As I mentioned last week I am doing a little supply teaching this week which gave me reason to reflect on how teaching has changed. Today I was teaching a lovely group of year 10’s (so 14/15 yr olds) about the functions of the family and it led to a really interesting discussion. We had watched a documentary about feral children previously, these are children raised by animals and children that have been so badly neglected that it has had a profound impact on their ability to develop language and empathy.
The purpose of the lesson was to understand that primary socialisation and emotional gratification are paramount to becoming a member of society. We then went on to explore which functions the state has taken over. Naturally we discussed health and education. I used the example of how the Education Department has introduced free school dinners for all KS1 children. I said that it suggested that parents were not not being left responsible for ensuring their children were fed a balanced diet I also discussed that schools weigh children in reception and told them how I had revoked permission to have my daughter weighed at school. What was discussed next surprised me somewhat as we started talking about what they learn at school.
The young people in that class told me that they wished they had more cookery lessons, not sewing (they were quite adamant on that one) but they wanted to know how to cook nutritious cheap meals. I suggested that there parents should be covering this with them at home. Many of them replied that there parents were too busy because they work shifts or long hours. The class shared that often they are expected to feed themselves and this often equates to a pot noodle as they didn’t know what else to cook. it would also be a good time to introduce batch cooking.
Other suggestions were that they should be taught how to budget and use coupons (it seems the American TV programmes on extreme couponing was a hit with this age group). The class also suggested that they wanted to understand tax and how it works and how much you pay.
Now, I have a daughter in the same year group and it really resonated with me what they wanted to know. I do have conversations with Chloe about tax and things, she also knows quite a bit about money saving – afterall we also blog over at Mums savvy savings where we look at how to make our money go further and also how to spend less but live well. But i do concede she doesn’t do much cooking apart from poached eggs, bacon and bowls of pasta.
However whilst I think all their suggestions are important things to learn I don’t believe that schools should be leading on all of that. It left me wondering just what exactly are the functions of the family. Maybe we have gone to far, I do think the state has too much influence and interference in some areas. The family has had it’s functions reduced by the state and maybe this is why those students of mine thought it was the schools responsibility to teach them to budget and cook.
Therefore today’s question is – what do you think the functions of the family are? Do you think there is too much state intervention now that has reduced the family’s functions causing us to be even more reliant on the state?