Past TimesEd

12th December 2003 at 00:00
75 years ago

* December 15, 1928

The elementary school teachers are uneasy at the threatened re-imposition of compulsory external examinations for all scholars. The threat comes from those who allege that children have become more careless, more inaccurate, in the "fundamental subjects", and that a cure can be effected by examining them individually on a scale large enough to set up a valid standard of achievement, by which we may measure their degree of shortcoming.

The difficulty underlying the problem is the lack of reliable evidence either way. It is easy to allege that children spell and count and read less accurately than the children of a generation ago, but it is not easy to see how such a charge can be proved or disproved. The essential data has never been collected.

50 years ago

* December 11, 1953

"History is the most dangerous subject in any syllabusIA whole lifetime of prejudices can be sown by a skilful history teacher." This, in the words of Father Bernard Basset, SJ, was the theme of the symposium on "History Teaching and Community Relations" at the annual meeting of the Council of Christians and Jews last week. The three speakers were all in much the same dilemma. They recognised that to interpret history according to their own religious traditions might exacerbate communal and sectarian quarrels, and yet they were obviously unable to divorce their religious views from their history teaching.

25 years ago

An industrial dispute kept The TES out of production from November 30, 1978 to November 16, 1979.

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