The path to education

All parents want their offspring to be educated, to enable them to live in society in a viable manner. All parents would surely want their children to acquire such skills as necessary to enable them to enjoy a life of security, stability, and a degree of comfort.

In this expectation, parents and teachers have a joint responsibility. The parents to teach personal habits, social skills, and morality. The teachers initially to teach the children to manipulate numbers and words; to understand the significance of places, the relevance of the past, and the way things work through asking why is it so?; and, in secondary school, to teach appropriate content, associated with the acquisition of necessary skills.

Because schools introduce cross-ethnic contact, which homes generally do not, teachers would guide the development of mutual cross-cultural respect, associated with good behaviour.

One would not expect teachers to be child-minders, or to teach personal hygiene, or to decide what is taught in class. As professionals, they would be responsible for how their students are taught, and to ensure that the students benefit from their time in school each year by acquiring requisite learning before being promoted. The teachers would not introduce their politics, religion, or social beliefs into their classrooms, or follow newly-created fads in teaching which are not evidence-based.

Avoiding fads may be difficult, were teacher-training institutions to create these fads, especially when wrapped in jargon-phrases of an extreme high level of abstraction.

As for what is taught, that is for the community to decide. In this decision, parents are led by their elected political leaders, supported professionally by competent bureaucrats possessing appropriate qualifications. What is taught would obviously have to meet the needs of the nation.

In the arena of literacy, there should be no place for the shibboleth that there is no intrinsic meaning in any word or combination of words. Students need to acquire relevant content while learning how to learn; and therefore not to expect that Google, or the computer, or the calculating machine are adequate substitutes for knowledge of both process and content.

The human brain is here to be used, developed – and used again. That would be the path to education.