Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Whacko ?

I see that at an educational conference family campaigner Lynette Burrows has called for the return of the cane saying that ….” The decision to abolish it 20 years ago has caused a culture of violence and anarchy. ..The 21 year experiment in state schools has failed and now its time to turn the clock back”

I`ve got a certain amount of sympathy for the frustration but I think there are a lot of things to try first like making teachers work for a living and improving the social mix all of which I have discussed at length in my long boring way.. So I am sitting on the fence so hard my bottom will soon be perforated. Pondering on the efficacy of applying thumb screws to teenagers I came across this example of a teacher getting it right back:

“A teacher in Chile who dared criticise the local mayor found himself forced to stare at a wall for a week in punishment. Patricio Gonzales was sacked from teaching by the mayor of La Cruz, Maite Larrondo, who then gave him a desk job in his office. Mr Gonzales said: 'When I asked what my job was going to be, they simply told me to stare at a wall.' The MPs of the city are now voting to try to remove the mayor from office. “

It isn`t easy being a teacher here , you are undermined at every turn and somehow we need to return authority to the classroom. It could be a lot worse though as we can see .


Electro Kevin said...

Looking at fetish sites, eh. "I was doing it for research purposes ... honestly, Mr Plod" he whimpers sobbing and sweating.


Electro Kevin said...

The worst job I ever had will be published on my own blog soon.

I've also published my first short article - nothing pervy, just easing myself into blogosphere gently.

Roger Thornhill said...

p.s. Just search Google Images for Whacko! or "Prof" Jimmy Edwards.

You are (not) showing your age, NM. Take 100 lines.

Ed said...

1) we need to make teaching into a desirable career not a last resort job for the less bright/ambitious (there are loads of good teachers but a few bad ones ruin kids' education)

2) streaming, academic rigour for the bright kids and proper vocational training for the less academic

3) independence for all schools (grant maintained) with the freedom to set all policies and budget priorities

4) competition for parents not competition for schools.

Newmania said...

I `ll have a peek EK....

Newmania said...

hallo Roger...yes I remember the programme vaguely and that is exactly what I should have thought of . Somehow I rather lost track of what I was trying to achieve

Newmania said...

Ed I disagre Teaching isa desirable carreer it is well paid secure and takes no work. No we have to make teachers accountable and reward and fire.

Your other points

2 : Yes with provisos
3 : Yes
4: Mmmmm

I favour the lottery system and I also favour removing charitable status from Puyublic schools

Ed said...

It's not well-paid compared with other professions like medicine, law, accountancy. We really need the best to WANT to go into teaching if we are to get good education into our kids.

What provisos would you put in for streaming?

Anonymous said...

The trouble with schools is that they are full of people who don't want to be there - so its bound to lead to trouble. Ask one question, "if school were voluntary, how many children would turn up?" We do damage education by forcing young people who are not interested to attend where they disrupt those who do. Also we try to get schools to solve all the problems we have with youth in society today - not just to teach.

Mr EK is too modest he has been guest blogging by me for a few days now - very successfully !!

Steven_L said...

'We really need the best to WANT to go into teaching if we are to get good education into our kids.' (ed)

I'm not sure there's a precise correlation between the best students and the best teachers. We had some pretty bright teachers who couldn't control classrooms. I remember one guy with a master degree in Maths who was positively useless.

Philipa said...

Yeah my electronics Prof at Uni was brilliant and created the 1st computer at Cambridge but couldn't impart that knowledge for toffee. Teaching is an art and I think good teachers are born and made better.

Ed said...

I didn't mean we have to get the people with the best degrees or necessarily with the highest IQ but the profession needs to be aspirational to get the right people through the door.

There's nothing more important than getting a decent education! Well apart from not starving.

Electro Kevin said...

I feel that Ed puts it all rather well.

I would hate to be a school teacher whereas I am an instructor at work and I love it. My classes are all adults who are as keen as mustard to learn what I teach them. There can be nothing worse than trying to keep the attention of a class of 30 or so kids who don't really want to be there. (Mutleythedog is right)

I believe that 'teenage' is the product of over-extended schooling and that some people really need to be in the world of work by the age of 14 (the government now wants people to stay on until 18 !)they would be more fulfilled and behave better in the community for it too.

As for caining - yes, bring it back. The other day I witnessed some pugnacious teenagers bothering passengers at my local station. They were creating a really tense atmosphere but they were not quite bad enough to do anything drastic and all I could respond with was my Paddington Bear hard stare and to stand my ground - I would love to have clipped the ring-leader around the ear (as would've happened in my youth) but the establishment is there waiting to pounce on such as me.

When David Cameron exhorts us to do our duty he ought to bear in mind that the likes of me don't fear the feral youth, but we do fear the police and lawyers that are allied with them.

And teachers have to put up with this for 30 hrs a week ?

Arthurian Legend said...

I seem to recall that the cane as a form of corporal punishment formerly banned following a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which outlawed it.

As with so many Conservatives, you talk about the possible reintroduction of this or possible banning of that as if a Parliament of our elected representatives still made the law in this country.

You may learn one day, N!

Roger Thornhill said...

ed, et al: I do think teaching can be a profession to aspire to if it is indeed teaching and not crowd control. Yes, the Unions need to get their collective heads out of their behinds and accept that bad teachers need to go. Of course that mechanism needs to have some transparency, but why should a teacher be protected from the sack more than a Sales Manager? 2 and 3 I echo NewMania. On 4, I think if you do the first 3, this will not need any intervention - it will sort itself out or if not, the schools will be well placed to adjust to make sure it is sorted out sharpish.

EK: When David Cameron exhorts us to do our duty he ought to bear in mind that the likes of me don't fear the feral youth, but we do fear the police and lawyers that are allied with them.

Absolutely spot on. Cameron has the cart before the horse.

Newmania said...

Ed ther proffessiion cannot be aspirational in that sense as it is essentially a part time job. My brother moved from banking to teaching and tells me its like being retired.
You cannot reward the good without being to punish the bad and the NUT are not having any of that.
There are deeper problems you have to solve first though the development of the housing market has created two sorts of state school . The "|Nice area" and the pre-prison disaster from which the functionally illiterate white workingclasses are poured .

This has to be attacked and until it is we aree just moving the furniture

Newmania said...

Roger very good top of the class .....( you will be in the top set from now on and have little to do with Ed who is relgated to the middle set) :)

Newmania said...

EK- You do have a great way of putting things but som eof what you are talking about is not just to do with education is it ? Teachers are always conplainignthat they are supposed to put right society when they can just about get them to read

Newmania said...

AL...I take your point . Tell me why is it that the French who presumably also do not run their country are so deeply engaged in the electoral process. The turnout is huge and there is no sens eof a Puppet show in the way we have it here ?I was wondering last night watching Croydonian on Doughty Street.

But the problem is that there is no great desire either to bring back the cane or to leave the EU so people will say . Whats your problem ?

I do think it is a problem and see an answer in an English Parliament creating frictions with the centre so much to the right in the way the SNP have used the devolved Parliament

Newmania said...

SteveL- Nice to see you. There is an exceedingly good correklation between the socila intakle of a school, and its results that is the brute fact. The rest of it is less varied.

UI aghree with your point though and can recall similiar examples

Newmania said...

Mutley I don`t think letting children do waht they want to do is good idea. The silly notion that children have any say in anyhting is one of the hangovers fropm the socilally Liberal 60s . They need to be told .

I am very nervous about positing two classes of people. Comprehensive education failed but its motives were good. WE are not going to back to dumps for the workers .

Raedwald said...

I grew up with the cane and the slipper at school. Mostly harmless. It was never the pain that hurt (if you know what I mean) it was the petty humiliation of ceding control of self to punishment.

The school did attract one perverted sadist, though (Yes, You, Mr Walters) but the Head fired him after a term.

Would I want to see it back? Probably not. It had its day. Teachers should still have the option of a stinging head-shot with a well-aimed piece of chalk (step forward our Bisley rifle champion English master), a brutally swift dead-leg (our ex-ICI research dept Chemistry Master) or an iron-fingered kidney-poke of debilitating agony (Sister Agnes). All of which had the desired effect and won their inflictors a great deal of respect.

Ed said...

N, don't you wonder whether it is the housing market that has caused the gulf between good and bad schools, or the gulf causing the housing market?

The problem is selection by catchment area leads to a momentum being built up. How we fix that I don't know but we can improve bad schools by allowing bright kids and bad schools to do well - with streaming and discipline.

Once a bad school is seen as somewhere that middle class parents can allow their kids to go then there won't be this flight to the suburbs.

Electro Kevin said...

I'm certainly not to keen on the idea of my kids sitting around in huddles 'problem solving' rather than facing forwards in class. Is this child-centered approach a recipe for chaos, or is it a cover for loss of control ? "The kids are meant to be noisy and fractious, this proves the system is working." Or is it a Marxist ploy to undermine the authority of the adult in the room ? Note the widespread use of the term 'student' as opposed to 'schoolchild' which is entirely congruent with the commercialists' apparent desire push our kids into early adulthood.

I know that they tried to adopt this open style of instructing at work, but with safety critical information you can't mess around, it's been a long time since I've been on a course with flip-charts and no desks (thank God).

Direct questionning, risk of humiliation, the threat of a beating (okay, maybe not with adults - but they risk job loss instead) are all good motivational tools where important information is to be imparted on unreceptive minds.

Newmania said...

N, don't you wonder whether it is the housing market that has caused the gulf between good and bad schools, or the gulf causing the housing market?

Ed Sorry I thought that was what I had said I have certainly said it befre and it is exactly the problem the Lottery idea was an attempt to solve. That why I think its a good idea. As lovely scented david Allen noted the best bit would be that the Socialist Hypocrites would have bought their flats for nothing.

I have spoken at length to a member of the Tory education team on this and they were unable to fault the logic

Newmania said...

Would I want to see it back? Probably not

Raedwald I agree and I didn`t ,mean to say that we should. I do understand the frustration with indisciplined schools though which of course hurts the most disadvantaged most. This is true in many ways I feel

Newmania said...

I'm certainly not to keen on the idea of my kids sitting around in huddles 'problem solving' rather than facing forwards in class. Is this child-centered approach a recipe for chaos

Kevin as ever you pick on a concrete example of how the wrong attitudes are working badly in real life. This veneration of the child is in general wrong headed and we should give the sort of tough but kind thining to it that we do with our own children.

Its for your own good .....sounds risible but usually that is exactly what you are doing . Giving the benefit of your experience. Without that civilisation stops and I sometimes feel that is exactly what has happened

Roger Thornhill said...

Sitting in huddles and coursework towards exams? Humbug.

Newmania said...

Top marks Roger

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