Entire marks to George Monbiot for his critique of the English college exam method (England’s punitive test technique is only very good at one particular point: preserving privilege, 27 April). He asks what would a fair, rounded 21st-century schooling look like.
1 remedy would be to appear at Finland, wherever there are no tests prior to college leaving and no league tables. All evaluation is instructor-dependent, geared to guiding further more studying. Teachers delight in superior professional autonomy, grounded in their individual instruction to master’s amount. The Finnish method is avowedly egalitarian, with the aim of minimising social inequalities. All college students receive totally free school foods. And guess what? Finland outperforms the British isles not only in terms of wellbeing and lifestyle pleasure of 15-calendar year-olds, but also in their efficiency in the OECD Pisa exams, based mostly on reading, arithmetic and science.
The English education process is based mostly on three Cs: competitiveness, coercion and cramming. The Finnish method rests on three various Cs: collaboration, interaction and conceptualisation. Finnish education is not fantastic, and it is not the only route to higher Pisa efficiency. But the OECD is in no question what a 21st-century training requires: “When lecturers come to feel a feeling of possession more than their lecture rooms, when college students experience a sense of ownership about their mastering, that is when studying for the … info age can get area.” There is an alternative, if we so choose.
Honorary professor, University of East Anglia
After again, George Monbiot has highlighted a big flaw in Uk culture and the part exams perform in preserving privilege. It is, of study course, feasible to bypass the procedure, as my possess practical experience has shown. Obtaining still left condition school at age 17 with out any A-degrees, I then managed to re-enter higher instruction by gaining office qualifications to attain a BSc and PhD, and turned a professor at the College of Nottingham.
The challenge of regurgitating information and facts in examinations in no way aided me. But getting a a lot more rounded schooling provided me with a substantially far more supportive perspective in teaching students, with any luck , aiding a lot of to fully arrive at their potential, beyond the usual standards of exam grades.
Dr Michael Symonds
Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire
There are good reasons other than people George Monbiot mentions that explain the government’s drive for introducing a Gradgrind education and learning procedure. Decreasing the curriculum to quickly quantifiable things makes it straightforward for the federal government to manage education and learning and to guarantee educational deviancy is eradicated. Excellent faculties are those people that match up to conditions determined by the govt.
Margaret Thatcher’s distress at the mistaken sort of men and women controlling our children’s education is no more time a difficulty. Curriculum and training strategies are identified by ministers. Any faculty that does not meet up with the imposed standards will be deemed failing and shut. Instructional deviancy, or more accurately, unbiased thinking, is eliminated from the method.
This process also offers loads of “red meat” to be thrown to the media. An arbitrary transform in the guidelines makes it straightforward to obtain educational facilities that are failing. There is almost nothing extra likely to thrill the rightwing media than a difficult minister cracking down on errant schools.