Tuesday, May 7, 2013


When I retired in 1990 Schools had just about got things right. There was a big move towards Developmental Education, classes were getting smaller, Teachers were being encouraged to keep up to date in their professional training.

 I have been out of the classroom for a long time and my only experience of today's schools has been with a wonderful little country school over at Glenavy and reports from my Grandchildren's parents who have some very valid concerns..

According to this morning's radio a lot of money is about to be spent training parents to 'modify children's classroom behaviour.' Evidently parents in economically deprived areas need help in teaching their children how to behave. If our Government is going to spend money training parents to 'improve children's classroom behaviour.' Is it going to consider:

Bringing back Plunket nurses who can help mothers learn about the feeding and care of young children so that by the time they go to school they are intelligent and physically healthy?

Cutting class sizes so teachers can construct a learning environment geared to the needs of their pupils. Fifteen maximum?

Run courses in child development and educational theory so that parents know what to expect? Mothers especially need to get off the competitive bandwagon and not push their children to perform too far above their age just to bolster their own ego.

But maybe the classrooms need to change rather than the children in them..

There are some classrooms where children's behaviour is an indicator of something amiss. Is the government going to spend money training parents to teach children to 'behave' when they should be looking at fixing the system?

How important is School in the communities where parents are deemed to be in need of training? Somewhere the kids go to while Mum and Dad try to earn a decent wage?

What is the underlying structure of our Education system? There are underlying and unchanging principles about learning that seem to have turned into whipping boys for politicians.

What are the purposes of what is in the School Curriculum? Do we want a population which accepts shoddy conditions without protest? Should we be training school children to obey authority without question? to believe that the rich and powerful are somehow better than we are?

I believe Education is too important to be mucked about with by Politicians. .


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