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january_bug | 08:46 Tue 15th Nov 2005 | News
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Are made from potatoes! Apparently this is news to some kids.

Which leads me to my question (which might arguably be better placed in parenting, but I felt here was better)....

Whose job is it to teach children!?


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I think that given the context in which the question was placed it's more than fair to examine the reliability of that assumption.

But if you want the strict narrow answer in the majority of cases it's a shared responsibility and always has been.

Some people opt out of this by placing their children in boarding schools removing them from the family environment but they're a small minority.

Children spend a small faction of their life in school so it's impossible for them to learn all they need to in school.

The problem is there's no clear boundary. Children come home with homework and it's accepted that they need to do this work to keep up with the schedule and will probably need your help, but you don't get a syllabus at the beginning of the year with the schools responsibility in red and yours in blue.

Easy for things to fall between the cracks

Here is my opinion:

It is the teachers job to teach a child academic skills such as reading, writing, maths etc. But then again, the parents should not think that this responsibility is purely the teachers - they should be helping their child to read, write too.

It is the parents job to teach their childs the ways of the world, common sense, manners etc.

Kids at the age of about 8 don't have cookery lessons at school, I didn't when I were a lass! That wasn't until secondary school. So where chips and potatoes are concerned I think it should be up to the parent. My mum always made chips from scratch, so I always knew what they were made from. Taste much better than the frozen rubbish too : )

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3 stars for you indieanna - and not just cos you have a cool name! :-)

Whilst I'm sure these kids are a minority in the country as a whole they are in the majority in the area where I work! (Well, I do live in ASBO city!).

I work in the library and it's just so depressing. Very few kids say 'please' or 'thank you'. They usually just throw their card at you whilst their mum stands behind them looking bored. They have absolutely no idea how to behave and give you a mouthful if you say anything (even little kids).

What is so depressing so how many parents just aren't interested in helping their kids. We've set up a group in conjuction with the local schools for kids who are doing badly at school simply because their parents don't care. The parents have to come along and we get them involved with activities with their kids. Whilst we have had the occasional success, a lot of the parents just sit at the back talking on their mobiles or wander off.

The list of awful things I see is endless and it depresses me that these kids might have the potential to be successful, but will probably end up with an ASBO.

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Well Hermia - at least we can all be thankful that there are people out there like you who are tying to help! Long may it continue- one day it might have greater success! :-) Three cheers for you! :-)
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Well said silly moo. I once taught a child who didn't know that you could boil potatoes but knew that you could fry them (as chips). I have also taught children who did not know that a chicken is a bird. So what?

As you say, find a child that doesn't know something then allow the press to make this a generalisation about all children.

Children learn by experience.
Definately parent's job to start teaching. My toddlers know where dairy foods/chips/crisps etc come from and tehy don't even go to school yet.

But, I have to say, and observation that I have made of lots of children during my time here, is that they don't seem to ask questions anymore might not occur to parents to tell children stuff like that if they don't ask. With lots of kids stuck in front of a TV ( and it shocked me the other day to discover that there are actually tv programs for toddlers!) where is the time to talk about real life stuff???

Obviously there are exceptions and if you are reading this, you are unlikely to be one of those parents who does stick a 2 year old in front of a TV, if you were, you would be in front of a tv right now and not exercising your small grey cells by cogitating and masticating the cudd here on AB!

Having just had me step grand children visit, I have been getting increasingly annoyed (but forced to keep quiet) about the parents reaction to the eldest's (2 1/2) behaviour.

I know that neither parent cook a lot (we got a call around 6 months ago asking how you cook chicken fillets!) but they have already passed this on to the child.

She now eats nothing but junk food (sausages and yorkshire pudding was the healthiest she ate, but popcorn chicken was the main diet). She was here for four days and not a dingle vegetable passed her lips. The worst part to me though, is that she refused to eat anything without either tomato ketchup or brown sauce on it.

I can understand that these influences can come at school when either meals are provided, or they can see other children's lunch boxes, but at her age, it should be very easy to control her diet as she knows nothing else.

And they wander why she is hyperactive?

Anyway, rant over - to answer your question, I feel that it is a parent's role to teach a child in the main part, but sadly a lot of parents are not up to the task. It would be nice to think that every parent should be given compulsory lessons whilst pregnant, but somehow I doubt that this is practical.

The problem is, less and less is being passed on to the next generation each time. I guess with more parents working they take certain things for granted...then their children have children and have even less basic knowledge to pass on. The result is children asking for potatoes with chips at the school dinner counter!

Having a 1 year old, I couldn't believe that some children do not know some of the basic stuff about life. My son already knows what some foods are called, but obviously haven't gone into too much depth yet, but do intend to build on his current knowledge.

He does watch some TV most days but only in small doses and there are some educational programmes for toddlers out there that teach them the names of things etc, and we also have Baby Einstein DVDs but that's beside the point!

I can only see this type of problem increasing because it seems that the type of parents who don't teach their children these kind of things (could be a generalisation but usually council estates, low income etc) will have lots of children (often when young themselves) and then these children will have lots of children and the standard won't improve and will probably get worse and we will get overrun by uneducated children with no social skills who grow up into adults who claim benefits all their lives and make no contribution to society.

That's a massive generalisation I know and maybe I'm a bit of a snob!

Thanks january_bug for this question.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion; especially the fact that no-one has fallen out with anyone else.
More like the AB I joined.
His Little Lordship has many friends over after school and they stay for dinner, just as he goes out to their houses. Out of ALL of his little pals, only 1 uses a knife and fork properly and actually expects to see a spoon AND FORK for pudding! HLL knows what a soup spoon is and when to use it instead of a desert spoon and can even manage chopsticks (if i tie them together at the top)! I can't imagine having a child who didn't have a basic grasp of table manners by school age. Do none of these children sit to a table to eat? Do none of their parents know what a vegetable is? Do they not think it is ever so slightly important to teach their children the basic essentials in life? GRRRRRRR I could rant on for ages but the kettle's just boiled and I need to make a POT of LOOSE LEAF tea!
oh and before anyone jumps to conclusions I'm a single mum on a fairly restricted income who works part time. And HLL is nearly 6.

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