A Message From the Strictest Headmistress in the UK | Katharine Birbalsingh | EP 458

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A Message From the Strictest Headmistress in the UK | Katharine Birbalsingh | EP 458

Coming up (00:00:00)

  • Schools are responsible for educating the future generation, but they are failing due to brainwashing students.
  • Universities are not solely responsible for the messed-up education system.

Intro (00:00:17)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh, known as the strictest headmistress in Great Britain, runs the Michaela school in London.
  • The school achieves stellar results, with students consistently graduating in the top echelons of standardized testing and gaining admission to high-level universities.
  • Birbalsingh's strong character and unique approach to education have made her a compelling and controversial figure.

They protested the opening of a free school (00:02:41)

  • Michaela School is a free school, similar to a charter school in the US, that opened in 2014 in an inner-city area of London.
  • The school faced significant opposition and protests from various groups, including people from outside London who disagreed with Birbalsingh's views on education.
  • Protesters disrupted parent evenings and accused Birbalsingh of betraying the community by speaking at the Conservative Party Conference.
  • Despite the challenges, the school eventually opened in 2014, but protesters continued to hand out leaflets to children, claiming their lives were in danger in the school building.

By all metrics the Michaela Community School is succeeding (00:05:18)

  • Ofsted, a British inspectorate, gave Michaela Community School the highest possible score after a three-year inspection.
  • In the GCSE exams, which are national exams taken by children at age 16, Michaela Community School came fifth in the country for progress in their first year.
  • After two years of the COVID pandemic, when it was impossible to track progress for the whole country, Michaela Community School came top in the country for progress in the last two years.
  • Critics did not like the school's success and high ratings.
  • They especially disliked the school's top ranking in the country for progress in the last two years.

Small “c” conservatism and a shared set of cultural values (00:06:24)

  • Promotes small “c” conservative values such as personal responsibility, sense of duty, and self-sacrifice for the benefit of the whole.
  • Opposes critical race theory, gender ideology, and division of children based on gender, race, or sexuality.
  • Believes in singing the national anthem, “God Save the King,” to foster a sense of unity and belonging among students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Argues that multiculturalism can only succeed when there is a shared set of common values.
  • Emphasizes the importance of a traditional, disciplined approach to education that allows children to thrive.
  • Students at Michaela Community School are happy, joyful, and excited about learning due to the school's positive environment and effective teaching methods.

The opposition — who were they? (00:11:15)

  • The opposition to Katharine Birbalsingh's school were mostly non-local, white people.
  • They believed they had the right to dictate to brown and black people how they ought to think.
  • They felt that they were protecting brown and black people from making their own choices.
  • Katharine Birbalsingh believes in institutionalized racism.
  • She sees the opposition to her school as an example of institutionalized racism.
  • The white people who protested her school believed that they had the right to dictate to brown and black people how they ought to think.

How different wealth classes value education (00:15:02)

  • Poor and uneducated people desire their children to be literate and successful just like rich and literate people.
  • However, they may not know how to reward their children's developing literacy behaviors due to their own lack of literacy.
  • The speaker believes in families having freedom of choice in education.
  • White middle-class families do not choose the speaker's strict school.
  • The families who choose the school are ethnic minority, brown, and black kids in the inner city.
  • White families prefer a less strict environment with more noise and activity.

Strictness absent tyranny (00:18:01)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh's school is not a tyranny because:
    • There is no use of force or compulsion to keep the rules in place.
    • There is a reward system that encourages students to behave in their best interests.
    • Students understand the reason for the rules and feel protected and secure.
    • There is no atmosphere of fear or oppression.
    • The school is filled with creative artwork.
    • Students are able to speak clearly and confidently in public.
    • Students are respectful of the rules because they see them as necessary for a successful game.

Katharine Birbalsingh's school is not a tyranny (00:18:01)

  • There is no use of force or compulsion to keep the rules in place.
  • There is a reward system that encourages students to behave in their best interests.
  • Students understand the reason for the rules and feel protected and secure.
  • There is no atmosphere of fear or oppression.
  • The school is filled with creative artwork.
  • Students are able to speak clearly and confidently in public.
  • Students are respectful of the rules because they see them as necessary for a successful game.

The Michaela School is not selective: why they hyper-perform (00:22:13)

  • The Michaela School is not a selective school, meaning anyone can attend.
  • Despite not being selective, the school's students consistently outperform their peers on examinations.
  • The headmistress believes that strictness, rooted in love, is key to the school's success.
  • Teachers and parents should prioritize raising children's standards and demonstrating virtuous behavior.
  • Children learn best through concrete examples and non-examples rather than abstract explanations.
  • The headmistress emphasizes the importance of schools and education, criticizing the lack of attention given to these topics compared to universities.
  • She believes that the current issues in universities, such as students' lack of critical thinking, stem from a failure to properly educate children in schools.

“When it comes to children, I think you’re all wrong” (00:25:46)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh believes the current education system fails students by teaching them how to think instead of what to think.
  • She argues that students need a solid foundation of knowledge to develop critical thinking skills and make informed judgments.
  • Birbalsingh criticizes the radical left's influence on universities and advocates removing teacher certification from faculties of education due to their poor performance.
  • Children should be taught a wide range of knowledge, including historical events and concepts, to prevent them from falling into ideological traps.
  • Children need restricted freedoms to develop the wisdom and emotional maturity necessary for true freedom in adulthood.
  • Adults should make decisions for children, understanding their emotional and cognitive limitations, rather than giving them excessive choices.
  • Parents should prioritize molding their children's moral formation and imparting knowledge rather than trying to be friends with them.
  • Schools should focus on teaching factual knowledge and history without ideological biases.

Thinking skills cannot be taught in isolation, the backdoor to progressivism (00:38:16)

  • Thinking skills cannot be taught in isolation without knowledge.
  • Schools should focus on teaching knowledge rather than just skills.
  • Without knowledge, children are more likely to adopt extreme ideologies like communism.
  • The right unintentionally allows progressivism to take over by emphasizing freedom without knowledge.
  • Children need a secure and loving environment to thrive and learn.
  • Knowledge empowers children to develop their own ideas and make informed decisions.
  • The right should emphasize the importance of knowledge and schools in shaping the future.
  • Universities are affected by the brainwashing that occurs in schools.
  • Children at the school are happy and engaged in activities despite limited resources.
  • The school provides a secure and loving environment where children feel valued.
  • Knowledge makes children feel smart, clever, and successful, fostering a love for learning.

Half of state revenue feeds the woke ideology (00:41:22)

  • In the US, approximately 50% of state budgets are allocated to the K-12 education system.
  • Classic liberals and conservatives have allowed radical, incompetent, and ideologically bound progressives to control half of government revenues.
  • A study showed that taking one politically correct course significantly predicted politically correct authoritarianism.
  • The radical left has completely occupied school systems.
  • Republican Governors have tried to confront teachers' unions but often lose due to the unions' power and staying power.
  • Teacher certification should be stripped from faculties of education to weaken their influence.
  • Teachers tend to lean left and are immersed in a culture that encourages radicalizing children and promoting ideologies like communism, critical race theory, and gender ideology.
  • Parents should not give children the choice to wear clothing associated with the opposite gender.

Knowledge is key (00:43:37)

  • Michaela school provides limited choices, like tuna or cheese sandwiches, to create a secure environment where children feel loved and can develop their own ideas and opinions.
  • Children become creative and independent by acquiring extensive knowledge, which is often only accessible to wealthy children through various experiences and interactions.
  • Inner-city children often lack access to such knowledge, and even well-off children are increasingly deprived of it.
  • Society has drifted away from traditional values, and schools must now provide moral guidance that families may not be offering.
  • Disciplinarian parents are looked down upon, and government advice on child-rearing often contradicts traditional values.

The libertarian Right, the difference between adults and children (00:47:38)

  • Children today face increased dangers such as mugging and gang involvement due to the lack of community support and increased technology use.
  • Jonathan Height advocates for children to have the same freedom as in the past, but he overlooks the heightened risks, particularly for disadvantaged inner-city children.
  • The speaker argues that freedom requires virtue and that society lacks the necessary trust and virtue for children to have the same freedom as in the past.
  • Michaela Community School promotes multiculturalism, communal values, and traditions like singing God Save the King.
  • Headmistress Katharine Birbalsingh believes in a strict approach to education and opposes unrestricted choices for children.
  • Michaela Community School lacks a prayer room to maintain its ethos and silent corridors.
  • Birbalsingh advocates against smartphones and unsupervised internet access for children and supports a government ban on phones for under 16s.
  • She emphasizes the responsibility of adults to protect children and the importance of understanding the differences between adults and children, stressing the need for children to be respectful and well-behaved.

Good lecturing, pair work, merits, and demerits (00:54:48)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh, headmistress of Michaela Community School, believes traditional education, which emphasizes knowledge and direct instruction, is the most effective teaching method.
  • Inquiry-based learning, project work, and cross-curricular work are less effective in developing children's thinking skills.
  • Michaela Community School uses direct instruction, discussions, and drills to ensure understanding.
  • Teachers employ various techniques, including lecturing, visual aids, and interactive activities, to engage students.
  • The school emphasizes pace, clarity, and high expectations in classroom management.
  • Focused pair work ensures students stay on task and discuss relevant topics.
  • Consistent quizzes motivate students to perform well and avoid consequences.
  • Immediate rewards, such as badges and merits, are given for positive behavior and academic performance.
  • The pyramid system encourages students to progress from avoiding consequences to understanding the importance of good behavior for their future.
  • Birbalsingh advocates for rewarding good behavior and using positive reinforcement rather than punishment.
  • Her pyramid model transitions from avoidance-based incentives to reward-based incentives as children improve.
  • She emphasizes the need for an environment that fosters freedom and trust, similar to the "Invisible Shield" concept of the 1980s.
  • Birbalsingh encourages all schools to adopt similar approaches to create positive and nurturing environments for students.

Creating a group culture: local and national (01:05:53)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh, the strictest headmistress in the UK, emphasizes the importance of culture, discipline, and high standards in schools.
  • She believes that schools play a crucial role in fostering national cohesion and success and criticizes the perception that teaching is an easy profession.
  • Birbalsingh advocates for a return to traditional teaching methods, a focus on core subjects, and a strong work ethic.
  • She is critical of the current state of education in the UK and believes that there is too much emphasis on political correctness and not enough on academic achievement.

The prediction of performance (01:10:37)

  • General intelligence and conscientiousness are the best predictors of performance in a complex environment.
  • Michaela Community School is not a selective school, so the average IQ is likely slightly higher than 100.
  • Despite not being a selective school, students at Michaela Community School advance rapidly and perform exceptionally well on objective tests.
  • There is great variation in innate abilities among students.
  • Students at Michaela Community School outperform what they would have done at other schools, reaching their potential tenfold.
  • Knowledge is central to the school's curriculum, and students become creative through knowledge.
  • The school's focus on knowledge and learning enables students to perform well in exams and become well-rounded individuals.

Sacrifice for the betterment of the whole (01:13:15)

  • Students make sacrifices for the betterment of the school community.
  • Muslim children do not have a prayer room.
  • Jehovah's Witness children study texts with witchcraft and Christmas themes despite their religious beliefs.
  • Hindu children use the same plates as others, even though they prefer separate plates due to religious beliefs.
  • Multiculturalism encourages the division of children based on race, religion, and sexuality.
  • Schools struggle to please everyone when different groups have conflicting rights.
  • The school promotes vegetarian food and shared plates to accommodate different dietary restrictions.
  • Students are expected to value the group and the school over their individual rights.

Adults know better (01:16:42)

  • Adults are meant to be more competent than children and should embrace the definition of adulthood.
  • Adults should not feel like they are bad people for insisting that children listen to them.
  • Adults should support children in choosing the better choice and help them understand why it is better.
  • Children do not understand the consequences of their actions, so adults need to set boundaries and instill good habits in them.

Living a life of dignity, happiness, and satisfaction (01:20:54)

  • The speaker believes that a life of dignity, happiness, and satisfaction is not solely defined by cognitive success.
  • A successful life can be achieved by individuals who contribute to society and find purpose in their work, regardless of their cognitive abilities.
  • Children should be taught knowledge and allowed to learn from others to develop their own creative ideas.
  • Children should be grateful for small things and appreciate the value of hard work and accomplishment.
  • Education should focus on developing critical thinking skills and a strong knowledge base to enable students to succeed in life.
  • Children need to learn from others and develop good habits in order to succeed.
  • Copying and learning from others is necessary for children to develop their own ideas and creativity.
  • Education should provide students with a strong foundation of knowledge to enable them to think critically and come up with their own creative ideas.

Why you want to succeed in school (01:24:44)

  • Katharine Birbalsingh, the headmistress of Michaela School, believes that the purpose of education should extend beyond securing a good job and should focus on developing a strong work ethic and striving for personal excellence.
  • Students should not be discouraged by their scores as long as they have dedicated themselves to their studies and given their best effort.
  • Birbalsingh emphasizes the importance of small "c" conservatism, which is rooted in personal responsibility, hard work, and a sense of community, rather than focusing on perceived racism or victimhood.
  • Michaela School provides a structured and nurturing environment, referred to as a "Walled Garden," where students can flourish and reach their full potential.
  • Birbalsingh acknowledges that her educational methods may be difficult for others to understand due to their unconventional nature.

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