Do you care about your pupils?

Teaching staff
Do you care about your students? Or just their results? Are they learning for the workplace? Or learning to be human? Alex Wood discusses the core role of relationships in education.

Amid the daily grind of teaching, philosophy can seem esoteric, a luxury. The exams, marking homework, classroom management are what seem to matter, but teachers need to return to first principles. They need to know why they do what they do. 

“The first principle of human nature is mutuality. For this reason the first priority in education is learning to live in personal relation to other people. Failure in this is fundamental failure.”

Michael Fielding, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, spoke recently in Edinburgh on John MacMurray, Scottish educationalist and philosopher.

It was ironic that the lecture was in Edinburgh University’s Godfrey Thomson Hall, financed from the Godfrey Thomson Trust, the income of which was generated by Thomson’s battery of Moray House IQ Tests, developed to screen and select Scottish students for senior secondary and, ultimately higher, education. Such an approach was entirely foreign to MacMurray for whom the success of learning rested on relationships and not functional outputs.

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