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School assemblies, morals, religion, a giant eagle, sex, the giant kitchen and me


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#1 Hogfather

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:57 PM

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...

 

Moving on...

 

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?

 

8e_kitchen.jpg

 

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...

 

Spoiler

 

At some point in college.. it was revealed that they had been having an 11 year long affair during school hours.



#2 Speedhog

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:24 AM

Hmm with Assemblies it depends, at public school: grades k-4 (that's how long I was here then we moved) they were kinda interesting

Yah...we sang this after every assembly, lol memories. biggrin.png

Now this: wacko.png

Yah I found this by mistake.

 

Edit: I wasn't done yet

 

On to Christian school (grades 5-6)

 

is-yawning-contagious04.jpg

 

I know it's mean, but nuff said, they were every Tuesday's and Thursday's and sooooo boring. Same hymns, routine, etc. 

 

Now on to 7-10 grade

 

not_available_icon.jpg

Yah, suffice to say I didn't have assemblies in 7-10 grade, my school was small, not homeschool small though, like 10-12 people were there.

 

Finally 11-present (12): They're now called pep assemblies and almost everyone wants to skip them. They involve one of our teams showing off while we applaud, oh and singing our school fight song.


Edited by Manly man, 08 March 2013 - 01:34 AM.


#3 Sixth-Spook Soma

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:38 AM

Now, I wouldn't say moral teaching is obsolete. Kids are still learning, and it's good to give them some foundation to build off of, even if some choose to disregard it. That said, I'm not sure if just going through the motions of a religion is going to fix anything. It's not going to fix anything if they don't believe it. They have to take that step of faith themselves.



#4 Elseb

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:39 AM

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray.

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Keep me singing 'til the break of day.

 

EVERY.FREAKIN'.DAY. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.



#5 Cyalume

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:45 AM

I read the topic title and walked into this thread expecting the harlem shake.

I was pleasantly surprised. 


But anyway, I only had these things as part of D.A.R.E. (That anti-drug thing that tours around elementary schools)



#6 Hogfather

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:49 AM

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray.

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Keep me singing 'til the break of day.

 

EVERY.FREAKIN'.DAY. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

 

Lol this is another thing.

 

It's the same hymns each week... I could probably still reciet 'Light up the fire', (although I do really like this one), 'Love is something if you give it away' 'This little light of mine' and probably one or two others if I put my mind to it... and shockingly I think I can still remember some of the 'actions' they taught you...

 

WHY!?

 

Why could they not have... I dunno. read out some poetry, or told us about Skaespeare or done a science experiment instead. Something that could actually have inspired and made us interested in a subject instead of just the religious morals?



#7 Elseb

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:52 AM

'Love is something if you give it away'. I had happily erased that hymn from my memory ten years ago but now it's all coming flooding back to me. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.



#8 Vertekins

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:56 AM

I remember school assemblies in my Junior School very well. And yes, the school would have to sing these incredibly crappy songs. Heh, I was the kid in charge of the overhead projector that would project the clear lyric sheets onto the wall so the other students could follow it whilst another kid would be in charge of the cassette player.

 

Could not help but derive a sense of unfairness as the year 6 students sat on chairs whilst students in lower years would sit with their legs crossed on the hall floor.

 

Every Friday, a class would put on a play that was rehearsed throughout the week by said class. Of course because the assembly hall had no stage, the 'play' would be staged in a cleared area of floor which made floorspace for seated students much more limited. Parents of kids in the class that was putting on the 'play' were invited to watch and they'd sit on seats :P I remember getting the main part in a few of those 'plays' when it was my classes' turn.

 

On the odd Thursday, the deputy head would have us in a special assembly or song practice whilst the teachers had a meeting in their staff room. They could be pretty cool.



#9 VEDJ-F

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:57 AM

I can't really remember much about our primary school assemblies. On Friday we had an extra long one in the afternoon instead of in the morning, and there the teacher of each year would give one kind in their class a "Special Mention", which was a certificate for someone who they thought was extra good that week. At the end of the term, there'd be an "Extra Special Mention", which was an upgrade on the Special Mention. I won the SM 2-3 times and the ESM once. 

 

In High School, things were a bit different. At first we had assemblies at the start like you're supposed to. Then when I was in about year 9 or year 10, they managed to find a loophole; as long as a story was presented to the whole school, it didn't matter how it was presented. So the assemblies were done away with except on formal occasions, and got replaced by a bulletin paper that teachers would write their own notices down on (a bit like my Uni emails now but on paper), and a last page was added for the Thought For The Day, which the teacher didn't read out that often anyway. 

 

My College was a Christian School technically, but it was sixth form so they didn't feel the need to make the students do that song and dance. 



#10 Hogfather

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:01 AM

Could not help but derive a sense of unfairness as the year 6 students sat on chairs whilst students in lower years would sit with their legs crossed on the hall floor.

 

WTF! I thought that was just my school!

 

Yeah, the year 6 lot were given one of those long benches that you use in PE. Well about 2 or three stuck together... only one kid always had to sit on the floor...

 

Why did they do this? Was there some rule on year 6's or something?

 

'Love is something if you give it away'. I had happily erased that hymn from my memory ten years ago but now it's all coming flooding back to me. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

 

It's just like a magic penny... hold it tight and you... . .. oh god... I can actually remember the actions that go with this one.



#11 Foiled & Baked Potatoe

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:05 AM

I really don't know about school customs in other countries, though that sounds interesting at first glance...

 

only equivillent I can think of is the mandatory Pledge of Allegiance thing... that's just a thing over the intercom in public schools....

 

an "Assembly" here in the states is ussually... uhm.. well it's different for every school and what time of the year it is really. it just refers to the whole school gathering to watch something or another on the stage (school play, guest speakers talk about say... history/wars, or watch the marching band play.)

 

EDIT: I should mention these did NOT happen every day or every week. usually only around like beginning/end of the year, holidays, and  homecoming time


Edited by BakingBluePotatoe, 08 March 2013 - 01:08 AM.


#12 Elseb

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:07 AM

WTF! I thought that was just my school!

 

Yeah, the year 6 lot were given one of those long benches that you use in PE. Well about 2 or three stuck together... only one kid always had to sit on the floor...

 

Why did they do this? Was there some rule on year 6's or something?

 

 

 

It's just like a magic penny... hold it tight and you... . .. oh god... I can actually remember the actions that go with this one.

 

Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many. They'll roll all over the floor. Awwwww man, stupid song in my head. :-\
 



#13 Vertekins

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:09 AM

WTF! I thought that was just my school!

 

Yeah, the year 6 lot were given one of those long benches that you use in PE. Well about 2 or three stuck together... only one kid always had to sit on the floor...

 

The year 6's chairs were real chairs, not those long wooden benches that would be used in PE lessons. Ah those wooden benches...still remember setting those up for PE lessons... and those huge mats.

 

Why did they do this? Was there some rule on year 6's or something?

 

I have no idea. Maybe it was because of comparative "seniority"  mellow.png



#14 A Match in Oil Ocean Zone

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:25 AM

Wow. Never heard of this before. We don't have anything like that across the pond, but the closest thing would have to be the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom every morning... that's about it. Sounds weird.



#15 Cola

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:02 AM

I had assemblies too, but they were pretty different from that of you across the pond.

My elementary school used to have interesting learning experiences, among other things. While there was the odd serious assembly (it was a catholic school, we had that drilled into our heads by then), a lot of them were legitimately interesting.

A few that stood out to me were a magician showing us stuff like laying on a bed of nails, an animator showing us how animation came together and was created, and even that beatboxing flute guy! (I knew him before everyone saw him on iCarly, Damnit!)

They were pretty awesome.


Edit: also, they were only once in a while

Edited by Cola, 08 March 2013 - 02:05 AM.


#16 Biafra Republic

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:35 PM

My history of school assemblies was rather lacking to be honest from Kindergarden to 10th grade, after which I moved from Florida to Texas.

 

In Florida, K-5 had virtually nothing except for the end-of-year assembly that all the 5th graders who were promoted to sixth grade got. 6th-8th grade I went to a school which was basically a holding pen until High School. 9th and 10th grade we had homecoming skits and yearbook/class ring sales for assemblies (the yearbook sales assemblies being more fun than the rest as they were music slideshows with interesting content and took place before lunch).

 

In Texas during 11th and 12th grade the assemblies were typically football pep rallies (and thus were primarily held during the fall and at the end of the last class of the day); the school I went to in Texas had its non-sectarian character education handled during weekly homeroom for the most part, so no assemblies for that.

 

To date, I've only had one 'assembly' during college, and that was part of mandatory new student orientation.



#17 Covskin

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:02 PM

My primary school had song practice dominate every Monday assembly, and Friday was filled with "The Good Book". 2 kids from each class who'd excelled that week got put in this book for prosperity, or something. One time I was put in it for maths, and annoyed my teacher by saying it was easy. He didn't let me live that one down all year.

 

Tuesdays to Thursdays were pretty much as Hogfather's, though everyone sat on the floor.

 

Our piano player / teacher was awesome. Looking back, we didn't actually have that many hymms. He would just stick on songs he liked, such as "A Little Help From My Friends". He even wrote a couple of his own originals that were quite exciting musically. Our school would always dedicate one week a year to Anceint Egypt, so he wrote a song called "Oh To Be In Egypt". Kids were actually excited to sing that one. That guy was awesome.

 

 

 

In Secondary school, I only remember Assemblies in Year 7 and Sixth Form, and were just once a week morning announcements.



#18 Naysu

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:11 PM

I think morals are important for children especially in this day and age, and no that doesnt have to be in a religious way, but I do think morals are very important, when I was young manners, respecting elders, politeness and modesty were common in most of my peers, now i see 5 year olds swear at me, parents being 'proud' that their 2 year old can swear. People today clearly have far less manners etc.

 

I think what you described there is the difference in the TEACHING of the morals/stories. There is nothing wrong with a religious moral story. But if you have 1 guy standing infront of the kids blah blah talking about the story with no enthusiasm well OF COURSE its going to be more boring and less memorable than a giant flipping kitchen in your P.E hall. Yes science is great, but instead of scrapping moral teachings and even religious teachings, why not make them just as engaging and interesting?



#19 Old Freddy

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:18 PM

All I really remember about school assemblies is that they were usually very boring. I don't remember much about my infants school assemblies except for two things: hymns and prayers. My infants school wasn't a CE school or anything, so I always wondered why these things were needed, but I digress. I can remember a couple of hymns such as "Sing Hozanna to the king of kings" and everyone in the school would sing an extra "of kings" at the end of the song. I don't remember any specific prayers from that time, but I do remember that I'd always yell "Amen" as loud as possible just to be annoying.

 

At my junior school, things would sometimes be a bit more interesting. We were told stories that would usually have a moral at the end as has been said, but often the headmaster would pick and choose kids to act out the roles of the characters. Occasionally we'd have people from outside of school put on plays and such.

 

When I was at secondary school, it changed from daily to weekly and the religious element was dropped. Assemblies were now often about things more related to schoolwork and the like. During sixth form I just felt that assemblies were only there so the head of Key Stage 5 could moan about how bad we were doing.

 

In regards to the "Giant kitchen thing" I don't remember that, but I do remember this thing called "Life Education Centre" where the whole class would hop on board this lorry trailer and get these lessons about the human body taught by a creepy giraffe puppet. It was mostly things about keeping healthy and not doing drugs and things like that. I'd have totally forgotten about this if it wasn't for the fact that a Life Education Centre lorry went past my house the other day, and those haunting memories came flooding back.



#20 Speederino

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 05:12 PM

Well as numerous others have already said, assemblies in U.S schools aren't really like this, the Pledge of Allegiance is the closest thing we have. We did get things like animal trainers and educational skits and the like, but other times we got high schoolers reenacting The Hobbit or a helicopter arriving with the cheerleading squad of the Denver Broncos.

 

...Uh, yeah. That was a thing. Don't ask me why, just roll with it.

 

But these were things that happened once every couple of months, not every week. And they NEVER got religious. I find it rather ironic that U.K schools are the ones that make students sing hymns and learn about Christianity, the only way this happens in the U.S is if it actually *is* a Christian School (which I am deeply grateful to have never attended).

 

Generally speaking U.S assemblies are more for fun. There's usually some sort of educational theme. Usually. I don't remember what the point of the Broncos cheerleaders was. And then there was that time when Ronald McDonald showed up and talked about...err...all I remember is magic tricks and a bunch of talk about the Grimace and Birdie. So I guess there's some of that good ol' U.S capitalism thrown into the mix.

 

Either way, I always used to look forward to these because it meant we got an hour off from actual classwork.






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