Friday, 7 April 2017

Screw "Modern" Education

I don't know whether I want to punch Jon Platt (the father who lost the Supreme Court Case to take his child out of school during term time to go to Disneyland) in the face or to thank him.

So that is a rather loaded lead sentence so let's break it down.

Platt took his child out of school so he could take them to Disneyland in the US. And here a reader who does not understand the inside of the educational system is going to say: "So what? What could a kid miss that couldn't be made up on their return?"

But the thing is, I DO know what is going to happen. That child will return from a two week holiday and will face the inevitability of comments from classmates.

"Psssst," says one kid, completely ignoring the work his teacher has put in front of him, "Where ya been?"

"My daddy took me to Disneyland. I had a lot of fun." answers Platt Junior, also ignoring the work in front of him PLUS the work s/he didn't do whilst prowling around the Magic Kingdom.

"Oh wow!! I'm going to ask my mum to take me on holiday!" (Have fun with that, mums.)

And then the whole class takes an interest and no one does any work. Of course, the teacher would get the blame for not being able to "control" the class by providing stimulating resources to keep the kiddos entertained.

Then of course, the resentment of teachers comes to the fore. They are the ones who have to plan two weeks ahead to put together a learning pack for Little Platt so s/he doesn't miss any learning that will affect the progress the child is meant to make.

"Did any learning take place?" the teacher asks.

"Oh yes," says Little Platt, "I got to meet Mickey Mouse. And Goofy!"

"Did you do your homework?" the teacher asks.

And either this kid spent 10 minutes zooming through a pack of photocopied worksheets or they wrote a 2 paragraph review of the holiday that begins with "Day One: We got on a plane" and ends with. . .oh, that's it. (By the way. . ."Day One" is the first paragraph and "We got on a plane" counts as the second according to the child).

No learning has taken place. The kid is behind everyone else. And of course, it's all the teachers' fault Little Platt doesn't get the GCSEs s/he deserves. And again, of course, it's the teacher--already responsible for the learning of the OTHER 29 children in HER (because the majority of teachers are female) care--who will have to reproduce all the lessons this one child has missed. And probably during her lunch hour.

But yet the Senior Platt, if he could just get over the idea that a school is not just free babysitting for parents who have to work, raises some rather interesting questions.

Should the government be dictating how a child learns?

Well no. What a great world it would be if kids just wake up wanting to learn all the things teachers have to shove down their unwilling necks before they sit their GCSEs.

But they don't. Teachers have to persuade kids that Mary Shelley and John Steinbeck are the greatest writers the world has ever known. Oh and Carol Ann Duffy, D H Lawrence, Shakespeare, Keats and Robert Browning aren't that bad either. Try doing that after two weeks in Disneyland.

And yet. . .

Mr Platt seems to understand that the best time to take a child on holiday is during term time when fares and everything else are A LOT (two separate words) cheaper. Toss some blame in the direction of travel agencies for being so greedy as to take advantage of the school calendar. But I still DON'T like all his whingeing about the system. If he doesn't want to be a part of the system, he should pay for private tutors.

My rates for private tuition (Skype AstroAlex1984) are £30 per hour. But I reckon I can teach more in one hour than over worked Henrietta, who teaches 240 pupils over a two week period, can teach in a whole term.

It's the outdated, factory model school system that sucks. Not a father who wants his children to see Mickey Mouse.

Want to hear more?

Here's an interview I did with the wonderful Rod Suskin!

 And I'm doing a webinar for the Cosmic Intelligence Agency this weekend. Here's the link to sign up.

About the Astrologer

Alex Trenoweth was voted Best International Astrologer, 2015 for her dynamic presentation on Astrology and Education. Her book, "Growing Pains" is an exciting development in astrology as it combines classroom teaching experience, sound research and the potential to have a positive impact on struggling adolescents, parents, teachers and those who have been labelled "at risk". For queries, consultations or syndications, please contact Alex via or leave a message in the comment section.

About the New Book

There are two wolves fighting inside of me, the old story goes, one wolf is good and the other is evil. “But Grandfather,” asked the child, “Which one wins?” The Grandfather answered, “The wolf I feed.”

We might like to think that being good is a natural instinct. In fact, doing the right thing takes a conscious decision. Every day, we are met with temptation to get ahead at the expense of someone else, to get away with something we know is wrong or to cut corners if we think no one is watching.

Following on from her powerful book on astrology and Education, “Growing Pains”, Alex Trenoweth explores the benefits of using “the bad guy” of the solar system: Saturn. Often avoided and seldom understood, if we understand our own Saturn then we can help others to understand theirs. Using case studies of  highly successful people contrasted with convicted serial killers, Trenoweth deftly demonstrates the dire consequences of feeding the wrong wolf.

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