About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

News: UK Schools failing brighter students in mathematics

This report was from the BBC news website yesterday, but is one of several similar I have come across, affecting a range of subjects, not simply maths:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18722137

It does not surprise me that students who are particularly good at a subject are neglected in mainstream schools. There will be many reasons for this:

1) The student: teacher ratio means that a teacher cannot possibly give individual attention to the diverse rates and styles of learning of all the students
2) Emphasis seems to be on getting students to pass with a reasonable grade - therefore those who will already be securing high marks, such as As or Bs will not be seen as the ones to focus on
3) There will always be regression towards the mean - the rate the whole class moves at will be the rate of the average students. This does not just discriminate against the weaker students (who maybe do get a reasonable amount of attention) but also against those who are gifted in an area
4) There is a trend to move away from streaming students according to ability, and this can compound the problem. It should be commented, however, that even in comprehensive schools, there does tend to be streaming for certain subjects such as maths
5) There may be issues regarding peer pressure (read some of the reader comments to the BBC article) such that it is not 'cool' to be academic, and particularly not in subjects such as maths
6) The emphasis on learning can be 'to pass the exam' rather than to gain an in depth appreciation and understanding of a subject. An A* is not perfection, and some students may achieve this with relative ease whilst still not developing to their full potential

When I read articles like this, many of our basic reasons for choosing home education are re-enforced. I am encouraged that we are able to address many of the issues outlined above, and will be able to teach our children at the appropriate rate and in the appropriate depth.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect personalized education, like personalized medical care, provides the best outcome for an individual. But just as public health seeks to improve the global health on the community, so formalised education does for communities. (By doing so, individuals may do less well, but overall the society gets a better education).

    Don't forget the explosion of school education within the UK wasn't initially set up to be the best. It was initially set up by Christians, to ensure that people did not miss out on some education, and primary to aid them in studying Gods word. It was never doubted initially that education focusing on the individual was best. If only really started on a grand scale between 100-200 years ago, only in 1870 did it become a legal requirement to go to school between the ages of 5-10. 120 years ago, the legal minimum leaving age was 11.

    Unfortunately, people seem to forget history, (it could be schools focus just on wars! and 'how would you feel if it was you?' types of history). If many people considered educational history, I suspect home education would be far more common,and as people would see that nurturing the individual, and seeking to enable them to find their place in society without them feeling society owed them something, our young people would also have more hope for their lives.

    Keep up with this blog, I like it

    ReplyDelete