Executive Guidance Blog

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Category: Trainer Blog

  1. Trainer Blog

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    Trainer Blog

    A couple of weeks I went to hear a presentation from someone who was described as a motivational speaker from within the education sector, and I turned up very excited about what I was going to learn.  Sadly after the best part of an hour and a half (the presentation was only due to last 45 minutes) along with most of the other delegates I left very disappointed.  The presentation was supposed to talk about some of the more modern thinking in education and I was left feeling that things have gone backwards quite a long way and that some of the principals that I hold dear are being tossed out.

    The speaker criticised the move by the UK Education Minister to bring back rote learning.  The key for me to this is not about not allowing rote learning, it should be much more about appropriate learning.  There are places where it is entirely appropriate for someone to learn something off by heart.  For example eight times eight equals sixty four.  Do you really need to know why or how, I would suggest not, I would suggest that once you know your ‘times tables’ you can build from that very solid foundation, but if you don’t have that foundation everything else will come tumbling down. 

    Of course there will be situations where it is essential that you learn the how, why and what of the case, and then it will not be ‘appropriate to learn something off by heart, so the key to the discussion should  not be the merits of learning by rote, it should be about the merits of any chosen teaching intervention, and nothing should be excluded in that debate.

    Our motivational speaker then went on to say he felt it was acceptable to set students up to fail.  WHAT!!!  I was still seething about this when I drove in to work this morning nearly two weeks later.  The justification for this seemed to be that by showing them failure they may well become more determined and go on to become great entrepreneurs and make substantial donations to schools and colleges in the future. 

    I was stunned at both the proposition and the purpose behind it.  The short term effect of this will be a total loss of trust in the teacher and the school process.  My take on this is that if for any reason the activity you involve your students in does not achieve the Learning Outcomes you expected, go on and take the learning out of the situation for the benefit of both your students and yourself.       

    There we are, did the motivational speaker motivate me, well I guess he did, but just not maybe in the way he intended.  See you next week.