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30 years ago

"Are the colleges of education doing enough to prepare their students for the classroom?" James Drummond, assistant principal of Aberdeen College of Education, asks. Answering his question in The TES Scotland of August 16, 1974, he writes:

The signs are hopeful. College staff, rightly, see it as their most important function to prepare students for a lifetime in teaching, not for the first few weeks.

In spite of developing retraining programmes, teachers in service have too little time and opportunity to return to the study of the educational philosophy and learning theory that is the foundation of their professional wisdom and skill. This foundation must be laid during the all too short period of pre-service training.

But emphasis is shifting, and many college courses now include a greater amount of training in classroom organisation and management techniques, in response to the increasingly urgent need to contain the restive, sardonic truculence which seems to characterise so many of our young people.

But obviously not enough is being done to help the young teacher through the first, formative years of teaching.

(One) piece of advice.There is a special place in Hell for adults who use the whiplash of sarcasm on young people who have been placed in their care and custody. Many of the most determined supporters of corporal punishment would agree that a beating is less hurtful and humiliating than the cold steel of personal sarcasm. It is the deadliest of all the weapons in your armoury; use it without stint or scruple, as a field surgeon wields his scalpel in the heat of battle.

The hottest place in Hell is better than a classroom where the pupils have been allowed to take over.

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