Flying the flag for patriotism not tests

28th September 2007 at 01:00
After a year teaching in America, it struck me how patriotic its citizens are and how unpatriotic we are here. What will happen if something is not done sooner rather than later?

The school in which I teach is so concerned with statistics and numbers that the children are not being educated about the wider world, their role in the community and an idea of self.

The UK is currently the worst place in Europe to bring up children and small wonder. The generation now in its teens has been brought up in a culture based on pass and fail. If you fail in school, what then is the point trying to fit in?

Watching the Last Night of the Proms stirred me to write this letter. How refreshing to see so many people who still love their country and this magnificent institution. But will future generations care about our beautiful land that Elgar so wonderfully encapsulated? I think not.

To give children a sense of wonder; a desire to better themselves; and a wish to care about their land and fellow human beings how can I do this? All I do is show how to cram for exams.

We should teach our children the value of being truly English. And what better way than learning about music.

From a teacher's point of view, shouldn't it be our job to instil in pupils a sense of identity? Let's reflect on our wonderful country. Let's look at our authors, composers, architects and designers, our rolling hills and great traditions.

A system based on pressure, paperwork, testing and zero tolerance will ultimately end in what we have now. And it's getting worse.

So, record the Last Night of the Proms. Make the children watch it; explain the tradition; teach the words. Maybe one or two would start to care. If just a little bit, it would help.

Robert Drewilliger

Primary school teacher,


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