I. Study the list of characters and the opinions expressed by them. Which characters might say these things?
1. Mrs.Gwen Harvey is an Inspector of Education for Wessex. Her ideas can be described as moderately “progressive”. She agrees that a command of basic skills is necessary, but thinks that education should do more than this. It is to do with developing pupils’ artistic talents for music and art; with developing their awarenessof society and the world around them;with preparing them for leisure and private life as well as for working life.She tends to consider that discipline is too rigid and that more responsibility should be given to pupils.
2. George Thompson is headmaster of a large comprehensive school in South London. He took it over 5 years ago when it was known as a “difficult” school.Since then, through strong discipline and organization, he has brought it under control and obtained a high degree of academic success. He is strongly in favour of a return to the traditional values of education. His critics say his school is fine for brighter children, but doesn’t help the less academic ones.
3. Nicholas Gregg is in his last year at private school in Bristol, and is going to study medicine at University. He has enjoyed and has been successful in his academic education and thinks that no enormous changes are needed in the way schools are organised; languages and art subjects interest him and he thinks pupils should be able to specialize very early. He thinks teachers should be respected and should know how to keep discipline.
4. Helen Williams is in her last year at school, too, but is much more critical than Nicholas. She finds the school day boring, hates being told what to do all the time, studying series of subjects which have nothing to do with real life; she considers most of her teachers old-fashioned and resents the lack of freedom.
5. Alice Green a teacher in a school widely known as a being “progressive”. She has introduced a number of experiments in her school, especially one which has abolished streaming” children according to ability. She feels that a school’s job is to let childrendiscover what they want to do and be, and that learning to be independent is more important than subject content – “when people know what they want they can always learn it later”
6 Richard Newson has three children at school – the one where Alice Green teaches and is in two minds about education they are receiving. He says the children are interested in all the projects they do, but he is worried about whether they are being adequately prepared for passing exams and getting good jobs later; he wonders if the free atmosphere at the school reflects the relity of life outside school.
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