Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Education as therapy

My internal alarm bells were set ringing and personal hackles made to rise by this news item:

Traditional lessons in history, geography and science should be removed from the primary curriculum and children taught their essential content through cross-curricular themes classes, the biggest enquiry into primary schooling in a generation will report today.

It seems that Sir Jim Rose, the government's chief advisor on primary education, wants to remove 'rigid subject areas' and replace them with project work that encompasses a range of skills. 

My blood pressure lowered a little as I read on, and saw that the six 'areas of understanding' which Rose wants to introduce are more or less the present range of subjects grouped under different headings. So perhaps there was nothing to worry about after all.

But then I saw that Rose wants government to impose a 'central requirement on teachers to encourage children's social and emotional well-being in an explicit recognition that schools must help cure some of the 'social ills' facing society'. Oh dear, here we go again.

So while private schools continue to impart the knowledge and understanding that will enable middle-class children to rise effortlessly to the top of the pile, state education is increasingly reduced to therapy for working-class kids, to compensate for rather than eradicate social divisions. The bright vision of radical and socialist educators down the years - of liberating children through knowledge, and giving all children a share in our common cultural heritage - seems to have got lost along the way.

1 comment:

Sarah Franco said...

that there is a perception that not everyone has a place on the top, so those that already on the top want to make sure that their own kids will take those places... back to the XIX century, that's where we are going in what regards education.