Thursday, July 08, 2004

We don't need no education

Hmm, must be getting more indecisive - can't decide on this one: Uniforms and House Systems for all in school reform.

On the one hand, I like the "community" spirit that a House system can bring, but on the other, I don't think that using a points system to motivate poeple to participate is perhaps the best for education. Personally, I was somewhat into house points in my (small) primary school, but didn't particularly care about them at my (larger) secondary school, and I have a feeling that children have many factors other than house points to "rate" their "popularity", especially among peers rather than academically.

The almost-enforced rule of uniforms instinctively smacks of front-line conformism (and I still think uniforms are more military than education), but then on the other hand, fashion counts for so much among many children these days. And adults, for that matter. And so a "set" uniform may avoid that, at least in school time.

Apparently the house system works, but I daresay that much of the success is extremely dependent on the context - the pupils, the teachers, and the attitudes of all.

Hmm. Is it better or worse to look to more short-term, easier-to-implement, easier-to-measure solutions to problems? Or is there still hope that we can instill a culture of long-term stability in all that we do?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frances:

Hmm, I guess it doesn't really help being an adult now. All the childish thrills of house points have gone yet with the popularity of Harry Potter I think it is a very good way of getting kids involved. House Points that can be awarded for good work, or sports or generally good community work and can be take away too for misdemeanours mean that kids feel that sense of community, the sense of pride in themselves and their teams as well as learning the importance of working as a community. The only issue is dealing with quick recording of these points. For high tech schools this would be easy. For low tech/magic schools, a reliable system would have to be created.

As for uniform, check out the TES forums where there are many discussions on uniform for both pupils and teachers alike. In every area a sense of anonimity and community comes from wearing uniform. Kids can relax when wearign uniform as they don't need to constantly keep up with the joneses. As long as the uniform has that balance of practicality, pride of wearing and leaniality then it woudl struggle to be a failure.

Uniforms that try to be hip and fashionable, or try to be the complete opposite and result in being baggy and 1950s style will never work. Simple, fitting yet breathable clothes that allow for religious differences and health differences, are cheap to produce and buy btu also last for at least a year will always be popular.

Scribe said...

On Uniforms, this bit is the bit that intrigues me: "Kids can relax when wearing uniform as they don't need to constantly keep up with the joneses."

What if school were actually a place where you could *grow up* properly in the world? As usual, I suspect I'm being a romantic iealist at this point, but seeing as children spend so much of their life in school, I figure it might be beneficial to perhaps educate them in ways of thinking about themselves, as opposed to just their subjects. So how about preparing them for the "real" world by teaching them really, it doesn't matter what you wear - from both a social perspective, and an academic one. And yeah, I know this is probably pipedreaming and I don't know kids etc etc. I just figure that the schools are there to teach them something. Might as well be confident individuality.

Will check the forums out hopefully some time, cheers.

On house points, I have a new idea that ties in with a book I just started reading - house point *economies*, yeah. You get house points in the usual way, but then you can "trade them in" for stuff round school, and even give them to other people, just like real money. Obviously you'd need to track em electronically or somehow, and they'd be useless outside the school. But for that real *competitive edge* that the government would love to foster in all of us before the age of 16, why not go for a house market?

Anonymous said...

frances:

House point market: cerntainly a bizarre conception. The real question is what would they use them for? Surely they would use them to get more lunch off those who value their house winning over good nutrition, and perhaps gettign people to do other people's homework? Although we like to think kids are innocent, never are we more surprised when they are found to be coniving.

Uniform: Indeed it seems a good idea to teach kids to respect each other no matter what they wear, and to do this via no uniform is one way. Unfortunately, kids already have preconceptions about how our dress affects who we are, simply from livign in the real world at home in their communities. By having uniforms children have a place where they can relax and enjoy being children for as long as possible. This way they can concentrate on learnign about their subjects and enjoying being friends with whomever they chose to be friends with without the fear of being outcast by others.