Wednesday, October 17, 2007

schools and learning

It's over! The film has been made, edited, submitted and finally screened. The premiere was last night (to rave reviews). V. Prin was there to support the cause and so were all the parents and children. Our film stood up marvellously to the work from neighbouring schools - even to neighbouring high schools. I understand why you were being so pedantic now V.Prin whispers to me during the premiere.

I was talking to the organiser of the event afterwards and it turns out that they might not get funding to re-create the event and training next year. This is not good. V.Prin is especially supportive of school events that go beyond English and Mathematics and so am I. Unfortunately schools are suffering the paradox of only being funded for core subjects but at the same time being EXPECTED to SOLVE the problems of the world. Shitty kids - apparently schools are to blame. Overweight kids - apparently schools are to blame. A valueless society - apparently schools are to blame. Apparently many parents don't parent anymore, this is my personal opinion but in any case we're expected to solve these problems but the only programs that are ever valued (with money and support) are programs involving numeracy and English. It's frustrating.

Anyway, this morning I got to school and found out that one of our little girls has qualified for a specific sport event - state level. Soon it will be Nationals - she's really that talented and I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up competing for Australia one day in her event. As it also happens she's not doing so well academically - but these sporting events; they are really her forte and indeed I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is her ticket out of hellsville - really. Unfortunately things are such that the things she does well aren't recognised properly by the powers that be. The school itself has poured money into the programs that help her (and others like her) but that's been off our own bat and I know that if she had gone to another school she wouldn't have had the chance to develop these particular talents because they are too far out from what is valued in schools to teach. In short, it's not English or Maths - and it can't be quantified so therefore it's not seen as important.

Schools these days are so tied by quantifying results to everyone around us (parents, high schools, the media, the government) that anything that can't be quantified gets put on the backburner as a "nice idea buuuuut..." - and that's what is happening to this film making thing – never mind that it ties in with literacy, decision making skills, art, technology, organisation and planning skills, critical thinking etc - but apparently these can't be measured by some crappy standardised test so they aren't seen as important. Sigh - and what of those kids that aren't going to ever make it based on their maths scores? Where do they fit in when it comes to the current education climate? You can bet if their programs are being devalued then they are feeling devalued too.

In other news I've started another photography class, this one focuses on portraits. In the last class I was frustrated by one of the other students. He constantly talked over the top of the teacher and was basically the kind of person I hate - acts superior, few brain cells, big mouth, arrogant, flirted with the only married woman in the class. Boo to all that. In this class everyone seems nice and all but the teacher is a nutter. Firstly he tells us that we won't actually need our cameras because he's very "theoretical" and then he says that in order to get discussion going he's going to pick on us individually until we start talking. So when he mused the other night -"What *is* a portrait anyway?" and then turned around and suddenly pointed right at my nose and shouted "YOU! WHAT DO YOU THINK?" I immediately felt like I was back in high school - my mouth went completely dry and could hardly answer. I'm a bit scared of him. I have no idea how we are going to learn about portrait taking without using our cameras ... should be err..something something.

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