x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Are trilogies Hobbit-forming?

A reader wonders whether the JRR Tolkein book had to be made into three films. Other letter topics: education, Syria, and the high price of personal training.

A reader says three is too many instalments of The Hobbit, starring Ian McKellen. Courtesy of New Line Cinemas, MGM
A reader says three is too many instalments of The Hobbit, starring Ian McKellen. Courtesy of New Line Cinemas, MGM

I write in reference to New Emirati teachers in need of guidance (July 31). Dr Ali Ibrahim's research is well informed and adds a positive contribution to changes that are needed in primary and secondary school education in the UAE.

In addition to a mentoring or induction programme for teachers, it would be helpful to link prospective teachers to schools very early in their college training.

I would suggest one day a week in a classroom starting with their first year in college. This would increase to two days in their second and third years of college, followed by one full-time semester in their senior year.

This model could be followed by a mandatory one-year induction programme with a mentor. Theory, process and outcomes need to be taught and learnt in a real-life practical setting.

This is an effective way to teach classroom management, classroom discipline, effective planning, assessment and accommodating for individual differences.

A progressive increase in the exposure time to working with children will build confidence in the new teacher candidate, and significantly reduce the feeling of being thrown into the water without life support.

I would also suggest it is important to significantly increase compensation for teachers. I know there has been an initiative to increase salaries by 45-100 per cent, but this still only brings most teachers to a Dh16,000-Dh22,000 a month salary.

A goal of having males represent 30 per cent of all teachers by 2020 could also contribute to the school climate, discipline and positive role modelling for young male students.

Jerry McDonald, US

Sunshine is best for vitamin D

I read Dairies call for guidance on how much vitamin D to add to milk (July 31), along with your other recent articles on this issue, with some interest.

I find it strange that the article says it is "not practicable" in hot countries such as the UAE to source vitamin D from the sun.

Certainly, everybody must be careful about exposure to the sun - skin cancer being a very real danger - but it is possible to take in the right amount of ultraviolet rays if you are careful about the time and duration of exposure.

Kevin Jones, Dubai

How to address a lack of drive?

I couldn't agree more with Aida Al Busaidy's article, University rejections send a message of personal responsibility (July 31).

I have often worried about the lack of drive of some young men, and I think the UAE Government needs to be careful about any application of welfare in these cases.

Lee-Avinne O'Farrell, Abu Dhabi

No more time for words over Syria

Regarding Turkey vow for action should Syria turn worse (August 1), Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu must be joking.

I have had enough of Turkish sabre rattling over Syria. They have already lost a jet fighter, they have an influx of refugees in their country and yet they say a security zone could be set up around the Syrian border.

This rhetoric is just empowering the Assad regime. Turkish military muscle is being wasted.

Actions, not words, are needed.

Frederick Melick, Australia

Paying a high price for fitness

Amir Siddiqui (Coaching the healthy and the wealthy, August 1) must be a good trainer, but charging Dh750 a session - is that for two hours? - seems way too much. Abhay Potdar, Dubai


Consideration a must in Ramadan

I am writing about the news story from France, Four suspended for observing Ramadan (August 1).

My friends who are fasting during Ramadan appear to manage just fine at work. However, it must be tough in Europe during summer with the days starting so early and finishing so late.

The local French authorities should have taken this situation into consideration ahead of time and possibly arranged shorter working hours or some other consideration for the country's Muslim employees.

Tricia Sutherland, Dubai

Making a habit of The Hobbit

I read The Hobbit to be split into three movies (August 1) with a sense of foreboding.

Does JRR Tolkein's relatively short novel really demand such an extended treatment, or are director Peter Jackson and the studio just keen to milk it?

I suppose they will all be box-office hits, though.

Colin Richards, Abu Dhabi