Left-wing teachers

The state of education across the world

Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Damo » 10 May 2012, 19:46

Caleb, what is the road accident/death rate like in Taiwan?

How do the Taiwanese feel about their exclusion from organisations such as the UN?
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Caleb » 11 May 2012, 01:57

Damo: I don't have the statistics readily available. Here's what I can remember reading. Taiwan has a higher road death rate than many Western nations, but it's not too dissimilar to the figure for the U.S.* However, I also read that the figure does not include people who later died from injuries sustained in a road accident, and it also doesn't mention what I suspect would be a very, very high number of non-fatal accidents. However, part of the problem with that is that it is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Firstly, a very significant number of people here ride scooters (which are generally much more dangerous). Secondly, the population density is generally quite high, so there are simply more vehicles in a smaller space. Never the less, I do think the driving here is insane.

*Regarding the U.S., this is a typical ploy here. Firstly, the West/developed world seems to consist only of the U.S. or Japan (U.S. if you're talking about outside of Asia, Japan if you're talking about Asia). That plenty of countries may do things better than the U.S. is never taken into account, and so it becomes a bit of a crutch. Taiwanese education system in need of reform? Look at the U.S.'s education system! Ha! (In other words, we don't need to consider other countries such as Finland.)

Analogous to this is the argument that things are much better here than [insert really backward Asian country, particularly China].

So what? It's part of a very complex mindset here that is at once incredibly parochial in 1) not knowing much about the outside world, 2) being rabidly pro-Taiwanese/Chinese culture (even when it's clearly non-sensical or detrimental) and also plagued by a real sense of cultural inferiority (hence the obsession here with Western people/things, and also to some degree, Japanese and Korean people/things). It really holds this place back here because it often leads to the adoption of foreign practices in a very slap-dash manner, and usually for less than rational reasons.

I don't like certain Western ways of doing things simply because they're Western. I like them because they work. Likewise, I can admit that there are many ways in which the West is failing and could look either to its past or even abroad for ways to improve. Yet that's a very foreign concept here. I believe it's basically rooted in the very key foundation of the two societies. Western societies are basically founded on a marriage of Judeo-Christian and Greek ideals. Both Christ and Plato challenged the status quo, and this line of thought runs right down through our intellectual histories. Confucius, on the other hand, was all about the status quo, and that runs right down through Chinese intellectual history to this day.

As for the U.N. and other international organisations. Well, you're basically asking about the whole China-Taiwan political situation, and it's extremely complex. I think it probably irks some people that they're not internationally recognised (and I think it's disgraceful that the West goes on about democracy in the Middle East and then doesn't recognise Taiwan), but a lot of people here are pretty much resigned to the status quo, or begrudgingly accept unification on the horizon. A lot of people here also don't care one way or another so long as they make money. Things are slowly changing. For instance, Taiwanese can now travel much more easily to many Western nations, and they can also get working holiday visas in a lot of places now too. Slowly, slowly.

However, on the U.N. issue specifically, are you aware that Taiwan was in the U.N. and then threw a hissy fit and left? There was probably a point in the past when they could have just renounced all claims to China and declared themselves an independent nation and the world would have backed them up. China wouldn't have been in a position to do anything about it, and by now, they'd be two, three or more decades into their independence. Yet they didn't want to go down that road, and as a result, they've basically cooked their own goose. I am sympathetic towards Taiwan deciding its own future, but I am not sympathetic to how bone-headed they've been about it. People would say that it's the KMT's fault prior to 1989, when Taiwan became democratic, yet people continue to vote for the KMT (they just re-elected them), so I think they only have themselves to blame.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 16 Jul 2012, 22:04

I've mentioned before that one of my best friends is gay, and he has been in a monogamous relationship for twelve years. He is not one of those who shouts about his homosexuality, he just keeps it to himself.

I believe he has a son, and his boyfriend, who is divorced, has three children. This evening I met one of the children, who is fourteen. I took the opportunity to ask him all about school life. It was an astonishing and instructive conversation, even for me. The boy was quite precocious, but also quite respectful and simply came out with all this information, without hesitation. It was very much like chatting with a young adult, and as the conversation proceeded I realised this is what the boy was, because most children these days really have no childhood beyond the age of, perhaps, six. Here is the information he imparted:

  • Ninety per cent of children have smartphones costing £300-£500.
  • They are not supposed to use the phones during lessons, but most do, by touch typing under their desks.
  • The school itself provides wi-fi networks for the children to use with their phones. These include Facebook access which the children take advantage of throughout the day.
  • Music most admired is typically that by Lady Gaga and rapper Chris Brown (known for beating up his girlfriend Rihanna).
  • While "gay" is used to mean "stupid" or "pathetic", no hostility towards homosexuality is actually intended. On the contrary, it now quite fashionable to be seen as gay. (Thus the word "gay" has now moved two levels from its original meaning.)
  • Pupils frequently threaten teachers and sometimes attack them.
  • Pupils routinely swear at teachers and usually nothing is done.
  • Teachers routinely swear during lessons too, using F words (I specifically queried this).
  • Alcohol is easily available to most pupils, usually because parents supply it, then it is distributed between pupils.
  • Teachers use screencasting software to broadcast to students' screens. The children circumvent this to use their computers for whatever purpose they like while the teacher thinks they are viewing the presentation.
  • Most children do not - cannot - speak properly, even less write properly.
  • Particularly badly behaved children are not disciplined or expelled, but rather ignored as much as possible.
  • There is constant hostility between students - actual fights break out approximately weekly.
  • The classes are mixture of African, Indian, Romanian, Latvian and some English.
  • Film certificates (e.g. 18) are irrelevant now because films are simply downloaded onto phones, parents allow children to watch them, or the children pay to see one film then simply walk in to see another once beyond the gate.
  • Teachers routinely take calls during lessons, either speaking in the class or popping outside.
  • Bullying is rife - now not only in person and in rumours but also through the new avenues of Facebook and Twitter. Remarks are easily deleted if repercussions loom, but they rarely do.
  • The parents of most students are separated. It is extremely rare for them to be together, and the usual talk is of step-fathers, half-brothers and so on.

I put it to the boy that the picture he described was totally dysfunctional and he agreed in a very matter-of-fact way. He was simply adjusted to it, though. I reflected that this picture would have been totally unrecognisable to anyone of my parents' generation, though it was beginning in my own generation. I suppose the most shocking thing for me was that the teachers routinely swore in the class. That was a new one, but he volunteered it and I think probably did not make it up.

The lad's father (my friend's boyfriend) had been into the school to complain about various things, but was just fobbed off by the headteacher (I think you're not allowed to say "headmaster", or rather, as it usually is now, "headmistress"). She said she couldn't enforce rules. The school the boy attends is one in a large town in the Midlands, it's hardly an inner city one. I think that's all I have time or inclination to write for now but I wanted to get the information down while it was fresh in my mind.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Michael » 17 Jul 2012, 02:11

Gavin, I have read your latest post about the state of your nation's schoolrooms while reading Boswell's Life of Johnson. In the second volume we learn that Boswell, as a lawyer, was contracted to defend a schoolmaster accused of using excessive punishment for a pupil's infraction. Samuel Johnson composed the defense, which I present for the forums pleasure below:

'The charge is, that he has used immoderate and cruel correction. Correction, in itself, is not cruel; children, being not reasonable, can be governed only by fear. To impress this fear, is therefore one of the first duties of those who have the care of children. It is the duty of a parent; and has never been thought inconsistent with parental tenderness. It is the duty of a master, who is in his highest exaltation when he is loco parentis. Yet, as good things become evil by excess, correction, by being immoderate, may become cruel. But when is correction immoderate? When it is more frequent or more severe than is required ad monendum et docendum, for reformation and instruction. No severity is cruel which obstinacy makes necessary; for the greatest cruelty would be to desist, and leave the scholar too careless for instruction, and too much hardened for reproof. Locke, in his treatise of Education, mentions a mother, with applause, who whipped an infant eight times before she had subdued it; for had she stopped at the seventh act of correction, her daughter, says he, would have been ruined[543]. The degrees of obstinacy in young minds, are very different; as different must be the degrees of persevering severity. A stubborn scholar must be corrected till he is subdued. The discipline of a school is military. There must be either unbounded licence or absolute authority. The master, who punishes, not only consults the future happiness of him who is the immediate subject of correction; but he propagates obedience through the whole school; and establishes regularity by exemplary justice. The victorious obstinacy of a single boy would make his future endeavours of reformation or instruction totally ineffectual. Obstinacy, therefore, must never be victorious. Yet, it is well known, that there sometimes occurs a sullen and hardy resolution, that laughs at all common punishment, and bids defiance to all common degrees of pain. Correction must be proportioned to occasions. The flexible will be reformed by gentle discipline, and the refractory must be subdued by harsher methods. The degrees of scholastick, as of military punishment, no stated rules can ascertain. It must be enforced till it overpowers temptation; till stubbornness becomes flexible, and perverseness regular. Custom and reason have, indeed, set some bounds to scholastick penalties. The schoolmaster inflicts no capital punishments; nor enforces his edicts by either death or mutilation. The civil law has wisely determined, that a master who strikes at a scholar's eye shall be considered as criminal. But punishments, however severe, that produce no lasting evil, may be just and reasonable, because they may be necessary
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Elliott » 17 Jul 2012, 03:35

A sobering account, Gavin.

Before we discuss this, it would seem sensible to ascertain how much of it can be relied upon. Was the boy exaggerating to impress or shock you? I don't mean to be difficult but we should be careful not to get carried away. And I know that youngsters love teasing fearful adults!

But if his claims are true, it is quite shocking and his school must be a disaster. I wonder how much somebody could learn in that environment. How knowledgeable was he? And how was his diction? (Presumably if he could discuss it, he was aware of it as an issue.)

As for the teachers, the decline (if true) doesn't really surprise me. If I compare the oldest teachers I had (trained in the 1960s) with the youngest teachers I had (trained in the early/mid 1990s), it seems quite logical that young teachers now (trained in the 2000s) would swear in class, take phone calls and be useless at discipline. The younger teachers I had lacked, if not professionalism, then a certain commitment that the older teachers had as a matter of course. The older ones saw themselves as "teachers"; the younger ones saw themselves as "doing a job".

For the sake of not falling into despair, I will go through the "charges" and suggest a practical response to each one.

Ninety per cent of children have smartphones costing £300-£500.

This sounds ludicrous to people of our generation(s), but perhaps to theirs it is perfectly natural and it would be ridiculous to live without a mobile. But that doesn't mean they should have them in school, let alone switched on during lessons.

They are not supposed to use the phones during lessons, but most do, by touch typing under their desks.

The first pupil found doing this should have the phone confiscated for a week.

The school itself provides wi-fi networks for the children to use with their phones. These include Facebook access which the children take advantage of throughout the day.

I remember my high school had a system for blocking Hotmail and other "social networking" sites of the 90s. I never saw the point of it. And blocking Facebook today, I wouldn't see the point of either. The point, surely, is not which sites they are going to (and really, Facebook does not threaten a child's education) but when they are doing it. Lunchtimes seems no problem to me. At all other times, I wouldn't block FB access on the school network: I'd simply ban the use of mobile phones during those times. In other words, you switch your phone on, if you must, during the lunch break and switch it off at the end of the lunch break.

Music most admired is typically that by Lady Gaga and rapper Chris Brown (known for beating up his girlfriend Rihanna).

If I were in charge, I would mount a "campaign" specifically against all trash culture. There would be absolutely no posters of gore movies, gangster films or rap music in the building. Anyone caught playing such music on their phone would have it confiscated for a week. To introduce them to higher things, every child would be expected to write one essay a term on a classical composer of their choice.

While "gay" is used to mean "stupid" or "pathetic", no hostility towards homosexuality is actually intended. On the contrary, it now quite fashionable to be seen as gay. (Thus the word "gay" has now moved two levels from its original meaning.)

I don't think there is much we can do about this. I am wary of homosexuality becoming too accepted, for reasons I described here. But as for schoolkid banter, I think words are pretty meaningless and interchangeable.

Pupils frequently threaten teachers and sometimes attack them.

They should be belted for threatening and expelled for attacking.

Pupils routinely swear at teachers and usually nothing is done.

They should be belted.

Teachers routinely swear during lessons too, using F words (I specifically queried this).

Three swears, and they should be sacked.

Alcohol is easily available to most pupils, usually because parents supply it, then it is distributed between pupils.

Expel any child found distributing it.

Teachers use screencasting software to broadcast to students' screens. The children circumvent this to use their computers for whatever purpose they like while the teacher thinks they are viewing the presentation.

I am not sure what is being referred to here. Is each child's desk equipped with a laptop? If so, I would suggest that is an outrageous waste of money that will not benefit their education much, if at all.

Most children do not - cannot - speak properly, even less write properly.

Ooh, where to begin... In order to solve this problem you'd probably have to sack 90% of the teachers.

You could employ special "grammar teachers", but as I wrote before, their lessons would be "undone" by the other teachers. This is really something which has to be tackled wholesale, at the level of the school's entire "culture".

But once you had a teaching staff who, to a man/woman, knew, spoke and wrote good English, then you could begin reprimanding children for using bad grammar and spelling. Until then, everything else is just a pipe dream; the kids cannot learn good English from illiterate or badly-spoken adults.

Particularly badly behaved children are not disciplined or expelled, but rather ignored as much as possible.

Well, we know what should be done with them. Detention and "lines" wouldn't work because they'd simply not turn up. Instead: belt them. And if that doesn't work: expel them.

There is constant hostility between students - actual fights break out approximately weekly.

Find out who instigated the fight and belt them. If in doubt, belt both.

The classes are mixture of African, Indian, Romanian, Latvian and some English.

That sounds like a nightmare. I have no solution other than to say we should look for ways to deport each family back to their country of origin. The alternative is long-term, century-spanning, sporadic civil war between people with nothing in common but a dysfunctional education.

Film certificates (e.g. 18) are irrelevant now because films are simply downloaded onto phones, parents allow children to watch them, or the children pay to see one film then simply walk in to see another once beyond the gate.

Well I used to do all of those things. My friends and I, aged 12, actually saw Trainspotting at the cinema! It's not good, but I don't think it is as fundamental a problem as, say, threatening one's teachers. Kids are into scary and shocking stuff - even the ones who value high culture as I did. I really think this is something they just need to get out of their systems.

But perhaps I am speaking from too bourgeois a position. I always had high culture as an alternative to the trash. If a kid had nothing but violent gore movies or nihilistic rap music, it would certainly be a problem.

Teachers routinely take calls during lessons, either speaking in the class or popping outside.

Three phone calls and they're sacked.

Bullying is rife - now not only in person and in rumours but also through the new avenues of Facebook and Twitter. Remarks are easily deleted if repercussions loom, but they rarely do.

I have no solution for this. But I suspect that an observant teacher would know which child to believe if a case came up and the evidence had been erased.

The parents of most students are separated. It is extremely rare for them to be together, and the usual talk is of step-fathers, half-brothers and so on.

Clearly the school can't fix the parents now. It could teach the pupils that their parents' lives were dysfunctional and undesirable, but that would be to invite hell upon the staff. One solution, of sorts, would be to require each parent (or primary care-giver or whatever they're called now) to sign a contract accepting that their child will be taught this stuff, otherwise the child doesn't get into the school. I think, forced to make that choice, a lot of parents would see the long-term desirability of those lessons. (There's a reason wise parents want their kids to get into Christian schools, and they'll even fake faith in order to get them in.)

the headteacher... said she couldn't enforce rules.

What an astonishing admission. And, with that admission, all the dysfunction follows.

It could be that she has tried to enforce the rules but just found that the law stops her. She may think, without saying it, that if she could use the birch, she could get the school sorted out.

Even so, I think that if a woman is going to lay down the law to an adolescent (of either sex) in loco parentis, she has to be a pretty damned formidable woman. Perhaps a man would be better for this school. But even then... what could the man do that the woman couldn't? Eventually it is going to come to physical punishment; that is the only thing that really persuades (and Dr Johnson agrees with me!).

I think that's all I have time or inclination to write for now but I wanted to get the information down while it was fresh in my mind.

Well it's a fascinating account. I hope, if you can remember any more, you add it here.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 17 Jul 2012, 08:31

I have remembered further details and will elaborate now.

  • With regard to discipline the boy said that people say "We know our rights - we know they can't do nothing".
  • The students are very au fait with modern technology, as might be expected. They know all about phone processor speeds, all about the software and so on. (No idea how to make it, but they know well how to use it.) These are very much prestige devices, used mainly for games and social networking. iPhones are seen as a little inferior now (which I actually agree with) since more powerful devices are coming onto the market. The students are sufficiently familiar with the details to see this.
  • In some classes the students are provided with PCs, where the screencasting software is used (to no avail). In others they have "media suites" of Macs. I have seen this situation before. On a council estate in London where I once taught a class, the room was fully equipped with brand new Macs, paid for by Labour. This is a criminal waste of money when the students using them can hardly even write or speak properly.
  • Regarding sex, I assume this is fairly frequent among the fourteen year olds - I didn't ask, but it was clear the boy was familiar with "the facts of life".
  • Likewise regarding smoking I didn't mention it because I assume that those who wanted to smoke just did so, presumably not caring who saw.
  • It is likely that the students all knew, and had unrestricted access to, porn URLs so watched these as much as they liked, possibly also courtesy of the school's own networks (I was amazed wifi was available).
  • I missed a prominent nationality from the classroom, that being Polish.
  • The boy said the school would very rarely expel anyone and preferred to just ignore problems. This struck me as highly plausible as all headteachers seem to care about is the reputation of their school (by extension, their own jobs). "There's no trouble at this school" seems to be the corrupt attitude. I expect this happens too at higher levels of the police, where crimes are recategorised or wished away.

I would sometimes ask the boy a question leading the answer one way and sometimes the other, or not at all, and his responses were unpredictable so I think the information was probably accurate.

Another thing the boy said is that he had recently been in trouble for hitting another student. The boy he hit, so the story goes, was black - let's call him Boy A and my interlocutor Boy B. Boy A had discovered that Boy B's father was gay and had been ridiculing him about it (though this is fairly uncommon now as previously mentioned). Boy B had complained about this to the school but nothing was done, principally because (the father said) the boy was black. Not only this but it was claimed he had Asperger's Syndrome (one of the many diseases that seemed to have appeared in recent decades). Furthermore his mother was disabled (parents separated, needless to say). Thus the school was extremely reluctant to discipline Boy A in any way. My friend's boyfriend went into the school to complain about the problem and was told that it was policy to include such children in the classroom and nothing would be done about it.

So Boy B snapped and hit the black boy and got in trouble for it. The father went back into the school - and here is where it gets interesting - he was able to trump "black" with "gay". In fact "gay" trumped both "black" and "disabled" combined! He actually said "I am a gay man and I'm not putting up with this" and it worked. Something, I think, was done. Probably a talking to.

I would liked to have spoken to the boy more but I was in a group of adults and as it was I spent most of my time asking him things. It was very interesting though. I think the account is worth TD himself knowing about. I often wonder whether he ever reads this site.

I hope to have a lot more of this kind of information too, soon.

What is especially alarming, isn't it, is that not only is discipline too lax in these schools, but we, the concerned, have to keep our identities secret, defend civilisation anonymously - and if our words were connected with our identities, we might be unemployable! That is how bad it is - that is pure corruption. We would be called "judgemental". I am very proud of that, but I still have to keep it a secret.

Finally, Elliott, I agree with all of your proposals, but would add the idea of belting the parents. Discipline of the parents is absent from your list, but since they are essentially children of the state, perhaps it should be carried out. If they don't have money to pay fines (and only for their smartphones, PlayStations, cigarettes and so on) and it would "deprive the children" to have them imprisoned (though I think it would do the children a favour) then perhaps flogging could be tried. I think we're a long way off that though if a teacher cannot even take a phone from a child.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Caleb » 17 Jul 2012, 08:54

It's all a bad case of deja vu for me. I'm glad I'm not a part of any of that these days.

That said, I have my ongoing battles with my students and colleagues in Taiwan. Taiwan is only one generation (or less) away from that, the sole difference in most schools being that the kids' parents worry about their marks, so the teachers can dangle that over their heads (though it's not that effective at my school, and what I teach is also not considered a real subject).

Discipline is nowhere near as bad of course, but it's still interesting to me that my friend (who is not a real teacher, and whom I consider relatively slack) was recently phoned (out of hours) by his boss to tell him that his students at the private language school where he works were complaining that he was too strict! Frankly, I wouldn't last a week in such a place because I have a reputation even amongst adults outside my school in the town where I work as being pretty hard on the kids (and I'm not nearly as hard as I'd like to be).
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 17 Jul 2012, 09:04

You've reminded me, Caleb. I also asked the boy which teachers got the best out of the children. He did not hesitate for a second before replying "The strict ones". The ones who are "down with the kids" get their respect, but not results. The ones in between get walked all over. The strict ones get respect and results. Not very enlightening, it is true, except perhaps for the shameful liberal elite who run this fiasco while lining their own pockets now.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 17 Jul 2012, 09:16

I pressed the boy on whether it was now seen as "normal" for parents to be divorced, and even preferred. I thought perhaps those who were from united families would be ridiculed, seen as "uncool".

His reply suggested it was not quite to that point yet. It is expected that parents will not be together, but if they are then this is just regarded as novel. I think it is also envied a little though, and this is why I thought it could result in bullying. I'm sure it does on some occasions actually. It isn't seen as "cool" to have your parents separated.

The boy actually said: "Yeah, I wish Mum and Dad were still together.. but then, I like [my friend], he's a cool guy". He is a nice guy, but the first part of the sentence struck me as very instructive.

The children actually know what is right, at all times, but they will do what is wrong, because they can.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 17 Jul 2012, 09:42

This is the gentleman individual much admired (and presumably imitated) by white schoolchildren today:



With millions of hits on YouTube, his albums have gone double platinum.

The problem is that people are not seen as "authentic" unless they are underclass. We have complete reverse snobbery now.

"Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired" he said, of assaulting his girlfriend, displaying the usual agency removal of which TD writes. Not over what he did - over what transpired. Further, he has demonstrated himself to be illiterate in his tweets.

Some time after the beating she received, in the true spirit of feminism, Rihanna (who dresses as a slut) returned to Mr Brown, explaining to him "You da one".
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Heather » 17 Jul 2012, 13:47

All this talk of corporal punishment reminded me of a teacher I had in high school who actually did use it on occasion, and completely illegally. I could write a huge post on his teaching methods (commanding the attention and respect of 150 teenagers holding musical instruments, in a concert hall or on parade, takes some strength of will, after all!), which I think you'll all approve of, but he died a year after I graduated and I don't feel like dissolving in tears right now!

Anyway, he would choose his targets with extreme care. Always male, always with a very, very serious character flaw that desperatedly needed correcting, and of the type that would be mortally embarrassed to tattle to anyone else (the teacher looked short, slow, skinny, and weak to those who didn't know any better, but he was actually very quick and powerful). He'd call that kid to his office, or arrange to meet them in an unused hall. He'd give a very simple description of their character flaw. Ones I heard of were "You had better be a good father to that baby you made, and finish your education too," and "Your mother is one of the nicest people I know - how did you turn out this way?" Then he'd deliver a single, swift but brutally powerful blow. No one ever dared hit back. The next day the character flaw would be gone.

This teacher probably knew a quarter of the students through his various commitments. He must have spent decades quietly meting out illegal corporal punishment and correcting wayward teenaged behavior. I really have to wonder if the administration knew and turned a blind eye because of the obviously good results.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Michael » 17 Jul 2012, 17:31

An amusing anecdote, that fits in as well here as in our many others discussions of social decay.

In 17th century Moscow beggars were a great problem. They would follow Muscovites from the moment they left a house till the moment they entered another, begging for alms and often stealing their own alms from the pockets of the harassed citizenry. Peter the Great, to solve this problem, made it a crime to beg and to give money to beggars. To deal with the beggars themselves he built hospitals attached to all the churches and monasteries in the city to look after them. There the unemployed and unemployable lived a meagre, bare boned existence. It was highly effective in solving the problem; one Western diplomat, reporting on Peter's reforms, noted that "this soon cleared the streets of those poor vagrants, many of whom chose to work rather than to be locked up in the hospitals."

Perhaps something similar could be done today - to be on welfare you must live under a near-prison discipline, with restricted times for meals, and with meager, threadbare surroundings (no smartphones, televisions, or fast food take out)
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Mike » 18 Jul 2012, 09:04

Gavin: that was a pretty depressing catalogue.

As I've mentioned before, I'm more or less protected from the harshest realities of modern education by virtue (or rather by luck!) of teaching at a selective school, but there are still things on that list which sound familiar. In particular, the introduction of technology into the classroom has been undertaken in a very slapdash and short-sighted way throughout the English-speaking world, as far as I can see.

Our government here took the decision in 2008 to provide every Year 9 student with a laptop, to have and to hold in sickness and in health for the rest of their school life. It was an absurd waste of money. For a start, the laptops they got were dirt cheap, with appallingly slow loading times and inadequate graphics cards. Then there was the issue of the passwords - because of the predictable security obsession, they had to go through about five different passwords just to get to the school intranet where we were meant to leave work for them. This often took up to fifteen minutes. Then, when wi-fi was installed, it became a case of who's engrossed in a RPG now (the kids at my school are a bit demure for porn, although they would probably have been able to access porn sites if they wanted - they're far too tech-savvy to be cowed by the laughable security measures our education department put in place). I wanted to ban the damn things from class after a while, but we weren't allowed to. And all the kids cheerfully admit that the effect of the laptops on their education has been nothing but detrimental.

But as for teachers taking calls in class...words fail me. I'd be utterly ashamed to do something like that. And if I ever see kids playing with phones under the desk in class I confiscate them straight away.
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 28 Sep 2012, 08:07

We have a friend of the family - well not really a friend of mine, but of my parents - who is a short-haired single left wing female ex-teacher. She is very outspoken and sympathetic towards Islam.

She's good friends with my ex-headmaster from many years ago. This is the same headmaster (a small man, as I recall) whose advice to me was to hit someone on his school's premises when I was having some trouble once.

Since he cropped up in conversation today I thought I would have a look at what he is doing. It turns out that he is, of course, a signed up leftie and at the same time thought to be the highest paid man in the whole of the teaching sector.

The latest published accounts of E-Act, which has charitable status, reveal a pay package of £280,017 in the year to 31 August 2010 – nearly twice what Michael Gove, the education secretary, receives


He was knighted by Tony Blair's government.

Was he very leftwing as a young man? "I was quite leftwing. I wore jeans with holes and long hair. I was chairman of my Labour party ward. But that was as far as it went."


No surprises there, then. I didn't like the man then and I don't like the look of him now. He seems to be just another champagne socialist, and when I saw him using the weasel word "deprived" this was another reason to distrust and dislike him. Even commenters under that Guardian article don't like him, despite the article of course being flattering. This disparity increasingly seems to be developing, even at the internal propaganda paper of the education sector and the BBC.
Gavin
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Re: Left-wing teachers

Postby Gavin » 28 Sep 2012, 08:21

In addition to this point, I was out with the young lad I mentioned in this shocking account again last night. In passing he mentioned that there are nearly no male teachers at his school. I said to him "Just be aware that you're being fed one-sided feminist socialist propaganda during your education there. You're not hearing the full story. You are getting a twisted, skewed version of everything and when you get out into the real world it won't correspond with what you're being told". "Yes, I know", he immediately said. He didn't seem at all surprised by that at all, so maybe there's hope yet.

One thing I will say is that the lad was learning some practical skills that I was certainly never taught. He showed a photo of an electrical circuit he had wired, which was great. Presumably one of the only male teachers at the school had shown him how to do that.

I asked him if he was taught about Islam and he said he was. I said "Do they teach you that Mohammed was a warlord who personally murdered hundreds of people and that the Qur'an justifies Jihad?". "No, none of that", he said, "they just tell us it's all peaceful". But again, I think he was more switched on than his teachers - he knew it wasn't true.
Gavin
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Posts: 3432
Joined: 27 Jul 2011, 18:13
Location: Once Great Britain

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