Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Education'

“Why I hate school but love education.” Discuss

 

Comprehension (20%) : Discuss the artist’s approach to formal education as outlined in the video clip.

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Irishman in Venice gets mad about Kiwi school!

It’s a beautiful day in Venice and the last thing I want to be doing is getting het up over some school in Northland whose Principal and Board of Trustees really should have chosen a calling more suited to their intellectual and pedagogical fitness such as drain-laying or running a borstal.

The school is Pompallier Catholic College whose credo appears to be that education is all about discouraging both their teachers and pupils from thinking for themselves and, more importantly, from challenging authority.

The authority in this case was the school’s Principal, one Richard Stanton, who wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing the Marriage Amendment Bill. Fair enough, he’s entitled to his view.

However, some of his pupils disagreed and set up a Facebook page “Support Gay Rights at Pom”. Goodonya!

There’s a science teacher at the school called Nigel Studdart. The Principal describes his teaching as “innovative and engaging”. He’s highly regarded by his students. Not the sort of bloke you’d want to lose then.

But Mr Studdart has a fatal flaw as a teacher: he thinks for himself and speaks his mind. At Pompalier only the Principal is apparently allowed to do that.

So when Mr Studdart supported the students’ Facebook protest against what the Principal had written, he was sacked. Pour encourager les autres, no doubt! Got to nip this free speech nonsense in the bud early, don’t you? Who knows where it could lead?

If I had a kid at Pompallier Catholic College – an unlikely scenario, I agree, for a Protestant atheist – I’d have him or her out of there tomorrow. You see, schools are about teaching kids to think and challenge. And good schools have teachers who are role models for thinking and challenging. The message the Principal and Board of Trustees have given the children at this school is that thinking and challenging doesn’t pay; it can even get you fired. Better to go along with authority. Better to conform.

As for Mr Studdart, I hope he takes them to the cleaners. And then finds a school worthy of his talents. His crime, by the way, was encouraging the kids to breach the school’s uniform code by wearing rainbow wristbands. Now that’s justice worthy of Henry VIII.

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Mens sana in corpore sano: Why I don’t much like Trev’s recipe for Kiwi kids.

As a kid I hated sport, both looking at it and playing it. Looking at it I could just about tolerate, but as an activity,  sport – any sport – was for me a torture.

Kids who hate playing sport generally aren’t very good at sport. And it’s probably a truism that people don’t get enjoyment from taking part in activities they aren’t good at. I could not kick a ball, throw a ball, hit a ball, catch a ball. I could neither run nor jump. I was hopeless. Being hopeless isn’t fun.

I also had no interest in doing any of these things. I was physically non-competitive, the rational outcome of always losing and of being a fearful child, frightened of being hurt by an oncoming cricket ball or an oncoming front row forward.

I was particularly frightened of rugby. Crashing into other boys on a muddy paddock for an hour was my idea of hell and I refused to do it. But rugby was compulsory at our school and my mother’s pleading that Brian was a delicate little boy fell on deaf ears. The only permitted alternative to rugby was to join the Combined Cadet Force.

I joined. But the uniform felt rough, and the boots hurt, and the .303 was heavy and dug into my shoulder and I would not take orders from anybody. I was eventually allowed to turn up at rugby but not actually play. “You can sit on the sideline and study, Edwards, till the game is over.” Nirvana had arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Story That Beggars Belief

Suzette Martin. Pic: Kerri Vernon

Suzette Martin. Pic: Kerri Vernon

 Sometimes what you read in the papers beggars belief. The most recent example is a story which appears in today’s Sunday Herald. It’s about the sacking of a private school teacher for using a ‘morally defiling’ text in her Year 13 English class. Lolita? Portnoy’s Complaint? Lady Chatterly’s Lover?  No, worse than that  – King Lear by that well-known pornographer William Shakespeare.

 

And this isn’t the part of the story that beggars belief. That is to be found in the teacher’s contract with the school which bars her, and I assume all teachers in the school, from encouraging children to go to university.

So what we have here is an educational establishment not only opposed to higher education but to the freedom of speech implicit in being able to encourage children to seek higher education. Read the rest of this entry »

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