In the whole-class teaching method, the teacher stands at the blackboard, teaches the whole class the established body of knowledge, tests the children with questions and ensures a disciplined class environment. This type of teaching was the norm in Ireland until the 1960s. Above, schoolchildren in the west of Ireland in 1955. Photograph: Three Lions/Getty Images

Substantial reports warn us that educational attainment at all levels is declining in English-speaking countries (Stopgradeinflation.ie; OECD Reports (...)