Page 4, 17th January 1992

17th January 1992
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Page 4, 17th January 1992 — One more unjustified kick in the
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Organisations: Philistine government
Locations: Leeds

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One more unjustified kick in the

Keywords: Teacher, Teaching, Education

teeth for hard-pressed teachers

IT is depressing to sec education discussed with such smug superficiality by Desmond Albrow (January 10).

He makes four main points: (1) Teachers believe that they alone know what is good for children. (1 ignore the cheap little jibe about "kids".)

That is jusc not true, although when people have spent a lifetime in a profession they do tend to team quite a lot about it.

(2) "The state system needs a radical overhaul".

Where has Mr Albrow been for the past several years? There have been so many "reforms", so much "shaking up", as the government euphemistically calls it, that the system is groaning at the seams and the people in it are exhausted; and isn't it odd that the private system doesn't need "reforming", particularly since most schools in the private sector also follow the philosophy of the state sector in employing modern teaching methods?

(3) "Kenneth Clarke's proposals to knock the theoretical nonsense out of teacher training

Make the link

I WAS interested to read of the appointment of Tony Ilarris as principal chaplain to the RAF (January 10). You omitted to tell us that it is only about four years ago that his brother Joe held the same position.

Fr Bernard Nesden Hunstanton Mr Albrow should really find out about this for himself instead of swallowing the opinions of a man who is so embarrassingly ignorant of what actually happens in schools and training institutions.

(4) The bit about the education system turning out illiterates and uneducated vandals.

No doubt Mr Albrow is aware of the influence of the family and the surrounding culture on children. He cannot shuffle off his responsibilities in our society for the teaching of moral values on to the schools alone.

Of course the education system is not perfect. It is

very seriously underresourced and held together only by the hard work and goodwill of teachers.

Now, however, it is the training institutions (which have been jumping to every whim of this Philistine government for years while trying to preserve high standards) which are on the receiving end of remarks about their "baleful influence" (the latest easy phrase distributed among the newspapers by the minister).

Mary McDade Ex-Senior Lecturer in Educational Studies, Leeds Polytechnic.

NOW that the politicians have to a large extent stopped kicking teachers when they are down, it was with despair that I saw Desmond Albrow putting the boot in (January 10).

In more than 30 years of teaching in Catholic schools, I have seen teachers sacrifice. free time, family life, their health and, frequently, large sums of their own hard earned money, for the good and advancement of their pupils.

Mr Albrow accuses teachers of being patronising, by calling their pupils "kids". This is as nothing to the total contempt he shows by implying that most of our decent, hard-working young people are "illiterates and uneducated vandals".

If, as Mr Albrow says, the government does succeed in knocking "much of the theoretical nonsense out of teacher training", then God help our young people, for it is plain that certain types of politicians and journalists will not.

From a great deal of time spent in France working alongside student teachers, I know that this theoretical training is only what is commonly regarded as the barest minimum necessary on the continent, where our industrial competitors live.

Pauline Webb Bedford

You can fax your letters in on 071 256 9728 up to Tuesday mid-day




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