|‘Live long…and fail, eventually.’|
Teacher training providers in England and Wales have taken a bold and novel approach to next year’s cohort of prospective classroom teachers. Instead of the usual post/ pre graduate routes of the BA (Ed) or the PGCE resulting in a portfolio of demonstrable experiences, future candidates will instead be subjected to The Kobayashi Maru, from Star Trek, as a final assessment.
Little known outside of friendless, internet communities of Trekkies, the Kobayashi Maru is a fictional training exercise that Starfleet officer trainees underwent; a computer simulation of a no-win situation, where participants could never succeed. Rather than seeing if they could beat the program, candidates were tested to see how they coped with no-win situations, in essence, being guaranteed to lose.
As one inspector explained, ‘We were all up late one evening, caning a very agreeable bottle of Cockburn’s port and watching Sky Movies, when Star Trek came on, and we thought, hello; there’s something in this.’
‘And then we read some newspapers where journalists kept talking about teachers failing all the time, and letting the kids down whenever someone doesn’t get a degree in rocket science and become prime Minister. We looked at each other and thought: ‘Kobayashi Maru.’
Tested to Failure
‘In future, all teachers will be dropped into schools in sink estates with little or no training in behaviour management, a head full of guff about thinking skills and happy thoughts that we cut and pasted out of New Scientist, and a bullseye painted on their foreheads. Then we give all the kids air pistols and tell them ‘he just cussed your mum.’ Then we see who lasts longer than a week.’
‘You know that bit in Die Hard 3, when Bruce Willis is made to walk around Harlem with a racist A-board strapped to his chest? We thought that was an effective way to train teachers to be life-long learners. ‘Well,’ he added, ‘They’ll probably learn something.’
‘We feel that experiencing the sensation of perpetually failing in their placement schools, will prepare teachers for the experience of being constantly described as vile losers in the national press, and by Ofsted in general.’
Chief Inspector Spock is 334 Vulcan years old.