Alexander Averin

Friday, 15 February 2008

Musings on Education

Dear Diary,

It's 2008 the National Year of Reading.

It's World Book Day on Thursday March 6th.

At least I’ll start with some positives.


Living in Wales

Acupressure. Thanks to dear Westerwitch who gave me a few tips for migraine relief.

A Good Night’s Sleep on Clean Sheets, the two seem to go together, I often mention this, forgive me, its one of my passions.

My local writing group, an inspiration and a joy to be with.

Last but not least:
The tantalising and uplifting taste of spring we have recently been granted.

I’m just going to blog a few musings on education. After hearing on the media yesterday that money has been ‘found’

(where does one 'find' money, I would love to know?)

Money has been found for an ‘initiative’ - how I hate the misuse of that word too……..
to ‘give’ children five hours of culture a week. Is it me? I thought that’s what children should get from their time in education establishments. A taste at least of culture.

I looked up the definition of culture in my Concise Oxford Dictionary 1964. This book is my Bible where words are concerned. I shun all modern publications, they seem to lack a lot of words that were in use in the old days. Yes I know language evolves…. but it shouldn’t disappear.

I digress,

Culture, improvement by training by mental or physical means. Intellectual development.

It’s a tillage/rearing thing, much like making cultures in a laboratory.

So it obviously can’t be something you tag on to regular schooling, it is schooling.

I got to musing …… thinking about what I expect from education, pie in the sky most of it.

I wonder what you want from it? Your educational aspirations for your children/grandchildren?

Here are mine.

Firstly all children need to gain confidence and self-esteem. This is a top priority.

Then for a basic grounding I want children to learn to read, write, spell, learn their tables, add and subtract. I want them to learn their tables by rote as I did. I want them to learn the rules of grammar.

Without these basic skills, standards will plummet.

It may be too late I fear.

I want them to have access to a local library and to fall in love with books. I want them to also read and write poetry (I would wouldn’t I?).

I want them to visit museums, galleries, places of historical interest etc. as part of their education, not something tagged on as an afterthought. When I was a child at school in South London we did all these things. Aren’t we meant to have progressed? Where have we progressed in education?

In anything come to that?

(I digress again.)

I want them to learn how to find information in all the many ways available. They will need fast keyboard skills and to be able to READ.

I want them to learn crafts and skills before they are lost altogether. All crafts and skills should be given as much status and financial reward in our society as academic ones.

I want them to learn how to grow food organically. I want them to learn to cook and also to eat healthy foods. They need to learn about the science of nutrition.

I want them to ‘experience’ the soil, to grow plants and flowers as well as vegetables.

I want them to learn about the Earth and how to save it (another top priority).

I want them to learn a foreign language or two.

I want them to learn sciences (much as I hated them!).

I want them to have the opportunity to study and experience all forms of art.

I want them to learn to express themselves artistically, to use and develop their imagination and creativity in whatever medium they are drawn to, whether it is by acting, singing, dancing, music, playing sport, writing etc.

To learn the arts of relaxation and meditation, to play sport and dance, to exercise in all sorts of ways.

To learn about other countries and their cultures (that word again), to maybe go on exchange visits.

To help both one’s local community and those overseas.

I want them to learn about history and how NOT to repeat it.

To mix with all different races.

I want them to learn about the REALITY of war, not about its glorification. I would like them to be part of both a local and a global community group that fights for peace.

I want them to learn how to help those less fortunate, both in their own country and the rest of the world and to understand why they are less fortunate. I want them to understand and care for anyone with any kind of disability.

I want them to learn about the dangers of advertising and the subtle exploitation of people in all its guises.

Let’s teach them about real and worthwhile role models.
I don’t want their idols to be so-called celebrities.

I want them to have Original Thought (most important).
This is a sign of true intelligence and is nothing to do with the retention of learned factual knowledge.

I want them to each develop their own (individual) potential.

I am not a number. I’m a free man!

Before I go, here are some words, the lyrics of a song by Enya.


Pilgrim, how you journey
on the road you chose
to find out why the winds die
and where the stories go.
All days come from one day
that much you must know,
you cannot change what's over
but only where you go.

One way leads to diamonds,
one way leads to gold,
another leads you only
to everything you're told.
In your heart you wonder
which of these is true;
the road that leads to nowhere,
the road that leads to you.

Will you find the answer
in all you say and do?
Will you find the answer
In you?

Each heart is a pilgrim,
each one wants to know
the reason why the winds die
and where the stories go.
Pilgrim, in your journey
you may travel far,
for pilgrim it's a long way
to find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
to find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
to find out who you are...


I’ll stop ranting now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Inthemud said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you on the education front.

It should all be happening anyway, no need for new initiatives, (Opps, struggling to spelll it)
My daughters have had all sorts of great experiences at school not just the basics, they have drama groups come in, go to theatre see plays and ballets, lots of singing, Lucy did a term on 60's culture 2 years ago, lots of fashion and Beatles stuff......all good fun and educational. Why do more? Well may be some schools don't do so much and need pushing more?

Lovely blog and thanks for sharing your blessings.. XX

Milla said...

Everything you have written seems so reasonable, so modest really, but now that it is all bolt-on "product" having a weight and a value and a tickability in a box and needing funding etc etc, it all becomes obfuscating and impossible. It's delivering it as an extra which is so baffling, isn't it, that it isn't just something which is imbued but a subject to be learned. You might want to go to the Times website and tap in jane shilling and see her deploring all this too. A sound woman (there's some stuff about thin models, too, but she covers this culture lark in, I think, the second section).

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Funny where all this 'found' money is coming from .....I know you read my rant on the closure of 22 rural schools recently ...well they have 'found' money to keep them going now ...all seems a bit underhand to me ...but there what do I know????

DJ Kirkby said...

N3S got his library card when he was 9 weeks old...the love affair continues. We frequent our city museum on a regular basis too, traditions laid down by my mother and her mother before her.

Pondside said...

It's been too long since I visited your blog, Cait. I have to say that we are in complete agreement on every one of your points. It saddens me that we are in need of
'initiatives' to provide our children with the things that we should expect they'll get from a good education.

Fennie said...

Yes, Cait you are 100 per cent right about all this, though the most important thing you can give a child is the drive to ask 'why? how? when? what's this? what's this person trying to say? how can I learn this?
what new experience can you give me today?

The problem today is that we have forgotten what education is. We confuse it with training. They will find money to train the kids in culture ugh! Robots could be trained to tick boxes, or appreciate Mozart, I expect. Just, please, educate them. That's what we pay taxes for.