more 'happiness' at SES children's schools

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
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more 'happiness' at SES children's schools

Postby a different guest » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:27 am

I was sent this link to an article in the Education section of The Age - the leading broadsheet newspaper in Melbourne.

Note the last 2 pars.
http://www.theage.com.au/news/education ... 12672.html



Quiet please, learning in progress

An ancient philosophy and traditional teaching styles are shaping modern students, writes Claire Halliday.

LISTENING to Hannah Irvine speak is an odd mix of the articulate confidence of an adult mingled with an earnest sense of childlike wonder.

Hannah, 12, is clearly unafraid to speak her mind, yet the confidence comes with a dose of dutiful deference to her place as a child who is in the company of adults.

She started 2006 as a year 7 student at St Michael's Grammar in St Kilda. Her unique character, her mother Catherine Irvine believes, is attributable to primary education received at Hawthorn's Erasmus School.

Erasmus is part of a worldwide organisation of schools providing teachings grounded in an ancient Indian philosophy called Advaita. The school tries to show individuals that they have untapped potential and that there is unity between everything and everyone.

"Every subject relates back to those core beliefs," Ms Irvine says. "Hannah's her own person and is not so easily swayed by peer issues and she is very enthusiastic and keen to participate. There is nothing holding her back."

With a curriculum inspired by classical works of art, music and literature, the 100 Erasmus students between prep and grade 6 are taught about Shakespeare, renaissance artists and Latin. It encourages them to learn about past greatness rather than focus purely on a "here and now" contemporary curriculum.

From Hannah's perspective, the educational experience of old-fashioned values and teaching methods - teachers stand before the class at a blackboard and students sit at individual desks - combined with a spiritual rather than religious focus, has helped her become a diligent student.

"It is a different way of teaching. Now, at St Michael's I find that I concentrate really well compared to some of the other children. At Erasmus we had meditation and we paused before the end of class and at the start of class - every class. It has helped me stay focused on what I need to do," she says.

For her mother, the philosophy component was the deciding factor in selecting Erasmus for the primary education of all three of her children. But Ms Irvine says a return to old-school values was also an attraction.

"The children are not allowed to speak in class when the teacher is speaking. Concentrating becomes a natural habit. When you are in class you sit and you listen and you attend," she says. "One thing we also noticed with Hannah going into year 7 was that she was already used to timetables and going to different rooms for different classes. That can be quite daunting for other kids."

Although hesitant to compare Erasmus to mainstream educational institutions, Ms Irvine says "it suited us, so for us it was better".

Students also help prepare their hot meals, which adds to the richness of the school experience, she believes.

Like many other parents at the school, Ms Irvine spends one day a week volunteering her services in the kitchen and communal dining hall - a duty that can be offset against the private school fees that an Erasmus education requires.

For Ms Irvine, the work gives the school community a closeness that sets it apart.

"When you work with people on a weekly basis you get to share more and talk about family life. Working together is entirely different than going for coffee now and then. You actually become quite close," she says.

Erasmus headmaster Jonathan Tickner says the school's traditional teaching methods involve an emphasis on order and structure, with subjects such as spelling, history, geography and maths being taught separately, rather than today's tendency to roll many aspects of study into one unidentified class.

The students are also taught Sanskrit - a language that the headmaster describes as "almost scientifically perfect" in its grammar and one that gives the students a solid grounding in any language studies that may follow.

But for Jacqi Deighan, mother of Niamh, 10, and Conor, 7, it is the one part of her children's school experience that she can't truly connect with. "I find it difficult to help with that, although the recitations do sound beautiful," she says. "I have always thought that any form of language is a great thing."

The strong discipline the school offers also appealed to Ms Deighan.

It's a discipline that Mr Tickner says encourages a mutual respect between student and teacher.

"It is not about beatings and being seen and not heard," he says. "A child stands when an adult comes into the room but there is a lot of happiness within that relationship. Children like and feel comfortable with clear boundaries.

"So long as discipline is delivered with love, patience and forgiveness - then you have a very healthy relationship."
Although hesitant to compare Erasmus to mainstream educational institutions, Ms Irvine says "it suited us, so for us it was better".

Students also help prepare their hot meals, which adds to the richness of the school experience, she believes.

Like many other parents at the school, Ms Irvine spends one day a week volunteering her services in the kitchen and communal dining hall - a duty that can be offset against the private school fees that an Erasmus education requires.

For Ms Irvine, the work gives the school community a closeness that sets it apart.

"When you work with people on a weekly basis you get to share more and talk about family life. Working together is entirely different than going for coffee now and then. You actually become quite close," she says.

Erasmus headmaster Jonathan Tickner says the school's traditional teaching methods involve an emphasis on order and structure, with subjects such as spelling, history, geography and maths being taught separately, rather than today's tendency to roll many aspects of study into one unidentified class.

The students are also taught Sanskrit - a language that the headmaster describes as "almost scientifically perfect" in its grammar and one that gives the students a solid grounding in any language studies that may follow.

But for Jacqi Deighan, mother of Niamh, 10, and Conor, 7, it is the one part of her children's school experience that she can't truly connect with. "I find it difficult to help with that, although the recitations do sound beautiful," she says. "I have always thought that any form of language is a great thing."

The strong discipline the school offers also appealed to Ms Deighan.

It's a discipline that Mr Tickner says encourages a mutual respect between student and teacher.

"It is not about beatings and being seen and not heard," he says. "A child stands when an adult comes into the room but there is a lot of happiness within that relationship. Children like and feel comfortable with clear boundaries.

"So long as discipline is delivered with love, patience and forgiveness - then you have a very healthy relationship."


Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

Free
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Postby Free » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:21 pm

<delete>
Last edited by Free on Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:21 pm

Thanks, ADG and Free!

I've just sent the following email to feedback@theage.com.au

I hope a few other people will send something, too, perhaps mentioning the recent TV and newspaper coverage of the schools.

Tom

I was interested to read Claire Halliday's article 'Quiet please, learning in progress', about Hawthorn's Erasmus School. I was particularly struck by the following quote from headmaster Jonathan Tickner, referring to the school's discipline policy: "It is not about beatings and being seen and not heard."

As a child in the 1970s, I had the misfortune of attending St Vedast boys' school in London, England. St Vedast, like today's Erasmus school, was run by a religious cult known variously as the School of Economic Science and the School of Practical Philosophy. This highly secretive organisation was the subject of a series of newspaper exposes in the early 1980s and a book, 'Secret Cult', by London Evening Standard investigative journalists Peter Hounam and Andrew Hogg.

Discipline at St Vedast (and its companion school, St James) was very much about beatings and being seen and not heard! Following pressure from former pupils, an independent inquiry into these schools' discipline policies was commissioned last year. The inquiry was chaired by Mr James Townend QC, who, in the official report published earlier this year (available online at http://www.iirep.com/), stated that pupils at the schools "were criminally assaulted by being punched in the face or in the stomach, cuffed violently about the head, had blackboard rubbers thrown at them causing injury in some cases, had cricket balls thrown at them violently when they were not looking at the thrower and were struck with the end of a gym rope. Other students were kicked, struck from behind, slapped about the face, thrown across a classroom. Whatever the provocation nothing could justify this mistreatment. It was clearly unreasonable and criminal.?

I am glad to see that Erasmus has apparently learned some lessons from the violent past of other schools in its family. I hope that the former headmasters and headmistresses of St Vedast and St James schools will one day find the courage to publicly apologise and make amends for the pain and distress suffered by pupils at their schools.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Grubb

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Postby Goblinboy » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:02 am

Her unique character, her mother Catherine Irvine believes, is attributable to primary education received at Hawthorn's Erasmus School.


Nurture triumphing over nature, it would seem. Doesn't ring true to this parent. Isn't character, by definition, unique? Perhaps I'm just picking at sloppy writing.

Erasmus is part of a worldwide organisation of schools providing teachings grounded in an ancient Indian philosophy called Advaita.


Now that is good to read - actually admitting that it's Adviata, not "philosophy". Pity the School of Philosophy's ads in the same paper aren't as transparent.

"Every subject relates back to those core beliefs," Ms Irvine says. "Hannah's her own person and is not so easily swayed by peer issues and she is very enthusiastic and keen to participate. There is nothing holding her back."


Except, perhaps, the Laws of Manu and their views on women.

With a curriculum inspired by classical works of art, music and literature, the 100 Erasmus students between prep and grade 6 are taught about Shakespeare, renaissance artists and Latin. It encourages them to learn about past greatness rather than focus purely on a "here and now" contemporary curriculum.


Implies that there are contemporary curricula that focus "purely" on "here and now". I'm yet to see that.

From Hannah's perspective, the educational experience of old-fashioned values and teaching methods - teachers stand before the class at a blackboard and students sit at individual desks - combined with a spiritual rather than religious focus, has helped her become a diligent student.


Yes, but along with most of the testimony from students at SES schools, she has no experience of other schools.

For her mother, the philosophy component was the deciding factor in selecting Erasmus for the primary education of all three of her children. But Ms Irvine says a return to old-school values was also an attraction
.

Not suprising, as according to Melbourne SOP people her mother has been a member of the SOP/SES since she was a teenager. Hardly a disinterested choice.

Erasmus headmaster Jonathan Tickner says the school's traditional teaching methods involve an emphasis on order and structure, with subjects such as spelling, history, geography and maths being taught separately, rather than today's tendency to roll many aspects of study into one unidentified class.


Again, evidence for this "tendency" is what?


The students are also taught Sanskrit - a language that the headmaster describes as "almost scientifically perfect" in its grammar and one that gives the students a solid grounding in any language studies that may follow.


ROFL! Can't think of any modern language that is in any way "scientifically perfect" - and what part does the perfection of science play in language, in any case? Why didn't Tickner mention the SOP's real beliefs about the value of Sanscrit?

It's a discipline that Mr Tickner says encourages a mutual respect between student and teacher.


Sounds like a direct quote from N. Debebham, that illustrious educator.


"So long as discipline is delivered with love, patience and forgiveness - then you have a very healthy relationship."


Another SES potter. Ho hum.
Last edited by Goblinboy on Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby a different guest » Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:53 am

Quote:
Erasmus headmaster Jonathan Tickner says the school's traditional teaching methods involve an emphasis on order and structure, with subjects such as spelling, history, geography and maths being taught separately, rather than today's tendency to roll many aspects of study into one unidentified class.



Again, evidence for this "tendency" is what?


Well yeh, my kids do spelling in math all the time! *cue sarcastic smiley*

Nice letter Tom - I hope they publish it. And perhaps if they get flooded with letters, someone might take notice?
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

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Postby a different guest » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:37 am

Does anyone know if Claire Halliday has a link with the SOP?

If so, Media Watch would sure be interested - the article sounds almost advertorial!
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Temporarily Duped
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Postby Temporarily Duped » Thu Jun 15, 2006 11:02 am

They don?t seem to understand the obvious, most schools endeavor to promote the untapped potential of a child. Most do this well, some better than others.
Last edited by Temporarily Duped on Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

sly_gryphon
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Re: Contact The Age

Postby sly_gryphon » Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:36 pm

Free wrote:Wonder if Claire Halliday takes evening philosophy classes?


Doing a search on her name (within AU) seems to have a large number of hits across a wide variety of topics; she pretty much just seems to be a career journalist.

For example, here's an article she did on Swingers :-)

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/ ... 17224.html


- Sly


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