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Phillip Pullman on education and imagination

Discussion in 'Education news' started by JL48, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Pullman is living in the past, the teachers of his day are not the teachers of today. The curriculum needs to be rigorously prescribed at many point because many entrants have no real grasp of their subjects or how to teach them.
    snowyhead and lanokia like this.
  3. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Is that not a result in long-term underinvestment in education in the first case, and the overly prescriptive system that we have in the second? Not to mention the mass sacking / resignation of teachers over 40 that would normally be informal sources of advice / mentoring / training?
    lanokia and JohnJCazorla like this.
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Scintillant and JL48 like this.
  5. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Then isn't about time that we loosen the restrictions a bit, and start to encourage teachers to actually teach, instead of just deliver a prescribed list of knowledge?
  6. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I would say that that is the biggest difference between older staff and younger ones - not only is there a lack of subject knowledge, but there's often not even an obvious interest in their subject. It seems that (for those of you familiar with "the other side") teachers used to be Ken Barlow, but now they're Dermot O'Leary.

    This difference is most obvious in my subject - when ICT became Computing, lots of newer teachers started moaning about having to teach programming, how computers store information, etc. Firstly, programming was always in the ICT National Curriculum if they'd bothered to look, but also I'm curious about what would drive someone to teach ICT if they've got no interest in computers or how they work.
  7. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    What's more important than knowledge, though?

  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    At this moment, no. Class sizes are too large, SEN inflated and the wrong kind of people are being sucked into a profession for which they have no aptitude.

    If a curriculum is not prescribed then there can be no standards by which to judge if learning happens.
    snowyhead and wanet like this.
  9. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Depends who does the prescribing. And whether skills and concepts and a wider view of education are included.

    Our SEN provision is the joke of the English speaking world. Go to Canada, the US, Australia, or NZ, and they are light years ahead of us. And then, of course, there is EAL which virtually doesn't even exist in this country anymore . . .
    Alice K likes this.
  10. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    No, the judgement of standards depends upon who is judging whether stanare demonstrated. At the moment it's Ofsted often by proxy of SLT.

    Few things are taught which are not in some way either ancillary to or in themselves a skill or a concept.

    SEN provision is apparently insufficient because SEN incidence is inflated.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
    Pomza likes this.
  11. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Emphasis is everything.
    and the NHS doesn't have enough money because inconsiderate people keep on using it. Oh, and while we're trotting out nonsense excuses and lies - 80% of our kids are now in good or outstanding schools . . .
  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Which "nonsense excuses & lies" are you "trotting" out?
  13. thyr

    thyr Occasional commenter

    Many entrants? I would say some.

    Most teachers I've come across both know their subject and know how to teach it. How to teach it well comes with practice and experience.

    I suspect most problems happen when we have to teach out of our "comfort zone". I know mine do.
    The other reason for "prescribed teaching" of course is to pass exams. As long as exam results are the primary judgement of a school's and it's teachers' ability the situation will continue.
  14. circuskevin

    circuskevin Occasional commenter

    So Vince, what do you teach?

    Are you able to include your special needs pupils or would you rather they were not there?

    Just curious.

    JL48 likes this.
  15. thyr

    thyr Occasional commenter

    I fear JL48 may be referring to your statement.
  16. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    These. And the idea that the reason that the reason that SEN is light years behind the other Anglophone countries is due to inflated SEN incidence. If anything there is less of it compared to other Anglophone systems.
    They are certainly part of the problem. It leads to a very narrow education.
    Amongst others.
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Are you saying that you really believe that all those horrendously behaved kids from horrendously behaved families, that clog-up schools' SEN registers, actually have genuine medical conditions?!
    mrajlong and Vince_Ulam like this.
  18. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    No. Although I'm not not saying that either.

    What I'm saying is that our SEN provision (in terms of approach, expertise, set up, systems, staffing / funding, etc.) is light years behind the other 4 main Anglophone countries that I have mentioned. It's something you notice very quickly if you work outside the British system (or if you talk to SEN professionals from those countries who have seen what goes on in the UK. They are usually horrified.)

    That's not to say that there isn't a lot of good stuff going on in the UK - but it's patchy, and we've been travelling fast in the opposite direction of travel to most of these nations since 2010.
  19. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I think it's more complex than that. I think that we're coming to a realisation that a bigger proportion of youngsters find learning in the way that the brightest kids learn very difficult so we may be labelling more of them.

    With regard to Phillip Pullman, to some extent I agree with him. However I feel he also misses the point a bit. The useful imagination is not so much the symphony writing, old master painting or novelist sort of imagination, but practical imagination. The sort of imagination to put yourself in the someone else's shoes, or the imagination to take a problem and say, well I've never come across this before but if I do this and this I can use this method to solve it.
    JL48 likes this.
  20. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    We do have a system that sets the Grammar system as the ideal, and tries to put all students through a very academic route. Problem is, only the top 50% of students can really access this form of education. So what do you do then?
    a) Leave it as is, and accept that we are setting up the bottom 50% of students for failure - with all the behaviour and psychological problems that brings?
    b) Do what the Americans do, and dumb it down so much that pretty much anyone can graduate high school, and go on to get a BA (if you have the money).
    c) Provide varied authentic properly financed routes through education on a large scale? This would mean consistently spending large sums of money on alternative route options, if they were ever to be taken seriously.

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