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Also sprach Nottingham...
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Oyvind (Administrator) #1
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Subject: Also sprach Nottingham...
James Nottingham – www.jamesnottingham.co.uk – er en engelsk pedagog og gründer. Han er en karismatisk skikkelse og regnes som en av de mest suksessrike innovatørene innen skole og utdannelse i Storbritannia idag. Han er hva man tidligere ville kalt ‘ung og fremadstormende’. Nottingham har i mange år gått i bresjen for P4C, filosofi med barn, og for noen år siden var han med på å stifte det abonnementsbaserte filosofi med barn-nettstedet www.p4c.com sammen med P4C-traverne Steve Williams og Roger Sutcliffe. Nottingham besøkte forøvrig Norge i 2006 ifm. konferansen Dialog og dannelse på Universitetet i Oslo.

Nå er han imidlertid i hardt vær. En barneskole i Yorkshire hadde invitert ham til seminar, og her hadde han – åpenbart blant mange andre og mer sentrale råd og anbefalinger – foreslått å forby håndsopprekning blant elevene. Isteden skulle barna bruke tommelen-opp som tegn i klasserommet. Da en av foreldrene fikk nyss om dette, ble det oppstandelse: Hva var dette for noe nymotens sludder? Avisen Daily Mail ble kontaktet, noe som resulterte i en reportasje som kun omhandlet «tommel-forslaget». Nottingham nevnes ikke i reportasjen, men rektor intervjues, og hun forsvarte tiltaket uten forbehold. Dette avstedkom mange negative leserkommentarer, og det er disse Nottingham i det følgende blogginnlegget reiser bust mot:

Sack the Headteacher (for hiring me)

I had a great day with the staff of Burlington Junior School in Bridlington at the beginning of September. The Headteacher, Cheryle Adams had invited me to lead some PD on inquiry-led learning, and the staff were really up for it. I left the school thinking what a great place to work.

Pity then that this wonderful, enthusiastic and dedictaed group of staff have fallen foul of the Daily Mail and their lynch mob-like readers! Apparently one of the parents had complained to the pernicious paper because he didn't like the 'thumbs up' idea I had recommended as one of the strategies for ensuring more children participate in class discussions.

So, for the first time in my life, I had a look at the Daily Mail's website and was gobsmacked by the comments the article had attracted: 214 to date, many of which call for the Head's head! Here's a sample of the comments, with the number of votes each one has received from other like-minded readers in brackets:

  • More nonsense from the "lunatic" liberal teaching fraternity. I'm surprised they didn't think of instructing the kids to give the middle finger as a sign of non conformity (575 votes)
  • if a child shoots up their hand they are saying 'choose me! I want to be the one to answer!" obviously far to competitive an attitude for trendy teachers. They think they are experts but really they are fools. Children love to compete. (358 votes)
  • Oh, for goodness sake!! The people who came up with this ludicrous idea shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a classroom - ye gods!! (61)
  • School children throughout the world have 'put their hands up' for centuries. But lo and behold some (British - obviously) dumb cow has found an improvement to what has gone before! (48)
  • Yet more rubbish,lets get back to tradional methods and everyone sitting behind a desk, calling teacher "sir or madam." Teachers made to dress correctly men wearing a shirt and tie ladies in a skirt or trousers. No jeans trainers etc.. Discipline and respect at the top of the agenda that way the kids know where they stand and what will and will not be accepted. Then start on the three "R's" It worked in the past. (41)
  • "This is the result of women going to university. There heads fill up with cotton wool ideas. They should spend more time at home doing the house work and cooking for the bread winners. This would ensure far fewer silly ideas, force down the extortionate price of houses, and provide more employment opportunities for the male population. (40)
  • Why aren't they teaching Britishness instead of this EU nonsense? (24)

To read more of these crazy comments, click here (and weep!)

PS. As for the sensible responses, they have all received negative votes!! For example:

  • If someone were ever to suggest that doctors should return to the practices of fifty years ago, or that soldiers should be trained to fight as their predecessors fought in Korea, the idea would be howled at. Yet teachers are expected to hold rigidly onto the methods and ideals of a system that ceased to exist half a century ago. To all those who harp on about 'traditional ways of teaching' and that nonsense, you can't have it both ways - either you keep your cancer drugs, or we go back to the blackboards (minus 88 votes)
  • I'd strongly suggest you stop reading this sorry excuse of a newspaper. Anyone who takes it seriously and actually believes the endless disinformative, misinformative bile it produces is not fit to be a teacher anyway (minus 25 votes)
  • Nice try Andy, but I'm afraid you're wasting your time. D M readers don't like facts which challenge their own opinions. That's why they buy the D M, it's an easy read which doesn't require them to think because it simply reinforces their own prejudices (minus 25 votes)

Sack the Headteacher (for hiring me)

En som reiser bust, slik Nottingham gjør her, reagerer instinktivt. Og en som reagerer instinktivt, tenker ikke, reflekterer ikke, avveier ikke, vurderer ikke. Med andre ord: En som reiser bust, er i sine følelsers vold og således i dyp konflikt med seg selv når vedkommende samtidig er en som har gjort det til et levebrød å tale klokskapens og fornuftens sak.

For Nottingham er ikke det spor bedre enn sine antagonister; han er snarere verre: Han æreskjeller dem uten snev av rasjonell argumentasjon. Han kaller sine motstandere en «lynsje-mobb», avisen deres – hvis nettside han inntil nå aldri har nedlatt seg til å besøke – er «skadelig» (pernicious), og leserkommentarene er «crazy». Han anbefaler sine egne lesere å gå til reportasjens nettside – ikke for å orientere seg om hvilke meninger og holdninger som rører seg ute blant folk – men for å grine over deres dårskap. Er det slik Nottingham praktiserer sine filosofiske samtaler også: ved saftige ad hominems mot alle som våger å kritisere mannens egne ideer?

Also sprach Nottingham. Slik taler den praktiske filosofiens fremste fanebærer i England idag. Eller snarere: Slik taler en som, forblindet av troen på sin egen fortreffelighet, får virkeligheten rett i fleisen.
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