The Goldilocks Principle

It would seem that the brewing crisis in teacher recruitment really might be a crisis.  With the perfect storm gathering, of rising pupil numbers, failing recruitment and retention issues… how long before crisis will equal pupils being sent home for lack of a teacher? It has happened before…

This is a terribly sad state of affairs. Sad because we are discussing the wrong question:  What’s really best for students’ learning…?

As politicians blame teachers and schools, repeatedly, possibly endlessly, for failing their charges… let’s consider:

Pupils’ learning environment, is teachers’ work environment

If you can see the sense of that, then it follows that bashing teachers is the same as bashing pupils…  and it all boils down to one failed message:

more = better

For example – teachers just need to work harder. work longer hours, longer terms, with more pupils, with more marking, more differentiation, more complexity and more accountability.

But reality is different. School effectiveness research has long moved on. Now is the time to consider working smart; with a full awareness of the law of diminishing returns. Perhaps the Singaporeans were right:  Teach less,  learn more?

I call this the Goldilocks Principle.

We need to get smarter on how much effort, time and resource is just right… And the answer will be different for different schools… It’s the same reason why we have so many different pasta sauces – we are all different after all. Sometimes, one size does not fit all…

If we sort this out, perhaps the 300,000 plus teachers not teaching might actually return to the classroom and the teacher recruitment crisis will be shown for what it is… a teacher morale crisis based on a failing, simplistic and outdated model of education.


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