Who knows how best to educate children?

At some time or other each of the following groups have claimed to know how best to educate children: parents, teachers, psychologists and politicians. Sometimes these groups are conflated as when it is a parent as teacher, psychologist or politician who claims to know best.

If it were to be true that any of these groups does indeed know their child best and therefore how best to successfully educate all children (as implied by the SEN Green paper in regard to parents) what possible explanation could there be for why so many children are being failed by their schooling?

Logically, either no single group knows best, despite the self-proclaimed belief of each group, or within each group some do indeed know how best to educate their children but their voice is never heard or their successes are neither seen nor acknowledged.

If each group of self-proclaimed expert were to be regarded in terms of systems theory it would become clear why no single group could possibly know best. No matter how coherent and cogent any system might be, logically it cannot explain itself from within itself. And if it cannot ‘explain’ itself how can it possibly offer valid explanations of their children’s performance within the same belief system?

Where does this leave those with Special Educational Needs, or rather those charged with formulating SEN policy and effecting SEN provision? One obvious step is to avoid vested interest group special pleading. This approach was indeed successfully undertaken many years ago under the banner of non-categorical teacher education. Teachers on such professional education programmes were inducted into working with a large number of different teaching-learning difficulty groups.  The rationale was simple. The only way to establish whether any teaching-learning difficulty is special or specific is to compare and contrast the performance of each ‘special’ group. One of the lessons learned was that the teaching-learning similarities amongst the different SEN groups was far greater than the teaching-learning differences.

There is little hope of this successful professional education model being resurrected when the education enterprise has been sliced and diced into ever increasingly fragmented parts.

About petermathews

Member of the Royal Society of Medicine
This entry was posted in Change agent, Common Ground and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Who knows how best to educate children?

  1. Christina says:

    This really is some thing I have to do more research into, thank you for the publish.

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