Thursday, September 01, 2011

Early days

Mr Grosch was my Latin master. He played a game with his first year boys. They sat in rows and lines and he would ask them questions in turn if you answered a question that the others had got wrong you moved up closer to the front, supplanting those in error. This competitive game suited 11-year old boys and would be useful, even today, in instilling a sense of competition where it is needed.

Mr Morgan was my Maths teacher. He hated untidiness. I was and always have been untidy. He thought I was useless at Maths. His particular punishment for untidiness was to percuss the perpetrator's skull with his middle finger as a doctor percusses an abdomen or a chest. It hurt. He was very surprised when I came top of the class in Maths.

Mr Sweet was my French teacher. His particular punishment was to lift the boy from sitting to standing position by the short hair in front of the ear. That is even more painful even though it doesn't leave a mark. It did not improve my French, though this was the first time I heard someone use the 'F' word at school.

As methods of carrot and stick, the carrot was more successful than the stick. Although I was good at Maths, my handwriting never improved. I trace my proficiency at Maths (and indeed all maths-based sciences, to my rote learning my tables from the age of 4 onwards.

Mr Wetton was my primary school teacher. He was keen that we should do sport and keen on mental arithmetic. I was the only child in his care who had achieved 100% for three successive mental arithmetic tests. He gave me his silver pocket watch as a reward.

Is a pattern emerging here?


Manu Manickvel said...

That was a nice picture you gave us Doc, a peek into your young childhood schooldays. As for myself, i owe my primary education first of all to my mum(who taught me to read/write @ 3) and about 4 schools (all Christian-run) in Bangalore & Madras, India. The one i stayed in till high school as we call it was the Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore (in India it actually means a private school!) i quote wikipedia - Frank Anthony (1908 – 1993) was a prominent leader of the Anglo-Indian community in India, and was until his death their nominated representative in the Parliament of India.
In 1942, he was elected the President-in-chief of the Community of the All India Anglo-Indian Association. He opposed the partition of India on the grounds that it would jeopardise the interests of the minority communities. When the future of India was being decided by British, Hindu and Muslim leaders, he presented the Anglo-Indian case to Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru, and they agreed to make special provisions for the Anglo-Indians in the Indian Constitution. In particular, the Lok Sabha (Lower House) of the Indian parliament has two seats reserved for members of the Anglo-Indians community, the only reserved seats in this House.
After he had retired from practising as a lawyer, Prime Minister Nehru in 1952 asked him to go to Peshawar to defend Mehr Chand Khanna, the ex-finance minister of the North-West Frontier Province. In those days no Hindu lawyer would go to Peshawar. Following Frank Anthony's discussions with the chief minister, Khanna was released. In October 1946, he was one of India's delegates at the United Nations. In 1948 and 1957, he represented India at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. In 1978, Anthony assisted the Nehru family when Indira Gandhi was arrested.
Anthony's greatest contribution was in the field of Anglo-Indian Education. In 1947, he was elected Chairman of the Inter-State Board of Anglo-Indian Education. He was also the Founder-Chairman of the All India Anglo-Indian Educational Trust which, today, owns and administers five schools named after him.

Manu Manickvel said...

Of course, the pattern as you say, is that nurture is the way to go? Especially with the naturally talented (meaning you & such, doc) - still, you can't keep a good man down. Eysenck said a true genius would be successful in any field he/she chose...

Manu Manickvel said...

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people; first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy.

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest -a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Only a life lived for others is worth living.

--Albert Einstein

Manu Manickvel said...

over here, i did the ICSE(the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) modelled(i guess) on the GCSE - we had O-level& a few A-Level texts. The reason i mention these is 'cause i do believe i owe a lot to Ol Blighty...there were so many 'Indo-philes' who were Brit rulers who did immense good for the cause of the Indians though it went against the grain of the general trends of those days and India today should acknowledge those great souls...i cannot imagine an India if they did not come & overthrow the Mughals( a few of those were good too); we Indians were basically not equipped to deal with such ruthless barbaric tactics...

Manu Manickvel said...

As the story goes, when Eysenck arrived in England he was informed that his pre-qualifications only qualified him for a degree in 'Psychology' - an unknown term to him at that time, but one he accepted as he had no choice...