Not much to say to this, Dept.

George Monbiot wrote an article in the Guardian about how our schools teach our students to be redundant. It is a wonder of writing in that he leaves out no cliche about how schools are broken (e.g,”why is collaboration on an exam considered cheating?”) as well as the usual mischaracterizations of traditional education (e.g., “factory model schools”, “teaching students to be robots” etc).

In the ensuing criticism of the article on Twitter (and there was much), there was also the usual “And he hasn’t taught a day in his life.” I once leveled that at someone spouting some similar nonsense and was rewarded with a rather hostile response back stating that the person did not have to be a teacher to be allowed to criticize.

And that’s true. Years before I became a teacher I wrote many articles criticizing how math was being taught. And there are many parents upset at how their children are being taught math–rightly so.

There are plenty of things wrong with what the author has to say about education in the article so that one does not have to rely on his not being a teacher in order to question his credibility. The reference to the Prussian model of education as the source of the factory model, for example. And there are others that many people have written about so I won’t waste any more of your time.

Oh, I guess it wouldn’t have hurt for him to be a teacher in the case of his question about “Why is collaboration on an exam considered cheating?” but I’ll let it pass.


3 thoughts on “Not much to say to this, Dept.

  1. Tx Barry,

    I am not a teacher yet I write about math instruction all the time. As a parent, and a taxpayer, I believe I am entitled to become informed, do the research, and comment on that based on my kids’ experience in school. Oh and well, also having to pay for tutoring outside of school, because what they were doing in school, was actually harming them, not helping them.

    I believe we have entered a world where thoughtful discourse is a thing of the past. Many people are now jumping to their own “opinions” without first becoming informed. And then get increasingly hostile or offended when someone disagrees with them. I believe discussions and discourse is the path to understanding much more than what we already believe, but uninformed opinions being broadcasted by a national newspaper is rather unfortunate.

    Perhaps we have Sir Ken to blame who started all this mess recently and he, himself never taught either. Or perhaps we’re just waiting for Tinkerbell to wave her magic wand and make it all better through fairy dust rather than hard work.

    No matter. It’s just today’s liner for the kitty litter box. Have a happy day.


  2. I wonder how many of the Guardian readers had a look at this article by Monbiot, sagely nodded their heads in agreement, and then sent their kids go the local Independent school.

    Meanwhile those of us with kids in public schools mostly just want teachers to keep the naughty kids quiet so ours can learn.


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