The above talk by Mick Waters at Westminster is worth a watch. He doesn’t start until six minutes in if you want to fastforward it. He’s sharing some of his ideas from his new book “Thinking Allowed on Schooling” which also looks as if it might be worth checking out.
Having heard Mick speak in the past, why anyone would ask him to read something out as opposed to speaking his mind is beyond me. Despite this he does make some very interesting points, and he does get to speak more freely in the second half of the video when he sums up the event. In the video, and presumably the book, he is calling for a radical rethink when it comes to education – which he summarises by calling for an ‘education spring’. Although much of the specifics of the discussion are very England-focused, I think much of what he says applies in Scotland too. For example, although we don’t quite have the same politicisation of educational policy, as there is largely cross-party agreement on the direction of travel – this is not necessarily guaranteed in the future. And, I’m sure his idea for a NICE equivalent in education would be just as applicable North of the border. Plus, much of what he says on the role and evaluation of the teaching profession is relevant in Scotland also.
I think Mick is right to highlight the complex and high-level changes which would be required to enact a radical change in educational policy, but a spring would also imply that it starts with the grassroots. Being as I am quite interested in this sort of thing through my role in Pedagoo, it makes me wonder where something like Pedagoo fits in to this idea.
Pedagoo began life as a place to positively share classroom practice and there have been discussions quite recently about the possibility that it could also provide a space for teachers to more vocally oppose the policies of governments and their agencies. Whilst I appreciate this sentiment I strongly oppose(d) this widening of our remit – there are plenty of other outlets to communicate such sentiments in my opinion.
However, Pedagoo for me can still fit into this idea of a grassroots educational spring. Obviously it doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination play a massive role in achieving a radical rethink in changing educational policy, but in a small way I do believe that it helps us to positively provide “clarity on what the role of teaching should be in our society“, which is one of Mick’s four things which need to change. It is also an example of “teachers contributing to their own profession”. And I also believe that by speaking positively and publicly about our practice that we could in a small way be countering the perception one could have of teaching from the media as described by Mick.
So if you’re a teacher who agrees with what Mick Waters has to say and you’re not yet involved in Pedagoo – you should check us out!