Friday 12 August 2011

Apparently It's All My Fault

Good grief. You might have been forgiven for thinking that the riots were caused by angry young people with a serious chip on their shoulders. But apparently not - according to Melanie Phillips, it's all the fault of the "ultra-feminists", the "liberal intelligentsia", and of course, the teachers. Her blitherings in the Daily Fail yesterday (link - don't worry, it's an Istyosty cache of the page and won't count to their hits) have amused and appalled in equal measure. The Daily Mash have reminded us that Phillips is not well. However, @panderson1979, aka Paul my husband, is in danger of breaking Twitter with his epic rants.

Phillips shrieks:
"Instead of transmitting knowledge to children, teaching was deemed to be an attack upon a child’s autonomy and self-esteem.

Thus it was that teachers adopted the 'child-centred' approach, which expected children not only to learn for themselves but also to decide for themselves about behaviour such as sexual morality or drug-taking.

The outcome was that children were left illiterate and innumerate and unable to think. Abandoned to wander through the world without any guidance, they predictably ended up without any moral compass."
Wow. Mea culpa, I guess. I apologise for giving my students the independence to think for themselves. I apologise for showing them how to obtain information without expecting an adult in authority to tell them what they need to know. I apologise for crediting my sixth-formers with enough intelligence to formulate their own opinions about what to do with their own bodies. I evidently should have stuck with the talking-at-them-until-it-sinks-in style of teaching, breeding a class full of students who remember what they've learnt long enough to sit the exam. Because that would have stopped selected individuals (less than 0.5% of teenagers, if you go on the basis of the UK census' figures on >850,000 10-19-year-olds in London) from smashing up shops, businesses and homes.

Who could have predicted that I, as a biology lecturer, could wield so much power? Maybe I should turn myself in at Hounslow Police Station. I'm evidently to be as reviled as the Man Of Steel himself in "Superman: Grounded", too busy doing other things, and punished for not rescuing everyone.


  1. i understand your anger however my last biology lecturer used to throw (fake)rocks at students in our class as a form of intimidation and punishment. it's clear how something like this could lead the same students to throw rocks at windows but i'm sure your nothing like her...

  2. Ah yes, but I bet that same teacher wrote you a UCAS reference so amazing that you want it printed and laminated, sat on the entire year group's AS and A2 coursework waiting for you to hand yours in, and cooked you lasagne. So you can probably forgive her the fake rock thing.


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