Posts Tagged ‘Elton John’

Elton John is Right About Music in Schools

January 14, 2020

 

I read a report that links music skills with math. Kids that learn to play music make startling progress in mathematics. This report completely dismisses the argument that music is merely an expendable extra-curricular activity.

Elton John is of course right to rail against plans to diminish the scope and importance of music at school level:

There was a rather lovely moment during the Q&A when four of those students stood up and spoke about what they had achieved thanks to their star sponsor. This of course begged the question: what does Elton make of the dwindling presence of music in today’s schools?

“Music was one of the few O Levels I managed to get,” Sir Elton tells Tim.

“A lot of schools [now] have taken music out of the curriculum and I find that really appalling, because music is so inspiring and for kids that have the ability or want to play music, there’s no outlet for this in schools anymore. It’s tragic.”

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Does Getting Students to Apologise Really Achieve Anything?

November 18, 2011

Last week I wrote about the difficulties teachers face in finding punishments that work. Probably the most popular consequence for breaking a school law is the “apology”.  Teachers have traditionally required students to apologise to them or a classmate before that child can reclaim their privileges.

My problem with this, is it’s very rarely an honest, authentic apology.  Usually it is said under duress and the child has no alternative but give the teacher what they want to hear.

It’s just like the fight we used to have with our siblings when growing up:

“Go on!  Apologise to your sister!”

How many times did we actually mean it when we said sorry?

And that’s what teachers face on a daily basis.  It’s like pulling teeth!

“Sorry …”

“What are you sorry for?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well you can’t say you’re sorry and not know what you’re sorry about.”

For even worse infringements the apology is ramped up to a public apology.  This is when the student is made a spectacle over so as to show the others that there is a penalty to be paid for overstepping the mark.  Again, is it really worthwhile if the student’s apology isn’t genuine?

Sometimes I feel like we impose the apology so we can close the chapter and get on with life. The chid has made the apology, I dealt with it and now we can move on. It’s more about seeming to do something rather than actually doing something.

The problem with this is that mistakes that haven’t been learnt from get repeated. Chances are, the apology will not mean much weeks later when the child breaks the same rule again.

Whilst I understand the “apology method” and have personally subscribed to it more times than I feel comfortable admitting to, perhaps it should be the last step in a more extensive response.

For example, in the case of an argument between two students, perhaps we should spend more time mediating the kids and letting them exchange view and clearing the air. Some do this already, others are reluctant to use the time (and go for a quick apology instead).  Only when it seems that both sides can appreciate the other’s point of view, should we request the apology.  That way it will be genuine and longer lasting.

Elton John once sang that “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”

It’s only hard when the person saying it, actually means it.


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