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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
VirginiaTam 13 May 09 - 05:04 AM
paula t 13 May 09 - 07:20 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 13 May 09 - 09:19 AM
VirginiaTam 13 May 09 - 09:45 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 13 May 09 - 09:47 AM
meself 13 May 09 - 10:03 AM
VirginiaTam 13 May 09 - 10:18 AM
Ringer 14 May 09 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,mg 14 May 09 - 03:25 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 14 May 09 - 05:16 PM
Ringer 15 May 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,HiLo 15 May 09 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Chris Murray 15 May 09 - 08:55 AM
Acorn4 15 May 09 - 09:36 AM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 15 May 09 - 11:15 AM
Mr Happy 15 May 09 - 11:17 AM
Acorn4 15 May 09 - 12:16 PM
Acorn4 15 May 09 - 01:56 PM
Frozen Gin (inactive) 15 May 09 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Chris Murray 15 May 09 - 03:27 PM
paula t 15 May 09 - 03:28 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 May 09 - 03:38 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 May 09 - 03:42 PM
paula t 15 May 09 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Chris Murray 15 May 09 - 04:16 PM
paula t 15 May 09 - 04:18 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 May 09 - 04:21 PM
paula t 15 May 09 - 04:29 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 15 May 09 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,HiLo 16 May 09 - 10:05 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 17 May 09 - 08:44 AM
Acorn4 17 May 09 - 09:04 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 17 May 09 - 09:27 AM
VirginiaTam 17 May 09 - 11:13 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 18 May 09 - 07:08 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 07:47 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 07:53 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 07:55 AM
Bert 18 May 09 - 07:56 AM
Ruth Archer 18 May 09 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Chris Murray 18 May 09 - 02:30 PM
Acorn4 22 Sep 09 - 08:34 AM
meself 22 Sep 09 - 10:47 AM
Eric the Viking 22 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM

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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!


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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)


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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.


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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.


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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


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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...


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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


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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.


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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.


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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,


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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.


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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!


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

...or even...'Edukashun'


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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 !


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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!


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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.


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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.........


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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


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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.


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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!!


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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.


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

Was the "Your right" deliberate?


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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

I like it, Don.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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....


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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.


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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...


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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.


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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?


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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!


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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.


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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.


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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...


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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.


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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.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 May 09 - 05:04 AM

Discipline among students between 7 and 11 was quite doable for me.

I had some pretty big hurdles to get over. The 5th grade class (10-11 year olds) was a social dynamic mess. Like a bunch of brothers and sisters all jockeying for attention. It was a small scool so they had spent entire career with little or no new blood mixed in.

As a student teacher I had to get control over the situation or my degree would fall through my fingers. I instuted a Warm Fuzzy system, by which students earned points daily for showing appropriate behaviour in the classroom. I kept a jart of cotton balls on my desk. During lessons, as I witnessed a students atending to work, engagin in Q&A, etc. I would drop a cotton ball on their desk. They would then return it to the jar and put a tick bgy their name on the chart I created to tally the points.   The key was to get them all wanting to earn points and encouraging and helping each other do it, because if the class had earned enough points at the end of the week, then there would be a Warm Fuzzy party in the last 20 minutes of Friday. Warm Fuzzy party was large and samml marshmallows, and coloured granulated sugar and wooden toothpicks. Students could make a Warm Fuzzy structure with the ingredients.

It worked. I had the kids which typically teased and pushed the normally out of control kids over the edge, suddenly sitting down and helping them do assignments. Coming up to me and pointing out that such and such was doing his work instead of drawing cartoons, etc. The tattling on one another became positive instead of negative as they looked for the good and reported on it.

There just needs to be incentive to pull together for a common reward, that everyone wants to take part in. Of course there were backsliding moments. You cannot get past medical and emotional conditions or life time habits in a short space. But it was on the whole very successful. Surprised the regular teacher and the principal.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 13 May 09 - 07:20 AM

Virginia Tam,
I also believe that the positive approach works.
We have a "Golden book" at our school. Any child doing something like trying really hard at something they find difficult, being caring etc has their name and the reason put into the book.The names are read out in our "sharing assembly" at the end of the week.The children can nominate each other - and do so regularly when they notice something kind or helpful.
The children come out to the front of the hall and are given a round of applause. This appears to mean more to them than earning merit certificates.The older children are particularly good at recognising the progress of the little ones in terms of caring and sharing.A little boy who has behavioural problems was nominated this week by a year 6 boy - because he had noticed him playing really nicely and sharing his toy. This was something which had previously been very difficult for this particular child.
I believe that on the whole, children value this feeling of belonging , knowing everyone and being valued for who they are.
Unfortunately this type of progress is not really recognised or valued by the powers that be, because it can't be measured and reported on.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 May 09 - 09:19 AM

""....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?""


The Reggie in question, at the age of ten, was caught red handed, on a bridge over a 60mph bypass, with a pile of half housebricks, after bouncing one off the roof of a car (thank God it WAS the roof, and not the windscreen).

At the police station his mother tried to say he'd been at home all day, and he called her a stupid bitch, and attacked her with fists, teeth, and boots. It took three policemen to pull him off.

This same little angel, twice hit a teacher in the face with a chair, when instructed to sit down on said chair. On each occasion he was excluded, and, on each occasion immediately re-instated by the LEA.

Does that sound like the poor little victim of society YOU describe? Some kids ARE just PLAIN EVIL.

--------------------------------------------------------------------


""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.""


You really don't have much of a clue about schools do you Lizzie? I've actually seen what people like Paula have to put up with, knowing all the while that there is just NO point in following the procedures you mention, because they WON'T get the backup they need.

Anti bullying protocols for adults in the workplace are ineffective, and actually damaging to the career of anybody who invokes them.

You try getting a promotion, or another job, once you are marked down as a troublemaker. Stay where you are, and there are a hundred and one ways in which your working life can be made an absolute hell.

I've been a victim of this, and I DO know what I'm talking about. I believe our friend Richard Bridge might remember me asking his advice on the subject.

As for your other comments about "You don't have to be there" and "Nobody makes you take exams", well, the ignorance displayed is astounding.

Thank your lucky stars that there are still some dedicated educators who are prepared to slog their way though the crap to educate the children of ungenerous, ungrateful people like you. As to the exams, you are right that people take exams voluntarily to improve their efficiency, but if you think they are never MADE to take exams, perhaps you would tell me what YOU think an Ofsted appraisal is?

I have more respect for teachers than for any other profssionals on this planet, because the end product of their labours is the FUTURE of said planet, and their job would be INFINITELY easier if some complaisant parents were to do THEIR job just half as well.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 May 09 - 09:45 AM

Yes that is what the whole school thought of the boy I had charge of.

Extreme out of control violent behaviour. He threw a cafeteria 4 seater bench at the principal in front of the whole school when he was 7.

He did not have the ability to control the anger or outbursts.   He was diagnosed with extreme emotional disability and mild hyperactivity (for which he was put on ritalin). His educability and intelligence was high, but the ritalin knocked him out. I spent mornings trying to keep him awake. I noticed that his anger became more strident and his self control weaker as he fought to stay awake through the drug.

Even though he had an IEP, there was no one to one help for him until the last two months of his primary education. And that only to ensure the principal could "wash his hands of him". What he needed all along was congnitive behaviour therapy in the classroom and input from social services to his family from the time he started showing difficulty in school.

I know that ritalin can have an adverse effect on children. My son with mild ADD & hyperactivity was put on very low dose Ritalin. It was like I suddenly had a changling. He would attack his baby sister (hands on her throat) and willfully destroy things (tried to burn the house down twice).

I didn't know who he was. No more my sweet, generous, curious little boy. I had to take him off the meds and home school him for the rest of his 2nd grade year. I suspect his behaviour stemmed from the school he was in in San Antonio. It was quite poor, violent. The teachers roamed the halls between classes with whistles and paddles. He told me about knife wielding big kids. The following year back in Virginia he was fine.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 13 May 09 - 09:47 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.""


I don't doubt that for one minute Tam, and I DO recognise that the majority of naughty kids are either just mischievous, or emotionally or psychologically troubled.

"Reggie" was neither.

He was devious, manipulative, dishonest, arrogant, and violent.

He beat up other kids to make THEM confess to his misdemeanours.
He not only refused to learn. He refused to let others learn.
He disrupted all the classes he attended, and, when spoken to about his behaviour, picked up the nearest solid object and threw it.
He had to be placed under constant watch to prevent him leaving school and disappearing.
He was barred from all local shops, after a series of incidents in which he climbed out of his bedroom window and went on a shoplifting spree.
He WAS eventually excluded, and went on to be excluded from several secondary schools, in quick succession.

He was, during his primary school years, subjected to every form of assessment available. Behavioural and clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists, agreed that he had NO discernable mental, emotional or psychological problem.

He just enjoyed being bad. As for "seeing the child's pain", I'm afraid it was the adults trying to deal with him who were feeling pain.

I never said that type was common, but they DO exist, and HE certainly was one.
Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: meself
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:03 AM

I taught for about twenty-five years, in communities fraught with social dysfunction. I saw and experienced many disturbing things - but never encountered a child who was "plain evil" (even in lower case). I did, however, see many children who needed much more help than they were getting.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 13 May 09 - 10:18 AM

I don't believe children are evil either.

Children are terrified by lack of limits and more terrified of their own inability to self-control. I have a brother and 2 female cousins with bipolar disorder. Their outbursts mild in childhood, grew increasingly worse with age. Now approaching middle age, they are calming down again.

And I don't believe it is all down to upbringing. We are each generation exposed to more toxins in food and environment. Carpets and MDF are full of formaldehide, for example and it is everywhere. What are these poisons doing to small deveolping brains.

I learned after observation that I could not let my kids have anything with red food color or nutrasweet. It was like rocket fuel.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Ringer
Date: 14 May 09 - 01:19 PM

Now I've reset my cookie, can I leave messages which aren't deleted?


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 14 May 09 - 03:25 PM

If you want to vastly improve education, you need to get over the idea that one curriculum/style fits all children, with IQs in one class from 70 to 170, with math skills, say in 4th grade, from can't count to could do college algebra.

You have to get over the paranoia about "tracking" and do some honest to God tracking, or sorting, or call it some better name, but sooner or later you will have to do it..not for all students all day, but for at least some students some of the day.

You have to get realistic about special needs children too and have special teachers and situations for some, and not hold back others for the sake of some who are not just behind, but basically will never ever catch up because they don't have the specific academic potential, although they of course have potential that should be maximized. But a special education for one child, in a hopeless situation (there will be people speaking up that no child is hopeless, but academically, there are some who are), can use up a budget that could have trained 50 in business education or something, who could then work and support the severely impaired ones (I am not talking about mild deficits here, like many with Down Syndrome..but the terribly brain damaged etc.)

You have to not just educate students, but train them, both behaviorally and occupatonally. THis is almost totally left out of any discussion of anything.

You can not confuse occupational education with special education and constrain occupational educators with so many special needs that they can not train the easily trainable. You need occupational education for every student for many reasons I won't get into here, including those going to Harvard etc. Every student graduating from high school should have at least the beginnings of a trade or occupation that will actually pay them. Every student dropping out of school should at least have had some basic job skills and job practices so they could do some cooking, janitorial type jobs.

We can do this or other countries can do this and keep sucking up our jobs. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 14 May 09 - 05:16 PM

From Don:

"...You really don't have much of a clue about schools do you Lizzie?"

Ooh no...not a thing, Don. Two kids driven to the point of almost no return, Education Welfare Officers who tell me how the whole system is breaking down, friends whose kids can't cope....etc..etc..etc....

"As for your other comments about "You don't have to be there" and "Nobody makes you take exams", well, the ignorance displayed is astounding."

Ah well, you know me, thick as pig shit, eh?

"Thank your lucky stars that there are still some dedicated educators who are prepared to slog their way though the crap to educate the children of ungenerous, ungrateful people like you."

Luckily, I got my children OUT of the crap and let them educate themselves...and guess what, they love to learn! Amazing, huh?

I could write a book about your highly insulting comments, but you know what, this page speaks far louder than ANY words I could put on here, Don..

My Daughter


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Ringer
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:02 AM

To answer my own question, "Evidently I can." So I'll re-post my response to Lizzie Cornish 1, even though it's a little out of date now and I know I was wrong in some of my suppositions. It refers to previous posts which have apparently been deleted: hers as well as mine-posted-as-guest.

-------------

I'm awed by the strength of your argument, Lizzie Cornish 1 (your post 10 May 09 - 03:14 PM). That "...by rearranging these words in the correct order.. 'arse up your stick head your ignorant don't why you'" is, I admit, completely unanswerable, and I can now see the error of my previous ways of thought. I do hope that sarcasm is not lost on you.

I, by the way, am the guest poster to whom you replied; do I gather that the postings of anonymous guests are deleted after a while, for I can't see my original any more?

Are you a teacher, Lizzie Cornish 1? I would hazard a guess that if you are, you have only recently qualified. And I'd also guess that you have no children of your own. I could be wrong, of course, for, regrettably, [patronise] the almost endearing naïvety that you display is not always sloughed off by the slings and arrows of experience [/patronise]. Which just goes to show that there's difference among educational theorists. If I can acknowledge that, why are you unable to see that children differ, too, which was the simple point of my original post?

"teaching a child to want to learn all their lives, is no way about banging facts into their heads, that's what we've been doing since Victorian times and earlier." But then I never said it was, for I could not be so ungrammatical I don't think that the purpose of education is "teaching a child to want to learn all their lives." For some kids, that may be the best way of "educating" them, but for others that way just won't work, which is why "banging facts into thick heads" is sometimes required to dispel ignorance.

And it seems to me (from the results that I see around me) that current educational attainments have little to boast of, whereas those from Victorian times to (say) forty years ago when the rot really started to set in, can hold their heards up.

I think that a dose of Calvinistic realism would benefit not only education but society generally.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:12 AM

I read through these posts a number of times and originally I decided I would not respond as much of what is posted here reeks of stereotypes and misinformation. However, upon reading again, especially the posts of Lizzie Cornish ,I am appalled at the ignorance some people have regarding education and the assumption they make that their experience is a universal one. I don't think that the problem with education is that there are "too many clever people" within it, but that there are too many ignorant people commenting on it.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:55 AM

Lizzie is totally blinkered when it come to teachers. I am a teacher. According to Lizzie I only teach so that I can have a nice long holiday in the summer and go to festivals. She has posted this fact on a message board.

She's never met me, she doesn't know where I teach or what I teach or what kind of children I teach, but she knows that.

I really don't know why she is allowed to post hurtful messages like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 May 09 - 09:36 AM

Teachers sometimes have to develop a bit of a trench warfare mentality. The soldiers in the Great War cracked jokes because of what they were up against, and for many teachers making irreverent comments is part of a "safety valve".

Most of them say in the profession because they want to make a difference to people's lives, in spite of all the crap that's thrown at them.

Having started the thread off, there's some great discussion on here but can we PLEASE, PLEASE not get personal!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 15 May 09 - 11:15 AM

I agree with Acorn. People are just too damned fond of getting personal on these threads, they thrive on attacking others rather than indulge in civilised discussion. Those who are indulging in this nonsense quit it right now and get back in your prams.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 15 May 09 - 11:17 AM

'..........hey, kids, leave that teacher alone'!!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 May 09 - 12:16 PM

There's a song in there, Mr H!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 15 May 09 - 01:56 PM

...I'll post it as you mentioned it -not supposed to be taken entirely seriously of course, but just to play the devil's advocate to the Pink Floyd effort:-

Kick in the Proverbials

We don't need no education,
We don't need no self control
There's really nothing you can teach us,
Cos we already know it all.

Hey, kids,
Leave those teachers alone
Leave those teachers alone
All in all it's just another
Kick in the b***s

Forms, initiatives and targets,
Inspectors never satisfied,
Monitored, assessed, evaluated,
Graded, jaded, crucified

Hey, kids,
Leave those teachers alone

We're all headed for the burnout,
Hollow eyed, no life no fun,
No sense of humour allowed in the staffroom,
Po faced daleks everyone

Hey, kids,
Leave those teachers alone..

You can speak but we won't listen,
Fart and belch and answer back,
Attention span of a daddy longlegs,
Just give us Nintendo and American clack.

Hey, kids,
Leave those teachers alone

You can't confiscate our mobiles,
We got our rights, you can't do nowt,
Tell us off and we will sue you,
Or get our dads to sort you out.

Hey, kids,
Leave those teachers alone





Although in the case of my wife's school it was Mums rather than Dads.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Frozen Gin (inactive)
Date: 15 May 09 - 02:47 PM

Nothing wrong with Pink Flyd actually, I freely admit to being a fan of their earlier stuff, mind you I'm old enough to have heard it first time around...

and... You ARE a teacher GUEST,HiLo? Just for clarification purposes, you understand.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:27 PM

I posted a comment on here a few hours ago. I said that I'm a teacher and that someone on this thread had made some very nasty and upsetting accusations about me some time ago.

My comments have been removed. So much for the truth and free speech. This person hates having her comments removed.
    On your request, your post was undeleted, but it was on the borderline. If you wish to post, chose a name and use it every time you post. And Guests are expected to be on particularly good behavior when they're visiting us - don't go picking fights about ancient history.
    Thank you.
    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:28 PM

I remember being at school discos when on "teaching practise" in the early '80s. This was a huge hit then, and the children sang "that line" to us with great gusto!Great fun!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:38 PM

"However, upon reading again, especially the posts of Lizzie Cornish ,I am appalled at the ignorance some people have regarding education and the assumption they make that their experience is a universal one. I don't think that the problem with education is that there are "too many clever people" within it, but that there are too many ignorant people commenting on it."

I don't give a flying ***k what you think about me.

My daughter nearly gave up on life because of school. So do NOT give me any of that shite.

I have sat and listened to Education Welfare Officers pouring out their hearts to me over what is going so wrong within the crazy Corporate System, what is happening to the children, the stress around everyone. Education is now about money and big business. It's about jobs for the boys (and girls) and money, money, money.

Have you ever asked yourself if any politicians have shares in educational 'resources'?

Do you remember the days when you'd walk into WH Smith and there was NO wall to wall display of 'How to get your child through SATS,GCSEs, A LEVELS'..?

Do you recall the time when A levels were just ONE exam?

Do you remember when you didn't feel you HAD to go to University?

Do you remember when University was free?

Do you remember the days when stress wasn't poured down on our kids that they MUST pass exams or else they'd fail, all their life long???

Do you remember when kids didn't juge each other on how many exams they had?

Do you recall the days when primary school was about playing and learning and learning and playing and there were no tests, save for the crazy 11+?   

Do you remember the days when playgroups were called PLAYgroups, and not 'Pre-School Learning Alliances'???? Oh for Gawd's Sake!!

Do you remember the times when school was a far smaller part of our lives?

Do you remember the days when you could get a job without 16 A Levels 4 University Degrees and 37 NVQs?

And just to remind you......

Have you EVER asked yourself how many politicians have shares in the Corporate Education System?

What we are doing to our children, as a nation, will one day be looked back on in absolute horror! That goes for most countries in the Western World, but especially the UK and the USA, where the Corporate National Curriculum has kicked in a businss that feeds on stressing our children often to the point of suicide!

NEVER have we lived in a time of such switched off, turned off kids, stressed out, unhappy children and young people, and yes, of course I am generalising there, because there will ALWAYS be some vibrant, highly intelligent, fun loving, happy kids...but for the most part, kids don't want to know. They get into secondary school and it all starts going horribly wrong.

By the time they've 'done' Uni, got the £15,000 debt (???) to prove it and a low paid 'ordinary' job, they're washed out, **cked off and angry!

Idiotic teachers who choose to judge the kids on their exam results, rather than their souls are as much to blame as the Corporate System that's driving it all, along with politicians who become more and more controlling because...WE LET THEM!

Teachers who continue to put the stress on the kids, rather than stand up and say "NO! ENOUGH!" ...or walk away in disgust, have no respect from me! Teachers have IMMENSE power and they are NOT using that power to protect their children!   The children are their LIVES! Or they should be, if they are REAL teachers! They should be standing together to fight off these monsters who are doing what they're doing, and bringing the parents on board too! ALL they have to do is say "NO! WE ARE NOT DOING THIS ANY LONGER!"

Our schools are turning out consumers..just as John Taylor Gatto and Patch Adams will tell you, but they see the whole picture..the full story..the truth, whilst others choose to sit on their complacent backsides and drift along in their steady jobs, not uttering a word.....not even uttering words when the teachers THEMSELVES start to say that something is going horribly wrong with our kids and that many of them are now showing signs of mental disorders and deep stress..as they did at the teacher's conference in Torquay last year, where it was also mentioned that over 800 kids a year..hello? EIGHT HUNDRED youngsters a year are committing suicide!!

Taken from The Independent


"The excessive testing regime in schools is making children mentally ill, a teachers' leader warned yesterday as she condemned the Government's hands-on approach to primary education.

Pupils were branded "failures" even before they moved up to secondary school, said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. "Children suffer stress and anxiety as the test looms and the rise in children's mental health problems cannot be divorced from their status as the most tested in the world," she added. "The tests label young people as failures, and this leads to one of the lowest rates for staying on post-16 of any industrialised country.

"We also know the tests are not reliable – over 25 per cent of children will be given the wrong level. The whole edifice on which the test regime has been built has crumbled. They are not accurate. They are not valid."

But plans to replace Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) with a new system for 11- and 14-year-olds could make matters worse, Dr Bousted told the ATL's annual conference in Torquay. She called on ministers to answer concerns about the proposed new exams, which pupils will take when they are ready, instead of at fixed ages. What was needed, she argued, was a move away from rote learning and constant testing to more challenging lessons which developed children's thinking skills. She said: "Our national curriculum should be far more focused on the development of life skills and ways of working than whether or not we teach the Battle of Hastings.

"We have got to move beyond 'Should we or should we not teach Shakespeare'. Our world isn't going to collapse if they don't know 'To be or not to be'.

Mary Bousted, the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, on the overtesting of primary school children

Dr Bousted's comments came at the climax of a week in which ATL delegates voiced growing concern about the fragile mental state of the country's seven million children, caused by the twin pressures of family breakdown and the school curriculum.

Following a series of reports suggesting disturbing levels of anxiety and unhappiness among pupils, ATL members used their annual forum to demand urgent action and a change of emphasis from the Government. They voiced alarm at the rising youth suicide rate – each year, up to 800 people aged 15 to 24 take their own lives – and called for a royal commission to investigate why so many pupils were unhappy.

Alison Sherratt, a teacher at Riddlesden St Mary's Church of England School in Keighley, West Yorkshire, said students often blamed their anxieties on stress caused by the curriculum. "I think this testing culture breaks down to this. They think 'I won't be able to achieve this so I won't bother'," she added.

John Harkin, from Oakgrove College, Londonderry, spoke of the loneliness of pupils who hid away in their bedrooms rather than communicate their worries to their families. "With the television in the bedroom comes isolation and loss of contact with the community," he said.

The ATL – traditionally the most moderate of the three main teaching unions – wants the Government to relax its "three Ts" (tests, targets and league tables) regime. Under the existing system, children are first assessed at four or five to determine what they can do when they start at school. They then have to take SATs at ages seven, 11 and 14, GCSEs at 16, AS-levels at 17 and A-levels at 18.

Teachers should be given greater control over what is in the school syllabus, the ATL believes, so that pupils are stimulated by lessons rather than turned off by simply being taught how to pass the next set of tests.

Phil Jacques, a science teacher from Shaftesbury in Dorset, left the Schools minister, Jim Knight, in no doubt about the union's mood as he thanked Mr Knight for addressing its conference. Such speeches are often bland but Mr Jacques spoke of the "ridiculous over-testing of English schoolchildren" and the "dismal, tedious and over-subscriptive" national curriculum.

Mr Knight responded by saying the Government was giving teachers more freedom and trust with the introduction of a new secondary curriculum from September. "



It took me TWO YEARS to get my daughter 'back'....two years to convince her that she had talent, two years to convince her that her art 'teacher' (spit!) was the biggest numbskull going, and when she told my daughter that her artwork was 'crap' and that was the word she used...she didn't know what the ***k she was talking about. Even to this day, she has no confidence in her paintings, even though people stand with their mouths open when they see them..because 'You're work is CRAP!" echoes around her mind and probably always do.

So don't tell me I'm ignorant about schools, or what's happening, but rather, look to yourself!   I am not interested in people who have closed minds, who won't look because they do not want to see. I know that there is a huge change in how kids are these days, and they start their lives off with nothing but stress. I've watched the system become ever more controlling, from birth to adulthood, and it's become that way because of prats like you, who choose to turn away!


Many kids love school. Many teachers are wonderful, some, a few, are WAYYYY beyond wonderful, being the natural teachers, whose souls reach out to the children.   

Many kids are struggling terribly. They are deeply, desperately unhappy and feel they have no-one to turn to because so many adults have been indoctrinated by school themselves that they cannot see a life without it....The kids don't know where to go..and when they are told, by stupid people that 'these are the best days of your life' they actually think, "Well, sod this then, I'm outta here" and that's when they end their lives.

How bloody sad and outrageous is that!!!?????

This was started by one womam. That woman saved my child's life, because it was her organisation I turned to, it was she herself who spoke to me, wrapped me up and carried me along for a while, supported me, when I had nowhere else to turn to, because believe me, when you home educate, the system throws you out with **nothing**.

Education Otherwise

And don't get me started on crap parents, who, because they feel guilty about NOT being in their parents lives, too busy living their own, are helping to drive the insanity of reports and exams, purely so they can boast how well Little Johnny is doing to everyone else, making themselves feel better for not being in Little Johnny's life...because hey, they're ensuring that he gets everything he'll ever need! That being...18 A Levels, 10 University degrees and 102 NVQs, but hardly any TIME or LOVE.

Thank oo..

:0)

Next!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:42 PM

"I posted a comment on here a few hours ago. I said that I'm a teacher and that someone on this thread had made some very nasty and upsetting accusations about me some time ago.

My comments have been removed. So much for the truth and free speech. This person hates having her comments removed."


Your comment should have stayed. You have every right to say whatever you think. Just as I do.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:12 PM

Lizzie,
It sounds as though your daughter had a terrible time. Having been bullied by a teacher at Grammar school in the early 70s ,I know what this is like. It scarred me forever.I will never forgive that person, but thankfully I was never bullied by any other teachers ,so I don't blame them all.

I went into teaching because I felt I had something to give. I love the teaching part of the job - no matter who is in my classroom, or what special needs they might have. I differentiate the work in at least 4 ways every lesson ( and write it into my plans) so that everyone can contribute and learn. This is something that is a part of every teacher's planning process, not just mine.

However, I am tired - physically and mentally. I am tired of the endless criticism in the media,and the sweeping demoralising statements . I am tired of the goalposts being moved.I am tired of the new initiatives imposed by people who have no idea about teaching. I am tired of having to be polite ("Professional")when others are allowed to say what they like.

I have now made the very difficult decision that I no longer want class responsibility.I will teach a few hours a week and do supply work.I was wavering, until I went into school for a staff meeting and was presented with a new set of criteria for ofsted inspections. Apparently we are now to be inspected on all sorts of issues, such as the way we help to improve facilities for the local community etc. etc.......Just as we had got to grips with a new and extremely time consuming method of assessment and were feeling "on top of things"(For teachers among you, those lovely APP forms). need

This has been a very emotional decision to make because as I said earlier, I love teaching and went into it because I wanted to help - but I want my life back!


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:16 PM

I don't think anyone has any right to make hurtful and untrue comments about someone who they know nothing about.

I, too, am hoping to retire from teaching - it's just about worn me down. So - I'll have all the time in the world to go to festivals - but no money to buy the tickets.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:18 PM

Good luck, Chris. It's a difficult decision to make.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:21 PM

I don't blame you for wanting your life back, paula, not in the slightest..

The children want their lives back too. The trouble is, they're coming into this world without really knowing the freedom of childhood anymore.

I was so lucky to grow up when I did, we all were.

I have the utmost respect for you good teachers, and I've heard the same story from my Education Welfare Officer, or rather, my son's...that the good teachers are leaving in droves. I can't and don't blame them.

I just wish the unions were run by far stronger people though, who'd unite them and put an end to all of this, once and for all.

My son came out when he was 7, so he has far fewer dark days than my daughter has. She was 15 when I found her curled up in the foetal position, unable to talk, unable to think...and a rage ran through me that has never subsided, and I hope it never does.

I wish you all the very best in your new career....and if it's any encouragement, the headmaster who so damaged Nonny, when she was just 7 years old, giving her a horror of exams, after he put the most immense amount of pressure on her class during the first ever SATS tests, became an OFSTED inspector. For years the parents had tried to remove him..and he was loathed by the good teachers, they all left....unable to put up with him any longer.

You will still inspire children during those hours you work, paula...and have the freedom to have a life too.

Good luck. :0) xx


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: paula t
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:29 PM

Thank you, Lizzie.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 15 May 09 - 04:36 PM

"I don't think anyone has any right to make hurtful and untrue comments about someone who they know nothing about."

Neither do I, Chris.

I hope you enjoy your freedom.

School is also wearing our children down. Something which should never be overlooked. It is as bad for them as it is for the teachers. The worst bit though, is that children feel doubly let down, not only by the school system, but because they are sent into it by the people in their lives who are supposed to love them the most, and so often, parents don't want to hear, don't want to know what's happening, perhaps because they can't cope.

Just the other day, a chap rang me about his son, 5 years old and already being bullied. He'd been given my number by someone else who home educates, and we got talking. This poor man is a nervous wreck already. His son started just last September, and has become a changed child, unhappy, tearful, not wanting to learn or create anymore. He is a deeply creative and sensitive child..

The parents are already being 'tracked down' by the Education system,despite it being only weeks that their child has been out. He's in fear of what 'they' will do, say, think...

He rang again today, as he's had another letter from the education dept...and his voice was shaking. I felt so sorry for him, and so angry too, because he now faces years of being checked on, of only ever being told that what he's doing is 'satisfactory' because that's the highest level you can attain as a home educator. He'll have no money given to him, no resources, no books...and unless he's very lucky, not much encouragement either.

I was blessed with our EWO, he is one in a million, and he made my children feel the same way. Paula, he was a teacher, like you, but had to give that up to look after his disabled wife, paralysed from the waist down after a car accident. She too was a teacher once. Neither of them will ever go back to teaching, and they despair for their grandchildren. Richard does what he does to help people like me and my children. He's inspirational! He makes my children feel so special, and even now, long after Nonny has come out of the system, she always makes sure she's there each year when Richard comes to see Josh. They make him cakes and chatter on to him like he's an old friend..and he is. He's a natural teacher, one who loves children, one who loves 'people'.   

We'd have been lost without him.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 16 May 09 - 10:05 AM

No, I am not a teacher. However, I do have great respect for the teaching profession and for those who are dedicated to it. Teacher and school bashing have become all to common and only detract from the real problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 17 May 09 - 08:44 AM

Imagine a life without schools.

What do you think would happen?

How have we all come to believe that we cannot possibly live life without them?

Should there be schools where all ages learn alongside one another?

Should there be schools that teach children/young people how to grow food, how to raise crops, how to build houses, how to survive in the wilderness.

Why have we not moved on from the Victorian Era?

Yes, teach them to read, give them an absolute LOVE of reading, because that is the one tool, next to enthusiasm, that enables them to find out about everything else. Teach them maths, maths they will use in their lives, not scientific maths. That's for folks who want to specialise in it.

Should they have lessons in kindness, compassion and self-respect?

Why can't we move forward? Why can't we 'let go' of all that has gone before? So much of it has made, and is still making, so many of our young people desperately unhappy.

A wise, natural, inspirational teacher said to me fairly recently that 'education is what happens *after* you've left school'. The time has come to ensure it happens IN school, so that young people are fully equipped for life.

Let go of examinations, remove them entirely. Keep them for those who wish to study further, when they've left school.

Just *teach*.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 17 May 09 - 09:04 AM

Lizzie - I think someone called Illyich wrote in the seventies along the same lines as this -may have spelt the name wrong there, but his thinking was very inn vogue at the time -called De-Schooling Society" as I remember.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 17 May 09 - 09:27 AM

Thanks, Acorn.

Yup, de-schooling.

It isn't until you've come OUT of it, that you realise how deeply embedded it is into our souls.

Strange, huh?

But clever.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 17 May 09 - 11:13 AM

That bit about testing causing mental illness put me in mind to seeing 7 and 8 year olds, lumbering daily under the weight of backpack loaded with books. And pediatrician and chiropractors issuing reports on small children with back injuries.

Says something when the homework literally weighs more than the student.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:08 AM

Is it wise for very talented children to be able to study well-ahead with much older students..?


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:47 AM

Is it wise for very talented children to be able to study well-ahead with much older students..?

Of course, what is not wise is to hold them back to the level of those less talented.

And why is it that is some subjects, sports for example, it is OK to push them to do their best but in most other subjects it seems to be accepted to discourage them and bore them to tears.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:53 AM

...Teach them maths, maths they will use in their lives...

Wouldn't it be better to teach math and ALL subjects like you suggest for reading. ...give them an absolute LOVE of the subject...


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:55 AM

...Let go of examinations, remove them entirely...

Hey, they were the best part of school I used to love them, always did much better than class work. They were the only bloody challenge we ever got in school.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Bert
Date: 18 May 09 - 07:56 AM

...Should there be schools where all ages learn alongside one another?

Should there be schools that teach children/young people how to grow food, how to raise crops, how to build houses, how to survive in the wilderness...

YES, YES, YES.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 May 09 - 08:56 AM

"Is it wise for very talented children to be able to study well-ahead with much older students..?

Of course, what is not wise is to hold them back to the level of those less talented.

And why is it that is some subjects, sports for example, it is OK to push them to do their best but in most other subjects it seems to be accepted to discourage them and bore them to tears."

It's an interesting one, this. There aren't any easy solutions to the dilemma of what to do with gifted and talented kids, who are not really being done a particular service in the current secondary school system (primary was great, by the way). They get put on a Gifted and Talented list, and...yes, well, that's about it.

My daughter spent her first year at secondary school at a comp where she was bringing home less challenging homework than she'd had in year 6 of primary school. This despite the fact that she'd tested within the top 2% of the national average in English. But there was no streaming in English until GCSE level. It was very frustrating.

Where I live now, there is the old-fashioned grammar system, and while the system as a whole may be imperfect, I have to say my daughter is doing really well. She's in her first year of GCSEs at a single-sex grammar, and is doing 13 of them in total. I have to say, despite the school being very academically ambitious, she doesn't feel particularly pressured and enjoys a very healthy social life both in school and out. She has a really nice group of friends and all are happy, well-adjusted girls who are getting great results, but also go to gigs, shopping on a Saturday, have sleepovers at each others' houses, etc; so I'm afraid I don't ascribe to the notion that exams and an academically rigourous environment are damaging to children. In fact, one good thing about the grammar is that being a "swot" isn't something to be ashamed of - they are all clever girls, but are encouraged to achieve well and take pride in their achievements.

Exams may have an adverse affect on some kids, but not all. In fact, it seems to me that the majority of kids are perfectly fine in the schools environment as it stands, and while there is a minority for whom school is a place of anxiety and undue stress, changes ought to be made for those particular kids, but not to the system as a whole.


I'd also like to voice my support for teachers. They are heroes.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 18 May 09 - 02:30 PM

Thanks Ruth. I really appreciated that. I'm tired of teachers being blamed for so many of society's wrongs.

I work in a failing comprehensive school. Despite this, I have never met such a totally dedicated set of people as our teaching staff. In what other job would anyone work for 8 hours then, after a day of abuse and threats, come home and work for another 4 hours? This is to help the pupils. Why else are we there? It's not for the money. The holidays are nice but we spend a lot of the holidays working - and, yes, I go to some festivals - but I know lots of non-teachers who go to more than I do.

It's really important to us that every child should achieve something at school, whether it be GCSEs or more practical skills like art. I know we fail some pupils and no-one is more upset than we are when this happens. I know people like to accuse us of not caring, being bullies, but we're not. Some are, but they rarely stay. Everyone's got their own 'teachers are bullies, they failed my child' story and, yes, we fail some - but that makes us try even harder to get it right the next times.

I obviously can't talk about individual pupils on this thread, which puts me at a disadvantage, obviously, but I do know pupils with severe learning difficulties who have done well at school and have been helped and guided by caring, talented teachers.

Yes, I will be retiring soon - but I have given local children 35 years - and thousands of them appreciate what we've done for them and how hard we work. I haven't given up on the pupils as I expect to carry on working at the school for a few hours a week, again for the benefit of the school and the pupils.


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Acorn4
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:34 AM

The day after I heard that Ed Balls (for those in the US that is the real name of our Education Secretary!) is thinking of making cuts in head teachers and making them work across several schools,The magazine for the General Teaching Council (produced by the government largely to show how wonderful things are in education) popped through my letter box.

There's an article about someone who has set himself up as a "laughter facilitator" to reintroduce the humour which has gone out of many schools because of the pressure of government targets, etc (one of the first things to go when you're under stress is your sense of humour).

How about, to save money a moratorium on government initiatives for five years - in that case the much desired laughter might creep its way back in naturally.

But it won't happen, will it?


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 10:47 AM

Nope - too many paper-pushers whose justification for their inflated salaries is the endless creation of "initiatives" ....


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Subject: RE: BS: UK Education:Too Many Clever People?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM

Up here on Orkney there are several schools in some areas (only small...50-80 pupils typically) that share a head teacher. Seems to work OK, but they get twice or three times as many inspections!! It's the first time I've ever felt sympathy for a HT.


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