Melissa Benn: Education’s culture of overwork is turning children and teachers into ghosts

Click on the title for this excellent article by Melissa Benn in the Guardian.

It’s all worth a read – and we were especially struck by the closing paragraphs:-

‘This government won’t shift gears. It is fully signed up to the ghost road, particularly for the poor. But in other more interesting spaces and places there is a return to ideas that celebrate a different approach to learning, earning and being a human being.

The New Economics Foundation recently proposed that we should make “part time … the new full time” – that by sharing employment in a time of austerity, with some guarantee on income, of course, we create more time for everyone, old and young alike, to do the things that make us human: spend time with family, friends, take a walk, read a book.

John White, the brilliant philosopher of education, has long argued that “schools [should] be mainly about equipping people to lead a fulfilling life”. Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, home of the much-celebrated “happiness lessons”, would surely agree.And the wonderful movement for “slow education” stresses the importance of process over pushing, quality over endless quantifying. “The notion of slow … fosters intensity and understanding and equips students to reason for themselves … the arts of deliberation are an essential element in this.” according to its architect Maurice Holt.

Of course, such notions are utterly unGoveian. Fiendishly Finnish in fact. At their heart is the radical idea that time itself – time to think, time to laugh, time to potter; time at home, time alone – should make a comeback in pedagogical and human discourse.’

We don’t work with under 18s in our service, but some of our individual therapists do. Over the years we’ve worked with quite a few demoralized and concerned teachers. We can endorse Melissa’s comments.

This approach to education and working life is a dangerous and toxic cultural blind alley.

Palace Gate Counselling Service

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