Michael Gove: Poor listening skills are education department`s core problem…

Dan Walsh  

So our education secretary has unveiled his tremendous plan to repair British education. He believes in more rigour. I’m with you Mr Gove. Driving up standards? Yes with you there too. But your utter inability to listen to what people are saying means your policies have the opposite effect from that which you allegedly intended. The man has a very legitimate point when he talks about grade inflation and so forth. British exam results have been colossally high for a long time yet our standards of literacy, numeracy and other key skills lag behind much of the rest of Europe. This is a direct result of a curriculum and statistic obsessed approach which means children are taught to pass exams rather than to learn. Exams have become almost a glorified memory test which doesn’t necessarily equate to a well rounded and capable person. I say this without remotely intending to belittle the great efforts many students undoubtedly make at school and I’m not suggesting that exams are simply ‘easy’ but schools strategically teaching to boost their league table results is not the approach that should be taken to educate a child. I’m not completely blaming the schools – politicians looking to make cheap political points are the root cause of this educational problem. If the prime minister can stand at the dispatch box and say ‘results are up by such and such a percentage’ it sounds good even if it overlooks the fact that our actual standards comparable to Europe are not so good. Read more of this post

Dan Walsh Visits India: A Musical fusion and Metaphor for our time.

Dan Walsh LeftCentral interview.

Image © Sean Elliot

Dan Walsh has been described, as the best clawhammer banjo player in the UK and if you have seen his amazing live performance than you will surely agree with this.

He is an artist with an immense reach, a vast genre busting range of music at his fingertips and is a hugely versatile musician. He is as happy playing Egyptian tunes as he is a Scottish and Irish Medley. Or, indeed when playing funk or a Northumbrian Medley and if this doesn’t get your feet tapping, then we should not forget that Dan is specialist player of Bluegrass music. He can also make a banjo sound like a Sitar.  He is an outstanding live performer, who also happens to be highly articulate. Following that noble tradition of British folk music he is politically progressive with an international outlook. He agreed to talk to LeftCentral about his recent trip to Kolkata in India. Read more of this post