Compelling evidence has been found to suggest that Curriculum for Excellence is not in fact a vision for education in Scotland in the 21st Century but has been kicking around since the beginning of the 20th! Just look and listen to some of the language in these two texts. The first is from a Headteacher’s retirement speech made in 1904. Amazingly the film clip, from the Scottish Screen Archive of the National Library of Scotland, was recorded in 1938.
George F Duthie, a Victorian Headmaster, retired in 1904. He had been head at Woodside School , Aberdeen , for 50 years. He was also active in the EIS.
The following is from his retirement speech:
“I taught the children, and they taught me; for I had much to learn of them and from them…The fact of difference of home circumstance – differences of temperament, of degrees of ability, mental and physical, of the power of sympathy and kindly words, became more and more to me elements in the problem of school keeping, and now I’m persuaded that a school curriculum which does not permit of the exercise of all these, carried on in a quiet, deliberate, and I had almost said leisurely way, will fail to develop the kind of men and women we would all like to see taking our places in the world… What we teach is important. How we teach is much more so.”
At the retirement, another teacher said of Mr Duthie that “..he imparted knowledge on true educative lines, sometimes leading in advance, ofttimes accompanying, but never driving, his pupils. He taught them to think for themselves , and he did so with quiet enthusiasm and cheerful kindness. …”