Monthly Archives: May 2018

How I’d educate my child from EYFS through to uni

This blog post is inspired by a tweet I saw yesterday, which said we should teach our students as we would like our own children to be taught – or something along those lines. This got me thinking how that would go if I could self indulgently plan the monolithic scheme of work and educational settings I’d have my fictitious child go through from EYFS to uni. It’s actually quite a useful exercise to go through as it helps you to unearth some of your own educational values and beliefs if you weren’t that in touch with them already. I’d be interested to read other peoples attempts at such an envisioning of what actually might be described as pushy parent educational proxyism – it’s the ultimate in imposing your values on the life of your child after all… a personal educational imperialism if you will.

So anyway, here’s my attempt …

First of all, I’d want my child to be happy, healthy and whole… but I’d also want to hot house them a bit too, to set those high expectations and help them really achieve their full potential, giving them every chance possible to do that. I must confess I like the Russian style philosophy of finding out in what areas a child is talented and then nurturing and really pushing them in those areas. If I could see from an early stage that my kid was really great at gymnastics or art or languages, music or science… I’d really want to give them all the support I could to help them then be the best they could be. I’d throw all resources possible at that. At the same time I do like the South Korean hard work mentality and extra hours of tutoring that students get until late in the evening. And let’s face it, boarding school education comes with supervised homework / study hall until 9pm every night so I’d be in favour of all that.

I think that core subjects like maths and English are important, and science and tech, so I’d want them to do well in those areas too. But I’m an advocate of the liberal arts and humanistic education, so an overarching priority for me would like to see my child being mentored and developed through all that these paradigms offer while being rounded out in debating skills and leadership training too.

I’d expect any kid of mine to be swinging through the trees like Tarzan or Jane in Forest School, climbing Kilimanjaro during the school holidays, and getting their gold Duke of Edinburgh award age 16.

I’d want my child to not be risk averse. So I’d usher them towards all the dangerous sports: skiing, skydiving, parachuting, mountaineering and more. I’d expect them to be highly competitive and go for the Olympics.

I’d like to offer my child legal and financial savvy. I’d like to empower them for high levels of personal and social success later on. If I could get them into private schools for those al important social networks I’d do it. And I’d work as hard as I could to get them into a PPE type situation at Oxbridge.

I’d like them to have the opportunity to go to INSEAD, Europe’s most high returning business school it seems.

I’d expect them to speak three or four languages minimum. Actually let’s go for all 6 United Nations languages.

And I’d want them to make the world a better place.

But then if they got to 18 and told me to shove it and that actually they just wanted to work at the local corner shop… then fine. No. Really. Their own children will give them hell for that when I get to give them the doting grandparent treatment so why worry 🙂

That would be my aspirations for my kid – what about yours?

Dealing with highly confrontational behaviour

This blog post poses more questions than answers. It’s a reflection on highly charged situations and how best to respond.

For example, when John Prescott had eggs thrown at him that time – was he justified in lashing out and punching out?

When former PM the Rt Hon Mr Brown received comments from the female member of the public who he, unfortunately, was overheard and recorded to say was in his view a bit bigoted: was this justified but perhaps avoidable? The impact was indeed a shame on that particular election campaign.

Anger and intense views, while sometimes not great for the heart, are nonetheless part of our human makeup. What are the best ways to deal with and respond to such outbursts though?

In a school environment teachers try generally to model the behaviour they expect students to imitate. Also easy to say and harder to implement sometimes.

What are your strategies for dealing with such issues? What would you have done in John Prescott‘s shoes or with the benefit of hindsight as Mr Brown?

If you can rehearse such situations in advance it can help. What are your thoughts on the following?

⁃ If someone eggs you as in Mr Prescott’s situation: might it be possible to diffuse this by turning palms up and saying “scrambled eggs anyone?” And then perhaps arranging an appointment to be offered to the egger for discussion on what prompted the emotion behind the incident?

⁃ If someone with views that don’t sit right with you confronts you – how can you avoid the mental steps that might lead to you labelling or branding them a bigot before you even say it out loud? Even though you may feel justified? This is a very complex one actually and could also relate to the no platform debate. The answer would have to be purely to either discuss the issue honestly and openly or not to pass judgement at all. Also easier said than done. Again, opening dialogue and talking at a later time and exploring thinking is the strongest way forward, without having to compromise your own integrity.

⁃ Another top tip which may cause confusion and derision often if not understood by the recipient… if someone is angry and verbally or aggressively launching at you, you can just sit down. Literally and physically. It’s not often a situation will escalate if one person isn’t standing up. You also don’t have to say anything. This doesn’t mean you won’t take action such as by withdrawing yourself from a situation or relationship later. And it doesn’t mean you are weak. It often takes a lot of strength actually.

But hey, we are all human. We all have our weaknesses. And sometimes w initiate the situation too. None of this is easy. What top tips do you have for dealing with explosive situations?