Monday, 25 June 2007

And we need this like a hole in the head

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( ) 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.


debio said...

excellent blog to 'kick-off' the new look, WUASTC (which I like, btw).
Always wanted to use the word wanker on a blog - well not every one, you understand, but just sprinkled around......

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I got myself into big trouble using the word wanker when I first moved to the UK. It's not used in the U.S., at least I'd never heard of it.

Pixie said...

You tell it how it is, don't hold back, be yourself....

I do agree with you though had discusssion with youngest hooligan this eveing about where Essex was in relation to London.... What?

Like new look, very sleek.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Thanks, Pixie. It's scary what the young ones don't know.

Snuffleupagus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snuffleupagus said...

Sorry - reposting this again -
Yes! It is totally ridiculous. They do this every few years when they get bored. And then they say it is so revolutionary that everything is going to change and results are going to go up. What they don't tell us is that they're just going to make the exams easier!

And what's more is that they have a plan to revamp KS2 - (late primary school age) - AFTER they have transformed KS3. So we in schools can't make any long term plans with these current changes, because we know in a few years time, they will have to change everything again, once they they have 'transformed' KS2.

Yes, this is what our taxes pay for...