Joy of being subversive

6th December 2002 at 00:00
MARK Edwards (TES, November 22) has, on the face of it, good reason to fear the Department for Education and Skills' dead hand falling on thinking skills and putting them into neat boxes of lock-step bullet points to be "delivered".

After all, this is what the strategies (numeracy, literacy, and now key stage 3 foundation subjects) appear to do, in spite of all their glossy splendour. But in fact he should be less pessimistic and have more faith in the wonderful ability of teachers to subvert, very professionally, the convergent behaviourism of the mandarins.

I, too, was initially alarmed by the way that many ideas from our cognitive acceleration work were taken into the KS3 strategy teaching and learning in the foundation subjects, but now that I see how the consultants are using the glossy folders, taking them as useful resources and turning them to their own educational ends, I am delighted.

Any resource can be adapted, whether it's Mark Edwards' no doubt excellent mathematics materials being turned into a routine, or the routine strategies being turned into education.

Philip Adey

Centre for the Advancement of Thinking

King's College, London

Stamford Street

Southwark, London SE1

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