Failing your exams doesn’t make you a failure.

Not sure how he’s going to master the pen!
Putting dogs on the curriculum caught my eye in the paper last week as a rather odd sort of feature. It turns out that a local charity would like greater awareness of dogs taught in classes. I don’t know how they plan on running it, maybe a short course like the cycling proficiency test, not sure if they even do that anymore.  My children never did one.  Anyway, I digress.  I like the idea of dogs in schools.  Without a dog at home children may lack the opportunity of knowing how to approach a dog – or not!  It would also be a safe environment for a child where they may have picked up fears from a parent and can approach the dog without pressure from a parent.  Too often I see families on walks where the parent grabs a child and pulls them towards them or hides the child behind their legs.  I know Harry can be a muddy brute but that’s all he is. Those children are being taught that dogs are things to hide, or even worse, to run from.
Close up lessons with dogs could also remove some of the shine from dogs.  Picking up dog poo will harden all but the most enthusiastic dog lover and may spare parents the inevitable pleas at Christmas. Lessons aimed at teenagers may help to show how expensive and time consuming a dog is and how quickly they lose their cute puppy appeal.
All in all I think it is a good idea but to be honest our curriculum is already so crowded with other things and constant tests that I don’t see where it will fit in.  If I had my way with the curriculum I would bring back all sorts of things like cooking and sport. Not food technology and sport science but actually putting stuff in an oven and running down a field.  I’d have more outward bound type lessons and more making and doing stuff sort of lessons.  I’d also have lessons on how to understand a bank balance and how interest works on a credit card. Instead of being taught how to use powerpoint I’d want them taught how to write programmes.  To be makers rather than consumers.  Of course for the academics our curriculum is fine, not brilliant because we don’t push our smartest kids hard enough, but for our non academics it’s hopeless.  Everyone is now expected to get a gazillion brilliant GCSEs and then race on to get even more wonderful A levels and then dash off to university and a whole pile of debt. But what about the brilliant kids who just can’t do exams, don’t like academia and just want to make and do.  Where are our academies for inventors and engineers, our atheletes and explorers?  Right now they are probably at home feeling useless because they didn’t get the GCSEs that society seems to keep saying is needed.  Some of them will make it, those Richard Bransons out there will pick themselves up with no help from the current system and forge their own careers, but many will feel worthless, maybe dreaming of easy fame but looking around them and realising that they can’t do what society expects of them.
So yes, let’s have dogs in the classroom and with their wagging tails let’s have some more fun and lessons where different types of kids get to shine and wag their tails as well.

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