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Discussion in 'Education news' started by Jane Austen, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. Jane Austen

    Jane Austen New commenter

    I just wanted to get this off my chest.

    When will the powers that be (Thank the Lord it's not Gove), realise that they are making the curriculum, across all key stages far too difficult? I teach English and now have to use poetry that was previously included in the entrance exam for Cambridge University. Where is the logic?

    We have pupils arriving in Year 7 with inadequate literacy skills every year. They are ignorant of their own geography, history and cultural traditions. But, hey, they've been shown (I won't say taught because they rarely remember), a subordinate clause and how an electric circuit works.

    Can somebody tell me why they need this knowledge at 11 years of age? I did not know what a subordinate clause was until I was teaching and I've had a very successful teaching career over 40 years.

    When are we going to stand up for our children's education and show the likes of Nicky Morgan that the only success is of making teachers stressed and leaving the profession in droves.

    In my own subject, which I love dearly, I can see no reason for analysis of text after text. IT IS NOT A LIFE SKILL, unless you want to be a teacher of English.

    We need to have a useful curriculum to prepare the pupils for the future. A curriculum that is relevant to the world in which we live. A curriculum that does not change every 5 minutes.
  2. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    As most of the Government don't use state schools for their children, why should they care...:rolleyes:
    Saland45, emerald52, Shedman and 6 others like this.
  3. stupot101

    stupot101 Established commenter

    Exactly as Kent1 states. S/he got there before me. It doesn't affect their children.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Many of my year 7s don't understand the difference between a noun or verb..hard to teach Latin (much of my time is spent doing basic English in autumn term)......
    hhhh likes this.
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If your year 7s have had this problem for years, and I agree they probably have, then it can hardly be the fault of the new curriculum.

    The new history and geography curriculum should address the wider ignorance you refer to.
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It makes you wonder whether Primary children are taught this statutory content at all.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    It is statutory in the new curriculum, and so yes children in primary are now being taught such terms in SPaG. In a year or so, there should be a marked improvement.
    Saland45 likes this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Why not spend some time in a primary school and see and listen to what goes on there? Then you'd know.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I am happy to take @sabrinakat at her word.
  10. Jane Austen

    Jane Austen New commenter

    I am not blaming the new curriculum at all. The blame lies at the hands of politicians and an Education Department, who have no apparent idea of what our children really need.
    delnon and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    We've just studied 'The Tempest' with year 7... I have top sets so it seemed to be going OK... I'd explain stuff, we'd talk over passages and work out the nuances... end of the play, brightest lad in the class closes the play and announces 'OK, I didn't get any of that'.

    5 weeks... boom.

    I chatted with a teacher of set 4... she's been using a cartoon version in her efforts, hasn't even bothered looking at the text of the play and they still aren't getting it.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    But you're not prepared to take my word (and over 30 years of experience) that basic grammar (nouns, verbs, etc) has been taught in all primary schools certainly since 'Grammar for Writing' was published (2000) and in most schools before that? And that much of current work in English is devoted to trying to get to grips with the absurd expectations of grammar in the new curriculum?
    guinnesspuss and vannie like this.
  13. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    'Bout sums it up
    delnon likes this.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Try dismounting and we might have a conversation rather than your delivery of an inappropriate and presumptive scolding.
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  15. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    We have had a prior similar conversation re what primary teachers actually teach. My comments are based on teaching in several primary schools over 30+ years of experience - and also as a HT. I have never taught in a school where the National Curriculum hasn't been taught. Because the curriculum is (and always has been) too overcrowded some aspects of it may not have been taught well - and some may not have been taught at all, because there just isn't time. But that is not because teachers choose to ignore what they're meant to be doing.

    The OP is right - I have no doubt that some children arrive at KS3 unable to remember what they have been taught at primary, often because we were unable to spend enough time embedding it & using it in our mad dash to cover as much of the curriculum as possible. That problem has now been exacerbated by the higher expectations of what primary pupils can understand, do & remember in English & maths. Some can, some can't - it was ever thus.

    But it isn't helpful to repeatedly question whether primary schools are teaching the NC, unless you have seen it for yourself by spending time in primary schools. Even primary academies, exempt from the NC, will be teaching the English, maths (and probably science) because of the SATs. We teach it - some children will understand & remember it; some will have a vague recollection and, once reminded, will be able to move on; some will be clueless - despite hours of intervention & support. But please will you accept that primary schools DO teach the NC?
    drek, vannie and -myrtille- like this.
  16. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Don't they? Cameron's kids go to state schools, as do Osborne's and Gove's. Theresa May has no children.

    Philip Hammond is richer than any of the above - his kids might be privately educated, although he actually went to a state school himself.

    Most ministers don't reveal where their children are educated. The only one I recall saying his children are privately educated is Sajid Javid.

    So who are the "most of the Government" who don't use state schools?
  17. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Sorry, @chelsea2 , but in my own (very limited) experience, it does seem an issue - I tend to spend more time on what is a noun? an adjective? is it present tense? past tense? How do we know? I was an EFL teacher (and still do a few hours in my current school) and I do know how to ascertain if a child can tell a doing word, a thing, etc. I also mark their exercise books every few weeks (1 hour of Latin every week for year 7) and the lack of using Capital letters at the beginning of a sentence, no punctuation and no idea how to write a coherent, clear sentence - not all students, of course, but it is a sizable amount. I am also very dyslexia aware, so don't worry about spelling too much (or rather, work with a student and suggest targets).

    Can I say that I don't mind doing this? A nice moment - the English teacher came to tell me that they were using some of the Latin terms (nominative and accusative for subject and object) and told her all about verbs, so these children are learning, but perhaps we are making them memorise and regurgitate, but not letting them actually explore language?
  18. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    I'm trying to phrase this to avoid sounding rude, because its evident that you are upset and frustrated Miss Austen - but I would question the logic which simultaneously condemns a lack of social understanding and is averse to textual exploration. What is literature if not a mirror for society?

    If it is simple parsing you're referring to, then I do see your point, once acquired as a skill, it can become somewhat niche/specialised, but I would argue that understanding how meaning is constructed in any text (written/verbal/visual) is a vital life skill and that the study of a variety of text is a way to investigate society (heritage, history, culture and even geography).

    What is worrying is the paucity of variation encouraged in the English curriculum as it now stands - particularly in terms of modern text and those from cultures outside the 'British' (which in itself I find is limited to a particular type).

    My apologies, I'm not entirely sure what I meant to achieve by posting this (although I am still compelled to); I suppose it is my own rant - feel free to dismiss it.

    A final note on Shakespeare - whilst being very fond of it myself, I do sometimes question whether if people really thought about it, they would find it thematically appropriate for younger students - The Tempest, for example (because referred to above); examination of racism, colonialism, fear of the other all culminates in an aggressive conversation about failed rape and forced inebriation, Can you imagine the outcry if this was a 'modern' text that we handed to year 7? While I'm quite willing to be straightforward with young people about the horrors of the world (and painfully aware that this won't be the first time many have experienced them), I am always a bit baffled about why a child who is not allowed to watch Spiderman (because it follows a revenge theme too far and is deemed unacceptable) can not only read, but be actively taught a text in which a central character is actively tortured for failing to adhere to societal norms that he was never made aware of....

    Perhaps it best they didn't understand it Lanokia?
  19. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Maybe ... maybe not... but my job is to help them understand it. But I get your point.

    Is it appropriate... there's a discussion.
  20. Lumpen

    Lumpen New commenter

    Well of course - twas only my crappy attempt at humour! I can understand how frustrating and upsetting it is when that happens.

    Interested in your thoughts if you're bored enough re. whether its appropriate (although that might be thread stealing!).

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