Feeling political

It is difficult to do anything about anything here but over and over again I find I am feeling political and wish I had the ability or confidence to find a way to act. Even within the family I feel ‘wrong’ but mother-in-laws and grandmothers learn fast that speaking out is never a way forward. (‘Transference’ rules, and ‘counter-transference’ ends up giving one far too much information, though does keep one sane.)

Yesterday and today we spent time at the running track. On arriving at the sand-pit yesterday, a fairly disturbed/disturbing little chinese boy – maybe about 3 years old from his speech, but as tall as a 5 year old – was pushing his face into strange scowls, and into other’s faces. As soon as my boys stepped into the play space, he was on them, so I did my teachery thing and smiled at him, shrugged shoulders and generally invited him my way by joky body language, and he responded. He became more natural, and played well enough, there were 4/5 kids there and they all shared well. But, the inappropriateness and neediness was always there – Asbergers-ish – not that I know too much about this or other syndromes. He did latch on to me, giving me the feeling that very few people have much time for him. Louis and Ali were friendly too, and when they went off round the running track, they accepted that he just joined them, and did not object to his being much too close and his odd facial expressions, they just took off and ran round him. He and his grandmother were there again today and she was very friendly and obviously glad to see us. So, how is this political? It isn’t, but I would like to know what the knowledge and provision is, whether it is the same or different from the west, and of course, provision for many things is patchy there anyway, and getting so much worse under Gove and Cameron… hence politics.

And, there is a contrast here which is both personal and political. The ‘running track’ is actually a local recreation ground, freely provided, kept tidy and clean but not snazzy, and the people there tend to be poor/ordinary rather than rich. Very different from Sunday, when Cindy had brought our boys to Fastrack Kids free morning. I, in my ignorance, thought it was just another outing… a morning of fun for us… but of course I forgot how much Cindy wants the boys to have advantages. They are now signed up to attend every Sunday morning. It is a world wide business from USA supposedly offering the ‘edge’ in learning to the kids who attend. I very much approved of the teacher-kid ratio of 1-8 (though these are 3-5 year olds, it ought to be this kind of ratio, I have already become used to Chinese expectation where there are about 30 kids in the kindergarten class, two adults.) And, no doubt the boys enjoyed their first taste, but, it was just good child-friendly chinese teaching. At least we were allowed to watch, which has not been the case anywhere else in China. Fastrack also did a presentation for accompanying adults, in chinese, so I relied on the powerpoints and body language, and was reminded of the guy who once tried to sell me a holiday share in Ibiza or somewhere. They promised all sorts of good words – on their website too – like child-centered, teamwork, knowledge integration, leadership, etc etc.Well, they were child friendly, but not not not child-centered and I am so fed up with people taking these words and misusing them. Everything the four children present at Sunday’s event did was teacher-centered, even the so-called creative work with glue and cotton wool. The teachers worked very hard indeed for an hour with all the focus on them, getting answers to their questions, responses to their programme, etc etc. My question is, if they do not know what child-centered means, do they know what teamwork etc means? Or is it jargon to get the parents to spend? Sorry, I should be more honest, my assumption is that it is business, and education is incidental, though it may well be quite good. By the way, I do not know what knowledge integration is – integration of what to or with what? Oh sometime I may stop being judgmental, but then I expect I’ll be dead.

So I am political again. These kids will meet other well-off kids, they will learn what the establishment wants them to learn, they may forget how to question what they are offered, let alone question their own prejudices and assumption of rights. They may grow up to be very responsible, but will they ever know how to choose what to be responsible for?

Here the devil does take the hindmost, society is a collection of individual families determined to get ahead as far and as fast as their money can take them.

So, I have become political again. What the something will I end up doing about it? I looked up a couple of the China poems and posted them. Fat lot of change agency there.

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One thought on “Feeling political

  1. Fascinating post. Interesting to see the difference (and similarities) with my frustrations with the UK education system (now that I am in the thick of it). How much do I bite my tongue OR question the methods at the kids’ parents evening next week? Political… in more ways than one.

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