Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Learning and education

Today I asked Charlie what he learnt at school.

He replied "We didn't really learn anything thing today. It was science day so we just did science." I do love how clearly he seperates learning from doing.

For my little six year, if you haven't learnt some facts about a subject then it doesn't really count. The facts can be as random or specific as you like. For example did you know that more people are killed each year by dogs and pigs than sharks? No? Neither did I until Charlie told me.

I'm in the business of education. Yes that's right, the business. I am employed by a corporation, our college is branded and everything in my working life is driven by targets. However from deep within my paperwork based uniform almost extinguished by performance related statistics, you will catch a small glimmer: a spark to light the fire of possible of cognition in my students.

Ask anyone who their favourite teacher was and why and I doubt very much that they will use the words like retention, attainment and achievement, but this is how us teachers are measured these days. A lot of what truly inspirational teachers do is impossible to measure just as it is equally unreasonable to judge a pupil's learning by an assignment, test or exam.

This is R A Butler. It was his vision, shortly after World War II, to make secondary education a lot fairer. Wishing to move away from the class system where only the rich were educated, he introduced the 11plus as a way of establishing which of the three secondary schools would be most suitable for children to attend. Unintentionally this resulted in a "pass or fail" scenario for 11year olds due to there only being a choice between two schoolsin most areas. The grammar schools selected those who passed the test and with the lack of secondary technical schools, the other children attended secondary moderns. The whole system was mostly abolished in favour of Comprehensive schools in 1976, but in some areas including Kent, the selection process is still very much a part of our children's final year a primary school.

So on the eve of the Kent test results day, I'm very much preoccupied with how tomorrow's outcome will affect the path of Josie's education and influence her learning.



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