Thursday, September 21, 2006

Politicians need time to develop, just like children

Excitement over and back to less fractious topics.

Much of the day's debating was on education. Numerous workshops, plenaries and the rest were devoted to new ways of doing education, the threats to schooling, the experiences of parents, teachers and kids of the school system.

It's certainly not my expert subject and my main theatre of political operations around schools have essentially been to encourage kids to riot - both when I was at school myself and later on when I should have known better. Still don't of course, still don't.

The debates that I attended on this (and I skipped class to talk to people about blogs and other new media stuff so I missed a fair bit) were really, really good. Not theoretically deep, but definitely challenging and "looking beyond capitalism into different economic systems" with all that might imply for education.

What was clear was this is a party with a vision (of God I sound like a paid up member or something, see my earlier negative remarks for some balance) that doesn't simply say privatisation bad (although there were people talking about this) and unions good (ditto) but also looking at other methods.

Now I'm not a great fan of Steiner schools and home schooling in particular - but the debates around these were fascinating because they pulled apart why you might want to take this route, what the advantages were, the disadvantages and the possibilities of mixing methods.

Whilst Blair and co focus on the end result (your A level in citizenship and other drivel) there was a determined effort to treat the subject as an opportunity to see where and how things arise. There was a reassertion that the subject of education is a human being not a just valuable addition to someone's workforce.

There was some talk of "planetary literacy" which threw me a bit but what I think they were saying, when I cut through the slightly horrid jargon, was that there is a space where science and society meet and this should be at the center of a decent education system.

Children as the victims of our current education system can be oppressed, have the fun of learned knocked out of them and have instilled in them a respect for authority (which is a bad thing).

Let's turn away from the sausage factory schools and look towards more child friendly methods that are as diverse as the children that are taught.


AN said...

Or as paul Kenny said: "Politicians are like nappies, they need changing regularly and for the same reason"

KW said...

Hello there!

Just wanted to let you know that you're linking to me as 'Kitten Witch'; I'm actually Kitchen Witch.

Thanks, btw - I'm feeling ever so green.