changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

Seacole my arse…. February 8, 2013

Filed under: politics,thinks — eclectic chicken @ 3:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

I read today that Mary Seacole gets to stay on the curriculum supposedly it’s some sort of victory.

I’m not going to launch into the rights and wrongs of Seacoles place on in the national Curriculum… there’s enough spouted on either side politically about it.

What did scare the bejeebbus out of me was reading in the linked article that this was a ‘high school’ thing. (I thought we had secondary schools but hey ho).

Now… I remember when I worked in KS1 as a TA (it was actually a FS. KS1 class just to keep us all on out cross curricular toes) that we did a unit on famous people. It was fun…. our class teacher wore my Victorian wedding dress (which helped the under 7’s have some concept of how awful it was that they were walking around in piss and shit up to their ankles) and as well as all the standard curriculum stuff about Florence Nightingale- I fed in snippets about her taking to her bed and keeping an owl in her pocket. I think we probably went above and beyond the call of cross curricular duty in also churning out some rather good ‘Florence Nightingale’ in the style of Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe artwork too.

http://bigotherbigother.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/marilyn-monroe2.jpg this is the original Warhol version (for those of you without a state approved education)

I remember at the time the teacher telling me that in some London schools they’d do Mary Seacole instead…. we looked at the curriculum planning together and I think as the unit we were doing was about ‘famous people in History’. Florence Nightingale was given as an ‘example’ of who to do.

Along with being an ‘example’ come suggested plans.

Its basically curriculum delivery… heres a load of stuff…a load of resources about THIS person to make life easy. OR you could choose someone different and have to start from scratch. Which one do you think most teachers choose?

Its the same accross the subjects (both my children can recognise a Monet but thanks to a little interest at home would rather avoid his work entirely)…. and yes Warhol is a state recommended artist.

The thing is – once plans are written and resources made they can be used time after time…. but how many teachers get enough none contact time to start from scratch in umpteen subjects.

{nb… I ended up drafting the plans for the KS1 unit on ‘portraits’ in collaboration with our county art advisor… it took a morning and was way above my payscale 🙂 The final piece at the end of term worked on as a group was to have been based on Marcus Harveys ‘Myra’…. learning about photocopy art and photogravure along the way}

Whats scarier (than so few famous people being state approved) is that come later school years as the Indie picks up and the unit is not just ‘famous people’ but  ‘famous Victorians’ it’s quite likely a generation of children get to ‘do’ Florence Nightingale twice . Okay…different Key Stage, learning outcomes and stuff…. but still… with the whole of history to go at it its a shame to concentrate on the same person twice.

And even more of a shame is that so little is taught by so many to far too many (to bastardise another state approved famous chaps words).

What happens when a whole generation only know about famous Victorians… or Tudors… and specific Victorians or tudors at that?

Maybe as my friend Barry suggests “They’ll end up like school students from France and the US, I should think. Insular and nationalistic, through no fault of their own.”

There is wriggle room for dinner parties I suppose… you can alternate those who studied Victorian Britain with those whose teachers took the post 1930 Britain option in KS2.

After all learning is a lifelong experience.

Thank fuck!

 

 
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