This morning I helped room 2 with reading. The seven year olds had a reader about Dinosaus which they read competently because they have developed a lot of the peripheral skills that cannot be taught, they have to develop as children become more and more competent readers. Like Jed, from the Phillipines, who can detect when a word does not sound right, and try another word from context, like 'floor' did not sound right in the context of his story so he stopped, thought and tried 'flood.'He had to master some complex reasoning to get that, but he did it all himself.
Then some eight year olds brought out a School Journal to read with me. We almost did not get it read, we were giggling so much. It was a story from those marvellous days in the seventies when being politically and socially incorrect was almost required behaviour! The story, 'I Hate Wellington', is about Sam (gender neutral name) whose father has been transferred from Auckland to Wellington. Father designs toilet paper, waterproof toilet paper, invisible toilet paper, solar powered toilet paper, re-usable toilet paper (!!!) . Eventually Father gets a new job, in the Beehive, and Sam decides Wellington is O.K. It was hilarious.
So. if anybody who has not entered a classroom since they were in school themselves talks about Education being dumbed down, or children not learning the basics, I shall take great delight in telling them they are talking crap. That should get the eight year olds laughting - they love scatalogical terminology.