For those not within the education system in the UK, allow me to explain. There’s been an emphasis over the last year or so to give the opinions of students in schools more status. In some cases this has worked very well and added to the life of the school. In others, it’s been just another box to tick. I imagine that in the latter type of school, the Dilbert cartoon below would resonate with teachers:
What are your thoughts on ‘learner/students/pupil voice’?
It’s the start of the new academic year and so naturally a time when I start musing on the whys and wherefores of education. By the end of the academic year I’ve almost come to accept the system as normal but now, at the beginning of the year – and fresh from summer holidays – it all seems rather strange… :-s
- Why do we have a system that trumpets ‘personalised learning’, ‘Every Child Matters‘ and the diversity of society, and then insists that each cohort must do better than the last in public examinations?
- Can you think of another profession where day-to-day web tools such as Flickr (that have been used unproblematically and without complaint) are suddenly made unavailable by persons unknown (and unaccountable)?
- If we know that children learn ‘academic’ subjects best in the morning and do better in artistic, athletic and creative activities in the afternoon, why don’t we arrange our lessons accordingly?
- Why must every intervention and way of teaching lead to ‘better results’ (measured, of course, by examination)?
- Given that headteachers, colleagues, parents and pupils all know who the very poor teachers are in a school, why is it so difficult to remove them from their extremely important position of responsibility?
- Why are politicians in control of the majority of what goes on in education?
- What makes a ‘good’ teacher? Should decent results in public retrospectively justify or condemn the methods employed by teachers?
- Most private schools do better than state schools. Research shows that this is largely down to smaller class sizes. Why, in a wealthy western world, do we not do something about this?
- Do students always know what’s best for them? Shouldn’t professionals guide their option choices and advise them based on experience? Has ‘learner voice’ gone too far?
What would YOUR answers to these questions be?