The Element

Short of Time?

I’m sure that I shouldn’t but I’m afraid I really do find it hard to find time to read many books during the school term and what I do read is pretty closely tied to lesson preparation. Of course I have a novel on the bedside table but I usually manage maybe two pages before I lapse into unconsciousness at the end of a busy day. Needless to say it takes me a long time to complete a book. So the idea of settling down and reading a book you find in the Practical & Motivational/Self Help categories on Amazon would not ordinarily be that appealing! Anyway, ‘The Element‘ was recommended to me by a friend and I’m glad she did.

Value for Money

This book represents the best professional development I’ve had this term. I’m always amazed by the price of some of the courses advertised by ‘providers’ and have been disappointed by the content of a key-note presentation on more than one occasion! So any resource that is good value for money and inspires me has got to be a winner. At a shade under a tenner for the paperback and probably less if you shop around this is the best value, most thought-provoking, and satisfying read I’ve had for a little while.

‘Making the Grade’ – moving towards Elemental Education

Most of the book is really uplifting but while it was written before the current coalition was formed the chapter entitled ‘Making the Grade’ presents a depressingly accurate description of what is now coming to pass…

“Typically, policy makers try to take control of the curriculum and specify exactly what students should learn. In doing this, they tend to reinforce the old hierarchy of subjects, putting greater emphasis on the disciplines at the top of the existing hierarchy…..In practice, this means that they push other disciplines  – and the students who excel at them – even further to the margins of education.”  (p.235)
Fortunately Robinson offers an antidote to this reactionary path and his vision of a systematic transformation of education that cultivates ‘the real depth and dynamism of human abilities’ is clearly outlined. Now I know that the office of Secretary of State for Education must be quite a busy portfolio but I’m sure it should be possible for an incumbent to be able to find time to read just this chapter. 
Robinson, Ken, and Lou Aronica. The Element: How FindingYour Passion Changes Everything. New York: Penguin Group USA, 2009. Print.
ISBN 978-0-141-04525-2

By richmiller66

My name is Richard Miller. I am currently an Assistant Headteacher (Personal Development) at a secondary school in Suffolk, UK. I teach history, citizenship, sociology and cultural capital for pupils aged 11-18. I am particularly interested in teaching more able pupils and looking for innovative and creative approaches to learning and teaching. I use the blog as my reflective journal - the views I share are 'work in progress'!

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