To mix – if not to continue – the metaphor, Brian Boyd is sailing on thin ice in respect of the Curriculum For Excellence ("There is no need to man the lifeboats yet in CfE's maiden voyage", Letters, April 13).
This is a trip that began with no known destination, with no maps available (perhaps teachers could make them up as the voyage proceeded) and led, at least nationally, by a cadre of officers, many of whom had never commanded an educational vessel. The "journey" to excellence on CfE is advertised as a wonderful experience, just as education should be, but teachers, parents and employers need to know more about where CfE will take our young people – not just how they will feel at the end of the voyage.
Mr Boyd is right to highlight that 75% of teachers are in favour of the underlying philosophy of CfE and that Scottish teachers are among the best in the world. What teachers are in favour of is the teaching and learning concepts espoused within CfE and perhaps the problem all along has been that CfE was launched as a "curriculum" rather than as a methodology. We do need to help our young people develop a variety of skills and to be confident in using these skills in applying the knowledge they have gained from both formal and informal education. Teachers, parents and the wider community have complementary roles to play in developing these abilities.
At present, the CfE concept allows for a number of voyages – as many, indeed, as there are schools in Scotland, each interpreting its own route and destination. We owe it to current and future generations of pupils to be clear about the national destination so that Scottish teachers can be left to tackle what they have done exceptionally well for many years – understanding, nurturing and steering young people through the choppy waters that many of them face in their formative years.
Alan J Potter,
68 Corsebar Road,
Well done to John McGowan for criticising Brian Boyd's nebulous phrases in attempting to justify the introduction of the wholly untested Curriculum For Excellence (Letters, April 14).
A phrase from a letter Mr Boyd wrote to The Herald in January, has, in my mind, proved he is living in a different world from practising teachers.
He wrote: "They [CfE experience and outcomes] are an attempt to move away from central prescription of content to a recognition that teachers don't need to be told what to teach, when to teach it, in what order to teach it and for how many minutes a week to teach it."
As someone who spent very many more years facing secondary pupils than Mr Boyd ever did, I can assure him that I've never met a teacher who did not want to know precisely what the pupils should be taught, using their own expertise to increase the depth of a topic or digress according to the interests or enthusiasm of the class they were working with.
Emeritus principal teacher of physics,
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