Whose methods are 'poor' now?;Letter

19th June 1998 at 01:00
Chris Woodhead reiterates the view that ". . . the roots of education failure lie in poor teaching methods . . .". But how did "poor teaching methods" arise in the first place?

Until 10 years ago - even after the first national curriculum - it was common to find school inspectors promoting the view that non-subject-based topic teaching was the only valid primary teaching style; that teachers should avoid direct teaching - especially whole-class teaching - and become "enablers" of pupils managing their own learning.

These methods are now regarded as "poor". They were adopted, though, by inspectors who presumably believed in them at the time, and by teachers who trusted them. A good many inspectors must now be upholding the opposite of what they preached 10 years ago.

Chris Woodhead deserves the profession's scorn - not for wanting to root out poor methodology, but for sustaining the lazy tabloid myth that teachers are always to blame for it. Roy Hattersley details the effects on morale in the profession on the same page.

Michael Hurdle

Primary deputy headteacher 7 Farm Lane Send Woking, Surrey

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