There’s an art to public speaking. You have to win your audience over – to get them onside. I can’t claim to be very good at it myself, but I have noticed a pattern in public speaking over the last couple of years, particularly when the audience are teachers.
To get a laugh, the speaker puts up a picture of Michael Gove.
That’s it. Just his face.
Often the camera has caught his lips at an unfortunate angle and he looks slightly ridiculous. Then all the teachers laugh and the presenter knows they have the audience on their side. Think about it – have you seen Michael Gove’s visage presented to you as an object of ridicule?
I noticed in Michael Gove’s speech that he does something similar. Except his object of ridicule is Guardian Education. Have a look for yourself – the reference comes early on in his speech before he gets on to his ‘meaty points’. Just at about the right point to get his audience on his side.
Now, two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’s interesting to me that these speakers I have heard, and Michael Gove himself, are all talking to teachers. Teachers who need to be very careful about using ridicule in their pedagogy. It seems to me that we need to be careful of listening to anyone who would offer up individuals as an object of ridicule – it’s not a good habit for the classroom.