Fabian Society » Three things that really matter to teachers – Andrew Old

English: A black and white icon of a teacher i...

English: A black and white icon of a teacher in front of a class, with dialogue bubbles indicating class discussion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a brilliant, MUST-READ article by Andrew Old and published by the Fabian Society. Check it out!

via Fabian Society » Three things that really matter to teachers.

This article was brought to my attention by a very dear friend and retired teacher. She commented that she would share the above article with her daughter, also a teacher. We had met recently and over dinner, I cited the evidence of the Opinion Fabian Society – Vision 2030. When I shared the link to the second article, I asked my friend if she wanted to write a guest blog about her reflections on teaching. She declined but did cite the first article by Andrew Old, which she had identified from the Fabian Society website.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a passionate believer in evidence-based policy. However, it is important to differentiate between objective and subjective evidence. The UK Government and many international agencies are obsessed with hard, objective evidence, like the international league standards. There is far less reference to the subjective experience of the key players in the education debate. These might include:

The perception of reality is often totally different when considering the subject experience of the different actors, especially when respective fears are introduced. Andrew Old’s article is based upon his own longitudinal and subjective experience, both as a teacher and a blogger. It identifies three themes that are typically ignored by the mainstream media and the political classes.

Personally, I identify strongly with Andrew Old’s three factors. I have seen first-hand, the enormous damage that politicians cause with their frequent and unstructured interventions in public administration. I passionately agree about  the excessive bureaucracy in UK education, including OFSTED. As I reflected on the challenge, my mind wandered to my two years as special adviser to UNESCO, in Paris. My conclusion, was that there has to be a better way forward. I also considered yesterday’s evidence on workforce skills from OECD.

I wonder what percentage of an average teacher’s work-life is actually spent teaching, adding value and on front-line services? Is it time for an Activity-Based Costing review of UK education?

Any thoughts?


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7 responses

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  5. We are told by the article published by the Fabian Society that pupil behavior, teaching methods and management are the three things that matter to teachers.

    Dr Alf says he can identify with these three things and in that I concur.

    Beyond that, I have to say that these are not the only things that matter to the future of the country, the future of the students themselves or the state education system.

    Let us consider where we actually are and what the current education system and current crop of teachers are producing versus what is being produced in the Far East and by competitors closer to home, such as the Finns.

    1) We are 44th in the world when it comes to State education and 29th in the world when it comes to literacy and numeracy

    2) Pupils lack strong male role models because too many teachers are woman who are unable to effect meaningful control thus leading to the bad behavior problem identified by the Fabian Society

    3) Too many teachers are satisfied with poor pupil performance and practice trendy teaching methods such as “differentiation”.

    They also believe as do many heads, in “wow factor”, that “everyone must win prizes” and the idea that learning has to be “fun”.

    In short, they are not preparing students about the realities of life and are failing to provide them with an enabling personal philosophy,the ability to think,the ability to deal with rejection or life-skills/ability to cope with pressure, solve problems, put things into proportion and still perform.
    Learning has to include the inculcation of personal discipline, time management, personal organisation, the basis of right and wrong grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics and personal competitiveness.

    Having “fun” has nothing to do with this and our major industrial competitors in China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, most of Western Europe all understand this yet our state school system turns out blockheads who in 1 in 5 cases cannot read,cannot write and cannot communicate.

    4) South Korean and Chinese schoolchildren learn for 12 hours a day and are learning languages.
    We seem to manage about 6 or 7 and are for the most part monoglot

    5) Too many of our graduates are not job ready and fail to earn degrees in numerate disciplines–Where are our future engineers, scientists, inventors and exporters going to come from???

    6) Too many teachers are not up to the job irrespective of what teaching methods they use,yet they remain almost un-sackable

    7)Too many parents are complacent and do not care about their children,s education because they have not grasped the seriousness of the situation that UK PLC is in and how it will/is affecting their offspring’s life chances

    Far from meddling too much in education, Ministers need to meddle much more, but this time with wholesale root and brach reform including annualization, 12 hour schooldays, the replacement of under-performing heads and teachers with Army Officers converted to teaching by a US style troops to teachers programme and Pimsleur style language skills training.

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