The keyboard is mightier than the ball-point

In my last year or so of a long teaching career I found myself remarking on the number of candidates out-housed from the main examination hall and allowed to use word-processing. These were the few, the happy few, who had demanding mothers (and, yes, that was the profile) and thereby were possessed of “dyslexia” or some similar ailment.

Allow me, swiftly, to pass over how those “dyslexic” and similar helpful diagnoses came about. Legend has: each cost a straight fifty guineas at the Hampstead clinic.

If for some, why not for all? Outside of Art options, pencraft and handwriting are (perhaps sadly) not examined at A-level.

And so to [Irish] Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon, who seems to be able to think outside the Govean box, and whom today’s Irish Times has talking sense:

The junior minister for education, who is developing a five-year strategy on digital teaching and learning, said many young people were more comfortable using a tablet than a pen.

“We should facilitate an assessment of their talent and their creativity in the environment they feel most comfortable, not one we impose on them, not telling them the only way we are going to assess you is get into a room and write constantly for three hours.

“Yes, there are other young people who will always like their pen and paper and they need to be facilitated too.”

And why not?


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Filed under education, Irish Times, Michael Gove, schools

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