Professor's comments are offensive

1st June 2007 at 01:00
Walter Humes's attack on the teaching profession ("We're far too busy to be intellectuals", May 11) appears to dismiss teachers from any creditable stake in the "blue skies" endeavour he wishes to encourage.

His negative lexicon about teaching staff - "hostility", "ambivalent,"

"critical", "condemning", "wary" - is crude and dismissive stereotyping from a professional who has paid lip service to the chartered teacher programme by chairing at least one conference on the subject. Apart from any other insult, the patronising tone and implication that teachers are recalcitrant and "anti-intellectual" are offensive.

The thrust of his argument (where it exists) is presented with the finesse and logical fluency of a rookie journalist. The term "intellectual" is bandied about gracelessly.

Having dismissed the teaching profession itself from the race for "intellectual leadership", Professor Humes benevolently offers some sops to the inspectorate, the directorate and educational researchers. Hopefully, they are also offended: it's quite an achievement to patronise every stakeholding body in education. He is to be congratulated.

I endorse his final sentence, however: "The academic world bears some responsibility for colluding in its own intellectual containment." But based on the rest of his article, I'd suggest replacing "some" with "total". That would just about cover it.

Donna Dale Westdyke Avenue, Westhill, Aberdeenshire

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