Thursday, January 04, 2007

Personalised Learning

I've just had a good telling off by Mrs. C for rolling around on the floor hooting with laughter and frightening Humphrey the dog whilst watching the Six O' Clock News item on this topic. It featured a guitar strumming wannabe boyband member explaining how he learns best when things are put in a musical context...

I'm still daft enough to believe that Education has something to do with preparing kids for life in the Real World. Do any of these idiots seriously imagine that when Tarquin goes to work at Sproggins and Son Components, they are going to listen to his request to have the 'Training Manual for New Employees' shouted in Rap Lyrics? Or perhaps he would prefer to learn it via a kinesthetic method, with the Board of Directors presenting the Guidelines in a Dance format?

No, funnily enough he will be told to read the manual just like everybody else.

I am going to write to my bank manager tomorrow, informing him that I have decided that I too prefer to absorb information when it is presented to me in a musical context. Bearing this in mind; next time my Business Account is overdrawn, could he arrange for a trained operatic vocalist to inform me by way of Medieval chanting, accompanied by an orchestra of Lute Players?


Anonymous said...

love it!

Anonymous said...

This amused me too. Do I have to plan three different lessons in one to cater for every individuals learning styles on top of differentiating every task to match the ability of the child? Don't get me wrong I understand that every child's needs is different but this seems a bit mad. Plus in the news clip I saw the kids seemed to be mostly colouring in pretty mind maps. What learning style does this cater for???

Muso-Tim said...

Oh I hate this "Learning Styles" snake oil. I have a challenge to see how it works:

Take a visual learner, an aural learner and a kinaesthetic learner.

Give one a DVD of people playing the piano, the next a CD of people playing the piano, and the third piano lessons - on a piano.

Who do you think would be the best pianist after 3 months?

Even the guy who invented it says he was only making the point that you need to use more than one method to explain - to tell them, show them, sing it to them, have them practise etc. - which teachers have known for years.

Anonymous said...

state education has been an unmitigated disaster. it has ruined the lives of millions, mainly those from poorer backgrounds, to the point where in my more paranoid moments i wonder whether that's the point... it's an establishment conspiracy designed to create a worker underclass for the rich to feed off. (but then i take the pills and remember that's bollocks - it's just down to people listening to a load of pointless, doctrinaire fuckwits with nothing better to do with their lives and an overweening sense of their own importance and worth).

i got into an argument with a young colleague recently. unbelievably, the teacher training colleges are still tearning out peeple who beleev its not thatt importent whether kidz lurn to reed and rite proper.

it's all down to a white male middle class hierarchical society imposing its norms and values and... i forget the rest. grammar? not important. spelling? not important. reading? important, but not the be all and end all, apparently.

so i asked her: would you fly in a plane piloted by a guy who couldn't read the instruction booklet, or take medicine prescribed by a doctor who couldn't spell 'antibiotic', or be represented by a lawyer who couldn't follow the law reports?

i was met with total silence.

bad education for 50% of our society simply precludes those 50% from joining the higher professions.

there are two ways around this. 1) lift everyone as much as possible. 2) lower everyone, so as to remove the differential.

for many years now, we've been trying route (2) with predictable, horrible and tragic consequences for us and our country.

keep up the good work, chalk.

Anonymous said...

"grammar? not important. spelling? not important. reading? important, but not the be all and end all, apparently."
Capitals? Obviously not imprortant either.
Oh how I hate this new fashion for shiftlessness!

Anonymous said...

I tell the staff in my office to 'RTFM' - Read The F**king Manual. I don't sing it to them nor record it on a DVD for them to absorb. If they can't then I sack them (or, more usually, haven't employed idiots in the first place). I suspect I am not the only person like this

Anonymous said...

I really do hate to say this, but...

When tasked with the only ever 'learn by rote' exam that I have ever taken, this was the written exam for the police advanced driving test. It was all a 'learn this and write it when asked' sort of exam.

The only way I could manage to learn so much by memory was, would you believe' to sing it to myself!

It worked too, and I got 95%. The last 5% was a highway code question snuck in.

Robert Moir said...

Do any of these idiots seriously imagine that when Tarquin goes to work at Sproggins and Son Components, they are going to listen to his request to have the 'Training Manual for New Employees' shouted in Rap Lyrics?

I've said it before and doubtless will have cause to say it again: The idiots behind this sort of rubbish are guilty of performing a grave injustice against the very people they are pretending to help.

This sort of mollycoddling approach guarantees that students leave with a total lack of the skills and discipline to progress in higher education, let alone employment.

David said...


• Promote positive values, active citizenship and increased awareness of community and culture

• Encourage positive attitudes to further learning
• Have a positive impact on social exclusion and reduce alienation
• Enable young people to play an active role in decisions which affect them.

• Promote young people’s self-esteem, social development and sense of identity.
• Encourage flexibility and diversity in teaching without detracting from common entitlements

• Promote creativity and higher-order intellectual skills and encourage emotional was well as cognitive development
• Encourage the valuing of all kinds of achievement
• Help young people deal with change and uncertainty and promote their capacity for constructive dissent
• Help teachers to develop professionally, increasing their self-confidence and autonomy.
• Encourage parents to realise their role in supporting children’s education

(Prof Sally Brown University of Stirling)

Now anyone want to tell me where this so called expert (one of my tutors at uni)gets her expertise from? IS there anything in the above that recognises that the TEACHER should actually be the one teaching? Julie Allan another Stirling expert who screams loudly about inclusion regardless of the chaos, freely admits she has never taught in a classroom in her life!

If Riddell et al were good teachers then they would have stayed teaching - the fact that they are now Professors of Inclusion says it all...

Pogo said...


Doesn't seem to say a lot about learning to read, write and count either!

lilyofthefield said...

Does anyone have any idea how we can foster the belief that trying isn't just for losers?

sarah, leeds said...

i was the anon picked up for my lack of capitals by another anon.

guilty as charged: i don't bother to use them in replying to blogs or in emails as it's quicker not to worry about pressing the shift key.

the point, though, is that i know where they should go and when they ought to be used.

there's nothing wrong with slang, with bad spoken and even written grammar (in fiction, for instance), or with failing to use capitals. in the right context.

the problem is that, as the government's own figures show, over half our kids can't use them in the most pressing of contexts - ie, in an english exam.

which is tragedy of massive proportions and should have thousands of teachers, heads and politicians hanging their heads in shame.

staghounds said...

I cannot believe that the audience has exercised so much restraint. Not even ONE commenter has suggested personal learning avenues which he or she might find particularly appealing.

Give yourselves each a self esteem star!

Me said...

Perhaps he won't go for a job in Scroggins and son then?