Meaning of 'well-rounded'

20th November 2009 at 00:00

George McCready refers to my comment that A Curriculum for Excellence is progressive in its aspiration to develop well-rounded human beings, as being "drivel" (November 6). He goes on to equate the idea of "rounded human beings" with pupils who are well-mannered, respectful and don't talk out of turn - in other words, biddable. This is, of course, apparently achieved through the enforcement of discipline policies, rather than through the curriculum.

Evidently, my view of what constitutes a well-rounded person differs somewhat from Mr McCready's. I would consider the idea of a well-rounded person to mean someone who is engaged, enthusiastic, aware, capable of critical thinking, prepared to challenge what they see as wrong or unjust, pursues a variety of interests and has a balanced life. Apparently, that would be "a waste of money, time and resources".

As regards addressing disruptive behaviour, it seems he is of the view that disruptive pupils should be out of the class and out of the school, so as not to have a negative effect on the rest of the quiet, conscientious majority. It's not quite as clear-cut as that. Of course, disruptive behaviour shouldn't be allowed to affect learning and teaching, but removing such pupils from the situation, while arguably necessary at times, rarely does anything to solve the problem. That was my point.

In order to try to change the way a pupil is behaving, we have to understand that there may be reasons behind it and perhaps be a little more compassionate. There is also a lot to be said for restorative practices, rebuilding relationships, finding solutions and creating a positive environment. No doubt this would be seen by Mr McCready as yet more drivel.

Sarah McDonald, Battlefield Avenue, Glasgow.

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