Posts Tagged With: Education

Parents and Education

Yesterday we had our first Parent Teacher interviews for the year. One of the outstanding characteristics of these interviews is that these parents are passionately concerned about their children’s success. They want to partner with the teachers to enable their son or daughter to achieve their best.

That school/family partnership is a crucial element for a child’s success. This liaison enables the discovery of learning styles and intelligence areas. Weaknesses can be worked on and strengths developed. For the student he or she is aware that there is a solid support team upholding their education.

The examples parents set for their children is also important. Do children see their parents as life long learners? Do they see mum and dad expanding their horizons through the books read, films watched and courses taken? Does this “learning” inform the family and meal time conversations? The family atmosphere can have a huge impact on whether a child has a positive or negative view of learning.

When I was teaching in the UK I came across the phrase, “Second generation disaffection with school.” It refers to parents who had a poor experience of school which in turn impacts  their lack of encouragement or negativity with regard to their own children’s education. For the teacher the consequences are obvious – unmotivated students who disrupt classes and the education of their peers. It can become a disastrous downward spiral.

The most prominent influence I have observed over the years is a dad’s influence on his son(s). As a general rule, if the dad doesn’t read, his son will not read. Or to put it positively, a dad who reads, gives his son(s) a powerful example that will radically influence his child’s education. All the encouragement from mum can be outweighed by dad’s attitude – positive or negative.

Our children are no longer competing for jobs with their peers in a school (I must stress that education is not just about jobs!), but in the global economy, with students in schools all across the world. The support, encouragement and example of parents is, consequently, also important. Many of the jobs that our children will enter into have not even been invented yet. So the best example a parent can give is an attitude of life long, on going learning. Personal growth becomes an attribute of how we live life.

This attitude also mitigates against boredom and complacency. It make life exciting and positive.  Learning and discovery becomes part of who we are as complete people.  It will also stop us from being passive consumers of entertainment, but that is a topic for another day.

Categories: Education, Teaching | Tags: | 7 Comments

Imagining More

It is difficult to imagine something of which you have no experience.

I was reflecting on my parents the other day. My father’s schooling ended at primary school and my mother’s in early high school. By the time it was my turn to go to school my family had immigrated to Australia. Both my parents, but especially my father, stressed the importance of doing well at school. Bringing home a report card was, for me at least, never a pleasant experience. In my father’s opinion I could always have done better.

My father at school in the 1920s

My father at school in the 1920s

However there was a breakthrough when I was in form three (year 9). My average had gone down from the term before and I was very apprehensive but dad wasn’t angry. I asked him why. And he replied that he had seen me work solidly all term and if that was the best I could do then he was happy with that.

It was in the next year that formal external assessment began. In years 10 through 12 we had to sit external exams at the end of each year. My parents couldn’t help me. They were not only migrants but this was beyond their experience. Yet still I was encouraged to do my best. I got through to Form 6 (Year 12) and then applied for and was accepted into university. This was lightyears away from anything my parents had ever experienced. No one in the immediate family had ever gone this far. In all this they continued to encourage me.

Looking back, this encouragement was extremely important because it was all new to me too. But I am so grateful that even though this type of education was beyond my parents’ imagination it didn’t stifle them as they pushed me beyond their own experience. It is a lesson I think we can all learn from, that is, to have the courage to hope and strive for objectives we can hardly imagine. This can be true in our daily life and spiritual life, in our homes and work.

What do you dream for your children, grandchildren or students? What can you barely imagine but still hope for?

Categories: Family, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Report Writing Time

The discordant output of
youthful recorder players
wafts in through the open windows;
Students busily tapping keyboards 
and scratching pens on paper;
Older students regretting the wasted evenings;
Others rushing to teachers’ offices
in a last minute flurry; 
Teachers with stress lines etched like road maps
on their tired faces;
Tolerance rubbed thin
by demands and expectations
exams and essays;
The sun’s warmth beckons 
for Summer to come quickly,
but the “to do” list is too long to notice
its invitation …
It must be “Report Writing Time”!
Categories: Education, Reflections, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

If You Remember These …

Do you remember these?

If you remember these two books you are probably a Victorian who is getting on a bit.

Categories: Education, Reflections | Tags: | 6 Comments

The 5th Gospel

Friends and colleagues connected with Covenant College in Geelong are currently working on a project called “The 5th Gospel”.

A group of 4 went to Israel earlier this year to film and do research. Initially the intent was that this material could be used in the History and Bible courses at the College. However it is becoming obvious that this effort could have far wider uses in other schools, churches and homes. To this end the project is being introduced to the community on the 4th of August. If you are in the vicinity you are very welcome to come along and hear about this exciting venture.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Education, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Family Disfunction and Teach-ability.

I have been reflecting lately on the task of the teacher and how it has changed in the last 40 years. The most dramatic change in that time has been the growing instability of the family. I recognise that the family has always been a volatile place but its volatility has increased markedly.

Let me put my reflection succinctly: unless the child is remarkable, children’s education is radically affected, in a negative manner, the greater the instability at home. If the home is a place of tension, anger, argument and uncertainty, the child’s ability to concentrate at school is adversely affected. There are some children who make a conscious decision to put home strife behind them and work hard at school. However, the vast majority of children do not have the maturity or emotional stamina to achieve that aim.

My challenge is simple ( some may say simplistic) yet profound. Adults in charge of children must seriously consider the atmosphere of the home if they wish their children to succeed at school. Adults are the adults. They have the responsibility, beyond their own desires and grievances, to ensure a harmonious well ordered house for the emotional, and I would add, spiritual, well being of the household.

In one place I was teaching, the staff spoke of “second generation disaffection with school”. To put it simply, disfuctional undereducated people were raising the next generation of disfunctional even more uneducated and unprepared children.

My plea: Those of us in charge of children have a huge responsibility for these young minds and souls. The way we structure and order our homes is important. Life has enough trauma with the unexpected events that life throws at us. The home should be a secure oasis: a place of refuge and comfort – not a battlefield.

With hindsight parents often remark how few years their children were at home and at school. These years seem to go so quickly. Parents and guardians do not have the luxury for petulant self obsession. Their responsibility is to the young minds and hearts in their care. The child’s future and future welfare depends on it.

Categories: Christianity, Education, Family, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Changes I Have Seen In School

Having been involved in schools as, student, parent and teacher over 55 years there have been a huge number of changes in that time. I have listed some but I’d love to read what you would like to add to this list.

1. At Ocean Grove PS we started writing with nib pens dipped into an inkwell. The inkwell

Ocean Grove Primary School circa 1957

could also be used to colour tip the hair of the blond girl with long tresses sitting in front of you. I was given the highly esteemed position of “Ink Monitor”. We had to dilute the “Swan” ink towards the end of the year as the school ran out of money. Biros were introduced in grade 5. They were expensive and novel.

2. The cuts/the strap/ corporal punishment was present (and received) through all my student life. And no, I wasn’t scarred emotionally.

3. We loved smelling the pages that came from the spirit duplicator – each page just slightly fainter than the page before. Then came the photocopiers with grey photocopy paper on a continuous roll. Now we have fancy scanners and printers that rocket along – when the work. There were also ink printing machines which wrecked your clothes with their unwashable ink.

4. If I went home and was stupid enough to say that the teacher was angry with me, my dad would add to my pain. Now, woe betide any teacher who challenges the little darlings.

5. I started with a slate and chalk – now there are iPads. Technology and communication is probably the most dramatic of all the changes.

6. Nobody had heard of drugs when I went to school. In my later teens the drugs  of concern were alcohol and cigarettes.

7. Desks were not tables and chairs, they were solid (one piece) oak furniture – and if the lid dropped on your head you would be concussed for a week.

8. We had bottles of milk (1/3 of a pint) at the start of each day. If left in the sun too long it was awful. Also, being a “Milk Monitor”, (another esteemed position) who had to deliver milk to the classes and punch holes in the silver tops, we were able to get out of folk dancing and having to hold hands with girls.

9. Class sizes were huge. There must have been well over 40 students in some classes. Now 26 is considered a big class.

10. For most students family life was far more stable in days past. However, there was far less openness about abuse and family violence. As children we all knew of others who were frequently belted and everyone (including the teachers) kept quiet about it.

11. Marching into school with martial music was the fashion when I was a student. My dad, who had experienced  WW2, thought it was appalling.

12. My early school years were also in the days before central heating. I have vivid memories of the Headmaster taking a few year 6 boys out to chop the wood and sharing it amongst the classes. He even asked the boys to hold the block of wood while he split it with the axe. Today there would be all sorts of regulations about that activity.

Things that haven’t changed

The importance of inspirational teachers.


Rebellion  – petty (hair length/dress length/ chewing gum …)

Rebellion – major


What changes have you noticed?

Categories: Education, History | Tags: , | Leave a comment

15 Reasons Why Christian Education is Important

  1. Sound Christian Education takes the Bible seriously.
  2. Truth is seen as absolute.
  3. Christian Education believes a Christian worldview can make a positive difference.
  4. It gives students a strong foundation in a world of shifting values and morals.
  5. Christian Education recognizes God’s sovereignty and Christ’s Kingship, and …
  6. therefore God’s claims over all of creation are taken seriously.
  7. No subject or curriculum is outside the orbit of God.
  8. Students are recognised for who they are: sinners in need of God’s grace in Christ.
  9. Also students are given a vision of God’s Kingdom and their place in it.
  10. Good Christian education recognises the unique, God given gifts and talents of the students and
  11. challenges them to achieve their amazing potential.
  12. It assists parents in their God given mandate.
  13. Sound Christian Education treats the student as a whole person whose aim is to grow in Christ-likeness..
  14. A foundation in God and His world prepares the student for tomorrow.
  15. Healthy Christian Education develops critical thinking by having the courage to explore other world views from the perspective of its own worldview.

What reasons can you add?

As this post proves to be regularly accessed I have included some other sites:

Australia   Christian Education National  Christian Schools Australia

A wonderfully informative website:


USA/Canada  Christian Schools Internation American Association of Christian Schools

UK  Christian Schools Trust UK

Categories: christian, Education, Faith, Family, Future, Jesus, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , | 22 Comments

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