Friday, April 24, 2009

Home Education Review in the TES

From the TES:

"Social workers are calling on local authorities to increase the monitoring of home-educated children as a government review into the safety and welfare of the controversial practice gets underway."

OK, school advocates, clear your minds just for the moment.

Which out of the following two options would you say should be deemed controversial, A or B?


1A. You train someone to live in a democracy by making them live in an autocracy.

1B. You help someone understand the merits of living in a democracy by taking their views on board, by engaging in discussion, by allowing for the evolution of ideas.


2A. You tell someone that bullying is not acceptable but nonetheless bully them on a regular basis.

2B. You offer someone the theory that bullying is a suboptimal way to preceed, you set an example by not bullying, and you explain why bullying is inefficient...because it inhibits creativit and rationality.


3A. You preach the benefits of co-operation whilst encouraging everyone to compete.

3B. You explain the benefits of co-operation whilst demonstrating it yourself.


4A. You preach the benefits of self-motivation and initiative whilst telling people precisely what to do.

4B. You make the space to allow for self-motivation and initiative to flourish.


5A. You preach the benefits of free speech and thought, whilst telling people pretty precisely what to think.

5B. You create the space which permits of free speech and thought.


6A. You like the idea that people be able to pursue their interests whilst telling them to stop pursuing them and go on to another subject.

6B. You make a space so that people can pursue their interests.


7A. You acknowledge that a person may learn in vastly different ways, and yet you set a very strict body of work that they should learn.

7B. You acknowledge that a person may learn in vastly different ways and you cater for this.


8A. You think it a good idea that people learn to relate to others of all ages and yet you segregate them by age.

8B. You let people mingle as they will and let them make their own way in this regard.


9A. You encourage the idea of equality of people whilst grading and marking and differentiating between them.

9B. You acknowledge that people are different and have different interests and you create a world where each to his own.


10A. Sometimes you acknowledge that failure is an important part of learning, and yet you penalise it when it happens.

10B. You create a space where failure is deemed an important part of learning.


OK, so these are just a few of the issues, but on the basis of just these few examples, which out of the above would you say SHOULD be controversial?


cosmic seed said...

AARGH!!!! There are no words that can adequately express the utter bloody stupidity.

Elaine said...

Education welfare officers may be social workers but they are also a seperate entity and should not b labelled as social workers by the popular press.
When I withdrew my daughter an EWO started hounding us and the Home Education officer for our LEA put a stop to it because as she explained Home Education is NOT a welfare issue in cases where there are no grounds for concern.
Local authorities have home ed teams who fail to understand the law so lets not allow the mix to be diluted further, if education welfare are going to be given a hearing re their 'opinion' on home education then they should first have to display a knowledge of the laws/guidance surrounding it.

Elaine said...

In fact I will say what I think and delete if you would rather it wasnt here.
The review has failed miserably to gain support amongst related depts , Heads have not backed it , teachers have not backed it, they couldnt even rally a decent number of responses to their questionaire.
Education welfare should stop looking for headlines they will get them soon enough when they explain why, when they were asked to assess, they took no further action.
It has the same stench as the nspcc attempt to grab headlines.. people in glass houses

cosmic seed said...

surely this review amounts to mental torture? It feels like it here - with every new piece of information that comes out my family's anxiety levels increase. How can it be acceptable to treat a group of fellow, law abiding human beings this way?

Carlotta said...

It was quite an extraordinarily ignorant and prejudiced piece wasn't it?

"The National Association of Social Workers in Education (NASWE) has warned that the current lack of scrutiny denies many children an effective education and often leads to them suffering harm."

How does scrutiny ensure an effective education, I wonder? It's epistemic bollocks.

And how can they please substantiate their "often" because I thought the problem was that they were saying that they think they can't scrutinize us effectively!

I agree with Elaine and Cosmic Seed...a barrier preventing a break-out of random rudeness seems to have been broken down, but it wasn't us who started it!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant list of hypocritical practices, Carlotta! This is of vital importance.

The educational welfare officers, imo, should not only be conversant with the law on education, they should also have in depth understanding of a whole variety of educational philosophies. Why are they even in the job if they are not interested in such things? Their reaction shows a clear lack of genuine knowledge and interest.

A book I'm currently reading has a very interesting summary of the educational ideals of an era and how they affect the practice of education. If you are interested, there are some quotes below:

E.g. the Romans admired rhetoric, so the 'Roman educational ideal was of a practical, political nature and the state was the most important creation of the citizens'.

'From the late Middle Ages to the present-day, the ideal has been the professor, someone who is very knowledgeable: 'Knowledge is power.'

'.....The Darwinian theory of evolution was held consistently and led to the idea of the 'survival of the fittest'. ...From a pedagogical point of view, this in effect means competition with others and continually striving for ones own top performance through selection procedures such as exams.

The emergence of the 'specialist' was a practical result of industrialisation at the earliest stage to create the ideal 'production line' person, as a cog...
'This materialistic view of the individual results in the gathering of as much knowledge as possible, because knowledge equals power, not because knowledge leads to wisdom.

'Pedagogy today is also a result of the predominant schools of thought, and those who are not directly concerned with education and who simply send their children to school are in tacit agreement with the educational ideal as it grew through the ages.
'However, our fight about schooling proves that parents certainly wish their children to be educated according to beliefs, which they hold themselves...
'However, the struggle over education is not necessarily concerned with the content of the syllabus (although it clearly is as well now!), but with the widely-held view from the nineteenth century, that the child is a tabula rasa, and that children should acquire a certain body of knowledge in the most efficient manner possible. The whole curriculum has a very materialistic-individual character...The ideal that a child should be educated to be a harmonious person...(...)does not play, or only a very small part in this...
To effect a change the entire curriculum would have to be based on completely different principles.'

It is clear, imo, that the philosophy behind educational practice - ie that a parent SHOULD BE FREE TO CHOOSE whether or not he subscribes to the overriding idealogy! - is of vital importance. It isn't right that people should hold up the current system with its hypocritical and shallow philosophy as one which MUST suit all. Every other era in Britain has to my knowledge accepted that people should be free to choose a pedagogy that is based on ideas other than the contemporary state ideal if they wish. To remove this right is to remove the potential for the growth of knowledge, for improvement of our ideas and for a healthy debate.

The only societies that insist on everyone being governed by one pedagogy are not democracies.


Anonymous said...

Great points.

Yet again I can't help thinking how closely the behaviour of the people in power is identical to that of an abuser in an abusive relationship.

An abusive 'man/woman' will say bullying is unacceptable, but will bully his partner. They will preach cooperation (in order to get their own way) but will encourage others to fight for what they want but will neveer let them have it.

This is a good reminder that the establishment is behaving appallingly on several levels.

Anonymous said...

I read that and thought how defensive these SWs seem. All the insistance on bullying others seems to me screaming "It's not our fault when things go wrong." Yet they make hugely sweeping statements based on what? Certainly no research based practice there eh? None of this strikes me as people who want what's best for children; but a lot of arse covering in case the next dead child inquiry points fingers at them.
And people are surprised that no one trusts these so-called 'professionals'.

Firebird said...

I agree with Elaine, these people are NOT social workers and shouldn't run around pretending that they are. REAL social workers are massively over worked and the very last thing they want is to be lumbered with a load of perfectly safe and happy HE children to visit, taking their time away from those at risk. The NASWE clearly represents empire building EWOs.

Raquel said...

I think it wouldn't be hard to replace these people with all these new graduates who are jobless. These people who work as EWO's and who don't even know anything about the laws surrounding education nor the differring philosophies, should be watching their backs because there are thousands of people with degrees who want jobs and who would willingly research this stuff it it meant they could land the job! The public want more of their public servants. Times are changing and we aren't going to take this crap anymore! We want people who are qualified for the job!

no_shoes said...

'epistemic bollocks. '

are my words of the day!


I shall use them whever talking about the LA or the review!

globeonmytable said...

Thank you this is nicely written.

Anonymous said...

Another depressing article!

It is beginning to look as if the social workers do have a problem of attitude that is affecting their ability to think outside a very limited arena. Maybe they are drawn from the baby boomer generation and believe in power over others?

I had a very interesting conversation with a young chap who has the enviable job title of 'knowledge consultant' - he mostly just gets paid to think! His current research is into how the ideology of a generation affects their behaviour in the work environment.

The baby boomers it seems are driven by a work ethic and the quest for power and only really feel contented with achievements they can easily label. They are obssessed with competition and hierarchy - part of the controlling others drive. They also feel they *should* be involved in politics but don't necessarily like it. They currently are in power.

The generation following them is not at all interested in politics and don't feel guilty about this. (Y generation if I remember correctly.) However, and this is frustrating, they not only feel very let down by the school system but they will never come to power because the X generation (the young men and women starting work today) are quite simply stepping in there ahead of them. Today's young workers have no sense of formality. Computer games etc have not isolated them, to the contrary, it has made the world into a small field where communication is immediate and with anyone regardless of so called prestige, they see the world as their playing field and see no reason why they should not rub shoulders with those already in power (through email, and other on line communications). They are literally stepping over the y generation and will be the next in power.

Perhaps our narrow minded social workers are either upset at never having real power or are older and terrified of losing it to such a different, laid back and more contented generation, who are less obssessed with thigns and achievements!