Things they should've taught us at school...

Icemaiden

Well-known member
Messages
1,172
Location
Kent
What have you wished you'd been taught but weren't?

I remember asking my maths teacher what the point of matrices were. I've not used them once since leaving school.

On the other hand, I spent 15 minutes this morning struggling to peg a fitted bottom sheet for our double bed onto my rotary washing line. That would have been a far more useful thing to have learned!!

There must be an art to getting it onto the line so that it'll dry, without dangling it on the floor & getting it dirty again. I've failed totally with the kingsize duvet cover- that went into the tumble-drier 😔
 

Marigold

Moderator
PKF Sponsor
Messages
8,053
Location
Hampshire, U.K.
I guess this is the answer, Icemaiden!
I remember being taught the correct way to iron socks and handkerchiefs, also how to scrub a white wood kitchen table. That seemed pretty useless even then.
 

Attachments

  • 9B6D906A-4F95-41E5-9593-860B116F9081.png
    9B6D906A-4F95-41E5-9593-860B116F9081.png
    206.5 KB · Views: 2

chrismahon

Active member
Messages
5,069
Location
Gascony, France
I wish I'd not had to learn German, French, History and Geography. If I needed to know that stuff I'd have taught myself. What I needed to know is how to grow things and fix stuff. So I went on to do a degree full of stuff that's fairly useless (but not all of it because I have survived here)- "You learn more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing".

The French focus on communication and that's what is lacking in an English education. So the 'Grand Oral' is all about talking to people and the UK education system completely misses that aspect. I wish I had learned to talk to people, but I don't think the teachers could do that either. It's an English problem.
 

LadyA

Well-known member
PKF Sponsor
Messages
1,278
Basic plumbing & DIY.
I have quite severe dyscalculia (basically, inability to grasp how numbers work, difficulty with distance, inability to, for example, understand measurements etc without actually seeing it. ) so after my Junior Certificate, for which maths was a required subject, the maths teacher advised me not to even try taking maths for Leaving Certificate (roughly A levels). I took Business Admin instead, and found I was very good at it. I even managed book-keeping, because I could use a calculator - not allowed in those days for maths classes - and book-keeping is really just organising information - outgoings and income into the right columns.
Unfortunately, lack of maths qualifications meant my college and career options were severely curtailed!

But yeah, definitely more life skills need to be taught. Basic cooking, budgeting, shopping, banking, housekeeping. Clearing drains. Life skills.
 

Margaid

Active member
Messages
2,057
Location
Shropshire
Latin. Selecting options at one point meant choosing between Welsh and Latin - a no-brainer for me, but at uni one quarter of the Welsh degree course was Linguistics and the text book for that was "the Latin Element in the Welsh Language". I had noticed quite early on that certian words in Welsh, French and German were similar - now I knew why but I cam totally unstuck when it came to demonstrating the linguistic change. There have been so many occasions when knowing the origin of (English) words would be useful and as for inscriptions and dates ...
 

Marigold

Moderator
PKF Sponsor
Messages
8,053
Location
Hampshire, U.K.
I went to a Girls Grammar School in the 1950s. New entrants were divided on the day they arrived into 3 streams, imaginatively named A, B and C, based solely on how many marks they got in the 11+ exam, and were stuck there for evermore irrespective of subsequent potential and progress. The A and B streams learned Latin, whereas the C stream got Domestic Science instead, presumably to fit them for the sort of menial and undemanding jobs they wouldn’t need Latin for. In those days, a pass at O level in Latin was essential for university entrance, whatever subject you intended to study, so the girls in the C stream were effectively barred from attempting a university degree, because of their marks in the11+, even though they had passed this competitive, selective exam.
I was in the A stream and consequently learned Latin - with a truly fearsome teacher who terrified us so much that nobody dared ask questions, and punished those who made mistakes because they didn’t understand. So, after three years of this torture, and having made very little progress, I was allowed to give it up when making my options for O level.
It was only because of the kindness of a lovely new teacher called Miss Middleweek, who gave up her dinner break several times a week to teach me enough in the VI form to pass the exam, that I was able to go to university at all. But, more than that, she got me interested in Latin, and gave me a love of the set texts I had to study, and I’m sure that if only I’d had her as a teacher lower down the school, I’d have enjoyed studying it at A level. And probably that would have been as much use to me, or more, than the French I struggled with instead!
 

chrismahon

Active member
Messages
5,069
Location
Gascony, France
I ahd a similar experience @Marigold . Whilst studying 3rd year Thermodynamics and Fluids HND we had to do Mechanics of Machines. The tutor, the head of the subject, was a joke. Spent all his time drawing diagrams that made no sense to me. Result a total fail with 27%. So I had another chance to resit that subject and the next teacher was a bit better but I missed the 40% pass mark by 2%. So only one more chance or I'd have to sit the whole HND course again from year one. He was the chap I'd heard great reviews about and I tried to switch to him at the onset of year 3. Result I went into the 3 hour exam and left after 75 minutes- 88%! Some teachers are miles better than others and it's not the fault of the students- good people could fail because of a bad teacher and that can change the course of their life.

I did Mechanics of Machines at a far advanced level at University- result was 98%. I went on to present a paper to Rover about multiple beam deflection with their front grill (which I designed- Rover 600 and 800). After much study by their mathematics department it was accepted as 'plausible' and the practical test absolutely proved my calculations. Big change from being written off earlier.
 

bigyetiman

Well-known member
Messages
2,238
We both went to school when girls did cookery etc, boys did woodwork, chemistry, physics. Girls got to do biology. If only we could have all learnt these things instead of being divided into "manly" subjects and "female" subjects
OH remembers learning to lay tables, starch linen, ironing, cleaning shoes and hairbrushes, and also how to ensure the meal on the table provided the correct amount of protein, vitamins etc.
 

Icemaiden

Well-known member
Messages
1,172
Location
Kent
I'd love to have learned woodwork but girls weren't allowed to. When my mum complained to the board of governors, we got to speak with the woodwork teacher. He turned to me (a 13 year old girl) and pointedly said "You'll be the only girl in a class of boys. How will you cope when you have your period?". He wouldn't get away with that these days...

I still can't tell a wood chisel from any other kind of chisel...
 

chrismahon

Active member
Messages
5,069
Location
Gascony, France
That is an absolute disgrace @Icemaiden . On a positive note there aren't many variations on a wood chisel, so that isn't a problem. There are stone chisels, or brick bolsters, or wood turning chisels and I'm sure you would quickly tell the difference. The most important thing with woodwork is to cut on the right side of the line, so the material the cutting tool is removing must be allowed for, something I failed to do at pre-'O'level, so was dropped. Bet you would really enjoy welding, but start with the lower temperatures, so soldering, then brazing and then try 'stick' welding- it's whole new world, but an essential one we live in. Then there is MIG and TIG welding, but the cost of the equipment has sensibly ruled it out for my garage, unfortunately.
 

LadyA

Well-known member
PKF Sponsor
Messages
1,278
That is an absolute disgrace @Icemaiden . On a positive note there aren't many variations on a wood chisel, so that isn't a problem. There are stone chisels, or brick bolsters, or wood turning chisels and I'm sure you would quickly tell the difference. The most important thing with woodwork is to cut on the right side of the line, so the material the cutting tool is removing must be allowed for, something I failed to do at pre-'O'level, so was dropped. Bet you would really enjoy welding, but start with the lower temperatures, so soldering, then brazing and then try 'stick' welding- it's whole new world, but an essential one we live in. Then there is MIG and TIG welding, but the cost of the equipment has sensibly ruled it out for my garage, unfortunately.
Chrismahon, I have no idea what you just said! 😀
 

Icemaiden

Well-known member
Messages
1,172
Location
Kent
I do do a fair amount of soldering- I make & teach leaded & copper foiled stained glass, both of which require a deft hand with a soldering iron.
What's brazing? Being a girl I'm familiar with braising, but I guess that brazing doesn't involve celery & a gas hob... :)
 

chrismahon

Active member
Messages
5,069
Location
Gascony, France
Brazing is similar to soldering @Icemaiden , just using an alloy that melts at a higher temperature than solder. So it is much stronger, but still doesn't melt the components being joined. Typically about 750C, so within the range of a Propane blow torch. They use it to join Copper pipes here, because the mains pressure can exceed the strength of a solder joint.

I know nothing about braising.
 

Icemaiden

Well-known member
Messages
1,172
Location
Kent
Wow, that's impressive water pressure! I guess the French don't use John Guest fittings (push fit connectors) then?
 

chrismahon

Active member
Messages
5,069
Location
Gascony, France
They do use push fit fittings here. With a maximum mains water of 10bar they would disintegrate, so they fit a pressure regulator to the outside tap. In our case we haven't a regulator (and one would be impossible to fit) but our pressure is reduced to about 5-6 bar because of the distance to the water main- that's still too high for the fittings, which blow off the pipe unless the spray head is left switched on.

Daft thing here is they braze ALL the copper pipes, which is totally unnecessary, time consuming and wastes a lot of gas. Central heating and hot water are always below 4.5bar, so solder fittings would be fine. The other daft thing plumbing wise is all the waste pipes are solvent welded together making disassembly for repair or modification very difficult. That is also very time consuming. The pipe sizes increase in 2mm increments, so the number of fittings you would need to stock is enormous and they are 5x the price of fittings in England. Now wonder French plumbers are so expensive.
 

Icemaiden

Well-known member
Messages
1,172
Location
Kent
They do use push fit fittings here. With a maximum mains water of 10bar they would disintegrate, so they fit a pressure regulator to the outside tap. In our case we haven't a regulator (and one would be impossible to fit) but our pressure is reduced to about 5-6 bar because of the distance to the water main- that's still too high for the fittings, which blow off the pipe unless the spray head is left switched on.

Daft thing here is they braze ALL the copper pipes, which is totally unnecessary, time consuming and wastes a lot of gas. Central heating and hot water are always below 4.5bar, so solder fittings would be fine. The other daft thing plumbing wise is all the waste pipes are solvent welded together making disassembly for repair or modification very difficult. That is also very time consuming. The pipe sizes increase in 2mm increments, so the number of fittings you would need to stock is enormous and they are 5x the price of fittings in England. Now wonder French plumbers are so expensive.
That's daft. I guess it's the plumbers putting homeowners off doing d-i-y plumbing. If there's one thing I love about John Guest fittings is that even I can use them. The down side is that if I were to use plastic pipes, the squirrels would chew through them...
 
Top