Incompetent Headteachers Attempting To Inspire End Up Terrorising Instead

There have been two incidences that I want to highlight, of Headteachers dreaming up ridiculously mad ways of teaching students that have completely backfired and ended up scaring them half to death instead. 

The first, in January, saw a primary head tell students that World War 3 had started, lead them to an 'air raid shelter' and simulate bombs falling with sound effects.

Later, in March of last year, the head of a middle school enacted one of the teachers being shot by a man brandishing a gun. Teaching assistants ran to 'resusitate' him, and apparently the gunman then went on to trash a science classroom.

Both stories say that the heads were well meaning when they designed these stunts, and were trying to create impact and something that the students would remember. Both have apologised to parents and students. 

I think that this is simply the expectation that students need to be entertained instead of educated taken way too far. Instead of focusing on behaviour and responsibility and self control, they are going for gimmicky flashy pieces of drama. 

I remember a teacher where I used to work asking students to remember a recent loss as part of a drama class, which had a recently bereaved student in it. The student and parents complained, and the head did nothing, stating that the lesson had impact and that that was a good thing.

Learning is tough enough as it is and requires massive effort, without it being so shocking and traumatic as this. Yes, they'll remember it, and it had impact but for all the wrong reasons. It of course all comes from the Ofsted way of teaching, where games and engagement are more important than any educational value or learning. 

Have you ever been encouraged to have a negative impact in a similar way?


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this, I work for a 'edutainment' company and the company are paid an awful lot to go into primary schools for things like Science week to make lessons more fun and interactive. I want to be an actual teacher, I've seen first hand how parading around like a kids entertainer amuses and engages the children but they don't remember anything I actually taught after a few days, only that time I 'jumped because my experiment did something' etc.
Teachers often say to me "I wish we could do things like this in our class, they love it!". I often think "I wish I could just sit my kids down with a worksheet once in a while" !
We spend to much time apologising to children these days and trying to keep them happy. We are meant to be teaching them, getting them enthused about a subject because it's interesting and they need to know about it, rather than because miss put a silly wig on and wouldn't have looked out of place at a 8th birthday party with a rabbit and a hat. pah!

The Edudicator said...

Thankyou for that sincere and very useful comment!

I love what you say about teaching children to be excited about the subject just because it is what it is, not because there are explosions and wigs!

I remember one of my teachers always saying, "You should be doing this anyway, if you really are into music." I think you'd get an inadequate for saying that now.

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