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The Internet Censorship

UK Teachers Say Censor The Internet 463

Marlow the Irelander writes "The BBC is reporting that in response to a YouTube video of a schoolboy breaking his teacher's window (yes, this is a video), NASUWT, one of the teaching unions in the UK, is calling for legislation to control the internet. Could Britain, rather than the US, be the main front of the battle against censorship in 2007?" From the article: "Unfortunately, any yob or vandal can now have their 15 minutes of fame, aided and abetted by readily accessible technology and irresponsible internet sites which enable such behaviour to be glorified. [The general secretary of the union] said the union supported a zero tolerance approach in schools to pupils who used technology to abuse and undermine teachers, and called for more rigorous legislative control of internet sites which gave them license."
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UK Teachers Say Censor The Internet

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  • I'm Confused (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hahafaha ( 844574 ) * <> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:47PM (#17453574)
    Why are the teachers mad about the video? Shouldn't they be more mad about the broken window?

    Besides, whoever recorded the incident was clearly a by-stander (the person throwing the rock was in the video). I do not understand why this is bothering the teachers so much.
  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:48PM (#17453584) Homepage
    The BBC is reporting that in response to a YouTube video of a schoolboy breaking his teacher's window (yes, this is a video), NASUWT, one of the teaching unions in the UK, is calling for legislation to control the internet.

    Just so we're clear, their logic is that the internet is a catalyst for youth vandalism?

    Man, kids these days. When I was their age, we had to vandalize stuff the old fashioned way.
  • by fatduck ( 961824 ) * on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:48PM (#17453592)

    pupils who used technology to abuse and undermine teachers
    How about out-of-touch teachers who demonize technology to abuse and undermine pupils?
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:48PM (#17453598) Homepage Journal
    for giving everyone an equal opportunity to express themselves.

    Maybe if teachers were more educators than prison wardens, kids would love them instead of hating them.
  • by maidopolis ( 197345 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:51PM (#17453616)
    It seems to me that this is just an over-reaction to an objectively minor problem, fueled by the fact that teachers often get terrible working conditions (abusive and hard-to-discipline students, obnoxious and at times abusive parents, little public support, low pay). They are lashing out in an attempt to control some part - any part - of their environment.
  • Brilliant (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:52PM (#17453626)
    So before, this students friends, maybe a couple more people via recommendation had seen this video and given the vandal his "fame." Now, the teachers have gotten the video linked from the BBC, slashdot and other news sites so now thousands of people will see the video. If I was at that school, I'd try to post my own vandalism to youtube to see if I could get on slashdot too.

    But I fail to see how this is "pupils who used technology to abuse and undermine teachers." The broken window is the abuse, the youtube video is just evidence of criminal activity. Unless you consider a rock to be technology.

  • by Cthefuture ( 665326 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @10:56PM (#17453650)
    Isn't this the country with all the spy cameras all over the place watching people?

    Are they complaining because it wasn't an "official" camera that captured the act? I don't get what the Internet has to do with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:01PM (#17453686)
    Having grown up as an English lad in the 1940s and 1950s, I can tell you that most teachers and headmasters weren't jerks for the sake of being jerks. They were harsh with us because many of us were stupid little buggers! We needed a good smack across the ass with the fanny paddle every now and then. It kept us in line.

    But times have changed, and the teachers have gotten far softer. Look at English youth today as a whole. Many are nothing but scum. Look at just the chav subculture, for instance. They are criminals, plain and simple. They idolise crime, and not just petty crime like vandalism. Many of these kids are burglars, rapists, and in some cases, even murderers. They dress like third-worlders.

    We weren't perfect youth 50 years ago. We were mischevous little boys and girls. But we never shot each other in cold blood. We never raped each other. We never slaughtered senior citizens. But these are things we see on nearly a daily basis with the teenagers of today. And we weren't like that because when we did fuck up, our headmasters let us know. We felt direct pain for our misdeeds, and thus learned to live in a civilised manner.

  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:02PM (#17453692)
    First of all, the teachers should be thankful that these twits happened to place their video on Youtube. This made their detective work in figuring out who were the perpetrators were much easier, giving them a huge smoking gun. Talk about shooting the messenger, sheesh.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:05PM (#17453716) Homepage Journal
    It all comes down to treating young adults as children. Where I live, the last two years of high school are optional. As such, any bad behaviour on behalf of students is met with one response from teachers "You're not required to be here and I'm not required to teach you anymore, so if you wanna act like a jerk, get out." Personally, I don't think it goes far enough. At university, they would be saying "I'm not here to teach you. I'm here to provide the information you need for the exam. If you think you can pass the exam without listening to me, you're welcome to leave." This is exactly how schools should be run. The kids that fail their exams should be required to repeat their classes. If they continue to fail, they should be kicked out. The world will always need ditch diggers.
  • Self-Censorship? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nbannerman ( 974715 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:08PM (#17453742)
    I'm a Network Manager at a UK school / college. I guess I'm perfectly placed to speak on these matters, so here we go...

    I have a duty of care, in my role, to protect students from certain inappropriate material on the internet. The obvious ones are there; pornography, paedophilia, unmonitored chatrooms, unmonitored messaging sites, etc.

    Myspace is blocked, because I can't honestly say that I can be 100% certain that students couldn't use the site and put themselves at risk. Porn websites are blocked, because the students are not 18. All chat programs, such as MSN/AOL/IRC are not installed on student profiles, and students do not have administration rights to install software either. Proxy websites are blocked, so that students can't bypass the restrictions and vew unfiltered content. All fairly common stuff. Ironically, the biggest complaints I get about myspace being blocked are from teachers, but thats another story altogether.

    I use active content filtering to block access to inappropriate content on all other websites, such as youtube or google vids, which might contain any of the things I first mentioned.

    However, I don't block anything just 'because I'm told to'. A teacher can request that anything in the world gets filtered out, but ultimately the decision lies with me.

    If a teacher cannot control his or her students in a classroom, then it is the fault of the teacher, not the students are finding the material. And personally, I think that is the way it should stay. Technology shouldn't be used to simply 'restrict access' to material when that material doesn't fit within the narrow categories I first mentioned. If anything, teachers should be embracing sites such as youtube and google videos because they provide a wealth of material that can be used in the classroom.
  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:12PM (#17453762)
    Read the article. The kid posted the video just before he and his family moved to Canada, out of the reach of British law and the school's disciplinary procedures. The teacher is more upset about the video than the broken window, because it makes the teacher look like a fool and there is nothing he/she can do about it.
  • by pestilence669 ( 823950 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:20PM (#17453826)
    Governments can't be so repressive if their citizens are fully armed.

    When did the U.K. embrace Big Brother?
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <> on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:22PM (#17453842)

    I swear, both countries appear to be in a race to see which country can reach the bliss of fascism first.

    To be honest, it's not clear to me exactly why this is. I mean, I understand why it's happening in the U.S.: the U.S. government is controlled by its largest corporations. There are various reasons for that, ranging from the chokehold on the media those corporations have to the campaign finance setup and lobbying setup that exists in the U.S. Fascism by definition is more friendly to big corporations than any other form of government, so it's easy to see why those who run the biggest corporations want fascism to rise in the U.S.

    But the UK? Why is it going down that path? I was rather under the impression that the media wasn't a slave to the big corporations there, which means that the people there should have a somewhat less biased source of information on which to base their voting decisions. Money is power so I can see the big corporations having some influence there, but nothing like in the U.S.

    And yet, the paths both countries are following are almost identical. What gives?

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:23PM (#17453848)
    And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a school controlling what is available on the Internet in the school. In fact, it is probably a "good thing". Not much different than an employer trying to control who can access what parts of the net while on duty. The problem comes when censorship spreads to outside the classroom and starts controlling what *adults* can see with their own, private connections...
  • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:24PM (#17453854)
    This is exactly how schools should be run. The kids that fail their exams should be required to repeat their classes. If they continue to fail, they should be kicked out. The world will always need ditch diggers.

    Oh no, you can't do that, because then the kids' self-esteem would be hurt. After all, we want our children to be happy, right? Doing such mean-spirited things like holding them accountable and disciplining them would cause such stress to their developing minds.

    (Excuse me while I put my bullshit boots on)
  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:24PM (#17453858) Journal
    And YouTube's servers aren't outside of the UK too?

    It seems odd to me that the criminal moving out of the country means we give up trying to catch them, yet at the same time, they think they can control servers across the entire world...
  • Re:I'm Confused (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pestilence669 ( 823950 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:44PM (#17454000)
    I'd like to know what provoked the punk. Was it justified or not? We do live in a world where teachers rape, molest, and physically assault the students in their care (yes, even in the UK).

    In the US, I've seen teachers humiliate students so badly that they've transferred schools. I've seen teachers grab students by the neck and throw them around. I, myself, have been kicked in the legs because I was sitting sideways in my chair. I've even seen teachers give low grades to students they don't like, as they told me they were doing it.

    There are many ways to be an asshole and most are legal. Perhaps this kid had enough of his teacher's sadistic censorship loving ass. Maybe he's just a punk. We'll never know, but you can be sure that the student's side of the story will never be heard.
  • by Andrew Aguecheek ( 767620 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:46PM (#17454012)

    Kids today huh?

    "They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers." -Socrates (420 BC)

    Yeah... so much worse than the used to be.

    In all honesty, you're looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses. Kids are kids. There will always be a minority that act up. Physical pain may work on some, but it won't work on all, and has the two disadvantages of teaching some of them that violence is the way to respond to things you don't like whilst simultaniously making them immune to anything less than violence.

    As for chav culture - that didn't exist until the media said it did. Most of these kids are not murderers, rapists or burglers, and those that are are largely ostracised from the majority of their peers. Don't believe everything the media tells you - it's easy to believe that because two more incidents were reported in a given year, two more actually happened. Usually all it really means is two fewer were reported the previous year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:52PM (#17454046)
    Have fun competing with those Mexican ditch diggers.
    I guess you meant the world will always need prisoners.
  • Re:I'm Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday January 03, 2007 @11:56PM (#17454080)
    Why are the teachers mad about the video? Shouldn't they be more mad about the broken window?
    I feel the same way over all the consternation about video from Saddam's execution being leaked. "Who leaked the video? Why were they allowed to record it?" Perhaps that's an important question, but what about what the video reveals - that Iraq's "justice system" is actually a sectarian mob? That the executioners themselves saw it as Shiite on Sunni reprisal? Once again, as in Abu Ghraib, the footage is infinitely more revealing than the press accounts.
  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @12:02AM (#17454140)

    The teacher is more upset about the video than the broken window, because it makes the teacher look like a fool

    Uhhh, why? This incident makes the perpetrator look like a fool. Why does having a vandal break a window make the victim look foolish?

  • by mrthejud ( 1004741 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @12:59AM (#17454626)
    Have you seen the climate there is around teaching right now? I just started teaching this year and I had to fight hard for my job. Up here in Saskatchewan there is declining enrollment and that means that there are a ton of teacher that are being cut from the school board budgets. So really as a beginning teacher I could be cut at any moment. Some people do fall into the category of those who can't teach but there is more to it than content. Have you ever tried going infront of a group of kids and tried to get them motivated enough to get them trying to learn. I'm a Math/Physics teacher and all I get is the stereotype that "math and physics suck." I tell ya its bloody hard to get them to do anything. The other thing is that you mention that teachers have no experience in having a "real job." Honestly a "real job" would probly have me working a lot less and living somewhere else. But you do it for the students and try and get people interest in your subject area. Well that and you are actually affecting the future and hopefully helping someone to find themselves and their passions. As for the civil service lifers that happens in about half the teachers you see and I have no time for them as they are rediculous. But there are some good teachers out there and I'm proud to say I'm one of them.
  • by Sibko ( 1036168 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @01:04AM (#17454672)

    "I'm not here to teach you. I'm here to provide the information you need for the exam. If you think you can pass the exam without listening to me, you're welcome to leave." This is exactly how schools should be run.
    That right there is a good reason for why schools are failing at their job. I could care less if I pass or fail the final exam. I'm going to school to learn, and I want to learn about the subject I'm taking, not about the exam at the end of the year.

    You can argue that if you can't pass the exam for whatever class you're taking, you haven't learned anything, and that's fair enough. But I vehemently disagree that the teacher's job is to solely prepare you for a final exam. I'd be demanding my money back from the university if a teacher told me that. I'd rather go someplace where I'll get a real education, thankyouverymuch.
  • by Bodrius ( 191265 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @01:12AM (#17454718) Homepage
    As opposed to asking the government to censor the Interwebs, which just makes the whole teacher's union look like an idiot.
  • by Vicissidude ( 878310 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @01:16AM (#17454744)
    GP: "I'm not here to teach you. I'm here to provide the information you need for the exam. If you think you can pass the exam without listening to me, you're welcome to leave." This is exactly how schools should be run.
    You: Wut? That right there is a good reason for why schools are failing at their job.

    Actually, that attitude is the same as the one presented in college, where America is the best in the world.

    And, that is the exact opposite of the attitude in high school and below, where America is failing.

    Together, they prove the point that students need to be held accountable for learning the material themselves and not be coddled by teachers attempting to force-feed information on students who don't want to learn and don't want to even be there.

    There's too much of a sense of entitlement in high school. Students and parents believe that attending school for four years is enough for a diploma, regardless of the amount and quality of work. I say fail the bad apples who refuse to learn in high school and maybe they'll start taking high school and learning seriously. Then, we'll see improvements in our schools.
  • by masdog ( 794316 ) <> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @01:33AM (#17454816)
    I had a few professors in college that fit that description, and two teachers in high school that could be shoe-horned into it (one threatened to destroy my calculator because he thought I was playing a game and the other cheated on a district assessment). But most of my teachers weren't egotistical ratbags.

    No...most of the teachers I had were good. They enjoyed the students who challenged them and were enthusiastic about learning.
  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @01:49AM (#17454906)

    Those who can, do, those who can't, teach.

    This is an slanderous and discriminatory statement, breathtaking in its scope that, quite frankly, any normal person should find deeply offensive. Literally, it makes something like "all blacks are lazy" - itself a singularly racist and small-minded insult - little more than a mildly critical observation. Yet it is frequently bandied about as nigh-on "common sense".

    And remember we aren't talking about "karate kid" style mentors here, we're talking about civil service lifers who for the most part have never had a job where they were required to be productive and / or competitive. In other words, a real job.

    Why attack not only an entire profession but, indeed, anyone who has ever passed on the knowledge and experience they have to another, when all you really mean is "just like any profession, teaching has some bad apples" ?

  • by zacronos ( 937891 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @02:09AM (#17455020)
    Those who can, do, those who can't, teach.

    I think you, as most people, miss the biggest part of the that expression. It is not supposed to be an insult to teachers. It is saying that in order to teach someone else how to do something, you have to understand the difficulties in doing it. Could Mozart have taught someone how to play the piano? Perhaps, but if the student isn't a musical genius, I bet someone who had to struggle to learn to play would have an easier time teaching them. When something comes naturally to you, how do you understand what is going on when someone else is struggling to pick up the basics? Even if you can figure out how to communicate it to them, how do you know what sort of practice to recommend, if you never had to do it yourself? For an example many slashdotters can probably relate to, take someone with a natural talent for math -- how easily is someone who never needed a quarter the explanation given by most teachers going to sit down and go step-by-step through the reasoning with the one student who needs twice as much explanation as the rest of the class?

    have never had a job where they were required to be productive and / or competitive

    Maybe if teachers were offered a better salary, there would be more competition for the jobs. As it is, many very capable people avoid teaching because it's common knowledge that it pays crap. And maybe if teaching didn't involve working mostly with students who are motivated only to get a certain grade (as opposed to learning and exploring new ideas), it would be a more desirable job to have, regardless of salary. As someone who got through grad school working as a TA, I can tell you from experience that it is very discouraging to be faced with students who don't care what they learn, and don't even care if the class could be interesting, as long as they get their required credit without hurting their GPA too much. When 95% of the class has that attitude, it's very hard to stay motivated and productive as a teacher.
  • And once again... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by morpheus343 ( 1032278 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @02:23AM (#17455096)
    ... the powers that be try to blame everyone but the person/people responsible.

    Oh no, it's the internet's/violent video games'/movies/ fault that these kids run wild and act like hooligans! It can't possibly be the kids themselves or their parents who deserve any of that blame.

    It boggles the mind how a teachers' union could fixate more on the "15 minutes of fame" and less on trying to make parents or the kid accountable (even outside of legal remedies). Instead of whining about how terrible the internet is, they could turn around and warn his new teachers/neighbors in Canada about what he's been up to over there (and point them to the video). Make the parents look bad and make his life miserable wherever he ends up and see if kids don't start to wise up.

    I suspect what they're really upset about (and the real point to the zero tolerance policy they mention) are the other cases where teachers have been caught on video doing things they shouldn't do (e.g. screaming at kids). This is just a convenient scapegoat because the kids were clearly the ones doing something wrong so now they blame the internet/cameras/etc...

    It's funny how often the people who should worry the least about surveillance (teachers, cops, etc...) are often the ones who least want to be scrutinized by the very things they'd like to use on us.

  • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @02:31AM (#17455122)

    The reason why the teaching profession is so bad is many-fold, but the main one is that nobody respects anyone.

    The kids don't respect the teachers. In turn, the teachers don't respect the kids. In the British comprehensive system, the few parents who do respect their kids don't respect the teachers. And the teachers don't respect the parents in turn. The school administrations don't care about anyone, and the department of education is even worse.

    The thing about the teaching profession is that everyone thinks they know what a teacher does, having spent a decent proportion of their lives interacting with them. Of course, they don't, because they ignore all the stuff that they are required to do outside of class. (The only other profession that this is true of is nursing. Teaching and nursing are the only two professions that are highly unionised.)

    One of the problems is that teachers are required to do a lot today. They're meant to be educators, but also civil servants (large paperwork load), counsellors, child abuse detectors and so on. They are not paid any extra to compensate for the extra responsibility required of them. As a result, you tend to find two types of teachers. There are those who have a high aptitude for the job and really love it, and can overlook all the bullshit because the joy of teaching makes up for it. And then there are those who just can't make it as anything else. That's why it's rare to find a mediocre teacher in the public system.

  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @02:35AM (#17455140)
    You need to start earlier than that. We should start failing students in kindergarten, and every grade after that, if they are not up to moving to the next level. Waiting until someone is 8 years into their education before you require them to actually know something is both unfair to the student, and a recipe for mass failures in high school.

    The debate about whether teachers as a group are crappy or not is a false dicotemy. The fact is, our (US) public school system broken on just about every level. From national public policy to a high number of crappy teachers we have. Just about everybody can recount 3 or 4 really good teachers they had over their 13 years in school. Most can remember twice as many actively bad teachers. The rest, would have been somewhere in between. The problem there is that after a student spends a year with a crappy teacher, and the next a mediocre one, you need more than one great teacher to get that student re-engaged, and back up to speed with where he should be. Unfortunately, there just are not enough great teachers to go around.

    Add to that that our system is set up as a baby sitting service from the top down, you have a recipe for disaster, and no amount of money is going to fix it. When I was in school, I must have heard a dozen times the first day of class speech about how "If you try, I will not fail you." That speech was intended to try and engage the students that knew the class was a waste of time because it would be past them. What it told many of us that were not dolts was that understanding the material was totally irrelevant to passing the class. Of course, it isn't just teacher that are pushing age based advancement. The school administrators are right their pushing any teacher that does try to take a stand. Why would they do this? Because when they fail students, they have to deal with parents who are also pushing for age based advancement. Of course teachers and faculty don't really want parents to get involved. It is easier to deal with parents that push for age based advancement than it is to deal with parents that demand you give the child a proper education.

    So, basically our education system is broken, starting with the parents, right through the teachers and administrators, all the way up to the President of the United States, who referred to the smart kids as the 'Nerd Patrol'.

    This has lead me personally to give up on our public education system. At 2, my son is doing early reading, and basic math. What chance is he going to have in our public education system? By the time he even gets to kindergarten, it will be obvious to him that success in school has nothing to do with knowledge, and all about making the busy work motions.

    Luckily, I am not alone, and this has lead to a boom in home schooling, and in response, a boom in businesses, and organizations that support them.
  • by Geoffreyerffoeg ( 729040 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @02:49AM (#17455198)
    Those who can, do, those who can't, teach.

    Those who can, take a higher-paying job.

    The next time a pay raise for your local teachers is on the ballot, vote for it. Even if it's a sales tax increase. Your kids will thank you for it. Civilization will thank you for it.

    Education is the world's most important profession, because without it, civilization would never propagate its knowledge to the next generation. And schoolteaching is a crucial yet underrecognized part of this.
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @03:01AM (#17455240)
    Could Britain, rather than the US, be the main front of the battle against censorship in 2007?

    I'm currently reading the book "Not in front of the children" by Marjorie Heins, a very informative book on the history of censorship and censorship law (mainly in the US, but with UK roots and occasinoal references).

    In the US, the Constitution's First Amendment allows for a strong defense to censorship. However, censorship of "obscenity" and/or "indecency" (in their varying and sometmies contradictory definitions) is allowed is a common-law exception to the First Amendment (see First Amendment/Obscenity []). The exact nature, power, extent, and constitutionality of the exception tends to be at the centre of any legal/judicial or legislative debate on censorship, and has gone back and forth (as documented in the book).

    Britain has no such explicit, written right to free speech as the First Amendment, and thus censorship has a better legal footing (I suspect CCTV is in a similar situation). While censorship in Britain may be more easily applied, the "battle" would be more one-sided than in the US, if censorship (i.e. of obscenity) were to have such a strong following as it has in the US.

    - RG>
  • Better One Innit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @05:38AM (#17455822)
    Instead of seeking to make the Internet safe for children, why not simply ban children from the Internet?

    After all, this is primarily an adult world. Childhood is a temporary phase. There are some things that are not, and never will be, suitable for children. That does not mean they are not suitable for adults.
  • by n__0 ( 605442 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:38AM (#17456354)

    So if this follows a similar pattern, after realising they can't regulate the Internet, it'll instead be a criminal offence for UK citizens to view or possess images of schoolkids breaking windows.
    This could be good, all those cctv cameras would have to vanish
  • by loic_2003 ( 707722 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:52AM (#17456458) Homepage
    You're not kidding. In the primary school my mother taught at, they introduced a policy where the teachers weren't allowed to use red ink to mark a kid's work as red was a very negative colour and would make the kids feel bad. Blue or green ink only. They couldn't throw a crap piece of work back and tell the kid the work was appaling, oh no... they had to tell them what was good about the piece of shit work, and subtely hint at what could be improved next time. The poor little sweehearts then wouldn't get upset and feel bad over having spent 5 minutes on a piece of homework that should take an hour...
    To add insult to injury, other policies were introduced such that teachers were paid in direct relation to how well their students performed in exams. Been given 35 children who refuse to learn? no bonus for you this year!
    Finally, to save money and to prevent upsetting the kids more, sets were abolished. Smarter kids were no longer separated from the idiots. Of course, the smart kids of a class don't bring the standard up, the dumbasses mucking around in the back drag the standard down. Everyone loses.

  • by waterbear ( 190559 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:58AM (#17456492)
    but the yahoos who accompanied him got a good ass whoopin'

    I take it you don't live in the UK then. More likely they got counselling and a nice holiday somewhere warm!

    Yes, there are times when it looks as if schoolkids in the UK have been given a status nearly like medieval child princes, who had whipping-boys who got 'whooped' in their places when the princes did something bad.
    The teachers' unions now seem to take for granted this world where bystanders and victims sometimes are made to pay for what delinquent children and youths do -- so when a union representative "called for more rigorous legislative control of internet sites" I have to wonder if this isn't the union selecting the internet service provider as next in line for the status of whipping-boy.

  • by TempeTerra ( 83076 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @08:10AM (#17456532)
    Normally I'd just let that pass, but since it's at +3 and nobody else has replied...

    Children/minors are already a great repressed minority. The only way it is better than being black in the 50's is that you can grow out of it. You can't go out in public during the 'curfew' of school hours or late at night without being suspected of wrongdoing. If you go into a shop, the owner will watch you like a hawk because everyone knows kids don't have money so they steal stuff. Large portions of the common culture are off limits (movies, licensed premises) unless you're old enough AND carry ID. Idiots will tell you what you can and can't do, and that it's for your own good.

    Does anyone here remember being a child? It's a lot like being an adult, only you've had less practice. Childhood is full of violence, pettiness and toilet humour - just like adulthood and the internet.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @11:50AM (#17458660) Homepage Journal
    For "Youtube saddam execution". I bet that footage is making the government of Iraq rather uncomfortable right about now. They had some high level government minister on NPR the other day and he changed his story about three times when they kept asking him the same question over and over again. Those questions never would have been raised if this video hadn't surfaced.
  • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @11:54AM (#17458718)

    And it's teachers like me who help make the students who become a part of your work force. They're not just born smart, stupid.
    That's completely wrong, people are 'born smart'. There is overwhelming evidence to support that nature and environmental factors (that have nothing to do with formal education) are overwhelmingly responsible for cognitive development.

    Furthermore, people do well by their own efforts, and that typically has very little to do with teachers in modern western society (though it is unfair to blame teachers for this predicament). Once you can read and write, you are basically on your own - those who want to learn and have the ability to do so will rise (or not) largely as a result of the effort they put in.

    Very few programmers (outside of the army of cookie cutter Java enterprise developers who don't have an innovative bone in their bodies and who tend to develop the least elegant and barely 'serviceable' software) are taught the relevent skills or knowledge they rely on in formal education - they are predominantly self taught - something that's almost synonymous with being a good developer in the first place.

    Most of us have a great passion for it, as well as for helping other students learn to love it as well.
    Another Brick in the Wall springs immediately to mind.

    And I've tried tech support before, but to be quite honest, I don't like living an OfficeSpace-kinda life. I actually enjoy being around other people and talking with them, teaching them, interacting with them, and even watching them grow and being a part of it
    You can find all that plus a far larger pay cheque, and the ability to work on some cutting edge stuff in the commercial world. Of course to get the most exciting work, having the appropriate skills is important (or you will be one of the people who get stuck writing some tedious J2EE billing module and maintaining it for 4 years).

    The highschool education system specifically (particularly in the UK and in the US, and I'd wager much of Europe) is so broken I'm am amazed that the small number of very good teachers in each school (and larger number of potentially good teachers) even bother to remain. Bullying, distrutive pupils, bad teachers, bad management, inequitable treatment of pupils, and a poor curriculum are the norms! Outside of the very best schools, neither teachers nor board of governers at schools are willing to tackle these issues.

    I am not susprised teachers in the UK might see censoring the internet as a solution, but the problem is with society in the UK, the way we treat offenders and the way schools themselves are run. We ought to tackle the parents about their child's behaviour and teach those who can't or won't behave in seperate faclilites that are appropriately equipped - and there needs to be a process by which parents can escalate concerns and school's be punished for failing to act with due dilligance in dealing with concerns raised by pupils or parents.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.