The making of ladies and gentlemen: Part I

One of the defining characteristics of the British is their education system. About 800 years ago, they founded the world’s first ever universities, Oxford and Cambridge.
During the reign of Queen Victoria, the Public Schools Act was passed in 1868. The new act abolished the old system, where schools only accepted the children of elite families, and started allowing any child to attend school as long as they paid school fees. In order to maintain strict rule over the British Empire and its colonies spanning the globe, strong leaders in possession of great knowledge, a good education, leadership skills and proven qualities, were required. Although a dozen schools, such as Eton, Rugby and Charterhouse, were specifically directed at preparing such individuals, it was not enough. Nevertheless, England was flourishing, thanks to rapid development in the natural sciences, sea transport and its maritime trade. The public schools established countrywide in the 1800s are still preparing millions of ladies and gentlemen to lead the British success and achievements of today.
Education in England is a system that foresees the needs of the future and adapts to emerging conditions while simultaneously keeping its historical traditions in place and developing itself further. Therefore, England has become one of the most desired destinations of students from all over the world.
British children are required by law to receive an education until they are 16 years old. Section 7 of the British Education Act sets out that, “The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, and to any special needs he may have either by regular attendance or otherwise (homeschooling).” Public schools in Britain are free for 5 to 16 year olds. Primary schools teach children ages 5 to 11 and secondary schools enroll children ages 12 to 18. Before studying in primary school, four year old children first go to nursery school where they have plenty of play time, but also learn the basics of reading, writing and counting.
Primary school teachers are addressed by students, as well as their parents, as “Sir” or “Miss”, followed by their given name. In secondary schools, students drop the use of their teacher’s names, and address them only as “Sir” or ‘”Miss”. The number of students in one class rarely exceeds 20. Primary school teachers have good reputations in society and they are dedicated to providing the best education to their students. When educating their students, they focus on teaching them how to have self-respect, show respect towards others, how to become a well-mannered person and to express their opinions properly and with confidence. Lunch is provided at school and parents are notified in advance when any changes are made to the menu.
A child’s education is the result of cooperation between teachers and parents. Schools in Britain communicate with the parents of their students in many ways, such as letters, parental email networks, and school websites. These resources are used to inform them about past and future events at their schools.
Teachers treat every student with love and respect. They become a trusted friend to their students, just like their parents can be. Every student is given a book suited to his own level of comprehension and engages in interviews with their teachers about its content (the books are marked by teachers with different colored stickers). Groups are formed with students of different ages, and classes are conducted in a way that enables teachers to get to know all of the students individually and care for their personality and education equally.
Orientation classes are also organized to present parents with information about what classes are taught to their children, and in what ways. It helps parents use the same approach when teaching their children at home, so that any potential confusion caused by different teaching techniques can be avoided.
The teachers discuss the performance of every student each month and plan activities for improvement in subjects where a student is lacking. The education level of each student is determined, subject by subject, at the beginning of an academic year. The potential maximum levels are calculated and set against the national average in a comparison table. This allows teachers to demonstrate what achievements a student has reached by the end of the academic year. Then, teachers can come up with suggestions and recommendations for parents, on how their student’s education can be improved in the following school year.
School principals, sometimes referred to as headmaster/mistress, play an important role in education. A good headmaster is valued, like a good CEO of a company.
The British people assign huge importance to primary schools, because the foundations for the educated ladies and gentlemen of the future are laid there. The teacher announces the “Star Student of the Week” every Friday morning and gives that student a token of appreciation for earning the title. The star student puts the token on his refrigerator at home, so it can always remind him of his success and motivate him to succeed in the future. This weekly prize has greater impact than seasonal or yearly prizes, because there’s less waiting time for students and it provides a regular incentive for them to do well in school.
Furthermore, students are asked to draw the main characters of a book they’ve read, and write about them Williams battles past Sharapova to claim French Open title
Many classes at British schools are held in town squares, historical sites, forests and public parks. There is a BBC television program that shows primary school children growing, collecting, washing and chopping vegetables, such as carrots and cabbages, and making delicious meals out of them. It helps the students understand how much hard work goes into growing vegetables and turning them into meals. The children learn to value the hard work of others and avoid wasting food.
Every museum in England is free for all. Therefore, all schools take their students to visit museums and give classes centered on museum exhibitions.
Primary school classes are so comprehensive, that when students read a book for class, they solve math problems, draw pictures or write essays related to the story.
In addition, primary school students are not allowed to travel alone between home and school. That is why most schools allow children to stay on school premises until 3:00 pm, playing or doing homework. Some private schools even allow their students to spend time at school until the end of office hours. On top of that, there are additional classes, such as foreign language, swimming, music and dancing.
Being an intersection of many cultures, British schools aim to make their students familiar with different cultures from many countries. During events like India Week, Chinese New Year or Mongolia Day, students prepare posters and food to present their culture to others. It helps students understand the cultures of others at a young age, and helps them become global citizens when they are adults.
The secret behind the success of the British is education. Although education at all levels helps form the qualities and characteristics of an individual, primary schools establish the very foundations to becoming a good person. Therefore, we could call the British primary schools “factories for true ladies and gentlemen”.

Translated by B.AMAR

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Posted by on Jun 9 2013. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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