Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Jacob's Creek did all the talking

Wasted several hours again today, thinking what I started in my head, yesterday. Deliberating on theory, practice and implications of autonomous education vs institutionalised learning.

In the end I thought fuckit.

Who gives a toss these days about hippy-shit filosophy like that? Who wants to spend time, wondering about pedagogy and practice? Is anyone doing this stuff anymore in those intellectual centres of energy, the Postgraduate Departments of Education? What are they doing now to encourage questioning of educational discourse? Or did they all just roll over to talk about how to raise standards? At least in the one I attended they were brave enough to bus in Mary Warnock and wave about a second-hand copy of Deschooling Society. Do teachers even read that anymore?

Probably not. I don't think anyone really wants to think these things now, much beyond my own weird community.

Not the poor lot of teachers who have to deal with Ofsted inspections alongside Kirk Hammerhead, Drug Lord of 3B. Not the Local Authority Jobsworthy either, who needs to show a line manager they're ticking the boxes to meet the annual appraisal. Not central government, certainly. Neither the educational solutions management team who must sell a package of taught MAs to improve the gross sales figures by Thursday. And not the parents, who want the kids to get jobs, buy houses, leave home, and when are you going provide the grandchild?

So, wasted time, then.

No-one's interested here, either, in my tedious educational filosophising. Dig is working, and Shark, Squirrel and Tiger don't want to discuss pedagogy. They want to embroider a fish, a horse, and a whale.

So I had a consoling talk with a half-bot of Jacob's Creek. They persuaded me to the following conclusions. That more parents should be anarchists. That education should be wrestled well away from Ofsted and politicians. That schools should employ passionate practitioners and those frankly wacko teachers who are confident or bizarre enough to take risks. Because mainstream thinking on this subject is busted. (Jacob's Creek said that.) I agreed. The majority of the population is duped into school which they have come to believe is a word synonymous with education and which is in turn reduces their thinking to two concerns:

1) Passing exams.

These are merely in place to occupy active and bright young brains with thoughtless, procedural memorising of material. Exams do not invite inquiry, nor reward provocative thinking. They are not there so students and teachers can look around the world and ask questions. Exams never want you to stop and say, 'Hang on a minute, what am I doing?'

2) Something else.

Actually, I can't remember what Jacob's Creek said next about this question I asked, i.e. What is school there for?

Maybe doing the same that everyone else does because everyone does it. Or summat. Whatever.

Say hello to his lovely red wine.

But you can bet, before I forgot it, that Jacob's observation was a blinder, and goes to prove how knowledge is alive, how delightful its discovery, and probably how the most useful lessons in life are not the ones you sat down in class to receive (nor can be found again if I finish off his bottle).


Gweipo said...

school is there to prevent the nations mothers from being locked up for abuse and man/child slaughter.
Honest. If I had to home educate my kids there would be a problem. A big one.

And I must be honest I'm really, really, really happy with their current school. Passionate teachers, tick, passionate staff, tick, getting them out of the classroom to experience the real world tick, getting them to work with older and younger people less fortunate than themselves, tick tick tick.
Much as I miss hK terribly, I'd stay here just for the school....

Grit said...

i have some sympathies with this reason for school, gweipo! i have to work hard to carve out non-contact time and there are states of being i have to give up, or at least negotiate round, as the kids are there 24/7. it won't be for much longer, because they are growing up fast...

and finding a school you are happy with is delightful. i have not found one yet. what can i do?! the local schools to home simply aren't offering a service i am happy with. and hong kong schools! eek! can you imagine?!

Deb said...

I am interested in your philosophising, Grit. Just let me hit the drive-thru liquor store and we can solve all these problems together.