written and reasoned study where bicycles create change.

Scarlett Hagen

Source: Eye of Glass.com @ pinkbike

Scarlett Hagen

Source: MTB news

Research Participants

The five NZ downhill research participants for this study were:  Amy Laird, Cameron Cole, Gabby Moolloy, Lauren Campbell and Wyn Masters.

Thesis Overview

Taken from the first paragraph in the Abstract, here is the overview in the author’s own words:

The Downhill Mountain Bike Subculture in New Zealand

Source: The Downhill Mountain Bike Subculture in New Zealand by Scarlett Hagen (2013) MPhEd.

 

Some key takeaways

The paper begins with a discussion about subculture and the different views and definitions of what a subculture is. It applies post-modernist subcultural theory to the NZ downhill experience. The reasoning for downhill being an ‘extreme sport subculture’ is supported convincingly with demographic links and evidence based on age, ethnicity, location, gender and environment. It also outlines four main extreme sport experiences and builds a detailed case about the impact and identitifcation of subcultural experiences, quality of life and life stages.

I highly recommend having a read over the Introduction as there are some really convincing parallels drawn that all riders will be able to identify with. There will certainly be some recognisable commonalities regarding aspects of style and aesthetics like clothing, technology, music and language choices.

This whole document is well worth a read.

One of my favourite sections is the 30-page discussion section titled ‘Downhill Devotion’. It covers some very pertinent and interesting features of Downhill culture which brought back many happy memories working with Downhill teams. Some aspects that particularly made me smile were:

  • competition vs leisure aspects (pg 107)
  • the role of ‘flow’ when riding (pg 110)
  • initiation and inclusion  (pg 104)
  • authenticity within the downhill subculture (pg 83 & 108)
  • personality traits of downhillers (down to how they walk  pg 109)
  • the role of reputation (pg 117)
  • some insights into the link between gender and drinking in DH (pg 119)
  • the element of addiction and the psychological impacts of DH (p121)

The whole paper is very deserving of the A+ mark it received. If you are a mountain bike rider of any sort, you can pretty much start reading anywhere and find something of value and interest.

I am still going back a rereading sections.  I found the whole project incredibly well structured and engaging to read –  have a look and find out what part resonates with you!

 

Final notes and comments

Having worked at World Cup events and being married to a top mechanic for elite UCI Downhill & Crankworx riders, I was very happy to see a mention and acknowledgement by the author to the input that mechanics (among others) had during her formative riding years. Such support crews are very often forgotten and under-appreciated.

It is also great to see women being so prominently featured in this downhill study.

Great also to see mountain bikers moving into various spaces to promote and encourage understanding about different styles and formats of mountain biking – an area I am keen to contribute to in some way this year as well.

So hats of to Scarlett for producing such rigorous, high-quality, impactful, trailblazing research. I hope her work helps increase support, interest and attention for DH, NZ and mountain biking.

 

Get the thesis here:

The Downhill Mountain Bike Subculture in New Zealand by Scarlett Hagen (2013) MPhEd

Scarlett Hagen

Source: stuff.co.nz

Scarlett Hagen

Source: Bowen House

Scarlett Hagen

Source: Descent World.co.uk

Today was Griffith University’s Education and Professional Studies (EPS) HDR Student Conference. This Graduate HDR* Conference is organised by the EPS PhD Candidates for other Candidates. Although I am on the organising committee, I did not attend the proceedings today because I am Melbourne for another event (SSWC 2016 – see upcoming post). * In AU we call  PhD Programs HDR = Higher Degree by Research i.e. PhD or Doctoral programs. In the US, PhDs are part of the Graduate Program (Grad School)  – hence ‘Graduate HDR’*

The reason I am posting about the Graduate HDR Conference now, is the theme for this year’s conference “Aiming for the future: Learning from reflection and reality” really resonated with me. In developing my PhD research proposal, I was very strategic about synthesising certain professional and civic dimensions that I think are very important – education, social justice, community development, and of course, bikes! One of the reasons I am so motivated in my research is that it is inherently practical to implement. It is not difficult for me to translate my research into practice. This is not necessarily the case for other researchers.

 

Griffith Graduate HDR Student Conference 2016

So this conference theme aligned well with my personal approach to research. I think there is great value in exploring and trialling methods and praxis, and feel that unless research can be operationalized to contribute to a better outcome for all, then a project does not fully reach its potential. It is also an excellent forum to not only get together and network, but also to share ideas about work being undertaken. I was looking forward to hearing the abstract sessions detailing what others were working on – I find it perpetually inspiring and engaging to hear the range, types and topics that others are working on. Most of all I was looking forward to the Guest Speaker Workshop “Possibilities: Knowledge into action” session (understandably why) to get some fresh insights and motivation.

 

The need for peer contact

Whilst organising this conference, I sometimes caught myself thinking that there were certain aspects of this conference I was sorry I was going to be missing. At this stage in my PhD, I am preparing my Early Candidature Milestone (Feb 2017) and coming out of my most challenging time working on this project so far,  I recognise that I wanted to go to this Conference to reconnect with some Uni contacts. I had been feeling quite awash, distanced and anxious after not having my usual regular contact with peers and supervisors. So I was craving to discuss and mull over a few challenges and to get some suggestions, motivation and ideas. I found that just by working on organising the conference, meant that I had more contact with some of the other candidates and started feeling much better. By the time I met with my supervisors mid this week (a meeting which I had been very much looking forward to), I felt was already feeling much more settled and refocused.

 

Actioning the theme

Now that I am down in Victoria for some bike riding and exploring some research possibilities, I am back in my element – the physical realm. I most certainly would have attended the Conference had I still been in Brisbane, but I like the idea that, instead of sitting in a room talking about how to energize research and translate it into real world practice, I am out in the real world investigating ways to translate the lived experiences into research. In a strange way, I’m putting into practice the main theme of the conference, which, I suppose, if I was not there to participate, is a bloody good alternative!

I am looking forward to hearing how the conference went and some attendee feedback as to what they got out of it, what worked and what didn’t. It is a great opportunity to get the HDRers out from behind their screens to network, share and stimulate each other. You never know where a conversation topic might take you, or how participating in a workshop can unlock a new idea or direction – after all, I am now doing my PhD because I sat at a table in a workshop last year and got chatting to those around me on the table – and boy and I glad I did. I hope the attendees today had an equally provoking and restorative experience.

Now back to the bike and making some contacts for recruiting singlespeed research participants!

 

2016-hdr-student-conference-program_final

This rise of the e-bike is a polarising phenomenon. Some people love them, some people hate them, many don’t care either way. Currently in a number of places in the USA, there is a  concerted interest and investigation into the potentiality of the  e-bike market. One such study was undertaken by OTEC and is particularly interesting as it provided 120 bike set up with GPS tracking as well as engaging the participants in a very interesting survey – the results of which are below.

I have had very little contact with e-bikes. A few years ago, my brother was using an e-bike to get around Melbourne, which, after getting over my initial amazement that my brother had been on a bike (ever – at all), let alone had bought one (even if it was an e-bike) was my first direct contact. I tried his e-bike on a track and was surprised at how comfortable the ride was. I had to admit that, although I am one of those people who has an immediate staunch mountain-biker aversion to e-bikes, I could see how and where there was a place for their use.

Recently I was in a mountain-bike event where one of the competitors was on an e-bike. In my opinion, that was not the time, nor the place for and e-bike. Based on the responses of other competitors, I was not the only one. However, I did find myself recommending to my 74 year-old father, that utilising an e-bike conversion (for uphills) on a tricycle (for stability) was a sound alternative for him to get around and stay active – an idea of which he loved. In the cases where age, mobility restriction, or those who are severely overweight but want to get out and start exercising, I can see the cost-effectiveness, comfort, mobility and access arguments for using e-bikes.

So it was no surprise that the infographic below caught my eye. It is a quick and easy report of the results of an online survey about e-bike usage in Portland, Oregon (one of the most progressive and up-and-coming bike friendly cities in the world). This infographic details in a succinct, balanced and visually appealing way, the responses, concerns and reasons for e-bike use. This is understandable, as it was produced by the Portland State Transportation Research and Education Center, which I applaud for undertaking as an online initiative and in the effectiveness of community awareness raising/promotion of e-bike use. I think this image goes a long way in helping to better explain to those who maybe totally resistant to e-bikes some of the more practical or uncommon dimensions of bike use.

I know many mountain-bikers who completely dismiss e-bikes for a variety of reasons (most often cited are accusations of laziness and ‘cheating’). However, this perspective is a knee-jerk reaction to something new based, and is based on their own personal fitness and lifestyle situation – which is certainly not the experience for millions of other people who may want to get out and about on a bike, but for whatever reason, may not be able to on a conventional bicycle.

To this end, I think this infographic is quite successful in being able to collate and communicate some of the more interesting aspects of e-bikes, so that people can have a better appreciation for such factors.

Source: OTREC

Source: OTREC

I knew this would be a busy week – all my 4 classes have assessments due, which means an intense week of marking, uploading feedback, moderating scores and dealing with student (and my own) associated paperwork, technical difficulties, administration and all the general ballyhoo that goes with a convergence of assessments.

 

Happy Chinese Teacher’s Day!

So imagine my surprise when out of the blue, I get and email from an ex-student that I worked on a bridging program to get into uni. He was on campus looking for me – to give me a present – as it was Chinese Teacher’s Day (on Saturday). He finally tracked me down, scouting across campus and hauling his wrapped gift with him, until we managed to catch up two days later when I was back on campus. Today we met for coffee and he gave me his present (see below) as a thank you for being his favourite teacher.

He described the thought and time he put into looking this gift and how he remembered I love bicycles. It was a lovely surprise. We talked about what some of the symbolism in the picture might mean and we retold stories for our old class days.

I was deeply touched to have such an unexpected gift, presented with such genuine gratitude. Especially when juxtaposed against such a hectic week. This lovely interlude reminded me of the importance and valuable of education and authentic interaction. I treasure such moments and am really humbled to meet students at a certain point in their life and have the opportunity to work with them – but then see them move on and go their own way.

Having a chance to reconnect with students and hear what they are doing and what has transpired since we last met, is a part of my work that I adore. Some stories are hard, most are good, but to have a personal link and connection with each of them is truly remarkable.

 

Did you have one particularly good teacher?

Did you have a teacher who made a difference in your life? We remember the good ones (and the bad ones) and not many in between. Have you ever gone back to revisit a teacher after leaving school? If you have – share you experience in the comments below, I’d love to hear how it went!

img_1999

This week I saw my supervisors for a meeting as it is my PhD 6-month review.  We were meeting to discuss my PhD Lit Review. I’ve not had a meeting with them for a while as we’ve all had things on – I’ve been working on my Lit Review, one had long service leave and the other has been working hard for the start of the Uni semester.

I’ve been keeping busy and trialling different productivity techniques and activities to varying degrees of success. I’ve missed not meeting my supervisors each month. I like the routine, and it gives me enough time to get some work done and work towards the next deadline.

I’ve been struggling the last month with my Lit Review as I’ve found myself summarising the issues to do with my topic and not fully critiquing the references as I’d like to be. I chatted to a few other full-time PhDer about getting their lit reviews done and it the consensus is that it is on ongoing progression that you keep coming back to. I asked my supervisor to see her original thesis she wrote in 1999, which she gave me a copy. I’m keen to see to what degree and how she critiqued her sources, synthesised content and expressed her analysis and critical thinking about the methodologies and theoretical frameworks – I know I have to work on these areas for my own lit review.

My primary supervisor suggested I look at the online RMIT Lit Review material as she thought it was helpful. However, I like the practicality and find having examples more instructive, so the UQ Reviews with examples is more my style – especially seeing as though there is extra downloadable info.

But to get me back on track – I’m going to first head to Randolph’s (2009) A Guide to Writing a Dissertation Literature Review, which is clear, informative and has some great info. I’ve extracted the following two tables from said article.

I find this first table useful to approach readings, and I like the idea of having questions to answer or a focus to draw out – it also helps hone key terms, methodologies and points for comparison that I would not otherwise necessarily have looked for – but most importantly I like the reminder, and I’ve found it invaluable in relation to looking for disruptions and gaps in some research aspects.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.36.19 PM

This second table is a useful editing and content refinement checklist. It helps keep me honest, structured and stimulated content inclusion and points that I need to clarify, include or emphasize. I think ultimately, I will incorporate ideas from all these three sources. After a week of marking course work (this week) and having a little mental break from my Lit Review, I’ll use these resources as stimulus to get stuck back into it and refocus the themes and work on increasing the level of critical analysis – which is probably a good thing as this will be my main task at least up until November.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.37.03 PM

3 – 10 July 2016 is NAIDOC Week in Australia.

NAIDOC stands for the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee – and this week is a national celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements. This week aims to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. As such, there are lots of local, regional and national events, gigs, meetings, exhibitions, public get-togethers and awards from all over Australia.

To celebrate this week, I’m following up on a NSW collaboration between Austcycyle and Cycling Australia Aboriginal Bicycle Safety ProgramThis program was funded by NSW Roads and Maritime Services and saw over 1,000 remote and rural 3-16 year old Aboriginal kids in 47 different locations have access to learn bike handling skills and how to safely ride bikes. This is an ongoing touring program aimed at reaching some of the more remote areas in NSW.

The participants undertake practical and interactive activities about safety gear like helmets and most interestingly, have a qualified bike mechanic that helps kids learn about bike maintenance and bike servicing. This is especially important as many of the bikes participants bring to use are hand-me downs (often third of fourth owners) and are either not working effectively, are in need of repair or have some safety defect – (mostly no brakes). Being on remote communities means that kids have limited access to repairs and bike parts. Kids who owned bikes bought them in to be repaired and assessed and then used them the practice skills and drills for better and safer riding.

There are a number of similar programs, and it seems that NSW is the national leader in actively promoting safe bicycle for aboriginal kids. Some of the other projects, such as Let’s Ride Delivery Centre in NSW run the same program, but from their centralised facility. If school truely is about learning skills for life, teaching bike riding and providing access to maintain and repair older bicycles is a productive and immediate way to empower regional aboriginal kids.

This program is great as it has a central hub that can continue to delivery the program, but the outreach projects that tours to remote communities who would otherwise not have access to such programs, is a great balance between resource management and service delivery.  With little entertainment and attention provided in isolated communities, bike riding is a popular way for kids to get around, socialise and keep active. A large part of these programs is focused on safety and education about helmet wearing, as aboriginal kids are the most reluctant cycling group to use cycling safety equipment – and coupled with dangerous or defective bicycles and an often reduced access to full medical facilities, aboriginal kids have a disproportionately higher rate of accidents and injuries compared to their other cultural counterparts.

It is great to see such programs moving further out to reach more people and getting more people out and about riding bikes.

 

Source: Cycling.org.au

Source: Cycling.org.au

 

 

Source: Cycling.org.au

Source: Cycling.org.au

 

 

Source: Austcycle

Source: Austcycle

I recently found an older academic paper that was published from the Uni of Illinois from 1989 reporting on an ‘innovative approach’ to teaching mechanical engineering undergrad students System Dynamics. It involved the students investigating open-ended engineering design questions in relation to bicycles for a full semester.  I love how in the introduction section pointedly justifies that ‘the bicycle is not a trivial topic, as one might suppose at first glance, but it is a rather formidable subject of study’ (Klein, 1989, p 4).

Bicycles challenging engineering ‘truths’

The paper goes into detail about the learning, philosophical and pedagogical principles for using bicycles as the instruction tool and how the program, class and resources were managed and major beneficial outcomes from the program.

The students applied a number of the theoretical concepts they were learning in class to the bicycles, thus modifying bicycles to take into account engineering qualities such as ‘zero-gyroscopic’ bicycles, which are ridable and therefore refute a common held scientific misconception that it is the gyroscopic effect of a bicycles rotating wheels that keep the bicycle upright -mythbusted!

Engineering modifications

The students put the bicycles through a number of different hardware modifications (such as flyball governors, raw egg dynamics, hydraulic servomechanisms and Passive R-L-C circuits) and apply various calculations and manoeuvrer to the bikes to test an array of laws, theories and modelling dynamics.  One of the most successful modifications the students applied was a rear-seated bicycles. Overall, many of the augmentations to the hardware that the students applied were evaluating outcomes of how power, stability, dynamics and functionality to see how they were effected.

So can they now answer..

Also, the engineering students were required throughout the semester to write their findings up in essays, of which included topics like:

Source: Klein (1989).

Source: Klein (1989).

Being away in Cairns for the 2016 UCI World Cup was a brilliant thing to do and I had a ball, but it meant that I have not done any work on my Lit Review for a week. I made an effort to achieve some writing goals before I left, as I wanted to be sure I had some content on paper to come back to.

I have noticed that at this early stage, often my writing time was being sabotaged. Usually, occurred when I got caught up in editing whilst I was writing, or looking for a reference, or feeling like what I was writing was too close to what I had just read, so I would scrap it and start again. This means that it takes a lot of time to produce a relatively small amount of content. It is also quite frustrating. This means that although I have been working on my Lit Review, the process thus far has been cumbersome and ineffective. So, coming back to writing again after a week’s break – I want to change my writing process and experiment with some other techniques to see if I can get more out of my writing time.ccurred

I want a designated space to brainstorm, write and express ideas that did not feel so rigid and awkward. I like the using the Pomodoro technique for writing.  I know a number of other Higher Distinction by Research (HDR) students who are also wrestling with the same issues. So I wanted to form some kind of ‘study group’ where we could all contribute and benefit from a new approach.

Hosting Shut Up & Write Workshops

A Shut Up & Write workshop is a great place to start. I like the idea of having company when I write that is conducive to productivity and professionalism. I looked around to join one. Griffith University Postgrad Student Association has a Breakfast Writing Workshop on Saturday mornings, but that’s my prime bike riding time.

So I decided to host my own SU & W sessions (a series of 3 consecutive Mondays) and I opened them up to other Griffith University students and staff a to attend.

WHO CAN ATTEND:

All are welcome! Any level of students – Bachelor, Honours, Postgrad, HDR, any type of student – international or domestic, academic or support staff, people who have no experience with SU&W or Pomodoro, writers who want a designated time to produce writing or others from outside of Griffith who want to give it a go.

WHEN: 9 am- 11 am  Wednesdays 2nd, 9th and 16th May, 2016  (Week 9, 10 & 11)
WHERE: N76_1.02/1.03 Nathan
WHAT TO BRING:
  • Your own writing materials (paper/pen or laptops)
  • 3 topics that you want to produce some writing for
  • A big smile
NOTE
  • There will be a short introduction so participants know what to expect and how to use the session most effectively. Pomodoro timing will be provided.
  • We will complete at least 3 Pomodoro rounds (maybe 4).
  • This is a professional academic workshop, so adherence to punctuality, preparedness and silence during writing times is expected.
  • Arrive early to avoid disappointment.
  • See you there and let’s get writing!

Shut up and Write Semester 1, 2016.-2

by Sachie Togashiki

 

In my research about the positive contribution of the use of bicycles to children’s education in developing countries, I found CBB Cambodia. This is a Japanese NGO (non-governmental organisation) consisting of about 20 university students who support Cambodian children by providing bicycles. In spring and summer 2015, the CBB Cambodia devised and managed microfinance to provide Cambodian children with bicycles. A member of the organisation engaged in this project recorded her experience in the organisation’s blog.

The writer, Kumi Sakahashi, realised the influences of bicycles on Cambodian children’s dream job. This is because she encountered a Cambodian boy, Kea, who was about to drop education in his elementary school to support his parents. After CBB’s intervention, Kia did not have to leave school and went to a junior high school. It was because, in spring 2015, CBB Cambodia provided 33 people including Kea with a bicycle. This helped Kea to reduce his commuting time to the school and spend more time on housework and his study. This experience enabled Kea to raise his expectations from becoming a teacher to a doctor. Ms. Sakahashi heard this from Kea in summer 2015. She concludes the blog post by stating that the use of a bicycle enabled Kea to go further places where he saw many different people, resulting in a change of his dream job.

This blog post is significant because it shows the importance of bicycles in terms of widening children’s future possibilities. Ms. Sakahashi explains that without access to advanced education opportunities, children in Cambodia can only be a teacher or a farmer. Jobs requiring far more training such as being a doctor, require much greater opportunity. However, most children in Cambodia give up to go to a junior high school. This is because, according to a crowdfunding website that CBB Cambodia devised in 2014, although there is an elementary school per a village, there is only one junior high school per 3-4 villages, which makes it difficult for children to go. Ms. Sakahashi also argues that, however, with a bicycle, they might be able to continue their education and to aim to get their dream job because bicycles save the time. The children can save money as well as time by helping their parents work. Therefore, bicycles might play a significant role to help children get an education.

 

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan - Bicycles beyond borders

Source CBB Cambodia: Ready for Japan – Bicycles beyond borders

 

Sakahashi, K. (2015, September 4). A bicycle that expands children’s potential [Web log post].Retrieved from http://cbb-cambodia.org/a-bicycle-expands-possibilities-of-kids.

CBB Cambodia [NGO] (2014, November 28). 100 bicycles for children in Tomato who cannot go to their school. Retrieved from https://readyfor.jp/projects/cycle_beyond_the-borders.

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture for the fortnight from 11th April to 24th April.