Why is it, people ask themselves time and again, that after years of conventional teaching do so many youngsters appear to have little personal initiative, seem so unwilling to accept responsibility… after all, at the age of eleven so many of them left their primary schools alert, excited, inquisitive?1 By the mid 1980s an […]
The more parents urge schools to concentrate on the development of their children’s academic ability, the more schools concentrate on intellectual skills and examinations at the expense of other valuable activities. When society itself is so deeply divided on issues of right and wrong it is virtually impossible to provide pupils with an effective moral […]
“The Great Exhibition has taught me so much I never knew before”, enthused Queen Victoria, “has brought me in contact with so many clever people I should never have known otherwise, and with so many manufacturers whom I would scarcely have met unless I travel all over the country. Some of the inventions were very […]
The Industrial Revolution was the most fundamental transformation of human life in the history of the world. The British have been profoundly marked by the experience of our economic and social pioneering, and remain marked by this ─ even, it seems, in genetic terms ─ to the present day.1 The cotton industry2 best exemplifies […]
“What is life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?”1 What do we mean, and what did previous generations mean, when we speak of seeking a work/life balance? Do we see ourselves as Pilgrims or Customers? In the years leading up to the eighteenth century, Englishmen indulged themselves […]
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 […]
A review of Spencer Wells, ‘Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilisation’
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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