Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
Something to say?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Learning and Schools

Yesterday I met up with Chris and Val after many months. People in London and around are so busy speeding to their destined ends that we do not notice our days furtively slipping by.That includes me.

   We got talking about education as is inevitable when three teacher-educators get together. Good Gove was mentioned in passing - we can't really do much to stop him from his headlong descent into learning chaos and elitism, but there you are. Everybody wants to reform education but they fail to take notice of the advice of the people in education: the teachers, the teacher-trainers, the lecturers,  And the end-user, as they so glibly call it in Aid circles; the parent and the student don't count at all. 

   The employers are consulted but each employer knows only what his particular field needs, not what the learner needs. A little like the elephant and the blind men. In India there is a mad drive in industry to learn Chinese, for obvious reasons. There is some leaning towards Arabic as well.  Let's say no more. Here in the UK it is all about applications to a particular industry rather than concepts that can lend themselves to further learning and development.

   A few parents are taking children out of school to educate at home. I can see why. EDUCATION can do a lot of damage to a child, the kind of damage to their ego, self-confidence and self-perception that only daily personal attacks can achieve. What's the point of a grade C in Maths if it comes to a damaged individual.

   Learning in schools: do we learn how to treat those more vulnerable than we are? Do we practise listening to elders and peers and sifting the good out of the bad advice? Do we learn any practical skills like putting a flat-pack together or indeed a broken person together?

   So what do I mean by education? It is about the end product: A caring, reflective and compassionate individual. A person who knows why fiddling your tax is wrong and why being homeless is an unfortunate condition, not a crime. Learning to live should be a joint endeavour, family and school working together, rather than drawing boundary lines.

   Maths and English and the rest of the school curriculum? We have to be a little more selective about what we put in the core curriculum. When I was teaching a comprehensive school I remember thinking that it was extremely time wasting to teach children Topology when they would probably never look at it again. But I had no choice for that particular group.

   I object to exams as a measure of what children have achieved- it tells you what they don't know, not what they know. Waste of time a great deal of the time.

   

   

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