Letters extra: a future without teachers

8th June 2001 at 01:00

I suspect John Ewart's letternbsp;( TES June 1) about a "teacher-less" future rang quite a few alarm bells. It made me wonder if this "final solution" might not be in process right now.

Look at it this way. Teaching is about children's needs, but assessment, recording and planning systems have pushed the needs of pupils - and teachers - into a poor second place.

We hear statements, professing how much we are valued and how important individual pupils are. Yet, in practice, we have been ignored, maligned and even derided. Pupils have been assessed and examined to exhaustion with no thought as to how useful the testing really is. So who has benefited? Well, it's mostly private firms involved in assessment and recording, although some printing companies must be having a field day. Education consultants and agencies have also been doing very nicely.

So. when some initiative is heavily promoted, such as ICT, ask yourselfnbsp; "Who stands to gain?" Then stick to one simple rule of thumb - "follow the money."

People don't matter, and no wonder. Teaching is a creative process, and teachers need to be creative to teach properly. Creativity is uncontrollable and unmeasurable, so it has to be reduced to a minimum. If teachers are creative, there is a danger that pupils will perhaps think for themselves - even question the system! This kind of person does not make good election fodder.

Eradicating teachers entirely with discouraging recruitment rules, negative propaganda, work overload and then substituting online lessons for school-based learning, would allow total control of what is taught and therefore what is thought. How about that for a conspiracy theory?

Michael Todd
Askham Bryan, York

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