The library at DHSB is not a library any more, but instead a comfy, cosy, beanbag-full ‘learning commons’. It is more of a child’s play area. It has so many comforting features that attract year sevens like moths to a lamp. This so-called ‘swarming’ stops any other pupil from being able to listen to themselves think.
Worse still, we have armed some of these younger ages with iPads. The attractive and innovative solution to boredom, but not hard work. Computers are brilliant when you try to work because you need to commit to the work you’re doing. iPads, however, are far too easy to play games on or muck about with. The majority of the students don’t mature at the screen of an iPad and it is embarrassing how engrossed students are into the fiddles of an iPad, rather than the work at hand.
This brings me to my next topic; limited funding for sixth form books. I have personally been in a situation where subject books are unavailable because of funding. I can’t help but wonder whether money is being spent appropriately within the school. Is the school dragging money away from education to boost a public image? If so, why on earth are we letting the school image come before the students education?
The hand-holding effect of the iPads, Homeworky, Google classrooms and the constant emails that prescribe every detail of how we should live and act are a massive problem. The sad fact is that all of these convenient extras are not good for the habits of students. The fantastic support left, right and centre is going to be brutally cut away from us when we leave sixth form. The whole idea of a student learning is also learning how to learn. We can’t adapt in this way if the environment around us fits us already. We can’t mature when the facilities available to us fit the childish attitude of the younger students. Do they need to mature? No, and so they won’t. In University, homework won’t even be set; let alone Homeworky or the twittering emails controlling what we should do. We will be like tortoises out of our shell, frozen in the harsh, cold reality of the matter that absolutely everything we do will have consequences.
So, I hear you ask, what can be done? There are in fact several things that would massively improve the prospects of students in the real world. The first, and possibly foremost, is to set up work experience as it once was. It used to be encouraged and free; something which is not always the case now. I believe that work experience is important as it allows students to develop into maturity faster.
Another idea is to make Universities the main point raised by PHSEEC lessons and encourage students to explore it themselves. We should also reduce student monitoring with the Google charts and trust the students with their own behaviour – another chance for them to mature themselves.
Finally, we should do more for our sixth formers. More could be done to cater for the sixth former’s academic development. Maybe the school should give us more sixth form computers or a sixth form library with advanced -physical – subject books on our subjects at DHSB, especially with the loss of so many books from the library. Let us have new equipment in our subjects to help us with our learning. This is how we can improve, and more importantly, how we must.
By Michael Collingwood