What did you learn today?
When I was at school, the teachers were expected to teach me the ‘three Rs’. For those youngsters amongst you that is Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Whichever way you look at it, that is wrong in the literate package of reading, spelling & speaking & listening! I never understood how that set a good example for the teaching and learning of English but you know what I mean.
In a very interesting article in the TES (Sept.3rd 2010) the work of Film Education was outlined. They are due to run their 15th annual National Schools Film Week from October 14th. During the week over 2,500 free screenings will be held in more than 500 cinemas across the country. Apparently, many schools have introduced film clubs which cater for all ages and combine entertainment with a closer look at some of the cinema classics.
The article in question not only advertised the forthcoming week but also had some suggestions for preparatory work that teachers could consider. Many of the screenings will have experts available to introduce the film or to answer questions afterwards. Very sensible thought I but on further reading, the preparation is about the children’s behaviour!
It would appear that the experience of being in a large auditorium in darkness with huge surround sound and wonderful graphics is not enough to keep the concentration of many children. They cannot last more than a few minutes without talking, texting or eating. Now, in my opinion, this is a sad indictment of children’s understanding of how to behave in a public place.
But what really shocked me was that teachers are expected to instil the correct behaviour!
Going to the cinema was, for many years, something families did together. As one got older, it was an activity you would do with friends. It is only in recent years that large cinema complexes have seen the financial benefits of giving mass ticket allocations to schools for screening at off peak times. This may well be interpreted that, at these times, the children are going to school ‘at the cinema’ and the responsibility for behaviour falls firmly on the shoulders of staff accompanying them. The general public may well pass comments onto staff about the behaviour but should the teaching of how to behave in this public place by down to schools?
For a long time now, the curriculum included social as well as academic subjects. The sciences, English & maths now sit comfortably alongside Personal, Social & Health Education and philosophy. Schools also have a behaviour policy which will outline the expected model behaviour together with rewards and sanctions. However I ask again, should schools be expected to be where children learn appropriate behaviour from scratch or should they reinforce the behaviour that is expected by society and therefore should start at home?
What would your parents have said if when they asked what you had learnt at school your reply was ‘How to behave myself’!