Little_Mavis' rants and musings



My previous post (in October, Ha!) was about procrastination & perfection. Since then, guess what I’ve been doing. That’s right, I’ve been procrastinating. Why? Because it was too difficult trying to make a post “just right” by saying what I wanted to say in exactly the right words to as not to annoy anyone.

Wow! So many hang ups in that one sentence.

So, here we go, instant, unchecked and imperfect

I annoy people on Twitter sometimes with ill-thought out comments. They respond. Often their views make me re-think and re-examine my views.

I don’t think my fundamental view of life and society will change but some specific ideas will and have done so. It’s worth getting into these discussions on Twitter. Often people’s responses will annoy you as much as your initial tweet annoyed them. Sometimes you will discuss, with each of you shifting ground slightly until you almost meet in the middle. And sometimes you will find you have had the same view all along but expressed it differently (thanks Thom). Sometimes you will agree to differ but respect each other’s views. That’s life.

I’ve seen a few exchanges of opinion that have gone sour, sometimes because one party is so entrenched they cannot accept an alternative, often because they don’t understand the background or the feelings behind what was tweeted.

So, all in all Twitter can be useful if it makes us examine our own prejudices.

Today I said I was unhappy with the idea put forward that all schools should have a cadet force . Two people called me on this and I’d had similar discussions when I objected to ex-military personnel being given a quick route into teaching. Since I have no personal experience, I checked that I understood what it was all about on the MOD website and realised what it was that was making me uneasy. Three words stood out “parade” “drill”  “discipline”.

There seems to be a belief that discipline is what is lacking today and more discipline will solve all our problems, get people back into work, cut the welfare bill and prevent crime. I really don’t like the word. It holds connotations of unthinking obedience and I’m not happy with that.

I suspect this is the problem that has always plagued me. I don’t like unthinking obedience. I was one of those annoying children who wanted a good reason. I circumvented this with my own children by giving them the reason before they asked. I feel that discipline (though I dislike the word with all its current connotations) should not be unthinking and should be reasoned and most of all internal. I don’t like work where I am expected to follow the accepted procedures and methods because that’s the way whoever is in charge has decided it should be with no (real) better reason than that. Teachers are expected to follow whatever is the current idea, often ill-thought out and in reality only applicable to one set of circumstances, then criticised if it does not work. Teachers who ignore this because they have understanding or free-thinking head teachers, who break out of the mould and are successful, are praised for “innovative thinking”  without the realisation that most teachers are prevented from doing just that because they do not fit the current orthodoxy (double think at its best).

So, there I have it. My prejudice is against the requirement for blind obedience. That’s not too awful is it? Except I haven’t met any soldiers I liked either and maybe that has something to do with it too. And you can’t trump personal knowledge, can you?


Author: littlemavis

Retired teacher. (also Information Scientist, Export Sales Assistant, Sales Administrator, Computer Programmer, Software Support Specialist) Worked in Sixth Form college and recently as support in a primary school.

2 thoughts on “Prejudice

  1. “We no need no education. We no need no thought control. ” Pink Floyd
    I always think of that when I ask students to stand in a straight and quiet line.
    I try to remember that I am training them for the queues at the bank or the grocery store. Sometimes, blind obedience can be helpful like during a fire or an evacuation. However, I do think we have made students into little robots. How will they ever think for themselves when we don’t give them the chance?

  2. I tend to agree both with your more reasoned conclusions about blind obedience and conformity and your less rational feelings about the military — and I, too, recognise that my feelings on that score are more a product of my militantly (heh) pacifist upbringing than an actual reflection of reality. Though when people talk about supporting soldiers even if you don’t support the war, I can’t help but hear the words of Buffy St. Marie’s “Universal Soldier” in my head. But then, I’ve always been a hopeless idealist in some ways.

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