For me, there is little worse than a bellowing rendition of Rule Britannia, or a mention of past empirical ‘greatness.’ That said, there is one thing that seemingly does grant us first prize in the lottery of life. That is our language.
So teachers intend to strike later this term. Except that it won’t be a strike as such. They are just planning to refuse to attend meetings, fill in forms, invigilate, cover for absent colleagues or lead extra-curricular activity because, they say, they don’t want to disrupt children’s education – which is, of course a contradiction in terms.
Having taught Key Stage One (ages six to seven) for six years, I would like to challenge a few of the ‘changes’ that have been made to the English curriculum by the education secretary and share a few of my trade secrets that get children interested in reading and writing – many of the things that Gove seems so keen on phasing out.
If we’re going to improve educational results in this country, it means less of an obsessive focus on the schools – and more attention to the grotesque broader inequalities of modern British society.
The news last week that underperforming teachers could face the sack under new measures seems incredibly ruthless and draconian. Teachers are too often judged on a narrow range of statistics, without being given enough support to deal with the specific problems in the classroom that prevent them from doing their job to the best of their ability.
I was excited to hear that ICT in schools will be replaced by an open source curriculum in computer science and programming. Still, the more I read about it, the more the doubts crept in.
Group 2 is my Group of Death – do all lecturers have one? Oh – just me, then. Of all my groups, group 2 are the only ones who don’t do their writing exercises, don’t do any homework, and still stare at me each week like I’m completely (as opposed to only occasionally, slightly) demented. Despite the fact that some of them apparently want to be journalists, none of them actually reads a paper; not even the Indie or the 20p “i”, for God’s sake.
There’s a real ambivalence towards teaching, learning and young people in our society. It’s a psychological and social conflict that starts young, and is costing us all.
Our new mystery columnist is a freelance journalist as well as the author of several novels, none of which have sold quite as well as he hoped. Now, in the hope of paying the rent until his agent can sell his latest masterpiece, he has taken up a new position: lecturer at a prestigious University…
Presenting his Education White Paper to the House of Commons last Thursday, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that he would be shifting teacher-training from HE institutions into schools as part of his “radical reforms” of the education sector.
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