A short quickly-written Saturday blog for: @RaeSnape who provided the title; @thatboycanteach who would have written this better but is rightly too busy today with his family; @MattGovernor who provides one of the most optimistic education voices on Twitter and @learningspy whose blog and book have influenced my work by offering consistent challenge.
According to @learningspy, optimistic educationalists are unscrupulous professionals blithely causing havoc. His claim falls down in my own area, primary teaching, because a wide range of external evidence suggests that, far from creating havoc, we work very successfully for the benefit of children. For a significant number of vulnerable children, primary education is a protection against havoc that enables them to learn. It’s the difference continuing to be made to pupils’ lives and communities that sustains optimism even in these most challenging times.
Personally, I hope that do not do anything blithely. I consider evidence seriously in the context of everything I do professionally. I am responsible for the outcomes of a primary education course. The aims are simple: every student teacher should engage with a wide evidence base in order to find the balance that meets the needs of whole classes, groups and individuals. The students begin their career knowing that there is no magic wand that meets all children’s needs but that a balance of subject knowledge, relationship and evidence-based pedagogy will work. The ability to find the right balance for a child (especially when an approach isn’t working) comes from open-minded reflection and experience. The other aim is that students are able to articulate what each subject contributes to human development so they leave committed to teach all the disciplines to a high standard. According to OfSTED, my colleagues deliver excellent training to students with exemplorary professional attitudes who go on to be NQTs with strong behaviour management and the ability to meet the broad needs of early years and primary age children. No havoc, nothing done blithely but hard slog, high quality work and rigorous evaluation. My optimism is rooted in my confidence that, beacuse no one can ever know everything there is to know about primary teaching, I will continue to learn and improve professionally.