Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 1, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
-Wednesday, December 1, 1971 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 PC. I fir Hintt This odd business-forma education many fields of human endeavor thpre arc cus- toms and conventions which are really quite odd, even bi- zarre, but which arc not seen to bn so snnply because they are taken for granted. They arc accepted, without question, not because they arc necessarily sound, but because no one. bothers to examine them criti- cally. Formal education is a field abundant in examples of this stultifying power of conven- tion. 'Hie current undignified, even degrading dispute between the ATA and tic school boards, mill ils blood-ret! pi ere of im- publicity, throws into sharp relief, at for the critical observer, some ol Ihe grosser anomalies in Ihe whole business of schooling in Alber- ta. In that harsh light a num- ber of oddities may be more clearly discerned. Firsf, it is a Piark fact of Hfe here thai, while leechers are cnnslantiy ni th- press and are caught between two powerful blocs of apparent- ly divergent interests, little or no attention is given lo Ihe role and influence and privileges of the hierarchy who have so much say in (he running and shaping of schools, l.cthbridgc, for instance, has quite a large group of administrative person- nel, some of them displaced persons, who arc free of Iho criticism directed so sweeping- ly and unfairly against (he peo- ple wlra are in the classrooms, facing all the problems of mod- ern, mediocre, mass-schooling; trying to educate and train, often against the overall pres- sures (cwards conformity and laxity which prevail outside the school. 7k- Many of fhe decisions which have, over Ihe years, worked against education rightly HIT ricrstoo'd, have been made by administrators some of v. horn have not had too much rclual teaching experience. Some of the spcc-ial eonsuiirnts and ad- visors i.n this district ere ac- tually looking for things lo do, and tlieir efforts in this direc- tion may, in fad, lead lo in- tru.-ive misjudgmcnt.s and er- rors in areas in which their rerl expertise may be mecli- or minimal. The climate in formal education, these. days, tends to be one in which the teacher is imagined lo need all sorts of specialist services. In many cases, the so-called special services are vastly in- ferior to the normal leaching practice. In other words, those services multiply and prolifer- ate lo the point where a teach- er comes lo be regarded as possessing few skills Mid little knowledge in the profession of which be is supposed to be the recognized practitioner. }l a s good teaching become so .scarce that any reasonably in- teresting or effective idea on Icaehing is regarded as (bo field of some specialist outside Ihe classroom? And bow many good teachers the sal- aries of the administrators and experts, dispensable as they are, IK adequate to engage? At matriculation level, especially, even a few more teachers would make a significant dif- ference. To illustrate these generali- zations, the example of reading comes to mind. If the English teacher is not an authority on reading, except in a narrow field of remedial services to handicapped children, then ha has no business in Ihe field. Reading is at the heart of an English teacher's work. Not only must he be a very effec- tive reader himself, (and an Important aspect of this is the art of reading aloud across the whole spectrum of written ex- pression) but be must also be able lo cultivate intensive read- ing by sound questioning and discussion. Intellectual growth and appreciation of literature arc built on the awareness and discipline developed by close- fUention lo the printed text. Understanding of this kind is central to Ihe work of the En- glish teacher, and, indeed, lo most oilier studies. Reading is also the basic soil, together with conversation, of composi- tion. These are simply axioms of the English teacher's profes- sion. But at specialist reading conferences, for example, little attention is paid to them. This represents a distinct trend to- wards narrow disintegration in formal schooling. Book Reviews Part of definitive biography nfH "Winston S. Churdiill" Vol- ume III (1911-19101 by Martin Gilbert (William Ilpincmann, S2C pages, S17.95 distributed by first two volumes of this enormous biography of Winston Churchill were the work of the former Prime Min- ister's journalist son Randolph. When Randolph died in 1968 the task of directing the im- mense research necessary to continue the project was as- signed to the man who had been one of Randolph's re- search assistants. His name is Martin Gilbert who has al- ready wrillen sixteen books, among them, one which must have given him a firm basis for the arduous but absorbing task of writing this one. The study I refer lo is an analytical work on inter-war appease- ment, a classic of the genre. The third volume of the se- ries deals with the events of the first two years of the First World War, and Sir Winston's participation in the events of those fateful times. Mr. Gilbert has had access to thousands of Idlers, documents, diaries and official archives a truly colossal array of relevant ma- terial. He works from the pre- mise that only by careful study of these papers can a valid in- terpretation of history be made. Only in this way can the "ac- cepted version" of events bo denied or validated. This third volume, the two which preceded it, <.nd those in prospect, arc not only an im- porlanl contribution to history, they are of intense inlerest to those many individuals who collect Churchilliana as others collect ancient art. It becomes, with some, a disease, a compul- sion from which they cannot cxcape and do not wish to. The study of the lives and limes of great men is, after all, a re- ward in itself. When the biography is com- pleted I cannot say how many volumes and years from now it will certainly be the definitive work on Churchill, although it won't be the last word to be said or witlen about the great man. It's expensive, bill most Churchill fans would be willing lo pay twice the price and go on bread and water for a week lo own it. It comes with many relevant maps and a large se- lection of black and while photographs. JANE HUCKVALE A dog-nail sketch "Anne: A Thief's Best Friend Is My Dog" by Don Flick (George .1. McLcoil Limited, S2.SI5, 92 Some of this book are fit for a ac- cording to the author. This book is a biography of Anne, the Border Collie, and her pre- decessors. Don Flick, the au- thor reveals his experiences of the dogs he had over the years. The characteristics of the dif- ferent breeds of dogs arc pro- Irayed in dog-nail sketches. As one reads these observations and experiences he may recall incidents that happened to him with his dog. According to the author his last dog was a spe- cial breed and the border col- lie possessed a very strong personality. Don Flick recalls one episode in which the collie showed her apparent lack o f the killer instinct of a watch- dog. Being the only one in the nous0. Anne followed (he thief socialiy-like all over the house as he 'helped himself to the au- thor's possessions. The author indicates in his biography that he is very attached to Anne, hut still comes to the realiza- tion that a thief's best friend is "Anne." PETER MILPACHER. Lemon Beauty Cream is the danger age. At this age youi skin dies a I it lie every day. Your skirl consists of 7 layers, and the outer layers diy out as you get older. This lemon creom frcm Shanghai neutralizes the alkalies. it once end you'll never change. Imvrl Scfuilllll fl.'K CENTRE VILLAGE MALL PHONE 328-6980 "A Browser's Paradise" Christmas Gift SUGGESTIONS 3 days only Thursday, Friday, Saturday fv Co'or tende Bended i '.firi'li'i'l'! illll New Arrival Eliura Wig 19.95 Spanish Swords........ 19.95 Fur Skins (White Goatskins) 29.95 Lovely in fronl of fireplace or coffee table. Rabbit Skins cnn be used as fur vests, coats, upholstery, etc. (24" jc 9.93 Artists Brushes (pure bristles) Comparable to Grumbacher brushes Size7-59c Sizs 3 396 Decanter Sets 7.95 Ships Lanterns Antiqued Bronze finish Red or Green colored glass. Will burn J) QC ?J fcj Includes 22 slmnds 79 inches f.'rj long. And 2 vinyl tracks 13 IV; inches each. For doorways, iv.'j room dividers, draperies, etc- Magnifying Glasses For pocket or purse In leatherette holder Car Models (motorized) BRASS CHIMES SOAP BAR Old Chinese i Indian Walnut Tables 11.95 ,1? !Z home" 1 Genuine Leather and Suede Purses large sil8 ........1.99 Imported from Spain P.93 Small size....... i New Arrivals From Italy Marble items ash trays, book ends, elioss sols. Itnlinn gloss ilcim-vases, dccanlcts, glasses (alt shapOi and liics) I NYLONS lit i Apart from any other con- sideration, it is clear that a reading specialist ought lo bo someone who knows books, is deeply read himself and who has the vision of reading in the full context of language arts teaching. Regrettably, this is not always the case. At one conference I attended, for ex- ample, the admitted to knowing little or nolhirg about 'comprehension' in the high school. The art of ques- tioning under classroom condi- tions appeared to he an expe- rience foreign to most of them. But even more odd than the convention of multiplying perts" in sspccts of a field over which an educated and expe- rienced teacher may be expect- ed lo range with authority, is that of always consulting the professional educator rather than the professor in an aca- demic discipline for advice in high school studies. It is really odd that while w. t riculation teachers, for example, are mainly concerned with the edu- cation of students who hope to enter university, and who are, therefore, historians and philo- sophers et al., it is to the facul- ties of education that schools resort for consultation and committee work. In some universities, educa- tion faculty members are also scholars in a discipline, but this is by no means always tlio case. Education such, espe- cially where it is formed from pseudo-psychology, sociological quackery and fragments of educational theory and history, and sometimes inconsequential research, cannot be a dis- cipline in ils own right. A good education, on the other is a sine qua non of anyone offer- ing advice on matters of sound school studies. There is some- times a serious gap between the standard of high school studies and those of the univer- sity, and this gap requires the expenditure of much valuable time on undergraduates by busy professors. Where this is the case, at least part of the blame must be placed at the door of the faculties of educa- tion which exercise a baneful influence on the teaching of 1 o w e r and middle-secondary classes. Much more attention needs to lie given to the vast sums spent on educational es- pecially of the kind that, pur- porting to be objective, is so often intellectually shoddy, des- tined to be exploded by later empirical investigation, and consisting largely of fragments of questionnaire and test re- sults brought together into a statistically neat, hut inwardly hollow synthesis. Examples from reading come to mind. Common sense and common ex- perience have sometimes been unavailing in dispelling false notions of how children learn to read in the face of wrhat was thought to be sound re- search. That is simply history. But two current examples of foolish conclusions favored by some reading experts are: the supposed need for less rather than more oral reading in groups, and the emphasis on multiple-c h o i c e vocabulary tests, rather Uias on more flex- ible methods. Another one con- cerns the claims for rapid- reading programs. These courses, using the tachisto- scope and reading-rate control- ler, are full of pitfalls. To sum up, the economics of administration and provision of consul tants and specialists need at least as much scrutiny as has been brought to tear on teachers. Many of these posi- tions are thought to he neces- sary only because mass-school- ing in over-large institutions and inflated classes works against the most effective teaching. Schools have been made larger and larger on grounds of efficiency and eco- nomy. Paradoxically, big insti- tutions require more, higlUy- paid experts and administra- tors to cope with fhc problems created by big classes and big schools. But it is the outside those who are not actually in schools, who are redundant; yet no new teach- ers are engaged. Work is in- vented to keep some non-teach- ing personnel busy, faculties of education continue to "train" teachers at great expense to the taxpayer, conferences for tlie non-teachers multiply, of- fice-space, often luxurious, ex- pands; hut teachers are al- ways made the scapegoats of growing educational expense and problems of mass-school- ing. These are some of Ihe oddi- lies, taken for granted because, they arc kept out of arena of public debate, which deserve much more examination lhan has hitherto been forthcoming. And no mention has made of union officials and depart- ni e n t r. 1 bureaucrats. That would require a .soparalc ar- ticle. A recenl letter from Israel Eva Brcwster, Coulls, Alberto. Dear Eva, You will understand why, at this time, 1 write to you at such length, I know you worry about us and it is good to know thai you and so many others all over the world care. Once again, as in 1967, I would like to put your mind at rest and try lo make you see our situation as we regard it: I have lived in Israel for over 40 years now and the present situation of external threat lo our little country is not new. We have Uvcd with it for so long that we do not get excited at Uic prospect of impending war Our young people are calm because they are so certain of their capabilities and the necessity to hold cut against a multitude of enemies. My small grandchildren are no less ur.shakeable. For the past week, babies, toddlers and school children have, again, made daily excursions into their air- raid shelters to get them used lo their lo- cation and acquainted with those unusual surroundings before it is imperative for them to live there for any length of time. Before the six-day war, children in the border settlements were brought up this way. Now the time has come for our little ones too. My five-year-old granddaughter said yesterday, "We are lucky we are so far from Ihe frontier." Even allowing for the occupied Golan Heights, Ihe distance between us and Syria is only twelve miles or so, but to our children, fortunately, this seems an unconquerable distance. I will always remember 1918 when our neighboring settlement was surrounded. Syrians with tanks below them, cannons on two sides, and an unfriendly Arab vil- lage shooling at them from the hill above. For weeks they were attacked from the air as-well. They managed to bold c-.it till we could break through and relieve them. The Syrians did not dare enter the settlement for they knew that every man, woman and child would fight lo the biller end. It is still the same today. The Arabs can retreat and go back to their own coun- tries. We have nowhere to go. Of course, weapons of today cannot be compared with those of 1948 but now we have modern arms too and must make the best use of them. Perhaps, like a very sick patient, we do not fully realize the danger we are in, but that may be well to our advantage. As long as we can keep the hope and will to k've, we have a chance, like the patient, to pull through although the price may be high. Talking of a price: Do you remember how we pooled our pocket money when we were children lo contribute lo the 'Keren Uic organization which bought land in Palestine and bow proud we were to hear how many Dunams children's money had bought for settlers there? That was long before Hitler came to power and before we had any thought of this land becoming our final home. The Arabs were only too happy then to sell us the barren desert and the land was not cheap. 1 wonder how many people know today that we paid hard cash for every strip of land we cultivated. When we turned the desert a gar'k-n, we had high and idealistic of Inch- ing the Arabs modern farming methods, easing I heir hard toil and living peacefully side by side. Only within our borders did they give us a chance to solve social in- justice. From the tune we built the first settlements, from Ihe early days of our pioneers cultivating the apparently ban-en desert, Arab countries around us attacked in the night, murdered, burnt awl looted. II is obvious from events how efficiently their fifth column convinced even many of those in our midst that we had stolen the land. There would, otherwise, never have been a refugee problem. It has always been our fervent hope that the establishment of our country would permit us to live in peace in a world where the stupidity of war is blatantly ob- vious. It is, by no means, our wish lo be- come involved in yet another straggle of arms. However, our neighbors have tried in 1967, and are trying again, to goad us with threats. We cannot afford to go back to pre-1967 borders, much as we would like lo. The Arab world has never yet kept a premise, honored a pledge or given us any reason to believe they would not drive us into the sea. given another chance. In the meantime, I wish it was 1972. The calm and quiet are ominous. Not even our jets are disturbing my sleep now. My son has been called np and my daughter is looking after children in a border settle- ment. Still, I helieve, In the prophecy thai, one day, there will be "no more war or rumor of I wish we live to see it. Shalom Gad. Ilasorea, Israel. A shoe-in 'T'HERE was an old woman who lived in a shoe, and I thought this was low- cost housing till I priced ski boots. Actually, the old girl was living pretty high off the hock, if her home was built by Henke or Koflach. And the ski boots look big enough to accommodate most of her teeming spawn, give or take a tyke. Not being a skier, I didn't know to what degree it has become the status symbol of wealth to attach a couple of planks to the pedal extremities. Then a friend told me that he bad taken out a first mortgage on a pair of ski boots. He had to sell his car to swing the down payment, but Ire thinks it is worth it when people stop to admire what he now has in the garage. Next fall, if he has a good year finan- cially, he hopes to buy skis lo go with the ski boots. He will (hen have better than invested in the requisites for a com- pound fracture of the leg. By 1973 he should have added ski poles, ski rack for his bicycle, ski jacket, and pants, and thermal underwear to complete the ensemble that identifies him as a per- son of substance. In the meantime lie is wearing the ski boots at ski resorts where the girls ap- praise a man by his fastback feet. He knows that when it comes to im- pressing Uie snow bunnies his tongue is not half so eloquent as that of his com- petition-model Kniffels. All ski boots speak German of course. Purchasers arc advised to take a crash course at Berlitz, if they don't sprecbcn dcuiseh well enough to communicate with the super-racers. If, on the more precipi- tous slopes, the wearer develops cold feet, (lie German boots are the first to know. Their heels click automatically, and a small Luger projects from the buckle and shoots the wearer dead for desertion in the face of the enemy. You die with your boots on, or else. Ski heil. Speaking as a person who is readily in- timidated by a pair of shearling slippers. I have no plans to commit my ten litUe piggies to Stalag nine and a half D. In fact, being insecure in both business line and tow line, I am not a viable mar- ket for ski equipment. I am not prepared to tie up my savings with boot laces. If I were to stow my feet in something that cost the pair, I would want to be de- livered to the slope in a Loomis truck. Which can run into money. Tlxj one time I was invited to join a group for a ski-camp v.ifkend, all I could muster was a tin of wax. The girl I was escorting set me straight on the amount of mileage 1 could expect to get wearing a pair of well-waxed socks. I have also found that if you try to bor- row a pair of ski boots, the fact that the owner is amenable to wife swapping doesn't mean that you can mess around his valuables. The closest thing I own to ski boots is a pail' of what look like sneakers stricken with elephantiasis. Bought in Italy, these proved to be designed by Ihe same shoe- maker who did the footwear for Franken- stein's monster. They are fashioned to be worn with a bolt in the neck and a cer- tain rigidity of gait. I wear tli-3 boots for shovelling snow off Uic sidewalks. They help to scare off the slcdders. (Vancouver Province Feature) Not recommended By Dons Walker church lias recently hnd H financial visitation. I wasn't asked to he a visit- or this year. Maybe the campaign organ- izers wevo cognizant of the poor results of my effort la.st year. When Jim Smith at the Oommimily Chest office studies the returns from my TI1KKK visitation packs he'll probably also insist next year, in the. interests of a more successful campaign, that I he excluded from Ihe visitation. Finance visitations always remind me (if a story a minister in Calgary told about a man in his church. He had never been on a stewardship visitation and his first call was on n complainor. All he got was an ear-full of criticism about the church and Ihe minister. He left wiUwut. saying much but by the time he reached (lie gale he was angry so he relumed and rang tlx1 door- bell again. When the door opened he said, "1 just want to tell you, 00 TO The minister who told I his story added drily, "that's not recommended proce- dure."