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A cure for our kids' illiteracy?


old man emu
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I don't think I'll get into an argument if I say that our kids and grandkids are NOT morons, but a hell of a lot of them are illiterate in the 3 R's compared to other First World countries.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-03/australia-education-results-maths-reading-science-getting-worse/11760880

 

Their grasp of the 3 R's has been on a steady decline https://www.3plearning.com/blog/australian-student-literacy/ so we must look to find the cause so that we can save them from becoming the menials of the Future.

 

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that the root of the problem is the failure of education philosophers to allow classroom teachers to demand and enforce discipline. I'm not advocating corporal punishment. I was subjected to that sort of regime, and while not broken by it, I believe that it has had life-long repercussions. What I am advocating is the right, even the duty, of classroom teachers to demand that students are behave in a disciplined and respectful manner.

 

There should be no more pandering to the child's wounded feelings. It's a tough world. If you do the crime, you do the time. Am I proposing military style discipline? No. What I would look for is obedience to, and compliance with, reasonable directions. "Stop talking in class." "Don't run through doorways." "Walk through crowded areas in the school grounds." If children are made to comply with those sort of directions from Day 1 in Kindergarten, then as they grow they will more easily comply with directions applicable to their older years.

 

Teachers must be given the OK to be tough. Afterall, while the children are in school, the teacher is in loco parentis (in the parent's place). The teacher has a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of the children, so by enforcing disciplined responses by an individual, they often ensure the safety of other children. Parent's have to accept this philosophy, too. They put their children in the hands of the teacher for the sake of the child's education, both academically and socially, so they should stand beside the teacher in support of instilling discipline into the child. Unfortunately, the current crop of parents are the product of a coddled upbringing, which makes them quick to object vehemently if their little Ray of Sunshine is shown to be a whirling Cu-Nim.

 

Once the children understand the reason for the teacher's commands, and learn to respond appropriately, the teacher can concentrate on educating the children. With more time spent on the 3 R's in Primary school, the literacy rates must surely soon reflect the intelligence of our kids and grandkids.

 

 

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I don't think I'll get into an argument if I say that our kids and grandkids are NOT morons, but a hell of a lot of them are illiterate in the 3 R's compared to other First World countries.

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-03/australia-education-results-maths-reading-science-getting-worse/11760880

 

Their grasp of the 3 R's has been on a steady decline https://www.3plearning.com/blog/australian-student-literacy/ so we must look to find the cause so that we can save them from becoming the menials of the Future.

 

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that the root of the problem is the failure of education philosophers to allow classroom teachers to demand and enforce discipline. I'm not advocating corporal punishment. I was subjected to that sort of regime, and while not broken by it, I believe that it has had life-long repercussions. What I am advocating is the right, even the duty, of classroom teachers to demand that students are behave in a disciplined and respectful manner.

 

There should be no more pandering to the child's wounded feelings. It's a tough world. If you do the crime, you do the time. Am I proposing military style discipline? No. What I would look for is obedience to, and compliance with, reasonable directions. "Stop talking in class." "Don't run through doorways." "Walk through crowded areas in the school grounds." If children are made to comply with those sort of directions from Day 1 in Kindergarten, then as they grow they will more easily comply with directions applicable to their older years.

 

Teachers must be given the OK to be tough. Afterall, while the children are in school, the teacher is in loco parentis (in the parent's place). The teacher has a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of the children, so by enforcing disciplined responses by an individual, they often ensure the safety of other children. Parent's have to accept this philosophy, too. They put their children in the hands of the teacher for the sake of the child's education, both academically and socially, so they should stand beside the teacher in support of instilling discipline into the child. Unfortunately, the current crop of parents are the product of a coddled upbringing, which makes them quick to object vehemently if their little Ray of Sunshine is shown to be a whirling Cu-Nim.

 

Once the children understand the reason for the teacher's commands, and learn to respond appropriately, the teacher can concentrate on educating the children. With more time spent on the 3 R's in Primary school, the literacy rates must surely soon reflect the intelligence of our kids and grandkids.

 

 

 

We could copy copy the worlds most successful education systems perhaps Finland

 

 

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I totally agree with Octave.

 

If we want to stop our kids sliding further down the rankings, we should emulate countries with the best-educated kids. Our governments have got to stop slavishly copying trends from America, where education is in crisis because of poor funding and stupid political interference.

 

OME I share your concern and agree with much of you say, but the problem is more complex than old fashioned notions of discipline. If you want a solution, watch Michael Moore's latest doco, which played on SBS last night. It's probably available on SBS on Demand, but it doesn't seem to be on You Tube yet.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_to_Invade_Next

 

I warn you though, watching this doco will likely make you very angry about the bone-headed, even corrupt education policies in Australia and other countries that follow the US.

 

 During four decades teaching kids I learned a little about the limitations of our school systems. 

 

Knee-jerk reactions like narrowing the cirriculum to focus on "the three Rs" and mass testing have failed.

 

Unless we invest properly in education, Australia will soon be the white trash of Asia.

 

 

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I saw Michael Moore's doco several years ago and it was a good approach to his problem.

 

What we have is a member of parliament saying that we have to change. That is all well and good, but first we need to know exactly what the problem is, then we need to work out how to fix it, do what is needed and then have a look to see if we have achieved our aim.

 

In other words, do what CASA tells us we should do when we encounter a problem while flying.

 

It will not happen. The government will do what it always does, which is to throw money at it and tell us how good they are.

 

 

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I don't deny that improving the literacy of our young people is a most complex problem, but a long journey starts with the first foot step. If the kids can't be made to behave in a way which enables the teacher to deliver a lesson, then all the consideration of lesson content and delivery methods goes for naught. Would you be happy if you put a great deal of effort (and your own time) into preparing lessons on a topic and you walked into the classroom in riot? I doubt it. You'd save your own sanity and give trying to teach a miss to become a referee or worse.

 

And how can a teacher give little rewards, like relaxing the 'No Talking" rule, for good effort if the kids aren't disciplined enough to not be talking in the first place?

 

 

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I recently got a book out of the library, called Teacher. First page and the teacher was trying to get the key in the lock f the classroom door.  Primary school kids lining up to get in and one of them continuously kicking her leg.

 

I didn't bother reading any more, the problem was evident.

 

A teacher friend of mine gave up years ago. he had a very distraught young girl in his classroom and sat beside to comfort her. The headteacher saw that and advised him it was not correct behaviour. That convinced him to get out of the education system.

 

Another teacher, recently retired doesn't believe that the kids are un educated, but he has been twenty years at a Catholic high school.

 

I heard a politician yesterday saying there must be change. but that is the usual call of pollies. We need to know what the problem is before we seek change. Otherwise it is the old story, change is compulsory, progress is optional.

 

 

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I too totally agree, OME. I've seen classrooms are like you describe, but in my experience most kids want to get an education. Even the best behaved kid will go off the rails if the education offered to them is uninspiring. 

 

There are many gifted teachers out there who inspire their kids and don't have a problem. There are also many others who aren't suited. The turnover of new teachers is very high; currently most leave the profession as soon as they pay off their student debt. An incredible waste of resources. To attract replacements, the education level required to get into teaching has been lowered.

 

It's not the whole solution, but if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

 

 

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I recently got a book out of the library, called Teacher. First page and the teacher was trying to get the key in the lock f the classroom door.  Primary school kids lining up to get in and one of them continuously kicking her leg...

 

Seen a lot of that, and have the bruises to show for it.

 

Most of our behaviour problems are associated with stupid or even toxic parenting. 

 

 

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I just got back to this subject and read the 3P learning piece.

 

I wonder how well the author would go in an exam using this as a basis for judgment.

 

I found it poorly written and hard to understand. I had to re read several parts to get what I think the author was trying to convey.

 

There are some words in his text that I have never seen before in a dictionary, they look to me to be made up words, similar to those in general usage, but to my knowledge, not defined.

 

Maybe I didn't have a very good education and have a poor grasp of the English language, maybe I am getting old and cranky, but I would like anyone who says we have a problem to define it, rather than confound the issue with language of the type that he is railing against. But then of course it is really an advertisement, isn't it?

 

 

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The problem could be solved by allowing teachers to ban certain naughty kids from their classrooms.

 

One day I asked a grandkid what he did that day in school. " nothing Grandpa", was his reply "Seb was being naughty"

 

Now Seb is a mentally-sick kid and he is allowed to get away with murder. I reckon he should not be there mucking up the class for the rest of the kids.

 

At a high-school I know well, there was this teacher who used to mumble his lesson to a rioting classroom, with his eye on the clock so he could run away as soon as he was able.

 

I blame the pretend bleeding hearts for this debacle. Actually, I don't think they really believe their own stuff, I think they are intent on sabotaging the state school system.

 

 

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It seems that the non-State schools are getting much better results on average than the State schools, especially when you compare the results of schools where the kids attending the two systems are from the same socio-economic communities.

 

I would put that down to the fact that parents of children at non-State schools expect the staff to instill a sense of discipline in the children and deal with indiscipline. It seems that in State schools teachers are only allowed to give praise for the positive, but ignore the negative. 

 

 

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"if the kids aren't disciplined enough to not be talking in the first place? "

 

Go back to the Kid basher's of the 50's, when the teachers were exempt from prosecution, And could Blind, Deafen, & break arms whenever they had a bad day at home !.

 

That was my school days.

 

spacesailor

 

 

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It seems that the non-State schools are getting much better results on average than the State schools,

 

Not necessarily

 

https://theconversation.com/public-schools-actually-outperform-private-schools-and-with-less-money-113914

 

I have been a private music teacher for most of my working life. I get students from many local schools.  During my 14 years teaching in Canberra I can tell you that some of most challenging kids came from some of the so called exclusive schools. Many have these schools had pretty harsh discipline.

 

It is clear that given the success of the Finish education system which is not built on old fashioned methods of discipline that there are many ways to learn.  

 

There is plenty I do not like about the education system, in fact with our own son we chose to home educate which we did in a very unstructured way. I am sure this would horrify many.   I am happy to report he is very happy and highly successful with his own company doing what he loves.  We did not formally teach him anything. We read to him several times a day, we taught him that learning was enjoyable and facilitated his interests so at 12 was building computers and rebuilding cars.  This was done without any harsh discipline, despite this he is extremely self disciplined.   This is much more difficult to achieve in an institution that is why we took matters into our own hands. 

 

In terms for these latest results we could emulate  Korea or Japan and try to achieve their high academic results or we could emulate Finland, I vote for Finland, high achievement and happy people.  

 

 

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Just thinking and reading about this I would suggest that there is more than a little hysteria.  Whilst it is very true that we should always be striving to do better pronouncing today's youth as being illiterate is not not born out by the facts.   This story is about the results of the PISA test and the league table it generates.

 

What seems to have happened is that in some subjects we have shown no improvement whilst other countries have overtaken us and in other subjects we have slipped a little.

 

This in no way implies  that our young people are illiterate.  The fact that results are declining (except in Victoria it seems) is serious and does need to be addressed but not with hysteria.   We are around the 23 country in the world. We do need to do better but we are doing better than the majority of the world I do note we are several places behind New Zealand.

 

These stories do get people fired up because every generation thinks they were the peak and that standards have dropped since their day.  The details are important.

 

Here are the previous results. I can't find the latest presented in list form. http://factsmaps.com/pisa-worldwide-ranking-average-score-of-math-science-reading/ 

 

 

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Governments generally respond to a problem by legislating, penalizing, and wasting money on ineffectual 'cures'.

 

You get no argument from me about the need for kids to learn about cause and effect in behavioural issues. Discipline should start early and self discipline must be learnt in order for anyone to succeed in life.

 

That is only part of the 'education problem'.

 

I feel that a large part of the problem is cultural. There is an accepted culture amongst youngsters, that books are 'old world' and that there shouldn't be a need to read any more than a paragraph about anything. This attitude breeds contempt for learning and that follows onto all matters related to schooling. Most of us oldies have learnt that books get large amounts of information across through giving context along with information. But you can't get a whole picture of anything from a Google grab.

 

To take that first step towards improving better education outcomes, I'd suggest that the parents start early (preschool age) by regularly reading to their kids. From BOOKS! Lead by example. This lays down a early pattern that reading is good. Books are good. Imagination is good. By the time those kids start school, they have better vocabulary, better attention span, better comprehension.

 

At this point, my grandkids seldom have mum or dad sit down with them to read a book. And their development is noticeably behind my expectations for their ages.

 

 

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Reading is incredibly important an personally I don't feel that ink on paper is necessarily superior. They do have different characteristics but the jobs of today do require you to be able to search and absorb information by the current methods. rather than saying I am a fan of books I would rather say I am a fan of information.

 

We never taught my son to read in a formal way so I am sometimes bemused when people talk of phonics etc. I realize that it is very different teaching but for us the only thing we ever did towards reading was to read to him, often the same book over and over again until he started to become mildly irritated because we went too slow for him.  I recently came across an old cassette of us reading to him, great to listen to.

 

I think the biggest determinant of how a child will progress is the parent and I would suggest that attitudes are absorbed from home.   In my music teaching at a music studio at the moment I have 7 students from the same school, they are all in the same class and have similar socio economic backgrounds yet some are doing brilliantly and a couple are not.   Often I don't meet the parents until i have been teaching the student for many months but I can always predict what the parents will be like from teaching there child.

 

It is popular to blame the system and of course there are many faults but I believe that in most cases the pattern is set before the child gets to school.

 

 

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It seems that the non-State schools are getting much better results on average than the State schools...

 

...and that's when the fight started.

 

That might be what you are being told, paticularly by the Murdoch media, but that impression deserves to be examined.

 

State schools regularly achieve top results, but are also expected to take in all the kids that the well-funded private schools won't.

 

Most of my teaching career was spent in classrooms built in the thirties and fifties; pens fell thru gaps in the floor, the roof leaked and there was an unflued gas heater and no cooling. Meanwhile across town, rarely-used sporting clubs had plush carpet and aircon- that might give you some idea of our society's priorities.

 

 The Federal government has ignored calls to reduce the influence of lobbyist- they recently doubled the number of lobbyists accredited to operate in Parliament House.

 

As a result, don't expect any change to the obscene levels of funding for private schools vs public schools.

 

 

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My classroom was unlined asbestos cement and the only heater was a bar-radiator under the teacher's table.

 

But we got a great education. The rough kids had to listen quietly or get the stick. They learned to read and write against their wishes.

 

I reckon we got a better education than the grandkids,  who miss out on whole days because the rules these days  put retarded kids first. 

 

 

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In Sydney, town gas was lighter than air. I used to fill balloons with it. They went UP.

 

My point above, was that a child's culture is ingrained before they reach school age.

 

My point about preferring books, comes from the fact that a electronic reading gives no indication of how vast a subject might be, and it is too easy to just read the first page, and ignore the rest. This discourages further reading or inquisitiveness. We seldom encourage deeper interest in anything (whether it be fact or fiction, or the importance of context).

 

"Give me the child for the first five years, and I'll show you the man"

 

 

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My point about preferring books, comes from the fact that a electronic reading gives no indication of how vast a subject might be,

 

 

 

Whilst I agree that books are perhaps better for younger children it is crucial that at school children learnt to use the technology they will be working with.  Whilst a book may provide a self contained body of knowledge that was relevant at its time of printing it does not necessarily present the depth and breadth that can be obtained using the resources of the internet.   There are skills that are required when seeking information and verifying it.  If  I read a book about cosmology by Stephen Hawking I may get one interpretation of the evidence. If I read an online article i can see what perhaps another cosmologist has to say. 

 

One good thing about a book is rather than telling me what is known at this particular point in time it tells me what the information was at the date of publishing, this is good in an historic sense.

 

Children need to learn to wisely use the tools at their disposal and the tools they will be called upon to use in their career.

 

 

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I do not think I came from the best time of education. I thought it was abysmal, the good teachers had gone off to fight in the war, with all the decrepit oldies and no hopers left to teach us.

 

We did get a good grounding in the 3Rs, but I would have no idea what to do if I had to sit a maths exam today.

 

What I really want to know is. Are the kids turned out by the schools really as bad as we read in the press and hear on the ABC? If they are why isn't it apparent to everyone?

 

The few kids I come up against seem to be reasonably well educated, but of course I don't meet many. I will have to observe my great grandkids when I go down to them at Christmas. Last time I saw them they seemed to be able to read well enough. But then I would not know what standard a ten year old should have.

 

 

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