A surprise truce has been reached between progressive and traditionalist educators during the 7th annual Learning and Skills Conference at the University of Carterton.
Delegates thrashed out the agreement in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with debate focussing on the age-old question of which is better, knowledge or skills.
‘For years, we have been labouring under the misapprehension that the two approaches were incompatible,’ said Toby Bunion of the Conservative Learning Forum. ‘But now we’ve reached what seems to be the ideal compromise. We traditionalists will get to tell teachers what they have to teach, and the progressives get to tell them how to teach it.’
Maureen Bismark from the pressure group Progressives for Progress (PfP) explained, ‘We don’t mind kids having their minds filled with reams of archaic knowledge, as long as they learn it through pointless tasks that quickly descend into classroom chaos are a complete pain in the arse for teachers to facilitate. I’m thinking living graphs, hot-seating, carousel activities, that sort of thing.’
With excitement mounting in the education community, there can be little doubt that ‘progressive-traditionalism’, the learning of huge amounts of pointless knowledge through silly convoluted activities, represents the future of British education.
Chris Farmer, Executive Director at Capital Wealth Management Group, sponsor of the country’s largest academy chain, Forward!, commented, ‘It sounds great to me. I mean, I don’t know what a card sort or a hot seat is. My kids go to prep school and for some reason they don’t do those things there. But, yes, we are definitely going to be implementing this.’
As an indication of what an outstanding ‘prog-trad’ lesson might entail, delegates from the two sides came together to rewrite the famous passage from Dickens’s Hard Times in which Headmaster Gradgrind, the original fact-pusher, teaches students to define a horse.
The rewritten Hard Times excerpt in full:
Gradgrind: ‘Girl number twenty. There is a post-it note stuck to your forehead bearing the name of a certain graminivorous quadruped. Can you guess what it is?’
Sissy Jupe minimizes Facebook on her phone and opens Google. ‘How do you spell graminivorous, Sir?’
Gradgrind: ‘It’s in the word search I gave you as a starter.’
Sissy Jupe rifles in vain through the five card-sorts and eighteen worksheets on her desk.
Gradgrind: ‘Right. We’re going to need some peer-to-peer support here. Bitzer, sit on the hot seat and get into character as the graminivorous quadruped in question.’
Bitzer sits on the hot seat and begins to neigh in a lack-lustre fashion.
Sissy Jupe: ‘Is it a horse?’
Gradgrind: ‘I’m not going to answer that, but can someone else answer Sissy’s question?’
Bitzer: ‘Yes, clearly it’s a fucking horse.’
Gradgrind: ‘Great learning guys. I call that rapid progress.’
|'Now get into groups and make a scrappy poster about eighteenth century crop rotation systems. Spend most of the lesson colouring in the title. Then hand it to me and I will lose it before next lesson.'|