Saturday, 12 January 2013

Education: A Wonderful Thing Wasted on the Young

I'm still brooding on the video of Dawkins from the earlier post here.

Dawkins naturally caught some flack recently - and many a wail of "Persecution," when he said that giving a child a Catholic education was a form of child abuse.
It does seem a bit  far-fetched, but when you think about it a little more, he has a point.
But that goes not only for Catholic "education" but for any other kind of "education" with an agenda. Many Muslims, Jews, Lutherans, Mormons, Quivering Brethren, whatever - choose to ensure their kids get their heads stuffed with the particular brand of nonsense to which they suscribe.
Would any Catholic want his kid's head to be stuffed with Quivering Brethren nonsense? I think not!
And vice versa.

I speak as one whose own head was duly stuffed by teams of nuns and priests from the age of five.
At seven I was told that, if I died in mortal sin, I would burn in Hell forever.
It wasn't intended to be cruel, but was it? It certainly rattled me a bit at the time.
And I'm reminded of one of the ladies on CP&S who, at enormous expense, no doubt, sent her boy to a top Catholic public school to be subjected to the requisite stuffing.
Unfortunately, by some mischance, or mischief, one of the masters there was an Atheist, and stuffed the lad's head with that, to great effect and much dismay.
Nonsense, to be sure, but the wrong brand of nonsense!

This would be a shocking state of affairs were it not so funny.

I'm also minded to re-read "Hard Times," where Gradgrind insists on children being taught only facts. This also seems a bit limited, but when you consider what religious, jingoistic, racist, sexist, tripe children have been force-fed over the years, maybe he had a point.

In one of Waugh's "Sword of Honour" novels, Guy Crouchback's father, an ex-schoolmaster, is told that ...
"This school's aim is to make the boys fit to succeed in the modern world."
"That seems to me to be a very wicked thing to do," is his reply.

So, what should children actually be taught?
Maths? Surely.
Reading? Surely.
Hand writing? Why bother?
Art? Hard to teach.
Music? Maybe.
History? Why?
Science? Too controversial?
How to navigate the net? Probably.

I have several schoolteacher friends. Their input here would be much appreciated.

1 comment:

strangerthanfiction said...

handwriting is not without its uses. Eye-hand coordination, artistry. We still need that stuff, and with funding the way it is, I'm not sure school kids are getting those two things any other way. Opposable thumb control, yes, but other fine motor skills, not so much.