November 04, 2003
Improving oral skills and breaking camels' backs

Do you get the feeling that Britain's teachers are being given lessons by London in the obvious?

Primary school pupils are to be taught how to speak and listen to each other.

Young children, more used to watching television than talking, are to be encouraged to improve their communication skills.

From next week, every primary school in England will be sent guidance on how to get children to hold discussions and listen to one another.

The curriculum watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), says improving oral skills has a "key role" in raising standards.

Supporting the "Speaking, Listening, Learning" initiative will be a pack of teaching materials, including a training video for teachers.

"Initiative". A word that strikes fear into every teacher's heart.

Seriously, although I can, just about, imagine some teachers being helped by all this palaver, I can also imagine not a few of them getting very, very angry. For some it could be the last straw.

Encouraging the children to talk to each other, to improve their communication skills, which have been damaged by them watching too much TV. Why ever didn't we think of that?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:23 PM
Category: Politics