Sunday, 7 September 2014

Happy is Good

My letter printed in TES last week; my point is that happy is good, and actually not because it makes for good exam results, but it would take a particularly stupid education "chief" not to get that bit at least:
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TES letters

news | Published in TES magazine on 5 September, 2014
  • Last Updated:

    5 September, 2014
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Without the arts there can be no happy medium

There’s no hope for us until the government takes notice of our dear Sir Ken Robinson (“Cha-cha-change the balance in schools”, 8 August). Why do the powers that be not realise that happy people are happy workers? Why does it take an official survey (“Don’t worry, be happy – and get better grades”, 22 August) to tell us the bloomin’ obvious: that happy teachers get better results? And why is it that people still believe you can only learn maths through being taught maths? The arts play a vital role in enabling students to absorb information.
[Michael Wilshaw's comment that, if teachers are complaining, you must be doing right is as bizarre and unintelligent as it is nasty. Speaking about headteachers, in the Guardian 2012 Wilshaw once commented,and presumably still thinks, 'If anyone says to you "staff morale is at an all time low" you know you are doing something right'.]*

Children should not be going to school to learn stuff in order to be factory fodder. They should be going there to discover themselves, to find out what they are good at, and maybe to recognise and accept their weaknesses, too.
Some happy kids playing pans with me and V at school event
If industry wants calculus to the nth degree, it can offer training or apprenticeships. The way we work now is to stuff all our kids with more maths than they need, then offer them up to industry – which helps itself to the “best”. This leaves the rest with no job, no self-awareness and a great hole where their natural skills and their happiness could have resided.
Victoria Jaquiss
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, teacher and education campaigner
* not printed  in TES

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