Over the last couple of years I have been taking a more active interest in education. For one year I was a governor at a secondary modern school. It did drive me a bit nuts. The teachers were great but everyone was obsessed with assessment and the governing body was largely there to rubber stamp things. I think everyone concerned with education needs to start challenging the ‘assumptions’ that current education policies are based on. For example, we should stop ‘teaching’ and recognise that children are natural learners. We can facilitate the learning process much more easily if we collaborate with our kids rather than dictate to them. A lot of schools I have come across have a problem engaging students, especially the boys. I think if we all (parents and teachers) spent more time listening and paying attention to what our kids are already spontaneously learning then there would be fewer problems with engagement.
I also think that we should give kids a much bigger say in determining their curriculum and also build a lot more real life experience, including one or two days a week work experience from year 7 onwards.
I could have stayed involved as a governor but actually I think I can make a better contribution from within my own discipline of training and NLP (neuro Linguistic Programming). NLP has a lot to offer schools and especially the students, because it helps everyone to take a lot more care about the often negative assumptions, beliefs and attributions which schools are notoriously good at inculcating. Put simply, kids excel when they believe they have the capacity to excel. Unfortunately successive governments of all persuasions in the UK have pushed the assessment agenda to fulfil their own party political agendas with scant attention to the negative effects such labyrinthine and demeaning processes have upon children’s beliefs about their own capabilities. It’s time to give education back to kids and take it away from politicians and bureaucrats who are playing games with increasingly meaningless statistics in pursuit of their own narrow interests.
I am now providing programmes to schools in support of continuing professional development for teachers and student support staff who are looking for tools and ideas which will help them to proivde a richer and more broadly based learning environment for thie students.