My random thoughts, musings, rants and stories will appear here over time.

Helping Homework Work

Written by Mark McCourt on Monday, 01 August 2011.

It's a funny old thing, the homework malarkey. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that doing homework has any impact on students' understanding of mathematics or the standards that they achieve, yet still all over the country it is seen as a given that students must do homework. And in mathematics this often looks like students wading through question after question after meaningless question.

Is Inclusion a Misnomer?

Written by Mark McCourt on Monday, 25 July 2011.

In 2005, speaking at a Special School in Gloucestershire, David Cameron, the then education spokesman for the Conservative party called for a halt to the number of special schools being closed. Since coming to power in 1997, the Labour government had overseen the closure of around 10 percent of all Special Schools by 2005. Every teacher knows that one of the biggest buzz words in education under New Labour was "inclusion". In relentless pursuit of this ideal, schools had more and more pressure put upon them to make provision for students with any type of special educational need. Clearly there is an ideal, a deeply held philosophical belief here. Students should not become social outcasts because they have been born with challenges such as physical or mental disabilities. It is hard to not agree. It is hard to think that anything other than full inclusion is right. But, in my opinion, what stemmed from an ideal, a dream, has turned in to something altogether different. Students who were happy, successful, social and ambitious have been thrown in to mainstream schools and been poorly provided for, bullied, marginalized and lost their self-esteem.

Bully the protest out of students

on Friday, 22 July 2011.

When I was 16 years old, I plodded off across Europe in the hope of seeing the astounding Pink Floyd in concert. North of Paris in a field with one hundred and fifty thousand other fanatics, I spent a hot summer afternoon waiting for the band to begin and then another three happy hours immersed in music and fuelled with the spirit of the night. As the concert ended and the crowds dispersed, I became separated from my friends and was left alone wandering around the tiny village a couple of miles from the concert venue trying to catch a train.

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