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Combing over the bald spots

Irene Morrison, a Strathclyde University lecturer, got a bit more than she bargained for when she deputised for an HMI at the recent social studies conference in the yoony's Jordanhill campus.

Poor Morrison, who has obviously never heard of the Army dictum "don't volunteer for anything", explained that university staff, "for professional reasons", could not comment on why HMI changed its mind on sending someone to speak, and found herself coming under sustained fire from 114 teachers.

Her presentation was frequently interrupted by concerns about the need for exemplars in S1 nd S2 and national assessment banks and about alleged "dilution" due to single-teacher delivery of social studies in schools.

The audience's lively response led Henry Maitles, her Strathclyde colleague and Yul Brynner lookalike, who was chairing the session, to observe: "We had moved from a situation where we were worried that people might not contribute, to one where we could have dispensed with the speakers."

Thus perhaps proving the Eric Cantona-esque adage that Morrison had employed in her address: "Experience is a comb which nature gives us when we are bald."


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