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Should we ever express any negativity towards education in front of our kids?

3 years ago

1 expert and 2 parents have answered

expert answer
Magda de Lange expert
Magda de Lange Global Learning Professional ZA
Education expert

We openly discuss topics surrounding education and schooling at home, allowing the children an independent voice and a sense of efficacy. It is not possible to sugar coat the fact that we currently live in a country which according to the World Economic Forum has the worst education system in the world - the children are keen observers and regularly express the need to discuss the difference between this country's education vs the international arena. They hear about classroom antics and teaching scandals from friends (children and adults alike) all the time and we have to acknowledge the shambles of the system or else they would lose confidence in what they personally experienced, is reported by the media, discussed by friends etc. We emphasize the difference between schooling and education and always make sure that they handle the challenges here with respect. We discuss facts rather than dwell on negative emotions and try and analyse situations with courtesy and consideration.

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Experience 3 years ago
Simon Munk writer
Simon Munk Consumer tech journalist, mountain biker, dad of two. Walthamstow

Of course we should express negativity towards education - if it warrants it. And we certainly shouldn't be trying to stifle our children's experiences and views for the sake of some kind of utopian view of schools, or dangerous obesience towards authority.

Many on here choose to home school or alternatively educate their children. Why? Because mainstream education comes with all sorts of problems. To pretend otherwise, and to tell your kids ⋆never⋆ to question authority or societal structures, is not only to present your kids with a "do as I say, not as I do" way of looking at the world (we all break rules from time to time!), it's also to allow the entrenched issues in society to flourish (sexism, racism, environmental neglect, violence etc.), and to teach your kids never to question authority or break rules - what kind of kids do you want to bring up? Worker bee drones?!

Schools obviously can do lots wrong - most do a lot right too - so the key is to explain clearly to children of all ages why they're attending, why it's good to conform to a certain level (if you make the choice to mainstream educate), why you have made the choice to send them to the school you did etc. And to talk to them about their school experiences, to help them through the negatives and to perceive the positives. And then to give them what school doesn't manage to in their home life, to round out their education and their appreciation of what "education" even is.

Of course this message has to be tailored to the level of your child's age and understanding. But you'd be amazed at the kind of heavy subjects a three year old will happily chat about and understand (on their level). Those conversations happen over and over and over as kids grow - and they become more nuanced. Talking to my kids about real life - death, sex, families, stress, work, school etc. - is one of the joys of parenting. It's imparting your experiences and hearing theirs.

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Opinion 3 years ago
Kelly Rose Bradford writer
Kelly Rose Bradford Journalist and broadcaster London, GB
We should never downgrade the importance of education to our children. I grew up in a home where it was not deemed important, and that getting any job upon leaving school was the only focus. 
Perhaps it has made me over sensitive about my own son's schooling - I always strive to encourage and support him to make sure he does his absolute best, as well as sticking to his school's rules and procedures.
Maybe that's why I was so outraged when TV chef Jamie Oliver told a newspaper that he lets his kids skip some of their daily homework and that he would be 'shocked' if any of his four offspring went to university. What kind of message is that sending to his kids? It's giving them little to aspire to, and in terms of the homework, undermining their teachers.
We all have gripes and concerns about school – there have been times when my son's teachers have infuriated me, where I have felt the volume of homework was too much, or that assignments had been poorly set. But I kept my thoughts to myself – if I'd had serious concerns I would have raised them, privately, with the staff. And I would have kept my son very much out of the loop - if kids hear adults being disrespectful about their school or its teachers, it can give them a green light to do so, too. 
I feel that as parents we should be supporting out children's passage through education and working in conjunction with their teachers and school policy. Complaining and questioning for the sake of doing so – as so many old 'non conformists' I know do – does your children no favours. 
Allowing your kids to skip homework and to not instil any academic aspirations in to them is basically giving them a licence to treat education as something trivial – that having fun and doing less boring stuff is more important. 
Balance is everything – family time, relaxation, sport and entertainment are all completely necessary for a well-rounded childhood – but your education is what shapes your future. 
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Opinion 3 years ago

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