Monday, 20 August 2012


I've been thinking about school and society again. As you do.

You'll know if you read this blog that I don't like the idea of schools.

It's just because school doesn't cater for individuals. Society used to not only tolerate different people but also encourage them because we don't get inspiration from people who strive to be and do everything that everyone else does.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "All great truths begin as blasphemies."

And home educators begin as blasphemers having the time and ability to search and question and learn and grow and change and think. To think. What damage has been done to people throughout the ages by folks who jump into 'doing' before 'thinking'.?

My dad was very fond of the traditional 'thinking cap'. He would say to me, "Don't go diving in just put your thinking cap on first'.  When I was very young I thought it must hang in his cupboard somewhere. I even had a sneaky look once or twice.

Just think how society would change if everyone thought a bit. Even a little.

"Education would be more successful, and more enjoyable, if less time was spent teaching to the test and more time was spent teaching students to think for themselves. I'm not alone in believing this. In a recent Cambridge Assessment Research Survey, 87% of lecturers said that too much teaching to the test is a major factor contributing to students being under-prepared for degree-level study."

It's not only that students are under-prepared for degree-level study, they are unprepared for life. We're often thoughtless, selfish, impatient, impulsive beings. We dive in when we should think. That's what the old saw "Look before you leap" means.

"As an antidote to teaching to the test, I recommend a philosophical approach. This means teaching students to be critical, reflective enquirers. It is all about putting in their hands the tools they need to find answers for themselves, and stimulating them to begin thinking more deeply and critically about ideas and arguments."

We live in a teen-age society. I don't mean that all teens are bad, far from it. I mean that we are still not quite adults. We give away our power to schools, to banks, to politicians, to doctors, to dentists, to 'experts'. We are not agents in our own lives. Teen age society. Not quite ready to accept responsibility. Young society judges people by numbers in tests. Mature society knows that everyone has something of value to say and that tests don't always measure anything important.

"...Teaching students to think for themselves isn't an alternative to preparing them for tests. It's actually a good way of equipping them to face the demands of their examinations. In most exams, marks are available for the student who can impress an examiner with an answer which shows real depth of understanding. The best way of preparing students to produce answers like this is to teach them to think well."

Obvious, isn't it? Teach 'em to think. Or rather don't teach 'em. Let the ability develop naturally. We think therefore we can manage everything better. We think therefore we are kinder, more sensible, more tolerant.

That's just my thoughts on thinking anyway.

The quotes are from:

And I found the words from GBS in

Thanks to E for drawing my attention to the Guardian piece.

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