At my son's school....

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Watookal (June 09, 2010, 08:33:17 AM):
It was a poor choice to use maths as a carrot; especially considering the requests last year for maths marks to be adjusted upwards.
Giving away jock-points is not helping the cause. Some educators seem to think the bell curve is a percussion instrument.
Mefiante (June 09, 2010, 10:23:55 AM):
There are two further background aspects to this that are worth noting. The first, and perhaps less important of these has a practical flavour related to the sustainability of an individual’s livelihood as a function of their education. In most cases, a sporting talent will be good for a decade or two because it diminishes with the age of the individual. In contrast, a sound education benefits the individual for the remainder of their life because it cannot help but open doors both literally and metaphorically. With this in mind, the oddness of the educational priorities becomes quite striking.

The second aspect concerns those priorities and the subterfuges we employ to make them palatable. We are content, even pleased, to accept the idea that some among us excel at sport while others are uncoordinated or clumsy. We will happily laud the sporting talents of an individual and pour adulation on him or her for having such. We will vigorously encourage the development of such sporting talent among the promising young and be entirely at ease with the idea that some people are naturally better than others at a given sport. Meanwhile, it’s a strict no-no to assume a similar gradation of talent when it comes to cerebral matters. To declare openly that child A is very obviously way more intelligent than child B is to invite heated criticism from others for some imagined discriminatory practice or assertion.

“You can do whatever you really set your mind to,” children are often told, fostering the illusion that all children are intellectually equal. Well, they aren’t all equal, as any observant adult with a bent for honesty knows, just as their sporting aptitudes aren’t all equal. Pigeonholing all kids as intellectually of a kind is one of the more dim-witted and damaging fictions that educators have pulled from their pseudoscientific hats. It puts pressure on the less able ones to keep pace with the rest, and at the same time stultifies the development of the more gifted ones, all for the sake of preserving a misguided idea that social belonging and uniformity come first – an idea that is nothing more than a hidebound effort to maintain the ongoing celebration of mediocrity that we have grown so fond of. One must quite seriously wonder why there is this common hypocrisy between physical and academic prowess. It needs rooting out.

Brian (June 09, 2010, 16:03:16 PM):
Schools have long been recognised by the liberal left aka those who can think for themselves, as the "great equalizer" aka the "destroyer of individualism" and creativity. That children are often able to rise above this is a miracle. Children are incredibly creative before school and quickly realise that through socialization and peer pressure, being 'different' isn't cool. I personally almost came to blows with the principal of my youngest son's school when he tried to put him down academically and when we had him tested by school psychologists, their report said he was one of the brightest and most balanced kids they'd he represents SA in Water polo; has graduated with distinction, and earns R80K per month etc etc. Wonder what his principal earns today?
BoogieMonster (June 09, 2010, 16:08:18 PM):
Well, GCG, my experience was the same except I completely and utterly ignored all the threats that ever came my way because of these. Sport days at school were bunked, with my parents permission, and any kind of "be there or else" activity (like induction days) I utterly failed to pitch for.

The result? Nothing, confirming my suspicion that these were usually so disorganised that nobody took the time to notice I wasn't there.

So, you can imagine what my response to this might be....

THIS IS BULLSHIT! If the school has trouble getting kids to their sporting events I think it simply indicates that they are not interested. Period. But no, as the saying goes "The beatings will continue until morale improves!", in this case, if you're not excited about this at all, we'll fake it by giving you free marks, surely then you'll be motivated!

I hate sport though, maybe it's just me, but this kinda shit just always seems to go hand-in-hand... When I was in school it was "do sport" or be "punished", smacked into a classroom, told to STFU, and forced to do extra work (not pleasant). I decided this was a suitable amount of BS, and promptly joined the chess team. There I would "play chess", a thinly veiled form sitting around and chatting with your friends. Didn't do much for my street cred but seriously, I didn't give a shit. Quite honestly, I think this is the optimal attitude for a young person in the face of such rife adult stupidity and schoolyard peer pressure. Just don't give a crap, you'll be happier.
Watookal (June 09, 2010, 16:47:53 PM):
I was in an Afrikaans school, so had to take English second language. This was extremely useless to me, as I could speak, read and write English of a higher level than my English teacher. (she was literally one of those: "class, stand after your chairs" people, and once made the statement that Eliza from Pygmallion "live with two very illegible bachelors..." :-X )
Forgive me, but this made me think of a lame joke.
Every morning when the English teacher gave the Afrikaans students an English lecture she greeted them as follows:
"Good morning class!" and every time only one boy would get up out of the whole class to greet the teacher in return.
This happened time and again until she decided to call him up to her desk and ask him loud enough for everyone to hear:
"Why is it that every time I greet the whole class, only you stand up to greet me?"

He replied to the teacher in English: "It are 'cause I are the only person here what's name are Klaas!"


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