Guest Blogger: Adnan Al-Daini @respect65
Here is the core of my piece on the Huffington Post bemoaning the interference of politicians in the minutiae of maths teaching:
Having trashed teaching qualification (QTS) by telling academies that they could appoint teachers without QTS qualifications, Michael Gove is at it again, this time telling teachers how to teach mathematics.
The arrogance of politicians, from all parties, when it comes to education is breathtaking. Micromanaging lessons to the extent of compulsory rote learning of the times tables, counting, Roman numerals etc., is a vote of no confidence in the professionalism of teachers that will lower their morale and impact negatively on standards.
I know many teachers who are trying to do their best under circumstances that are making it extremely hard to do so. They are doing a good job, not because of all this uninformed interference but in spite of it. Even Michael Gove’s own adviser has distanced himself from the proposals. Andrew Pollard, one of the four academics involved in the review, described the proposals as “fatally flawed”, saying:
“It is overly prescriptive in two ways. One is that it is extremely detailed, and the other is the emphasis on linearity – it implies that children learn ‘first this, then that’. Actually, people learn in a variety of different ways, and for that you need flexibility – for teachers to pick up on that and vary things accordingly.”
It does not require an expert in education to make the above statement; any teacher will tell you that. Responsible engaged parents will know that as well. Why it is not obvious to Michael Gove is beyond me!
This kind of mechanistic linear form of education stifles talent, kills inventiveness, ingenuity and real understanding of the subject. It takes the joy out of learning; it hinders the discovery of the principles that underpin science and mathematics. With this kind of education, you may succeed in getting children to recite times tables, but in the process you are likely to put off the truly talented.
I have come across many pupils who understand their fractions and decimals not by following rules, but by having an innate ability to understand these subjects in depth. Teaching should be left to the teachers; leave them to be flexible to get the best out of their pupils.
This kind of simplistic, shallow, ill-thought out interference is likely to damage real education.
Full article on the Huffington Post