Time to see off the snake-oil salesmen

There is currently much interest in the need for educational research to inform teacher’s practice. School reform minister Nick Gibb says that teachers would be ‘liberated’ from the ‘shackles they have laboured under for too long’ once they had access to evidence-based research. [1]

Teachers are being encouraged to challenge the snake-oil salesmen handing down what is pseudoscience – brain gym, stuff about learning styles, for example.

Brain gym seems to have been particularly popular in primary schools. Good fun no doubt, energizing, no harm done, except in thinking that there was a basis for the claims it was making.

A vast army of educational consultants has grown up around the desire from schools to become in some sense more theorized, more professionally creditable. This in turn calls for senior leaders to take on the mantle of expert as purveyors of quasi-theoretical knowledge that can be handed down and then surveyed, managed and inspected as key to whole school improvement.

Thus, the frequent disenchantment of music teachers with in-school professional development and the joy in finding their own on-line communities. Then what?

What about music teachers becoming researchers?

But what does this involve and what criteria need to be met in order to count as research?

More next week with some examples.


[1] ‘Pseudoscience has nested in schools’, TES 12.09.14 (p. 10-11)

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