…on tradition

68. Tradition is just peer pressure from the dead The dead are powerful.  The dead are invisible but their imprint is everywhere, tendrils of belief that curl and hook into sight and sound, winding their way into darkened rooms and open spaces, into minds still soft from birth.  Tradition wants you to be Mr/Mrs/Ms andContinue reading “…on tradition”

…a history of classrooms

66.The first classroom you remember has a high ceiling, high windows, a plastic trough where you play with water.  There are books that are read to you while you sit cross-legged on the floor, your feet tingling with pins and needles.  You sit at your desk pondering over workbooks that have puzzles and questions, theContinue reading “…a history of classrooms”

…trains of thought

65.Today you catch the train from Bath to Oxford, transferring your teaching self from one beautiful city to another. You haven’t done this journey for several years and you feel the anticipation of the bicycled streets and the lofty quads of University College. On your way to surprisingly ordinary classrooms, you hope to walk pastContinue reading “…trains of thought”

…books in formation: 6 to 10

6. Winter Journal, by Paul Auster Auster writes his journal in the second person.  He is the you of his own story, but the reader is also the you of his experience, living with him and inside his mind.  And so my own you is born, a you who is both me and not me,Continue reading “…books in formation: 6 to 10”

…apophenia: an experiment

apophenia • nounthe tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things (such as objects or ideas) Experiment:  To take a selection of random words, phrases or ideas and find a meaningful connection between them (meaningful to you, that is). MethodTake 1x novel, 1x textbook and 1x catalogue and choose items at random.  Write them downContinue reading “…apophenia: an experiment”

…spelling isn’t everything

44. ‘you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling isn’t everything.  There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count…’Rabbit, The House at Pooh Corner (A.A. Milne) words you can’t spellphy…psch…psychology; calander… calendar; consious… concious… conscious; contentious… contientious… conscientious A baby begins to learn languageContinue reading “…spelling isn’t everything”

…teaching in the age of Covid

25.You return to teaching after many months away. But this is not teaching as you know it, sitting around a table with your students to debate, discuss and enquire. Instead you are in your living room, meeting your students on a laptop screen. This is teaching in the age of Covid, and this is whatContinue reading “…teaching in the age of Covid”

…things people say

20.—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips andContinue reading “…things people say”

…a life in libraries

18.— From the age of 8 to 12 a mobile library stops outside your house. You remember the smell of dust and rubber and paper, and the ridges of wood that edge the shelves to stop the books from sliding out. You borrow a book about boys marooned in the jungle who survive by buildingContinue reading “…a life in libraries”

The future is built on the dreams of today – Part 2

Last week I posted about the restriction of creative subjects in our schools, with Education secretary Nicky Morgan in one corner suggesting that studying the arts will hold young people back, and Steven Spielberg in the other, fighting for the daydreamers and window gazers who spend their time imagining a whole world of possibilities.  NeedlessContinue reading “The future is built on the dreams of today – Part 2”