There is a charming tale of Chekov’s about a man who tried to teach a kitten to catch mice. When it wouldn’t run after them, he beat it, with the result that even as an adult cat, it cowered with terror in the presence of a mouse. ‘This is the man’ Chekov adds, ‘who taught me Latin.’ - Bertrand Russell ’Freedom versus Authority in Education’ 1928
Nothing new here but have we the bravery to see through what seems the ‘right way’ at the moment; the thing of fashion that we will look back at and think, not only did not work but it was also wrong.
Beating the information into children was the way to teach from ancient Rome to recent times this was thought to be ok and some people would like to see that again. My concern is that authoritarian ways of teaching has now become deeply psychological and very difficult to spot if you are not aware of what is being done. I am sure however that people will look back and count some of today’s strategies as wrong. I would count among these the belief that people are stupid and that someone holds the answers; often the discovering of something happens inside you not from outside and this is so true with music that most of the information is already in there you just need to put a label on it.I frequently go on about Mr Gove and Mr Wilshaw but they perpetrate this kind of thinking and all they are doing is breaking the school system because there will be so few teachers left the system will have to change. What we are seeing is the killing of the goose that lays the golden eggs; there will be a very short term increase in eggs and then they will stop.
The way to teach is to find what excites the mind and then start from there, much of the learning will happen from the pupil themselves as they uncover what they already ‘know’ and their interest will make them learn more.