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March 9th, 2005

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01:07 am - School ...
Reading the comments here and reflecting back on my own school days, I can't help thinking (again) that current school systems are in need of radical overhaul.
I'm not sure if there's a good alternative, though. Homeschooling ? How many parents have the aptitude, time and interest in doing it right ? Done badly, it could easily result in worse outcomes than normal schooling. And yet, it could avoid the poisonous socialisation that goes on in so many schools. I've read suggestions in a number of places that we should do away with age grouping, which sounds simply sensible to me. Not all kids of the same age learn at the same rate, or play well togehter, and yet we shove them in to a system which pretends that they do (and generally caters badly for those who are slower or faster than average). Also, mingling kids of different ages might break up some of the worst clique-forming and social exclusion that goes on.
(I should think about this more, research more, and write this post more clearly ... but it's late, I'm tired, and I want to post it now, so ... over to you)
Any thoughts ?
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(10 touches | En garde !)


[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that homeschooling would work well if:

1. The parents could be sufficiently objective about their child's progress to give them a good education.

2. The parents were happy to accept when they were wrong and correct themselves.

3. The child was still heavily socialised with other children and didn't grow up purely in the company of adults.

I'm not saying people who homeschool do or do not do this at the moment but these are the basic things I consider to be important.

My take on schools is that teachers should be paid more and should have free educational upgrades available to them so that they can keep learning and developing, hence passing some of this benefit onto children. Teaching should be something that people strive to do and it should have very high entry standards.
Date:March 9th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC)
Teaching should be something that people strive to do and it should have very high entry standards.

Unfortunately this means it needs to be high-status, and nowadays this is synonymous with high-pay. And it needs to be maintained. Currently I can see standards going down because as each new generation comes through, they are worse educated than the previous, and the lower wages means you attract the bottom end of candidates - so many (not all) of these young teachers are less competent than the previous, make up for it by teaching easier things, leaving the next generation in a worse position to start from as they are worse educated. Rinse and repeat. We are all dooooooomed!
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
The Netherlands and Sweden (and to a lesser extent Germany) seem to be doing wonders increasing the status (and pay) of teachers. they've realised that you need to be able to attract and maintain good teachers to ensure future competitiveness.

Meanwhile in Oz, the public school system is little more than a child-minding service according to most of my teacher friends. Even if you do want to teach (and these are quite dedicated teachers), the environment (both in terms of student culture and infrastructure resources) simply isn't there any more.

[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
Although what will be interesting is if they go ahead in Oz and issue vouchers for student education (it's actually purpose is as a nasty trick to increase private school funding). Students (well, parents anyway) will be able to take their vouchers to any school, thus introducing darwinian evolution to the school system.

Personally I just think the good schools will be unable to cope with the increased load and the whole system will crash in flames. [1]

[1] Then again, quite a number of people bought/rented housing in my high school's feeder zone simply to ensure that their kids were able to go there.

Date:March 10th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC)
This sounds like the torie's plans for the UK. Though the housebuying thing already applies.

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