Sunday, 5 March 2017

Changing demands are taking their toll

Pupils at St Roch`s secondary school in Glasgow enjoyed taking part in the project to mark the 100 years since the start of the First World War. They partnered with schools across seven European countries where they had the opportunity to make new penpals.

There was also a logo competition, powerpoints, posters, trips around memorials and photographs to post to their partners in Europe.

The project provided international collaboration, knowledge of other cultures, global citizenship - for some reason that seems to be very important - and a different way of doing things with pupils teaching pupils.

No doubt some pupils enjoyed it. It beats having to sit in a classroom listening to the teacher droning on about the First World War.

Unfortunately, this type of work will not prepare schoolchildren for a history exam. For that they would have to learn to write essays on history topics rather than colouring in a poster. I am not being facetious because I do know what happens when too much time is wasted in school.

In another secondary school in Glasgow, pupils preparing for exams have been asked to attend school on Saturday mornings and two evenings a week in addition to their usual timetable. Why? Because otherwise there is not enough time to catch up with everything they need to know for the exam. You can imagine the outcry.

"Expert says every school in Scotland should have a counsellor to help deal with teaching's unique demands."
"Nearly half of respondents to a poll on teacher wellbeing said their mental health was poor, fuelling fears that growing numbers are struggling to cope with the profession’s changing demands."
"A significant proportion also take medication because of their job. And the convener of a national mental health helpline has said that the demands of teaching are so exceptional that a counsellor should be stationed in every school..."
"The survey was started earlier this month by Jenny Harvey, a Fife special needs teacher, who was taken aback by the volume of responses 778 at the last count..."
"Ms Harvey was surprised by some findings, such as almost every respondent having felt the "heavy burden" of guilt about the educational experience they offered pupils."

Curriculum for Excellence it`s called. Not much teaching. Just changing demands. It`s been a disaster.

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