Tag: exams

What Constitutes ‘Rigour’ in Our 21st-Century Educational Systems? [DMLcentral]

My latest post for DMLcentral is up. Entitled What constitutes ‘rigour’ in our 21st-century educational systems? I analyse the latest moves of Michael Gove, the English Secretary of State for Education:

What concerns me about Gove’s proposals is the assumption that rigour consists of a very particular method of assessing young people’s knowledge, understanding and skills. I say this as a former teacher and senior leader, as someone who is currently involved in education on a national and international level and, most importantly, a parent. The ability to sit still and concentrate for three hours on examination questions testing feats of memory does not sound to me like a 21st century skill. Which pieces of the complex puzzle of human knowledge, skills and understanding are not captured under such a system? I’d suggest many.

I’m closing comments here so that you can comment over there. 🙂

Is handwriting dead?

Flickr - handwritingEven as a teacher, I don’t have to write much in an average day. In fact, the most handwriting I ever do at a time is in my diary. That’s probably why, whilst it’s not GP-level indecipherable, it’s certainly not ‘neat’.

But then, on the other hand, last time I checked I could type around 80 words per minute on a keyboard. This is due to me having used a program called Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing when I was about 12 (it came free on the front of a computer magazine). Its games-based approach made learning to touch-type fun. It didn’t take many hours of practice for me to become fairly quick.

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The Curse of Our Society

Sue Perkins

There’s a great interview with the comedienne Sue Perkins in The Word magazine this month in which she puts in a nutshell what I think a lot of people feel:

It’s the curse of our society, the relentless pursuit of unimportant things, a terrible capitalist trap. Our society as become, ‘Have you met targets? Have you failed or succeeded?’ I permanently feel like I’m chasing my tail. I feel like a victim of that. Teachers, they’re constantly told they’re disappointing and equally, children. Children are told the exams they’re sitting [snootily], ‘Oh they aren’t as clever as when we were doing O-levels.’ Can you imagine?  To be told what you’re trying to achieve is meaningless? Coupled, again, with expectation, with the spectre of failure everywhere. Kids are just bombarded by depressing notions all the time. About how dreadful they are. It’s all labelling, so early. I think the kids are f***ed.

So true. I must pay tribute to the genius that is The Word. I subscribed after buying the first issue and this one is number 50. It doesn’t just look at stuff that’s being marketed and it refuses to bow down to the god of 5-star ratings. Pure genius, it really is…

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