The surgeon and the teacher

This week I’m indebted to smichael920, a primary school headteacher from Blackpool, for my post. In his ‘Creativity behind learning’ blog he records a story that I remember hearing years ago but have never seen written down:

A teacher and a surgeon from 100 years ago were magically transported from their places of work to an operating theatre and classroom today. The surgeon commented first.

“What’s this?” He cried. “What are all these machines for? These lights, these controls on the wall, the screen here that moves over the bed, are these cameras, what do these controls do? Does this go over your ears? What is all this? It is nothing like my operating theatre I would not know where to start or what to do. The world of the surgeon has completely and utterly changed.”

The teacher then arrived in the classroom.
“Oh yes” he said. “The tables, the chairs. This is where the teacher sits. The books on the shelves, the board looks a little different but is still here at the front where everyone can see it. Yes it’s all pretty much as I remember it! I’ll be fine here, not a lot has changed in the world of the teacher.”

The full text, together with some interesting comparative photos can be found here:

And while you’re there have a read of:

Of course there are now some hi-tech teaching and learning spaces that are distinctly different from the way they used to be, though the majority of schools still have a significant number of traditonal classroom layouts. But maybe what the teacher from the past might find most re-assuring is the content of the lessons and the didactive teaching and learning, even if the phrases ‘National Curriculum’, ‘Attainment Targets’ and ‘Ofsted’ might well cause him to wonder if in fact things were better in his day?