Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Homeschooling 2

I have said before (and will doubtless say again) that I would not send my children to a school. I have seen many of them, some of which were supposed to be good, and I don't like them. At the very least they cause children to waste much of their youth, learning little or nothing of value except how to react to feeling bored and aggrieved.Those who do manage to learn something worthwhile take years longer thanm necessary and miss out on almost everything that childhood could have been. And I don't just mean the simple enjoyment of carefree youth; it is important to prepare children for the adult world as deeply and widely as possible, and not only for their own benefit.

Very few schools indeed can actually do that. The vast majority do not try, because no one involved in the school- parents, teachers, pupils, heads- has any idea how to do it or why it might be a good idea. It becomes an exercise in stamina and bureaucracy, with the purpose of it completely forgotten.

One change which would bring about a vast improvement in state education is to cease to make it compulsory. This would immediately remove the disruptive and the uninterested, allowing the other pupils and teachers to achieve much more, to rediscover the point of it all, and to value much more highly the education they acquire.

This will not happen because education has been turned into a means of indoctrination by governments. Governments force children to spend their time listening to whatever progressive orthodoxy it is in someone's interest to create. This is now so much accepted that they don't even bother to deny it. Here I gave a couple of examples of people high up in the Spanish education system stating openly that children must go to school so they can be told what to think by those who know best.

And here is another one. The content of the film is not the point, nor is the obvious fact that the story is not reliably told. What is important is the quote from the Education Secretary of the (ruling) Socialist party, the PSOE, which we can assume is verbatim: Se manifestó sobre este asunto y consideró «indignante» que los centros escolares «sirvan de foro para la manipulación» del alumnado. Mostró su «estupor» por lo que juzgó «un ejemplo burdo de adoctrinamiento, profundamente ofensivo con las garantías y los derechos de los alumnos».

"She said that she found it disgraceful that schools should be used to manipulate pupils. She expressed her amazement about what she qualified as a clumsy example of indoctrination, a grave offence against the guarantees and rights of the pupils."

In other words, they may only be indoctrinated by us; they may only hear what we say they can hear.

I offer the following aims of Primary Education, and some specific aims and contents for English, as defined by the new education law. The translations are mine; the blinkered, progressive orthodoxy, the unreflexive repetition of platitudes, the vaguely aspitational phrases, devoid of anything remotely practical, the constant harping on things that have little to do with education as such, the complete inability to explain anything properly, are entirely the Ministery's.

"Primary education will contribute to developing the capacities

which enable children to:

a) Know and appreciate the values and norms of co-existence, learn to behave accordingly, prepare them for active citizenship and to respect human rights and the pluralism of a democratic society.

c) Acquire skills to prevent and to resolve conflicts which will enable them to act autonomously in the domestic and family environment and in their social groups.

d) Know, understand and respect different cultures and the differences between people, rejecting all prejudice motivated by personal, social, economic, cultural, religious or racial reasons.

l) Know and value the animals which are closest to human life and learn to look after them.

m) Develop their affective capacities in all aspects of personality and in their relations with others. Develop an attitude of active defence against violence, prejudices of any type and sexist stereotypes."

"- To make appropriate, coherent and correct use of oral expression in normal situations, by both verbal and non-verbal means, using phonetics, rhythm, stress and intonation as basic elements of communication.

- To value the foreign language and languages in general as a sign of cultural richness and as a means of communication and understanding between peoples of different origins, languages and cultures, avoiding any kind of discrimination and linguistic stereotype.

- To show a receptive, interested and confident attitude to one’s own learning ability and the use of the foreign language and using previous knowledge and experience with other languages to acquire the foreign language more quickly, efficiently and autonomously."

"- Developing basic strategies to back up understanding: associating words and expressions with visual and gestural elements; using aspects of phonetics, or rhythm, stress and intonation, and of previous knowledge of known languages.

- Valuing the foreign language as instrument of communication and showing interest in using it in different situations.

- Interest in knowing information about the people and culture of the countries where the foreign language is spoken.

- A receptive attitude towards people who speak another language and have a different culture from our own.

Confidence in one’s own ability to learn a foreign language and pleasure in co-operative work."

Get some real classroom activity out of that, if you can. It tells you nothing except that there is a very clear slant towards certain attitudes and opinions, the only ones permitted.

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