Don’t Let Them Tell You that the only way of measuring what you do is to measure what you do. Turning schools into factories where children without qualifications go in and young people with qualifications come out demands processes that can be measured. But there are other successful models, ones not built on Taylorism. Finland for example. But then Finnish education isn’t being groomed to be given over to Big Business. If you know that education is more than the sum of its measurable outcomes just follow the mantra, ‘Cover your back and sleep at night’. Do what you need to do to get through the hoops, but do more than get through hoops.
Don’t Let Them Tell You that teaching is a straightforward ‘cause and effect’ process whereby children learn what you teach them. Again, if you want a factory model that needs measurable outcomes to operate then testing the extent to which young people have in their heads the ‘canon’ that was in your head is fine. But education is much more than that. And far more complex. Understanding the glorious complexity involved in the education process needs intelligent, thinking, reflective professionals. They are expensive though. Expensive to train. Expensive to maintain. Especially when the system is being dumbed down to be cheap to run for Big Business. Far better to have the educational equivalent of lever pullers. There are plenty of them waiting to come into the job. Instead, think about what you do and how you do it, treat every lesson as an experiment, do things with children and not to them. Talk, read, share, blog, Tweet. Stand up as a professional educator.
Don’t Let Them Tell You that your subject isn’t as valuable as someone else’s. For one, English and maths aren’t important. It’s literacy and numeracy that are. And you can make plenty of room for them whatever your discipline. Secondly, think about the core skills you want your children to develop – team working, leadership, problem spotting and solving, resilience and the likes. Build specific opportunities for these into your planning. They transcend any prejudice about your subject area. And thirdly, children’s brain are not compartmentalised. Doing well in your subject has spin-offs everywhere for them. People with a second language have been shown to be more creative. Developing fine motor skills is important for neurological development as is learning to play a music instrument. Confidence in sport or drama reappears elsewhere. The powers that be might not think your subject counts, that just gives you the freedom to show it does.