Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I stand my ground and I won’t back down
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Inclusion, differentiation, behaviour or low level disruption? Take your pick over what is the hot topic on edu-twitter this half term season.
But this is only telling us half of the story, one in which the truth is often distorted to suit the educational ideology of the initial tweeter. You see, to paraphrase Brendan Cox, we have more in common than that which divides us. Ideology isn’t important and I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of us use whatever methods suit given the situation we are in. I’m willing to say that most of us would favour a curriculum rich in knowledge but with the freedom to deliver it in a way that suits our cohort and, most importantly, the stage of education they are at.
None of us want to work in classrooms where disruption is the norm, however we will have our own methods in dealing with it. Silent corridors can be a thing if that works in your environment, equally singing and dancing can be all the rage. You see, we are all wrong but all equally right.
What this is crying out for is professional agency. An engenderment of trust in our teachers to do the best for the children they teach. If three-way differentiation is what is needed (at times in my mixed age class it is) then who is anyone to tell me not to do it? Equally, if I want to take my class into the woods to learn Jabberwocky then who is anyone to say that is wrong?
Twitter was the saviour of my career during ITT but there are times it seems that the profession would rather implode on itself rather than look for any unity. On any given day it would take the skills of Boutros Boutros Ghali to broker a deal between the warring factions. Where cohesion is needed we have division, where federated thought could help we have animosity between people who, underneath it all, are engaged in the same job. It makes twitter a daunting place, almost primal in its existence. If I were a trainee or NQT nowadays I’d think twice before posting in case I upset one side or the other.
But we can fix this. Maybe we need to listen more and argue less. Maybe we can learn to appreciate the nuance of another’s position on something without resorting to playground squabbling. Maybe we can turn edu-twitter back to the supportive place it was when I joined.
Until then though, let’s just be nicer to each other…