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but, you do remind me of the somewhat paranoid theory that the real purpose of school is to humiliate children.  

The main problem with this theory is that it explains the facts better than more normal theories, both official and unofficial.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 05:51:06 AM EST
Maybe not humiliation but enforced conformity. Humililation is the way conformity is enforced.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:06:46 AM EST
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I remember when someone asked me once what I thought it was that made the UK's public school system so successful, the only answer I could think of was 'Organised child abuse.'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:30:08 AM EST
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Yeah, but at my child's school the children seem happy.

They can't add 2-digit numbers at the age of 7, but that's another issue (diary forthcoming...).

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:31:36 AM EST
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There are epic differences between public (i.e. private prep) school and state funded primary education.

Kids in some prep schools will be learning basic Latin, French and sometimes algebra before they're 11. They're hothoused very aggressively.

I wasn't taught basic arithmetic and times tables until 8 in my state primary school. That was a long time ago - I don't know what the schedule is now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:55:19 AM EST
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I'd learnt quite a lot more by the time I left the UK, though it was a Catholic school run by nuns so I guess it wasn't a "state" school?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 06:59:21 AM EST
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Mine was a Catholic school which very much wasn't run by nuns. A lot of primary schools in the UK have explicit CofE or Catholic affiliations, for some reason.

I don't know how this affects teaching or influences curriculum timing - beyond the obvious of having some slots for services and talks by priests which secular schools wouldn't have.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 08:35:26 AM EST
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ThatBritGuy:
I don't know how this affects teaching or influences curriculum timing - beyond the obvious of having some slots for services and talks by priests which secular schools wouldn't have.
It allows what is otherwise a state school to select its students.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 08:52:02 AM EST
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My experience was roughly the same as TBG's, as far as math goes.  Times tables in 1st Grade, so I would've been 7.  I guess adding two-digit numbers would've come the year before.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:23:19 AM EST
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I've a great deal of sympathy for that view, though I wouldn't phrase it "the real purpose". Something more like, "the actual effect". Or, "the institutional bias is towards" humiliating children.

Or that the hidden purpose of school is to reproduce the social order.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 07:19:27 AM EST
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you do remind me of the somewhat paranoid theory that the real purpose of school is to humiliate children.

I actually don't think that, but children are powerless and vulnerable, so their humiliation is often the outcome in flawed systems and I don't understand the casual tolerance of it when it's pointed out.

I do, however, think there's a somewhat purposeful element of humiliation in the US social services, which is almost always the result of policies pushed by Republicans and celebrated by their followers.  This punitive "culture" seems to filter down into all areas.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 27th, 2009 at 04:24:35 PM EST
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