Harry Chapin – Flowers are red

Criticising our education system is not new – why would it be when it’s like shooting fish in a barrel? One of the better known recent commentaries came from Sir Ken Robinson at a TED conference a few years back who made a very convincing argument for changing our focus away from the  academic subjects and instead develop a greater emphasis on the arts as part of our students’ formal education.

Sometimes the best critiques come not from ‘experts’ but from those well outside the academic circle. Harry Chapin’s Flowers are red  always been one of my favourite songs in this regard. It really doesn’t require anything more to be said. Listen for yourselves and if you’re a science teacher ask yourself which teacher you want to be like.
And then try to answer honestly which of the  two teachers your students would match you with.

Remember almost every student comes into secondary school with a deep sense of wonder which is all you should need to succeed in Science. Few leave with this passion still in good working order. We must at least allow for the possibility that we teachers are part of the problem.

Aims and Objectives won’t get us out of this one.



  1. Hey Noel, i’ve just checked in on your site for the first time in a while, lots of interesting stuff on it, well done!.
    I bookmarked this for you a while ago, maybe you’ve already seen it, Clifford Stole?

    He echoes a lot of what you are saying, or maybe vice versa. I was having a conversation with someone this morning and we agreed evolution is far too important to be taught in schools, maybe it should be kept as a secret and passed on in some initiatory rite of passage, so the context is not of it being a chore to learn but of its being important information passed on to a mind eager and capable of appreciating it.
    See you soon

  2. It’s a great forum for just venting frustration – I’m never sure who reads it but that never really matters. Although I can never understand why this doesn’t seem to bother anyone else as much as me, particularly teachers of biology.
    But yes, nothing kills interest like putting an exam at the end.


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