In Part 1, I set out the Education Minister’s plans to reform the primary education in the UK.
I wanted to try and understand if these reforms would have made a difference to my education.
I was in primary School from 1981-1988, and left with a pretty good education.
But I will take each point and give my opinions as to how effective it will be and how it could have affected me.
(I don’t have any qualifications to say what makes an education system, just my opinion)
Children as young as 5 should be able to recite poetry.
This is an interesting one.
Poetry is I believe, a love of words, meaning and rhyme.
A love which I have never really found. In school, I found poetry boring unless it was a funny verse.
I love a dirty limerick as much as the next man, but when I try to compare someone to a red red rose, I lose interest.
School sometimes have the impact of choosing items to study which might have the most educational merit, but not necessarily the most interesting thing.
The books they chose, poems they taught where not interesting. When I think back to school, the few books I can remember enjoying, seemed to be Roald Dahl books (Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny, The Champion Of The World)
If they are going to do this, then I think they should make sure the poems are funny, meaningful and most of all, entertaining for children.
Otherwise you will get kids who are bored with poems.
Foreign Language should be studied from age 7
Great Idea! But why wait till 7?
Children soak up language naturally. A friend of mine has a Spanish wife and while he speaks to his daughters in English, she speaks in Spanish.
The children (4 and 2), are naturally fluent in both languages, which is amazing to see.
I struggled with languages at school. But I only started learning French when I went to high school, which could be the reason I was rubbish at it.
Much like knowing my left from my right, I could never work out if it was masculine or feminine, so is it la baguette or le baguette?
When the teacher would go through words and ask the kids in the class if it was masculine or feminine, I always wanted to ask (but was afraid of ridicule) if they actually could work it out or if they were guessing.
After two years of bad French I dumped it like a sack of spuds.
Maybe learning it from an early age would have encouraged me to keep it up?
Focus on grammar
This is a must for society today.
Children are not taught how to write a letter, or even converse in writing, so how are they going to cope in the big bad world?
Text speak does not work in the boardroom I am afraid (even at Google I would imagine)
I wish my grammar education had been more robust. I stumble not only in speech, but also in writing, adding comma’s like they were going out of fashion. Saw and seen, them and those, where and were get muddled up in my head, and come out any damn well they please.
Editing becomes a chore, of looking for grammar mistakes instead of checking the storyline.
Use of Phonetics to master reading and spelling
This one I am not sure about.
My children learned to read using the Letterland system of phonetics, and in y opinion, it caused some problems.
I found initially that they were picking up on words quickly, which was impressive.
The problem occurred making the jump from phonetics to spelling after the initial learning.
e.g. When you asked them to spell “cat”, instead of “C-A-T” you got either
“Clever Cat, Annie Apple, Ticking Tess”
This made it a struggle to make the jump. I feel if they had learned the alphabet with Phonetics, but learnt the actual spelling, then it would have been easier.
For me, spelling was always quite easy. Because of the memory I have, I can visualise the word, and then just read it, so I never had any issues with spelling in school.
It was only after we stopped learning spellings (And in turn writing them down) that I struggled, as I did not have a visualisation of words.
My father taught me to read and write before I went to school, so I found primary 1 and 2 very boring, as they were teaching me things I already knew, so I didn’t feel I got much out of them.
Three out of Four things in my opinion are positive. So I guess it would get my seal of approval.
But are there any teachers out there that would like to voice an opinion??