The Career-learning Café
the magazine

points of departure

motivation for learning
updated 22nd March 2006




What Smith and Jones might have said about learning at school and learning for life


"Remember Cynthia Brown?"
"What old Brain-Box Brown?"
"Yeah. That’s her."
"Good old Cerebral Cynthia... What about her then?"
"She left school last Friday."
"She didn’t!"
"She did!"
"Well I never. Who’d ‘ave thought it. Got all her qualifications now then, has she?"
"Not really, no. She says she‘d like to do a few more, but the head teacher says she’s had a fair crack of the whip, and she ought to move on to something else before her next birthday."
"How old is she?"

"I suppose she’s got a job?. All those letters and calls finally paid off, eh?"
"Well, no. Actually, she’s going to college."
"Is she?"
"That’s right. She’s going to do woodwork. She’s says she wants to frame her certificates and make a big table to stand ‘em all on."
"I did woodwork at school."
"Did you?"
"And Welsh."
"Of course!"
"And religious knowledge."
"What did you think you could do with that lot then - be an undertaker in Aberystwyth?"
"Nah! I was no good at the levels, you see."
"You mean the spirit levels - in woodwork?"
"No not that! You know - O-levels, A-levels - I could never get up to any of those levels of theirs."
"Well nowadays, of course, its your GCSEs and GNVQs?"
"GV... whats?"
"G-N-V-Q.s They’re your, er.... ‘Grant-maintained’... er ‘National’"
"Yeah? Go on then."
"...Er ‘Very-important Qualifications’ - that’s it. Good stuff are GNVQs; help you get a job."
"What job? There’s no jobs ‘round ‘ere. If there was, Cynthia’d have it by now."

"So you don’t believe in education then."
"Well there’s no point is there."
"Not a lot to show for it?"
"Not really."
"Didn’t enjoy it much?"
"Well it’s less fun than sex and..."
"I know - ...and it takes less time! But I’m not talking about fun. I’m talking about the - you know - the joy of learning... the challenge... the curiosity... the interest... getting to grips with knowing how things work... and what it all means..."
"Oh that!... We didn’t do much of that at school."

"Bit of a waste of time really, would you say?"
"Well, now that you put it like that."
"Well I’ve got news for you."
"What’s that then?"
"That learning you didn’t enjoy much..."
"...and that you didn’t get much from..."
"...and that turned out to be a bit of a waste of time..."
"Well, the government wants you to go on doing that for the rest of your life.



Reprinted, with permission, from the Journal of The National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling

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