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Miracles and motivation

upils won't feel motivated unless they have motivated teachers. Yet to listen to the litany of motions at various teacher conferences, it would appear that the post-McCrone agreement has not yet performed the miracle of transforming Scotland's teaching force into 50,000 happy campers.

Other policy reforms in the fields of curriculum and assessment are inspired by a recognition that teachers need greater professional freedom.

Time will tell whether these approaches are achieving their aims. But the message from "front-line" practitioners that it's not what you teach but how you teach it raises other questions. If a good teacher can engage a class to learn ancient Hebrew but a bad one turn the same class off an afternoon of mountain-biking, should we be asking if all the investment in exciting new vocational courses is money well spent?

The sensible response is that we need all of these things: motivational teachers, interesting and relevant courses and small enough classes that allow the teacher to engage each pupil, including the quiet one in the corner.

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