Thursday, 18 April 2013

That time of year again

It's exam time again for so many young people. I feel so dreadfully sorry for them and angry that they have to conform to these standardised tests that teach them nothing. I feel especially sad because it is A's turn this year although its not her first test. She is being tested in her Maths and Literacy, aged 7, and is 'training' for it now - the bubble of sadness I feel about this rises in my throat. We already have had plenty of meltdowns about Maths and I have tried introducing it into everyday life with a little success, but mostly we have tantrums and self-loathing when it comes to the sheet of homework she has to do every week.

"I am rubbish!"
"I can't do this and everyone else can!"
"You hate me cos I got one wrong!"

Eh? Where is all this coming from? Poor little mite has 30 boring questions again and again, week after week of sums. Drilling. Parrot fashion. Rote learning.

"For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam! Please climb that tree!"

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid" - Albert Einstein

But when she is really interested her eyes light up, all blue and wide-eyed, taking in the information hungrily. I read her books 'far above her age' and she listens intently, staring at the ceiling lying in bed while her sister snores after the first page. She asks questions about what the words mean, why people say what they say, she asks questions any adult would ask. And if I ask her about the book the next day I know she has understood it perfectly, because she is interested.

So as we approach the SAT's exams, we will be away in Corfu- learning through language, and culture, through food and nature, through travel and transport. She will write in her diary which is already packed with her glue and scissors ready to stick in any curious little tit-bits. A far richer part of her education.

Why I hate school but love education - Suli Breaks

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