Why Mr Gradgrind Thou Art Updated My Version

A fellow blogger published an excellent update to Charles Dickens’ character some time ago. The link is below.


However, I thought I would also do my own version, now that checklists and “can do” statements seem to be the vogue, thus ignoring one of the reasons for the abolition of national curriculum levels.

Why Mr Gradgrind – thou art updated!

“NOW, what I want is, Skills. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Skills. Skills alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.” Mr Gradgrind paused for a moment.

“And when I say ‘teach’ what I really mean is ‘facilitate’. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Skills, sir!’ The scene was a multi coloured school-room, decorated with multicoloured display work and a checklist of “Can do” statements, which the speaker’s square forefinger emphasized silently by pointing, in the approved “talk-less” neo-Gradgrindian manner.

“In this life, we want nothing but Higher Level Thinking, sir; nothing but Analysis, Evaluation, Creativity and Progress!” The speaker and the second grown person present both swept with their eyes the knots of little vessels then and there arranged in groups, ready to have Conceptual Understanding facilitated into them until they were full to the brim, or at least until their learning objectives on their Personal Learning Checklists could be self-actualized and triple cross-checked by peer assessment.

Read the rest at:


About e=mc2andallthat

Gethyn Jones BSc, PGCE, MCCT is a physics teacher of over 29 years experience who still enjoys teaching (well, most of the time anyway). He lives in London with his lovely wife and two rescue cats. Please follow him on Twitter @emc2andallthat
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