Illumination and education

You can just imagine some civil servant, dying to impress his superiors, waking up in the middle of the night with ‘The great idea!’. He had decided, either here or in Brussels, that those little clear, candle light bulbs used for wall brackets and hall chandeliers are a serious waste of energy even if they were only 40 W, and had to be abolished and replaced by some ugly, un-aesthetic, white energy-saving monster that would have no place whatsoever in all the fittings, in all the lounges and halls across the nation. In my case it will affect approximately 17 40 W bulbs, and the fact of all that energy that I am wasting is keeping me awake at night, not to mention the fact that I’m going to have to decorate the walls, and the reception rooms, when I buy new light fittings to replace those now obsolete.

Would somebody for God’s sake tell those in charge to take a grip, and crawl back into the real world, get advice from someone with commonsense, and one hopes the sense of the ridiculous, before we all go raving mad

There is a battle of words in our house over what I wrote yesterday concerning education, and in particular homework. I’m sure she is right, because she was a highly regarded schoolteacher, with excellent examination results. But then you see her aim was to produce high results in her own field, not taking an overall picture of education per se, and the needs of the individual for his or her future, depending upon the type of future, and his or her ability. School by its very nature has to take account of the wide differential in the ability of its pupils, and steer a course, which will suit all but the highly gifted. I think it is accepted that there is a need for more than just the three Rs, that aesthetic, an awareness of the world, with its population and of its history, is essential, coupled with basic physics in this new world where physics has taken over in so many fields. I was amazed the other day, to find that small children at private preschool classes were being taught French songs by rote, probably taught with an overlay of a regional accent. Everything a child learns in its early years, by its very nature is a form of rote, and when I see adult counter assistants, adding the price of two articles on a calculator, I realise that education has failed the modern generations. We were taught to add long columns of figures, tricks for doing other calculations in the head, because that would be the basis upon which our financial dealings in the future would be conducted and we would be assured of fair dealing. I feel that it is essential that some university’s think tank gets to grips with what is necessary, for the lifestyle, the intellectual ability and the aesthetic of school leavers, so that their time at school is used to the best advantage for them, not for league tables, or the advancement of the careers of some teachers. Teachers by their very nature want to do the best for the children, and in most cases do, but they are operating in a narrow field, taking into account only their own requirements, leaving someone else to decide the overall value of the education being offered. Then we might do away with homework, and stop anything beyond an additional 12% of learning being added to the daily life of our schoolchildren. If this extra time is essential, why have such long school holidays, when the students are ultimately bored to death? Their free-time is valuable for their development in other fields beside school work.

Categorized as General

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