Trainers are human too;Letter

16th July 1999 at 01:00
GABRIELLE Jones (TES, July 2) does not seem to have benefited from her experiences on day three of the National Numeracy Strategy training. If this was her only complaint I would have little problem with it. I believe that if we are to raise standards in schools, the training that we provide must be of the highest quality, and of use in the classroom.

But I am disappointed that Ms Jones seems to have taken offence at the individuals concerned in her training. To refer to them as mere "robots" would seem rude, and certainly personal. She suggest these people had little idea of what they were talking about, being unable to answer questions not contained in "the script".

In all probability, these trainers were teaching day in, day out until a few months ago, and are still new to the in-service training business.

Ms Jones may also be unaware that for many people, speaking in front of large groups is a skill that needs time to develop, and grows with confidence. In the perfect world our consultants would be both skilled speakers and knowledgeable practitioners, but we live in a far from perfect world.

These "sweetly smiling, twittering" consultants are employed because they have been there. They know about whole-class direct interaction, the Numeracy Framework and its implications, and so are not spouting concepts with no understanding of the implications. They have experienced the demands of an ever-evolving curriculum, the terrors of the Office for Standards in Education inspections and the philosophy of "teacher bashing".

We all start somewhere Ms Jones, and these individuals are in a very public arena. They are learning a new trade, I hope with grace, and without forgetting where they were a few months ago. Your criticism will probably not be all constructive - they will probably just feel miserable, and doubt themselves. Is this how we should treat the child who at first struggles? No? Well then why are adults any different?

Give them a chance - they are after all, only human!

Mrs H Jones, Teacher, Bristol

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