What not to teach?

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Makeover programmes such as What Not To Wear should be the inspiration for a new television channel for teachers, according to one of the Government's favourite think-tanks.

Demos says that Teachers' TV should use techniques from the BBC series in which style gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine attempt to improve the dress sense of celebrities and members of the public.

Teachers' TV is due to begin broadcasting programmes to help teachers 24 hours a day from February. It will be editorially independent but funded by the Government to the tune of more than pound;20 million a year.

The Demos report, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills, urges producers to strike a balance between entertainment and education.

"Teachers' TV is not a public-service broadcaster, but it does need to meet some of these educative purposes," it says. "It will need to avoid becoming an Open University for teachers, simply distributing training material.

Instead it must combine entertainment and education in new ways."

The report concludes that the "watercooler test", whether teachers discuss the channel in the staffroom, will be more important than the ratings.

It recommends producers pay attention to programmes such as What Not To Wear and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

"This coaching model of observation and reflective dialogue is an effective learning model and a successful entertainment model," Demos states.

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