Letter to The Editor - The defence of intellectual freedom is paramount
To The Australian Ann Rennie rightly praises traditional teaching styles ("Teachers: thought leaders and influencers", 17/9) when she notes that in the past (more often, alas, than in the present) "deep knowledge and passion for a subject was passed on by well-educated, erudite and occasionally eccentric enthusiasts." These old-style teachers had permanent tenure, were respected by parents and society as a whole, and were not handicapped by having to spend hours and hours on unnecessary clerical work and "professional improvement" courses. An important aspect of their carrying out of their roles was humility. Another was recognition that, while all roads lead to God (not to Rome, thank you!), there are different roads by which individuals can travel. They were not fanatics, misusing the classroom to engage in facile indoctrination into simplistic ideology and rude activism. How can we return to that Golden Age? One essential is courage. Teachers opposed to declining standards in their profession and their supporters in wider society must outspokenly contest the factors that have led to the corruption of the education process. The defence of intellectual freedom is paramount.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic