Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oh NO! Not Another One.

Take a wild guess as to what I might be talking about...yes, you got it, sigh...it's another database. This time by way of a bit of variety, it is referred to as a "register" , but I can't for the life of me spot the difference.

This one's apparently all about identifying the most gifted kids in order that may be brought on, and it is possible to see where this idea's coming from. There is, afterall, a huge shortage of pupils taking hard subjects like physics and chemistry. Some cynics seem to think that this is a result of schools encouraging students to take the Mickey Mouse subjects so that their league table results look good, so if you could reliably spot the wunderkind, schools perhaps would dare to do the necessary, and churn out the boffins.

Hmm, from an autonomous educator point of view, it all looks screwy. Aside from thinking that exam results are a very poor way of picking up people who are genuinely good at solving real problems, we wonder why on earth children have to be intruded upon, codified, reduced to a number and implicitly humiliated in this way, when a highly motivated child will just get on with the job of solving the problems he wants to solve without any outside assessment of his intelligence.

But then again, with the demotivating effect that is most schooling, you can again see why this sort of desperate attempt to patch up a problem would be deemed necessary.


Clare said...

And, as we were discussing the other day, does it really matter if a child is good at something? Surely what matters is that they enjoy doing it? If a child is identified as being gifted at a certain subject, they will undoubtedly be pressured to pursue that subject, whether or not they get any enjoyment out of it at all. They will also be pressured to spend less energy studying for their 'less strong' subjects, even if they love them. What a shame that would be :-(

Anonymous said...

One of my sister's sons has been labelled 'gifted' by his school and as such is offered a lot more interesting educational opportunities that the others in his school don't get.

That, of course, is an advantage; but it is hard to know what that will do to him to be singled out as so 'superior'.


4 girls and 3 boys said...

My youngest was labelled gifted by our G.P! I am so glad he has never been to school. Tho the E.P got wind of it and wanted to "test him" but I refused.

david-f said...

"we wonder why on earth children have to be intruded upon, codified, reduced to a number and implicitly humiliated in this way"

To get them used to the world of work?

I see two posibilities.

There is some sort of international education league table, and Blair & co are hugely embarrassed at Britain's standing.

Or a captain of industry has gone a-knocking at No 10: "Look, Tony, the kids are getting degrees, but they're getting dumber and dumber. Isn't there some way to pick out the clever ones?"