Letter: What is the virtue of a bad pupil?

Browse By

What is the virtue of a bad pupil? The problem in a classroom is rarely a bad pupil. The one who challenges constantly, questions every activity, calls out, comes late, always wants the last word, is disrespectful and will only set his creative genius on avoiding the task or distracting others. If you have a bad teacher then you have a real problem and the only sure way to keep the bad teachers at bay is to have the bad pupils. The bad pupils are a spotlight on the bad teachers. They allow us to see whether we have a bad teacher. It was the bad boy who declared the emperor was naked. He’s going nowhere but you should be grateful for him. Nothing is as important to education as a student who can think for themselves and disagree.

Inconvenient? Yes. Uncomfortable? Certainly. Inappropriate? Often. The upstarts and the opinionated. They force us to look again at ourselves.

What is the virtue of a free press? To spout opinion gratuitously, pontificating on the menus of restaurants and the personal lives of politicians? Most would believe that freedom of expression is the purpose; loosely connected to some constitutional amendment or Voltaire quote, but that would be a root, not a fruit. It is why a free press is possible not how it benefits society. Some would believe the virtue lies in keeping the powerful accountable but even this would be a gross simplification of a thread of our society that is our plumb line. Debate and dialogue, critical thinking and the sharpening of ones mind for the benefit of a well informed electorate. Nothing is as important to a liberal democracy as a free press.

Inconvenient? Yes. Uncomfortable? Certainly. Inappropriate? Often. The upstarts and individuals, the disruptive innovators. They force us to look again at ourselves.

What do I want from Berkeley squares? Quick, rigorous, articulate and opinionated please. But please check your sources – otherwise we might as well all get our news from Facebook.

But then, this paper doesn’t exist in a liberal democracy.

Anonymous


You can submit letters to the Editor. They may be edited before publication.