chapter  1
16 Pages

The relevance of creative teaching

Chris Woodhead (1995), ex-HM Chief Inspector of Schools in England, criticised the belief that ‘education must be relevant to the immediate needs and interests of pupils’, and argued that ‘Our school curriculum must provide young people with the knowledge and skills they need to function effectively in adult working life’ – a kind of relevance to society and to their own later life-chances. We would not disagree with the second point but see the first as a means towards its achievement. Without it, Morrison (1989, p.6), for example, feels that the ‘art of teaching is lost to a series of narrow skills’, becoming ‘the casualty in a bureaucratized view of education in which education is called into the service of wider political ends and ideologies’. We have seen in more recent years how that art has been marginalised in the pursuit of performance in standardised tests. Yet the debate has not been one-sided; Wragg (1995), for example, urging the continuation of topic work and local projects, and space and time for teacher and pupil choice (see also Armstrong 1992; Webb 1993; Dadds 1994; Jeffrey and Woods 2003).