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Don't groove on down

Plato would have been horrified. The idea that teachers might learn from a government guide to youth culture, helping them to understand and empathise with the ways of gangstas, geeks and Goths, is surely a sign that civilization is under threat.

The sage of fourth-century BC Athens believed that excessive freedom, particularly in a democracy, leads to a lack of respect for the older generation. Even worse, the schoolmaster becomes afraid and flatters his pupils and they, in turn, make light of their masters. The grown-ups, anxious not to be thought of as tyrants, imitate the young and make themselves agreeable by being witty and telling jokes.

Anarchy was the word Plato used to describe this state of affairs. Surely, the last thing teachers should be doing is swapping rap lyrics and fashion tips with their pupils? Grow up everyone.

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