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: Tim Worstall on the uses of maths
Previous entry: Higher paid teachers – bigger classes – better results
Tuesday April 29 2008

Michael J. Lewis, in the course of writing this:

It is often said that great achievement requires in one’s formative years two teachers: a stern taskmaster who teaches the rules and an inspirational guru who teaches one to break the rules. But they must come in that order. Childhood training in Bach can prepare one to play free jazz and ballet instruction can prepare one to be a modern dancer, but it does not work the other way around. One cannot be liberated from fetters one has never worn; all one can do is to make pastiches of the liberations of others. ...

Food for thought, but ...  I say: choose your own fetters.  Be your own stern taskmaster, or choose a stern taskmaster whose fetters appeal to you.  Just because fetters have their uses, that’s no excuse for enforcing, unasked, any particular set of fetters that any particular teacher happens to be waving around.  The 3Rs are just about the only universally valid fetters I can think of in my culture, but again, that doesn’t mean children have to be forced to put them on.  If they’re so great, can’t they be persuaded?  Won’t the instant rewards of putting on the “fetters” (which means they aren’t really fetters at all) persuade acceptance (ditto)?