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    What is the purpose of junior school presently?

    You learn a bit of maths and do book reviews in english. You get taught really simplistic bits of science, that you will later be retaught at GCSE. All this if you're lucky enough to get a teacher that will actually put some effort into it because they're too busy marking work from pupils doing GCSEs and A levels. I got to GCSE english and only then realised I hadn't really been shown how to write an essay - if it had an intro, paragraphs and a sort of conclusion it was perfect - which of course is not the case when you get to GCSE. The only good thing I can think of is the continuous language learning that was really important for GCSE and some really epic teachers who got me really into their subjects.

    I can't help thinking this time could be better used? Couldn't we be introduced to a few more subjects and be set a bit more challenging work? Could it actually count for something in some subjects - like the ones that you just need to learn facts? Of course you might have to introduce some more topics into primary school first. Or is everyone fairly satisfied with their junior school education and just my experience has been bad

    Why do A levels and GCSEs have to last 2 years anyway? Teachers are always struggling to finish teaching the course and I'm sure everyone can testify to cramming info into short term memory and forgetting about it as soon as they're done. Wouldn't something a bit more creative and focused on the student taking the initiative be a bit more productive?
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    The fundamental problem that you're skirting around the edge of here is that our education system doesn't educate people in a way that is useful, or in a way that is interesting. It is fundamentally geared for an economic structure that simple doesn't exist any more (specifically: it's based on 17th century philosophy applied to solving the economic situation of the 18th century), and it hasn't been fundamentally changed since. Is it really a surprise that the mass of patches that have been heaped on top of it are starting to show the cracks?
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    Intellect grows over time. A four year-old, for example, though more intelligent than a baby, is still very stupid. A nine year-old is very smart (at least compared to apes whose intelligence capacity peaks much earlier), but nowhere near as intelligent as he will be as a 14 year-old, and there is another huge jump between 14 and 18. The structure of the curriculum in different phases tries to reflect this. We generally teach simple things that to a large extent can be rote-learned in primary school, then introduce some logical thinking in secondary school and only expect real analytical and critical thinking in 6th form.

    You are probably quite smart and so ahead of the curve, but the national curriculum is pitched at whole year groups and the vast majority of your peers would not be able to keep up with you. That said, I do think the content of the curriculum at KS3 could be improved, but the level of difficulty is probably about right. I think the problem that you experienced is probably more due to the fact that "teaching" methods have shifted towards "facilitation", where children are supposed to work things out for themselves. I think that could generate a feeling of "I didn't learn anything" because as an approach it is more skills- than content- or structure-oriented. (And naturally children like to do things they already can do, and (most of the time) not things they can't do.) I think a "marginal gains" approach would probably be more efficient, and you would feel more like you are actually learning something / making progress.
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    What is the purpose of junior school presently?

    You learn a bit of maths and do book reviews in english. You get taught really simplistic bits of science, that you will later be retaught at GCSE. All this if you're lucky enough to get a teacher that will actually put some effort into it because they're too busy marking work from pupils doing GCSEs and A levels. I got to GCSE english and only then realised I hadn't really been shown how to write an essay - if it had an intro, paragraphs and a sort of conclusion it was perfect - which of course is not the case when you get to GCSE. The only good thing I can think of is the continuous language learning that was really important for GCSE and some really epic teachers who got me really into their subjects.

    I can't help thinking this time could be better used? Couldn't we be introduced to a few more subjects and be set a bit more challenging work? Could it actually count for something in some subjects - like the ones that you just need to learn facts? Of course you might have to introduce some more topics into primary school first. Or is everyone fairly satisfied with their junior school education and just my experience has been bad

    Why do A levels and GCSEs have to last 2 years anyway? Teachers are always struggling to finish teaching the course and I'm sure everyone can testify to cramming info into short term memory and forgetting about it as soon as they're done. Wouldn't something a bit more creative and focused on the student taking the initiative be a bit more productive?
    im confused, the teachers who teach you in junior school won't also teach GCSE and A-Level unless your in a very small rural school or private school.

    And my mums school have run GCSE's over 3 years for the last few years and the feedback from pupils has been that year 8 is too soon for them to pick options.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    im confused, the teachers who teach you in junior school won't also teach GCSE and A-Level unless your in a very small rural school or private school.

    And my mums school have run GCSE's over 3 years for the last few years and the feedback from pupils has been that year 8 is too soon for them to pick options.
    But if you got exposure to more subjects at an earlier age? Primary school could be a lot more interesting with more diverse subjects but I guess like someone said before weaker students could struggle with that.
    I got to a fairly large state school in the middle of the city and the teachers take all stages, depending on their qualifications and how the timetable works out of course. Did you go to a separate school between primary and GCSE years or something?
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    But if you got exposure to more subjects at an earlier age? Primary school could be a lot more interesting with more diverse subjects but I guess like someone said before weaker students could struggle with that.
    I got to a fairly large state school in the middle of the city and the teachers take all stages, depending on their qualifications and how the timetable works out of course. Did you go to a separate school between primary and GCSE years or something?
    Yeah I went to one school from reception to year 6 and another from years 7-11. In London its mostly only private schools that go all the way through and even then the one I joined in yr7 had mostly seperate teachers (there were two teachers who taught juniors and year 7 and language teachers who offered taster lessons to year 6).
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    But if you got exposure to more subjects at an earlier age? Primary school could be a lot more interesting with more diverse subjects but I guess like someone said before weaker students could struggle with that.
    I got to a fairly large state school in the middle of the city and the teachers take all stages, depending on their qualifications and how the timetable works out of course. Did you go to a separate school between primary and GCSE years or something?
    The vast majority of UK students go to primary school until they finish year 6, then transfer to a secondary school for Key Stage 3, GCSE, then A-level.

    You are not going to get a group of 8 year olds learning algebra or discussing the economy; they're 8. Let them be children for a while before making them sit down and learn proper things in secondary school. At that age they're more concerned with who's got the coolest pencil; they're not able to be set more challenging, secondary level work.
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    (Original post by llys)
    Intellect grows over time. A four year-old, for example, though more intelligent than a baby, is still very stupid. A nine year-old is very smart (at least compared to apes whose intelligence capacity peaks much earlier), but nowhere near as intelligent as he will be as a 14 year-old, and there is another huge jump between 14 and 18. The structure of the curriculum in different phases tries to reflect this. We generally teach simple things that to a large extent can be rote-learned in primary school, then introduce some logical thinking in secondary school and only expect real analytical and critical thinking in 6th form.

    You are probably quite smart and so ahead of the curve, but the national curriculum is pitched at whole year groups and the vast majority of your peers would not be able to keep up with you. That said, I do think the content of the curriculum at KS3 could be improved, but the level of difficulty is probably about right. I think the problem that you experienced is probably more due to the fact that "teaching" methods have shifted towards "facilitation", where children are supposed to work things out for themselves. I think that could generate a feeling of "I didn't learn anything" because as an approach it is more skills- than content- or structure-oriented. (And naturally children like to do things they already can do, and (most of the time) not things they can't do.) I think a "marginal gains" approach would probably be more efficient, and you would feel more like you are actually learning something / making progress.
    Well if teaching methods have shifted towards "facilitation" as you put it, I certainly haven't any evidence of it, unfortunately. I've heard of students doing their own projects for qualifications but unfortunately my school has never informed anyone that this was an option, never mind giving support to students who learn better this way. The closest thing to taking responsibility for your own education that I've came across was when I got a teacher who couldn't be bothered to do his job! It actually worked out well for me knowing that I had to plan my own course and revision and then being able to do it because he didn't give homework :/

    I probably am "ahead of the curve" but the amount of people that got distracted in class, especially in primary school says to me that they weren't being challenged enough - I know I certainly wasn't. (It also says that classes at that age really need to be smaller, but that's another debate )
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    (Original post by Pectorac)
    The vast majority of UK students go to primary school until they finish year 6, then transfer to a secondary school for Key Stage 3, GCSE, then A-level.

    You are not going to get a group of 8 year olds learning algebra or discussing the economy; they're 8. Let them be children for a while before making them sit down and learn proper things in secondary school. At that age they're more concerned with who's got the coolest pencil; they're not able to be set more challenging, secondary level work.
    Ah. I see education in northern ireland is ever more different from the rest of the UK than I thought! Some children are ready for more advanced things at that age - and as for algebra, I remember doing function machines from a very early stage in maths in primary school, which is basically the same as algebra and it would be very easy to introduce the concept of letters to signify unknowns at that stage. If it was considered normal at an early age it would probably remove a lot of the confusion when you're more used to working with numbers and less flexible perhaps. I remember feeling very patronised in primary and junior school and I think adults can sometimes forget that just because children look cute and have little high pitched voices, it doesn't mean that they don't have a brain. :/
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    Well if teaching methods have shifted towards "facilitation" as you put it, I certainly haven't any evidence of it, unfortunately. I've heard of students doing their own projects for qualifications but unfortunately my school has never informed anyone that this was an option, never mind giving support to students who learn better this way. The closest thing to taking responsibility for your own education that I've came across was when I got a teacher who couldn't be bothered to do his job! It actually worked out well for me knowing that I had to plan my own course and revision and then being able to do it because he didn't give homework :/
    Sorry, that's a misunderstanding. Individual projects are very good IMO. Facilitation is mainly "group work", however, where the teachers can disperse the weaker pupils into different groups with cleverer ones, so that everyone can then pretend they learned something even though the other pupils did all the work.

    I probably am "ahead of the curve" but the amount of people that got distracted in class, especially in primary school says to me that they weren't being challenged enough - I know I certainly wasn't. (It also says that classes at that age really need to be smaller, but that's another debate )
    It is quite likely that you weren't challenged enough, but I'm still not convinced that it is a content problem, rather than an enforcement problem. For example, if teachers had made you focus on improving your mistakes, rather than praising you or the others for sub-par work, you probably would have felt reasonably challenged. This is something that seems to have gone out of fashion as well.
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    (Original post by BlueSam3)
    The fundamental problem that you're skirting around the edge of here is that our education system doesn't educate people in a way that is useful, or in a way that is interesting. It is fundamentally geared for an economic structure that simple doesn't exist any more (specifically: it's based on 17th century philosophy applied to solving the economic situation of the 18th century), and it hasn't been fundamentally changed since. Is it really a surprise that the mass of patches that have been heaped on top of it are starting to show the cracks?
    Can you expand on the 17th century philosophy for 18th century economy a bit?
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    Can you expand on the 17th century philosophy for 18th century economy a bit?
    https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mit...l_in_the_cloud
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    (Original post by llys)
    Sorry, that's a misunderstanding. Individual projects are very good IMO. Facilitation is mainly "group work", however, where the teachers can disperse the weaker pupils into different groups with cleverer ones, so that everyone can then pretend they learned something even though the other pupils did all the work.



    It is quite likely that you weren't challenged enough, but I'm still not convinced that it is a content problem, rather than an enforcement problem. For example, if teachers had made you focus on improving your mistakes, rather than praising you or the others for sub-par work, you probably would have felt reasonably challenged. This is something that seems to have gone out of fashion as well.
    Hmm I'm not sure I've ever seen facilitation at work then - probably a good thing going by your account! I think academically weaker students should be encouraged to more to find something that they're good and and motivated to work for. Some people can find more motivation outside the classroom and then use it to help their work inside the classroom. Equally, some people simply mature late. In summary the system doesn't seem to provide for all the different learning types out there.

    I think you're right with the idea that teachers didn't focus on improving my mistakes. When I think over it, they probably just saw that I was ahead of the class and didn't really bother about it. I remember being able to hide weaknesses from my teachers, which wouldn't have been a good mindset to have going into secondary school. I was afraid to make mistakes.
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    I remember feeling very patronised in primary and junior school and I think adults can sometimes forget that just because children look cute and have little high pitched voices, it doesn't mean that they don't have a brain. :/
    I can empathise but there really is a very good reason why grammar schools test pupils at age 11 or 13 and not at age 5 or 8. Even at age 11 they may still make mistakes. I know quite a few "late bloomers" who were always fairly average, until they suddenly came near the top of the class age 16-18.

    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    Hmm I'm not sure I've ever seen facilitation at work then - probably a good thing going by your account! I think academically weaker students should be encouraged to more to find something that they're good and and motivated to work for. Some people can find more motivation outside the classroom and then use it to help their work inside the classroom. Equally, some people simply mature late. In summary the system doesn't seem to provide for all the different learning types out there.

    I think you're right with the idea that teachers didn't focus on improving my mistakes. When I think over it, they probably just saw that I was ahead of the class and didn't really bother about it. I remember being able to hide weaknesses from my teachers, which wouldn't have been a good mindset to have going into secondary school. I was afraid to make mistakes.
    Yeah. It is difficult for teachers though because they obviously don't want pupils to lose motivation, but at the same time you learn most when you focus on ironing out your mistakes, rather than keep repeating what you can already do. (As anyone who has learned a musical instrument can attest to.)
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    i love it!!!!!!!! :d
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    (Original post by llys)
    I can empathise but there really is a very good reason why grammar schools test pupils at age 11 or 13 and not at age 5 or 8. Even at age 11 they may still make mistakes. I know quite a few "late bloomers" who were always fairly average, until they suddenly came near the top of the class age 16-18.
    Oh yeah I totally agree! Testing at ages much younger than 11 is bad. The idea that at that age they can be right or wrong, good or bad, is very damaging. If education was good enough, by the time they got to the testing age, a lot more people would be getting good marks. At that age they should be encouraged to ask questions and find things out for themselves - like is suggested in the link
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    (Original post by Sheepish153)
    Can you expand on the 17th century philosophy for 18th century economy a bit?
    The education system we have at present is, in the abstract sense, still fundamentally based on the work of enlightenment philosophers (John Locke being a notable example). In a more solid, structural sense, it's a system designed to produce what was needed for the economy of the industrial revolution: the compulsory school system produces plenty of baseline educated people to work in the factories, the A-level (and formerly O-level) system produces the better educated supervisors and managers for those factories, and the university system produces the small numbers of really well educated people that you need to go off and run the country. Obviously, that isn't the economic reality today, hence a whole bunch of problems that you can probably think of instantly.

    There's other signs of this industrial-revolution influence everywhere: to this day, schools around the world still process children by batches, based on age (that is: we've designed a production line, that takes batches of children and outputs batches of workers, with those batches, rather than being defined by anything that actually matters, is based on something as arbitrary as age, of all the things).
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    By junior school, do you mean primary school or KS3 at high school?

    At primary school you learn to read, write, learn fundamental maths skills and scientific knowledge. As well as foundation subjects. If you dont learn anything at high school you wont go far, but if you dont learn anything at primary school- you wont go anywhere. If this is what you are talking about- you learn the most important skills for life at primary level- as well as academic skills, you also learn how to be a functional human being in society- look up secondary socialization for more info.

    If your talking about KS3 (which i assume as you mentioned GCSEs- not usually referred to as junior school) you are learning skills to prepare you for SATS, GCSEs, etc and for your life after school. Yes, some of it is simply to pass exams- i have never used algebra or Pythagoras' theorem since leaving school- but for some reason you have to learn it.
    There's a lot you learn in these 1st 3 years of high school- tbh some of it is a bit crap- but you have to learn it. You also learn a hell of a lot about social skills when you start high school.

    Thing is, children's brains develop more each year- you wouldnt expect an 11 year old to do GCSE work (unless they were a genius) so the work is set at a level appropriate for their stage of learning development. A lot of those first 3 years is to develop skills to prepare you for SATs, GCSEs and A levels and to look at foundation subjects in more depth than at primary school.
 
 
 
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