Teaching in 6 months ? Idiocy from Labour

The government's latest bright idea is to say that the way to improve standards in education is to bring in a load of people with no educational experience, no previous inclination to want to teach, and get the trained in six months. What a joke.

I did a PGCE to qualify to teach, a one year course, and I would argue that even that is not really quite adequate to teach, but just about covers everything briefly. However, I cannot see how bringing in so called "high flyers" and offering them a shortcut to teaching is going to actually raise standards in education.

It seem that teaching is constantly treated as a second thought by ministers in government. We wouldn't offer doctors a 50% length course to qualify. They wouldn't offer RAF pilots a half length course in order to fly RAF Typhoons. I doubt that the government would consider allowing Royal Navy officers a shortened course in order to steer ships and submarines. However a teacher, who in effect controls the standard of education a child gets in one year of their life, they believe, can get a shortcut through the system.

What I fail to understand is why high flyers, with no experience of classroom management, rules, laws, teaching standards, school ICT, or lesson planning and structures can't go through a full one year PGCE like everyone else. If the government believe that making them do an extra few months will put them off, then what does it say about these people and their commitment to young people and education.

More to the point, what does it say about this government that they think this is a good idea.


anonaLon said...

I sympathise but don't we all have at least 10 years of school experience from being at school?

If I had been in an RAF Typhoon for ten years, even if I hadn't flown it, I would probably have a good idea how to fly it.

BorisforPM said...

I suspect that my politics are even further from Labour's than yours. But on this, we disagree entirely. A good teacher is not the one who understands "classroom management, rules, laws, teaching standards, school ICT, or lesson planning and structures." It is precisely the concentration on such baroque, bureaucratic trivia that has shifted teachers' focus from the actual delivery of a good education.

You are quite wrong about doctors, too; a post-graduate fast-track scheme does indeed exist for those with undergraduate experience in other relevant areas, and these courses have been producing the highest calibre of doctors for some years now.

That teachers these days seem only to view "success" as a teacher through the prism of ICT checklists, mission statements, value-added criteria and the ability to lesson-plan shows exactly what is wrong. The best teachers I ever had were the ones who had experience of other jobs, who showed up with a piece of chalk and a lot of knowledge, said "where did we get to last week?", and just talked.

If this scheme gets more people into teaching with the ability to do that, and drives out even 1% of the PGCE-drilled automatons who deliver syllabuses like shopping lists, it will be one of Labour's only great achievements in office.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I've also spent a lot of time in hospital over the years. I guess that means I could be a doctor in less time than anyone else ?

You miss one vital point in your argument. EVERYBODY HAS SOME EXPERIENCE OF BEING IN SCHOOL - NOT JUST HIGH FLYERS. Yet the feeling for many years is that a minimum one year course is required in order to be a proper teacher. There is nothing to say that anyone recently made redundant from a bank would have any more experience of classroom management, planning, laws, issues than a classroom assistant with 10 years experience of a classroom who would be expected to do a one year PGCE.

Your argument suggests that Virgin frequent flyer could fly a plane quicker than a new pilot reruit. This does not add up.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Boris for PM, it is a shame you g=completely missed the end of what I wrote

"If the government believe that making them (high flyers) do an extra few months will put them off, then what does it say about these people and their commitment to young people and education."

Weygand said...

Fly "more quickly" - I hope that you are not a teacher of English.

The list of skills put forward to show the value of a PGCE - 'planning, laws, issues...' (to the extent that the sentence as a whole is intelligible) shows just why people with good degrees and real world experience might be an asset to the profession.

It would certainly be preferable to have those with degrees in maths, science or languages teaching such subjects rather than some PGCE hero armed with nothing more than an A level and 'classroom skills'.

I believe that he private sector frequently employs teachers without any teacher training qualification and it does not seem to do so badly.

Bill Quango MP said...

Have to agree with you. Had all the hallmarks of a traditional Labour announcement of nonsense that won't make a difference to anything but is worth a days headline

john miller said...

Whenever I assess any public announcement of this type I always use the Prime Minister's bodyguard test.

One merely imagines the Prime Minister's reaction to being told that whatever is contained in the announcement is being applied to his personal detective.

So, in this case:

Sir Paul: "Well, Mr Brown, let me introduce Mr Smith, your new bodyguard"

Brown: "Detective Inspector Smith, I presume?"

Sir Paul: "Err, no, just Smith, actually. You see, until six months ago he was a teacher"

You get my drift...

Letters From A Tory said...

It's not the time necessarily that puts them off, Nich. It's the financial misery of living off £6,000 when they have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed that is a complete joke.

Get these people working in schools with proper mentors from day one to make them become good teachers rather than dumping them in a financial blackhole through a year-long university course.

Anonymous said...

Sitting in a Typhoon will give you a good idea how to fly it?

what tosh.

And BforM - I am quite rightwingish but your comments are drivel.

Too many central targets and testing for proper teaching. But that is totally irrelevant from the point in hand. the idea that you can teach without a) a vocation and b) a properly trained knowledge of how to plan mark and understand your pupils is risible.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely with your post. It is an inherently patronising policy.

One thing though, I think we do offer doctors a 50% length course to qualify now (if you've done a science degree or something? - perhaps that is slightly different.)

Catchthebudgie said...

I have to disagree, the idea of fast tracking high fliers seems a very good idea. I have a vast experience in the field I work in and have much hands on knowledge. I doubt many teachers would know as much as I do. Does that mean I cannot give my knowledge to students because a union says so? I admire many teachers for their quality and ability to teach and bring on the kids. However, What I have found is that students lack a certain edge when moving into the real world and that is an understanding of it. I feel the school needs more of the business and living touch and this idea would bring a new and maybe possitive edge. Bring it on.

Weygand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There are two reasons for the private sector doing "well".

1) Smaller class sizes.

2) A parental ethos of success and achievement.

SamsungLN52A650 said...

I agree to your post completely.

If an individual has to qualify for teaching he has to have the first hand experience of the subject he is teaching otherwise it would be like reading out a stuff in a book which makes no sense to the people who are learning.

I strongly feel that a 6 months training would not do any good and the person would only be able to vomit out whatever he has been thought to and not what a student really requires.

Steve Tierney said...

I also disagree. I suspect some people could literally 'teach tomorrow' and do a much better job of it than many existing teachers.

For somebody with the knowledge and aptitude, six months is plenty. I'm just not sure we can counter bankers in that group.

Jako said...

I also disagree, plus I think you're mistaken to label this a piece of 'Labour' madness. All 3 major parties support the TeachFirst scheme which brings graduates into schools with barely a couple of months of training. I presume, following your logic, that you must be opposed to this as well, and therefore you think the Tories and Lib Dems are also mad.

Peter said...

Sorry - its just jobsworth talk. There was no teacher training until 30 years ago for graduates. I myself started cold teaching maths in a grammar school over ten years after i had left university by dint of graduating before 1972. I'm not saying it was easy, but the training establishments are just full of institutionalised no hopers - many of whom are refugees from the classroom. There is room for all types in the classroom. If they let in some joiners and electricians, maybe we wouldn't have to import trades from Eastern Europe.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Peter, I don't disagree with people coming in to teaching from a wide range of places and with varying life experience. But what makes a "high flyer" a natural teacher ? This is something the government fail to address or make clear.

There are other criteria that should make someone a "high flyer" or a natural teacher, and not that they have been made redundant by a bank.

boiling frog said...

Of course, you don't need any training to teach in a private school. But that's reflected in their results isn't it?

Edo said...

The kind of "high flyer" the government wants are your typical Common Purpose trained graduates.

Phil Krint said...

BorisforPM said "A good teacher is not the one who understands "classroom management, rules, laws, teaching standards, school ICT, or lesson planning and structures."

ROFL. I think he has just made the point that specialist training is required. As someone who prides themselves on their teaching style and good relationship with pupils as the core of a personal idea of excellence, I don't see which of these additional "baroque, bureaucratic trivia" could possibly be omitted.

Anonymous said...

It's very easy to get good results when you teach only 15 pupils.

No wonder the Tories are not supporting Lib Dem plans to bring class sizes in Primary schools down to 15. It would show that state schools could ge the same results as private schools, and what would that do for the reputation of private schools ?