Chris Woodhead, the first head of Ofsted, and now aiming to be head of a private corporation running a number of schools, ultimately on a for-profit basis, has appeared in the news again.
We have to remember where Woodhead stands on most educational issues; during his reign as head of the educational establishment, he stated categorically and emphatically that teachers should not use their imagination or creativity, and that children should not be taught to think creatively.
This man now wants to make money out of removing the training of teachers from universities, where it has been done increasingly successfully, and dump this responsibility onto schools.
His schools, no doubt.
If I were considering entering the teaching profession (or “craft" as his friend Michael Gove wants us to think of it) the last place I would want to be trained would be in a training school. Especially one of Woodhead's. It is clear that those schools which do bid to become training schools are likely to do so on the basis that there is profit to be made from it, and that students will be treated as unpaid supply teachers. It is also clear that the training would result in my being trained as a drone in order to do as I was told, to deliver pre-programmed schemes of work in a manner decided by someone else. No longer a member of a profession with professional standards and able to make decisions about how best to educate the children in my classes through my own professional decisions. I would simply be a cog in a machine, there to take orders, not to think.
Chris Woodhead’s and Michael Gove’s Brave New World of education will produce Teacher-bots. These automaton-like drones will be taught basic didactic lecturing skills, will have no knowledge of the important educationally relevant theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, Hatano, Bruner, Socrates and even Foucault, they will not be able to integrate pupil-pupil interaction into their classrooms, they will not be able to use active learning and discovery learning techniques. Most of all, they will be much less able to function in schools which have challenging pupils.
This dumbing-down of the teaching profession will be the precursor to the dumbing-down of our children. An ever narrower curriculum taught in an ever narrower way by an group of people with less knowledge of learning than ever before and with no regard to inspiration, motivation or excitement.
The Teacher-bots, will produce dumbed-down boring lessons and zombie-like children who will rebel against this treatment in the only way they know how to rebel…