Get your business OUT of my kids’ classrooms

I am over the Rugby World Cup 2011 already. Especially, I am completely over the way that school children are being shoved around and preached at, all in the name of the great god rugby. The school terms have been changed around this year to accommodate the Rugby World cup, so that the first term and the second term are both 11 weeks long. Those are very long terms, with no break at all for the kids. Of course, every now and then due to the vagaries of Easter, a movable feast, the first term of the school year ends up being short (or long), and the length of the second term is adjusted to compensate for it, but two long terms in a row? That’s hard going, especially when one of them is a winter term.

But now they want it to be incorporated into the school curriculum as well.

Rugby World Cup part of school curriculum

The Rugby World Cup is set to become part of the school curriculum, and teachers are being urged to fork out for rugby-themed merchandise.

Primary school teachers will be encouraged to bedeck classrooms with strings of flags – available at $1.20 a metre – arrange school rugby tournaments and learn about international teams.

“Given the Rugby World Cup … is going to be the largest event New Zealand has ever staged, and it’s going to be so dominant on the televisions and in households around New Zealand, we wanted to make sure that every school-aged child had access to information about it. “

Repeat after me. Rugby is a business. Rugby is a business. Rugby is a business.

I know that all sorts of ideologies are peddled in schools, from fatuous health information to dicredited religions and ill-informed histories. But pushing a business at schools, and telling kids that they ought to be devoted to it, sticks in my craw.

The Rugby World Cup organisers talk about New Zealand being a stadium of 4 million for the tournament.

4 million minus one, I say to them.

And as the excellent Dr Cat is wont to say, “You kids get off my grass.”

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24 comments on “Get your business OUT of my kids’ classrooms

  1. mimbles says:

    It’s incredibly alienating to the kids whose families don’t participate in the worship of the great god sport. Olympics time is a pain in the bum in this household what with homework being set that assumes the whole family is glued to the TV for the duration. I’ve been known to send certain questions back with a note saying in effect “don’t know, don’t care and won’t be changing our media consumption habits to find out.”

  2. Demelza says:

    I am over it too… and will be making it known at school if this crap is done… My sister was astonished that I dont want to watch any of the games… I use to watch rugby, when it was free to air, when it didnt cost a small fortune to go to a match, now I am fed up, its all about the $$

    This 11 week term thing is hard too, Miss 5 and Miss 7 need a holiday next week not in another 2 weeks. they are knackered and its showing in their behaviour.

  3. homepaddock says:

    If they want flags why not get the children to make them in art rather than paying money which would be better spent on almost anything else?

    • Mindy says:

      Good point homepaddock. They could even do the flags of the different countries participating. But that still leaves a lot of countries out that it wouldn’t hurt the kids to learn about.

      Expecting schools or individual teachers to shell out for this is just crap. If they want schools to have this stuff, the World Cup organisers should donate it. Or better still put out a press release saying that they considered donating $X worth of this stuff, but gave the money to the Christchurch earthquake fund or Japan instead. Get some goodwill going.

  4. merc says:

    It is strange that the curriculum can be high-jacked, teachers refocused, and resources redirected for the IRB.

  5. Tim says:

    I’m a teacher at an NZ school, and I think it’s worth keeping this kind of story in perspective.

    Yes, the RWC is a big event, and yes it will dominate the media for the next 6 months, especially as we get closer to it. But it’s not like we don’t live in NZ – and didn’t already know that rugby is quite an important sport – to many people, for many different reasons.

    The school terms have IMO been moved around are for quite practical – safety/traffic/people management reasons. But every just blames the RWC and rolls their eyes. It’s one year in which we have an extra week of term to teach. It’s not like we’re having to teach on weekends or anything.

    Read past the headline – it’s a spurious statement at best. It’s not the IRB re-writing the NZ curriculum – it’s materials being provided to schools to use as THEY CHOOSE – for the purpose of an event.

    The power of the NZ curriculum is the ability for schools to create and use meaningful contexts to teach and learn. If you don’t want your school to use the RWC as a context, and it has no educational benefit for you – then tell your school that.

    And while it may not be relevant to you – I’d imagine that it’s actually quite a cool event for many students around the country. For them to have some links to that event in their maths, reading, writing, topic work over the course of a month or two – might be quite engaging.

    And if you like football/soccer – if you actually stop and think about it the FIFA Under-20 World Cup which NZ is hosting in a number of years is even bigger! 🙂

    • Deborah says:

      It’s not just the extra week of term in the first term. It’s the extra week of term in the second term too. And it’s not so much the teachers that I’m worried about as the children, who are required to manage two long terms in a row (‘though of course I do care about the teachers and the workload that has been casually dumped on them in the rush to bow before the great god rugby).

  6. TimT says:

    Oh man, you should see the AFL propagandising some Melbourne schools get up to. 🙂

  7. Tim says:

    Hi Deborah,

    Sorry, I should have been clearer. I meant that each of the first 2 terms have an extra week.

    It will be a stretch for some of our students, especially the younger ones. But I think good teachers will be recognizing that and tweaking their programmes accordingly.

    I don’t think the term shift has caused us much more work specifically. We will have to manage that workload more carefully though. Especially in the 4th term which is reports writing season – as well as EOTC/camps season for a lot of schools. It will be full on!

    Again – good schools will be managing it already – making plans accordingly and (hopefully) choosing to not do some things.

    • WittyKnitter says:

      Tim, I’m a kiwi who lives in Aus now, but I’d really object if the kinds of things Deborah is talking about were going on at the school where my (now long grown-up) kids were going.

      I think that sport as an organising principle for teaching is, well, not really conceptually very sophisticated. Sure, I think it’s great that teachers can riff off the fact that the World Cup is to be held to grab kids’ attention for geography, for comparative culture, and a few other things that might come up because there’s going to be lots of visitors to NZ for a few weeks. This happened in Sydney during the Olympics. But using mechandise, selling sport-related stuff, as part of this is just stupid. As others have pointed out, there will be many households where TV coverage of sport isn’t a key part of people’s lives (my daughter and her family don’t have a TV, for example), and these kids will not be able to participate fully in what’s going on.

      There is a dangerous tendency in both Aus and NZ to conflate sport and nationalism in a mindless, unquestioning way. I don’t think it’s helpful either for sporty kids (who can get seduced away from pure enjoyment into over-achievement) or for non-sporty kids (who can be made quite miserable and left-out) to idolise and commercialise sport in this way, especailly in public schools..

  8. Helen says:

    Deborah, I’d be contacting the school council and seeing whether parents could band together to oppose this, if it’s a voluntary thing. If it’s too late to stop it by this year you might make a difference for the next.

  9. Daleaway says:

    The New Zealand government has TWO Ministers for World Cup Rugby. In case one of them did not get enough free tickets. Murray McCully and Ass Min Gerry Brownlee, in case you should wish to drop them a line with your thoughts…

    Rumour even has it that this is the reason why our masters persisted in buying all those brand new BMWs – to ferry VIP rugby visitors around. (And visiting Warner Brothers execs.)

    Ladies, it’s going to be a long winter.

  10. merc says:

    It tests our mettle you see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby-world-cup-2011/news/article.cfm?c_id=522&objectid=10716361
    I for one salute the words of our city and rugby overlords. Just yesterday Mayor Braun said…the New Auckland need not worry about the silliness of the past.
    Magic.

  11. violet says:

    sounds like an excellent time to take the kid out of school and go on a low-season holiday.

  12. Tim says:

    @WittyKnitter

    The headline is spurious – in no way at all is the NZ curriculum is being re-written to match the aims and commercial intentions of the RWC.
    From what I’ve seen – there are going to be resources available for teachers to use in schools around the country, as it fits into their curriculum.

    Teachers are “encouraged” to spend money on bunting and sports flags?? If we’re going to get bothered about that encouragement – we should probably stop spending money on PE and fitness equipment. Teachers are “encouraged” to spend cash on many things – it’s up to teachers/schools to use some personal initiative to figure out what’s dross and what’s useful. Thinking schools will see it for what it is – and as one of the other posters said – make their own bunting/posters and celebrate or study the RWC as their situation demands.

    Just because the journalist has written it – doesn’t meant it’s being forced down the throat of every NZ teacher.

    For the record – here are some of the websites and resources that have been made available to teachers. For some of my students, I can see a use for them – but will I be making exclusive use of them? No I won’t – like any resource I’ll be making sure it meets the needs of my students. And if they don’t we’ll find other ways of learning.

    http://www.nz2011.govt.nz/get-involved/rugby-world-cup-2011-education-programme

    http://www.ruggerland.co.nz/

    http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/kidzone

    @Merc – the article I’m referring to is a slightly different topic than the ACC needing cash to support the extra games, that are in AKL as a result of the Chch earthquake.

  13. Katherine says:

    I don’t want to be all “back in my day”, but one week of term extra is a strain on kids? O_o Obviously my childhood attitudes were reaaally atypical.

    • Deborah says:

      Actually, it is. Back in our day, when terms where 12 and 13 weeks long, kids were exhausted and ill by the end of them, as were teachers. Also, we tended to have mid-term breaks to enable us to get through them. We changed to 10 week terms for many reasons, but one of them was thinking hard about the stretch of time that children can manage. But suddenly that’s not important when rugby is at stake.

  14. […] slams fucking Rugby World Cup fucking merchandising in fucking classrooms.  (She doesn’t say “fuck” as much as me […]

  15. […] I can’t think why people might not be pleased to have this hero-worshipping bullshit crammed down kids’ throats […]

  16. Amanda says:

    “Back in our day, when terms where 12 and 13 weeks long, kids were exhausted and ill by the end of them”

    And you want to know how ill we used to get? Glandular Fever, 6th form year. Yipee.

  17. […] was reminded of all this when reading Deborah over at Bee Faerie let rip at the Rugby World Cup: I am over the Rugby World Cup 2011 already. Especially, I am […]

  18. linda brown says:

    Im a student and i think its stupid that the school terms are changed. In the 4th term we only have 2 weeks before exams. It does not give us enough time to get every thing sorted before NCEA.

    • iheartpie462 says:

      I completely agree. I think everyone should maybe ask us students our opinions as well. I think that changing the school terms for a business is the silliest think I’ve heard since… ever. This is KIDS. This is an BUSINESS.

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