Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Shoeless classrooms

In a recent Guardian article Stephen Heppell, professor of new media environments at Bournemouth University’s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice believes in the 'shoeless classroom' and cites many perceived benefits. He also believes that teachers should also be shoeless.

Teachers, including Tom Starkey @tstarkey1212 are more cautious.

There are, I find, a number of issues with the 'shoeless' policy; no one single 'fix' will resolve all the problems, we are complicated and subject to numerous whims and toes can still be stubbed and injured.

My main objection though is to Stephen Heppell's assumption that everyone in a classroom has a neat pair of matching feet.

Many children and adults are without one or both legs/feet/lower limbs.

Their prosthetic limbs are not always instantly adjustable from one heel height to another, so they would walk with one foot raised and the other flat, limping and more likely to fall. They may be unable to remove their shoes, quickly and easily. So they go from being the only person in the classroom with a prosthetic, to the only person in the room who has to keep their shoes on.
In theory, there should be no discrimination between those who are less abled, and those who are fully abled, but there is and given human nature, there always will be.

These may be small points to some, and I'm sure the majority would cope well, dealing with the looks and comments, emerging as tougher people. But not all.

Stephen Heppell needs to consider the wider impact of insisting that removing shoes in the classroom, magically makes us all more 'equal'.

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