So the government is getting ready to tinker with the secondary school curriculum again. They're starting a pilot project in which 11-14-year-olds no longer take lessons in subjects like history and geography and replace them with month-long projects on global warming.
What drugs are they on?
They think this will make the pupils more enthusiastic and more willing to come to school. This is a Give Them What They Need vs. Give Them What They Want debate. Have they learned nothing about young people? Have they learned nothing from their last disastrous attempt at this type of teaching? There is a whole generation out there that never learned basic punctuation, maths, history. A whole generation that was failed by the trendy philosophy of some wankers in suits. And they want to do it again.
This holistic approach will work only if the pupils have a working knowledge of each of the fundamentals. My daughter takes ballet. She learns each step first, then puts the steps together for a dance. If she didn't learn the steps first, she would fall flat on her face. And that is what will happen if this experiment goes ahead. What self-respecting teacher thinks this is a good idea?
What self-respecting head teacher thinks 16-year-olds should be paid to help out in the classroom?
I read this article in yesterday's Times(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article1977615.ece ) and I was speechless for more or less the first time. Apparently, the timetable idea is a bad one because that's the way it's always been done. Sometimes things are done the way it's always been done because that is a good idea that works.
But these "thinkers" from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority are getting paid a lot of money, no doubt, to come up with something different. Why not show some respect for teachers and pupils instead of pandering to popular topics (cultural diversity?). Why not just have standards that teachers and pupils are expected to meet? Like producing work that is actually literate. My daughter brought home a worksheet for IT that was littered with spelling errors and typos. If that's the example they're given, why should pupils aim to be any better?
Wait, I've just come up with a brilliant idea: Send them all to Glastonbury. There they can express their creativity in the mud, learn about global warming and our local climate (hello rain), experience cultural diversity (Kate Moss in black vs. Lily Allen in maxidress), practice their knowledge of chemistry by ingesting various substances. Who needs a timetable? Glastonbury has it all.