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April 26th, 2012, 02:44 PM #661
Ah - frustrating, but interesting. I think it'd be difficult to convince me that the play was Communist based on the text alone; although Willy's icons like the old salesman do prove to be an unreal dream for him, there is certainly a sense that there could be another way of making capitalism work. I see what you mean about Willy, though. Some people in the class had a very visceral, emotional reaction to his situation, but while it is a horribly tragic play, I did find it a little difficult to sympathise personally.
I agree that it's incredibly clever, which makes it brilliant to write about it. This year I'm studying another play in which nearly every line of dialogue is worth remarking on, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. I love it; it's one of those plays which you have to read several times to understand. There are always more things you can pick out, so it's good to be able to study it rather than just going to see it, though if you ever get the chance to do so I'd definitely recommend it. And, as well as the obligatory literary tragedy, it's also hilarious and beautiful and intellectual. I now know more about landscape gardening than I ever thought I would (and no, that actually isn't as dull as it sounds).
Yeah, controlled assessment is hard too, but hard because you have to memorise something and not have a mind-blank, whereas IGCSE-type orals are hard because they're like real conversations in a different language. Why anyone ever thought the former would be more useful and worthwhile than the latter is beyond me.
My school's pretty similar (ha, we probably play ... netball, or something, against each other), though it's interesting that you say yours conservative - the students at mine are, socially at least, fairly liberal, which makes the blindness to sexism all the more surprising.
I get pissed off when people are prejudiced about immigrants too, being respectively a second and third generation immigrant/refugee on different sides of my family, so I can sympathise with that!
April 30th, 2012, 02:31 PM #662
Exactly. I read it as critical of the American system of the time, which of course includes being critical of aggressive business, but to simply say the play is Communist is, in my opinion, wrong. Hm, I've never seen Arcadia, although I think I might be studying it next year...I'll have to check that. Landscape gardening and tragedy is definitely a good mix.
Yep, precisely! They're both difficult to perform well in, for different reasons, but one is a whole lot more useful than the other.
Almost certainly. (Not me, of course. I have scored three goals in netball in my life, and never in anything resembling a match situation.) Students at my school seem to make an effort to be socially liberal, and I think some genuinely are, but the majority are either only superficially so, or are tolerant because they feel it's expected of them, not because they believe in equality for its own sake. To some extent that's to be expected; higher-income families are always more likely to be socially conservative and to pass that on to their children. And so their children's beliefs are based on a sort of unquestioning trust in "common sense" and assumptions which are rarely questioned. Anyway, it varies wildly: my form is quite progressive, but the girlfriend of a friend of mine got some terrible bullying from people in my school who know both my friend and her girlfriend. Sometimes it's difficult to reconcile people's behaviour with what I'd previously thought of them.
There are some idiots who can bring up immigration in absolutely every context. This one claimed that better employment for women would result in higher immigration rates. (...her logic...?)
May 1st, 2012, 02:40 PM #663
You may well be studying the play next year; a few exam boards do it, I think. It really is brilliant - I'm not sure it would be an exaggeration to say that it's changed my perspective on the world, actually.
Ha, three is quite impressive, by my standards.
Hm, your school does seem a bit more conservative than mine. Liberal views are considered the norm at mine, but you do still get assumptions made by people who've always lived in a sheltered, middle class enclave.
It is hard to know how superficial that is, though, and homophobia is obviously especially revealing, as, in its more overt forms, it's far more accepted than other prejudices. I'm sorry your friend's girlfriend had to go through that . At mine, most people are very supportive of LGBT issues, at least in theory. This distance is exacerbated by the fact that all we ever got in PSCHE on LGBT issues was something along the lines of 'don't be horrible to gay people', which is good but for the way it presents LGBT issues as something that affect a tiny, entirely hypothetical minority and being LGBt as something fundamentally miserable. We never got anything in sex ed about it, either, perpetuating this attitude. Senior management seems to be well-meaning most of the time, but also doesn't really get it.
Er, yes, wow. How ridiculous.
May 2nd, 2012, 02:59 PM #664
I think we do Edexcel. That's a pretty good endorsement! I'd say the same about The Great Gatsby, which I studied this year; it's a welcome surprise when a text you have been prescribed turns out to be one of those books (or plays) which it would have been awful to miss, unknowing.
I do mean three in the sense that we sometimes have to repeatedly chuck balls into the hoop for hours, trying to score; three out of 300 tries is roughly my level of proficiency.
Sometimes I over-emphasise the conservatism at my school when it's particularly bothering me, such as yesterday, when this had happened with my friend's girlfriend, but it is definitely there. Yes, the crappiness of our sex ed is a sore point for me. You would think, from the lessons we get, that the only types of contraception in existence are condoms and oral contraceptives. Neither of which will stop a lesbian couple from passing on STIs, needless to say. And, as you say, LGBT+ people are not only excluded from sex ed, but are only tangentially mentioned in normal PSHE. Which makes sexuality somewhat of a niche issue. And a lot of people don't really get the idea of having some sort of sexual fluidity, let alone gender fluidity - the ignorance about trans* issues is ridiculous. This results in some very odd attitudes to your peer group - a couple of days ago a very over-affectionate friend of mine stopped hugging me, fixed me with an intense stare, and asked: "Are you gay?" She wasn't even trying to be negative, but she seemed to assign my answer some kind of monumental importance, as if it would actually change something important about me.
...I can rant about high school PSHE for a VERY long time.
May 3rd, 2012, 02:16 PM #665
I've never read the Great Gatsby, though I've always meant to. Good to hear that it's worth it and I'll try and get round to it at some point. Myabe after exams, though...
Being forced to try and get it through repeatedly? That sounds soul-destroying - my sympathies! At least we never had to do that.
Urgh, yes, that sounds familiar. Frankly, if the extent of my sex ed was stuff I'd learnt at school, I would be dangerously under-informed. And you're right that trans issues are even more marginalised than other LGBT issues. It's really quite outrageous.
That must have been awkward - what an insensitive and ignorant thing to say! It just goes to show how little people engage with this kind of thing, which can be particularly shocking when you're used to thinking of them as thoughtful and considerate. I'm pretty glad there's not too much of that at my school, but I'd be deceiving myself if I thought there wasn't any.
May 8th, 2012, 03:02 PM #666
It's an eye-opening book, and, even if it weren't, the sheer beauty of the writing would make it worth reading alone. I would gladly read Fitzgerald's shopping lists. Also, the new movie's coming out in December, which I'm really looking forward to! The older one made in the 70s was a disappointment, so I'm hoping this will be the One.
Yes, it was terrible. xP My school's PE department is sadistic. They have that awful "JOGGING IN THE RAIN FOR HOURS IS GOOD FOR YOU" attitude, which is difficult to challenge. Sometimes I think the reason they exert such harsh punishments over miniscule details of our kit and our tardiness to lessons is the lack of respect they get from other teachers, but there isn't really any excuse for ritual humiliation of insecure teenage girls. Of course, I'm making it sound a lot worse than it is, as a lot of people don't even notice anything wrong with the staff's behaviour, but when I joined the school in y7 it was the only shockingly negative thing that jumped out to me.
The sad thing is that, for a lot of people, it is as far as their sex ed knowledge goes! Which is quite frightening.
She didn't mean any harm by it and I didn't mind too much, but it did drive home how little equipped we are to deal sensitively with things.
May 8th, 2012, 05:02 PM #667
Oh, I didn't realise there was a film coming out - I'll have to try and get round to reading it before then, in that case!
That does sound harsh. I'll happily complain about my school's PE department, but that's mainly because being forced to participate in competitive sport is by definition humiliating for me, not because the teachers themselves make it much worse by their attitude to it, which yours seem to have done. Probably the reason your schoolmates don't see it as such an issue is that they're OK at sport and thus see it as some kind of challenge in which there actually is hope of success and gaining the respect of the teachers. The problem is it's just unfair on those who are chronically awful at it.
To be honest, I'd support a system where all in-curriculum sport was non-competitive - otherwise you just get a few people who are always excellent and a lot who quickly lose hope with PE altogether. Leave the competitive sports to (ideally easily accessible) extra-curriculars and let the likes of us stick to debating to satisfy our competitive streaks. (In all honesty, though, a lot of debaters I've met have been distinctly un-sporty - it's probably because we need another source of adrenaline in our lives, or something. This never seems to stop them setting sports motions, though...)
Yes - so many people get nothing but school sex ed and often very unreliable information from peers. I consider myself lucky to have managed to find accurate information, but hardly anyone actually seeks that kind of thing out as a matter of course. It's effectively negligence on the part of schools, I'd say, given the public health implications, and very worrying that there seems to be a trend towards providing less rather than more sex ed.
I know she wouldn't have meant to offend you - it's just rather shocking that she was educated so little about it as to think it was OK to say that, or, more fundamentally, to consider it an issue.
May 30th, 2012, 11:47 AM #668
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Oh my goodness -- I almost don't want to jump in on this discussion you two are having.
I also wanted to say, I'm back! How have all of you been?
May 31st, 2012, 08:54 AM #669
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Hello! I've decided to stop lurking about the forum and actually make my presence known. I hope everyone's been well!
June 1st, 2012, 10:03 AM #670
Haha, sorry Echowindsong - that was getting a little random. Anyway, how have you two been?
June 2nd, 2012, 05:46 PM #671
Hey, Echowindsong and P-F! Sorry about our long-running conversation, it does look anti-social on the page. I have not logged on in a few weeks due to study leave and an avalanche of exams, so hi to everyone, including myself.
Is everyone doing exams at the moment?
Sorry about the very long time with no reply; I've been having 5+ exams per week so I haven't had time to check my emails properly and come on here. Are you finished with the ASes? If so, how did they go? It's crazy how little time you have to do them.
Tbh the issue with competitive sport is a good enough reason to criticise the department in the first place. It's horrendously humiliating to all of us who are just not built to be better than everyone else, and can put a lot of people off sport for life. I know I'm a lot less positive on exercise than I used to be, and that can only be a bad thing. Your idea of relegating competitive sport to extra-curriculars is perfect. It really should be the way things are, except that it would get a lot of flak from the Mail brigade for encouraging obesity (but really simply because change is always bad to them.) The only clique less sporty than debaters is MUNers. Not quite sure why that is...But it's a similar thing, of course. I'm rabidly competitive for a combination of reasons, and so debating is always a chance to let off all frustration.
Gatsby trailer is out, by the way, and everyone should go watch it - it looks visually beautiful, and what dialogue changes have been made from the book make film-sense, so I'm very happy and excited so far.
June 3rd, 2012, 07:39 AM #672
Yes, it was a bit anti-social :/
I just finished my exams last week, yes, so I'm enjoying freedom - I suppose there are more GCSEs after half term, though? Although you're right that they make us do ASes in a short time compared to GCSEs, I almost prefer it because it means that you get them over with more quickly; GCSEs just go on forever.
I think most of mine were OK; how have yours been? Don't worry that you've not been around; it's too much around exams to keep up with everything, really, and anyway, internet discussions should never become an obligation.
(Non-UK people - GCSEs are exams you take when you're 16, ASes when you're 17).
Yes, the only problem I can see with a policy of solely extra-curricular competitive sport is that nobody else would agree with it. Pesky democracy...
I'll have a look at the trailer!
June 6th, 2012, 06:12 AM #673
ooh look people are talking on here again! i've been lurking for ages with the odd comment but been offline for AS exams too. think they went pretty well, though biology could have been a lot better. finished on the24th may and been enjoying my freedom a bit before i have to go back to college next week
June 6th, 2012, 07:47 AM #674
Glad your exams went well! It's nice how they give us a long break after them, even if we do have to go back to school later. Doing anything special with your free time?
EoW - I watched the trailer. It looks good, and very typically Luhrmann, from what I've seen of his work. Should be an interesting watch.
June 7th, 2012, 04:44 PM #675
well my free time's almost over really- back in college on monday. have mostly been catching up on lost time with friends. we all went off into our own little revision worlds during exams so we're just been spending as much time together as we can. and i've been organising going to uni open days etc, which is wonderfully confusing and kinda stressful. i hate that we have to think about it all so early :/