Monday, 18 February 2008

5 hours of culture a week

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, MP, recently announced that all children should receive 5 hours of culture a week at school, and if memory serves me correctly the amount allocated per child to pay for this is........wait for it........£15 a year!

Don't make me laugh. Real teachers (and parents) who know their stuff can provide exposure to culture for free, but granted, the £15 could come in handy for a special occasion so maybe I shouldn't knock it.

Reflecting on my experiences as a primary school teacher, I was able to "seize the teachable moment", as I was trained to do at Saffron Walden College of Education. The "teachable moment" might have been filled with a story, a poem, a picture, a piece of music, and it would have related to and illustrated what I was teaching. I was teaching like this in the late 60's/early 70's.

"Culture" is defined in my dictionary as "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively", but surely "culture" also refers to a way of life with which we are familiar ( as in our own culture) and to other cultures which are more foreign to us ( as in learning about the way other people live). Isn't this part of what teachers teach? Or should be able to teach........? Whatever happened to the integrated day?


Jackie Hutchison said...

I have been trying to leave a comment for days so I am just writing something short to test that it is posted this time.

Jackie Hutchison said...

At last, now I will rewrite the actual comment I tried to make twice before!

The integrated day went out with the National Curriculum. However the Head at my last school remembered it fondly, as we did, and we had a week of integrated studies every year. All the children loved it and so did the majority of the staff once they had settled to what was entailed. Even most of the Advisory Teachers who came across it were definitely in favour. If you want to find out more you need to contact the Head at Tany's dell CP School, before she retires at Christmas!

barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
How are you?
Unfortunately, I think that children are already watching double the ammount of cheap television. So 5 hours a week would be nothing !
Such a puny investment is a shame.

Culture is something you are grateful to have had when you grow up.
Children need some "brain food" to grow !

Mellow Yellow said...

Hi Jackie & Barbara,

How interesting that the integrated day proved such a hit with those "newcomers"! Yes, I suppose the National Curriculum would have killed off a lot of creativity. And that's a shame...

I couldn't agree with you more, Barbara, about the rubbish TV, and the need for culture and exposure to a variety of different ideas/activities for that "brain food"!

Sandyboots said...

will write my comment at weekend

Sandyboots said...

will write my comment at weekend

Sandyboots said...

what exactly do they mean by culture and what do they expect to be taught? Is it to become part of the national curriculum? Culture is such a wide term with a variety of meanings. The national curriculum and in particular the national literacy strategy was one of the main reasons why I took early retirement. Some of the issues were good in that it made us think again about what we were doing. At least ideas have changed in the last few years and things have been modified. i likw working where i do because it is more what education should be like....the whole chid and all that.Of course the integrated day was never an issue in the secondary school, but I was involved in a "superlearning day" at my last mainstream school. we also have superlearning days or weeks... an integrated day or week. goes down well.At our place we only do national curr in morning and lots of other activities in the p m s. Don't know if we do "culture"!! we are much more child centred than mainstream. however there has been more emphasis on resulte lately. We just had an in service day and the speaker was an x sec head from KIrby. It was about schools for the future and he was a breath of fresh air. However i did feel a bit depressed as you could have turned the clock back 30 yrs. so what happened?? his vision of what we need to do cae staight out of the 70's!! anyway, I soon won't be involved.

Sandyboots said...

talking of culture, i did teach poems from other cultures and traditions as part of gcse course a few yrs ago. that was interesting. this is another aspect of culture.