Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Progress with Manual for Teachers

I have written 16000 words of the manual for teachers. The introduction now reads like this:

If you were trying to find out how to clean a teapot, the chances are that you would go to someone who had cleaned a lot of teapots successfully. If you want to know how to dance, wouldn't you go to a dancer? Yet when you want to learn about teaching you often find yourself in the rarified realms of some ivory-towered academic.

So this is not a book of educational theory, or pedagogy to give it its Sunday name. My only qualifications are:

1. 32 years of successful teaching.

2. Running a helpline for stressed teachers on behalf of the West Sussex Teachers' Association for 16 years.

3. Founder member of Classroom Teacher http://classroomteacher.org.uk

And of course the one thing anybody can tell you is that teachers are idiosyncratic. In the end you have to teach your way not mine. But listen to an old master – learn from my mistakes then you can make your own!

“Taking ownership of your pedagody” is what they call it. I would caution you to avoid the word “pedagogy” around Sun readers. They will have burnt your house down before they have looked in the dictionary and found out it is not the same as “paedo”

The book is arranged in alphabetical order. It seemed like a good idea at the time but then it took me ages to decide what to put under “Z” I can tell you.

A note on grammar

I will state this now, before it irritates you. I have used “they” and “them” in place of “his or her” and “him and her”.

I could quite grammatically have used “him” but when well over half of teachers are female that is ridiculous. I could have used “her” thus excluding myself from the teaching profession.

I opted for something which is grammatically incorrect. I don't intend to cite Shakespeare as my authority for this. Shakespeare did so many things to the language that you can only get away with if you are Shakespare! (He spelt his name several ways too).

I will cite Jane Austen: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, the King James Bible, Dean Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Frances Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Fielding, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, W. H. Auden,  George Orwell, and C. S. Lewis.

I refer the reader who is really really interested to the website http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/austheir.html

Derek McMillan

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