Discipline is good for your health

9th August 1996 at 01:00
I am a teacher of mathematics who has taught at all levels from primary to higher in Africa, Europe and Asia. The controversy over teaching methods is not without an element of irony ("Look East to narrow the maths gap", TES, July 26).

The individualised teaching methods often used in England are far more appropriate in Japan and Korea, where pupils are disciplined and motivated enough to "get on with it". Formal methods are more appropriate in England, where interactive whole-class teaching never fails, provided that the teacher exerts authority and provides adequate practice exercises with close monitoring.

In England, whole-class teaching is not universally adopted because it requires good discipline and strong classroom leadership, preferably with charisma. I have taught in this way for 25 years without a single day's illness, so it can hardly be damaging to the health.

AR Ireland 512 Bury Old Road Prestwich Manchester

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