Sunday, June 28, 2009

[what have they done] the so-called educators

On Friday, I went to McDonalds, for personal reasons revolving round the observation of human nature and the rich parade of people from all walks of life. As usual, there was a quiz question on the radio:

'What is the capital of Greece?'

'Er ... Rome?'

Leaving that aside and entering the hallowed halls of learning, Deogolwulf informs us:

In an A level history exam, on Hitler's role in Nazi Germany, apparently the phrase “despotic tyranny” has caused some upset:

“[I]t is elitist . . . to assume every history student is going to have come across such a term.” [2]

“The use of the term ‘despotic tyranny’ excludes students of a lower ability.” [3]

“I understand that to be an A level history student you need to have a wide grasp of specialised vocabulary but can i realy be blamed for never hearing the word despotic before? I have never read it, let alone had it taught to me and i was under the impression that exams should be based on a student’s knowledge of a topic not on their knowedge of a word.” [5]


Footnotes are at Deogolwulf's blog.



  1. 'Child-centred education,' that's the ticket.
    This is the culture war at its [almost] worst because the ignorant and unthinking make lousy or lethal parents, insane voters, rotten employees, rarely taxpayers and never soldiers in any war you'd want us to win.

    This lot have Labour's depression to work their ways out of and to pay our pensions one way or another.

    It's not looking good.

    The whole educational establishment; from inspectors to education departments in the universities, to the LEAs and the standards 'authorities' need sacking.

    No excuses. The Left has owned the education system for fifty years and they've thoroughly ruined it. Time they went.
    The only trouble is, David Cameron seems pretty clueless.

    This has some good ideas;

    Schools Reform Plan

    but it is still just tinkering in that it doesn't take the power of the money from the schools - good or bad - and give it to the parents. Until then, it's prettty much going to remain a producer monopoly, however diverse and well-funded, and look how that's working out with the BBC.

  2. They do need sacking and rehiring but the problem is that the hirers are stacked with the same types. Socialism is nothing if not efficient at seizing power although it goes downhill after that.

  3. Actually, I was going for not replacing those institutions at all, and letting the eager-for-voucher money headteachers train their own recruits in-house, while sending them to teacher training colleges of the old style part-time.

    Egon Ronay-type boards can set examinations and mark them.

  4. Learning is second to social programming in schools; this is quite true in many countries.

    "You can't make Socialists out of individualists - children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent."
    -John Dewey

    John Dewey was one of the people responsible for today's schools.

  5. Could it not, even one teeny-weeny bit, be the fault of the students or even their parents, who do not encourage reading? There's only so much you can do in the classroom and you know this as well as I do, James.

  6. "Could it not, even one teeny-weeny bit, be the fault of the students or even their parents, who do not encourage reading? "

    Of course it can be that as well and is; God knows some of the parents I saw and met were hopeless, but if the people who are supposed to want to get the learning done and who are paid to get it done have other agendas than putting knowledge into heads and skill and strength into bodies and morals into hearts then learning is highly unlikely to be done.

    Education should be a broad church - but it should not be run by atheists.


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