Saturday 25 July 2015

Scenes from the Classroom #11

This is the one where I casually identify myself as one of this pinko commie enemies of promise.

Occasionally, with a bright class, I attempt the political compass test when I am trying to explain to them the difference between left wing and right wing. I find that it's easier for them to understand if they know what side of the line they sit. The questions are complicated so normally what we do is go through them on the board; I explain what they mean; the students write down their responses and then go home and tap them into a computer; they bring back their number and we plot the graph.

Going through the questions and trying to explain what they mean in a non-leftie biased way is very hard, and always takes the best part of a lesson. I find it an interesting meditation on my own politics. I also love the way I clarify what something means and several students shout out both yes and no at the same time, very firmly. Then they start to justify their see why it takes time.

Anyway, I attempted this with a top set Y8 class recently. When we plotted results, everyone in the classroom except one boy, O, came out moderately left-wing. O was just over the line on the right. Not too surprising if you believe that theory that everyone is leftie when they're young.

At the end of the lesson, Y's planner went missing. We searched and hunted to no avail. I started asking students to look in their bags to see if they'd packed it up by accident. Minutes passed and the bell was long gone. "O," I called, "you were sitting over there, look in your bag please."

O unzipped his backpack and then sheepishly pulled out the missing planner. Three (I'm not even kidding) students turned to me from different parts of the classroom and called, almost in unison, "It's because he's right-wing, Miss."

I am actually that one Gove was concerned about.

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