“Oh look the sun came out and made the ice.’
Me: ‘But the sun doesn’t make ice _____! It melted the snow that fell yesterday, but it doesn’t by itself turn it into ice.’
‘Why are you going on about the snow? What has the snow got to do with ice?’
Me: ‘But _____ ice is the result of snow that has melted and then the cold temperature has resulted in the water freezing – that’s how we get ice.’
‘Don’t be silly snow is snow and ice is ice.’
Me: ‘Ok ____ well if that’s true then why isn’t there ice when the sun comes out the rest of the year? Why is there ice on the ground when the sun hidden? Why is it that there is always snow before this much ice on the ground?’
‘Look is the sun shining in the sky? Is there ice on the ground?’
Me ‘Yes and yes but that doesn’t mean the sun makes ice!!!’
‘Well, I know what I know.’
So ended the conversation.
Why did it change me? ______ should have read Dad in the above sentences.
I know there are many who disagree with the baseline assessment, formal teaching too soon, loss of play, resitting Year 6 tests in Year 7. While I agree with their sentiments, there is something about the so-called ‘progressive’ stances taken that doesn’t sit well with me.
The reasoning behind our current education is because ‘ignorance’ was one of the great evils that Beveridge thought needed defeating. The conversation above is just one of many that follow a similar pattern with my dad. He doesn’t like it when I disagree with him about the theories of the world that he has created to cope with his illiteracy.
He decided that he did not want to go to school when he was younger and chose to skip school from the age of 6 in India. Back in the days, they never actually checked or informed parents so something like would not happen today. However, what is worrying me is the level of ‘choice’ that it seems acceptable to give to our youngest children. Given the choice I imagine many would like my dad go off and play not learn to read or write. He never changed that choice either. There is no reason he should – it was what was immediate that mattered.
It breaks many a heart to see young children being asked to read and write – however, interacting with my dad breaks my heart too. Seeing him write his name in capitals, rote learn every word, not being able to access the world around him. He is lucky and fortunate that my brothers and I have always been able to compensate and have never taken advantage, but others have, often close to him. It does affect his ability to trust, cope with social situations, interact with his peers and learn new skills. It has made his life harder and that of my siblings – especially my older brother.
I’m not saying test 4-year-olds to oblivion or make them sit in rows reciting. However as adults, we need to think about more than just the here and now when it comes to children. A more sensible debate is needed about what children learn, how much ‘choice’ in the process is healthy for a young child and what we want to achieve. Also, what needs to be taught and mastered at a younger age. Should we pare down the subjects taught for Key Stage 1 to focus on literacy and numeracy more (providing the context is still provided by those subjects)?
When all is said and done, as a family we will continue to compensate and will do so for the rest of his life. It is a worry and one that grows with his age – but that might happen to others for other reasons too I accept that. It is sad that he will never pick up a book and read it, even though it might be of great interest to him. His lack of independence is not something I would not want anyone to go through.