The report, What Makes Great Teaching, commissioned by the Sutton Trust and Durham University takes aim at “inefficient” and “ineffective” fashionable teaching methods such as “child centred learning” and “discovery learning”, which it claims is retarding the progress of young people in schools. It praises traditional, efficient methods and the establishment of clear rules for classroom behaviour, and anticipates the potential anger among the teaching community the report could generate.
…The report also rejected the modern notion that students needed regular praise and boosts to their self-worth to succeed. In reality, it is claimed, constant praise encourages complacency among learners. Indicating to a student that more is expected of them through disapproval of performance instead produces the desired effect: “For low-attaining pupils, praise… meant to be encouraging and protective can actually convey a message of low expectations.
…Ultimately, the report concludes that the most important element that makes a good teacher is not their use of fashionable teaching methods, but “strong knowledge and understanding of their subject” which shows “strong evidence of impact on student outcomes”.
The least important aspects that contribute to good teaching are “teacher beliefs”, which includes their knowledge of teaching theory and “conceptual models”, and “professional beliefs” which includes “reflecting on and developing professional practice”. In comparison to teacher knowledge, these practices only show “some evidence” of improving students.
The findings appear to vindicate the efforts of former Education Secretary Michael Gove to reform the UK’s schools system. In September 2013, he said modern methods of teaching were contributing to the “sidelining of the teacher from the activity of learning” and that “theorists have consistently argued for ways of organising classrooms and classroom activity which reduce the teacher’s central role in education”.
Mr. Gove said: “Allied to these teaching methods which have nothing to do with passing on knowledge, there has also been an emphasis on teachers having to put their own learning aside so that work is ‘relevant’ to the students. This has resulted in the dumbing of educational material down to the level of the child – with GCSE English papers that ask students about Tinie Tempah, or Simon Cowell – rather than encouraging the child to thirst after the knowledge of the teacher”.
The Guardian reports the comments of one deputy headmaster who expressed concerns that the valuable conclusions of the report would be lost unless teachers took heed. He said: “Until teachers, school leaders – and perhaps vitally, Ofsted inspectors – are brought up to speed with the latest developments, the impact will be limited”.
“If we had, each of us, upheld the rights and authority of the husband in our own households, we should not today have this trouble with our women. As things are now, our liberty of action, which has been annulled by female despotism at home, is crushed and trampled on here in the Forum … Call to mind all the regulations respecting women by which our ancestors curbed their license and made them obedient to their husbands; and yet with all those restrictions you can scarcely hold them in. 1f now you permit them to remove these restraints . . . and to put themselves on an equality with their husbands, do you imagine that you will be able to bear them? From the moment that they become your equals they will be your masters” (Will Durant, Caesar And Christ, P. 89) source
Which ideology does that sound like?
Will Durant saw the decline of a civilization as a culmination of strife between religion and secular intellectualism, thus toppling the precarious institutions of convention and morality. This is happening everyday as rule of law is being undermined by those that have lost touch with our god-given morality for secular philosophy. To quote Durant:
“Hence a certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seems so favorable to statesmanship and art; it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past.
For as knowledge grows or alters continually, it clashes with mythology and theology, which change with geological leisureliness. Priestly control of arts and letters is then felt as a galling shackle or hateful barrier, and intellectual history takes on the character of a “conflict between science and religion.”
Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and-after some hesitation-the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical. The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea.
Hello, Atheism Plus.
Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into Epicurean chaos [DS: hedonism]; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death. Meanwhile among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization.” source
Had every Roman father been teaching his sons righteousness instead of war, and every mother making a home for her children; had all parents assembled their children in their homes instead of the circuses and public baths; had they taught them chastity and honor and integrity and cleanness; would Rome still be a world power? Certainly it was not the barbarians from the north but the insidious moral termites within that destroyed the Roman world empire….
The story of the civilizations of the world is a continued story of the same weaknesses that leave a country helpless and disintegrated.
In our own time on both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific and in the north and the south, we seem to be following the same trends. Our successes bring us to extravagances, to our seeking for high amusement. We control childbirth and reduce our families. We divorce and break up our homes. Many of our children become orphans in one way or another. We become irreligious and practice evil ways. We indulge in the bestial satisfactions. We crave social activities at the expense of our family life and … we lose our sense of rightness, of goodness, of devotion.
It is easy to see the resemblance between our modern-day situation and that of ancient Rome. According to Will Durant [an eminent writer and student of civilization], “Prostitution flourished. Homosexualism was stimulated by contact with Greece and Asia; many rich men paid a talent ($3,600) for a male favorite; Cato complained that a pretty boy cost more than a farm. But women did not yield the field to these Greek and Syrian invaders. They took eagerly to all those supports of beauty that wealth now put within their reach. Cosmetics became a necessity, and caustic soap imported from Gaul tinged graying hair into auburn locks.
“Women won the free administration of their dowries, divorced their husbands or occasionally poisoned them, and doubted the wisdom of bearing children in an age of urban congestion and imperialistic wars. Already by 160 Cato and Polybius had noted a decline of population and the inability of the state to raise such armies as had risen to meet Hannibal. The new generation, having inherited world mastery, had not time or inclination to defend it; that readiness for war which had characterized the Roman landowner disappeared now that ownership was being concentrated in a few families and a proletariat without stake in the country filled the slums of Rome. Men became brave by proxy; they crowded the amphitheater to see bloody games and hired gladiators to fight before them at their banquets.” (Will Durrant, The Story of Civilization, Caesar and Christ, pp. 89–90)
My brothers and sisters, I beg of you to study history—the history of the world. Look at Babylon in Assyria. Look at Jerusalem. Read about Sodom and Gomorrah. The story of Rome and its dissoluteness is in every library. Other cities likewise slipped from high plateaus to low marshes and defilement.
Rome gained the world and lost its soul. As Durant says, “Every new conquest made Rome richer, more rotten, more merciless. She had won every war but the class war. … Now through a hundred bitter years of revolution, Rome would pay the penalty of gaining the world.” (Durant, p. 108.)
His epilogue summarizes: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.” (Durant, p. 665.)
We have been concerned with the rapid rise of a public notion that families should be reduced. A congressman whom we know proposed a program of limiting the family to two children. Again, study the history of countries that have done this. It seems that imported laborers, slaves, uneducated criminals often take the place of the children who would have been under supervision and training.
Will Durant queries:
“What had caused this fall in population? Above all, family limitation. Practiced first by the educated classes, it had not seeped down to a proletariat named for its fertility; by a.d. 100 it had reached the agricultural classes. … Though branded as a crime, infanticide flourished as poverty grew. Sexual excesses may have reduced human fertility; the avoidance or deferment of marriage had a like effect, and the making of eunuchs increased as Oriental customs flowed in to the West. …
“The rapidly breeding Germans could not understand the classic culture, did not accept it, did not transmit it; the rapidly breeding Orientals were mostly of a mind to destroy that culture; the Romans, possessing it, sacrificed it to the comforts of sterility. Rome was conquered not by barbarian invasion from without, but by barbarian multiplication within.
I could make a joke about British mass immigration but it already is one.
“Moral decay contributed to the dissolution. … Men had now, in the middle and upper classes, the means to yield to temptation, and only expediency to restrain them. Urban congestion multiplied contacts and frustrated surveillance; immigration brought together a hundred cultures whose differences rubbed themselves out into indifference. Moral and esthetic standards were lowered by the magnetism of the mass; and sex ran riot in freedom while political liberty decayed.” (Durant, pp. 666–67.)
The real tragedy is the large number of innocent children who live with only one parent after a divorce or family breakup. In a city not far away from Salt Lake City, 38 percent of all the children under 18 are short of parents. Only one parent is their best record. When children drop to a one-parent basis, that is the announcement of the failing civilization, and it means social disorganization. One survey stated that 70 percent of male prisoners in the United States came from broken homes where they lived with only one parent. (“Home: the Place to Save Society,” Ensign, January 1975, 3)
Ezra Taft Benson (Quorum of the Twelve)
As a free people, we are following very closely in many respects the pattern which led to the downfall of the great Roman Empire. A group of well-known historians has summarized those conditions leading to the downfall of Rome in these words:
“… Rome had known a pioneer beginning not unlike our own pioneer heritage, and then entered into two centuries of greatness, reaching its pinnacle in the second of those centuries, going into the decline and collapse in the third. Yet, the sins of decay were becoming apparent in the latter years of that second century.
19th Century – Industrial Revolution.
20th Century – Computer and Electronic Revolution.
21st Century – ???
“It is written that there were vast increases in the number of the idle rich, and the idle poor. The latter (the idle poor) were put on a permanent dole, a welfare system not unlike our own. As this system became permanent, the recipients of public largesse (welfare) increased in number. They organized into a political block with sizable power. They were not hesitant about making their demands known. [£$£$£$£$£$] Nor was the government hesitant about agreeing to their demands … and with ever-increasing frequency. Would-be emperors catered to them. The great, solid middle class—Rome’s strength then as ours is today—was taxed more and more to support a bureaucracy that kept growing larger, and even more powerful. Surtaxes were imposed upon incomes to meet emergencies. The government engaged in deficit spending. The denarius, a silver coin similar to our half dollar, began to lose its silvery hue. It took on a copper color as the government reduced the silver content.
“Even then, Gresham’s law was at work, because the real silver coin soon disappeared. It went into hiding.
“Military service was an obligation highly honored by the Romans. Indeed, a foreigner could win Roman citizenship simply by volunteering for service in the legions of Rome. But, with increasing affluence and opulence, the young men of Rome began avoiding this service, finding excuses to remain in the soft and sordid life of the city. They took to using cosmetics and wearing feminine-like hairdo’s and garments, until it became difficult, the historians tell us, to tell the sexes apart.
“Among the teachers and scholars was a group called the Cynics whose number let their hair and beards grow, and who wore slovenly clothes, and professed indifference to worldly goods as they heaped scorn on what they called ‘middle class values.’
“The morals declined. It became unsafe to walk in the countryside or the city streets. Rioting was commonplace and sometimes whole sections of towns and cities were burned.
Like a London Riot?
“And, all the time, the twin diseases of confiscatory taxation and creeping inflation were waiting to deliver the death blow.
“Then finally, all these forces overcame the energy and ambition of the middle class.
“We are now approaching the end of our second century.” (Address by Governor Ronald Reagan of California at Eisenhower College, New York, 1969.)
In 1787 Edward Gibbon completed his noble work The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Here is the way he accounted for the fall:
1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
3. The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting and brutal.
4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people.
5. The decay of religion—faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.
Is there a parallel for us in America today? Could the same reasons that destroyed Rome destroy America and possibly other countries of the free world?
For eight years in Washington I had this prayerful statement on my desk: “O God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box.”
The lessons of history, many of them very sobering, ought to be turned to during this hour of our great achievements, because during the hour of our success is our greatest danger. Even during the hour of our great prosperity, a nation may sow the seeds of its own destruction. History reveals that rarely is a great civilization conquered from without unless it has weakened or destroyed itself within.
The lessons of history stand as guideposts to help us safely chart the course for the future. (“Watchmen, Warn the Wicked,” Ensign, July 1973, 38)
Denmark’s school sex education programme has been so successful the collapsing birth rate is “approaching epidemic” levels, and children will now be taught how to successfully reproduce at school, and encouraged to have children younger to save the Danish people.
The number of Danes born every year is steadily dropping as couples have on average only 1.7 children between them, and a fifth of all couples will never have children. In 2012, only 57,916 new Danes were born, compared to more than 65,000 in 2008.
Although the total population is continuing to rise, this is because of significant immigration inflating figures, and expensive fertility treatment for older couples, which now accounts for one tenth of all born. Today, only 89 percent of Denmark’s population is considered ‘Danish’ by the Government, and over half of immigrant residents are from outside the EU.
The Danish government is concerned that if present trends continue the population will collapse and is attempting to stave off disaster by encouraging couples to have more children, younger. The new campaign in Danish schools flies in the face of previous ‘sex ed’ classes with their focus on avoiding pregnancy, as it will teach children their fertility will begin to decline in their twenties, and leaving starting a family until thirty is too late.
A spokesman for the Danish Family Planning Association said: “When you look at sex education for the oldest students, it’s largely about how not to have children, so there is a focus on prevention, the use of contraceptives and the option of abortion. That means that young people lack knowledge on fertility and pregnancy.
“That lack of knowledge can mean that people end up not having children or not having the number of children they want”.
This point was backed up by the head of a Danish fertility clinic, reportstheLocal.dk: “Up until now, our biological expiration date has been overlooked in our zeal to avoid having children when we don’t want to have them.
“On average in Denmark, we began to establish a family when we are around 30 years old. By then half of our reproduction capabilities have disappeared and that means that some people have too short of a time span to have children or have the amount of children they’d like to have”.
Denmark isn’t the only country facing a declining birth rate, although approaches to the problem do vary.
Yes, burying your head in the sand is certainly an approach.
Back in 2006 Russian President Vladimir Putin began a new programme called “Mother Russia” to reverse the declining birth rate by offering families having their second child a £22,000 ($36,000) incentive.
More recently, a valentines day concert part-organised by Putin booked American 1990’s R&B band Boyz II Men to sing their popular song ‘I’ll make love to you’ to get Russian youth in the mood. Although conception rates in Russia for Valentines day 2013 are not available, it is understood that the “Mother Russia” incentive programme has been a success.
UK is at 1.9 but I don’t trust those figures, too high, since they count anyone born here as ethnic Briton. I’d wager it’s between 1.5-1.7.
A report published this week signalled a grave financial future for young Britons.
It claimed that the pot of money the Government uses to fund state pensions will run out 20 years earlier than expected. As a result, the report’s author, Michael Johnson of the Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank, is urging those in their 20s and 30s to plan for a retirement without an income from the state.
The findings cement a hunch that experts in the field have had for years: that the state pension’s funding position is in serious trouble. The National Insurance (NI) fund has long been shrinking, because an ageing population means fewer people paying in through NI contributions, and more people withdrawing money through state pension payments. But alarmingly, the report says the NI fund will bleed dry next year, much faster than anyone had previously admitted.
The disclosure throws up a host of questions, to which I’m genuinely frightened to know the answers. What state provision, if any, can younger generations realistically expect in retirement? If NI is scrapped, does the Government have a solid plan B in mind? And if we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security by politicians, could the other pension promises they’ve made prove just as flimsy?
It is extremely unlikely that the state pension will be scrapped altogether, and Mr Johnson is confident that older workers’ pensions will be safe. He outlines two possible courses of action for when the NI pot has reached a critical level. Either the state pension is drastically watered down for the young, or people in Britain will face higher taxes, the brunt of which will hit “Generation Y” (those currently aged 18‑33).
Both of these roads are unreasonable, Mr Johnson argues. Younger generations already face unaffordable housing, university debts, fragmented careers and earnings stagnation, and far thinner occupational pensions than their baby boomer parents.
Why is that? Hm? Hmmm?
Clearly, the future financial security of young adults is under threat. But the country can afford no more debt, and we must cut our coat according to our cloth. If taxes must be raised, or benefits cut, then my generation will have to take the blow. Given this, the very least that policymakers responsible for messing up the maths could do is emerge from under their rock and present to us a truthful projection of where our pensions are heading.
Because at the heart of what’s gone wrong here are some seriously flawed equations, which have until recently been buried in dense documents, presumably so sleep-inducing that no one could be bothered to read them.
The size of Britain’s NI fund has been calculated using long-term economic assumptions including real earnings growth of 2.4pc a year above inflation on the consumer prices index (CPI) measure.
But average earnings have actually fallen by 11pc below the CPI since just before the financial crisis in 2008. This means the projections for the fund’s size are way off the mark and severely lack credibility.
Despite all this, politicians continue to pay out higher state pension payments to older generations through the “triple lock”, which promises an annual income increase in line with wages, prices or 2.5pc (whichever is highest). The Liberal Democrats have proposed new laws guaranteeing that the annual state pension will be at least £790 higher by the end of the next parliament, for example.
But if the state pension is really on the brink, as Mr Johnson suggests, one has to question quite how any government could afford to keep such promises, without further jeopardising younger generations’ state pensions.
They don’t care about you. Us. They never did. They’ll be dead by then.
We can’t accurately predict the state of the British economy in 40 or 50 years’ time. But we do know that young people’s state pensions are extremely unlikely to be as generous as today’s. So why are we planning our private pensions around the false hope of a generous, flat-rate state retirement income that’s probably on the verge of extinction?
My generation has been dealt a poor hand financially. But it does have a trump card: youth. To stand a chance of retiring in comfort, my generation must be given the facts we need to plan ahead and be financially self-reliant in old age. The time to take personal responsibility is now, before it’s too late.
Since when did our generation care for personal responsibility?
“Politicians must wake up to the size of the debt time bomb in the UK. Older generations have voted themselves benefits that will indebt future generations, meaning crippling tax hikes for our children and grandchildren.
“Very significant spending restraint and reform of entitlements will be required in the next parliament and beyond to get our debt levels back under control.”
Their hand will need to be forced
…The solution? Government spending must be cut by 25 percent they say – and that would just hit the debt targets and not touch tax cuts which many argue are needed for expansionary economic policy.
The report suggests areas where reforms could be made to meet these targets, focusing on healthcare and pensions. They advocate changing the eligibility for pensions and healthcare by raising the state pension age further and linking increases to increases in the cost of living. They say it may also be ‘inevitable’ that pricing or charging for some aspects of healthcare be introduced.
In addition, replacing the state pension with a compulsory, private defined-contribution pension arrangements – which have succeeded in Australia – should be considered, they argue, saying that a compulsory healthcare insurance system would also benefit future generations.
But the problem with this lies in a cultural ideology, as Bourne explains:
“If we are to avoid crippling taxes on a shrinking working population to pay for this, it’s clear that significant spending restraint and reform of health and pensions will be necessary.
“This requires a level-headed debate, in particular about how we deliver healthcare and whether a free at the point of need NHS is viable in the long-run. Unfortunately, this debate is so often closed down by institution worshipping ideologues who do not want to discuss fiscal reality”.
Congratulations, Baby Boomers. You caused this entire mess and you’ll suffer for it.
The young will choose NHS, I think.