Saturday, May 15, 2010

camelids, education, shower


Two llamas (or if not llamas other members of the  South American camelid tribe) in a barn near Groombridge on the Kent/Sussex border.

A recent conversation with Barratt Bonden on the subject, I think, of communication, conversation, understanding, something of that sort,  led me to retrieve something I wrote down more than 20 years ago and which seems to me  to be relevant. He  says that the quotation  is worth wider exposure. On re-reading it, it strikes me as even more important than I thought it was when I first came across it. It could be a guide for teachers and pupils, for employers and employees, for politicians and  even for lovers who want to know one another better. So here goes. It is the Victorian poet and educationalist W. Johnson Cory describing the aims of a great school. "You go to school," he writes, "not so much for knowledge as for arts and habits of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the art of working out what is possible at any given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage and for mental soberness."

It has been dry for the last few days as well as cold. In the vegetable garden, I have been hoeing between the rows of  new seedlings. The surface of the soil has been dry and dusty. So when, this afternoon, it clouds over and begins to rain, I am truly pleased. I walk through the gentle rain drops and delight in the thought of  the water soaking through to help germination and growth.

4 comments:

CC said...

Thank you for the quote about why you
go to school. I intend to pass it on.

Bill said...

Great quote!

The Crow said...

The llama on the left was very agitated and looks as if it is about to spit. Wonder what the brown one said to irritate its stablemate?

Barrett Bonden said...

Looking at that quote again I pick out the most telling part: "the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms". In conversation it isn't enough merely to listen and respond. A proper response must match the tone, the intellectual content, the conviction and all the other elements in the statement that preceded it. I think this happens without our trying but it's pleasing to see it set out so neatly.