Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hire ex-soldiers as teachers, says union

From the Scotsman:
"Retired soldiers should be recruited as teachers to improve discipline in Scotland's schools, according to a teaching union official.

An American scheme has inspired the idea proposed by the NASUWT to tackle the "war zone characteristics" of some classrooms and turn "troops into teachers".

Roy Robertson, secretary of the union's Clackmannanshire branch, who served in the Territorial Army for more than 20 years, said he had seen violence in the playground escalate from "a bit of kicking" to "smashing someone's head into the ground".
I have to say, some of my colleagues seem to be struggling to get the whole military/school life-balance thing organised in their brains properly. First there was the frankly juvenile motion adopted by the NUT favouring a ban on military presentations in schools. But this is over-compensating a tad, to say the least. It's probably superfluous to reproduce them but the following reasons why this is a potty idea occurred to me:

1) Instead of drawing ideas from an American scheme, mightn't it be an idea to have a look at some countries that don't actually have schools that are so mental you have to call in the troops? Just a thought.

2) The military is definition a social arena where civil rights are suspended. So while the idea of court marshals for errant pupils might be emotionally desirable, it really isn't appropriate, is it? It's rather a school-boy error, rather than a teacher's one, to fail to identify weakness in school discipline as a failure of civil society.

3) It's not that I can't appreciate that things like expertise in the use of weaponry and hand-to-hand combat would be both fun and helpful in the classroom environment. It's just that we wouldn't be allowed to use either of these skills. Meanwhile, because what is taken for granted is so often forgotten, it's worth remembering that while good discipline is an essential prerequisite, it helps if teachers actually know stuff and can communicate said stuff. Skill in the former, indifference to the latter: this is no basis on which to judge whether someone is suitable for teaching.

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