There was a piece in The Observer last week reporting on a lecture delivered by Anthony Seldon to the College of Teachers. According to Seldon, “soulless schools cursed by league tables and dominated by ‘formulaic’ exams are squeezing the lifeblood out of education”. He goes on to bemoan “the obsession with teaching facts” in UK schools and how it is consistent with Thomas Gradgrind’s utilitarian values in Dickens’s Hard Times. The result, says Seldon, is a system that “stifles imagination, individuality and flair”.
In a digital age when information is at one’s fingertips (literally and metaphorically), surely class time can be devoted to making sense of facts rather than memorising them for examination purposes?