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Pushy Parents and Exams

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Pushy Parents and Exams

Old 28th Aug 2017, 14:33
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Pushy Parents and Exams

Last week GSCE results came out

One lady in the office had a son who did well, lots of A* but got C in English and Maths.

Before results out she said if he failed he could go live with his father as hadn't worked enough etc etc.

On getting results she telling everybody they not good enough and not acceptable, most holding their comments until finally in an office with me and anotehr guy and she berating how bad he was.

Finally had had enough and just said "FFS your lad has worked hard and got a decent set of results and all you are doing is thrashing him because you set something for him., There is no pride, no praise no nothing and you will then assume he happy with your response."

Idiot colleague claimed I was being too hard.

When she returned to the office I had seemingly opened the floodgates where he responses to his results got slaughtered.

That evening at a team meal she was extolling the virtues of how he had done and how proud she was of him.

I sometimes wonder whether pushy parents realise if they keep at it their kids will just do other than what they want.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 14:51
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She might have directed his energies a little better - if you're useless at English and Maths it doesn't matter all that much what else you've got. In particular sciences are little use, and you can't do them in the first place, without maths, and languages are little use, and you can't do them in the first place, without English, so I am left rather wondering what sort of subjects the "lots of A*" were in.


(That was a general comment of course. If the lad in question had been expected to get E in maths and English and actually got C then obviously he did very well.)
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:09
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Originally Posted by Gertrude the Wombat View Post
- if you're useless at English and Maths it doesn't matter all that much what else you've got.
Whilst I might agree with you in general terms, English and Maths are pretty fundamental subjects, and that there are an awful lot of 'non-subjects' being taken at (even) GCSE level, one of my sons must be the exception to the rule. I think he failed 'O' level maths about 4 times but eventually became a dispensing optician, which requires a fair amount of optic knowledge and significant understanding of (albeit simple) maths. He says that until he saw the maths applied to something he could not understand it.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
He says that until he saw the maths applied to something he could not understand it.
My son was resisting learning his times tables. I just said "OK, I'll assume you know them then" and after that he had a pretty good practical demonstration of why he needed to know them, because the number of times they're needed in everyday life, especially as a child learning stuff in all sorts of fields, is quite high.

I learned how to do contour integrals at university. I've since forgotten all the details of how to do them and why I might need to because i don't think I've ever had to use one in real life (and if I should have used one, I didn't).
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:30
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He says that until he saw the maths applied to something he could not understand it.
My old man was a primary school teacher, and I remember many of his lessons as they were practical and interesting. For example to teach similar triangles and ratios he had us out estimating the height of the flagpole from the shadow of a yardstick on the ground, then ran a tape measure up the flag rope to check the result. All the kids were into this as it was practical, different to the usual "chalk and talk" and got us out in the sun.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:39
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Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
He says that until he saw the maths applied to something he could not understand it.
Yes, I can understand that. An optician needs a fair amount of both maths and physics, as well as all the medical stuff they need to know (though probably not on the dispensing side), and the sales knowledge.


An optician one explained to me that they look at your shoes to form an opinion as to how much you're likely to want to spend on glasses. This fails for me, as I don't give a toss what my shoes look like but I'm prepared to spend quite a lot if it gets me to see better and more comfortably, so I sometimes have to make this explicit.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:44
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Originally Posted by llondel View Post
I learned how to do contour integrals at university. I've since forgotten all the details of how to do them and why I might need to because i don't think I've ever had to use one in real life (and if I should have used one, I didn't).
I've never used contour integrals in real life either, and I've forgotten them too (although very occasionally one comes across something where somebody must have used them to solve the problem - in such cases I just believe the solution and take it on trust).


Calculating the transitive closure of a sparse connectivity matrix, on the other hand, I do use once a decade or so (in fact this is applicable to a job I'm doing at the moment), so it's sometimes worth at least remembering that these techniques exist so that you can look them up when you need them.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 16:56
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I hated Maths throughout school. As an infant, I had never had any problems with the simple stuff such as times tables, how many eggs can you buy for 2/6d etc but at grammar school it drove me mad. And when I asked a teacher during an algebra lesson what use I would be able to put this to in adult life, I got a sarcastic answer; a non-answer in fact. So I took virtually no further part until my mock O level result was so bad, they didn't let me take the O level. A couple of years after leaving school, I joined the Army and chose Radio Technician as a trade. Half way through basic training (walking, shooting, dressing etc), we had to undergo a personnel interview. I watched more than a couple of mates being declined for the technical trades and going off to become drivers, pay clerks etc. They had lots of O levels and A levels. I had English language O level so I was filled with a sens of impending doom when my turn came up. The board (there was 3 of them) said I needed to brush up on my Maths. Agreed. And that means for the first 12 months of the initial course, I would have to do homework every night. Agreed. Of course, I didn't do any homework during that initial 12 months and although Maths featured quite heavily throughout, I managed to learn enough to get through.
About 10 years later, I found myself all alone at Taif airport, looking after nav aids. I had just fixed the Localiser and needed to make the relevant measurements to certify the kit. This included distance off the centre line, beam width etc. Slight panic set in; how the hell am I going to do that, when all I know is the runway length. Then a little lamp lit up in my head and SOHCATOA popped up. Off to the souk to buy one of those new fangled Casio calculators and it was a piece of cake from there on. Well, that worked well, I wonder when I learned that? Fast forward 13 years or so and I found myself in Brno, trying to figure out why a dog-legged microwave link wasn't working. Yet more trigonometry and various other gain calculations followed. The comapny had hired a well renowned firm of surveyors and they came ut with their [email protected], revolving mirrors and assorted other black magic. At the end of that, the boss turned to me and said "Well, thanks very much Kelvin! You are making us redundant". My calculations had tallied exactly with theirs. And all I had as an aide was an old, communist era BP road map! Yet again, I was left wondering where and when this knowledge entered my head. (I fixed the problem by ditching the expensive pair of dishes being used as a passive repeater had a 4' x 6' flat steel plate cobbled together and never looked back. It turned out that the systems engineers, with their maths degrees, had used the wrong gain figures for the dishes!)
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 18:45
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If they explained the practical use of things before they were taught, then I am sure most kids would take a further interest in the subject.

it doesn't have to be difficult. If for example, they explained how understanding percentages could help you save money when it came to discounts on a purchase, few kids would not take an interest.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 18:59
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I enjoy toting up prices or calculating percentages while the 'associate' or 'colleague' is looking for their calculator, get the money ready and pass over the exact amount when they have done the sums.

I remember the lady in the coop back in the 50s jotting prices in lsd on the bag, toting it up, and getting the change.

Or the other shop where the items were sent by tube to the cashier, the bill would zing back, money inserted and back to the cashier. Zing, back came the change. In the big posh department store done by lampson tube.
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 19:10
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I've witnessed a few 'pushy parents' and strangely the so called 'Tiger mums' are more savage than the fathers in their relentless quest for excellence through their offspring. In general terms most kids need a guided nudge or two and no two kids are the same when it comes to school learning and learn at different speeds and in different subjects/topics, but the hot housing of kids seems to only foster stunted and resentful teenagers and adults. I know of two separate individuals who were pushed academically and once they left home, went off the rails and have since achieved a happy mediocrity. One of them admitted he rebelled against his parents by sabotaging his trajectory through higher education.

I heard of one tiger mum who invited every pupil in her son's class over for a playdate, over the course of the year and whilst her son and the classmate were occupied, she went through the schoolbooks of the invited persons to see where her little darling stood in relation! One classmate caught her in the act and on explaining to that child's parents shrugged her shoulders and declared that they should be doing the same if they cared about their son's future prospects......

I wonder what will happen to the pushy parent model of education in the next decade or so as the spread of robotic automisation takes hold replacing many of the coveted jobs that are the end goal of such parents ? Already banking, law and medicine are industries being affected. Who knows, maybe there will be more scientists and engineers in the future ?
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Old 28th Aug 2017, 19:33
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In the late 1940s, we had two department stores in the town in which I grew up and went to school.
One had overhead wires from each sales counter to the cashier's 'box' set high up where they could also watch the whole store.
I guess that the cashier was a 'responsible' person (AFAICR all sales assistants were female - no doubt a relic from the recently-ended War) as they were the only person to deal with money (apart from the handover between customer and assistant).
Once the bill and the money were loaded, the operator pulled-down on a spring-loaded pendant which catapulted the container to the cashier with the cashier returning the container in like manner.

The other store used pneumatic tubes powered by vacuum.
Their cashier was nowhere to be seen (it was a bigger store over four or five floors).

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Old 28th Aug 2017, 19:43
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Still in use.

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Old 29th Aug 2017, 02:31
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9? Pah! How's about this?



https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=la...4nMUdJen0tHzM:


I imagine by shear chance all of them arriving together and the bloke looking like a hedgehog.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 07:43
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My personal opinion is that most poor maths grades at school are due to poor teaching. I bet that UniFoxOs's old man's classes got good grades. KelvinD comes up with a perfect example of the opposite. I once had a maths teacher who was so good at maths (distinctions through her academic career) that she could not understand people who 'struggled', exam result 23%; tutored by someone who was enthusiastic and put it across well, retest result 96%. A question with those pushy parents is "Do they actually get involved in their kids' work and enthuse/encourage them?" or "Do they just sit on the sidelines and shout the odds for 'image' value?". If it is the former they fall into the 'good parent' category (like UniFoxOs's example of a good teacher); if it is the latter they fall into the 'bad parent' category (like KelvinD's example of a bad teacher).

(My local hospital uses the same system for samples!)
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 08:12
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From the parents I can remember as a youth the most pushy gobbie ones about exams were thick as mince. Discussion at home about subjects was just impossible there kids were on their own.

I was always great at the sciences maths etc but utterly pants at English languages etc So 9 grade A's and a D in English was my tally for my o grades. Can't remember any fuss about it at home in fact I think all my mates opened our letters and got on a bus to go hillwalking for 5 days. Got the English the next year so I could go to Uni. Refused point blank to do Higher English.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 08:43
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I once had a maths teacher who was so good at maths (distinctions through her academic career) that she could not understand people who 'struggled', exam result 23%; tutored by someone who was enthusiastic and put it across well, retest result 96%
At age 10 D1 gained entry to a school that offered classes for gifted children, where their abilities were tested with advanced work. For the first time, she had trouble with maths in comparison to the others, and it started to affect the rest of her schoolwork. I don't think this was a problem with the teacher, it was just something that she couldn't 'get'. I tried to help her, and it wasn't that she disliked it, she just couldn't get it.
One of the universities offered a Maths Enrichment weekend, so, almost in desperation, she went to it.
I don't know what they did; the way she explained it was that they just played mathematical games, but from that weekend on, maths became her strong suit. She went on to do software engineering, and has stayed on the technical side.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 08:53
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tescoapp, You've shown that you were "utterly pants at English"! Hope the science/engineering career has gone well!!

I think that you are spot on about the gobbie parents.

Often maths is made to seem 'over complicated' and some simplification makes things suddenly 'twig'. Due to illness son missed initial 'wave theory' lesson in school physics and struggled with it from then on, until a teacher pulled him aside to recap and his reaction was "Oh, it's that simple?"! He had thought that it must be more complicated than it seemed. He has an engineering degree now.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 09:42
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Professional tea drinker while looking out a window these days.

Not much call for writing anything apart from an occasional voyage report and training reports.


Yep did OK in Engineering but nothing special.

Its funny being pants at English is slagged off and disparaged by the majority that can do it. But the same people almost seem proud at the fact they have no concept of what a fraction is or how they relate to a percentage never mind convert a fraction to a percentage.

There have been loads of Engineers I have met over the years who would deem themselves pants at English. Do they care? Of course they don't they are very happy on a decent salary doing what they do.

I have also met loads of people who seem to be exceptionally good at English and they seemed very happy in their min wage job.
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Old 29th Aug 2017, 10:31
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There is of course a balance between being pushy and not caring at all, unfortunately there are quite a few parents at the extremes. It could, of course, be argued that pushy parents have ruined the flight training industry for those of us who don't have 100k to spare.

Out lf the people I know who are a similar age to myself (mid-20's) the people who have houses (and often, nice cars) are the ones who went and did a proper apprenticeship. A lot of the university folk seem to go on holiday a lot but still rent or live with their parents.
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