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Sixthform Educational Reform

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posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 07:26 AM
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Education is a battle ground for the political parties, often it descends into who can throw the most money at the problem without actually looking at what’s really going on.
To me sixth form has massive potential to create not only smarter members of society but better members of society.
Cramming knowledge into a person is only a benefit to others if the person who gains the knowledge is responsible and knows how to use the knowledge with wisdom.
Sixth form should be a place for developing a person’s social awareness as well as their knowledge.
I favour retaining AS-levels and A-levels, in my opinion in the sixth formers first year they should take 3 AS-levels and be up to them to decide how many A-levels to take from those AS-levels.
This is the knowledge aspect which already runs fairly happily but not perfectly.

Now comes my idea, along side these Educational Subjects students should have to take Social Subjects which will not in the end gain them a A-level style qualifications but rather a certificate of social contribution.
These Social Subjects would not be optional but required of the students, they would get no choice in the subjects themselves nor should they be able to pick which Social Subjects they wish to do.
Subjects I believe should be within the Social Subjects are:

Politics and Global Awareness: In which the students discuss their ideas and believes about politics and the current events which are on going in the UK and the World.
Community Development: In which students go outside school and help the community around the school, this could include picking up litter, removing graffiti etc

I’ve yet to think of other Social Subjects but I would welcome any ideas.

Opinions on the concept?




posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Education is a battle ground for the political parties, often it descends into who can throw the most money at the problem without actually looking at what’s really going on.


- I don't believe this Wizard.
I think education and educational outcomes are probably one of the most studied aspects of gov endevour.


To me sixth form has massive potential to create not only smarter members of society but better members of society.
Cramming knowledge into a person is only a benefit to others if the person who gains the knowledge is responsible and knows how to use the knowledge with wisdom.
Sixth form should be a place for developing a person’s social awareness as well as their knowledge.


- Hmmm, well ok if you say so.
Personally I think the formal education system is a large factor in this but hardly the sole or prime vehicle for it.


I favour retaining AS-levels and A-levels, in my opinion in the sixth formers first year they should take 3 AS-levels and be up to them to decide how many A-levels to take from those AS-levels.
This is the knowledge aspect which already runs fairly happily but not perfectly.


- Why so perscriptive?
Why even suggest the number?
I guess most kids do 3 AS and A levels these days but why push and dictate to people to that, why not less for some or more for others?


Now comes my idea, along side these Educational Subjects students should have to take Social Subjects which will not in the end gain them a A-level style qualifications but rather a certificate of social contribution.
These Social Subjects would not be optional but required of the students, they would get no choice in the subjects themselves nor should they be able to pick which Social Subjects they wish to do.
Subjects I believe should be within the Social Subjects are:

Politics and Global Awareness: In which the students discuss their ideas and believes about politics and the current events which are on going in the UK and the World.
Community Development: In which students go outside school and help the community around the school, this could include picking up litter, removing graffiti etc

I’ve yet to think of other Social Subjects but I would welcome any ideas.

Opinions on the concept?


- I'm all for a broad education and instilling an understanding of the whole concept consequences and responsibility in those at an age where that is traditionally usually a tad lacking.

I'm afraid I do not see this as the top priority Wizard.

I think the UK is currently being asked a question some just don't want to face. Namely the % of kids we send to university and how we fund this.

The whole point of this Labour gov's desire to see 50% or more going to university is to lift the general educational standard 'base' in Britain yet some talk as if more graduates somehow 'devalues' those qualifications.

Now, either this is pure old 'guild' or trade union-speak for restricting supply to force the price of the qualified up or it's simply some ludicrous ignorant manipulative nonsensical rubbish.

(For example - If we move from a situation of having 10 top qualified brain surgeons to 100 it might well affect the price those surgeons can 'command' but their knowledge, education and expertise doesn't become any less valid, does it?)

The fact that those wishing to claim the UK cannot afford or that it might somehow not be a good idea refuse to compare how even the 50% 'target' compares internationally speaks volumes.

I don't mean to divert your thread but that IMO is the most pressing issue in the higher end 16+ education today.

[edit on 17-4-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 03:01 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
- Why so perscriptive?
Why even suggest the number?
I guess most kids do 3 AS and A levels these days but why push and dictate to people to that, why not less for some or more for others?


Its simply an example from what I have viewed as best, just an opinion.
Its not meant as a iron clad number which has to be stuck to.


I'm afraid I do not see this as the top priority Wizard.


It may not be top priority but in my opinion it needs to be looked at.



The whole point of this Labour gov's desire to see 50% or more going to university is to lift the general educational standard 'base' in Britain yet some talk as if more graduates somehow 'devalues' those qualifications.


I see this 50% need to go to University as crazy, employers are judging people on what they could do rather than what they have done, I myself am not going to University as I believe I can improve myself using other methods.


The fact that those wishing to claim the UK cannot afford or that it might somehow not be a good idea refuse to compare how even the 50% 'target' compares internationally speaks volumes.


But in order to fund University education, taxes need to be increased or the money relocated from other issues.


I don't mean to divert your thread but that IMO is the most pressing issue in the higher end 16+ education today.


Don't worry after I had talked about the current topic I had planned to add an idea that had be mentioned in a lesson I had.



posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 04:12 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Its simply an example from what I have viewed as best, just an opinion.
Its not meant as a iron clad number which has to be stuck to.


- Fair enough, I just thought you had meant it that way.


I see this 50% need to go to University as crazy, employers are judging people on what they could do rather than what they have done


- All I can offer is my own experience here; I have several members of my family at university, one finished just over a year ago and one about to finish A levels and go there....and a couple heading for gsce's and A levels.
(Big families, huh?)

All employers have ever had with people with little or no work experience is attempting to judge on what they could do as so few can offer anything direct as to what they have done.

It's simply the nature of the thing. Gap years, part-time work, charity volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh awards etc etc and all that help but young people with little or no direct experience of much of anything are just that, there isn't really much getting around that.

.....and why when other countries now offer better skills and educational attainment levels - above the target 50% - is our 50% target "crazy"?


I myself am not going to University as I believe I can improve myself using other methods.


- It is a good thing there are many different paths we can all take.

(Pity though Wizard, I'd advise going and getting your degree in whatever interested you and then do something else if you feel like it.

You are at a point, whether you realise it or not, where this opportunity will never come so easily to you again.
Being a mature student and attempting to gain a degree whilst working or supporting a family/wife etc etc is far from easy.)


But in order to fund University education, taxes need to be increased or the money relocated from other issues.


- Think of it as an investment society is well advised to make and that will pay off later.
In any case loans, tuition fees etc mean the burden society in general faces (most of whom did not benefit from a university education or subsequent graduate salary) is reduced.



posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
.....and why when other countries now offer better skills and educational attainment levels - above the target 50% - is our 50% target "crazy"?


Which countries in particular?



(Pity though Wizard, I'd advise going and getting your degree in whatever interested you and then do something else if you feel like it.


The thing is with what I want to to my option would in my opinion benefit me more than going to University (opinion based on research and talking to people)



- Think of it as an investment society is well advised to make and that will pay off later.
In any case loans, tuition fees etc mean the burden society in general faces (most of whom did not benefit from a university education or subsequent graduate salary) is reduced.


I'm not saying the 50% target is bad, I'm saying the 50% target is unlikely to be reached properly due to costs. However I can safely say that over 70% of my upper sixth, sixthformers are going to University so you never know.


------------

So what do others think of my little thought (see beginning of thread), do you think the idea of Social Subjects are good or bad, pointless or needed?



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 05:31 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Which countries in particular?


- Have a look at this -

The UK, in seeking to provide its people with a high and improving standard of living, will be able to do so and remain a major economy only if its people are highly educated and well trained. It must match proportionately the investments made in their people by other nations, and the volume and the quality of their outputs from such education and training. A decade ago we had fallen well behind many other countries of Western Europe in the provision of higher education. Even now, after participation rates by young people have doubled, and the target set by the last Government for a third of young people to participate in full-time higher education by the year 2000 has been largely met, our levels of participation remain behind the United States and Japan.
However the stock of graduates in the labour market compares well with many European countries in part because of high graduation rates.
2 There is a long term expectation of growth in higher education in many countries, especially those of the Pacific Rim. Our degree programmes, whilst of high quality and comparable standards, are in the main shorter (other than in Scotland) than those of almost all other nations, largely because of the very specialised nature of the A level examination system.



6.8 There is international consensus that higher level skills are crucial to future economic competitiveness:

‘The direction is universal participation: 100 per cent participation with fair and equal opportunities to study; in some form of tertiary education; at some stage in the life cycle and not necessarily end on to secondary education; in a wide variety of structures, forms and types of delivery; undertaken on equal terms either part-time or full-time; publicly subsidised but with shared client contributions; closely involving partners in the community; serving multiple purposes – educational, social, cultural and economic.’3

6.9 Our visits overseas suggest that, in the long term, other nations will increase their investment in higher education to sustain their economies. There is some emerging economic evidence to support such an approach. First, that countries which are the first to develop new research and technology capabilities gain a long term advantage over their competitors. Secondly, that ‘the weight of evidence is increasingly that education is positively associated with income growth and higher education seems to be the most relevant educational variable in more developed countries’. As a matter of economic strategy, we must match international levels of investment to anticipate and respond to the changing structure of the international and national economy.

www.leeds.ac.uk...


I'm not saying the 50% target is bad, I'm saying the 50% target is unlikely to be reached properly due to costs.


- That might begin to show in later years if the claims some people make about fees putting people off are true.
The plain truth right now is that unless people wish to pay more in general taxation (and there is absolutely no sign of that) then some sort of fees/loans system is the only possible way.

......and for all the fuss there is very little sign of any serious decline in numbers, people by and large know graduation is almost always key to a high income for life.


However I can safely say that over 70% of my upper sixth, sixthformers are going to University so you never know.


- You see?
Even if the students themselves don't always initially appreciate it the schools and parents have the bulk of the young people heading to higher education if they can.


[edit on 27-4-2005 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 12:29 PM
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I think it a apt time to *bump* this thread with the debate over A-level taking a stage in the media and political parties.

I still retain the belief that sixth form is a very important part of education (although its not the only path), and I still believe that Politics and Global Awareness and Community Development could be vastly beneficial to students.
Along with the scrapping of General Studies (an aimless forced subject) which is a complete waste of time and does not benefit the student.

[edit on 20-8-2005 by UK Wizard]



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Now comes my idea, along side these Educational Subjects students should have to take Social Subjects which will not in the end gain them a A-level style qualifications but rather a certificate of social contribution.
These Social Subjects would not be optional but required of the students, they would get no choice in the subjects themselves nor should they be able to pick which Social Subjects they wish to do.
Subjects I believe should be within the Social Subjects are:

Politics and Global Awareness: In which the students discuss their ideas and believes about politics and the current events which are on going in the UK and the World.
Community Development: In which students go outside school and help the community around the school, this could include picking up litter, removing graffiti etc


WE have that down South (well Oxfordshire) and have done since my older sisters (who are 27) went to Secondary School. We do not have it in College due to lack of time, it's also common place in the area to do 4/5 AS levels and in the second year 3A levels and 1/2 AS levels along with it.



posted on Aug, 20 2005 @ 01:53 PM
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Side Note:

I myself will be doing 4 A2's and 2 As levels. I would point blank refuse to take on another other subjects, which would not result in a qualification for me.

It would result in more hours spent in College (when I'll be spending 31hrs there) and more time spent at home working on the subjects as well as taking time away from exams, etc. Which could result in damaging my education/several other peoples education for a subject they would not take seriously.

I was there when they introduced CRITICAL THINKING nobody in a College with over 10,000 As students/A2 students bothered to do it when it was enforced for the above reasons.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 01:58 AM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
I’ve yet to think of other Social Subjects but I would welcome any ideas.



Possible course titles:

1. Guns - evil or very evil?
2. Why rich people are not cool
3. Lenin - was he right or just absolutely correct?
4. Unlimited economic immigration - enriching the fabric of society
5. Gay sex at age 8 - it's a lifestyle choice
6. Advanced Political Correctness
7. Self defence and other outmoded concepts
8. Yobs - Society's underprivileged victims
9. Society and its oppression of criminals

They made a joke out of the O Levels with the GCSE and now they want to do the same to the A Level system.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 02:26 AM
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Winchester Ranger T, why are you so against 'Social Subjects' being taught in School's?



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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UK Wizard; I get the feeling that your idea of implacing mandatory Social Subjects has to do with the idea that regular subjects are easily manipulated by Government to control populations by, one could say, 'brain washind' them as juveniles. I quote, "Education is a battle ground for the political parties".

I agree that this may well be true. However, I feel that Social Subjects, such as politics and Global Awareness as you mentioned, would be much more susceptible to such political misdirection/manipulation. For example, there is not much scope in the subject Geography for political manipulations when the subject matter is the water cycle and erosion. Human geography may lend some flexibility, but would not yield a very effective tool.

I am of the opinion that primary and secondary education should focus on imparting skills to children, as opose to knowledge. By skills I mean things like lateral thinking, critical thinking, social analysis/calculation, cause and effect, self research, independant responsibility, rationalisation etc. These skills could be very well likened to the way in which mathematics is learnt; one must first understand concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, from those concepts one can independantly deal with more complex problems by applying those principals.

For example; I could have 20 apples and four children and want to be fair in distributing the apples to the children, how many apples would I give each?

This is a very basic example, but shows how, given skills, one can solve problems. When it comes to dealing with non-mathematical problems in life, one should also be equiped with the necesary skills in dealing with such problems. Of couse life is not as cut-and-dry as adding something here and subtracting there, and of course things like opinion and emotion are drawn into any thought process, but there are definate things which could be taught. Take learning about WW2 for example, when being told that ze Germans went here and did this and then we went and did that, one should immediately be able to ask questions such as "Who said they did that? Who is this person you are quoting as a source? How does this fit in with that story?" and then have the ability to express these thoughts coherently. This is another basic example, but shows that one should not only be given information, but should be taught how to analyse such information.

Instead of implacing social subjects, alnalytical skills should be integrated into academic subjects to give people the ability to process the information they recieve from x, y, z sources. I feel that education has been seen very much like a Personal Computer running Windows. You have these unrelated bits and pieces put together into the same machine that are always conflicting and crashing and irritating me very much, education should be seen more like an Apple; a seemless flow of bits and pieces where the distinctions between part x and part y are unnoticable through the smooth transitions

I have always felt that English Language and History should be amalgamated into one subject. All of my essay writing ability, argument structurisation has emerged from having to coherently express an historical subject matter to paper.

[edit on 15-10-2005 by The_Modulus]



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 05:33 PM
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The_Modulus, it is very easy to teach people about our political system without ever having to mention a political party and remove many of the problems, I think you are talking about.

People need to understand how the systems work. I sat in a law class last year, where I was the only person who knew the purpos of the House of Lords...there is something wrong when at 16 you do not know who they are and you are living in the United Kingdom.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 06:10 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
The_Modulus, it is very easy to teach people about our political system without ever having to mention a political party and remove many of the problems, I think you are talking about.


I did not say that present education teaches about political parties, that would be a pointless propaganda in any case, I am talking about exactly what you mention above, a political system. In America for example, the syllabus has changed over the last 200 odd years regarding original structure and intent of its founders; democracy, republic etc. This is not about the poilitical parties as it is about the political system.

My point is; one should not simply be taught pure knowledge - remembering facts, one should be given skills to determine the facts for onesself.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 06:18 PM
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I do not mean to say that what you have said is wrong. I agree that at the age of 16 one should be aware of something as basic as the House of Commons; something like this should definately have been taught at school, however, a textbook may refer to the House of Commons as "an unruly crown which drafts laws", or a book may refer to them as "a well spread body of representatives". What one should also have given schoolchildren along with this is the ability to look at this information once given and be able to think critically of what it is saying; I do not mean doubt everything and believe nothing 'they' tell you, but one should be taught the skills to be able to analyse given information and draft ones own oppinions.

I remember people in school always being afraid to voice their opinions in case they were 'wrong', one becomes dependant on other peoples conclusions and opinions, this should not be.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
there is something wrong when at 16 you do not know who they are and you are living in the United Kingdom.


- Alternatively one might take the view that there is something paradoxically good and valuable about being able to get on with your life and live freely in a relatively free country and not be forced to know and be aware of the ins and outs of politics if they hold no interest whatsoever for you.

I'm not saying political ignorance is a good thing but I don't always automatically see this as an enormously 'bad' thing either.

I think mature free societies can manage perfectly well with a level of political disinterest; I would worry if a majority of people really felt that their vote was pointless and everyone knew the election results were fraudulent.
We're nowhere near that kind of circumstance or level.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 06:33 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
- Alternatively one might take the view that there is something paradoxically good and valuable about being able to get on with your life and live freely in a relatively free country and not be forced to know and be aware of the ins and outs of politics if they hold no interest whatsoever for you.


Good point.

I would go further to say that in a perfect government one would not have to have any concern whatsoever over political affairs as the leaders would have absolutely peaceful and benign intentions, caring only for their populations.

I would prefer to live in that society, where living in ignorance would not put one in danger or cause the global mess it can on this planet... aah well, reality bites.



posted on Oct, 15 2005 @ 07:02 PM
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Originally posted by Odium
Winchester Ranger T, why are you so against 'Social Subjects' being taught in School's?


My opposition would be based on the fact that it gives the "Long Beards" a chance to further their gay bean curd agendas and it won't help you a damn when you enter the real world.

If they don't just want Physics, Chemistry and Maths at A' Level, then let's have more vocational training - Firewall Configuration, Marketing Strategies, Warehouse Management, International Commerce Regulations etc etc.



posted on Oct, 16 2005 @ 12:04 AM
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Originally posted by Odium
Winchester Ranger T, why are you so against 'Social Subjects' being taught in School's?


By reading his "list" of subjects on Social Studies, either he is being sarcastic or genuinely believs that the word social implies communist/socialist/left politics, not the actual meaning of the word, which is:



so·cial ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sshl)
adj.

Living together in communities.
Of or relating to communal living.
Of or relating to human society and its modes of organization: social classes; social problems; a social issue.
Living together in organized groups or similar close aggregates: Ants are social insects.
Involving allies or members of a confederacy.
Of or relating to the upper classes.

Inclined to seek out or enjoy the company of others; sociable.
Spent in or marked by friendly relations or companionship.
Intended for convivial activities.
Of, relating to, or occupied with matters affecting human welfare: social programs.


And from his subsequent list of subjects that should be taught (the vocational ones he suggests) it is very clear he subscribes to a corporate model and all pupils should be taught how to be good employees, not good citizens...



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 12:33 AM
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Originally posted by stumason
And from his subsequent list of subjects that should be taught (the vocational ones he suggests) it is very clear he subscribes to a corporate model and all pupils should be taught how to be good employees, not good citizens...


You may eventually figure out that one is an essential sub-set of the other.



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