Mystery why Scots teachers need regular retraining

19th September 2008 at 01:00
There has developed a generally-held view that teachers need to be retrained regularly, or perhaps "re-educated" would be the appropriate word. Why Scottish teachers, some of the most qualified in Europe, require this almost continuously is a mystery to me.

However, the "discourse of derision" which has been employed by governments since the late 20th century has generally blamed teachers for not being this or not providing that, labelling them as intransigent and unwilling to engage enthusiastically in the latest initiative.

Consultation exercises in Holyrood are common, but it seems that the world and his wife are consulted about what they want schools to deliver, yet there is scant dialogue with the people who know how practical or otherwise these suggestions are. Although teacher "representatives" are consulted, they do not always represent the views from the chalkface.

Likewise, training courses for teachers can be set up and run by people with little or no teaching experience, yet there is an unspoken assumption that they must know more about teaching than the people who have acquired it in the crucible of the classroom, where few policy-makers dare to venture.

Barbara Harvey, Lime Crescent, Cumbernauld.

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