Pure teaching

You basically tell children, in the least fandangled way possible, in a simple sequence and after you have ensured their undivided attention, everything you know. You might show them how to do things and draw a little diagram for them. You might have a nice conversation beginning with, ‘Did you know that……?’  and ‘Hang on a minute, you’re doing this a bit wrong. Let me show you how to do it…..’

This is how a parent raises their child.

This is also how a teacher can teach a pupil.

It’s also common sense and when people pollute, with their convoluted methods, this simple, efficient and beneficial way of empowering the next generation, you’ve got to wonder what on Earth is going on.



6 thoughts on “Pure teaching

  1. Another issue is perhaps that you are describing things from the perspective of the parent.Children learn much more by experimentation, reading, observing and fighting than they ever do via being “told” by parents.

    A great deal of what parents tell children is wrong/incomplete and intended to manage the process.

    From the child’s perspective things are a little more complicated than you suggest when looking from the parent’s perspective.

    But a fascinating thought experiment.


    • Educators have been arguing for experiential or ‘natural’ learning at least since Rousseau. Unfortunately, it works poorly (if at all) when children have to learn academic subjects, which aren’t natural at all. They are the products of the best minds the human race has produced since the Sumerians discovered a reliable way of recording speech, and they will never learn them by experimenting (let alone fighting!). Even Jerome Bruner admitted that discovery learning “is the most inefficient technique possible for regaining what has been gathered over a long period of time”.

      These days it is fashionable to deride ‘factory schools’ where teachers deliver a more or less identical curriculum to an entire class. Ironically, the ‘personalised’ model favoured by enthusiasts for ’21st century skills’ is actually a regression to the medieval workshop. AfL, the means by which our schools have supposedly been personalising learning, is a hollow shell: children’s desire to learn academic subjects develops slowly, and even undergraduates need a fair amount of direct instruction if they are to achieve even a basic mastery of their subject.

      In 2008, ten years after Black and Wiliam published ‘Inside the Black Box’, Ofsted reported that only a few schools of those inspected were actually putting AfL into practice and found that of those that were implementing it, many were not introducing it in the manner advocated by Black and Wiliam. After all, secondary teachers often have more than 150 pupils to teach, and it is ludicrous to suggest that they can personalise learning for all of them in any meaningful way. Even ‘differentiating’ the curriculum for groups of pupils destroys any chance of the teacher achieving anything like a reasonable amount of work-life balance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my parental/teaching experience…

    A child must also respect his/her parent (teacher) enough to believe that the advice/information they are listening to is worth hearing: respectful relationships are fundamental.


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