October 18th, 2004

breaking bad

Apple for the teacher

The Tomlinson report is out today, which proposes reform to learning and qualifications for teenagers in Britain. The proposal is for a simplified, unified, diploma which is flexible enough to cover vocational and academic learning, and to offer routes for the lowest and highest achievers. I think there's a lot of good ideas.

What worries me though is the increasing emphasis on teachers' own assessment of pupils during the year, and decreased emphasis on exams.

One reason is that it gave me great pleasure at school to do better in exams than my teachers thought I should, seeing as how I was a scruffy insolent little whelp from a poor home.

Another reason is that I think this new approach will favour those with what is euphemistically called 'emotional intelligence' i.e. ass-kissers. Imagine: to get good grades you'll have to suck up to your teachers for two years. Groan. Much more fun to get on their nerves for two years, culminating in the ultimate insult - get a better grade in the subject than they did when they were your age. tee hee.

(disclaimer - I was a teacher of teenagers for 8 years in an inner-city college)