I won’t be silenced either

During the week you may or may not have read about the speech made at the Gory Party conference by a teacher rousing the troops by stating that she won’t be silenced about the fact that life in most schools was ‘totally and utterly chaotic‘, and that all teachers were ‘guilt-ridden white liberals‘ who tolerated poor behaviour, and that black pupils were allowed to under-achieve. ‘It is ridiculous‘, she added, ‘that pupils can now get a meaningless B Tech in an invented subject such as ‘travel and tourism’. Invented? Surely it’s subjects like History that are ‘invented’? Ever tried getting a good job in the History industry?

Danger warning: link to Daily Mail article. May cause extreme irritation and annoyance.

So obviously what we need is an army of tough, right-wing teachers teaching those rigorous, deep-thought-provoking academic subjects to regimented rows of neatly uniformed children all listening attentively. Ah yes, that will solve the problem. Or will it? While I accept that a minority of poorly managed, usually inner-city, schools with a small number of not-quite yet retired left-wing teachers from the 1970s may still exist,  in my experience that vast majority of today’s teachers are ambitious for their pupils, and far from liberal in their approach in the classroom, if anything exerting too much structure and focus at times.

Yet again, the criticism is being aimed in the wrong direction. Children learn, and behave, if the content of lessons is relevant, interesting and enjoyable. They instinctively know that traditional academic subjects are completely inappropriate for their future needs, and that learning and regurgitating facts is not the way the world works these days.

It’s the Curriculum, stupid!

2 comments on “I won’t be silenced either

  1. There are good schools and there are bad schools. Some kids or parents don’t care about which one has to be attended, more that it just has to be done.

    When the middle ground of parents and their children have to settle with a school that is allocated despite beliefs and preferences otherwise, this is where the system is perhaps failing more than anyone realises. If the majority are not choosing a particular school then maybe that school should be closed, the suggestion being that nothing is the better alternative.

    Why should parents and children be expected to participate in something that they know or feel is not working? Some schools have a reputation that is downright dangerous and this should not be allowed to happen and I would not want my child to attend one of these schools. Why are these schools allowed to carry on existing? Why can I see the best school around for my child and not be allowed to chose it absolutely? Why are all schools not at least as good as that school and so many appear to be failing more than 50% of those that attend, i.e. so many many leave disenchanted with the free experience they were given and end up perhaps worse than if they’d just gone and worked in a local factory, shop or family business?

    Secondary school education choices are difficult, varied and depending on where you live could be a life-threatening, let alone life-changing decision.

    To choose a school for my child, where the kids are interested in learning, I am forced to want a school with good academic reputation (grammar). But then the choice really is just academic until test results are released to see if we are even allowed to think of such a choice!

    What is the opposite of an academic education? Life and education is not all in the mind is it? What is a Reality Education? Practical, hands-on skills? It’s not just about brick-laying and plumbing as so many seem to think! As this Blog in effect says; “What is a real job based on?” Travel & Tourism or History? Likewise, what about having subjects in Health, Well-being, Fixing things and Sustainability instead of Latin, Business Studies (Enterprise) and Corporate Greed. All core sub-subjects of life such as Geography, History, Maths, English, Languages should perhaps become part of the overlaid real cores of real everyday life subjects such as aforementioned real-life every-day reality subjects. “Today children, we are going to dig a well, bandage a foot, fix a car, mend a toaster, eat five vegetables, run a mile, grow a carrot, recycle metal, save energy, learn to count in French, look at the earth’s structure, identify trees, cut the flowers, climb a tree…..”

  2. I think the real problem is in the perceived outcome of schools. Schools are a system like any other and when you set goals of a system (i.e. passing standardized tests) the system optimizes for these goals. The problem is that the goal of passing a standardized test is absolutely and always has been a utterly useless tool later in life, often leading to an outcome of someone entering the world with completely the wrong set of tools to survive.
    We still base the schooling system on Scientific management techniques which are totally outdated and designed to produce mindless drones.
    Lets face facts, academic learning suits some but vocational learning suits others, the problem is when you get extremist individuals or school systems asserting that one technique is more capable than the other marginalizing the students who do not fit in with that ideal.
    If I was looking to send my child somewhere, I would opt for an institution that valued motivating all kids to work hard in whatever area of aptitude seems most appropriate for the situation and future potential.

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