NZ Teachers Comment on NZ Schools

1.  The following paragraph is one of four which comprised the entry under the heading “Home schooling” which appeared on pages 7 and 8 of the Report of the Education and Science Select Committee which was presented to Parliament on 12 February 1998.  This document was itself contained within the pages of the 1996/97 Financial Review of the ERO, the secion headed “Home schooling” appearing on pages 93 and 94. “Another apparent shortcoming with home schooling reviews we [the Science and Education Select Committee of Parliement] raised was that the teaching adults could not be assessed on their teaching performance in the way that teachers in state schools were assessed.  The [Education Review] office noted in response that it assessed children’s learning outcomes not teaching performance. This position raised for us how well taught home schooled children might be in comparison with those in state schools.  The office advised us that there was no statutory requirement for any child to be well taught.”

2.  “If you ask what schools are for the obvious answer is to educate kids, but there’s an equally important answer.  And that is to socialise them, to bring them up to be comfortable in adult society and I think this has always been a feature of the education process, otherwise it wouldn’t take so long.  You don’t need 15 years to educate somebody but you need 15 years to socialise somebody.  I think we should use the schools for the socialising role and we should somehow or other try to separate the educational role from that so that as a pupil you were in the class with every other 14 year old but you might be doing maths with adults and Japanese language with 10 year-olds or whatever.  So everybody learnt at an individual pace but you were socialised at a chronological pace.” — Sir Neil Waters, past Vice-Chancellor of Massey University; NZ Qualifications Authority Board Chairman in an interview in the NZQA’s magazine LEARN, Issue 10, November 1996, p. 8. (The punctuation of this paragraph is exactly as it appears in the magazine.)

3.  “Schools are social instruments designed to bring about the attainment of extrinsic goals which lie outside of and beyond the schools themselves.  For our purposes, four functions of schooling can be identified.  One of the clearest functions of schooling apparent from the first day parents leave their children at the school gate is the role of the school as a baby-sitting agency….[Another] thing schools set out to do is socialize young children into a set of moral values and cultural practices….[T]he task…is made all the more problematic because of a lack of agreement over what sorts of values and beliefs ought to be inculcated.” (The next two fuctions are: preparing children for the world of work and the promise of upward social mobility coupled with the reality of cultural and class reproduction.) — Dr John Clark, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education in the Department of Policy Studies in Education, Massey University; course notes for Understanding Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1997.

4.  In July 2000 Hon Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education, launched the UNESCO and Living Values Trust “Values Education” seminars, saying: “Whether we like it or not schools and teachers have a strong influence on the developing values of young people and they have that influence whether they plan to or not.  We have to acknowledge that all people live by a set of values and that there is certainly no such thing as value neutrality in education.  It is not an easy thing to meet the

obligation to include attitudes and values as an integral part of the New Zealand curriculum.  The implicit values education that comes from the way a teacher behaves, the way they speak to children, the kind of control they operate in their own classroom, what is sometimes referred to as the hidden curriculum, cannot be overestimated.”  He even listed the attitudes and values desired: “collective responsibility, respect for others, respect for the law, tolerance, caring or compassion,

non-sexism, non-racism, honesty, reliability.”  TEACH Bulletin No. 41, Aug 2000, p. 4.

5.  What I would like to see in the political debate about education is a recognition that public education is an exercise in social engineering by definition.–Phillip Capper, PPTA, Dominion Sunday Times, 14 October 1990

6.  CHRISTCHURCH–Unresearched government-decreed practices in schools could socially, emotionally and intellectually deform children, says Christchurch Teachers’ College principal Colin Knight.  Dr. Knight said the education system placed children at risk by continuing to neglect educational research.  “It is of serious concern to me that, despite the far-reaching effects of teaching on society, few educational practices have a sound research basis.”  He said changes in what went on in schools were mainly brought about by politically initiated reviews and reports on questionaires and Gallup polls, by parliamentary debate and political expediency.  — Manawatu Evening Standard, 4 December 1990

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