Session 58 – pre-chat reading

This week’s #ukedchat is going to be guest hosted by @tim7168.  He’s written a blog post to give you a flavour of the type of questions we’ll be exploring on Thursday night.  

Topic: What could we do to improve the teaching community’s relations with the public?
Background Info:
The publication of the KS2 SATs results last week has heralded the next bout of teacher bashing from the media, politicians and the public alike. This relentless focus on results and targets has served to narrow the political and public discourse about education. Politicians have no qualms about publicly undermining the efforts of teachers and schools to further their political aims, and the media will all too often happily oblige: a story about failing schools is more compelling than a story about their successes. But this approach is frequently misleading to the public, propagating and reinforcing misconceptions which are harmful to the profession, the education system and, inevitably, to children’s education.Looking at the US, we can see where this variety of constant negative publicity and focus on arbitrary targets can lead. Teachers are widely demonised in the media, dismissed as overpaid and judged against unrealistic and ever rising targets in a relentless standardised testing regime. Teachers have been sacked for cheating on tests, raising their students test scores fearing for their jobs if they failed to make the grade.In the face of this tension teachers (and unions) are often forced onto the defensive, polarising what should be important, sophisticated debates. Are our schools lawless jungles of knife crime in which the teachers lost control long ago? Or is everything hunky dory? In the face of rhetoric like this, how can the public be expected to contribute to debates about educational reform?Each week in #ukedchat I meet dedicated, innovative and inspiring professionals. The passion for learning is evident in the frenzied pace and energy of the discussions, not to mention the simple fact that hundreds of teachers choose to take time out of their busy week (and even their ‘gratuitous’ holidays!) to work on improving their practice. I believe that we need to work on our public relations to show people what is really going on in schools and give them an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the great education debate, away from the headlines and spin.
Some questions we’ll be exploring:
  • How could we improve our relations with the public so that they can understand the facts beyond the headlines and spin, and better understand what we are trying to achieve in the classroom?
  • How could this impact on our practice and the results of the system as a whole?
Join the discussion at 8pm on Thursday 11th August 
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