Education...

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  • Firstly, i dont know if this is the right section for this, but as i would like it to be a general conversation about the education system in this country, and how people think we can improve it - i thought it would be a good place to start (move it if you fancy mods xx)

    Anyhoo, i will start

    I like IDEA of school to a certain extent, but i think we are making a huge mistake in sending our children to be educated entirely by someone else, or by a system. I think that the parents should be far more a part of that system

    I think that if a parent is able, they should be allowed to partake alot more in the day to day life of their children.

    I think we should spend time at school learning Survival... Not necessarily just survival in the forest or local area, but also Survival in the outside world, tax returns, what a mortgage is, how to steer clear of debt

    I think school teaches a whole lot of out-dated crap and it would be far better to teach modern history, political movements and allow the children to come to their own conclusions, and study in their own way, the things that interest them

    What are other peoples thoughts (particularly parents) on this

    I dont agree wholley with home schooling, nor to i agree entirely with sending a child off for the best part of their lives to be taught by someone else. i wish there was a medium.

    Thoughts? xx

  • maybe a change in the way the curriculum is taught. we are always taught about how algebra can benifit ours elves but as when we say "why?" there is always a lot of "urm"s and 'uhhh"s. Not saying it dosnt help but I for one just thought they were teaching us stuff and not skills.


    Quote

    I dont agree wholley with home schooling, nor to i agree entirely with sending a child off for the best part of their lives to be taught by someone else. i wish there was a medium.


    my missus was home schooled as well as a lot of my friends and they did not so much learn an education as learn a life and are now wise (or cynical) beyond their years. She then went to a private school and was terribly unhappy and ended up pretty much self studying because she couldnt face anyone else after the bullying. I guess home education is a double edged sword


    That said, I am a self proclaimed ignorant and probably have no facts to talk of other than my very limited experience

  • i agree with the 'stuff not skills' comment. Thats kinda what i mean by Survival training, stuff that will ACTUALLY mean something when we leave school

    i also think its fucking sick that someone who is academic, can do pretty much anything, because they make it look good on paper, but someone who might be a fucking GENIUS at woodwork, gets a low grade because they cant eloquate what they are doing on paper

    thats such an abuse of the diverse and intelligent species that we are

  • I agree.


    Why not make the skills as impressive on paper as they are in real life.


    Theres only so far a degree in jacobean literature can take you, but people are always in need of a good plumber

  • My soapbox, I'm afraid, so here goes...


    I think the biggest problem today is that students are taught to an exam and not to objectively think! This is why so many young people are bored and can't wait to leave school. I saw this with my daughter when we moved over here. She would come home from school so frustrated and half the time the teachers weren't even teaching accurately (her bio teacher told her and the rest of his class of white anglo saxon kids that they could contract sickle cell anemia - you have to be of African descent for that to happen!!!). Furthermore, teaching/learning can't happen when there are 40+ kids in a classroom. I taught in the States for a while in a small private school and I used to despair of the lack of time I had with the students and I only had 10 in a class!


    Unfortunately, this next point is not very PC, but here goes. It is impossible to teach everyone in a classroom effectively if you have different skill sets in the same room. In the States, each grade was divided into three sections. They had names like Explorers, Adventurers, Navigators, etc. Each section was taught separately because each section learned at a different pace. Each section then excelled because they were being taught at the pace at which they were able to learn. No one felt cheated or stupid or challenged - they felt enriched.


    Home schooling? It isn't the answer to poor state education. By taking kids out of the schools, we are, in effect, leaving the system as is without challenging it to change. But I do feel that parents need to take a more active interest in their children's education. Children learn best when encouraged at both school and home.


    Anyway, that is the short version of how I feel.

  • so you DO think that children should be completely taught in a school then? but that there should be more accomidation for skill levels. Rather than some sort of parent/teacher/child home/school study going on?

    do you think that it would be a bad idea to have a child studying at school for half the day and at home for the other half?

  • I guess it depends on what you mean by "taught" - there are skills I can't teach my son, because quite honestly, i don't know anything about them. I have no idea about math, less of an idea about geography. But I do know how to weld, and how to cook, and how to plant things. So yes, I teach him that, and he enjoys it, but I do think he needs to go to school.


    Now, I agree here - school does seem to be mostly about "child-parking". And hey, my son is going to be attending next week, better believe I'm cheering! Most kids know what they want to be when they're young, at which point I wonder why we cram their heads with stuff they're not interested in. Trigonometry? Why the frell did I have to learn that? I never needed it. The same with sine/cosine/whatever the hell. Utterly pointless. I add, I subtract, I multiply, I divide, and if I need anything else that's what Microsoft Excel is for! Yet on the other hand, why is it that most kids these days can't friggen spell? Surely that's taught everywhere, or maybe it's just not sticking...or they're too lazy. Well that's just kids for you, really.


    But the main thing here is this - until housewives are paid for their time and work and effort, it is a right bugger to be a stay at home and be able to exist. And there are enough people who bitch a blue streak (especially the childfree) about those "lazy housewives who don't go out and work". Try it for a week...try it and not go insane. It is WORK, but it is not recognised as such, and it certainly isn't paid - the dole isn't enough money and it certainly isn't based on value either! If there was a way to pay people to stay home and teach their children, then great. But right now, unless at least one partner is working, you're buggered. You have to be able to survive too, and it's jolly difficult to do if you're not bringing in some cash for your family.


    School is a lot more than education, however; it's social situations and how to behave in them, and how to relate to other people - which is something I know many a homeschooled child doesn't often get. I've met some very brilliant homeschooled children who were completely socially inept because they never got the stimuli of relating to other kids. Of course, that goes the opposite way - I had more than a few friends commit suicide when I was a nipper due to the teasing and nightmare of schooling and gods knows I was nearly a statistic myself.


    Schooling has its merits, and its drawbacks. It gives a spark of picking up other interests and so forth. It may not work for everyone but as if often the case, there is no way anything will work for 100% of the population. I would rather that the system would give parents a lot more choice however, or at least a government more supportive of those choices, rather than making school a rigid system which you either have to obey or you're breaking the law, on top of giving these stay-at-homes a bit more credit.


    Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

  • hmmm, okay, i want to stay away from the whole 'not being able to work and having to stay at home' thing TOO much, because this is a discussion about education of our children, and i think the other factors are there, but no neccessarily for this discussion

    Oya, you are clearly quite a hands-on parent from what you have said, if you were given the equipment (excercise books, work books and tools) to teach your child, and if that child was drilled in a school environment, about what he had to learn

    do you think you would have trouble assisting him in the learning process, in a controlled environment at home?

    because i totally agree, i wouldnt have a clue of the best ways to teach a child about mathmatics, but mostly the children go to school and are learning from government set books anyway

    which makes me wonder, why are they forced into an environment, with 40 other kids at different levels to them, to learn something from a book which they could be studying at their own pace?

    why are such complex beings 'Parked' - great terminology - in this way??

  • Quote

    do you think that it would be a bad idea to have a child studying at school for half the day and at home for the other half?


    personally yeah i think thats not a great idea, kids need structure and routine and for me that ballance is acheived with a 9-3 school day 5 days per week.im lucky i know because im happy with the school gnerally that teaches my boy.
    as parents its our duty to teach kids at home when there not in school, and kids are like sponges they absorb information.i think the job as parent/teacher is a job we take upon ourselves when our children are born obviously its up to an induvidual parent as to how much effort they put in with that.personally i have found that keeping a child busy and learning about stuff all the time keeps them a happy child.a recent example of this is that my child is is 7 yrs old and has a very reasonable understanding of human reproduction, how babies are made and where they come from(thanks to campertess for pics on that one), he has a basic understanding of periods etc.personally fpor me teaching this stuff at home avoids any embarassment and awkward questions later on for teachers and other influential adults in my childs life.
    my kids also are involved in homemaking skills, cooking,gardening, and we do lots of arts and crafts and general life skills, but i dont need time out to do this stuff, its what as a parent i do and i do it for love.
    i do admit that i think the problems my son has socially would be worsened by far if he had more parental teaching rather than being in the mill of day to day schooling


    i think what you are saying about the parenting at home should be happening with kids regardless of what the curiculum states.


    my son is in a class of 12 kids and they learn in groups of 4 depending on the level of learning they are at, it works really very well as far as i can see, hes a happy and bright little boy with a passion for litrature and a want to learn about real life as well as what happens in books and the classroom.

  • Quote from Fibi

    why are such complex beings 'Parked' - great terminology - in this way??



    Supposedly so they can be taught how to absorb useless rubbish fed to them from those in authority... Or am I being waaay too cynical? ;)

  • I'm sure Dibdabs will appear here and elaborate, but the montessori method of teaching looks really lovely.


    I'm definately with you all on learning pointless crap...although.... perhaps it develops our brains while theyre still supple? Perhaps the boring things like maths are a lot harder to learn later on if you decide thats what you want to do, wheras more practical "fun" skills are easier... I dunno!


    I was talking to Martin about this yesterday...as I've been writing my CV lately.... I have top grades..and I did work hard for them...but now, only two years later I reckon I'd fail most of them. I can't remember a bean! i'm a bit pissed off though about how my english has deteriorated, i guess thats my fault for not writing much! SO the fact is I've forgotton most of what I spent my school life aiming to acheive... so it mustnt be stuff I have used??


    WE had a lesson called PSE... personal...social..education... which had the potential to be a good "life skills" class.... but all we seemed to have were really boring healthy eating lessons (one, good one would have sufficed) and endless lessons about what STDs we're going to get and drugs that willl kill us if we so much as look at them....drugs, food, sex.... we could have had things like, driving theory, tax returns, bank accounts, cv's....yeah boring stuff but very very useful...


    more practical skills would be nice....the school I was at was a bit posh and we had to wear suits immaculately to "prepare us for the office".... i think probabaly about 10% of people leaving will actually go to an office???


    i guess its down to them wanting us to be as successfull as ew can be... but that means officey things... its job heirachry...."this job is better than that job" wheras even if were looking at it financially, you can still be a builder and earn a heck lot more than an office stooge.....and not everybody wants to or can be a lawyer...so makes those not academically gifted feel shite for what five years...being forced to do something they just cannot...for statistics sake.....


    cooking, sewing, gardening????


    rambling here, but yes, school was certainly not the "best time of my life", it's just given me a number of complexities I'm going to spend my life overcoming!

  • Quote

    i think what you are saying about the parenting at home should be happening with kids regardless of what the curiculum states.


    Couldn't agree more!


    I ave got a lot more to say but will leave it for now as can't structure my thoughts effectively at moment x x x

  • hmmm, let me elaborate on my point of view slightly

    i studying Geology at school, sedimentary rock, metaphoric rock and so on

    and it was made out to be the most boring thing you can ever imagine,

    now i collect crystals, i have a deep routed LOVE for what this earth can do with a little bit of pressure and a ton of radiation.

    its amazing, its facinating, and no child is going to be bored when they have a massive chunk of naturally collected quartz to play with, a piece of calcite to look at and SEE how things work

    i dont think things are best taught on paper, i think they are best taught in reality!

    i think if we moved away from this academic way of teaching, lots of very bright kids who can maniuplate wood, metal and are more mechanical by nature, will find themselves feeling able and positive about their own skills

    right now its all about academia, and i think that is wrong.

  • Quote from tekno

    Supposedly so they can be taught how to absorb useless rubbish fed to them from those in authority... Or am I being waaay too cynical? ;)



    *pulls up a chair for tekno in our corner* xxx




  • see why in these 'life skills' we did it too and it was pointless. Arent we learning about tax's, about mortgages, about staying out of debt

    about how to start up your own business, about how to stay clean.

    and while i'm at it

    why dont we learn about farming, allotments, growing food, why dont we learn about survival, why dont we learn basic plumbing and carpentry.

    Why arent we taught to survive? either in this reality or off the land, why do we spend three years learning about henry the eighth, but NOT ONE on our own politics, on how to look after a baby, on what do do if someone loses the plot, on relationships

    what at school, do we actually NEED to know??

    and if we arent learning it out of NEED, why is it so FUCKING boring??

  • Quote from Fibi



    right now its all about academia, and i think that is wrong.


    What age group are you referring to though.. For primary aged children knowledge of academia is essential as they are skills that children of that age are just starting to develop... My own child is taught in a variety of ways at school...


    At secondary level I recall doing practical as well as academic subjects... but I naturally veered to the more academic side when I chose my GCSE's... And from what I understand these days a there is a lot more choice when you take GCSE's...


    The levels of illiteracy in this country is a fooking embarrassment tbh... It is obvious that our education system is letting people down.. well this and parents who do not help educate their child in any way whatsoever... The pressure that teachers are under as well as large class sizes is not helping this...


    I do think that we should teach children differently than we do now.. teaching by rote does not work... simply preparing people to sit exams is not education...

  • Quote from Sarah

    Couldn't agree more!

    I ave got a lot more to say but will leave it for now as can't structure my thoughts effectively at moment x x x



    will look forward to hearing your point of view xxx

  • the only practical skills GCSES available to me when I took my GCSES was PE, and then arguable design technology (which we had to make prototypes for products that could be mass produced........shampoo bottles....no woodwork here mateis...) and art.




  • i suppose i was mostly reffering to secondary school, i dont know how it has changed since i was last there, but i found that many of the kids who were bright at woodwork, or whatever, were actually put down alot because they couldnt write an essay explaining how they did things, they could just do them

    i dont think natural talent like that can be judged on academia alone, and whereas i feel everyone should be encouraged (particularly when young) to work at the things they might not be so good at. i dont think they should be taken away from those things they are good at, or told they arent good at them really because they cant write a fucking essay.

  • Quote from Naeni

    the only practical skills GCSES available to me when I took my GCSES was PE, and then arguable design technology (which we had to make prototypes for products that could be mass produced........shampoo bottles....no woodwork here mateis...) and art.



    Likewise, even the pratical skills were academic courses about pratical things. i would be very proud of my child if it was practically minded, and i dont think they should be looked down upon for that. everyones different.

  • Quote

    i think if we moved away from this academic way of teaching, lots of very bright kids who can maniuplate wood, metal and are more mechanical by nature, will find themselves feeling able and positive about their own skills

    right now its all about academia, and i think that is wrong.


    Agree with that too!


    Charlie's been lucky with his schooling here in Frome. At first school he had a term of attending "forest school" once a day a week, where he learnt all about woodland skillsnature and developing social skills outside the school setting :D I think the idea's of forest schools are brilliant and that this kind of education should be available to all no matter where you live.


    I do think that I had a better education than my son. Much more emphasis was placed on creative pursuits through my schooling. I had teachers that were passionate about music and art and creativity in general and there was room within the curriculum back then (before the days of sats and national targets and records of achievement and numeracy and literacy hours :rolleyes:)


    I think the education system fails children massively in all honesty. As someone has said.. kids can't spell these days :rolleyes: for all this time n money n effort the government has put into improving core skills they seem to be neglecting the basic concept that children are not robots and each child has individual strengths and weaknesses.


    My son has some problems with semantic and pragmatic language processing skills and a few other aspects of being on the autism spectrum. He is highly intelligent and in a test environment can acheive levels expected of children several years older than him... so his teachers expect him to acheive at this level consistently..totally failing to recognise that the reason my boy remembers so much is cos his semantic and pragmatic language difficulties also blesses him with a phenomenal memory bordering on photographic and he has the condition echolalia which means he remembers in exact detail and can report that back in exact detail...so in a classroom setting Charlie struggles - he isn't given the right tools to allow him the time and space to get creative within the subject area, nor is he given specific enough instruction - just cos he's bloody clever don't mean he can find the attention capacity to sit down and pull a peice of creative writing out of his head just cos the teacher says so....


    It's taken me a year of spelling all of this out time and again to his form tutor for them to recognise what i was saying and stop treating me like a neurotic mother.. he is scheduled in for some out-of-class one on one support to help him with all these skills.. sommat he has gotten on and off since he was first diagnosed with having some learning difficulties back in year 2.


    Sorry I don't mean this to be a blah blah blah about my son but Charlie perfectly illustrates what I consider to be wrong with the education system...He thrives off the structure and the subject variation but craves more time for music and art and drama and it is sadly blatantly lacking within today's curriculum.


    A lot of teachers are frustrated to hell by the curriculum as it stands because it doesn't allow them to teach!

  • Quote

    Oya, you are clearly quite a hands-on parent from what you have said, if you were given the equipment (excercise books, work books and tools) to teach your child, and if that child was drilled in a school environment, about what he had to learn

    do you think you would have trouble assisting him in the learning process, in a controlled environment at home?


    Honestly? Yes. Why? Because my son is a lot of work. I mean, a LOT. He's more work than one person on their own can handle, and he actually needs to have several people each with a different task, so that he knows what is expected of him. He needs the "teaching woman" or "teaching man" and the "music woman/man" and the "mummy". In his mind, due to the autism or whatever, it's the only thing that works for him. I do not have the skills or tools to be able to teach him all that stuff even with the books. With a child with autism, it is all too easy for my entire life to revolve around trying to figure out new and better ways to communicate with my son, and that's just not healthy for me. I have to allow those people to take over for a select amount of time so I can catch my breath.


    Granted, it seems apprenticeships are coming back into vogue as you're right, it's more about academics than about crafts and things. But nowadays I see a lot more kids interested in things like sewing, stonemasonry, woodworking and even spinning wool and so on. So I suppose we are sort of going back to that.


    I do think if parents have time to teach their children just basic stuff, then that's what counts. My son will go to school for the bit of paper, but it's up to me to teach him all that other stuff no one would think about. And parents do that every day whether they are aware of it or not - or at least I try to, but gods knows there's days when I just plug a video in!


    And why aren't we taught about survival and living off the land? Quite simply - because most people don't need it. If you live in London, learning animal husbandry isn't really worth the bother. Unless a child really wants to, then I don't see the point. Yes yes, tin-foil-hat conspiracies set aside, it would be useful if people knew how to start a fire, it would be useful to know how to grow your own food and grains, but aside from knowing the basics like growing veg in pots, I doubt there's any reason I need to teach my son how to dress a deer or pluck a chicken. If he asks, then I'll tell him, but otherwise, I'd rather not fill his head with a bunch of stuff. That's no better to my mind than filling it with skills he will probably never use from school itself.

  • Quote from Naeni

    the only practical skills GCSES available to me when I took my GCSES was PE, and then arguable design technology (which we had to make prototypes for products that could be mass produced........shampoo bottles....no woodwork here mateis...) and art.


    Wow poor choices... I was offered as more practical choices P.E... CDT (woodwork/metalwork)... Art.. Photography... Pottery... Cooking... Sewing... Drama... French... Spanish... And that was seventeen years ago!! :o


    It is dependant on what school you go to... which is another bug bear of mine.. I went to an estate school and was offered amazing choices for GCSE's there... But I was thrown out of that school at the end of my third year.. and went to a quite posh school where my choices (if I had chosen more practical subjects) would have been greatly reduced!!


    Unfortunately being in the right school means you get more choice... A LOT of secondary schools tend to specialise in certain subjects... some being more geared to academic subjects.. others more pratical...


    What I think is missing is balance...

  • i took my gcse's 16yrs ago and my subjects were both academic and practical, for example we built the componants and built and raced our own school hovercraft, this was our design and technology class, and it involved woodwork, meatal work and eginering, but the most important thing i acheived from that was learning how a team of people can make such a difference when trying to do something thats a bit off the acedemic tracks.

  • Quote

    With a child with autism, it is all too easy for my entire life to revolve around trying to figure out new and better ways to communicate with my son, and that's just not healthy for me.


    Totally empathise with that statement! It is incredibly frustrating aswell when you spend time with external agencies and teachers and the head, like i did at charlie's first school.. workin out strategies that we could all use to communicate more effectively and consistently.. n then when he started at middle school i was treated like a neurotic mother :rolleyes:... inititally :reddevil: the lack of one on one help in year 5 caused charlie's form tutor quite alot of frustration and headaches coming to a head with him stopping me in the street after school one day and spilling for about half an hour about what a handful my son is....lol tell me sommat i don't know ;) in that sense the sats helped us out cos it made them (head, year head and form tutor) wonder how this little boy who consistently under achieves in class can pull out results of a 12/13 year old...instantly i gets a phone call asking if its ok for them to send charlie out for one on one support... erm :woohoo: YES!!!!


    Education needs to have lots more money thrown at it and learning plans need to be much more individualised and there be the resources available to back that up IMHO!

  • i suppose now we get back to what for me is a utopian society, where the parents are more of a community, and the children are 'passed around' in order for different skills and involvment to be made avaliable.

    there isnt much i couldnt teach a child about basic geology, or for that matter photography.

    that is wishful thinking at its best though

    i know its not feasible, i just wish it were

  • I think the point I am trying to make is that it would be a lot better a system if teachers and heads weren't so fuckin precious about their standing... at end of day they ask us as parents to educate our children at home and not just leave it to school... so many of us do try and we try to communicate with the school so we provide a consistent education and half the time teachers just don't wanna listen :rolleyes:


    When I mentioned to the year 5 tutor that charlie had a diagnosis of semantic and pragmatic language difficulties from various external agencies.. he said and I quote "oh he hasn't got language problems his vocabulary is phenomenal!" :wall::wall::wall: I suggested he google the condition n then come back and talk to me about ways to get charlie to do more work in class!

  • Quote from Sarah

    I think the point I am trying to make is that it would be a lot better a system if teachers and heads weren't so fuckin precious about their standing... at end of day they ask us as parents to educate our children at home and not just leave it to school... so many of us do try and we try to communicate with the school so we provide a consistent education and half the time teachers just don't wanna listen :rolleyes:

    When I mentioned to the year 5 tutor that charlie had a diagnosis of semantic and pragmatic language difficulties from various external agencies.. he said and I quote "oh he hasn't got language problems his vocabulary is phenomenal!" :wall::wall::wall: I suggested he google the condition n then come back and talk to me about ways to get charlie to do more work in class!




    problem with teachers, are they are increasingly becoming the most underpaid members of our society, which doesnt really bode well for intelligence, enthusiasm or anti-bullying tactics.

    perhaps if we split the day up so people had the opportunity to both work and teach (see tribal societies above) we would find the teachers that excelled in their field, not those who can really do much else

  • I think there is something to be said to letting kids learn from other people outside the classroom. Kids learn through play, and even at gatherings, with people bringing various instruments, or spinning poi, or cooking meals, those kids are learning something. My son at a gathering would be a riot, but I'm not sure the gathering would survive the Trial of the Wump! Still, I've seen him in the middle of a circle of smiling people when they had their drums out, shaking his groove thang and laughing...and yet, there's other times when he obviously enjoys the music but is overstimulated and it's setting off his sensory alarms so I have to beat a retreat!


    I think it's worth teaching a little something to everyone as we go. I've needed to do my baking one day when a friend was about and i just handed her wee one a bit of dough and let her knock herself out whilst I was kneading. That's learnin'...it's not booklearnin' but it is still learnin'. I'd do the same with my ceramics and clay in my workspace, and I've done it when making chai. I think we all do that sort of thing everyday anyway.


    I think most people are doing that anyway...so maybe utopia is here :)

  • your right, people are prepared to teach kids, we all love it, its a beautiful thing, so why isnt more time given to that?

    why do we send them to school ALL day, when we could just hand em round and teach and learn?

    utopias definatly not here, when i have a baby i have to give it up to a school system so some under achieving and often bullying adult, can teach it how boring the world is

    i will spend less time with my child in those years than this 'teacher'

    thats not right - nor will it ever be