No planning is no way to run a classroom

29th October 2010 at 01:00

In response to Catherine Paver's "Out-of-tune plans should hit a shorter note" (October 15), I would have no wish to burden a hard-working profession with unnecessary bureaucratic overload. However, are we really arguing for no planning? Of course real teaching exists in the moment. But how do teachers include all the things they need to, for all the different learners they face? Is it lucky dip? Or should we attempt systematic organisation of the resources at our disposal and design a plan for learning?

Do other professions really have such little control over what they do? A barrister attends a case and sees what happens? A pilot just turns the key and switches on the jet and flies? Are we just reliant on inspirational talent in the moment to cover everything?

I always have a plan based upon in-depth knowledge and experience and the needs of the content and learners. I just don't always use it in the way I originally intended, and in the light of what happens in the moment. However, I wish the profession would make it clear what it does that is skillful and competent, rather than presenting itself as only random and unthoughtful.

If you can plan learning for all pupils on a Post-it note, why do we need to pay you so much and train you so well?

Dr Ian Terrell, Director, Midwheb Partnership for Professional Development in Education, Middlesex University.

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