Teachers are not sheep

3rd February 2012 at 00:00

In response to Gordon Smith's letter regarding my article on Curriculum for Excellence, I was disappointed to note the condemnatory tone he employed to describe teachers who are of a different opinion from himself (6 January).

I made no comment which could remotely be interpreted as rejection of less able pupils; indeed, it is my overriding concern for them which is at the heart of my comments on literacy and numeracy.

Observing pupils in home economics classes who cannot read the recipe, talented art pupils who cannot interpret the design brief or create one of their own, pupils with practical skills who cannot read the blueprint or make the necessary accurate measurements, read the scales or interpret the units, it is evident that literacy and numeracy are fundamental to all areas of education.

I also note Mr Smith's reference to research. Unfortunately, much educational research would not be recognised as such by scientists or statisticians. In the past, such research told us to use individualised mathematics schemes and resource-based science courses, to abandon grammar in the teaching of modern languages and use phonetic spelling . Need I go on?

If teachers are expected to abandon their critical faculties in the face of each new theory as it emerges, then it augurs ill for their ability to promote thinking skills in their pupils.

Carole Ford, Terregles Avenue, Glasgow.

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