A Lot to Think About.

Via Grit in the Gears


  1. Interesting, but do you change the system, certainly not all at once that would be chaos. The parents would have to be convinced, the teachers would have to be retrained, the facilities rebuilt, and students part way through the system either continue or change systems.

  2. Public education worked well when I was young and a university degree in almost any discipline guaranteed a decent job. Today kids finish school and go straight to work at call centres. I'm seeing a whole generation of young people who are floundering and it concerns me.

  3. Funny thing; when I posted this I thought it would spur discussion. not so much, really, in fact none.

    You seem to be the only one who noticed it. Most people, I suspect, don't watch it through.

    Like you, I'm the product of the era when a degree, in theory, led to a job.
    Just as the speaker described, at age 11, the then english education system put me through an exam called the 11 plus. If you passed, you were deemed worthy of an academic education, if you failed, you had a more vocational route to follow. I passed, (only the top 20% passed), so I went to a grammar school, so classics were on the menu rather than metalworking.
    I remember asking one teacher, in all seriousness, what good it was in the modern world to learn dead languages and greek myth.
    He told me that a person who gets a degree in classics is a person who can go on to do ANYTHING.
    Oh well.... I carried on down the academic line all the way to becoming a teacher myself. But in reality, what that old eleven plus exam had missed was that really, I'm good with my hands, with tools, that making things, inventing things, mending things is what I like to do. I missed out on all that vocational woodwork and metalshop....
    So when I was at college, learning to be a teacher, and working in a school for eight weeks.... teaching practice.... "Hey kids. We're going to build a hovercraft!"
    Ooh metalwork shop lathes, welding torches! The headteacher was doubtful, but we won third place in a national technology competition sponsored by shell/bp, so I got a good grade from that school. And an offer of a job after college.

    Yet here I am. my job, my everyday job is about practical stuff, technical and engineering skills.
    My mind does poetry, history, geography, literature, physics, social anthropology...
    I think school wasted my time a lot of the time.
    Yet I can't deny that all the seemingly irrelevant stuff I had to learn back then has been of interest since. I can tell you all sorts of stuff which appears to be of no use whatsoever. in the late 1980s, I was good at pub general knowledge quizzes. A group of us won, on average, every second week at one pub. Otherwise, my knowledge of the number of caterpillar bulldozers in Papua New Guinea, in 1968 is of little import to the world.

  4. 414 uri too large to process.

    Damn. I was doing the debate thing. Now I'll have to try be concise.
    I posted this originanny to try provoke debate.
    I've got no comments from it so I assume the blogreading masses don't share my enthusiasm.
    I liked the way the animator worked over the speech, but more importantly, the speech itself.
    As Bruce says, changing the system might not be easy. But schools do exist which seem to address the concepts, http://www.dailymontessori.com/montessori-theory/
    What I learned, whilst learning to be a teacher, from some superb educators, was the concept that school, at all levels, exists to teach one thing only, how to think, use your brain.
    The odd thing is that I can hear the voice, see the face, but not recall the name of the man who said that to me, and several others back in 1973.
    All that stuff, remembering dates, places, kings, elements, ports, languages, it's all a smokescreen, which hides what you're really learning, you're learning how to learn.
    On my first teaching practice, I was in a school that was actually on an R.A.F base. I can't remember the class teacher's name, again, I can see her face, hear her voice. She trained to teach whilst being airforce personnel. And she told me that to teach, you don't need to be an expert in the subject, just be an expert at teaching. She told me that she could teach how to change the wheel on a lockheed hercules, despite never having done it.

  5. I have learned, over the years, that the best thing school can teach you, is how to learn. If you know that, nothing should scare you.

    Amongst this weeks musings, i've been interested in knitting. I'm good at knots, and I just want to wrap my head around the way knitting works. I'm not going to knit, but I want to know I could if I wanted to.

    School never taught me that.
    If I could go back to day one of my schooling, how would i change it? That's the biggest question. And which teachers would I shoot?

  6. Okay. Final comment.

    Too many kids do college level courses, which are very specifically targeted. More general courses give a wider range of job suitabilities.

    No kid should get on a higher level course who makes spelling or grammar errors in the application.

    Apply for a job with me with textese in your application?

    I expect you to be numerate, literate, and reasonably humble.
    I expect you to be prepared to clean toilets and do drudge work. If you think your first job should give you a bmw and a corner office, then you and I will not get along at all. My father turned up at work on his first day, full of diplomas and in his best suit, and was sent to the janitor's office to mop floors and clean toilets. He eventually was the chief executive of a group of companies employing thousands. Back in the nineteen thirties, on his first day, the lesson he learned was that to get to the top, you need to understand what life's like at the bottom, and you need to learn that every worker, every job is important within a company.

  7. My education stood me in good stead vocationally. I'm a social worker who shifted to political work for a party that believes in social justice. My husband studied philosophy and became a firefighter. He's a serious thinker and refers to his formal education every day but not necessarily at work.

  8. I guess that's part of what I was trying to say.
    Your husband's a prime example. people see "fireman", don't think "philosopher".

    I've learned over the years that the job, the clothes, don't describe the person.
    In my life as a plumber, visiting many different homes and workplaces, the thing I learned was "everybody's got a story"
    Oh my, if only I had a blog back then, I'd never have been stuck for a post.
    Is it safe now, to ask why you're pissed off at the Canadian Blog Awards?

  9. It sounds a bit like sour grapes but the winner in my category is an American who happens to have dual Canadian citizenship, probably because one of her parents was born in Canada. She was born, raised and educated in the U.S. She works there as well. Secondly nominations were accepted well after the date for nominations had passed. Thirdly, voters received spam email after voting. The CNBA organization is trying to improve a loosey goosey free for all but has to take the process more seriously if they expect bloggers to support it.


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