The ebb and flow of educational policies continue. Bright ideas emerge, inspire, confuse, compound and notably are quickly dashed. But now maybe there is a spark of an idea, which could have “legs” on it.
The vast majority schools lack a cohesive teaching team that are jointly skilled in their relevant subject matter and the ability to teach a class of 30+ children. Yet in the midst of the UK teaching fraternity line number of brilliant teachers, the trouble is they are low in number and predominantly, but not exclusively, work in the private sector where improved salaries and importantly, where students are keen to learn. The new opportunity is how to capture this skill on a wider basis.
No teacher in their right mind would want to increase their class size, the chances of a student disruption increasing exponentially. The challenge is to capture the teaching skills and enthusiasm of the brilliant teacher and broadcast their lessons nationally. Technology has developed in TV rapidly providing the ability to watch broadcasts on laptops, smartphones and tablets. More importantly, with the facility of iPlayer, lessons could be watched over again on demand.
This sits neatly with the concept of the national curriculum been taught simultaneously to every child. Having a star maths, English and science teacher broadcasting UK wide must have real benefits. An interactive function would instantly monitor progress and give feedback to the presenter.
There is some scepticism in the teaching profession. It could stifle individual learning programmes; prevent a degree of teacher/class interaction and the development of local initiatives.
Whereas the ideal great teacher per classroom could work in an Utopian situation regretfully this does not exist and tens of thousands of children are robbed of a decent education, dammed through a combination of poor teaching and classroom disruption. With access to iPlayer the less able child willing to learn would have the option of studying privately.
The central control of the TV facilities could become a new element of the BBC Charter giving greater relevance to their function in a world rapidly being dominated by commercial operations.
For once there is a feeling this move could create the ground-breaking move that education in the UK needs and has sadly missed over the past 50 years.
By Alistair Owens