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How to explain to parents exams are not the syllabus


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#46 zwhe

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 10:22

I think maybe we just have a different definition of pushed. I usually assume 'pushed' means forcing a child to do something against their will, which is clearly not what you are talking about! When people talk of pushing a child to practise, I imagine a child sitting in tears and the parents making them do it anyway. I often persuaded my kids to do things, either through common sense (which can prevail even in teenagers sometimes!) or outright bribery - they received pocket money each week for completing their 'jobs' (things like the washing up rota and cleaning their rooms). 


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#47 Banjogirl

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 14:02



Music certainly wasn't my passion when I was child, but I'm jolly glad I was made to learn the piano, just as I'm glad I was taught to read and write, and learn French, and any number of other things that I didn't particularly want to do at the time but which are invaluable skills now which give me great pleasure, and without which my life would have been hugely impoverished.



...Kids don't know what's important. Left to themselves they would learn very little. It's up to the adults to decide what they learn.
Mmmmm. Proponents of Self-Directed Education would most definitely disagree with you here.

And I think children absolutely know what's important to them. It may not coincide with what the adults in their lives deem to be 'important'.

And I'm afraid your last sentence... :blink: :blink: :blink:

I was a 'beneficiary' of self-directed education. We had a lot of fun and got very adept at avoiding doing anything that took effort, but we genuinely didn't learn some of the things that it would have been useful to learn. In general the academically able children did ok, and were able to catch up what they'd missed without too much harm. Some less academically able children really suffered. From my school experience nearly all children are really lazy and just want an easy life. That's what we carved out for ourselves. It wasn't so bad. We were happy and very creative. But a bit more time spent actually teaching us things would have provided some balance.
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#48 BadStrad

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 16:46

Music certainly wasn't my passion when I was child, but I'm jolly glad I was made to learn the piano, just as I'm glad I was taught to read and write, and learn French, and any number of other things that I didn't particularly want to do at the time but which are invaluable skills now which give me great pleasure, and without which my life would have been hugely impoverished.

...Kids don't know what's important. Left to themselves they would learn very little. It's up to the adults to decide what they learn.
Mmmmm. Proponents of Self-Directed Education would most definitely disagree with you here.
And I think children absolutely know what's important to them. It may not coincide with what the adults in their lives deem to be 'important'.
I was a 'beneficiary' of self-directed education. We had a lot of fun and got very adept at avoiding doing anything that took effort, but we genuinely didn't learn some of the things that it would have been useful to learn. In general the academically able children did ok, and were able to catch up what they'd missed without too much harm. Some less academically able children really suffered. From my school experience nearly all children are really lazy and just want an easy life. That's what we carved out for ourselves. It wasn't so bad. We were happy and very creative. But a bit more time spent actually teaching us things would have provided some balance.
I taught at a school that every year acquired a bunch of kids from the "self directed learning" establishment down the road (usually at year 10, sometimes year 9). They had similarly just done what they fancied/took least effort, for the previous 8/9 years and got a bit of a shock when they went from being "amazing" at everything to being the bottom of the class. As Banjogirl says the academically interested/able ones were able to catch up (with much extra input from teachers, which was hardly fair on the rest of the kids) but for the less able the story didn't end so well.
I agree many kids are (selectively) lazy and given the choice would rather do what takes least effort. That's lovely until they can't balance a budget or read their bank statement or even find a job, let alone read and understand the contract, because they lack basic numeracy and literacy (which many of those year 10 kids lacked).
It is also much easier to be self directed when you know what there is to learn and have support to learn it. If you don't have access to art materials, an instrument, books, some kind of computer with an internet connections, the space and support to be self directed, etc, it is pretty hard.

Edited to say "selectively" as after reading Aquarelle's post, I felt my comment could be clarified. Some kids are just lazy, but others are lazy when it comes to doing things that require effort (mental or physical) or that don't offer instant gratification and to paraphrase Shakespeare "some have laziness thrust upon them" by well meaning others who do everything for them or don't expect them to make an effort.
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#49 Banjogirl

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 18:06

My experience was only at junior school. I have come to the conclusion that as long as you can read and write and do basic maths then most of the rest of the stuff you're taught at primary school doesn't matter very much. Luckily the head of my infant school was committed to reading and writing. No child left that school unable to read. So we were set up for four years of skiving without it apparently doing us too much harm. I would quite have liked to have had a little more direction some of the time though.
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#50 BadStrad

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 18:28

My experience was only at junior school.

The establishment I mentioned was primary and secondary - the school I taught at was a secondary school (of course as I mention years 9 and 10).  I was really quite shocked that there wasn't even enough direction in their education for them to all have basic literacy and numeracy.
I always say if you can read you can teach yourself many things.


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#51 Aquarelle

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 19:38

My experience was only at junior school. I have come to the conclusion that as long as you can read and write and do basic maths then most of the rest of the stuff you're taught at primary school doesn't matter very much. 

 

Sorry Banjogirl, but I can't agree on that one.  I do agree that reading and writing and basic maths are essential skills. But they are, at primary level also the beginnings of the tools we need to explore other things. There is a desperate need to teach children those other things - history, geography, music, creative arts physical education,  basic science and so on. We have to wake up their curiosity about the world in which they are going to function. Otherwise the basics will just remain basics and their lives will certainly not be enriched. All later learning has its roots and much of its motivation based on what the child does before secondary school. Send them up to secondary school with a good deal of baggage and a thirst for more and they will cope with the more formal side of education. Besides, you can't teach reading and writing in a vacuum. It has to be related to everything else and based on everything else. Otherwise there isn't any point in learning to read and write.

 

Badstrad I can't agree that most children are lazy.  A lot are, but I wouldn't say most.Very many children are made to be lazy - but that's another  story too complex  go into here. I think I might agree that most children (and adults) are  often selectively lazy. This year I have 31 piano pupils aged from five and a half to seventeen. They all have lazy moments (as I do too) but only one of the 31 is a child whom I would describe a as being intrinsically lazy. She would quite happçily learn to play the piano if it involved no effort at all and could be acquired by osmosis. But I rather suspect this is a case of genetics!       


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#52 Banjogirl

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Posted 10 June 2021 - 21:17

I really meant that it can't matter much because we largely turned out the same as our more normally educated peers, once we'd all finished at the same secondary school. We had a whale of a time at junior school. But were taught very little. We did the bare minimum and then messed around the rest of the time. We were allowed ten minutes play time any time between ten and eleven in the morning. We considered ourselves a success if we managed to stay out for the whole hour, which we often did. We'd leg it down to the end of the field where you couldn't be seen from the school building. Every day we had to do a piece of Maths and English. You could choose any maths book and do a page out of it, even if you'd done it a dozen times before, and then I could rattle off a poem in five minutes, leaving the rest of the day to play. My handwriting was horrendous. Luckily for me my sister was going to be a teacher so she took me in hand and made me do it properly. It's still not great. I dread to think what it would have been like otherwise. I was a bright and interested child and I was bone idle. I still am, which I think is probably another bad consequence of that school!

My general knowledge is a lot better than many of my contemporaries who went to normal school. Whatever they were taught there they don't seem to remember it very well.
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