Open Thinkering


10 ‘Home Truths’ about Schooling and Education

I was frustrated last night as wasn’t working and I couldn’t post the following. These came to me at various points yesterday and kind of melded themselves into a blog post.

So here’s what’s on my mind:



  1. For there to be ‘good’ parents there must be ‘bad’ parents. The same is true of teachers.
  2. It is almost impossible to effect a fundamental change in worldview in an individual whom you see as part of a class of ~30 for less than an hour per week.
  3. To learn how to ride a bicycle you have to take the stabilisers off at some point. In the same way, Internet safety cannot be taught effectively in an artificially closed, filtered, environment.
  4. More content ? more achievement.
  5. Being good at passing examinations does not mean an individual will be of benefit of society or ‘flourish’ (in an Aristotelian sense)
  6. Technology often serves to magnify talents and, moreover, weaknesses in pedagogy.
  7. If some pilots knew the same about flying as some teachers know about ‘real’ teaching, the aircraft would never get to its destination.
  8. It may be a cliché to cite time-motion studies that show that the majority of time in school, children are waiting for something to happen. This does not mean, however, that the situation has been rectified.
  9. If the school is a business, then each department should know how the others fit into corporate aims and philosophies. If it is not, and is child-centred, it needs to have a holistic approach. Either way, most schools need to improve communication between subject areas.
  10. One of the chief functions of schools in the 21st century is to babysit children for ever-increasing periods of time (think: extended schools).

7 thoughts on “10 ‘Home Truths’ about Schooling and Education

  1. Interesting list Doug. I agree with most of it, and share your frustrations, but

    2. Disagree completely. I've been affected profoundly by people that I have met only once.

  2. 8 out of the 10 I think are brilliant.
    Not sure about numbers 7 and 10 (ps there's an large mass of code from your template sitting under this comment window!)

  3. The most rewarding, student-centered, learning effective school environments I have ever had the pleasure working in only existed for one year. That year was special. It only existed one year because the interpersonal dynamics between staff members and the direction our administration led us in only created that chemistry for that brief period of time. In this alternative learning setting we did not have classes. Our teachers all shared one large classroom for an office (although we did work with students in 8 separate rooms). Students and teachers roamed freely, seeking help and collaborating with teachers and fellow students when they felt they needed it. The only formally structured part of the day was the first 15 minutes when teachers met with their core students to go over their daily learning goals and hash out what they were going to do with their projects. Our staff was totally in sync because we were constantly working with each other on student, school, and curriculum issues. We, along with our students, approached school as a learning community and aside from the regular school standards and benchmarks we were all participating in a collective learning project about learning itself. There was no I or my, there was only we and ours. Projects conceived by one teacher or student were adopted, supported, and carried out school wide. We each individually owned our own learning yet did not possess it. This only lasted for one year. The next year aspirations changed, school management changed, and the chemistry was lost. The year following that over half the staff either lost their jobs to budget cuts or left to graze in greener pastures.

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