Jazz it up Harvard style

25th June 2004 at 01:00
Tapestry has done it again. The think-tank which now has virtually everybody of consequence in Scottish education on board continues to weave the local and the international.

Having lured luminaries like Daniel Goleman and Howard Gardner across the Atlantic, its latest catch last week was Harvard guru David Perkins (page 6). No doubt he didn't get where he is today by being conventional, and he performed in Tapestry style - weaving his talk with audience participation, mixing the humorous and the profound.

Knowledge, he suggested, could be "tame" or "wild". Guess which category "the four causes of the industrial revolution" or "how long does it take a 10-kilogram object to..." or "the uses of the apostrophe" fall into.

Perkins was not the only star performer of the day. There was also some home-grown talent: step forward the North Lanarkshire schools' jazz orchestra which enlivened the day before it had even started.

The youngsters certainly gave Perkins food for thought. Jazz, he mused, provides a metaphor for how we would all like education to be. "It's lively and energetic for a start; it's also a mix of collaboration and soloists which is good; and it's a tradition which combines composition and improvisation."

And off he went on his lecture, perfectly illustrating all of the above.

Tapestry indeed.

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