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Educating Boys

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.
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Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Educating Boys

#1 Post by Nick » September 11th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Did anyone see Gareth Malone's Extraordinary School For Boys on BBC2 last week?

I found it very interesting and think it raised a number of issues. In discussing these, all I can offer is my personal thoughts and experience, I have no specific knowledge of child psychology nor education, nor do I have children of my own, but I have been a lad (honest!) and been through education of various types. My views are also fairly general, and should be read with that in mind. All comments very welcome.

I was very pleased to see the topic aired. We'll see what happens in subsequent episodes, but it would be a pity, IMO, if it did not include any academic opinion. Partly because Gareth may have been able to benefit from it, and partly to challenge academics in the real world.

I was struck by the attitude of the teachers. I am sure they could 'handle' a class, but their attitude, though well-meaning, seemed to be about 'containing' the boys and following procedure. I felt this was especially true of the head. There were hints of 'education-speak' at times. (I have to confess I get unreasonably narked by the word 'learning' which seems to creep in everywhere instead of using the word 'education'). I got the feeling that they would adopt a 'female' approach to their classes. Telling the boys to be nice to each other, and praising neatness and attentiveness. Not that there is anything wrong with these virtues, but totally uninteresting to the boys. They seemed to be more interested in enoying their work than motivating the boys.

This was also my experience. My parents tell me that they once asked my teacher, Miss Gregory, why I didn't appear to be doing any work (which was broadly true- there didn't seem to be anything to do!) to which she replied that I didn't really want to! I can empathise with the lads and their literacy lessons. I was slow to learn to read, because I couldn't do it. But once I could, I read avidly. Most of all, it was my mother who helped me, by reading me a story every night after tea.

On some occasions teachers made comments which went far beyond anything they expected. One teacher in the Infants' school, in order to motivate her charges used to shake her head and say "I don't know what you are going to do when you get up there!" And "up there" was the Junior school. It didn't motivate me, it worried me. What would I do when I got "up there"? I was quite pleased to have an elder brother to find out ahead of me.

On another occasion, still in the Infants', so probably at about age 6, when we were learning about dinosaurs (always a popular subject to young lads for some reason) and drawing pictures and writing the odd sentence about them, the teacher suddenly broke to comparative silence and said "If anyone came into thisa class right now,they wouldn't believe this was the Infants'! They'd think you were all Seniors!" I nearly burst with pride and made a special effort.

At age 11, I remember my French teacher, at the beginning of the year, making a deal with the class. He told us that that year we were going to learn all the vocab. in the text book,about 20 chapters of maybe 25 new words per chapter. He promised there would be no words in the end of year exam that were not in the vocab list. He also told us that the best way to cheat was to learn it, because if the crib-sheet was inside our head, no teacher would be able to see it. I liked having a plan of action, instead of an indeterminate stretch of lessons. He also said that if we failed to get 100% in any vocab test it meant that we hadn't done our home-work, ( a Very Bad Thing,) but it didn't sound to much of a threat, as he had told us precisely how to avoid it. Seemed quite a fair deal.

More later, but this post is long enough.

Gottard
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Re: Educating Boys

#2 Post by Gottard » September 11th, 2010, 2:00 pm

...[error 404]page not found!
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Nick
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Re: Educating Boys

#3 Post by Nick » September 11th, 2010, 2:14 pm

Gottard wrote:
...[error 404]page not found!
Ooops! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. I've twiddled some knobs and corrected a couple of things, so it should be OK now. :)

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Alan C.
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Re: Educating Boys

#4 Post by Alan C. » September 11th, 2010, 10:09 pm

Nick
Ooops! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. I've twiddled some knobs and corrected a couple of things, so it should be OK now.
Nope! More twiddling needed (though I can probably find it on iplayer)
It being the BBC you won't get it outside the UK Gottard, you don't pay the £145 annual fee. :)
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Dave B
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Re: Educating Boys

#5 Post by Dave B » September 11th, 2010, 10:59 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Nick
Ooops! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. I've twiddled some knobs and corrected a couple of things, so it should be OK now.
Nope! More twiddling needed (though I can probably find it on iplayer)
It being the BBC you won't get it outside the UK Gottard, you don't pay the £145 annual fee. :)
I don't pay the £145 annual fee either but I still use iPlayer quite happily. It should be available everywhere I think - the licence fee is only for those who wish to receive programmes at the time of transmission

Listening/watching "off air" stuff that is offered free by the producers does not require a licence or any charge. Even Chan 4 broadcast a lot of stuff free on 4OnDemand (4OD).

Even using that I still find I watch about the same amount of TV as when I did have a licence, about three programmes a month!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan C.
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Re: Educating Boys

#6 Post by Alan C. » September 11th, 2010, 11:11 pm

I don't pay the £145 annual fee either but I still use iPlayer quite happily.
Yes Dave because you're in the UK and the beeb just assume "everybody in the UK has a licence"
You can watch any program here in the UK on iplayer after it's been broadcast, but not live (while it's being broadcast)
The BBC gives no concessions to Jonny foreigner :wink:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Educating Boys

#7 Post by Nick » September 11th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Look, boys! Pay attention at the back there! Talk about lack of attention span! I open a thread on educating boys and what happens. We start discussing TV licencing in Britain and the wider world.... :headbang:



As for the link, I altered the original one, which now works fine for me, but not the subsequent ones. Maybe I should have.....but I didn't. We're big boys now.... :wink: .


We have at least 2 retired teachers on TH. Any thoughts.....?

Gottard
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Re: Educating Boys

#8 Post by Gottard » September 12th, 2010, 3:33 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Nick
Ooops! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. I've twiddled some knobs and corrected a couple of things, so it should be OK now.
Nope! More twiddling needed (though I can probably find it on iplayer)
It being the BBC you won't get it outside the UK Gottard, you don't pay the £145 annual fee. :)
This is unfair and I could not get to the core of the problem. I pay € 129 a year and don't understand why info. cannot be exchanged between States. The Swiss have access to all Italian programmes + UK+..... while I cannot do the same from Italy. The official reason is: we don't still have permission?!?
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Gottard
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Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Educating Boys

#9 Post by Gottard » September 12th, 2010, 3:39 pm

Dave B wrote:
Alan C. wrote:
Nick
Ooops! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know. I've twiddled some knobs and corrected a couple of things, so it should be OK now.
Nope! More twiddling needed (though I can probably find it on iplayer)
It being the BBC you won't get it outside the UK Gottard, you don't pay the £145 annual fee. :)
I don't pay the £145 annual fee either but I still use iPlayer quite happily. It should be available everywhere I think - the licence fee is only for those who wish to receive programmes at the time of transmission

Listening/watching "off air" stuff that is offered free by the producers does not require a licence or any charge. Even Chan 4 broadcast a lot of stuff free on 4OnDemand (4OD).

Even using that I still find I watch about the same amount of TV as when I did have a licence, about three programmes a month!
Nope Dave B, even 4OD does not allow me into the player; the message shown is "it appears that you are connected from outside the UK or Ireland.
Radio programmes from the BBC player are viewable instead; can't understand why?!?
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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Dave B
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Re: Educating Boys

#10 Post by Dave B » September 12th, 2010, 3:43 pm

Nope Dave B, even 4OD does not allow me into the player; the message shown is "it appears that you are connected from outside the UK or Ireland.
Radio programmes from the BBC player are viewable instead; can't understand why?!?
Oh, that's a drag. It must be a copyright issue or something similar. But it certainly can't have anything to do with not paying the UK TV licence, since I don't pay that either!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Gottard
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Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Educating Boys

#11 Post by Gottard » September 12th, 2010, 3:44 pm

Sorry Nick, I've dropped my pen (metaphorical).
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Marian
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Re: Educating Boys

#12 Post by Marian » September 13th, 2010, 3:33 am

I can't watch the video as 'it is not available in my area' :sad:
Transformative fire...

Gottard
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Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Educating Boys

#13 Post by Gottard » September 13th, 2010, 3:50 pm

Nick, I suggest you explain what it is all about to enable us to start a conversation.
I am personally interested as I am a lone parent of a 16yrs boy with ....experience, I presume.
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Educating Boys

#14 Post by Nick » September 19th, 2010, 10:15 am

So I suppose none-saw the second episode either....?



Gottard, I'll try to find a synopsis on line.

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Educating Boys

#15 Post by Nick » September 24th, 2010, 12:23 pm

How about the third (and last) episode? A feast of food for thought.....

philbo
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Re: Educating Boys

#16 Post by philbo » September 24th, 2010, 12:30 pm

Alan C. wrote:
I don't pay the £145 annual fee either but I still use iPlayer quite happily.
Yes Dave because you're in the UK and the beeb just assume "everybody in the UK has a licence"
You can watch any program here in the UK on iplayer after it's been broadcast, but not live (while it's being broadcast)
The BBC gives no concessions to Jonny foreigner :wink:
A while back I suggested that the Beeb change iPlayer to a registration-only service using your TV License number, that way people from overseas could buy a UK TV license and get access to BBC content (and more money for the Beeb!). I got a polite reply thanking me for the suggestion, that I wasn't the first with the idea (sorry, "that it was one of a number that had been under consideration") and that there were no plans to go down that route.

I still think it's a good idea, though.

Gottard
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Re: Educating Boys

#17 Post by Gottard » September 24th, 2010, 1:24 pm

:pointlaugh:
...and I believe you are right; thanks for the effort, however.
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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loz2286
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Re: Educating Boys

#18 Post by loz2286 » October 1st, 2010, 11:12 am

Following the thread hi-jack I'll steer this back to the main topic.... Educating boys.

I am an educator of boys. I teach at a school for boys, currently 230 at the junior school, where I teach, and a further four hundred or so in the senior department. I am currently senior master with responsibility for pastoral issues.

I haven't watched the programme.

<rant>

What is it about teaching that makes everyone a blooming expert? If you own one house, you're not an expert in building. If you own one sports car, you're not suddenly McLaren's chief mechanic. Yet if you were once at school and have a couple of kids then suddenly everyone is an expert in education and is able to comment on complex pedagogical issues. So it is with politicians. The biggest problem in education is not uninspiring teachers; it's uninspired teachers, who have been constantly brow-beaten for so many years by one new "strategy" after another. In the seventeen years I have been involved in teaching there have been over five versions of the National Curriculum. One Education Secretary after another has targetted one area or another every six months. There have been umpteen changes in the A level syllabi in the last five years. All these changes, all the rafts of H&S bullcrap that need to be followed all take time to digest, plan for and implement. It's been incessant. This all stifles creativity. Don't blame teachers for being reticent about change, when the news is full of headlines of teachers professionally hung out to dry by local authorities who hide behind legislation and blame teachers if something goes wrong. Teachers are set targets for performance. We are measured by them. Teachers are dismissed or downgraded for failing to meet targets. Don't blame them if they take the safe option and teach to the test.

It's not ideal. I'm lucky. I work in the independent sector where I am given the freedom to be eccentric. I'm allowed to think putside the box. I do try to do as much outdoor learning as possible. I seek to foster adventurous minds, independent thinkers and rounded young men. We do LOADS of sport and celebrate success wherever it happens.

So don't blame teachers. Blame the system that values the sausage factory processes of examinations and standards, rather than the "education" of rounded free-thinkers.

Here endeth the lesson.

</rant>

philbo
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Re: Educating Boys

#19 Post by philbo » October 1st, 2010, 11:58 am

loz2286 wrote:<rant>
...
</rant>
Enjoyed the rant - many well-made points

The one thing I'll answer - what makes everyone an expert is that we were all taught, and therefore we all (well, quite a lot of people, anyway) think we know how teaching works. But as is often painfully obvious, extrapolating from one example (especially our own) doesn't make good practice.
loz2286 wrote:Don't blame them if they take the safe option and teach to the test.
It's something I've been ranting about for ages - the inability of politicians/journalists etc. to see beyond the simplistic is quite staggering at times. Schools are judged by their test results, how "good" a school is ranked against the other schools in league tables of how good their results are, and as you point out, individual teachers are given targets.. so it's not exactly surprising that the focus changes from an interesting education to "teaching to the test"; which leads to the apparently contradictory statistics of ever better exam results combined with business and universities complaining ever more about inadequacies in teaching.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Educating Boys

#20 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » October 1st, 2010, 1:43 pm

Is everyone here comfortable with the idea that boys and girls should somehow be taught differently?

Emma

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