Thursday, 8 November 2012

'It's not about...

Our grandchildren, ' Frances said, 'They'll do well anywhere, ' It's about the kids we used to teach.'

Five retired head teachers, chewing the fat (not literally, 'Coco's Bistro' in Cheltenham serves excellent food) and doing what you might expect. Bewailing the fact that education is not what it was it was in our day.

I could go on about the stress that teachers are under to raise SATS scores (which fools think is synonymous with raised standards) and how these stressed teachers do stupid things, like cheat, or yell at kids, but I won't, because that will soon become evident, and the see-saw will hit the pendulum, and softer voices will be heard again...

I am incensed at the possibility that in the pointless pursuit of the higher grade, lasting damage is done to children NOW. We five  know that time and space for listening to music, messing about with paint, and working with the raw material of experience ( the REAL science experiment, not the video clip, for example) where real, permanent,  learning occurs, is being reduced,  robbing the child of the opportunity of the point of education. . To grow a brain.

Longer days, fewer breaks, little time left to dream, to imagine, to stare into space and wonder... Many of the ' kids we taught' live in areas of social deprivation, where the school is a haven of  normality. These children are undernourished morally, intellectually and spiritually, as much as nutritionally. Fed fast food in their homes, they are now offered the education equivalent  in school. Instant pap - hours and hours of extra 'tuition', that amounts to endless drill,  to give the correct Pavlovian response to key words on a 45 minute question paper. This isn't a programme for the future, it's the return to the nineteenth century. It's not education, it's theft.

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