De la enseñanza (II)


Esti segundu ensiertu nun lu escribo yo, pertenez al un llibru d'ésitu n'Ingalaterra, The fallout, de Andrew Antonhy. Cuenta la so llegada, como escolín, nel 1973 a una escuela "comprehensiva". ¿Suéna-yos a daqué too esto?

"It was in this state of innocence or ignorance that I arrived at Haverstock comprehensive school in September 1973.
Located on the border of the affluent foothills of Hampstead and the council flatlands of Kentish Town, Haverstock was a school with a properly comprehensive intake. It was mixed sex with over thirty different nationalities represented among the pupils. There was also a significant minority of children from the intellectual and artistic communities of Primrose Hill and Belsize Park, as well as a smattering of kids whose parents were professionals - lawyers, doctors, public administrators - with either an idealistic or economic interest in avoiding the private or grammar school systems. And in addition, owing to a specialised department, there were a large number of deaf children. It was a time of great optimism, when the classroom was seen as the place in which to end the class system. Teaching back then was governed less by a determination to correct spelling than a commitment to put right social injustice. I was a bright kid, the kind that a few years before would have been 'rescued' from the oblivion of a secondary modern school - a sort of dumping ground for the menial classes – and hothoused at a grammar school, the state-supported facsimiles of the traditional private school.Haverstock was no hothouse. It was ideologically opposed to all forms of competition. There was only one area of endeavour that remained beyond the school's egalitarian control: fighting. When it carne to violence there was no shortage of competitive spirit. And a strict hierarchy existed, organised along class and race the black working-class kids at the top - a perfect inversion of academic expectations. The simmering and often explosive atmosphere permeated all the lessons, but to say that they were a distraction would imply that there was some core element of learning from which we were distracted. Almost without exception, that was not the case. Classes were a matter of damage containment and not infrequently total anarchy. Kids smashed up desks, fought with one another and attacked staff. The year I arrived at the school a teacher was crippled in an assault by a pupil wielding a chisel. Gangs of black and white kids did battle with Chinese pupils inspired by the Bruce Lee films of the time and the police were regularly called to patrol the school exit at the end of the day. Bullying was rife and largely neglected. Years later I was disturbed but not too dismayed to learn that the serial killers and rapists David Mulcahy and John Duffy formed their psychopathic bond after being bullied at Haverstock (unfortunately they were far from being the only murderers-to-be who graduated while I was there). There were only two teachers who were able to impose some level of calm on the Hobbesian proceedings. Both, as it turned out, were male homosexuals, both traditionalists in their methods, and both were viewed by the rest of staff as reactionary eccentrics. In return they observed the hapless efforts of their colleagues and the disorder wrought by the new orthodoxy with barely concealed contempt."

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