Well, yes, there is a point to this

Graduates with first-class degrees will be eligible for the most generous bursaries to teach shortage subjects such as science and maths, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

In an overhaul of the system of teacher training in England, ministers will announce the introduction of new personality tests – combined with tougher English and maths exams – to weed out the weakest applicants.

As PJ O\’Rourke has pointed out, the only people who don\’t know what is wrong with education are those who have not dated an El Ed major.

Or, in the English sense, those who have not remembered that back when, when the current generation of senior teachers were getting their training, you needed a couple of A s and a B to get into Cambridge say, and two E s to get into teacher training college (yes, true, Sion Hill).

If you\’re plucking your teachers from the dim it should be no surprise that you get dim teachers.

Now it\’s also true that you don\’t need to be earth shatteringly bright to run a class of five year olds: not in the way that you do need to be to run a high energy physics lab. The dealing with 5 year old tantrums is the same, true, but….

But while there may be a point to getting the bright to be teachers I\’m deeply unsure that it\’s actually a good one. I have a very strong feeling that we\’d actually be best off scrapping the teacher training colleges entirely. A degree, any degree, plus 6 weeks hands on training in how to manage a classroom and off you go. At secondary level, perhaps your degree should at least be associated with what you\’re teaching.

And to be honest, I\’m not even sure that a degree is a necessary part of it. Yes, there\’s always the cute kid who is brighter than the teacher (not, given the above, all that difficult) but the vast majority of teaching is trying to beat a certain portion of the accumulated wisdom of mankind into babes and sucklings. I\’m simply not sure that a degree is required to teach the ABC and 123 part of it. Nor anything at all really, up to perhaps (perhaps the step before) AS level.

I do know that private schools do not have to demand a post graduate teaching course or degree and they may or may not require a degree at all. And we do generally think that the teaching (for more complex reasons than just this) is better in the private sector. So is a degree necessary at all?

12 thoughts on “Well, yes, there is a point to this”

  1. “If you’re plucking your teachers from the dim it should be no surprise that you get dim teachers”

    It explains the teachers’ unions as well.

  2. Ha! JV wouldn’t claim to know what’s wrong with edjmcation even though he did once date someone who went on to become an “El Ed Major”. She somehow failed to get into teacher training college at the first attempt. It seems they don’t blacklist these people.

    Isn’t part of the problem that if you can tick the right boxes (degree in Mickey Mouse, PGCE in Play-Doh, no convictions or cautions for sexually assualting a minor) in the state system you will definitely get a 100% guaranteed and almost totally secure job? Also, who the hell wants to be a primary school teacher? Even if we paid Goldman Sachs salaries (and teacher salaries ain’t half bad in the UK at the moment), how many more competent individuals would actually apply for the job?

  3. I was taught physics by a chap who didn’t have a degree in it. I really don’t recommend it: I had a lot of ground to make up at university. I was taught maths wonderfully well by a mathematician, and that did me sterling service throughout my life.

  4. I know some secondary school teachers, and if I had kids, I wouldn’t want them teaching them. Dim is the word that comes to mind.

  5. So Much For Subtlety

    France used to recruit primary school teachers at 16. They didn’t even think A levels were all that important. They would then put them through their own training and off they went.

    One thing that Jacques got right.

    The idea of a special degree in education is a nonsense. It is a useless degree in ideological indoctrination and little more. A sinecure for Trots who have no other career options.

  6. Closing down the teacher training colleges would break up a particularly festering far-left bastion, so vital if only for that alone.

  7. But Rob, think of the other students in the same town. You’d be removing an important pool of dim temporary girlfriends.

  8. There’s a really important difference between being able to teach & being qualified to teach. And in science and maths particularly, the pool of especially well-qualified propeller heads is very heavily stocked with those quite unsuited to the rigours of facing down thirty-odd unruly, hormonal teens.

  9. My own pet theory – nobody under 30 should be considered for a teaching career and then only select from the successful, whatever they chose to do in the inyerim.

    Might cost us a bit more in the short term, but a small price to pay.

  10. The personality counts for more than the educational qualifications – I realised at the age of 8 that I could never be a good teacher (and to forestall comments I can state that I have more letters after my name than in it).
    There is an argument for paying more for teachers with good degrees so that good teachers with good degrees will lose less by opting for a vocation than for a job in commerce.
    There is also a strong argument for personality tests for teachers so that we shall get fewer teachers who persecute children who are clearly brighter than themselves. I was lucky (I was probably spoiled by teachers who wanted a bright child to challenge them) : my more intelligent son was not and suffered more visits to hospital during his six years in secondary school than I have in my whole life. In one case the teacher only bothered because he was dripping blood onto his computer’s keyboard which threatened to short out the network.

  11. Oh, sorry I should have mentioned that the best teacher I ever had didn’t have a degree because he joined the RAF when he left school and got a teaching qualification after the War ended.
    Others had degrees and no PGCE. The best French teacher I had was married to my mother’s leading opponent in local politics which she completely ignored when striving to get me to pronounce words in a fashion that french people might comprehend.

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