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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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As a parent I think that it should be a two way street, by that I mean that while the school is teaching our kids to read and write we also have a duty to teach them about the environment and nutrition and to teach them some basic social how to use a knife and fork!! Unfortunately though not all children have the luxury of having even half sensible parents and some people seem to abdicate all responsibility for their children once they step through the school gates believing that with no input from them, their children will emerge from the school system at 16 knowing it all!!

I saw that report and was at an absolute loss as to how kids didn't know basic food facts like that, but then I have no idea where I gleaned that particular piece of information from when I was younger. I guess that my parents must have always been talking and reading to me, and getting me involved in things they did like cooking and gardening etc. Children are like sponges, but I guess that if all that you do is plonk them in front of a video all the time then they're not going to take in a whole load of useful stuff!

What was the age group they tested? I've forgotten.

It doesn't surprise me one bit! I live in a rough area of London and work with kids. Most of 'em are so unskilled at social interaction, they don't know words like 'please' and 'thank you' or even 'hello'!

The food thing doesn't surprise me either. Loads of mums never cook any food from scratch so kids will only have seen chips coming out of the freezer in the supermarket. And if kids are brought up in urban areas they won't know a thing about food production. I was bought up in London and supermarkets came in when I was a child so haven't seen much food in it's natural state. The first time I ever went to a farm shop I was astonished at what 'real' vegetables look like!

Kids must have noticed when mum or dad got the spuds out and turned them into chips!!!!or are we talking frozen chips.I still cant believe dont think the kids are winding us up do you...(:)

sighs with resignation and sits down to wonder at the state of the world when kids have never seen real food!! If the basic things in life are not taught at school and the parents can't be bothered to teach the kids then where is society heading.
What really worries me is what kind of a society are you going to be living in when all these uneducated people are running the country in later years and things start to go wrong, as they will for sure at some stage in the future. Will they decide for instance that its OK to destroy potatoe crops to get more land for building because the chips will still be in the freezers, I mean ''what's the use of real potatoes anyway''?

Question Author

Just to say, that I actually regretted posting this Q and asked Ed to remove it, as I suddenly doubted my right to comment, as a 22 year old childless person. But I shall just add an observation..

My Dad is a former Primary Head and he had plenty of kids turning up at school who didn't know how to use a knife and fork.

I can understand parents who don't feel they're good enough at maths and english to start teaching those sorts of skills, but surely all parents could teach basic life skills like the sue of cutlery, and what a chip is made from!?!

I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one who feels this may be the case!

Its a quiet news day at the offices of the daily globe.

Ace reporter Ivor Story wonders how to fill those column inches - He sighs and reaches for another cigarette and wonders exactly how far north of London Ethics is.

Deciding to fall back on an old favorite he calls his cousin in PR and comissions a study of school children - 48 hours later the results are in - thankfully they haven't disappointed 10% of children answered that 1 + 1 was red.

Breathing a sigh of relief he writes tomorrows big story briefly wondering how many would have answered that if there had been an option "go and die in a hole".

Oh today's daily globe is the Telegraph and the PR cousin works for the British Heart Foundation

All characters are ficticious as is the data with all probability

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jake - yes, but standards are nonetheless falling - graphs and percentages or not. Do you have an opinion on the question in hand?
It's not just food. How many young cyclists risk the lives of themselves and others because they believe that the laws of lights, traffic lights etc. do not apply to them? This I believe is a joint failure of parents and police. Sadly, many have grown up to park cars on footpaths without a thought of their weakness and the availability of gas mains.
I saw the interviews of children on TV (dont know if your question refers to this ). They were primary school children and aged about 6-7. the answers ranged from 1) fat to potato peels.A few did say potatoes. It was funny and should have been on 'you are being framed'. They were also a bunch of kids who were very conscious of a camera around them.
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Dom Tuk - I admit I was referring to the story in general, rather than any one specific item of coverage about it.

Also - a slightly secondary question... re teaching of the under 4s....

I'm sure you all saw the stories about the "National Curriculum for babies" - otherwise known as guidelines to assist nursery/childminding/daycare staff who are not ALL that good at their jobs. I found it shocking that parents thought there was an age at which is was !"too young" for children to start learning!!!!! As someone said above, "children are sponges" - surely it's GOOD to start progressing their education (academic, social and life skills) at an early age. Not in rigid lessons, but in learning through play and setting a good example. Or am I strange in thinking that I'd start the job of raising my kids from the day they were born, and by feeling that I'd take responsibility for it myself, seeing the school/nursery care as part of the team, but not the only teachers!?!

Did someone mention that the kids concerned are primary school kids? My cousins wife was a primary school teacher 30 years ago and had one child tell her that hens lay eggs and pigs lay sausages. I suppose they got the right product from the right animal, but not quite as it happens! Yes, kids are like sponges and will soak up information, but like sponges some of it also leaks out and gets forgotten!
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True spudqueen. I'm guessing with age, the sponge becomes less absorbent, and more leaky!! At least that's MY excuse! lol

Never be afraid to voice your opinions, january_bug. It is not only people with children who are qualified to comment on their behaviour or upbringing. In fact it is very often those without who can take an objective view without looking through the rose-tinted glasses that some parents seem to wear.

Children’s behaviour effects everybody and parents must be made aware of the effect their offspring have on other people.

As for the question, I was brought up in inner London. Both my parents worked full time but between them they managed to provide me with an upbringing that many children would envy today (if they knew what they were missing). Among many other things, I certainly knew that chips were made from potatoes and also knew where potatoes came from and how they grew, long before I set foot in a school.

Maybe it was because my parents devoted most of what little spare time they had to the upbringing and care of my siblings and myself.

Having read the article I note that this was done by the British Heart Foundation and doubtlessly sent around as a ready-made news story in the form of a press release. Having a bit of room the telegraph picked it up and ran it.

I note that the age group of the children ranged between 8 and 14. This is a HUGE age range in determining what children know. I cannot see how a survey of this type could be statistically significant in any way.

People have bemoaned the lack of education in younger generations since Roman times. My early education took place to a large extent in the seventies when my parents' generation was wailing about how the "youth of today" was being failed by "trendy teaching methods".

Incredibly I seem to have survived with some semblance of an education. And although I sometimes start a sentence with a conjunction, civilisation seems to have survived the shock.

I am worried about the decline of applicants for "hard science" degree courses. Britian's technological capability has always been high compared to it's population and the decline of that capability could be damaging.

I am not worried that a few dozen 8 year olds don't know where chips come from. - I've never met an adult who didn't know so I reckon they'll pick it up somewhere!

Question Author

jake - are you deliberately missing the point just to be annoying?

Your input is interesting, but absolutely nowhere NEAR an answer to the question.

No doubt you'll accuse me of doing the same in other threads, but seriously - why do you insist upon joining in, yet refuse to give a straight answer to a straight question.

Whose job is it to teach children?
Surely it is the job of parents , extended family , schoolteachers , extra curricular teachers (dance , swimming etc etc) and society as a whole.
It depends on what specifiaclly they are being taught.

Seems to me that a minority of children are not taught enough and as usual that minority gets all the attention.
There are thousands of normal , nice, well educated , well mannered , polite young people out there but we rarely hear about them.

Agree with what you're saying silly moo about those children being in the minority......unfortunately though that small minority can make things very difficult for the majority!
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silly moo (and libertie too of course!) I think you are quite right that these children are in the minority.

Please forgive me if what I am about to say sounds very extreme - I can't think of another way to illustrate my point, but I risk sounding trite.

To me- the failure to give a child a decent (by that I mean basic) education (again, including academic, life skills and social skills), should be classed as neglect. I know no-one was suggesting it (god forbid) but we do not turn our backs on more serious neglect (such as beating or starving) and I do not think we should turn our backs on this, just because the "uneducated" children are in the minority.

I KNOW no-one was suggesting or implying this, I'm just wanting to clarify my views, not question anyone else's! :-)

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