My ever-astute reader will have noticed already that nowhere in Rullsenberg's vapourings is there even the hint that education might be concerned with placing facts inside hitherto fact-free heads, and ensuring that these facts are understood and remembered. That used to be called 'teaching' back in the days when teachers were not concerend [sic] with the next revolution.Duff, I don't have any problem with pupils being taught facts, and I am happy to put it on record that, yes, of course education has to teach stuff. But even Dickens recognised that facts can only go so far in educating people (Are you supporting a Gradgrindian education?) I don't have any problem with criticising systems of education that teach people how to think about the social relations of Bronze Age Britons but which leave such people unable to identify when the Bronze Age was. But a system that only teaches when the Bronze Age was fails to teach valuable thinking skills: that such labels are applied later, are disputable, and do not on their own help us to explain what occurred during a period of history. Reduced to definition as The Bronze Age, the complexities of the people, skills and societies it refers to can often be lost: how does that help us understand the meanings of history?
Additionally, without wishing to elide education and training/employment, it probably is worth stating that beyond a certain level of basic skills, employers don't care how many facts are in a person's head; but they do care about their ability to think and assess evidence, to evaluate courses of action and take decisions based on such investigative skills. And a facts-only education scarcely provides such skills.
I'm probably now going to get slated by other blogging colleagues for taking the time to tackle the thoughts of Duff and Nonsense, but as I'm feeling in a generous mood I am cutting slack all ways round. Normal ramblings on culture and social issues will resume soon, and the Duffs of the world are no less welcome to rant or ignore about these as they see fit. I'm just not promising they'll all get a response like this.