From education to employment

Education Experts Need to Consider the Bigger Picture Says Leading Educationalist

blocks spelling out teach

Adam Caller, CEO of elite private tutoring company, Tutors International, believes that educationalists need to be open to embracing different points of view rather than having a closed mind when considering implementing changes in education.

Adam Caller is the CEO and Founder of Tutors International, the world-leader in the provision of high-quality, bespoke private tuition for UHNW Clients. He is also a renowned, international educational consultant whose advice is often sought due to his considerable knowledge and expertise in the field of education. Recently, Mr Caller reacted to an article written in ‘Education Reimagined’, entitled, Filling the Gaping Hole in Education’. The article compares the US education system with the process that US learner drivers have to comply with before being allowed out on the roads by themselves. The author postulates that education in the western world is failing our students. She maintains that instead of encouraging competition and focusing on testing we should allow students to learn crucial life skills by gaining experience in the real world.

The Idea that One Solution Can Fix All is Reductive

The article suggests that the American method of teaching a young person how to drive is an effective model for modern education, recommending that the framework, where newly qualified drivers are accompanied by their parents for the first six months of their time on the road, should be applied to the education system. Young people would ideally develop their individual skills through ‘hands-on engagement’. Mr Caller makes this observation:

“Claiming to have the solution to the problems that exist in our education system is not new”, he explains. “Our educational system was designed in the Victorian industrial age and is now outdated and ineffective so it makes sense that experts are going to suggest ways of improving it. However, to propose that one method is the answer to the problem is reductive; it fails to consider that myriad other factors interact differently in each student, turning each one of them into a complex individual with unique and diverse requirements. It is important to recognise that suggesting that there is only one answer, which is then touted in the media as the panacea that will rectify all educational shortcomings, is misleading and naive”.

Mr Caller continues: “In this case for example, the author of the article fails to consider the fact that prospective drivers in America can pass their test at the age of 15 whereas, in the UK, young people can only take their driving test after having reached the age of 17. So, whilst it might be sensible to have an adult accompany newly qualified US drivers at the age of 15, those in the UK have the advantage of at least two years of maturity in their favour, meaning this solution might be less valid”.

“Educationalists consistently assume that existing trends can be extrapolated to all cases. To make genuine improvements to our education system we need to be rational: we need to consider the problem from different perspectives, continue to engage in dialogue and work towards a solution that takes into consideration the needs and feelings of everyone involved”.

Learning Maths Until the Age of 18?

According to Mr Caller, this blinkered and inflexible view can be extended to the current debate in English schools. He points to the recent announcement by UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, that in order for the population to become more numerate, all pupils should study maths, in some form, until the age of 18. Currently, pupils in England can stop studying maths after taking their GCSE at the age of 16. Mr Caller comments:

Whilst I am not fundamentally against the idea of pupils studying aspects of maths for longer, this proposal once again makes the erroneous assumption that this will solve the problem of innumeracy in our country. There are other ways of incorporating mathematical content into the curriculum. A knowledge of maths is intrinsic to many subjects such as physics, chemistry, geography and DT, for example. Schools can find ways of creating a culture where numeracy and maths are seen as an integral part of learning across the curriculum without the need to enforce maths lessons on those who have no interest in the subject post-16”.

Mr Caller recognises the fact that prospective employers may well have alerted Mr Sunak to the fact that young people seeking employment have below-average mathematical skills. He agrees that the problem needs to be addressed however, he believes that it could be tackled much earlier in a child’s academic career:

“Forcing a young person to continue learning maths at 16 may well be too late”, he explains. “They may well have already failed to grasp the basics and so will not be receptive to further learning. At the age of 2-7 years of age, a child’s developing brain is predisposed to absorb mathematical information. We need to instil a love of maths in younger children, along with extra lessons where needed, when their minds are at their peak in terms of creativity and receptivity to new concepts. Crucially, many of our primary teachers lack the skills to foster this interest and that necessarily means we need to enhance teacher training courses for the prospective educators of young children. There needs to be more dialogue, and other options evaluated, rather than having this course of action arbitrarily imposed on our young learners”.

Students Can Achieve Potential with Teacher/Tutor Collaboration

Whilst he is quick to point out that he doesn’t have all the answers, Mr Caller is fervent in his belief that students need to be inspired in order to fully engage in their learning. This is supported by a report commissioned by the NUT entitled ‘Exam Factories – The Impact of Accountability on Children and Young People’, where one of the recommendations states that: ‘Schools should be expected to foster the talents and skills of all pupils, wherever these lie. The importance of encouraging and enabling all children should be paramount’.

“Even the most gifted student can shut down and lose interest if they aren’t being challenged or inspired”, Mr Caller explains. “Tutors International has repeatedly found that understanding and including the child’s interests and passions in their learning can be enough on its own to renew their interest in academia. However, class teachers will confirm that it is impossible to adequately enthuse every student in their classroom. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of stifled teachers choosing to turn their backs on the classroom due to the lack of flexibility and creative freedom in their work. In the last year, we have seen an exodus of exhausted, unsupported teachers simply walking out of the classroom and dropping off the radar when it comes to access to professional guidance and a dedicated support structure. Tutors can be used to support the work of teachers in an education system that is being increasingly overstretched. I believe that collaboration is needed between teachers, tutors, and tutoring companies to come together and create a tight network of support that benefits teachers and ultimately, their students”.

Mr Caller adds that his company, Tutors International, can help in this regard by offering support in addition to full-time schooling:

“Home-schooling with a perfectly matched tutor means it is possible to tailor a child’s education to the family’s exact requirements. Tutors International are experts at providing high-quality personalised tuition. We have extensive global experience placing superb private tutors in full-time positions and we can provide tutors for all circumstances, whether residential or live-out, instead of school, or as well as school. We have placed full-time tutors with students who struggled with bullying in mainstream schooling, have special educational needs, have demanding commitments in sports or performing, and families who travel regularly”.

Related Articles