Danger of killing children's creative spark

13th November 2009 at 00:00

Surely, the only sensible reaction to your report (October 30) that little progress has yet been made on assessing the four capacities of A Curriculum for Excellence must be "thank goodness for that".

The idea that the Scottish Government should issue guidance on what constitutes a "confident individual" and so on, or that the Scottish Qualifications Authority should hold seminars on "understanding standards for effective contributors" is frightening. It implies that all the graduates of the Scottish school system should conform to some Government- determined standardised persona that would fit in well with Stepford Wives and Brave New World.

Conformity is the name of the game. It's true that, in some ways, the desired model might be quite attractive - a person who can stand up and address a meeting, lends a helping hand to those in need, votes conscientiously, never drops litter, eats five fruit andor vegetables a day, doesn't have sex until heshe is married, never smokes, never drinks to excess, takes regular exercise, doesn't waste food, recycles everything, doesn't cheat on expenses, doesn't play music loudly and so on and so on.

But anyone who has read Brave New World probably found themselves cheering for the individual, for the person who is not willing to submit to the controlling ethos, however "nice" an ethos that may be. Quite often it is the rebel, the person who lives counter to the prevailing culture, that is most creative and, in the end, delivers most for society. Galileo, Darwin and their like would surely not have satisfied the four capacities as assessed by the governments of their day.

Those in education should take care not to stray into the territory of determining the nature of the children they educate for fear of killing their creative spark.

Judith Gillespie, development manager, Scottish Parent Teacher Council.

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