We’re big fans of the BBC and of Radio 4, whose coverage of the arts, education, politics and current affairs is often superb. As we all know, it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time, and it’s a very big remit to “inform, educate and entertain” an entire population. Diversity, plurality and integrity are important issues for the BBC, as indeed they are for the world of education and schools.
As we’ve recently commented in posts and tweets, the last two editions of ‘Desert Island Discs’ have been excellent. We strongly recommend listening to both of them:
Professor Tanya Byron
Professor Tanya Byron is a clinical psychologist and TV presenter.
Tanya has spent the last twenty years in clinical practice, helping children, young people and families deal with some of the most difficult parts of life – depression, anxiety, aggression, self harming and drug addiction.
She came to public prominence through her television work, books and advice columns.
A highly dramatic family tragedy ignited her interest in what spurs people to behave the way that they do.
She says of her work “I do have a particular desire to enable young people, on the cusp of what could be the most extraordinary life, to live … and live well.”
Quotes from the programme –
Our culture is so risk averse our kids have childhoods online and very little freedom offline.
We raise children in captivity and limit their chances to develop risk management skills.
I went to a very academic school and I hated it. I wasn’t regarded as a high flyer.
Unfeasably large amounts of pressure & anxiety are felt by children who are pushed through a narrow definition of education.
We shouldn’t evaluate children according to their academic grades.
Sir Ken Robinson
Creativity – how to nurture it, develop it and marshal its power – is his preoccupation. He believes that too many people have no sense of their true talents and passions, and his internationally renowned talks to teachers, business and government leaders argue that – contrary to popular myth – creativity and innovation can be developed in a deliberate and systematic way. What we need, he thinks, is a learning revolution.
The first of his six siblings to pass the 11-plus and win a scholarship to one of Liverpool’s best schools, his education would fundamentally shape the rest of his life. He says “If a teacher hadn’t seen something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself, my life might have gone in a very different direction.”
Quotes from the programme –
“Young people need to understand the world within themselves as well as the world around them”
“To get to know yourself better, shut down your electronic devices”
“The Dalai Lama insists the way to world peace is through achieving personal peace”
“We need to pay attention to children’s individual differences – to refrain from over-programming them – in order to find their individual talents”
If there’s one major criticism we’d make of the BBC’s coverage of education and childhood it’s that its coverage tends to be within the terms laid down by politicians and by the media in general. In striving for ‘balance’ the BBC sometimes fails in its mission to inform and to educate when the two political camps agree with about 80% of one another’s agendas, which tend to be uncritical of the status quo regarding the values, aims and purposes of education. (see previous blog posts)
What happens when no-one is thinking about our schools, learning, teaching and parenting from the point of view of children and young people? Who stands up for their rights and interests – which have been largely ignored through decades of using education as a political football in which “driving up standards” has been the sole mantra of all the major political parties? (see our previous post on last Sunday’s Observer editorial)
If the BBC really wants to achieve a proper balance in its coverage of children and education then it needs to offer a lot more airtime to the likes of Ken Robinson and Tanya Byron. This isn’t a matter of left and right. This is a matter of seeking out truth, enlightenment and different perspectives, which is what these two individuals offer and why their work and their appearances are so welcomed by so many listeners and viewers. Let’s hear a lot less from politicians and a lot more from people with no axes to grind – people who have spent a lifetime dedicated to their profession and to a better understanding of education and children’s wellbeing.