Here is why we need a mums and dads army
PISA is the international standard examination system where standards are compared in different countries. But is it a fair comparison?
The fact is that both the UK and USA compare badly against Asian countries. As a mathematics and financial literacy educator it alarms me that the media pay so much attention to this. Look at the cartoon, is the elephant going to win? If it were a contest to see who could knock down a tree, would you bet on the frog? The cartoon shows that you need to test to people’s strengths. PISA is a blunt instrument but it has so much media coverage that we have no choice but to follow it. Any country that withdraws will be seen as ‘running scared’.
Does it matter?
Yes is the short answer. There is evidence, at least anecdotally, that companies are looking at PISA scores to see if a country has enough qualified people from whom they can create a workforce.
But we are a bit like the elephant. It does not measure what we are good at. In the UK we are brilliant at creativity. Look at the things Britain has developed for the world. We invented tarmac, DNA fingerprinting, the games of soccer, cricket, tennis and rugby, Newton’s laws, the world wide web, the first programmable computer, television, the steam engine, the telephone, the jet engine, supersonic airliners , the first accurate atomic clock, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny and spinning mule, the BBC ( Bless it!) wind up radio, I could go on.
These are all created from creatively thinking men and women. This is where we do and will continue to excel. But can we win at PISA?
No we can never beat the Asian countries.
The fact is many Asian countries send their youngsters to night school and it is not uncommon for some children to finish school at 2 a.m., only to get up and start again at 6 am.
Many Asian children spend more time working at their studies in a day than our children spend in a week. But at a tremendous personal cost. They never develop the natural creative flair that our children have because they are never allowed to develop their natural talents.
I can tell you that sadly some Asian youngster opt out, in some countries there is a huge problem of teenagers meeting up to commit suicide and we must never get to that situation.
Does that mean the current standard of mathematics education, my own subject, is good enough? NO, we can improve things and that is where you come in.
Schools have the children for 5 hours per day. That means we have them for 19 hours and that is a great opportunity to improve things.
We need a parents army of mathematically able adults who can help their children. We need people confident in percentages, fractions, decimals, using a calculator and dealing with lines and angles. This is all of the stuff that our youngsters have to learn whilst at school. If they, the children, can learn it why can’t we?
So here is the deal, I am looking for 100 parents to join me in a 10 week project. There will be a small charge to cover the costs of mailing to you but it will be about £1 per day. My usual daily rate is £450 and I have charged and been paid £1800 for a day. I have also been flown all expenses paid to Canada to give advice to a company so £1 per day is, I hope you agree, great value.
What makes me qualified to lead this project?
1. I am a mathematics teacher and author and have been a head of department twice and taught student teachers in a university.
2. I wrote BBC Bitesize Maths
3. I wrote Understanding Maths with Arthur C Clarke (2001 A space Odyssey) as well as other mathematics books.
4. I hold 4 degrees and am one of the few British qualified online teachers and have been teaching online since 1998
5. I have advised both the BBC and Channel 4 TV on their output and written tv programmes for the BBC.
So if you are interested in knowing more either sign up on the form or email info AT graham-lawler.com for a no-obligation information pack. (Remember to replace AT with @)
Together we can make a huge difference to your child’s future, if you want to!