7 Edu-Fads That Must Never See the Light of Day



In the interests of preserving the teaching profession from faddish practices based on loose simile, or inept metaphor, I am setting down here a list of the most ridiculous teaching and learning expressions that I can think of. I am writing (thence burying) expressions that are patently ridiculous but have enough plausibility to leak into common parlance. Keep this list safe and keep it secret. The ideas contained herein were never designed to be broadcast: this blog is a bunker – a tomb for unborn ideas that, like November’s monster, should never bask in the light of our pedagogical day.

1. Flash the learning

We commonly believe it wise to share learning objectives at the beginning of a lesson, but what if you wish to maintain a sense of narrative, to surprise or intrigue your students? Well, why not flash the learning? Give them a glimpse of the learning but only a peek. Think of it as a lewd cloak for a legitimate way of generating an information gap.

2. Sauron me!

When you want students to look attentively at you, but you demand a level of attention bordering upon paranoid inquisition, ask them to “Sauron me!” Watch them swivel their little heads as if they were a single fiery eyeball suspended between the prongs of a bloody great pitchfork. (You can even tell them to “fork it up” if you want them to sit up straight.)

3. Jabberwocky Phonics

Jabberwocky Phonics is an innovative approach to the systematic teaching of phonics whereby students first learn to read classics from the English literary canon and then (and only then) substitute words in such classics for nonsense words. For example, perhaps Lord Rochester comes upon Jane Eyre having fallen from his hume. Jude the Obscure’s children could have been ‘dook’ because they were too ‘mjuny’.

Finally the students read these bastardised classic novels to Nick Gibb, taking pause to watch him squirm with obvious discomfort and no little perplexity.

5. False Consciousness

False Consciousness is a simple way to motivate students to achieve. Simply tell them that they can do anything they set their minds to regardless of real economic restraints and access to resources. Before you can say “I’m David Beckham in space” you’ll have hoards of students gibbering excitedly in wheely bins imagining that they are training to be astronauts or auditioning for a talent show, that you’ve just coined, called “Bin Gibber“.

6. Bin Gibber

Bin Gibber is an authentic method to develop self-regulation and self-confidence (although it is known to exacerbate feelings of claustrophobia). The method is simple: tell your students that a wheely bin is actually a virtual reality container. One at a time, place them into this ‘VR unit’. And wait.

After an hour or so, the bin will literally start to gibber and we guarantee that your students will start to see things. Bin Gibber works using the same underlying principles as sensory deprivation experiments of the 1960s. Before you know it, you’ll have a class of tabula rasa ready to Sauron up so you can flash the learning.

7. Forced Academization

Forced Academization is a quick and cheap way to free your teachers from bureaucracy, red tape, brown paper and beige twine.

Simply float your current school away from the local authority like a massive brick-built Kate Bush running up an educational freedom hill, and watch it fly (like a member of Pink Floyd killing time between albums).

With Forced Academization, once freed from the strictures of bully-boy, statist technocratic banana-straighteners, you’ll be able to steer your school into the latest Aim of Education service station and gorge yourself on Ginsters attainment targets and curriculum objectives brought to you by Pritt in association with Bernard Matthews (God rest his soul).

(Keep your receipt, read the small print.  Once the school is opened the warranty is invalidated with no returns – just like underpants.)

There you have it: 7 God-awful fads – envisaged and discarded so we need never dirty our hands with them or their ilk.

So, fork it up now and don’t say I never do anything for you. Worse things can now never happen.


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