What did the British ever do for us?

How will the Australian Curriculum’s priority of ‘engagement with Asia’ change the way mathematics is taught in schools?

Let’s turn to page 343:

…the priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides rich and engaging contexts for developing students’ mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding…

In this learning area, students develop mathematical understanding in fields such as number, patterns, measurement, symmetry and statistics by drawing on knowledge of and examples from the Asia region. These could include calculation, money, art, architecture, design and travel. Investigations involving data collection, representation and analysis can be used to examine issues pertinent to the Asia region.

It’s nuts of course. But is it just a little bit nutty or subversively and dangerously nutty? I’m beginning to fear the latter, after reading Daniel Hannan’s, Inventing Freedom: How The English-Speaking Peoples Made The Modern World.

“Engagement with Asia” looks like a limp excuse to avoid the unfashionable topic of Australia’s colonial cultural heritage. Hannan prosecutes the case for Anglospherical  Exceptionalism, calling Australia as a star witness. He writes:

The inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the idea that the government ought to be subject to the law, and not the other way around… For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up that, on the whole rewarded production better than predation…

That spirit was exported to the colonies. In Australia:

a society began to develop that, as in North America, exaggerated the traits contemporary Europeans associated with the British…

Any visitor to Australia is struck by the endurance of these characteristics: informality, bloody-mindedness, individualism, self-reliance… Here, in short, is [J.S] Mill’s libertarian philosophy made flesh.

So far, so good. But Hannan warns:

Having developed and exported the most successful system of government known to the human race, the English-speaking peoples are tiptoeing away from their own creation…

Britain’s intellectual elites see Anglosphere values as an impediment to assimilation into a European polity. Their equivalents in Australia see them as a distraction from their country’s supposed Asian destiny.

Youtube: Daniel Hannan takes Gordon Brown to task in the European Parliament

Youtube: Daniel Hannan takes Gordon Brown to task in the European Parliament

Greg Lindsay wrote on this theme in The Australian Financial Review yesterday.

Dan Hannan will be in Australia later this month speaking at events in Perth and Melbourne organised by the CIS and in Sydney and Canberra organised by Quadrant.

 

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72 Responses to What did the British ever do for us?

  1. Paul

    Tiptoeing away? Or being led away?

  2. rickw

    “…the priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides rich and engaging contexts for developing students’ mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding…”

    If you were looking for a time and place to learn about mathmatics, wouldn’t Industrial Revolution Britain be THE place to start? Where mathmatics really started to change peoples lives?

    Asia was so advanced and successful that my wife spent the first few years of her life with no electricity, a water buffalo for company all while looking up from a paddy field at the huge silver birds making white lines in the sky. Also still one of the most racist areas of the world. Asia didn’t bring a lot to the table.

  3. jupes

    Wiltshire and Donnelly could do far worse than let Hannan run his eye over the Australian history curriculum.

  4. Robert Blair

    I agree with Daniel Hannan.

    I also agree with Matt Ridley – here’s hoping that we can somehow square their circle.

    I often imagine myself back in a random decade of the 20th century, with no knowledge of the future, to see how dreadful the outlook for civilization was.

    1901 – 1910 may have seemed benign enough, but there were rumblings of war in the big-power arms race, terrorist gun battles in the middle of London, lots of things to worry about.

    1911 – 1920 – What can I say. Plus the flu epidemic.

    1921 – 1930 – Well, apart from the obvious problems in Europe, remember that you couldn’t legally buy a drink anywhere in the USA – the world must have seemed to have truly gone mad!

    Etc. Also have a look at Hogarth’s 18th century paintings as England literally drank itself to death. The population shrank by a massive amount as the full effects of cheap spirits (gin) rippled through the country.

    So I guess, to a thinking person, society always seems to be on the verge of collapse. And it may be true, just very luckily (or cleverly) averted each time.

    “In manus Dei” y’know.

  5. Rabz

    I’m going to Hannan’s Canberra dinner.

    BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?

    Oh, that’s right – lazy braindead marxist ‘teachers’ (BIRM).

  6. lem

    Western European civilization, not dead yet and worth fighting for. Pity this chap pictured above is not coming to Brisbane.

  7. nerblnob

    I’m fed up of the lie that Australia doesn’t engage with Asia. It does and always has, through trade.

    Culturally, Australia is not Asian and has nothing to gain by trying to be so. The increasing numbers of Asian immigrants to Australia are not coming because it’s so much like their homeland – just the opposite.

  8. So, despite admiring Mr Hannan for many years, by living in Queensland I am denied opportunity to hear him.

    Hmph

  9. Empire Strikes Back

    BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?

    Oh, that’s right – lazy braindead marxist ‘teachers’ (BIRM).

    Actually Rabz, it’s because Asian parents give a shit. They succeed despite lazy brain-dead Marxist ‘teachers’.

    Meanwhile, the good teachers struggle to teach because the pale students have no grounding in learning thanks to their indolent brain-dead Marxist parents.

  10. Tom

    The truly fascinating dynamic is that Western civilisation is being destroyed from within. This is being achieved by the self-hating left through circumventing the foundation of the Western system: democracy. The left has figured out how to do this chiefly through the unelected bureaucracy and the unelected judiciary, while being cheered on by the howler monkey choirs of academia and the media. Unless this Trojan horse is addressed by non-left governments, it will continue to spread its tentacles as the left has proven its effectiveness and has no intention of surrendering the advantage. Civilised magnanimity is slow suicide.

  11. Rabz

    Meanwhile, the good teachers struggle to teach because the pale students have no grounding in learning thanks to their indolent brain-dead Marxist parents.

    My sister and brother-in-law were (committed) teachers for 15 years and simply ended up walking away in despair. Incredibly, they’re now self made millionaires.

    They always maintained that the influence and attitude of the parents was the key to the child’s academic success or otherwise.

    I’d agree it’s a key factor, but most ‘teachers’ are so fucking stupid they are incapable of teaching anything to they kiddies they’re entrusted with. Throw in stupid, feckless, disinterested parents and you’ve got a recipe for total, proven failure.

  12. Leo M

    Nick,

    I invite you to read the article I wrote for Quadrant Online for Australia day this year

    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2014/01/australia-day-matters/

  13. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I was recently in Ballarat, where the old Anglo-Celtic values were firmly implanted at Eureka. There is a ‘Museum of Australian Democracy’ there now (just built). It has strong leftish overtones, as one might expect, but the basic point of Eureka, which even Peter Fitzsimmons can’t deny in his rather good and pacey book (which I purchased there and am now reading in spite of its leftish contemporary Oz Republicanism) is that the rule of law prevails when democracy flourishes. Both are great British ideas, part of the great Western heritage that we are being forced by leftism to reject (not tiptoeing away at all). Another great Western idea that comes through from Eureka is the libertarian spirit of freedom from oppression and minimisation of government interference on the lives and happiness of individuals (not something the museum there much notices, I wot, but something which a smart visiting schoolchild can gather up from Eureka regardless; we should teach more of it).

    As for ‘Asian mathematics’. They don’t teach it like that in Asia; Asian students get the real deal.

  14. papachango

    “…the priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides rich and engaging contexts for developing students’ mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding…”

    …still it could be worse. If I recall, last year the fashion was to teach mathematics from an Indigenous perspective. At least the ancient Chinese, Siamese, Khmer etc had some concept of mathematics

  15. Makka

    The question was asked in the Australia Day thread, why do we celebrate Australia Day? I think this article pretty well sums it up at least for me. I give Thanks and celebrate our good fortune. It could have been so much worse had we been colonised by say Portuguese or Dutch (No offense meant btw). As I mentioned at the time, the civilised society , language and form of governance that came to Australia with British colonisation has been, besides our geography, our biggest and most important blessing. And, we must fight to retain it because slowly piece by piece it is being taken from us. Everywhere the Left and their running turd associates seek to undermine the strengths derived from our bounty. This is the most invidious form of betrayal – undermining our heritage and poisoning the minds of our future generations to that which has been our most inherent strength as a young and thriving nation.

  16. pseudonym

    “The reason that a child of Greek parents in Melbourne is wealthier and freer than his cousin in Mytilene has nothing to do with race and everything to do with political structures.”

    Two points on this:

    1. Not necessarily. The cousin in Mytilene may be hoovering-up EU subsidies which are distributed under the common agricultural policy. If so, given the rest of the country is going backwards, the cousin may be doing rather well, relatively speaking.

    2. It curious that, while the English invented the institutions of which you speak, they often tried to justify what they were doing by pretending that they were borrowing some of those ideas from the classical Greeks. So, in a way, the Greek parents had to travel around half the world before their child could truly enjoy her/his patrimony.

    Anyway, if you are interested in this topic, you might wish to read some of the books by Victor Davis Hanson. In particular, his “Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power” brings together most of his ideas on this topic (and it serves are a good rebuttal to some of the deterministic nonsense in “Guns Germs & Steel” by Diamond).

  17. Alfonso

    Dan is just doing nostalgia. It was preventable 3o years ago when the decision to destroy existing cultural values via 3rd world immigration was taken, without asking the punters of course. It’s all over now, there’s no way back.

  18. Tardell G

    “BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?”
    Genetics. Asian IQ’s are on average higher than whites. Askenazic Jews are higher again.

  19. Robert Blair

    Rabz:

    most ‘teachers’ are so fucking stupid

    My son, now in Year 10, has been tormented with an abysmal run of teachers. He has had two teachers that were very good – they taught him stuff and he enjoyed their teaching.

    He judged the others by how much they left him alone – the worst of them kept on his case with their leftist preaching and petty power trips.

    Last year he was getting deeply into 3D game coding and (foolishly) decided to ask his Math teacher about the vector calculations involved (it gets a bit tricky when you are trying to achieve a fine-grained pixel collision system).

    A couple more scales fell off his eyes when he realised that some Maths teachers not only don’t know any maths, but they really don’t think maths is very interesting or important.

  20. boy on a bike

    …still it could be worse. If I recall, last year the fashion was to teach mathematics from an Indigenous perspective. At least the ancient Chinese, Siamese, Khmer etc had some concept of mathematics

    A bloke from the NT told me that a lot of blackfellas are extremely good at a certain branch of mathematics – calculating the odds in card games. Apparently quite a few have been banned from Casinos for card counting etc.

    Just don’t ask them to add up a grocery bill.

  21. boy on a bike

    BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?

    Because some teachers are too lazy to push students to do the minimal amount of work required to gain proficiency. I found that the more times I worked through a certain calculation, the better I got at it. Pretty simple stuff. My maths teachers simply worked us like dogs, feeding us problems by the thousand.

    When number 1 was doing Maths, his teachers always set half the amount of homework required in their text books. That is, the text book would set out say 10 problems for doing in class and 10 for homework – and presumably the smart person that wrote the text figured out that 20 problems was the bare minimum required to reach basic proficiency in that task. The class would always be told to only do every 2nd problem. My old Maths teacher would have had a fit at that – we would have done all 20 problems, plus another 100 that he’d whipped up on the side.

  22. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    they often tried to justify what they were doing

    Methinks I sniff a little bit of a leftish anti-Western anti-colonialism ‘Imperialist running dogs’ in that ‘justify’. The Western heritage of classical learning was an underlying principle in Western ideas, not an afterthought.

    And yes, Diamond was over-egging the case for a basic global geographical determinism, but at least he drew attention to the issue as a basis for examining cultural emergence and interaction (or lack of it) over the longue duree.

  23. Infidel Tiger

    “BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?”

    The Freakonomics guys had an interesting theory that it was related to rice farming and the way Asian languages use numbers.

  24. Rabz

    BOAB – I was taught Maths like you were as well.

    Practice makes perfect.

  25. Cold-Hands

    The Freakonomics guys had an interesting theory that it was related to rice farming and the way Asian languages use numbers.

    Absolute rubbish. You only have to look at the purely Anglophone ABCs (Australian-born Chinese) who do well at maths despite not knowing any Asian language. It goes back to parental attitudes to learning and education.

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I found that the more times I worked through a certain calculation, the better I got at it. Pretty simple stuff.

    The principle of the Japanese ‘Kumon’ technique. It works. A little bit of daily maths, as a habit. My first two kids did Kumon in their early primary years and improved their maths skills dramatically. And I made them keep at it after that (couldn’t afford too much of it at the time); noses to the grindstone for half and hour a day. What a cruel tiger mum. :)

  27. Infidel Tiger

    Absolute rubbish. You only have to look at the purely Anglophone ABCs (Australian-born Chinese) who do well at maths despite not knowing any Asian language. It goes back to parental attitudes to learning and education.

    Yes, but they claim the parental attitudes cone from rice farming. If one doesn’t tend to the field each day, one starves.

  28. boy on a bike

    Number 1 was friends with some kids with Chinese mums in primary school. He rarely saw them after they got into high school because the mums dragged them home straight after school and set hours of homework for them.

  29. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    the mums dragged them home straight after school and set hours of homework for them.

    Overkill, BOAC. They’ll end up hating you.
    Just a little, to engrain (as it were) a habit of caring for the rice.

  30. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Learning music has much the same effect. It requires a certain amount of regular practice as a discipline and encourages achievement by its very nature: you can play a tune!

  31. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Rabz at 9:32 am:

    “BTW, regarding maths – why are Asians so much more proficient at maths than we are?

    Oh, that’s right – lazy braindead marxist ‘teachers’ (BIRM).”

    Oh, because they want to be middle class and independently wealthy, just like us, and they’re prepared to work diligently and industriously to attain that. Their families like what they see in doctors’ and dentists’ and specialists’ incomes and that becomes the target.

    The reasons matter little now because they have succeeded, in increasing numbers. Have a dekko at the top of the list in the HSC results for the past twenty years and that is self evident. Eight out of ten of the people we’ve consulted in those professions in the last fifteen years have been serious minded, determined to excel Asians. That mindset filters through to engineering, Korean formworkers and a Singaporean Chinese site foreman bent on buying more houses.

    Our children favour environmental studies (drawing stick people attacking industry and colouring it in) and noble savage studies, which is what you want it to be on any given day.

    Conversely, the Asian children have heard of how their country has been occupied by the mob from up north, the neighbours across the border, the white colonialists and the Japanese and what one must do to build the strength to successfully resist that. It doesn’t include social studies, saving tasty whales and made up jibberish as centrally important pillars.

    The amusing thing to me is that we sniffed haughtily at Lee Kuan Yew’s “poor white trash of Asia” prediction in the early ’90s, and ignored his advice on avoiding that. The now generation of Asians haven’t heard of it, they are just setting about doing what Mr Lee said they would do.

    It troubles me not – Australia failed to take wise advice, let the idealogues take control, endures the nongs doing their bidding in the schools and cries like a baby when it witnesses the end result.

    We have three nieces over there mid way through technical studies now, on a path predetermined long ago for all ten of the younger ones in the family when we did listen closely to a smarter man. Their path is made all the easier and more opportunities are revealed by Australia’s stupidity.

  32. Steve D

    Overkill, BOAC.

    You planning your next trip, Lizzie? [Ducks]

  33. Pedro

    The dangerous and subversive thing is not the tip-toe away from a great heritage, it’s the whole notion that the education system ought to be harnessed to national goals.

  34. Dan

    Etc. Also have a look at Hogarth’s 18th century paintings as England literally drank itself to death.

    Sounds like complete bullshit to me. People who didnt have clean water were possibly tipsy a lot of the time but I cant imagine the working classes were rolling drunk all the time. Remember, this wasnt 2014 where you can get the DSP for being an obese beer-drinker…those people had to work for a living.

    Remember the flipside was Hogarths portrayal of English beer-drinkers who were supposed to be sober and industrious .

    And re Asian numbers- I speak Japanese. The numbers are treated exactly the same.

  35. Mr Rusty

    Hmmmm, engaging Asian culture to teach maths? How about this one;

    Q: Calculate which planes survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941?
    A: Zero.

    Thank you, I’m here all day.

  36. Fisky

    In this learning area, students develop mathematical understanding in fields such as number, patterns, measurement, symmetry and statistics by drawing on knowledge of and examples from the Asia region. These could include calculation, money, art, architecture, design and travel. Investigations involving data collection, representation and analysis can be used to examine issues pertinent to the Asia region.

    After the Fisk Revolution, all examples of real-life mathematical problems will be drawn from the Doctrin’s concentration camps set up for Leftists. Year 7 students will be required to analyse train timetables to the camps to get a handle on basic statistics, while Year 12 students must construct a model furnace for disposing of Leftists after they have outlived their usefulness in the camps. That will be the minimum requirement for matriculation.

  37. Mr Rusty

    The dangerous and subversive thing is not the tip-toe away from a great heritage, it’s the whole notion that the education system ought to be harnessed to national goals.

    Which is not necessarily a bad thing if your goals are a strong and prosperous nation which is what the Japansese education system was harnessed for from the Meiji era to the present day.

    If, however, your goal is the self-flagellating, anti-Anglo, Gaia worshipping, regressive, Fabian oriented, destruction of capitalism that has infested most Western education systems then yes – dangerous and subversive.

  38. JB Sydney/Shanghai

    The success of Australian Chinese kids at school/Uni is not hard to understand.

    Mrs JB is Chinese origin, and imparted the importance of education to her son at a very early age. Study, hard work, respect for Teachers,( all the basic stuff the West is in danger of losing).

    Works every time. The lad is now 26, a good degree, a good job. Enjoyed a great social life while being educated.
    The image of the Asian kid being only a swotting nerd is large a myth beloved of the lazy.

  39. Pedro

    “Which is not necessarily a bad thing if your goals are a strong and prosperous nation which is what the Japansese education system was harnessed for from the Meiji era to the present day.”

    I think you’ll find that the early harnessing of the Jap education system got them into a ruinous war. After which they stuck to the 3 Rs.

  40. Go Tiges

    Some years ago it fell to me to escort a swag of visitors from England, Canada and the USA through our national museum here in Canberra. One of the English blokes was a historian by profession, as well as smart and funny. At the time, there was a display in the museum which showed the English contribution to Australia had been to introduce rabbits. I realised then there was no hope for contemporary culture, the long march through the insitutions had achieved its aims. The visitors gave me a card when they left.
    The English historian had written on it ‘Sorry about the rabbits!’ I’ve never been back to the museum since. It is a national embarrassment.

  41. Squirrel

    “…Any visitor to Australia is struck by the endurance of these characteristics: informality, bloody-mindedness, individualism, self-reliance….”

    The response(s) to the Commission of Audit report, and the subsequent Budget, will be an interesting measure of the endurance of the two latter characteristics.

    On the broader theme, didn’t Margaret Thatcher once make a pithy comment about the English speaking peoples finishing the wars which others started? (referring mainly to the 20th century, I assume).

  42. H B Bear

    Australia will never really engage with Asia without the Leg-over Man as the responsible Minister.

  43. Uber

    “The reason that a child of Greek parents in Melbourne is wealthier and freer than his cousin in Mytilene has nothing to do with race and everything to do with political structures.”

    Politics are a reflection of worldview. That is what we need to understand more than anything, because that is where this war is being waged. As it has been for the past two thousand years, it is Christianity versus the rest.

  44. Milton Von Smith

    Perhaps “Engagement with Asia” could mean that we replicate some features of the Asian education system. Which, heaven forbid, might mean that our kids actually do some meaningful homework for a change.

  45. the sting

    The British brought the wheel to Australia.I think they should charge royalties to those who did not have it.

  46. Combine_Dave

    I have a kid who is yet to enter school (likely public based on my lack of $).

    Any idea how to avoid the pitfalls of public schooling and ending up with an offspring headed to an Arts degree?

    After school tutoring Summer school?

    My wife actually wants to send him to a school in Asia :S

  47. Rabz

    I’ve never been back to the museum since. It is a national embarrassment.

    Tiges, I intend visiting it one day with some artillery pieces and several large flamethrowers, if that’s any consolation.

  48. manalive

    The British brought the wheel to Australia.I think they should charge royalties to those who did not have it …

    The aborigines could have invented the wheel (agriculture, writing, pottery, bronze, the internet etc.etc.) but they had the wisdom and insight not to.

  49. Dan

    Combine Dave, I refuse to pay for tutors, mega $$$private school here but still I sit with my kids for an hour (each) every night if I’m not working and we study together. PLENTY of books on kindle which will let you teach yourself high school or lower math etc, almost for free. Syllabuses are freely available online. My dad did the same for me and school was a breeze.

  50. 132andBush

    Combine Dave.
    Get them into cadets. They get to play with real guns (always guaranteed to explode sensitive lefty heads). They also learn a stack of useful real world stuff as well as discipline and respect for authority.
    I have two out of six sons doing it so far and I can’t speak highly enough of it.

  51. 132andBush

    And read to them every night.

  52. Any idea how to avoid the pitfalls of public schooling and ending up with an offspring headed to an Arts degree?

    If you can’t teach children at home completely, you should at least cover those areas which too many schools miss: times tables, basic arithmetic, English grammar, Latin* etc.
    Counterintuitively, perhaps, parents can best promote literacy for their children not so much by reading to them—though, of course, continuing to read to them is a good thing to do, particularly after they learn to read—but by reading for their (the parents’) own pleasure. That is, often it’s better to demonstrate the benefits of reading and lifelong learning by saying something like, “Please go away and entertain yourself whilst I read my book.” Too many children, alas, grow up perceiving that books are only for children or only for school.
    Recent research suggests that “the number of books owned in a household correlates strongly with a child’s academic success than does the parents’ educational level […]. Reading aloud and library patronage are even weaker predictors: better to have books lying around unread than to read books that don’t belong to you.”† Tidiness as well appears to be quite important.
    See “Messy House, Messy Minds”, by Emily Bazelon:

    The connections among kids, reading, and an orderly home. […]
    Surprisingly, the amount of shared parent-child reading time did not matter, on average, for the reading skills of either group of kids [in an academic study]. What mattered instead, for the kids of average-reader mothers, was how often a child amuses herself with books. What mattered for the kids of the high-reading moms was how orderly the family’s home was.

    * I recommend the Minimus books for children from 7 or 8.
    † Leah Price, How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton, 2012), p. 84.
    See also M.D.R. Evans, Jonathan Kelley, Joanna Sikora, Donald J. Treiman, “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations” in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility 28, 2010, 171-97; Jeff McQuillan, The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, (Portsmouth, 1998); and Stephen D. Krashen, The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research (Westport, 2004)

  53. Ed

    If you can’t teach children at home completely, you should at least cover those areas which too many schools miss: times tables, basic arithmetic, English grammar, Latin* etc.

    Times tables and arithmetic don’t get a run much these days. Some brilliant educationist pointed out that computers can do that stuff and so there’s no need any more. By the same logic, computers can convert text to speech so there’s no need to read. They can navigate so there’s no need to learn angles, maps, or even how to find your place from one place to another on your own.

    Also, drills are boring and school should be fun! Or in other words, let’s focus more on activities that girls will enjoy.

  54. MT Isa Miner

    Fisky

    #1180828, posted on February 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    In this learning area, students develop mathematical understanding in fields such as number, patterns, measurement, symmetry and statistics by drawing on knowledge of and examples from the Asia region. These could include calculation, money, art, architecture, design and travel. Investigations involving data collection, representation and analysis can be used to examine issues pertinent to the Asia region.

    After the Fisk Revolution, all examples of real-life mathematical problems will be drawn from the Doctrin’s concentration camps set up for Leftists. Year 7 students will be required to analyse train timetables to the camps to get a handle on basic statistics, while Year 12 students must construct a model furnace for disposing of Leftists after they have outlived their usefulness in the camps. That will be the minimum requirement for matriculation.

    Sure about the furnace? Couldn’t we compost them, Fisky?
    My mum was composting well before the greens stole that idea as well.

  55. Alfonso

    “Some brilliant educationist pointed out that computers can do that stuff.”
    Indeed, which is why we have young FOs who can’t do operational mental maths.
    Airlines are the sharp serious leading edge, when they have to teach remedial mental maths the system is fucked.

  56. calli

    My son showed little interest in Latin until I bought him The Book of Latin Insults. As for times tables, this wicked and ambitious Tiger Mum had them in the form of place mats. On the reverse side was the Periodic Table. Cruel and unusual, I know.

  57. Tal

    Combine-Dave,try and find copies of Highway the Literacy and Highway to Numeracy

  58. Jim Rose

    not so fast. I prefer Roger Congleton’s king and council template where liberal democracies emerge on a template of gradual co-option rather than revolutionary reforms. Politically and economically powerful men and women voluntarily supported such reforms and the pre-existing institutions were used to adopt the reforms

    Congleton use many case studies in Europe and Japan to show how democracy emerged through constitutional and quasi-constitutional reforms without the threat of civil war or violent revolution.

    Cumulatively the co-options radically changed the assignment of authority between the crown and parliament. In all the countries discussed, liberal democracy emerged from a long series of constitutional reforms, rather than as a quantum leap from authoritarian to democratic governance.

    Revolutions and the threat of revolution are over-rated as Tullock and the Arab Spring teaches.

    Significant changes in parliamentary procedures have been widely adopted throughout Europe,
    North America, and in Asia in the past two centuries during times when threats of revolution were minimal.

  59. Ed

    Anyone who trusts the public school system to teach their children literacy and numeracy is a fool.

    If, on the other hand, you want them to learn about sustainability, multiculturalism, global warming, inequality, pollution, and the evils of Western society, then good news! You are in luck. They will recieve a wonderful education in all those things.

  60. Ed

    This is how bad the curriculum is.

    Captain Cook has been removed completely from the National Curriculum. Not downplayed. Not relegated to a minor role. He is never mentioned. He has literally been erased from the history books.

  61. sdfc

    Q: Calculate which planes survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941?
    A: Zero.

    The war finish 60 years ago you nob.

  62. Combine, get them to read, and read to them, foster a desire to know.

    And be mindful of who and what is influencing your child. Let them be children and if need be actually make them be children.

    My daughter just entered Year 4, and judging by her NAPLAN results could have comfortably slotted into Year 5 without much difficulty. The curriculum is a joke, remember that, and the fact that so many kids have issue with it has to be a testament to how kids these days are being parented.

  63. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Hogarth’s 18th century paintings as England literally drank itself to death.

    … People who didnt have clean water were possibly tipsy a lot of the time but I cant imagine the working classes were rolling drunk all the time.

    Correct. This was all before the great Victorian era public reticulated water and sewage works and before they knew about cholera being waterborne. But everyone knew that drinking the water was a bad idea.

    The reason no-one, nobody drank water in the towns was because it kinda killed you if you did. The fermentation procss for beer killed the bugs and it was cheap (vastly cheaper than tea or coffee made with boiled water). But beer is bulky. They went mad for cheap gin and cheaper rum because life was hard – but they also watered it down.

    The Navy was typical of this although their food rations were both very high quality and very plentiful by the standards of the era (many, many landsmen joined becuase of the huge superiority of Navy food). In a typical week, an average crewman’s food included 7 lbs of bread, 3 1/2 pints of rum (minimum 57% ABV) 7 gallons of beer, 4 lbs of beef, 2 lbs of pork (of necessity, meats would be salted to preserve them), 2 pints of peas, 3 pints of oatmeal, 6 ozs of butter and 12 ozs of cheese, and as much Ship biscuit as you wanted. A standard ‘snack’ was your pint of beer and a ship biscuit which you soaked into the beer to help soften it a bit. One hot meal per day was the norm, a luxury not enjoyed by many of the poor ashore.

    Rum was split into two daily issues (middle of the forenoon watch and in the first dog watch) where the rum was mixed, a quarter pint to three quarters of a pint of water where possible. if the water was rotten and the beer was merely bad, it was sometimes diluted into a pint of beer. Drunkeness was not an issue on the daily rum and beer rations, these men worked very hard and burned a lot of calories. Men below 20 could not be issued rum, and Temperance men were not issued rum, getting extra pay in lieu. Temperance men were still issued beer. Beer was not considered an alcoholic drink by anyone in the 18th and early 19th centuries, it was thought of like soft drink is now.

    Many ships issues a pint of ‘porter’ (a rough sherry) each day at dinner time.

    Different world – most people were dead by 40.

  64. Tel

    Rum was split into two daily issues (middle of the forenoon watch and in the first dog watch) where the rum was mixed, a quarter pint to three quarters of a pint of water where possible.

    To make grog, Edward Vernon’s recipe, often served with a squeeze of citrus: lime, lemon or whatever you had available.

    Later the mix of rum, water, citrus and sugar became standard party punch in colonial outposts… and still serves adequately today!

  65. Combine_Dave

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I am a massive book worm so it shouldn’t be too hard for me to demonstrate the benefits of reading (although due to time constraints I usually only read when putting the little tike to bed or for my own enjoyment after he’s asleep).

    Haven’t tried to teach him his letters and numbers yet, still a bit early I suppose. What’s the best time to attempt to teach this, the info online is contradictory?

    My wife also requires him to learn a second language (her first) and while I understand that it’s easier for younger kids to pick up just worried he’ll confuse the two languages.

    Already he uses English for some words and Chinese for others as though he’s not aware they are two separate languages (ie; he sprouts english for about 90% of the time but uses chinese to thank people, to indicate hand clapping, to ask one to sit and to say hello and a few other little phrases. Confuses the hell out of my inlaws and his Korean daycare ladies).

  66. What’s the best time to attempt to teach [letters and numbers]

    From as early as possible, I say; it doesn’t hurt well before school begins to mention that any circle, for instance, looks like the letter O. I’ve known a few people who claimed that they learned to read, without parents noticing, by following the words as their parents read to them. In any case, it’s good to stop occasionally and point to a word and explain how you form the sound therefrom.
    Counting can be a matter of course even when counting only a very small number of things like socks when dressing or undressing.
    (I knew just two letters when I started school at 5—only because when I was 4 I asked my father to make me a boomerang and he gave it a cross-bar for stability [!], pointing out to me that what had been a big L had been turned into a big A. I started teaching my sons Latin, using Minimus, when both turned 8; this year I’m teaching my younger son at home—doing the equivalent of grade 8—, and he started learning Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse this week, as well as continuing with Latin. )

  67. Wozzup

    I am always up for a good argument about the contributions made to the world by western civilization in general (and of course Britain as the foremost contributor to it during and after its years as a great empire). The left is always quick to downplay the importance of western civilization or to make an outright attack on it. While this may come from a misguided attachment to an idea that all cultures are of equal value (sometimes call cultural relativism) it is something that is destructive in the extreme because its result (if not its intention – although I think it is intended) is to damage the great ideas that western civilization have contributed to the world. Lets see if we can enumerate just some of them – those that come easily to mind. The importance of the individual, individual rights and dignity, the rule of law and equality under the law, systems of government that emphasize accountability and defeat of corruption, democracy, university learning, the primacy of scientific method, science and mathematics, most modern technology starting with the industrial revolution, the growth in modern agriculture and food science and of course capitalism – the only system for arranging human affairs that is successful (when it works and it does not always do so) in converting personal interest into public interest by maximizing benefits to the community. In fact just about everything good in our lives has largely come from western civilization – with some contributions from other civilizations. Of course its not all good news but the shortcomings of western civilization in history are nothing compared to other ways of organizing human affairs. To play down the value of our civilization and to pretend that all other cultures are equal is dangerous nonsense that comes from a muddled mind or a dangerously destructive one that is intent on destroying how we live. The jury is still out on that one.

  68. One thing I would add is, don’t confuse your child by using that “baby talk” nonsense, talk to them like you would anyone else (in an age appropriate manner) and if they struggle take the time to explain what it is you mean. (doing this has had me reaching for the dictionary on more than a few occasions)

    I know plenty of kids who can walk, talk, read and write but have little comprehension of what any of it means.

  69. johanna

    Don’t worry about the “confusion” of languages thing. One thing we seem to be very good at as a species is language.

    Like lots of migrants, I learned English mostly at school. I was quite capable of separating the languages, just as those other kids who did (and do) are capable of doing it. You know, in movies, TV and real life, where the kids interpret for the parents.

    Traditional Aboriginal people, especially in central Australia, have a working knowledge of 2 or 3 other languages. This is inferior to the “American in Paris” with a guidebook just how?

  70. squawkbox

    Good post, Mk 50. Reading the history of the 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe, it doesn’t seem to be much appreciated that most people were, at least by modern standards, drunk most of the time. The British who conquered India drank an average of 3 bottles of claret per person per day (only 1 bottle for the ladies – it was thought to have antimalarial qualities). The Royal Navy as you said operated on 1/2 pint of rum per person per day, not to mention beer and wine. The French and American Revolutions, the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions, the British Empire – all carried out by people we would arrest if they tried to drive.

    Really, Big Alcohol (if it exists a la Big Tobacco) should start to campaign on this to get us to drink more.

  71. Piett

    I think the secret of good education is to provide proper incentives for learning.

    So, for example, when one of the youngsters gets a set of maths problems right, they should be given a glass of the Royal Navy rum + beer combo that Mk50 mentions above. If they get an A at the end of the year, give them a weekend of unrestricted access to the drinks cabinet.

    Not only will this incentivise them, it will also prepare them for the working culture in law, politics, and the diplomatic service.

  72. johanna

    Yup, the “Gin Lanes” are not much of an an improvement on later eras. I daresay that there are some contemporary Aboriginal communities that are not that different, apart from the architecture.

    But, as someone above pointed out,”Gin Lanes” needed money to buy the gin.In those days, people had to work (or perhaps steal) for it.

    Nowadays it arrives every fortnight courtesy of taxpayers.

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