Modern societies tend to shelter children from experiences and responsibilities which would be invaluable training for the future. Most of us live in a risk-aversive culture which protects children from “dangerous” learning situations which might eventually save their lives — and the lives of many others — in the future.
A movement of sorts is growing in opposition to this overprotective culture. From Gever Tulley’s Tinkering School to Hal Iggulden’s Dangerous Book for Boys to a wide variety of wilderness adventure programs for youth, several people and organisations are pushing back against the stifling atmosphere of a risk-free upbringing.
Gets no argument from me. Education needs to be about knowledge and skills presented at the appropriate juncture for the emotional and cognitive age – early, it should be diverse and later more specialized. Everyone knew that some time back.
The article mentions ‘modern societies’ but I use the term ‘matriarchal’ for it’s in the nature of mothers to nurture and protect from harm. Where most of us are agreed is that while that’s not a bad thing in a family, society is not a big family and does not need mummy or nanny State. All the required nurturing can be done by the two parents and the kid’s class teacher for that year, providing the class teacher is of the sane type [rare to find these days].
Chuckles links to another article on a similar theme. And what of these teachers who’ve lost or never really found the way? Hardly surprising in the light of the recent posts on education on this site. Hardly surprising in the light of people such as this [below right].
I mean, seriously – just look at her!
Believe me bad women headteachers are not exclusive to the UK. Met one here already in my five years in German schools. I WILL agree however with the earlier post from the Irish lady. The UK’s schools are run – intentionally I think….it cannot be coincidence – by insecure bullies with few people skills or no aptitude. Poor children! German schools are in the main much more friendly and cohesive! The percentage of male heads and deputies here at secondary level is huge compared to the handbag swinging lot in charge in the UK. [Germany ex UK]
How frustrating that bullies such as these are given positions of responsibility in our schools. They often have favourite members of staff and seek to boot out anyone they don’t like (regardless of their teaching ability). It ought to be easier for members of staff to speak out about bullying members of senior management in schools. [Laura, Carlisle]
Obvious question – what, practically, can be done. The only way is for a bunch of highly regarded teachers [through parental feedback] to get together with people from industry to form the nucleus of a Council for Standards in Education or whatever you’d like to call it – presumably retired people now because of the time requirement – to issue accreditation criteria and start accrediting teachers UK-wide.
The second step would be to set up schools which, if they’re in line with parent’s concerns, would attract many. Cost can be hugely mitigated by using online facilities and the old slates in the lessons, in a largely cooperative way, i.e. participating parents would allow their home computers to be part of it.
Yes, I can see some of the immediate problems – security, curriculum etc. Curriculum is not difficult – the archives have full curricula in place and they can be tweaked for modern tech developments. Seriously, that is the least of the problems.
The major problem will come from the government through its zoning. If anyone attempted to run a ‘school’ from home, local authorities get drawn in and CCHQ are implacably opposed to the ‘wrong’ messages being given to children by parents and teachers, e.g. learning about our heritage, survival skills, developing solid literacy and numeracy – you know, subversive stuff like that.
And the media blackout would be complete although word would get out online and if a proper organization was in place, parents could be welcomed and directed to approved people in their area [even using CRB for the nonce] who were coordinating such things.
It’s so integral to what a goodly proportion of parents are crying out for at this time, let alone those in business, that it would most certainly grow and stand or fall by its own efforts. So, just as you had Montessori schools and other types, this might be CSE-approved schools and the name would count for a commitment to all the things we’ve been writing about education in the past few years.
It needs one or two – as I say, probably retired now – to get this thing moving.