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By On August 15, 2018

Central Bucks West grad, veteran teacher learns lessons in UK journey


Aug 15, 2018 at 5:00 AM

In January, Angie Mikula and her family arrived in the United Kingdom with three giant suitcases, three carry-ons, and a duffle bag packed to the brim. They then traveled to the town of Grantchester just outside of Cambridge so Mikula could begin her Fulbright teaching adventure.

Angie Mikula is the art teacher you wish you had. She’s warm and kind, and would never dream of scolding a student for coloring outside the lines.

Mikula has been an art teacher for 25 years, and for 12 of them she’s made a home for herself at the Delaware Township School in Sergeantsville, New Jersey, where she teaches art from kindergarten through eighth grade.

“I’ve been doing it so long because I get to be around enthusiasm all day, the relationships I forge with students are absolutel y priceless,” said Mikula.

Mikula is a class of 1987 Central Bucks West graduate, who grew up in Doylestown.

Now, the teaching veteran resides in High Bridge, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband, Brian, and her 7-year-old son.

Six months ago Mikula swapped her cozy New Jersey town for the teaching opportunity of a lifetime across the pond. She took her love of teaching some 3,000 miles away to the United Kingdom.

In January, Mikula and her family arrived in the U.K. with three giant suitcases, three carry-ons, and a duffle bag packed to the brim. They then traveled to the town of Grantchester just outside of Cambridge so Mikula could be begin her Fulbright teaching adventure.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is an international exchange program that allows selected U.S. teachers to collaborate internationally and build a sense of global competence.

Teachers are selected through an application process filled with es says, interviews and anxious anticipation. Once selected, they spend time observing classrooms and attending workshops in a country of their choice.

Mikula chronicled her six-month journey on a blog she began called “Goodnight London” where she talked about conversations on trains and wrote letters to her students back home.

Her Fulbright journey began when she started to notice an unsettling trend among her students.

“I noticed students struggling with anxiety and depression, I was seeing so many bright students unable to attend school because they couldn’t handle their stress,” Mikula said.

She continued, “It broke my heart to see that, so it made me think about what I could do, how I could use art to address this growing problem I’d been noticing.”

Mikula came across Fulbright during her search for professional development programs. She was seeking out programs to further explore how she could help to alleviate stress and promote char acter development in students through the visual arts.

After teachers have been selected, they make a list of the top 10 to 12 places they’d like to visit, the list is then whittled down and teachers are assigned to a specific country.

Luckily for Mikula, her No. 1 pick ended up being her temporary home for six months â€" a home where she could observe different classrooms to learn how she could better teach mindfulness and global citizenship through the visual arts in her U.S. classroom.

She explained that she chose the U.K. because she wanted to select a country that has a similar political climate to the U.S.

“We just went through the election, they just went through Brexit, I wanted to see how the tension took a toll on students,” Mikula said.

The veteran teacher attributes growing anxiety in children to the politics that dominate headlines and social media feeds.

“Right now people are acting like you’re either with them or against t hem in terms of politics and it’s taking a toll on students, they can feel their parents’ anxiety,” Mikula said.

“I think kids are overhearing unguarded conversations that their parents have, and then they bring them into the classroom.”

Mikula noticed this trend both here in the states and over in the U.K.

“Teachers are really on the frontlines of this never-ending battle, everyday they’re trying to help kids learn how communicate and understand one another, that its OK for someone to think one way and for someone else to think another way,” said Mikula.

She insists that in order for kids to be able to communicate with one another, they need to understand their own brains first. An approach she holds in high regards, is MindUp, a program that's part of the Hawn Foundation.

MindUp was created in collaboration with educators for educators to improve student engagement in learning, academics and focus. The program has 15 lessons now b eing taught in 12 different countries.

“Once they understand how their brain functions and why they feel the way they feel, they can then find ways to self calm and find the best coping mechanisms for themselves,” Mikula said.

She also thinks the best way to talk with someone you don’t agree with is to start a dialogue on something you both can agree on.

“You have to find the similarities in people you disagree with,” Mikula said.

And that’s exactly what Mikula did when she was face to face with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos.

Devos was visiting the U.S. Ambassador's house in the U.K. where Mikula was also invited on behalf of the Fulbright program.

“I know mental well being is one of her platforms so I built the conversation off that, I made sure to throw social justice in there too which I was pretty proud of myself for,” Mikula said with a chuckle.

Aside from dining with ambassadors and speaking with secretar ies of education, in her time in the U.K. Mikula also noticed another thing our classrooms share â€" an emphasis on standardized testing.

Except in the U.K., standardized tests are even more stressful for students and teachers.

“If you think it's bad here, it's even worse over there, teachers usually quit after their first five years, the expectations have been accelerated greatly,” Mikula said.

Mikula’s son even felt the pressure of the country’s academic expectations at the school he attended, Newnham Croft Primary School in Cambridge.

“They were teaching him Italian, and they phrase questions like what is â…" of 21 rather than asking what’s 21 divided by 3,” Mikula said.

Although Mikula wasn’t wild about the high expectations set for young kids, she was happy that her son made fast friends from all over the world at his new school.

Mikula made friends from all over the world as well, as she recalled one of her favorite moments in the U.K. was just sitting on a park bench with other moms from different countries.

“Sitting there with them conversing about politics and globalism as we all watched our kids play together was pretty surreal,” Mikula recalled.

She urges students to have a larger world view.

“I like to teach through a lens of global citizenship so students can be aware that they’re a part of something so much bigger than they could ever imagine, it helps students gain confidence knowing they count in the world,” Mikula said.

After her six-month international journey, Mikula is proud to admit that her school will be adopting and teaching the concept of mindfulness this fall.

“I’m so excited that we’re going to be a part of this piloting platform so that students can begin starting a dialogue,” she said.

Source: Google News United Kingdom | Netizen 24 United Kingdom


By On August 14, 2018

UK signs for Drone Dome C-UAS system

The United Kingdom has procured the Israeli-developed Drone Dome counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS), manufacturer Rafael confirmed to Jane’s on 13 August.

The Drone Dome system is comprised of three key elements. In terms of the kill-effecter, the United Kingdom has opted for jamming rather than a laser. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)The Drone Dome system is comprised of three key elements. In terms of the kill-effecter, the United Kingdom has opted for jamming rather than a laser. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

The selection of the Drone Dome comes eight months after it was demonstrated to the UK government in January. According to Rafael, the United Kingdom is to receive the radar detection, electro-optical (EO) identification and communication jamming elements of the system, but not the hard-kill laser.

No details pertaining to delivery timelines or contract values were disclosed.

The Drone Dome is described by Rafael as an “end-to-end system designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile drones used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities”.

Detection is provided by a combination of a RADA Innovative Defense Electronics RPS-42 pMHR S-band multimission 90° hemispheric radar (four radars to give full 360° coverage), the Controp MEOS electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) surveillance suite, and the NetSense Wideband detection sensor developed by Netline; command-and-control is provided by a command console; and the effector can be the Lite Beam laser, the C-Guard RD jammer, or even a high-pressured water gun depending on the threat.

As noted by RADA, the RPS-42 has three operating modes: track while search, target revisit, and single target tracking. The radar usually has a detection range of about 50 km for a target the size of a transport aircraft, but for the class of target that it is looking for in its Drone Dome application the radar would typically provide a detection range of between 3.5 km and 10 km. As well as providing detection, the RPS-42 also offers the option for a ‘soft-kill’ of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) when integrated with the RF jammer. The system uses a gallium nitride solid-state active electronically scanned array antenna, and being relatively small and light is suitable for static and vehicle-based applications.

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To read the full article, Client Login (328 of 603 words)Source: Google News United Kingdom | Netizen 24 United Kingdom


By On August 14, 2018

UK Police Are Investigating a Crash Near Parliament as Terrorism

Police officers stand at a cordon after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on August 14, 2018.

A car plowed into the gates of the United Kingdom’s Parliament on Tuesday, injuring two people in what London’s Metropolitan Police are investigating as a possible act of terrorism. It’s at least the fourth vehicular attack to take place in London since March 2017, and the second outside the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament since then.

“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident,” Neil Basu, the Metropolitan Police’s counterterrorism chief, told reporters Tuesday outside Scotland Yard, the police headquarters. Basu noted that there were no other people or weapons found inside the car, and that authorities are now working to establish the identity and possible motivation of the driver, described as a man in his late 20s, who was arrested by police on suspicion of terrorism offenses. He “is currently not cooperating,” Basu said.

If the incident is determined to be terrorism-related, it will be the second in London in 11 months, following a nonfatal explosion on the London Tube in September. More significantly, it has striking parallels to the fatal attack in March 2017: Not only was it in the same area, but it was also carried out using a vehicle. Attackers also drove vehicles into pedestrians on London Bridge in June 2017, killing at least eight people; and weeks later into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque, killing one person. The first two of those attacks were attributed to Islamist militants; the third to an anti-Muslim activist.

Vehicular attacks have also been used in Quebe c; Jerusalem; Nice; Berlin; Columbus, Ohio; and Stockholm. As Colin P. Clark and Louis Klarevas wrote in The Atlantic after the previous Westminster attack, the trend is worrisome.

“After authorities made it much more difficult to hijack planes and obtain weapons of mass destruction following 9/11â€"depriving terrorists of the means to launch spectacular attacksâ€"extremists shifted to simple, easy-to-execute acts of violence like mass shootings and automobile rammings,” they wrote. “The unsophisticated and omnipresent threat posed by vehicular terrorism is now forcing those entrusted with security to rethink their paradigms.”

The circumstances behind Tuesday’s incident are similar to last year’s crash outside the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament that resulted in the deaths of five people. In that incident, a 52-year-old British national drove his car into pedestrians along Westminster Bridge before crashing his car into the Westminster Palace fence and fatally stabbing an unarmed officer. He was later shot dead at the scene. Tuesday’s crash also involved a seemingly deliberate collision into one of the U.K.’s most iconicâ€"and therefore heavily fortifiedâ€"sites. It also resulted in the injury of pedestrians and cyclists who were hit by the car.

But there were also notable differences. Whereas the 2017 attack took place at about 2:40 p.m. (a time when the area would likely be filled with tourists and lawmakers), Tuesday’s incident took place at around 7:30 a.m., well before most people would be around. It also took place during Parliament’s summer recess, during which Westminster is less busy than usual.

The British government announced it will hold an emergency COBRA committee meetingâ€"as is customary in the aftermath of national emergenciesâ€"Tuesday afternoon to address the incident. In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged vigilance. “All Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city,” he said. “The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated, or divided by any terrorist attack.”

President Donald Trump, who has previously clashed with Khan on the response to terrorists attacks in London, said on Twitter: “Another terrorist attack in London … These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

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Yasmeen Serhan is a London-based assistant editor at The Atlantic.Source: Google News United Kingdom | Netizen 24 United Kingdom


By On August 14, 2018

It's becoming more and more clear that Brexit is driving EU nationals out of the UK

EU flag Reuters

  • There is rising evidence that European Union workers are leaving the UK because of Brexit.
  • The Office for National Statistics on Tuesday said that there were 86,000 fewer EU nationals in jobs in the UK than at the same time last year.
  • This is the largest fall on record.
  • Workers from the A8 group of Eastern European nations are leaving at the fastest rate, the ONS said.
  • While the ONS did not explicitly mention Brexit in its release, anti-Brexit campaign groups seized on the figures.

LONDON â€" Evidence is mounting t hat the United Kingdom's impending exit from the European Union is causing workers from EU countries to leave the country and return home.

On Tuesday, the Office for National Statistics released its monthly snapshot of the UK jobs market, looking at the overall rate of employment and unemployment in the UK, as well as the growth of wages for workers.

The release, however, also included some startling figures about the number of EU nationals working in the UK, showing that workers from European Union countries are leaving the country at the fastest rate since the ONS started tracking such data.

Comparing the data period â€" April to June 2018 â€" with the same period last year, the ONS said that there were 86,000 fewer EU nationals in jobs in the UK. In total, 2.28 million EU nationals work in Britain.

86,000 out of 2.3 million may not seem a huge amount, but the ONS pointed out that it was "the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.">

Here's the chart from the ONS, illustrating the size of the drop (the blue line shows EU nationals in the UK):

Office for National Statistics

In particular, workers from the so-called A8 countries â€" Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia â€" are leaving the UK.

Matt Hughes, a senior statistician at the ONS said in a statement that there had been a "noticeable drop over the past year in the number of workers from the so-called 'A8' eastern European countries in particular." The number of A8 workers in the UK fell by 117,000.

These eight countries all joined the EU in 2004 and saw large numbers of citizens move to larger, more prosperous economies like Bri tain, France, and Germany.

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, however, continue to come to the UK. "In contrast, the number of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals working in the UK has continued to increase reaching a record high of 391,000 in April to June 2018," the ONS said.

Although the ONS did not specifically mention Brexit in its release, anti-Brexit groups quickly blamed the fall in EU workers on the impending exit from the EU.

"These figures show that Brexodus continues as people pack their bags and leave the UK. This should worry everyone," a statement from Best for Britain said. "These EU nationals nurse our sick, care for our grandparents and help make Britain a more productive and prosperous country, but the government is pulling up the drawbridge as thousands of EU citizens worry about their future."

While the number of EU nationals working in the UK is falling, the number of non-EU nationals continues to rise, t he ONS noted. There were 74,000 more non-EU workers in the UK between April and June 2018, than during the same period last year.

Source: Google News United Kingdom | Netizen 24 United Kingdom