Letters extra: What's wrong with ICT teaching

4th May 2001 at 01:00

What is wrong with the way we teach ICT in this country?

We can no longer blame a lack of resources by the Government. So what is the real problem? Here is my contribution: in many schools, there is a lack of commitment to ICT and this stems largely from resistance to what is regarded as a non academic subject.

ICT has been identified as a national curriculum subject in its own right and the government has poured in billions of pounds to provide schools with the hardware to do the job.

ICT is often regarded as "just another nuisance subject" that has to be bolted on to the curriculum, one that anyone with spare time can teach. In many cases, bright pupils, when selecting their GCSE options, are advised not to choose ICT. "Anybody can teach themselves ICT", they are told, "It is far more important for you to select academic' subjects".

So, whereas the government has moved on during the past decade, many schools still resist what society demands of them.

Young children can easily develop simple ICT skills with child-friendly applications such as word processors, graphics, and slide-shows but it is difficult for them to develop high levels of expertise without expert tuition.

So for the same reason that we do not dispense with English teachers and have "English across the curriculum", we should not have "ICT across the curriculum" in place of the discrete tuition which children are entitled to.

If we were to adopt a purely academic curriculum, as many schools do, then arguably, ICT would not feature in it at all. If, on the other hand, we were to adopt a purely vocational curriculum, then ICT would probably be one of the most important subjects. A more sensible approach surely, is to adopt a curriculum which embraces a balance of academic and vocational subjects.nbsp;

Jack Case
Head of ICT, Royal Manor school, Weymouth, Dorset

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