A news item that amused me this week was the announcement that children are to be taught ‘computer language’ at school. The first thought that struck me was ‘Good!’ because a large [and larger by the year] number of children entering school have no language whatsoever, or none that can be understood, and perhaps they will gain some means of communication. In a class of 5 and 6 year olds I taught a child repeatedly came to me and said ‘Srink!, srink!’. It took me some time to work out that this meant he would like to get a drink.
And then I wondered when this teaching of computer language is to take place. During the last twenty years, any number of bits have been added to the school curriculum, and as far as I can tell, nothing has been subtracted. All this adds up to a mighty long day, surely? If they are to get enough sport-and this is in response to the growing obesity problem, begin to grow and cook their own food [does anyone besides a teacher know what the logistics of gardening and cooking with a class of 30 kids entails?], do enough literacy and numeracy [we are told every day how innumerate the population is becoming], study ‘citizenship’, learn how to be healthy, get a bit of religion and pick up some art, music, history, geography and dance [oh-and what about science and technology?], when is this language learning to take place? Did I leave anything out? I wonder, seriously if they should be allowed to go home at all, since they will have no time to eat dinner, wash or sleep.
And who is going to teach it? During the 90s we all had to undergo some stringent training to be able to use and/or teach information technology-and yes, we did teach quite a bit of programming, even then. Remember the turtle, ‘pen down’ and programming it to draw patterns on paper the floor?
I can see the time approaching when the middle man can be cut out entirely. Let’s not bother with teaching anyone about talking computer speak-let’s just let the computers talk to each other. I feel convinced they will make a much better job of conversation than the majority of humans will in the future. As I said in a long distant [but still much visited] post, The Art of Conversation is struggling to survive anyway and most people seem to commune exclusively with some kind of screen. In fact, I suppose in the end machines will rule the world and mankind will simply fade away to become an exhibit in a museum visited by robots.
I can sympathise with the cooking in school, many of us, in the more humble role of volunteering parents, have helped with reading, sewing and cooking – listed in ascending order of difficulty! One year a so called friend volunteered both of us, then opted out – I was left to make cakes with a Year Six class which had six statemented boys (the teacher subsequently retired early). Well obviously 6 or 8 children at a time for an hour is nothing compared to teaching but….descending downstairs to dash into the staff room and put cakes in the oven, racing back upstairs to check on the chaos. I did my bit for teacher support by leaving the staff room a lot tidier than I found it!
The time problem in school will be solved easily when parents demand shorter and shorter holidays so they can go to work and avoid talking to their children!
Indeed-in fact why not just hand them over at birth? There should be enough time then…
Interesting. I read an article awhile back stating that people who worked in the IT zone in California sent their kids to school where there were no computers. Guess they wanted them to learn basic communication skills. 🙂 I’m with you with the healthy eating habits.
Thanks-yes, I feel that those who make such decisions have no clue about the state in which some children enter school! 🙂