Thursday, 21 June 2012

My soapbox!! ;-) LOL!

Michael Gove is a bit like Marmite, isn't he?!
You either love him or hate him. And this time, he really has set the cat amongst the pigeons!

I started my morning by reading this blog / article.
Being of the opinion that our education system needs a radical overhaul, this article set me thinking. If there really is to be a radical overhaul then surely one of the first things that needs to be addressed is the quality of teacher training.
And don't forget that these trainee teachers are products of the National Curriculum, so they will need to open their minds somewhat! Or have them prised open!

I have known of students who have taken a degree and then embarked on the one - year course in order to learn all that there is to know about classroom teaching.
What a joke!!!
Take all holidays out of that year and you have trainee teachers
with little classroom experience, facing a class of children
like rabbits in a spotlight ... dazed, confused and desperate for help.
Granted not all trainee teachers take this route but this area certainly needs addressing.

Next, there are many young teachers who have only ever taught under the guidelines of the National Curriculum. I feel sorry for them. Thus many
have only ever taught to tests. Yes, those vile SATs which
I have always despised,hated and loathed!! They are nothing short of an evil and unnecessary part of our education system and in my opinion they should’ve been exterminated many moons ago. When you get schools ‘bending the rules’ in order to achieve a higher position in the league tables then something has to be terribly wrong.

Oh dear! I believe that many teachers will be frightened
at the thought of what's to come! 
Thus, the overhaul of teacher training is top priority!! It has to be.

For me, the best days of my teaching were when I could close my 
classroom door and teach without any National Curriculum guidelines
I wasn't fased, I had had excellent training back in the
early ‘70s and was very well equipped to enter my profession. My classroom was alive, overflowing with inspiration and creativity was at the forefront of everything we did. Enough said about creativity for the time being! (Apart from the fact that I think we have wrung it out of our children, BIG TIME!)

Maybe, I was just one of the lucky ones.
Three years training at an excellent teachers’ training college where we spent a lot of time in schools, stood me in good stead and provided the solid foundation on which I have grown as a teacher. I still believe that the best teachers are the teachers who were trained at around that time! Unless someone can show me otherwise,I will always go on believing that to be the case. Sadly, many of those teachers have probably left the profession and are no longer around to offer their advice and experience. And that is a big sadness.

But back to the future (by mentioning the past!)
I truly believe that the state of our education system
is the result of many years of poor policies and dumbing down. 
The quaint idea that everyone should have the chance to go to University, was never going to work, was it? We all know the results of that ‘little experiment’! 

I have been horrified to see children who were almost, ' special needs' when I taught them as 8 year olds, take their place at University. I have been mortified to see children who really struggle with English, attaining that all important ' C' grade at GCSE...NO WAY should they have attained such a grade. Time was when we were always told that an A to C grade at GCSE was equivalent to the old GCE 'O' level...thus we are talking Grammar school level! Crazy or what?
Socialist policies, which have forced everyone to the lowest level, simply have not worked. Huge comprehensives, with the, 'one size fits all' approach, have not worked.

What will work is a system whereby we give academic pupils the chances in which to shine and excel; we give pupils, who are more skilled on the technical side, the chance to grow and take those skills into the workplace; we give those who are creative, the chance to express, perform and entertain. There is a place for everyone in our society.There is no place for dumbing down.

I also know that education is the basis of economic growth and therefore if education fails...well, we know the outcome, don’t we? Which makes you wonder…!

Finally, the DM is not my favourite paper but I frequently head that way when I want a laugh and when I read these words today,I laughed because, in my opinion they are so very true!!! 

"Teachers who want the best for their charges should welcome
these plans wholeheartedly - not least for the promise to slim down the National Curriculum and (sic) thus freeing them to pass on their own enthusiasms.
But the bitter truth is, of course, that many will join Britain's liberal establishment, which has wreaked much harm to generations of children, in fighting them to their last breath, clinging blindly to the egalitarian claptrap they picked up at their training colleges." 

Ah…love that ! So, we’re back where we the very institutions where teachers are taught.
And yes, teachers are a militant lot and no doubt will protest...just to protest!!!

I will watch this all, with interest!
For far too long our country has loitered at the wrong end of the European education league tables. Enough is enough!

Meanwhile, for my part, I will continue to teach in the way that I was taught, striving for every child to achieve success and to do their very best at all times. Simples!!! ;-)


WinnibriggsHouse said...

Wow! Well I have never been in the teaching field except as a keep fit teacher ( at a time when you also had to have a teaching certificate to do this), but I so agree with what you have said. I have met many young people who have been encouraged to go to university only to see them fail in their first year with neither the grounding nor the ability to complete the course. Has this made them more confident adults, no, not at all. Most are disillusioned and what's really frightening is that many of them were excellent in practical fields or the arts but now have no desire or sense of worth to follow their dreams.

Carol said...

A round of applause for the lady talking sense.
Sal Snippets for Prime Minister.
Carol xx

Sal said...

LOL... That would never work! I am too honest!!!;:)

Alchamillamolly said...

I am not a teacher but a mother and I think my kids escaped the worst of the system that was enveloping schools, thank goodness. I don't believe that tiny children should have homework - they are children for such a short time. There is nothing wrong with academic children being encouraged together ie grammar school and those who are better at skills based learning in a different school we need to stop being obsessed with degrees and especially those in obscure subjects. We are desperate as a nation to train young people in skills that we are running out of because the last of the real apprentices are now retiring. In the old days there were always young people coming up behind to fill the gaps - we are now trying to play catch up after all those years of sneering at being a plumber or a gas fitter as well as firms not looking into the future. We will always need those skills to survive as a nation. I am involved in RDPE funding at work and we have funded some excellent traditional craft apprenticeships, now we are funding a new scheme for estate management and associated skills. These are youngsters in rural North Yorkshire who are learning and working alongside farmers ( who are mentoring them)estate owners and small rural businesses. This is on their doorstep and they are so enthusiastic. This is where our future lies by skilling people where they are needed and let them
earn and learn, give them some dignity and pride in what they do and accept that not everyone needs a degree. I have no problem at all with the youngsters who take the degree route we need structures in our society and these people are our future leaders and law makers etc but lets make sure they are able to tackle the academia ahead of them. It must be awful to be encouraged to believe you cna achieve at Uni and then find yourself out of your depth with mounting debt and a sense of foreboding knowing that you can't cope and them feeling ashamed that you failed. Gosh that was a rant. My 29 year old son went to local Uni, he went for a few months and hated it. He got a lowly paid job at the local power station in IT and when they realised what he could do they took hold of him and set him off - he now runs the IT section. His sister 26, was bullied in GCSE year (and had glandular fever on the two weeks of her exams with no contingency plan for her to do them later! - she went back for A levels and the girls were waiting for her - so she walked away from education and took a job at the County Council, she is mature, well paid and so efficient, working now for the Chief Executive and she acheived all this on her own initiative. My son David, not academic at all, went round knocking on doors on the industrial estate after doing some unskilled work, he was offered an apprenticship by the firm because he had gone out looking! He is now a qualified plater and he loves his job. He earns more than his sister and I!

I hope when they discuss the future they will not be afraid to admit that some things we used to do (3 years TT!!) were right and some changes they made didn't work. It will take a special type of person to do that. Make your views heard Sal - you are right.

veronica said...

How I agree with you. A young man on a T.V. quiz show recently was asked what he was going to do when he finished Uni.He replied "I've no idea ,so I'll perhaps go into teaching for a while". I nearly threw something at the tele.How on earth can you "learn" to be a teacher in 12 short months.