Wednesday, May 10, 2006

School uniforms

Here's a fascinating article about school uniforms.

I've worn four different school uniforms, most not bad but one incredibly ugly. I've worn (obligatory) suspenders to hold up my skirt, I've worn a tie, and I've worn regulation "knickers" (which, by the way, are not the same thing in British English and American English - ask me how I know).

Nobody enjoys wearing a school uniform - it's something students are supposed to complain about. My students wear a uniform that is infinitely more attractive and more comfortable than what I had to wear, and they whine endlessly about it. But I've always felt that uniforms are a good idea because of the elimination of competition over clothing. They aren't a solution to all the ills of schools and society.

I was surprised to read about negative results in academic achievement. I'm going to look into this more and see what I can find out about the study design. It's counterintuitive, but then, so much of reality is!

Here's a link to an abstract of the study.


Anonymous said...

OK - I will ask, what is the difference between regulation knickers in British English, and in American Emglish - and how do you come to know that?

Ruth said...

Hi Lynette

I thought you'd never ask! :-)

Knickers in the United States are knee-length trousers, sometimes called pedal-pushers. Knickers in England are underpants. I know because this was one of the many things that confused my parents dreadfully about the supply list when I first went away to a British boarding school. With this one, they checked first. Not so with the "rug" - I showed up with a lovely little bedside carpet, when what they meant was a blanket.

Anonymous said...

The rug story is hilarious – I love misunderstandings like that. That is a great story!
On the underwear thing: how are regulation knickers different from ordinary knickers? Were they the same at all your different schools? What sort of occasions (sports/gym class?) did you wear them?

best wishes, have a nice weekend.

Ruth said...

Hi again,

The knickers were just underwear, but they had to be a particular color - grey - and we bought them from the school supply store. They were pretty ugly and uncomfortable, as I recall. We also had some red ones, which we were supposed to wear with our Sunday uniform, I think. At my second boarding school, the supply list called for green knickers to match the uniform, but I soon found out that they weren't really required, and you could wear the underwear you wanted to wear.

Anonymous said...

"I've worn four different school uniforms, most not bad but one incredibly ugly"

What did you have to wear for the ugly uniform, what made it so bad?

Great site btw.

Ruth said...

Thanks for visiting.

Well, for one thing, a tie. I didn't like that. And the particular shade of green was quite ugly. And the skirt was apparently designed to be the most unflattering thing ever, particularly when worn with knee socks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying! I agree with you about ties – I never liked wearing a tie even though it was fairly innocuous - blue and grey striped. Our senior mistress was also quite obsessive about skirt length (just above the knee, no shorter, and they had to be the regulation A line shape.
My two older sisters had to wear school knickers all the time (not just for sports), theirs were navy blue. By the time I started they were no longer actually compulsory, but still quite common.

Anonymous said...

I don't like wearing a tie. I can never get it on straight. It's usually crooked or someone grabs my tie and it comes loose.