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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 14, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta Builders of the south -15 Nov.mbtr M, 1970 TNI IETHBRIDGI HERALD 5 Margaret, Luckhurst Rapport a major ingredient in teaching "PROM time to time I'm asked what I regard as the highlight of my Agnes Davidson, retired Lethbridge school teacher said the other day, "and doubtless people ex- pect me to choose the occa- sion back in 1962 when the school board advised me they would like to name a new school after me. While this of course was certainly a highlight and an honor I deeply appreciate, I have to admit it will never quite reach the pleasure I al- ways receive when a former student comes up to me and says, 'Hi, Miss Davidson, re- member Many of the pu- pils I taught forty odd years ago are grandparents now with a dignity and maturity they didn't possess in element s r y school. Sometimes these chan- ges throw me a little as I haven't seen many of the pupils in the intervening years, but usually, if I'm given a hint, I can soon place them." When she retired in 19G8 due to ill health, Miss Davidson had totalled up almost 47 years in the teaching profession, 44 of them in Lethbridge classrooms. "Apart from 3 few years at Hamilton Junior High in the 60s" Miss Davidson reminisced, "I have spent 30 of those 44 years teaching in that little square in the city which includes Bow- man and Central Schools; that's a long time to stay in one area, particularly in the teaching pro- fession. However, I was very happy there and have many fond memories to look back on." Miss Davidson knew from her childhood she wanted to become a teacher. Her father, James Davidson, taught for man y years in southern Alberta and was principal of Central School for 30 years. "Father had a ded- ication to the profession which was perhaps inspiring to Miss Davidson said, "although I know he had his frustrations as all teachers do. However, he wasn't one to bring his troubles home and our family life was calm and pleasant. Somehow I grew up knowing I was ulti- mately to become a teacher." Miss Davidson was born in Idaho, a few years before the family decided they wanted to return to- British soil. "The Da- vidsons have been on North American domain for genera- tions, initially affiliated with Scottish and English Colonial regiments during the war Miss Davidson explain- ed. "They stayed and scatter- ed, some stayed in the States, others in Canada. My father preferred the link between Can- ada and Britain so we return- ed." The family settled in Calgary for a few years before moving to Lethbridge in 1916 when Mr. Davidson was appointed princi- pal of Central School. "I attended Grade 8 in Cen- tral Miss Davidson re- called, "I didn't know at the time that it was the introduc- tion to a long association with the schools in that small area." There was, for many years, a great hub of activity around Central School, Miss Davidson said. "For a while there was an old school buildtog on the cor- ner which was used as a public and high school. It was the old Courtland School and had been moved to the comer to ease the classroom congestion which had developed with the growth of the city. This building now consti- tutes part of the Country Club at the river bottom." When Central School was built In 1909 it was considered one of the most up to dale ir the prov- ince, hut unfortunately, there was too large a concentration of children in the area for satis- factory play, or sports activities. "The HCMP barracks took up a lot of space and we had to get permission to use the grounds for ball games. When we were confined to the smalt school grounds we were often in trou- ble, for if a bull went through a house window everyone would have to chip in to repair the thing, "The auditorium of the school was used for a dozen different purposes, as it, along with the and it a r i u ni in Soutbminsler Church, were the only ones of decent size in the city. Plays, festivals, public meetings as well as school activities kept that auditorium busy; it wore out before the school did." Miss Davidson speaks highly of the teachers she had during her student years at Central. "I recall with affection the rich- ness of their personalities which led them to an involvement wlu'ch we the pupils considered the more interesting work in the school program. They had a rap- port with the children which im- pressed me so that when I be- came a teacher myself a few years later I realized that good rnpport between leacher and student is one of the most signifi- cant ingredients in the success o! any school program. In look- ing hack to my oivn school years I can think of many teachers who could achieve this to a marked degree." After graduation from normal school Miss Davidson taught (or a time in Coalhurst before join- ing the staff first at Fleetwood, then at Central and Bowman where she was to spend the nest 39 years. "I was very she re- called, "and riot altogether sure of my abilities, but I. made a point of watching older, more experienced teachers. Gradually I gamed confidence and found that I too could establish a rap- port with my students even though I didn't have too much teaching experience." In those years classes were large and the teacher had to be a regular jack of all trades. "We had to do everything in those Miss Davidson laughed, "sports, music, drama, counsel- ling, the works. I wasn't terribly athletic, but I did roach some good ball teams. It was through these programs that I think we were able to establish that rap- port I've spoken about. Whether thi kids were involved in music or drama or sport it bridged the generation gap, you might say, and this was a valuable asset as it carried over into the aca- demic part of the program. We didn't have connsellorsof course, but tried to advise a troubled child as much as we were able, drawing from our own experiences and our know- ledge of life. There wasn't time for this during school; it had to be done after hours." During summer vacations Miss Davidson worked towards obtaining her degree. "History was my major, and I took a minor in English. I also studied and received, a senior certifi- cate in drama, I wrote and di- rected a number of one act plays which were broadcast live on CJOC a few years back. I have always had a soft spot for drama and encouraged the kids at school to put on plays. During the depression when money was scarce our school plays proved to be a valuable form of enter- tainment for people who couldn't afford movies. We didn't have ruucu money for sets, but we'd build our own out of cardboard boxes, or whatever we could beg or borrow from companies to help us out." Miss Davidson doesn't like to comment on the new education- al system of today. "I haven't been leaching for a couple ot years so I feel quite incapable of making an assessment o! what is taking she said. ".So much publicity is given schools now I sometimes won- der how they managed before. But many things have changed, society has changed; schools cannot remain static in a chang- ing society. "In the days of Central and Bowman school, parents expect- ed discipline in school. But the school can't have one type of discipline and the parents an- other, so we had to work to- gether on our mutual problems. The same basic principle ap- plies today. The school will al- ways have an influence on so- ciety, just as the tone of the school will be influenced by trends in society. I don't believe however, that it is the schools' place to attempt to set society's standards. "The job of the school Is to help the pupil develop his mum level, through sharing, through co operation, through being part of the group. He can- not develop alone. There are many aids today which help the teacher and pupil. Aids we didn't have, and which are extremely beneficial. Good libraries are one, visual aids are another, mu- sic is another. Almost every classroom today boasts a piano where back in Central for many years we had just one for the whole school. But teachers have to develop skills in using to- day's aids so they don't become mere forms of entertainment. Generally speaking, there are certain fundamentals that have to be taught, whether yesterday, today or tomorrow, for educa- tion must fit people for their time." Miss Davidson admit? she pre- ferred the role of teacher to that of administrator. "As vice- principal 1 did teach too of course, but my ear was always t s t e n i n g for the phone, as classes were interrupted for some reason or other. When 1 moved over to Hamilton I was back teaching literature to as many as five classes a day and loving every minute of it." When not involved in teach- ing, Miss Davidson volunteered her services and training in the field of drama, or .she was up to her ears in Y work. "I was the Y camp director for a num- ber of years and I flunk I have camped on every river bottom in the she laughed. Her dramatic training involv- ed her in adjudication on many occasions. "For a number o( years I adjudicated at school festivals throughout the prov- ince, in drama and speech art competitions. I also adjudicated the Edmonton City Drama Fes- tival which was stimulating but required a high degree of con- centration. It was a three-day event and at the end of it 1 was exhausted, but I must say on the whole the productions were good and very inlcresluig." What docs she think of tlio proposed demolition of her old school? "Well, I try not to think of she sighed, "although I must ad- mit I hate to see it go. But I Icll myself it's just a building after all, one which has strong tics for me and for many other Lethbridge people who passed through its doors. It has served its lime however, and the way has to be paved For improved facilities. I like to think that the things that we tried to do at Central were meaningful and will last long after the building is gone. I hope the ideals we hold, the standards we attempt- ed to impress on the pupils will remain and be reflected in our society for a long time to come. But no, I don't want to be around when the old school has to come down." AGNES DAVIDSON Pholo by Walter Kerber Book Reviews The past meets present Fergus: A Novel by Brian Moore (McClelland and Stew- ard Ltd.; 228 pps.) TAKINGS have ganged up on Fergus. First there's his approaching 40, the period when a lot of people look back and wonder what they've been doing with their lives all this time and if what's ahead will be any belter. Fer- gus is a moderately successful writer, but he finds his occupa- tion worrying. There's all that competition to think about, he doesn't quite trust the blandish- ments of his publisher; he feels pushed'. Besides that, his mar- riage fne on the rocks, and he isn't snns about the genuine love of Dani, a lush young female erotic tenden- cies who is currently living with him somewhere in South- ern California. One morning Fergus wakes up and finds his long-dead Eng- lish teacher, Father Kmneally foraging in the refrigerator. Fergus isn't frightened, only mildly surprised. When the Father berates him harshly for his sins, Fergus attempts to de- fend himself. The priest will have none of it, and terminates the conversation with a colorful block-busting peroration ending with a shout. "If we split you open with a he "the stench Negro Achievements "The Negro Impact 0 n Joseph S. Koucek and Thom- as Kicrnan. (Philosophical Li- bvary, New York. 506 pp.) is a large book which covers a wide range of topics in article form on the Negroes' influence in. the west- ern world. It has breadth, touching many subjecls, and it has depth, tracing elements from modem to very ancient history. One might term the book an encyclopedia of things Negro and relevanl to the modern world we live in. There are substantial articles on the Negro as an explorer, scientist, theolpgican, musician, politician, soldier, artist, philos- opher and so on. These are areas, which in our ignorance, we sometimes find difficult to imagine a Negro being suc- cessful in because we are so accustomed to our own glory therein. The book looks at tho Negroes' achievements in Afri- ca and the Americas, includ- ing South America. At the end of each article one finds an extensive and valuable bibliog- raphy as well as a thumb-nail sketch of the writer. Tliis ma- terial is bound to be useful to those wishing to dig deeper. Each article, quite readable and full of supporting facts, written by a man compe- tent in the field. Perhaps one tical science, African culture, history and generally things Negro, will discover a great deal about the impact of the Negro. The book is an eye- opener for the racially ignorant 2nd prejudiced. The student of political sci- ence has a vast amount of ma- terial at fingertips. For the majority, the book is a neat, compact library of material on the Negro. In summary, it is a relevant to events in our mod- very worthwhile book, quile ern world. LOUIS BURKE. of your soul would stink putrefaction from here The Father bangs the refrig- erator door shut in rage, when Fergus looks up, his mother has taken the place of the priest. She is dressed for church and she is pregnant. The evidence of the imminent birth of lu's brother James bulges forward fi'ooi the ample folds of her gown. His father turns up too, and between the two of them, they point out the futility of Fergus' dissolute way of life with calm detachment. Before it's all over, the whole family and quite a few friends make an appearance, floating in and out as easily as if they'd always been around. It all lakes place within 24 hours, and during that time Fergus continues with tire or- dinary problems of his daily life, such as a visit from his pot, smoking pseudo mother-in- law. No one but an Irishman could have conceived this fantasy, let alone pulled it off and made a successful novel out of it. The juxtaposition of the dream world with the real one be- comes a meeting of past and present social values, pathetic, funny, and often poetic in style. It's one of Brian Moore's best. JANE HUCKVALE Bird Watcher Born "Birds Of HIP Kaslern Forest: 2'' I'sitiliugs by .1. F. Lansdowiie, Text by John A. Livingston (McClel- land and Stewart, pp., should get out to look for Ite beautiful birds Dial are in the neighborhood. The text is the clincher. 1 had intended only (o savor I ho pictures anil enough of the text to make a A MORE splendid book than slal? al J ,review I was so ......u i.- enchanted by the sampling that I read it all! John A. Livingston has some- thing interesting to say about each of the birds. Sometimes lie has an anecdote oul of his own experience and other limes he draws on writings by fellow naturalists. It is all delightful tills one would be difficult to conceive. I didn't see the first volume but will look for it now that my appetite has been whetted. I may even be- come a bird watcher! Bird watchers have often Itecn pictured as a little eccen- tric. An enthusiast of my ac- quaintance used lo call for .silence on the golf course so that we all might hear ,1 spec- ial bird song we always treated it as a hit of a joke. mid very informative. The inclusion of the artist's preliminary sketch (or each bird puzzles me toil no doubt has significance. In no way criticism might be Ihe fact that He was the sort of person who fines this feature detract, from most of the writers are from American universities. From over a dozen, only one writer comes from Africa Ali A. Maznri, a Kenyan and Profes- sor of Political Science, Maker- ere University. Kampala, Ugan- da. This is a distinct fault on the port of the editors. I feel. ilfiwovor, the laynym, in would drive fifty miles out of the way to see a flock of yel- low winged blackbirds some- one bad told him about. Seeing the splendid paintings (50 of them) by Victoria artist J. Fcmvick Lansdowna is al- most enough to convince one that be ought not suffer iin- poverishmenl any longer and tire book. Anv nature lover would be delighted to have this book. A birn watcher would probably he ecstatic. In the new year the price of the book goes 'up to The break goes lo the Christmas .shopper. DOUG WALKER Focus on the University By J. W. F1SHBOURNE Aii exemplary .system. IViAR Mr. Minister; First let me express my great plea- sure at receiving your recent letter, in- quiring as to whether or not I would be interested in working with you in building an educational system for your new and developing country. I find the idea most interesting, and have taken immediate steps to explore it. 1 have consulted a re- cent atlas, and now have a fairly good idea of where your country is located, and the geography involved. Also, I have asked my travel appnf In gpt me some further details. From this, you will see that I am sincerely interested. Moreover, I thirk I can say that I am the type of person who has always been willing to assume his share of the "white man's so to speak. Needless to say, there are a number of details that will have to be worked out Wore I can give you a definite answer. There is the mailer of honorarium or salary, if you prefer living accommoda- tions, expenses for myself, family and a couple of secretaries, travel cosls, and so on. Subject to our being able to deal with tlsese mundane details satisfactorily, and with some rearrangement of my rather busy schedule, I think there is sorre pros- pect of my being able to spend a month or so with you later in the year. In the meantime, there are one or two points I believe you should know concern- ing the development of an education sys- tem, particularly with respect to the Ca- nadian model you have so wisely chosen. The details are not important, and can be looked after at any lime; there are literally hundreds of people who can do that sort of Ihing. vital thing is to have the cor- rect philosophy, and from this to derive the legislative framework fa which your system must operate. Once this is done, Uie rest falls into place. The first thing you must do is divide your country into a number of educational dis- tricts, and there should be many of these. That is what we have done here, and it works very well. I realize that, to an out- sider, it may appear that we have only 10 provincial jurisdictions, but that is only on the surface; we also have two official languages (and several unofficial and also several religious groupings, two of them major. The existence of these language and religious differences, plus a concept we call "local permits almost unlimited proliferation of education- al jurisdictions. The advantages of this arrangement should immediately apparent to you. It will be obvious, for example, that'll en- sures a very high rate of employment for trustees, administrators, experts, account- ants, and alt manner of bureaucrats. It sharply inhibits mobility of both students and teachers, but without the necessity (or erecting artificial political barriers. Fur- thermore, il maximizes the opportunity for political influence on education, while pre- serving the illusion of local autonomy. The most important benefit is stability; with hundreds, even thousands of sclwol boards across tile country, all believing in this "local autonomy" notion, major changes in the system are virtually impos- sible. The other absoluetly indispensible condi- tion, it you want an educational system as good as ours, is a two-dimensional educa- tional hierarchy. In one dimension, elemen- tary schools are at the bottom, universities at 'the lop, with teachers and students at each level being regarded as superior per- sons to those beneath theni.In the other dimension, an order of precedence must at- tach to subject matter, with purely aca- demic subjects highest on the scale, and practical subjects lowest. Tire concept of superiority lo all "lower" levels must ba firmly fixed in the minds of teachers, stu- dents and parents. Here again the advantages should be ob- vious. Both students and teachers know their place, but at the same lime are mo- tivated to strive for advancement. Stu- dents are properly prepared for the reali- ties of life, and at an early age come to realize that competition for advancement is all-important. All parties, especially par- ents, are made to experience the impera- tives of s well-ordered social system, and come to appreciate them. The key concept, then, b division; ex- ternally by granting jurisdiction on ths basis of geography, language and religion; internally, by exploiting the natural human tendency to snobbery. Only by setting up a system in which divisiveness can ba maximised can you hope io emulate our fine Canadian system. I trust the foregoing will give you some- tiling to think about, and perhaps get started on. I will be in touch with you again, as soon as I have had the oppor- tunity to consult rny banker, accountant, lawyer and travel agent. Yours sincerely, Educational Consultant, Emerging Nations Division. in to -By FRANK 5. MORIIEY The lost gospel SPECULATION that Jesus left an- other Gospel which has been lost has fascinated writers down to our time. A col- lection of "lost sayings" of Jesus has In- deed been compiled. The last verse In the Gospel according to John implies that the lives we have of Jesus are fragmentary. However this may be, it is certainly trua that the Gospel as it has been known for twenty centuries is being lost, is largely lost. Take, for example, the gospel of con- viction. The early Apostles and the men of the nineteenlh century spoke of the things they knew. John begins his first letter, "That. wluch we have beard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled." Today a vast uncertainty pervades the modem mind. Professor W. E. Hocking, of a committee on "Bethinking Missions" crystallized much modern opin- ion that Christianity was merely one faith among many and should not think in terms of changing the believers of other faiths. Paul Tillicb in "Christianity and the En- counter of the World's Religions" maintain- ed that the Christian attitude should be one of conversation, not conversion. The man in the street expressed UK notion crudely as, "11 doesn't matter what a man believes as long as he believes a notion that did not appeal to Hitler and Stalin! Dogmatism, however, appeared indecent. The very word says the Ox- ford English Dictionary, means "to speak authoritatively or imperiously without ref- erence lo argument or evidence." David Ed- wards in "Religion and Change" traces the decline of dogmatism through the biblical criticism of the nineteenth century from Adolf von Harnack to Rudolf Bultmann. H.imack is pre- sented the Gospel as "God the Father and the infinite value of the huntan faith in which resulted in "the higher righteous- ness and Ihe commandment of love." From those bones all the flesh was stripped until Nietzsche and our modern theologians pro- claim "the death of Ciod.'' With loss of the Gospel of conviction cams consequently loss of the Gospel of compul- sion. A hymn of my Sunday School stated that "the souls of men are dying and the Master calls for you." It is astound- ing ttiat the Uieme of Paul's letter to tha Romans, the theme wlu'ch inspired Die total faith of Paul, Augustine, Luther, and Wes- ley, should have been so discarded, espe- cially before the awful loslness of the time, before scenes like Woodstock and facts the mental illness of modern life. The aver- age man feels damned in a world no one cares for his soul. Loss ol the Gospels of conviction and compulsion meant loss of the Gospel of mission. No longer do many men speak of "going into all the world to preach the Gospel." Recently at a church gathering s prominent executive of missions declared that when China did open up "we must be prepared to listen rather than talk to them." Listen of course one must, but the ac- counts of Peter, Paul, and their successors tell of witnessing, of being confident that they had a Gospel wlu'ch would save ths world and that there is no other Gospel. The gospel of inclusiveness is likewise lost. When John Foster Dulles asked at cms point in European negotiations for scllle- menl of a problem, "What is the Christian thing to the commentators regarded him as a lunatic and one remarked, "Thn French were ultcrly frustrated." Now Dul- les may not have been America's most brilliant Secretary for Foreign Affairs, but why was the question so impractical and irrelevant? Just because men have ceased to think of Christianity as sontelliing that applies to life in all its areas. So writers speak of "The lost provinces of religion." Some preachers in Bermuda have been pro- testing the high cost of living, and church members are complaining, "Why don't they slick to the Surely "Go ye into all UK world and preach the Gospel" meant Hie total world of life. A Ciirisl limited is a Christ betrayed. That's what the Commu- nists do: fence Christianity into a corner of a pasture. We're not Smiilis, either By Doug Walker T MET Aileen Walker for the first lime recently. She said she was often asked if she was the unfortunate wite of the fel- low who writes for The Herald. What prompts people to ;usk Aileen such question, no doybt, is the fact that her husband Allan hasn't built a fence for their place, either. Both Aileen and my wife Elspeth sound as if they expect tlteir men to produce one of those things. They don't seem lo have come lo terms with Ihc fact they married Walker not Sawyer or a N'aylor, ;