Letters show uncertainty within profession

23rd July 2010 at 01:00
Tensions surrounding the Curriculum for Excellence reform

The anonymity of recent letters to The TESS on Curriculum for Excellence has highlighted the tensions surrounding the reform. They are reinforced by the personal nature of some of the comments, such as those of Basia Gordon on Brian Boyd in her letter of July 2; they were unnecessary, and surely not evidence of good citizenship.

It is, of course, a matter for the editor of The TESS to determine on what terms he accepts and prints a letter, but I don't believe that anonymity is a trend that should be encouraged. I also have to declare an interest in that I have, at times, worked for and with Brian, and he certainly doesn't need my support or advice.

It is the content of the letters, however, that is more revealing. A couple described Brian as being far removed from "the coal or chalk interface". I was bemused by the macho inference that only being in the classroom allows one the right to pass comment.

The notion that teaching in one department in one school in one authority affords any teacher the blinding insight into talking authoritatively on what is happening in all schools across the country stretches ego- centrism. This suggests a rather insular approach and an indication of a profession not particularly comfortable with, or confident in, itself.

One reason for the uncertainty, I suggest, is that CfE has exposed something of a fault-line in parts of the education profession. Among other things, it appears to remove the comfort zone and requires teachers to consider what they believe to be the purpose of schooling and the nature of learning. This may, for some, be rather uncomfortable and uncharted territory but, to be effective, such reflection and dialogue cannot be conducted in anonymity, and open discussion has to be encouraged, as Brian suggests.

At a secondary heads' bash earlier this year, in an attempt to provoke some controversy, I suggested that there were three people that one is not likely to meet in life - a poor banker, a lawyer with a conscience and a secondary teacher who understands CfE. Sadly, the audience nodded in agreement. Of course, the premise underpinning the trilogy is flawed, because I have known a poor banker.

Anyway, why isn't it called Learning for Excellence? It is at such times I have to remind myself that I am just a lawyer.

Cameron Munro, Marlborough Avenue, Broomhill, Glasgow.

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