Sunday 1 February 2015

What would happen if knowledge were unhooked from testing, league tables and force academy conversion?

If we could free the question of knowledge from testing, league tables, and forced academy conversion, we could have an interesting, rational conversation about the balance between knowledge, aptitudes, transferable skills - or indeed any other models of what 'knowing something' actually means.

In that situation - and I stress it does not apply in the hothouse of micro-measurement for the government's testing regime - we could talk about the relative worth of knowing times tables, being able to punctuate alongside, say, knowing the difference between a bacterium and a virus, knowing how to bake bread, knowing how to read a timetable, how to spot a rabid dog, what is blood?, is it possible to tell if a politician is lying?, and how the building you're in is standing up…etc etc. 

Meanwhile, we have to listen to the endless wittering of fairly ancient people coming on the radio and TV talking as if knowing times tables was self-evidently essential, using phrases like 'of course', and 'obviously' all the time. Well, folks, nothing in the world of knowledge, teaching and learning is 'obvious' or 'self-evident'. If it were, we wouldn't have been able to have scientific enquiry or the ability to change the world we live in.