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《经济学人》:学校改革的佼佼者 A class act

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A class act

Freedom and discipline go together in an innovative school

Innovation in schools

THE scene is enough to appal those teachers steeped in ideas about child-centred education and learning through play. At the Durand Academy, a large primary school set amid tough housing estates in south London, a class of four-year-olds files into the corridor. Dressed in navy blue uniforms, the children silently divide, boys lining up against one wall, girls by the other. Following rules laid down by the watching boss of the school, Greg Martin—a man of firm convictions, once compared to Stalin by trade-union activists—the children stand with one finger to their lips, as a reminder to be quiet.


Durand pupils are trained to move about the school in hushed crocodiles. Their work is marked strictly, with low scores carefully explained. Teachers'lesson plans must be approved by senior staff. Classes are filmed for use in training.


Mr Martin is one of a vanguard of senior teachers endeavouring—with support from Michael Gove, the education secretary—to put discipline at the heart of teaching. But this does not involve a lurch back to past ferocities. His school feels secure and calm rather than strict. “I'm four today,” a small girl whispers in the corridor, before popping her finger back on her lips, eyes agleam with birthday excitement. Her classmates wriggle happily as their teacher praises them for “lining up so beautifully”.

马汀先生是高级教师先锋之一,在教育大臣迈克尔?戈夫的支持下,他努力把纪律摆在教学的中心位置,但这并不是说又一下子回到过去的简单粗暴。在这个学校天,能感受到的是安全、宁静,而不是严格。“我今天4岁了。”走廊里,一个小女孩低声说道,然后迅速把手指重新放在嘴唇上,眼睛里闪着过生日才会有的兴奋。老师表扬同学们 “队列排得真整齐”,他们愉快地缓缓前行。

At a recent seminar on school discipline, Mr Gove and a clutch of star head teachers who have turned around failing (indeed out-of-control) schools discussed how firm, consistent rules are a tool for social mobility, enabling children from deprived backgrounds to escape the effects of often chaotic home lives. Mr Martin noted how many new pupils arrive unprepared for learning: unable to sit still and listen, or not toilet-trained. Half his 968 pupils receive free school meals (a marker for family poverty). Most are from black African or Caribbean backgrounds. Before the formal skills, all are taught something simpler: that they are constantly making choices, which have consequences.


Mr Martin's approach combines the traditional virtue of discipline with the extended freedoms offered to ambitious heads by the coalition government. He has been innovating on the same site for 25 years, taking advantage of each new reform that offered greater autonomy. Last year Durand secured academy status, gaining new powers to shape its curriculum and to recruit and pay staff on its own terms. Mr Martin shows off two smart, indoor swimming pools. Swimming lessons, he explains, teach the very smallest to undress and dress themselves, which many have never tried. The larger pool is open to the paying public after midday, and forms part of a private enterprise (also including a gym and a block of flats) that subsidises organic lunches, smaller than average classes and after-school care.


The experiments seem to be working. Durand is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, the schools inspectorate. When they arrive, its three-year-olds, chosen non-selectively by catchment area, are well behind the national average. By final tests at 11, the children are in the top 2% in the country. Achievement and calmness follow each other says Mr Martin. Disruptive behaviour is “usually about fear”, triggered when children (especially boys) do not know how to do something.

实验似乎正在发生作用,学校的监察机构“英国教育标准局” 将杜兰德学校的工作评定为“杰出”级。实验开始时,学校接收的是本学区三岁的孩子,这无可选择,他们的入学水平远远落后于全国的平均水平。到11岁毕业测试时,他们的成绩已跃居全国的前2%。马汀先生说,成绩与平静相互促进,捣乱性的行为通常和害怕有关,多在孩子们(特别是男孩)不知道一件事如何做时发生。

The school's boldest experiment lies ahead. Tired of watching Durand’s high-achieving, happy 11-year-olds sink or fall prey to bad influences at their next schools, Mr Martin is opening a middle school and, in 2014, a weekly boarding school for 600 pupils from 13 to 18, on land Durand has bought in West Sussex. The education department has promised up to £17.3m for the new buildings. Existing state boarding schools charge for food and lodging. This one will be entirely free.


Nothing quite like it has been tried before; Whitehall officials cannot guarantee that it will succeed. But to Mr Gove's team, experimental risk is not the downside of setting schools free (more than 1,000 have gained academy status since 2010): it is the point. Parents will choose those schools that work. Durand, currently a remarkable exception, may be just the start.


重点单词   查看全部解释    
strict [strikt]


adj. 严格的,精确的,完全的

exception [ik'sepʃən]


n. 除外,例外,[律]异议,反对

discipline ['disiplin]


n. 训练,纪律,惩罚,学科
vt. 训练,惩

innovative ['inəuveitiv]


adj. 革新的,创新的

prey [prei]


n. 被掠食者,牺牲者
vi. 捕食,掠夺,使



n. 平静,安宁;冷静,镇静

social ['səuʃəl]


adj. 社会的,社交的
n. 社交聚会

experimental [iks.peri'mentl]


adj. 实验(性)的,试验(性)的

traditional [trə'diʃənəl]


adj. 传统的

sink [siŋk]


n. 接收端,沟渠,污水槽,散热器
vi. 下


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