Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Society of Unexperts

I was speculating earlier today on how much I'd like to see a Society of Unexperts formed.

I visualise unexperts proclaiming on all sorts of areas.

Something along the lines of the 'reasonable man' referred to in law. He's deferred to as a sort of everyman expert or unexpert and his opinion is a measure for courts and juries to consider in trials.

Experts probably have a place in our society, but not the place they currently occupy.

You see, experts are prejudiced. They see their specialty everywhere. They are a little like Dr. House in reverse. He is the doctor who tries everything (including the kitchen sink) to find out what the tricky patient is actually suffering from. Experts reduce anything their patients are suffering from to the realms of their own speciality.

So the dermatologist thinks the blotch on your neck is just up his street. And the Ear Nose and Throat guy is determined that it has a connection to the sinus infection he's just uncovered. Then the psychiatrist writes a report stating that it came from the hours you spent in the front room with your completely daffy Aunty Rosa as she fed you with bovril and chips when you were nine and a half.

I wouldn't want anyone off the street to rewire my house of course. That would be taking the SOU (Society of Unexperts) too far. Yet, isn't it true that talented amateurs can accomplish wonders? After all, Leona Lewis and Joe McElderry and Susan Boyle were amateurs until recently.

But, unexperts can see from other than their pre-programmed viewpoint. They can examine evidence and understand the rationale behind it. They can employ their own point of view to inform the problem.

You can be an expert unexpert too. After all, there are dozens of areas that we're all competent in without passing an exam or writing a conference paper. We don't need the outward awards to know that we can do something. We know that we are unexperts in many things.

I more or less learned to type by - well, typing. I did it because I had thousands of words saved up on paper and I got tired fingers and sore hands. So I typed. And because I typed a lot I got good at typing.

I haven't bothered to go in and take a test, but I could probably do quite well. I'm an unexpert at typing.

I'm an unexpert on the world of my children too. I feel fairly confident I could go head to head with the big black chair in the Mastermind television show on the topic. I know a lot about it. My view of my children is unique; it spans quite a few years and experiences. Since before they arrived in this world actually. My eldest hiccoughed every so often while she grew inside me. My youngest pushed an arm and a leg right out of my side (at least it felt that way) about two weeks before she was born while I was watching an exciting film.

No stranger-expert will ever know what I know about my children.


That's why I think we should have a Society of Unexperts.

Experts can be downright dangerous. Recall the doctors who attended trials of distraught mothers as they explained that their most precious babies had died and they didn't know why. But the doctors knew why. They were experts. They knew; that's why they were called to give an opinion because they knew these mothers were killing their babies, and the mothers went to gaol because - gee whiz, gosh - Dr. Expert MUST know best.

Dangerous. Fortunately, unexperts were ploughing through evidence that said if one baby in a family died of cot death then it was possible that another child from the same family could die of the same cause. The babies had shared genes, didn't they? What was more likely that you'd share some deleterious (dangerous) genes? Had the experts thought of that?

Why, no.

Experts see what they are expert in.

Local authority representatives see school as the pinnacle of society therefore they want to see school impressed on every child, even if that child is home educated. They are the experts.

Badman, as we know from his blog* is an expert in education or what passes for education in this country. He is a school/schooling/schooly expert. He likes it. He lives it. It is the ONLY way to educate. For him to open his mind and accept that there are other ways is impossible for him, I think. That would be admitting that he and all his fellow experts were wasting their time in an impotent and impoverished system, and he isn't about to do that. Same with Mr. Balls. You can tinker with a ruinous and collapsed school system. You can throw at it years and years of money, and fiddle with its huge capacious illiterate innumerate monstrous growth of a body but you can't make it work.

It doesn't work because it isn't the only answer. It isn't even the best answer. It never has worked. It never will work. Those who succeed, succeed in spite of it, not because of it and we'll never really know what those who succeed (however they define success) would have been like if they hadn't contracted state school.

There is no single right answer for an education, and that is what the school system offers. It holds out 'the right way.' When you consider carefully you'll understand that there is a range of answers - the best ones are shaped to fit the person who is educating. There is no one 'right way.' The way that school takes is one way and that is one that fails so many children rather dismally.

School does not work for every child. I'm sure any unexpert could tell you that.

*The blog I refer to here is a satire and a spoof, and can be found at:

1 comment:

  1. applauding.Experts need their scaffolding wobbled. A lot.