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David Porter » Entries tagged with "Education"

The Principle Elements of Examining Secondary School Drama

The assessment criteria for examining secondary school drama is quite simple: give students a vocabulary and clear framework for what works and let them learn by experiment. This article was first published on Suite 101, January 2013. In the 1960s and much of the following decade, where there was British school drama going on it was unstructured and delivered by a handful of inspired devotees who had seen the enormous potential of getting teenagers to roleplay, simulate and make-believe.Nobody thought it was possible to evaluate significantly drama work for examination purposes. When the National Curriculum arrived in the late 1980s drama was not included in the 10 core subjects, but curriculum drama began to come under pressure to come up with some examinable criteria. The Arts Council report Drama in Schools (2003) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101, Drama Teaching

No Apology for Putting History at the Top of Today’s Agenda for Young People

This article was first published on Suite 101, November 2012. It is republished now as it is still timely. Although computers never forget, the digital age creates a kind of permanent present. Society neglects its past roots at its peril. This is a hot Westminster topic.   Discussion about history suggests clever quotations. We learn from history that we don’t learn from history (attributed to Oscar Wilde) and those who don’t learn from history are condemned to learn it over and over again (attributed to Mao Tse Tung), spring to mind. George Orwell’s novel Nineteen-Eighty Four (1948) created Big Brother with the chilling slogan: He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future. Today, in a watched society, its both true and relevant. English writer LP Hartley (1895-1972) … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Called into Question: the School Examination System

First published on 8 December 2011 on Suite 101, this article opened with: ‘Another day, another scandal. Journalists open the amazed eyes of British voters, taxpayers and students to exams abuse and now ‘something must be done!” In the past year several things have started to /be done’ and more will follow. It is timely to republish it here. After years of controversy about exam grade inflation and ‘dumbing down’, where results in both GCSE and A level exams improve year on year, in December 2011 the Daily Telegraph exposed what it calls: ‘Cheating the system, how examiners tip off teachers’. The main thrust of the expose was that courses and seminars run by chief and senior examiners for teachers during the year at a cost of £120 to £230 a day, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

University Challenges of Cash, Costs, Worth and Perceptions

As UK universities start another academic year, the horizon is still smoking from the rows about debt and financing. But those aren’t the only issues. Just ahead of the November 2010 disturbances/demonstrations, Education Editor of The Daily Telegraph, Graeme Paton wrote that the cost of a degree had ‘tripled in 20 years’. That was before the increase to £9000 a year that the demonstrators were protesting about. Paton’s figures were average £6360 a year tuition and accommodation, compared with £1545 in the late 1980s, which was higher than the rise in family incomes over the same period, taking into account parental contributions and grants/loans. The debate centred, and still does, on ‘pricing students out of university education’. Always Complications Figures of potential future graduate debt fluctuated wildly, depending on the side of the ideological … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Modernist/Futuristic Architecture: Shaping Lives, People, History

Modernism is not new: yesterday’s modernist architecture becomes today’s joke becomes tomorrow’s nostalgia. But like all art, it progresses age by age. Architects cannot start with completely blank paper. There are planning laws, neighbouring older property, local traditions, geography, topography, space, transport, utilities, client needs, economics and political constraints to take into account in every design. Most architects also yearn to make an artistic, creative, innovative and original impact, and ‘futuristic dreaming’ has frequently inspired them. Obsession with the future is an understandable human trait, reflected in things people do, say, wear, eat and the spaces they live in. Nowadays, such modernism or futurism, is mixed with concern for the environment and resources, with energy and cost, so ‘eco’ and ‘sustainable’ have become part of the language landscape. Modernism’s Past According to Trend Hunter: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Universities of Tomorrow May be Entirely in Cyberspace

As higher education costs rocket, technology advances apace, everybody could soon get a degree online from home. But it would mean a major cultural shift. All economies under stress, as most of the world’s are in 2010, look to reduce expenditure and raise revenue. Universities have long ceased to be ivory towers, above such grubby concerns. As debate polarises around student fees/debt, quality and range of degree curricula, and young adults decide for financial/debt reasons, not to go away for 3 or so years, it’s time to wonder if future universities are almost entirely on-line, but harnessing an old idea. Correspondence Courses: An Idea That Worked Correspondence courses are old fashioned. They have been around, in Britain certainly, for over 200 years and were a means for people to improve their minds, gain … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Past History is Key to the Present; Present is Key to the Future

The historical/heritage nostalgia industry is growing, yet history teaching is becoming a thing of the past. Should history be given new-found importance?   Politically, the need for people to know and learn from the past (their own and others’) is crucial. Whether it’s conflicts in the Middle East, India/Pakistan or Northern Ireland, without an understanding of local history, nobody progresses improvements. Culturally, in religions/faiths, why/how/what people behave, wear, think is vital knowledge. Where grievances go back centuries, understanding causes of events is essential. It’s not easy to predict the future accurately, nor understand the present without a grasp of the past, nor see how movements flow in evolution, such as modernism to postmodernism. Economically, cultural/historical tourism is part of a growth global industry. Even movie tourism has some element of historical enjoyment and re-enactment … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

How Second World War Still Fascinates, Horrifies and Educates

  People love historical battle re-enactments, but WW2 has unique appeal. There are vast quantities of artifacts to stir memory and teach the next generation. There are lots of aphorisms about people learning from history, including that people don’t learn from history; that people learn about history not to make the same mistakes, and that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. True or not, the fact remains, people are endlessly fascinated by the Second World War’s history; and many feel that younger generations need to know it too. It’s guessed that the length of time devoted to footage of and about that War on British television alone has already exceeded the length of the actual conflict, 1939-1945. That’s without counting movies, diaries/recollections, historical books and novels that have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Schools of the Future May Not Be Actual Buildings at All

As the UK schools’ rebuilding programme is slashed, now could be the right time to wonder about tomorrow’s education in custom-made structures. Britain’s schools and colleges are currently wrestling with public spending restrictions. Rapid rethinking is being done on what to spend on updating worn-out, often crumbling infrastructure. The tension between perceived quality teaching and learning in state-of-the-art schools, and what taxpayers and government are prepared to pay, is tangible. Webster’s Dictionary defines education as “the process of educating or teaching….” Anybody digging deeper into this finds it necessary to define knowledge, skills, understanding, character, development. There is, in short, no universally agreed definition of education nor how it should be accessed. Teachers’ Mind Resources opened a debate on educational definitions in the early part of this century. The definitive meaning is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101