When I was younger, school is where I learned many and various different topics. Some things would be difficult and challenging and others much easier to grasp and understand. I loved English and History, but was your average typical young student of the eighties, full of ideas, ambition and drive, totally unaware of the economy and politics. I now have nieces and nephews and used to love helping them with their homework until it dawned on me recently that the new education system is teaching young primary school children in picture book style about things such as Egyptian history, Roman history and nature. My older nieces and nephews had homework and tests with a lot of multiple choice tick boxes in them. None spoke of history or nature as they grew up, none seemed to have the same excitement about their future as I did in my school years, and none had any ideas of being a scientist, an archaeologist or indeed anything other than service roles such as child care or call centre work. Why would they? It is common knowledge that the UK is now built upon the service industry and there are hardly any science or research institutes around the UK any more. The UK government does not invest in such frivolous spending any more due to budget cuts and the economy. Children are being taught to grow up and become drones to benefit the service industry in this country, they are not taught to strive higher and achieve or exceed expectations, they are not taught about the world outside the UK and they are not shown things that would make them want to travel the world any more. They are needed here in the UK, therefore the government restricts, minimizes or controls what is taught and when it is taught. This then creates a passive working class for the ruling class to exploit.
This is not to say that they never teach history however; teaching young children about Egypt becomes an issue when the knowledge is not expanded upon in High school education. It’s as though it is deliberately taught at an age where children forget things and nothing grows from that little seed of interest planted at primary school as it is denied from further thought. I was in high school before I learned about the Rosette Stone, The Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the French Revolution. When I had learned it all, I read more in my own time, I was enthusiastic about this new knowledge. My concern is that if the younger generations want to learn properly about various topics, they now need to find the cash to get to college or university. Previously we were taught in great detail about these things at high school that gave you the drive and enthusiasm to follow up these subjects in greater detail and go to college. In today’s education system there is nothing to motivate high school pupils into wanting to read more or push themselves through the financial hardship of student life at college.
I would also like to point out the very unreliable “tick box” learning method. I had to sit an exam without “tick boxes”. I had to actually remember what I had been taught and write it down in an essay format at the age of 16 (15 for some of my friends whose birthdays fell later than the exam dates). Back then, we applied what was taught to us in daily life without even thinking about it. Now children are taught what to do but not how or why they are doing it. This means that the knowledge learned is not being applied anymore, they pass tests by ticking boxes and then forget about it.
The Labour Government imposed this ‘multiple choice’ method of education and the Conservatives have not moved to reverse this. I would at this stage ask why? Andrew Marszal, from the Daily Telegraph, shows a table of schools before and after the change in examination methods and by all means each school performed on average of 40% better. This, at first glance looks beneficial however looking at the research carried out below by Craik & Tulvin, there are cracks in this system which are not being dealt with.
What these results do not show, is whether after a year the students could take the same test and score the same again. Psychologically this is not possible. This type of learning and examination process does not account for the fact that immediately after the exam the information becomes forgotten. This is because nowhere in the curriculum are the students taught how to apply this knowledge to everyday life, why they need this knowledge, in other words. It has been researched and proven that ‘applied learning’ is remembered much better because it is repeated and used often. This can be seen in the research carried out by Craik & Tulvin in regards to their “levels of processing” theory where results showed a far higher long term memory when the participants gave meaning to the information they were trying to remember, in other words they applied learning to the information gained.
Where in the current teaching curriculum method do we ensure that this type of research is actually used to benefit the children being educated today? The answer it seems, is that we don’t. Politicians are either oblivious to these important factors or they choose to ignore them because it does not give the instant results they are looking for.
Ambition is a key factor here. It is being wiped away by political bureaucracy and red tape. Where are this generation being guided to? Are they being geared towards a production line, a desk in a call centre, an office assistant? Now there is nothing wrong with either of these roles. I, myself, have worked in two of them and known many good people who have worked in these sectors too. The key difference is I was given ambition, the choice to strive forward at school and in life. I learned about things I wanted to know more about and I am capable of applying many taught skills to life which enables me to continue moving towards a goal or overcoming an obstacle. At school I was given a passion to learn more and grew up with ambition knowing there was another world out there. The way our Education system is working is archaic, and removes choice and ambition from today’s children.
This system is working backwards and teaching children less and less about the world, achievement and ambition. It wipes away opportunity at being anything other than what the ruling class want for society. Stratification as Marx has argued, exists in all capitalist society’s as a Ruling class idea. This Ruling class idea now begins in schools, with children and creates a complacent subject class for the work force of the future. As working class adults who are always in conflict with the ruling class in today’s society, we should be protecting these children from this same conflict in tomorrow’s society. Instead we sit back and allow the ruling class to continue exploiting us, and now our children too.
In time, if we continue in this manner we will regress and some things in history will be buried and long forgotten. Some things will never be discovered. Along with this forgotten information will be the very reasons that there should never be another war. Today’s children should be encouraged to study science in order to take us into a cleaner, brighter future. History should be remembered by these children so as the mistakes of the past are never repeated. This current state of the education system is failing to account for these two very important factors in favour of capital. The children of today, the adults of tomorrow, will suffer for this.