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“…rock the boat, and try something new…”

June 18, 2007

Rachel’s BlogThe title of this post comes from “Rachel’s Blog” – read on to find out more!

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve tried to get ahead of the game with some of my new classes by introducing them to blogging straight away. They’ve only been blogging for a few days, and already they are throwing out challenges that I feel are worth passing on to you.

I’ve set them a piece of discursive writing as a way of encouraging the class to start using their blogs, and because I intend pushing this class I’ve set them a fairly challenging task for a first attempt. In essence, I’ve asked them to consider the statement:

Schools Are Not Teaching Me What I Need To Know…

Their essays aren’t due until Tuesday so I’ve refrained from posting too many comments at the moment (I don’t want the class to write what they think I want to read…), but I think some of you may wish to chip in with some thoughts on what my fledgling bloggers are starting to consider.

Claire appears quite cynical about the whole process of what is being taught in school. As she says:

Schools are not teaching us what we need to know because they are worried what we might find out. No matter what they say, adults feel superior to kids and most of them think they know it all and that us youths will find out what we need to know when we’re older.

Jenny’s BlogI couldn’t help but think about the prevalent attitude towards filtering in schools as I read her words… and this is the point that Rachel makes really well in her post when she writes:

…my generation will all need computer and probably internet skills for when we leave school. The thing is though we are rarely allowed on the internet at school. When we do get on we find that a lot of the sites are blocked even if they are going to help our education.

In fact, there is a lot of good reading in Rachel’s post, and I think it’s fair to say that what she says will strike a chord with many of you out there…

Perhaps the real story is that Jonathan feels schools are teaching what is needed… but he is being challenged in this belief by Rachel… surely this is the start of the intellectual challenging that I remember so well from all my more challenging and rewarding classes at university? I can’t wait to see if Jonathan will respond… but I will understand if he doesn’t, after all, having your work actively challenged by your classmates is still a relatively new thing for most pupils!

Laura’s BlogSimilarly, Laura casually lets slip what we have failed to acknowledge in the present school climate, that multi-tasking is the norm. Want to find out about Shakespeare? Laura recommends that, “…you could type it in google whilst chatting on Blogs, Msn, Myspace and Bebo…“. You just know she’ll be listening to her iPod and watching something on TV at the same time…

Katy is a little more reflective on the potential impact of ICT. She has recognised that the skills taught in schools are not necessarily those she’ll need in later life, and that “…if general skills were added into normal lessons, e.g. using Katy’s Blogcomputers in class.” then perhaps she’d be better prepared for the future. I have heard this from several leading educationalists, but it’s a sign of the times that even the pupils are recognising how we should be moving forward.

There have been several other excellent posts so far (and just about everyone – including Jenny , Alex and Rosie – has had something of value to add to the discussion), and I’ve really enjoyed reading them.

More importantly, I think you will too, so please take the time to read what some new voices have to say about education, and please feel free to comment on what they’ve written! I’ve been telling them the great strength of blogging is the conversations it engenders and so…

9 Comments leave one →
  1. DorothyCoe permalink
    June 18, 2007 10:31 pm

    Lots of interesting comments there Neil! I enjoyed reading their blogs.
    I’ve posted to a couple of them, (Jennie and Rosie) but don’t want to do more in case it looks set up! Rosie’s seemed to go straight onto hers but Jennie’s is sitting somewhere awaiting your/her? acceptance 🙂

  2. June 18, 2007 10:37 pm

    Your class are becoming little mini you’s.

  3. June 18, 2007 11:16 pm

    Mmm. I’ve jsut been filtered on Katie’s blog. Is it something I said? 😦

  4. June 18, 2007 11:17 pm

    Mmm. I’ve just been filtered on Katie’s blog. Is it something I said? 😦

  5. June 19, 2007 8:22 am

    Chris: Not that I can see… she did have ‘Hold for moderation’ switched on, but there is no comment waiting in the mod queue…
    I’ll need to ask if she’s deleted it (which may be through accidental means… they are very new to this!)…

    If you’ve got time, you could try again. I’d be keen to know just what did happen in case it’s a problem with the installation…


  6. June 19, 2007 11:37 am

    Right. This is what I’ve just tried to post:
    I’m having a second go at posting this – my last effort seems to have been swallowed by gremlins 😦

    The best teaching will teach you *how* – how to work things out for yourself, how to see what has been done, how to tackle something new and strange. You’re right about the need to make technology as useful as we all know it can be – but there’s an example here of what I mean. I was never taught any of this stuff, simply because it didn’t exist when I was being formally educated. But I *did* pick up quite a bit for myself: desktop publishing to run the school magazine, for example; blogging; photosharing – nothing like the skills of Mr W, but quite useful nevertheless. But my passion is poetry and the analysis of language use – quite a long way from this – and I used to study Latin!

    and this is what came up on the screen which followed:
    Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
    You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.
    I find WordPress a bit over-protective!

  7. June 19, 2007 4:04 pm

    Mmm… No idea what has been happening! I’ve copied/pasted your comment onto the post, and it threw a catchpa at me (I didn’t know we had catchpas on the school blogs…), and it’s accepted it. Hopefully that will fix the matter and you are now cleared to comment…

    All I have to do now is ensure that they write things worth commenting on! 😉

  8. DorothyCoe permalink
    June 19, 2007 8:17 pm

    I tried again but got this message:
    “Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
    You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”
    I stupidly didn’t save what I wrote but it wasn’t at all offensive and it didn’t contain any links or images or anything…
    It was something like this
    Hi Jenni
    Great blog and some very interesting thoughts.

    I’m a Mum and I think it would be great if my kids did the ironing even when I wasn’t feeling unwell 🙂

    I’m wondering who you think should teach kids this sort of thing? My kids all know how to work out how much paint you need to decorate a room because they’ve worked with me to decorate their own rooms. I reckon they’ll remember this because it’s an experience that’s personal to them. Do you think schools can do the same sort of thing with kids?

    What do you think is the role of schools in teaching their kids compared with parents?

  9. June 19, 2007 9:12 pm

    Thanks for that Dorothy.

    I’ve found that there may be a bug in SpamKarma which we use to prevent Spam. I’m going to check this out and will probably be upgrading it over the weekend (I’ve got 3 days of ‘Activities’ to survive first…) if not before.

    Thanks for your patience, persistence, and willingness to encourage my fledglings…

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