Why is tutoring such a big deal with some people?

(302 Posts)
APMF Sun 02-Dec-12 23:05:14

We downloaded some past papers. We 'tutored' our DCs in standard test taking techniques ie watch the clock, skip a question if you are stuck and return to it later, recheck your maths answers if you have the time and so on. Now, if parents want to pay someone to tutor their DCs in such obvious exam techniques then my rates are quite reasonable smile

After listening to so many presumably working class parents harp on about middle class parents buying a GS place for their dim? DCs, I wonder if the said parents realise how stupid they sound.

I mean, there is no secret technique that is known only to the Secret Brotherhood of Tutors. Some parents haven't the inclination to do the above and so they hire someone to do it for them. This hardly gives their kids an advantage over yours.

I get it that some of your DCs didn't pass the 11+ but why blame others for the fact that you didn't do your part as a parent or that your DC wasn't clever enough to pass?

lljkk Mon 03-Dec-12 11:45:03

Snurk @ seeker's "supporters". Don't think I'm in that camp. Can't remember the last time Seeker said anything nice to me.

I enjoy (my perverse sense of humour) the alacrity with which OP has labeled other people as "dim" "resentful" and "bitter".

If I called OP those things (not to mention "elitist", "obsessed" or "smug") my post would get removed by MN as a personal attack.

Pyrrah Mon 03-Dec-12 12:08:21

We live in a global society, our DC will be competing with people from across the world for jobs not just with the people in the same town as them.

In the same way that I try to give my DD the best start in life in terms of looking after her health (vaccinations, good food etc) and giving her a safe, warm house, I will look after her educational interests.

I don't see that making every possible effort to get the best education for one's child means that you wish a lesser one for other people.

When it comes to tutoring, I imagine we will probably find the money to pay someone - not because DH and I couldn't tutor her ourselves in terms of knowledge, but because she is unlikely to enjoy being taught by her parents are vice versa. I imagine I am not the only parent who feels that.

Regarding the woman who was too embarrassed to ask in the shop... perhaps it would have been a kindness to offer to get them for her. Or perhaps state primaries should all start being a bit more supportive of children sitting for the 11+ and help the parents out a bit.

It is not helpful when schools put obstacles in the way of children because of the particular HT or other teachers political opinions. Why wouldn't parents look to the prep school system or tutoring when there are HTs in the state system who are happy to refuse to write reports or give any help in sitting tests?

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:52

@lljkk - I have been called all those things and those posts are still online smile

IMO we 'elitist snobs' have thicker skins. I even venture to say that it is a badge of honour for some. However, when we call someone dim we get reported to MNHQ.

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 12:09:56

TheOriginalSteamingNit, indeed, my point was that these decisions are highly subjective and informed by experience. That's how most humans form opinions and build up an understanding of the world: by experiencing things. I don't think it's very likely that we can understand why people act as they do without accepting this. After all, we all went to school.

And hey: your "nasty parsnip" analogy was hurtful in the way it trivialised what I told you, which I guess was your aim so just letting you know you scored your hit.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:14:49

I agree with your op but Arisbottle didn't deserve that. She's very peaceable and reasonable.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:25:12

@Cory - Are you seriously arguing that parents should be denied the choice of a GS education for their kids because some parents aren't capable of finding and downloading practice papers for their kids?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:32:48

"I remember a mother coming up to me in the playground and asking about how to get the practice books. Her son was very bright, but the mother concerned had very little education and the family circumstances were very difficult. I said that a bookshop in town had them. I asked her a week or so later whether she had got them and she admitted that she had gone into the shop, not seen them and had been too intimidated by the staff to ask. She had never been in a bookshop before. So think about that, all you, oh, it's easy, anyone can tutor their child brigade. I suspect women like her are so far below your radar that you don't even notice them! But that's OK, because I suspect most of you wouldn't want her kid in your kid's school anyway!"

This whole thing has no relevance. Because child A won't get educated to level X, should child B not get educated to level X?

What you should campaign for and argue for is improved, rigorous education at primary level. The problem is many people who are of the "just let them be them" family of thought also believe that children shouldn't be oppressed by learning their times tables.

They don't want it for ANYBODY.

What do we do? We can't give everyone the highest level of education (though Gove is trying) so we just give everyone the lowest level - in order to be fair?

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:38:28

Seeker - I'm still interested to know wether you actually offered to help this woman buy these practice books ? or you just felt sorry for her.....hmm

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 12:39:04

APMF, you presumably believe that what you did for your son helped him in his eventual test performance, is that right?

Do you also accept that there are some parents who don't have the educational background, life skills or intelligence to do the same thing for their children (hint: they are unlikely to be on MN)? Or that there are children from troubled home backgrounds who aren't getting their physical and emotional needs met, let alone given help with entrance tests?

If so, surely you can see that there's an issue there in that a test supposed to identify the brightest children with academic potential is instead to an extent measuring those with the most supportive home environment?

If not, then I think we've identified the crux of the disagreement here (there are, of course, other arguments for and against selection at 11, but those aren't generally relevant to the tutoring-focussed nature of this thread).

(For the record, I don't live in a selective area (grew up in one, though), my children are too young to take the 11+ even if we did, and I disagree with seeker on a whole raft of issues)

LaVolcan Mon 03-Dec-12 12:39:47

ChristmasIsAcumenin You say you learnt nothing and your comprehensives and your brothers at grammar school did. Were they at school at the same time? If so, and if you are in an area like Kent/Bucks which still have grammar schools then it sounds as though you actually went to a Secondary Modern rather than a comprehensive. Calling schools comprehensive doesn't actually make them so.

Your experience is exactly why so many people disliked the Sec Mod/Grammar system - far, far too many children were written off by the age of 11.

BTW my mediocre girls grammar school changed into a comprehensive and it's now far, far better - gets people into Oxbridge, managed an olympic rower - none of these happened during my years there.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:40:18

@Bryce - I agree that my words were a bit personnal and for that I would like to apologize to Arisbottle for the words used but not the sentiment.

During my time I have met people who have come to this country, penniless and speaking no English. Many of their children have go onto GS, uni and the professions. So you can imagine my lack of empathy for people who blame The System for their failures.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:41:10

Casey: you're missing the point. Should all children therefore be educated to the level of those with "parents who don't have the educational background, life skills or intelligence to do the same thing for their children (hint: they are unlikely to be on MN)? Or that there are children from troubled home backgrounds who aren't getting their physical and emotional needs met, let alone given help with entrance tests?"

Weird point of view if you think that: if you don't, then campaign and argue for improvements in state primary education and the national curriculum rather than other children being taught more by their parents.

APMF Mon 03-Dec-12 12:48:55

@Casey - We don't live in a utopian society. All we can hope to do (at the moment) is to ensure that everyone has access to education and that as many people as possible, regardless of colour and social class, has access to GS and/or Oxbridge.

Is it fair that some bright kid living with druggie parents don't have the same opportunities as your DC or mine? Of course it isn't right. But not having a 11+ is not the flip side of the same argument.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:51:25

APMF -I couldnt agree with you more.

What should be happening is lobbying the government or LEA for better education for children from bottom up. If education standards were high, there would be no need for grammars, and large numbers of independent school parents will go back into state.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 12:52:56

I'm not sure why people seem to think that there will be no education for bright children if grammar schools were abolished! Education seems to happen in the vast majority of LEAs where there is no selection.

I don't want to deprive bright children of their education. I just don't want them to be creamed off to another building to have it, and I don't want the creaming process to label the other 77% of 10 year olds (in my area) as failures. I don't want this education to be available almost exclusively to the professional middle classes. I don't want access to "the higher things in life" (please note the ironic quotation marks) like music and drama to be tqrgettted at the 23%. I don't want there to be no movement- once you're labelled you're labelled. If you're one of the 77% at the age of 10 you have no chance of being a late developer, or somebody who might realise that they love learning at the age of 13. Or even at 11- the test is irrevocable. The majority of the children who go to high schools come from families where the parents are not well educated. What hope have these children got if they are confirmed as academic failures at 10?

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:54:45

"What should be happening is lobbying the government or LEA for better education for children from bottom up. If education standards were high, there would be no need for grammars, and large numbers of independent school parents will go back into state."

Yes, and yes again.

Seeker you aren't reading. You're writing without reading.

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 12:54:58

All children should be educated to fulfil their potential so far as possible, which I think means improved primary teaching AND not sending them down a grammar/secondary modern route based on a snapshot at the age of eleven.

In fact, sod it, YES. Yes, all children should be educated to the level of those with parents lacking educational background, life skills or intelligence or who are from troubled home backgrounds. Because if we're going to have a state education system at all those children ought to be getting (or at least being offered and given support to effectively access) a first class education, and I'd be very happy for all children to get that.

Brycie Mon 03-Dec-12 12:56:11

Your post doesn't make sense Casey.

What do you think should be done to improve primary education?

I'm guessing you are about to say "more money". Please prove me wrong.

bulletpoint Mon 03-Dec-12 12:58:04

Seeker - but in order for the bright children not to be creamed off to another building i.e Grammars, education standards will need to be raised within comprehensives first.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:00:01

"Seeker - I'm still interested to know wether you actually offered to help this woman buy these practice books ? or you just felt sorry for her....."

Of course I bloody did! I assumed that went without saying. Although, thinking about it, I suppose many grammar school supporters would have rubbed their hqnds with glee at the prospect of one less competitor. The point of the anecdote was not to show myself as a good Samaritan, but to illustrate to the "oh anyone can do it if they care about their children" brigade that it is not that simple.

Saski Mon 03-Dec-12 13:00:38

Recently, the parents of year five at my son's school had a group meeting with the headmistress of the school re: 11 plus.

During this meeting, she stressed mightily how much she disagreed with tutoring. She recounted a dinner she had recently attended with other headmasters/mistresses who were for the first time having to make "difficult choices", dismissing students who were not performing as you would expect based on their test results.

Of course, tutoring will persist.

seeker Mon 03-Dec-12 13:01:35

"Seeker - but in order for the bright children not to be creamed off to another building i.e Grammars, education standards will need to be raised within comprehensives first."

Why? In non grammar areas the children who would have gone to grammar form the tops sets of comprehensives and do just as well as they would have done qt grammar school.

ChristmasIsAcumenin Mon 03-Dec-12 13:02:45

No, my brothers have a different dad and went on schol to MGS. My dad did not believe in private or selective education so I took no selection exams and went to the comp. Again, I do agree in theory, but both my parents went to very nice grammars themselves and say now that they benefited.

I went to five different comprehensives in Manchester. Two of them have pretty good results. My sister also went to a comp and did quite well, though not as well as our brothers, but she had the attendant personal strength. I am a weaker and less successful person than her. I admit that and agree I am not as worthwhile or attractive a person, but I still think that unprepossessing and unimpressive people ought to be allowed some education. And I think The System matters and has real effects and could be changed.

CaseyShraeger Mon 03-Dec-12 13:03:13

"Is it fair that some bright kid living with druggie parents don't have the same opportunities as your DC or mine? Of course it isn't right. But not having a 11+ is not the flip side of the same argument."

No, it isn't, or not entirely. But at the beginning of this thread you appeared to be asking why people were complaining that it's unfair and to say that it must be because they are inadequate parents or because their own children aren't clever, and now you are saying that "Of course" the current system isn't fair.

rabbitstew Mon 03-Dec-12 13:05:46

Those who don't want to be dragged down by the lowest common denominator and do want grammar schools to cream off the top 2-25% (depending on whether you have a super-selective grammar school area/area with a tiny number of grammar schools, or are living in Kent/Bucks...) clearly think either that at least 75% of people are dragging everyone else down, or that they don't care about the fact that a substantial proportion of the 75+% are actually being dragged down themselves and don't like it, either, because all the tutoring in the world is still not getting their kids into the grammar schools. Are only 2-25% of children worth educating and the rest can get cr*p? Because the evidence seems to be that you get more cr*p, not less, in terms of volume, in grammar school areas, even if as a pay off you get a marginally (and it is very marginal) higher proportion of definite successes. Because in areas like Kent, the "High Schools"/"Secondary Moderns" do tend to be failing schools/forced academy schools more often than bog-standard comprehensives in the rest of the country are, so isn't that disenfranchising a much larger proportion of the population than the comprehensive system? And if so, is it worth supporting by anybody, or is it just the last resort of the desperate?

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