Slippery slope to censorship

1st November 2013 at 00:00

It is ironic that Ed Dorrell's diatribe against student voice ("You know best - don't let students tell you otherwise", Editorial, 18 October) appeared opposite a photograph of Malala Yousafzai. Wasn't it Malala's refusal to be silenced that led to her being shot by the Taliban? Claire Fox's article ("Why student voice has gone way too far", Comment) was a little more nuanced. She allows that teachers should listen but implies it is unwise to take students' views too seriously.

Doubtless both authors would consider the comparison extreme, but the difference is one of degree not kind. If you believe that education requires mutually respectful engagement between teacher and learner, logic points towards student voice - albeit imperfectly realised. However, a focus on the transmission of received wisdom, and using the lazy cop-out "because I say so", places you on a slippery slope leading ultimately to the Taliban.

Alan Parker, Former director of education, London.

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