Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Fiddling with the kiddies.

"Hello Kiddies. Ready to play the Dull and Pointless Life Game?"
Picture reproduced in crayon from here.

History. I remember that. It was the beginning of Grammar School which turned into a comprehensive shithole while I was there and has now been closed and demolished.

I was twelve. I wanted to hear about Cavaliers and Roundheads, the Spanish Inquisition, Napoleon, about Romans and about Knights in armour and what did we get?

The economic development of the Balkans or some such mind-numbing rubbish.

Okay. That might actually interest me now I'm past fifty but to a twelve-year-old this is absolutely in the 'Couldn't give a damn' category. I dropped history at the first opportunity because I saw no reason to stick with it. If it had been tailored to twelve-year-olds at first and built into serious stuff later it would have worked for me.

I  have many history books now. If only school history had been interesting I might have done well, although obviously not as a history teacher because Labour made that illegal.

Then there was geography, Not a subject of great interest but not one I objected to either. To those of a geographic bent it might have been fascinating but not to me. I dropped geography before the O-level years too.

Both these subjects are to be compulsory until the age of 16. Which means they join English and Maths as the only compulsory subjects at GCSE (O-level).

Michael Gove is an idiot. He wants to take schools from their Socialist ridiculous curriculum to one that is more proscribed than any in the past and he expects children and teachers to just switch, just like that. One extreme to the other not in a generation, in a term.

Yes, there should be more real subjects in schools. But forcing history and geography on twelve-year-olds does not improve their lives nor ours. They should be options, yes, and certainly, history classes for the first year could be better designed to get twelve-year-olds interested in the subject, but compulsory?

So what's next, Govey-boy? Compulsory woodwork so we can build the huts you arses want us to live in? Compulsory metalwork to boost the stock of windmill-makers? Compulsory voting?

The thing I remember most about being twelve is that if you wanted me to apply myself to the utmost to avoid doing something, make it compulsory. If you wanted me to do it to the best of my ability, ban it.

I doubt things have changed.

The intelligence of politicians certainly hasn't.


33 comments:

Tattyfalarr said...

Compulsory history lessons eh ? Whose version of it, precisely ?

I predict Winston Smith is going to be very busy.

Bucko said...

Compulsary voting?

Something they never taught at school is politics and economics, yet two years after leaving you are expected to make an informed choice about who you want stealing your first wage.

Rob F said...

When I was at school it was compulsory to do either Spanish or French.

I chose French, but was hopeless at it (and failed, even though our teacher cheated and gave us some of the answers on the tape-recorded section!), simply because I had no interest in languages.

Now I do, and am thinking of learning sign-language. Let kids choose the subjects they're most interested in - they're the only ones they'll be any good at (unless the exams are so dumbed-down that anyone can pass, of course).

Xopher said...

Few of our academic elite would agree BUT there was little wrong with our system of Grammar & Secondary Modern (& Technical if you were lucky).
Ideology, political grandstanding and, of course, empty promises of social advancement demanded expensive change not adjustment - destructive revolution not evolution and every progressive lurch has damaged the system even more. Politicians have a gift for throwing many babies out with the bath water.
Youngsters had a choice. They were able to leave and take up real jobs, or go to a real 'Tech' where did a real trade rather than write about one. Others, the more academic (less than 10%) remained in a Sixth Form where the whole week was needed for studying 4 real A Levels and even then many failed.
So much real education has been dumbed down for academic empire building and economic convenience.
What was wrong when a 13 year old, despite his 'learning problems' could earn more on a Saturday morning selling bananas than his teachers did in a whole week! What was wrong when youngsters were able to gain real skills at the age of 16 and take home a valued pay packet. What was wrong when youngsters applied themselves to a technical discipline to gain real technical qualifications and what was wrong when academic youngsters when on to College or University to study the more academic disciplines.
I feel sad for today's youngsters who are denied real life and responsibility due to so-called academic needs. They are 'nudged/forced' into enrolling in a higher education system that they have to borrow money to fund but is of so little worth offering them poor value for money and even worse employment opportunities. So many are denied the chance to earn a wage until they're well over 20 years of age.
Still, it keeps the unemployment figures down!!!!!

Woman on a Raft said...

Compulsory woodwork so we can build the huts you arses want us to live in? Compulsory metalwork

I've heard much worse ideas. As far as I am concerned, you can dump 90% of the loathsome PHSE (the p stands for propaganda) classes and substitute Doing Vaguely Useful Things. Learning how to use a screwdriver, saw and hammer are skills which, like lighting a fire, are being lost.

I am still getting hits off the outragous piece in which a young, female, and theoretically emancipated customer service operator asked me if I had any male relatives who could perhaps enlarge a hole in a bit of chip board for me.

Able said...

Woman on a Raft

I was going to chip in with 'but that is what fathers are for...' and then I woke up. I spend ten times as long doing basic repairs because I involve and educate my son (everything from wiring, laying a fire, cooking, car repair...).

Expecting second and third generation spongers (incapable themselves) to do so is a bit naive I admit. Is asking teachers to do so any less naive? I may be biased but the teachers I have met may be able to lecture on worble gloaming, the feminist perspective on economics and the Hegelian dialectic - but useful skills? Please don't make me laugh! (Oh and what's the betting if they did start such classes, the last person recruited to teach would be a man).

Woodsy42 said...

Nothing whatsoever wrong with woodwork. It demonstrates basic safe tool use plus materials and design applications - skills applicable to any form of home/garden repairs and maintenance.

Xopher said...

Able
You said 'but the teachers I have met ' --- There are very few teachers. Many who claim to be are graduates(required to be posh) who DELIVER the prescribed curriculum. The best teachers we meet are in primary schools and they despair at the thought that when their children leave all that enthusiasm and yearning for learning will be destroyed by the system.
BTW - I taught Woodwork etc. BUT most of all I taught children.

Oh, and my 'gold plated pension' was reduced by 1/5 plus tax once I got to 65 so think twice when you hear condemnation of those fighting for public service pensions -- It's the useless troughers that take the cream and not the real workers. The Government, the trustees of the fund, who raided the pension pot.

Xopher said...

An After though - All of you must disregard every thing I write because I smoke and am not allowed an opinion despite having used my practical experience discouraged more from smoking than any do-gooder health education parrot.

Able said...

Xopher

Granted and agree completely.

But my opinion is worth nothing as an old, white, christain, heterosexual male let alone as a carcinocgenic child-murderer (smoker that is).

I'm a nurse and the opinions on teachers I hold are as nothing to that I hold for many (if not most) of my colleagues (don't start me on nursing management as I start frothing at the mouth).

Xopher said...

Able
"(don't start me on nursing management as I start frothing at the mouth)."
But they've all got degrees so we must listen to their wisdom.
I admire skill at all levels and when I benefited from some high-level cutting & stitching a couple of years ago I most appreciated the ones who helped me through the mucky bits (Oh, and the Aussie bloke who spent hours putting pressure on my bleeding groin!)

Able said...

Xopher

Well so do I, and not just in nursing :-)

It is just as you describe in teaching. There are those who are capable, professional nurses (whether degreed or not) and then there are those who aren't. Guess who gets promoted?

It used to be (Oh Lord I'm old, I trained when Florence was still a girl) that when you went on a ward to meet the nurse in charge, you would usually meet a battle-axe with all the interpersonal skills (collegiate only amazingly) of a rhino with colic, but you could guarantee they knew every job better than anyone else.

Today, at the top of the profession (and believe me there are more at the top than at the coal-face. My own hospital of 395 beds has 8 matrons (???) not counting sundry nursing directors, nurse managers, directorate nurse managers,....) you will find those with great political skill, and not necessarily either experience or knowledge of 'doing the job'. Those at the top set the tone, so standards have fallen drastically. Don't misunderstand me, there are dedicated, professional and knowledgeable staff everywhere, they are now, however, outnumbered.

The 'teaching' of nursing has more to do with feminism, pc,diversity, etc. than in theoretical or practical knowledge.

I no longer have faith in the NHS and I am, like many others, leaving. Political correctness is as rife as everywhere else and I worry that patient care is being compromised daily on its alter (and the evidence is there to support that fear).

taylormade said...

How about compulsory health education? exercise, food, smoking,drinking, drugs.

ignorant children become ignorant adults.

Woman on a Raft said...

Is asking teachers to do so any less naive?

Oh dear, yes, that is a humdinger of a design flaw, Able, which I hadn't spotted.

Your list was interesting though - wiring can now only be done legally by a qualified spark, car repairs are specialized, laying a fire is going to take hours of H&S form filling, and only cooking is regarded as remotely teachable.

As for the teaching of cookery: the constraints of a double lesson and not allowing children to use sharp knives without a security system for getting them all back has effectively put paid to that. They do not really do cooking, they do 'combining of pre preprepared ingredients, sometimes with heat.

Neal Asher said...

It was a couple of years of the industrial revolution that put me off history as a kid. Arkwright's spinning jenny ... Jethro Tull's seed drill ...gah. It was only after school that I learnt history could be interesting.

Incidently, thinking about the comments on nurses etc above. I really enjoyed being lectured about my smoking and drinking while in hospital with an abcess on my bum. I was delerious and in agony at the time which is why I didn't beat her to death with her fucking clipboard and forms.

selsey.steve said...

I was lucky, I had a history teacher who was fantastic. In Form 1 we did the Napoleonic Wars and how did our teacher get us hooked? He took us (all lads) out for a day to a shooting range where we watched black-powder muskets being loaded and fired before being instructed on how to load and fire. We all got to fire six rounds!
And we were all totally hooked on history!

Anonymous said...

So much real education has been dumbed down for academic empire building and economic convenience.
What was wrong when a 13 year old, despite his 'learning problems' could earn more on a Saturday morning selling bananas than his teachers did in a whole week who ate mostly slimasoup and dug graves in their gardens What was wrong when youngsters were able to gain real skills at the age of 16 and take home a valued pay packet. What was wrong when youngsters applied themselves to a technical discipline to gain real technical qualifications and what was wrong when academic youngsters when on to College or University to study the more academic disciplines.

zaphod said...

Well so do I, and not just in nursing :-)

It is just as you describe in teaching. There are those who are capable, professional nurses (whether degreed or not) and then there are those who aren\\\'t. Guess who gets promoted?

It used to be (Oh Lord I\\\'m old, I trained when Florence was still a girl) that when you went on a ward to meet the nurse in charge, you would usually meet a battle-axe with all the interpersonal skills (collegiate only amazingly) of a rhino with colic, but you could guarantee they knew every job better than anyone else.

Today, at the top of the profession (and believe me there are more at the top than at the coal-face. My own hospital of 395 beds has 8 matrons (???) not counting sundry nursing directors, nurse managers, directorate nurse managers,....) you will find those with great political skill, and not necessarily either experience or knowledge of \\\'doing the job\\\'. Those at the top set the tone, so standards have fallen drastically. Don\\\'t misunderstand me, there are dedicated, professional and knowledgeable staff everywhere, they are now, however, outnumbered.

The \\\'teaching\\\' of nursing has more to do with feminism, pc,diversity, etc. than in theoretical or practical knowledge.

I no longer have faith in the NHS and I am, like many others, leaving. Political correctness is as rife as everywhere else and I worry that patient care is being compromised daily on its alter (and the evidence is there to support that fear).

22 December 2011 01:59

smoking hot said...

If Hitler appeared now, he would be victorious in this country. Why? Because MPs would bow down and worship. Do we elect these people to bow down and comply? I think not.

I believe that we need a new political system. Put simply, no MP should be part of the Administration. The USA has such a system, but even their system has become corrupt. That is because their equivalent of MPs can be bought. By that, I do not mean cash (although it may happen); I mean promises. Promises to do this or that in their constituency in return for their votes. Thus, a smoking ban can be enacted simply because an MP wants a new drainage system in his town.

But the whole situation in England is simpler than kebabs or pizzas and even curries come under suspicion that. The population, as a whole, is not politically aware. Is it an accident that politics is not taught as a subject in junior schools? What would happen if a particular Head Teacher decided to do so? I shudder to imagine. And yet, apart from the three rs, what could be more important?

Junican said...

Well said, Smoking Hot!

But one should perhaps go a bit deeper. Why do politicians not want politics taught in schools? My opinion is that it would very quickly become apparent that our political system is a sham. Politicians 'sign off' laws, but they do not actually invent the laws - background committees of 'experts' do that. Bright pupils would soon be asking the question: "How did Minister X, who last week was Health Sec (and therefore,presumably, an 'expert' on health matters), suddenly become an 'expert' on Defence after a cabinet reshuffle?

That is just one of the many reasons that our political system stinks. Ministers pretend to originate legislation. Other politicians go along with the pretence because it could be their turn on the gravy train next.

Angry Squaddie said...

Going back to the nursing discussion, there is one Nurse who I trust and admire. She's a Sister working for (but not part of) the Army. She's also my wife. She trained long enough ago that she values skills and knowledge above politics and PC rubbish. Thankfully she's not working in the NHS and can run her practice as she sees fit. Funnily enough, her Medical Centre is deemed as excellent or higher by the hierarchy.

The NHS can FOAD as far as I'm concerned. I've seen how they operate and when Clinical decisions are being made by an accountant something is very wrong.

Able said...

Angry Squaddie

I'll guarantee you are correct about your wife, why am I sure? because she trained in the military and pc crap is a lot less tolerated there, skill, knowledge and professionalism are prized and rewarded. I didn't train as a nurse when I was in, but let's just say I got some medical expanded practice training (other experiences and that knowledge led me to train later).

Look where the 'elites' (other things than the cream float to the top you know) go for their medical treatment. Do you see them in NHS hospitals? Get real. They frequent private hospitals, staffed by (and I can say this as I have worked one myself) by either foreign trained or ex-military (or at the least rigorously checked, whilst if you have a pulse, a registration and a brown nose, you'll go far in the NHS).

Do as I say, not as I do!

I also agree with Smoking Hot and Junican - but feel the thing that is not taught in schools today (and is actively both discouraged and punished) is THINKING. If even a half of the population actually stopped and thought about what is happening, the hypocrisy, the bias, the corruption, well then we would be running short of piano wire in no time, wouldn't we? (I can only dream)

Able said...

Er, is it just me or is their an echo here??? (zaphod)

Leg-iron said...

There is a troll. I haven't had a proper one since Dirty European Socialist and this one is more fun.

Things might look chaotic for a while because it's game on at last.

Let him dance for us for a while, before we shoot his legs off.

banned said...

"It was the beginning of Grammar School which turned into a comprehensive shithole while I was there" I was of the first generation of oiks who joined a similar school in its first year as a Comp. Likewise "(it has now been closed and demolished".

All that effort to pass my 11-plus wasted. Mind you I did benefit from the remaining Grammar school staff especially in History and Geography at which I excelled, none of this Social History and human Geography rubbish.

As for nursing, my mum trained as a proper nurse during WW2, she returned to nursing when I went to high school but left again when the bean counters took over and started treating her like a bean.

lookalike nutter said...

I love this game, i keep posting copy and paste that dosent fit in with the deabte on many blogs, and then shove silly words like kebabs, curries , pizzas into the posts and 95% of you angry bloggers miss them because you aint reading them properly and answer the post as if you have read it.

honest i keep doing it and silly buggers like junican still miss it again and again.

the evidence of this fun is that bloggers blog at length and those that answer them cant be arsed to read the post properly but want to sound off on their own gripe anyway.

you know its true bloggers, you don\\\\\\\'t read blogs properly do you cos they are boring shite repeated time and time again.

the winner of most boring fart 2011 goes to DAVE ATHERTON, good god he has lost the plot in his own loony world....i can\\\\\\\'t be bothered to play with him, his blog makes me dizzy, have a look at his latest shite....unbeliveable.

the winner of most boring topic that gets shoved into as many posts as possible no matter what the thread is about 2011

SECOND HAND SMOKE.

the winner of best blog 2011 is:

FRANK DAVIS...he almost seems normal, if he opens the blog up no registration i will leave it alone, i could have opened dozens of wordpress accounts but i didnt.

the winner of ....i want to be a victim, please let me be the victim , just troll me dickie doubleday i will bait you 2011 is:

PAT NURSE...sorry love there are just too many nutters to play with, and you will only smoke yourself silly over it and i feel guilty about that, oh and show everyone all my harrassment that you go on about but nobody ever sees.

victim my arse

lookalike nuttter said...

sorry about the punctuation its the proxy that does it

Leg-iron said...

Nutter.. keep playing. There is more rope to tease out yet.

Don't keep playing the proxy game. You arnott that intelligent.

a is for azbo said...

03:21

you know you've passed out with distinction when they close down the dump and demolish it after you've left...

stan the scalpel said...

00:11

dame mary seacole, i presume?

high plains spliffter said...

01:25

If even a half of the population actually stopped and thought about what is happening, the hypocrisy, the bias, the corruption, well then we would be running short of piano wire in no time, wouldn't we? (I can only dream)

yeah, coz music is the food of love man

paul x

desperately seeking reality said...

compulsory education: the one concept guaranteed to turn-off the intellectual light-bulb of a whole society; marvellous, the only thing i learnt at school was getting-out-of-bed-in-the-morning - now i'm unemployed and don't know why i bothered, coz i just feel guilty about wasting my one skill; the jobcentre want me to re-train, but i can't think what for?

nonny the neandertroll said...

04:24

i smell a false-fag situation here...

anyhow, let the drag-queen continue her act over christmas - we'll just kick-back and tend a pipe, whilst she huffs-and-puffs and serves senseless subliminal pizzas.

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