Accelerated Christian Education on BBC Radio 4

In 2010 I was asked to speak to BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme about Accelerated Christian Education.

Here’s the segment that went out (it’s a little over five minutes long):

In case you can’t listen, I’ve transcribed the words of the three people interviewed: Me, Professor Michael Reiss, and Christian Education Europe‘s Arthur Roderick.

So, in order of how much I like the interviewee:

Jonny Scaramanga on Accelerated Christian Education:

“Everything is tested in the form of multiple-choice questions, true or false questions, filling-in-the-blanks questions – short answer questions, which don’t require critical thinking skills. And that’s because it’s based on a fundamentalist philosophy, and they believe they have absolute truth. So the development of the ability to ask questions and find answers, and form arguments, is not relevant to them. They’re not interested in teaching children how to think, they’re interested in teaching them what to think.”

Professor Michael Reiss on Accelerated Christian Education:

“There has been a very strong historical tendency for ACE schooling to use an extraordinarily narrow understanding of learning which is very much like each child working away at his or her textbooks or worksheets on their own. And frankly my own view is that’s just completely boring for most children after a while, and is a travesty of what personalised learning can be all about.

“What I would like to see is some of the teachers including the head teachers in these schools to have actually a bit more confidence in the young people whom they are educating. It is not the case that young people abandon their Christian faiths just because they are presented with good quality teaching about evolution and cosmology ­– if anything quite the reverse.”

Arthur Roderick on Accelerated Christian Education:

“Yes it is true that we want to teach the children a particular point of view. It is true that there are some things we don’t want the children to pursue or to accept. And as parents we think that that’s our responsibility and prerogative for the children to get what we think is the very best worldview.

“We might be viewed as not being balanced, but we can see where the alternative is leading. It is simply going to be: Parents, you don’t indoctrinate your childen because we want to indoctrinate your children. That I will not tolerate.”

At the time I was annoyed that Arthur Roderick got to talk so much, but then he fully revealed how paranoid his view of mainstream education is, so that’s fine.

I was interviewed for twenty minutes. Most of it was unusable because I was making potentially libellous accusations, and didn’t then have evidence that would make them fit for broadcast. Frankly, I wished the interviewer had told me that sooner, because there were a lot of other accusations I could have made for which I did have evidence. Still, I’m going about gathering the relevant evidence and I’ll be making all of it public in due course.

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About Jonny Scaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on May 18, 2012, in Accelerated Christian Education, Christianity, Creationism, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Donald Miller

    Hey bro. I can’t remember whether you made it by my ragazine or not. Stop by when you can.

  2. What I find astoundingly disconcerting (okay, there are many things when it comes to ACE but at this moment in time…) is that a system which teaches that truth is inherently good and lying and deceit is evil can be so casual about fact.

    Fundamentalists are always going to take issue with the teaching of science in schools but this casual attitude towards facts pervades far deeper than the awkward chapter where they have to talk about selective breeding without giving any credence to evolution.

    I find it fascinating that Arthur Roderick considered that parents are allowed to indoctrinate their children but schools are not. I don’t believe anyone should indoctrinate children but surely the ‘worldview’ that Roderick talks about relates to morality and religion, not to historical, political or economic fact. ACE is prepared to teach opinion as fact. Opinion is an important part of education but it should come as part of a discussion surrounding the notion of there being various opinions. It should not be taught in such a way as to imply not only that no other option is valid but also that every other option is necessarily evil.

  3. Arthur Roderick, the silver tongued charlatan trying to pass off as a whimsical, innocent-butter- would-never-melt in his godly gob. Though he may never have used foul language, but the fact that he has been deceiving people, I would still accuse him of having a potty mouth.

  4. ACE schooling is really narrow in the way it teaches children.
    Trust me, I know because I do it.

  1. Pingback: 5 Even Worse Lies from Accelerated Christian Education « Leaving Fundamentalism

  2. Pingback: Dis-Education – Christian home schooling part 3 – Indoctrinate your children « Radio Freethinker

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