The Treehorn Express
Treehorn was ignored by his parents, teachers and principal because he looked like being a little nuisance. The author of The Shrinking of Treehorn , Florence Patty Heidi was able to look at the world through Treehorn’s feelings and tell his story so well. Not too many adults are able to do this. It is not that they lack sympathy or love. They just lack feeling.
Albert Cullum, a primary school teacher, was another author who was able to see classroom interaction through the feelings of ordinary pupils. His book “ The Geranium on the Window Sill Just Died But Teachers You Went Right On” is described as “a masterpiece, which…should be on every reading list of teachers, lest they forget how children see and feel.” This book, too, has outstanding illustrations. When the pupil talks to the principal, it could be when He brings the dreaded Naplan tests to the classroom, ready for the ordeal.[Well, that’s what it reminded me of.]
Yes, Mr. Principal,
I will sing your song.
you are always right.
you are God!
Care for Kids; they are being exploited
‘Care for Kids’ was the theme for The International Year of the Child, sponsored by UNESCO in 1979. It was a year that was intended to focus attention on the well-being of all children in all sorts of situations, in the hope that the caring might last. It didn’t, as you well know.
Just listen to the catchy tune composed by Australian Peter Best at the time; and, in this case, used at a parent rally in Adelaide last year. Sing along:
It’s all gone. The caring notion has disappeared from the schooling landscape since managerialism drained the teaching-learning act of its effectiveness in the late 1980s and 90s. Sciolists and the completely-inexperienced took over all forms of schooling. Feelings and care seemed to leak out of systems, world wide. Even professional organisations lost the function of feeling. Wouldn’t the world now be a better place now if children were keen on learning, on achieving as much as possible, able to accept challenges cheerfully, free to learn as much as possible about all sorts of things, free to be creative and appreciative of things aesthetic, musically competent; and real social beings, able to get along with anyone in any circumstance…..and became happier and more competent as the school years unrolled….AND SCHOOLS FELT FREE TO PROVIDE? Internecine distaste and interpersonal grievances would be unknown.
It was possible. The year 2000 was a target year for all of this. [Refer to summaries of all education and schooling conferences in the 80s and 90s for the detail] It was on the way.
Then George Bush came along. The world would certainly be a happier and more advanced place if the AASA [American Association of School Administrators] , a professional body of 14,000 education leaders, CEOs and School District leaders, had told George B to jump in the lake when he introduced the evil NCLB in 2001. The Association had the chance and blew it. Later, so-called professional associations in other countries also sat on the fence or followed the Klein-call. Bugger the kids.
The exploiters moved in, demanding that schools emphasize a few measureable basics. The rest of the curriculum did not matter. The geranium died as teachers approved this movement for hard-data accumulation through fear-driven schooling by their non-feeling inaction. It was sad to witness.
Back to the 1979 CARE FOR KIDS theme.
The Year of the Child emphasised the UNESCO Declaration of the Rights of the Child. http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp
It became International Law. We have to ask ourselves if fear-driven schooling and the treatment of pupils as test scores for nefarious reasons is not a breach of International Law by themselves. But there’s more…
The declaration says that the child must be enabled to …”develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.
“The child, for the full and harmonious development of personality, needs love and understanding.”
“ The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. The child shall be given an education which will promote a general culture and enable the child, on the basis of equal opportunity, to develop abilities, individual judgement. and a sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for education and guidance.”
“The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation.”
“The child shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that energy and talents should be devoted to the welfare of others.”
CONSIDER that the hard-data blanket testing regimes, first introduced into the USA in 2001 and known by various names in a number of countries, is so obviously cruel to children, neglectful of their holistic progress and renders them to numbers on programs; all designed to destroy their self-respect for the sake of measurement. In view of the Declaration of Rights, some governments and their henchmen have to be legally culpable.
The big-time exploiters are now making the most of the toxic conditions and plan to introduce multi-billion programs that destroy ‘freedom and dignity’; using the created circumstances [Kleinist tactics in Australia, for instance] for the sake of profit.
Surely these exploiters must be charged for the breaching of international law enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
But, how are the legal processes initiated? Does UNESCO initiate? They presented the charter to the UN. Who knows?
The money-hungry exploiters certainly need to be judged for their proposed treatment of children. Who dares?
1. Worth billions, who will get the Murdoch franchise to set-up and peddle the high-digital programs and equipment in Australia? ACER ? ‘The Australian’ ?
2. What do our learned societies [e.g. ACEL and ACE] think; and what will our professional organisations [e.g. APPA and ASPA] do?
Kleinist : - Sounds pretty good to me.
Mugwump : - Who cares ?
Eichmannist :- I’ll just do as I am told.
Classroom Teacher:- How do I teach my kids to learn how to learn and love it with all these blanket tests and set digital programs and machines everywhere/ Give me a break.
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