Jenna Price and Her Charming Mates

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment, with NSW planning to appoint a chief behaviour advisor, to advise on school discipline issues. It is not an issue we think much about. For us, if you’ve given up on kids sitting still and facing the front, attending to a teacher teaching, then you’ve already conceded the Mainland and you’re simply fighting over the Outer Territories. Nonetheless, we can appreciate the practical importance, and we’ve read a number of good articles by Greg Ashman and others.

Today, Ashman has written again on the NSW kerfuffle, a response to an SMH opinion piece by journalist and ANU academic, Jenna Price. Price’s article, titled, A behaviour tsar for schools gets an F by every measure, is a full bore attack on the NSW plan:

The appointment of a new behaviour tsar for NSW schools is the most bone-headed idea ever. It’s an exhausted concept borrowed from a British education system run by second-rate conservative bureaucrats appointed by a third-rate British government which changes leaders as often as the rest of us should change our telecommunications providers.

That ending, too-cute clause demonstrates that Price is more interested in the sound of her own voice than in making a cogent argument. Price’s piece doesn’t let up, and it doesn’t add up. In particular, Price’s attack on the UK’s “behaviour tsar” Tom Bennett is remarkable in its gratuitousness and viciousness. We won’t go into details here; Ashman has covered it admirably. We shall point out one aspect, however.

Price quotes two people to support her piece. One is Linda Graham, professor of inclusive education at QUT:

“There’s been an enormous amount of money thrown into training student teachers how to run a room – but that’s not where some of biggest problems are coming from,” [Graham] says.

Um, well if you’re in the room with a disruptive kid, who is screwing it up for all the other kids, the biggest problem then and there is probably in the room. Whatever. Ashman writes about it, and about a previous run-in he had with Graham.

The second person Price quotes is Monash University’s Dean of Education, Viv Ellis:

British expat Viv Ellis, the dean of education at Monash University, sees the appointment of Bennett (and the appointment of tsars more generally) as pointless. He says it is tokenistic and bad behaviour won’t be solved by that individual. And, he asks, who knows what credentials that person will have?

That’s why we’re here. We wrote about Dean Ellis last year, also inspired by an Ashman scuffle. We wrote then about an absurd and nasty article by Ellis, which also took a conscious sidestep to slime the very same Tom Bennett. It seems as if Ellis has been feeding Price some of her slime-lines.

One of the notable aspects of the do-good Left is how nasty they’re willing to be. They are far from alone in that, of course. But the nastiness combined with the unceasing sanctimony is nauseating.

UPDATE (08/10/22)

The SMH has given Tom Bennett a right of reply, here. Bennett’s clarity and calm in response to Price’s nastiness is remarkable. Greg Ashman has also written about Bennett’s response, here.

Also, a quick word on Linda Graham. Graham does not appear to be as nasty as Price or Ellis, and we framed the above post accordingly. Nonetheless, Graham apparently found Price’s nastiness highly amusing. Graham also ain’t that nice.

14 Replies to “Jenna Price and Her Charming Mates”

  1. Maybe if pompous [ ….s ] like Ellis stopped sticking their gob into things that are none of their business and focussed on things that *are* their business (memo to Ellis – that would be ITE (*) at Monash University), ITE wouldn’t be in such a mess and we wouldn’t be needing so many ITE reviews.

    As for Price, less histrionics and more objectivity would make for better journalism. But I doubt good journalism is her agenda. Maybe she and Ellis (and Graham) should step into a classroom at a socio-economically disadvantaged school for a couple of weeks and report on their experience. I doubt they’d last 2 days, particularly the pompous Git, *ahem* I mean Brit.

    * Initial Teacher Education.

    1. Hey friend as a guy I’d avoid the word histrionics.
      A simpler complaint is just why didn’t Price as a journalist talk to Bennet.

  2. What a joke. My friend did a Dip Ed at QUT and she would have received about 10 minutes of lectures on behaviour. It left her woefully unprepared to teach when she did get a posting. If heaps of money has been spent on class management it certainly didn’t trickle down to the students who needed it.

    1. I did a Grad Dip at QUT. I don’t remember even ten minutes on classroom management stuff. Although to be fair, it could be a case of repressed memory. The entire degree consisted of garbage, or worse. Exactly two readings were not junk, and one of those the lecturer antipodally misunderstood.

  3. I completed the MTeach at Deakin not so long ago, and, as part of the course, there were placements at various schools. During one placement we had a whole school workshop on classroom management. It went for a couple of hours – it was excellent.

    Addressing classroom management is a good idea because the problems are numerous. However, I wonder how NSW will evaluate this appointment. Often governments make decisions with little thought as to how they will evaluate the results of their decisions.

      1. Terry, I think you have again hit the bulls-eye with this observation: it is the in-school-setting that one best learns things like behavior management.

        One then wonders how much recent experience this new behavior specialist will have and, more importantly, be able to meaningfully transfer to those who want it.

        Way back when I did my ITE there was a 1-day optional module on classroom management. It was… OK. Too much of it was research-based and none of it was feedback on what I, as a teacher, was perhaps not doing properly and could change. After 3 placements totaling 9 weeks, there was no longer someone at the back to help with this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 128 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here