The Education System



  • I recently watched some Ted Talks by Ken Robinson about the Education system. He talks mainly about the States but I think a lot of this applies to NZ as well as other countries.
     
    These are the talks, best to watch in this order:
     
    https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en
     
    https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution
     
    https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley
     
    18 minutes per talk, so not a quick stupid/funny youtube clip that are so popular nowadays, but also not a massive investment of time, so I'd encourage you to have a watch 🙂
     
    Although he is talking about education, the same applies to the wider context of peoples working life.
     
    I find it hard to disagree with anything he is saying. He talks about Finland leading the world in Maths, Science etc, and that they do this by not valuing those subjects higher then any others, so things like the Arts are seen as equally important. This has the effect of kids doing these subjects are the ones that are actually passionate about it, while other kids focus on subjects they enjoy but have not traditionally been held in high esteem. They also do not have a "drop out" rate, which in the parts of the States is as high as 60%(!).
     
    My personal experience of the education system in NZ was that I felt like I "had" to get a degree, so I went and did a BA in Human Geography. Although I don't regret doing this, it has not actually led me to where I am now. My passion has always been technology, I built my family computer when I was 13 by ordering the parts and putting it together myself. Soon after finishing my degree I went and did a Diploma in Systems Technology, which kick started my career in IT and I haven't looked back.
     
    Basically what he is saying is that our education system needs to provide the environment for people to find out what they are passionate about, and what they are good at, and allowing them to grow in that field. He gave the example of someone that wanted to be a Firefighter, but his teacher told him he was wasting his life setting that goal, even though society absolutely depends on people with varying passions and skill sets. Said that many people now go through life enduring their work life, instead of enjoying it, as they have been led to believe the things they are most passionate about are not important and won't lead to a successful career.
     
    The stuff he says about "ADHD" is interesting too. How many kids talents have been suppressed by people telling them there's something wrong with them and giving them medication?
     
    As some of you would know I have a 3 year old boy, so have been giving this a lot of thought. I want him to be successful, however my definition of successful is that he is living comfortably doing a job that he loves. Not necessarily being rich as fuck. You only live once, and you spend much of your adult life at work, so having a job that you enjoy and are passionate about should be an absolute priority for everyone.
     
    Interested in other Ferners thoughts on this. Your experience of the education system, your kids (if you have any) experience etc. What worked and what did not work for you?



  • I got told to get a degree along with the rest of my school year , the teachers really pushed it . We were told it didn't matter too much what you got it in because seeing it through would show an employer you could stick at a task and see it through etc. it sounded like bullshit then and it does now. Trades were looked down on , not many of my circle went into them .
    I'm having a battle now because my boy is showing an interest in being a plumber / drain layer and the mrs who has a degree and actually uses it in her job doesn't like the idea. My thinking is he could do well at it and he's unlikely to find himself replaced by a robot in the future . She strongly disagrees.



  • The trades are a very solid career path, as you say will always be in demand and unlikely to be replaced by robots, which is a very real problem in the near future even though people will often just laugh it off.
     
    Uni is not for everyone - if there are no subjects taught there that inspire you then you are wasting your time IMO.



  • Both the wife and I have more than 1 degree. We are agreed that they are not that important. We are trying to teach our kids to be able to communicate and stay positive. Those 2 attributes can take you a lot further than the vast majority of degrees.
     
    We are teaching out kids that earnng fuckloads of money is important though, not because it buys you stuff, but because if you make smart choices it can buy you free time.



  • Both the wife and I have more than 1 degree. We are agreed that they are not that important. We are trying to teach our kids to be able to communicate and stay positive. Those 2 attributes can take you a lot further than the vast majority of degrees.

    Agreed.
     
    I didn't bother finishing my degree and instead joined the Air Force for 5 years to get a bit of discipline etc.  It hasn't hindered my career and everyone one that works for me has a degree or are chartered.
     
    When I interview I am always more about the fit of the person rather than the paperwork of the person.  It's pretty easy to tell early. (In saying that, I have made a real hashbrown of one person that then had to ba managed out of the business. that was really untidy but I learnt from it)



  • Totally agree NQ. Unis have now pretty much become degree factories and many kids who should be doing trades or using their hands are running up high student loans because apparently you just have to have a degree. My parents and teachers would have freaked if I left school to become a tradie. But if I had I would probably have a lot more cash, a more satisfying job and some actual practical skills. I personally think university was a waste of time and would have learned alot more just starting at the bottom of a company, learning the ropes, and working my way up.
    With regard to my kids, I hope they end up doing something they love. My youngest is obsessed with science, so hopefully he gets into that. I work from home and often work silly hours and the stress of that is right in their faces. I think that for my oldest in particular that has driven home the importance of doing something he enjoys. But he also wants to make alot of money and at least realises that takes a shit load of hard work and dedication.
    Ultimately, I think its crucial these days that kids have structure and as little free time as possible. There are just so many distractions. Just look at any kid on an iPad and you'll understand what I mean.



  • I loved social sciences at college - history, geography, English etc, but was forced to do maths and science up to 6th form too, which I fucking hated every minute of, but was told were essential for the rest of my life. Biggest load of bullshit ever.
     
    I have a Bachelor of Communication Studies and Diploma in Journalism which have been essential for my dayjobs, as employers have always wanted the combo of quals and experience.
     
    Personally, I think it sucks that polytechs offering trade quals are looked down on. Mechanics, carpenters, plumbers & drainlayers, builders etc can make good coin, and plenty of work around.
     
    When I have been involved in employing, I've looked at a lot more than the educational history. C's get a degree, as they say, so it doesn't mean everything. Experience (especially unpaid intern/summer volunteer) carries weight with me, as it means the person is a self starter, not lazy, and willing to do the shitty stuff to learn.



  • Both the wife and I have more than 1 degree. We are agreed that they are not that important. We are trying to teach our kids to be able to communicate and stay positive. Those 2 attributes can take you a lot further than the vast majority of degrees.
    We are teaching out kids that earnng fuckloads of money is important though, not because it buys you stuff, but because if you make smart choices it can buy you free time.

    Agree attitude is important, we've got an apprentice at work who to be honest is pretty hopeless . He's not thick , just not very switched on. Anyway he's always first to work never moans even though he's given the most tedious jobs and if he finishes his job gets on the broom and cleans up. The boss told me the only reason they are persevering with him is his attitude , if he was a twat he would have been given the boot a long time ago.



  • I don't know that much has changed over the years. When I was at high school nobody ever talked to me about what I should do or wanted to do. My parents were archetypal working class immigrants, nobody from their families had ever gone to university and I was the first. But I finished the 7th form having only just turned 16 at the end of that August, and really had no idea what I was in for or what it would mean. I did physics at Auckland, mostly because my Dad respected "hard" subjects like engineering and sciences, and haven't ever used it. After uni I became a welder / pipefitter, because Marsden Point was paying good money.
    I went back as an adult student ( this time to Waikato) to do economics, which interested me at the time and still does. At 25 I was much better equipped to make life decisions that my parents and I were a decade earlier, and NQ is right, it's much easier and more rewarding to study something you enjoy. I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I'd known about the alternatives when I was still at school. I'd probably still be a wet leftie.
    edit: BTW my Dad was adamant that I shouldn't become a tradesman and was gutted when I sat my welding tickets.



  • This is a few years ago now, but NZ education system failed me in only one way - that it didn't actively push or suggest people to learn foreign languages - "what is the point, you won't need it" was the selling ticket.  But it was BS.  I remember saying to the guidance cousellor that I wanted to learn another language and was dissuaded to do technical fucking drawing!!
     
    If I was back at high school now, I would change some of the crap I did to focus on learning another language.  It would be a huge asset for me.
     
    Overall though, maths/science was my thing, so the mandatory classes of that, plus english, actually worked out quite well.  Thinking back, it was small town NZ, so I guess I can't blame them for not thinking I had the inner drive to work most of my career overseas in world cities.  I mean, my hair was halfway down my back, rarely washed and I lived in a flannelette shirt, black jeans and doc boots...



  • Being out of the country for the 80's plus a bit either side one of the things that I noticed immediately upon my return was the negativity associated with trades and vocational training in general which is just fucking stupid and ignores reality.
     
    I don't know if it is related but there was also a lot of BS about kids not being told they're failures (which is laudable) but by completely fucking up the message.
     
    Giving a kid an A for effort because they tried is OK when they're younger but does them no favours as they approach maturity and have to enter the workforce, but that seems to have become the norm along with degrees in freakin everything.
     
    When I went through school (back when dinosaurs roamed the Queen St valley) 50% of students  ​had to fail School Cert. Only 10% were expected to qualify to enter university. Elitist sure, but what it meant was there was no shame in not getting SC (don't know the modern equivalent or even if there is one) because half the population were in the same boat.
     
    It also meant there was no denigration of someone taking on a trade and a much more effective apprenticeship programme. Kids would still work hard (obviously not all but in the main) in their 5th form year because even if they knew they wouldn't get the overall pass a good result in (e.g.) woodwork would get them a chippie apprenticeship.
     
    Sure society has changed dramatically, but I see a lot of applicants who have completed their 7th form because that's the new minimum - and as an employer it means jack shit. So they all go on to complete (often meaningless) degrees and after 15 years education some of them are woefully ill-educated.
     
    I went to uni because I was academic. I've never used it and it didn't teach me how to think or any of the other shit it was supposed to. Hitchhiking round Europe and north Africa at 19 taught me far more, but I failed it as much as it failed me. I was way more interested in sex, drugs and drink than Aeschylus or how a beach is made, but I had 3 very social years completely unsaddled by debt.
     
    I see a lot of people with $30K + student loans that are probably never going to get a high paying job to enable them to pay it off quickly.  Yeah yeah I'm a boomer and as such have led a charmed life, but where I think society has failed is by raising a meaningless bar to a level that creates billions of public and private debt for in most instances very limited return.
     
    Far better IMO to have a system that encourages people to go as far as they want as long as they can and doesn't pillories whole career paths.
     
    We need deckhands as well as doctors, garbo's as well as GM's but structurally our society doesn't seem to realise this and has become very wasteful in terms of financial and human resource.



  • Blurring that academic v vocation pathway is really important imo. Agree with others that raising/developing good people (attitude, positivity, social skills etc) is a huge part of it. Alongside that I'd hope for keen, resilient people who can think, communicate and learn. Get that mix right and you've got a heap of options. Still a big stigma that blurring academic content with vocation material/skills is dumbing 'it' down. Let alone talking about assessment approach and ranking/comparison of all kinds of education data and Kids!
     
    It's getting more and more vital that people get a solid level education to build on. Especially with the way job markets are changing with fewer low skill jobs available.



  • Wrong thread



  • Some random thoughts:
     
    www.careers.govt.nz: it's the perennial careers favourite for a reason. They've faffed around with the structure in recent years, but dig deep enough and you'll find this for parents: https://www.careers.govt.nz/plan-your-career/helping-young-people-make-decisions/role-of-the-parent/
     
    "Follow your passion" can be very good careers advice or utterly dreadful advice, depending on the person. If it is advice for someone with stickability/tenaciousness and a great work ethic, then fantastic. Otherwise, it's a slippery slope at worst, or luck at best. For the average person on the street it should look something like:
     
    Self awareness  Opportunity awareness
     
    ... what am I good at/do I like? and what's out there? ... Bouncing back and forth between the two till you narrow it down. "Follow your passion" tends to just be one part of the picture...
     
    I'm very happy with schools keeping kids in sciences/maths up until year 12, so long as they are doing the same for English. For every kid cursing being made to stay in science, there's a few more at the Careers Expo in year 13 who've suddenly realised that they dropped science or maths too early for the path that they wanted to take straight from school. No system will work perfectly for everyone, so my careers maxim for people who were unsure of their choices was to: keep their options open as long as possible. Plenty of kids who go into trades may lament being made to stay in school for their 16th year altogether, let alone subject choices. 🙂
     
    I sometimes wonder if the Polytechs haven't helped themselves over the years - given most are now Institutes of Technology and offer degrees in competition with Universities.
     
    Never doubt that as a parent, you are the #1 influence on your kids career choices. That doesn't mean they'll do what you want, or even look like they're listening, but they are. We (in a past working life) used to do seminars with parents, and when asked who was the biggest influencer of their kids career decisions, they suggested mates, school, careers teachers, media, etc. They're all a big part of it, but kids do listen to mum and dad more than you think (or they'll ever admit). Heather Carpenter did some really interesting research about ten years ago, and the Year 12's she spoke with knew exactly what career direction their parents thought they should take.

    • A student may spend 2-3 one hour career sessions concluding that they should do a trade. But if the parents spend the next six months in the car, at breakfast, etc telling them that a trade is a waste of time and they should study law instead... the long term impact of that wearing down may be far more powerful than 2-3 career sessions (sessionsthat may have cost a lot of money too...)
    • Consider it in the reverse. Take families with inter generational unemployment: the kids never see the parents in any regular work routine - going somewhere at the same time each day, week in week out. If their parents don't do it, why should they attend school or work regularly? Just by doing what you do, you send a powerful message.
       
      And all of the above - and any careers advice - should be taken with a grain of salt. Who has had a career that hasn't had a lift (or a jolt) from happenstance?
       
      Or as John Lennon put it: life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.


  • Never doubt that as a parent, you are the #1 influence on your kids career choices. That doesn't mean they'll do what you want, or even look like they're listening, but they are. We (in a past working life) used to do seminars with parents, and when asked who was the biggest influencer of their kids career decisions, they suggested mates, school, careers teachers, media, etc. They're all a big part of it, but kids do listen to mum and dad more than you think (or they'll ever admit). Heather Carpenter did some really interesting research about ten years ago, and the Year 12's she spoke with knew exactly what career direction their parents thought they should take.

    Cannot agree with this statement more. I've seen parents on the news complaining about the day care/school/college their kids are attending, saying things like "the school should be the one to inspire our child" etc. There are quite a number of parents that solely rely on the education system to do everything for them, and as a result their children suffer. If I'm not setting an example, and supporting my child in what he wants to learn about then he is far less likely to succeed. Blaming the school for that is such a fucking cop out.



  • Those are the same losers who want celebrities/sportspeople etc to be the role models - and blame school/tv/video games/sponsorship when their bored, rotten-toothed, antisocial, chubby kid who has seen violence and ill discipline and mocking of education and intelligence every day at home, goes off the rails.
     
    Nope.



  • Mike Rowe is probably known to most of you from dirty jobs , he's got some interesting things to say about education in America that probably apply here
     



  • Mike Rowe is probably known to most of you from dirty jobs , he's got some interesting things to say about education in America that probably apply here

    He's not (known to me)!
     
    What has he got to say? I watched for the first 60 seconds and he said nothing. Not promising for investing a further 27 minutes.
     
    Videos are a piss poor way of communicating generic messages that are longer than 30 seconds. I'm very severe on them, because unlike something that's written, you can't flick through them to see if there's anything worthwhile.
     
    If you're going to post half hour videos, I reckon you should at least post a couple of sentence precis' to give some idea of what the viewer should expect to get out of them. Not having a go at you - just something that annoys me - here and elsewhere.
     
    On education - agree with Dogmeat that it's become increasingly wasteful. When I started High School (in 1976 at a country high school) very few people (5) entered the 6th form. I think one of them might have passed University Entrance (UE). The year that I did UE was the first year we had accrediting and the first year people stayed for the 7th form. The next year, when I stayed for the 7th form, I think there were nearly 30 sixth formers - most of whom didn't progress to any sort of "academic" type jobs. Five years earlier 20 of them wouldn't have had to "waste" the year.
     
    Facing facts - I did five years of university studies - much of which was based around calculus - and I have not applied a single differential equation in my working life. My time wasn't really wasted, because I needed the qualifications to get my foot in some doors - and some of what I learned was useful. But most was completely irrelevant - to me and to everyone else who was required to learn it.



  • I also have no idea who that guy is and sat through the whole video let me sum it up for you.
     
    He hates the phrase "work smarter not harder". Americans cheer when he mentions their home state and there is a lack of skilled trade people available, because colleges were so successful recruiting people since the 80s, and demonised skilled labour. 
     
    That is all I took from it.
     
    I find this topic interesting as in my family my brother and I both work in broadly the same industry yet he took the trade school route while I took the university route. The most notable difference is while my degree is recognised universally his trade school qualifications are not. That theoretically provides me with more opportunity. Though realistically I don't think I would want to work somewhere where they valued a piece of paper earned 20 years ago over the last 20 years of real world experience. But sometimes you just need it to get past HR. Neither of us have job hopped very much any way.
     
    I went to uni with the idea that it would be more vocational for me as I had a clear idea of the type of work I wanted to do. But after the first year and realising how overly theoretical some of the pre-req courses I did were. I started to view it differently and instead did the mandatory minimum of papers in my chosen discipline and used the rest of the time earning credits in fields I was intrigued with. Psychology, Literature and Biology. Instead of pursuing purely Math and Comp Sci.  It meant I enjoyed my time there a lot more and I would like to think taught me to learn outside of my comfort zone. 
     
    For my kids would I recommend the same? I am not sure. The big reason for my switch in mentality was I had gone too far before I realised that I was not doing what I had hoped to be doing,  and did not want to waste a year of my life only to have to go back to square one and start again. My big regret from this time is that I did not learn a trade on the side. I really wish I had learned to weld or labored for my uncle the builder or had something practical I could always fall back on.
     
    Also never used any of the rather complex university math that I had to sit twice to graduate in either my professional or private life. I have no idea why it was a pre-req and if they had any sense they would have dropped it by now. So no doubt it still persists.
     
    Mooshld



  • Mike Rowe, hes the host of a show called dirty jobs. He goes around the states interviewing people who make money doing all kinds of shit most of us wouldn't want to do. He's also the voice of deadliest catch.
     
    Anyway the video, he's the guest speaker at the annual function for Skills USA , he hams it up at the start plugging his show and mentioning the states he visited then moves on to the more serious stuff about how as mentioned earlier in this thread that a lot of people have this impression that you need to go to varsity to get anywhere in life so they sign up and a fair few come out with little more than a student loan and competing for entry level jobs as well as delaying the chance of earning by four or so years.
    Goes on to mention that there's a shortage of tradespeople in the states in some trades and the education system looks down on trades as an employment option.
     
    Said a much more condensed and formal version of the speech when he addressed congress a few years ago and mentioned a damn project that was put on hold because they couldn't find enough welders. He's also publicised some schools shutting down their woodwork/metalwork classes and kids who protested getting banned from attending their senior proms .
     
    Anyway I thought it was interesting and probably relevant to NZ , as I mentioned he's addressed congress about it and there's videos on different chat shows and conferences etc expanding on his ideas. Good on him although it must be a bit of an uphill battle trying to get people to take you seriously when they might have seen you on the discovery channel 10 minutes earlier with your arm up a cows arse. Thats also the reason he's never been allowed to show his face and only do the voiceover on deadliest catch .