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General Chat Thread, Tough new O-Levels to replace GCSEs under Gove plan in General; Originally Posted by Pete10141748 A generation where everyone is told they can be anything they want, as long as they ...
  1. #16

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete10141748 View Post
    A generation where everyone is told they can be anything they want, as long as they give it their personal best. It's just not realisitic.

    Yeah it is.


    You can be anything, if you're willing to put the work in.

    You want to be an astronaut? Go for it. It's gonna be hard. Insanely hard. But, you CAN do it.


    Unless you have a congenital heart defect or something... In that case, forget about it.

  2. #17

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    You want to be an astronaut? Go for it. It's gonna be hard. Insanely hard. But, you CAN do it.
    I disagree. Why is it that some people (i.e. most of us here!) can be shown once how to save a document and then apply that to nearly every program in existence, yet others have to be shown daily how to save in Word? Although the fact we're interested helps a lot, it's not just that; my mom trains others how to use a particular database system, and she's very good at it. However, she can only seem to grasp that one system; show her any other, similar database, and it all goes out of the window. It's not that she's not interested, she just doesn't get it. Cooking on the other hand she is excellent at (that's not sexist, it was her previous career!).

    Everybody is good at something, nobody is good at everything.

  3. #18

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    You can be anything, if you're willing to put the work in.

    You want to be an astronaut? Go for it. It's gonna be hard. Insanely hard. But, you CAN do it.
    But when 200 people are applying for 4 slots in the space program, 98% are going to be disappointed, and by failing to teach children what competition is those 98% are going to be utterly unprepared for the failing.

    No-one will succeed at everything in life, and at the moment, schools try and pretend that everyone does, all the time, eventually.

    This is similar to the "make every effort to accommodate everyone" sentiment that pervades education at the moment, far beyond the point of reason. There's no employer in the world that will accept "just &%! off I'm not in the mood today!" as a valid reason to down tools, but it seems fairly par for the course at my wife's school. "Softly, softly" is sometimes a disservice, but I guess it depends on whether you're trying to produce rounded, capable human beings or just keep a bunch of teenagers quiet for the day.

  4. #19

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Unless you have a congenital heart defect or something... In that case, forget about it.
    I can't because of dodgy knees ... doesn't stop me waiting to be bitten by a radioactive spider so that climb tall buildings instead though (you've gotta dream!)

    On a more serious note ...

    It is not just that children learn more, they also learn differently because they are expected to be different than 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago. They need a broader set of skills and competencies, and although knowledge is important for many jobs it is more a case of being able to learn and develop new skills is even more important.

    In the years of being an apprentice, then journeyman, then a master of your trade with a job for life ... or going into an area of management / leadership and going up the hierarchy ... then we had and needed a different education system. In the present situation we have a system that has changed and morphed to fit the central dictats of whichever Govt is in power, to jump through hoops to meet an arbitrary set of targets (usually league tables) and which has had to fit into a 'marketplace' mentality where we have had a circle of changing exams courses to get better grades which has resulted in some easier courses (not all of them are) or courses more designed to be workable with children today (ie cater for those who struggle to engage in education) but leading to qualifications that are not always highly regarded because they are derided by Govt, the media and some businesses (but not all).

    Fine, we need change. Personally I think some of this is the political equivalent of trolling ... throw lots of stuff out there and wait to get responses then twist and turn until the uproar dies down, leaving a few key points going through. The idea of a single exam board per subject to stop grade inflation seems workable but will face resistance from the commercial (ie money-weilding) companies ... instead of a regulated National Curriculum you end up with regulation by exam instead ... and if the board get it wrong 9and some do ... disastrously) there is no room to move to someone else ... so there are concerns but they can be worked on (hopefully).

    I worry about the stigma of the lower / minor tier courses though ... they will cause problems in schools. I worry that it will lower ambition with some children / families / schools ...

    Still ... I'll wait until I read a bit from some of the noted educationalists to see what other analysis there is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    You want to be an astronaut? Go for it. It's gonna be hard. Insanely hard. But, you CAN do it.
    I too disagree! I was having a similar conversation with my significant other last night. I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, but if i got it into my head that i wanted to be a brain surgeon i don't believe i would get very far. Even if i kept up academically, i'm not particularly dexterous - i believe being a bit clumsy in the fingers is a major barrier to success in something fiddly like surgery.
    Now take this situation and apply it to a weakness in maths or a problem learning other languages. These are then the barrier to success in a given area, regardless of how much hard work is put in. Telling people that anything is possible should perhaps be replaced with advice on recognising your individual strengths and weaknesses and defining your future accordingly. Part of recognising where you are strong or weak is putting the effort in, working hard, seeing what happens and not being disillusioned if you can't do everything well!

  6. #21


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    is it time to bring back something like grammar schools?

    If its based on some fair test then at least the best and brightest can be taught in a school without those who just dont want to be there (for whatever reason) at least then their lessons would be less disrupted and the lower ability kids can be taught more to their ability (yes i know academic ability isnt the be all and end all as some people are just good at passing tests but surely its also less disparaging to not compete with kids they have no chance of winning against?)

  7. #22

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    I disagree.
    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    But when 200 people are applying for 4 slots in the space program, 98% are going to be disappointed, and by failing to teach children what competition is those 98% are going to be utterly unprepared for the failing.
    Quote Originally Posted by cheredenine View Post
    I too disagree!
    Perhaps I should rephrase it...

    Nothing is true, Everything is permitted.

    Meaning:

    To say that nothing is true, is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile, and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization. To say that everything is permitted, is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic.
    Going back to the astronaut analogy:

    If you want to be an astronaut, go for it. But you have to accept that, just because you want it, it may not happen. [At least you tried. Well done for trying.]

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    It strikes me there's basically 2 schools of thought regarding the purpose of pupils sitting exams. That they should either :-

    a) Show pupils have achieved a set level of ability

    OR

    b) Differentiate and band pupils based on their ability

    More and more the system seems to be gearing itself towards a) but my personal feeling is that we should be focussing more on trying to differentiate pupils based on their exam grades. Ie. For any given year 20% of pupils should get A's , 20% get B's ,etc. Regardless of whether pupils are getting smarter or exams are getting easier if they aim to keep these percentages on target then it would, to my mind, give a fair and balanced assessment of a candidates ability.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyinghaggis View Post
    It strikes me there's basically 2 schools of thought regarding the purpose of pupils sitting exams. That they should either :-

    a) Show pupils have achieved a set level of ability

    OR

    b) Differentiate and band pupils based on their ability

    More and more the system seems to be gearing itself towards a) but my personal feeling is that we should be focussing more on trying to differentiate pupils based on their exam grades. Ie. For any given year 20% of pupils should get A's , 20% get B's ,etc. Regardless of whether pupils are getting smarter or exams are getting easier if they aim to keep these percentages on target then it would, to my mind, give a fair and balanced assessment of a candidates ability.
    The problem then though is that Joe Bloggs scores 90% this year and is amongst the top 20% nationwide so achieves an 'A', however next year little Jimmy Jones achieves 92% but falls just outside of the top 20% that year, only getting a 'B' despite actually doing better than Joe Bloggs did only 12 months earlier...

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post

    Going back to the astronaut analogy:

    If you want to be an astronaut, go for it. But you have to accept that, just because you want it, it may not happen. [At least you tried. Well done for trying.]
    This i can agree with. Basically "give it a go, but accept that failure is a possible outcome from which you must learn your lesson and move on"...

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyinghaggis View Post
    It strikes me there's basically 2 schools of thought regarding the purpose of pupils sitting exams. That they should either :-

    a) Show pupils have achieved a set level of ability

    OR

    b) Differentiate and band pupils based on their ability

    More and more the system seems to be gearing itself towards a) but my personal feeling is that we should be focussing more on trying to differentiate pupils based on their exam grades. Ie. For any given year 20% of pupils should get A's , 20% get B's ,etc. Regardless of whether pupils are getting smarter or exams are getting easier if they aim to keep these percentages on target then it would, to my mind, give a fair and balanced assessment of a candidates ability.
    That has been done in the past and gets the following criticism.

    No year group of children are consistently the same and you will have instances where taking group A take an exam in year Y and then group B take the exam in year Z ... and due to the difference in abilities in the different groups you get an A grade in year Y not being the same as am A grade in year Z ... and so employers and universities say it is not an accurate way of differentiating by ability.

  12. #27

    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Nothing is true, Everything is permitted.

    Going back to the astronaut analogy:

    If you want to be an astronaut, go for it. But you have to accept that, just because you want it, it may not happen. [At least you tried. Well done for trying.]
    Grazie, Ezio.

    The point is, though, that schools are not telling children that "it may not happen", they are implying that well, if you don't become an astronaut, we'll just keep putting you through the process, if you keep failing it we'll switch you to Astronaut BTEC instead, and then we'll give you a TA who can help you, and when they get fed up of your attitude and begin losing the will to live they'll just do the work for you for the sake of a quiet live, and then YAY! You'll pass and you'll get to go up in a spaceship! And then you'll die in a fireball because you were never suited to astronauting in the first place.

    It's not teaching persistence, it's teaching delusion.

  13. Thanks to sonofsanta from:

    Pete10141748 (21st June 2012)

  14. #28
    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    That has been done in the past and gets the following criticism.

    No year group of children are consistently the same and you will have instances where taking group A take an exam in year Y and then group B take the exam in year Z ... and due to the difference in abilities in the different groups you get an A grade in year Y not being the same as am A grade in year Z ... and so employers and universities say it is not an accurate way of differentiating by ability.
    True but on average the ability/intelligence of children as a whole from one year to the next wont really change. Plus it's not like they can really make exams exactly equally difficult from one year to the next anyway. There's always going to be complaints that exams have gotten easier/harder.

    I still think that assuming pupils are going to have a similar average spread of ability from one year to the next and banding them based on this is a fairer way than the current system and makes it easier for employers/universities to guage an applicants suitability for a role.

    It also give the pupils/students something to strive for rather than lumping 30-40% of pupils in the same grade bracket when clearly there's going to be a significant difference in their abilities. In fact rather than "dumbing it down" to grades A-C why not put a pupils exam percentage score on their certificate and possibly even add/combine it with where that score puts them in the overall percentage of that entire yeargroup in the UK as a whole?
    Last edited by flyinghaggis; 21st June 2012 at 03:02 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Grazie, Ezio.
    I play WAY too many games...

    Then again, if I didn't, I wouldn't have discovered this awesome philosophy.

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    Ohhhh I really dislike you guys now. I have the Bugsy Malone song in my head!!!!!
    Altogether now! ## We coulda been anything that we wanted to be.......##

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