Thursday, 9 December 2010

International standings

The OECD reported (and Daily Mail has interpreted as usual) the story that England (I guess that Scotland and NI are excluded) has fallen even further behind in Maths, English and Science.

I shall be brave an put forward a hypothesis as to why - targets resulting in silo teaching.

If you set a simple target - in this case pass GCSE at grade C, then all available resources will be focussed in influencing that, where it can be influenced - ie at the borderline - to the exclusion of all else. Further because the pressure is on teachers to get their students through their subject, teachers do not worry that students can't do Maths or spell so long as they can show enough knowledge to get through their subject.

And yes - the Humanities teacher at my daughter's school did tell us at a parents evening when reviewing a badly spelled essay - it's not my job to teach English, I'm only interested in getting her through the Humanities exam.

Classic silo teaching to one specific target an it serves no-one except the target.

That's why every pupil should be truly functional in Maths and English and every teacher in every subject should carry that responsibility.

Rant over ......... Jonathan

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