Most teachers are not on Twitter excitedly discussing the latest book or blog post to put the nail in the progressive coffin. The vocal online population is not representative of the teaching population at large. I didn’t discover this world until very recently, after the headteacher at my school circulated a reading list containing Seven Myths and Progressively Worse.
It was a revelation to me to find out that there were people out there writing books about education that actually made sense. I had previously avoided such books, because I had the general impression that they were filled with trendy rubbish. When I realised that Robert Peal had first come to prominence through writing a blog, I investigated . . . and since then, well, I have barely paused for breath, as regular readers will have noticed. As I write this, I am standing on a rush hour tube train, trying to keep my balance while I tap away on my phone. I’m that excited about writing about education.
But just six months ago, I had never heard of Daisy Christodoulou or Robert Peal. I viewed educational theorists as people with too much time on their hands who wanted to make my life more complicated and difficult. I initially saw the little pile of recommended books in the corner of the staff room as another demand on my time when I had little enough to spare as it was.
I’m sure there are many teachers out there who feel as I did just a few short months ago. But one of the most inspiring things about what I call the new traditionalism is that there are so many front line teachers getting involved. Whether or not you write a blog or tweet vociferously, you too can help to lift the burden of bad ideas, by challenging them in your classroom practices, and in personal discussions with colleagues. It is this sort of person to person dissemination which often makes the biggest difference. It took a real live human being whom I knew personally to introduce me to the world of Christodoulou, Peal, Hirsch and Willingham. There must be many more teachers out there who would never read a blog, but might well listen to a personal recommendation.
Go forth and do battle with bad ideas!