Spare the rod...  

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The following article appeared in an engineering newsletter that I subscribe to. I'm glad to see other people clearly share my frustration with the modern obsession for removing any and all of life's rough corners.

Mike Page, Editor, writes:

Referring back to my comments about engineering education in schools in the July 23 Newsletter, a reader wrote that while agreeing with what was said, he felt the teacher's standpoint ought to be considered too.

He said: "As a mature engineer who has been made redundant three times from engineering I now see the teaching of students from the other perspective as I now work as a senior technician in a school."

He emphasised: "Don't blame the teachers! Most would like nothing better than to teach practical skills in technology but alas it's the councils themselves who have 'dumbed down' the subjects, because of little Jonnie might burn his finger or get a little soldering flux fumes up his nose. Peter the great said, 'Knowledge is a wonderful thing but never lose the joy of discovery'."

He continued: "If blame is to be apportioned for the lack of skills being taught, blame the average man in the street for taking schools to court because his child cut themselves in school. Blame the government demanding that students are taught how to pass examinations not to learn basic skills in engineering. Employers should blame themselves for their own lack of forethought regarding what is taught in technical collages and their short sightedness for not taking on apprentices."

The reader said: "Schools should teach basic skills, lighting the fire of the imagination of potential new engineers; colleges, technical institutions and the employers themselves should teach the skills they want and mould the minds of this valuable asset."

A number of school teachers have said the same thing and complain of 'dumbing down' practical activities. Many of us learnt from an early age that things can be heavy and hurt when they hit your toes; that fire can be hot; that you need to learn to swim to survive in deep water. Unfortunately, some of our youngsters do not appreciate these things until they experience them later in life. Dumbing down may protect authorities from litigation, but it does not help people gain experience or give confidence to take the occasional risks.

Hear, hear

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