Teacher-centred model is defunct

10th September 2004 at 01:00
Tim and Harry Brighouse - both deeply entrenched in our existing educational chaos - argue the pros and cons of our existing system, rather than stepping beyond the limiting nature of teacher-centred classrooms ("Can comprehensives really work?", TES, August 27).

Father (Tim) comes across as the melancholy idealist, his son as the detached realist seated in his academic university greenhouse. I wonder what sort of schools his children attend?

Of course in any school designed on our classroom model of x kids and one teacher in a little box, the success of the teacher's ability to teach and the students' ability to receive the teaching will depend upon the composition of the students in that classroom.

In this mdoel, the teacher must cast the level of the lessons to reflect the students' overall ability.

It is for this reason that parents pay to get their children into classrooms that have the greatest student similarity. It is in such classrooms that a teacher can produce the best-educated students. Grammar schools and schools in expensive residential areas and private schools all demonstrate the advantages of this.

In a comprehensive classroom where, say, 10 of the 30 students can't read at the expected level, the teacher will be thwarted in teaching the 20 who are good readers.

No, Messrs Brighouse, the real challenge is to replace our classroom system with a student-centred system where each individual student is treated as a customer of learning.

Then parents won't have to seek out the "better" schools because their child's individual talents and needs will be fully accommodated rather than being stuck into a classroom with 29 others.

I can happily provide a practical description of a student-centred school which may replace all the schools to which the Brighouses refer.

Classrooms are the socio-economic equivalent of cottage industries. The educational equivalent of the Industrial Revolution has not yet occurred.

IT can be the "power supply" to facilitate the leap forward, but it cannot occur in our cottage-like classooms.

Karl Jaeger

Founderdirector of the International School of America 7 Lansdown Crescent

Bath

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now