Idle minds build Maginot Lines
April 19, 2006
It seems that the cultivated Old Europe ennui of countries such as France and Italy has migrated from the continent, hitched a Chunnel ride, and taken a foothold in the land of Thatcher, Disraeli, and Burke. The Independent reports that British teachers are embracing boring lessons as "preparation for life" and have called for more of them. At a recent conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, supply maths instructor Zoe Fail garnered loud cheers when she said, "Children are not bored enough.... Being bored encourages thinking skills and imaginative play." Barry Williams, a lecturer from Cambridgeshire, agreed, and he told a reporter that those who find his teaching dull simply miss its many "nuances and subtleties." Brits, beware this trend. The French and Italians can embrace stasis because their countries and cultures are rife with things to do when bored (painting water lilies, say, or making love) and relaxing locales. But Bournemouth Pier is not Cote d'Azur, Newcastle is not Bordeaux, and fish and chips is not gnocchi alla Romana. The UK's students need to be entertained in class, if only to keep them from gazing out the schoolhouse windows at acres of fog-shrouded peat bogs. Come on, England! You started the Industrial Revolution-now don't go wobbly.
"Boring lessons 'are preparation for life'," by Oliver Duff, The Independent, April 14, 2006