Who would be idiot enough to be a teacher today? With everyone jumping on the Educational bandwagon, with ideas, theories speculation, and shortages, is it surprising that those who know, and have no vested interest believe standards have dropped? There have been 13 articles on education in the Daily Telegraph inside 4 days, not including the chaos in N. Ireland, by changing the system to accommodate the reduction in pupil numbers in an education, segregated on religious lines. This is our last year for the eleven plus. Lower standards seem predictable.
From the 20s to the late 40s, we heard little but praise for the British educational system. Daily, people with academic qualifications, or in government, none old enough to have experienced education prior to 1939, or even 1950, are theorising, criticising a system which parents were proud of and never considered excessively stressful. We had the eleven plus, and there was tearful frustration with homework, but no apparent traumatic and mental injury as portrayed. They stopped teaching by rote, in the 60s, now they want to put it back. They have not taught grammar properly since the system was modified decades ago, and a modern language teacher has to make up the English deficit of grammar, to be able to teach German.
Corporal Punishment. I was caned more often for less than most. I took it as part of growing up. Some caning, and or hitting with instruments, like the right angle corner of a setsquare, was totally uncalled for and in some cases administered by a sadistic instinct, this applied especially to the caning by the prefects. When I look back to about 1935, I was caned often in Primary School, but only twice in Grammar School by the teachers. It would seem I had learned my lesson by then. .My relationship with the prefects was on an entirely different level. I was caned at home, and don’t remember resenting it, it was probably deserved. The other day I came across that wonderful programme related by David Attenborough, about the life of elephants being recorded by dung-trolley cameras. The adults chastised a newly born baby from day two. All creatures in the wild chastise. Why was reasonably corrective, corporal punishment, especially in the home, made a serious crime because a few abused the system? It has made teaching and classroom discipline so much harder, especially in districts where for various obvious reasons home discipline is absent. If toughies want to show off in class, and they have an inexperienced teacher, they can even assault the teacher because they are too young to be given a custodial sentence, and this then becomes the breeding ground for the lawlessness that appears to be the problem in most of our towns and cities. In this and other statements, I am not postulating an untried theory. I am comparing one good regime with another, from my own experience.
According to a USA professor, ‘Formal teaching at 5 can hinder child development, it is too academic and puts them off reading.’ Has she not seen the effects of TV and the PC and taken this into account? The home is where reading is sponsored today, and adults now read far less than they used to. Exams and testing in school have become a political football. Private Schools are about to opt out of the national curriculum because the heads believe government interference has introduced ‘fashionable causes’ such as parenting and racial equality at the expense of more pertinent education. Excluded and disaffected pupils, aged between 14 and 19 will be sent by the government, to new schools for high quality practical learning. If the teaching system at these schools is expected to be so successful, why does it need new schools, surely the new system would benefit all at much less expense and there would ultimately be no excluded and disaffected pupils. The Tories want to adopt the Swedish school system, by which multifarious organisations will have a hand in running the government-funded schools. Can you imagine the bureaucracy that will engender? The other day a school was evacuated for fear of a gas explosion, but the register was on the computer so, presumably, checking if all were out of the school was difficult if possible.
I haven’t included all I read, it is very repetitious, and also, at times amazingly quirky. Like the article about robots being developed for work in nursery schools because the toddlers treat them like humans! The researchers seemed surprised that the children’s reaction improved with time. Someone should introduce these researchers to the ‘Learning Curve’. I can just imagine, with the kids sleeping hours on end at home, and playing with their robot buddy a lot during the day, it could be they would sooner stay with their buddy than go home. I thought education was based upon action and reaction in an intellectual environment. Would robots not be a little stultifying?