Try teaching in the 21st century

30th October 2009 at 00:00

So Frank Furedi has discovered that worksheets are dull ("Make children embrace the boredom," October 23). I'll let you into a secret, Frank. No one likes worksheets. Teachers certainly don't think they are the key to motivation, as you suggest. With 30 youngsters in front of you every hour of the day you systematise and manage - and worksheets are a means to an end.

The vision of good education Frank seems to hold is simple. It is of children - boys in worsted shorts and girls in gingham frocks - studiously learning tables and sonnets and memorising molecular weights, in between held mesmerised by a teacher (probably in a sports jacket) electrifying the class with explanations that bedazzle and amaze. Hydrogen explodes; Horace is recited. And we have all let him down. Sorry, Frank.

Why have we let him down? Try mixing bedazzlement with the audit culture. Try blending inspiration with targets. Try hybridising Avogadro's number with The X Factor. Try the 21st century, Frank.

Gary Thomas, School of Education, Birmingham University.

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