The Sutton Trust report ‘Life Lessons, Improving essential life skills for young people’ (Oct 2017) makes interesting reading. There is much to discuss within its pages. One of the things that stood out for me is the need to teach written and spoken communication ‘skills’* including debate, argument, speech and the art of conversation. When asked … More If Teachers Want Confident Pupils They Should Teach Them to Communicate Well
German players seemed to have more to draw on as people than English counterparts; greater all round resources that helped them navigate tournaments and pressure points Jonathan Northcroft: interview with Frank Lampard, Sunday Times, May 28th 2017 In our great debates about education: vocational vs grammar, 21st Century skills for the jobs that don’t yet … More Academic Education For All
Famous ‘failures’ is a slightly ridiculous concept when tied to the idea of ‘success’. The cases above are famous people who have succeeded and have experienced some sort of failure in their lives. I’m not sure it is helpful to fetishise failure in this way. And yet many schools use posters like this one to ‘motivate’ … More Stop Fetishising Failure and Success
The dove, in free flight cutting through the air the resistance of which it feels, could get the idea that it could do even better in airless space. Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason Pity our free spirits, constrained by the school and kicking against the pricks. Teenagers, angst ridden, knowing full well if the … More When Push Comes to Shove: Kant’s Dove
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions David Hume Try as we might to be rational beings, devoid of emotions, especially in times of crisis it is in times of crisis when we can’t help but notice we are nothing of the sort. When we experience visceral reactions to events … More Schools and Freedom of Speech
In her Essay on the Banality of Evil Hannah Arendt wrote that: The nature of every bureaucracy, is to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men, and thus to dehumanize them. Now, I’m not meaning to imply that bureaucrats are evil, but looking at this quote, away from its context, … More The Banality of Character Education
Are schools exam factories? Take a look at a picture of a contemporary factory production line, how does the analogy pan out? Are the robots teachers? The products, children? The outcome, the exam? If a car factory makes cars, an exam factory makes exams, Pearson? Well, no, the child must be the outcome, but not any colour … More Are Schools Exam Factories?
The recent white paper Educational Excellence Everywhere states that the Government is set on: “Building character and resilience in every child” It continues by stating that: A 21st century education should prepare children for adult life by instilling the character traits and fundamental British values that will help them succeed: being resilient and knowing how to … More Building British Values, Character and Resilience in Every Child
‘We are only puppets, our strings are being pulled by unknown forces.’ Danton’s Death: Buchner The French playwright, Olympe de Gouges, the writer of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen,’ criticised the French Revolutionary Regime, complaining ‘equality’ did not seem to include female suffrage. She wrote that: “My aim IS TO SPEAK TO YOU … More Independent, Critical Thinkers and Schooling
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance, How can we know the dancer from the dance? WB Yeats: Among School Children The Sutton Trust report A Winning Personality identified: …extraversion (sociability, confidence, assertiveness), self-esteem, and a positive outlook as … More On Character: Can We Know the Dancer From the Dance?