PART 1 – A VISION OF SCHOOLING
I’m one of those people who believes in the power of primary schooling to lead a country to greatness in all social, economic and intellectual ways. Yes. The greater the love and effort put into guiding 5 to 15 year-olds through a healthy curriculum, the greater will be that state or country. Love, care and concern for achievement are the powerful ingredients. While many systems, such as the Australian systems, have yet to consider seriously any kind of love and learnacy arrangement, it is without doubt that market-driven hard-data systems [such as the one introduced into Australia in 2008] that concentrate on trying to improve achievement in some measureable aspects only, are dangerous and counter-productive. It is a rotten shame that the present generation of school children has to endure such kitsch.
Wouldn’t you like to see systems of learnacy in each of our Australian authorities…that everybody concerned with a school should love the excitement of learning and achieving; and pursue learning habits fearlessly ?
I hold immense admiration for those teachers who spend long, unbroken, learning-charged hours with our beautiful young children creating a purpose for learning; and I share with Abraham Lincoln the notion that the fate of humanity is in their hands. Australia has the experience and the personnel to teach learnacy in its schools.
For many years I was lucky enough to share with dedicated, interested others this vision that portrays schools as exciting learning places where pupils, for seven or eight years of their institutionalised life, will be not just happy to attend their local school, but will be anxious to do so, each day of their school life. Yes…through to the end of their school life. School life should naturally engulf a curriculum of learnacy in each of its myriad of events and activities. If children do not know why they go to school school, they are not at school.
Pupils of the 21stC should be anxious to get to school each day because it is an exciting learning place and for no other reason.
In this presentation I want to concentrate on primary school matters, as a major partner in the business of compulsory schooling.
The arrangements for primary schooling in many countries and authorities have pretended to share such visions, but politicking matters have overtaken any real dedication towards the task. Australia is a case in point. Its federal parliament is in the hands of political parties, each of which represents business and banking and their hard nosed ‘wild society’ belief in how to get things done. Parliament’s glauleiter approach to making sure that things are done, has an appeal to adherents of the ‘stick-instead-of-carrot’. They say that it works, and they have no need to look at the cost…to teaching expertise, to humane interactions, to school time-tables, to parent concern, to children’s fear. It is very difficult to understand why, in 2008, Australia copied a hard-data schooling system from a New York school district that does not perform on any curriculum item as well as Australian systems do….using any measure available. On the craziness scale such action has to score more than 9/10.
It is not that the politicians most involved in decision-making, dislike young children or don’t care much about them or prefer to find other things to do when it comes to providing thoughtful school support. It is what Duki calls ‘semi-controlled mindlessness’. Although the future looks bleak, I doubt if politicians and their favoured parvenu mean to be so schadenfreude and quixotic. They just don’t know any better. Their mindlessness prevents them from looking first at what schooling and pupilling are all about, before they make their egregious decisions.