A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Why does Oxford now take a higher proportion than it used to of its intake from the private sector?
Previous entry: Learning games
Saturday May 31 2008

No question about it, this lady is my favourite edublogger just now.  Take this latest posting, for instance.  I have no idea whether I agree with it or not.  But I am very sure that I find the general subject matter most fascinating.

I smile uncomfortably. I hold up my hand as if to say ‘enough’: (it’s ok Hero, you don’t have to keep bowing). And so I bow to him, I suppose to show that there isn’t any need for him to continue bowing.

The boy hesitates. He is confused. He frowns. He doesn’t understand. And as Hero is trying to process my reaction, it dawns on me that I am behaving in the very way that ensures the destruction of our children in England: teachers queuing up for lunch, people listening to both the side of the child and the teacher when a child is in trouble, children being treated as equals with their teachers.

This Japanese boy knows how to show deference to his elders, and in his society this is expected and encouraged. Now he is faced with an elder who rejects this deference. It leaves him confused, as it does to all of our young people in England.

Pecking orders have always fascinated me, which for many decades expressed itself in fascination with, in the broadest sense, politics.  To whom do we properly owe allegiance or at least deference?  Who is claiming allegiance or expecting deference who is not truly owed it?  And how are these various ideas expressed in the minutiae of human behaviour?

And, setting aside the rights and wrongs of it, why do people (children in particular) seem spontaneously to defer to some people (teachers in particular), but not to others?