Anorak News | The New Scientists

The New Scientists

by | 17th, November 2004

‘THOSE of us unfortunate enough to have gone to school in the last century will be disappointed to discover this morning that much of what we learnt is now woefully out of date.

Isaac couldn’t decide between physics and media studies

Science, for instance, has moved on at such speed (or velocity, as it used to be known) that we can throw everything we were ever told about Sir Isaac Newton out of the window – notwithstanding the fact that it still falls to the ground when we do so.

And ever eager to be as thoroughly modern as any number of Millies, the Government is doing its best to keep up.

The Telegraph reports that the science that all pupils from the age of 14 study will in future focus less on, well, science and more on lifestyle, general knowledge and opinion.

The QCA has recommended the changes in GCSEs from 2006 ”to ensure increased choice and flexibility for students so that they can study science relevant to the 21st Century”.

Far from being the immutable force that it was throughout the last couple of centuries, gravity is now very much a matter of opinion.

It matters far less why the apple fell on Newton’s head but what Newton was doing sitting under an apple tree in the first place.

Darwin’s theory of evolution is all very well, but what about alternative theories? Creationism, for instance? Or The Big Bang theory – the belief that one of Darren Day’s ancestors single-handedly populated the world?

And while Charles was away at sea making friends with turtles, what was Mrs Darwin doing?

However, those of us saddled with all this redundant 20th Century learning should not blame our teachers – chances are that it was the classroom seating plan that was at fault.

So thinks schools minister David Milliband (the most thoroughly modern of all the Millbank Millies).

He has called upon teachers in mixed schools to introduce a strict boy-girl-boy-girl seating policy in a bid to improve performance.

He tells the Times that a four-year study by Cambridge University found that such an arrangement had a dramatic effect on pupils’ results.

”The number of boys who got five good GCSEs went up from 68% in 1997 to 81% in 2004,” he said. ”The number of girls went up from 68% in 1997 to 82% in 2004.”

And the number of teenage pregnancies went up from 71% in 1997 to 89% today…’

Posted: 17th, November 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink