A Fresh Start

With the optimism of the summer and a new academic year, this blog is going to see some changes.

  • 4 posts a week,
  • A bit more direction

I’ve felt myself lurch ever closer to the ‘club bore’ on matters of education; this blog (rather than the ears of bored friends) shall become by receptacle instead. Education is shaping up to be one of the key battlegrounds ahead of the election next year. I intend this to be a personal archive for my own reference – and I hope a fertile resource for people coming at this stuff fresh.

I’m going to stick to FIVE broad threads to keep the focus even tighter.

  1. Good Teaching and Curricula: to include the debate between subject-based “Chalk and Talk” teaching championed by the Conservative Party vs. competency/skills-based learning.
  2. Discipline: taking in behavioural management, drug policy, corporal punishment debates etc.
  3. Selectivity: grammar schools, streaming etc.
  4. Motivation/self-esteem: how far are schools implicated in this?
  5. Impact of computer games/internet use on children and their receptiveness to learning/ their outlook in life. This might be renamed, as I want it to take in the ADHD/Ritalin debate.

Though I am very ready to be persuaded, here is my pithy-as-possible starting position for each:

1. Good Teaching: Matthew Taylor seems spot on here: it’s a false dichotomy. As Guy Claxton has shown, we shouldn’t have to choose between The Tudors or Media Studies.

2. Discipline: the debate has a larger significance. Should schools should be run on utilitarian principles (prioritizing the experience of the many even if that means failing the few)? I want to learn more about Steve Heppell’s Not School.

3. Selectivity seems part of the same debate. At the moment, I am very much pro-selectivity. As a classroom teacher, I didn’t see my weaker students benefiting from the strongest – nor vice versa. I’m ready to be proved wrong.

4. I quote Prof. Claxton in complete agreement: “Too often children see school as posing another set of challenges, rather than as an opportunity to develop the sorts of resources needed to deal with those challenges.”

5. Hmmmm.. a change of mind every day..