Calling NZ Primary Teachers


How deep in your memory can you dredge? Back to when you, yourself, were a pupil in a New Zealand classroom?

As far back as your junior years? Your middle school years? Your intermediate years? Your secondary school years?

Great – here’s what that means to me…

  • You are your own expert on your classroom experiences as a pupil/student!
  • You the best person to contribuute a piece of your memory to my nonfiction book in progress.
  • You will be given credit (and shared copyright) for your contribution.

Please write your memory in the first person, preferably in the “voice” of yourself at that age:

  • give me your name, the class you were in (Year 3, e.g.) your age at the time, and the year
  • change your name within the story
  • mention the school’s name, by all means.
  • change classmate’s names to something not recognisable to that person
  • show what happened to you, to the teacher, to the classmate
  • share the interactions between the people in your memory
  • include conversation where possible
  • write between five-hundred and eight-hundred words
  • (optional) write as if at that age–including spelling you know now was wrong, punctuation as you used it at the time

Send me the piece, attached to an email at this address:

  • McAennyl [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Set a Read Receipt so you are notified when I’ve read it; I will respond

In the email, tell me what you want done with your contribution if it is not included in the manuscript:

  • May I post it as a Guest Post on this blog?
  • Would you prefer it returned to you, unpublished?

Think about it…anything you blush now remembering, any ocassion in which you were the bully/perpetrator, any incident in which the class got out of hand (and what part did you take – heheh), the most engaging/exciting/fun lesson you took part in. the one thing you’ve always remembered about the classroom, the teacher, the building/s…whatever.

More than one contribution is welcome, especiallly if each covers a different class level or school.

2015-05-16 10.59.33

(Look at the lass with the class sign. She’s “zero”. Now count to your right 1 – 2 – 3. That’s me, back in the day, at Harley Street School, Masterton, Wairarapa; teacher was Mrs McBean)

Thanks for your interest, colleagues…

 

 

 

 

 

Changes are afoot


This blog is soon to be refocused.

Along with my norm of posting trivia, opinion pieces, stories etc, I will be focussing on a particular topic, one I know best – education. More specifically, teaching: memoirs, methodologies, well-remembered pupils and peers in teaching.

I am preparing a book on Schooling in New Zealand between 1956 (when I began in Primer One) and 2007 (when I ceased tertiary lecturing).

The title is not set yet, but I will announce it later on. In the meantime, I have been seeking copies of old NZ teaching Syllabus documents and current ones, and the Education Review Office’s (ERO – an acronym which in its early days struck fear in many communities and schools) reports of the school at which I was Principal, and the last compulsory level school I taught at before moving into tertiary level lecturing.

The book will meld anecdotes with opinion pieces, and include excerpts from Syllabus/Curriculum documents in effect at the time of the anecdote.

I have tried novelling – via NaNoWriMo – but have never been confident or enthusiastic to bother completing any. So – “NaNoNo’Mo'” – I am following the old advice: “Write about what you know”. And boy, do I know teaching! It has been my most satisfying job through my working life, and I would return to lecturing in a shot if I could.

So please, wish me well in this new challenge.

If you are a student of education preparing for a career as teacher, this will interest you.

If you are a parent and wanting to help your own child/ren via home schooling (I’ve BTDT) or as they pass through their years at school, this will interest you.

Thank you

 

 

“What do you want to do when you leave school?”


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Futures Past.” : As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that dream?

As a “kid” of sixteen (my final year of secondary school), if anyone asked me “what do you want to do when you leave school?” my reply always was the same. It shocked my mother so much that every time a customer (in our family dairy, where I worked after school and weekends she would interrupt and find a “job” for me to do in the back room.

“I’m going to be an educated bum.”

My feelings were based on my decision at the beginning of that school year to go “on strike” at school. And that was based on three years of attending a school at which a very, very small number of the teaching nuns were trained as teachers. The school was ill equipped, text books were years out of date,  we never worked once in the science lab, and the atmosphere was gloomy–except for the grounds, to which I would retire during catholic education classes, on the pretext of going to the grounds to study … whichever subject that nun also taught me.

I had barely scraped through the previous year’s qualification, School Certificate. At the time the passing requirements were a 60% pass in English, and enough %ages in four other subjects to amass more than 200 marks. I managed 204. And the only two reason I managed that were…

  • As an Elocution student since the age of twelve, I had learned much about the classics for performance reading in the annual exams. I had been so good a student that by the end of Fourth Form my elocution teacher had offered to allow me to study during the following year for an Elocution teacher’s certification. I had decided not to, as that would have been on top of studying for School C. (These days, I realise I should and could have done both.) But what I’d learned made the School C English exam a doddle.
  • At the dairy, among the magazines was one of those collection publications – buy one a week, maybe the binders, and by the end you had The Purnell’s Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Second World War *. My dad allowed me a magazine weekly, and I would take it to school and read it whenever I could. And re-read it, many times over. When I went into the exam room for School C. History, I dreaded it, as I knew our school lessons had been worthless. But the second question was “Explain the many factors in Europe which led to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, and its consequential effects.” Bonanza! I spent the whole three hours writing just on that question alone, asking the invigilator for extra answer paper.

As for other subjects… I had studied Biology by asking the lads from the state school when they came into the dairy for a milkshake or ice-cream “Are you studying Biology tonight?” and if he/they weren’t, I’d borrow their Biology text and read it between customers, and he/they would collect it from the dairy on their way to school the next morning. For their cooperation, dad would give them a free mince pie. Sadly, I didn’t get a good exam result – just enough to get barely over the required 40% pass.

Hence my flippant response.

On my final day at school, I walked into the dairy to work, and Mum pointed across the shop to me …

“You start work at the accountant’s on Monday.” That was that. (Imagine that happening these days? Yeah, right.)

After a year there, they let me go. So I decided (much to Mum’s delight, she being a teacher) to try teacher training college. At the interview for selection, I was asked the usual …

“And what makes you want to be a teacher?”

“I don’t really. I can’t honestly say ‘because I love children’. I just want to have a go, and see how I feel after qualifying.”

“Well,” said one of the selection panel. “That’s probably the first honest answer we’ve heard. We’ll see you in Kelburn in February.”

How easy was that? And although I took a break during training, I did graduate and qualify. The certificate is framed. and leaning against the base of the wall, waiting for new glass. I’ve taught full and part-time children at all levels of compulsory education, some years of part time work in a different class level each half-day. I’ve taught in the State system and in a private secondary school. I held a Principal teacher (sole charge) in a way-out-back rural school. I’ve taught in the WASP communities, and in mixed ethnic communities. I’ve taught gentile mother’s little darlings, and hard-case forgotten children. I’ve lectured at tertiary level, after taking a degree in I.T.

And loved it all.

* Title may be “off”…the long-term memory is set to write-only/

Literary Studies … how (not) to …


Starter – a post which started a thread over at Scribophile…

  • D Gestalt   What novels have you studied? What do you mean by studied? How did you study them? Smile.   D

I read the replies, and found one with which I could empathise. The replies and the thread starter got me thinking.

I have actually Never “studied” any novels – at least, not Really studied any. Sure, at secondary school we were assigned novels to read, and sometimes (wow!) permitted to watch a black-n-white movie of a few of the novels. And we would be asked to write a “book report”.

And that was it. The only two novels I remember reading for class are Lord Of the Flies, Christmas Carol and Great Expectations – LOTF I never finished, and I only remember CC and GE from the movies.

No in-class discussion of character, plot, conflict, resolution – neither as generic terms for study nor within the context of a particular novel. We were on our own. And, as either the school never sent reports to parents or my parents never let me see any, i never had a clue whether what I was doing was what was wanted or not. We were left to our own devices.

And as serving behind the counter at the family dairy (corner drug-store to US readers) was much more enticing a way to spend an evening than study, literature study was the minimum – just read it. Or read it until I got bored. Then back to the dairy a.s.a.p.

Then, Teachers’ College, and one major was Victorian Children’s Literature. It was a study more of the physical environment of NZ’s Victorian settlers’ way of life than it was a literature study, but we were expected to read or have read many book s which the convent school had never put in front of us.

I faked it – admirably, in terms of results. Disgracefully in terms of ethics. In the on-campus book store I spotted a large green leather (yes, I said leather) bound and gold lettered tome – A Compendium of English Literature. Within its pages were all the “great” books ever studied in a school or university – complete with overall synopsis, and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, defining the most significant character flaws or action or relationships, ad a quick summation of its comparison against other books by the same author. Oh yes, and also black ink sketches of the climactic scene.

All that year I never read a single novel for study. I simply read the Compendium brief, and used it for my contributions to in-class discussions.

My reading focus was the theory and how-to’s of Teaching – hell, that was why I was at teachers’ college – not for literature or Art, or Social Sciences at a tertiary level. I was there to learn how to Teach these. But the majors classes did nothing to teach us how to teach pupils (or students for those expecting to work at secondary or tertiary institutions.

I learned how to Teach in one class in my third (final) year. The lecturer pretty much turned the course curriculum over to us student teachers, and we spent whole sessions discussing what we’d seen work well or badly while observing “real” teachers or had experienced while on practice. I also learned something of the most importance – I wanted to teach Children, not only subjects, and I learned that by honing the skill of observing children – at play, in class, interacting with each other or with a teacher; I learned to read body language, expressions, and cultural behaviour in our multi-cultured nation.

Literary study – I learned how by teaching it. Distributing a class set of novels, and reading them aloud in serial to the class, so poor readers never got left behind. Augmenting the novel with background facts from history, or poems or short stories on the same topic or theme, or portions of books by the same writer, and asking them questions they could answer without having to struggle with out-dated Victorian language.

I kept a store of Classic Comics in the classrooms, and would hug myself in delight when a lad who’d just ‘read’ the comic would look for the novel on the school library shelves.

When the NZ curriculum changed for all subjects, I was in a school where I taught Years 7 & 8, so I’d have pupils in Year 8 who I’d taught in Year 7. So every two years we would recycle a particular set of novels to study. One year’s theme was Children in Hardship, and it included (among others) House of Sixty Fathers, The Silver Sword, and a pupil’s own choice from a carton of on-loan hard-times related books from NZ’s national Library School Service

The following year’s theme was based on a curriculum requirement for students (Students? At age eleven to twelve, these are pupils, not students!) to examine how a story can be related via more than one channel of communication. My novel was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I found and bought, at $2-oo each, a book about Oz, the movie and Lyman Frank Baum’s other Oz books. I had a vcr of the 50th Anniversary of the movie Wizard of Oz, with Angela Lansbury as narrator, and I had the School Services of the National Library send me a carton with as many books about LF BAUM or of his Oz world books as they could pull off their shelves. Most times, the carton would be complemented with books about other fantasy worlds, or on other themes but which had also been made as a movie.

I would tease the class with Lansbury’s documentary, then they would have to read the novel (the reading age made reading it to them unnecessary) and discussing chapter by chapter. Then They would be given access to the carton of National Library books (they’d fight for a BAUM book) and the non-fictional $2 books.

Only when we had looked at every source would I reward them with the movie – which would be stop-started every time a pupil spotted a difference between the movie and the book, Questions would fly – Why aren’t her shoes diamond? Why isn’t Munchkin land blue? And the answers would always come from another pupils who’d read and studied that very matter.

My favourite point of discussion would be the Wicked Witch of the West, as played by Margaret Hamilton vs the original actress choice. It was a good teaching moment to point out how important it is, when writing a story, to make sure you create a “really good baddie” – one who makes you dive under the couch to hide.

I am smug in saying , as this class was the Junior department of a full secondary school, English teachers of the upper classes would always be able to tell me how well my pupils were at literary studies.

And so, by teaching literary study, I learned how to study literature. But it still hasn’t changed my taste in reading material. Victorian literature is still a “walk past quick” section of the library or book store.

Oh, That Could’ve Been Harsh (Daily Post)


Daily Prompt: Sad, but True

“Tell us about the harshest, most difficult to hear — but accurate — criticism you’ve ever received. Does it still apply?”

1970, and as a second-year teachers’ college student I’m on a week’s ‘section’ (a practical practice trial of teaching for real) at a local school, in a class of eleven-year olds.
I’d had a mildly wild first year – “wild” because as a kid from a small country town, on realizing no-one in the city knew my mum I could do what I liked, and I got high on the freedom to speak my mind; “mildly wild” because I didn’t get into drugs of any kind. In fact I’d rubbish those who did – quite loudly.

Anyway, back to that section. My goal was to plan, prep and teach a science lesson, while class teacher took notes, assessing my abilities (if any). My lesson was Geology – how rocks were formed. The Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic, with a set of samples provided by the school and augmented by a collection of mine of semi-precious gem stones. Chunks of obsidian,  scoria and pumice; Crystals – rose quartz, amethyst, peridot and opal. The class were quite a high level of interest, as for a change there were enough samples of every type of rock that every child got to examine and describe more than one.

Unbeknown to me, back at TTC, someone had complained to my lead lecturer about my big mouth insulting idiots in class, and correcting lecturers in mid-lecture when they gave faulty information.

Section over, I had to go see the HOD Science, who apparently was my mentor for the year (though nobody had told me that!), about the success/failure of the science lesson. She commented favourably (IK & NZ English spelling) on the high level of student interest and enjoyment, the high level I’d insisted on in their descriptive writing “as a scientist”, my ability to gain full class participation. Then she told me of my poor planning (gather the samples, and talk to the class. No Goals, Aims  or Objectives, or Ratings Scale for assessing individual learning. Tut, tut.

I made some remark (as I was wont) how “a good teacher shouldn’t need to push paper; their job is to interact on an individual basis with each pupil according to their needs”

“But shouldn’t their needs be recorded/” she asked

“A good teacher should be observing every pupil’s behaviour and conversations, social interaction and working ability, and remembering them.”

Silence.

An agreeable silence, but … a long silence. Then,

“You are readily vocal with your opinions.” A statement of her opinion, and true.

“Yes, i won’t take rubbish from anyone who is supposed to know what they’re talking about.”

“Do you know,” she said (was that a slight smile at the corners of her mouth?). “you’re like me, when I was your age. One day someone said to me something that applies equally to you,”

“Yes?” I asked, “what was that?”

“My professor said of me ‘One thing she does badly is suffer fools gladly’  You need to keep that in mind as you continue through your career. Oh, by the way, your section assignment –  I’ve graded it as an A-. Off you go – I’m sure your cronies will be waiting to share a cigarette or two with you.” and I was dismissed.

Her advice, that little jingle which had applied to her and now me, was intended as a criticism.

Such is the arrogance of youth, I took it as a compliment!

Does it still apply? Damn straight! I can be as critical as hell if faced with academics who teach subjects not students, with bureaucrats who make rules but don’t live with them, with young adults who whine “no one told us” or “I didn’t know”, after years of instruction at school re drug & alcohol abuse.

Just one little quote (and there are many just as succinct)…

“Those who will not reason, are bigots; those who cannot, are fools; and those who dare not, are slaves.” – – – Lord Byron

[Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lordbyron124718.html#ch4j0fPDL3pdqoz3.99 ]

They Can Be taught – If… Part Two of a response to Daily Prompt


This post is a two-parter, sorry, as the daily prompt We Can Be Taught…
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/daily-prompt-greatness/.
In part one I explained New Zealand’s education changes

They Can Be Taught – If … If What?

Since those changes I described happened, I have watched teaching decline in my posts at three of the last four schools at which I taught until I cried to my own needs “Enough with this s**t! Get out now before the stress kills you.”

I’d begun my teaching career in the days of the annual standardised Progressive Achievement Tests, held in the fifth week of every new school year in February (so, testing took place in about the first week of March most years. The four untested weeks were an opportunity for pupils to regather what they could retain from previous years after a six to eight week summer and Christmas break.

In Year Three/Standard Two pupils were tested in Listening Comprehension. This gave teachers an indication of what the child might be able to achieve (given good teaching). The next test the child would be introduced to was Reading Vocabulary, in the following year (Year Four/Standard Two).
A high listening comprehension score with a low vocabulary score told the teacher “this one can be taught to read, given work on building the number of words he/she can read (recognise – no “sounding out” or phonics here, thank you very much). A low listening score with a high reading vocab hinted to the teacher the child’s hearing might have needed testing.

The next English-based PATest was Reading Comprehension, in Year Five/Standard Three.

A teacher who was carrying out the PAT methodology correctly should have been using the provided rubrics to turn Class Percentiles and Age Percentiles to Levels. Sadly, many teachers only looked at the percentile scores, and thus were ever ignorant of exactly where their pupils were along the path of progress.  Level One was “matched” to Standard One, and as such up to Level Six matching Standard Six (Form Two/Year Eight). The PATests continued to Year Ten/Form Four. All PATests were multi-choice – one right answer, three misleaders, tick the box.

Mathematics PATests came at Year Six (Standard Four) and were not matched to a class level. But with a deal of time and effort, the teacher who cared would be able to analyse the child’s answers, and discover at what level of understanding the pupil was learning: in order – Recall, Application, Understanding, and Problem Solving.

In Year Seven /Form One pupils were introduced to the Social Studies PATest. Teachers who cared enough could analyse the child’s answers and discover which social science was the child’s forté or which was their downfall. However, none of the Secondary school teachers with whom I worked bothered looking at anything except the Age Percentile and the Class Percentiles. None of them even knew about the conversion to Levels of the English-based tests, and didn’t want to learn or know.

Throughout my career, at all levels, lazy or carefree or ignorant teachers ignored the English levels, the Mathematics skills, the Social Studies sciences skills. I would each year spend hours each evening analysing and converting percentiles to levels to discover what each pupil needed to be taught.

I began visiting the classes of my previous year’s pupils after marking was done, and check on their Levels, Skills and Soc Sci Skills. My major focus was on their Level in the English tests, and the understanding breakdown in Mathematics. All the teachers I would call on could show me only the English tests’ Levels (a compulsory value for records). None would have analysed the Math or Social Studies results.

Could those pupils be taught? Not if they were in those classes.

But I know for a fact that pupils taught in my classes would in a year advance more than the one expected level. Lagging readers would always advance to at least the level expected for the Year they were finishing. How did I do it?

By firstly learning for myself about the pupils’ abilities and needs, by ignoring the record cards passed up from their previous year’s teachers, and by focussing my lesson plans and activities to work with each pupils’ needs and interests, and sheer hard work and dedication.

Was it easy? Yes, at first. Then came the changes I described in Part One, and interference in my class programme.

I used to be able to, for example, in a class History unit covering How People Cope With Disaster by studying the Ballantyne’s Store Fire, allow a child to discover the same understanding by instead following his interest in ships by studying the wreck of the Wahine, and all on a decision made in the instant.

After the changes I had to create individual learning plans for each pupil, defining for each topic of study exactly how my programme would meet the individual learning goals of each pupil.

Now, if I wanted to modify the topic to suit the one kid who was fascinated only by, say, big earth-movers and savage wild cats, I would have to submit a request for permission to deviate from the class plan – three copies, in advance time enough for the Chairman of the BOT and my Senior Teacher and the Principal to consider, seek parental approval, and allow or not.

By the time this process was complete, our class programme would have in most cases moved on to the next pre-scheduled topic, and the individual pupil had given up and lost interest – again.

As a Principal Teacher of a small country school, in my first three months there it received its first ever review visit from the Education Review Office. The team overlooked my planning, my records, my management strategies and policies, and gave them all the big “thumbs up”, and the advice to not get caught in the trap of over-assessing pupils.

After an illness which caused the little red-neck community to be swayed by one parent that I was not fit to be in their classroom, they constructed a dismissal. I then moved on to teach as HOD of the Intermediate department of a private girls’ boarding school of christian character. That’s when the creeping ooze of unreal demands on my time began.

So stressful was that school, so poisonous was the staffroom (‘You’re only a Primary Teacher.”) that my body responded by drawing on body mass to keep me going. I would begin each  school year at 50 kg – but finish it at 40kg.  I was always tired, but I continued to ensure that each pupil I taught – even the senior students – got my very best in terms of meeting their needs and following their interests. I continued to recalculate Percentiles to Levels, to analyse test papers to learn each pupil’s skills (the only teacher doing it).

So – They Can Be Taught – If they have a teacher who treats each learner as a unique individual with specific levels of English ability, specific needs and abilities in Mathematics and core curriculum areas.  If they have a teacher who is observant – who can read a pupil’s expression, recognise bewilderment and instantly give a different style of explanation. If their teacher can socialise with the pupils in out-of-class time, chatting about the lessons. If the teacher can teach the pupil How To Learn for themselves, How To Study by themselves. If the teacher makes “homework” (not compulsory in New Zealand) relevant to the topic of study and not a meaningless work-sheet of meaningless busy work.

(And that’s a topic of itself, is study.)

They Can Be Taught … If – Part One of a response to daily prompt


This post is a two-parter, sorry, as the daily prompt We Can Be Taught…
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/daily-prompt-greatness/
fired up my boiler about the diminishing standards of teaching in New Zealand.

They Can be Taught! Part One –
– the Background of New Zealand “Education”

Bear in mind, this from my experiences teaching and lecturing in New Zealand, which has seen changes in the education system since I began school in 1956. Yes, I’m an “oldie”, but after thirty-odd years (also could be read as thirty odd years) of teaching, working with near-on fifteen hundred pupils and students and some remedial clients, on this topic – I’m an “oldie-but-a-goodie”.

Before I get started on children being taught, I’ll let you see the changes our wonderful government department has foisted on schools and teachers over the years – did you spot a sarcasm in there? Good, you’re intelligent too.

Government funded education is provided to learners from age five up to about age seventeen, when they finish the last year of secondary school. Compulsory education, however,  runs from age six to age fifteen. Most mothers push their babies off to school at five – as quick as they can – whether they’ve been prepared by a pre-school facility or not.

Children are in NZ enrolled on or soon after their fifth birthday, which means there is a constant arrival on a single New Entrant for the Junior teacher to initiate to the classroom running.
In some countries, children are enrolled in one or two specific “intakes”, giving the new entrant teacher a whole class of terrified babies to adjust to school protocols etc. I feel we have it right, here.

Principal teachers who turn away a five-year-old who is obviously unable to cope are rare – a near extinct species. In all the Primary schools I taught at, I only met one – the child in this case had not been toilet trained, had never before been separated from his mother, and knew only about eight words – his name, “I want” with pointing, “No”, “Cuddle?”,“Gimme!”, “Hate you!” with hitting. My Principal told Mum directly to withdraw her son until he was school-ready or aged six. Brave man, that.  Whether the mother or a preschool prepared him for school wasn’t the school’s say. At six, there’d be no turning a child away, no matter how poorly prepared for school life he/she may be.

In the ‘50s and up to the ‘80s, classes were as follows:

Junior Primary, comprising Primers One to Four, each of a half year, for children aged five and six. Sometimes Primer One would be extended for a pupil, to have Primer Four completed conveniently at the end of our school year, in December.
Middle Primary, comprising Standard One to Standars Six, for children aged about seven to twelve.
In about the late ‘60s or early ‘70s, Standards Five and Six were separated away into the new Intermediate level, and renamed as Form One and Form Two, for children aged eleven and twelve.

Secondary Schooling begins at Form Three (it’s puzzling how it was always Form Three even back in the day before Standards 5 & 6 were renamed Forms 1 & 2), at about age thirteen, and continues to the end of Form Five for Compulsory Education (at age fifteen) then onwards to Form Seven (about age seventeen).

In the mid-80s, classes were all renamed  as Years. Year One at age five, Year Thirteen at age seventeen. Most Years 7 & 8 pupils attended separate Intermediate schools, as before. Those of this stage who lived ‘way out in the country would have been the Senior Primary pupils at a country Full Primary school, or been bussed into town to either an Intermediate, or to be enrolled as Junior School pupils at a Secondary School. Which, by the way, and for the sake of readers in the US, we call Colleges.

At the same time, the department of Education became a Ministry of Education, which removed the schools’ teaching Syllabus – a prescriptive document for each subject, prescribing exactly what a pupil had to be able to accomplish if they were to be adjudged as having reached the Standard of their class.

The new, replacement,  teaching documents became descriptive Curriculum Statements. One for each subject, but now describing the sort/s of activities which a teacher could provide pupils with as learning experiences. Two class levels made up one Curriculum Level at Primary and Intermediate classes, and at no point was there any guide of what we as teachers were to set as the pupil’s achievement aims.

As an example:
In the now defunct Syllabus, the wording in the Standard Four Arithmetic syllabus (age ten) was something like…
“The child will have reached this Standard when he/she can perform a division of a six-digit number by a three-digit number, using this form and method:
         _________
XXX  ) YYYYYY

 The Curriculum Statement for Mathematics puts it something like this…
“The pupil will have experienced practical activities relating to demonstrating the properties of division.”
And suggests such activities as…
“Given a set of small objects, the child will be asked to form them into groups, of the same count in each group, and tell how many groups of that count there are.”
And that is for Curriculum Level Three – Years 6 & 7 (ages ten and eleven)!

The new Ministry let go control of schools by creating each school as a self governing body, which would be Managed by the Principal teacher and Governed by an elected Board of Trustees. The B O T would comprise representatives of the local (parent) community, and one teacher representative and the Principal.

The Min of Ed also created an Educational Review Office to periodically inspect schools and ensure compliance with their rules and guidelines. Or to act in an advisory capacity to schools whose communities were beyond their depth in the role of school trustees, and to (sometimes) offer support to teaching staff whose communities tried to impose personal agenda on the running of a particular classroom (often that in which the trustee’s own child was enrolled).

And it All went Downhill from there…