Schools and the education system should be responsive to public opinion.

Derek Berry's picture
 7
The educaton system in much of the UK has become the plaything of remote politicians who want to experiment with their theories whilst avoiding responsibility by passing the blame to teachers.
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Rebecca Hanson's picture
Fri, 28/12/2012 - 18:03

But those same politicians consider themselves to be deeply in touch with public opinion Derek.

There will always be a substantial proportion of the public who believe that we will make a great leap forward in education if we simply punish the bad kids more and teach the 3Rs more forcefully.

There is also a substantial proportion of the public who believe the Tory rhetoric of the likes of Gove.

People who work in education and have actually engaged with reality (and therefore do not hold these naive views) often fail to understand how strongly they are held by the public. Hence there is a tension between the title of your post and it's content (with which I wholly agree).

FJ Murphy's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 17:22

Silly public! How dare they have opinions! Let them leave it all to LSN, and all will be well.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 17:28

I think it's fine for everyone to have opinions. I don't think people who have an opinion on how Putin runs Russia would either expect or be delighted if he took their advice without challenging them to come to understand anything any more deeply......

Because how to run Russia can't easily be summarised in a Daily Mail headline or a quick comment.

In general the public are happy if they get intelligent answers and opportunities to engaged in proper consultation (and to see how their initial opinions relate to the final decision). Shame both processes were abolished. Even more of a shame they were abolished for the people who actually understand and work in education.

FJ Murphy's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 17:31

I'm not sure what Putin and the Daily Mail have to with this.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 17:42

Most people have opinions on most things. However in general their opinions have little more width or depth than those expressed by by a DM headline. They are not fit for purpose.

This does not mean their opinions should be ignored. They should be encouraged to explore them more deeply and to engage in consultation.

Unless this happens you end up with a situation where one person has the opinion that we should build lots more schools. Another person has the opinion that everyone should study coding. Someone else believes everyone should learn music. Someone else believes all teachers should be on 6 month contracts. Someone else believes kids should all do transcendental meditation and so on and so on and so on and nothing actually makes sense or is economically viable.

FJ Murphy's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 17:53

Opinions of the public are not to be ignored, just told that they are a load of rubbish. I have been teaching for over 25 years, in state and, briefly, private schools; in selective, comprehensive, mixed, boys', girls', rural, small town and inner city, church and non-church, as a classroom teacher and in management. When my views based on this experience vary from the LSN line, I am told that they are mere 'anecdotes'. As far as I can tell, there are two sides to any educational argument: the LSN opinion and the wrong one.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sun, 30/12/2012 - 20:08

I'm not part of the LSN but I always feel able to express my views - which are also based on practical experience (teaching in several schools - being a HoMaths in a school in special measures and so on and then lecturing and consulting and working on policy) - quite easily here.

It helps that I have a lot of experience with online discussion forums. It takes a while to get used to them.

I try to support people who are not so confident. There are some notes here from one of the workshops I've run which you may find useful:
http://cyberrhetoricbyrebeccahanson.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/mozilla-festi...

If you want to try to express your views here I'll try to help you do that.

One mindset you have to confidently adopt is the expectation that your experiences will lead you to have different views to other and that's fine. They have their views, you have yours. If you express yours people will challenge them because they want to come to understand them and probe the extent to which they have validity. Most views have validity in some situations but few have universal relevance.

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