Thursday, January 26, 2012

anyone can teach… can’t they?

I blogged about this last September…
I have absolutely no doubt that some former members of the armed forces have much to offer the world of education, but I was saddened this morning to see reports of a proposed school for 11-18 year-olds in Oldham where ALL the teaching staff will be composed of ex-servicemen and women. The school is now actively recruiting prospective pupils with a view to opening next year. Worryingly (and I can’t quite believe that this can be true?), according to Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, many ex-servicemen and women at the Phoenix Free School will have had no formal teacher training: “Turning soldiers into teachers with no training is like trying to turn teachers into soldiers with no training… They seem to believe routine drills and discipline is what these children need. Well, some of them may need it, but not all of them will”.
When I turned 50, I was briefly tempted by the idea of becoming a (primary school) teacher. Having worked closely with teachers in secondary education, I am now relieved that I didn’t. Not EVERYONE can be an effective teacher – and there are key skills that all teachers DO have to LEARN. Very many of my school colleagues were quite BRILLIANT teachers – knowledgeable, intelligent, inspirational, gifted, enthusiastic, intuitive and able to communicate a love for their subject to pupils. The Phoenix project is applying for state funding as a free school which would be run outside of local authority control (of course!) and has the backing of Michael Gove (of course!). To my mind, a school which bases its education philosophy on the core values of the armed forces sounds worrying, to say the least!
I suggest you check out this report on today’s BBC website.
Photo: I couldn’t resist this photograph (and I’m only joking)!

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