Nice work if you can get it

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Next student to see the teacher please!

Ah, do come in. Now what can I do for you today?

Well I was wondering if you had got my test results back yet?

Let me see now. Ah Yes. Here they are. Hmm. You better take a seat and prepare yourself for some very bad news. I’m afraid you’ve only got a predicted D grade in GCSE Chemistry, and I’m sorry to inform you that only have six months left to revise in before you reach your terminal examination.

Oh dear. That’s terrible. There must be something you can do for me?

Well I could put you on a long-term series of personalised ChemoTheory sessions, but I’m afraid that’s only available in fee-paying schools, so unless you’ve got private school care insurance I’m afraid you won’t be able to afford it.

However, instead I am allowed to prescribe you a course of new scientifically unproven Govicol, but I should warn you it’s rather indigestible and you will have to be spoon-fed it. And what’s more it not only has a nasty taste but has a whole range of unpleasant educational side-effects.

But what about the new more modern methods that have been developed?

Ah, well I’m sorry to say that the government has informed us that they have been proved to be quite unreliable, so we’re now we’re having to go back and use more traditional 19th century methods. I could probably let you have a slate and some chalk if you want?

Err, no thanks. Haven’t you got anything a bit more progressive, like a tablet of some sort?

I’ll tell you what I can do. Here, take these. They are a set of standard government approved exercises you can self-administer three times a day. But do be careful when you download them – make sure you don’t end up with a nasty virus as well.

Government approved? But you’re a highly qualified and experienced teacher, can’t you tell me what specific exercises would be best for me?

Good heavens, no! What do you think this is – the NHS? We don’t have anything nearly as NICE. While they might have a professional body that guides doctors and nurses and advises on best practice and quality standards, we teachers have to rely on government ministers who know absolutely nothing about education, except of course they went to school once, or at least I’ve been told some of them have.

But I thought the Government was about to announce a Royal College of Teaching. Won’t that make a difference?

Yes, curious that, isn’t it? Just a few weeks before the General Election, and all those teachers’ votes to go for. Unfortunately the proposed college only covers teacher training and defining professional standards for teachers – not what they should teach. And also as a government quango it will probably be overseen by a bureaucratic body that won’t be independent or include any teachers – because of course apparently teachers don’t know anything about teaching, despite the fact they went to school once too, just like the politicians.

So is there nothing else you can do for me?

Well, no, it’s up to you really. Just make sure you keep taking the five-subjects-a-day you need to achieve the required levels of EBaccteria. And keep reading the textbooks until you’ve finished the full course of treatment.

Well, time’s up. Don’t forget to drop off another specimen of your work next week.

And shut all the doors to your future as you leave please.

NEXT!

 

Image credit: Flickr/Rusty Ferguson

Who Ya Gonna Call?

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Traditional educationalists and politicians are currently obsessed with ‘de-bunking’ so-called educational myths which oddly enough seem to be primarily about so-called progressive teaching methods.  Always the one to keep up with current trends, All Change Please! thought it was time to indulge in some myth-busting of its own. And here’s what it came up with.

Myth 1: The Earth goes round the Sun
This one is pretty obvious. Of course it doesn’t. The clue is in the words Sunrise and Sunset. Now if they had been called Earthrise and Earthset it might have been a bit more believable.

Myth 2: The Earth is a sphere and spins at around 1000mph
This is a bit daft isn’t it? If it were round, things would keep sliding about and rolling off everywhere. But they don’t do they, so it must be flat? And if it really was spinning at that sort of speed we wouldn’t be able to stand upright, would we?

Myth 3: Data can be transmitted vast distances using electromagnetic waves
Now this is just plain ridiculous. Are you having me on? Have you ever actually seen one of these so called waves? I mean how could they possibly almost instantaneously travel all that distance and then pass though solid walls? This is all probably just one of those magic illusions set up by Derren Brown.

Myth 4: You shouldn’t believe anything you read in the Daily Mail
This can’t be correct because it says in the Daily Mail that everything they print is true.

Myth 5: Children go to school and learn lots of useful facts that will set them up for life
Now anyone who has ever been to school knows this one is a complete myth, unless of course they happen to be a traditional teacher or a politician.

Myth 6: All children learn and make progress in exactly the same way at exactly the same speed and age. It’s just that some seem to be better at doing so than others
This myth comes in very handy because if you believe this it means you can teach everyone the same facts in the exactly the same way.

Myth 7: Project work and collaboration are an unnecessary distraction from real learning, and anyway students just sit around chatting about what they saw on TV last night
If you believe Myth 6, you will probably believe this one as well because the reality is that creating successful learning situations involving project work and collaboration is demanding and risky. And anyway, watching TV is just so 20th Century.

Myth 8: Making examinations harder to pass means lazy, good for nothing teachers will work harder and children will learn more
Wrong again. It just means that more teachers will leave the profession and more children will leave school without any qualifications.

Myth 9: Collecting vast amounts of data on children’s day-to-day performance in school improves their education
No teacher actually believes this to be true, and knows for certain it is all a complete waste of time.

Myth 10: The traditional model of formal schooling is completely out-dated in the 21st Century, and children would be better off at home learning from their computers and each other
There might be some truth in this, but there again we do need someone to keep an eye our children and make sure they don’t become terrorists while we’re both out at work trying to earn enough to pay the mortgage.

Another shot of slimy green ectoplastic residue anyone?