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.



~ by Nathan Fuller on January 31, 2012.

2 Responses to “Education”

  1. As an outdoor educator and a classroom teacher at a private high school, I don’t completely agree or disagree with your characterization of either experience. I think both traditional classroom teaching with a dynamic teacher who’s passionate about helping his/her students grow their thinking skills, and a compassionate and well-rounded outdoor educator are able to provide a fertile context for personal growth and the cultivation of skills. But I agree with you that often classroom and outdoor experiences devolve into ugly ego contests of who’s smartest and/or toughest. Good blog. Thanks.

    • I agree! I was hoping that by writing this I would put the cat amongst the pigeons as it were and hope that those who work in education would reconsider there stance on experiential learning! Glad to see someone putting visions into reality. Thanks for the comment.NF

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