3 ‘well, duh’ BBC Education articles

BBC EducationSometimes there’s some articles on the BBC News Education pages that make you wonder who’s paying for the research they’re based upon. Here’s 3 just from yesterday:

  • 71% of pupils admit being a bully – and the other 29% are liars if, as I suspect, ‘bullying’ has been very widely defined. Real bullying can blight lives and should not be condoned under any circumstances. Minor name-calling and fallings-out, on the other hand (although some will no doubt disagree), are all part of growing up. It’s the human equivalent of play-fighting in animals.
  • Some exams ‘harder than others’ – really? My goodness! Groundbreaking news. And surprise, surprise, they found History GCSE is harder than Geography GCSE. Perhaps historians’ jibes that Geographers do nothing but colour things in have some credence after all… 😉
  • Unions ‘protecting poor teachers’ – this is something I feel strongly about. There’s a lot of talented people out there who should be in our schools rather than some of the no-hopers I’ve come across in previous schools. I haven’t (thankfully) come across any in my current school, but that’s why we’re a high-achieving specialist school. Having recently received the latest issue of my union’s magazine it’s clear that a great deal of the time they ‘protect’ whinging teachers who really need to get out of the profession and do something to which they’re more suited. That’s not to say that unions don’t do a good job some of the time – both my Dad and myself have had positive experiences – but they really do need to face up to the fact that some teachers aren’t up to the job. There’s only so much ‘professional development’ people can do! :p

What do you think?

2 Comments

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  1. You beat me to it Doug. Was planning to post on similar lines. All 3 are ridiculous news stories in their own right. I was listening to some childrens worker on 5 live this morning and her defintion of bullying would mean that my 3 year old daughter bullies her elder brothers every minute of the day. You are right much of this “bullying” is life BUT the problems arise when some kids take it too far.
    I think I have posted recently about languages being included in this “hard” group of exams. There is a suggestion that the “harder subjects should dumb down, I say Geog and the like should wise up. Allow kids a chance to think.
    As a rep for my union I often have to listen to some rubbish from my colleagues, but I have to treat all approaches the same way. However there are bad teachers out there, of course there are and no amount of training will put it to rights in most cases. In recent years I am staggered at the quality (or lack of) trainees that enter the profession. I suspect this is a result of targets and making up numbers. I hold the belief that to enter this profession properly folk should have seen a bit of the world and life in general beforehand. Too many “kids” go through school, to uni, to teacher training and back into school. What have they seen? Where is the life experience.
    Anyway, you could say I agree with you Doug.

  2. I was a bit puzzled by this “some exams are tougher than others thing”. My initial reaction was also “well duh!”, but for totally different reasons, I think.

    (1) When there is such disparity in the subjects being compared, how on earth do you come up with an absolute?
    (2) Surely one individual will find the maths exams tougher than the language exams, while another breezes through the languages and comes an almighty cropper in the sciences.

    Isn’t there a massive amount of subjectivity involved, here?

    My younger son’s art teacher was waxing lyrical recently about his talent and how keen she was that he choose to take art as one of his options for GCSEs. I was a bit puzzled, since he is only predicted a level 5 for art, while he is predicted level 7s for sciences, English and maths. She assured me that it is much tougher to get a level 6 for art than a level 7 for any of the subjects I had mentioned.

    I can’t see how anything can ever be done to change this, and I have to admit that I can’t see why it should be such an issue.

    Then again, I’m looking at this as a parent, not a teacher.

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