Oscar Wilde, I’m told, thrived on being misinterpreted. I was told this by an English teacher who suggested that during my time in the sixth form and particularly in his classes when I would debate animatedly with Oliver Briscoe about his views on not just literature but life in general I shared the same trait and it seemed I was pegged as some sort of agitant or was chucking in hand grenades for the sake of it. I wasn’t – well not always – but all the time I always liked Oliver as he had his own views, was comfortable with them and would happily state them regardless of the responses they received. He would also listen to those that opposed him and while he was very unlikely to change any of his opinions based on those of others, and we would be even less likely to find ourselves coming in line with him, he would never stifle the debate.
Now I’m guessing you’ve come here because of the exchanges last night so I won’t take too long getting there but you’ll already be on to what I’m saying. I wasn’t quite referred to in the terms used for the title of the post (and there is a prize for anyone who knows where they come from without using google) but it was suggested that I am consistently rude and abusive and as such my comments weren’t posted on David Didau’s blog. As I’ve said publicly and privately to him before my intention is never to be rude. I think there is some brilliant stuff on the blog and I am particularly grateful for some materials David sent me a while ago when I was taking a GCSE English class for the first time in a few years after some specification and curriculum changes. I do sometimes feel however that this voice is diminished when it appears to be playing to a crowd or flipping from one view point to another and it is this belief that I have expressed previously. I can see how this could be hard to listen to but my hope was to be straight and offer a perspective and to get through what seemed to be turning into grandstanding to the ideas beneath which I had really enjoyed. Any frustration or more powerful emotion on my part stems from the idea that on a blog that is so widely read that Oftsed invite the author in for a chat, and is of late brimming with challenge and questions (although Socratic force feeding of hemlock might be a leap David) we can’t question what is put forward.
In terms of the latest comment if you haven’t already read David’s blog you’ll need to go here first http://www.learningspy.co.uk/featured/inspirational-english-teaching-looks-like-according-ofsted/ and then read my comment below. There were two that said similar things of which this was the second as I didn’t copy the first one after spending ages typing it out on my phone!
“You begin by rightly celebrating the idea that there is no ‘right’ way and finish by demanding for examples of best practice that fit what appears to be your own definition of the right way. A while ago you suggested I should look for what practice delivered the best results and replicate it even if ( and there was a suggestion of small mindedness here) it wasn’t one I agreed with. It seems that this school is getting great results and doing so through the methods outlined so why do you regard it as an ‘atrocity?’ If we are going to encourage a range of approaches and celebrate this variety then it seems that the blinkers might be places other than on inspectors and report writers if we reject approaches that don’t fit our own even when we have evidence of students doing well as a result.”
Now, I don’t see that as rude and if it comes across as such it wasn’t my intention. It’s a contrary voice among a sea of affirmation but in a blog post about saying one thing and doing another it seemed fairly reasonable. I’ll let you decide.
Lots of Love