Education, education, education

•February 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Interestingly this was sparked by debate between myself and 3 others, with me being of the opinion that outdoor education is different to mainstream schooling and furthermore that we shouldn’t be changing our methods so that we can show in schooling term what we are achieving.

Which led to the question we all know that informal education has some brilliant points and promotes change in young people but how do we prove it? So I looked around and really, individual case studies exist, organisations claim it works well, but there is no hard stats such as schools target being 5 a* to c’s. So schools are accrediting academic achievements, so do we accredit skills achievements? Yes probably but is there a bigger picture?

What is the most important thing that teachers do at school? Is it teach you maths, English, history. Or is it the ability to interact with other people, the way to understand discipline, the way to learn. I once read someone claiming that the most important thing that an American middle school did was  to sort students into a social hierarchy or groups, such as the typical stereotypical view of the Jocks and the geeks. Whilst I think this is an extreme view, may be there’s a small section of that involved as well.

So does that mean that the most important things that any body ever teaches you are simply a bi-product of other things being taught? It seems that way to me.


Just Because Your Breathing Doesn’t Mean You’re Alive

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

TT Closer to the Edge



Just because your breathing doesn’t mean you are alive, a statement of an adrenalin junkie or a motto to live your life by?

If you’re not living on the edge your taking up too much room, a clever song lyric or a motto to live your life by?

They push themselves to the limit, they risk death, and the majority of the population people don’t understand why. I would never claim I was pushing boundaries, risking it, but I understand that drive that pushes you to try. Those  that are pushing the limits who are risking death regularly, argue that firstly whether or not they are risking themselves, they don’t believe they are risking it, they are simply improving themselves. They would say it was stupid to be attempting something that was way out of your skill zone.

Secondly and perhaps more interestingly life becomes a lot more simple, would you want to die with someone hating you, or not having done something you wished you should have done. I saw a video of a man who dedicated his life to climbing living in the desert making money repairing climbing shoes, and just climbing. He has the right idea, he does not pander to social norms or worry about being anyone elses ‘bitch’.

Maybe we should all start to remember this more often, maybe we should be braver, sort that argument, or do that thing you have meant too. A lyric I try to live by along a similar vein is ‘don’t let the sun set on an argument’. Maybe we need to just get on with it because if you think about it, you are much more likely to die being run over by a car that extreme sport.


•January 31, 2012 • 2 Comments

Wow second post on something vaguely political. So shock horror some genius has come up with a shocking conclusion, that the majority of good schools are good due to the social classes they intake from. So no surprise that if you come from a middle class family with 2 university educated parents you are more likely to get ‘good’ results. Generally anyway. Furthermore the report claimed that schools are able to affect less than 10% of a child’s potential, whilst I agree with this I question whether schools are just grade creating factories. In 1880 when the education for all act was introduced it was due to the idea that ‘if we teach people to read and write they will become better citizens’.

Informal education and more specifically Outdoor education has been hailed as the best way to teach people to be better citizens and to be socially inclusive, part of the reason for this I believe is fear or challenge, by putting people into challenging situations in unknown environments we bring people to forget their differences and focus on the task in hand. When these tasks cause people to work together, they have no options but to get on with it.

Good citizens while trying not to put a too generic slant on it are those who, when walking down the street would help an old lady cross the street or pick up groceries from a split bag, by encouraging people to help each other and by instructors giving positive feedback and giving help with in a outdoor educational scenario, these participants may just feel obliged to return the favor next time they see that generic situation.

‘That bell is for me not for you’, ‘I have already been to uni and got my qualifications’ both I’m sure are quotes you will remember your teachers saying to you. However if you are constantly told what to do and how to do it by someone who regularly explains how much better they are than you, especially if that someone is telling (teaching) you something you don’t want to know then eventually anyone will rebel. It amazes me that so many people champion the idea of the nation curriculum when a chap sat in an office in Whitehall is deciding what children, multiple generations and hundreds of miles away will be learning about.

By empowering children giving them the choices they are much more likely to buy into doing the work. This could never work with formal education, teachers create this façade of being better than the children one tier above them in the hierarchy, this means that the majority of children could never have a chat to teachers about their life, or their concerns with what they are learning resulting in there being a lack of drive from those children to achieve or succeed.

I know I am slightly biased but it seems to me the theoretical underpinning of the whole education system is one based on discipline and in effect main stream schooling tries to uniform every student. I don’t think this article is going to win me very many friends in the education world and this isn’t just an attack on teachers, maybe I have presented things in a much darker way than they already are but I hope this article just makes you think and ponder what I have written.


Protected: Tapathon

•January 22, 2012 • Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


•January 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

For those who regularly read my blog you will know that sometimes I start a post by posing a question. Well today is different I am going to make a statement. Community is a group of interacting people living in the same area. I disagree I think it is so much more than that.

I was talking to my good friend and academic Rebecca Blane, when she posed the question have you ever been in your community and asked yourself … am I in the right place? No! That is likely due to the bond/ the feeling of belonging that being part of a community creates. It is the same bond shared by being part of a family, it is the all for one and one for all motto that the 3 musketeers shared.

Community has become a hot topic since the current government took power, David Cameron has given it the name ‘Big Society’ striving for care with in the community working together for a common goal.

Many young people are affected by their community, it goes without saying that if you grow up in a very well to do area with all of your role models having great self-discipline and working hard to get to where they want to be, you will inevitably follow their lead. Furthermore if you grow up in an area where the majority of people have little motivation to aim high (for whatever reason) then you are likely to follow that. (Although there are exceptions)

Perhaps it is then important to tackle the culture that exists with in the communities to show them that achieving is something they should be able to do. It is noticeable that this will not happen over night, nor will this come solely from a political party, simply because of the amount of time taken to make a change. It seems to me that the most important thing is to plant an idea, a seed of thought. An idea can never entirely be destroyed and if nurtured can grow and grow and ultimately create change. ‘Once something has been shown to be doable it becomes common place.’

Many Thanks To Rebecca Blane for the editing.

The NEET Problem (Well a small snippet)

•January 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Meet Joe, Joe is a 16 years old boy who dropped out of school, he gained no qualifications, he lives in a low socio-economic area, has a dysfunctional family life, which regularly means he sleeps on the streets, he is regularly in trouble with the police and has never worked.

And meet Joanna. Joanna is 23 and has 12 gcse’s, 5 A Level’s, a BA (Hons) degree as well as a PHD. Joanna left/ was sacked from her well paid city job 6 months ago and hasn’t returned to work.

Rather different characters I’m sure you will agree. However both Joanna and Joe are both classified as NEET. Not in education, employment, or training. Both may be targeted by their local authority in exactly the same way. Whilst I understand that it is far too expensive and time-consuming to evaluate every case individually, I do believe that there is far too much ‘lets classify people on such a wide set of standards’. It starts to become questionable whether by increasing the standards more and more the whole of the population becomes classified.

I make no apologies for the use of ‘classifying’ perhaps this is the only way that it will be understood that putting a label on someone is in my eyes unlikely to help.

Update: It seems thankfully I am not the only one to be thinking this the IOE released a report entitled Tackling NEETs to quote one section ‘This report attempts to make the case for a more imaginative, supportive and personalised approach to the NEET problem’



•December 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being “above,” “below,” or “at the same level as” one another.

Why does society dictate that people have a social level in this hierarchy? Why is it some people don’t argue with others? Why is it that some people seem to ‘walk over’ others?

May be it is that I am tired or grumpy. But it seems to me in many cases this hierarchy is the wrong way round. Those providing should dictate not those receiving. Perhaps it takes someone to stand and say if you play you play by my rules.?