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Purpos/ed – My year 7 form on the future of education!

Being bogged down first in coursework and then in the run up to our inspection I didn’t sign up to take part in either of the first two purpos/ed campaigns, although I did follow them all with interest.

For anyone who doesn’t know, purpos/ed is a grassroots movement talking about the purpose of education in the UK and beyond, with the ambition to be influencing policy in the run up to the next election. You can find out more about previous and forthcoming events and campaigns on their website – purposed.org.uk/

This third campaign asked people to conduct interviews via audioboo, asking two questions:
A) How should we educate people in the future?
B) What do we need to be doing now to enable that?

I decided to interview some of my year 7 form. So on Monday I put the questions on the board and asked them what they thought of them. It soon became clear that we didn’t have enough time to consider everything in enough detail, and that there was no way I could cut it down to the required sub five minutes, so we picked up again this morning, drawing up a list of the things the students had suggested during the week that would make an impact on school now.

Both of those whole class chats I recorded and are below (embedded here rather than on audioboo as they exceed the 5 minute limit):

Recording one

7DS Purposed 1

Recording two

7DS Purporsed 2
Listening back two things stand out:

1. To start with the old ideas get parroted back – “we’re in school to get qualifications to get jobs” etc etc, but given time and prompting they come up with some really good ideas and well thought out points of both sides of many of the issues.

2. In the first one in particular there are a couple of points where listening back I’m cringing at what I say – way too sarcastic in places. Good wake up call for me.

In the end we boiled down a list of their suggestions to 8 ideas, and voted (one vote per person). You can hear the discussion about each of the points above (with some very interesting ideas) Votes are below:

Change the times of the school day (0 votes)
Teachers move, students stay in the same room (0 votes)
Students choose their subjects from yr 7 (9 votes)
No uniform (2 votes)
Using ‘educational electronics’ (mobiles /laptops etc) (3 votes)
Being able to chew gum (5 votes)
Changing school lunches (5 votes)
Merge subjects / project based (0 votes)

I have to say how impressed I was with the quality of the arguments were offered on both sides for all these ideas. I just wish I’d had more time to explore some of them!

In order to fit the requirements of the project I knew I had to get something sub 5 minutes, so I asked four students to meet me a breaktime to talk over their views. Both the main interview, plus one additional idea are included below:
Listen!
Listen!

Dave Stacey

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the comments Rich. Could you expand on why you feel that merging subjects is such a bad idea? It’s one that seems to be gathering favour at the moment. What is it about it that you don’t like?

  2. I don’t think it shows respect to each individual subject, too many children get to high school thinking they’ve never done history but they have done a castles topic. Also, there are too many tenuous links between subjects and more often than not context overtakes the core objectives. Another point is that once subjects start getting mixed up then it’s near impossible for all subject leaders to keep track on what’s being covered. I understand it’s popular but I really can’t see any added value in thematic learning.

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