Monday, December 08, 2008

Not In My Name...

Something struck me the other day (no, not Mrs. C) when I noticed that Inspector Gadget was looking forward to the 2 millionth 'hit' on his blog and current scourge of the Canadian Criminal Classes; Copperfield was not far behind. Both of these writers seem to represent the rank and file members of their profession. I've spoken to a couple of dozen coppers over the last few years and every one of them was familiar with the blogs and agreed that they say in public what every plod says in private.

Now my point is this: I haven't reached the million mark yet and won't do for several months, yet there are five times as many teachers as police. There can only be two possible answers to this conundrum:

a) I am not half as good aJustify Full blog writer as Copperfield or Gadget.
b) I do not represent the majority of my profession.

Now much as I like and agree with both Gadget and Copperfield, I don't think that they are in a completely different league to myself. Therefore I must consider option b) which after listening to Mrs Chalk's latest tales of hopelessness from her school, may well be true. (I have also on one memorable occasion overheard a couple of teachers describing my own book as 'a disgrace')

Now don't start blubbering; I'm far too thick skinned to worry about these things and in any case, I tend to write mainly for my own amusement. However it does raise some interesting questions and maybe I should put a little caveat on the bottom of each post along the lines of 'Caution-Does not reflect majority opinion'

Anyway, enough of that; just remember not to do this in your next lesson

48 comments:

seriousteacher said...

I think you're right, it is because you don't reflect the majority opinion. This is very hard to understand, as often the reasons for problems with behaviour in schools, and the lowering of standards generally, are staring them in the face, yet they won't, or can't , try to change things. Is it because they are fresh from teacher-training and therefore willing to take on board unquestioningly any new initiative thrown at them? It could just be that they work so hard that they haven't the energy to challenge the system when things go wrong.

BJ said...

Perhaps it's because many police are chained to their desk, waiting to fill in some forms most of the time? Teachers invariably have some planning to do, and haven't as much time to arse about on the internet.

cramerj said...

Face it you don't wear body armour or hi vis gear.
Plus the police are hated by a much broader range of people than teachers. You have a limited audience because of this.

Laura said...

No, Frank, I think you do reflect the opinions of a lot of teachers. But why don't more come out of the woodwork? This question has puzzled me for along time. I agree with seriousteacher that some are too fresh and starry-eyed to see it, and others are to work-weary to notice anything outside of their little sphere. Then there is this big category of people, who, as far as I can see, are unwittingly "part of the problem". For all their frustrations with the system, they still allow standards to slip and behaviour to worsen. They ignore the poor spelling and grammar that they would once have corrected, they make maths problems a bit easier, and don't ask for as much depth in English. They would be astonished to see a video of themselves and their classes from 10 or 20 years ago. I believe they've become mediocre for a reason - they (probably subconsciously) don't want it to reflect badly on them personally. Life is simpler if you make your science test easier and leave out harder topics than if you draw attention to yourself by failing the kids. It's a lot easier to let kids be rude and noisy than make a fuss in staff meetings and end up looking like you can't cope. By sheer strength of numbers, the mediocre middle ground are driving the whole process. They will not publicly acknowledge what you are saying because they would be admitting to their own failures. Hmph. That's why I take the mercenary approach and earn a few dollars in relief/substitute teaching. I can't be arsed being part of that.

salegamine said...

Have you considered option c)?

Non Uk resident with no children can relate better to the police blogs than to the teacher ones.

Policing problems tend to be universal, but the one related to teaching are rather specific to the country & culture.

Boy on a bike said...

I think it's because most modern teachers can't read.

The Tefl Tradesman said...

I have to say, Sir, that it's six of one and half a dozen of the other - in my view. So what can you do?

1] Read around a lot more and you will find it improves your writing - try Sue Townsend, Robert Rankin, that Scottish doctor bloke (McCall-Smith?). And take a more critical look at your favourite blogs - just what makes the writing so appealing?

2] Canvass the opinions of your colleagues more often, and then twist them as much as you wish (the opinions, not the colleagues). Actually, I'm not sure you can improve a great deal on this point, as teachers are not coppers, and tend to be tight-lipped middle classish ninnies, whereas our coppers are much more likely to express their thoughts before considering them too much. No offence meant, to either/both groups, but they do tend to be as different as chalk-n-cheese in my view.

So, there you go. Hope that helps, Frankie boy!

PS: surprised to learn there are five times more teachers than coppers. Should be equal numbers of both, I reckon.

Anonymous said...

Bought your book, I'm not a teacher but it gave me insights to my other half's profession. She said the first 3 pages described what she goes through on a daily basis (mind you, she works in a "good" school so I can only imagine the "bad" ones.) Your blog/book only appeals to people who are directly or indirectly (like myself) related to the teaching profession. Most are link to teaching because they are parents, and I guess not all will subscribe to the fact that their angels need some discipline at home.

Having said that, I find myself visiting this blog less and less because of the increasing right wing view stance in your post (I am a minority). I do not advocate OTT PC policies but when you question the wisdom of sacking teachers supporting the BNP, I was appalled to say the least.

John said...

Frank,
I am trying to figure out how tongue in cheek your post was. Assuming it wasn't, I think you have reached the wrong conclusions.

1) The Police blogs, from my subjective impression, seem more prolific than you. I'd say you post 1:3 compared to the Inspector.

2)The police blogs tend to be quite descriptive of their actual day. Your posts are equally amusing, but often pointing to or discussing things already in the media. (admittedly from some quite obscure sources which I only read as a result of your pointers!) I think people like the diary format; they like to follow your day as an illustration of the nonsense you put up with. How do you feel you compare with the slightly more doe-eyed Diary of an NQT? He also tends towards this diary format, though lacks your well matured cynicism.

3) I don’t think earlier comments about the police being more exciting are true. I think I look for in a blog like yours what I look for in fiction, a vivid believable account of a world completely different to mine that gets me thinking about other points of view. Anyone who’s been in the midst of one of the little darlings truly, violently kicking off, with the teacher as the only responsible person in the room, lacking helmet / stab vest / powers of restraint could not say that it lacks excitement (if that’s the right word)!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:34, would you demand the sacking of a teacher who was in a group that advocated the setting up of an independant Islamic state in Britain or the introduction of Sharia Law? Would you object to teachers who were in Sinn Fein,or a fundementalist Jewish sect, the Freemasons or who were homosexual?

Why should a teacher be persecuted for their political beliefs?

Anonymous said...

John @ 11:28 has hit the nail on the head, particularly with his first point. In late spring/early summer I actually thought you'd pretty much given it up.

NUMBER OF POSTS

April 2

May 1

June 12

July 3

August 2

A total of twenty posts over a five-month period isn't going to form the return habit that you need among casual/first-time visitors if you are seeking to build up site traffic.

The Coppersblog Team said...

Ahem, never mind Gadget Frank, I think you'll find Coppersblog passed the two million hits mark a while back...

You need to post more, that's all.

Rhea said...

Whatever you post, I usually enjoy reading.

As for that video, I remember being in a lesson on medieval medicine where the teacher pretended to demonstrate cutting someone's leg off. Not really in the same league though...

Nick! said...

Although the question of how prolific you are certainly will make a difference to both your hits and your customer loyalty, I don't think you can understate the fact that there might just not be that many teachers who've worked out how to use blog-readers, or even read blogs.

Certainly in HE, there are huge segments of the staff, academic and support, to whom this technology is still opaque.

Unrelated to the size of your audience, I have to admit that the right-wing aspect of a few of your recent posts has been a little tiresome, to say the least - not because of your stance, but because of the subsequent silliness it inspires in your readership.

Actually, though, if people promoted that aspect of the site to the internet at large, I reckon you might find a whole new audience, and that has it's own rewards! I try to fire up the Scientologists every now and then myself, but it has never quite worked out right...

Anonymous said...

Anon, 10:34
Why should one automatically assumes the other support another extremist just because he doesn't support one? I don't support any extremist, period! If you are in a profession that calls for you to be impartial, then you should consider if your political affiliation/belief conflicts with your chosen profession, and if you would be able to carry out your professional responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

It's a) i'm afraid.

I bought your book and love it, but the posts since aren't about front line teaching anymore but rather "did you see this in the news"(presumably as you're not front-line teaching anymore). The best blogs are written by the people are doing it first hand everyday.

That said, there aren't as many good teaching blogs as there are police ones either. I'd say To Miss With Love is probably the best but Snuffy - to my mind - is getting a bit self-satisified now.

Milne said...

I think that you are correct. You do not represent the majority of teachers because you don't subscribe to the wimpy left wing views that are the only acceptable ones in any state sector job today.

Granny Smythe said...

Many teachers are part of the problem and I have had to keep my opinions under my hat throughout my career (though I have started to express them more openly recently). In my early career only the TES website and people like lilyofthefield kept me sane amongst all the nutcases who would happily say black was white with a smile on their face.
Now people like yourself and Old Andrew inspire thousands of us the same way.
We are right, they are wrong, they have and continue to completely fuck up education, truth is not a matter of numbers.

Dinoplod said...

Mr Chalk,
You are valued.
Keep posting and don't chase the stars. I would dream of your blog traffic.
Maybe us plod are just more fed up.
I do this at home by the way. Worktime blogging would interfere with my Facebook monitoring.
Cheers,
Dinoplod

Raymond said...

Just a few observations from a sympathetic non-teacher.

1. If you weren't in a minority, you wouldn't be writing the blog, would you? The majority are happy to guddle along with the nonsense.

2. You appear to be a 'master' of mathematics. Presumably a proper one (I have been appalled by the number of 'math' teachers I have met with a very poor grasp of their own subject.) Accordingly, you actually think about things. Most other subjects are packed with twaddle - real maths doesn't allow it. Again, you are in a minority.

3. As others have said; Post more - it's a numbers game. Illustrations and anecdote connecting specifics to 'policy nonsense' are what make Inspector Gadget and the others so compelling. The common factor that you share is dealing with the underclass and a society that has been devalued.

4. As to being 'right wing' - I have no idea what that means any more. The colour of the rosette seems to be irrelevant. I'd prefer 'bullshit free' and 'bullshit rich' as labels. Or do I mean 'Evidence based'?

5. Do keep going. Some of us find more value in blogs such as yours than the mainstream media. For example, I've given up on the BBC as no more than a propaganda department for the government.

Happy days.

Ray.

Julian Meteor said...

I am going to read this blog EVERY day now to help out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
lol
You are my HERO!!!!!!!!
If you were a REAL teacher though, I would NEVEr return - they are EVIL lmao
Keep up the good work ;0)
rofl

some bloke said...

No Frank, you do not represent the majority in your profession because you are a man in a feminised ( " oestrogen soaked " )world.

Anonymous said...

I think:
1. Anecdotes are more interesting than straightforward musings (as others have said). I loved your book which was very "front line".Can't you get others to illustrate your rantings with their own anecdotes (I notice a few in the comments- these could be put in the main blog).

2.Policework has always fascinated the layman - how many T.V. series are there about teachers? (Although medicine ditto and there are few decent blogs about that).

Kevin said...

What is 'right wing' about Chalk's posts? All he's saying is kids should be taught proper subjects in disciplined classrooms.
It's no different to what most old Labour voters believe - it's only the polytechnic lefties in the party who believe in child centred learning and the rest of the crap - mostly because they come, generally, from middle class backgrounds and don't see the harm they're doing to the working class.
I think we have 20 years to save this country from the bullshit bingo crowd, and people like Chalk are desperately needed.
That's from an old school socialist!

James G said...

'Right Wing' has become the derogative term used for anybody who talks common sense nowadays.

As a Country we really are going to the dogs. I'm 57 now so I've been around for a while and I just cannot believe the rubbish that is talked and put forward as sensible ideas by well meaning but misguided politicians, teachers- in fact anybody who is ever interviewed from the public sector!

Nick! said...

Kevin> I think using the term "right wing" was maybe a mistake, at least on my part. I was using old terminology to describe a very new cultural scenario - as Raymond mentioned, like referring to the class system, terms like Right and Left Wing have become anachronistic, with the distinctions between parties being so watery now.

You're probably still finding plenty to relate to in the posts, or have done in the past, to carry you through the slightly odd tone that some of the posts have taken in the last few months.

What I'm talking about is a tone that, despite the intention of the writer, becomes divisive. It's not all the time, but when it happens, it brings out some very unpleasant undertones in people, that I think the blog would be better off leaving to the tabloids and their rabid follow-the-leader hordes...

The assertion people are making about the blog returning to anecdotal journalism from it's current position of news commentary take this in somewhat. While all life is inherently political, there are plenty of blogs already covering the ground, and doing it from a more clearly defined standpoint.

There are certain things that Frank's readers can probably all agree on - shocking parenting is more responsible for children's behaviour than a teacher, bad or good, can ever be, for example, or decisions made by middle-managers or politicians miles from the front-line are generally bad ones.

A person's right to the privacy of their political affiliations in a sensitive role like that of a teacher is one that is interesting to debate, but - as seen here - it never is a debate, and if the blogger in charge isn't going to manage the discussion, it puts more moderate readers in a difficult position.

Because the level of discussion in any situation like that turns stupid and unpleasant remarkably quickly - instead of approaching it as an algebra problem, it becomes an "us versus them" scenario, and that's not helpful, and also isolates a segment of the readership.

Personally, I couldn't give a fuck about being in a debate like that. I don't think the schools are a place for militancy or fundamentalism of any stripe, and I think anyone discussing the state of the youth and the problem of immigration as if one has a causal effect on the other either haven't spent much time around white English kids, or been watching the news all that much lately.

But when the discussions being formed start to sound as if the current state of the culture is somehow favouring fundamentalist Islam over the rights of the BNP, it's got very little to do with the real world - there's a firm and unpleasant bias being formed, and I think an important point being missed.

If nothing else, it means that everybody is looking the other way while Creationism sneaks it's way in!

Nick! said...

Or to put it another way, there's a certain sort of atmosphere where people can anonymously post a comment that casually draws a straight line between racist or terrorist organisations and being gay, without irony, and it go largely unanswered.

Speaking as someone who actually finds the gays, bi and large, a little annoying, and dislikes most minorities and majorities pretty much equally, even I have to double-take at a comment like that, or the fact that nobody else seems to have a problem with it.

Anonymous said...

Some observations from a long time reader of this blog and buyer of the book. I'm a chemical engineer, not a teacher, but both my ex- and current other half are teachers.

Your hit count, and therefore your popularity, are probably down to more factors than you've listed, although the ones you've listed are apposite.

First - you're lazy. I drop by coppersblog two or three times a week, and quite often there's a new post there, which reinforces the idea that I SHOULD keep dropping by there two or three times a week. Here, there's simply less new content. Less new content = less incentive to check for new content. Not rocket science.

Second - the content you post is not interesting enough. The book sold on the back of the fact that it was reportage from the actual frontline. Take a look at your recent posts. They're not the work of a teacher, they're the work of some bloke sitting and reading news sites on the internet and posting links and comments. Some of them even sometimes have education relevance. But I read a newspaper website and the BBC - I've seen these stories. Your opinion of them is not, in itself, interesting enough to keep me coming back. Tell me something I don't already know.

Third - more and more you come across as simply quite an unpleasant, misanthropic person. That can be a successful approach, but you, sir, are no Charlie Brooker. This observation is not unrelated to the fact that you are not, apparently, any longer an actual practicing teacher. Which leads on to

Fourth - you are not, apparently, any longer an actual practicing teacher, the appearance of which fatally compromises any authority you may claim. The book worked well, but now? Who cares what your opinion is? You're just some jerk with a blog. Copperfield, Gadget and Nightjack can say "my opinion matters because I'm DOING the job, despite all the crap". You, on the other hand, come across as just moaning about a job you've left.

Fifth - I showed your blog, and book, to my girlfriends (ex and current) - both teachers. Both gave it a cursory flick through, nodded a bit, chuckled a bit, and moved on. Why? Some of the stuff only applied to "sink" schools, and they didn't want to know about that because they'd never choose to work in such a place. Some of the stuff was recognisable, but that stuff simply didn't interest them because they had already their own strategies for dealing with it. What came across strongly was this: teaching is not a profession that takes any pride in how godawfully hard it is. Policing is. There is a barrack-room camaraderie evident among the police that teachers simply don't have, and that camaraderie, and the tales of how godawfully hard the job is, make for good stories - stories we can't hear anywhere else, because the blogs tell stories that the police wouldn't tell to the public in any other medium.

Sixth - familiarity. EVERYBODY knows what life is like for teachers. Or so we think. We think this because we've all been to school, and therefore spent a long time in the company of teachers. Plus, if we're adults, we very likely KNOW teachers. The teachers of our children, or friends, fellow graduates who couldn't get proper jobs, say, and did a PGCE instead. All of these people are very ready to talk about their jobs. By contrast, most of us know few if any police (they are so much fewer, as you point out), plus those there are don't like to talk shop. Therefore Copperfield et al are offering something we can't get anywhere else, whereas even back when you actually were a teacher, you were offering something in plentiful supply. Now you're just a bloke (see point three) with a dullish blog (see point two) that doesn't update that often (see point one).

Sorry to be negative, but you did ask.

Nick! said...

James G> I've addressed the mistake in using the term "Right Wing"... but I'd argue the point that it's generally (mis)used to describe anyone who says anything that is common sense.

To be honest, going back through the posts, there's only really a couple out of the last twenty where the post propagated a debate that made me feel uncomfortable being around here. And I think it's fairly obvious that one of those was about the BNP sacking. It's unfair of me to judge the blog based on that, but you know how it is - some stuff just sticks with you.

I think you're right, that the country is in a bit of a state. A big part of the reason for that is the middle-management desire to replace autonomy and personal responsibility with rules, Rules and Regulations. When, lets be honest, they don't really know how to behave themselves.

That you accept that it's well-meaning suggests to me that you're a bit more level-headed than many people are about such things. I've just heard a lot of things said in the last couple of years in the UK that have raised uncomfortable memories of living in small-town England, surrounded by bigots, in my youth.

Suzie said...

Thing is, I just like this blog because its funny. I don't know whether you still teach Frank, but you make me laugh in a way that I can't imagine any of the worthy-but-dull teachers at my daughters school could ever do.

Don't quit. Post more often instead!

Anonymous said...

I actually think your book is better than both Copperfields and Gadgets. But Anon 13:20, perhaps rather harshly, does make some very valid points.
You should post more and utilise more experience from the front line, less from the media.
Allowing others to post is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Do apologise if my use of the term "right" wing offended anyone, I didn't mean to put anyone in the same light as BNP.

I suppose I am right wing myself when it comes to subject of teaching, like yourself, I agree parents should be more responsible for their children. Students should at least master the basics before being promoted to the next level etc.

I guess Nick has put it better than I did, a few bad posts is all you need to make an impression. And they did put me off (the comments in them didn't help).

I also agree with the majority that your posts now are mainly "have you seen this" type posts with very little real life story that people can relate to.

Hill said...

Let's face it Chalky, your problem is that you are aiming at an audience (modern state school teachers) who are almost without exception dull, boring people who are always being offended. They won't appreciate your sense of humour and will take everything too seriously.

Why not abandon the teaching posts completely and stick to commenting on stuff in the news or life in general? You're obviously getting dispirited with teachers otherwise you wouldn't have put up this post. Do what you are good at ie being funny.

I've sent you an email with a proposition if you are interested...

Anonymous said...

Frank, although you have been erratic in your postings it hasn't stopped you from being good value when you do post. I only look at oldandrew and you - even the TES forums have got a bit tiresome of late. It HAS been disappointing when you haven't posted for extended periods but that's only because it's an enjoyable read. Your book is both funny and honest- the problem with people suggestng you are 'right wing'(and their subsequent disappointment in you) seems to stem from them having read some of your posts and then pigeon-holing you into a certain stereotype with set political views in their minds. Laura managed to express much more clearly than I did about the basic apathy of some teachers, and I do think that is why you don't get as many 'hits'.

Anonymous said...

I like your posts and agrea with a lot of what you say but even I find your blog unrelentingly negative.

BrainDrain said...

As a teacher of 18 years I can state categorically that you certainly do not reflect the majority opinion in teaching.

You are not naive; you do not blindly accept obvious nonsense; you say what you think without worrying about upsetting people. You do not seem to grovel to the parents, nor endlessly repeat every new mantra in education. You have an wicked and adult sense of humour and you do not appear to be a fan of three letter abbreviations.

In short, you are about 30 years out of date! Stop flogging a dead horse and as Hill suggested, move on.

Anonymous said...

Braindrain misses one important point in telling you to 'move on'. Trends in education usually come full circle eventually.In which case, you are actually ahead of your time.

Anonymous said...

"There can only be two possible answers to this conundrum:

a) I am not half as good a blog writer as Copperfield or Gadget.
b) I do not represent the majority of my profession."

You missed out some other possibilities:

c) All teachers can say what they like about the profession without necessarily fearing for their jobs, while policemen have to keep their opinions much more private. Therefore your blog isn't saying anything new.

d) Coppers' blogs are not only read by coppers, and teachers' blogs are not only read by teachers, but for the reason above, to the average non-police, non-teacher, the coppersblog is more interesting because (a) the stories are more extreme and (b) there's more novelty value because, as you point out, there are far more teachers about.

Bridge said...

It's because teaching isn't sexy. We're stuck with the image of bearded middle-aged men with eblow patches and a dusting of chalk as the model of our profession. The police have Starsky and Hutch, Frank Burnside, The Sweeney and all manner of exciting people as their role models.

Maybe if you drove to school in a car with blue lights and sirens, leaped over the bonnet to collar some young scrote selling Pokemon cards in the playground and called everyone 'Slaaaaaaaaaag' you might up the hit rate.

you slaaaaaaaaag.

Anonymous said...

Can I offer this, I'm sure you won't like it: you're not as entertaining a writer.

Sorry. I read both yours and Inspector Gadget's blogs and while you certainly can write interesting entries I find yours much harder going.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, I shall tell you why: you rely an awful lot on context that is not explicit in the entry.

e.g. "This old chestnut" as a beginning to an entry requires that I go and read another page before understanding what you are talking about. Similarly, "However they seem to be doing their best to prove me wrong" would be easier to follow if it said why, rather than requiring that I go somewhere else, mid paragraph, to find out what you're talking about.

Providing links is excellent of course, but it would be more entertaining if you were writing about your own experiences and then using the links as references rather than simply commenting on the reference, which I (as a reader) have to read first then return to you.

Hope you're thick skinned enough that I haven't upset you.

Anonymous said...

Having said that, I find myself visiting this blog less and less because of the increasing right wing view stance in your post (I am a minority). I do not advocate OTT PC policies but when you question the wisdom of sacking teachers supporting the BNP, I was appalled to say the least.

Quite right, how dare teachers belong to a legal political party! honestly, the cheek of it, thinking they lived in a democracy whatever next.

Clearly anon you are the sort of person the phrase 'part of the problem, rather than solution' was coined for.

Our education system and its practitioners have racial egalitarianism hard-wired into them. Shame mother nature isnt so progressive when it comes to handing out IQ and the like. And education system based on racial egalitarianism is guaranteed to fail its own objectives.

Anonymous said...

If nothing else, it means that everybody is looking the other way while Creationism sneaks it's way in! - Nick

I think the debate about Creationism is a meme that has been encouraged so that left/liberal egalitarians can get to talk tough about Darwinism and evolution. Then unpleasant facts about racial differences and behaviour can be avoided - even though these are vastly more important to everyday life, public policy and in this case education than Creationism.

Nick! said...

I'm going to go ahead and assume that these two anonymouses are the same anonymouse - because they have the same name and speech patterns...

... even though these are vastly more important to everyday life, public policy and in this case education than Creationism.

I wouldn't know about public policy - I'm not a public policy maker. But in everyday life, I see a polarisation in our culture along religious (or non-religious) lines that isn't helpful, and certainly isn't progressive.

My comment about Creationism was a joke, to be honest, but the ideology behind it is one I believe - that having a personal belief system pushed on students as a definitive fact of life isn't appropriate. In a more and more cosmopolitan society, it prepares students for the world they are going to be living in NOT AT ALL.

I feel the same way about the things that I personally believe, as it happens.

But then, I may just be cursed by genetics to not understand your point:

Our education system and its practitioners have racial egalitarianism hard-wired into them. Shame mother nature isnt so progressive when it comes to handing out IQ and the like.

It's possible that you're going WAY over my head, here, so maybe you could clarify what you're saying here. Is it that what race a person is affects their innate intelligence? And their behaviour?

I might have misunderstood, of course - as a second-generation Greek Cypriot, despite having been born into, brought up and through English culture and the school system, it's possible that genetically speaking I'm just too dumb to parse your subtle innuendo.

If I've got it right, I award your progressive and open approach to the behavioural sciences!

Though I find it interesting that you'd argue the idea that religious fundamentalism is making in-roads into our schools, while at the same time taking such a firm stance on the "nature vs nurture" debate.

Anonymous said...

Yes Nick!, indeed we are one and the same person.

Blogger is a bugger and I cant seem to login anymore. Time for a new alias.

Is it that what race a person is affects their innate intelligence? And their behaviour?

YES.

Glad to have cleared that up for you.

Of course environment and culture are important too, no-one would deny that. The reasonable position would be that nature (and therefore race) combined with nurture make up the full package. The debate should be about the degree to which each is important.

But thats not the current debate is it.

The fault line is between those who posit genetic & environmental influences (insane right wing, neo-nazi loonies) and those who disavow the importance of inheritance entirely, the blank slate, egalitarian view (nice Guardian reading types).

as a second-generation Greek Cypriot, despite having been born into, brought up and through English culture and the school system

You trying to pull an ethnic flanker there Nick, are Greeks a significantly different race to the rest of Europe? Nope, not so far as I'm aware. So, you are a white European, like the most of the UK population. I'm part Italian myself.

I'm just too dumb to parse your subtle innuendo.

Where was the subtle innuendo?

Though I find it interesting that you'd argue the idea that religious fundamentalism is making in-roads into our schools, while at the same time taking such a firm stance on the "nature vs nurture" debate.

I'm not arguing that religious fundamentalism is making in-roads into our schools. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to have said that.

My point was that the folk devil of Creationism is raised from time to time and its usually raised from the left/liberal egalitarian quarter. Yet there is little sign of Creationism being adopted into the mainstream education system.

As I said, I think its purpose is as a stick for Guardianistas to wave to try and look like the tough guys on evolution.

Or a head feint if you like. "Dont look at those scary differences in racial IQ. Look over there at those loonies who think there were no dinosaurs!"

Anonymous said...

Nothing to say Nick?

Anonymous said...

Ever wondered, Nick, about just how many (environmental) explanations you've heard for poor black academic performance?

These are some I've heard over the years.

A lack of black teachers.

Consciously white racist teachers (old explanation).

Unconsciously white racist teachers (new explanation).

Unconsciously black racist teachers.

Consciously white racist teaching materials (old explanation).

Unconsciously white racist teaching materials (old explanation).

Low black self-esteem.

Fear of acting white, ie academically.

The soft bigotry of low-expectations.

Any more?

There may be some element of truth in some or all of these but its all so complex. If one cause is posited and then remedied for instance a lack of black teachers and it turns out not to be the remedy then the original explanation was flawed.

Why is an explanation that includes genetic factors not included?

Because it's not allowed to be.

Much better to spend years thrashing about for environmental causes and solutions, wasting generations, time, money etc

Nick! said...

Blimey, anonymous... uh... is that the same anonymous three times there?

Well, anyway, your second reply prompted made me realise that you'd posted a first reply, and I was going to reply to both, because, well, you explained yourself a little better, and actually seemed to be quite rational. I'd even written most of it, and was going to finish it off when dinner was done, because dangit if life hasn't gotten in the way of my "responding to oddly aggressive people on the internet" time.

But in the space of forty minutes, you seem to have done away with the need for dialogue, and have managed to have a much better argument with yourself than I possibly could, so on you go...

Though incidentally, the debate wasn't about whether other races are genetically inferior, it was about why people might not read Frank's website in the same quantities that they do other blogs.

And I mentioned, in passing, my ethnicity, because it became apparent that we were suddenly talking about race. To not mention it and take a point of view on the subject would have been disingenious, and generally I think it's better if people have their cards on the table.

Which now you have. Which is awesome. Good on you.

This is now officially either walk away or argue time, and I've decided that winning an argument on the internet is like being the smartest kid in the Inclusive Learning group.

Go sort out your blogger account, we'll maybe talk when you've got an identity.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Nick, those posts were days apart, blogger only logs the time.

the debate wasn't about whether other races are genetically inferior, it was about why people might not read Frank's website in the same quantities that they do other blogs.

That's how it started off but some people were getting back to elements of the educational debate, which after all is what Frank's blog is about.

I never mentioned inferiority, a negatively loaded term, lets call it difference.

I mentioned, in passing, my ethnicity, because it became apparent that we were suddenly talking about race. To not mention it and take a point of view on the subject would have been disingenious, and generally I think it's better if people have their cards on the table.

Fair play to you on that. I thought you might be playing an ethnic card along the lines of Greeks are not British (ethnically) and therefore your success in the academic system in someway proved the power of culture/environment.

Well, Greeks may not be quite the same ethnicity as Brits but they are very much the same race and I'm not aware of any proof of wild divergence between the IQs of Britain and Greece. I would expect a British child brought up in Greece, speaking Greek and going to Greek schools to conform pretty much to the academic standards there.

I seem to be having major probs with blogger, doesn't seem to like my id. Maybe some glitch on my PC or something to do with my ISP.

Call me Bernard for now!