Page 2, 18th December 1953

18th December 1953
Page 2
Page 2, 18th December 1953 — institute for the Standards SIR. - I believe that much of the
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Organisations: University College
People: Adam Curie
Locations: Exeter

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institute for the Standards SIR. - I believe that much of the

correspondence on Catholic schools has missed its possible value. The point surely is that however good (or bad) Catholic education may be, it can never be too good, and it is up to us to work unceasingly for the improvement of which Catholic schools, like all human institutions, are capable. Destructive criticism will get us nowhere, nor will complacency. The most general criticism of

Catholic schools boils down to the accusation that they are out of touch with the -educational world as a whole. This, of course, by no means applies to all schools or to all teachers, but it is certainly partly true of others-for example, those in which the exigencies of the religious life make it hard for teachers to obtain the normal qualifications or to participate in refresher courses, etc. One can argue, and I believe correctly, that the advantages of having teachers with the personal qualities expected in men and women with religious vocations, outweigh a possible loss in terms of educational theory and practice. Nevertheless, there sometimes is a loss which it would be as foolish to deny, as to exaggerate at the expense of the gains.

In the same -way, it may happen

that Catholic teachers, by the very power with which they oppose the disintegrating forces of the contcmporary world, also cut themselves off from more constructive trends of modern thought, and may thus become remote from the dayto-day difficulties of their pupils. This again is only the obverse of the coin, for the Catholic teacher can give children something far more valuable than a guide to practical problems. But perhaps more could be done to help more teachers to do both.

I believe there may be room for a Catholic analogy of the institutes of education maintained by most English universities. One of the functions of these institutes is to provide for the further education of all teachers in the area (Catholics, of course, included), by courses, lectures, study groups, exhibitions, library services, etc. But a Catholic institute could do particularly valuable service (a) by offering facilities to schools which, for various reasons. were out of touch with the work of university institutes and other bodies doing similar work; (b) by devoting particular attention to topics such as discipline and child psychology, where the implications of current research need reformulation in terms of Catholic belief, if the value of that research is to be appreciated and its lessons applied; tc) by providing frequent opportunities for Catholic teachers to meet each other and, preferably, non-Catholic teachers as well. To this end, I would suggest the desirability of regular summer schools for all Catholic teachers.

I believe that institutes with these functions, whether organised on a national or regional basis, could do a great deal to assist Catholic schools to maintain and to improve upon the high place they hold in the English educational system. That so many non-Catholics send their children to be educated in Catholic schools is sufficient proof of the position they already hold, but the admiration of our friends is no excuse for selfsatisfaction.

Adam Curie, Professor of Education and Psychology, University College, Exeter. East Hill House, Ottery St. Mary, Devon.




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