Not Altogether by Design

Bob Spooner
1988, Vol. 21, No. 1,


When I was at school before the war there was a great emphasis on knowledge pure and complex which stretched right across the curriculum. In English we learned to recognise synecdoche - we knew that 'Give us this day our daily bread' involved three square meals and that study of a craft involved elements of design and technology - and we could take a sentence to pieces and name its parts more readily than we could construct a telling one of our own. In history we dwelt in facts rather than theories and learned nothing of historical method. In geography we learned the names of capes and bays without being introduced to the compass and in science we learned up our notes and watched experiments without conducting any of our own.

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