Monday, 17 January 2011

What do you people want?

Oh I'm sick of hearing the blah blah complaints about Chua. All I can say is, look at yourselves. You schizophrenic English. What do you want from your educational system?

Chua is doing nothing more than a logical extension of what you've been trying to put in place for years. Exam glory. Social oneupmanship through a quadruple A* pass at A level followed by a first. Prestige potential earning power.

You're now allowing people like Graham Allen to talk about school year grades starting from birth. Tell me, what's that about if you're not madly obsessed with 'exam performance' as the measure of your child's success? What are you letting him do that for if you really don't want the culture of 'my baby's smarter than yours', SATs glory and ten GCSE exam passes?

Isn't Allen ultimately promoting the same school exam culture as Chua? Formed round the idea that parents must be doing something wrong if their child's not excelling at school?

If you don't want that culture, tell me, why the fussing and fretting about whether the four-year old is 'school ready' or whether the toddler is showing signs of 'school preparedness'? And if someone starts Tinkertop at school age five, my goodness, it sounds like the sun exploded. Aged five? What? Three years of 'missing out' on the Einstein nappy curriculum? You can forget about college.

But of course you're going to deny all that. You're going to say, School isn't about exam passes. It's about being a part of society!

Oh please, do me a favour.

Having spent four of my earth years living with the English tribes who inhabit the land called classroom, I think I can be a little impatient with that line.

For a start look at the regime you set up already. You lock them up in airless rooms in batches of 30-plus, then you prohibit movement, timetable the living daylights out of them, require homework from the age of five, grade them from the day they arrive to the day they pass out, stop them speaking without permission, ask questions of them to which you already know the answer, pressurise them to succeed in the prescribed manner, then prevent them from letting off steam and run screaming about the 'playground', preferring medication for another brain disease the experts suddenly discovered, like AAODAHHD.

If you seriously want to reject Chua and dump Allen, then you got to stop driving kids to exam passes, let teachers come away from that model, let them spend their professional day job communicating passions, following ideas and interests with no automatic guarantee of success and yes - hit and miss for their wilder ideas and approaches. You simply must trust them to bring experimentation and inquiry into the classroom, and preferably take the kids out of it.

Now, do you people want school as a controlled exam system or not?

What you can't do, it seems to me, is whine on and on while simultaneously allowing successive governments to set up exam-focused teaching factories for which Chua is a natural conclusion and Allen is just another step on the way.


kelly said...

I am confused, as this post showed up twice in my reader. Either you are REALLY annoyed about this and want to make your point doubly obvious, or there is a glitch in google reader.

I talked about this subject today, about how my son would be classed as dyslexic at school, but at home he is himself, with his own slightly oddball way of learning. So pleased he isn't in a school setting to suffer the labelling and what-not.

Nora said...

Excellently put, Grit!

Grit said...

hi kelly. that would be google, obviously. not me. certainly not me, crashing around unable to distinguish one button from another. nope.

thank you, nora. the version published by accident had the spelling mistakes.

Gweipo said...

I think that's why there is so much reaction from people. It's because they've been BUSTED! she's just everything taken to the extreme!

sharon said...

I think the only compulsories in primary level education should be an adequate grounding in reading, writing and basic mathematical skills. All else should be led by the child's interest and inclination, be that in broadly academic/scientific, artistic or practical directions. I still think the original concept of the Comprehensive School at Secondary level has its merits but unfortunately the schools were never actually organised or run to that concept. And regardless of what anyone thinks, schools are a necessity as not everyone has the time or inclination to home educate. However the format needs a lot of work and finance if it is to offer a genuine and valuable education suitable for all of its students.

Grit said...

she has certainly raised some hackles, gweipo! but what do you think, are her publishers pleased?

i tend to agree sharon; i would love to see primary schools be a time of exploration and magical inquiry. i think the gritlets had a fair go at that. now we're at the between point, staring into the abyss of 'the secondary years'. hmm. better encourage some thinking about that in the kid brains.

Loz said...

I've just found you through someone else I follow, and really like what I've read so for this post I have to say, very well said!!
I'm looking forward to ploughing through some older posts.

Grit said...

hi loz, you are welcome.

MadameSmokinGun said...

Catching up tonight. Only just read this. Reaction obvious - O M G. Not that Con/Lib are so fab (eugh) but thank fuck we got rid of Labour. I especially liked the bit about 'vunerable first-time mothers' - or should that have read 'fresh blood'?