Reinventing Education Week 1 Dr Will Curtis
The School I’d Like • Edward Blishen(1969) The School that I’d like • Burke & Grosvenor (2001) – 15,000 submissions • Birkett (2011) – The Children’s Manifesto - here
Christa, Age 16 - The school that I’d like would be one whose primary aim was to teach me how to live, and make me a responsible member of society. Today, academic knowledge has become the sole interest of many schools, and few are daring enough to abandon the O-level rat-race for the job of creating thinking, adult individuals.
Lynette, age 15 – I am tired of hearing that the hope of my country lies in my generation. If you give me the same indoctrination as a child, how can you expect me to be any different from you?
Lyne, Age 15 - The fault with a lot of schools today is that teachers are not prepared to listen. There is a teacher at our school who is very keen on discussions until somebody makes a point which she is unable to explain, and she gets angry and tells us to sit down. I think that’s the attitude of most teachers today. They don’t mind discussing various topics as long as it ends up with them being able to prove a point to you and not the other way.
Lynn, Age 14 - The building would be spacious with only the minimum of pupils, so that each pupil would have a little more individual attention. Not as in the schools of my environment, where the children with less ability than others are just pushed aside (this is true of schools all over the country) and given no attention, and given the name of Cs and Ds. Where the teachers can merrily leave them until it is time to leave school, when these poor people will be left to the mercy of the world. Because these are the people who will be most easily swindled. In my mind, the children should be given equal rights, because surely the children with a higher standard of intelligence are in need of less help than those with a low standard. I am not saying that the children with a higher standard of intelligence should be abandoned, but equal attention should be given to all. The ones with a lower grade of intelligence would have teachers specially assigned to try and bring their sleeping talents out into the open air.
Angela, Age 15 - This place of learning should never be somewhere to fear, nor should it restrict free speech and ideas, or be somewhere which will strip you of the confidence and individuality you need to succeed in life. School is there to prepare you for your future life, not to make you scared of it. My ideal school is a community, which upholds your strong points and overcomes your weak points. Teachers should always know how much they should be involved in your private life, but they refrain from depriving you of a life outside school untainted by the shackles of school work. What is education if it is not about people? If results are what the government wants, then replace every child with a robot each one the same, producing the same work, the same results year after year. Education should be working to make people valuable citizens, not so called ‘valuable statistics’.
Hero Joy, home educated, Age 14 - The place must be unafraid of kids staring out of windows and must not insist on 100% attention or even 100% attendance… It is a terrible pressure for kids to have to pay attention and to think what they are told to think. I would encourage people to dream more and enjoy the sun and the sky, the growing grass and the bear boughed trees. I would encourage kids to look beyond the classroom, out of the classroom and see themselves doing different things.
For next week…. • Please read extract from Gatto’s ‘seven lessons’ – you can find it at: http://www.newciv.org/whole/schoolteacher.txt (esp – part 1) …and, if you find this thought-provoking, try chapter 1 of his ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction - http://antioligarch.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/john-taylor-gatto-weapons-of-mass-instruction.pdf