12th September 2003 at 01:00
75 years September 15 1928

Broadcasting lessons must not be mere talks without relation to the work of the school or the children and teachers in it.

It is not the children's business simply to listen to what is given them as they might at home; the teachers are expected to collaborate with their invisible colleague by preparing the children's minds for the lessons beforehand and encouraging them to respond and to take down such notes as may be necessary during them; and after the broadcast voice has ceased discussion and elucidation of the subject should continue, while some sort of written work should undoubtedly follow most of the lessons.

50 years September 11 1953

Mr Robert Birley spoke with point and force to the British Association about the "great divide" in our culture between scientists and humanists.

Schools and universities have shown themselves so far powerless to bring the two on to common ground.

Mr Birley sketched a reform of the secondary school curriculum that would promise to make some impact of the kind required on the minds of the abler children.

He also put in the clearest light the disastrous shortage of good science teachers which threatens to wreck more proposals than his own.

Like other reformers he chafes at the bridle of external examinations.

There is no denying that they discourage radical changes in the curriculum.

25 years September 15 1978

Many girls reported discrimination from science teachers who either ignored them in class or indicated that they could not be expected to understand the principles of science, the psychology section (of the British Association) heard.

Girls were often told they should just stick to learning facts and formulae. Research had shown that teachers generally considered girls less able than boys.

On top of these setbacks for girls wanting to succeed in science, the popular image of the scientist as scruffy, grey-haired, remote, and above all, male, still persisted.

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