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30 years ago

Discussing reasons for teacher militancy and the decline in pupil discipline, Keir Bloomer, Educational Institute of Scotland council member and principal teacher of history at Glenwood Secondary in Glasgow, offered the following catch-22 analysis of the liberal teacher's situation (TESS, January 17, 1975): Teachers - especially, though not exclusively, younger teachers - lack that inner certainty on which good discipline rests. Often unconvinced of the benefits they must impose where they cannot persuade, dubious perhaps about the morality of the corporal punishment to which they may nevertheless have frequent resort, urged simultaneously to instil a questioning attitude and to exact obedience, these teachers do not have the necessary self-assurance and conviction . . .

He (the teacher) is the agent of compulsory education. He may doubt the worth or the universal suitability of his wares, he may have little stomach for compulsion, but by law and by the nature of the institution in which he works, he must teach the willing and the unwilling alike. It is an anomalous position which few teachers of liberal outlook can relish.

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