Thursday, 21 February 2013

The nightmare called school

Wonderful comment today on a Daily Mail article about the long-term affects of bullying at school.   Caleb, from Augusta, says:  "Forget about the nightmare called school."

Thank you Caleb.  Cramming children into large peer groups seems a recipe for bullying.  Plus, another sad thing is that there is nothing young children want to do more than to learn.  They are always asking questions, questions, questions.  But when you get to school, you learn that learning is "boring", and also punitive. It is something you can do wrong and get in trouble for.

I am, of course, talking about the school system of 1950s England. It stayed "1950s" pretty far into the 1960s too.  It is the only school system I have any personal experience of, and I did not enjoy it.

A plus was the intense orderliness - it was an environment in which you could learn, when you had a good teacher who made it interesting, rather than a boring and/or a punitive process. Step forward and take a bow Mrs Pugh (history) and Mrs Linstead (English). It also limited the bullying. There were definite boundaries.  And there was no scope for truanting, as far as I am aware. Every teacher was aware of where we were at all times, plus we wore school uniform.

Later, in my working life, I was talking to a young office junior.  I was suprised to find that she couldn't work out the ten per cents for the VAT invoices without a calculator. Even I, always considered a maths dunce at school, could do that, and I asked her about maths at school, wondering what had changed.  She told me that she went to one of those big new (back then) comprehensives and so didn't actually go to school.  She would turn up to register, and then she and her friends would go off to town.  Just not an option for us - our absence would have been noticed instantly - though I can't deny it is an option I, as a schoolgirl, would have loved. And later regretted, as she was doing.

But how to give children schooling without making it a nightmare?  We will probably have to wait for the restored earthly Paradise to find out.  For one thing, everyone on earth will be one loving extended family, and I think children are best educated within the family.   And when reading the Law that God gave to Moses, I note that he gave parents the responsibility for teaching the children - and most especially for their moral education.

My great achievement yesterday afternoon was making a chicken casserole - sort of Hungarian style, with caraway and paprika. Quite nice. And my great achievement this morning was getting myself in and out of the shower.   The expedition I was going to lead to the top of Everest and K2 is clearly going to have to be put on hold.

Though, the more I read about climbing those mountains, the more I think all such expeditions should be put on hold. It is simply a gamble with a precious human life, every time.

Anyway, talking of mountaineering, I am off for my gym lesson after lunch...  gloom, doom and despondency. Thank goodness we have the congregation meeting tonight, which will build me up again, even though it will certainly point out many areas in which I can at least try to improve.

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