Monday, January 05, 2009


Chritine Gilbert reckons that all our problems with naughty pupils would be solved if only we were more exciting. I was definitely a very boring teacher and never once did I dress up as a banana, juggle with kittens or saw anybody in half. (I did make quite a few baseball caps diappear however.) The only time I ever got the pupils wildly excited was if I really disliked the teacher who had to take them next.

Fortunately Mrs Gilbert is going to give schools some information to help them improve. A guide to basic tap dancing perhaps, card tricks or simple gymnastics? (subject to a 7 page Health and Safety Assessment of course).

The good news is that I have decided to apply for a position as an Ofsted Inspector; not because I believe that I have anything useful to say to the teachers, but simply because I think that it would be great fun and provide me with endless amusing stories to relate to my friends.


Anonymous said...

My husband's best mate has just left his wife and kids and run off with an Ofsted inspector. I say therefore that all female Ofsted inspectors are randy little polecats who only took the job because it brought them into contact with lots of men.

That aside, I received the school newsletter in my pigeonhole this morning. I was greeted with the headline that "It is a well-known fact that to be successful, learning must be fun." I filed the newsletter in the wicker storage facility and went and punched a wall.

Anonymous said...

I think that the statement "If your lesson is interesting the students will behave" is used by PGCE tutors in the same way that parents use the phrase: "If you don't behave then Santa won't come". It's a control method - they have to observe these teachers and would much rather watch a fun lesson than a dull one.

When I think back to my own school days I can remember young teachers being run ragged while trying to entertain us and also sitting in rigid fear copying down from the board in silence while the deputy head read the paper at the front. Hmm, which was more fun?

Anonymous said...

What a load of absolute bollocks! Yes, I agree it is better if lessons are interesting, but at the end of the day it's not the teachers job to entertain, we are there to teach, it's the kids job to get in line with the teacher, not the teachers job to pander to the wishes of the kids.

The simple joy of learning should be interesting enough without teachers having to put whistles and bells on everything. Same old rot, blame everyone (especially the poor bloody teachers) for the state of our education system, but don't have the courage to tackle the problem head on.

Anonymous said...

I know...forget sending us information on how to do it....come and shows us how Ms Gilbert! There that's the challenge. I'll sort out the class. You'll know them, 8/7, the ones where 60% of them have ADHD but who are always 'on task' and 'entertained' especially when I stand on my head whistling 'Dixie'! I'm sure that Ms Gilbert will have no problem showing me how to stop the 'low level disruption' caused by my inability to 'entertain' these pupils. I end with a message to all OFSTED inspectors.....GET A REAL JOB!

DorsetDipper said...

if this was a good idea then the private sector would do it.

Anonymous said...

My mentor teacher taught me to say "it's not the circus" anytime my students complained that it was too boring. :) Of course they complain that it's boring even when I (literally!) throw things across the room and juggle!

Margaret English said...

"A lack of stimulation is leading to worsening behaviour"

Aarrgghhh! This old chestnut!!
The blame is once again being shifted on to the teachers and not on to the parents. Although I like to have a decent atmosphere in my class, first and foremost I am a teacher- NOT an entertainer. These Ofsted idiots could not teach any type of lesson, fun or dull or otherwse.

Anonymous said...

I'm so narked over this I feel a rant coming on.
This edutainment fad is the result of the same thinking that insisted patients with no medical training could choose a hospital wisely: a once-possibly-honourable wish to extend the privileges and options of the elite few to the general populace.

Children who enjoy academic pursuits and who are good at them, who have been trained from infancy in concentration, patience, enjoyment of mental exercise, manners and respect for their own achievement and the rights of others, are usually prepared to put up with a certain amount of mild boredom or difficulty for one hour without resorting to verbal or physical abuse. They were usually found clustered in the Grammar Schools, all 20% of the population of them.

Those whose temperaments, ability or upbringing rendered them likely to be bored and easily frustrated tended not to pass the 11+ and thus ended up in the Secondary Moderns from which, as many studies from the 50s, 60s and 70s illustrated, they tended to do worse in terms of jobs, status and pay later in life, just as the majority of kids with few qualifications do now. Even though the curriculum was tailored to a low level of academic rigour and full of hands-on technical stuff, lots of children had to be caned to endure it.

Someone somewhere who had the brilliant idea that if you place all these children in the same establishment with the same kind of curriculum opportunities as Grammar School kids had, the 80% will do as well as the 20% used to, may have acted out of the best egalitarian motives.

Well it hasn't worked, despite the dilution of the curriculum and exams, neglect of the most able in favour of getting as many lazy middling kids as possible to the Magic C, and completely leaving aside the impact of Inclusion And Its Disappearing Budget. If you can't cane the Resentful Cohort, your only refuge is entertainment and ass-kissing appeasement.

Just don't try and pretend that it's Education Theory.

Anonymous said...

I fear the knives are being sharpened at DCSF HQ. First we have the code of conduct that makes us accountable to our employers 24/7, then there's a story about education spending being under threat, and now Christine 'Haringey Social Serives are Great, but they lied to us, so they're rubbish, but I deleted the evidence of their lying so you'll have to take my word for it' Gilbert is saying we're dull and uninteresting so the kids are naughty.

So what about the kids who go shoplifting outside school, or vandalise buses or stab each other in a silly gang war over a swing in a playground or who go out drinking and smashing things up in the evening? Do they do this because I taught a dull lesson on electrical circuits in Physics that day?

Maybe prisoners could appeal against their sentences on the ground that it wasn't their fault, they had an English teacher who read Shakespeare to them in a slightly monotonous voice in 1982.

It would be great if I could make all my lessons fully interactive experiences using the latest multimedia techniques and scientific equipment. However, unless Christine Gilbert is planning on paying the air fare to take my Year 7s to Florida to watch a Space Shuttle take off, then the lesson's going to be a lot less exciting than it could be.

Unfortunately, what Christine Gilbert chooses not to understand is that what I find interesting, my brother finds dull. I love football, he hates it. We had a similar upbringing, the same parents, the same food and so on. We're just different. Trying to make a lesson interesting for 30 different people from different cultures and backgrounds flies in the face of accepted psychological wisdom.

As for the well known fact that learning has to be fun to be successful, what cobblers. The kids find unstructured chaos and taking to their friends fun, perhaps we should just let them onto the playing field all day, see what they learn through all that fun.

Anonymous said...

Lets all be OFSTED inspectors...

Anonymous said...

lilyofthefield. you have it spot on.