Oh dreary me…….

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“I’m an unashamed traditionalist when it comes to the curriculum,” Mr Gove said. “Most parents would rather their children had a traditional education, with children sitting in rows, learning the kings and queens of England, the great works of literature, proper mental arithmetic, algebra by the age of 11, modern foreign languages. That’s the best training of the mind and that’s how children will be able to compete.”


As I keep hearing, we voted for what we got…..

Errr, not according to my maths, but then I must have been taught by some trendy methods back in the 50’s! The Government we have got is a simple sum of Cons and Dems where the more complex rainbow coalition couldn’t be sorted. Nowt to do with a voter choice, simply the haphazards of the voting system. The ConDemns prop each other up and we are off in a race ‘back to the future’ and a vision of schooling that is a vision of either the good old boarding school or that of Cider with Rosie.

My own teaching experience has been most recently ICT/Multimedia/Cross curricular work, but I started as an English teacher having done a degree in English Literature. Can’t be more traditional than that Squire……..

Hang on, as the visiting Professor at York aptly put it ‘I created Literature’ – that was FR Leavis and prior to that there wasn’t. Literature is one of those new ‘ologies’ that only gained any sort of credence in the 1930s.

So the question has to be, what are traditional subjects? Anglo Saxon? The Geography of the world according to the Mappa Mundi? Science pre Darwin (silence from you creationists in the back row!)

Traditional curriculum is exactly what? When did it happen, and why are we going back to it? To misuse a well know catch phrase from Thatcher’s day, can the last real teacher switch the lights out when they leave the educational classroom?

The village school at that time provided all the instruction we were likely to ask for. It was a small stone barn divided by a wooden partition into two rooms – The Infants and The Big Ones. There was one dame teacher, and perhaps a young girl assistant. Every child in the valley crowding there, remained till he was fourteen years old, then was presented to the working field or factory, with nothing in his head more burdensome than a few mnemonics, a jumbled list of wars, and a dreamy image of the world’s geography.
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