A letter from Grandpa.

Posted in Uncategorized by icttalk on April 22, 2014

There seems to be something of a trend in open letters recently and when I realised that my granddaughter, who I’m sure was only born a few months ago, is starting school in September I felt I had to write one of my own. Nothing focuses the mind like personal circumstances.

Dear Amelie,

Soon you will be starting school so I thought I’d write down my hopes for you.

Despite Mummy and Daddy, like many parents, learning that there is no such thing as parental choice you are off to school with all your options open. My first wish is that in fourteen years you leave with them intact.

While the National Curriculum means you will not be cut adrift on the whims of individuals it does contain some weird things so I’m hoping you get a string of teachers who know how to skirt around the worst of them. I really don’t think you need to learn Roman numerals or to multiply up to 12 x 12. When we have time I’ll explain about decimalisation.

While we’re on the subject of maths I hope you come to love it and that you can say that you’re good at maths and not the maths test. I hope you have teachers who understand that arithmetic is a means and not an end and that understanding beats memorising hands down.

You’ll find that you are pretty much stuck before 1066 in history until you are 11. Where someone so young gets the experience on which to hang concepts like ‘1,500 years ago’ beats me but we can do the good stuff when you come to visit!

I wish you teachers who understand that assessment does not equate to a test and that no one ever says, “We can’t do that because your next school do it.” I also hope that they are familiar with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and that creativity is at the very top of it.

You’ve always been uninhibited with technology, both your camera and Grandma’s iPad, and long may it continue. I hope you enjoy coding but are also taught that there are other vital facets to technology industries like design and graphics. Daddy will tell you that learning real maths is more important than programming and since he’s better qualified in Computer Science than I am I won’t argue with that. I hope for a school that recognises the importance of new literacies like critical use of the Internet and how this contributes just as much to your safety as online stranger danger and privacy.

Don’t worry about SATs either. The only people for whom there are consequences are your unfortunate teachers. Other subjects are just as important. If you have a super confident school that recognises that the National Curriculum is only a minimum you will be doing the National Curriculum + too.

A lot has to go right as you pick your way through the dogma fuelled education system but, between us, we’ll manage.




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  1. patricia1957 said, on March 11, 2015 at 8:50 am

    That is all very wise. I see evidence of adults who do not really understand how the internet works every day and it certainly is a new literacy that young ones must be taught about. You granddadughter is lucky to have both you and her dad to fill in the gaps because I am not sure that there are the skills around yet in primary schools to be sure that this will happen. I’ve been out of teaching for a long time now so I hope that I am wrong.

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