Monday, 27 June 2011

A Response To 'Education and a blank sheet of paper'

This is a cross-post I wrote for the Idiot Husband who asked me if I would respond to this post at his place.  He's no idiot though and has wide experience in the world of education.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your post on 'Education and a blank sheet of paper'.  Although your post concentrates on older pupils, I'd like to go back to basics.  Please note I refer to schoolchildren as pupils not students. 

Firstly, we have to address why we have schools for education.  Why do most parents prefer to send their child(ren) to school rather than educate them at home?  I would suggest that many parents don't feel they have the skills to home education and because the taxpayer pays for the training of teachers - and their salaries - we consider them to be more skilled in imparting information to children.  But that isn't necessarily the case and, although the article is England-centred, there have been questions recently about the quality of the training of our Scottish teachers.

Schools were originally places for children to receive a formal education in academic subjects which are essential for them to enjoy a full life.  We have many children who are unable to read, write or calculate to an acceptable level yet they fail to understand anything less than a C in their Standard Grades is a fail and will not be an entry to the world of work.  Further education colleges more and more provide school-level subjects when they should be providing subjects not provided in a school environment.  Where has our formal system gone wrong?

Part of the problem is that slowly teachers have been expected to become both parent and teacher and that reduces teaching time. It's not a school teacher's job to be teaching young children issues which are firmly a parent's responsibility, although I would consider it part of their remit is to inform the pupil's home that there is a problem in a specific area.  Hence my suggestion that there should be some form of daily written communication between school and home.

Scotland is shortly to be introducing new National Qualifications.

Maybe your blank sheet of paper should have some writing petem.  How about 'This paper will be a daily record of your achievements while you are a pupil here and it will be shared by your parents/carer/teacher'.  As most children have access to a computer it would be a simple task for each school to set up an account for each pupil and to arrange for parents/carers to have a password.  Today's children would take this in their stride and the knowledge that their families were so constantly in touch with their teachers just may concentrate the mind a little more.

It would certainly qualify as part of your Positivism definition.


Sheila said...

"Firstly, we have to address why we have schools for education."

And, I would add, why the need for compulsory "education" at all.

"Schools have not necessarily much to do with education....they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school."

Winston Churchill(not someone I have much else in common with...)

Good things happen in school, there are still inspiring teachers, but this is in spite of and not as a result of he system.

What is needed is a history lesson and John Taylor Gatto is a good place to start:

Don't be put off by the American viewpoint- we have a global "education" system.

I'm ashamed to say that Scotland is way ahead with an outcome based Curriculum for Excellence and brave new world of integrated services.

Sheila said...

Sorry, having IT problems - thought I'd added this link for a shortish introduction:

subrosa said...

Sheila you're right of course, I should have included that.

The more I read the more I'm convinced that if my family was young today, I'd home school them if I couldn't earn enough to pay fees to a private school of my choice.

Haven't seen a curriculum for excellence as yet. I'll keep trying.

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