It’s all in the education

In the news this week was an article around the inherent flaws in engaging young people in the UK education system, focusing on the failures to children are not destined for academic life. It got me thinking about the examination system, how we judge people and what my own opinions are. Obviously I think that the education system is incredibly important, it is what gives us our next generation of scientists and mathematicians – but does this view of education make me the very thing the article was complaining of? Should I be viewing education as a more rounded way of making the next generation of humans? Probably.

The first suggestion that really jumped out at me was that the national curriculum should be finished at 14. This is totally wrong. I think the heart of what people are saying is that students shouldn’t be forced to follow a set path until they are 16, however the issue must be the content of the curriculum rather than the existence. The age in which we educate to on a compulsory basis has been under debate for a long time [I would be interested to know what the age is in my non-UK counties of compulsory education?], but no part of me feels that in the modern world anyone should leave school before 18. I think in terms of general maturity to say someone is an adult at 18 is generous and before adulthood you should be allowed to stop learning.

Use me as an example. I made, what would generally be considered to be good decisions – I have a reasonable crop of A-levels and went on to get a first class degree in Mathematics and Economics from a Russell Group university. So I don’t even fall into the category of someone who has been potentially disenfranchised by the education system – but as you may well know I wasn’t well equip to make the right choices at 18. Granted I have the chance to turn it around and do a second degree because my choices were wrong but not bad – however the point remains that the average person is unable to properly make up their mind.

The key line focuses on the constant assessment and academic focus – is this the correct thing to do? Well my mind is really split here. Let me tell you why..

For: 

  • Assessment is the way we sort people, it happens in many aspects of life and it is the most efficient way of ensuring people are targeted in the right way;
  • School by its very nature is predominantly an academic institution, there is plenty of time for non-academic pursuit so why water down this important start in life; and
  • In ensuring that we cater for everyone, we must not be afraid to protect the top of the class; whilst it isn’t always a popular view, having a strong academic top benefits everyone. In focusing on more choice and alternatives to academic rigour, we must not ignore the very foundation of the accomplishments we have made in science and mathematics – which is academia.

Cons:

  • Having people being forced to take subjects they are truly disinterested in only causes disruption and is bad for everyone involved;
  • I do want people to look back on school with positivity and feel that it was an enriching experience – this won’t happen if there is bitterness; and
  • Most people will go on to do non-academic careers, so providing the basics are grasped it seems sensible that they should be allowed some exposure to things that may be of use to them in a work environment.

What do I actually think on all this? My answer is quite boring and that sitting firmly in that safe middle ground. We cannot have all of the changes that the article I linked to suggests, it would be madness. But we also cannot keep going the way we are and expect everyone to think the schooling system is great. My solution is to give people more choice, within a very strict boundary.

Up to 14: This should be the common core. In this period you should be taught everything you need to know about all of the important sciences, english, mathematics and humanities. There can be no escape from this, it may not be pleasant but it is essential. It should be made as interesting as possible of course, but we all need to do things we don’t want to in life for our own good.

14-16: This should be where the options start to blend in. In this region I think you should have two options – one to continue with more advanced studies of the common core, or one option to spend around a third of the time doing something more vocational or business related, but no more than this. The remaining two thirds you continue to learn.

16-18: At this point the academic student knows if it is catered to them, but those who have taken the other path have not so much sacrificed their academia that they could not continue. At this point you can choose to specialise academically, or at this point it would be healthy to focus on a vocation or business but the important point is that it is all taught in a school environment – I believe this is better.

This is hardly ground breaking, however I think this approach is the right way to dampen some of the concerns that students have whilst not sacrificing the top. I think the education system is all too easy to criticise, but unless you have a better answer to educating thousands of children from different backgrounds with different abilities then the critic has little traction. What are your thoughts? Do we have the best education system we could, does it need a little overhaul or a major revamp?

To this point I have totally ignored anything to do with university – this is a different story!

 

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44 responses to “It’s all in the education

  1. I my opinion the main problem lies with the teachers. In Czech Republic teachers are one of the least paid jobs so those people that are teaching are of course the ones that are simply not so good because there is no competition for simply the most important job in every modern country.

    It is said often here that people who are not good in anything particular they will go teaching because that is what is easy.

    If I had the power, I would make teaching a prestigous job so that only the best can get there, not same lazy guys that waste hours of students time that could otherwise be well spent.

    I mean, what lies above education? It is the core for everything, if you are looking to the solution of a problem, just have a better education and people will understand it too. I bet that you can solve simply anything by education.

    Good post 😉

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      • Well it may be quite difficult to change into your currency and how much stuff you can spend with the money (parity) but I found that it depends on the experience and actually with more than 32 years and in highest salary class you can get already decent amount of money, 33130 crowns is very good I think though the lowest possible with least experience and the lowest salary class you may get less than one third of this about 10190 crowns. Here you can convert crowns between pounds: http://themoneyconverter.com/GBP/CZK.aspx

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      • That is lower than it is hear – but I believe the cost of living is lower too so I think that in some ways equalises it. It would be interesting to have an indexation of the pay and status in society of teachers across all the European countries.

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    • I don’t think it is fair to blame teachers most are hard working, knowledgeable people who love relating their subject to their pupils.

      A few perhaps are not so good, but the majority have been brilliant. A big problem is the attitude of many young people who learn at a young age that being brainy is ‘not cool’ and that appearing knowledgeable can get you into trouble with your friends. It is better to appear stupid to fit in. I see a lot of that in the young people in my part of the country.

      I think respecting teachers is a good way to go to improve education though: but knowledge isn’t everything. Being a teacher is about engaging with your audience not the information itself. My pure maths teacher at school was a doctor, very knowledgeable but had no idea how to teach. I would have failed my first year at A-level if he hadn’t been replaced part way through the first year.

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      • Both my parents are teachers and I have indeed always been of the impression that it is greatly undervalued and I of course wish it was not the case.

        I think with regard to the comment before I agree with you in regard to it would be better if we put all of the academically minded into one school and those who have different skills in an environment they can learn in, the problem I have is the separation. How on earth do you determine who goes down the academic route? This involves examinations and fails people like me – who only realise their academic ability later in life. This is why I have always been more leaning towards keeping people in schools where they have exposure to the “other options” but cannot close the door to academia.

        Thank you so much for sharing your views they are most valuable. I hope you take these positive views forwards and impress them on the next generation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah there is this part that is hardworking and really is good at the job and it does not matter how much they get paid, but then I have experience with the other part and I do not think that it is their fault it is only problem how they were taught to teach. And the fact is at least from my experience that they are not able to do their job on satisfiable level at all. Nowadays we are taught the same way as 50 years back wheb here was communism but things habe changed and so must the teaching system.

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  2. This is a very contentious post, and one that everyone seems to have opinion on.

    I’m considering going into teaching myself and I’m quite excited by the new science curriculum that teaches an interdisciplinary science at Key stage 3. That is biology, chemistry, physics, ethics, environment, ecology, biochemistry, and even philosophy. The idea to encourage creative and integrated sciences is potentially huge to the future of our understanding of Earth and our Universe.

    However, having direct experience with children who are not able to focus and concentrate in class, who are not able to learn in a formal environment I disagree that all children should be forced to take academia in this way. There should be more skills based options available.

    I believe in Germany they have two levels of schools, those for academics and those for non-academics I’m not sure what that looks like specifically but the idea that children can choose between knowledge based and skills based learning is a good one.

    I also believe that everyone makes the best choice they can with the information and situations they have, and if you change your mind about what you want to do there should be no reason why you shouldn’t be able to change without judgement or prejudice.

    No-one should ever be assessed and labelled as a 10 student or a 1 student. What can a child hope to achieve with a 1. Is there any point in going to school if that is all they are expected to achieve? What if they could achieve a 10 in a skills based course in say childcare, or car mechanics for example. Then if they decide later in life to study more academically for another career when they are ready why shouldn’t they switch career paths?

    Sorry for the essay comment!!!!

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  3. Ty for your article!
    To respond to your inquiry, general education is compulsory to age 18 in the US, and I cannot imagine stopping any younger! I trust the experts – a broad education prepares and exposes one for the world at large.

    And – Can a youth really know what their options are? I cannot feel good about vocational training at such a young age unless it is auxiliary to core, general education.

    The problem in the US, it seems to me, is that university has become so expensive that only the few, elite class can hope to participate. :(. When I was 18, I knew that there was always a way to continue my education, without burdening my family or my future debt. (Nowadays, graduates report several 100 thousand’s of debt!).

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    • That is good! Ours stops at 16 but I think they will raise it. Yes ours is a bit different, ours costs £9,000 per year which is about $14000 but our student loans are really good and you don’t pay them back if you don’t go. How did you continue your education?

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      • Compulsory is a bit of a tricky term. I met the secondary education requirements (U.S.) by the age of 17. Was I ready for the real world? Hardly. I was completely lost. That was 1987. Faced with the inevitability of making a decision, I elected to go the cheap / safe route, by attending a two-year college. Not ‘having’ to attend was a trap. My attendance plummeted, as did, consequently, my grades. There were simply too many distractions. I needed discipline. Answer: Enlist in the US Marine Corps. I see innumerable challenges facing our academic system. I agree with Jane and many others, who suggest the federal government has overreached. Our classes are too big. Too diverse. ESL has helped, to some degree, with the influx of non-English-speaking students, but that continues to be a disruption. While the feds battle with states over its adoption of Common Core (not the common core you are referring to, I don’t believe), but rather a controversial, uniform federal curriculum, funding for public schools remains one of our biggest issues. Then there is the fight over charter schools. I could go on and on. We must remember, as much as we like to categorize peoples, no two persons is alike. Each of us has specific needs, specific ways we learn, and so forth. As is typical, our youth suffer, because we adults are paralyzed by perpetual analysis. Sorry, no solutions today.

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      • I had an average GPA in high school, so I went to “junior college” in California for 2 years. With a straight A average from that, I earned a full scholarship to a prominent college to finish my B.S. I worked a couple of nights a week in a local pub, which created enough money to pay rent, gas, and books – impossible today!

        Grad school – the same, with small loans, easily paid back.
        Unfortunately, I thought my children could follow my example… :(. Not a chance!

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  4. Thoughtful analysis. As an ex-teacher, I’d say the problem stems from constant central interference in curriculum development which should be teacher-led rather than top-down dictated. Education is an organic process that can’t be prescribed.

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  5. I think I broadly agree with your plan, and I say this as a “classic” academic student that was. There does need to be more vocational stuff later on (but definitely post-16), as those students that don’t go to university are ill-prepared for work. I also think that there needs to be a running thread of practical everyday skills going from an early age. I mean stuff like: proper hygiene (young kids), how to run a household (slightly older), how to manage your finances (older), how to cook (all the way through – kids love cooking), basic childcare and first aid, etc. You can’t just hope that parents will teach their children these things, and when they don’t or can’t, it perpetuates poverty and ignorance. As a final point, the type of thing you’re being taught matters a lot: as part of my history GSCE, for example, we had a “sources” exam paper, which presented you with historical documents/photos and asked you to draw conclusions from them and also how accurate those were. It was ridiculed in some of the conservative press as being all wishy-washy and “why don’t they learn the dates of kings?” But it taught valuable skills of critical thinking and not falling prey to propaganda – more essential than ever in the mass media age.

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    • I totally agree – and actually aside from normal education the inability to do things like manage finance can keep people poor just by virtue of bad decisions. I agree with you on your final point – history is a good example. It should be relevant and engaging… it should be impossible not to be fascinated by history. I think how people did every day things hundreds of years ago appeals to everyone however somehow kids at school are often disengaged.

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  6. Thanks for liking my post
    was kinda interested to see a guy with your type of blog, liking my stuff
    Appreciate it, coming from a fellow Loudian…(i so hope thats something they saY)

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  7. I doubt there is a country in the world that doesn’t struggle with its educational institutions. The current obsession about testing and measurement makes clear, however, that some countries accomplish more with students than others. I’m familiar only with education the U.S., which has been losing ground for decades when compared globally. Also, to correct one detail, the age at which a student can drop out in the U.S. varies by state, typically 16 to 18.

    I’ve always been suspicious of education as a panacea for the problems of society. What problem is being addressed here? Plus, some awfully smart people do some pretty dumb and criminal things given the chance. More regular folks probably see education itself as the problem, and the mood in the U.S. for some time has been resistant to learning because people feel ideas and values are unfairly being jammed down their throats (programming, brainwashing, etc.). They have missed the point that the public sphere is always trying to manage appearance, shape perception, and sell whatever narrative suits those in charge. Traditional schooling is actually an antidote if one can learn to think critically rather than just skeptically.

    I support the idea of a common core, which translates to a common culture. When exactly students are allowed to elect different tracks (vocational training and higher ed seem to be the main two options besides dropping out altogether) does not seem to me to be the problem. You already observe that students are often not well equipped to making those choices. I’m also sympathetic to the idea of protecting the top tier, which is in my experience sadly neglected to focus on the middle (the bottom is also neglected). High achievers do not always sort themselves out. I wish there were a magic bullet to solve everything, but educators and legislators have been forever tinkering with things without solving much. The truth is that as in other areas of life, we simply muddle through.

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    • Hi Brutus, some very interesting points of view. One thing I have observed from my American friends (from California) is that you seem to have specialised schools… so one of my friends attended an arts academy which they went to from quite a young age so although it was a school, it was most certainly narrow in focus leaving Maths, Science, global Geography to fall away. I suppose what you are saying is it all comes down to being able to identify when to let students have free choice and when they should be given limited options. Which in truth must be bespoke to the individual – the issue is creating a bespoke solution which has common values and quality assessments. I am careful bot to be too critical because i don’t have a perfect answer myself!

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  8. Here in the U.S. I believe we also have a problem with our education system. “Common Core,” often confuses students. They also teach to the tests we are required to take to revive our diploma. The OGT ( Or Ohio Graduation test.) You spend all the time learning what I feel to be useless information, while you should be specializing in an academic area that interests you, and preparing for college.

    So many people like myself, wind up dropping out of college because they cannot live up to the higher academic expectations, that are required for a diploma in a university here.

    This is because they were taught to take tests, instead of expanding critical thinking. Then when they do drop out they have massive amounts of college debt, and make minimum wage, so are not able to pay off the debt they owe, buy a house. They are often not able to advance economically or academically in society, leading to many unfortunate situations.

    I have lost several friends to suicide. It is sad when people have amassed so much debt. They are worrying about weather or not they will be homeless next month, because they are unable to pay their rent. Nutrition is poor because all you can afford is junk food.

    Some people are pushed so far my age they are willing to kill themselves, because they can find no way out. Essentially the system we have in place killed their dreams.

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    • Thank you to taking the time to write and first and foremost I am sorry to hear about your friends – that is truly horrible.

      I do not know much about America from a practical point of view – but I do know that you guys (like many nations) have been facing some issues with adult literacy and just the general knowledge of the average person. I think this is being showcased to the world in the election – and you are right it is because there is not enough (or perhaps no!) weight given to the ability to think.

      A very thoughtful comment thank you again. I look forward to following your blog.

      Joe

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      • Thank you, I look forward to following your blog as well! As well as learning what is going on on the other side of the world.

        I agree with the you in saying we do have issues with literacy. Many newspapers are written at a fifth grade reading level over here because that is what the average American is able to read and comprehend.

        I also have observed that many Americans do not even understand that we have independent presidential candidates, such as the Green party that do not accept tax dollars, and money from large corporations.

        None of them get press coverage from the media.

        I believe the elections are fixed because of the electoral votes. Again common sense and math. I think whoever gets the majority should win the election. But common sense seems as if it is hard to find now.

        I’m blessed that my parents instilled a love of learning in me, and encouraged me to research and read. It is my love of knowledge that has gotten me through hardships, and helped me to continue to try to push through the broken system.

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      • Yes it is a shame when large developed nations dont maximise their potential… still all is not list. At least there are some people like you who love learning new things and understanding the world around us – it really is a very rewarding activity. I am sure that these things will go in cycles and before long science will be the new television

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  9. The thing with education is that it can feel like it’s being forced on you if you haven’t done the right academic choice. Where I am coming from for example starting from eight grade, which is like being 13 years old, until 12th grade, which is the end of your high school education when you are 18 years old, you need to chose a specific area that you want to study for those five years. In my school there was a girl in my class, who was a very creative person and felt a lot of pressure studying accountancy just because her parents thought it would pay off at the end. She didn’t like it at all. When logic is not combined with creativity, it very much feels like something is missing.
    I agree that it is easy to just criticise the system and not actually suggesting any good solutions to the problem. But it is also quite important to realize that students need a certain freedom to constantly discover who they want to be by learning about more broadly situated matter.
    Education should be about learning, rather than studying. Learning is what makes a difference. 🙂

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    • I agree with you entirely and it is as always about finding balance. As children we don’t always know what is good for us – but neither do adults. It is about using the wisdom of the older generation alongside the feelings of the individual. There are very few examples, from education to governments where ruling with an iron fist has produced the correct outcome. And yes indeed – sometimes it feels like there isn’t anywhere near the amount of learning going on in a school there should be

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  10. Again, after reading all comments, I hardly have anything relevant to add to the mix, but innate verbosity forbids my not trying!.

    My opinion on education boils down to insisting that teachers develop the ability to teach in a way that shows real-life relevance for any given, required, subject matter, in a manner that instills a thirst for subsequent learning, specialized or not.

    In a perfect world, regardless of pay scale, no one who does not love to teach should become a teacher. Our children’s career futures are directly relatable to those who teach, as is, in many cases, the pursuit of secondary education.

    Incidentally, in every state I’ve lived, a 16 yr old may opt to leave school–some states with, some states without, parental approval. No harm, no foul anywhere, if you’re 17, as by the time all of the juvenile authorities have had their say, 17 has become adult 18!

    I find it sad that children are tested on what they have learned via gifted and ineffectual teachers alike, when effective teachers could have made the difference between a 2.6 and a 3.8-4.0 GPA. Many students become discouraged and frustrated by an unfilled desire to learn by the latter, and drop out…a situation I have had with my own children.

    Fortunately, mine acquired secondary educations a year or so later; many others will pursue that route once their education is under their own control. But it shouldn’t have to be that way.

    There are so many brilliant, caring teachers out there, who know their subjects and have developed awesome teaching skills, who have influenced their students to go after bigger and better things! They deserve our admiration.

    Then there are the others, no less brilliant in the mastery of their chosen subjects, but who have no business teaching children.

    How about our first concern being to demand ongoing testing of the qualifications of teachers first, testing the levels of learning children have achieved from them?

    As it stands now, too many children are slipping through the cracks of a system which, as has been mentioned, is overseen by politics, rather than by those who truly care about the welfare of each and every child who walks through the doors of a school.

    It takes effort. And money. And I find it dispicable that monies are siphoned from the teachers who are responsible for so much of our children’s lives, into the pockets of those who are seeking to control purse strings.

    As for my own education, I had been accepted to Western Carolina University and, in the stupidest move ever, dropped out of school two weeks before graduation, with a GPA of 3.8! Twenty years later, I acquired a general diploma…after studying from a college prep handbook that tested out at 2nd year levels! I’ve studied a wide range of subjects since then, audited a number of classes here and there and still access as many open classes as possible.

    I enrolled in college at the age of 52 in order to finally obtain a degree…in accounting , of all things. I was unable to complete the degree as my husband became disabled and there was no time to study, even under their online class option. That was in 2003.

    By the time my husband had recovered enough to be left alone, my college had moved its local campus some 30 miles farther away, sooo…

    So, there are my thoughts and a bit of history. This post has been most eye opening, re: international issues on education. I love your site, here…as you well know!!

    Pearl

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    • Thank you so much for your insightful comments.. I think one really important thing you pointed out was the number of people who become teachers who don’t really want to be teachers. I know that in the UK at least there are a lot of people who see teaching as an easy option because the money is steady, there is little threat to job security and the holidays are long. This is, of course totally the wrong reasons for going into teaching – but the motivator for what I would speculate is the majority.

      It sounds like you have had a wonderful tour around the education system and experienced it going well and not so well. Why accounting? Not that I am saying there is anything wrong with that – as you probably realised I am a Chartered Accountant also!

      I do think it is important that there is always another chance when it comes to education – it sounds like your children were able to make amends and get back onto a more academic life. In the UK this is why I am such a strong supporter of the open university where I study my current degree. You can do these degrees at any pace you like, anywhere you like and they give people a chance to get an education where life has got in the way of a traditional education… I imagine you have something very similar in the US.

      Thank you again for your comments, it makes it all worthwhile reading such thoughtful words.

      Joe

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      • My mind always spins with internal comments when reading your posts…they’re so full of information and inspiration. Of course, your commenters expound upon and bring up so many other opinions and facts into the mix that I find myself caught up in the reading!

        Yes, I have waltzed a very circuitous route around various school systems! My sister and I were taught at home for nearly 2 yrs (my mother being so successful trying her hand as an educator that I was bored senseless with school until I enrolled in college!), depressed my exasperation with public schools on behalf of my older children and did my stint of homeschooling my sons.

        But I never relaxed my own search for knowledge: libraries are my candy shops and the internet is a dear friend, now that I’ve become an old fossil! I live to learn and all of my children are keen to follow their own interest and learn on their own, as well. I am well content!

        Accounting: accounting was never to be my career, for in addition to my current endeavours, I have been administrator for a private Christian ministry, helped set up and became business manager/administrative asst for several privately owned businesses and run my own business as an artist. And I’m a “pince-penny”. Why hire one when I can BE one! All very logical, I thought!!

        I came across Open University online; I don’t know if that is the same thing? I believe it is based in GB but one must indicate country of residence when deciding on courses, as some are only available within the UK. We can also audit, or sit in on, physical classes without earning credits at most universities…I have done so at Yale University in the past, and I love accessing lectures and content made available to the public, online.

        I place no restrictions on myself when it comes to learning…any subject is fair game. In some areas, I might be called an expert by a few, in other areas, a novice by many. But I am determined, as I’ve said, to gain enough knowledge that I may at least be able to ask intelligent questions!

        Another massive reply…I really should curb my propensity for such wordiness!

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      • And that is the most important and wonderful attitude a person can have to life. I believe it is the same thing with the Open University yes! How wonderful that it extends its reach all the way over to the US, although I don’t think it is all that cheap when you don’t live in the UK.

        What you have sounds much better being able to sit in for things for free I don’t believe that we have anything comparable to that.

        You have so much life experience under your belt, it really is very interesting – I do need to collect more with only 24 years behind me, I am doing my best! I think it is a really good thing to try your hand at many different endeavours. Sure, a lot of them might work out but it is so worth it to appreciate all that life has to offer.

        Thank you again for all your wonderful comments, and I will be responding to your email very soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. (clarification: “…vocational qualifications” of teachers first and THeN testing what children have learned from them.”

    I used html in places and shouldn’t have, therefore some wirds are missing! Sorry 😦 )

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  12. Well …..seen as you wished that ‘the fourth’ would stay with me too:D:D …and Thankyou
    I am checking out your blog and adding my twopenneth to this post.
    I did absolutely terribly at High school in the Uk …we’re talking late 1970’s early 80’s tho …there wasn’t a 6 th form at my school …but frankly I couldn’t wait to leave at 16yrs anyway
    One could say I then went on to the ‘University of life’ :D:D:D……but actually I did do GCSE’S etc and go to University as a ‘mature student’ ….just BEFORE the student fee’s and loans came in ….I wouldn’t have been able to do it now …and YES I worked every weekend AND during the holidays untill my final year when I had to get my head down …burning the midnight oil …rewarding myself by spending the summer living in a beach hut on Ko Samui…(Ahhhh those were the days …but I digress)
    I have utmost respect for teachers and think the vast majority do an excellent job in difficult circumstances …I do believe in the state system …..BUT believe teachers aren’t ‘ticking boxes’ out of choice but thro education authority/ govt requirements ….private schools are no way put under so much scrutiny …it’s a nigh on impossible job ….not only do they need to somehow maintain passion and enthusiasm for their subject and pass this on …but ALSO be masters/mistresses of crowd control
    Hmmmmm don’t know what the answers are really ….but why is it that the vast majority of children flourish in primary school and start to flounder in secondary?
    I would say it’s ‘pressure’ ….and you could argue that weeeell that’s life ….but does it HAVE to be?
    Quality of life over fast paced over facing quantity if you know what I mean …..for kids, teachers, businesses, lifestyle in general ( whoooops in danger of going off on one)
    And ‘pressure’ does not equate to ‘discipline’ …2 different things ALTOGETHER …
    Oh ….and there is NEVER a cut off point for ‘learning’ in my book …..it’s lifelong … just a shame resources and facilities are being priced beyond the reach of many kids AND adults.
    Oh ….and lastly …yes I think some kids have leanings to academia and some to the arts ….some to practical skills…and thank god for that …..does one have more ‘value’ than the other though?
    Hmmmmm …..there’s a question?

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    • It depends what you mean by “value” because there are many different sense of the word… if we look at financial value then I think sure it is easy to say that the sciences do better than the arts… but then in terms of making a civilisation? Well it is less clean cut. Find me one genuinley civilised society which isn’t rich with art and culture. You make some very interesting points and I don’t think there is a one single answer to the problem. What we need to remember is that our education does work for a lot of people, but it does not for others. So it is important that through any changes we make we don’t actually destroy it for the people it does work for. Of course however I do support changes – as you can see from my post it is just a very complex area! Congrats for getting back out there and what wonderful timing you had! It also only clicked with me in my final year so I can fully sympathise with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with Fijay, in the curiosity that children do so well in primary, but less well upon entry into secondary.

    Entering into the educational systems for the first time is also a child’s first foray into true social interaction, wherein they are on their own, sink or swim, learning about and relying on their own social skills to function, avoid unpleasantness and get ahead…testing their wings, not to mention their expanding bounderies! It follows that there is much excitement!

    But for many children, school is also the first time that real expectations are made on them…and responsibilities of a nearly abstract nature; in other words, not by parents, but rather the new concept of “They”. We’re not just talking about “A Teacher”, but the no-nonsense requirements of an entire system of faceless strangers, in which they are further required to be involved for over half of their lives, by the time they’re 18 (16)!

    I always thought it was cool to see those “old fossil” students headed for class at Yale, who completed their education after the nest was empty…and I think it’s even cooler that I (and other brave old souls😁) have been brave and determined enough to be counted amongst them!

    Yeah! We’re awesome!!! 😄😄

    (Goodness, I love this blog!!)

    And I do appreciate the emails back & forth, Joe. It increases my ability to “file things” more efficiently and group my thoughts in a more relatable manner!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pearl – sorry for my slow delay, I got marooned on an island! What a time i have had! I will endeavour to reply to your emails very soon… I could have just written you a really quick reply but I wanted to give you a well thought out and reasoned response since this is what is deserved! I appreciate your patience, I hope you are doing well. Joe

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Joe!

        Not to worry! I’m not your only follower and you’re not my son, that you should be required to, “Answer me right now, young man!”😄😄😄

        I just appreciate the time you’ve already taken for me…so don’t rush. I’m going nowhere!

        And I’m doing well; I hope your classes…and your weekend…are going well also!

        Pearl

        Like

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