Tuesday 3 July 2012

Singapore? You're telling porkies, Gove.

Someone calling themselves IlSasso has written this in reply to my latest Dear Mr Gove letter in the Guardian. Il Sasso here is talking about the model that many of us have been talking about for years - a complete opposite of ruling education by Cabal and Diktat. As I've said many times before, we trialled this in England and English studies with the LINC project in the 1980s/90s - here's one link:


Here's another:


but it was junked and £20million was thrown down the pan.

Here's the post from 'IlSasso' from this


"  Like David Price, I was invited by the Singapore Government, to advise them on their new curriculum. Last year I ran one course for government employees and ten courses for secondary geography teachers. If Michael Gove wanted to be more like Singapore then he would do things differently. First, they have been plannign changes to the new O level geography syllabus since 2009 and have been carrying out research into good practice in the rest of the world. They decided that our GCSE geography syllabuses in England provided a good model; they wanted their geography course to be more relevanues in the world today and to be more challenging. They wanted students to adopt a more critical approach to what they were studying. Second, they involved a team of geography teachers to help them devise a draft syllabus and consulted widely. Third, they ran courses for geography teachers (similar courses were run for history teachers, also run by someone from the UK) to familiarise them with the more challenging investigative approaches they wanted to encourage. By the end of this year the aim is that every single geography teacher in Singapore will have attended one of these 20 hour courses. Fourth, they are working with teachers to pilot the new courses. If Gove wants to follow the example of Singapore he needs to: plan and carry out research for changes five years ahead; consult with teachers about changes; fund courses for all teachers; run pilot schmes in schools before finalising the new syllabus; make any new syllabus as challenging as the syllabuses in England which are admired by the Singaporean government. "

What IlSasso is talking about here is a fundamentally different and more democratic way of running education. This offers us a blueprint of an alternative to be arguing for, fighting for and talking about. This is 20 times more 'rigorous' than the cobbled-together nonsense that Gove works out on the backs of his envelopes. It involves research, evidence, teachers' testimony and pilot studies.

Next time Gove talks about Singapore, we have to shout long and loud about what is really going on there. Remember, Gove doesn't know what he's talking about. He makes it up as he's going along. The materials (syllabuses and tests) that are appearing in draft format are oppressive, boring, full of mistakes, have no basis in evidence and offer a fundamentally flawed view of education: how it is run, how teachers should teach and how learners learn.