So I'm sat at home watching a Qi repeat, Stephen is doing an experiment with black balloons, a laser pen, and a white balloon... it's a really interesting segment. I find myself fascinated and want to learn more.
Oh hello. You might remember me from such unpopular topics as... well they were so unpopular I can't remember their names.
Anyway. School. Specifically, Primary school.
I don't know how this works for people outside the UK. But when I was in Primary school (age 5 - 11?) we had these things called Assemblies. Yeah we had them in secondary school. Only not as often, and I think there was only ever one at college and it was more a 'how can the college be run better' sort of thing...
When I was at school, assemblies happened every and they usually followed this format.
* Started by singing a hymn
* Listen to a teacher tell a story, normally it would have a moral to it, or it would be religious in nature, like the good samaritan, or moses, or the 'technicolour dream coat,' only they cut out his 'sisters,' they did very naughty things.
* Sing another Hymn... then go back to class. Each week, every day... normally 30min to an hour. Thats what we got. *looks around*
What was the point of this exactly?
Now don't get me wrong, I think it's important for schools to teach some kind of moral system and at least teach kids that we have these things called religion, the christmas story some of the bigger well known religious stories etc etc... but really? Every day of every week? The same thing?
Heres my problem with school assemblies. The aim is obviously to try and teach kids to be good with the morality stories, but... at the ages of 5-11, is there really much point to this? I remember how I behaved back then (in terms of being bad... or good... or bad), and how other people behaved... at secondary school they behaved in exacty the same way... and at college it was the same (well for the 3 people from primary school who followed me to my college at least).
Now I can still remember some of those assemblies, but you know the ones that I remember the most? It's not the morality plays, or the religious stories... it was the more interesting ones.
For instance. There was this teacher who had a reputation for shouting and yelling at kids, she was a scary lady, people were genually frightened of her... she once held and assembly on her own and said "I'm going to make you all disapere... don't worry, it won't hurt... but you'll all vanish." Then there was silence... everybody was hooked as to what she was going to do... she then said "Ready? 3... 2... 1..." and she then took her glasses off.
She explained that she had very poor eye sight, which is why she wore such large glasses and explained why wearing glasses isn't a big deal at all, I don't remember the details (it was over 20 years ago) but I do remember it being an interesting insight into someone who wore glasses and how they cope with it. Even though there were 5 and 6 year olds there, everybody was interested.
The other one that I remember... a guy comes in with... animals... including a giant eagle... which prompty poos all over the floor, flies upto the roof and knocks down some sand bags which we used in PE. Much to the hysterics of everyone. And it was great, learning about this animal watching how it flew into the air. I wanted to learn more about it.
And then the giant kitchen came.... How many of you, remember this?
The giant kitchen. This was a health and safety thing which toured cities and schools in order to teach people about the dangers in the kitchen to children... .. .IT'S A GIANT KITCHEN! Of course kids are interested in it! During a PE lesson in the main hall... I climed iniside the giant kitched cupboard and hid... I was the giant kitchen... =p
I once remember hearing that it's written in UK law that all schools upto the age of 16 have to have a 'hymn' sung at the start of the day, and that Christianity must be taught in the mornings before lessons start.
Obviously, this is a left over law from when Christian influence was still a dominant force over our politics, I don't know if it's still law, but it's certainly not a forced thing.
So heres my question, if all schools were like this... why are we not swapping the religion out for something like science experiments? There are hundreds of tests which are not dangerous that anyone can do and easilly explain which to kids would look amazing, one example is that sticking 3 bouncy balls together and seeing how high they bounce compared to a single one.
For me, this is far more interesting and inspiring to both kids and adults and makes people more interested in far more advanced subjects than attempts to change/shape children into a specific moral system. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think moral teaching should be outrightly scrapped... but every day of every week? Can anyone here really say this had an effect on them?
So school assemblies... any thoughts on them.
Oh and the sex part?
Once I was sat in an assembly and a teacher was talking to the headmaster... here is the conversation...
At some point in college.. it was revealed that they had been having an 11 year long affair during school hours.