Thursday, 1 December 2016

Fast tracking to austerity through education

"Scotland's biggest teaching union has voiced concern over a proposal to fast-track new teachers into classrooms. Education Secretary John Swinney has made public his `innovative plan` to `broaden` routes into teaching."

"The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said there was `much to welcome` in the raft of measures which include enticing former teachers to return. However, it was unhappy at the idea of combining post-graduate learning with the one-year classroom probation."

"Mr Swinney believed this particular measure would help to find the right people to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects..."

"Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens said recruiting more teachers was `essential`, but taking on 200 new teachers fell short of what was needed."

"He added: `Investing just 0.13% of the £750m Attainment Fund suggests Scottish ministers haven't yet grasped how important it is to give teachers more time to teach`."

More time to teach, yes. And the right kind of teaching.

Here`s Greg Ashman worrying about the new Australian federal education minister Simon Birmingham`s recent announcement that nearly $6.5 million will go to the Mathematics by Inquiry initiative where the focus will be on making mathematics meaningful to students in their everyday lives.

Ashman does not believe Mathematics by Inquiry is as effective as explicit instruction, particularly in the realm of mathematics which is best served sequentially and in small steps.
"Cognitive science research has shown that the number of things that we can focus on at any one time is severely limited. A well thought out, sequential teaching sequence introduces new concepts drip by drip whereas an inquiry learning approach tends to overload students who are new to an area of study. We all experience being thrown in at the deep end from time-to-time and it is not pleasant."
"We could counter-argue that inquiry learning should have a bit more scaffolding; a few hints and tips to send our student in the right direction. Even so, we are still not teaching skills in a systematic way that builds logically from one to the next. It’s a little like trying to learn to catch a ball by playing games of cricket. You might go through a whole match without having to make a catch."

Exactly. And if they study childhood development as well as these educators claim that they do, they would surely have noticed that children always crawl before they can walk. Curriculum for Excellence is as guilty as the rest of the global transformers in failing to grasp this simple evidence-based concept.


Returning to the BBC article: I think Ross Greer raises a serious point. "Investing just 0.13% of the £170m Attainment Fund suggests ministers haven`t yet grasped how important it is to give teachers more time to teach."

So what does the Scottish government plan to do with the rest of that money?

Paradoxically, the answer seems to be to constantly improve the system that they are deliberately collapsing.

I`m sorry, I just had to cut through this crap .
I know, it`s global. That`s why I mentioned Australia.

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