Panorama’s “classroom warriors” investigated the value of the latest government backed initiative to fast track ex-service personal into the teaching profession.
A central concept of Michael Gove’s educational reform is to reintroduce a sense of discipline and order back into Britain’s classrooms.
The report by Vivian White examined the US experience (this was the first country to introduce the program). Our American counterparts have conducted a considerable amount of research to evaluate the benefits of the strategy. Although some scepticism surrounds the program (mainly from teaching unions) the results showed an impressive improvement in performance in the academic and behaviour of pupils.
Introduction of military disciple
Many were surprised to see the widely held stereotypes of screaming sergeant majors being challenged with confident, considered caring individuals who were deeply committed to positive outcomes - individuals who were used to teamwork and shared a sense of responsibility and determination to act for the greater good.
Many schools had also introduced cadet forces (military style scouts, that share military activity and discipline as part of the school curriculum). These have traditionally been the preserve of private schools, yet now, the wider value to all aspects of the community may finally be recognised.
Is this part of the “Big Society”?
Although some may see this as part of David Cameron’s Big Society, is it not also an excellent example of getting good quality people with a wealth of experience into important jobs in order to set the standard and influence the next generation when it counts?
Military and civilian transference
The classroom warriors program is an excellent example of transference of key skills between the military and civilian life. During the program, many individuals were interviewed, each with a different take on how they brought their military experience into the classroom. No matter who they attributed their success, it became clear that overall, they applied their previous experience very effectively to the teaching role.