There is a school of thought that argues we, in England, have gone way too far down the ‘progressive’ route in education. I’ve looked at this here, here and here. For me the traditional vs progressive debate is a false one because in 2016 neither approach is dominant and the two approaches have much to offer. Certainly individual teachers can be appalled at a woolly approach to, for example, learning verb endings and then blame it on the ‘progressives’ but this doesn’t dig deep enough. We must consider something very obvious indeed here: teaching takes place in many different contexts e.g. a class of teenagers preparing for a French GCSE, a class of six year olds starting a new topic about volcanoes, a small group tutorial at university discussing the romantic poets etc etc. Naturally enough these examples may lead to the teacher choosing a more ‘progressive’ approach or a more ‘traditional’ one.
In the following link Stefan Collini reviews two books that both look into the marketisation of higher education. It is shocking stuff:
Meanwhile here are some extracts from my own talk about the marketisation of education that I delivered at the State of Education Conference on Saturday 1st March (http://stateofeducation2014.wordpress.com/).
A couple of months ago Ed Dorrell, the features editor at the TES, wrote an editorial about school autonomy and whether or not it is really happening. Unfortunately I can’t give you a link to the piece because you have to subscribe to the TES to see it online. I wrote to him because I felt that he hadn’t made any effort to unpick the terms or look behind the motives of those pushing for greater school ‘autonomy’.
Here’s the email (it’s not as long as the Gabriel Sahlgren one but like that email it also went unanswered):
I read your article (Leave Schools Alone to Judge the Best in Show) in the most recent TES (20.09.13) with great interest. I have written and re-written my email to you because I had to remove lots of spittle-flecked ranting in an attempt to engage with your underlying philosophy. My main question I suppose is: what convinces you that the market – an entity that seeks profit above all else – would be the best model on which to base a national education system? What I have written here is not an academic, properly sourced essay.
Here is a diagram that illustrates the links between Michael Gove and his privatisation chums (click on it to enlarge it). Francis Gilbert made this, he is one of the founders of the Local Schools Network.
This diagram is very similar to the picture I had in my own head after reading the following story (not written by Francis Gilbert but on an unrelated website):
There is a recently posted, lengthy, very thorough and highly critical article about Michael Gove here:
Here is my own artistic response to all this:
Policy makers “…often know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.” Michel Foucault
Here is a recent advert encouraging graduates to join the teaching profession. It is really an advert encouraging graduates to join the management profession. I have not seen it since. Perhaps teachers complained about the implications: there’s nothing wrong with wanting out of the classroom as soon as possible and also management do not need a solid background in actual teaching!
I thought I’d liven up a last week’s staff meeting with a little bit of citric acid. When asked if there was Any Other Business (AOB) I had this to say:
“The recent NUT meeting that was called to elect a new representative was most fruitful”
[I hold up a lemon]