Thursday, 26 February 2009

When does education end and indoctrination begin?

This is a serious question. Anyone of critical mind who spends much thinking about such issues will wonder. And anyone who spends much time in Primary schools looking at the posters on the wall might wonder as well.

It is, of course, inevitable that the perspective of teachers will come out in what is taught. It may well be that it is quite unintentional, and that the teacher believes that he or she is simply teaching good citizenship and agreed values. But who agreed these values? And what is good citizenship, anyway? Can teachers really be neutral? Isn't neutrality a myth?

Of course there are some examples that are rather blatant. I remember one Scottish mother telling me that her son had come home from primary school one day saying "I hate the English". She questioned him, and discovered that this hatred was a result of what he had been taught in history by his teacher. The teacher in question was well known in the area for being an active member of the SNP.

Many thanks to Bishop Hill for bringing to my attention another example of indoctrination from An Englishman's Castle. This one is rather subtle, and I suspect that some people might not realise that it is indoctrination at all.

(Edit: for more, see here.)

2 comments:

MARA MACSEOININ said...

Good point. Being taught to be a good citizen in a country the majority of which is in diametric disagreement with its principles is rather self-defeating. And, as morality is not part of the socialist vocabulary (see, especially, the Department of Health's extraordinary Sex Ed. leaflet in which it makes out that physical relationships are in no way a moral issue) 'goodness' can't come into it at all... Coupled with rants by the totally obnoxious David Semple who thinks that teachers have a right to know exactly what is being taught by the parents and there really is no way in which your children can think for themselves.

patently said...

there really is no way in which your children can think for themselves

I fear that may be a feature, not a bug...