Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Teachers in Space

Pope Benedict claims that it is not intellect that separates us from the animals, because we share that in some sense, but rather Tradition, the possibility of passing on to others the product of the intellect, and thus augmenting it and enriching it as it is preserved from generation to generation. He says:

“Tradition is the precondition for our humanity, and whoever destroys tradition, destroys humanitas – he is like a traveller in space who himself destroys the possibility of ground control, of contact with earth….”

 He is talking about the Church, but could be talking about schools – schools play an important role in the transmission of culture from one generation to the next. Remember teachers you have a noble calling – you are not primarily trainers of people for the job market – that may be a secondary aspect of your profession – but foremost you are passing on culture, augmenting it and enriching it certainly, but keeping as your central concern what humankind has always considered most worthy of communication down the generations.

And if we don't maintain that connection to Tradition, of learning free from utilitarian considerations and economic calculations, we are liable to drift off into the meaninglessness of results tables, constant assessment and hoop-jumping which some in government, in the absence of any positive idea about what education is for, seem content to make it all about.

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