The Education System

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The Education System

Post: #232532 MKG
Thu May 19, 2011 12:46 pm

Keaniebean's thread seems to have been taken over by militants like me. So I thought a separate thread about the education system may be a good idea. I'll nail my colours to the mast ...

The current education system (in England, at least) is a p**s-poor apology for a mess, concentrating on woolly ideals and aims, and staffed (in the majority) by under-educated, unthinking apologies for what teachers used to be. There are some very talented people in there - but they have not a snowflake's chance in hell of achieving their aims. Why? Because those same apologies have attained, by devious use of management-speak, the giddy heights of control. They have become political - which is unfortunate, because they do not know whereof they speak. Unless there is a swingeing change in education policy, and soon, we will have created a generation of unemployable, semi-literate monsters. Some would say we already have and it's all too late.

OK - let fly. Debate and discuss in fewer than 2000 words.

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232539 boboff
Thu May 19, 2011 1:13 pm

You are wrong and you smell of wee, neh neh neh neh neh............

Oooops, kind of proves a point!

I disagree, I think children today are better educated than at any point in our history. More people get a degree, pass rates at O'level and A'level are are historic highs.

The Labour governments agenda for change in education has made a huge impact on both the quality of the environment of schools, and the staff pay, and the ciriculum.

Initiatives like Acadamies, special focus on sports / music etetc have created some centres of excellence in areas where poor schooling excisted before.

The "Baca Lauriet"(sp?) thing which has been introduced would appear to be an excellent idea to ensure that kids just don't do what they are good at at O'level.

Locally the College my daughter is going to has seen a huge improvement in reuslts since they introduced 15 people form groups and also starting exams a year earlier, so you pick options in year 7 ( the old 2nd year) and take some exams in the summer of your 9. This means there is a bigger chance of Boys especially achieving the 5 or more c or above grades.

Most children I meet are engaged, interested, polite and well informed, given the recent riots on fees etc they also seem to be political animals as well, which is no bad thing.

What you descibe, it does exist, the Jeremy Kyle, welfare, ,underclass, but they are not the total population, thank goodness. Yes and we have created them, but they will have been given allot more chances than we ever got, and were supported by welfare generally as there parents would be on benefits too.

I just can't believe in a country as beautiful and rich as ours that the level of problem exists as you describe.

Teaching is becoming more and more of an attractive career, and on the basis of what I have seen, new Teachers are generally very good, what are poor are people our age who get fed up with Teaching, apply to become heads of small schools, and in effect just want to sit in an office and never speak to anyone until they get there rather generous pension, BUT these are few and far between, and they don't last long, 9 months on sick leave, then gently shoved to one side to spend there days on forums.
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Re: The Education System

Post: #232540 chickenchargrill
Thu May 19, 2011 1:25 pm

Oh, I would love to write a longer post but I have the school run to do. I would just like to point out the diploma system that Labour attempted to introduce because of those failing within the current school system. My OH thought the 14-19 diploma was good, trained to teach functional/basic skills, and has been unable to get a job because secondary's didn't recognise his qualification and the Tory's have scrapped this initiative. When he was teaching, it was in a college at Nottingham with students who couldn't times by ten. He's returned to retail rather than retrain.

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232556 Helsbells
Thu May 19, 2011 5:03 pm

under-educated, unthinking apologies for what teachers used to be


Mike I think you are being very mean!

I am an art teacher of a secondary school with a large number of children from deprived backgrounds. I have worked harder in my job as a teacher than I have in any other job and dare I say it, many of my colleges work a lot harder than me. I think most of the teachers that I work with are very intelligent and well educated, we all have a degree after all. Nearly everyone in my school wants the best for the children who attend and we work very hard to help pupils from all backgrounds achieve their potential.
The problems come from the government/councils who demand we include specific things in our lessons, also from the fact that we have to get the grades our children need. There is not a lot of time for the organic processes of exploration and experimentation because we have so much else to pack into a lesson. Also I have to argue that some of the parents of pupils at our school couldn't care less about their children or the havoc and stress they cause during the school day.

I don't know what the answers are to the problems in our education system but I can say with certainty that you would have to be a very strange person to be a teacher if you weren't passionate, highly motivated, hard-working and have a love for what you do, it really doesn't pay enough and would not be worth the stress if you didn't love it. I think a lot of people don't realise how hard we work.

We really do try our very best.

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232558 MKG
Thu May 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Well, I did say that there are some very talented people in the system, Helsbells. Obviously, most of them work at your school. I speak only from opinions formed from personal experience and that, unfortunately, is that our local schools tend to be staffed by men who are serving their time, women with "Bunty" mentalities, and timewasters. The kids are, in the main, hardly literate, hardly numerate, certainly not fitted for any walk of life that I know of. And I'm afraid that dumbing down examinations to the point of them being free gifts (and they certainly have been - I've seen a lot of the papers. I've even marked some of them) is simply a political disguise for failure. Yes, there are one or two good teachers and one or two star pupils, but there's nothing within the system with which to reward them.

Yes, of course there are, all over the country, those in the teaching profession who care. But that's part of the problem, and always has been. Teacher training was, when I went to school, the second option - if you didn't get to the college you wanted to be, doing the course you wanted to do, you were advised to go on to teacher training. Those people - the rejects from everything else - swamped the dedicated teachers even then. It hasn't improved in the intervening period. In fact, it's worse. Now, anyone working as a teacher (at least around here) can gain kudos by using phrases such as "thinking outside the box", "blue-sky thinking", and the ultimate one - "teaching and learning" (as if they'd just thought of it). And then when you ask them what they mean, there's a long, embarrassing silence.

I'm not looking to point at all teachers and say there's no hope. But I wish all you good teachers would get your acts together and really push for genuine improvements within the system rather than allowing standards to be re-evaluated to fit results. The comedy of increasing numbers of A* students in parallel with universities and employers bemoaning the lack of basic entry skills is getting a little wearing.

Mike
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Re: The Education System

Post: #232560 Lilyfae
Thu May 19, 2011 5:40 pm

Helsbells wrote:
The problems come from the government/councils who demand we include specific things in our lessons, also from the fact that we have to get the grades our children need. There is not a lot of time for the organic processes of exploration and experimentation because we have so much else to pack into a lesson. Also I have to argue that some of the parents of pupils at our school couldn't care less about their children or the havoc and stress they cause during the school ...

We really do try our very best.


Hellsbells I think I love you.

I too am a teacher (and though on sick for complications with pneumonia - I am desperate to get back to work because I love teaching) and was initially scared to post because our profession is so derided and degraded I tend to avoid defending myself now.
I am a highly innovative & forward thinking teacher ( heads words not mine) because I try to bring learning rather than teaching into my classroom, but you are right it's government doctrine that makes hard work fall apart-
Keystage 3 (ages 11-14) are so interesting and creative but as soon as GCSEs appear all innovation goes out the window to push them to get the grade the LEA says they should get through recall rather than thinking.

I do disagree with you on one point, there are a lot of teachers round here who took a PGCE because they didn't know what to do after uni and due to the economic climate are stuck in an unsatisfying job, and a lot of old bitter cronies that should have left years ago. However that misses out the many many dedicated hardworking teachers who are battling against the diverse wishes of the school, government, parents, community, Daily Mail & educational psychologists and try to send well-informed, capable & thoughtful students out into the world.

Sorry if I sound verbose or biased, I love my job, don't necessarily love the system but if I don't try to make a change how will anyone else see it works?

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232561 clanpowell
Thu May 19, 2011 6:08 pm

[quote="MKG staffed (in the majority) by under-educated, unthinking apologies for what teachers used to be. [/quote]
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:
I'm a science teacher. I have a degree in Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I also have post graduate qualifications (Which I will not bore you with) as do the vast majority of people I work with. In fact the only ones without that level of education are the older generation of teachers. That'll be the ones who started teaching during this mythical wonder age of teaching that the (certain types of) older generation bang on about. As with helsbels virtually everyone I work with is dedicated and hardworking. What people don't realise is how different children are these days but it is only a minority who are these Vicki Pollard Kevin and Perry clones, although I accept that some inner city schools contain more. The problem is not schools or the education system but society as a whole.
Somehow we have turned into a society of greedy, impatient, blame avoiders. Everyone wants everything and they want it now. Wheather they can afford it or not. This, I feel, permiates all aspects of our society. From getting a new TV/phone/car to who our chosen music stars are. From our food to treatment on the NHS. This has translated into a generation who have been told by their PARENTS they can have/be whatever they want. When they don't who do you balme? Anyone but your/ourselves. The number of times I've been present at meetings with parents when they want to argue about the punishment you've dished out, and we're not even that militant a school, is beyond belief. Parents, wake up. Your child is not always right. Your child is not an angel. Sometimes they do things wrong. Sometimes they lie. As did ,I as did you when you were their age. Differnce is, then we would have been in it up to our necks if we were found out.
Now, blame someone else and go back to your blu ray plasma screen, pick the best looking/funniest pop star (rather than the one who can actually write their own music), keep up with the Jones', borrow more money than you can afford for a new car, twitterbook about it and leave me alone to do my job. (Which, MKG, by the way, took me and my collegues nearly 5 years of study and work to be qualified to do.) Or you could accept some responsibility for your childs actions. DO something about it youselves for once instead of shifting the blame of our failing society onto the younger generation and those who work with them.
Rant over! Lovely weather today, don't you think. :iconbiggrin:

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232565 chickenchargrill
Thu May 19, 2011 6:19 pm

This isn't a judgement of anyone's ability to teach, more a rant about fashionable lingo.

I do not want my kids to go to school and have people there who enable her to learn. I want teachers. I want people who are knowledgeable about their subject who can *teach* my children about it. While it's fine and dandy to allow kids to find their own way through various mediums in the more creative subjects, I still expect the person at the front of the classroom to be experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I expect them to be able to answer the kids' questions. I expect my children to be able to come home and tell me about what they have been taught.

There are so many ways to learn, and no one way is right for everyone. But you are teaching them, even if you are teaching them how to find out things for themselves, how the easiest way to do x is... you are teaching, not just enabling learning.

What is the point of sending children to school if they are just going there to find things out for themselves?

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232566 grahamhobbs
Thu May 19, 2011 6:23 pm

I went to school in the fifties, you were taught to learn what they taught you, you were never taught to think or be creative, you were taught to shut up. Most lessons were excruciatingly boring with much learning by rote. All this was backed up by the liberal use of the cane. Can't imagine modern teaching could be much worse.

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232569 julie_lanteri
Thu May 19, 2011 6:29 pm

I think Mike you describe the system as a whole quite well by saying "p**s-poor apology for a mess", unfortunately it's not only in England... (or maybe it should make us feel better?) I've gone through the French ed system (baccalauréat & degree) then moved to the UK and did my PGCE. In 10 years, loads of things have already changed, in both countries and not for the best.
I really do believe it has come from a change of mentalities and pressure from the government/society. When I was at school you did what the teacher said (ie manners and respect), parents were aware of what was going on and on board/interested in their kids' progress. Very quickly it has become a battle to teach. I don't think anybody can imagine what we go through as teachers during the day. You would be shocked to see what really goes on in the average school in the country, and we are doing our best in a messed up system and some of us are simply not given the means to teach in good conditions. Mike, that is the real problem: we can't teach like before!
I find it appalling to see kids in school who can't read, write, count. Everything is too difficult, requiring too much effort... Most of the "new" generation is spoon fed and unaccountable for anything (put your hand up if you've had to explain why Johnny wasn't going to get a C for his GCSE and what you had done especially to help him? for the answer see note). It's not their fault though. They've been brought up like that by their parents! In every primary school, there's a huge gap between the kids. Nothing to do with money/class/whatever you want to call it, but simply how involved the parents are, what aspiration they give to their kids.

The shake-up can't come from the teachers because no one above in the food chain cares. Maybe one day, the parents who do care will take action and complain direct to the heads so their kids can have the education they deserve. In my experience I've had to deal more with parents having a go at me because I gave their child a detention for being rude or else (apparently it's acceptable if they don't like your subject...)! Actually that's not very true. I had to deal with the head of year because the parent complained to them that I gave their child a detention...

note: actually Johnny rarely made it to my lessons, or school for that matter, I tried to ring home, offered after school club etc. and even had to write a paragraph about all that. More work than he'd done in 2 years! :)

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232572 MKG
Thu May 19, 2011 6:47 pm

Thanks for that, Clanpowell - but I think you may have inadvertently hit upon a fault in the system. Your qualifications are admirable (no, I'm not taking the pee) but, as you say it took you 5 years, I assume that at least part of your post-grad qualification is in teaching. You could have gone directly into teaching, if that's what you really wanted to do at the time, and spent much less time in qualification. You see, it isn't (or should not be) and never has been (or should never have been) about LEVEL of qualification - it's about commitment to education. Teachers who want to teach, always wanted to teach - that kind of thing. Teachers who are more concerned with the well-being of their pupils than career-structure and amount of holidays etc.

In those "mythical" days you speak of, we actually had an educational system which was fit for purpose and which worked. OK - some kids failed. No difference there, then, except a greater proportion of kids now fail; but at a much later stage, after they've been convinced by those "blue sky thinkers" that life is all to do with interesting things rather than a bit of application and work and a demonstration of certain basic skills which any sane person would ask of them. I could agree with you that this is prevalent throughout society. Except it's not, other than as a result of wastes of space being pushed into society via a failing education system (those parents were put through a nearly identical system. That's why they have to think for fear of forgetting to breathe). All we're producing at the moment is a two-tier society. At the top will be those who caught on to what life was really about when they were kids at school. The also-rans will be those who went through life (under positive instruction, it sometimes seems to me) thinking that merely taking part is enough, spelling is only important in English lessons (don't laugh - it was a well-qualified teacher who said that to me. OK - go on and laugh. I did), competition is BAD (intimations of Animal Farm, but none of them have read that for sure), and I could go on ... and on.

To be frank, I think it's high time we went right back to the late 50s and early 60s, complete with talk and chalk (and, sin of sins, discipline) and rethought the whole thing. We couldn't make it worse. We might make it a whole lot better. And we could maybe pretend that hazy educational philosophies full of buzzwords as a result of their perpetrators not having a decent command of English had never been thought of.

Mike

EDIT: Sorry, Julie - I missed your post whilst composing my missive :iconbiggrin: . But "The shake-up can't come from the teachers because no one above in the food chain cares" is exactly one of the things I'm complaining about. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
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Re: The Education System

Post: #232574 boboff
Thu May 19, 2011 7:01 pm

Oh MKG, Mike to your friends, Oh MKG...........

The arguments posed are really informative and persuasive, albiet my spelling and grammar do little to enhance the argument, I grant you.

Education is not failing.

You use your out of context "professional" quotations extemely well.

It is a shame you feel as you do, as does Jerry, but your opinion although formed by reality is not the norm.

Anyway, I have to share this with you as it sums up our position.


So the great raspberry debate was once had, and given I am no Mod, I lost.

Chap Martin Crawfrord of Forest gardening fame says the following " Raspberry is a forest edge marginal plant, it creeps into the sun along the margin, why prune it? If you don't then it grows tall, and when full of fruit, falls into the light with the fruit under the leaves, the leaves hide the berries from the birds, I have a rule, if you don't have to prune then don't........"

I must admit his soft fruit were all 6ft high including some stunning Lush Looking Redcuarrants, they were not bushes but edges, the Raspberries look amazing, any way, the point is we can all have opinions, they can all be right in out own cirucmstances, but if you are willing to accept that the other person has a validity to what they are saying then not only may you learn something but at the end of the day you might go to bed feeling a little less angry with the word.
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Re: The Education System

Post: #232575 clanpowell
Thu May 19, 2011 7:08 pm

Back to the 50's and 60's? The only reason pupils didn't speak up is because if they did, they were beaten. Do you really want to return to that? You are right about teaching being a profession were you should want to teach reguardless of qulification. I was simply pointing out that in my experience we are not "under-educated, unthinking apologies for what teachers used to be" There is a problem with the emphisis on teaching content instead of skills which frustrates me as well as others. That is for the Govenment to change. Back in the 50's and 60's that's all that happened, and if I'm not wrong wasn't Britain in an even worse state in the 70's (when that generation were then the workforce) than it is now. So if that is an advert for not reverting backwards then I don't know what is.
I am not saying that every teacher in the land is wonderful. I've worked with some shockers in my time. But, we are fighting a losing battle against Britain's ever enlarging cultural and social wasteland. That is what needs sorting out.

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Re: The Education System

Post: #232576 MKG
Thu May 19, 2011 7:18 pm

Boboff ... "Education is not failing" OK - if that's what you believe, give me some evidence (apart from massaged examination success rates. If I give a child a piece of paper with the word "cat" printed on it and then ask said child to spell cat, I would expect a high success rate. Unfortunately, some would still get it wrong).

Clanpowell ... "The only reason pupils didn't speak up is because if they did, they were beaten". Rubbish - I was there. Yes, there was punishment and sometimes it was unjust. More often than not, it was well-deserved. Are you saying that the present climate of "never punish, only positively encourage" is realistic? So when a teacher is challenged (as they so often are) there is no recourse but an apparent (in the child's eyes) climbdown?

Oh boy - I can see my popularity rating plunging ... :iconbiggrin:

Mike
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Re: The Education System

Post: #232577 clanpowell
Thu May 19, 2011 7:34 pm

No I'm not saying never punish. I'm saying don't hit with canes, pull by sideburns etc. You can punish effectively without resorting to physical violence. My two year old knows not to hit and we've never smacked him and no we don't just talk to him and say "That's not nice"
It seems to me that you may have had some bad experience with a local school. Am I wrong?
If a child can't spell cat that is the parents fault not the school. If they are that far behind by the time they reach secondary school (and sometimes they are) there is very often little we can do. The question should be "How the hell have they got to 12 without basic skills"


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