A shake-up too far

April 17, 1998

Your description of the proposed Institute for Learning and Teaching is a depressing read (THES, April 10). Far from being a "radical shake-up", it looks like the old formula of using a solution to define a problem.

Thus the institute will "use the outcomes of research to stimulate innovative teaching". What do those words mean? Innovation that has to be stimulated sounds about as convincing as spontaneity that has to be organised.

And the "research" itself? Will it be allowed the possibility of discovering that different students at different times in different subjects with different teachers benefit from different approaches? Or that "good practice" depends on the values of the interpreter? I suspect not. Instead, we shall find that those whose values are to be implemented will be setting the context of the so-called research.

For teachers the message is: classroom teaching will be rewarded with mere associate membership; those who teach how to teach will be grandee fellows.

Michael Harry. Louth, Lincs

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