During the week you may or may not have read about the speech made at the Gory Party conference by a teacher rousing the troops by stating that she won’t be silenced about the fact that life in most schools was ‘totally and utterly chaotic‘, and that all teachers were ‘guilt-ridden white liberals‘ who tolerated poor behaviour, and that black pupils were allowed to under-achieve. ‘It is ridiculous‘, she added, ‘that pupils can now get a meaningless B Tech in an invented subject such as ‘travel and tourism’. Invented? Surely it’s subjects like History that are ‘invented’? Ever tried getting a good job in the History industry?
Danger warning: link to Daily Mail article. May cause extreme irritation and annoyance.
So obviously what we need is an army of tough, right-wing teachers teaching those rigorous, deep-thought-provoking academic subjects to regimented rows of neatly uniformed children all listening attentively. Ah yes, that will solve the problem. Or will it? While I accept that a minority of poorly managed, usually inner-city, schools with a small number of not-quite yet retired left-wing teachers from the 1970s may still exist, in my experience that vast majority of today’s teachers are ambitious for their pupils, and far from liberal in their approach in the classroom, if anything exerting too much structure and focus at times.
Yet again, the criticism is being aimed in the wrong direction. Children learn, and behave, if the content of lessons is relevant, interesting and enjoyable. They instinctively know that traditional academic subjects are completely inappropriate for their future needs, and that learning and regurgitating facts is not the way the world works these days.
It’s the Curriculum, stupid!