Try worshipping without prayer

31st January 1997 at 00:00
May I offer an argument in favour of school assemblies, as one who has organised many throughout my 20-odd years of teaching?

Students and employees work better if they have a suitable blood sugar and oxygen level in their blood to feed their brains. The first is satisfied by breakfast - some schools supply this meal; oxygen comes through exercise and singing, most children will not take advantage of the playtime to oxygenate their brains before school or at any other time, so singing can perform this task.

All managers are currently expected by their organisations to keep subordinates informed as to aspects of the day's work that affect each employee. Decent headteachers will keep both students and staff informed at a common meeting or assembly. A stranger is more likely to be stopped and questioned by students and staff if they know who is likely to turn up at the school. School and pupil safety is important and parents will be keen to see this aspect of their child's welfare high on the school's agenda.

Teachers are expected to offer students praise, and headteachers to offer staff praise, in public. An assembly is a suitable opportunity to undertake this task. The school that fosters success in a wide range of activities by all members of the school community through publicly praising individual success is more likely to achieve its objective.

It is part of the Christian tradition that worshipping God can be undertaken through a task such as painting and other arts and crafts, which is why there is so much artistic work in the churches. Therefore, the idea that worship is putting your hands together as a supplicant and asking God, through a prayer, for help in any activity is a rather narrow view of the Christian faith. Far better to display students' work for all to see and for students to talk about it. Giving students confidence in themselves through public speaking, presentation of their work to their classmates and others is surely what all good teachers aspire to achieve.

I believe that this approach would satisfy the legal requirements and engage the full support of those of other and no faith.

G P BOILEAU 16 Bryant Way Toddington Dunstable Bedfordshire

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