Teacher's FAQ
I'm a teacher with more than enough on my plate already - Why do I want more?
More is less! Truly teachers and schools and children have been the playthings of politicians and fellow travellers. Another decade - another slogan - another mess. The purpose of the 12Rs (And the 12 maturities - to come next year - there is more to education than the essential basics) is to clarify what the hell we have to achieve in plain terms, practical terms, useful terms and most of all terms that matter for essential basic education that should be a matter of course for every child and every teenager and every adult. The 12Rs sets up a straightforward framework for what we expect as a minimum from our school leavers. The concepts are very simple and distinct (and without frills and 'moral imperatives' or other shoe-horned in 'essential' that is really just a prejudice).
My school is not geared-up for the 12 Rs. The whole school isn't suitable.
Yes. Thinking in the wrong direction and being paid by the wrong results is par for the course. If, collectively, the teachers can see the sense behind the 12Rs, and see the benefit to the children, and how it is a fulcrum to lever-out imposed curriculum demands - and a magnetic framework for very similar curriculum activities, then it's a matter for the powers-that-be to change. The 12Rs project recognises this issue and we all need to bring reasoned pressure to bear with suitable materials.
Won't teachers be blamed for failing to deliver just as before?
Of course. And it will be worse! When daddy-Sun-reader who sits swearing in front of the telly for hours yet never reads a book with their child finds his child is marked down in some of the 12Rs then somebody else must be to blame. The 12Rs is an opportunity to make it clear what's expected of everybody in the matter of education for life. The 12Rs project is aware that it can be used as a fierce weapon against dur-brainism and that's why it intends to be a robust and practical approach whereas before do-goodery and we-know-best-isms were the order of the day. If you know a better way of dealing with institutional ignorance then ...
I have enough trouble teaching existing subjects, and the parents are indifferent to say the least! More will be a disaster.
These are the core. These are easily justified. "No basic skills means no job, never having enough money to buy anything and friends who are losers like you or not your friends at all, just ripping you off." As for the parents (and everybody else who feels they have the right to stick an oar in) the question to them is "Which of these 12 is not essential?"
Have you ever taught 13 year-olds! Some are little cherubs but many are determined to do the exact opposite of 'become good citizens'.
Yes, actually, I have taught 13 year-olds. But the object isn't to teach how to be a model citizen or how to conform to anything. Unlike 'moral education' the 12Rs is not 'how to be good' but 'how to do well'.[Note 1] The 'how to do well' message works as well for potential escapees as stay-at-homers. This is really important because if 'Slugger Smith' (you know who I mean) wants to be a rebel, then to be a successful rebel he needs his Rs.
Some of the children I teach are little better than farm animals. Are you joking - asking me to teach them, say, 'reasoning'?
No. (I wouldn't have your job if you paid me - My speciality is how the World works not daily competition with the forces of advertising and television.) We all know that these children are the most in need of a bit of ... err... what? "Direction" is probably the best single word for a big subject. Talk to a gypsy about family relationships and you'll learn a lot more in five minutes than in five years of soap operas - yet how do 99% of kids learn about relationships... through soap operas ... a daily dose from a how-not-to instruction manual! As for teaching 'Reasoning' - That's the same as any teaching. (The 12Rs project will be building some resources for teachers to use.) It is easy to 'sell' the 12Rs to children on the basis that whatever they want to do they will need the full 12. Every teacher ought to be able to make up examples to suit.
Why aren't religion and respect Rs?
Religion isn't essential. Respect is earned not learned.
But what about the richness of real education?
Real education starts with the essential basics of the 12Rs. The 12Rs are the minimal fall-back position. The 12 Maturities are 'luxury extras' - except history tells us that everybody had plenty of the Maturities. Times have changed and Ambition and Empathy have become difficult to talk about. Fitness and good health and curiosity and enthusiasm for knowledge are seen as odd-ball activities, and we don't teach ambition or how people should develop and stand up for their principles. Development of the 12Ms will lag behind the Rs but are just as much 'must-haves'.

  1. Humans are programmed to choose between 'leaving the nest' or 'sticking with the clan'. In boys this kicks-in at about 12 or 13. What does this mean in school? Conformity or rebellion. (And the girls play up to the boys of course.) So "PAY ATTENTION SMITH!" is quite likely to trigger 'stuff-you' thoughts - the exact opposite of the intention!
  2. Although each R and M is clearly defined for purposes of being able to focus, exercise and measure this doesn't mean that they should be taught in everyday education as distinct subjects.