Thursday, April 07, 2011


Website for this image

In the UK, on 7 April 2011, teachers at Darwen Vale High School, near Blackburn Lancashire, are to stage a walk-out.

The teachers are protesting at the lack of support they have received from the head teacher.

"They say pupils frequently challenge teachers to fights, push and shove them in the corridors and classrooms and are constantly swearing and insulting them." (Strike-hit school governor blames pupil anarchy... on wind and rain‎)

The teachers say that when they take the matters to the head teacher she often sides with the pupils instead of staff.

Americans are worried that their education system is no longer producing enough inventors like Thomas Edison. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. "Nearly all his childhood learning took place at home."

So, how should schools be organised?

1. Give pupils a choice of schools.

This means there must be lots of small schools of different types.

All schools should be tiny.

The big schools should be broken up.

2. Give headmasters and teachers the right to exclude pupils who are disruptive.

3. Set up special schools that give intensive care (very expensive) to the disruptive children.

4. Set up top quality schools that cater for the less academic kids.

There are parents and children who want such schools - so long as they are well run, and do not become dumping grounds for the disruptive children.

5. Lower the school leaving age and shorten the school day.

This will mean children will learn more.

That is the paradox.

6. Sack the bureaucrats.

According to an article about UK schools in Scotland on Sunday, 9 September 2007, (Alexander attacks 'bloated' education authorities) one in every four pounds of education funding never makes it to schools.

Studies show that of the average £5,160 spent on a child's education annually, £1,700 is swallowed up by local government.

It is time to close down the "bloated" education authorities. Get rid of the government bureaucrats, both local and national. Sack the education chiefs. It is these folks who have helped to ruin British schools.







gyg3s said...

Curious how easy it is to forget that pupil misbehaviour is a social construct ...

Anonymous said...

More brainwashing for kids?


Anonymous said...


StefZ said...

I notice that improved teacher training doesn't make its way onto the list of suggested changes to our school systems

It rarely does

Burn-out rates for newly qualified teachers are high and highlight how poorly selected and prepared they are for their role

Blaming organisational structures is often a cop out for poor behaviour management skills and an inability to inspire students

The best teachers I've worked with can hold the attention of a class virtually regardless of the environment, and without laying a finger on the students

The Realist Report said...

The schools aren't too great over here either. I went to a high school that had about 1,200 kids, many of them very disruptive and uninterested in learning anything. We did have some really good teachers though. I think that is what really makes or breaks a child's education- whether or not that have an engaging teacher that can get them to enjoy learning. The teaching bureaucracy certainly does nothing to help in this regard.

Most of the stuff kids learn in school is politically correct, manufactured BS anyways, especially when it comes to history. Kids are actually brainwashed and propagandized in school mostly. Real learning takes independent and critical thinking, which is definitely not being taught anymore.

Anonymous said...

Aangirfan / Anon, I am curious to know what your nationality is? Your articles are excellent. However, there is hardly any information about you. Look forward to your comment in this section in reply to this one.

Anon said...

Nationality? We are a cooperative of convent school girls, of various nationalities.

- Aangirfan

Anon said...

"The best teachers I've worked with can hold the attention of a class virtually regardless of the environment, and without laying a finger on the students."

It's 'the best teachers' who escape from the state school system.

I've seen school inspectors and headmasters unable to control even an average class in some schools.

Anonymous said...

Good article.
Here is an old, but good expose of how our education system hurts our kids. It is by design, not by incompetence or for any other reason.

I'm from the nation that opposes all wars. It does not exist yet, but when it does, I will move there.

subrosa said...

Ah the cross that I bear - education. I won't bore you but the rot set in when comprehensives were introduced.

I can't help but agree with your points. For starters, we could reintroduce vocational schools and stop paying pupils hard cash to stay in school.

Ladies, as always I congratulate you on your research.

CS said...

Lack of motivation must be a factor. When youth unemployment among black Americans is 50%, WTF use is a high school diploma. I'm not saying it is no use, but that's what many kids must think. Society has trashed them before the reached the workforce. Best to start selling drugs right away and forget school altogether.

The same sort of destructive thought processes must afflict many children in almost any Western society where work has been offshored and outsourced, to beef up corporate profits, which have rarely been higher. In the meantime, workforce skills are wasting away.

If I may plug my own take on this, here's a link:

Anonymous said...

Japan is no better - I worked there for close to a decade, and this report on the state of colleges there is pretty accurate, by my experience:

Japan’s colleges facing ‘meltdown’

from Sapio Magazine (Sept. 28)

So where does Japan stand today, pedagogically speaking?

“Japan’s universities,” declares Sapio, “are on the brink of meltdown.”

Intellectual bankruptcy is already here; financial bankruptcy is around the corner; and the nation’s demography, with its rapidly declining university-age population, hardly promises an academic resurgence any time soon. That is the broad picture emerging from Sapio’s series of reports on the state of “reformed” higher education in Japan.

Two professors, Tsuneharu Okabe of Saitama University and Yo Kawanari of Hosei University, focus in back-to-back articles on intellectual bankruptcy. Okabe expresses astonishment and frustration at how dense, immature and ignorant students are nowadays. And professors, Kawanari maintains, are little better.

Students’ academic ability is in free-fall, writes Okabe. Simple logical
thinking is beyond them. Their vocabulary is childish, their grasp of
mathematics feeble, their curiosity nowhere in evidence. The latter is
doubly surprising, he points out, in view of the young generation’s easy familiarity with the Internet — but the Net apparently appeals to them more as a playground than as a research venue.

Kawanari saves his venom for his professorial colleagues. It is remarkable, he writes, how many authors’ names appear on even brief research papers, some no more than a page long. “All those ‘authors’,” he says, “leave it uncertain as to whose work it really is. If a question arises, who do you address it to? Evasion of responsibility is written into the very system” — which helps explain, he adds, why Japan’s roster of currently active professors includes not a single Nobel Prize winner — as against 48 at the U.K’s Cambridge University alone.

Kawanari marvels at how sloppily written many academic papers are — “but that’s not the worst of it,” he says, citing an Education Ministry survey showing that a quarter of all university teachers have not published anything at all in the past five years.

Moral - don't believe everything you hear about how great education is in some foreign countries.

Michael said...

Aangirfan, watch this speech by Salman Khan at 2011 TED convention.

He identifies the real issue with education, he likens traditional schooling to teaching 5 children to ride a bike. He says the traditional approach after 12 months when 1 has mastered training wheels, 1 is gingerly riding and the other 3 are still a wobbly mess the traditional approach would have all the children jump up to full sized mountain bikes to the benefit of only 2 and to major detriment to the confidence and enthusiasm of the other 3.

He also does away with the fallacy that there is slow children, his self paced learning platform produced graphs that showed the children identified as slow are not stupid but rather were merely facing one sticking point that was temporarily holding back their approach.

His approach would have children and teens watch vidoe lectures for homework and in perform 'homework' in class where they could interact with their peers and teachers rather then be bored to death by an hour long lecture.

Such a centralised approach can be seriously corrupted for social science but for 'hard science' and mathematics where there is unifiable and provable principles it sounds like a great idea for the future.

Anonymous said...

Ah ah! - how are things at St. Trinians these days aang...?

J xx

Anon said...

Here at St Trinians we are reading through all the comments, and looking at all the links.

Many thanks.

- Aangirfan

opit said...

I followed a fellow who posted on homeschooling a while back when I blogged at WordPress. He had fascinating tales of the projects he would get into with his kids to teach physics, astronomy and more. Sadly, he stopped blogging a few years back.
It helped provide a spark to chase things farther when I happened upon a New York schoolteacher who was a prizewinner in history - and quit in disgust over the system.
Now, I'm an odd bird myself. Dad didn'tbelieve in kids having much access to television as he wanted us to read for recreation. So - I did. But I read what I'm sure many would decry as junk - speculative fiction or sci-fi.
Even when young I was of the attitude that so much of what was going around me was obvious lying so that I might as well go to the refuge where people could tell the truth if they presented it as a lie - rather than read lies presented as truth.
It was a crazy idea - that actually seemed to pay off to some extent. And I certainly had fun.
Anyway. Gato had an absolutely heretical attitude about history and education - even worse than me, one of those Preacher's Kids who challenge everything. Links regarding what he was about were just posted in the Education cache in the last day or so.
Here's how to find them > Topical Index > Education
As you can see, I have been assembling an amateur journalistic site revolving around my online perambulations.
Bon appetit !

Anon said...

Many thanks for the comments and links.

- Aangirfan

Site Meter