Finished my degree- now on with life

Well…not quite. I still have the matter of a ten week intern-ship to complete (trying not to stress too much), but the academic part of the degree is finished. It has been a long four years of study, most of it enjoyable, some of it torturous (maths units spring to mind) but all of it educational.

By the end of 2016 I will be a fully qualified, card carrying Primary School Teacher.

The last four years have been spent largely either working or studying, with little snippets of craft or building squeezed in around them. Now I plan to spend some time….

Building the garden;

Building a new cover over the trailer bed and replanting.

Refurnishing the Hugelkultur beds and planting.

Crafting with fibre;

Making fulled bags

Spinning cotton and wool


And more knitting

Dyeing homespun yarn

A lot of homespun yarn

Building my business;

Trying to attract more customers

Adding new products…both hand made and….

Naturally harvested.

Learning new skills

Increasing my stock

Building a house;

Well…maybe I’m dreaming.

Spending time with my animals (and family and friends);

Also…enjoying the finer things in life;

Like unravelling old jumpers by the fire…with wine

And watching sunsets…with wine.

It has been a long, life changing journey so far, I wonder what will happen next?

Chris Pyne on education.

While I am not a fan of politics (at all), I do have a view on education (as I work in the field) and I think the views of the minister for education are a little naive;

Chris Pyne in the Sydney Morning Herald

Well my knee-jerk reaction to that is “Just because we don’t teach them about climate change/ invasion/ refugees/ war/ genocide doesn’t mean it won’t happen to them.”

I think that he has failed to understand that today’s children are born into a digital world, connected by an electronic umbilicus to the rest of their species (if not the natural world) and the main reason adults are failing to educate them is that we are educating them to survive in a world which does not exist any more. For example, the resistance to ‘text language’ (which I don’t like myself); kids use and speak this language daily, yet we insist it is wrong and they must learn ‘proper’ language. Isn’t the point of language to communicate? Maybe the real issue is that we (the older, 0.1 version of the species) are afraid of the speed at which the language is changing and fear we won’t be able to keep up.

While I agree that literacy and numeracy form the solid base on which education is built, what it means to be literate and numerate has changed and continues to change at an ever increasing rate. Today’s students are generally more technologically able than their teachers (I often ask a passing ten year old which button to press) and are able to access the entire knowledge of humanity at the click of a button (sometimes as many as three clicks, if it’s a difficult question). Old style teaching (chalk, board and the contents of one person’s head) seems a little irrelevant in the face of that ability.

I don’t see going backwards in teaching style as the answer, nor is trying to hold them back with us. Let’s accept that the skill base our children need to take them into adulthood is very different from the one we needed. Let them run (educationally) and we will follow as fast as we can; it’s the only way to educate minds that have escaped the prison of a single skull.

Are we educating conformists

This post was going to be about pit toilets…..but I had an interesting conversation with my friend Megan about what schools should be like. This post is now going to be about the need for a paradigm shift in education.
I decided to become a teacher for very selfish reasons; I enjoy seeing children discover something new. I enjoy seeing the joy that glows on their faces when they discover that they CAN reason their way through and solve their own problems. I am discovering a dark side to the current system though; the insistence on conformity, from the highest levels of management to the students themselves. There is a written code of conduct for teachers in NSW, it lays out the behavior and duties of teachers and it makes a lot of sense, but there is also an unspoken code which consists of things like being called ‘miss’ or ‘sir’, even if being called ‘miss’ makes you look guiltily over your shoulder for the teacher, expecting to get into trouble for playing when you should be working. What is it about being called by a title that gives a person power? Why do we want to drive students to learning by the judicious use of this power, rather than trying to lead them to learning by making it fun?
I am just a student of the art of education, I don’t know all the answers and never will (my perception is too small for that), but I do question what I can do to change education from inside the system and wonder if my musings are even valid.
According to Sir Ken, the modern education system is designed to inhibit divergent thinking; a talent which we need to continue to grow as a species.
This Clip of Sir Ken Robinson brings up some very interesting points; not least of which is the cookie cutter system we have evolved to teach our children what we think they should know in order to get a job. We can’t know what the world will be like when our current students leave school so how can we prepare them for it?
I would like some opinions about what a good education looks like.
Whay are the most important subjects to teach?
Should we make full use of all the technology available to teach (iPhone, iPod, social media)?
Is the old fashioned way of teaching values valid or do we need to change?

Revealed: how GCSE results owe more to genes than teaching » The Spectator

Intelligence is mostly genetic and will, very soon, be testable. My father finished primary school in the army at the age of 19, my mother finished high school early, does that mean my intelligence is low? In truth it is circumstance that stopped my parents from becoming educated (World War 2 will do that) and I grew up in a house full of books and interesting conversations with interesting people, so my parent’s IQ is probably higher than it would at first appear. The article below proposes (subtly) that we test children’s genetic potential for intelligence and base their education on the results.

Revealed: how GCSE results owe more to genes than teaching » The Spectator

This article says that if we know the projected IQ of children, we won’t love them any less. Maybe mothers and teachers won’t but what about the people who make legislation? People are already numbers and statistics to them, merely because of the distance from the majority they stand at. How long will it be until we are shipped off to a  work house because our genes aren’t good enough?

What do you think?