Texan way to hit the target

7th March 2003 at 00:00
Ted Wragg's fulmination ("When did Twigg's mind snap?"The Last Word, TES February 14) on the tyranny of targets reminded me of a story told by a distinguished American educator at a research conference about 10 years ago. He, too, had been indicating how an addiction to targets tended to distort imaginative, educational practice.

A man was driving through Texas on a road that skirted a very large ranch.

About every 100 yards, nailed to a tree, there was a target with a bullet hole absolutely dead centre. This went on for several miles and then he came to a fence with a gate in it. Leaning on this gate was a grizzled old man, puffing on a pipe. The driver screamed to a halt and said "Hey! Are they your targets?"

"Sure are," said the man. "Did you do the shooting?" "Sure did." "You must be a wonderful shot! Every one of those bullets is dead centre. How did you manage that?"

Removing his pipe, the rancher said, "First shoot - then draw the target."

Bob Gough

8 Manor Road

Walton-on-Thames

Surrey

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