Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thank a Teacher

NEWS THAT Australian children cannot read will undoubtedly lead to teachers union officials insisting that only larger salaries and fewer hours can lift those literacy scores. That will be one explanation.

Another and more obvious one would be that the wrong people have been ceded unfettered control of our schools.

42 comments:

  1. To misquote a well known saying:

    If you can read this (or not) thank a teacher; if you can read this (or not) thank a soldier who fights for the right of ill-educated goons who wouldn't know a verb from an adjective to thrust whole of word rubbish onto unsuspecting children, socialist thinking, green terror and demands for more pay and fewer hours.

    But, we solved the problem by spending 16 billion on school sheds. Well done Labor (sarc!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. PhillipGeorge(c)2012December 12, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    The logic behind that bumper sticker always bothered me Prof.
    "If you can read this thank a Primary Teacher."

    the corollary is obviously: "If you meet someone illiterate blame Primary Teachers". Having not been able to think that through to begin with is a worry all of its own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't remember not being able to read and write. My old man taught me before I went to school. Educate your kids yourself. Why do people expect some poor schmuck in charge of a classroom with 20 or so other kids to be able to 'educate' their child?

      Delete
    2. Because that is what they are paid for?

      Delete
    3. School is child care, little else.
      Are kids learning English grammar? No. Are they learning geometry and calculus? If you're lucky. Are they learning history? No. Are they studying the classics and being introduced to Greek and Latin and the world of great culture and ideas? No. Are they learning about religions, worldviews and philosophy? No. Are they held to any real accountability? No.
      They're not even allowed to be taught the horrendous flaws in applied Darwinian theory and its historical relationship with eugenics (think Hitler, or Breivik).
      We are manufacturing a nation of zombies.

      Delete
    4. "Schooling is a form of adoption. You give your kid away at his or her most formative years to a group of strangers. You accept a promise that the state, through its agents, knows better how to raise your children and educate them than you do." ~ John Taylor Gatto

      Delete
  3. The teachers union have been running the schools that is why the children cannot read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Old and Unimproved DaveDecember 12, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Why should I concern myself with literacy and proof-reading?

    I can always go and work for the Australian Broadcorping Castration.

    ReplyDelete
  5. With the brain washing that teachers receive, it is easy for them to pass on their lack of knowledge to the open minds of children.
    Wayne of Middle Earth

    ReplyDelete
  6. As a TAFE teacher teaching predominantly recent VCE graduates, I am continually staggered by the poor quality of my students. True, TAFE is not a pathway to Rhodes Scholarship, but you expect the students to be able to demonstrate a modicum of educational precision. And yet, having been granted a pass in VCE (not that I know anyone who has failed VCE) many cannot spell, punctuate or present and assignment. Copying and cheating are rife. If you don't spoon feed them the work they cannot work it out. The most common question, when they can be bothered asking a question, is "Will this be on the test?" To make a comparison with the good old days - harumph! - in my case the 1970s, I would be staggered if the majority of my students would have passed fourth form (year 10) 35 years ago. But the strangest thing is - the majority are not dumb.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct, Tony. They are not dumb. They are just uneducated. All those years in glorified nurseries, getting trained up on what to think, not how to think leads us to the bottom of the rankings.

      Delete
    2. Just uneducated.

      Delete
  7. I wonder whether Peter ("How can he sleep while his Batts are burning?") Garrett appreciates the irony of his position of being "A.L.P. Minister of Education" in a political party so profoundly dumb that it still cannot spell its own name correctly despite a century of trying?

    No surprise that our kids are illiterate when the party in power in Canberra is too stupid to correctly spell its own name.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The teachers teach the syllabus presented to them. If blame is to be allocated, look at those prescribing the syllabus.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes Prof. Here in the ACT about 45% of kids attend non-government schools, wherein the broccoli brou-ha-ha would not be tolerated. And the ACT school-kids scored relatively better. No doubt the reaction of the Labor/Greens government in Canberra will be to become more strident in their attacks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I completed Year 12 in 1970 - all my teachers were one year (teaching college) trained (No calculators - all Primary was imperial system and pounds, shillings & pence; all Secondary was SI (Metric) and dollars & cents). When I was 30, I completed a degree in business, and when I was 50, a degree in engineering (with first class honours) - all off the back of my 12 years from 1959 to 1970.

    My Dad was a school teacher back then - and I remember him complaining in the early 1970s about the (young)university-trained education "experts" that ran the teaching courses that the Education Dept made all the current teachers attend. These "kids" had absolutely no teaching experience and were telling teachers with 30 - 40 years experience how to teach. That was the beginning of the end in Queensland.

    TonyO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012December 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      Dr Spock anyone?

      What's interesting about this Snopes article is that it claims the thesis is "false". The rebuttal is, itself, ridiculous.

      Read it and weep:
      http://www.snopes.com/language/document/1895exam.asp



      Martin Amis - Stupefied by Relativism.

      Delete
    2. A few years ago, while going through my late father's papers, I came across a folder of examination papers which my grandfather (who died before my birth) sat for at Port Pirie Public School in 1921 - he would have been 11 years at the time. He'd written his name on each page - in beautiful copperplate script, I might add. There were papers for: Chemistry, Physics, Maths. and English - none for history, unfortunately.
      I was staggered at the depth of knowledge required of 11 year-olds to attempt, let alone pass, these papers. The passing mark, by the way, was printed on each exam sheet - 80%. I'm a university graduate with post-grad. qualifications but I shamefully admit that I stood a snow-ball's chance in hell of answering even 10% of the posed questions. I later showed the papers to a number of my colleagues, all (technically) well-educated and tertiary qualified and the overwhelming response was that of shell-shock. Accordingly, I have no hesitation in seconding your assessment of the Snopes rebuttal - in fact I think that "ridiculous" is something of an understatement.

      Delete
  11. How the memory of it haunts me still. Struggling to class with a pile of "Macbeths" (One between two in those straitened times) I ran into a progressive colleague. "You shouldn't be teaching THAT," was his unsolicited observation. That was many years ago. Now I see his point, even then it was too brain-hurty. Today, a "Big Brother" script would provoke trauma even more profound.

    ReplyDelete
  12. So we have a bunch of students who worked together, had fun and won a competition. Then we have a group of unionised teachers who are happy to wreck things for the kids in order to further their own ideological and financial cause. Who is a role model for whom?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I cant see nuffink rong wiff the educashun system Prof.
    I fink youse dont reely understand how the educashun sistem werks.
    It dussnt matter if i dont lern nuffink in primerry scool - i can always catch it up when i go on newstart and do job-reddy traning.

    The Lebanese Lion (waddaya lookin at?)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Better teachers do deserve a better salary, but we have to get better teachers first. The problem is twofold, as you say, Prof, because we also have to get rid of terrible Labor luvvie curricula and some very bad faddish practices (such as 'open' classrooms where teachers do not really teach).

    I like the 'new' idea now being pushed by some - to firstly teach children to sit still, concentrate, take turns, and pay attention. No teacher can start to entrance a child with learning if they and the children believe they are in a playroom to start with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lizzie - we agree, at last!

      Delete
  15. Firstly, our Year 4 students can read but not as well, according to the study, as some Year 4 students in other countries. Before commenting on the study I would like to read it in full and assess the variables and statistical analysis which may have influenced the results. For example, do the "better-performing" countries embrace an all-student inclusive integration policy as Australia does? By this I mean that students with various special needs such as intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and other things of that nature? What is the age-variation of Year 4 students in the other countries? Newspapers have a habit of reporting inaccurately.... indeed many of the Professor's Blog Posts have focussed on this very issue.

    On the issue of teachers it is important not to confuse hard work and dedication with subject knowledge and intelligence. The best teachers have a thorough knowledge of whatever it is they are teaching.

    These days there are teachers teaching who cannot spell; who cannot formulate a sentence; and who have no idea where to place the apostrophe. There are some secondary English teachers teaching who have yet to read any of the classics. How can you teach Macbeth if you haven't had the benefit of studying at least one Shakespeare play during your own education?

    This has come about because years ago some bright spark in government decided that a university education was elitist - that everyone should be able to go to university if he or she wanted to do so.

    This makes no sense. The "normal distribution curve" dictates that 2% of an population will be very very bright; and 2% of the population will have mild to profound intellectual disabilities. This is nature at its best; and its harshest.

    In the "old days" only the top 30% (or so) of school leavers were able to secure a place at university. Nowadays it seems to be the top 80%, if not more.

    This has been a miserable failure. The standard of university/tertiary education was subsequently lowered to provide for students who only a few years earlier who not have been able to secure a place. Students with ridiculously low scores at the completion of their final year at school were offered places in teaching (and some other professions).

    Now the standard 3 year degree holds little value. The brighter students must continue with their tertiary education at Masters' level (or other graduate/post-graduate level) so as to distinguish themselves from the students who probably should not have been offered a place at university - perhaps being more suited to TAFE or on-the-job training.

    Teachers annoy me. The ones I know are always complaining about how hard they work and how little they earn, and what "suckers they are" and "if only they were in private industry" and so forth. Well, I work in "private industry" and I earn a modest-to- reasonable salary at a job I do well. I do not have the luxury of turning up to work at 8.50am and leaving at 3.35pm (Oh, I can hear all the teachers yelling "we have meetings") what a joke? I am not entitled to 12 weeks paid leave each year and I have to share school holiday time with other parents who also want to take their recreational leave during those times. Thus, I am not always available to spend time with my children when they are on holidays as are school teachers. I can't bring my children to my workplace and have them sit in a room whilst I finish my work or prepare for the next day.

    Oh, and another thing teachers should have to undergo 'an apostrophe test' before being allowed anywhere near a classroom. Any teacher who places an apostrophe in "its" to show possession should be publically shamed!

    Gosh, what a rant - apologies to all. I aim for self-control at all times.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with every word you ranted, Leslester! I second this...

      Delete
  16. The rot set in about 20 years ago when dipstick academics decreed that the alphabet should go from the top of the blackboard and winners and losers in the classroom and sports field must disappear.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for the link, Prof. Vaulkstone school is just down the road from me... glad I decided not to sent my offspring there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. John of Cloverdale WADecember 12, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    If Julia Gillard is seen as an example of a product from our education system (as she murders English every day), then this is keeping scores of well off parents in Asia from sending their children to Australian schools and universities to be educated.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We are now at the point where medical students at Adelaide University are given only ungraded passes or fails. Apparently, they are traumatised by intra-cohort competition.

    At least the little dears can console themselves with the fact that their chosen occupation will give them a government-guaranteed six figure income for as long as they choose to work.

    e-girl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having just researched the entry criteria it would appear that entry to Medicine at the University of Adelaide requires a TER (or whatever it is called nowadays) of a mere 90 along with a pass in Biology. Biology! Biology has little to do with Medicine - Physics and Chemistry do, especially Physics. For those not in the know a TER of 90 means that the student's academic performance was equal to or better than 90 of every 100 students. Call me old-fashioned but my preference is to consult a doctor who is at least in the top 3%. I want my surgeon to be able to predict which way the blood will flow (as per Physics knowledge) and not try to find out via a biology text book (which from memory had a primary focus on flowers and plants).

      Funny thing is that all the "90s" getters in other states rush to Adelaide University (and others of similar standing) whereas all the 97+getters rush from other states to the University of Melbourne. Yes Yes Yes. I know the University of Melbourne is the graduate Doctor of Medicine now but the standard remains HIGH!

      Delete
    2. Well, if they are admitted to the course because they have a nice smile, a pleasant voice and bedside manner it's a bit unfair to then grade them on anything academic. And they have gone right through a school system that has eliminated anything that could look like esteem-hurting competition so it's also unfair to start at tertiary level.

      Pedro of Adelaide

      Delete
    3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      You can do well in biology these days if you concentrate on mentioning (not really analysing) da terrible effects of 'climate change' on little froggies and flowers, Prof.

      Science?? Pffft!!

      Delete
  20. Reading down, vegetable yield up! We beat you Somalia, we beat you!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I've spent my working life spilt between working in industry and running my own small company. I'm pretty good at what I do but not outstanding and I've always had to perform if I wanted to feed my family. Over the years (and countries) I've seen a number of my colleague fired or demoted for incompetence.

    I've also raised two children through the public schools across two Western continents but I have *never* seen or heard of a teacher who suffered professionally because they were incompetent or, in some cases, bloody useless.

    Until teachers are forced to accept a tangible responsibility for their ability nothing will change.

    The sad part is that the good teachers both accept and support this argument but feel powerless to do anything to further it thus they become frustrated and end up either doing the minimum required or leave the profession and everybody, especially the children, loose out.

    If you can't do the job you should be fired and find something you *can* do. Teaching our children is far too important an area to sacrifice in order to massage the sensitivities of incompetent people.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Leslester "Teachers annoy me"
    Poor princess.
    "If you are reading this – thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English – thank a soldier"
    H/T Kev Gillett.

    ReplyDelete
  23. And if only we can slip to 47th the teachers will get double pay.
    What other profession pays extra for failure

    ReplyDelete
  24. As I recall it Paul Keating had the brilliant idea of insisting that everybody could get a tertiary education in the 90's, brilliant because first it moved people from dole queueus and second they had to pay for the tertiary education themselves!

    But like all of these ideas that must eventually come home to roost, we ended up with lots of unemployable people with law degrees, who were now really pissed off, what with having wasted time learning boring crap, and also having no jobs.

    What to do? Why, litigation law of course! Or if that fails, politics!

    So, in the end, I blame Keating trying to fudge unemployment figures. And just you try to find a tradesman who is actually a craftsman these days...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Guess what was on '7.30' last night... unions telling us teachers aren't paid enough.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Leslester
    The TER or whatever is meant to keep numbers wanting to enrol in the course down. It's not to get the "smartest" ones to do a particular academic program.
    Any idiot can be anything according to the universities.
    And they quite often are. The idiots I mean.
    A bit like the PM and the President of the US.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My wife recently completed a Masters of Education in ESl with outstanding results. The results she achieved with measurable independent testing were the best in the school. The result next year.She is out of ESL for two teachers without any qualifications and out of date work practices and methodology, but who have the ear of the principal. Cronyism is alive and well. The response of the Education Department- We cannot do anything because the principal is independent. This would work for about 5 minutes in private practice.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Teachers should receive a 50% payrise in exchange for agreeing to be sacked for incompetence.

    The Union can't have it both ways.

    ReplyDelete