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The carrot and the stick

Mr M. slapped a pupil in the face at the assembly before close of school yesterday.

I don't know what the kid did to deserve that treatment - but corporal punishment is against the law in this country. And what he did more-or-less constitutes assault, anyway. To the same extent I was assaulted by police in the charge office last year.

He wouldn't have realized that I was watching... while setting up email for a couple of students on the side of the classroom facing the courtyard.

It brings back all sorts of bad memories and I will confront him. He's the authoritarian despot I thought I'd have a problem with. "Yes Teacher!"

I operate under impulses instilled by the education system and am as such a victim as much an exception: exception because I could not actually -do- schoolwork, and sat in the back of the class devouring scifi novels instead; and a victim because of the guilt associated with -never- doing homework. (Unless it was something interesting like re-assembling a fish skeleton for a biology project, or writing English essays... which I managed mediocrely.)

I was also an exception because I did music... at a rugby oriented boy's boarding school.

I'm not certain whether it was something specific that completely turned me off "learning" - or whether it's just some form of ADD that made me unable to listen like the rest... that made the words slide off the page meaninglessly - but I suspect it was John Schenk who sealed a betrayal of the hierarchy -of sorts- for me - and invalidated all the traditional teaching materials and methodologies. He was our std. 4 class teacher, and one day he had the boys come up to his desk and stand beside him while testing our Afrikaans spelling. For each incorrect letter we received a 'cut' on our leg with his cane. It was winter so most of us had longs on and I just got a couple of welts, but Gaitan Antfield (who was wearing shorts) had 2 or 3 bleeders.

I've been seething about these types of indoctrinations for a long time now, so my perceptions are colored by my conclusions and my anger... and as a result may be tinged with an uncomfortable degree of fervor.

I've been involved with CBT for quite some time because the company I owned maintained the 40-station computer lab at TRINSET (Transkei in-service teacher's training college) from 1990 until 1995 or so... and we also started a small (20 station) training division ourselves in 1993 (which broke even in 6 months)... So I've had a bit of practical experience with stuff... from writing step-by-step hands-on manuals - to maintaining full blown LMSs like PLATO (Novell/DOS, though... years ago)... But my passion never actually ignited until I read Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age (A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer) in about 1998/9.

The degree of cultural assimilation with technology that would appear a natural path of evolution (transhumanism perhaps - which scares most 'naturalists' witless) is a long way off in the future. Probably millennia - although it could be argued that it exists in it's fundamental form as an abstract reality already.

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that I can be... I guess I shouldn't be so hard on Mr Matatu. I saw Ms Mrwebi slap a kid on the back of the head the other day and it didn't seem nearly so awful. Quite necessary, in fact.

I also discovered that the end of school 'assembly' is to dish out the school nutritional programme goodies... and kids being kids, tend to push and shove and take chances... and one can imagine that some disciplinarian type control needs to be enforced.

I still don't like his teaching methods: part bully, part interrogator, part dictator . . . I was just never able to empathize with those kinds of teachers, personally.

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