Debating and the ‘experts’ 

A brand new Twitter account has emerged this weekend called @CriticalThinkEd. The account has been instigated by @greg_ashman and is aimed at encouraging critical thinking. There will be questions and links to posts and comments  I can tell I’m going to be a huge fan of this account as it promises to deal with debates that are simmering away. There appears to be no hard and fast rules concerning who can and who can’t join in which is helpful as this means (hopefully) the little person won’t be shouted down. 

On Monday evening @FarrowMr tweeted ‘I am sick of seeing blogs on reading by secondary teachers. Teach someone (not family) to read from scratch, then write about it and I’ll read.’

I applauded Richard for his stand and suggested he blog for @CriticalThinkEd. Richard declined as thinks he’s written and argued enough around the subject of teaching reading. Myself and a few others tried to convince him but to no avail. During the conversation with Richard at least two secondary teachers joined the conversation and inflamed the situation with heated remarks. The conversation soon closed down. 

For me the problem with that particular conversation has little to do with reading and everything to do with respect. We all have our particular roles in education and we all carry them out to the best of our ability. Can we not simply respect each other for the training we have all undertaken to become the professionals we are. No one is saying that secondary teachers can’t teach reading. Of course they can! Can they do it completely from scratch alongside another 11 primary subjects while also aiming to have the child become accustomed to school? Similarly no one is saying that primary teachers can’t teach year 7s. Of course they can! As long as they are only teaching one specialist subject as senior teachers do, that wouldn’t be a problem. 

Can we not all stick to our roles and respect everyone else’s job. Debate is good and primary and secondary have much to learn from each other. But it isn’t about who is an expert, or about who shouts loudest and longest, it’s about creating a better education system. 

Before I finish, for the record, I teach reading by any method that the child can learn. I do mean any method! I will use phonics, pictures, whole words, sentences and even symbols to give a child the gift of reading. I’m sure there are teachers out there now reading this who are horrified at my combination of methods. The children I teach have SEND and they can’t learn from your usual methods. I have to think creatively. The point I am making is this, I’m not primary, I’m not secondary, I’m certainly not an expert- I’m just a teacher helping children by any method that works. Debate is good, but let’s remember it’s not about us, it’s about the children and what they need rather than our egos. 


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