Tag Archive | Michael Rosen

Short of ‘Good Ideas’?

My blogs might slow down for a bit over summer, but if you’re short of ideas dip into Michael Rosen’s book. DSC06116

This man has surely got to be a home educator at heart!

His book ‘Good Ideas – How to be your child’s (and your own) best teacher’ illustrates beautifully an approach to learning home educators already use; just being engaged with your kids.

And it shows how all parents can teach their kids and get involved with education simply by being an engaged, attentive, observational and a curious parent. A good article on what he says about that here. It’s more about parenting than teaching, how the two are intertwined, how the world is full of the best curriculum you’ll ever have, and how interacting with the children whilst you show it to them will help them learn and will build essential life skills that go beyond the academic, to application in the real world.

It’s a fabulous resource. A readable book. And a reminder how to be curious yourself so that your child will be and how this is a precursor to learning.

When you’re too tired to think up anything else, dip into Michael’s book, and you’ll be inspired and regenerated.

Living life is learning about life and Michael illustrates how easily this can happen.

I love Michael Rosen!

 It’s because he comes right out with it. And the ‘it’ he’s been coming right out with lately is about the punctuation and grammar expected of primary school children.

Here’s a piece I shamelessly lifted from his Facebook page;

To summarise this morning’s adventures in SPaG-land: a) many teachers are teaching that ‘fronted adverbials’ are ‘adverbial phrases that come before the main verb’ as with, ‘In a great hurry, he left the house’ and these are not ‘clauses’ because they DON’T contain a verb. 2. On this morning’s mock SPaG test, my son had a sentence that contained a clause (i.e. with a verb) that came before the main verb and he was asked to choose if it was a conjunction, a relative clause, a noun phrase or a fronted adverbial. The only feasible one is ‘fronted adverbial’ BUT it contains a verb.

So now we have the possibility that we have two overlapping categories, ‘fronted adverbial’ and ‘subordinate clause’ i.e. a ‘subordinate clause’ coming before the main verb would be a ‘fronted adverbial’ along with an adverb, or an adverbial phrase. If a subordinate clause came after the main verb, it would not be ‘fronted’.

That piece of useless information, used to terrorise 10/11 year olds and their teachers is today’s bit of wisdom from Rosen. Thank you.

Poor kids! Have you ever heard such a load of English codswallop? Have you any idea at all how this is supposed to enhance a child’s experience of writing or encourage them to do it?

Neither have I. He talks about it again on his blog.

Now I know I’m not in the same league as Michael Rosen and his wonderful poetry and writings, but I think I can get my messages across fairly okay, but I have had absolutely no idea what fronted adverbials look like even if they leapt up and hit me in the face like wet fish! I have actually managed up till now without knowing. And even more amazing people read and like my stuff!

Connoisseurs of English will no doubt revel in these types of language recipes – but let’s save it for the connoisseurs, for when they’re older, and not push it on poor little kids who don’t give a fronted adverbial and would rather be out playing football, which incidentally would serve them a lot better.

Thank goodness for Michael helping to show this current idiocy in education for what it is.

And thank goodness there’s home education for those who want to opt out of it!

Less of a freak – thank you Rosen!

Isn’t it wonderful, when you’ve felt like a freak for years because of your weird and radical thinking that no one seems to get, about an issue fundamental to all our lives that no one seems to want to think about, to suddenly find a like mind!

This is me with education. And it seems like Michael Rosen thinks pretty much the same. Watch and listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DOrd-VaLy7A

(Thanks Michael for making me feel less like a freak).

He’s been speaking out about the increasing flaws in our education system for ages, identifying, like me, the way in which so much of it is failing to provide what was supposed to be a universal education for all.

As he says, it no longer is a universal education; it is one that is divisive and discriminative.

This happens because its focus is now on league tables and competition between schools. Therefore many schools are reluctant to take learners who will not make them look good result-wise, or who need a less result-orientated approach to achieve and they are segregated off into other institutions and labelled. This system is making ‘failures’ of pupils, parents and teachers and belies the obvious truth that if there was a ‘universal provision’ for all needs maybe there would be no failures at all.

It is NOT children and teachers who are failing, it is the other way round; the system which is failing them.

We’re also getting it completely wrong in terms of curriculum. Instead of curriculum being a democratic provision of whatever our children need to live life beyond school it has become a dictate of subjects which are useful only in that they can be measured – but which are not particularly useful for life. And they are decided upon by a dictator who has no experience of educating children and who disregards the advice of those who have. Does that not seem bizarre to you?

And another valuable aspect of education that is disregarded in this commercial race for league status is the fact that it is NOT the results that make an education, it is the PROCESS and APPROACH. Education for results is an education quickly forgotten. An uplifting, creative, explorative, investigative process of learning brings a learner understanding. And it is understanding which makes a person educated – understanding how to apply education – not just results.

Education is of no value whatever results you have if you don’t understand how it’s applied to living. And it is within the process of learning that this understanding happens. The system is prostituting the approach (and consequently the needs of kids) in a greed for competitive results. And politics.

Michael Rosen can see this. I can see this and have done for years, right from seeing it beginning to go wrong in the system when I was teaching years ago with the first nail in the coffin; the National Curriculum. Many, many teachers and heads can see this. Many parents can see it and believe it so strongly they are abandoning the system and home educating very successfully through an approach to learning that equips children with the skills they need to live their lives later on.

It seems the only person who can’t see this is the minister who is doing the dictating. Which leads me to believe that his narrow and elitist education – which he’s trying to push onto every other child regardless of whether it suits them or not – didn’t educate him at all!