Humans thrive when perched on the border between order and chaos. Too much order and we become complacent, and hardly bother to monitor ourselves; too much chaos, and so much of our energy is used simply surviving that we hardly think about new ways of doing things. Good teachers hold their pupils on this precarious […]
Instead of Mankind having been separately created, as described in the Book of Genesis, Darwin’s theory of evolution suggested that all life forms currently found on our planet came into being through a gradual process of genetic differentiation and selection under environmental pressure, over immense periods of time. In “The Origin of Species”1 Darwin […]
Too often we underrate our brains and our intelligence. Formal education can become such a complicated, self-conscious and over-regulated activity that learning is widely regarded as something difficult that the brain would rather not do. That is wrong, for learning is the brain’s primary function, its constant concern, and we all become restless and frustrated […]
Our lives are drenched with information. With so much that we could think about it’s inevitable that we shut most of it out of our consciousness for fear that our brains will crash through overload. So selective can be our focus that we can easily miss the blindingly obvious. Give ourselves time to think and […]
Humans are a story-telling species. Faced with a multiplicity of facts and ideas which we may only imperfectly understand, we use stories to create frameworks that help us to transmit the sense of what we understand to other people. Our culture is contained within the stories we tell. The thing which humans need more than […]
[Please scroll down to listen to an audio version of this thesis] The human race is the planet’s pre-eminent learning species − it is our brains that give us our superiority, not our muscles. The brain has evolved over vast periods of time to become the most complex organism in the known universe. It is […]
Understanding Maps We live in a world full of devices which, it is claimed, make life easier. Hardly anyone under the age of 45 can remember what it was like before the invention of hand-held calculators when, if you wanted to keep check of your purchases before you got to the checkout, you had to […]
Avoiding being drowned by information Long before emails were invented, and before the days of the fax and 24/7 news, in fact the year I first became a headmaster, an older and wiser man gave me an excellent piece of advice. “Every morning divide the contents of your in-tray into two piles… one for the […]
It’s high summer.The days are long, often warm and frequently hot.Thoughts turn to holidays, the chance to relax and meander through a part of the country you don’t know well.You look forward to simply going where the mood takes you. Which, of course, is what our ancestors back in the distant centuries did all the […]
This Paper has been written in response to an increasing concern that formal education, especially at the secondary level, is failing to meet the needs and expectations of young people for an appropriate induction into adult life and responsibilities.
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