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Changing Britain's Schools

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    I think we need to change the focus on primary and secondary schools from academic to practical life skills.

    Keep maths, english and science but make them more interactive so rather than doing pythagoras theorem and algebra, get kids to participate in real life situations such as the classroom being a shop. They need to sort out change, do their own taxes (age dependent) and serve customers.
    English could stay the same aside from making poetry optional (I don't think it's essential compared to other literature).
    Science would involve more experiments- how things work. Primary school kids could be encouraged to grow plants, take part in basic experiments e.g. simple gravity.

    Then add on more essential skills such as finance, cooking (primary kids could make things like salad/sandwiches), possibly gardening (incorporate into science?), things like history and geography could be incorporated into gardening and cooking such as what is so special about this soil/why is it better to boil this rather than bake it- so and so made this mistake blah blah, so we are learning from history but it is relevant and make the assessments practicals rather than essay based questions.
    DIY could also be taught in the form of design and technology and possibly a bit of business.

    If the classes were made more interesting and relavant I think the truancy rate would drop (at least slightly) as kids would be inspired to go to school. We could also teach about prisons and a bit of law to try and reduce crime rates?
    I know half of the stuff I learnt is totally irrelevant to me now- sorry history academics but I don't believe history is that important to everyday life (aside from again, incorporating it into other lessons).
    Religion and PE should obviously be kept aswell.

    What are your thoughts?
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    I agree to an extent. Learning should involve academic study at some point, and this should be the majority of the time, however I do agree that life skills do need to be taught also.

    Take for example maths - kids I think should learn things like Pythagoras, Algebra (academic maths let's call it) and so on up to the point where they choose their GCSEs, then they should be given a choice to pursue academic maths further if they so choose, which is basically a continuation of all the sorts of stuff you studied before hand which would allow you to take maths further to A and possibly Degree level. However, compulsary for all students should be "practical" maths, whereby you learn stuff like paying taxes, working out budgets and so on - basically things which we will all need to do at some point in our lives but which probably isn't very relevant to academic study - there should also be no formal exam at the end of that course either, it should just equip you with the tools for adult-hood.

    I disagree though that the balance of the curriculum though, as you seem to suggest, should be shifted much closer to "practical" skills though, as schools should be there to equip students with both good academic skills, so they can proceed in that field if they want to, but also practical skills.

    EDIT: What?... a neg for expressing an opinion which isn't even that controversial (if at all)?... TSR never ceases to amaze me...

    Anyway, that's my 2 pence.
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    (Original post by TheHistoryStudent)

    I disagree though that the balance of the curriculum though, as you seem to suggest, should be shifted much closer to "practical" skills though, as schools should be there to equip students with both good academic skills, so they can proceed in that field if they want to, but also practical skills.
    If you look at it this way though everyone will need practical skills in some form or another, unless you can afford a chef/gardener/accountant/business scholar etc which realistically is only going to affect about 1% of the population.
    Or at least give children the option of choosing 2 out of 6 practical life skills classes once they reach year 9 or something?
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    What you've basically suggested is that we moderate the education system as to prevent people from flourishing in their desired fields. Why is poetry suddenly not relevant? It still has a subculture in todays modern society, it offers expresses an individuals creativity and further develops literary understanding. Many great writers of history were also poets.

    I agree to an extent of making school more relevant to todays society, but you're ideas hinder progress. Children need to see Maths as challenges, if they are nursed through it so it's relevance becomes "doing taxes" instead of progressing the mathematical field.

    And don't say they can do that at Degree or A Level, if they aren't set the right foundations the standard of our higher education will be greatly hindered. What I think you should suggest, would be a lesson where live skills are better applied (Such as the American "Home Economics" classes and such)
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    Most of what you said is already in schools.
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    If you look at it this way though everyone will need practical skills in some form or another, unless you can afford a chef/gardener/accountant/business scholar etc which realistically is only going to affect about 1% of the population.
    Or at least give children the option of choosing 2 out of 6 practical life skills classes once they reach year 9 or something?
    What you seem to be suggesting here is that people are incapable of learning these skills when they get older though, (hence the need for chefs, gardeners, and so on), which isn't the case.

    I don't disagree with you that more practical subjects should be offered in order to prepare young people for adult life, I think they should, and I think it would be a valuable addition to the curriculum, it should not though, be at the expense of academic study, as that then limits the choice, and wastes the ability, of students who are capable of achieving in that field. Put the practical sessions alongside the current set up by all means, but under no circumstances replace it with it.

    I also think academic study is also a vital way of developing the ability and desire to question the world arround you, and to have the courage to challenge it - at the risk of violating Godwin's Law, this is an important trait to have in society to help avoid the rise of dictatorships, but also to question the stuff put out by "normal" governments and businesses - although I'm sure Martyn (if he posts in this thread) will elaborate further on that
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    I say that state schools need to start taking some GCSEs early in year 9, as many public and independent schools do this, and are so at an advantage
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    You've sort of minimised History here, politics and history are also important to allow people to form opinions on governmental strategy, this is surely at least as important as religion.

    Shouldn't we be pushing languages too?
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    (Original post by That Bearded Man)
    You've sort of minimised History here, politics and history are also important to allow people to form opinions on governmental strategy, this is surely at least as important as religion.

    Shouldn't we be pushing languages too?
    Yes languages too, there'll be others I think I've forgotten. Learning about politics and the government is a good idea but I think history can be an aspect of all of the subjects, not a subject in it's own right.
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    Yes languages too, there'll be others I think I've forgotten. Learning about politics and the government is a good idea but I think history can be an aspect of all of the subjects, not a subject in it's own right.
    What about the world wars? How can that be classified into anything except history?
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    (Original post by That Bearded Man)
    What about the world wars? How can that be classified into anything except history?
    I never learnt about any of the wars in history. We learnt more about kings/queens and the black plague more than anything.

    Maybe that reflects the school I was at (was ranked, high private school) but at history GCSE they studied WW2 but I didn't take history
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    What are your thoughts?
    I think splitting up subjects in the way it is currently done is bad for the students and I think historic context is what could unsplit them. These things weren't discovered/created independently.
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    I don't entirely agree but I do think there needs to be a focus on those who leave school to have some sort of purpose. We have to have some sort of challened avenue for those who clearly don't care about an academic life - if we do that we balance out the economy as we have less academics/students all applying for jobs they'll not get.
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    Britain's school are not inclusive enough, there is still too much focus on "white" European history and this is having a terrible effect on all the poor non White children in these schools. It's something i think us antifa should be working on changing! We need to teach children about ALL the other cultures in schools! We need more on gender, diversity, equality and homosexual rights. Over time it will change though as Britain's ethnic identity changes.
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    But most people already know how to make sandwiches, grow potted plants or budget their money, it's not like they're extremely complicated skills. Why would we need to pay teachers / schools a lot of money to teach children things they'll pick up on their own anyway? It just seems very wasteful.
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    I think we need to change the focus on primary and secondary schools from academic to practical life skills.

    Keep maths, english and science but make them more interactive so rather than doing pythagoras theorem and algebra, get kids to participate in real life situations such as the classroom being a shop. They need to sort out change, do their own taxes (age dependent) and serve customers.
    Absolutely not; algebra, trigonometry and calculus are extremely valuable subjects with a massive range of practical applications - anyone who has taken a physical science or engineering course at university can tell you that. Anyone with a calculator can sort out change or do their taxes.

    English could stay the same aside from making poetry optional (I don't think it's essential compared to other literature).
    Science would involve more experiments- how things work. Primary school kids could be encouraged to grow plants, take part in basic experiments e.g. simple gravity.
    The only way to understand how things really work science is with the mathematics which you want schools to stop teaching. How are kids going to understand the meaning of an Arrhenius Plot if they don't know algebra?

    Then add on more essential skills such as finance, cooking (primary kids could make things like salad/sandwiches), possibly gardening (incorporate into science?), things like history and geography could be incorporated into gardening and cooking such as what is so special about this soil/why is it better to boil this rather than bake it- so and so made this mistake blah blah, so we are learning from history but it is relevant and make the assessments practicals rather than essay based questions.
    History should be taught because important for understanding modern politics and might teach children not to take our technology and economy for granted. Geography is important for similar reasons (demographics and structures of cities, and migration are covered in geography) and because it can give people an understanding of the processes which shape the world. And schools don't need to teach people who to cook or garden unless they are planning to do those things professionally.

    DIY could also be taught in the form of design and technology and possibly a bit of business.
    Except that design, technology and business are much more complex than DIY.

    If the classes were made more interesting and relavant I think the truancy rate would drop (at least slightly) as kids would be inspired to go to school. We could also teach about prisons and a bit of law to try and reduce crime rates?
    It would reduce truancy at the expense of smarter, more ambitious children. And the schools already teach about the law and crime.

    I know half of the stuff I learnt is totally irrelevant to me now- sorry history academics but I don't believe history is that important to everyday life (aside from again, incorporating it into other lessons).
    Religion and PE should obviously be kept aswell.

    What are your thoughts?
    You want to cut algebra but keep something as pointless as PE?
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    This is quite possibly the worst proposal for educational reform that I have ever seen. This is the perfect curriculum if you wish to raise children into a class of labourers with limited prospects and limited horizons. I would hesitate to even call this 'education.'
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    so rather than doing pythagoras theorem and algebra, get kids to participate in real life situations such as the classroom being a shop.
    You lost after this bit, what education system values the ability to count money over the ability to analyse things with algebra, and elementary trigonometry?
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    (Original post by Pawsies)
    Yes languages too, there'll be others I think I've forgotten. Learning about politics and the government is a good idea but I think history can be an aspect of all of the subjects, not a subject in it's own right.
    History A Levels and GCSE is where you develop arguments from looking through context, reliability, significance to come to a balance conclusion, I'd say it was one of the most important subjects available. The reason why we develop arguments in history is because history has an answer, you know what happens after and you see the effects as we live and breath today. It is the best and easiest way to get people to learn to create arguments, which we need more of this day and age.

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Updated: May 12, 2012
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