Towards Finding a New Order in Education – John Abbott Part 2
While most people are persuaded that it is learning that will drive our future economies and broadly determine what kind of society will emerge, society at large is so untrusting of its teachers that it ties them up with red tape, and thus rapidly destroys their professionalism. Too many of the best leave after only a few years of teaching, disillusioned at the processes they are expected to follow. Yet every day we hear of intriguing new discoveries about the brain, and delight in watching television programmes about evolution.
We may even imagine ourselves “walking with cavemen” and wonder why we’re not the successful business entrepreneurs that other programmes tell us it is possible for each of us to become.
Unfortunately, this spirit of enquiry and excitement doesn’t seem to have percolated into the processes of schooling, or into government’s policy about how society at large should support young people. Instead we read about building larger schools, of keeping children in the classroom for longer hours, of installing metal detectors to prevent knives and guns getting into the classrooms, of record numbers of pupils being permanently excluded from school, and of young teachers resigning from the profession long before their time. Then we hear of examination results having plateaued out despite the injection of billions of pounds of extra funding.
There have been so many initiatives — a National Curriculum with several revisions, outcome-based assessment systems, civic affairs classes, drug education, courses to create young entrepreneurs, an invasion of computers to support information communication technologies, while not a day passes when a school has not one, but several, teachers away on yet another in-service training programme.
Towards Finding a New Order in Education – John Abbott Part 3