Sunday, 27 February 2011

Celebrity Teaching Programmes

I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver. He has taken 15 unemployed people and created a restaurant giving people careers and he has tried to improve diets within schools in both the UK and the USA. These are both areas that he is familiar with and has an expertise in. I am less impressed with his latest venture where he gets experts in their field to teach a group of children who have been failed by mainstream education. There are a number of reasons why the idea does not really work.

1. The "teachers" have access to unrealistic budgets and facilities. To help making drama more real they get to use the Globe theatre stage and to teach history they use part of the Anglo-Saxon horde.

2. They appear to have one class to deal with rather than 5 classes per day, 5 days a week

3. By introducing the cameras they behaviour of all is fundamentally changed. Some kids will improve as they don't want to look like an idiot whilst others will see it as opportunity to play up to the cameras (if they are really noticeable this might lead some doors opening in other places)

4. After a while everyone leaves and the support and interest fades, a lot of these issues can't be addressed in a short-term piecemeal approach.

I suppose there is a bit of annoyance on my part. I have been to restaurants but won't lecture Jamie on how to run a kitchen/ restaurant and I guess I don't like the arrogance of people who think because I went to school once I can successfully teach a group of children. My hope is that at least one kid benefits from the experience.

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