May 20, 2006

Why I am leaving the NASUWT

The NASUWT is my current Union, standing up for my rights as a teacher. I am secretary for the Union in East Lothian. Having admired its attitude in the past I now believe it is the most short-sighted, IT-illiterate and ignorant union in the UK. Just my own personal opinion, of course, and no reflection of what any organisation with whom I work may believe. (Ouf, had to get that in).

The Herald reports on the annual conference where the Union announced it would advise the Scottish Executive to ban mobile devices in schools and to mount an advertising campaign to warn parents off from sending their kids to school with iPods and mobile phones. The full press release reveals a shocking ignorance of current research and good practice in the use of mobile technology, including what's been going on at PiE.

This is from a group of men and women who have not been in the technologically enabled classroom of the 21st century and who have no interest in learning why kids are being disruptive in class. If kids are allowed and taught how to use their mobile devices to learn then there would be very much less of the behaviour problems mentioned. Fact. I've done it, as many others have.

I even had a wry smile on my face when I visited the homepage of the union site and saw this:

'Pupils should come equipped to learn,' says NASUWT
“Parents have a crucial responsibility for instilling in youngsters the right attitude to school and making sure they are prepared to learn. It would also help if they were properly equipped."

Short-sighted and hypocritical. I'll be calling the Union HQ on Monday with my complaint and resignation from post. I wonder whether my East Lothian colleagues would feel strongly enough to do the same.

Update 1:
Looks like Steve has decided, too. If/when he goes through with this the NASUWT lose a true pioneer in ICT. Who's next?


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I too am a member of NASUWT, but from what you have said I have to agree it is time to find a more 21st Century Union to represent me.


I'm not a member but I'd like to join just so I could indignantly resign that membership!

This same debate is going on in the States with the whole DOPA thing.

While I'm not a teacher, I am a learning professional of sorts, and I have children in high school. My view is that this is a kneejerk reaction born of a feeling of being threatened by technology that is not understood. It speaks of many teachers' reluctance to relinquish strangle-hold control in the classroom.

Sooo last century, dahling!-)

Wonder if they would want to ban the laptops or tablet PC's that we give each of the kids in our school?

Resign from your post, but stick with them... they are redeemable, with your help!


Stumbled across your blog by mistake but found your opinion interesting. I have to disagree with you on the fundamentals of your argument (the leaving the NASUWT bit and not the digital bit). I am a trade unionist; I've been a full time officer for the best part of 20 years (not in an education union I might add) and there have been many policies in the unions I have worked for that I disagreed with - but I didn't leave... I spoke out against the policy, I lobbied the leadership, I put motions to conference and I challenged the decision.

You choice to leave the the NASUWT (and by the looks of it take others with you) means the policy will go unchallenged so my (humble) view is that you've let down the other members in the NASUWT who also oppose the policy but who do not have the gumption to speak.

I would say "get back in there and do something".

Just an opinion.

I am tempted to get back in there and do something, but feel it is also important to see what other unions are saying. If the EIS or SSTA share the opinions of NASUWT then it would make more sense to target these larger more influential unions, and hope that NASUWT follows on. Is this selfish? Perhaps. Is it for the right reasons? I feel sure.

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