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To wonder why on earth Troops to Teachers is considered to be a great idea?

687 replies

ballinacup · 07/06/2013 08:53

Before we start, I'm not armed forces bashing, I'm sure there are some troops out there who would make excellent teachers. But why on earth offer a fast track course to troops without a degree?!

It seems like sheer madness, why not offer the fast track course to anyone? Am I missing some glaringly obvious fact that makes it all make sense? Or has Gove got a vision in his head of classrooms running with military precision if he has soldiers at the helm?

Can someone please explain it to me, because I'm genuinely puzzled.

OP posts:

trice · 07/06/2013 09:04

It is aimed at people who have training experience. I think it could be good. When I was a teacher I was rubbish. Far too nice/unable to establish discipline. All my education and superior knowledge of the subject availed me nought. I am a great individual tutor and fab training adults but hopeless in a classroom.

Someone with a knack for training groups of squaddies would probably be great. Great teachers have skills that do not come from university.


YokoUhOh · 07/06/2013 09:05

I'm a teacher, I don't understand it.

If it's a discipline thing, then I believe that children respond to positivity, clear boundaries and inspirational lessons; if that's what ex-forces teachers provide, then great. If it's to encourage a climate of fear and shouting in the classroom, then it's going to fall flat on its face.


trice · 07/06/2013 09:06

I think there could be a problem with violence though. The sanctions available to trainers in the army are just a dream compared to those in a secondary school.


YokoUhOh · 07/06/2013 09:07

(My first year teaching was a nightmare, discipline-wise; I'm now renowned for being strict and no-nonsense. Classroom management is a skill you can learn).


Morgause · 07/06/2013 09:08

Another teacher here who can't understand why Gove thinks it's a good idea.

I was taught by an ex-army type and he was a fearsome bully with no teaching skills whatsoever. His classes were always very quiet, though, and smelt of fear. Not much learning went on, sadly.


bolshieoldcow · 07/06/2013 09:08

Gove coming up with crazy, untenable, poorly-thought-out idea? Shock


Trills · 07/06/2013 09:08

I can see that having experience in training adults in the armed forces could help you to be good at teaching.

I also think that it is a good thing to think about what careers people can move into once they leave the forces.

But I don't understand why having a degree in a relevant subject is considered essential for some teachers and not for others.

And 1 day a week teacher-training for 2 years is going to add up to a lot less than a year's full-time training (less than half the number of days' training).


trice · 07/06/2013 09:09

There were a lot of ex forces teachers in schools in Gove's golden age. This is probably his inspiration rather than any logical thinking.


noblegiraffe · 07/06/2013 09:09

Without a degree?? What are they going to be teaching then if they don't have the subject knowledge?


soverylucky · 07/06/2013 09:11

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MulberryJane · 07/06/2013 09:12

If Gove gave teachers the opportunity to do their jobs properly then the armed forces wouldn't need to go into schools to sort out the discipline. At the moment teachers are at the mercy of students and parents and have unachievable targets placed on them. Very few people have sympathy for teachers because 'of all the holidays they get', as a teacher I'd give up every school holiday if it meant I was allowed to do my job properly. It's quite insulting, if Gove wants military precision then give the existing teachers the opportunity! I think the whole education system needs an overhaul but Gove is not the right person to do it, I fear for the future generation's education I really do.

FWIW I think there is a place for the army within school, but the rest of the education system needs sorting out first. Otherwise, it's just another 'scheme of the minute' that won't have longevity or kudos and it'll be forgotten before being abandoned altogether.


Fuzzysnout · 07/06/2013 09:12

It's a great idea because:

  1. All current teachers are crap. Fact.
  2. Teaching is so easy that anyone could do it. Fact.
  3. Forces are used to facing stressful combat situations daily for crap pay, therefore wages could be reduced.
  4. The problem with schools is that there's not enough discipline, don'tcha know. Soldiers will magically transform this even without resort to weapons, swearing or shouting at the poor little darlings.
  5. Troops are used to following even crap orders without question, therefore we could do away with those stupid teaching unions.
  6. Replacing qualified teachers with soldiers will free up the teachers to join the reservists who will be replacing the full time dedicated soldiers currently being made redundant-(advantages: they are used to combat situations, following crap orders etc.) - win, win!

GoblinGranny · 07/06/2013 09:14

Because teaching is dead easy, anyone can do it, and they'll have all these unemployed squaddies and officers roaming around with nothing to do once they pull out of the various war zones.
They've been promising hot bods in the classroom for years, instilling discipline and a sense of teamwork and wotnot, sorting out the woolly-minded and ineffectual. I have fantasised considered the impact on the profession many a time.


soverylucky · 07/06/2013 09:15

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory · 07/06/2013 09:15

So if ex-soldiers can teach with a minimum of training and without a degree, why do ordinary teachers need all this wasteful learning they seem to indulge in? Hmm

Children are not squaddies. They are at a different stage of development, they are sometimes very vulnerable, they have not (unlike soldiers) chosen to be there, and your average classroom will include children with SN and medical conditions that would never make it into the army.

Teachers are not only there to obtain obedience and communicate facts, they are also there to instill a love of learning and questioning that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Even skills acquired teaching adults are only moderately transferable to a primary classroom.

And what about the actual subject knowledge: Will there be two grades of teachers, the ones with subject knowledge and the ones without?


trice · 07/06/2013 09:17

Arf Fuzzy. Exactly.


soverylucky · 07/06/2013 09:17

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory · 07/06/2013 09:19

I can imagine that, sovery. I used to be a supply teacher in secondary. And now teach in HE. Totally different skills sets.


ifancyashandy · 07/06/2013 09:20

God, I hate the Tories more and more every day.


GoblinGranny · 07/06/2013 09:20

Hey Fuzzy, you forgot another benefit. If the government starts trying the same old games on their new workforce, there could be a military coup.
'to the barricades chaps!'

No more wading through red tape and SS to get abused and vulnerable children protected, one home visit would be enough.


BrigitBigKnickers · 07/06/2013 09:20

They may have the discipline to keep kids in line too scared to move a muscle but how on earth are they going to have the knowledge to teach subjects to GCSE and A level without a degree?


GoblinGranny · 07/06/2013 09:23

To be fair, a lot of officers have degrees.


NiniLegsInTheAir · 07/06/2013 09:23

The cynical part of me is thinking it could also be to encourage more children to sign up when they're of age - remember how impressionable we all are at primary school age. I've got visions of that Simpsons episode with the 'Yvan eht Nioj' music video in my head...

Not a good idea, IMO, for all the reasons others have listed. I had an ex-army teacher at secondary school and he terrified his entire class, all I remember was the fear.


Badvoc · 07/06/2013 09:23

I simply have no words for how bad an idea this is...
With any luck it will go the way of the idiotic new childcare ratio idea.
I can't see many parents happy that their kids are being taught by unqualified people!


notyummy · 07/06/2013 09:28

I am in two minds about this. I am an ex teacher and have also served as an officer in the military. I think some of the evidence base for introducing this has come from what have been widely accepted as successful schemes in various parts of the country where ex-forces personnel (caveat- carefully selected with highly relevant skills and behaviours) have worked with groups of young people who were on the edge of being permanently excluded. I genuinely think that there are a cadre of people in the military who have real skills (already developed and often bolstered with qualifications) in mentoring, counselling, teaching and modelling the behaviours they expect from others, because these are the things the military today looks for in its leaders. Not screaming. If this scheme looks to tap into this cadre of people then it could introduce some excellent people into schools. Not everyone from the military is cut from the 'hectoring' cloth.

That said, I think the quality control needs to be first rate, and ideally it needs to be backed with a method of ensuring academic excellence. I don't want my child taught maths or sciences by someone without an excellent grasp of their subject. I know RAF SNCOs leaving with degrees and masters, plus a real interest in developing others. I can see them in a classroom. Others - not so.

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