Preface

I came upon the teaching of Philosophy and Ethics in schools almost by accident. I had been appointed to teach Music and English at a new school at the beginning of a summer term. The head teacher presented me, before the start of term with my timetable, which included two periods of Religious Knowledge each week. I explained that this last I would not do.

Head teachers, following the 1944 Education Act, were required by law to establish a daily corporate act of worship' and 'religious education'. To place every head teacher under such an obligation was clearly a recipe for hypocrisy aided by ambition.

My new head teacher asked if there were "anything I could offer?" I replied (having only a vague idea of what to do that I would be willing to offer lessons in Philosophy and Ethics. "What, to 2C!?" he exclaimed.

My mind went to a BBC Radio series entitled 'Children Talking' in which the presenter, Howard Williamson, would take a microphone into a children's playground and ask the children questions including some about God, marriage, etc.

Offered here is the programme I followed for the first term. A very important factor was the recording of the first lesson and its playback in the second. This is vital not only for the subject matter, which was extremely rewarding and productive, but - as inspectors and educationalists would point out that the number of words the student would WRITE in a day, was extremely small compared with those he would SPEAK. Lessons in speech are difficult to manage, whereas the programme here outlined greatly facilitates this task.

I established one very important rule, that no one be allowed to speak when someone else was speaking. They followed this rule implicitly. I never had to remind them once. I often think of this when listening to Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 (Let alone listening to Today in Parliament!) and how much improved these could be for some better manners.

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