Post Grading

June 11, 2015

In a grading we test very particular skills; those that are testable.  However, take a moment at each grading to evaluate the progress you are making in your own personal development.

I spent a lot of years as director of Religious Education or Philosophy and Ethics.  A constant frustration of the post was that we would have a set of objectives regarding our hopes for our students that were different from that of the National Curriculum.  We wanted to develop in the students the ability to step outside of their culture and upbringing to think for themselves, to learn to think philosophically, to develop their own ethical reasoning, tolerance, empathy etc, etc.  However, it is difficult in a written exam to test something like tolerance.  Within education there is a general enforced principle that if you can’t test the things you value, learn to value the things you can test.  When forced by the system to focus on measurable criteria, RE teachers are always aware that Hitler would have achieved an A* in a GCSE Religious Education exam.  The best teachers still focus on what they consider important even if they don’t write it as an objective in their lesson plan.  (If they write an objective in their plan, someone will ask them for the criteria that demonstrates achievement)  They are always working with two agendas, their plan might say the students will end up being able to define; prejudice, discrimination and stereotype, but they hope that they will develop compassion and tolerance to others.

Now, Kung Fu has similar issues.  There are skills that are measurable and those that are not.  Fortunately we aren’t forced to put all our efforts into only the measurable ones.  If you have just gone through a grading you are very familiar with the measurable; if you are an adult, you even have grading feedback that is full of numbers giving you those measurements.  But now give a thought to some of the other skills we hope you are developing and that we try to build into the structure of curriculum.

Things like:

Self-esteem and confidence. 

Self control, particularly the ability to stay calm in the face of provocation, you are after all becoming a dangerous person. 

Some ability to consider your priorities and learn to recreate yourself according to those priorities.  Being able to recognize ways to adjust your attitude in such a way that you can live a more fulfilled and content life. 

A greater understanding of human nature and thereby develop a greater ability to negotiate an harmonious path; to live in peace with others.

In short, to help answer some of the great philosophical questions like, what am I? What /would I like to /should I/ be? How should I think /live to be happy /content/ fulfilled?