I’m assuming that some people are happy that Article 50 has been signed, although I’m doing my best to avoid them. Perhaps they are the same people who are focused on looking backwards for the solutions to problems in the present.
Whether we like it or not, we are in a period of immense change. This could create opportunities for us to positively shape the future of education, but only if we are honest about the state we are in.
The danger of pseudo-traditionalist teachers
All our opinions are formed by our experiences. Therefore the tendency for people working in the same sector, in similar areas, is bound to generate the “group think” that makes blogs such as this even more important. If this blog is representative of how the English education system is viewed from abroad, then we should all be concerned.
It argues that “there is a vociferous minority of, predominantly UK, teachers who exalt a particular brand of right-wing ideology that sits uncomfortably with the more enlightened majority in the profession. These neo-traditionalists, or pseudo-trads, take their inspiration from Michael Gove and have a very narrow view of the purpose of education…Fortunately, the pseudo-trad nonsense seems the exclusive domain of the political right in the UK, and hasn’t permeated into the international sector.”
I agree with some of this, including the arguments against the common criticisms levelled against the “progressives”. “Of course, those on the progressive end of the spectrum don’t dismiss the importance of knowledge as many ‘neo-trads’ claim…It seems ludicrous to argue that there is a ‘best way’ to teach.”
Subject-based learning: let’s blow this baby wide open
We really need new ideas in this brave new world of dog-eats-dog school survival in which the aims of the government are to re-create an unrealistic and mystical sense of the past educational system. James Mannion argues that, “1) schools have been focused almost exclusively on teaching a narrow band of traditional subjects for as long as anyone can remember; 2) I don’t know if you’ve seen the news ever, but the world is in something of a mess.
Conclusion: since we’re only alive for the blink of an eye, maybe we should try relaxing some of the odd top-down controls on what people can learn and when.”
He lists subjects that students could study, including active citizenship, analysing the media, argumentation, consensus building, ethical hacking, applying for funding and how to find reputable sources on the internet. He asks if there was a school offering subjects like this would you send your child there? I know that I would.
How to negotiate salaries for teachers
This blog made me feel conflicted. On the one hand, I applaud women empowered enough to argue for the salary they deserve. On the other, I know that schools funding is desperate and that negotiating a higher salary for one person could result in denied progression for another.
This blog gives clear guidance on how to negotiate a higher salary, including the need for market research. It also points out that it might not just be about money.
The last piece of advice is excellent: “Whatever happens you’ll be building those negotiation skills for a time when it really matters and it’s good to keep employers on their toes.”
My intolerance for inauthentic people seems to increase the older I get, but I try hard not to make snap judgments or at least to control the inner eye roll. In this short blog Grumpy Teacher reminds us not to make snap judgments of the children we teach because none of us ever really knows what other people are facing.