mudcat.org: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?

Acorn4 09 May 09 - 04:49 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 09 May 09 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Smokey 09 May 09 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,eric the viking 09 May 09 - 05:57 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 09 May 09 - 07:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 09 - 07:39 PM
nutty 09 May 09 - 08:12 PM
Lox 09 May 09 - 09:03 PM
Neil D 10 May 09 - 03:07 AM
Acorn4 10 May 09 - 04:56 AM
RobbieWilson 10 May 09 - 09:11 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 10 May 09 - 09:35 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 10 May 09 - 09:36 AM
Eric the Viking 10 May 09 - 12:49 PM
Acorn4 10 May 09 - 01:33 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 10 May 09 - 01:51 PM
Eric the Viking 10 May 09 - 02:14 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 10 May 09 - 03:07 PM
Acorn4 10 May 09 - 03:31 PM
bubblyrat 10 May 09 - 04:09 PM
High Hopes (inactive) 10 May 09 - 04:21 PM
Acorn4 10 May 09 - 04:24 PM
VirginiaTam 10 May 09 - 04:39 PM
Nick 10 May 09 - 04:44 PM
VirginiaTam 10 May 09 - 05:15 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 10 May 09 - 05:32 PM
paula t 10 May 09 - 05:48 PM
Acorn4 10 May 09 - 06:14 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 10 May 09 - 08:35 PM
Acorn4 11 May 09 - 03:26 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 11 May 09 - 04:12 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 11 May 09 - 04:31 AM
VirginiaTam 11 May 09 - 04:48 AM
Will Fly 11 May 09 - 05:04 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 11 May 09 - 05:55 AM
VirginiaTam 11 May 09 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,Abby J 11 May 09 - 07:26 AM
JohnInKansas 11 May 09 - 07:46 AM
Will Fly 11 May 09 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Abbey J 11 May 09 - 08:19 AM
Will Fly 11 May 09 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,Abbey J 11 May 09 - 11:02 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 11 May 09 - 11:12 AM
VirginiaTam 11 May 09 - 12:50 PM
paula t 11 May 09 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,mg 11 May 09 - 03:23 PM
VirginiaTam 11 May 09 - 03:59 PM
vectis 12 May 09 - 04:52 AM
HuwG 12 May 09 - 09:40 AM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 12 May 09 - 11:06 AM
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:49 AM

I retired from Primary Teaching just over two years ago, and have thus seen several cycles of ideas. Just after the National Curriculum came in, we were all told by the 'clever people' that single subjects was the way forward, now a different set of 'clever people' are telling us that it is best to teach in 'broad areas' - I was actually in Secondary Teaching for a while when we were told that we had to ditch History, Geog etc in favour of "Disintegrated Humanities".

Would I be mistaken in the belief that some of these people may well possibly be on six figure salaries?

I am certainly alarmed to think that children will no longer be taught History, especially since we are obviously not learning its lessons!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 09 May 09 - 05:17 AM

Poem 152 of 230: HISTORY IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY?

History is a foreign country?
    Reading Chaucer's 'Tales one can see -
In brilliant witty prosody -
    A definite continuity
In the matters of humanity.
    So how, then, could one fail to be
Without respect for one's history?

As we can learn from other cultures,
So, too, from our own through its years.

From http://walkaboutsverse.sitegoz.com (e-scroll)
Or http://blogs.myspace.com/walkaboutsverse (e-book)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Smokey
Date: 09 May 09 - 05:13 PM

I am certainly alarmed to think that children will no longer be taught History, especially since we are obviously not learning its lessons!

I agree, but if 'we' failed to learn its lessons by being 'taught' it, then where does that leave us?

As a former victim of 'Nuffield Mathematics' though, I certainly share your concerns. Then there was the genius that suggested teaching kids to spell phonetically - even semi-literate people could see the stupidity in that, but they still did it for a while.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,eric the viking
Date: 09 May 09 - 05:57 PM

Surely the problem really is that these people think they are cleverer than the rest of the education world? Education is never left alone in Britain, certainly not for the last twenty five years at least. With changes of government, policy and ideology, there is not and has not been a long term continual process for education. The one size fits all type of education system does not fit all and suffers many square pegs into round holes and vice se versa. "Children are what they learn", but what do they learn when teachers are constantly having to change direction? And with the present external influences of the world around them education has little to offer and even less to stimulatedespite the dedication and hard work of thousands of teachers. Those people who make the policy offer suffer from the "Emporers' new clothes" syndrome. Many of them are not long term practitioners. Many of them are the "high flyers" who initially seem dedicated to education and have a meteoric rise to fame through the ranks to headship and then advisor etc. Most who go that way (IMHO) walk into schools and pontificate, they follow the latest "party line and few dare to say that it is not right.

The problem with education is that everyone has been through the process and is an "expert". They all carry their own baggage via their memories and experiences good and bad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 09 May 09 - 07:08 PM

Successive ministers of education since the 1960s have treated educational matters in much the same way as an unqualified amateur mechanic treats a car, and with unsurprisingly similar results.

The mechanic in question reads fourteen different motoring mags, each of which offers different advice, which he mixes and matches till it is completely incomprehensible.

He tinkers incessantly, in the firmly held belief that, if he cleans, replaces, or bashes with a hammer, a sufficient number of parts, eventually the engine will start and run smoothly.

He picks up, through the aforementioned mags, every gadget, gizmo, and crackpot device, and bolts it on in the hope of a) a totally unrealistic reduction in petrol consumption, and b) an astronomical increase in horsepower, as promised by the con artist who markets it.

He is devastated, at the end of his labours, to find that he has a vehicle which starts about one day in six, runs no more than fifty miles before needing the AA to bring it home, and has barely sufficient power to pull the skin off a rice pudding.

He says "I just don't understand it. I've done everything possible to make that thing work".

Like our ministers of education, he has forgotten the single most important rule.......IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!!

Don T


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 09 - 07:39 PM

That's more or less how we go about screwing up our computers...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: nutty
Date: 09 May 09 - 08:12 PM

He who can - does
He who can't - teaches
He who can't teach - teaches teachers
He who can't teach teachers - does educational research


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lox
Date: 09 May 09 - 09:03 PM

The irony is beautiful.

If I was Satan and one of my missions was to make people ignorant, I would get great satisfaction from getting rid of History and Geography and replacing them with something named "disintegrated Humanities"

I would then sit back and chuckle in a smug way as I watched Humanity disintegrate.

There isn't a writer or comedian alive who could have made that one up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Neil D
Date: 10 May 09 - 03:07 AM

I think history is one of the most important things we teach our kids, just as important as math, science, etc. if not moreso. Plus there have been many examples of how woefully inadequate we have become at geography. AND I love history. However I would like a more thorough definition of "disintegrated Humanities" before I condemn it out of hand. When I was in (U.S.) elementary school in the sixties they combined istory and geography and, for lack of a better term, called it Social Studies. We were still learning history and geography without a doubt. It was even a somewhat logical melding since the two subjects often compliment each other. This was also the beginning of the first clumsy attempts to make these subjects less Eurocentric and male-dominated. That trend may sometimes swing too far in the other direction but was generally an improvement to our understanding of humanity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:56 AM

Actually the subject was called "Integrated Humanities", but it often turned out to be "Disintegrated", being basically Sociology with attempts to bolt on bits of History and Geography -so twas merely said in jest!

On the subject of educational advisers:-

To the tune of that Monkees hit:-

I'm an Adviser

I've grown tired of all this classroom teaching,
Kids and parents always in your face,
Fussing, fighting, poking,
Twitching twiddling too
Can't carry on at this high octane pace..

I've completed two years at the frontline,
Now it's time to say "enough's enough"
I'm going on a fast-track course,
Of how to talk bullshit
And with all those buzzwords
I will huff and puff.

And I've seen the light,
Now I'm an adviser,
Spout a load of shite,
With great authority,
Hey, this is the life,hey
I'm an adviser
Now I can be a skiver and I'm alright.

I peddle pearls of wisdom from government think tanks,
Don't fret anymore when the photocopier jams,
But you'd think that I'd invented
The wheel or the old sliced loaf,
When I'm regurgitating a load of recycled spam

And I've seen the light,

No more daily worrying and stressing,
I've fallen on my feet and played it cute,
A very determined expression,
On my face I wear and
My bum is crammed inside a trouser suit

And I've seen the light,

No more around the building I'll be rushing,
My life expectancy going down the pan,
I'm positively gushing,
With wonderful ideas,
In fact you could say I'm born again

And I've seen the light,

I'll set up my powerpoint presentation,
I'll talk the talk, but the walk I will decline,
The only real threat
To my way of life
Is caffeine poisoning somewhere down the line.

And I've seen the light,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 10 May 09 - 09:11 AM

He who can - does
He who can't - teaches
He who can't teach - teaches teachers
He who can't teach teachers - does educational research

This is exactly the kind of smartasrse, sound bite, crap that leads to the mess we have in public education and in fact every aspect of our political lives at the moment. The constant changes in educational policy come not from research but from a society that finds it easier to slag off other peoples efforts than to do the research to find what really works.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 10 May 09 - 09:35 AM

Oh my Gawd! Don't get me started on the crap education system, so bad it's not even worthy of a capital letter!

NEVER have we lived in a time where our children are being switched off from learning!

Never before have we lived in a time of such Coropate education.

Education is no longer about learning, it's about tick boxes, controlling, punishment, failing, making loadsa money, stressing our kids to the point of suicide!!

It's about making them feel that they are ONLY 10 GCSEs and 3 A Levels and that nothing else matters, apart from going to university of course, where you get a £15,000 debt and get to work in Tesco's at the end of it all, if yer lucky!

I could rant for THE WORLD on the crisis that is happening. I could scream from the rooftops about the DAMAGE that school does to so many children...and I could weep enough tears to fill the oceans of this planet 10 times over about the scars that go so deep inside some people, that stay with them for the rest of their lives, put there by Control Freaks who have no idea, no understanding that each child within their care is so very precious, so very different.

The wonderful teachers we remember all our lives, and they work so hard to ease the damage they see happening. The crap teachers couldn't give a shit, only there for the job and the holidays and the ritual humiliation!

Hey, pretend I'm a mother of 30 kids, do you think I could raise them all on my own? Course I bloody couldn't...so WHY do we still think that ONE teacher should be teaching 30 or more kids?????

Children need love and warmth and trust and inspiration. They need to be taught by people who choose to see their strengths and build on those, by people who realise that every brain thinks differently, lights up differently, and education is as much about the teacher learning about and from the children, as the other way round.

The Western world is now filled with angry, disillusioned kids, who do NOT want to learn, they want to drink to forget the pressure, the constant pressure that is now with them from almost playgroup age.

It's quite literally killing our children..and one day this whole bloody Corporate Dumbed Down Fiasco will be part of the history lessons of the future when hopefully, future generations will look back AGHAST at what we did to our kids, in the name of 'Edukasnon'!!


Lizzie
A SEETHING Mother!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 10 May 09 - 09:36 AM

...or even...'Edukashun'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:49 PM

That ! Lizzie, just about sums it up. Though there are bad teachers (Thankfully most get weeded out, but I can name plenty from my daughters school)I can't think of one teacher that I know who joined because of the long holidays, maybe twenty years ago it was more common. I spent 25 years with special needs of all sorts and 14 of those with severely behaviourly disturbed muggers, bugger and thieves including arsonists, junkie and child prostitues and at least three who went on to murder. Whether I can holding onto one of them in order to stop them hurting themselves or others or because they were in tears of rage, sadness or hate then ONLY thing that got me down was the system.

I never liked that shite saying Nutty it insults all teachers including those who taught you well enough to read, write and make a living. Those who CAN, teach because it makes a difference, those who can't often screw other people for their own gain !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 May 09 - 01:33 PM

As I managed to put over "Disintegrated Humanities" as a viable educational development, I've decided to push my luck a bit further and to become an Educational Consultant -perhaps even a "Consultant Sociologist". In order to make this convincing I will need some pretty impressive sounding sets of initials, so here we go - we'll start off with the PRATT programme:-

Personal
Retraining in the
Art of
Talking
Twaddle

followed by:-

Further
Attempts to
Reorganise the
Timetable

and its development:-

Wasting
Everyone's
Time with
Further
Attempts to
Reorganise the
Timetable

followed up by:-

Ascending
Rectum of
Senior
Executive in the
Hope of
Obtainaing
Long
Expected
Salary increase.

I'm sure many ex and practising teachers will be familiar with these!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 10 May 09 - 01:51 PM

No, Dave, they *don't* get weeded out at all.

The good teachers are leaving...in DROVES! Sick and tired of tick boxes, rules, regulations, checks, paperwork and being *controlled*!

Did you know that it was New Labour's divine thought to create a system where EVERY class was learning the same thing, on the same day, throughout the country?

No?

Well, check with the Home Education societies and find out what the f*** is *really* going on. Read story after story of kids driven to the edge of despair because of constant pressure.

What angers me most of all is that teachers themselves carry SUCH power! It's a power they REFUSE to use though. They could stop the SATS test overnight, by simply refusing to do them. They could do the same with GCSEs and A levels too, with all of the crap that this Orwellian Government and the B*stard Ones before that, have been churing out for decades!

A new way of thinking............

What is school actually for?   Think about it, deeply. What is it actually there FOR?

We are all born with a natural desire to learn, to explore, to work things out. It is instinctive, utterly instinctive.

Where it goes so wrong is when children are herded up into concrete buildings, made to sit down nearly all day long, in one place, and *study* things in which they have no interest whatsoever. They want to be outside, learning about life, having fun, enjoying their childhoods, but no, we still do what the Victorians did and make them sit and damn well learn what *they* have decided they damn well should.

IF a school does its job correctly, there would never be *any* need for any child to do homework, or to take exams. ALL that would be needed would be a Certificate of Education which states the strengths and positive outlook of every child.

Exams STOP kids from learning. For nearly 4/5 years of their lives, they simply learn enough facts to get them through a useless bloody exam. And what does that exam prove? That the child knows about their subject in depth? Of course it doesn't. It merely proves that on that particular day, they got up, felt well enough to think straight and were lucky enough to get some questions which they *did* know the answers to. Others may have got up feeling like shite that day, and known far more about the subject than others, but were unlucky in the questions they were asked, or scared shitless about the whole darn exam in the first place....but..for that, they are labelled and stamped FAILURE and made to feel an inch high and totally worthless, because they've let the school down!

Sod the school letting the child down! All the school wants is results...and our children have become the HUMAN RESOURCES that provide those results, so that headmasters and teachers can keep their jobs and crow about how great their school is.

Sorry to sound a little negative here, but I've seen so much shite, read so much shite about the education system, been right slap bang in the middle of it, had a child who almost gave up on life because of it, and who even to this day still judges herself on what her 'teachers' told her...

It's ingrained into the soul! That feeling that you're useless, stupid, slow minded, thick...Geez!!!!!!! And it's ingrained by prats who have no feelings, no thoughts or concerns about the damage they do to sensitive children, to creative children who don't fit 'the average child' box.

Teachers are stressed to the limits, so any kid who gives them grief gets it, bigtime....No thought is given to that child, to WHY that child is behaving that way...Everyone just wants and needs a quiet life, apart from the kids, who have to do what they're told.

They spend the majority of their day in hot, hostile, uncomfortable surroundings, often having to still even ask permission to remove their jerseys (in Sidmouth that crap still exists), or go to the toilet. They're made to wear uniforms they hate, which are so often hot and uncomfortable instead of light and airy. In Sidmouth, if your tie's not straight, you get balled out. WHY? Who the f*** gives a f*** about a tie anyway? Why the **** do kids still have to wear the bloody things???

So many people cannot let go of 'school'. They cannot ever think of life without school. They cannot imagine that life itself is the only school that we were ever meant to have in the first place, long before we built the enormous, sterile factory farms where our children now spend the vast majority of their childhoods, often having breakfast and tea there too, because their parents have been stolen away to work, work, work, to afford their houses and the long list of Corporate Must Have's to enable them to live their 'life' and prove to their kids how much they love them!

And people wonder why kids are going into schools with guns and losing the plot????????

Tell me, as an adult..would you take on a job where you had to take work home every single day? Would you take on a job where you got paid nothing for that extra work? Where you were examined all the time, made to sit examinations, judged, packaged and labelled 'success' or 'failure' at the end of your 13 year 'trial period', given detentions, not allowed to talk back, not allowed to ask questions when you needed to, bullied, threatened......etc..etc.etc..

Nowadays you can't take your kids on holiday outside school holiday times. The fact that most parents can't afford the holiday times, as the bastards charge twice as much, doesn't matter...You are made to feel that your child will 'suffer' if you do that, and never catch up again, thus ruining their lives forevermore....

What a load of tosh!

But what worries me is that people actually believe it!

Yes, we have created a population SO damned stupid that they believe everything they're told! They shudder and shake over school these days, feeling they'll be reported on for this or that...that they're being 'watched'...and you know what..they bloody well are.

NEVER has this sort of thing happened before, but it's happening now, right under our noses...and our children drink themselves senseless from a younger and younger age, whilst idiotic parents stand around going "Awwww..bless. It was just the same in my day!"

Well it wasn't.

The NHS wasn't in crisis over drunks in city centres. The police weren't in crisis about it either..and as the years creep by and the damage done by drink starts to raise its ugly head, and it will do so, we're going to be in even deeper crisis.

Children should LOVE to learn. It should be one of the most inspirational things in their lives. A world of information, a beautiful world to discover, to unravel, to marvel over...but they never get to see it, heads bent over desks, over books, studying for the next examination on that Conveyer Belt of Life....whilst those who create the examination packages and ideas get richer and richer and richer.

And then, they try to get a job and find those examinations mean diddly squat, because they want NVQs or Degrees, but only degrees from the *right* universities, because employers have sussed out that most degrees mean nothing, and so many of the people who have them can't put a coherent thought together any more..and so the testing and the examining continue..until you can't even get a job selling sausage rolls without various bits of paper to *prove* you're able to do it...

Meanwhile, the next generation is getting ready for their 'schooling' and the next lot of switching off and dumbing down begins...

It begins in secondary school mostly, not primary, although those are getting more and more serious and tested...

The day we decide to set our children free from all this stress and crap, to realise there is another way, is the day we, in the Western World, will have finally grown up.

(Apologies for any mistakes in this, but I've not got the time to check it through right now)

In short, give a child a LOVE of learning, of reading, of wonder, then set them free...and watch them do so much of it all themselves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 10 May 09 - 02:14 PM

Actually it was the tories that enforced national curriculum. They also wanted to enforce national timetable. Of course new labour objected at the time as they were trying to gain support from teachers, but as soon as they got in. More of the same and worse.Labour voters were sold down the river big time by the people who they were supposed to represent fairly. Education is the whipping boy of politicians. It is educations fault.

I suppose it really is when you think about it?..someone must have taught politicians to lie, cheat, bully and fiddle their expenses ! Someone must have taught the police to blindly serve the law and not defend the population.Someone must have taught the civil servents to be greedy, self centred, secretive and dispassionate, full of nasty ideas. So I guess it is the failure of teachers who could have taught them to be considerate, kind and caring with a genuine concern for their fellow human kind. Hang on a minute... most of these top notch people went to private schools not state ones.........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 10 May 09 - 03:07 PM

State Controlled Consciousness - John Gatto

Both well worth listening to...

Schooling is NOT an Education (part 1) - John Gatto


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 May 09 - 03:31 PM

Apparently during Tudor times, there was something by way of an enlightenment in the education of those privileged enough to be on the receiving end of it.

One of the most renowned teachers of the time commented that many people regarded children as like a jug which could be filled up until they were full and that the current view was that teachers should carry on doing this even though it was spilling over the top.

Year Six children and teachers will be familiar with this.

We've learned nothing in 500 years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:09 PM

Yes,well that doesn't help either !! "Year Six" ?? What the fuck is that ?? Some trendy American crap ?? Personally, I was in the "First Form", or the "Fourth Form ", or,indeed,the "Upper Sixth". Where this other shite came from, God only knows !!Try taking a look at education in Britain when I was at school,in the late fifties/early sixties ( Midhurst Grammar School,Sussex,and Henley Grammar School, Oxfordshire), and you might get some idea of just how GOOD our educational system and standard of teaching used to be-----until the trendy,liberal,let-them-express-themselves-they-don't - need- to learn-their-tables-or-Shakespeare's-sonnets -off-by-heart-as-long-as-we-know-what-they-are-trying-to-say-grammar-and-spelling-don't-matter bunch of educational Dildos gained power !!Talk about Collective National Educational Suicide----we are well on the way to that,I fear!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:21 PM

Oh right I can see how possible employer would be REALLY impressed by someone knowing the complete sonnets of William Shakespeare or the complete Canterbury Tales in Middle English! (why is this all starting to sound like a Monty Python sketch?)

I can see that some (no names, no pack drill) were hiding in the toilet (probably smoking) while the English grammar portion of your education was going on ("Jones minor, please stay behind after school and write 100 times, I will not smoke behind the bicycle shed).

Your right, the education system is not just failing, it failed along time ago.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:24 PM

Was the "Your right" deliberate?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:39 PM

Year Six" ?? What the fuck is that ?? Some trendy American crap ??

No! It is not American. We don't have year anything. We have Grades )One(ages 5-7, depending on your birthdate) through Twelve (ages 15-18, depending on how quickly you get through your courses for diploma of which there are different levels).   

Like our ministers of education, he has forgotten the single most important rule.......IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!!

Don T - Working in a large county council I am constant witness to the (typically American) practice IF IT AIN'T BROKE, FIX IT UNTIL IT IS!!

The people making desicions re education content and format in some US states are not usually teachers. They may have degrees out the wazoo, but they wouldn't know jackshit from applebutter if you put them in a classroom and expected them to teach.

These are the eejits who take the authority and creativity away from the teachers for the sake of making themselves look all knowing. If teachers are demorailised how can they be excited and engaed in what they teach? Likewise, how can you expect any student to engage if the teacher is not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Nick
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:44 PM

I think that history has always been taught badly in schools and that it makes very little sense to people while they are doing it as to either what it is they are doing or why they are doing it.

Go forward from schooldays twenty or thirty years or so and it's amazing how many people develop an interest in history as a subject and wished that they had taken more of an interest in it at school. I've probably had this conversation with a number of people aged 40-60 in the last few years. TV makes a lot of social history interesting and accessible - which was hardly touched when I was at school.

That people develop an interest in a subject years later suggests to me that it is taught poorly at school and that it fails to get across its relevance and importance at the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 10 May 09 - 05:15 PM

When I did my student teaching, I created themed, interdisciplinary unit plans which linked different subjects together giving them context and opportunities to apply learned information and skills across subjects. This was greeted with mixed reactions from the established teachers in the school. But the students seem to enjoy it and most did very well.

I have seen this done in primary school in the UK recently and very successfully to teach all subjects under the theme of WWII in Great Britain.

Would that all schools primary and secondary were instructed to link disciplines under themes. It is really quite easy to do and makes history less dry science and math less abstract.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 10 May 09 - 05:32 PM

"Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity."

"School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned."

   
"I don't think we'll get rid of schools any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we're going to change what's rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, though it does not "educate"; that's inherent in the design of the thing. It's not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It's just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing."

   

"I've come to believe that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us... I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children's power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to *prevent* children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior."


"...'How will they learn to read?' you ask, and my answer is 'Remember the lessons of Massachusetts.' When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease, if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them."


"It's absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does..."


"Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."


"By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers - backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. - has ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled."

All above quotes are by John Taylor Gatto, taken from here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 10 May 09 - 05:48 PM

"Tell me, as an adult..would you take on a job where you had to take work home every single day? Would you take on a job where you got paid nothing for that extra work? Where you were examined all the time, made to sit examinations, judged, packaged and labelled 'success' or 'failure' at the end of your 13 year 'trial period', given detentions, not allowed to talk back, not allowed to ask questions when you needed to, bullied, threatened......etc..etc.etc.."



I did.......It's called being a teacher.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 May 09 - 06:14 PM

My Primary school was really good in the village I grew up in, but I made the mistake of passing the 11+ and attended one of those institutions known as a "Boys' Grammar School". The qualification to be a teacher there was to have a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, to have some kind of speech impediment which rendered them incomprehensible, and to have some degree of mental or sexual aberration.

Just to give a taste of what was on offer, we had two music teachers who were both deaf. When meeting up with an old friend some years after leaving he offered the observation:-"Basicallly, we were educated by a load of nutters, weren't we?"

There were a couple of really brilliant exceptions; an English teacher who made King Lear seem as if it was happening in the 20th century, and an ex-army major who gave me a lifelong love of history.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 10 May 09 - 08:35 PM

My last fifteen years of working life were spent as caretaker, and lunchtime playground supervisor at a primary school.

New labour decided that they could con me into acquiescence by changing my designation to "SITE MANAGER", with no extra money, and I STILL had to clean thirty toilets between 6am and 9am, every schoolday.

But the way they treated ME pales into insignificance compared to the crap heaped upon the poor teaching staff.

1. Four to five hours of paperwork(most of it for government records) EVERY weekend, and most week nights.

2. Constant pressure, appraisal, and regulation stifling any vestige of motivation, enthusiasm, or inspiration.

3. Abuse from parents, harassment from the Head (himself under pressure from above), and NO backing from the LEA.


In spite of all this, these wonderful people managed to inspire, enthuse, and motivate the vast majority of the pupils in their charge, notwithstanding that every effective means of maintaining discipline had been outlawed.

I have nothing but admiration for the teachers I have met, both as a pupil, and as an adult, and, if the control of our childrens' education were placed once more in their capable, and knowledgeable hands, not ONLY would we have well educated, erudite adults emerging, but we could ALSO dismiss hundreds of self serving empire builders, bean counters, and pen pushers, and use their salaries to improve in-school facilities.

Let educators educate, and protect them from ignorant administrators would be my suggestion for the way forward.

Teachers should also have the authority to discipline restored.

I know every class has some pupils who have genuine causes for what appears to be bad behaviour, rightly considered to have "special needs", and I have every sympathy with them. But every school has its (fortunately tiny) number of street smart kids who have been primed with a knowledge of their "rights", though unfortunately NOT with a knowledge of their "duties" or "responsibilities".

During my period at the aforementioned school, I was made only too aware of the presence of one such, and it gave rise to a song, which I post below (I repeat, this is not a comment on ANY genuine special needs child) because I was incensed with the fact that this junior criminal, when first expelled for throwing a chair at a teacher's head, was promptly re-installed by the LEA, and caused disruption at will for another year, before finally being kicked out.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent. No, actually. They were changed to avoid a libel suit LOLOL.


MRS. PLATT

1).        Do come in and sit down Mrs. Platt,
        Young Reggie's behaviour, let's talk about that,
        You see, he's in trouble, the third time this week,
        Disrupting a class, with an unearthly shriek,
        Then dropping his pants, and performing a streak,
        The whole school's in shock, Mrs. Platt.

2).        Yes! I do understand, Mrs. Platt,
        When it comes to excuses, he's got it down pat,
        To get out of trouble, he constantly lies,
        He'll tell you black's white, looking straight in your eyes,
        And so you believe him, that's not a surprise,
        You're his mum, after all, Mrs. Platt.

3).        Our SENCO has tried, Mrs. Platt,
        But all of her strategies seem to fall flat,
        It's doing her brain in, her head's in a mess,
        She's taking time off, to recover from stress,
        When's she due back? 'Bout a year, more or less,
        She's the sensitive type, Mrs. Platt.

4).        It just will not do Mrs. Platt,
        He's been worse since the day he set fire to your cat,
        He bashes his schoolmates, to serve his own ends,
       Superglue on the chairs didn't win many friends,
        What he'll do when he's seven, well, heaven forfend,
        It's a frightening thought Mrs. Platt.

5).        His schoolwork? My dear Mrs. Platt,
        The less said, the better's the answer to that,
        His work's always marked with a cross, not a tick,
        Let's face it, your Reggie's not clever, or quick,
        I'm afraid that your Angel's bone idle, and thick,
        There's not much we can do about that,
        But thanks for your time, Mrs.Platt.


Don T.


ã Don Thompson    Feb 4 2004


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:26 AM

I like it, Don.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:12 AM

Very good Don....

But....


....WAS Reggie really 'bone idle and thick' or *was* he one of the thousands of kids out there who struggle every single day in a situation which is completely alien to them, terrifying the shite out of them and where not one single person seems able to comprehend them or realise that kids like Reggie so often just need one to one teaching, in a quiet environment, where they're not surrounded by hundreds, or thousands of faces, people..that scare them shitless?

Just another way of looking at the 'Reggie Problem' that's all...because there are many 'Reggies and Regina's' out there who have minds bordering on genius level, but who are written off by schools as being difficult, thick, stupid and bone idle.


"Tell me, as an adult..would you take on a job where you had to take work home every single day? Would you take on a job where you got paid nothing for that extra work? Where you were examined all the time, made to sit examinations, judged, packaged and labelled 'success' or 'failure' at the end of your 13 year 'trial period', given detentions, not allowed to talk back, not allowed to ask questions when you needed to, bullied, threatened......etc..etc.etc.."


From Paula:
>>>I did.......It's called being a teacher.<<<

I knew someone would say that. :0)   

Slightly different though, Paula. First you've *chosen* to be there and can leave at any moment. Second, you're not *made* to take exams, learn things against your will..and, you're not spoken down to, or bullied, because if you were, someone would be taken to task over it and severely reprimanded, or possibly even lose their job over it. You're protected in school ***because you are an adult*** and therefore you have a whole range of paths you can go down if other if needed.

Our children don't have that. Oh yes, every school has it's 'anti-bullying' policy, but it means f*** all when you actually try to put it into practice, because very few teachers or headteachers actually care that much. (sits back and waits for cries of "That is SO untrue, Lizzie!").....sigh, if ONLY it were...

As I said, a whole Revolution of Thought is needed to solve the problems and the problems are actually very simply.

The solution starts with actually LIKING our children, as a nation, treating them with respect, not talking down to them, not constantly wanting and demanding that they be 'disciplined' because you know what? A happy, contented, secure child doesn't need discipline!

Amazing that, isn't it!

If a child feels nurtured, supported, appreciated, respected, un-stressed and SAFE, then magic happens..

The Corporate education System has a great deal to learn, but it doesn't want to.

The people who need to learn the most, are the teachers...And they need to learn that a huge part of their job is to stand up for the children, to ensure that bullies and thugs do NOT get to make the rules and regulations that are driving some of our kids to suicide and so many others into alcoholism...

They also need to understand that a child has much to teach the adult who may have forgotten so many things..and that a child has a right to learn things it *wants* to learn, rather than being forced to learn things it doesn't. They have a right to spend their formative years in a non-threatening, loving, uplifting, safe and happy environment.

They are not getting that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:31 AM

I had both atrocious nasty little bullies of teachers who were more immature than their charges, and also simply wonderful teachers who inspired interest in their subject and put themselves out as far as humanly possible to aid their students.

I've no idea why, but most of the excellent teachers I knew were male while most of the immature spiteful ones were female. Bizarrely, I encountered some of these same bitchy immature figures when working as a teaching assistant and observed the exact same behaviours from them as an adult, as I'd been on the recieving end of as a child. I think positions of power can bring out both the best and the worst in individuals. Teaching is unfortunately no different, except that children are very vulnerable to the damaging emotional impact of such thoughtlessness in adults responsible for their development.

My negative experiences with nasty cows of teachers very nearly destroyed my natural joy of formal learning at an early age. Fortunately as said, I also had some genuinely fabulous teachers too and they will always be remembered with respect, gratitude and affection.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:48 AM

Sounds like that child has emotional disability. I was a teacher's aid and had just such a boy (10 year old) in my care for the last 2 months of his primary school education. He actually was lovely, capable, clever and funny and compliant in a one to one setting. He had not bonded as an infant with anyone and his father was physically and emotionally abusive to his mother who tended to spoil him to make up for her own unhappiness.

Put these problems with a terrible social dynamic at school (group of same 25 to 27 pupils going through entire school career together) and it creates a downward spiral. My charge had a rep with the other kids that he could never break free of and so his behaviour grew gradually worse and worse.

It is heartbreaking working with children who have attachment disorder coupled with other problems like hyperactivity, anger issues etc.. They are so isolated. No one likes them, including the teachers and staff. They know it and do not know how to alter their behaviour. Example of how poorly this child was treated: My charge asked the principal (read head teacher) why he had to have a shadow (me). Principal answered that his goal was to get that kid through his school work so he could pass him up to middle school and out of his school. "Want to wash my hands of you (insert boy's name here)."

I was in such shock at that statement that the principal saw it as did the young student in question and a few other witnesses (staff and students). It was one of those moments that can make or break a career and it broke mine. But that is another story.

I saw so many damaged kids in that small, poor rural school. But I saw the same in well funded successful urban secondary schools too.

Education in US and UK needs a complete overhaul. Curriculum should be presented in a way that students can put the information in context and apply to current and future lives. Consideration of learning styles needs to be addressed. Teachers need to be empowered and enabled to create a safe and lively learning environment.

As long as people who have no clue about what and how to teach make the decisions and keep schools as nothing more than grade factories, then there will be more and more kids falling through the cracks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:04 AM

Just popping in to this thread a little late after being away for some days...

What doesn't seem to have been referred to directly so far in the thread - and apologies if I've missed it - is the manipulation of things like Education and the NHS for mainly political purposes. Note I say political and not idealogical. We have a situation where politicians pay excessive attention to the media - which constantly plays up defects in the "system" and the products of the system with a view to making headlines (and selling papers). Politicians - often overly concerned with staying power at any price - dream up what they think are answers to the headlines, regardless of the sense, practicality or effectiveness of these answers.

An over-simplification, perhaps, but you can see this trend in ever-increasing action over the last few years, with the result that Education (and the NHS) are subject to constant, undermining interference from governments who are only concerned about looking good and staying in power.

Where are the R.A. Butlers of today (the 1944 Education Act), the Aneurin Bevans (the NHS)? Gone - all gone - replaced by selfishness, greed and immediacy.

End of Rant.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:55 AM

Tam, YOU are wonderful! A natural 'born' teacher,one who sees the child's pain, sees inside them, reaches out to them. A person who only wants to make the lives of all children better.

I have such respect for you and others like you! xxx


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:04 AM

Lizzie

Thanks I have no doubt that had I been able to remain a teacher I would have lost my zeal and been demoralised by the system.

I have nothing but admiration for the ones who manage to keep on going and still make a difference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Abby J
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:26 AM

wasn't sure whether to join in this thread or not but hey ho, here goes... (*essay alert* - sorry for the length of this post!)

Firstly I agree that there are some things going on in todays education system that are very wrong. The pressure that teachers are under to jump through a different set of hoops every 5 minutes, the lack of mutual respect between parents/kids/teachers/management (in all directions!), the constant exams and pressure to perform and for schools to do well in league tables.

However, I would dispute that it is either the worst that it's ever been or that it is all the fault of politicians and civil servants.

Some aspects of education are just as good as they've ever been. That's not to say they're perfect, but we don't live in a perfect world. I know quite a few teachers (both primary and secondary) and some of the things they do with their classes sound either remarkably similar to stuff I was doing as a pupil 25 years ago, or sound better and more fun. There are plenty of happy well adjusted kids out there who are doing just fine.

Some of the things that make school hell for some kids & teachers are seemingly a result of the way some families operate in the current society (for example, lots of bullying behaviour either from parents to kids, parents to teachers, or kids to other kids) and while it is imho very wrong for any child to have to suffer the effects of that, I think it is unfair of society & the media & us on mudcat to be laying the blame squarely with 'the education system'. Yes it is wrong that kids are not treated as individuals and are not listened to. Yes it is wrong that some kids with problems don't get what they need to become happy people, and in the meantime make their school mates & teachers lives a misery. But how can we expect schools to pick up and fix all the problems that some families have?

Governments - and that is any government, not a particular party - have to operate within the law and within the budget. Civil servants and government departments do on the whole try and deliver the best they can within the constraints, and are not usually the malicious, petty minded or inept individuals that the media often portrays them as. While completely overhauling the way that schools operate and e.g. having much smaller class sizes and better paid happier teachers who didn't have to take work home because they were given sufficient prep time during school hours to do what needs to be done sound like sane solutions, the question remains of who would pay for it. Funny how the people who are first to criticise a government for getting things wrong are also often the first to choose not to re-elect them if taxes have had to go up to pay for change and more expensive systems.

I'm not really offering a solution here. I just think we all need to be a little more honest with ourselves about taking joint responsibility for where things are at, and about finding solutions that do work ok for our own kids. In my experience, most kids who are happy and well adjusted in their home life can cope with a less than perfect school life, and for those who can't because something is going particularly wrong at their school, the important thing is to be there for the child, and consider as many options (up to & including home schooling) as needed to find something that makes life ok for the individual child.

For kids who are not happy and well adjusted in their home life, I think there is little a school can do to fix fundamental problems and there should just be as much support available as possible from teachers, teaching assistants and if needs be social workers etc to try and help the whole family.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:46 AM

A very popular "gimme hat" - no longer given free by advertisers, but the name stuck - in aircraft plants where I've worked says:

"IF IT AIN'T BROKE I HAVEN'T WORKED ON IT YET."

(Note that there are at least two meanings the hat can have.)

A respected psychiatrist once explained to me that:

"In most medical schools all the students have to go through a "psychological analysis" so that they understand when to refer patients to treatment of that kind. The ones who are immensely helped by this analysis decide that psychiatry is a wonderful thing and become psychiatrists."

Although probably not a general trend, a number of "school teachers" I've known were not excellent students, and for many "teaching" was a default choice because there was high demand, it was relatively easy to get into, and they hadn't learned enough earlier to make a career choice. It is probably somewhat true that "late deciders" were often "less than exceptional achievers" during their early education, so they would be most inclined to demand to "change the system" for those years in which they had difficulties. Ignoring that the existing system worked well for the majority, they may attempt to tailor the whole system to what might have worked better for themselves. Often, the best argument they can offer is "it's different so it must be better."

In my experience at Enormous Aircraft, it was common for a percentage of "engineers" to seek "advancement" to management. With notable exceptions, those most anxious to "advance into management" were not proficient as engineers, (mediocre is generous) and the only visible requirement to be a manager at EA was to be "tall and have a nice suit." These were the ones most likely to demand "change the system." They were not more successful as managers than as engineers, although the stress was possibly less since they had "authority" and were allowed to make idiotic changes.

Several decades ago, an "efficiency expert" named Juran compiled an enormous "reference manual" on how to "improve the efficiency of organizations." Buried in the depths of the 1834 pages in the manual was the brief advice that one should:

"Ignore the ones who have to do what you recommend. The only one you have to "sell" the plan to is the one who signs your paycheck."

(He also advised having Vice Presidents at least, for direct contact at agencies for whom one "consulted," since lower levels might actually talk to "the ones who have to do it.")

I'm not sure that these examples can be merged into a "theory of change mismanagement," but somehow they each, individually, seem somehow related to lots of things I see happening - in education and elsewhere.

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:54 AM

Hi Abbey - while I would agree with many of your comments on the social difficulties that some children ancounter - particularly on the subject of parental responsibilities, for example - it is clear that continued rearrangement of the curriculum (and the thread started with the curriculum as its main point) IS the responsibility of politicians and government civil servants. Government sets the policies and the civil infrastructure implements it. Many teachers themselves - Head Teachers in particular - have complained about the constant changes to testing, the national curriculum and the lack of certain elements in schooling. My own son, now 34, suffered under various changes in the way that subjects were taught and what was taught. The teachers did these things because that was government policy.

You've only to look at the way that successive governments have handled matters like education, health and the criminal justice system to see that the drivers behind this handling include political expediency.

Here's another example - off-thread, perhaps - illustrating political expediency: The Dunblane massacre, a hellish and shocking incident that few who read of it at the time can ever forget, resulted in the banning of handguns in this country. The perpetrator was a member of a licensed gun club. The upshot of that incident is that people who want to practice their sport in, say, the Olympics, will have to do their training abroad - they can't do it in this country. So, in spite of the largely excellent record of gun clubs on private, licensed ranges carrying out their sport safely and properly for many years, the careful many have been prevented from carrying out their pastime - target shooting - virtually by the actions of one person. In the meantime, traffic in illegal handguns and ownership of the same by criminals is undiminished.

I'm NOT a proprgandist for handgun sport - merely using this example of how governments pander to media and popular pressure in an almost knee-jerk reactive way. Pandering to the media and to populist opinion, rather than carefully thinking through policy, is not a way to run a country.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Abbey J
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:19 AM

Hi Will,

technically, I agree with you. I'm not trying to argue that governments & the civil service get it right all the time. And I definitely agree that knee jerk media driven policy making is a massive problem in all areas of government....

... but (playing devil's advocate here) if you have a system that you know doesn't work very well then what can you do but try and redesign bits of it to make it better?

(we're not talking if it ain't broke don't fix it, because I don't think there has been a single point in the last 50 years where educationalists or popular opinion have not felt that 'Schools Have Problems...' in one way or another, plus society has been evolving the whole time so things that used to work don't necessarily work any more).

So, you tweak things and make some policy changes in an attempt to make things better. And they don't all work immediately, but it might be because they need time to bed in. So you give it a year or three and then if things are still not working, you tweak some more...

And on the one hand you have people still complaining about the original problem and that your policy doesn't offer a good enough solution, and on the other you have people saying that too many enforced changes are a problem in themselves. Both groups are probably right, but you are damned if you do make changes and damned if you don't. Fundamentally you can recognise both sides of the problem and genuinely do want to come up with a solutrion that suits everybody. But you're not sure how.

Added to this, you have inherited this system from previous governments who have all been trying to achieve broadly the same aims, so all this has been going on for a long time and the media and voters seem to have pretty short memories and don't seem to make much distinction between changes that are happening now and those that happened 10 years ago. And while you may not want to pander to popular opinion, if you can't keep the population happy then they won't vote for you and you lose the opportunity to do anything at all...

I think the problem I have with the whole thing is that lots of people seem convinced that they know the answer and have a solution that will fix the problem, but in reality nobody knows what is going to work until it has been tried. Yes more educational research may be one answer to this but that costs money too, and then you're funnelling resource away from actually paying for real schools and teachers into funding experiments which may not give the answers you're looking for. So you get a situation where some research is done but not quite in depth enough, decisions then still get made based on opinion rather than evidence, and the whole thing goes round again.

Tricky....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:49 AM

Tricky indeed, as you say - but no-one said it was easy! :-)

As a product of the 1944 Education Act (I took the old 11+ in 1955), I suppose I was subject to a reasonably stable educational system until I left school in 1962. Whether that system, with its tiered structure - public schools at one end and secondary modern schools at the other, with direct grant and other grammar schools in the middle - was fair and just is open to debate. But it was stable, if imperfect. Any changes to the system obviously affect those in the thick of it. Change has to happen and has to be implemented sensitively. What I think has happened in the last 20 years (20? 15?) or so is that there has been an ever-faster growing series of radical changes, some of which seem to be on a whim. The current SATS debate highlights one aspect of it - to test or not to test, for example. I think we have to ask ourselves what's been lost and gained in all this change. (And, by the way, how are we to take instances of schools having to raise money to buy essential textbooks and supplies - of schools with poor, decaying premises? In my locality, in the south-east of England? Supposedly the affluent fundament of the UK...)

I think I can see some correlation, for example, between media-driven spluttering ("GCSEs are easier to get", "AS and A Levels are all getting easier") and the emphasis put on testing, league tables, etc., by the governments of the day. Remember "Education, education, education"? What a useless and hollow mantra that now seems, with curriculum and other confusion in current education policies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Abbey J
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:02 AM

I think you're probably right about the pace of change having increased (not just for educational policy either). Personally I partly blame the media and partly a 'we want it now' mentality which I think of as having its roots in 1980's Thatcherite capitalism. It appears to affect pretty much all walks of life - politicians & civil servants included, regardless of party politics.

Not sure what can be done to combat it other than all of us individually trying to take a step back, relax, and be patient about the situations we find ourselves in. A national slow living movement, maybe (is there such a thing?)

My strategy is to ignore as much of the news as I can and only getting worked up about things on a local level that actually affect me & mine personally. Which I admit is probably a short-sighted way of coping but it does allow me to stay mainly calm and happy...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:12 AM

"Year Six" ?? What the fuck is that ?? Some trendy American crap ??"

It's a definite sign that this person has no real grasp of the English language, other than to use obscenities with every other word

Yet in the same posting we find, "Try taking a look at education in Britain when I was at school,in the late fifties/early sixties"

Dwelling in the past are we? That's a very dangerous thing to do, learn from the past by all means, but don't dwell there. There are far too many people on these threads that do that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 11 May 09 - 12:50 PM

Never before have we lived in a time of such Coropate education.


Lizzie and others... you are aware that the Central Governemtn is trying to do away with governing bodies and remove the Local Authority from the mix?

Trusts and Academies.. is that really a good way forward? Appointed board of businiess people to "advise" how a group of schools should be run, what their focus should be on, what extended services should be available.

Takes the authority from the head teacher, teachers and even the parents.

Some information about a potential problem with Academy formula from the Times Education Supplement

Do schools need more bureaucracy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:19 PM

Only just got back to this thread, so sorry for not replying, Lizzie. You raise some interesting issues. I also believe that children should have some say in their education.We are trialling a cross curricular approach to learning this year. We quite often introduce a new topic by first of all asking what they already know. We then come up with their list of what else THEY would like to find out.They are usually very keen to do this and come up with some great ideas! This is then incorporated into our learning.What we can't do is merely let children decide completely what they would like to learn - which seems to be what you are suggesting. I can think of a number of things I would have decided not to learn about if I'd been given the choice at school!I didn't have the knowledge or experience to know what was "worth learning " until I had been taught a little about it.I then opted out of certain subjects at O' level.

You talked about the very real problem of bullying and the need for children to feel safe. You said," Oh yes, every school has it's 'anti-bullying' policy, but it means f*** all when you actually try to put it into practice, because very few teachers or headteachers actually care that much. (sits back and waits for cries of "That is SO untrue, Lizzie!").....sigh, if ONLY it were..."

I'm sorry , Lizzie, but I have to take serious issue with this viewpoint.The majority of teachers and headteachers DO care a great deal. I have worked in a number of schools- both Primary and Secondary- and have seen the lengths that staff go to to try and resolve such issues.We hit a brick wall sometimes, for many reasons. One of the most disturbing reasons is when we can't get parents to accept that their own child needs support. I feel like strangling with my bare hands, the father who replies that a bullied child should hit the bully back, or repeats the ridiculous phrase,"Sticks and stones...".Some parents can't get their head around the idea that their child should not have to fight anyone!Sometimes the bullying stops at school and then carries on outside school.Sometimes the bully is so effective that the victim is too afraid to tell.
I've just finished a whole term's work about bullying in assembly. We talked about what bullying actually is, the forms it takes, why people bully others, what do do if you are being bullied, and what to do if you suspect someone else is being bullied.We asked ourselves if we had ever bullied anyone(psychologically or physically).We also sent a letter to parents with a copy of our anti- bullying policy , which includes a brief explanation of what we mean by the term "bullying". This was because we have found that many parents use the term to mean any time their child falls out with someone at breaktime or is not given all their own way by their friends.The children have come up with their own phrases about it , such as:
"Remember the word, "TELL"
"Tell, tell and tell again"(Meaning that children should keep telling until it is sorted out. They can ask a friend to help them to do this if they are too "shy".)

Our children know that they can remain anonymous if they report bullying.We encourage them to care about each other and to watch for signs that someone is not happy. They are very good at this, because children are much more perceptive than they are given credit for.

We are not perfect, and we certainly don't believe that this has eradicated bullying, but we are really working hard to prevent it and make children feel safe and cared for by the whole school community.To be told that "very few" of us actually care is demoralising. It is so easy to tar everyone with the same brush. Of course I have met the uncaring , insensitive teachers who don't even seem to like children - but thankfully they seem to be in much "shorter supply" nowadays.In every occupation you'll meet the ones who take the money and do as little as possible.I don't know anyone at my school who has this appalling attitude.

You said,"If a child feels nurtured, supported, appreciated, respected, un-stressed and SAFE, then magic happens.."

I couldn't agree more!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:23 PM

Amen on bullying. I saw so much in Seattle schools, granted decades ago, and an absolute unwillingness on the part of teachers and administrators to even admit it was their responsibility to do something about it. They wouldn't even call the police in situations that would have been clear assaults out in public.

Other issues: there used to be..maybe still are..about 6 to 8 groupings of occupational interests...conventional (routine, clerical etc. work), intellectual, social, creative, entrepenurial and "realistic." Most teachers were found to be intellectual/social, if I am remembering correctly, and most students were "realistic." That means they are drawn to occupations, or studies, that would use hands on, actually doing things, spatial things..engineers, truck drivers, mechanics etc.,, and nurses surprisingly, were drawn from this group (everything I say is pretty old research by now and might not be current). So from the getgo you had teachers teaching the majority of the group in ways that made sense to the teachers, and the minority of students who matched them, but were highly unoptimal for the "realistic" majority of students. Not only was there this disconnect, I can say from watching in person that there was a disrespect for this type of learning, for people in these professions, for the students themselves. Maybe only in Seattle, but for sure there. So you really need to teach these kids in their preferred learning style, and you need to have preferrably a majority of teachers who are this way themselves, which you don't, and until you even the playing field here, you are going to always have trouble.

Some quick fixes: lots of outdoor education, home economics, hands0on learning, occupational education starting in kindergarten..building and designing in three dimensions.

Some students do fine with 30 to a teacher...they tend to be compliant girls with the same learning style as the teacher. They would probably do fine with 40 to a teacher. For some classes, arrange it like this and have some classes part of the day 10 to a teacher.

If you are in a district so idiotic as to have abandoned recess, pretty much abandon hope. Fight if you have the strength, but they are too dumb to do much there I have to say.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:59 PM

I was only bullied twice, (in jr high school in the early 1970's) by two different older girls. And given I was something of a shy kid in those years, it was quite amazing that I faced them down and gave one such a smack in the gob that I was never bothered again.

Well maybe it wasn't. Because I was more afraid of my dad and of telling him that I was being bullied. I remembered my Dad taking my older brother to the house of a boy that was bullying him and making them fight it out.

Pretty horrible to see the big brother you idolised coming home bruised and bloodied and crying. But I guess that is the way things were done back then.

What's more scary is that parents haven't moved on much collectively from that mind set.

The Columbine disaster was born out of bullying and from what I understand it is right back to the way it was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: vectis
Date: 12 May 09 - 04:52 AM

There is always an alternative to education in schools and that is "education otherwise". This means that no child HAS to be educated in a school; parents are legally entitled to teach them at home or somewhere else. The only legal requirement is that they do get taught by some means or other. They don't HAVE to comply with the dreaded National Curriculum, they are allowed to explore their own interests and learn through them.

I have taught some very vulnerable and damaged children through the years and the vast majority have the same problem THEIR PARENTS/PRIMARY CAREGIVER. Living in chaotic households riddled with inconsistent practices really screws kids up.

Some sort of national agreement and standards of teaching were desparately needed when the dreaded overkill of a full National Curriculum was introduced because a few teachers were not doing the job of educating the children in their charge and those children would never recover from careless or non existent teaching of "the basics".

The present system of ever larger educational factories makes me shudder and am very relieved that I no longer have to work in them. Most children respond best in smaller environments where they are well known and can feel safe. The trouble is that they can be costly and the present (any party) government just won't (or can't) find the money. Maybe UK should declare itself neutral, get rid of nuclear weapons, emply a smaller standing army for home defence only, stop making megabucks out of their expenses and put the money into schools and the health service instead.
Ahh! Bring on Eutopia...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: HuwG
Date: 12 May 09 - 09:40 AM

Not being any sort of teacher (although I have been told I do well when giving any sort of presentation or briefing) I can only describe my own experiences.

I entered a grammar school in 1969. The school had been founded almost exactly fifty years earlier, and several of the staff had been some of the early pupils. We pupils suspected that they had entered the teaching profession to "dodge the column" i.e. avoid call-up during World War II, and I don't think we were far wrong. They formed a clique within the staff room which discouraged innovation or even discussion.

Some subjects were appallingly taught. One particular geography teacher was almost certainly senile, and would waffle through a lesson about the terminal moraine (a glacial feature) which ran to the south of the town centre. The school actually stood on said terminal moraine. He never once suggested going outside, or even looking out of the window, to demonstrate.

In those days, subjects (especially the fundamentals, or three Rs) too much resembled drill. Another teacher insisted that the English class repeat a grammatical exercise until every one of the class had got the somewhat archaic punctuation exactly right. Since he never provided help or hints, it took the class some time, during which we could have been doing something useful, rather than punishment drill. That said, I sometimes wonder whether fundamentals are taught at all to some people. Working in the IT industry, I far too often have to deal with Tech. Support queries from recent graduates which read, "im opening the app and im like wtf!!!!" This is expressive and concise. It is also completely uninformative cliched non-language.

When I was taking my Chemistry A Level (1976-78), my father (who had graduated in chemical engineering shortly after the war*) commented that the subject required far less knowledge to be committed to memory than in his days. For example, he and his fellow Chem. Eng. students needed to rattle off the coefficient of linear thermal expansion of brass at a moment's notice. My class knew about the principles, of course, but had nothing like such details at our fingertips.

None of my nieces and nephews have taken scientific subjects at school, but even the arts subjects they took seem to be a little shallow (to my prejudiced, Gradgrind-like eyes). That said, the eldest girl has a 2:1 in some sort of -ology, and the boy has a degree in photographic sciences, gained through dedicated practical work, and knowledge of advances in science which I struggle to keep up with.

*An anecdote from my dad, which might explain the decline of Britain's manufacturing industries. Many of his fellow students had recently been "demobbed" from the Armed Forces. As they went into one of their final examinations, one of these students who possessed a magnificent RAF handlebar moustache asked another, "I say, old man! What exactly is dy/dx?" He still graduated, whether he was joking or allowances were made for the interruption to his schooling.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:06 AM

Thank you vectis, finally someone, posting. who's actually making sense, and offering alternatives, instead of the hysterical and rather knee-jerk out pourings that have, so far, come down the pipe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

 


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.



Mudcat time: 22 January 3:46 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.