Monday, 25 June 2012

Subversive education

Educational progressives will wail and gnash their teeth. The clip below may mess up their long-fermented plans to reduce the nation's youth to the condition of 'noble' savages.

Hat tip: Radical Rodent


cisbio said...

howdy dude,
I kind of know what you mean about history in schools, but I shall play devil's advocate here. The 'awful' labour woman had a point -which occurred to me before I watched her make it - that Gove is a product of another age and is being wistful about the education that installed his own mental furniture. It's the same for all the education 'traditionalists' who rail against the so-called PC brigade, I suspect.

State education's only function is to equip the great unwashed with the necessary skills to function in a modern economy. For the most part that means reading and writing, basic maths and, these days, IT. Even since my days in school, the skills required in a typical office have radically changed, expanded. Something has to give and I presume that has been traditional history, among other things.

You're right to say learning by rote all the kings and queens is a useful peg on which to hang knowledge - but only if you're interested in it in the first place.

Sitting at a desk and learning by rote is boring and a turn-off. I suspect even Gove resented it at the time and only appreciated the effort when the poems in his head started to impress the ladies. (reason enough, you might say.) Rote learning itself does not enhance mental agility, rather the opposite, I'd say.

That said, I can't really argue with what Mr Hitchens said (for once). It certainly does enhance one's mental life to have such stuff knocking around the brain. But, if state schools in earlier times did ram this stuff into kids' brains, it was because the teachers themselves were educated in this traditional manner. That is no longer the case -it's a different world out there, maan.

I firmly believe that kids' interest in the higher things is instilled not at school, but at home and it was ever thus. Kids who grow up in a house full of books like and read books, at least have no fear of higher learning -even poetry. Hitchens unwittingly said as much himself, when he regretted that folks could no longer pass the good stuff onto their children.

My own experience suggests the books don't actually need be read to have an effect. My dad's tastes weren't very elevated - there were piles of harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Len Deighton, Arthur Whatisface ( it's all coming back), but he also subscribed to the Heron Library. Shelf after shelf of literary classics all in faux leather and gilt bindings, which no-one ever read. Nevertheless, I grew up aware of Dickens, Thackerey, Macaulay, Gogol, Tolstoy, Stendhal, Flaubert, et al, simply they were there, on the shelf, bearing down on me. I like to think the effect was positive..

I could bang on but nuff's nuff.

Trooper Thompson said...

If you view some of the other bits I've written on this educashun bizniz you'll know that what I am most against is the state quasi-monopoly, which necessitates the unending battle between the traditionalists and the progressive types.

You are right about learning stuff outside of school. I never learned history in school, and no doubt my interest was helped along by being in a literate house and being taken to castles and places like that with the family.

I want schools to be independent, and follow their own paths, then everyone has a chance of getting the education that will benefit them.

You're certainly right that the teachers wouldn't know all the old stuff now, but if the schools weren't so bloody regimented, you might get a better mix of people going into teaching later in life.

"Sitting at a desk and learning by rote is boring and a turn-off".

It can be. School in general, as far as I remember, was boring. I don't know when it was decided that the kids are supposed to be entertained and (awful word) 'engaged'.