Monday, October 25, 2010

Educating Ritas, Bobs & Sues.

According to the Local Government Association Chair, Baroness Eaton, children need schools to be "safe, clean and attractive places in which they can learn."

Why? Okay, so I understand the safe bit as it can be distracting learning your times tables when someone is stabbing you - although there is research suggesting you learn things better when you are under stress - but do children really need clean and attractive places to learn?

We live in clean houses, with double glazing and central heating. Kids are kept inside to avoid them being raped and killed by paedophiles. They don't experience the dirt & germs of a normal childhood. A friend of mine used to lick the gravel in his garden as a kid, he's a healthy adult now. There was one kid with asthma in my entire school, the incidence has gone up a bit since then. Keeping kids in clean environements hasn't really helped them being healthy, I think a bit of dirt in their schools may actually help.

What point is there in making a school attractive? First of all, attractive to whom? The children, their parents or the staff? Because I doubt you're going to make anything attractive to all three of those groups. Something children find attractive - young children particularly - is likely to be life-threateningly gaudy for the teachers. Something parents find attractive is likely to be dull and disappointing to children. And something teachers find attractive is likely to be worrying to parents and scary to children.

If school is part of the way in which children are prepared for work, then schools should be dull. Classrooms lacking in stimulation should allow teachers to provide the only point of interest for children to focus on - education. You want to look at pretty walls? Go to an art gallery.

Perhaps it's my hatred of children leaking out again, but I do feel kids these days are mollycoddled and over stimulated. Part of my childhood was being bored, and I deal with being bored now much better because of it: I can make my own amusement. 13hr car trip? No worries, I can do something to amuse myself on the way. I don't need to watch a DVD or play handheld computer games to deal with the trip.

So Baroness Eaton, while I understand your attempt to grab money for schools, you may want to use a better argument.

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