Get down with the kids' culture

10th September 2004 at 01:00
Regarding your comments on the guide to the "10 tribes of teenager" ("Don't groove on down", TES, August 27), why should knowledge of other people's lives and culture be such a threat? Surely no self-assured, confident teacher would take offence at the offer of an overview of youth culture It seems that Plato was in a "Victor Meldrew" phase when he formed his opinions on the place of youth in society. The fact that such thinking persists over thousands of years is surely more testament to how youth will always be seen to be in the wrong, and their own cultures seen to be of little importance. Consequently, their potential contributions may sometimes go to waste.

Other cultures - stretching back tens of thousands of years, though with little or no influence on western academia - have sometimes managed more successfully to achieve a balance of hierarchy and respect with regards to the young.

To put forward the idea that distancing ourselves from youth and limiting their freedom is good for democracy is a curious argument in the 21st century. In Plato's time, over half the population were unable to vote or even to leave their homes - is this too justifiable in the name of avoiding anarchy?

Kate White

9 Stourvale Road

Bournemouth, Dorset

Libby Purves 36

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