Thursday, 25 August 2011

Teaching or the Civil Service

"An educated people can be easily governed."
Frederick the Great
Apropos the preceding post on one aspect of our education system and the demise thereof, a commenter has hit the nail on the head, whilst also enlightening us as to why bureaucrats are so damn inefficient.
"As an aside, another incident that I recall explains much of our problems as a country today. During our career options 'talk' one person asked what should people do if they failed their 'A' Levels. I have never forgotten the answer. "Well, unless you want to work in a factory or dig holes for a living there are only two choices, teaching or the civil service."
Bearing in mind the quotation above, the long term political master plan now becomes clear...............


john in cheshire said...

WfW, maybe. I contend, without evidence, i'm afraid, that there was a deliberate effort by socialists to swamp the education system with like-minded people. And once they had proven that the teaching vocation could be suborned, they turned their attention to other sectors of our society. Just as muslims have been fighting their cause for the past 1400 years, and the Nazis dreamt of a 1000 year reich, the socialists haven't gone away and they are determined to impose their distorted version of what the world should be like; and at the moment they are succeeding.

PeterCharles said...

I don't think there was an actual socialist master plan to take over the Establishment in the UK. My view is that post WW2 the Establishment on whole decided that social democracy was the only possible political ideology if we were to escape social unrest and possible revolution a la the USSR.

As to the education establishment in particular you must remember that most people who went to university in the 50s and 60s were intelligent, young and idealistic and such people tend very much to the political left, especially those from working class roots. In my previous comments I referred to the influx of new, young teaching staff in the 60s. It was particularly notable that these almost universally embraced the trendy, egalitarian, I want to be your friend attitudes prevalent in those days of social liberation. Once in the sixth form I and my little group had teachers that would buy us beer in the local lunch times, an English teacher who used to bum fags off of us all the time (being prefects there was always a supply to be confiscated) and we had a language teacher who was almost a permanent member of our Friday night card school. Little wonder that discipline went out the window and the long decline started.

Once the majority in an organisation follows the same general ideology it becomes self perpetuating, those seen as 'one of us' get preferential treatment when it comes to promotions and employment and the sense that their 'take' on how things should be done becomes fixed regardless of perceptions in the outside world.

john in cheshire said...

PeterCharles, I recognise the traits that you describe. I would ask 'what was being taught in the teaching colleges during that time?'. I remember in the period, 1968-70, when I was in the sixth form, wondering why some teachers (female) were openly flirting with my friends. These were young teachers who seemed to think that it was OK to speak openly with pupils about how they were attractive. And there were male teachers who would meet other 6th form pupils in one of the local pubs at lunchtime. I remember thinking then that it was wrong and now I think it was disgraceful and probably a symptom of what they were being taught in teacher college. I'm afraid I see it as the first manifestations of socialist indoctrination and breaking down of our (English) natural inhibitions.

PeterCharles said...

john in cheshire I have no idea what the college curricula was at the time, but I rather suspect the main problem was simply that they went from school to college and back to school and simply didn't acquire any working experience, or extended knowledge of their subject and really weren't yet adult. Certainly the most effective teachers I recall were all people that came to teaching as a second career.

That said, it was at this time that all the trendy educational theory was starting to be developed, or more correctly, imported from the USA, all the 'child centred' approaches, the non-competitive ideology, the comprehensive ideology itself and the need for every child to believe they were successful however inadequate their performance. I think and hope that they were driven by good intentions, just terminally misguided and like politicians never able to admit it and cling to their course and beliefs in the face of all evidence.

There is also no doubt that there was also a definite political agenda at work but which was the chicken and which was the egg is highly debatable.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic & PC: An interesting debate. As you may have guessed I was way before either of your times in education, having left school in 1960.

One point which may have bearing on your discussion: We had teachers that had come into the profession from 'outside', but we also had teachers that had only ever taught, in fact we had one teacher that had been at the school, learned his teaching at the school and carried on teaching: subject English. Extremely well read and an excellent teacher. We also had teachers that had come from direct the armed forces.

In my view one factor that has been instrumental in 'dumbing down' our educational standard is the apparent lack of discipline. Where I was it was very evident, as was the teaching of etiquette and manners - not in class but in our everyday lives by teachers and prefects. That that aspect is important is demonstrated by that school/academy in Hackney on which I posted a few days ago where discipline is to the forefront and that admission requests far outweighted the places available.

The fact that the standard of education has plummeted is demonstrated by the 1950s maths exam that I used, coupled with the PC that seems to have invaded the curriculum.....?

Anyway do carry on with your conversation, it is extremely interesting........