Too many teachers are not thinking

30th January 2009 at 00:00

I would like to thank Marj Adams for her comment piece, "Useless using capacities to evaluate success" (January 2). For a contribution which claimed to be against the capacities in A Curriculum for Excellence, it did a wonderful job of showing the relevance of those capacities to the modern world - and exactly why they are needed.

Ms Adams questioned the value of the capacities because, she claimed, you could not fail to fulfil them. She used the example of a shopping trip, where she could buy organic produce to try something new and become a successful learner, buy low-fat yoghurt to have a healthy lifestyle and become a confident individual, and buy Speyside whisky to show an appreciation of local produce and be a responsible citizen. Her shopping trip itself was evidence of being an effective contributor.

I would like to congratulate Ms Adams on her shopping choices, but what planet is she living on if she believes that an average secondary-school pupil would make those choices? If a pupil were to choose organic, local produce due to a heightened awareness of these issues, thanks to ACfE, what a fantastic success that would be. I wonder, if pupils thought the issues through, would they still go to the local chip van at lunchtime? They certainly couldn't apply the capacities there.

Ms Adams seems to be exactly the kind of conservative stereotype of the experienced teacher that students such as myself are battling against in order to achieve genuine progress in Scottish education. It is progress which ACfE can deliver, if only educators apply some creative thought to the concepts. But it seems that for too many teachers, to quote Marj Adams, "thinking ... is just not on the agenda".

Barney Norris, PGDE(S) history student, Jordanhill.

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