Recently I met up with someone I only see every few months and we had one of those gloriously happy, chatty lunches out. We exchanged the usual gossip about our offspring, and these days, their offspring. It’s fascinating to catch up with these bits of news – watching the youngsters going their separate ways, this one doing rather well after a sluggish few years at school and the one not doing as brilliantly as hoped . . . . The children all went to the same village schools and then the best upper school available. So their education started the same. One particular candidate for gossip really went off the rails for a few years but with the help of e-learning and much encouragement from a mentor, has really turned his life around and can see light at the end of his tunnel. He’s training to be an accountant and is taking part in a company online training programme that tracks his ‘homework’. He’s not actually employed but is being sponsored by them and if he completes all the course plus some additional of his own volition, it looks as though he’s got a very good chance to secure a post. It goes to show that for all the parental planning and organising during those latter years, the youngster themselves governs their own destiny!
I was talking with my neighbour recently – she has changed her career since moving into the area. Having got her degree in biology, she took it further to a masters degree with the intention of taking a career in forensic siciences. This all worked out quite well when she got a job at a life sciences laboratory working alongside teams testing various medicines and drugs for dangerous diseases. Despite many problems with animal rights activits at the time, she did well in that line and progressed to the level above. All this time she just undertook her employers own in house learning schemes. Success with the online learning brought her much needed confidence to apply for promotion to another level and this was rewarded with recognition in her field. Once she moved down here there was less pressure to succeed and the arrival of children meant she sought less challenges. However, she missed the learning discipline of e-learning and deadlines for the training courses. Online education has so many benefits for students – they can study a subject that really grabs them, in their own time and without the hassle of travelling.
With the many challenges placed on the teaching fraternity these days, it’s no wonder that specialist educational consultants are now finding their services constantly on call. As a fully trained teacher or other eduationalist, they use their great experience and skill in learning provision and assessments to identify and support specialist educational needs. Their tasks can be varied; sometimes covering a general educational area or they can be asked to specialise in one specific area such as special needs, careers advice and support or perhaps teacher training and development of new and existing staff. There is much work on the online and technical learning and education support sector too. Another area where an educational consultant often excels is in examination preparation. There is also the development of new learning products and resources to be considered. The consultant doesn’t always have one to one contact with the learner but works in the background within a support and nurturing format.
This is the time of year when there are all sorts of reasons given out in the media as to why this cohort of students suceeded at this subject or that and we hear what the educational establishments plan to do to weed out problematic behaviour etc. Today we hear that some examination boards are querying students being able to wear smart watches – they are of course able to log on to the internet and the chance to cheat come high up on the newspaper favourite tagline. One of the best points about e-learning and online educaiton is that you are supposed to log on and research as much as you want and need – this is exactly the method by which you learn the subject and take those exams. The degree courses available today are so wide and varied – there cannot be any career that would not be enhanced by someone starting their learning by these methods. It opens up an entire new world and doesn’t involve cheating in a school exam room either!
This is such a busy time of year – with schools, colleges and universities having had the main summer recess and all the time it takes to get back up and running for the new terms. It’s so exciting too – I used to love the start of the new school year in September. We didn’t have the opportunity to take up extra e-learning or online studies – there were no computers of course. It was a case of recognising my own failures and trying to find the resources in my own way. I didn’t know that until far too late. I have always been on the optimistic side of life and starting a new term literally brought me the chance to perhaps improve on the previous one. I have to admit it was always a good chance I couldn’t do much worse and despite all my efforts, I seem to miss a few of the obvious points of each subject lesson throughout the term. If I could have logged on to the fantastic e-learning systems available today I could have been that astro-scientist or a musician. Ho hum….
It’s only when you start watching the US property programmes that you apprecciate the critical aspect of house location when it comes to schooling – over there particularly. I have gotten into thehabit of watching one particular series and the priority list for the new houses is always to ensure the family end up in the right catchment area for their existing or preferred school. Of course, over there they have a completely different system to the UK and it reflects most of Europe too. The schooling has to be paid for in a way completely differently to the ‘household rates’ system that pays for education for the masses here. However, the same problem arises if y ou cannot get housed in the catchment area, you face a choice of your child going to a school you don’t like, or you pay a huge amount for them to go to one of the independent schools. A meeting with an education consultant can be helpful to help parents sort out the proper route suitable for their child. Education provision a big headache when you don’t really know which road to take!
The choice of whether you stay on at school to do A levels or go stright to college to continue that level is something that many youngsters have to consider. I can think of four young men and women who decided this was the way forward for them. Thinking back, the two girls were absolutely against staying on at school because they felt left out of the ‘in crowd’ and it seemed to me to be a personality issue rather than academic. The boys on the other hand felt they had outgrown the standard school type of education – the structures, having to conform to being treated like children. I can remember also, they both came alive as soon as they visited their choices of further educational establishments and really got into the swing of preparing for interviews for admission. All four are now successful in their chosen fields and have gone on to take a variety of online and top up educational courses – all job related or career focused.
Young people today have rather too much choice in how they set about getting a career. The schools are geared up entirely to getting every single student into university – not for the good of the student but for the good of the school league tables and reporting. The government has various means of getting in to be a civil servant – graduates can apply for the fast track scheme in which they are taken on my one ministry and work their way up through junior management posts – not really helpful to my kind of civil service career, I was one of the plodders who got there on merit! Training courses though for all ivil servants are better than most of the ordinary office based ones. They are expensive but streamined. also available today are specialist e-learning courses for candidates to take in preparation to apply for apprenticeships and national civil service careers. The gov web site has all sorts of interesting pages about training and study at work and how to find the right course to get the right job. This is a most useful feature and should suit/
We tend to pride ourselves on our way being the ‘right way’ to do everything. Having been born and raised in this tiy country, I’ve never really had any reason to question how our education system works. I could indeed have made much more of my early opportunities – studied just that bit ore when the maths teacher was striding across the classroom, chalk in hand and desperatly warbling. I can remember a mnemonic for trigonometry which of course involve Sin, Cosin & Tangents. So . ..The Sign of a Public House means the Tanning of a Poor Boy and the Cause of a Broken Heart. I think we take that as Sin = Perpendicular over Hypotenuse; Tangent = Perpendicular over Base and finally, Cosin = Base over Hypotenuse. It was so helpful to me for the brief period we touched on that element of maths. Today of course, I can sign up for any number of frantastic online courses and have he world literally at my fingertips.
It can be so daunting when youngsters are just beginning their upper school career – lots of exams to be encountered and no idea why they’re doing this or that! Online training courses are becoming much more available for all ages, not just the youth of today. With so many career options for them to choose after their mainstream education has been completed, TV is often a source of ideas and inspiration, daytime gaes shows not counting here – but the crime genre and anything with law and order. Many a young person could well decide to work towards becoming a police officer; there are exams needed as well as voluntary work as a community officer who spends time with the real officers and gains experience of life on the beat. Police work particularly relies on comprehensive understanding of data systems, electronic learning and and how to extract information to do the job adequately and expertly. Learning these understanding skills early on will enhance any career later.