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Source: (consider it) Thread: Taking Kids Out-Of-School
Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
never used textbooks in 40 years

You teach Religious Studies, right? I'm not terribly surprised by that. I'd be surprised to find many maths teachers making the same claim.

(As a sidenote, how do you communicate the syllabus to your pupils? Do you hand out a sheet of paper at the start of the year?)

Every LA has a different syllabus so the market for textbooks would be very limited.

Why would anyone want to communicate the syllabus to students at the start of the year?

Here is the government's outline guidance to schools in England for the GCSE stage of Religious Education/Religious Studies. As you can see it gives schools a good deal of latitude teaching this subject, far more than is allowed in any other subject.
All the more reason for pupils to be given at the very least an outline of what the course will cover for the next term/semester/quarter.

What a sad boast from Leo. I wonder what his former pupils would say about that.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
I'm sorry to add another anecdote to all the others here, but I can't remember ever receiving a syllabus at the start of a course at secondary school - is this a thing in England now?

I'll see your anecdote, and raise you mine. It was completely normal for us to understand the syllabus at secondary level. In some cases, the syllabus was implicit (here's the maths or chemistry textbook, which is also the syllabus), in other cases we were told at the start of the term. And certainly once we started studying for public examinations, the syllabus was both explicit and important.
Fair enough - I just couldn't remember it happening at all when I was at secondary (1990-1995), which is why I asked whether it was a new thing; perhaps it was just my school (though I always understood it was considered a good school).

I can see why it would be a good and important thing to do, I just don't remember happening when I were a lad...

ETA: I do have to say, though, that I don't particularly feel like I missed out because we didn't receive proper syllabuses - I got reasonable GCSEs without them and I'm not sure what the teenage me or those I was at school with would've made of them. Knowing some of those I was at school with, the mind boggles what they'd have made with them - weapons of some kind, most probably [Ultra confused]

[ 15. April 2017, 12:08: Message edited by: Stejjie ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
All the more reason for pupils to be given at the very least an outline of what the course will cover for the next term/semester/quarter.

What a sad boast from Leo. I wonder what his former pupils would say about that.

Why?It's like telling the punchline before starting the joke.

Pupils who keep in touch enjoyed their RE and many went on to read Theoogy.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
never used textbooks in 40 years

You teach Religious Studies, right? I'm not terribly surprised by that. I'd be surprised to find many maths teachers making the same claim.

(As a sidenote, how do you communicate the syllabus to your pupils? Do you hand out a sheet of paper at the start of the year?)

Every LA has a different syllabus so the market for textbooks would be very limited.

Why would anyone want to communicate the syllabus to students at the start of the year?

Here is the government's outline guidance to schools in England for the GCSE stage of Religious Education/Religious Studies. As you can see it gives schools a good deal of latitude teaching this subject, far more than is allowed in any other subject.
That's the response to a legal challenge by Hunmianists and is about GCSE.

I was talking about local authority syllabuses which deal with statutory, non-examined RE

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
Why not?

My students used to appreciate knowing what was coming down the pike, so to speak. And when I sat through a non-syllabus'd course last year, I found myself floundering mentally because I had no real sense of what goal we were driving for.

That assumes a single 'goal' - RE is not linear or content based but discussion-driven so may end up in a very different place to that planned.

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Lamb Chopped
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This is really bizarre. How do you do RE if it's not content-based but only discussion-based? I thought discussion was a way of processing content. Do you just talk in a vacuum, then, or try to derive stuff from first principles?

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
This is really bizarre. How do you do RE if it's not content-based but only discussion-based? I thought discussion was a way of processing content. Do you just talk in a vacuum, then, or try to derive stuff from first principles?

Exactly. Surely the role of a teacher is to lead and guide the discussion around some solid content. Why otherwise would you have a teacher?

As to Leo's comment - how many, what percentage. come back and say that they enjoyed the RE periods? And actually learned something?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
This is really bizarre. How do you do RE if it's not content-based but only discussion-based? I thought discussion was a way of processing content. Do you just talk in a vacuum, then, or try to derive stuff from first principles?

Exactly. Surely the role of a teacher is to lead and guide the discussion around some solid content. Why otherwise would you have a teacher?
To enable the discussion.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
This is really bizarre. How do you do RE if it's not content-based but only discussion-based? I thought discussion was a way of processing content. Do you just talk in a vacuum, then, or try to derive stuff from first principles?

Exactly. Surely the role of a teacher is to lead and guide the discussion around some solid content. Why otherwise would you have a teacher?
To enable the discussion.
As Lamb suggests, without some content, what you're facilitating is an exercise in shared ignorance.

In my teaching career, I see the two extremes of this. In the central African seminary where I teach, I'm loathe to impose too much of my own reflection/impressions given my own cultural ignorance-- the context for my ministry is so different from theirs. Yet I struggle to get my students-- all mature, seasoned pastors-- to participate in class discussions-- even though they have decades of mature wisdom to share. Their perspective is that they have sacrificed a lot to come to seminary, they can talk to each other any time, they're there to hear from me.

In the US, I struggle to keep my students engaged in even the most succinct content-based presentation or reading assignment, no matter how many bells and whistles I pull out. But they sure do love group discussion. They'll yak with each other for hours (I do have to give them some sort of worksheet to keep them on topic) even if they know nothing whatsoever about the topic.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
This is really bizarre. How do you do RE if it's not content-based but only discussion-based? I thought discussion was a way of processing content. Do you just talk in a vacuum, then, or try to derive stuff from first principles?

Exactly. Surely the role of a teacher is to lead and guide the discussion around some solid content. Why otherwise would you have a teacher?
To enable the discussion.
As Lamb suggests, without some content, what you're facilitating is an exercise in shared ignorance.
That's why the teacher throws in 'content' relevant to the direction in which he discussion is going.

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Alisdair
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quote:
That's why the teacher throws in 'content' relevant to the direction in which he discussion is going.
Mathematically this can be described as a 'random walk'. Given enough time it will eventually cover the area, but it is the most inefficient way of achieving that goal.

Most formal educational situations are not blessed with unlimited time, which is presumably why some astute direction is often helpful, sometimes imperative.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Alisdair:
quote:
That's why the teacher throws in 'content' relevant to the direction in which he discussion is going.
Mathematically this can be described as a 'random walk'. Given enough time it will eventually cover the area, but it is the most inefficient way of achieving that goal.

Most formal educational situations are not blessed with unlimited time, which is presumably why some astute direction is often helpful, sometimes imperative.

And in addition to all this, who sets the discussion topic in the first place? Where does that come from? Are pupils given the topic at the preceding lesson with some suggested reading? And how are students assessed, and against what standard, at the end of the term/year/semester?

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anne
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For many secondary students in England, RE is a compulsory but unexamined subject. Some will be working towards GCSE RE, most will not, but will still have to spend at least one period a week in an RE class. Individual schools may squeeze other subjects like PHSE (Personal, Social and Health Education) into those slots but legally it should be RE.

Seems like a situation when wide ranging discussions of current events and the way that faith might influence people's responses or actions would be more appropriate than a rigid syllabus.

anne

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by anne:

Seems like a situation when wide ranging discussions of current events and the way that faith might influence people's responses or actions would be more appropriate than a rigid syllabus.

anne

Or a way to cut down preparation time for the teacher. Explain away a noisy class on the basis that the discussion was not only wide ranging, but full and frank, maybe even vigourous, as well, and there you are.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Alisdair:
quote:
That's why the teacher throws in 'content' relevant to the direction in which he discussion is going.
Mathematically this can be described as a 'random walk'. Given enough time it will eventually cover the area, but it is the most inefficient way of achieving that goal.

Most formal educational situations are not blessed with unlimited time, which is presumably why some astute direction is often helpful, sometimes imperative.

And in addition to all this, who sets the discussion topic in the first place? Where does that come from? Are pupils given the topic at the preceding lesson with some suggested reading? And how are students assessed, and against what standard, at the end of the term/year/semester?
The locally Agreed Syllabus sets 'key questions' e.g. is there a God? Why do people suffer? What happens after death? Why pray?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by anne:

Seems like a situation when wide ranging discussions of current events and the way that faith might influence people's responses or actions would be more appropriate than a rigid syllabus.

anne

Or a way to cut down preparation time for the teacher. Explain away a noisy class on the basis that the discussion was not only wide ranging, but full and frank, maybe even vigourous, as well, and there you are.
Discussion needs more preparation because you need more material to introject because you can't predict what ill be needed - so you might need 4 learning outcomes, not 1.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
how are students assessed, and against what standard, at the end of the term/year/semester?

Assessment was by 8 levels, as with all national curriculum subjects until the Tories abolished levels. Now, each school can assess as it likes, or not at all - a very retrograde move.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Explain away a noisy class on the basis that the discussion was not only wide ranging, but full and frank, maybe even vigourous, as well, and there you are.

You can't have discussion in a noisy class - it only works if one person speaks at time and everyone else listens.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Explain away a noisy class on the basis that the discussion was not only wide ranging, but full and frank, maybe even vigourous, as well, and there you are.

You can't have discussion in a noisy class - it only works if one person speaks at time and everyone else listens.
Breaking into small groups for discussion can be quite noisy, but can still be productive-- if you have means in place to ensure that there's some common learning (not just sharing ignorance) and that the groups stay on task. Indeed, when done well, I've found the noisier the room, the more engaged the students (again, if on task) and the more productive.

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Gee D
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To try and cover all of your posts in one, Leo: I know that you can't have a decent discussion in a noisy class, but that does not prevent a teacher claiming that the excessive noise in room 5A with this excuse.

It does seem you have, or had, a syllabus at some stage. Did you let your classes know that so that at least some could have an idea where they were heading?

Discussion may need more preparation if you have a goal. From what your earlier posts said, you did not have one in that sense. In particular, you do not appear to be assessing students.

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mr cheesy
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I think the point is that RE in England is a compulsory non-examined subject, the actual content is only irregularly checked by inspectors if at all. The curriculum such as it exists is so broad as to be pointless for a child to look at.

As I've said before, there was absolutely no provision for RE in my child's school after 14, no effort to meet the "legal" minimum, no tuition, no classes, nothing at all. The school was examined twice by the government inspectors in this time who didn't even mention this lack of provision, indicating that they didn't think it was very important either.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
It does seem you have, or had, a syllabus at some stage. Did you let your classes know that so that at least some could have an idea where they were heading?.

I don't understand this obssessio with giving classes a list in advance.

I do remember, back in the 1970s, giving out a quarto sheet to fit in their books - most of these end up blowing around the playground outside. And that was a grammar school.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
The school was examined twice by the government inspectors in this time who didn't even mention this lack of provision, indicating that they didn't think it was very important either.

No - merely that the OFSTED schedule has moved - they target different things every so often

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I don't understand this obssessio with giving classes a list in advance.

Whereas I can't understand your opposition to it. It seems to me as though "what is the purpose of this class?" is a pretty reasonable question for someone to ask. The syllabus encapsulates the purpose of the class.

Although given that you're teaching a non-examined class, were I one of your pupils I probably wouldn't care too much about the absence of a syllabus. I also wouldn't care about missing some of your classes to do something else instead. (I'm not claiming that your classes aren't educational or worthwhile - just that given that they're not examined, I'm entirely happy to trade them in for a different worthwhile educational experience. If I miss out on your class discussion on modern religious views of usury and learn about something else interesting instead, I'm OK with that.)

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Gee D
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I'd have thought that even with a non-examinable subject, giving pupils an idea of the general direction for the next term is not a bad idea. Otherwise what Leorning Cniht said - in which case, what catching up is a pupil going to need, what time is going to be stolen from other pupils?

[ 19. April 2017, 07:17: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
[QBIt does seem you have, or had, a syllabus at some stage. Did you let your classes know that so that at least some could have an idea where they were heading?. [/QB]

ALWAYS a syllabus - as laid down by the LA SACRE (councillors, teachers, C of E and other denominations/faiths.

It is the programmes of study that are optionnal.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
I'd have thought that even with a non-examinable subject, giving pupils an idea of the general direction for the next term is not a bad idea. Otherwise what Leorning Cniht said - in which case, what catching up is a pupil going to need, what time is going to be stolen from other pupils?

I never encountered any other subject giving out a scheme of work in advance.

As every class will have negotiated their path differently, each will have differen catching up to do.

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
I'd have thought that even with a non-examinable subject, giving pupils an idea of the general direction for the next term is not a bad idea. Otherwise what Leorning Cniht said - in which case, what catching up is a pupil going to need, what time is going to be stolen from other pupils?

I never encountered any other subject giving out a scheme of work in advance.


Doesn't the syllabus define the scheme of work? Moreover in a subject that is examined.
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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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I lectured engineering for quite a while - I've some sympathy with the 'telling the punchline before the joke' argument.

Having said that, I'd have a very clear idea on what I was going to cover (and it would generally be very heavy on complex numbers [Big Grin] ). But ideally, I'd like to keep the details to myself, because depending on the group I might need to do a lot of rework on things they should know already, or else push on rather farther than we might otherwise have managed.

In HE, 'taking kids out' equates to 'going on holiday during term time'. I'd refer them to a text book, suggest they photocopy the board-notes of a friend, and suspect that if it was a holiday they'd crash and burn. If a pressing family engagement - much more likely they'd get it back together.


Oh - ETA - that reminds me of a great riposte by an ex-colleague;

Student: "Where are the notes for Wednesday's lecture?"

Lecturer: "Presumably, in the notebooks of those students who attended...".

[ 19. April 2017, 15:30: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
giving pupils an idea of the general direction for the next term is not a bad idea.

As I said earlier, such sheets ended up being dumped.

Adults might find them helpful but we are talking children here.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
I'd have thought that even with a non-examinable subject, giving pupils an idea of the general direction for the next term is not a bad idea. Otherwise what Leorning Cniht said - in which case, what catching up is a pupil going to need, what time is going to be stolen from other pupils?

I never encountered any other subject giving out a scheme of work in advance.


Doesn't the syllabus define the scheme of work? Moreover in a subject that is examined.
No - schemes are alternative routes for covering the syllabus.

We are talking RE here, which is not examined but follows the LA Agreed Syllabus..

When it is examined, it is RS - done completely differently and following an exam. board's specifications.

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Garasu
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I'm beginning to see why I regarded secondary school RE as such a complete waste of time...

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
I'm beginning to see why I regarded secondary school RE as such a complete waste of time...

It sounds like a form of child care, giving teachers a bit of a break.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
It sounds like a form of child care, giving teachers a bit of a break.

I don't think that's at all fair. Exams are not the be all and end all - and in most cases, once you've got a decent collection of them, taking one more GCSE for the sake of having another grade is worthless.

If you're taking the extra GCSE because you want to learn another language, or pick up some useful skill or other, then great. But at that point it's about the education, not the grade.

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Gee D
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I agree with what you say, but what's going on does not sound like much of an education at all - as I said, more like giving teachers of examinable subjects a bit of a break.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
does not sound like much of an education at all

educere = to draw out e.g. by discussion of ultimate questions

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
I'm beginning to see why I regarded secondary school RE as such a complete waste of time...

So Socrates was wrong?: The unexamined life isn't worth living.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So Socrates was wrong?: The unexamined life isn't worth living.

I could be wrong, but I suspect the idea of having professional and paid teachers - particularly when they insist that philosophy can be "taught" and that missed lessons need to be "caught up" - would be something of anathema to Socrates.

I think philosophy is fascinating, but the way you've described teaching it at school sounds like a complete waste of everyone's time.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
does not sound like much of an education at all

educere = to draw out e.g. by discussion of ultimate questions
quote:
'The word "education" comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix meaning in and the stem, trudo, I thrust. Miss Mackay's method is to thrust a lot of information into the pupil's head; mine is a leading out of knowledge, and that is true education as is proved by the root meaning. Now Miss Mackay has accused me of putting ideas into my girls' heads, but in fact that is her practice and mine is quite the opposite. Never let it be said that I put ideas into your heads. What is the meaning of education, Sandy?'
'To lead out,' said Sandy

That paragon of self-awareness Miss Jean Brodie.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
sounds like a complete waste of everyone's time.

so what exactly is the purpose of education? Is it merely to equip economic production and, thus, to reduce children to dehumanised units therein?

[ 20. April 2017, 17:30: Message edited by: leo ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
so what exactly is the purpose of education? Is it merely to equip economic production and, thus, to reduce children to dehumanised units therein?

Nope, but it absolutely isn't forcing children to sit in pointless classes that count for nothing and have no discernible purpose.

Even if RE had been offered at my child's school, from what I'm learning from you, I'd have been as well to withdraw from the utterly pointless lessons and instead spend the time on something more constructive - which, quite frankly, is almost anything.

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Garden Hermit
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I had the pleasure of visiting Northbrook College in the middle of Shoreham Airport a couple of years ago. There were no table and chairs there, just wipeboards and aircraft and their engines in bits, - and lots of enthusiastic students aged 14 upwards. To me that looked like REAL education. (PS I never knew how many pipes and wires there were under my passenger seat when the floor is up.)
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I think the point is that RE in England is a compulsory non-examined subject, the actual content is only irregularly checked by inspectors if at all. The curriculum such as it exists is so broad as to be pointless for a child to look at.

As I've said before, there was absolutely no provision for RE in my child's school after 14, no effort to meet the "legal" minimum, no tuition, no classes, nothing at all. The school was examined twice by the government inspectors in this time who didn't even mention this lack of provision, indicating that they didn't think it was very important either.

The same is true for History etc. OFSTED stopped doing subject inspections several years ago - nothing to do with any value judgement of importance but everything to do with an obssession for exam results.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
so what exactly is the purpose of education? Is it merely to equip economic production and, thus, to reduce children to dehumanised units therein?

Nope, but it absolutely isn't forcing children to sit in pointless classes that count for nothing and have no discernible purpose.

Even if RE had been offered at my child's school, from what I'm learning from you, I'd have been as well to withdraw from the utterly pointless lessons and instead spend the time on something more constructive - which, quite frankly, is almost anything.

So it is 'pointless' to:

learn to listen to different opinions
evaluate truth claims?

No other subject does this.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So it is 'pointless' to:

learn to listen to different opinions
evaluate truth claims?

No other subject does this.

No, but I don't need the state - or you - to do that, thanks. The subject is shite. The way it is taught it shite.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So Socrates was wrong?: The unexamined life isn't worth living.

I could be wrong, but I suspect the idea of having professional and paid teachers - particularly when they insist that philosophy can be "taught" and that missed lessons need to be "caught up" - would be something of anathema to Socrates.
Teachers, in his day, were servants - paid no more than their board and lodging - don't tell that to the Tories.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I suspect the truth is that several weeks could be lost at the end of the Summer term, at least a week could be lost before Christmas kids are in the classroom for less weeks a year.

Every year, since 1974, we were expected to 'teach up to the last bell'.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Every year, since 1974, we were expected to 'teach up to the last bell'.

My child has 10 A-grade GCSEs and in none of those 11 years was the class taught in the last week of the Summer term. I find it extremely hard to believe that any child anywhere learns anything at all in the last week of the Summer term.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So it is 'pointless' to:

learn to listen to different opinions
evaluate truth claims?

No other subject does this.

When I took History, it quite explicitly did do this. In a rather different context, Science does this. I think your claims of exclusivity may be a little overblown.

(Re "after the exams", we certainly always had lessons up to the end of term, and it was only the last day or so that they were complete nonsense (watching videos, playing games etc.).

In some cases, we started next year's syllabus. In some cases, we did interesting things relevant to the subject but not so directly linked to exams.)

[ 21. April 2017, 13:56: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Even if RE had been offered at my child's school, from what I'm learning from you, I'd have been as well to withdraw from the utterly pointless lessons and instead spend the time on something more constructive - which, quite frankly, is almost anything.

RE is the main conduit for the government's 'Tackling Extremism/British Values'.

Parents have been threatened with visits from the police of they withdraw their kids.

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