Blog Archives

MA in Creative Education

I’ve done it. I’ve got a place on an MA.

Its run from Bournemouth, one of THE places to study Media in the UK. It is specifically aimed at people delivering the new Diplomas and focuses on the dual specialism of Techer and practitioner.

It all sounds great. It is a long distcance course, I will only need to head over 4 times a year, most of the uits will combine with things I am doing anyway. I also qualify for skillset funding.

The bad news. It costs £5,000. Skillset are fuding me to the tune of £500. If I pay it back over the length of the course, it’s £250 a week.

So what do I get from it? I will get training in more technical issues of Media Production. Workshops in Final Cut etc. I will be looking specifically at teaching these to 14-19 students. It will be incredibly useful to my own career, whether it be delivering the diploma, putting the HE provsion together or moving on to HE delivery elswhere.

So, all donations to:….

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Teens in London

Made it. I survived my first residential. Although I feel it was an easy one, as I only really had 5 students with me, all really keen on what they were about to see.

I was amazed at how well they took to Tate Modern. A few of them have studeied art before, but this is about media. I was blown away when they really connected with Steve McQueen’s two installations (‘Deadpan’, currently showing as part of the Turner retrospective, and ‘Drumroll’ – although one student had to leave because he was so disoriented by it).

Art must always evoke a reaction. In the same way that music needs to be listened too. So when we all stand around and watch a looped video of an artist recreationg the old silent movie staple of the front of the house falling at our hero, only for him to survive because he is standing in exactly the right place for the window to pass over him – from lots of different angles, lasting for about 16 minutes, and stand there for about 15 minutes discussing out favourite shots – it has worked! But then, he did win the Turner prize for that one.

Now, five students are easy. Even if 2 of them are hyperactive. I’ve got their attention (Beowulf in 3d night 1). What I don’t get is if I am part of the team managing 55 students in total, wht don’t I get a smaller group just to follow me? I have 5 I can trust (which is rare as a teacher!) Just give ma another 10, and I’m off. But hell, that’s a minor complaint.

So – what else did we do? well besides talking shit for almost two solid days (and I mean there was some real bollox talked. Me ranting about Modern art was the most lucid part) actually, coming down with a cold really helped that. But the highlights –

Beowulf
Beatifully animated, with some great flashes of script and action – well done Niel! Now, dead eyes because of that animating method (Mr Zemeckis – I know you are trying to avoid the unreal valley, but are you going up the right side?). And to be a 12a – s this necessary? We have seen a grotesque Grenel rip people apart, and yet still need an ‘Austin Powers’ style comedy sequence hiding this man’s cock. For god’s sake, if it’s a problem, give him a loin cloth. It’s not women in love, he’s fighting a giant inside out freak.

Tim Burton
Mark Salisbury like name droppin. ‘Tim was quite keen to be here today, but his second child is being born’. Boo. Although, be did see some really cool excerpts from Sweeney Todd. With added name dropping. And the short that got Tim the job at Disney is Excellent.

Mediatheque
Five teenagers? choosing to watch Nosferatu? Choosing to watch sex education frilms from 1944? Wow. They are on the right course.

Morning Ramblings
My personal highlight is hearing the stories of four people, who do know each other reasonably well, sharing a room for the first time. Especially when they all have their own ‘peculiarities’. There is a photo of one sleeping in the locker. But it is the way they describe it that really reminds me of my own youth. Although, possibly from when I was about 13, not 18… but hey.

Writing Tips

BBC – New Talent Writing

It’s mainly pitched at Radio Drama, but there are some good hints about what you need to do to be a writer.

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Specialist diploma funding

BBC NEWS | Education | Funding fears over first Diplomas

“In terms of logistics I mean the challenge associated with moving students around different sites.”

There could be as many as 20 different providers in the partnerships that deliver Diplomas, meaning that students would potentially have to go to 20 different locations.

He also claimed head teachers feared there may not be adequate funding for the qualifications in schools.

“Without any doubt they are going to be more expensive than traditional A-levels.

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Government fails pre-school children

Pre-school policies ‘lack impact’

Do me a favour. Find your local Surestart Centre. Ask them what they are doing with the funding.

In Wincanton, there is a Surestart centre. It is officially the Surestart centre for this area. They haven’t even managed to employ someone for it. People who work at it don’t even know it’s a Surestart centre. This is how important the children are in this area. I will wager money that this is typical. You want to know why children are unruly, unpleasant and anti social? We have let them. And here is one way we have done that.

There are childcare facilities in the area desperate for the money who are already doing the job. Why is it that whenever a good idea is put in place, the wrong people get the funding?

Because we let them get away with it.

Do me a favour. Find your local Surestart Centre. Ask them what they are doing with the funding.

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Five good GCSEs 'net £2,200 more'

Employers would pay an extra £2,261 a year to staff with the benchmark five good GCSEs, research suggests.

Those with five GCSEs grade A* to C, or their vocational equivalent, would get an average of £13,016 a year, a survey of 271 recruiting managers suggested.

The Learning and Skills Council poll suggested employers would pay new staff an average of £450 more for every GCSE.

Managers said they would pay those with two GCSEs an average of £11,624 a year and those with three an average of £12,052.

Those with four would average £12,553 and staff with five would net £13,016 on average.

The research is backed up by Office of National Statistics data which suggests people with the minimum five GCSEs earn an average of £55 a week more than those without such qualifications.

Full Article

GCSEs ‘not the end of the line’

Although more young people are doing well each year, almost half of 16-year-olds in England do not meet this mark.

Alasdair Craig, now 23, suffers severely from dyslexia and was advised at his specialist school to expect only cleaning and washing up as a job.

And with careers advice like that it is hardly surprising that he “didn’t really see the point of school”.

“Schools are great at making interesting things boring,” he says.

He left school at 16 with two GCSEs and after doing a few low-skilled jobs accepted an apprenticeship, training to be a diamond setter.

It takes up to 10 years to train a setter to the highest level, but after two years of training by a skilled setter, Alasdair showed enough competence to reach a commercial standard.

While still an apprentice, he has become a skilled craftsman at Cellini’s in Cambridge, and has never looked back.

‘Don’t panic’

And there has been another knock-on effect – the growth in Alasdair’s confidence. He now grapples with challenging texts like Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Results day can be an especially worrying experience for youngsters like Alasdair who haven’t done particularly well.

“It’s stressful because at the moment they look at that bit of paper and if they haven’t got what they wanted it’s ‘What shall I do?’ It’s panic,” says Faith Patterson, centre community manager at young people’s advice service Connexions in Croydon.

What’s needed is impartial advice from someone who isn’t involved, she says.

“People who are too close, like parents, are not always the best because they will be trying to analyse what went wrong.

“What people need to remember is there is always something that they can do – it’s never the end of the world.”

‘Vocation, vocation’

Youngsters can get free, impartial advice from the advisers in their local government-funded Connexions centre.

Many colleges will still take those youngsters who haven’t got the grades required – so it’s always worth getting in contact with them, she says.

And from this year a place has to be offered to every young person completing Year 11 under a new scheme known as the September Guarantee.

As Alasdair has shown, joining the world of work doesn’t have to mean the end of learning.

Apprenticeships can be the ideal opportunity for people who want to earn some cash and gain valuable skills at the same time.

Full Article

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Educational Links

Media students ‘most employable’
So, let me get this straight – we run a mickey mouse course that combines communication with creativity, music, team work, meeting
deadlines and using Computers and other forms of modern technology while encouraging them to use skills developed in one area and apply them to another – and the students who study it get jobs? Wow.

School arts ‘undermined by curriculum’
Apparently, a strict regime leaves no room for teaching.

The dawn of creativity?
Creativity in the classroom – sounds like more work to me.

Music ‘vital’ to school standards
Now, it’s been linked to maths for… lets see.. 2,500 years?

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Steiner good, apparently

BBC NEWS | Education | Steiner schools ‘could help all’

Appealing to the whole child in an holistic way is good for educations. Now, correctv me if I’m wrong but it can’t be that hard to combine this system with one that values ticking boxes and children reaching a specific target at a specific age.

Now, Steiner schools value the axim that learning will take place when the learner is ready – some children don’t start reading untill past the age of 7. You cannot turn that into a tick box activity.

The governent has tried to expand the way that education thins of the student. Adding ‘Value added’ criteria to inspections is one way. But this is still a tick box exercise.

The problem still goes back to measuring quality (Please, read ‘Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ for god’s sake!). Any measurement has to be objective, yet quality is subjective… etc.

Education is currently about a student reaching a specific quantity of information, either via exam or project. Vocational qualifications go some way towards that, depending on the teacher.

The problem is that society demands results from education. Society demands that students tick boxes and prove their level of education by previously set goals.

Now, some teachers do approach this because they are doing their jobs, not following dictates: eg Literacy Hour doesn’t have to be between 2pm and 3pm “you will read NOW!”. It can be an hour throughout the day…

BBC NEWS | Education | Bringing creativity to the classroom

It can be done – It seems to me that an educational establishment has two routes – Play the game as it sees it and struggle to the grade 1 position by following the letter of the law, or follow the spirit of the law – e.g. educate the students.

(I have been told before to make sure the students are motivated within an authoritarian approach. I have also been told that there must be ‘no negativity’. )

A big issue with Steiner schools is that is doesn’t offer these simple goals. Also, it doesn’t fit in with current social thinking. Steiner students can have a problem fitting in with the wider society once they have left schools.

If education is to look toward Steiner for solutions to the mess it has got itself into, it first needs to look towards the society that has demanded this situation.

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How tony attempted to screw education

Why are children being let down in the UK?
…under-investment and a “dog-eat-dog” society were to blame…
Read Article

Lets step back a second: Apparently it is grim up North. And in the Midlands, and in the South West, some parts of the South East, parts of London…
read article
You will note that wages have not kept up with Interest rates, fuel prices, house prices… or anything, really.

Lets take a look at the UN report from a human angle.
read article

Hmmm… we are a nation of Bullied, lonely people. No wonder we join gangs.

But don’t worry! Tony will save us!
read article
He’s noticed, quite rightly, that there aren’t enough 15 year olds carrying guns. You’ll note that the headline has a double meaning:
“Blair wants gun crime age reduced”
What it means: “Blair wants the age at which people can be sentenced for carrying guns reduced”
What it says: “Blair wants younger people involved in gun crime”.
Let’s see if one leads to the other –

Or an alternative view, we could teach people to be less stupid:
read article
You’ll note that this gets added to the curriculum. This means that emotionally underdeveloped people get to teach and mark emotional maturity. Will it be project based? That’ll look good in the GCSE’s.
Maths: D,
English: F,
Ability to not hit someone who disrespected me: B

Let’s face it: A lot of parents are emotionally immature / illiterate. So are a lot of Teachers. So are a lot of politicians, it would appear. Children typically learn emotional literacy via adults. Extended family, actual family, you know – those people too busy working, or who live 100 miles away because they can’t afford to live near their family, so they move somewhere near a good school, even though there is no-one they know living nearby.

In the report from the Guardian above, the big difference seems to be that Dutch children feel they are treated like adults. Most British kids want to be. Yet, British kids seem to be left to their own devices and shouted at for doing or not doing certain things – which is how British adults are treated.

Look, all of this is symptomatic of the general state of British society. It happened in Britain! By denying that gun crime, violent crime, anger or just plain stupidity is part of our society, we add to the problem. By demanding that parents work long hours, they will not be there for there children. If one parent takes time out to look after the children, the household finances become a problem, and the family splits up due to the financial pressures.

So – is the report right or not?