Teaching and Learning

I’ve started trying to read my brother Chris’ book. It’s written in French. Apart from various trips to France over the years I’m dependent on French I learnt at school many years ago.

I remember two French teachers – Dennis Tucker and Donald Seldon (– we called him ‘Duck’). I remember Dennis to be warm, personable and kind; I found Duck’s French lessons dull and uninspiring.

Musing… The important of the teacher’s character… I wasn’t good at French with either teacher.    

25 years later I was teaching maths in a secondary modern school. Students were labelled ‘failures’ – certainly by themselves. I was teaching them how to add and multiply fractions; they’d failed to learn the many times they’d been taught previously.

I said that to get a job they needed to pass their exams… The youngsters who got jobs were those who didn’t do their homework because they were working evenings and weekends in supermarkets, on the market…

Musing… Teaching is sometimes over-rated.

Education continues to be held up as the answer to the nation’s problems. It started with reading, writing and arithmetic… it’s continued with a broader education – science, history, geography… even French.

It’s now tasked with delivering ‘moral’ education. Schools are required to teach sex education to combat teenage pregnancies, drug education to prevent addiction; there’s religious and cultural education – developing racial understanding, counteracting prejudice.

Musing… There’s a difference between teaching and learning…

Throughout my life I’ve mused on the teaching of faith. Friends who have been taught and brought up in church… some have embraced faith, others have rejected it….

St Paul writes: ‘You know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance…’ (2Timothy 3:10) Like Jesus he was an teacher who taught by words, inspiration and example.

Musing… these days I learn by musing… Early on in his book Chris says: ‘Tout est propice à la meditation et à la contemplation.’ Perhaps Chris is musing too.

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