A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Category archive: Socialising

Monday February 18 2008

Alex Singleton has been consorting with the students of Warwick University, where he recently did a speaking engagement.  They couldn’t afford to drink, he says, and they aren’t allowed to smoke.  But it’s worse than that:

Tediously, some of them decided to ask me, over the sound of guitars and drums, about post-Washington Consensus international development theory and how they might get good internships in the City.

He ends his piece thus:

The danger is that by robbing students of the traditional university lifestyles, we will end up creating a workforce of boring people who simply obey and conform. These people might be good at jobs that involve mundanely sitting in cubicles and emailing internal memos. But as we face increasing competition from emerging economies like India and China, it is workers who show creativity and innovative thinking who are most economically crucial.

I doubt this.  The assumption that subsequent creativity can be correlated with how much adolescent mayhem you created strikes me as rather implausible.  Just as likely is that, denied the right to strike out on their own with sex, drugs, rock, roll etc., students will instead get creative with their careers and career plans.  No more likely, though.  But no less.

Actually, I think the best way to stimulate future economic activity is public spending cuts, tax cuts, deregulation, and so on.  Economic signals surely count for more than social habits when you were younger.

Samizdata favours the right to have fun also, and made another bit of this piece its quote of the day for yesterday.  But the Samizdata line on fun, if there is one, is that fun is good simply because it’s fun.

Saturday February 16 2008

Not if the school life of Stoic is anything to go by.

Saturday February 09 2008

I’m mostly watching the rugby today, so my thanks to Johnathan Pearce, who has just done some edublogging for me, here:

Children are naturally inquisitive and rebellious against authority - thank goodness - so my reservations about some of the people who want to school their kids at home are not very large, although I do not dismiss them lightly. I sometimes hear in discussions about home-schooling the old canard about how children educated this way are less well ‘socialised’ than their supposedly more fortunate, state or private-school peers. I doubt this: having myself suffered the joys of state schooling, with all the charms of bullying and indifferent teaching that went with it, the idea of encouraging a possibly more individualistic culture as a result of home schooling is to be welcomed (my education experience was not all bad: I got a good degree in the end, so must have done something right). Many people who have been subjected to more than 11 years of compulsory education in a boarding school or some state school never recover their self-confidence as adults. In any event, the whole point here is that education should not have to follow one ‘ideal’ system at all. As a libertarian, I say let education evolve where it will. Does that mean that Walmart or Barclays Bank should be able to run schools? Yes, why the heck not? I look forward to reading headlines like this: “Education Ltd, Britain’s largest listed schooling company, launched a daring bid for Lycee France, the Paris-listed school chain which has boasted the highest examination result tests for the last five years. The deal, if it goes through, would produce a group to rival that of School Corp, America’s largest education chain by market cap.”

My sentiments exactly.

Commenters raise the specter of home-schooled children being dumbed down by Christian Fundamentalists, rather than smartened up by, you know, us.  Midwesterner responds thus:

My sister has home schooled all of her children in a state that gives home schoolers carte blanc. By state law, the government bodies are forbidden to even test home school children unless they are entering the school system and are being tested for placement.

She is a fundamentalist, the wife of a fundamentalist preacher. She believes in creation and kept computer internet connections out of her house until very recently to prevent access to child inappropriate content. Her definition of child inappropriate.

So how bad did things turn out for those poor helpless children. Four of them have reached college age. All four have gone to college and graduated with full academic scholarships. All in ‘hard’ sciences. 2 have bachelor of science degrees, one is going on farther, the other one just graduated and may go on later. One is now working on a PHD in some extremely mathematical micro electronics. One has a health related degree and wants to work in the 3rd world.

All of them can pick and choose their jobs and are actively recruited by headhunters.

Yup. Sure is dangerous letting fundamentalist parents teach their own children. A lot safer to turn them over to the teacher’s union.

Heh.  Also: pardon his French.

Wednesday February 06 2008

I have never talked with a parent with more than one child, or read anything by a parent with more than one child, who thought that all children are the same.  And this lady is no different:

I am watching my children closely now, with an eye to becoming their teacher. I am doing my best to discern how each child learns, because to my relatively untrained eye, it does appear that each one processes information differently.

She also brushes aside that old canard about home education, to the effect that home educated children won’t learn to socialise.  She is confident that she and hers will simply ... socialise.  During the afternoon.  After a morning being more studious.

I only got serious about socialising, enjoyably and effectively, after I left school.  Most of the home educated children I’ve met have differed from their contemporaries in being almost unnervingly expert at socialising.  They are so good at it that it takes a moment to adjust.  You are dealing with a fully functioning human who merely happens to be about eleven or whatever, rather than with a mere “child”.

Thanks to Daryl Cobranchi for the link.