Creative living, and longer lives

I want to write about the return of music performance to my life, and think a little about what it might mean for education and the world of work. For the last couple of years I’ve been playing violin in a band with a Mozambican singer, Maiuko. The rest of the band, drums, double bass,... Continue Reading →

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Right and wrong

A few years ago the US TV producer and self-confessed “right-wing nut job” Joel Surnow tried to create a satirical show to counter the influence of the liberal-minded likes of Jon Stewart. It was a miserable flop, raising the interesting question of why the political right seems to be incapable of sharp or incisive comedy.... Continue Reading →

And now the bad news …

Alain de Botton's newest book about the impact of news on our society has been generally panned by reviewers, who themselves have mostly been journalists. I don't suppose de Botton expected anything else: asking a journalist to review a critique of journalism is much like asking a Jesuit to review a book by Richard Dawkins.... Continue Reading →

Changing education (part four)

4: It all adds up So far I’ve looked at the systemic failure of our current system, explored some of the external and internal pressures demanding radical change, and suggested what that change might begin to look like. In this final part I’ll consider the influence of formal exams and the need for a different... Continue Reading →

Changing education (part three)

3: How to abolish secondary schools So far I’ve looked at misguided aims and an increasingly misconceived curriculum. I’ll pick up those threads now to look at how secondary education resources could be better organised to support more flexible and useful learning. Resources and personalisation Usually within a local authority there might be half a... Continue Reading →

Changing education (part two)

2: Matters of fact In the first part of this essay I focused primarily on the misguided aims of our current system. I want to look now at the way curriculum design reflects those misguided aims and ignores the skills that students will increasingly need for their futures. Enriching experience The curriculum is vastly overspecified... Continue Reading →

Changing education (part one)

1: Systemic failure I think it's time to abolish secondary schools. This is a longish piece, so I've broken it into four parts, but they should be taken together. What follows is a vision, a challenge to prevailing assumptions, rather than a blueprint for a changed system: much would have to be worked out, and... Continue Reading →

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