Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net
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Lucy, I agree 100% with both of the second paragraphs. The problem now is with a generation of disillusioned teachers in post now. Believe or believe not stats, it does seem that teachers are leaving the profession and less people want to train, I am not sure how that squares out. How ethics are taught is another question, I am too old to see myself through the eyes of a school child, having left in 1966, it is a different world. The work ethic, that wonderful Weberian notion, has changed full circle. You are right, but how? Tweaking education will not do it, like France the UK has now seriously got to start looking at a world picture and taking note of what works and adapting that to fit. That is another reason I think the present 'reforms' are just (another) waste of time.
Have had nine year olds of my own - and I know how grown up and articulate they can be. Likewise - I have had two year olds - hence I remain sceptical about a "decision made at that age"! You may have taken exception to the way I expressed that - and you are entitled to! We all take exception to things other people say and do, and luckily we live in a free country so we can express that!
Both French and UK education systems have plus and minus points! I think the rigorous and demanding testing in French schools is a bonus in that it does ensure that the qualification actually means something. On the other hand early choices have to be made about plans for the future - and that is not always for the best! I think that one of the definite positives in India is the strong work ethic that filters down into the school system!
Going back to the original cartoon - if UK can manage to instill a strong work ethic in the young, and reward excellence rather then participation that would be a huge step in the right direction! Oh - and I also think it is hugely important that all sorts of abilities are recognised not just academic ones! :-)
Cate, my daughter simply saw a Buddha in a shop in Bangkok. We bought it for her. When we were on the coast we met a group of monks and nuns who talked and played with her. She was taken by them entirely. From that day to this that Buddha has been near her bed, she alone learned the good old 'om mane padme hom' stuff from a website. She says, not I, that she is a Buddhist. I am repeating her. She is interested in and even fascinated by religion. It is her choice and not some exercise in religious tolerance or whatever, parent imposed. She has thus been, in her view, a Buddhist for 7:9 of her life. Nine year olds are pretty grown up and articulate, and more than old enough to make such choices in life. Personally, and like most people like myself to the extremes of political left and non-belief, it is her choice but no business of mine. As one says, I don't do it. But if you wish to disrespect the interests of a child with your sarcasm then... - no there's no words for that.
Children can and do make decisions from very young ages. I have rows of books collecting dust on the topic because early childhood studies go forward fast. Just do a library search and stop mocking children. Find out about the topic before you, and Lucy too, get any more sarcastic.
Carol and I have had some all out arguments on here, but I have absolute respect for her because she never gets so low as the pathetic attempts at being the funniest person in the world you are trying to pull off. Right now Carol is, and perhaps far more clearly, making some of my original points before this became a point scoring exercise. Yes Carol, on exams and what is done to children I will largely go with. Your children have done well. I am not entirely with you on UK education, until my wife and I left it, well a university anyway, where all colleagues just about were unhappy about the students coming in being less and less able and anyway many university standards slipping too, it may well be yours were out before Blair and Brown aided in the slow but unstoppable rot. French education is a terrible disappointment. One worse than the other? Not sure, where one is bad the other is good and vice versa. Where is better? Not sure, but I have been impressed in such countries as India where they have taken an antiquated system, shaken it hard and are now becoming a world power intellectually. Not yet a great deal of the vast country, but it is spreading fast. Watch out Europe!
A tad cutting ladies but am sure we are all adults and can cope with that. Education is about more than testing, would you agree? education as far as I am concerned is about learning about the world as well. You can hot house kids, there were plenty of examples of 13 and 14 year olds off to university with ma or pa, because they had managed their 3 or 4 A levels due to the demands of their parents. If you are looking for a truly excellent schooling system, you will find Finland tops the schooling table....and as previously mentioned, like many Scandawegian countries, they do not spend all their time testing their children. Per se I dont have a problem with yearly exams, I do have problems with any tests that decide a childs future; many kids dont come to their best education wise till they are 16 - 18. In the days of 11 plus, many children who 'failed' the 11 plus were written off and sent to very second class Secondary schools. Look up the period, many of those written off kids did amazingly well in future life, proving that at 11 you cant tell how a child's intelligence may develop. I am a professional as is my husband, we lived in a small village where 95% of the professionals sent their children to private schools (Berkshire has some 1st class private schools). Our three went to the local comprehensive; we didnt hot house; we let them have hobbies, friends and their free time was theirs as they chose to use it. Our children managed to get into great universities, my daughter turned down Oxford in preference to Birmingham as she didnt like the strict rules imposed as regards to returning to campus at night and weekends. She came away with a first class degree like her brothers. One is a deputy head at 32, the other a senior designer in a graphics company in Notting Hill, the third is a director of a recruitment company in Dubai. So, tell me about the terrible education in the UK? they were educated in a system where they were encouraged to question, they are able to change their careers at whim (unlike in France) I dont see the picture you are trying to draw.
Cate - you make me smile - and sometimes say the things that I am refraining from saying!!! I was similarly "intrigued" (that wasn't the word I was thinking of but it works well!!) as regards the 2yr old Buddhist! Reminds me of a friend whose 2yr old "decided" to be vegetarian! I can believe that a 2yr old can decide that he/she doesn't like meat. But that isn't the same (to me) as deciding to be a vegetarian! :-)
Still like the original cartoon though - even though the discussion has shifted away from that!!
Hallelujah to that Carol!
agree with all of that Brian. The more we all learn about different races, sexuality and religions, the more comfortable we are to be an inclusive society.
Bravo for all of that Carol. My 'Buddhist' daughter (own choice, don't know how, but when she was 2 and still is at 9 according to her) told her class it was Hindu Diwali recently, was staying with family whilst her Algerian uncle did his Rmadan fasting cleansing, etc and told her class about it, will remind the class when Hannukah begins tomorrow and has set up a crib near the Christmas tree. No, we are not being big heads with a child. We are a totally secular family with an open mind, but she knows we have both studied religion so asked questions and got answers. She will say that she does not believe in god(s) but that does not take the fascination away.
Then we also have our other daughter with Down, thus difference is part of the family, gay and Islamic family members on my wife's side, non 'white' on my side and so she does not have to grow up with the bigotted views of somebody like my father and need to learn a lot before getting it sorted in her case.
Exams and there you put the words I would like to express down in that last sentence very well.
My little nephew in a school in the centre of Brighton, a city that I love and have lived in more than once. At his primary school they celebrate all religious holidays, and all the kids learn about eachothers religions, which seems to me the right way of doing it. Discrimination and racial hate come from ignorance; already Albie has come home talking about Jewish holidays and Muslim holidays and explaining them to his parents. In the same way disabled children are now included in main stream schools were possible. In my day we never saw a child with a disability, they were sent to 'special schools'. My daughter had a blind girl, a wheelchair bound girl and a boy with cerebral palsy in her class right through high school. So difference was accepted rather than being something unknown causing mistrust of fear and ending up with the affected person being bullied. As far as the education part, constant testing isnt good for anyone, its the same if you are in a job, being tested on your abilities every 6 months doesn't enhance performance, instead it concentrates the mind on the testing material to the exclusion of all else.
Carol, the holidays are all on a secular footing although Noël holiday is called that and Toussaint too. Fair enough, they've been called that forever, but no political correctness like mid-autumn break is creeping in. Nothing wrong with secular naming, as long as people are not stopped from following their beliefs. It's been around for a long time now. Perhaps it is better that it once was. I would not like to even dream that my college went back to being men only and not even women 'servants', cleaners and so on were allowed in several buildings where only men went and the chaplain even wanted no women tourists in his chapel in the early days of co-ed! Silly examples, but a world not so far back, but contemporary to when 'O' levels were in their death throes. Things have moved on, so must education and perhaps it is what makes something like the example of Finnish education Abigail Dayan put up so promising. Maybe political correctness like the sports day is a bit unreal as you say, but at the same time why not look at A.S. Neill and why Summerhill has survived 90 years when it was not given a chance by critics early on and the ideas of Dewey, Montessori and other visionary educators that are being kicked into the long grass. Education is not a competition, but learning to win and lose within it is absolutely necessary to help prepare for the life that follows. In the UK Gove seems determined to kill any potential for all of that off along with more sports field sales, so no more sports days anyway! Here, at least there are plans (if they survive both chambers) for reforms for the better, especially teacher training.
Lack of competition in UK schools is unreal. Sports days when nobody wins, we all take part attitude doesnt prepare kids for later life...and the cut throat business that goes with getting jobs. I dont know if French schools celebrate certain holidays...but there is a terrible creeping tendency at the moment in England to pretend it is not a Christian country. We are having Winter festivals instead of Christmas in a clumsy attempt to avoid upsetting those of other religions.
Im interested in all the negative comments on UK education. We could have put our children through private education but decided we would rather use local schools (SE England) all three attended a bog standard comprehensive then after a 6th form college and all then went onto uni...as did most of their friends. I dont recognise the terrible education you are talking about. My brother has a child in school in Brighton, again, city centre school...no complaints...family in Kent ditto....I must say, the education in France worries me. Children are not encouraged to question, are taught more by rote and the teacher is always right....even when they are not. I like the children to question, its an important part of learning.
@ Signe - Sorry to hear about your horrendous experiences in FE - and I wish that I thought yours was an isolated case!! But your comments underline what I think we all agree on (though sometimes it is difficult to tell) which is that change to the current system is urgently needed! It is ridiculous that teenagers can't read, write, spell or count and are in FE!! Completely barking mad in fact - and emphasises the need for an urgent shake up of the system! Youngsters need to know that they have to achieve something in order to get "rewarded" and that just turning up isn't enough!
@ Brian - I am amazed to hear that your original point was that "things should go forward". I don't see that anywhere in your original comments!
@ Cate - again - you hit the nail on the head! :-)
Oh, how I love it!!!! So true! After years of working in UK's Education, nearly getting a nervous breakdown as a result, I could not agree more. Over my dead body, my child will be educated in UK. Education system which develops a society of dependent people with ambitions that have no cover to them. How very sad.
Just to share my experience on some of the above...
I used to work in a Further Education College as a Business Studies lecturer (specialist subject), I could not deliver my subject, because majority of kids could not actually read, write, spell, or count (and we are talking 16+ here), but they all thought that I should be grateful that they have turned up (despite their all very important commitments) and congratulate them on that.
I found it really awful, I was not a Subject Specialist, but some kind of extended social worker/parent, dealing with issues that was nothing to do with my profession. Starting from their contraception issues, finishing with ad body odor, and all the disgusting imbecilic, narcissistic behaviour in between. And then to be blamed for their failure by management (concerned by numbers only) and their parents (another generation of brought up thinking that it's OK to just participate).
Nonetheless, I am very sorry for the kids, they are brought up to be rewarded to fail, thinking it's OK not to achieve anything etc....
Well, I chose to quite the job, antidepressants, bad weather, chavs, insane political correctness, teaching (yet another) generation to fail and moved to France. :)))) And haven't regretted it for a moment :)
I like the old ways!
*narked that never got invited to one of the Bulllingdon club do's but living in hope*
My argument Lucy and Cate, was originally, that things should go forward. Progress, not go back to old ways that were disposed of because in their turn they did not work. Is there something wrong with using experts and innovating, which is the criticism from teachers and other people in the education sector after all.
:-) @ Cate de Molin
Didn't realise it was a political discussion! I simply think that, if you are going to have a system of exams, then a better system than we have at the moment is essential! Not aware of other developed nations that don't have an exam system as a way of grading capability in some form! Also,I think that while the "old" system if it were reincarnated unchanged wouldn't be ideal I still think it would be better than the current system - which is rubbish!
Not convinced that wanting the best for one's offspring, and therefore wanting a change to a system which proves nothing, has anything to do with politics .... but then I don't think politically in general!
However, do agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
I think we stand on opposite sides of the political divide, which means we could argue until the cows come home. I do not think exams prove very much at all, some can do then, some can't and others have good reason such as being nervous, ill or whatever and are therefore 'not good enough'. Going back does not fit in the 'modern' world, unless the return to the poorhouse politics of the present government is what you subscribe to, in which case you have your view and I will have mine. Amen.