At the chalkface: Once upon a time…

Teaching staff
Most pupils knew a story – folk tales, cautionary tales, moral fables, shaggy dog stories, dreadful jokes, personal anecdotes and fabulous lies. The least literate were often the most articulate.

I’ve just become a granddad. Hurrah for me – but isn’t this rather outside the parameters of this column? Perhaps, but it does prompt some pedagogical speculation. As I gaze at the swaddled blob, lost deeply in the land of Nod, I wonder how long she’s got before some clot wants to measure her or visit on her tiny person some drear, improving schemes. Do they even now lurk over the Mose’s Basket, like those horrid bats in Goya’s Sleep of Reason? Avaunt!

In the meantime – say, for five years – couldn’t we just have larking about and storytelling? The best education a child can get – especially storytelling. Any teacher knows this – Philip Pullman, for example. “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” 

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