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General Chat Thread, Resit GCSE Maths & English - Really? in General; Originally Posted by CAM Because Grade C is the bar used to judge the performance of a school and student ...
  1. #46

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Because Grade C is the bar used to judge the performance of a school and student success (5 A*-C including English and Maths to be precise). As I've stated already, employers seek Grade C or higher and that is why it is important to achieve in these two subjects.
    While I do understand that, as was said above, it devalues the bar if you make it compulsory. Also, I wonder if employers know what a grade C in either subject actually represents? How meny employers know what the GCSE sybilus contains and what exactly is being tested? The arguement being that an individual may have a perfectly acceptable standard of Maths for most employers and yet maybe only passed at grade D or E because they didn't understand some of the more advanced topics.

    I remember doing Maths as part of my BTec and I'm pretty sure those models where not GCSE standard, just the basics. And the BTec I took is supossidly equivalent to a couple of A-Levels.

  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    I don't think you are very old so I am very surprised to read this - did you not study history at school? All three of my children studied history (and english lit) and it was then that they learned how to evaluate sources and do exactly what you say is important in terms of data. In fact, there is a "sources" paper in the exam. Their grasp of how to evaluate things, and what it was like to actually live through the history they studied is far far better than mine ever was. I went to a grammar school and we were just told to learn the facts.

    As for theoretical versus applied, that is definitely a teaching issue. If you really have learned everything since school then your school was appalling - the schools I work in spend a great deal of time teaching children how to put things across whether it be written or verbal. Essays are very useful to stretch a child's imagination whilst also practising spelling, grammar, syntax, and all those things you mention.
    They don't often read in a round-robin way anymore either.
    As for teaching - didn't you become a teacher? And yet your grammar etc, by your own admission, is rubbish. Right there is one of the problems this country has when teaching english and maths. Teachers need to be taught grammar etc before they are allowed to be teachers AFAIC
    If a teacher is rubbish at english or maths, how can they teach the children what they need to know?
    No, I'm not very old and yes, I did learn how to evaluate sources in both Science and History - sources were history but the value of data and error margins and data reliability were Science. My school was one of the best in the county at one point and I came out with very good GCSEs and yes, I DID train as a teacher - I trained as a SCIENCE teacher and the inability of pupils at my placement schools (the second more so than the first surprisingly) to understand the limitations of the experimental process and their inability to identify the 'suspect' data sources was atrocious. I tried to evoke a class discussion about an experiment we had just conducted (I forget what it was) with the aim of getting the class to consider that the experiment method was 'inaccurate' by the nature of things like the vessels they used to measure the chemicals having large scales and to think about how they might improve the accuracy of the experiment. They looked at me blankly and then said things like "have someone hold the table so it doesn't wobble" or "Use a robot to mix the chemicals" after this it went downhill and I moved onto a different exercise and this is partly why I gave up teaching in the first place.

    There isn't any need to be mean, I am a literate and eloquent individual I just struggle with where to put semi colons - this doesn't make me a worthless SCIENCE teacher - I taught Science, not English. As a teacher I'm not interested in the grammar when the ideas are there but my point is that they aren't - kids are so used to being spoonfed the answers that they can't think for themselves.

    Of course you have the bright, enquiring minds but it frustrates me so much when SO MANY kids can't even apply a little bit of logic to something.

    I'm leaving this thread now as I no longer wish to be shot at for expressing my feelings in this debate. I've shared my thoughts and have strong feelings that a better structured vocational programme could be a really valuable asset to our education system rather than force kids to bang their heads against brick walls again and again. I stand by this.

    Also, it is worth pointing out that I had to pass an English literacy test before I could become a teacher and basic grammar WAS tested in this. I'm just employing self deprecating hyperbole in response to your previously implied grammar faults with my post. I'm not actually 'Rubbish' at grammar at all.
    Last edited by AMLightfoot; 23rd September 2013 at 04:29 PM.

  3. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    There isn't any need to be mean, I am a literate and eloquent individual I just struggle with where to put semi colons - this doesn't make me a worthless SCIENCE teacher - I taught Science, not English. As a teacher I'm not interested in the grammar when the ideas are there but my point is that they aren't - kids are so used to being spoonfed the answers that they can't think for themselves.

    I'm leaving this thread now as I no longer wish to be shot at for expressing my feelings in this debate. I've shared my thoughts and have strong feelings that a better structured vocational programme could be a really valuable asset to our education system rather than force kids to bang their heads against brick walls again and again. I stand by this.

    Also, it is worth pointing out that I had to pass an English literacy test before I could become a teacher and basic grammar WAS tested in this. I'm just employing self deprecating hyperbole in response to your previously implied grammar faults with my post. I'm not actually 'Rubbish' at grammar at all.
    @AMLightfoot I'm sorry that I have upset you, and I am not sure why you feel that I implied grammar faults in a previous post?
    My point was that - and I had no understanding of your remark about being rubbish at grammar being "self-depreciating hyperbole" - if teachers do not have the grammar and spelling skills then it is hardly surprising that a lot of children struggle, and whilst some children will never be able to achieve a C grade in English, for others it may be because they were not taught the required skills very well because the teachers didn't have them either.
    I have just walked past a sign saying "Toilet's", and I know that inside the door it says "Please wash your hand's".
    Nobody seems to care very much about it. I know several teachers who cannot string a grammatical sentence together despite having passed this english test they all have to take.
    I wasn't being personal, I was trying to make a point.
    I do think that spelling and grammar IS important though, in everything the children do and I have always thought that each piece of work should have two marks, one for presentation and one for content.
    I also advocated a basic skills exam
    Last edited by witch; 24th September 2013 at 11:04 AM.

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    @AMLightfoot I'm sorry that I have upset you, and I am not sure why you feel that I implied grammar faults in a previous post?
    My point was that - and I had no understanding of your remark about being rubbish at grammar being "self-depreciating hyperbole" - if teachers do not have the grammar and spelling skills then it is hardly surprising that a lot of children struggle, and whilst some children will never be able to achieve a C grade in English, for others it may be because they were not taught the required skills very well because the teachers didn't have them either.
    I have just walked past a sign saying "Toilet's", and I know that inside the door it says "Please wash your hand's".
    Nobody seems to care very much about it. I know several teachers who cannot string a grammatical sentence together despite having passed this english test they all have to take.
    I wasn't being personal, I was trying to make a point.
    I do think that spelling and grammar IS important though, in everything the children do and I have always thought that each piece of work should have two marks, one for presentation and one for content.
    I also advocated a basic skills exam
    I find it futile and frustrating that the government thinks that the answer to the illiteracy issues in our nation are to force kids to study the subjects longer. How much did they pay that quango to decide that when a couple of days worth of consultation with almost anyone would have reached a different conclusion?

    The answer is money - it is cheaper to force kids to study a subject for 2 more years than to actually spend the resources on working out why the kids are barely able to read in the first place.

    When I was a child my parents read to me and I devoured books (still do) - I was once called a liar by a teacher because I was bored with the childish books on the bookshelf in our classroom and wanted something harder. Her words to me when I selected a book for children 2 or 3 years older than me were 'You won't be able to read that' - I promptly stood there and read her the first page.

    The problem STARTS in the home - MANY (and not all) children do not get read to - either because their own parents can't read (or struggle with dyslexia and so choose not to) so by the time they get into the classroom at age 4 they are already at a disadvantage. When I started school I could already read and my primary school teacher had the temerity to admonish my mother telling her that it was the schools job (she was a bit of a female-dog if you want the truth). So they are in overcrowded classrooms where one-to-one support opportunities are limited and so they don't progress as quickly as they should at that age. As they move up the school their disadvantage is amplified as there are expectations of minimum skill level and many children hide their failures lest they end up in the 'remedial' class, which can lead to behavioural issues.

    This is a broad generalisation of course as each child is different, but by the time that child leaves primary school their ability to absorb information is slowing and the damage has already been done.

    There are literacy and numeracy programmes in primary schools and parents are supposed to spend X amount of time per night with their child and log it in log books and so on but many parents don't have the time, which comes back around to money and the economy - 2 generations ago, it was the norm for mothers to stay at home to keep the house and raise families - they had the time to spend with their children - even if it was little exercises like getting the kid to read the shopping list and add up prices and stuff (my nan did this). When I was growing up, my parents struggled because my mum stayed at home but my sister and I benefited from it. Now both parents have to work to make ends meet and children are (for the most part) in some form of child care facility or other. I firmly believe this is where the problems start and we should be addressing literacy and numeracy from the ground up, not the top down.

    Schools are only one component part of a larger issue that begins in the home with the attitude of the parents, and this is where we should start...



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