This week began with a swift thwarting of my intentions for the diagnostic project - to illustrate some collective idea of what El Dorado could have been if ever it existed - on the basis that it was not personal to me. It was my understanding that designers are people who will take instructions from a client and apply their skills and knowledge to finding a solution to the project at hand which at most times will not be personal to them. Being told to seek out a new idea altogether was confusing especially for reasons that I may not be enthusiastic about the project. I tend not to jump about in joy when I am most enthusiastic and unfortunately people may mistake this for negativity. The prospect of my idea on El Dorado meant researching the Inca and Aztec civilizations and learning something about architecture - to which I would look forward to.
Instead I have had some thoughts of exploring the problems I find in the education systems GCSE and GCE, which I hold as personal opinions thus the work would be personal to me. My personal opinions are that these courses are mostly a waste of time. I found that I probably learnt more during the revision period (about 2/3 weeks) using the illustrated revision guides than I did in the two years of each course together. The point of having exams seems beyond me also. Not because they're exams - I'm very used to sitting through 2/3 hour exams. The point of these courses is to prepare people for employment. In employment you can lose your job at any time if your efforts are few. Why then do we not make use of the work students do throughout the years? Homeworks are done and marks rewarded all year round. These mean nothing because the exams mean everything. Why not have a more fair process? Why not use the marks given through the year and give each student their average mark at the end of the course. A mark based on two years work, not two hours exhaustion. I was sick and tired of watching, who were supposed to be the more intelligent, students frantically flick through the pages of their revision guides outside the exam hall with 5 minutes until their judgement. Two hours of concentrated memory work - this is all exams are. A test of short term memory. For a Religious Studies exam I remember being required to write whole passages from the Gospel of Luke. Today I couldn't tell you one line from the Gospel. Why not? I don't see it as my fault but that of the system. In truth I was ecstatic on results day to find I had two As and a B. But I feel cheated of my time growing up because I feel no passion or interest for most of what I studied because of the way we studied it.
How can it be that Degree students, at least on art courses, have such bad spelling? Because it's art is not the answer - a degree course is a degree course. I've heard various people asking for spellings of words like 'apply' and 'convey' and other simple words. It really can be infuriating to think that students who don't understand their own language enough to spell simple words are in the position to get better grades than those who do. From what I know it seems as if the nation is getting dumber and respect for degree qualifications is lowering. Rightly so for the latter - I'll bet those students who can't spell 'apply' will finish the course and graduate.
Nonetheless what do A's and B's and C's mean to anyone? Being in the top five of the country for the Art a-level exam percentages brought me nothing. I was even told to leave it out of my personal comment for application to university. Top business managers like Alan Sugar are no better. On his Apprentice tv show he continually claims that big qualifications mean nothing to him. I doubt he means it - everyone on the show to my knowledge has had qualifications. Maybe he is making a point though, that qualifications today do nothing for people. He seems to prove it by having his groups carry out seemingly simple tasks and fail miserably, in most cases, for lack of common sense. The degrees the contestants own seem only to teach them to sit in cars talking into phones and conjuring vendettas against their colleagues.
The presentation made this week by my group, on a more positive note, went very well. Having sat through two other presentations prior to our own I felt that we did well to each stand up and talk clearly with faith in what we had written. The powerpoint visuals had been arranged perfectly and Tim's illustration for the group turned out to be a great way of making the audience remember the subject. It was a good experience and an important one. To talk to a room of people with no interruptions and complete control gives you a feeling of confidence in itself. I am beginning to understand how to control nerves also. It seems to be a case of accepting the reality rather than trying to be too formal. I chose to read from a script but I had marked out points at which I would have to explain things in my own words on the day. This was good for me because it took the formal edge off what I was saying and good for the audience because people lose interest in a person with their head down.
I plan to go back on Tuesday to the tutorial with certain points about education today which I feel fairly strongly about and hopefully establish some sort of format of work to be done for it. Currently letterpress seems the most possible and suitable method of getting my ideas across but I shall have to make sure my intentions are worthy before going any further.