Monday, 21 March 2016

Progressive education in the UK

"[In] in the first decade of the twenty first century, the progressives took total control of education in the UK. In England, OFSTED enforced progressive lessons and the GTC(E) told teachers that professionals must believe progressive dogma and struck off those who tried to expose what was happening in our schools. An army of local authority advisors told teachers in state schools the "correct" way to teach. As social media expanded, teachers who took the opportunity to argue against the progressive consensus were told they were "unprofessional" and had no right to hold such opinions. Education became merged with children’s social services, and the explicit aims of the system became less and less academic, as shown by Every Child Matters and the 2007 National Curriculum."

[This is now the position in Scotland as progressives have got hold of Curriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child, GIRFEC]

"The high tide of progressivism has now receded. A mixture of teachers being given a voice on social media to expose what is happening in schools, and the influence on the English education system by a number of Conservative politicians who, unlike their predecessors, believed in both comprehensive education and an academic curriculum, has seen things changed. The argument between progressives and traditionalists has broken out again. However, many progressives, who still seem to hold the greatest share of power in education, do not appreciate this change. And one of the most common tactics is to deny the existence of that debate."

I think there is still a debate in the blogosphere amongst teachers who are either for or against progressive education or who claim to employ a variety of teaching strategies. Less well debated are the origins of progressive ideas and why they should have taken hold in research institutions and teacher training colleges.

It is disappointing that teachers in Scotland have not taken a more active role in the debate given the sweeping changes that have taken place.

UNESCO, Carnegie Trust, Brookings Foundation, OECD, and even the World Bank have all been pushing progressive education for years. It is a pity teachers were not more aware of the global agenda and how much they have been manipulated. Without their insights and resistance the progressives are winning.

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