Some lessons best left unlearnt 1

February 24, 2006

John Butcher asserts (Letters, February 17) that one of the factors in growing student illiteracy is inadequate training of academics "to support them in developing effective teaching skills". What he means is that academics would be better if they had teaching qualifications.

The problem is quite different: students arrive at university far less prepared than students just a few years ago. This is down to school teachers, who usually possess teaching qualifications. What teachers have mostly done wrong is to put into practice the recommendations of university schools of education (the very people who are now being brought in to provide teacher training for academics).

The Department for Education and Skills plays a huge role in determining the shape of the examination system, the syllabi followed and the methods used in schools, and it does so on the advice of these same university educationists.

Educationists and the training and advice they offer are part of the problem, not the solution.

Richard Austen-Baker Coventry

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