Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Gatto video!

Other short videos
Women: Know Your Limits
Einstein: The Autism Connection


Enforced schooling to 18 opposed Teenagers shouldn't be "coerced" into staying on in education... Teachers are against "coercion and the threat of criminal/civil action to make students stay on in education [as] compulsion is not the way to motivate young people".

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Audio Links

Kids learn out loud
Free audiobooks

Educational abuse

Sats are child abuse is a letter by someone who volunteered to assist in the administering of Sats (National Standard Attainment Tests) describing what she saw and how the experience was a confirmation of the whole process and as "tantamount to institutionalised child abuse."

Elsewhere I read that:

"The Government Guidance 2006 on preventing child abuse Working Together to Safeguard Children, states, at Paragraph 1.31, that Emotional Abuse may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person."

The fact that children are put through SATS only to meet the needs of other persons was presented as the basis for labelling SATS as a form of child abuse.

It's great to see a little awakening going on around this issue. Is it real? Child abuse behind school gates is a research paper student abuse in school by teachers that can be read online.

Now this is really spooky: guess the name of the standardised instrument used in the above study to test students and identify their past traumatic school events - Sats (Student Alienation and Trauma Survey)!

I'll leave you today with a little bit of John Taylor Gatto:

JB: Would you comment on the idea that grading on the curve, which I presume most schools do, is a way to put in a type of bell curve social stratification...

JTG: In order to control everybody, certain strategic courses were undertaken in forced schooling... Somewhere in the age of 12, the idea was to set everyone suddenly in competition with each other, and produce visible marks of rank everyone, so that no matter how secure you were in your understanding of something, there would always be people you could see who had been visibly recognized as your masters. And according to Hegel and a number of other thinkers, this constant "alienation" would lead to the kind of society which could be placed under the direction of certified experts that the state, and the corporate world, found safe and productive!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

NAS & home schooling

This month's Communication, the magazine of the National Autistic Society, mentions home schooling.

Yes, it says home schooling, not home education! This is what it says:

The law says that children must receive an education - not that they must go to school - and many parents of children with SEN choose to educate their children at home.

We are planning a feature on home schooling for a future issue of Communication magazine and would love to hear about your experiences for possible inclusion in the piece.

Why have you chosen to home school?

What have been the pitfalls and advantages?

Have you been home schooled?

What was it like for you?

Email your experiences to:
(with the words Home schooling in the subject line)
or write to: The Editor, Communication, NAS, 393 City Road, London EC1V 1NG. Please include full contact details, including an email address, if you have one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Photo & Quote

Today's Quote - John Holt
Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors, but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy (or any other courtesy, for that matter) to children. Yet it is important that we should, because they are perceptive and sensitive, and very easily hurt, humiliated, and discouraged.

A maioria de nós tem suficiente prudência com outros adultos para não indicar os seus erros, mas apenas uma pequena minoria está pronta a estender esta cortesia (ou qualquer outra cortesia, já que estamos a falar nisto) às crianças. Contudo, isto é importante e algo que devemos fazer, uma vez que as crianças são perceptivas e sensíveis, e é muito fácil feri-las, humilhá-las e desanimá-las.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Compulsory Education

Today's quote
The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their common sense. - Gilbert K. Chesterton

On the news: some think that going to school should be compulsory.

Moving on from conventional to virtual reality, an article about the exponential mushrooming of Second Life briefly mentions how "sufferers of Asperger's Syndrome have been helped by virtual gaming."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

John Holt

What is essential is to realize that children learn independently, not in bunches; that they learn out of interest and curiosity, not to please or appease the adults in power; and that they ought to be in control of their own learning, deciding for themselves what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.

John Holt
How Children Learn

O que é essencial é realizar que as crianças aprendem independentemente e não em grupos; que aprendem devido ao seu interesse e à sua curiosidade, e não devido ao desejo de agradar ou satisfazer os adultos que têm o poder; e que elas devem ter controle sobre a sua própria aprendizagem, decidindo por elas próprias o que querem aprender e como o querem fazer.

John Holt em Como as crianças aprendem

Friday, May 25, 2007

Another photo

...and a bit of John Holt:

Nobody starts off stupid. You have only to watch babies and infants and see that they show a desire and ability to learn that in an older person we might call genius. But what happens, as we get older, to this extraordinary capacity for learning and intellectual growth?

What happens is that it is destroyed, and more than by any other other one thing, by the process that we misname education - a process that goes on in most homes and schools. We adults destroy most of the intellectual and creative capacity of children by the things we do to them or make them do. We destroy this capacity above all by making them afraid, afraid of not doing what other people want, of not pleasing, of making mistakes, of failing, of being wrong. Thus we make them afraid to gamble, afraid to experiment, afraid to try the difficult and the unknown.

We destroy the disinterested (I do not mean uninterested) love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encoraging them to work for petty and contemptible rewards - gold starts, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall... - in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.

We encourage them to feel that the end and the aim of all they do in school is nothing more than to get a good mark on a test, or to impress someone with what they seem to know. We kill not only their curiosity but their feeling that it is a good and admirable thing to be curious, so that by the age of ten most of them will not ask questions, and will show a good deal of scorn for the few who do.

Today's links: check out school roll detective's comments and the urban dictionary's definitions of education.

… e um pouco de John Holt:

Ninguém nasce estúpido. Temos de apenas prestar atenção aos bebés e a criancas para vermos que elas demonstram um desejo e uma capacidade de aprender que diriamos ser de génio em qualquer pessoa mais velha . Mas o que acontecea esta capacidade extraordinária para a aprendizagem e o crescimento intelectual quando começamos a ficar mais velhos?

O que acontece é que ela é destruída... pelo processo a que erradamente chamamos de educação - um processo que acontece em casa e nas escolas. Nós, os adultos, destruímos a maior parte da capacidade intelectual e criativa das crianças através das coisas que lhes fazemos ou das que as fazemos fazer. Destruímos esta capacidade sobretudo ao torná-las receosas, com medo de não fazerem o que outras pessoas querem, de não as satisfazerem, de fazerem erros, de falharem, de se enganarem. Desde modo fazemos com que se tornem medrosos de experimentar, de tentar o difícil e o desconhecido.

Nós destruímos o amor desinteressado (não quero com isto dizer 'a falta de interesse') das crianças pela aprendizagem, que é fortíssimo quando são pequenas, quando as encorajamos a trabalhar para receberem recompensas triviais e desprezíveis - estrelinhas de papel dourado ou testes marcados com 100% e pendurados na parede… - ou seja, pela satisfação ignóbil de se sentirem melhores do que os outros.

Incentivamo-los a sentirem que o objectivo e o propósito de tudo que fazem na escola não é mais do que terem boas notas nos testes ou para impressionarem os outros com o que parecem saber. Matamos não apenas a sua curiosidade mas a sensação de que ser-se curioso é uma coisa boa e admirável, de modo que quando cheguam aos dez anos de idade, a maior parte deles já não faz perguntas mas demonstra desprezo aos poucos que ainda as fazem.

Thinking Bloggers Award

Gill, Lucy and EF have kindly tagged me for a Thinking Blogger Award!

The official rules for participation in the Thinking Blogger Awards meme are as follows:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

I'm assuming I'm not supposed to tag Gill, Lucy and EF back, which is making this a little harder... but here it goes:

5 Blogs That Make Me Think

Dare to know
Joshua Muggleton
Radio Free School
Islamic Homeschool Diary
Gente do meu tempo

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Children Must Learn

If you're interested in the history of compulsory education you might like to watch this 12mn video. About 8mns into the film, made in 1940, notice the propaganda and the kinds of messages children were receiving at school - notice carefully chosen passages from books inciting dissatisfaction with the promises of consumerism and the banking system.

"Education is a system of imposed ignorance." - Noam Chomsky

Photo & Quotes

Today's Quotes

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. - Buckminster Fuller

Real change happens in steps too small to measure and at the corner of the eye. - Stan Hodson

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible. - Virginia Satir

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another photo

Thanks to Fiona Nicholson for the following information

Parliamentary Questions on Home Education

Yesterday in Parliament Jim Knight Secretary of State for Schools provided 3 written answers to questions about home education.

Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley, Labour) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of children who receive education at home; and if he will make a statement.

Jim Knight (Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills) | Hansard source
We do not collect information about the number of children whose education is arranged by their parents. A recent study on the prevalence of home education in England, conducted by York Consulting estimated that there were around 16,000 children being educated at home that were known to the local authority. We have not made any estimate of the number of home educated children that are not known to their local authority.

Sarah Teather (Brent East, Liberal Democrat) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what advice he has given local education authorities on monitoring the emotional and physical welfare of home-educated children.

Jim Knight (Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills) | Hansard source
We have recently published draft guidelines which set out advice to local authorities and home educating parents on their respective responsibilities. In the guidelines we refer local authorities and all agencies to the principles set out in "Working Together to Safeguard Children" (Home Office/Department off Health/DfES/ Welsh Office, 1999). The guidelines also explain that section 175(1) of the Education Act 2002 requires local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. If there are welfare concerns about any child, including a home educated child, the local authority can insist on seeing the child concerned to make appropriate inquiries.

Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley, Labour) | Hansard source
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to ensure that education given at home is to the same standard as that in schools.

Jim Knight (Minister of State (Schools and 14-19 Learners), Department for Education and Skills) | Hansard source
The Government believe that for most children school is the best place for them to be educated. However, there are circumstances where parents choose to educate their children at home, and we respect the decisions that these parents have made. On 8 May we published draft guidelines for consultation which set out how local authorities can best support home educating parents. Home educating parents must provide a suitable education for their children. Local authorities can make inquiries to establish whether suitable education is being provided, using section 437(1) of the Education Act 1996 to support their inquiries with a formal notice where necessary. The parents of any child who is not receiving an adequate education may be served with a school attendance order.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A photo and a reply

Got a 4 page reply from the House of Commons

Dear Ms ...
With reference to our recent correspondence regarding children with autism and their schooling needs, and my subsequent letter to the Department for Education and Skills.

I have now received a response from Andrew Adonis, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, and enclose a copy....

[the above was part of the covering letter from Don Foster MP; what follows is from Andrew Adonis]

Dear Don,
Thank you for your letter of 20 April, addressed to Alan Johnson, enclosing correspondence from your constituent, Ms... in connection with the National Autistic Society's (NAS) make school make sense campaign.

The report the NAS has published as part of the campaign certainly highlights issues of concern. The 3 areas which the report focuses on - that

1) children with autism should be educated in a setting which is appropriate to their needs

2) teachers who teach children with autism should have an awareness and understanding of autism

3) schools should provide the right support for children with autism

are all broad aims which the department fully supports. In fact, Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): Good Practice Guidance, which this Department and the Department of Health published in 2002 said that

1) there should be a range of provision to meet the range of autistic children's needs and that all those who plan and provide

2) all those who plan and provide for children with ASDs should have some knowledge and understanding of autism.

The Guidance also set out what an autism friendly school should do.

Schools and local authorities have a duty to identify, assess and make suitable provision for all children with special educational needs (SEN), including those with autism, and the SEN Code of Practice gives them guidance on how they can meet these duties.

...However, there is still more to do - all children, no matter where they live, should have access to provision which properly meets their needs - and there are particular areas of concern, such as the number of autistic children who are excluded from school...

[then follows a whole page on improving teacher and staff training, and a paragraph on guidance on exclusion]

Schools also have a legal duty under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not to discriminate against disabled pupils by excluding them from school because of their disability. The definition of disability under the Act cover pupils with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental impairments.

I would like to assure you that the Secretary of State and his colleagues attach a high priority to helping schools prevent and combat bullying: it is a serious problem which puts the emotional well being and educational achievement of pupils at risk. No child should have to suffer the pain and the indignity of bullying. Protecting children from fear and intimidation is a pre-requisite to raising school standards.

[on the final paragraph he talks about anti-bullying policies and so on... pretty words... pity they don't reflect reality... I used to think they meant something; but then I woke up...]

Monday, May 21, 2007


Violence 'a problem for children'

Violence is seen as a "major problem for young people" by more than 80% of 11 to 16-year-olds, according to a survey for a children's charity.

The NSPCC survey found that:

42% of children had been hit, punched or kicked at secondary school

75% had been bullied at school

81% said violence was "a major problem for young people nowadays"

And it left them fearful, with:

22% frightened of violence towards them at school

38% "really scared" of attacks against them by young people they did not know.

A violência é “um problema para crianças”

A violência é vista como “um grande problema para os jovens” por mais de 80% de crianças entre os 11 e os 16 anos, de acordo com um recente estudo. O estudo descobriu que:

42% das crianças tinham sido batidas, esmurradas e levado pontapés na escola secundária

75% tinham sido vitimas de bullying na escola

81% tinha dito que a violência era “um problema enorme para os rapazes e raparigas de hoje em dia”

E deixava-os aterrorizados, com:

22% com medo da violência na escola

38% “aterrorizados” dos ataques contra por outros jovens.

[para ler o artigo em ingles clique aqui]

On The News

Autism: Alan Johnson urged to use Stephen Wiltshire as a Positive Role Model

School report calls pupil 'wally'
"A secondary school has apologised after a confidential report book which called pupils names like "ding bat" and "wally" was found lying in a street.It referred to one boy as a "ding bat" who was "away with the fairies", and another as being a "bit of a wally". One entry also said a particular boy's mother was "quite rough". The Howard School said: "We very much regret that a highly-confidential document about our students has got into the public domain... The local education authority said: "Our expectation of... written reports is that they should be based on evidence, that they should differentiate fact from opinion, and that they should be expressed in clear and professional language."

Um artigo num jornal da Inglaterra descreve o caso de um relatório escolar que chamava um aluno de “palerma”: a escola secundária desculpou-se depois de um livro confidential com relatórios que chamavam nomes aos alunos foi encontrado na rua. Uma entrada disse também que a mãe de um menino era “muito rasca”. A escola disse: “Nós temos muita pena que estes relatórios confidenciais sobre os nossos estudantes se tornaram publicos. A autoridade local de educacão disse: “a nossa expectativa… é que os relatórios escritos sejam baseados em factos, e que factos sejam diferenciados da opinião, e que devem ser expressos numa línguagem clara e profissional.”

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Escolarização Obrigatória

The following is a slightly modified translation of this article about the history of compulsory education.

O que se segue é uma tradução ligeiramente alterada de um texto por Thom Hartman, que pode ler aqui. No original o autor refere-se às crianças com hiperatividade e déficit de atenção.

Geralmente as pessoas educam os seus filhos tal como constroem as suas casas, de acordo com um plano que acham bonito, sem considerarem se é adequado às finalidades para as quais são criados.
Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)

Nos finais do século XIX Napoleão começou a sua marcha através da Europa, alcançando finalmente a Prussia (agora a parte da Alemanha ao redor de Berlim) onde o seu exército voluntário de agricultores conseguiu derrotar os soldados profissionais do rei da Prussia. Esta humilhante derrota levou o rei do Prussia a ordenar, em 1819, a criação da escolarização obrigatória pública a nível nacional, pela primeira vez na história.

Platão desistiu da sua experiência depois de uns poucos anos, e os deocratas que governaram Salem Massachusetts abandonaram a sua escola administrada pelo estado quando concluiram que a maioria das professoras eram bruxas. O rei da Prussia foi o primeiro a estabelecer a escolarização obrigatória e a fazer com que ela permanecesse.

A sua teoria, atribuída ao filósofo alemão Fichte, era que ao forçar as crianças a ir à escola desde pequeninos elas tornar-se-iam mais leais e receosas do poder do estado do que do poder dos seus pais. Se não fossem à escola, pessoas com armas as viriam buscar; se elas ou os seus pais tentassem resistir, a polícia estatal podia as emprisionar ou até disparar e matar os pais rebeldes. Os miúdos não eram parvos: eles sabiam que os seus pais não tinham outra escolha senao mandá-los para a escola, e que consequentemente o estado era mais poderoso que as suas próprias famílias. Assim, Fichte e o rei raciocinaram, estas crianças iriam-se tornar bons soldados, respeitando o poder do estado.

Adicionalmente, o rei queria soldados que não questionassem as suas ordens mas que fizessem imediatamente o que lhes era dito. Assim, o sistema escolar Prussiano instituiu um sistema de “proibição de interrupcoes.” As crianças nem sequer podiam fazer uma pergunta sobre o tópico que estavam a aprender a não ser que primeiro perguntassem, “posso fazer uma pergunta?” levantando as suas mãos e esperando autorização. Deste modo tornavam-se “correctamente socializadas” a respeitar e a não questionar as figuras de autoridade.

Por outras palavras, o sistema foi feito para eliminar ou remover as ervas daninhas que hoje chamaríamos de comportamentos e perspectivas alternativas dos cidadãos mais comuns. E, finalmente, todas as crianças que eram os produtos deste sistema escolar teriam as mesmas opiniões sobre “matérias de importância ao estado.” Isto agradou muito o rei, uma vez que ele seria capaz de escolher que matérias eram estas, e que opiniões as crianças deveriam ter.

Contudo, o rei não queria que os seus filhos fossem sujeitos a tal tratamento uma vez que eles iriam ser os futuros governantes do país. Eles iriam se os líderes e precisavam adquirir capacidades de liderança, creatividade e independência em vez da habilidade de obedecer ordens. O rei também se apercebeu que os filhos dos comerciantes e dos oficiais principais do governo precisariam de tais habilidades, e que seriam menos eficazes nos negócios e na administracao do governo se fossem processadas pelo sistema de escola pública que ele tinha criado.

Assim, requisitou a criação de um segundo sistema paralelo de escola pública. Ao primeiro sistema chamou de “a escola do povo” (Volkshochschule), e o segundo seria o lugar onde a verdadeira instrução ocorreria. Reconhecendo isto, foi chamado simplesmente "a verdadeira escola" (Realschule). Noventa e três por cento dos estudantes atenderiam a escola do povo, e os sete por cento que representavam a elite da nação e os futuros líderes governamentais e de negócios atenderiam a verdadeira escola.

A Realschule foi originalmente criada de um modo que seria provavelmente muito amigável. Havia uma ênfase na interação, na participação, em expressar opiniões e idéias, no pensamento crítico e no treinamento da liderança. Assemelhava-se de muitas maneiras a algumas das escolas “experimentais” mais progressivas encontramos nos Estados Unidos e noutros locais.

Hoje em dia, o sistema da escola do povo e da verdadeira escola ainda existe na Alemanha.

Nos primeiros tempos da república americana muitas comunidades locais juntavam-se, empregavam um professor e abriam uma escola. Contudo, estas não eram nem obrigatórias nem do estado. Os pais das crianças pagavam o salário do professor e eram, pela definição actual, escolas privadas.

Com o crescimento e a industrialização da América, e com a partida de muitos trabalhadores para os campos de batalha da guerra civil, tornou-se aparente a necessidade de trabalhadores obedientes para as fábricas. Horace Mann foi à Prussia para observar como as suas escolas funcionavam (tinham sido tao eficazes que o rei da Prussia lutou com os franceses e retomou o seu país), e foi-lhe concedido “doutoramento em filosofia”, uma outra invenção dos Prussianos.

Mann achava que o sistema Prussiano de escola pública seria a solução para os crescentes problemas sociais de América: pensava que ele iria criar uma população mais homogena de trabalhadores obedientes com opiniões e de valores semelhantes. Começou a fazer uma campanha para instrução pública obrigatória, particularmente entre os líderes da indústria, sugerindo que se eles pudessem usar a sua influência política poderiam ajudar a resolver os problemas da sociedades e, ao mesmo tempo, obter trabalhadores melhores para as suas fábricas.

Contudo, o primeiro grupo a aceitar a idéia de Mann não estava interessado em fazer caridade. A legislatura do estado de Massachusetts tinha sido tomada por uma sociedade secreta chamada The Order Of The Star Spangled Banner, e sua senha secreta era, “eu não sei de nada.” Por esta razão, os livros da história referem-se a legislatura de Massachusetts dos finais do século XIX como a “legislatura não sabe nada.” A ordem era uma organização protestante, e estavam cada vez mais alarmados pelo influxo de católicos irlandeses em Boston. Algo tinha de ser feito para introduzir o estado nestas comunidades, ou um dia eles poderiam adquirir bastante poder político ameaçar a estrutura protestante do poder político e econômico. Assim, a cidade de Boston adoptou o primeiro sistema obrigatório de escolarização pública nos Estados Unidos.

Ao trazer o sistema prussiano escolar do povo para os Estados Unidos, Horace Mann fêz um grande serviço ao governo e a indústria. Negligenciou, contudo, o sistema da verdadeira escola. Era suposto que as famílias de poder e de posição teriam bastante dinheiro para mandar os seus filhos para as escolas privadas, e assim não havia necessidade alguma para um sistema estatal de verdadeira escola. Também não queriam correr o risco das crianças espertas “das classes mais baixas” virem a ser educadas como colegas da elite rica.

E assim hoje temos um sistema de escolarizacao pública que tem como seu objetivo principal a socialização de nossas crianças. A vontade de obedecer, de ir com o rebanho, de se submeter à autoridade do sistema e do professor é mais importante do que a inteligência, a curiosidade ou a criatividade. Os que se deixam moldar são recompensados com boas notas. Aqueles que não se submetem a sua vontade às figuras de autoridade, os professores, são frequentemente esmagados.

Esta é a segunda grande luta para as crianças e adultos com o sindrome de Aspergers, e uma área onde - conscientes da história do sistema escolar - podemos começar a mudar as coisas. Muitos pais estão hoje a mandar os seus filhos para escolas privadas; mais do que um milhão de outros nos Estados Unidos escolhem o ensino doméstico. A aprendizagem está disponível no internet. Com estas alternativas proliferando, e com os políticos que controlam as escolas públicas a serem pressionados pelos pais, há uma possibilidade real para a mudança e para a cura dos danos feitos pelas escolas às criancas com o sindroma de Asperger.

Copyright o © 1999, 2000, 2001 por Thom Hartmann, todos os direitos reservados.

It's mercury

Row over pupil's autism T-shirt
"An autistic schoolboy was told he could not wear a T-shirt because its design was politically incorrect. Sam Rodwell, 10, from Poole in Dorset, wore a T-shirt that said:

"Autism - it's no mystery, it's mercury."

The slogan refers to the theory debated by some experts that autism is linked to mercury preservatives in vaccines. The head teacher at Portfield School in Poole said Sam could not go on a school trip unless he changed the T-shirt."

The boy's father said: "We have had him tested and he does have mercury toxicity."

Friday, May 18, 2007


HE News

"Are you confused where to send your child to school next year? Don’t like the school that is closest or maybe can’t afford school fees? One option could be to teach your child yourself. The News today offers a guide to home education"

Professor Michael Bassey: "The next education act should free all schools from government interference." [as seen here]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rant about school

YouTube videos:

David Icke talks about the education system here

The behaviourist basis of modern education
Pellets of food or electric shocks are delivered to rat students depending on their behaviour. Reward and punishment, except the word punishment is replaced by "motivation". The goal is to control the student's behaviour. Generalizing on studies as this, "educators" developed similar schemes to motivate human students.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Call to Brilliance

Another YouTube video, introduced this way:

"Are our schools turning out creative, independent thinkers or mindless robots? Turned off by an educational system designed for the Industrial Revolution, Resa Steindel Brown turned to home schooling and helped found an alternative school to give her children an outstanding education. Plus, child lifestyle expert Lisa Dunn-Dern describes how societal issues are also affecting our schools."

On The News

Council calls time on classrooms "...replacing 1950s-style secondary schools with centres where children follow programmes matching their interests...traditional classrooms and timetables will be replaced by flexible learning packages which pupils will follow both at the learning centres and from home.teachers working in the schools will take on roles as "facilitators"... all the research suggested that children, young people, parents and employers wanted "different types of products" from the education system."

Bullied Australian in A$1m payout
A teenager has won record damages after a court found that his school "grossly failed" in its duty to protect him from a school bully. Benjamin Cox, now 18, was regularly teased and beaten from the age of five by an older pupil, leaving him with psychiatric problems, a court heard. Judge Carolyn Simpson accepted evidence that the bullying had led to the teenager's current psychiatric condition and ruled the school had "grossly failed" in its duty of care. She said: "His adolescence has been all but destroyed; his adulthood will not be any better. He will never know the satisfaction of employment. He will suffer anxiety and depression, almost certainly, for the rest of his life. He has no friends and is unlikely to make any."

New schools 'not fit for future'
"Most current school buildings pre-date the computer age and are "obsolete" as learning environments... a report calls for better designs...This included more spaces where children could learn through computer technology and more "social spaces" in schools where pupils could follow independent study in a less formal environment.... school buildings...not fit for purpose and... obsolete even before they are occupied."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Home Education Debate

Check Gill's blog for a transcript of today's home education debate on Radio 5, with Fiona Nicholson (chair of EO's Government Policy Group) and Tony Mooney (LA HE inspector).

You can also check Carlotta's blog for links to a comment thread and audio streaming of the interview.

Abused at school

A different type of Google Game today!
Today I've been searching for "abused at school."
Here's my findings:

"A choirboy found hanged in his bedroom was the victim of a long bullying campaign... he had been hit, burned with cigarettes and verbally abused at school."

A description of childrens' experiences at school:
Young men and women reported incidents such as:
* their clothes being set alight
* having chemicals thrown on them during science lessons
* being urinated upon
* being burnt with cigarettes while being held down
* sexual assault
* being dragged around school playing fields by the hair
* teachers seeing but 'looking away'
[as seen here]


"This man was a headteacher and a predatory paedophile.... A town laid bare its dark secrets as two councillors publicly revealed that their primary school head abused them - and many other children."

"People who are in positions of trust must not abuse the trust, otherwise the whole system collapses. Parents are entitled to know that their children will not be abused at school." [Mr Grieve, House of Commons, 4 years ago]

"Boys abused at school, admits order - Boys living at a Rosminian institution in Co Tipperary were physically and sexually abused." [as seen here]

"What does sexual assault have to do with school safety? Unfortunately, school is not the happy, safe place for many students that people might like to think it is. For some, school is the place where bullying, racism, and sexist violence take place. Students may be victimized by their peers, older students, coaches, teachers, counsellors or other adults in the school system...Children who are being sexually abused at school often have nowhere safe to urn for help. They may be embarrassed, may think what is happening is their fault or may have been told by the abuser not to tell anyone." [as seen here]


A survey of LGBT young people... had found that:
• 90% had been verbally abused at school
• 75% had been either permanently or temporarily excluded from school • 50% had felt that education had been severely disrupted due to homophobic bullying. [as seen here]


"When Anthony was racially abused at school, his father tried to get the school to look into the matter. Nothing happened. Two weeks later, Anthony was excluded from the school. They said he had pushed a member of staff. Anthony’s father brought a case of racial discrimination and victimisation against the school. The council responsible for the school settled the case before it reached the court. The school had to apologise to Anthony, compensate him for hurting his feelings, and agree to follow the correct procedures in future before excluding pupils." [as seen in Best years of our lives]

"In an interview last week, Mike Jempson, the Director of MediaWise said that since March the organisation has had a series of phone calls from traveller and gypsy families who lived on settled sites with a series of new and worrying concerns. One woman complained that her children were now being abused at school. One man recalled how he had withdrawn his children from school because of the abuse they were getting."

"There are kids who have been abused at school for being Travellers, who have been treated differently because of the colour of their skin or have been seriously physically assaulted for no reason." [seen here]


"The MORI Youth Survey for 2002 found that 71% of children in school have been the victims of crime. These are the percentages of the types of crimes children are victims of while in school:

Assaulted 35%
Threatened 45%
Mobile Phone Theft 22%
Theft (non mobile) 34%
Racially Abused 34%
Racially Attacked 19%
Damage to property 49%
Bullied 75%

In relation to location of incident, children and young people are most likely to be the victim of theft, verbal racial abuse, damage to property, and bullying when at school."


"I started to be aware of the problems of abuse of deaf children in 1996 when I began working for the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS). One day our benefits adviser got a letter from a mother about entitlement to allowances. She brought it into me. "I can sort out the benefits bit really quickly," she said, "but look, there are three pages here about how this child was abused at school." And so there were. Three pages describing the utter misery and despair of this young person who had been brutalised by staff at a residential school to the point where she had become completely phobic about school and wouldn't even consider going to college. She was virtually illiterate - systematic and relentless maltreatment isn't conducive to learning - and frighteningly introverted." [seen here]


"The other patient was a ... teenager... he had already received his diagnosis from the Child Psychiatry services. He had a sad personal history and had been seriously abused at school." [as seen here]

"Psychological Evaluation of a Child Abused at School... My evaluation indicates that his relationship with his teacher is extremely counter-productive. Her behaviour toward him is coercive, degrading, humiliating and extremely destructive. It would not be too strong to say that her behaviuor constitutes abuse. This child will most likely suffer long term psychological damage as a result of his relationship with this teacher. I recommend that he be removed from contact with this teacher on a permanent basis. The less contact he has with her, the better for him. I further recommend that his parents reduce the demands for performance that they have placed on him." [as seen here]


"Schools are set up to abuse the brains and minds and hearts of pupils, which is much worse and more corrosive than mere sexual abuse." [as seen here]

"Children are verbally, physically and sexually abused at school. I have heard all these things so very many times and many stories that I have heard will live with me for the rest of my life. Self harming, nightmares, food refusal, bedwetting, attempted suicides. So many stories I have heard over the years. The children, whose lives have been so damaged, and their parents, will often never completely recover. Many children have seen psychologists, often who try to persuade them that they are some kind of problem and ought to do the decent thing and return to school! As though it were their own fault. There is never any acceptable reason for bullying and changing school does not usually solve anything. Children are not just hurt by other children but sometimes by teachers or other adults, who are supposed to be caring for them... there are thousands of children in school feeling miserable; of course they are learning nothing except how they are being betrayed by the very people who claim to love them. At least l6 children die through suicides caused by bullying in British schools every year and it breaks my heart to hear of their suffering. Childhood should be the happiest time of our lives, but for many thousands it is not. Some children choose death instead of school." [seen here]


Andei a fazer uma pesquisa no google de casos de abuso escolar. Isto foi o que encontrei:

“Um menino enforcou-se no seu quarto depois de chegar da escola... ele tinha sido vítima de uma longa campanha de bullying… Na escola, tinham-lhe batido, queimado com cigarros e abusado verbalmente.”

Descrição do que as crianças experienciam nas escolas
Os rapazes e raparigas relataram incidentes como:
* porem fogo as suas roupas
* jogarem produtos químicos para cima deles durante lições de ciência
* urinarem em cima deles
* serem imobilizados e queimados com cigarros
* assalto sexual
* serem arrastados pelos cabelos em volta da escola
* professores que vêem mas “olham para o outro lado”


“Este homem era um professor e director e um pedófilo predatório… Toda a cidade ficou chocada quando dois ex-alunos revelaram publicamente como ele os tinha abusado - e a muitas outras crianças.”

“As pessoas que estão em posições de confiança não devem abusar dessa confiança, se não o sistema inteiro colapsa. Os pais tem o direito de saber que as suas crianças não estão a ser abusadas na escola.” [discussão no parlamento ingles]

"Meninos foram abusados na escola, admitiu a ordem - os meninos que vivem numa instituição Rosminiana em Co Tipperary foram abusados fisica e sexualmente.

“O que é que o assalto sexual tem a haver com a escola? Infelizmente, a escola não é o lugar feliz e seguro que as pessoas gostam de pensar que é. Para muitos estudantes, a escola é o lugar onde o bullying, o racismo e a violência sexual ocorrem. Os estudantes podem ser vitimizados pelos seus colegas, por estudantes mais velhos, pelos seus professores ou por outros adultos do sistema escolar… as crianças que são abusadas sexualmente na escola não têm um lugar seguro onde pedir ajuda. Envergonhadas, elas pensam que o que aconteceu foi por causa delas ou o abusador pode ter-lhes dito para não contarem a ninguém.”


Uma pesquisa chegou a conclusão que, dos estudantes homosexuais:
• 90% tinham sido abusado verbalmente na escola
• 75% tinham sido permanentemente ou temporariamente excluído da escola
• 50% sentiam que a sua educação tinha sido severamente prejudicada devido ao bullying.


“Quando o António foi abusado racialmente na escola, o seu pai tentou fazer com que a escola investigasse o assunto. Nada aconteceu. Duas semanas mais tarde, o António foi excluído da escola. Disseram que ele tinha empurrado um membro da equipe de funcionários. O pai do António levantou um caso de discriminação e victimização racial contra a escola. O conselho responsável pela escola estabeleceu o caso antes de ir a tribunal. A escola teve de pedir desculpar ao António e compensá-lo por ter ferido os seus sentimentos, e concordar seguir os procedimentos corretos de excluir alunos daí em diante.”

“Numa entrevista, o director de MediaWise disse que a organização recebia muitas chamadas de telefone de famílias de minorias e de ciganos com uma série de novas preocupacoes, queixando-se que as suas crianças estavam a ser abusadas na escola. Algumas tiveram de tirar as suas crianças da escola por causa dos abusos que recebiam.”

“Há miúdos que foram abusados na escola por serem Travellers, que foram tratados diferentemente por causa da cor de sua pele ou assaltados fisicamente seriamente por nenhuma razão.”


“Uma pesquisa da juventude de MORI em 2002 descobriu que 71% das crianças foram vítimas de crime na escola . Estas são as percentagens:

Assaltados 35%
Ameaçados 45%
Roubados 22% (telemóveis)
Roubados (outras roubos)34%
Racialmente abusados 34%
Racialmente atacados 19%
Danos à propriedade 49%
Vítimas de Bullying 75%

Com relação ao local dos crimes, é mais provável as crianças e os jovens serem vítimas do roubo, abuso racial verbal, danos à propriedade, e bullying quando na escola.“

“Eu comecei a estar ciente dos problemas do abuso de crianças surdas em 1996 quando comecei a trabalhar para a sociedade nacional das crianças surdas. Um dia nosso conselheiro dos apoios financeiros começou a ler uma carta de uma mãe sobre os direitos aos apoios. Trouxe-me a carta e disse: “Olha só, temos aqui três páginas sobre como esta criança foi abusada na escola.” Três páginas a descrever a miséria e o desespero total desta jovem que tinha sido brutalisada pela equipe de funcionários de uma escola residential ao ponto onde se tinha tornado completamente fóbia sobre a escola e não conseguia nem ir à faculdade. Era praticamente analfabeta - os maus tratos sistemáticos e constantes não são conducivos à aprendizagem“


“O outro paciente era… um adolescente… que tinha recebido o seu diagnóstico dos serviços de Psiquiatria Infantil. Uma história pessoal triste: tinha sido abusado seriamente na escola.”

“Avaliação psicológica de uma criança abusada na escola… A minha avaliação indica que relacionamento com o professor é extremamente contra-produtivo. O comportamento do professor para o aluno é coercivo, degradante, humilhando e extremamente destrutivo. Não seria exagero dizer que o comportamento do professor constitui uma forma de abuso. Esta criança sofrerá muito provávelmente danos psicológicos a longo prazo como conseqüência do seu relacionamento com este professor. Eu recomendo que ela seja permanentemente removida do contato com este professor. Quanto menos contato tiver com ele, melhor.”


“As escolas estão estabelecidas de tal modo que abusam os cérebros, as mentes e os corações dos alunos, o que é muito pior e muito mais corrosivo do que o mero abuso sexual.”

Nas escolas, as crianças sofrem abuso verbal, fisico e sexual. Eu ouvi todas estas coisas muitas vezes e muitas histórias que ouvi ficarão comigo para sempre. As crianças, cujas vidas foram prejudicadas, e os seus pais, frequentemente recuperam, embora nunca completamente. Muitas crianças vão a psicólogos, que os tentam convencer a voltar para a escola! Como se o problemas estivesse nas crianças. Nunca há razão aceitável para o bullying e mudar de escola não resolve o problema. As crianças não são magoadas apenas por outras crianças mas às vezes pelos próprios professores ou por outros adultos, que supostamente se preocupam com eles… Há milhares de crianças no sentimento da escola miserável; naturalmente não estão a aprender nada excepto como são traídas pelas pessoas que dizem as amar. Na inglaterra pelo menos 16 crianças se suicidam todos os anos devido ao bullying nas escolas e quebra-me o coração ouvir do seu sofrimento. A infância deve ser a época mais feliz das nossas vidas, mas para muitos milhares não é. Algumas crianças escolhem a morte em vez da escola.”

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An interesting find!

An animation from 1949 introducing the Education Act of 1944:
propaganda about the post war education system.
Charley junior is told about his future school days.

Watch it online: Charley Junior's School Days

Friday, May 11, 2007

Informal Learning

This is 10mns video with Jay Cross explaining what is informal learning, how the most powerful technology ever invented is human conversation and the importance of legitimising it.

Some of what he says:

What is informal learning? Informal learning is the way you learn to speak your language, it's the way learn to be who you are, it's how how you learn your culture. Informal learning is everything that's not formal learning. Formal learning usually has a curriculum that's not what you wanted but what somebody else defined for you, often it's done at the same time and same place with other people, and finally there's some recognition at the end, such as a grade, a degree, a certificate or a gold star. You know when it's over. Informal learning is never over, it's going on all the time.

Are there informal trainers? No! Training is something that somebody does to somebody else whereas learning is an internalised act that you do yourself; people can train you but they can't learn you. There's no curriculum but there's values.

One of the most exciting things about informal learning is... what the web is now, a participatory web; just imagine the ways that this can bring people together! The web knocks out distance, people can get together and talk. The web is and will continue to grow as the greatest converger of humans that we've ever seen.

You can read an excerpt of his book here.

Today we've been checking how schools are using blogs in English and Media. Building Blogs is a 15mns video showing how "blogging and computer technology can be used simply and effectively as teaching and learning aids in the classroom" and as ways "to drive understanding of subject matter, independent learning and critical thinking."

Como o Jay Cross explica a aprendizagem informal:

O que é a aprendizagem informal? A aprendizagem informal é a maneira como aprendemos a falar a nossa língua, o modo como aprendemos a ser quem somos, a forma como aprendemos a nossa cultura. A aprendizagem informal é tudo que não é aprendizagem formal. A aprendizagem formal envolve geralmente um curriculum que não é o que nós queremos mas o que alguém decidiu para nós, frequentemente ela é feita ao mesmo tempo e no mesmo lugar com outras pessoas e, finalmente, há algum reconhecimento no fim, como por exemplo um diploma, um certificado ou uma estrelinha de ouro. Nós sabemos quando ele acaba. A aprendizagem informal nunca acaba, ela continua a toda a hora.

Há instrutores informais? Não! O treinamento é algo que alguém faz a outro alguém enquanto que aprender é um acto interno que nós próprios fazemos a nós mesmos; as pessoas podem treinar-nos mas não podem aprender-nos. Não há nenhum curriculum mas há um conjunto de valores.

Uma das coisas as mais emocionantes sobre a aprendizagem informal é… o que o internet agora é, uma rede participatória; imaginem só as maneiras em que isto pode unir as pessoas! A internet elimina a distância e as pessoas podem-se juntar e comunicar. A internet é, e continuará a crescer, como o maior núcleo de convergência de seres humanos que nós já vimos.

Google Game

Saw this google game at Lucy's: type your name and the word 'needs' in speech marks like this “paula needs” and record the first 10 searched needs. Here’s mine:

Paula needs

to be booted out of AI - definitely!

to go! - where?

"grab and go" meals or snack solutions - less cooking?

attitude adjustment! - Hmm...

to enter herself in rehab or something - virtual addiction?

You! - Yes! YOU!

to disappear for a while so she can be treated for "exhaustion" - LOL

help not condemnation - she already knows how foolish she's been.

to stop making excuses - no way! I'm in total denial!

Some Sleep - night night!

Daniel needs

Home - that's spooky! he really does!

time and understanding that he has many feelings - sweet...

to realize that X needs to take care of herself more - replace X with...

to be here - yes, at home, I get it!!!

to understand that there is no such thing as religion or spirituality - Hmm...

to read a bit more of the ideas of Amartya Sen - who is he?

Macromedia Flash Player 8 or above - gotta ask him!

a snack - always!

glasses - I wonder...

to know - Yes, isn't it amazing how that's such a natural thing?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Home Ed on the radio

Give Me a Voice, a 30mns broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland

Clique aqui para ouvir, em inglês, um programa de rádio sobre o ensino doméstico na Escócia.

On the News
Educators fear for standards of home schooling

New rules to cover rise in home schooling

The above Daily Telegraph Article is inaccurate. Fiona Nicholson, Chair of Education Otherwise Government Policy Group, asks us to take a moment to read the article and then write to the Letters Page at the following address:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On The News

Going to school 'not compulsory'
"Home education frees children from the national curriculum and tests. Councils in England are being reminded that parents have the right to educate their children at home if they wish."

Gill has a nice post on the DfES proposed guidelines for local authorities on elective home education.

'In class, I have to power down'
"At a recent digital education conference in San Francisco, one of the more memorable remarks quoted came from a child: "Whenever I go into class, I have to power down." That roughly translates as: "What I do with digital technology outside school - at home, in my own free time - is on a completely different level to what I'm able to do at school. Outside school, I'm using much more advanced skills, doing many more interesting things, operating in a far more sophisticated way. School takes little notice of this and seems not to care."

"At school, you do all this boring stuff, really basic stuff, PowerPoint and spreadsheets and things. It only gets interesting and exciting when you come home and really use your computer. You're free, you're in control, it's your own world."

Through the freedom to explore, children and young people are developing their creative, building their self-confident, communicating and collaborating with others, solving puzzles, etc - some people easily recognise that these are important skills.

Let's smarten up on teen rebellion
The myth of the teen brain

Ir à escola não é obrigatório. A educação doméstica livra as crianças do currículo e dos testes nacionais. As autoridades locais da Inglaterra estão a ser lembradas que os pais têm o direito de educar as suas crianças do modo que querem.

“Na escola, eu tenho de desligar.”
“Numa recente conferência de educação digital em São Francisco, uma das observações mais memoráveis veio de uma criança: “Sempre que eu vou para a escola tenho de desligar.” Por outras palavras: “O que eu faço com a tecnologia digital fora da escola - em casa, durante o meu tempo livre - é de num nível completamente diferente daquilo que posso fazer na escola. Fora da escola, eu estou a usar habilidades muito mais avançadas, a fazer coisas muito mais interessantes, a trabalhar de uma maneira muito mais sofisticada. A escola nem repara nisso e nem se importa com isso.”

“Na escola, o nosso trabalho é uma seca, muito básico, como por exemplo Powerpoint e e coisas assim. As coisas só começam a ficar interessantes e excitantes quando vamos para casa e usamos os nossos computadores. Em casa estamos livres, temos o controlo, estamos no nosso próprio mundo.”

Com a liberdade de explorar, as crianças e os jovens desenvolvem a sua criatividade, a sua auto-estima, a capacidade de comunicar e colaborar com outros, de resolver problemas, e assim em diante. Há muitas pessoas que compreendem a grande importancia destas capacidades nesta época digital.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Maria Montessori: Her life and legacy

Portuguese Videos
Aprender Pode ler aqui.
Vantagens da educação online


We enjoyed learning about animism with Living in the Dreamtime, a 15mns video from Class TV.

Compulsory Education

From YouTube: History of compulsory schooling

"This ultra short documentary explains the history of compulsory schooling and advocates choice in education. It starts 200 years back with Prussian absolutism. There, under the regime of a dictatorship, compulsory schooling was invented and implemented on a massive scale. It continues to show how educators such as Maria Montessori, Célestin Freinet, Peter Petersen and Rudolf Steiner had a hard time challenging their governments ideas on education.

I made this to rise awareness about the true origins of our school system. It is also a call for action, to liberate ourselves from this outdated and harmful institution. Our society is changing ever faster, we no longer need a bureaucratic school system. We need learning environments that are way more open and flexible. We need choice in education."

O autor deste video explica: "Este curto documentário explica a história da escolaridade obrigatória e advoga a liberdade de escolha na educação. A escolaridade obrigatória começou há 200 anos atrás com o regime absoluto Prussiano. Ai, sob uma ditadura, a escolaridade obrigatória foi inventada e implementada em escala maciça. Educadores tais como a Maria Montessori, o Célestin Freinet, o Peter Petersen e Rudolf Steiner desafiaram as idéias dos governos sobre a instrução.

Eu fiz este video para a tomada de consciência das pessoas sobre as verdadeiras origens do nosso sistema escolar. É também uma chamada para a acção, para a liberação desta instituição decadente e prejudicial. A nossa sociedade está a mudar cada vez mais rapidamente, e já não precisamos de um sistema escolar burocrático. Precisamos de ambientes mais abertos e flexíveis e de escolha no processo da aprendizagem. “

DfES Consultation

DfES today announced to launch of the Consultation on Home Education Guidelines. Home Educators who had asked to be kept informed of the development of the Consultation today received the following standard notification: "The Department has recently decided not to pursue any changes to monitoring arrangements. Instead we are consulting on draft guidelines for LAs prior to their publication. This consultation launches today and will run for three months. The consultation document can be found here here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bilingual Blog

Inspired by Pequete, I've decided to have a go at turning this into a bilingual blog!

Inspirada pela Pequete, decidi fazer deste blog um blog bilingue!

Aprendizagem autónoma

A necessidade de autonomia na aprendizagem está a tornar-se cada vez mais evidente. No entanto, ao contrário de algumas pessoas, como certos professores universitários e teoristas educacionais que lidam com os produtos de um sistema educacional, não acredito que isto seja algo que necessite ser ensinado.

Isso seria completamente absurdo. A autonomia na aprendizagem é atingida simplesmente pelo remover dos seus obstáculos - tais como as escolas, as principais causas da dependência intelectual. Assim, o processo de nos tornarmos estudantes autônomos é um simple processo de desaprender uma série de crenças erradas previamente assimiladas e de permitir que as crianças e as pessoas tenham a liberdade de fazer as suas próprias escolhas e de assumir responsabilidade pelas suas vidas.

Um perito sobre a importância de brincar disse: “É sintomático de uma certa maneira de se pensar sobre as crianças, de pensarmos que temos de controlar e programar todos os aspectos das suas vidas. Isto parece-me ser extremamente prejudicial a longo prazo porque as crianças precisam de ter tempo para tomarem responsabilidade e tomarem decisões diárias sobre o que fazem.”

Como John Gatto disse, as escolas apenas críam a dependência intelectual! O oposto da autonomia!

"A quinta lição que eu ensino é a dependência intelectual. As pessoas boas esperam que o professor lhes diga o que fazer. Esta é a lição mais importante, que nós devemos esperar que outras pessoas, com mais estudos do que nós, nos digam o significado das nossas vidas. O perito toma todas as decisões importantes; só ele pode determinar o que você deve estudar, isto é, só as pessoas que pagam o perito podem tomar as decisões que ele depois enforça.

Como professor, este poder de controlar o pensamento das crianças deixa-me separar os estudantes bem sucedidos dos falhanços muito fàcilmente. As crianças bem sucedidas pensam o que eu lhes digo para pensar com o mínimo de resistência e uma demonstração decente de entusiasmo. Dos milhões de coisas de valor a estudar, eu é que decido o pouco que aprender no tempo disponivel, ou seja, quem decide é quem me paga o ordenado. A escolha nem sequer é minha, por isso nem vale a pena reclamar. A curiosidade não tem nenhum lugar importante no meu trabalho, apenas a conformidade."

Nós estamos a viver numa época de rápidas mudanças. Está na altura de mudarmos de atitude, de adotarmos o “poder-com” e abandonarmos o “poder-sobre”. A informação está a perder o seu valor devido ao seu fácil acesso e nós, enquanto seres humanos, estamos a chegar ao ponto de compreendermos as limitações do conhecimento. Está na hora de começarmos a fazer outro tipo de perguntas, perguntas como "qual é a finalidade do conhecimento?" e "estamos a educar para quê?" Para sobreviver e ganhar a vida? Para impressionarmos os outros com os titulos que os nossos filhos adicionam aos seus nomes? Para diminuirmos as nossas inseguranças? Para obtermos uma espécie de “seguro de vida”? Para obtermos poder e controle? Como uma maneira de manter o status quo? Para continuarmos a justificar sentimentos de superioridade e divisões de classes? Como uma arma?

Qual é o objectivo em colecionar e memorizar factos? Numa altura em que todos nós nos estamos a tornar mais cientes da natureza impermanente das coisas, não está na hora de questionarmos a própria existência dos factos? Nós sabemos que nada existe duma maneira fixa, sólida e permanente. Tudo está a mudar, de momento a momento. Sendo assim, quando pensamos que sabemos algo, o que é que nós sabemos? Será que realmente sabemos algo ou será que estamos apenas a solidificar uma maneira provisória e relativa de fazermos sentido desse algo?

Nós estamos aqui por tão pouco tempo. A vida é curta e passa depressa. Mas enquanto cá estivermos, que tal aprendermos a ser felizes? De onde é que vem a felicidade? Da acumulação de informação? De uma licenciatura? De um mestrado? De um doutoramento? Ou de uma certa atitude interior? Eu penso que seria uma boa idéia deixarmos de desperdiçar tempo e percebermos que existe uma diferença enorme entre o conhecimento e a sabedoria.

Some thoughts

The need for autonomy in learning is becoming increasingly clear. However, unlike some people out there, like university professors and education researchers and theorists dealing with the end result of a failing educational system which encourages dependency, I don't believe this is something that needs to be taught.

The very thought of it is a total contradiction, an absurdity. Autonomy in learning is achieved by simply removing its obstacles - such as schools, which are known to merely create intellectual dependency. So, the process of becoming an autonomous learner is simply a process of unlearning a series of outdated beliefs and allowing children and young people the freedom to make their own choices and take responsibility for their lives.

So why are we, in the 21st century, in a supposedly free society, creating inhuman schools where children are dictated to ALL the time? Yes, I mean ALL the time, because their timetable won't even allow for breaks or play time. Who was it who said: “Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”?

"Play expert Tim Gill said: "It's symptomatic of a way of thinking about children that we have to control and programme and manage every aspect of their lives. That seems to me to be extremely damaging in the long-term because children need to have some time where they take responsibility and they make everyday decisions about what they're doing."

Like John Gatto said, schools create intellectual dependency! The very opposite of autonomy. But who wants autonomous citizens?

The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. It is the most important lesson, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. The expert makes all the important choices; only I can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I enforce.

This power to control what children will think lets me separate successful students from failures very easily. Successful children do the thinking I appoint them with a minimum of resistance and decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have time for, or it is decided by my faceless employer. The choices are his, why should I argue? Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.

It's time we moved on; we are living in fast changing times. Time for 'power-with' - time to let go of 'power-over'. Information is becoming less and less valuable and I reckon we, the human race, are heading towards a deeper understanding of the limitations of knowledge. It's time we start asking different questions, questions like what's the purpose of knowledge, what are we educating for? To survive and make a living? To impress other people with the letters our children add to their names? To ease our insecurities? To get some form of 'life insurance'? For power and control? As a way to mantain the existing status quo? To continue to justify class divisions and prejudice? As a weapon?

What's the point of collecting and memorising facts? In a world where we're all becoming more aware of the changing nature of things, isn't it time to start questioning the very existence of facts? We know that nothing exists in a fixed, solid way. Everything is changing, moment by moment. So when we think we know something, what is it we know? Do we actually know something or are we just solidifying a temporary and relative way of making sense of something?

We're here on this Earth for such a little time. Soon we'll all be dead. But while we're here, why not learn to be happy? What's the point of being a miserable learned person? I think it's a good idea to stop wasting time and realise that there's a huge difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Digital learners

Another interesting YouTube presentation - about digital learners and teachers' refusal to enter the digital age. I think the aim is to motivate teachers to use technology. It includes some interesting points which I transcribed below.

We have learned to 'play' school. We study the right facts the night before the test so we achieve a passing grade and thus become a successful student.

It's not attention deficit - I'm just not listening!

When I go to school I have to 'power down'

One researcher claims that, on average, students in class only get to ask a question once every 10 hours. [Graesser & Person (1994) American Educational Research Journal]

Why don't we pause for the next 10 hours to see how that feels?

Did you know that there are over 2.7 billion searches performed on google each month? To whom were these questions addressed B.G. (Before Google?)

[When I asked DJ how often he asked questions at school he told me he had never, ever, asked a single question!]

Did you know that our digital learners have sent and received over 200,000 emails or instant messages by the time they graduate from college? We accuse them of not reading but 200,000 written messages sure seems like a lot of time spent with the 3R's.

How are you using the new 3 WWW to teach your students?
WWW: whatever - whenever - wherever

Only 28% of 12th grade high school students believe that school work is meaningful....and a mere 39% believe that school work will have any bearing on their success in later life. [National Centre for Education Statistics, 2006]

Pay attention to our children's intensily rich information experiences!

On the News

School without play area bans break times

"Pupils at a new school will not be allowed break times and will have no playground to run around on. Authorities claim it would be impossible to control the 2,200 pupils, aged between 11 and 18, were they allowed to run around a playground at break time. The timetable will also be arranged so that there will be no break times and only a 30-minute lunch period. Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat education spokesman, said: "I am stunned. This does not sound like a school, it sounds like some nightmarish Government exam factory."

Bullying drives up schooling at home

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Shift Happens

From the video:

"According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley the top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn't exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't yet been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet."

"There are over 2.7 billion searches performed on google each month. To whom were these questions addressed B.G.(before google?)"

"The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. For students starting a four year technical or college degree this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study. It is predicted to double every 72 hours by 2010."

"We need to teach our students to be self-directed and understand how to organise more and more of their own learning."

Saturday, May 05, 2007


"It is usually assumed that children who aren't made to obey their parents will grow to be unruly, disrespectful, and 'out of control'. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children who are treated with respect are respectful of others. Children who are listened to as equals listen to others as equals. Children whose opinions are valued value others' opinions. A family where parents and children are allies is a peaceful family." - Rue Kream

"When we adults think of children there is a simple truth that we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life; childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live; a child is living. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation. How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize children as partners with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing them as apprentices. How much we could teach each other; we have the experience and they have the freshness. How full both our lives could be." - by John A. Taylor

Friday, May 04, 2007

Learning French

Eddie Izzard

Catherine Tate

Home Ed Heads

A look at Home Education in Cornwall, talking to the parents who chose to live in Cornwall and educate their children at home. Film made by Steven Paige.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ivan Illich

"Since when are people born needy? In need, for instance, of education? Since when do we have to learn the language we speak by being taught by somebody? I wanted to find out where the idea came from that all over the world people have to be assembled in specific groups of not less than 15, otherwise it's not a class. Not more than forty, otherwise they are underprivileged. For yearly, not less than 800 hours, otherwise they don't get enough. Not more than 1,100 hours, otherwise it's considered a prison. For four-year periods by somebody else who has undergone this for a longer time.

How did it come about that such a crazy process like schooling would become necessary? Then I realized that it was something like engineering people - that our society doesn't only produce artifact things, but artifact people. And that it doesn't do that by the content of the curriculum, but by getting them through this ritual which makes them believe that learning happens as a result of being taught..."

"Many students, especially those who are poor, intuitively know what the schools do for them. They school them to confuse process and substance. Once these become blurred, a new logic is assumed: the more treatment there is, the better are the results; or, escalation leads to success. The pupil is thereby "schooled" to confuse teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new. His imagination is "schooled" to accept service in place of value. Medical treatment is mistaken for health care, social work for the improvement of community life, police protection for safety, military poise for national security, the rat race for productive work. Health, learning, dignity, independence, and creative endeavour are defined as little more than the performance of the institutions which claim to serve these ends, and their improvement is made to depend on allocating more resources to the management of hospitals, schools, and other agencies in question."

On The News

Pupil arrested over skull injury
"A 12-year-old boy has been arrested after an incident at a Cornwall school in which a 13-year-old boy was left with serious head injuries."

Raise the learning leaving age?
" overwhelming 93% think teenagers have a right to choose."

British MPs Table Early Day Motion Backing Autism Campaign, UK

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Marshall Rosenberg

"...That's the purpose of schools, it's to educate students to be nice, dead people because that's what industry requires, nice, dead people who will do work without questioning whether it serves life; they'll do it just to get the bosses' approval...

Teachers have been told that praise and compliments will increase students performance. I tell teachers that it does work for a very short time, until people see the manipulation in it, and then it no longer increases production but what's worse, it destroys the beauty of gratitude. Now you can't even be sure, when someone is giving some gratitude, whether its sincere or whether the person is using it as a device to get you to do what they want.

And this is what our schools do because its their job to train people to work within structures in which they'll work for praise, approval, salaries, and they won't look at whether what they're doing is polluting the environment, whether it is destroying the work experiences in other cultures, exploiting other cultures... People who have been educated to go in and put in their 8 hours a day are working for the salary and the approval.

In life serving education the teachers and the students work as partners, the teachers don't tell students what they have to do, they assist the students to identify their own objectives; students don't work for grades, they don't work for approval. Having picked objectives which they see will enrich their lives they work to serve their lives."

On the News

Children damaged by exams
"Prof Smithers, an expert on school standards, says there is mounting evidence that children's self-esteem and long-term development is being undermined by the target-driven culture in state schools."

Schools are now 'exam factories'
"Education academic Professor Alan Smithers said "Schools have been reduced almost to factories for producing test and exam scores. But scores are not the product of education in the way that cars, barrels of oil and tins of baked beans are for their industries; schools are there to benefit the children in them.[...] It is an approach that has led the government to value only what can be measured."

Exams may prove nothing


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