Teaching Approaches - Chris Snuggs

St Paul's Girls' School to rename role of 'head girl' because of its 'binary connotations'

As a teacher, there are two basic ways to present anything.

1) "This is X, and I am going to give you some FACTS and tell you what I THINK X is. Then you can make up your OWN minds whether I am right and what your attitude towards it is."

2) "This is X, and I am going to tell you what X is and/or means and what you should think about it."

Approach 1 is morally and intellectually honest and ethical; approach 2 is the opposite except when pure FACTS are the topic. It seems to me that the girls' school above is adopting approach TWO. Incidentally, is it STILL going to call itself "a girls' school"? If not, then WHAT?

TOO MUCH education is done according to strategy 2) (which of course is indoctrination) - and the same applies to the NEWS, especially the BBC and Establishment-distributed information - and in "faith schools" and under dictatorships of course.

I read "1984" at WHS, and since then have had an absolute horror of indoctrination and being told what to think. I do not feel that WHS teachers ever told me what to think, except of course when it came to bald facts such as "Chisinau is the capital of Moldova." or "The chemical formula for water is H²0."

It would have been better if we had had pure logical philosophy (which I regard as a crucial essential of education) - but there was no time to fit that in as well as everything else - and still isn't as far as I know.

The closest I remember being invited to actually THINK was when Patrick Hutton gave us an essay in his
Lower VIth English class: "Why is a rose beautiful?" He also taught us "The Pardoner's Tale" by Chaucer
and led us to understand what a beautiful language English is and how amazingly it has developed - AND
gave us some idea of what life was like all those centuries ago. I think we were just 4 in his class, which
he held in his study next to Pop Corner's lab.

Patrick was the most inspiring and beautiful person I ever met at WHS (and probably ever after) - though Dick Woollett, Jim Hyde, Shakey, Barry Salmon, Merlin, Derek Thornbery and a good many others we know well came close.