Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Jamie's Dream School

Jamie Oliver -- good guy -- has set up a small school that’s to run for two weeks and attempt to rescue 20 teenage ‘academic failures’, and to ‘light their fire’, as he puts it, he’s engaged distinguished experts as teachers. Just seen the first programme and they didn’t do well, except the yachtsperson who only had four kids to deal with -- and no school subject to teach.

Might that be something to do with the fact that the experts aren’t teachers? might they not have been more successful if they’d been shown how to do it on a PGCE?

To which, sadly, Jamie’s answer might justifiably be that the people the kids have just come are all trained teachers, and what good did that do.

His scheme isn’t silly because we know that there are loads of ‘born teachers’ who aren’t teaching as a job, and some of his experts might have turned out to be among them as well as being expert in science, art, history and sailing.

Still, it’s also rather typical of the standing of the profession that the idea can even get a hearing that non-teachers could be given a bunch of kids to teach, whereas we wouldn’t (or would we, these days?) set non-medics to do surgery or non-musicians to conduct... Etc.

Shows we lack a clear concept of what the expertise in teaching actually is. But a prerequisite must surely be that someone understands teenagers and is used to being with them. I got the impression that none of these four did, except perhaps the yacht person whose name I should know but have forgotten.

Come to think of them, Jamie himself seemed by far the best with the kids, but then he’s taught similar kids for years in his restaurant.

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