Comments for en-gb 30 Mon 25 May 2015 00:24:37 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at lewarcher It should be noted that it has been recently announced that Sean Heslop is to leave Tiffin School and become Principal of Folkestone AcademyWithin days of this announcement rumours were circulating the school that his departure was due to a falling out with the governors about the future development of the school and in particular a meaningful partnership with a comprehensive school. Whilst I wish Sean well I do wonder what the future holds for a school intent on maintaining an isolationist view of its own future. Tue 13 Jan 2009 17:23:16 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Big Sis @ 75, I will confess: the only reason I knew that date was that one of my daughters was born on 23rd May, so we used to tell her she was born on the anniversary of the defenestration of Prague. When she was old enough to ask, she wanted to know what 'defenestration' meant, and when we told her she wanted to know why someone wanted to throw a town out of a window.Is there still a convenient midden for the defenestrated to land it?i *thought* that we got the phrase 'beyond the pale' from there having been a pale round Dublin when the English were holding Dublin but not the rest of the country in the 14th century, or possibly from the English Pale round Calais in the 13th century: those are the explanations I was given and the one Nigel Rees seems to go for is the Dublin one; but the phrase doesn't seem to have been used before the 19th century so you might well be right about it being Russian instead. Mon 29 Sep 2008 11:10:22 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 73, I know what my IQ was in junior high school, but I don't talk about it. Sun 28 Sep 2008 09:08:32 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 73, I though 'feminist' was a dirty word and not allowed on the blog. At least JG thinks it is, hence 'fenimist'. Or should that be 'hents'? Sun 28 Sep 2008 09:07:22 GMT+1 Big Sister 23 May 1618And I've been in the room where it was supposed to have happened (as, no doubt, have other froggers).Something that fascinates me at the moment is the Pale of Settlement, a phrase I'd heard and not really understood until the David Suchet 'Who do you think you are?' programme. I'm hoping to find out more about it when I've a little more free time. I do now know that it was Catherine the Great who created the area to restrict trade between Jews and Gentiles. At a guess, it's from where we get the phrase 'beyond the pale', though I'm probably wrong.That won't stop me from finding out more about this intriguing period in history. Sun 28 Sep 2008 08:22:38 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Big Sis @ 75, 23rd May. Your turn: which year? Sat 27 Sep 2008 22:00:04 GMT+1 Big Sister Gosh, Chris, that sounds mightily like the Defenestration of Prague ;o) Thu 25 Sep 2008 21:51:46 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Big Sis @ 73, isn't a fenimist someone who throws trolls into the fog out of the windows on old bridges? Thu 25 Sep 2008 17:38:08 GMT+1 Big Sister IQ - No idea, David. What is a fenimist? JG thinks I'm a feminist, which in his eyes makes me the child of the devil. I thought I was just me. Thu 25 Sep 2008 17:05:59 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 71, I'm going to report you to JG for being a fenimist, er, thingy. So what is your IQ? Thu 25 Sep 2008 15:25:04 GMT+1 Big Sister David McN: Give it a break! I was only responding to the comments of others in talking about IQ - I did not raise the issue.What is it with you these days? Thu 25 Sep 2008 11:07:02 GMT+1 David_McNickle C_G 68, Inaccuracy in quibbling is all part of it. She said she doesn't talk about IQ, then continues to talk about it. I'll bet BS read about other women talking about it. Thu 25 Sep 2008 11:05:16 GMT+1 BrianJWillcocks @65. Bravo, Fifi - Glad someone has voiced the same as me about presenteeism, although I called it brownnosing earlier. Productivity is definitely the key word, although unfortunately most people do not appreciate that it is the ratio of output to input. And the input is not just the time resource - it is the intelligence(?)/aptitude/attitude/personality ability and motivation. Central factors to the teachers' aspirations to make the best of children - the output.Let's give our teachers credit for being professionals and stop all the mechanistic interference with their chosen vocation. Thu 25 Sep 2008 10:54:45 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti DMcN, Big Sister said she hadn't heard *other* women talking about it; she never said that she hadn't talked about it herself or that she wasn't talking about it. If you quibble inaccurately, it's nothing like as funny -- and I rely on you to make me smile in these dark and dismal days with the evenings drawing in. Wed 24 Sep 2008 19:46:41 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 61, I suppose the women I heard on TV (including CV) were all lying and the men you know are telling the truth.... BTW, you are talking about it. Wed 24 Sep 2008 17:02:36 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 64, Can we discuss bras? Wed 24 Sep 2008 16:59:40 GMT+1 Fifi Dragging this thread, kicking and screaming, back to the topic....I believe that the ridiculous amounts of homework issued these days are a direct result of the pressure on schools to meet academic results 'targets', which don't measure things such as well-roundedness of knowledge, physical fitness, social skills, out-of-school artistic achievements ....It's the same phenomenon as 'presenteeism' at work, where a staff member's productivity is unofficially judged on the basis of whether they put in more hours than the boss, regardless of how effectively their time is spent. Wed 24 Sep 2008 12:46:48 GMT+1 Big Sister Gillianian: I'm not sure that I am a feminist (whatever that is), but there are some who seem to think that I am.When it comes to male underwear, I much prefer boxers (the gear, not the profession). So, Boxers away, guys! ;o) Wed 24 Sep 2008 11:40:21 GMT+1 Gillianian Big Sister (62) On the grounds of equality and anti-discrimination, I would like to remind you that men can be feminists too ;o)Whip off your Y-Fronts, lads! Wed 24 Sep 2008 11:33:32 GMT+1 Big Sister 58: 'feminist teachers becoming exposed'Okay, girls, it's knickers off time ;o) Wed 24 Sep 2008 11:30:15 GMT+1 Big Sister Okay, David, so you heard two women on TV talking about Mensa, and I knew/know several men who are members of Mensa.My perception, therefore, is that it's much of a guy's thing, and yours is that women on TV talk about Mensa. I've never heard another woman talk about it - and I doubt many find it of much interest. We're too busy doing other thingsh ;o) Wed 24 Sep 2008 10:57:45 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti DMcN @ 59, I wonder whether Mensa are prepared to tell us what proportion of their members are of which sex. It would still be a self-selecting group, but that would provide *some* information.On the other hand I have reason to think that they might be no use at all. I once got 176 in one of their 'test your IQ' advertisements during a recruitment drive they were doing, so being young and foolish I thought I would follow up on it and see what they were like -- one of my (female) friends was a member and said they were not too dreary, and the president Jack Cohen was (and still is) a very interesting and amusing person. So I wrote to them...For what it is worth, they were apparently too stupid to read a letter from me saying 'I cannot get to any of the places in which you set these tests, and have been told that you will arrange invigilation for them in a more local town: can you do this?' Each of the three times I sent it (the second and third said 'see my letter of...' as well) they sent back the same form-letter with a list of impossible venues for the test.So I am not too certain that they are bright enough to be able to answer a simple question such as 'What percentage of your membership is male, what percentage is female, and what percentage is of any other sex?' But it might be worth a try.My daughter has just told me, by the way and for amusement, that successful applicants for Trinity College, Oxford, get asked to tell the college what sex they are, and that the options offered are "male/female/trangender/neutral/don't know'. I can't help wondering how many of their eighteen-year-old applicants don't know what sex they are! Wed 24 Sep 2008 10:45:17 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 29, My point in 27 was that you said in 24,"The only people I have ever known to have undergone the Mensa tests are men....." Wed 24 Sep 2008 09:43:38 GMT+1 U11235707 @56Your hypothesis doesn't explain why boys did better than girls prior to the mid 1980's.It is not boys that are failing, it is feminist teachers that are becoming exposed. Wed 24 Sep 2008 09:38:38 GMT+1 Gillianian Screamingmuldoon - no teacher worth their salt would miss an opportunity to help a child do better or try harder. Every early years teacher I know has high expectations of children's behaviour and potential, and works hard to get each child do their best. They also know how to be firm, how to maintain discipline, and still allow the boys to be boys! Wed 24 Sep 2008 08:53:33 GMT+1 Big Sister Screamingmuldoon: There is certainly something of a problem (speaking very generally, you'll understand!) with boys' achievement in school, but I don't think that, what you describe as 'fluffy encouragement' is at the root of the problem. Indeed, speaking from my own experience as a teacher, I know that even the (apparently) most hardened boys are privately thrilled with all forms of praise and reward, but feel embarrassed at showing this in front of their peers. I found it helpful to speak to boys separately about their achievements, away from their peers, and the practice of profiling in schools, with the private meetings that this entails, are helpful in that regard.Boys need to feel that their efforts are valued, but are also terrified of being seen, by their mates, as swots, or 'soft'. This is a cultural problem, not one related exclusively to schools. Something that concerns most teachers is that many boys, particularly in secondary school, have a tendency to consistently overrate their ability, or the extent of their knowledge, and are therefore too relaxed about the amount of effort they need to invest in their schoolwork. Girls, on the other hand, tend to underestimate their ability and knowledge, and can be quite insecure and fretful at the approach of exams. Neither reaction is good for the child in question, but the result is that many boys don't work hard enough for their exams (hence their grades are lower than they'd expect) and many girls work extremely hard for their exams and do better than they expect.Please understand that I'm not 'getting' at boys - I always enjoyed teaching them, and related to them very well. Wed 24 Sep 2008 08:40:30 GMT+1 The Stainless Steel Cat Just read on the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" website: Pittsburgh Public Schools are to set 50% as the *lowest* mark a student can receive for assignments, tests and other work. This will apparently help struggling students. Wed 24 Sep 2008 05:10:03 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti JG @ 34, when you say 'Did you use that same intellect when 'agreeing' with the rape statistics of those 'Rape awareness' pedlars?' I conclude that you are thinking of someone else who may have posted on this subject, since as far as I know I have never expressed any agreement about rape statistics -- I doubt that I have commented about them at all, in fact, except to suggest that it is impossible to compile any with any certainty. Can you back up your words with an actual quotation from me? Tue 23 Sep 2008 23:21:23 GMT+1 U10783173 JG (49) - Do you how pathetic it proves you are that you actually replied to that? Tue 23 Sep 2008 22:30:03 GMT+1 Screamingmuldoon Big Sis (37, 38) but aren't the boys being left behind somewhat? I'm not suggesting we go back to "6 of the best because I haven't whacked you for a while", but the seemingly endless "fluffy" encouragement is not that helpful - for boys or girls. Kids see through it in the end, don't they? Tue 23 Sep 2008 22:22:36 GMT+1 Big Sister 48: Obnoxious as usual. Tue 23 Sep 2008 17:53:54 GMT+1 BrianJWillcocks Before the thread winds too far away, all the foregoing talk about IQs seems to take as given that we know what intelligence is. I would be interested to hear a rock-solid definition, so that we could argue about something real and meaning the same to everybody.While we are at it, can anybody give proven, sound definitions for 'Art' and 'Folk'? No - I thought not! Tue 23 Sep 2008 16:58:20 GMT+1 U11235707 @46London Tue 23 Sep 2008 16:29:18 GMT+1 U11235707 @47Pathetic as usual. Tue 23 Sep 2008 16:09:25 GMT+1 Big Sister mittfh: I have to disagree with you on one point in your post. In one school where I taught, there was positive discrimination towards male teachers (and I'm sure it wasn't the only school) when it came to promotion. The Head was quite open about it, his reasoning being that he needed to keep his male teachers and that they 'had families to support'. He also, in an unguarded moment, made a reference to women teachers being there for 'pin money'.Now, one of the reasons I left that school was that, as a single teacher dependent upon my own earnings, I didn't have a hope in hell of getting promotion beyond a certain point due to his policy, and I was ambitious inasmuch as I was passionate about teaching and about my subject, and wanted to develop ideas within the curriculum. A number of other excellent female teachers were forced to do the same.This was a secondary school, and the male female ratio was approximately 50:50, so arguably his bias was successful, but it was a huge shame for teachers like myself who were happy (in most respects) at the school but knew that they were condemned, by their sex, to the ranks. Tue 23 Sep 2008 15:32:38 GMT+1 U10783173 mittfh (45) - You missed something there. You could have gone the extra mile and invented a 'feminist column' and stats for JG to muse over! 'Feminist Column' sounds like an underground pressure group to promote feminism. I bet JG knows where their headquarters are. Tue 23 Sep 2008 15:05:28 GMT+1 mittfh I know trolls aren't meant to be fed, but couldn't resist starting off on the teaching gender ratio before retuning to topic...General Teaching Council for EnglandStats Digest 2008.(Apologies for the wobbly table - can't persuade this to use a fixed-width font)__________Female teachers____Male teachers_______All teachers Phase_____Number___%age___Number____%age___Number___%ageNursery____001,632___96.7___000,056___03.3____001,688__000.4Primary____174,793___87.2___025,591___12.8____200,384__043.0Secondary__119,387___60.6___077,502___39.4____196,889__042.3PRU________002,302__72.4___000,877___27.6____003,179___000.7Special_____011,288___74.3___003,903___25.7____015,191__003.3Further_____000,743___62.6___000,443___37.4____001,186__000.3Indy_______004,580___72.0___001,777___28.0____006,357__001.4Other______031,290___76.7___009,508___23.3____040,798__008.8Total_______346,015___74.3___119,657___25.7___465,672___100Food for thought...But bear in mind that the gender bias towards females is nothing to do with the education children receive per se - it's just a lingering sterotype that teaching is a female profession, which of course is reinforced by the fact that 3/4 of the teachers a child is likely to encounter are female. The situation is slightly better at secondary level - and you may have noticed all the TDA's (Training and Development Agency for Schools - previously the Teacher Training Agency) adverts feature male teachers. The only way to force gender equality in teaching would be to offer positive discrimination for males / negative discrimination for females, which is about as likely to happen as secondary schools abandoning the concept of homework.Which brings us back on topic. From my brief flirtation with teaching, I know that it's quite common for many secondary schools to have after-school "homework clubs" - and the ICT Department I worked for was very keen on 'encouraging' pupils to come in during lunchtimes, after school and even holidays to progress on their coursework. This was at least partially mandated by the course taught, which was a 100% coursework qualification worth 2 GCSEs, taught with the same amount of curriculum time as a single GCSE subject.With ICT in particular, in-school opportunities for the pupils to work are vital - even pupils with computers at home aren't likely to have the full set of:Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Publisher, Dreamweaver and Flash.Besides which, if the pupils are working in school, then they can be monitored and discouraged (through supervision as much as filters) from accessing social networking sites / internet games / internet proxies (even the disaffected pupils I taught had an amazing ability to find internet proxies we hadn't discovered and filtered, so they could access Bebo!)Of course, the disadvantage of this type of course is that as all the pupils' work is meant to be displayed in an "e-portfolio" (i.e. a locally stored website with documents converted to PDF) rather than be printed out, the teacher has to remain chained to the network in order to access and assess their work...-oOo-In general, let's not forget that in addition to spending 20 hours a week delivering lessons, teachers have to plan the lessons, prepare all necessary resources, and assess the work (i.e. give suggestions on how it can be improved as well as marking it). A typical secondary teacher teaches between 3 and 5 lessons a day, so even with a relatively small classes of 20, that's between 60 and 100 items of work to assess *per day*, or up to 400 items of work to assess per week. Add in homework... Tue 23 Sep 2008 14:17:56 GMT+1 U10783173 Absolutely devastating wit JG, devastating! Any more dodgy analysis or statistics for us? Tue 23 Sep 2008 13:35:18 GMT+1 U11235707 @42Sounds like your brain's in neutral. Tue 23 Sep 2008 13:17:06 GMT+1 U10783173 Wrong again JG. You're biased - I'm neutral. Tue 23 Sep 2008 13:04:29 GMT+1 U11235707 @40I'm so glad we are on opposite sides. Tue 23 Sep 2008 13:01:05 GMT+1 U10783173 Meta-analysis isn't research; it is analysis and in the case of JimmyGiro's quoted case, pretty rubbish analysis."Blinkhorn . . . . points to a number of 'serious flaws' in the approach taken by Lynn and Irwing. For a start, he accuses them of carefully selecting those IQ studies that they allowed in their meta-analysis.In particular, he says they chose to ignore a massive study, carried out in Mexico, which showed there was very little difference in the IQs of men and women. 'They say it is "an outlier" in data terms --in other words, it was a statistical freak,' Blinkhorn said.'It was nothing of the kind. It was just plain inconvenient. Had it been included, as it should have been, it would have removed a huge chunk of the differences they claim to have observed.'In addition, Blinkhorn said the pair were ignoring a vast body of work that had found no differences. 'Psychologists often carry out studies that find no differences between men's and women's IQs but don't publish them for the simple reason that finding nothing seems uninteresting. But you have to take these studies into account as well as those studies that do find differences. But Lynn and Irwing did not. That also skewed their results.'Blinkhorn also accuses the pair of adopting a variety of statistical manoeuvres that he describes, in his paper, as being 'flawed and suspect'." Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:51:31 GMT+1 U11235707 @36As I understand it, the researchers avoided the usual claims of selective data, by including a whole range of IQ scores taken by many thousands of UK university students, during different studies.The term 'meta analysis' was therefore the correlating exercise to group the result.Another analysis, which is not so 'meta' was done in the US with hundreds of thousands of people (including the SATS results for all US 15 year old school children) Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:49:30 GMT+1 Big Sister PS to the last post - To be fair, the boys like the smiley stickers as much as the girls do at an early age - even the most hardened of warriors is proud to have their effort recognised. That's not a feminine thing particularly - soldiers like to get medals, don't they? Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:38:23 GMT+1 Big Sister Screamingmuldoon: Well, you may be right, though to judge from the little boys I know, they are all screaming around with their swords and guns and don't want to play with the girls, so I don't think there's much chance of them being feminised, do you? :o) Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:37:04 GMT+1 Big Sister 34: Metanalysis. The clue is in the name. Analysis and research are not the same thing.If you're unclear of its meaning, look it up. I don't need to look it up as I already know what it means. And it does not mean research. Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:31:15 GMT+1 Screamingmuldoon Sir James of the Postal Order (20) might be sexist and what I am about to post definitely is, but there is something in the "feminisation" of early education, isn't there? Nurturing going a bit too far and producing a pack of wimps maybe? It used to be that even the best report card said "could try harder". Now it's all "you've worked really, really hard and done really, really well ... and here's a smiley face sticker before I even dare to suggest that you could do better." Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:26:16 GMT+1 U11235707 @32Hahahaha.... "(metanalysis - not really research) as it was so clearly flawed."Do expound?@33"In any case, unless the IQ of the entire population were being measured and noted, it would not be possible to state with any accuracy how many people of either sex fell into what category, so 'twice as many' is completely without meaning, null and void."Did you use that same intellect when 'agreeing' with the rape statistics of those 'Rape awareness' pedlars?Or is you 'meta analysis' somewhat selective? Tue 23 Sep 2008 12:23:09 GMT+1 Chris Ghoti Isn't 125 a low IQ for Mensa? I haven't so much as looked at them for thirty years or so, but I thought they wanted more than that to let people in.In any case, unless the IQ of the entire population were being measured and noted, it would not be possible to state with any accuracy how many people of either sex fell into what category, so 'twice as many' is completely without meaning, null and void.I'd say post 20 was a display of TQ rather than IQ, with T standing for Troll. Tue 23 Sep 2008 11:18:38 GMT+1 Big Sister Thanks, Horse. I'd read something similar at the time - but had forgotten the study (metanalysis - not really research) as it was so clearly flawed. Tue 23 Sep 2008 11:10:13 GMT+1 U10783173 Nah - he's just selectively quoting! If you want to read a balanced commentary on the 'research' you can find it here. Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:30:38 GMT+1 Big Sister TIH: I couldn't agree with you more. Perhaps Mr. JamesPostalOrder was involved with said research? ;o) Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:15:47 GMT+1 Big Sister David McN: No, IQ is not measured in UK schools. Not quite sure what is your point in 27. The people to whom I referred were acquaintances, not involved in some televised discussion. But I'm with Brian on this one. Figures of this kind are meaningless, and I think we need only look around us to see that intelligence is distributed pretty fairly between the sexes - To imply otherwise is mere bigotry. Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:14:04 GMT+1 U10783173 Big Sis (24) - What JamesPostalOrder is quoting is a pretty dodgy bit of research work from 2005. He is also very selective in what he quotes. The paper also states that at the same level of IQ, women are able to achieve more than men "possibly because they are more conscientious and better adapted to sustained periods of hard work". But then, when you want to promote a biased stance it doesn't pay to be objective, does it? Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:13:04 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 24, The last two people I heard mention about taking the Mensa test on TV were females. Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:05:47 GMT+1 David_McNickle BS 24, Our IQs were measured in junior high school. Tue 23 Sep 2008 10:02:46 GMT+1 BrianJWillcocks When somebody is able to define intelligence, let alone measure it, I shall raise an interested cheer.Meanwhile, let's remember that statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is interesting, but what they conceal is vital. Fortunately, blatant mis-use of statistics is a useful indicator of mentality. Tue 23 Sep 2008 09:53:23 GMT+1 Big Sister Post 20: "There are twice as many men with IQs above 125"IQ is not measured in school, nor is it measured universally anywhere, and I can only assume you have this figure from an organisation such as Mensa. Is this where you have obtained this figure? If not, where are you quoting this?The only people I have ever known to have undergone the Mensa tests are men, the membership is self selected, and therefore any figures about the numbers of Mensa members are, frankly, irrelevant.To make a comment like this is meaningless, and it is probably entirely inaccurate, but we will never know until IQ tests are universal.The eleven plus was a form of IQ test, and the numbers of boys and girls who passed it were pretty equal. Please do not make these silly, sexist comments. Tue 23 Sep 2008 09:43:45 GMT+1 Perky My daughter has just started at secondary school, where homework is an important part of the curriculum. At the moment, she gets 1-2 pieces of homework each day, and is expected to spend around 20 minutes on each piece. With after-school activities and music practice to fit in, she's getting used to managing her time - which, in my opinion, is one of the most important lessons that homework teaches young people.In contrast, one of the other schools in the area has been handing out an hour and a half of homework each day to Year 7s - because that's what parents have demanded.There's a balance to be struck between re-inforcing the lessons taught at school and putting children off school completely because they're overloaded. Tue 23 Sep 2008 09:25:14 GMT+1 Gillianian It's a great relief to me that my son hasn't had much homework to do since he started his GCSE courses. He was always reluctant, to say the least, and we've had endless arguments about getting it in on time, writing more than two sentences, and so on.He did most of his GCSE coursework at school, which was the school's way of ensuring that it was all the pupils' own work, and meant that all pupils had access to the school computers. He did well in his exams, and was able to play as much as sport as he could in the evenings and at weekends, so the balance was right for us.He's now in the Sixth Form, studying for A Levels, and again is bringing little work home with him. He has free periods at shool, which are mainly spent in the school library or computer suite - he does have to manage his time effectively and meet deadlines, but at the moment that does not involve burning the midnight oil.I believe that this will be the pattern he will follow if he goes to University - using his time effectively when he's not at lectures. I have no doubt that there will be times when he has to give up a football game or a night out, but I'm guessing that by then he'll be mature enough to care about the consequences if he doesn't get his assignments in on time. Tue 23 Sep 2008 09:20:08 GMT+1 BrianJWillcocks Regretfully I only caught the tail-end of the broadcast item about homework, but I'm gratified to see some of my views reinforced here.In essence, I am against homework for these reasons:1. The human brain is at its best by 11 am and goes downhill from 3 pm it is well down in capability. Asking anyone, not just a child, to undertake extra effort later in the day is illogical.2. Children should be taught to work smarter, not harder, so that their personal productivity is maximised. Mind you, this countermands the brown-nosing culture in industry which requires one to stay until the boss has left. I always favoured staff members who were sorted well before the end of the normal day.3. A child's time out of school is not within a school's gift. Peer group play, family interaction, chosen extra activities like learning to play an instrument etc or just plain relaxing are vital to all-round development.4. Teachers have to mark homework...when? Either in their own time, or at the expense of valuable teaching time.Stop this theft of children's (and teachers') time now, I say. When you consider how much of your schooling was really relevant to your life, it would very likely fit into a very short average day. Tue 23 Sep 2008 09:13:47 GMT+1 U11235707 If I were an incompetent parvenue, I would set homework, as this will allow me to blame the home rather than myself.There are twice as many men with IQs above 125, yet we fill our education system with feminists. If we want feminists to thrive, leave things as they are; but if you want children to thrive, then change the system. Tue 23 Sep 2008 08:49:22 GMT+1 Big Sister There is most definitely a place for homework as it gives children the opportunity to consolidate the classroom experience and also (in the case of, for example languages) a space in which to work individually on aspects of a subject which are not easily applied in the classroom, such as the assimilation of new vocabulary.The schools where I taught were extremely keen on homework, sometimes overly so, and would hold teachers accountable if they did not set work on the nights allocated to their subjects. That, I feel, is overly prescriptive, though (in order to avoid overload) it is sensible to have a homework timetable for the week. From memory, the average was around 2.5 subjects a night (some nights 2, others 3, subjects), and the time allocated to each subject went up through Years 7 to 11, starting at around 25 minutes in Year 7 and rising to about 50 minutes in Year 11. However, these timings were guidelines, and teachers needed to be aware that some pupils would spend less, and others much more, depending upon their abilities and their interest.I agree with Cat that it is an important discipline for schoolchildren to learn to manage their time, however I also think that responsible teachers will be careful that their pupils are not overdoing it, which can lead to burn out. Mon 22 Sep 2008 22:05:07 GMT+1 The Stainless Steel Cat RobinBear (13):What you may be missing about homework is that it's not simply about learning the subject on which the work is set; it's also about getting into the habit of individual time management and producing results to a deadline.I don't think your brother is going to get very far in the IT industry if he just works on what *he* thinks is interesting. A potential employer would be impressed at his initiative only if he studies IT *in addition* to completing the work that's been set for him. Mon 22 Sep 2008 19:48:45 GMT+1 ricoco1 I am 50, and did my schooling in South America. It was the local catholic school, it was a good/normal/mixed school.Classes took place between 8:45am and 3:30pm. The school actively disencouraged homework. We had Thursday afternoons for that; we would do our homework: in the school, and with the teachers at hand to privide guidance.The idea was that academia should happen in schools, and the time at home should be to socialize and keep on learning, but with our family and friends.I finished shool at 16, looking back now and comparing my education and formation with my comtemporaries in England. I have to say that I had a overall a better education. Mon 22 Sep 2008 19:46:00 GMT+1 leosupernat I totally agree with the comments of the Head teacher in Kent. I am shocked by the amount of homework seven year olds are expected to do at my son's school, and wonder what the value of it is after a tiring day at school. It seems that children at school are pushed younger and younger to achieve standards imposed by the government which many fail to reach, this policy is despite evidence from many European countries and much research that children do better when they play until the age of six or seven rather than go into very formal education when some are only just five.I found the comments made by the Head of Tiffin school on PM very refreshing and admire his bravery in putting his ideas into practice. I hope all other schools follow suit. Mon 22 Sep 2008 19:29:49 GMT+1 lewarcher For most of the parents I know who send their children to Tiffin this will go down like a cup of sick.Mr Heslop should be commended for the progressive nature of the school's decision to emphasise the quality of the school day and its aftermath rather than the quantity craved by so many of its parents. Mon 22 Sep 2008 18:55:54 GMT+1 VeronicaAnn I'm a teacher (GCSEs and A levels). My students' results do not reflect how much homework I give them but their aptitude, interest and work rate. I do my best to keep homework to a minimum. My GCSE students get almost none. They have enough to do with endless re-drafting of coursework and mind-numbing revision of set poems. Children do not have to be at home to work independently, by the way. This can be done in class. Many parents, interestingly, adore homework as they think that if it's unpleasant, it must be doing their children some good. This popularity with the parents explains why headteachers advocate it so strongly. My local primary gives regular homework. At least one hour each evening is considered fine. Madness. Parents are bullied into 'helping'. Many can't. Why do schools assume that parents should be au fait with whatever topic they're teaching and the appropriate teaching method? Do they think that parents have no other responsibilities, for example, other children to consider? Two to three hours per night is child abuse and Tiffin should be embarrassed to admit to having so recently demanded this. Children need a home life and personal space. For years I have not given the recommended allocation of homework to my classes. And guess what .... the results have been no worse than those of teachers who have! Mon 22 Sep 2008 18:49:02 GMT+1 robinbear I agree very much with comment 6. Kids should be allowed to focus on the things they are interested in and directed to careers within this. My younger brother is currently doing his GCSE's, he is in all the top sets and achieves high grades in his tests, Exams and classwork, (and homework when he does it) however he is constantly in after school detentions for not getting his homework in on time! He chooses to use his time after school learning about computer systems and programming as his lessons at school in IT are very basic and this is the area in which he wants to have his career. Who are we to stop him? We are in great need of people that know about these things! All his teachers agree he is intelligent and capable, but as they have to get his homework in, are understandably, constantly frustrated, as are my parents as they feel responsible for making him do it! I say take it out of the equation, do what work needs doing in class, and everyone would be much happier. Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:59:48 GMT+1 togokate At last! Maybe we could start a constructive debate on the value of "homework". As the head of a large primary school in a "good" catchment area in Kent, where parents are caught in the trap of Selective places we find the homework issue a real challenge. We have recently changed from churning out the homework that our parents used to get - ie spellings, tables, worksheets- and now set home learning tasks which are based as much as possible on real life situationns, problem solving, investigations and research. There has been a good response from many parents but there are the vocal few who truly believe that setting hours of irrelevant homework which must be "neatly" presented by copying it out several times and underlining appropriately, is beneficial and will help them pass the 11+. Isn't it time that there was an educated debate on how research into education has proved that the old way is not necessarily the best way? We tested children on spellings they had learnt for a test 3 weeks previously and the results were very poor. Children, life, learning and the employment market have changed beyond recognition in some cases and we must keep up. Isn't it time that we started trusting the professionals, i.e. the teachers and educationalsits rather than continue to beat us with the " In my day...and I haven't done so badly..."stick? Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:53:07 GMT+1 Grammar_grub Yes, the best days of your life to forget! As a Tiffinian in the 1960s it was normal to be given 3 hours homework per weekday night, and about twice that every weekend, with the certainty of a detention or more likely a good thrashing in front of the class for failure to deliver. How any of us managed to have any kind of social life is beyond me, but then - wasn't that the point of homework - to keep us off the streets? Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:41:33 GMT+1 Big Sister cherrytwiss: For the record, he is the Head of Tiffin Boys School. I have good cause to know that he is not the Head of the Girls School ;o) Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:31:47 GMT+1 Screamingmuldoon Back in the day, when I was at school, we were told that school was preparation for life. If that is true, then putting in hours of extra work in the evening. having worked really hard all day long, and having no time for family, food, leisure etc is perfect, is it not? Norman Tebbit made his infamous "get on yer bike" comment when I was at school. Massive unemployment was our lot, whether or not we did our homework. My advice to students would do "Do as much homework as you feel you can do well and think around the subjects that inspire you." It worked for me! Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:29:40 GMT+1 The Stainless Steel Cat I wonder how the children with little homework will cope if they go on to University where they will have to put in upwards of three or four hours "homework" per night?If this idea catches on, I suspect I'll see a lot more first-years dropping out of their courses due to the "culture shock". Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:24:44 GMT+1 bella Two to three hours per NIGHT??!! What kind of childhood are these people offering their kids? Assuming the school day to be approximately 09:00 to 16:00, with about 1.5 hours out for breaks, that's a 5.5 hours. Add three hours and you have 8.5 hours - an hour longer than a 'standard' office day. Happiest days of your life, eh? Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:09:29 GMT+1 funglestrumpet It is about time the educational establishment studied their history. When this country was leading the world in manufacturing with its reliance on science and technology, we did not rely on bits of paper (qualifications), we relied on talent, which was evidenced by demonstrated ability. Genuinely clever people, i.e. the talented ones, learn what they are interested in and ignore what they are not. This automatically directs students to careers that they are suited for.Homework is just a waste of time for someone with talent who has acquired what was taught in class. Clever people do not willingly waste their time and quickly become disillusioned with the whole school experience if forced to.Furthermore, if teachers are freed from marking homework, they will have more time to prepare more interesting lessons, with obvious learning advantages for all. Win win, or what!?Mel Tisdale Mon 22 Sep 2008 17:09:04 GMT+1 Cat Delighted to hear of a school taking on the 'give my kids lots of homework' parents' brigade. Apart from keeping this lot quiet what is the point of homework? It just seems to disadvantage children who may not have parents willing or able to help or encourage them at home. Mon 22 Sep 2008 16:59:09 GMT+1 ilfra-j Dear Mr. Mair, Your interview with Professor Dean Baker was the best I have heard for months on the financial crisis, ie there is zero public interest in bailing out shareholders,management and chief executives of failing companies and therefore taxpayer's money should not be used for this purpose.Please let us hear Prof. Baker's comments again and again. Ilfra-j Mon 22 Sep 2008 16:53:40 GMT+1 cherrytwiss I agree wholeheartedly with the Headteacher of Tiffin School. It's a nightmare being a parent of 3 children and having to check that they're doing all the work that they're set. Apart from this, I feel that if students are working hard at school every day and then have to come home and do hours more then it is too much. They need time to be with their families, eat with them and pursue their interests, whether that is educational, music or sports. Mon 22 Sep 2008 16:53:01 GMT+1 fiddy50 As a student in at tiffin school, i could quite confidently say that most teachers ignore the idea of "independent study", but now use it as an excuse to set as much homework as often as they like. Mon 22 Sep 2008 16:52:12 GMT+1 steelpulse Too, too much.I am a proud man, Eddie and cannot understand the pressure on me to do more and daily homework on the new language I and perhaps others are learning. The long distance Examiners of these set and tricky tests seem as sceptical of my answers as those Dragon's Den occupants of new products but I suspect it is partly biase or hiding their own ignorance of the right answer - again not unlike the Dragons Den - allegedly.I was fluent in English but suddenly it was the foreign language I had to be fluent (and only fluent) in - or I was deemed to be in articulate and a failure.So no more homework. I think my output already fills several volumes and I certainly aint getting any royalties. Mon 22 Sep 2008 16:51:18 GMT+1