June 17, 2004
Freedom teaches love – unfreedom teaches hatred

Why is adult life, when it is, better than the life of a child? For many adults it isn't, for the simple reason that when they were kids they didn't have to work that hard or struggle that hard, but as adults they do.

But for many adults, life is just massively better then it was when they were kids, and for them, I think that the reason for this is that when they were kids they had to do things they didn't like, and above they had to do things with certain other kids whom they did not like and who did not like them. Simply on happiness grounds, I think "streaming" into different types is a good thing. As an ex-nerd, I recall finding the jocks intimidating and scary. I'm sure the jocks found the nerds like me annoying, and perhaps intellectually intimidating. So why the hell were we forced into each others' company so relentlessly? Why couldn't the nerds have gone to a nerd-school, and the jocks to a jock-school? At the very least, could not the life of a one-regime-fits-all school at least have some slightly different regimes embedded within it? Insofar as the schools I went to did, I enjoyed them. Insofar as I was forced into jock-company and jocks were forced into my company, I would … rather have been somewhere else.

Occasionally, on holiday, I would blunder into some fragment of life where the company was totally congenial and appreciative of me, and where I immediately set about learning the rules of the place, so that I would fit in. Because I wanted to fit in. It was like going to heaven for a week, and it made me a massively better person, immediately. Then it would stop and I would have to go back to school. Then they let me out permanently, and I was allowed to search for places where everyone liked me and where I liked everyone, and where monster-jocks were polite visitors, and life got good and has stayed good ever since.

I know why I was supposed to endure the monster-jocks, and why they were supposed to endure me. That is to say, I know the words people use to excuse this absurdity. Spending time with uncongenial people whom you hate and who hate you is "good for you". You learn to understand other points of view, other attitudes.

No you don't. You learn to hate other points of view and to hate other attitudes. You love what you are allowed freely to acquaint yourself with, dipping into it, and venturing further if you fancy it. That's how you learn to love. I'll say it again because it is so important. Forcing people into each others' company who do not appreciate each others' company teaches not love, or respect, or toleration, or even merely silent politeness; it teaches hatred.

All of which was intended to be a mere preamble to a comment on and link to this, this being a BBC report about how having special jock schools can make jocks less nasty and less unhappy.

I knew that.

Specialist sports colleges could help tackle anti-social behaviour among teenage boys, a report suggests.

The study found boys were more likely than girls to raise their sense of self-worth through specialist sports colleges.

The research by Northumbria University found sports college pupils' confidence was significantly higher than those at a comprehensive school.

They were also more confident about their physical appearance.

Specialist schools are state schools which follow the mainstream curriculum, but have a particular emphasis and expertise in an area, such as technology, science, languages or sports.

The majority of secondary schools in England now have specialist status.

Good. In fact I would go as far as to say that this could be a major improvement in British education that has happened in the last fifteen years or so, to set beside the way that primary school education in the 3Rs etc. has recently changed from being mostly of a derangingly despicable incompetence to being patchily adequate.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:18 PM
Category: CompulsionPrimary schoolsSport