woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
Stress-inducing without actually being interesting...

This morning was spidermonkey's official assessment for Disabled Student Allowance.  Sounds as though it went well.  He will finally get software that is actually useful to him rather than being kindly told that he can use Word to write his Further Maths papers if that would be helpful. (It isn't.)  At last, DSA gives him access to funding and the expertise of someone who knows which e-pen is best for equations! (Of course, the govt have announced they will stop most of this for next year's uni starters...)  I've already linked to a petition about that.

Meanwhile, squirrelmonkey has come down with a virus just as his exams are starting.  There's only one exam this week, and he'll probably be well enough to dose up on ibuprofen and do his best.  Spoke to school exam officer who says that's the thing to do but she will also send a letter to the exam board to ask for special consideration, but first she needs a letter from the GP.  GP does not want to see patients with viruses who do not need treatment but squirrel can see the Common Ailments Nurse tomorrow and she can write the letter.  But first she needs a letter from the school to request the letter to the school.  School has gone very quiet....  Oh, and it'll cost us 16 quid.

I ought to be marking, but I'm going to watch Le Hobbit (yes, in French - surprisingly good dub) with Squirrel by way of A Little Light Revision...
woolymonkey: (keyboard)
I feel very strongly about this as it would mean no more funding for exactly the support Spidermonkey is looking forward to getting next year. (In fact, he's OK as the changes would come in for the year after him.) Please sign if you agree.
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/63748

Education

Apr. 19th, 2013 11:42 am
woolymonkey: (singe a la licorne)
This is so spot on that I went to listen again and transcribe it.
One of the problems is that we have poured so much time into trying to make sure that children look as though they're achieving more that we've not been prepared to say how do children actually learn?  And one of the answers in that you have to enthuse them for their learning.  You can't make them think, as they so often do in school, "What I'm learning here isn't interesting.  I mustn't read around the subject in case I put the wrong answer in the exam.  The only thing that matters is getting the right test result."
Jenny Russell on Today this morning (2hrs 43 minutes in, if you want to hear the whole thing.)

This is exactly what we've seen with the monkey boys education at secondary school.  Sadly we're still seeing it with Science A Levels at sixth form.  It's not such a problem for squirrel because he has the kind of brain that is good at understanding and at exam technique.  Mugging up the definitions comes easily and doesn't waste much of his time.  For spider, who's dyslexic, it's a huge energy drain that takes time away from real learning, and puts him off further study.

I'm not saying all bright kids are harmed by this.  Squirrel can laugh at the notion that using the word, lexis, in an English answer get you bonus marks , write a thoughtful essay with the word dropped in for fun, and have time over to take a photo of his marked script with a red tick by lexis before the teacher has even seen the rest of the sentence.  The extra challenge of playing the system to score marks only adds to his enjoyment, because it's easy for him.

But it seems pretty clear we are doing education doubly wrong by teaching to tests that test the wrong things.

Science A level rant behind the cut )
woolymonkey: (Default)
Thought I'd post this because the monkey family has been close to the sharp end and reports in the media don't seem to make things clear.  I have no personal axe to grind because Spider managed to pass even with all the problems this year, so he's alright Jack and off to do Science A-Levels.  (In fact, he did great.  Yay! Spider! \o/\o/\o/)  But what happened to others is still unfair. 


Behind a cut to spare those who don't have to care about British school exams... )


woolymonkey: (keyboard)
Spider seems to have survived his GCSE Eng Lit paper. He got questions he liked, anyway. The unseen poem was'The List' by U A Fanthorpe. It doesn't seem to be online anywhere (maybe that's why they call it 'unseen'?) and I'm really curious to read it. Can anyone help?

Meanwhile in History lessons, they've started a new topic: conflict in the Middle East. Spider was doing well at explaining how tensions arose after WW2... until someone pointed out a crucial spelling mistake. It seems the Jews wanted more Plastecine. Sometimes the dyslexic world is much nicer than the normal one.

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