I agree with the writer that politics should be taken out of decisions about what education, or schooling as Mick Waters prefers to use is about. Other professions have their own governing bodies, as the medical profession has the BMA. If Education also had a governing body that covered all staff involved with schools, colleges, universities etc., they could research which methods and styles of teaching matched the children's abilities to learn. Governments seem to think that any system from a foreign country, even the USA which has a worse outcome of children reaching University level, is worth looking at even when they fail. They rarely ask the experts in our own country, e.g. Mick Waters, a previous Chief Education Officer. For anyone joining our Education system I would recommended to read this book, and anyone else with children, or grandchildren at school, would benefit from his wise words. If parents have worries about anything that involves their children, I would ask that they have a word with the class teacher, and if not satisfied, to ask to speak to the Head of the school. School days are short, many children leaving school at 3.30pm. Take out assembly, lunch and playtime breaks, and the day is very short. To expect a teacher to cover everything that is currently required in such a short time is impossible.Teachers try their best, but everyone that I know will confess that they simply cannot do everything that they are asked to do. Many parents feel anxious that their children are facing a very different world in the future, and they want to help their child, if only they knew how. Many parents do, of course, but if you are reading this, and you would like to help your child but are perplexed by all the different opinions, do ask your child's class teacher if you can help in some way. Loved the book, and Mick Waters would make an excellent Head of the National Council for Schooling, as he would like to call the governing body. Personally I would call it the National Education Council, thus bringing in Universities, and their research department. Teachers are professional people, qualified, and tested to make sure they are proficient. The teaching profession could be a real power to change peoples lives if they were given the right recognition.
I wish I had read this before I worked in education in England for five years(2008-2013). It is such a clear analysis. It reviews the purpose for schooling; it explores how we have used schooling to strive for equality. And then with all the money spent, it explores all the mechanisms for accountability...Ofsted, league tables.
What I love most is that Mick constantly reminds us how accountability measures and political ideologies have had a negative effect on the realities for learners.
But it doesn't stop there. Mick Waters goes on to suggest ideas for a way through the different issues.
I have been advocating that new Zealanders read this book as a warning of what we should not do!
This book offers such practical advice grounded in a wide experience and reality that should impact all schools - if only to review and bench mark their current practice. A reminder of the often forgotten QCA 'Big Picture' for the curriculum was most welcome and caused me to consider what, how and why I currently deliver.
The clarity of writing and inclusiveness of commentary parallels that formerly offered by Ted Wragg and so should also develop government vision, but that may be expecting too much! In the absence of coalition action, schools should use this as a launch pad for decisive, inspirational action for the benefit of their children, especially the qualities v leadership grid offered.
Good for the body and mind to be refreshed by normality and basic common sense with a kind purpose .so we hold dear in troublede times what is the true fun essence of good teaching: delivered at pace with rigour. Do not mistake this obvious openness and kindness as easy, but it brings the fun,smiles and joy back to teaching.
I like the play on words in the title, not least because I get the impression that quite often "thinking aloud is not allowed or encouraged – far better to keep one's head down and try to get through the week without being too adversely affected by the latest mad idea hatched by someone whose only educational credentials is that they went to school once.
Mick Waters' is the voice of common sense, but based on a career in education that has taken him from working in schools to the top leadership levels both locally and nationally.
This is one of those books that you can dip into rather than reading from the first chapter to the last. I found the chapter in assessment and the one on inspection especially illuminating, with the former explaining how it all went wrong, and the latter making the very sensible suggestion that schools should be judged simply as being either good enough or not good enough (for an explanation of why anything else is so confusing as to be pretty much worthless in my opinion, see Levels in Computing? I thought they'd gone!).
The book is well-structured, setting out the issue, saying what has happened and why, and drawing on a range of educational research. Each chapter ends with a bullet-pointed section on what should be done.
This is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it for any teacher who wants to know more about what the research says and about what has gone wrong in certain areas, and why.
Reassuring for Heads & Teachers and all in Education of what the real values for 'Schooling' should be. But with a good level of challenge to our thinking and practice in and outside of the classroom. Hope this influences current curriculum review and get us back to having a true set of high level curriculum aim? A must read!
As everyone who has heard Mick Waters speak knows, he delights in being in schools and experiencing children enjoying their learning. This enthusiasm shines through in 'Thinking Allowed on Schooling'. He asks searching questions about big issues and challenges today's accepted 'rules of the game' relating to data, examinations, league tables and inspection; always from the perspective of what is in the best interests of learners. This book should be read by all education professionals, but especially by those for whom compliance with these rules has come to dominate their thinking and their practice.
As the title suggests, thinking really is allowed on schooling and it is quite clear that all of us involved in education need to do a lot more of it if we are to overcome the absurdities and focus on the sound common sense highlighted by Prof Waters, so that the profession can regain its professionalism.
Great book with clear thoughts on the education system and possible ways forward. Engaging and dynamic author is a clear voice for many. Would recommend this book to others interested in the children of today and future generations.