Organic management: starts from the communicative, human, open, compassionate, giving, listening, building, creative, containing, widening, eye-contacting, assuring, re-assuring skill/talent/craft of a teacher.* The experience of practising this skill/talent/craft is pooled into the department – some become specialists, some become cementers, some become fillers, some become pruners, some become diggers, some become sowers, the HoD becomes the tender. The departments become the areas of delivery which collectively are the profile of the school (the park, with 1600 hills that rise and valleys that bow, with paths that run and oaks that stay, with saplings that promise and bed plants that spread, with water features that sing and exotic plants that wonder, with perennials that deliver with happy, smiling faces), the headteacher is the organiser of the services provided (the architect, the boundary wall and the entrance).
Managerialism: starts with the politicisation of the service provided. It starts by defining the idealised end-product of a service on a national scale as the needs/aims through which to run the service. It puts in place an infrastructure to ensure that those needs are met (OFSTED, governors, school management) which drives the process of the service to guarantee that the needs/aims are met. Anything which is alternative and incidental to the needs/aims is either pruned or left to whither. Success is a list or a number – the measure of the needs/aims – which are applauded and rewarded; alternative is a failure, and is ignored. The national needs/aims of the service are incorporated into the provision which inexorably becomes transmissive, cold, convergent, efficient, delivered, didactic, piling, provided, chanelled, propagandising, un-engaging, statemental, repetitive. Pupils become consumers – they receive their education with little commitment and little response. They become educated, but in an overgrown, tasteless and over-obvious way. Once they leave education, they are over-qualified and naïve about work.
* Are teachers perfect simply because they are teachers? No. But they participate – to varying degrees of surfing and dancing – in a naturally perfect action: teaching. Can teachers get better at teaching? Yes, they can train themselves to ease out their insistencies and certainties, their presumptions and fore-clusions, which make their teaching gnarled, inflexible, preclusive and constrictive. Do teachers need to be told how to teach? No, they need to be nurtured.
“They become educated, but in an overgrown, tasteless and over-obvious way.”
Like hydroponically grown, ‘forced’ vegetables, they are soft, lacking fibre in their cell walls, vulnerable to predation by insects, fungi and infections.
The parallel is exact.
… and this is because the ‘means’ of education – the means of achieving the figure-defined ends – is mere process. To meet targets there is the urgency to not waste time and outcome on anything which cannot be regulated/controlled/driven. So instead of leading our charges by the hand down the broad steps of acquiring/sorting/arranging Knowledge, of connecting/matrix-ing Understanding, of testing/questioning/playing Evaluation, we do all of the damn work ourselves and force-feed it to them like so much manure – “c’mon, finish up, all of it, it’s good for you!”. Those that are good at remembering stuff score well, those that aren’t don’t. We do not teach our pupils so much now as we educationally programme them to behave in a certain way. ‘Educational behaviourism, it’s the way of the future, don’t bother with all that thinking and study, just sit there and receive. Mouth open! Good children. Comes in glossy books with lots of little boxes. It’s colourful too!’
communication & managerialism & teaching craft wormhole: Professionalism … in teaching
management wormhole: Resource
philosophy wormhole: is Koestler important // ?
results-led education wormhole: Now, let’s think this through, shall we? The clunkish philosophy driving today’s education.
valley wormhole: King of the World