The Odyssey

February 24, 2017

The Connection between Modern Day Navy Veterans and ‘The Odyssey.’
There is an ostensible association between the events taking place in ‘The Odyssey’ and the experience gained by modern day Navy veterans. First, the Navy operates on and in water, which is not their instinctive locale. The journey while working on the water is long. Therefore, patience is a key player in this type of experience. On the other hand, patience is an essential virtue Odysseus of ‘The Odyssey’ would need to go through the challenges that faced him including wistfulness successfully. For instance, he was offered an exceptional gift by Calypso (immortality) which was very tempting (Homer 372), but he rejected it because all he wanted was to see his home and wife. He was impatient. Therefore, with several other instances, it is professed that the experiences Odysseus gained in his journey are customarily similar to those achieved by modern day Navy veterans. This article will create this connection by discussing the events taking place in ‘The Odyssey’ and an experience shared by a modern day veteran, Mr. Tiedeman, through an exclusive interview.
Fortitude is the central correspondence between ‘The Odyssey’ and the modern day Navy veterans. As Mr. Tiedeman narrates during the interview, it requires one to be patient when he or she operates in and on the water. He says, “… physically, mentally, emotionally, it’s rough.” As well, it is clear that the Navy takes an extended period operating in and on the water and, therefore, it requires one to endure in the environment as described by Tiedeman. During the interview, he also mentioned patience as a fundamental virtue when one is a Navy. “Patience is all you require…” he responded to one of the students who investigated from him on how the Navy could endure the extended period in and on the water. Indeed, an individual can suffer from depression if he or she operates in a “rough” environment, especially when away from his or her home and family. Fundamentally, the Navy can serve a mission of safeguarding the borders, which takes them a long time before seeing their relatives. On top of that, the Navy also endures a lot of challenges including real life threats, for example, working at the malaria endemic African coast.
On the other hand, the necessity of fortitude is apparent in ‘The Odyssey,’ especially when it comes to Odysseus. In particular, ‘The Odyssey’ depicts the challenges one faces when returning from war. However, it could be an excellent idea to analyze the challenges Odysseus faced during the war so that they are compared with the ones Mr. Tiedeman suffered. With that, the comparison after the war will take a constructive angle, that is, what one positively learns after returning from war. During the war, Odysseus was mainly confronted with reminiscence. Therefore, Odysseus was commonly referred to as the Son of Pain because of the pain he underwent during the war (Homer 387). At some instance, Odysseus rejected Calypso’s immortality gift because he was more patient for the affection for his wife and home. However, in spite of his impatience, he emerged a hero after the war.
In conclusion, individuals do not only get affected after returning from war, but they also gain some valuable experiences. After the war, individuals can have post-traumatic disorders and physical damages, but they also learn to be patient. Both Mr. Tiedeman and Odysseus learned to be patient after returning from war. During the war, they could inevitably hold on their affection for their relatives and homes hence great patience. Overall, patience is a positive virtue everyone needs in life. Therefore, it is imperative to as well concentrate on the valuable experiences individuals gain after returning from war.

Work Cited
Homer., m. The Odyssey Of Homer. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row. Print.
Interview With Mr.Tiedeman. 2017. Audio Recording.

Mindset and Gender Influence

February 24, 2017

Gender and mindset in academic performance

Gender and mindset have an effect on academic performance as well as motivation which leads to the development of stereotypes. For instance, boys are thought to be good performers in mathematics and sciences while the girls are said to be good in languages. It is not clearly known whether the differences in these different subjects based on gender differences is affected by the gender or it is just a mindset among the parents, students, and teachers. Therefore there is a need to determine whether these differences are affected by gender based on the stereotypes which exist. Some reports indicate that is not actually the gender which affects the academic performance, but rather the level of masculinity and femininity among the students. The desire for achievements and self-motivation is a mindset in the feminine gender while the mindset of succeeding is in the masculine gender (Tuwor & Sossou, 2008). However, there is a need for all stakeholders in education to make sure that they do away with the existing mindsets on the students and themselves too. Moreover, these stakeholders need to make the students develop both the feminine and masculine mindsets in all subjects so that they can perform relatively well. As a matter of fact, there are no subjects who are hard or easy for a certain gender than the other but it are the mindset and stereotypes that make all the notable and existing differences.

 

Features Gender and mindset in academic performance

The real differences that exist in academic performance per subjects among the different genders are also due to the variations in terms of motivation and belief in oneself when handling the respective subjects. For instance, the boys have a higher level of self-belief and a positive mindset in mathematics and science subjects than the girls because many people view these subjects are viewed to be the boys’ subjects. In most cases, it is the beliefs which determine the level of motivation regarding the academic performance in subjects (Tuwor & Sossou, 2008). Some subjects like science and mathematics were developed many years ago as a result of the trade development. These subjects were the tools of work which drove the economy through discoveries but it is the men who were working while the women were taking care of their husbands and sons. Therefore it was only men who were allowed and had an opportunity to study sciences and mathematics. Therefore as knowledge in these concepts went deep, it is only the men who managed to learn more while the women received only a basic learning. In most cases, the females say that their average performance in mathematics and sciences is due to the dedication that they put in these subjects. Moreover, they argue that the failure in these subjects is due to other factors such as failure to understand the concepts and low level of intelligence. On the other hand, the male students attribute their good performance in these subjects to internal intelligence, interest, and abilities. Poor performance in these subjects in males is linked to external factors such as lack of support from the teachers. At the end of the day, these psychological behaviors in academic performance become a blame game which makes the males and females students to develop a positive mindset towards certain subjects.

 

The aims of the study

It is therefore believed that differences in academic performance between girls and boys are solely dependent on the mindsets which come from the students themselves. The variations again stem from the fact that most people have attitudes towards certain subjects depending on the mindsets that they have towards a certain gender. The effects of these mindsets based on gender may make the students make unrealistic career choices and fail to meet some lifetime expectations. The aim of this study, therefore, will be to determine the relationship between academic performance among the boys and girls in Demax mixed high school in Qatar. Moreover, the study will determine the correlation between motivation, mindset, and performance in science and mathematics subjects. This will involve the students first and second levels of study who attend the same classes

 

Study design

This study will examine the mindsets and academic performance in various subjects with respect to gender differences. The study participants will be 200 in total that is, 100 boys and 100 girls aged between 14 to 18 years of age. Half of the students will be in level one while the other half will be in level two of study. A second survey will be done on 10 teachers to get their responses and views regarding the mindset and gender in terms of academic performance in some subjects. The ratio of the boys to girl’s students will be equal to rule out the possibility of gender bias. First, the form of informed consent will be read and signed by each of the participating teachers and students (Martin, 2007). Therefore, interviews will be administered to each study participant individually so as not to influence each others’ responses outcomes. The variables to be addressed in this study will be subject attitudes through self-assessment and past skills, mindsets regarding the approach of mathematics and sciences. The lifetime goals that the students have in life will also evaluate alongside the value of learning science and mathematics subjects. The achievement goals will split into two within the questionnaires so as to explore the performance approaches approach like pleasing the teacher as well as the performance avoidance approach like fearing to appear foolish in front of other students.

The resulting data will be coded, cleaned and analyzed using statistical software SPSS 22 to make meaningful conclusions about the association between gender and mindset in academic performance. The results will be summarized in tables and charts with the test of correlation among some variables clearly presented.

 

Ethical issues

Although this research is very important, there several ethical issues which need to be observed. For instance, confidentiality of the responses should be kept a secret so as assure them on the safety of the collected information. Respect for the rights and dignity of the respondents should be maintained so that they comfortable during the interviews. This includes but not limited to the way the research psychologists approach the respondents. The results from a psychology research also need to be communicated back to the respondents so that they can be beneficiaries of the research outcomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Martin, D. W. (2007). Doing psychology experiments. Cengage Learning.

 

Tuwor, T., & Sossou, M. A. (2008). Gender discrimination and education in West Africa: strategies for maintaining girls in school. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 12(4), 363-379.

 

The Goods and the Bad of Facebook

February 24, 2017

The Goods and the Bad of Facebook

Introduction

Facebook is currently the largest social media platform in the world. It is used in the whole world but it still its meritand demerits . Facebook is free and a public social media where it’s possible to meet many people. There is control over message to and from and also control on who follow you and who you follow. Video chatting is also possible on Facebook and still you can embed video and photos.Most event organizers uses Facebook to promote their events since Facebook is known of having large population connected to it.Still it can be used as a tool of distraction from face to face interaction with fellow people within your surroundings.

To register yourself on Facebook, you ought to give your personal details such as; your name, date of birth and others. Giving of  personal information is what makes it dangerous since that information can be used by an enemy to soil you and your character (Boon and Sinclair,2009). Many people also find freedom from Facebook which they think life has stolen from them previously such as friendship and love. This way, people end up being removed from reality of life. In the end, they end up being addicted to Facebook and they can’t make it without it. It becomes part and parcel of their life. The worst is when people with fake identity who are predators takes advantage from those who are serious and ends up misusing them.

In academic institutions, a lot of students spend a lot of time in Facebook. Time spend online is taken away from studies, extracurricular activities and other social interactions (Kalpidou M., Costin, D. &Morris, 2011). Indeed most students’ social skills suffer since most of them avoid the discomfort of real-life social interaction. Also some can isolate themselves from people they come across but who they feel they don’t need to know. When students’ disclosure illegal activities such as drug abuse on online platform such as Facebook, the same information can be retrieved and be used when such students come under investigation for related crime.

Besides these demerits of Facebook, it has its good side. We are able to know what is happening in our surroundings and in the whole world almost instantly. People share online on events happening on their environs instantly as it happens. News reach to the recipients within shortest time.  Also we are able to keep in touch with our relatives and friends (Ellison, N.B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. 2007). This makes it more interesting and faster since before maybe you had to travel long distance to visit them. Now with Facebook you chat daily and any time you think of chatting with them. Sharing of information with relatives is also faster and convenient to all users.

We are able to post anything from everywhere at any time with Facebook. This makes channeling of information faster. All news that may not be covered by other news channel are possibly covered by Facebook. Such news may be taken to be minute but such information may be well received by those people in social media. Also it gives a chance for feedback by “like” and “dislike” options from the whole population on Facebook. This feedback when well used it gives room for improvement on different areas. Such feedback may not be available on normal interaction since it’s not possible to cover such huge number like the one covered by Facebook within such a short time. For those who would like to advertise their business, Facebook gives the best platform since it host millions of people. The advertisement is free of charge since it’s not charged. Also it makes it possible to reach many possible customers within a very short time.

From the above discussion, Facebook has its benefits and demerits. Even with the bad things about Facebook such as distraction and addiction, the goods things such as social interaction and sharing information outweighs the bad side of it. Also Facebook has brought together a very big population which can be used advantageously such as in advertisement.

 

 

 

 

References

Boon, S. & Sinclair, C. (2009). A world I don’t inhabit; disquiet and identity in second life and Facebook Educational Media International, 46(2), 99-110.

Kirkpatrick, D. (2010). The Facebook effect: The inside story of the company that is connecting the world. New York; Simon &Schuster.

Kuss, D., &Griffiths, M.D. (2011). Addiction to social networks on the internet. A literature review of empirical research. International Journal of environmental and public health, 8, 3528-3552

Kietzmann, .H, Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I.P., (2011) ‘Social Media? Get serious! Understanding the functional blocks of social media.’ Business Horizon, 54(3), 241-251

 

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: EDUCATION

February 23, 2017

Executive summary
There are several models that need to be adopted in an education system. Qatar which has increasing needs for skilled people to advance its economy needs to ensure that appropriate models are adopted. The STEAM model will be analyzed in this research so as to ensure that the students realize their full potential and meet the increasing demands of Qatar. This will be a questionnaire based survey targeting secondary schools and Universities at all categories in Qatar. The data will be analyzed using SPSS version 22 and data presented as means in tables and charts. The results from this study will ensure that relevant measures are taken to ensure that the STEAM model is adopted in education institutions to meet its objectives in line with the national vision 2030 in Qatar.

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background information
The increasing development projects and globalization have brought about dynamic changes in the labor markets. This means that there needs to be technologies and expertise developed to cope up and match these new economic sectors (Al-Ghanim, et al., 2014). The people trained in the academic institutions need to have the proper skills that are needed in the economy. This calls for the education systems to be changed so that they can suit the needs of the economy. For instance, the system of education can be interdisciplinary such that there can be an interaction in terms of problem-solving (Stasz et al., 2008). Moreover, there need to be technical specialties in the labor markets that are suited for the economic needs. The Gulf region has therefore put in place measures that aim at meeting the ever-changing economic dynamics. Much emphasis has been put on the knowledge-based economy through various planning protocols. This has been prompted following the shortage of skilled labor in the Gulf economies as a result of weaknesses in the education system. These problems arose due to a mismatch that has existed for long between the outcomes of education and the labor market. The education system was thus not able to provide the required professional in both scientific and other crucial areas such as industries and research. The various changes in education, therefore, need to be geared towards matching the outcomes of education with the professional needs of the society.
The STEAM program has been proposed for adoption within the Qatar education systems (Jolly, 2014). These programs make sure that the students who are being trained at all levels of education are ready to fit well in various places of work which are rich in terms of knowledge in Qatar. There is a growing need to inspire the students in Qatar to adopt the careers that are related to STEAM and take pride in them (Park & Lee, 2014). Some of the partners of STEAM program include the Maersk oil company. Some projects that the partners are undertaking in partnership with STEAM include the exploration of ICT in education and the Go robot project (Bidgood et al., 2010). All these and other education reforms are aimed at the realization of the Qatar national vision 2030. In terms of leadership in the education sector, Qatar relies on the K 12 system. This system is important because it views the education as a key factor for both social and economic aspects. However, the STEAM program in Qatar schools has not been widely adopted due to various weaknesses in terms of policy implementation. This research, therefore, aims at finding a STEAM Education school Model in order to develop the full potential for Qatar citizens in the process of coming up with skilled people (Kim & Choi, 2012). This needs to create research opportunities in training institutions, develop beneficial programs of education and train teachers to adopt collaboration strategies to strengthen the reality of STEM.
1.2 Objectives
1.2.1 Broad objective
Finding STEAM Education school Model in order to develop full potential Qatari citizens creating skilled people.
1.2.2 Specific objectives
Evaluation of the STEAM education model in selected Qatar schools
Improvement in the adoption of STEAM model
1.3 Hypothesis
1.3.1 Null hypothesis
The STEAM education model does not have any effect on the creation of skills among the students in Qatar.
1.3.2 Alternate hypothesis
The STEAM model in education makes the people develop their skills and realize their potential.
1.4 Statement of the problem
The students and generally all the citizens of Qatar have not been able to develop their full potential in form of skills. Therefore there is a need to use various programs in learning institutions so as the students can get the required skills early in their careers. The adoption of information technology tools enables the citizens to have hands-on skills for the needs of the economic sector of Qatar.
1.5 Justification
The teaching of entrepreneurship skills to the secondary and university students is useful in the creation of a current generation of creative entrepreneurs. These individuals need to take risks so as to venture in various economic initiatives. STEAM program is aimed at diversifying the economy of Qatar by large. The post-program evaluation enables the students and other citizens in developing critical thinking. The teachers need to develop standard programs and relevant training so that they can get skills and behaviors that enable them to pass them to students. These programs are able to expand the ranks of the students and need to be made compulsory in primary, secondary and University levels.

2.0 Literature review
2.1 Education in Qatar
Education in Qatar had not yet been adopted before the discovery of oil mining. Those days, the informal education involved the teaching of Quran in mosques. The children were also taught how to read and write in Kuttab, an informal system which involved both boys and girls. With time, the Doha education system came in which majorly focused on geography, mathematics, history and Islamic religion among other disciplines (Rostron, 2009). Later on, there have been schools that are funded by the government to support more education opportunities in Qatar. With these came some private schools which are placed in three different categories (Khodr, 2011). The community schools are those that deal with expatriated children such as those of Americans, Indians, Bretons and Pakistan’s. The second type is the private Arabic schools that majorly follow the Arabic curriculum based on their traditions. The third type of school is the international schools which use a foreign system of education and since it includes both expatriates as well as the Qatar students, it does not receive any form of sponsorship (Kobaisi, 1979).
2.2 The Ministry of Education in Qatar
The ministry of education in Qatar provides fully funded education to the Qatar children and those of expatriates who are employed by the government of Qatar. This has led to a growth in the literacy levels within a short period of time. This success has been attributed to the centralized nature of the ministry of education which oversees the progress of both public and private education (Greene, 2015). The ministry of education in Qatar is divided into various sections that include: finance, cultural affairs, administration and educational matters.
This ministry hires teachers from other Arabian countries and allocates them to respective schools. There are reports that most teachers are female indicating that most men do not train in this profession whereas the country is in dire need of teachers. Most girls’ school’s teachers are Qatari while most teachers in most schools are from other Arabian countries. The ministry of education conducts an evaluation but does not offer relevant professional development programs to the teachers before hiring them (Codd, 2005). The content and nature of the curriculum taught at each level of education is solely determined by the ministry of education of Qatar. Since the ministry considers the development of curriculum, it is the best to be used for the adoption of the STEM program.
2.3 Entrepreneurship education
Kuratko, 2005 argues that entrepreneurship is very important for the development and sustaining of various sectors of the economy. This form of education is also important for developing intentions, attitudes, and aspirations for individuals to start up and manage their economic ventures. Entrepreneurship education should also help the students in developing a mindset which is beneficial in the economic development of a nation in general. To achieve this, the students who are undergoing Entrepreneurship education should be able to have skills for finding out, acting and making the value of all opportunities that are at their disposal (Peterman & Kennedy, 2003). Qatar is mostly endowed with gas and oil and thus none of its citizens is really said to be unemployed. However, the government intends to adopt entrepreneurship strategies in order to diversify its economy. This includes the adoption of various programs, strategies, and regulations that aim at modernizing their business operations (Wilson et al., 2007).
For instance, the INJAZ Qatar is involved in offers education to the students regarding the needs of the workplaces, financial matters, and entrepreneurship. According to Salti, 2008, this organization aims at making sure that the skills of the people are used in the economy, youth are linked to successful business people and that the students are able to be innovative and be creative in generating new ideas. The program is mostly taught in schools and universities by professionals from different sectors.
2.4 National vision 2030 in Qatar
Qatar in its national vision 2010 aims to equip its citizens in order to be able to meet its growing needs. For instance, the curriculum should have training programs which are able to respond to both current as well as the future needs of the country (Scharfenort, 2012). These learning programs are aimed to be long enough such that every Qatar child is equipped with motivation and skills which have a significant contribution to the society. The government of Qatar aims at funding the scientific research which is conducted in private and public universities and international organizations.
2.5 Policies of the teachers
According to Collinson et al., 2009, the policies of teachers in schools are very crucial because they improve the quality of the services that they develop. This then translates to the quality of the knowledge which is passed down to the students who are future leaders. The ideal teacher for employment in a learning institution is one who has a positive attitude and aptitude. The government of Qatar should understand the reasons as to why most people do not like teaching profession. To encourage more teachers, the government should raise their salaries, improve the working standards and address their career prospects. The curriculum should be revised more often so as to that leadership issues can be attended to. The teachers need to be trained to adopt various programs which enable them to make career paths for their students.

Qatar has also adopted the Teach for Qatar policy in order to raise the standards of its teachers. This organization has prioritized mathematics, science and English language as the key drivers for economic development. Furthermore Loucks-Horsley et al., 2009 arguse that the creation of a knowledge base economy in Qatar there is every need reform the whole education system such that it is suited to address the needs of the country through the training of highly qualified individuals. This research will enhance the promotion of social cohesion to uphold the cultural and economical values of Qatar so that there can be a constructive relationship between this country and its neighbors.

3.0 Methodology
3.1 study design
This study will employ a questionnaire based form of the survey in twenty secondary schools and forty Universities where the STEM program has been adopted. However, before the tool is administered, the participants will need to fill a consent form to participate in the study. This tool will be issued to a total of 300 participants i.e. 100 from secondary schools and 200 from universities. It will be detailed enough so as to understand the level of implementation, the key components of the program and the weaknesses of the programs. The level of satisfaction will also be evaluated between several categories of schools that are, the community, private and international schools in Qatar. This survey will be administered to both students as well as the teachers so as to determine their level of satisfaction. The validity of the details of the questionnaire will be tested especially to determine the attitude of the students towards the mathematics and science based subjects with regards to the STEAM model in education. In an effort to determine the level of accuracy of the results and feedbacks in this questionnaire, a validity test will be carried out. Furthermore, there are several factors whose effects can directly affect the responses. These factors include age, type of school (community and international) and the gender of the respondents. Bearing in mind that there are non-Arabic speaking students and teachers in Qatar, the questionnaires will be designed in two languages; English and Arabic.
3.2 Data analysis
Data will be coded, cleaned and analyzed using SPSS software version 22. The means, mode and standard deviation will be calculated and recorded on tables (Norušis, 2006). The data on frequencies will be presented in form of tables and charts. Chi-square will be used to test for independence between the variables. This will be necessary to make a test for the null hypothesis at p=0.05.

References

Al-Ghanim, K. A., Al-Maadeed, M. A., & Al-Thani, N. J. (2014). impact of innovative learning environment based on research activities on secondary school students’attitude towards research and their self-efficacy. European Journal of Educational Sciences (EJES), 300.
Bidgood, B. A., Wilkie, H., & Katchaluba, A. (2010). Releasing the steam: An evaluation of the supporting tempers, emotions, and anger management (STEAM) program for elementary and adolescent-age children. Social Work with Groups, 33(2-3), 160-174.
Codd, J. (2005). Teachers as ‘managed professionals’ in the global education industry: The New Zealand experience. Educational review, 57(2), 193-206.
Collinson, V., Kozina, E., Kate Lin, Y. H., Ling, L., Matheson, I., Newcombe, L., & Zogla, I. (2009). Professional development for teachers: A world of change. European journal of teacher education, 32(1), 3-19.
Greene, P. G. (2015). Entrepreneurship Education: A Global Consideration from Practice to Policy Around the World (Doctoral dissertation).
Jolly, A. (2014). STEM vs. STEAM: Do the arts belong. Education Week, 18.
Khodr, H. (2011). The dynamics of international education in Qatar: Exploring the policy drivers behind the development of Education City. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 2(6), 514-525.
Kim, G. S., & Choi, S. Y. (2012). The effects of the creative problem solving ability and scientific attitude through the science-based STEAM program in the elementary gifted students. Journal of Korean Elementary Science Education, 31(2), 216-226.
Kirby, D. A. (2004). Entrepreneurship education: can business schools meet the challenge?. Education+ training, 46(8/9), 510-519.
Kobaisi, A. J. (1979). The Development of Education in Qatar, 1950-1977 With an Analysis of Some Educational Problems (Doctoral dissertation, Durham University).
Kuratko, D. F. (2005). The emergence of entrepreneurship education: Development, trends, and challenges. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 29(5), 577-598.
Loucks-Horsley, S., Stiles, K. E., Mundry, S., & Hewson, P. W. (Eds.). (2009). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Corwin Press.
Norušis, M. J. (2006). SPSS 14.0 guide to data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Park, B. Y., & Lee, H. (2014). Development and Application of Systems Thinking-based STEAM Education Program to Improve Secondary Science Gifted and Talented Students’ Systems Thinking Skill. Journal of Gifted/Talented Education, 24(3), 421-444.
Peterman, N. E., & Kennedy, J. (2003). Enterprise education: Influencing students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 28(2), 129-144.
Rostron, M. (2009). Liberal arts education in Qatar: Intercultural perspectives. Intercultural Education, 20(3), 219-229.
Salti, S. (2008). Students Incorporated: INJAZ on a mission to send Arab youth to Planet Free Enterprise. innovations, 3(4), 89-98.
Scharfenort, N. (2012). Urban development and social change in Qatar: the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Journal of Arabian Studies, 2(2), 209-230.
Stasz, C., Eide, E. R., & Martorell, P. (2008). Post-secondary education in Qatar: Employer demand, student choice, and options for policy. Rand Corporation.
Wilson, F., Kickul, J., & Marlino, D. (2007). Gender, entrepreneurial self‐efficacy, and entrepreneurial career intentions: implications for entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 31(3), 387-406.

PETROBRAS CORPORATION- BRAZIL

February 22, 2017

 

 

Table of Contents

1     Introduction. 3

1.1      Background of the case. 3

2     Critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies. 4

2.1      Current Internationalisation pattern  4

2.2      Theories of Internationalisation. 6

2.2.1       Sequential Theory (Uppsala model) 7

2.3      Critical assessment of the current Internationalisation strategies. 8

2.3.1       Joint ventures. 9

3     Recommendation. 10

3.1      Recommended Future strategic direction. 10

3.1.1       Proposed strategy. 10

3.1.2       Porter’s Generic Strategy. 11

3.1.3       Ghemawat’s Strategic choices. 12

4     Conclusion. 13

5     References. 14

 

1          Introduction

The first part of the current report is a critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies embraced by Petrobras, a petroleum company headquartered in Brazil. The background section presents the major patterns and trends in the international business activity of this company. The current internationalisation pattern in the company is identified and categorised into the appropriate internationalisation theory. A critical assessment of the current internationalisation strategies is provided and the specific strategy in current use identified as development of joint ventures. It is recognised that Petrobras enjoys a number of benefits by using joint ventures as an internationalisation strategy. This analysis is followed by a recommendation on the most appropriate strategy to allow Petrobras to maintain or improve its competitive advantage. This is classified as a differentiation strategy and linked to the right Ghemawat’s strategic approach.

1.1        Background of the case

Petrobras is a multinational corporation doing business in the petroleum industry and headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Fleury & Fleury 2011). It has operations in six business areas, each contributing a certain amount of revenue to the total revenue collection of the company. To begin with, Petrobras generates most of its revenue from refining, transportation and marketing of oil in Brazil. Another significant source of the company’s revenue is exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs). It is also involved in the distribution of oil products such as biodiesel, natural gas, and ethanol to various wholesalers in Brazil. Production of biofuels such as biodiesel and related products has been another revenue-generating activity associated with Petrobras (Musacchio, Goldberg & Pinho 2009). Excess electricity and sugar are produced by the company using sugarcane bagasse. Petrobras is challenged by the increased competition in the international oil market especially in the regions it has launched international investments. It has to consider better ways of improve its competitive advantage since almost 10% of its production is based outside Brazil. Most of this production takes place in South American countries such as Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia. Other international investments are in Japan, United States, Mexico, Namibia, Gabon, Benin, and Nigeria (Clifton, Comín & Díaz-Fuentes 2011). These areas, just like the rest of the world, are experiencing an increase in the desire for a carbon-free world.  The fear of changes in the world’s climatic conditions as a result of inappropriate use of energy has encouraged environmentalists to advocate for the use of less fossil fuel and more of renewable energy (Gupta 2013). At the same time, Petrobras has to operate in a market characterised by an increase in the demand for energy and slumping oil prices.

2          Critical analysis of the internationalisation strategies

2.1        Current Internationalisation pattern

The internationalisation pattern used by the Petrobras can be described as a systematic one since it uses a single strategy at a go. Once one strategy has been explored extensively, the company considers pursuing another strategy. At the same time, the company prefers expanding to a single country at a time to avoid the risks associated with expansion to multiple countries in a simultaneous manner. In 1972, for example, Petrobras expanded into Colombia to with an aim of exploring and producing oil and gas. This was the initial aim of expanding into Colombia and can be described as a resource-seeking strategy. After acquiring the resources, the company was to be involved in retailing and distribution of the acquired resources. Therefore, it can be said that the second reason why Petrobras expanded into Colombia was to seek a new market. As argued by Ang & Ding (2006) resource-seeking strategies should be pursed before marketing-seeking strategies if a company is to succeed in its internationalisation process. This may be the major reason why Petrobras embarked on resource-seeking expansions into Libya, Iraq, Angola, and the United States in 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1987 respectively. Although the company was involved in some market-seeking and strategic asset-seeking activities, resource-seeking activities were its major focus (Cuervo-Cazurra & Dau 2009).

Every phase of the sequential expansion embraced by Petrobras was determined by the prevailing national or international conditions. The first phase, the phase majorly based on resource-seeking activities, started in the early 1970s mainly due to the prevailing oil crisis. Petrobras wanted to minimise the country’s dependence on external sources of oil and oil products. Banalieva & Dhanaraj (2013) avowed that an internationalisation strategy must start with experimentation, which was considered by Petrobras before market liberalisation took place in 1988. In this first phase, Petrobras was able to acquire resources in with countries known to have friendly relations with Brazil. This was an opportunity to internationalise into Colombia, North America, and the Middle East.

The second phase of Petrobras started after the market liberalisation that took place between 1988 and 1997. This is described as defensive internationalisation and was mainly based on strategic-asset-seeking. During this period, the company was involved in a number of acquisitions of foreign ventures in the oil industry. The government aimed at protecting Petrobras from the local economic crisis that followed the economic crisis. Political instability prevailed during this time and there were fears of reform reversals.

2.2        Theories of Internationalisation

According to Cuervo-Cazurra et al (2014), there are three major theories of internationalisation, which include the Network Model, the Transaction Cost Theory, and the Upssala Model. It should be appreciated that the internationalisation process is very complex, making it necessary for different scholars to develop these theories to allow companies achieve internationalisation with ease. According to the Uppsala theory, firms must pursue success in their home country before expanding into neighbouring and other countries of the world in that order (Kuramoto Gonzalez & Kindl da Cunha 2012).  Therefore, the first approach is to expand into geographically or culturally close countries before expanding into geographically and culturally distant countries. As far as Petrobras is involved, the strategy was the most appropriate in making sure that challenges were minimised in the process of expanding into Latin American nations and the rest of the world. When this theory is embraced by a company, it is important to start with traditional exports before implementing demanding modes of operation such as sales subsidiaries in the foreign nation or at the company level.

Petrobras had also to consider the transaction cost theories when expanding into foreign markets. This theory focuses on costs involved in the internationalisation process and possible effects of these costs on the firm’s choice of a certain market. The effect of the costs on the mode of entering in the new market is also considered in the Transaction Cost theory. Transaction cost is the most important factor affecting the success of an internationalisation strategy. In the internationalisation process, costs may be incurred in information search about the target foreign market, customers, products, and negotiation (Bass & Chakrabarty 2014).

The network model or theory of internationalisation has an influence on the internationalisation process at Petrobras. This theory views the market as a system of industrial and social relationships (Dantas & Bell 2009). The new markets targeted by Petrobras are made up of different players such as suppliers, customers, competitors, friends, and friends. Therefore, Petrobras should assess its relationships with other parties in the market before making any strategic decision.

2.2.1      Sequential Theory (Uppsala model)

Among the identified theories of internationalisation, the sequential theory or the Uppsala model is the most important in explaining the expansion journey followed by Petrobras. This theory proposes that the firm must gain experience in the domestic market before expending into foreign markets. This model was well considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation strategy. This is because the company initially focused on establishing production bases in geographically close nations such as Colombia in 1972 and Argentina in 1993. According to the Uppsala model, a country may be considered close to another in terms of culture and allow a firm to expand into such a country in its initial stages of expanding into foreign markets. For this reason, culturally close countries were initially considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation process. For example, the company expanded into nations such as Libya in 1974, Iraq in 1978, and Angola in 1979.

The Uppsala model insists that a company expanding into a foreign country should initially trade in its traditional exports before considering trade in other areas, products, and services. This provision was considered by Petrobras in its internationalisation process since the initial aim was to seek resources in regional and global markets. Later, the company started developing and trading in more innovative products and services.

Although the Uppsala model has continually allowed Petrobras and other companies to successfully expand into foreign markets, it is associated with some drawbacks. To being with, it is evident that the model is very deterministic since its principles are determined by time evolution. The country where the firm is located or it is planning to expand to has a great influence on the approach to be taken in the expansion process. Therefore, the interdependencies between markets in Brazil and markets in other nations are not recognised by the Uppsala model.

2.3        Critical assessment of the current Internationalisation strategies

There are different modes of entry to a foreign market to be considered by a company interested in improving its global presence. Each of these modes or strategies has its own advantages and disadvantages, which must be considered before selecting the most suitable internationalisation strategy (Duanmu 2014). Petrobras has used most of the strategies to some extent, although a specific strategy is currently in use since its strategies are utilised in a sequential manner rather than in a simultaneous manner.

The use of wholly owned subsidiaries can be used by oil companies and companies in other industries to expand into a foreign market. In this mode of entry, the extending company owns all the stock of the subsidiaries. The company can either achieve this by setting up another operation in the foreign land or acquiring all the assets of an established firm in the target country. Petrobras has used this strategy to some extent, with the examples of Petrobras Netherlands BV in the Netherlands and BRASPETRO Oil Services Company in Cayman Islands.  The company also acquired an energy group in Argentina known as Perez Companc in an effort to expand into the oil market in Argentina. The disadvantage associated with this mode of entry into a foreign market is that it is associated with a high initial cost. However, wholly owned subsidiaries are easier to control than joint ventures (Cantwell, Dunning & Lundan 2010). Therefore, Petrobras can find it easy to make strategic decisions.

As another method of entry into a foreign market, Petrobras embarked on exporting its oil products to countries such as Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia. This was done to avoid the high cost involved in the establishment of manufacturing operation in a new market in the initial stages of the internationalisation process. After a good capital base was established, the company considered other capital-intensive entry modes. Formation of joint ventures is another method that can be used by firms to penetrate foreign markets and is described below.

2.3.1      Joint ventures

The internationalisation in current use at Petrobras is formation of joint ventures. A joint venture is involves coming together of two or more companies through a formal arrangement to be carry out a business activity that will yield mutual benefits (Cerny 2010). The benefits associated with joint ventures have allowed Petrobras to deal with political, economic, and legal issues that arise when a business has an international presence. A good example of a joint venture has been the partnership between Petrobras and BTG Pactual, with business activities in various parts of Africa. BTG Pactual has a better understanding of the political, social and economic challenges of the African countries involved, including Namibia, Angola and Tanzania. Therefore, information from BTG Pactual about such issues is of great importance to Petrobras when making political, economic, and social decisions. The same case applies to other joint ventures maintained by the company.

Joint ventures have also allowed Petrobras to deal with the challenges associated with international HRM. Some people may not be willing to relocate from their country to serve work in a wholly owned subsidiary in a foreign country. By setting up joint ventures, Petrobras has given most of these individuals an opportunity to serve a global company while in the home country. International marketing issues have also been handled by some of the joint ventures maintained by Petrobras. For example, Petrobras has been able to trade with nations that have poor relationships with Brazil. This is achieved by developing a joint venture with a company based in a country with a good relationship with Brazil. As far as international logistics issues are concerned, the company uses the joint ventures in different countries as warehouses for products meant for other destinations. Therefore, it can be concluded that the joint venture strategy has been highly successful since Petrobras has gained access to diverse human resources, technology, distribution networks and new markets. However, the success of this strategy has been challenged by some issues, such as cultural and communication barriers.

3          Recommendation

3.1        Recommended Future strategic direction

Despite the fact that the previous and current strategies have allowed Petrobras to gain some competitive advantage in the international market, a better strategic direction is required in the future.

3.1.1      Proposed strategy

Research shows that more and more companies are taking advantage of green packaging materials regardless of the sector or industry they are operating in (Campos, Tolmasquim & Alveal 2006). Green packaging materials are materials that can allow the product users to reduce the level of environmental pollution. Therefore, Petrobras can take advantage of this preference to become more competitive in the oil and gas industry. Paperboard dispensers can be used to replace plastic materials used to create storage materials for oil-based products. Such dispensers are environmentally friendly since they are biodegradable. Moreover, this strategy should be extended to cover a change in the aspects of labels on packaging materials used by the company. The amount of glue utilised and the weight of the labelling material should be considered when implementing the changes.

A company involved in sustainable packaging is in a better position to acquire more customers than a company in the same industry that does not embrace such a strategy (Carvalho, Costa & Duysters 2010). This is especially true for companies in the oil and gas industry since most of the customers in this industry are educated and differentiate between a packaging material which is friendly to the environment and the one with the potential to pollute the environment (Choudhury & Khanna 2014). The cost benefit of using green packaging materials will allow Petrobras to reduce its cost of operation. A reduction in the cost of operation will translate into improved profits. Consequently, the increased profits will be used by the company in production improvement and provision of better services or even after sale services. Such changes have a great potential to attract more customers. The cost-benefits may involve a reduction in improper packaging-related lawsuits and lower price of green packaging materials than conventional packaging materials.  This strategy can be made more effective by making sure that the label on the packaging materials has a message advising the user to dispose the material in the right way. When making these changes, Petrobras must do a research on the packaging materials and messages used by its competitors to make sure that the changes embraced will be unique.

3.1.2      Porter’s Generic Strategy

There are three Porter’s generic strategies that can be used by companies to gain competitive advantage in their respective markets. The three are focus, differentiation and cost leadership. Cost leadership involves lowering the price of product or service below the market price through a reduction in the cost of production (Murray 2008). Differentiation strategy involves improving the firm’s products and/or services to make the more attractive and different from those of its competitors. Companies using the focus strategy concentrate on serving a specific niche market. They make effort to understand the factors that shape demand and supply in that market to develop niche-specific products and services (Hood 2015). From these definitions, the strategy recommended for Petrobras should be categorised into the class of differentiation strategies. This is because the primary reason for making these changes will be to make the firm’s products more environmentally friendly than those packaged by their competitors, hence making them more attracting.

3.1.3      Ghemawat’s Strategic choices

According to Ghemawat’s global strategy framework, there are three generic approachs to be considered by companies when creating a global value. These include adaptation, aggregation and arbitrage. Adaptation is achieved through a change in one or more aspects of the product or service offered by the company (Ghemawat 2002). On the other hands, aggregation involves creation of economies of scale to deal with differences. In such a case, the company takes advantage of similarities among various geographies as opposed to making adaptations to meet a certain specification. Lastly, arbitrage is where a company exploits the differences among markets, such as buying goods at a low price in one market and selling them at a higher price in another market (Ghemawat 2002). From these definitions, it is clear that the differentiation strategy recommended for Petrobras falls on the adaptation approach. This is because the company will be required to make changes in its packaging material and label to take advantage of the increasing demand for environmentally friendly packaging materials. Consumers in markets served by Petrobras are expected to recognise a change in the packing material used by the company a few days or months after the implementation of the changes. Most of them will shift from their current supplier to Petrobras, allowing Petrobras to gain a competitive advantage in its markets.

4          Conclusion

It can be concluded that Petrobras has enjoyed a significant level of success in its effort to expand into foreign markets. From the report, it is clear that the use of joint ventures to penetrate new markets is more effective than other approachs. Furthermore, companies in the gas and oil industry can successfully enter a foreign market if a sequential strategy is embraced. Petrobras will need to rethink its role in minimising environmental pollution. This should involve making appropriate changes to the packaging materials and product labels as described in the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5          References

Ang, J, & Ding, D 2006, ‘Government ownership and the performance of government-linked companies: The case of Singapore’, Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Vol.16, No.1, pp.64-88.

Banalieva, R, & Dhanaraj, C 2013, ‘Home-regional orientation in international expansion strategies’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.44, No.2, pp.89-116.

Bass, A & Chakrabarty, S 2014, ‘Resource security: Competition for global resources, strategic intent, and governments as owners. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.961-979.

Campos, F, Tolmasquim, T, & Alveal, C 2006, ‘Restructuring the oil segment in South America: Public policy, private capital and energy integration. Oil & Gas Science and Technology-Revue de l’IFP, Vol.61No.3, pp.415-431.

Cantwell, J, Dunning, H., & Lundan, S 2010, ‘An evolutionary approach to understanding international business activity: The co-evolution of MNEs and the institutional environment. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.41, No.4, pp.567-586.

Carvalho, F, Costa, I, & Duysters, G 2010, Global Players from Brazil: drivers and challenges in the Internationalisation process of Brazilian firms, Maastricht: UNU-MERIT, Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology.

Cerny, P 2010, ‘Paradoxes of the competition state: The dynamics of political globalization. Government and opposition, Vol.32, pp.2, pp.251-274.

Choudhury, P, & Khanna, T 2014, ‘Toward resource independence – Why state-owned entities become multinationals: An empirical study of India’s public R&D laboratories’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.943-960.

Clifton, J, Comín, F, & Díaz-Fuentes, D 2011, ‘From national monopoly to multinational corporation: How regulation shaped the road towards telecommunications internationalisation. Business History, Vol.53, No.5, pp.761-781.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A, & Dau, L 2009, ‘Promarket reforms and firm profitability in developing countries’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol.52, No.6, pp.1348-1368.

Cuervo-Cazurra, A, Inkpen, A, Musacchio, A, & Ramaswamy, K 2014, ‘Governments as owners: State-owned multinational companies’, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.919-942.

Dantas, E, & Bell, M 2009, ‘Latecomer firms and the emergence and development of knowledge networks: The case of Petrobras in Brazil’, Research Policy, Vol.38, No.5, pp.829-844.

Duanmu, J 2014, ‘State-owned MNCs and host country expropriation risk: The role of home state soft power and economic gunboat diplomacy. Journal of International Business Studies, Vol.45, No.8, pp.1044-1060.

Fleury, A & Fleury, M 2011, Brazilian Multinationals: Competences for Internationalisation, Cambridge University Press.

Ghemawat, P 2002, ‘Competition and business strategy in historical perspective’, Business history review, Vol.76, No.1, pp.37-74.

Gupta, N 2013, ‘Partial privatization and firm performance’, The Journal of Finance, Vol.60, No.2, pp.987-1015.

Hood, C 2015, ‘Contemporary public management: A new global paradigm?. Public Policy and Administration, Vol.10, No.104-117.

Kuramoto Gonzalez, R, & Kindl da Cunha, S 2012, ‘Internationalisation process and technological capability trajectory of Iguaçu’, Journal of technology management & innovation, Vol.7, No.2, pp.117-130.

Murray, A, 2008, ‘A contingency view of Porter’s “generic strategies’. Academy of Management Review, Vol.13, No.3, pp.390-400.

Musacchio, A, Goldberg, L, & Pinho, R 2009, Petrobras in Ecuador, Harvard Business Review.

 

 

 

IMPACT OF SOCIO-CULTURAL LANDSCAPE ON INEQUITY AND STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN A NATIONAL SETTING

February 22, 2017

Background

The year 2009 marked one of the revolutionary moments in the history of Australian educational regime. It is during this particular year that it held a high-profile convention consisting of the territory, state and Commonwealth Ministers of Education. Convening under the auspices of Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) in Melbourne, Victoria state capital, the respective education Ministers adopted a Declaration guaranteeing a set of educational goals for the young Australian population (Perso, 2012). In what has now become known as The Melbourne Declaration (MCEETYA, 2008), the declaration enumerated some educational Goals. The first Goal under the Melbourne Declaration obligates the Australian government to ensure that the Australian educational system is one that furthers equity and excellence. All the respective parties expressed their intention and goodwill to pursue a broad spectrum of measures to operationalize and promote the attainment of the goal. The efforts included but not limited to the following: First, every level of a government committed to providing access to high-quality schooling to every student that is non-discriminatory on any grounds such as gender, culture, geographic location or socio-economic background and ethnicity. Secondly, the governments at their respective jurisdictions committed themselves to basing the schooling system on values and principles that promote local cultural knowledge as well as tap into the experiences of indigenous students as the core learning foundation. Likewise, the various levels of government vowed to partner with the local communities on every aspect of the educational process such as bolstering the learning outcome expectations of the indigenous students. The third line of action was to institute mechanisms to upgrade and streamline the learning outcomes of the indigenous learners with those of the other non-indigenous students. Fourthly, the governments through their respective departments of education committed to ouster all forms of socio-economic disadvantages which has historically been a significant player in tilting the scales against the needy students with respect to learning outcomes. Moreover, modality adopted by the governments was to use the schooling process as an essential tool tailored towards cultivating and promoting a cohesive society where religious, social and cultural diversity is appreciated and respected.

It is against this background that the scope of the current paper is anchored. It is unequivocal from the Melbourne Declaration, and one can correctly infer that, in part, the objective of the Declaration was to mitigate the impacts of socio-cultural factors that perpetuate inequity in terms of access and attainment of quality education as well as student performance nationally. A quick glean at the first Goal of the Declaration reveals at least three of such factors. The latter include the socio-economic status of the students, gender, race and ethnicity (Tyler, 2011). The paper will, therefore, endeavor to canvass all the elements mentioned above independently. In so doing, the paper intends to examine the current situation critically, the nature of the policy intervention measures proposed by the Melbourne Declaration and other policy documents and the extent of implementing such interventions. Based on the research findings, the paper will enumerate elaborate recommendations to the State Minister of Educations going forward.

The Statistics

A 2015 study conducted by Centre for International Research on Education Systems (Lamb, Jackson, Walstab & Huo, 2015) demonstrates that educational inequality in Australia is persistently escalating. According to the study, one in every four young Australians is left behind as the gap between the poor and rich students stretches further. The latter is a reflection of the reality that the Australian education system is not working for a larger population of the Australian children. The same study further reveals that Australia has perhaps one of the most segregated learning systems. Notably, a majority of students are shifting or joining private schools, a situation that has led to most public schools steadily acquiring residual status. The preceding, according to the study report, is because of the families that have the advantage of cultural social, economic and cultural capital hence can send their children to very high-end private schools with state-of-the-art curriculum and extra-curriculum facilities that befit their so-called socioeconomic and cultural classes. Additionally, the report shows that eighty-five per centum (85%) of children from indigenous communities attend public schools representing a larger percentage of the population of poor students in public schools (Lamb, Jackson, Walstab & Huo, 2015).

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) through a 2015 report also revealed that the educational inequities in Australia are relatively high compared to the average of developed countries (OECD, 2016). The report published in 2016 further establishes that there is a solid connection between students’ performance or achievement and their respective socio-economic backgrounds. Strictly speaking, the report shows that students who come from low socio-economic backgrounds achieve relatively lower performances than their counterparts from well-to-do families. Furthermore, other studies also document that it is not just the social and economic factor that contributes to the inequities and disparity in student performances. Other factors that induce such outcomes include gender, race and ethnicity and so forth (Sheehan, 2012).

Socio-economic status

According to Educational opportunity in Australia 2015 report (Mitchell Institute, 2015), family background of a student was discovered to still play a major role in determining the path the student will take academically. It has a significant influence despite the government’s active efforts to enhance equity and opportunities for all the students regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. The study shows that socio-economic status of the student’s family background is at the summit of the list of factors that impact access to educational opportunity considered during the research. The survey infers that the present system is ineffective for most of the economically and socially disadvantaged students. The study further shows that the different outcomes are as a result of differences in terms of accessibility of educational services. Based on this finding, the study reports that most of the economically disadvantaged students are likely to spend few hours of their early childhood education, register relatively lower class attendance rates as well develop the propensity of dropping out of school and never joining universities.

But what exactly is socio-economic status? There is no single definition of what is meant by the phrase. The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines socio-economic status (SES) in relation to the peoples’ access to social and material resources and their ability to take part in social activities (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011). Bradley and Corwyn (2002) views SES as constituting an assessment of capital for instance, human capital, financial capital and social capital that relates to a person’s welfare. The American Psychological Association in their Psychology Dictionary (2007) defines socio-economic status as the position a person occupies on the social and economic scale. The socio-economic status of an individual or group of persons culminates into the formation of various social classes in the society. As such, individuals with higher socio-economic capital occupy a high position on the social class ladder while those with low socio-economic power will occupy lower positions along the very same ladder. Individuals, therefore, have different levels of access to essential social and economic resources depending on which position they hold on the social ladder. The latter realities transcend the Australian education sector as well.

Under this arrangement (as previously indicated), students or learners who come from high social class background tend to access better (private) schools with state-of-the-art educational facilities and overly-qualified instructors alongside other high-end privileges that accompany them belong in such schools. Inversely, research demonstrates that learners who come from the low socio-economic status backgrounds tend to performance dismally that those from high social status (Considine, 2001; Graetz, 1995). The studies also take into account the fact that other factors such as the innate ability as well play an imperative role in determining the educational outcomes of the students. Such studies indicate that learners from low socio-economic status families or backgrounds are more likely to exhibit lower levels of comprehension, literacy, and numeracy. Additionally, this group of students has relative lower retentive memory hence are more likely to drop out of school, experience problems with their studies such as the tendency to develop negative attitudes towards school. Moreover, school to employment transition rates is low among such category of learners as noted by Margot (2013).

Gender

Another socio-cultural factor influencing equity and educational performance in most Australian schools is gender. Studies reveal that educational performance tends to vary in relation to sex of the student (Horne, 2000). Specifically, studies show that girls enjoy an educational advantage in comparison to boys especially in literacy (Buckingham, 1999). Some factors account for this escalating gender gap within the Australian educational system. According to Buckingham, these include gender biases (where reading is viewed as not being a boy’s thing), the biological dissimilarities, socio-economic elements, the mode of teaching, the curricula design and assessment mode. Buckingham suggests that because of adoption of an approach where the teaching of grammar, for instance, is less structured a good number of male learners may potentially have been weakened. A rather more important socio-economic explanation to leverage in this gender gap debate is that fact that studies have shown girls to out-perform the boys regardless of the side of the socio-economic scale the argument tilts towards (Teese et al., 1995).

Yet another sinister argument would be: what of a boy or girl who studies in an environment where gender inequality affects both of them on a scale of balance concurrently or alternatively? What would become of the academic performance of the boy or girl who studies in an environment where gender inequality is prevalent? Sheehan (2012) argues that each may potentially develop the mental disposition that since they see and experience such disparities in their learning institutions that gender inequality is everywhere including in employment opportunities later in life. As a result, they may not be able to attach any premiums or incentives on the need to cultivate more effort in their academics. The latter will potentially have adverse consequences on their cumulative educational performance. That is not desirable of any learning system.

 

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are also significant variables when it comes to educational inequities and performance in most learning institutions across the globe. In Australia, race still permeates some learning agencies and at different levels of education despite Australia being multi-ethnic and multi-racial. According to Margot (2013), the populace falls into two broad categories, the indigenous and the non-indigenous population.  The racial and ethnic diversity notwithstanding, there still exists discrimination along the lines mentioned above. And sadly, the same has degenerated into our education system. Gulson (2006) describes racism as the categorization of another person or groups of persons by an individual or group of individual based on their physical appearances such as skin pigmentation, hair or eye coloration. Similarly, Ninetta (2009) defines ethnicity as the group of individuals with a commonly shared culture.

The Australian education system, like the American system, is one that is built on the principle of non-discrimination where everyone has a fair shot to fully exploit their potentials. However, because of the deeply entrenched racial disparities and ethnic norms that are highly segregative, discrimination in the education system is still a growing concern (Forrest & Dunn, 2006). Students feel alienated and sometimes result in them losing self-esteem and confidence in their academic abilities because of the ethnic and racial inequality and discrimination. The overall effect is likely diminished educational performance.

Policy Interventions

The question at this point goes to the nature of policy interventions the policy interventions proposed by the Melbourne Declaration and whether implementation of such interventions is adequateimplemented and if at all, any other executive response alternatives augment the existing ones.

On Gender, the New South Wales government has instituted the Boys’ and Girls’

Education Strategy in line with the first goal of the Melbourne Declaration. The policy intends to aid all the New South Wales government schools to initiate a strategic approach to addressing gender as an educational issue. The object of the strategy is to protect student participation, achievement or performance from effects that emanate from gender-based issues or limited gender roles expectations. The current strategy is anchored upon six primary objectives including to assist boys and girls achieve their full educational potentials without gender limitations and to create awareness among students, parents, and students to fully appreciate the impact of gender within the context of their learning environments including gender implications on their educational performance and achievements.

Nationally, there is the National Action Plan for the Education of Girls 1993-97 which is national educational policy aimed at promoting education among the girls. The policy prioritizes among other things the examination of gender constructions, protection of girls at risk, stemming motivated harassments and so forth. Furthermore, although numerous studies have recommended a national framework to cater for the educational interests of the boy child adequately, there exists no such comprehensive national policy yet.

On Race and Ethnicity, the Australian government’s anti-racism education policy is meticulously pronounced in The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century of 1999. The most express anti-racism in the education system is captured by goal 3.1 which aspires for a socially just schooling system so as safeguard the learners from inculcating adverse impacts of discrimination on any ground including culture, geographical and socio-economic background.

Finally, on Socio-economic status, there is no robust regime of national policies to cater for the socio-economic disadvantages that are still a major obstacle towards educational access especially among the low-income families and communities. Despite the lack of an elaborate policy framework in existence, some interventions have been undertaken by the national government including directing more resources and funds to regions where there is greatest needed. However, an improved participation and corporation at all the levels of government is necessary due to the complexity of the educational inequalities and different performance outcomes that are traceable to different levels of engagements as well as participation.

 

Recommendations

The national government in collaboration with the other levels of governments has fronted a concerted effort to address itself to the myriad of challenges that are the result of the social and cultural implications on inequities and educational performance in the education system. That notwithstanding, some recommendations for policy reforms and considerations for administrative review by the State Minister for Education can still lie. They include the following.

First, the State Minister for Education should do more to enhance certainty and compliment the educational performance by focusing on the formulation of national policies that will further stem the current inequalities. It is worth noting that some of the current inequalities are the result of system-level policies such as policies regarding funding. A good example of the poor funding policies is where States fund the government schools with inadequate top-us from the Commonwealth (Harrington, 2013). Inversely, the Commonwealth funds private schools with to-ups from the States. As a policy reform, States funding of private schools should be scrapped off and the Commonwealth be allowed to fully cater for educational costs in private school. Moreover, the Commonwealth should increase of funding budget for government schools. The rationale lies in the fact that it is the government schools that enroll a bigger percentage of students from low income backgrounds.

Secondly, the Minister should direct his ministry to develop further policies, in conjunction with other stakeholders that would cause a reduction in the economic disparities in various Australian schools. Such policies should focus on reducing student residualization, enhancing access to quality teachers, furthering useful and practical school improvement practices. Some of the current policies further the disparity in the schooling process by creating different types of schools and allowing streaming of students on the basis of academic ability. As a policy reform intervention, the proposed policies should revert such kind of discriminatory policies. The reforms should ensure a reduction in the amount of school fees payable and outlaw selective admissions.

Finally, the Minister is advised to initiate and fast track the formulation of further policies especially those that cater for the seemingly growing lack of attention to the educational plight of the boy child. Nationally, there is the National Action Plan for the Education of Girls 1993-97. The policy has enhanced the national campaign for education for the girl child to the extent that studies have shown (supra) that the boy child has gradually been ignored. A robust all-inclusive national policy framework should therefore be crafted to bring on board the educational concerns for both gender so that the boy child is not written off in the quest for girl child empowerment.

 

 

References

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Ainley et al., Socio-economic Status and School Education DEET/ACER Canberra.

Gulson, K. (2006). A white veneer: Education policy, space and ‘race’ in the inner city. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 27(2), 259-274.

Harrington, M. (2013). Funding the national plan for school improvement: An explanation. Retrieved from http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/prspub/2548143/upload_binary/2548143.pdf;fileType=application/pdf.

Horne,             R. (2000). The performance of males and females in school and tertiary education., Australian Quarterly, 72 (5/6), 21-26. Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.

Lamb, S, Jackson, J, Walstab, A & Huo, S. (2015). Educational opportunity in Australia 2015: Who succeeds and who misses out, Centre for International Research on Education Systems, Victoria University, for the Mitchell Institute, Melbourne: Mitchell Institute.

Margot, F. (2013). Achievement gaps in Australia: what NAPLAN reveals about education inequality in Australia, Race Ethnicity and Education, 16:1, 80-102.

MCEETYA. (2008). The Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians.

Mitchell Institute. (2017). Socio-economic disadvantage and educational opportunity persistently linked. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from http://www.mitchellinstitute.org.au/fact-sheets/socio-economic-disadvantage-and-educational-opportunity-persistently-linked/.

Ninetta, S. (2009). Teaching in culturally diverse contexts: what knowledge about ‘self’ and ‘others’ do teachers need? Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 35:1, 33-45.

OECD. (2016). Economic policy reforms: Going for growth. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from http://www.oecd.org/eco/growth/goingforgrowth.htm.

Perso, T.F. (2012). Cultural Responsiveness and School Education: With particular focus on

Australia’s First Peoples; A Review & Synthesis of the Literature. Menzies School of Health. Research, Centre for Child Development and Education, Darwin Northern Territory.

Sheehan, K. (2012). Does Gender Inequality in Education Affect Educational Outcomes?

Tyler, S. (2011). Transforming inequality in the classroom: Not as easy as it sounds.

Teese, R., Davies, M., Charlton, M., & Polesel, J (1995), Who Wins at School? Boys

and Girls in Australian Secondary Education, Macmillan, Sydney.

 

Close reading

February 21, 2017

Close reading

 

  1. Excerpt: I have been in the midst of those roaring lions, and savage bears, that feared neither God, nor man, nor the devil, by night and day, alone and in company, sleeping all sorts together, and yet not one of them ever offered me the least abuse of unchastity to me, in word or action.  Though some are ready to say I speak it for my own credit; but I speak it in the presence of God, and to His Glory.  God’s power is as great now, and as sufficient to save, as when He preserved Daniel in the lion’s den; or the three children in the fiery furnace.

Answer: This excerpt has a conspicuous meaning of a character wrapped up in an uneasy situation. The passage could also be interpreted to mean the animosity and cruelty of the environment in which the character lives. However, God’s power depicts the essence of believing that some supernatural power exists that can turn bad situations around to opportunities. The theme supported is religion. The perspective upholds the fact that God delivers the believers from any sort of bad omen.

  1. Excerpt: PROCTOR, with a cry of his whole soul:  Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!  [Note to students:  Please keep in mind that there is no historical record of the real John Proctor being asked to pin his name on the church door, or making any comment about his name.

Answer:  Proctor may be literally viewed as a committed religionist. The character’s close association with the church indicates a person leading modern Christian life. However, an in-depth analysis proctor notices the illiteracy in him. He wonders how he would live without his name after being requested to pin it on the wall as part of confession. The excerpt enhances the theme of righteousness in the society. Proctor is depicted as an honest, religious, and blunt-spoken character.

  1. Excerpt: Young Goodman Brown came forth, at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife.  And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.  “Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed tonight.  A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes.  Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”  “My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee.  My journey, as though callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done ‘twixt now and sunrise.  What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost though doubt me already, and we but three months married!”

Answer: A superficial analysis could fail to establish the nature of Brown’s job. Faith’s plea to spend a night with her husband is interpreted to mean the couple spent most of the time apart. The encounter is essential in highlighting the plight of women left alone as their husbands pursue economic goals. Family ties are part of the themes of the story. The use of Goodman’s family and the accompanying nature of life express the mounting need for husband and wife reunion.

  1. Excerpt: “[Faith is] a blessed angel on earth; and after this one night, I’ll cling to her skirts and follow her to Heaven.” [Thought young Goodman Brown].

With this excellent resolve for his future, Goodman Brown felt himself justified in making more haste on his present evil purpose.  He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind.  It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.

Answer: Goodman Brown appears held up by his job that prevents the character from spending time with his wife. Although the passage can be interpreted differently, it is almost unnoticed that Brown succumbs to Faith’s plea and chooses to appreciate the woman more than the job. In fact, Goodman hopes to stay close to the beautiful wife even after the one night requested.

  1. Excerpt: At the close of the services, the people hurried out with indecorous confusion, eager to communicate their pent-up amazement, and conscious of lighter spirits the moment they lost sight of the black veil. Some gathered in little circles, huddled closely together, with their mouths all whispering in the center; some went homeward alone, wrapt in silent meditation; some talked loudly, and profaned the Sabbath day with ostentatious laughter. A few shook their sagacious heads, intimating that they could penetrate the mystery; while one or two affirmed that there was no mystery at all, but only that Mr. Hooper’s eyes were so weakened by the midnight lamp, as to require a shade. After a brief interval, forth came good Mr. Hooper also, in the rear of his flock. Turning his veiled face from one group to another, he paid due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the middle aged with kind dignity as their friend and spiritual guide, greeted the young with mingled authority and love, and laid his hands on the little children’s heads to bless them. Such was always his custom on the Sabbath day. Strange and bewildered looks repaid him for his courtesy.

Answer: Mr. Hooper’s congregation might have had an idea of the nature of mystery before as the superficial concept means. However, the scene turned out scary after witnessing an unexpected activity. Elizabeth’s reactions were not part of the expectations of the crowd. Therefore, the excerpt furthers the theme of supernatural powers among people. The disappearance of the black veil and Elizabeth’s abnormal reaction adds to the mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biology of the Brain

February 21, 2017

Biology of the Brain

  1. What research evidence supports the “lock and key” model for the mode of action neurotransmitter?

The binding that exists between the neurotransmitter sites and those of the receptors is always articulated as a lock-and-key correlation since the neurotransmitters fit in specific locations of receptors in a similar manner in which a key fits in a given lock. To begin with, the presynaptic vesicle frees the neurotransmitter and passes through the synapse where it binds to a receptor that postsynaptic. This type of chemical incident results in a sequence of electrical occasions.

When binding occurs to other receptors, there is the opening of channels in the neurotransmitters located in the nerve membrane that permits ions to drift unremittingly in the neuron. These ramifications are accountable for the modifications in membrane prospective essential in the transmitting of messages along the nerve fibers and between neurons (American Psychiatric Association, 1983).

  1. What can you deduce about the biology of schizophrenia from the fact that haloperidol, a dopamine-receptor antagonist, is successfully used to treat schizophrenia?

A deduction that is made in relation to the treatment of schizophrenia through the use of haloperidol in this case is that haloperidol is a type of antipsychotics (Brisch, Saniotis, Wolf, Bielau, Bernstein, Steiner, & Henneberg, 2014). These are considered to be dopamine antagonists where haloperidol is employed in the relieving of symptoms of schizophrenia among other problems that hinder the proper thinking of an individual, the nature of feeling and also the behavior. Prescription of haloperidol is used to control these symptoms together with a long-acting or ‘depot’ injection. This medication is known to rebalance dopamine so as to improve the patient’s reported situation. Haloperidol is used to block dopamine receptors through receptor antagonism.

Moreover, according to Brisch (2014), the relieving of these symptoms varies among the different groups of people. For example, individuals with a heart condition or blood vessel problems, breathing problems, prostate, liver or kidney problems among other problems should first seek the doctor’s advice before taking this medication. Haloperidol is only considered to be effective only if the medication is taken properly and the dose is completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Top of Form

American Psychiatric Association. (1983). Psychiatry update: The American Psychiatric Association annual review. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Press.

Bottom of Form

Brisch, R., Saniotis, A., Wolf, R., Bielau, H., Bernstein, H. G., Steiner, J., … & Henneberg, M. (2014). The role of dopamine in schizophrenia from a neurobiological and evolutionary perspective: old fashioned, but still in vogue. Frontiers in psychiatry, 5, 47.

Japanese Ancient Poem Review.

February 17, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Ancient Poem Review.

Author

Institution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Ancient Poem Review

The Lament for Princess Asuka is an elegy that is divided into four meaningful parts. The first meaningful section is from Tobutorino to Karurebahayuru. Hitomaro describes Asuka river as having bridges on both the upper and the lower stream, and there was a gemweed which would wither and later thrives again. Hitomaro plays around with words when describing the princess who has just died. He narrates the life sequence of the gemweed that withers and then comes back to life thereby suggesting that the loss of life and the creation of new life is entwined with each other.

In the next meaningful section begins with the expression of a strong sense of grief. The author paints a narrative of betrayal and abandonment. Princess Asuka is portrayed as an individual who not only forgot her husband but also betrayed him. She had forgotten the life they had, the close cuddles they shared while entwining their hands. The author does not imply that the princess forgot her husband and betrayed him physically but indicates the impact the death of Princess Asuka had on her husband.

In the third meaningful section, the author depicts how princess Asuka and her husband were a harmonious couple, and Prince Osakabe lived through a painful experience with the death of the princess.  The loss of the princess not only affected the prince but the author suggests that it had an impact on the prince’s subjects. The author suggests that it would be best to preserve Princess Asuka’s name for an eternity. Additionally, the river shared a name with the princess; therefore, it was a resemblance of her. Hitomaro wrote the poem to not only console those who mourned the death of Princess Asuka and urge them to preserve the memories they had of her, he also wanted to appease the spirit of the princess.

From the first envoy, Hitomaro might be implying that there was foul play in Asuka’s death. He uses the word Shigarami to suggest that just like the way an object can be placed in a river to slow its flow, there was something that could be done to stop Asuka’s death. The author ignites inquiries into the death of Princess Asuka; did the princes’ die of illness? Was there a treatment that would have cured her? What caused her death? What actions lead to her death? In the poem, Hitomaro successfully inflames people’s imagination on the circumstances that lead to the Princess’s death.

In the second envoy, Hitomaro shifts between using the word Asu which refers to tomorrow and Princess’s name. He states that individuals who want to see her can seek to see her in “tomorrow”, but they know she cannot return tomorrow. Perhaps the author is referring to the deep sorrow that was ignited by the death of the princess. Grief is a process and although those who moan her, they cannot see her tomorrow because unlike the gemweed once an individual disease they do not come back.

The second elegy, Poems on the death of the Tribute Maiden from Kimi is also divided into four meaningful sections. The first meaningful part describes the beautiful nature of the maiden from Kibi. Hitomaro describes her beauty as the bright autumn mountains under sunshine. Her body is smooth and she has a physique like Simon Bamboo. In the second meaningful part, Hitomaro narrates how her life was fugacious like a morning dew or evening fog. In the third meaningful part, Hitomaro describes, how a sense of sorrow felt when he learned of her death although he only spotted her for a moment. Her lover, in whose arms she rest her head and slept close like a sword, must miss her extremely he wrote. Hitomaro concludes in the poem that the maiden’s life was like a morning dew or evening fog, she lost her life at a tender age.

The first envoy expresses strong grief about the maiden’s death. Makarimichi refers to the road where people go after their death while the Kwasenomichi is a shallow part of the river which people can use to pass through the river. Since the envoy stated Kawasenomichi of Makarimichi, it might indicate she committed suicide in the water.  In the second envoy, the author expresses regret when he remembers that one day, at Otsunmiya he spotted the maiden scarcely without attention. The idea that he might have had an opportunity to save her life makes him feel a sense of regret.

The third elegy poem is on seeing a dead man in the rocks on samie Island. The poem is divided into two meaningful sections: In the first half section, Hitomaro praises the Sanuki’s divine beauty. He describes that he has never gotten tired of seeing the gemweed like beautiful of Sanuki. Additionally, he mentions that for a very long time Sanuki is said to be a place of god’s face, therefore, it is considered a place of extraordinary beautiful. Hitomaro documents the beauty of the famous Sanuki’s ocean side; the ocean breeze, surges, the sea where individuals could hunt whale and the islands surrounding it.

The latter half section begins with applauding Samie Island its name and scenery. Then the author describes seeing the dead body at the reef coast of Samie. He expresses the amount of grief he felt for the man who died in obscurity. In his era, we can assume that compared to the modern era there were a lot of people who were found dead on the streets. From the narrative, Hitomaro felt a sense of sympathy and concern for the dead man.

In the first envoy, from his imagination Hitomaro describes a scene of a happy life of the deceased must have lived. The author states that if the dead man were alive, he would have picked up hard and eats it together with his wife.  In the second envoy, Hitomaro depicts a view of the dead body and desires to console the dead man’s soul, from his expression the reader feels like he is experiencing what the author is depicting in the narrative.

Question:

  1. What roles does nature play in all three elegies?

In the elegies nature is used to offer an insight into the personalities of different characters, for instance, Princess Asuka is described as a person who resembled the gemweed. Therefore, she was not the kind of person who would always find a way to thrive. In the second elegy, the maiden is described as beautiful as the autumn mountains while the third elegy focuses on the beautiful scenery of the Samie Island which has a great comparison with the sad and lonely deaths in the street.

  1. Compare how Hitomaro effectively uses “river” for the first two elegies.

In the first elegy, the river is used as a reference to princess Asuka. It is used to offer an explanation on the princess’s beauty and an example of how her death would have been stopped. In the second elegy, the river is described as a place that would have facilitated the death of the maiden. Unlike the first elegy where the river is a symbol of a thriving life, in the second elegy, it is a symbol of death and loss.

  1. Hitomaro seemingly prefers to use “gemweed” to express something positive about life or relationships. Please describe how he uses gemweed to metaphor those.

According to Hitomaro gemweed is a plant that thrives even after it has withered. The plant’s beauty and resilience are used by the poet to describe people, their actions, and their personalities. Princess Asuka, for instance, is described as beautiful but unlike the gemweed her death will not lead to rebirth.

  1. What effect did Hitomaro aim due to input very implying something like the expression in envoys?

Hitomaro focuses on the impact of death on those who are left behind by the deceased. Of Princess Asuka’s death he documents that with every passing day those who mourn the death of the princess have to make peace with the fact that she will not return tomorrow. Grief is a continuous process and with each passing day those who grieve have to make peace with the pain of the loss. In the second and third elegies Hitomaro documents the death of someone he barely knew and a dead man he did not know. Of the maiden he barely knew, he laments on her death and wonders what he could have done to save her. In the final elegy, he reflects on the possible life the deceased had and feels an overwhelming sense of loss even though he did not know the dead man.

 

Ancient Japanese Poem Review

February 17, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Japanese Poem Review

Name

Institution

 

 

Ancient Japanese Poem Review

Crying Tears of Blood

Summary and Analysis

This poem is a clear allusion to the commemoration of the death of a loved one. Through the poem, the author is expressing sorrow about the loss of his wife. The opening of the poem illustrates that the relationship between the two lovers was secretivewhich madeit hard for them to meet. The speaker received news about his wife’s death through “the messenger of the catalpa gem.”The messenger’s news was disappointing and heart-breaking and triggered unwanted emotions.The major theme of the poem is love augmented by loss and separation. The expressions used in the poem give the reader a sense of pain felt by the speaker. It was hard for him to receive the bad news. Although the agent was trusted, the speaker was in denial and “could not bear to listen to his words.” To satisfy the thousandfold longing, he decided to look for her in Karu Market. This poem has embodied the strength of feeling and sincerity. The speaker talks of how he searched for indications that his wife was still alive. The poem emphasizes on thetheme of loss and pain. The speaker states, “There was no one who resembled her.” He was in denial of the death of his wife and expressed deep emotions of loss.

Envoy Analysis

The envoys have summarized poet’s message. The first envoy conveys carefully worded messages about the pain and confusion of the speaker. It talks about how the speaker struggled to look for his wife: “I want to search for my sister who is lost.” The envoy shows how the speaker cannot make sense of the death of his wife. He was in denial of the whole situation and needed closure. The envoy has closed with expressive of sorrow and despair felt by the speaker due to the death of his wife.

The second envoy has utilized imagery to illustrate the sorrow and grief caused by the loss. The words of the messenger about the death of the speaker’s wife were unforgettable. They brought back memories of the days they met. The envoy describes how the speaker mourns over the death of his wife. It brings about the concept of morose and reminiscent and captures on the theme of pain and loss. Together, the two envoys create an earnest and mournful poem which conveys to the reader about the events that happened when the speaker received the bad news.

Iwami Poems

This poem is made up of two long poems that convey the same theme.

The First Poem

Summary and Analysis

The first poem sets an introduction to the woman the author has written about. The author has introduced the women using metaphors and imageries. He has referred her as a pun between the seaweedand the girl “drawing” close to a man in sleep. The author talks about the experience of partying from his wife in Iwami. This poem is characterized by a profound personal lyricism. It has used imageries like dew, mountains and summer grass to describe the difficulty of leaving his wife. He illustrates, “may these mountains bow down” as an indication that the distance between them was growing, and he wanted to see her wife, but nature was blocking this attempt.

 

 

Envoy Analysis

This poem has two envoys. The first envoy illustrates how it was difficult for the speaker to leave his wife. The speaker wonders whether his wife could still see him wave through the gaps in the trees. This envoy conveys separation and the difficulty it brings. The speaker expresses sorrow caused by the separation from his wife.

The second envoy summarizes the emotions the speaker experiences as a result of the separation. He longs for his wife whom he left behind. From the envoy, it is clear that the speaker was not ready to live, it was only circumstances that forced him to go, and if he had an option, he could have stayed. The envoy expresses a sense of heartbreak as a result of loving someone who you must bid farewell.

The Second Poem

Summary and Analysis

The second poem has introduced the sleeping girl. The speaker uses imagery to describe the feeling of love, “like deep-sea weed was deep within my thoughts.” Yet, he had to leave his wife behind which was hard to do. He thought he was a man of courage, but emotions overwhelmed him which caused him to tear up. The poem has used imagery such as seas, rocks, storms and fallen scarlet to express sadness and pain of separation. The speaker has a great love for his woman, but it saddens him to part from her.

Envoy Analysis

The first envoy expresses how the speakerleft the village of her wife in a rush. He feels that the separation came fast before they could spend more time together. The envoy creates a fervent lyrical expression that informs the reader that the speakers only spend a short time with his wife before he was forced to leave.

The second envoy expresses the desire of the speaker to see her wife wave farewell which was impossible due to the falling leaves. The envoy is written in a concrete language filled with metaphors which make it sound mysterious. It expresses the emotions felt by the speaker about the distance between him and his wife.

Poem Questions

  1. What is the difference between the tones used in the first and the second poem discussed above?
  2. Compare and contrast the two poems above. How are they similar? And how are they different regarding tone, the imageries used, the organization of words, etc.?
  3. The major feature of Ancient Japanese Poems like the Iwami poem is their reliance on imagery, similes, and symbolism. Identify the imageries, and symbols usedin the above poems.