So sang Pink Floyd in 1979 on their Christmas number 1 single Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 from their album The Wall. It was a protest against rigid, didactic education.
It’s that time of year when a good proportion of the population works itself into a state of agitation. It’s school and university exam season; time to judge the learning you’ve learned. I guess almost every reader of this blog will have taken an exam at some time and/or shepherded their son(s) or daughter(s) through doing so. They will have a broad array of memories about the experience. Does our collective recollection indicate we were affected by the same degree of anxiety that seems to prevail today? Or, is this one of those situations glimpsed in the rear-view mirror that appears smaller than it really is? Were we scared, short of sleep and forgot the single most important coaching line ever uttered, “Read the [insert appropriate profanity] question”?
However, is there a deeper, more important question to pose at this time? That is, “Is our approach to education fit for purpose?” Have we forgotten what makes sound pedagogy; what represents real learning as opposed to mere information transfer, which like water finds its own course in and immediately out of someone’s head?