Teaching resources about refugees – I

Page from graphic novel, showing drowning boy and baby rescued by helicopter.Refugees have at last arrived in our library… at least on paper. On this blog, we have already described a collection of books without words originally created for refugees, and we shall tell you more about resources for and about refugee children and other migrants. Here just a brief note on some marvellous Curriculum Resources which have recently reached the shelves of the Newsam Library at the UCL Institute of Education.

On the side of fiction, we have some accounts of long, arduous, painful journeys – literal journeys of children across land and sea. The novel Looking at the stars by Jo Cotterill is set in an unnamed war zone in a fictitious country, but it is based on research which is summarised in an afterword. Two sisters survive hardship and bereavement through their mutual support and through storytelling – a nice touch in a story.

Books with blue covers: 'Far from home', 'Looking at the stars', 'Illegal'.

A different kind of storytelling is presented in the graphic novel Illegal. Giovanni Rigano’s beautiful illustrations of the story by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin give you the viewpoint of the refugees quite literally: from the helicopter, you watch people as tiny dots floating in the heaving sea; then you are battered by the waves; you look up to the life-jackets thrown down to you; then you are up in the air, only to witness others go under… The title of the book is inspired by Elie Wiesel’s maxim that no human being is ever ‘illegal’.

Page from graphic novel, showing drowning refugees rescued by helicopter.

To match the fiction (novels, graphic novels, and picture books), the IOE library also provides you with non-fiction and textbooks. The dedicated resource Far from home gives you plenty of facts about refugees and a number of brief ‘case studies’ which often run against prevailing narratives.

On the one hand, the book states that the vast majority of refugees want to return to their home country when circumstances allow it; on the other hand, it shows people who have settled down ‘far from home’ and are contributing to society. I like the photo of the Syrian pianist who enjoys fame in Germany and of the two women doctors in headscarves!

A current citizenship textbook for the new GCSE (9-1) by Steve Johnson and Graeme Roffe contains long sections about human rights, migration and asylum, and international relations.

You can find more teaching resources for citizenship at 323.6. Material about human rights is shelved at 323; migrants are filed at 304.8 and refugees at 362.87.

Academic book with colourful cover taken from picture book next to it.To get children or adults with limited language skills to read or to talk, or perhaps to act or to draw, a graphic novel or a story without words might just be the right start. Look for ‘Stories without words’ and ‘comic books’ on the UCL catalogue. Ask a librarian, and they will advise you on materials for English as a foreign language, including some that you can photocopy or download. And do enjoy our books yourself, those without any words, those of only words, and those with text and pictures.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: ‘Metrication: No Turning Back. An NUT Policy Statement ‘ and ‘Going Metric. A Guide for Schools’

 

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one. Today is the turn of ‘Metrication: No Turning Back. An NUT Policy Statement ‘ and ‘Going Metric. A Guide for Schools’ both from 1971.

In the late 1960s the N.U.T. set up a special committee to study the replacement of imperial units with metric units and examine the way in which the proposed changes would affect the work of schools. It was keen to ensure that those working in the education sector would be given adequate resources to carry out its work speedily and efficiently. At the time it seemed that both Parliament and the nation shared its belief that the reforms would be beneficial. “The N.U.T. did not therefore think it necessary to make any formal statement of principle.”

But subsequent debates in Parliament indicated that opposition to the changes did exist and even a desire to reverse decisions made about going metric.

“The Executive of the National Union of Teachers, on the recommendation of the Committee on Metrication, therefore issued, on 23rd February 1971, the following statement:

The National Union of Teachers has noted that suggestions have been made in Parliament and elsewhere that the present proposals to introduce metrication by 1975 should be abandoned. It therefore wishes to make clear:

  • Its general support for the proposals which it believes will ultimately produce important educational benefits in our schools and
  • That it strongly opposes the abandonment at this stage of existing plans. Very important steps have already been taken in the preparation of both teachers and materials for the change, and to abandon all this would not only result in an indefensible waste of valuable time and resources but would create chaos in future educational planning.

 

The Union repeats its regret that the previous Government, followed by the present Government, has not been willing to make special financial provision to enable local education authorities to provide the necessary resources for the educational preparation, both for the decimalisation of money and the future change to the metric system generally.”

The document puts forward the case for metrication and considers the potential impact cofupon schools, including the work that needed to be done by Examination Boards in the preparation for Metrication. At the time there were 14 C.S.E. Examination Boards and 8 G.C.E. Examination Boards. There was a discrepancy among the Boards as to when the changeover metric to S.I. units should take place. But there was a general consensus that all papers should be set in S.I. units from 1974 or 1975.

The provisions of one C.S. E. Board illustrate the range of subjects affected:

“West Yorkshire and Lindsey Regional Examining Board. Chemistry, general science, geography, geometrical and technical drawing, housecraft and woodwork units in papers will include either/both S.I. units and imperial measurements until 1975. Thereafter only S.I. units will be used. Maths and physics: imperial units will be replaced by metric measurements in 1972 and 1971 respectively.”

The document includes a “Selected Reading List on Decimalisation and Metrication” and this may be useful for researchers looking for additional sources in this area.

The background to the issues raised in this NUT Policy Statement contains no small amount of surprises. The idea of the UK adopting the metric system as the primary system of weights and measures was not new in the 20th century. Indeed in 1668 Bishop John Wilkins published a proposal for a universal decimal system of measurement. James Watt complained in 1783 that he could not communicate with German inventors and called for a global decimal measurement system. In the 1790s the French National Assembly created the foundations of what is now called the Système International d’Unites (SI) which is the measurement system used by most of the world. The British Parliament had been invited to participate in this pioneering work but withdrew their initial support after the French overthrew their monarchy.

The Great Exhibition of 1851 highlighted the advantages of a common international system of measurement. In 1854 The Decimal Association was set up to lobby for the decimalisation of both measurement and currency. Another pressure group was established with the formation in 1857 of a British Branch of the International Association for Obtaining a Uniform Decimal System of Measures, Weights and Coins.

Progress seemed to be made when the 1864 Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act permitted the use of metric measures for “contacts and dealings”. It had little practical effect, but in 1884 the UK becomes a signatory of The Metre Convention and joined the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM). Then, in 1895 a Select Committee of the House of Commons recommended that the metric system should be authorised for all purposes, taught in elementary schools and become compulsory within two years. In 1897 a Second Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act permits the use of the metric system for all purposes in the UK but again it had little practical effect.

Once again in 1951 The Committee on Weights and Measures Legislation (the Hodgson Committee) concluded that metric conversion was inevitable and that the long-term advantages of the change would outweigh the inconveniences of the change itself. It adds that, prior to the metric change, the currency should be decimalised and in 1966 the government announced it would be introduced in 1971. The Decimal Currency Act of 1965 allowed the Decimal Currency Board to plan and manage the change. Money was spent on preparation and publicity and Decimalisation Day (nicknamed D-day) was Monday 15th February 1971. IMG_20171122_092219_resized_20171204_022104421

The difference in the government’s attitude towards metrication can be seen in the N.U.T. leaflet entitled ‘Going Metric. A Guide for Schools’ in which. The N.U.T. talking about changes in industry comments that “THERE WILL BE NO M DAY. Each firm decides its own changeover dates.”

Perhaps that is why in 2014 the U K Metric association published a report entitled ‘Still A Mess. The continuing failure of UK measurement policy.’

This item, like all the others included in this donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

 

 

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “The teaching of dietetics” by V. H. Mottram and “Education in nutrition” by H. E. Magee

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of Education in nutrition by H. E. Magee and The teaching of dietetics by V. H. Mottram. Strictly speaking, these are not NUT outputs, but rather addresses delivered during the Union’s conferences of 1935 and 1936 and they don’t necessarily represent the views of the organisation. However the particular gatherings during which they were presented and the fact that there is only one year between the two indicate the Union’s level of interest around the issue of child nutrition in the years just before the Second World War. As acknowledged by Magee, this was also a consequence of the many discoveries made in this field starting from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Teaching of dietetics

Reading through the speeches, it’s clear for both authors that what children eat depends mainly on parents’ choices and that schools’ interventions are limited in this respect. However, they believe that educating pupils on the value of food is key to ensure that these will apply the good principles learnt in school when they become adults. In this sense, as explained by Magee, food education has both an intellectual and utilitarian objective, contributing “to the general happiness and well-being of the community” (p. 7).

This focus on the long-lasting benefits of good nutrition is in itself very modern and has remained a key area of discussion for policy makers throughout the years, with the discussion being extended to areas such as school meals and child obesity. Not surprisingly, our Official Publications collection includes a host of resources on all these subjects and many are also available online on our DERA repository.

An interesting aspect in the two papers being considered relates to the choice of recommended vocabulary when teaching nutrition in the classroom. For Mottram, for example, technical terms should be avoided and foods should rather be presented in terms of how they affect us: some have “warming” properties, others help “build” the body, while some “protect” it, although the distinction between these three categories is less evident than one may think and some of the things we eat serve multiple purposes at once.

Education in nutrition

Magee seems less concerned about choice of terms when explaining things to pupils, but in the address foods are divided into “constructive”, “protective” and “energy-giving”. However, the author also provides a loosely scientific introduction to food properties, using words such as “carbo-hydrates”, “vitamins” and “proteins”.

A few other interesting things come to mind when reading the two papers: in the 1930s nutrition education was part of Domestic Science, a wide-ranging subject that has since been renamed Home Economics and is sometimes taught as several separate disciplines, such as Food Technology, Design and Textiles and Woodwork; for a scholar keen to explore the evolution of the subject, all the various terms would likely be relevant when performing a catalogue search. It may also be fascinating to research how much time was dedicated to understanding food properties as opposed to cooking during lessons, with Mottram suggesting that pupils spend far too long in front of the stove, when in fact they should learn “the right principles of feeding” as well.

Still related to choice of vocabulary, it’s also interesting to see that “elementary school”, an expression we generally associate with United States, was in fact common in the United Kingdom at the time the two addresses were delivered. It was only replaced by “primary school” in the years following the 1944 Education Act, when the school system was organised around three main stages: primary, secondary and further education. Once again, the different terminology would need to be kept in mind by anyone with an interest in historical research.

These two items, like all the others included in this donation, are currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “The education of the adolescent” by Ernest Salter Davies

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of a paper titled The education of the adolescent, which was presented at a Joint meeting of continuative, adult and rural school teachers by Ernest Salter Davies in 1927.

Education of the adolescent

This address, whose author worked as Director of education for Kent during the 1920s and most of the 1930s, focuses on the education of pupils aged 11 and older, while also discussing some of the challenges facing policy makers and offering ideas for possible solutions.

The starting point is a report published by the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education not long before this address was given, which talked about the complexity of post-11 education and stressed that this phase of instruction should be such to encourage the children to continue to be in school up to the age of 15 (at the time, this was only compulsory until the pupil was 14 years old).

While broadly agreeing with the conclusions reached by the report, Davies feels that a suitable curriculum must be developed before the school age can be raised. Also, instead of obliging children to wait until they are 16 to start working (what some of his contemporaries advocated), he is keener on the idea of full-time education lasting until the age of 14, followed by four years of part-time education.

The author also realises that any re-organisation of the system to better cater for adolescent pupils presents some challenges and he highlights two obstacles in particular: an arbitrary division between the various phases of education (primary, secondary and technical) and a system of dual control.

In regards to the first, Davies acknowledges that such division has existed for some time (from before the Education Act of 1902) and artificial barriers that are hard to remove are now in place. In terms of administration, for example, he finds it absurd that two different Local Authorities should be responsible for primary and for post-primary education and instead he proposes a system like the Scottish one, where County Education Committees are in charge of all schools within their area of responsibility, thus striking a balance between over-centralisation and excessive decentralisation.

The second obstacle refers to the fact that voluntary schools (which can be influenced by a trust or foundation when it comes to how they are run) are sometimes unwilling to cooperate with Local Authorities on a variety of matters, therefore changes can be hard to introduce.

The second part of this paper looks at what should be taught in an ideal post-primary school, starting from the premise that education is “a spiritual growth which is never completed, a condition of the spirit developing as the individual develops” and that the curriculum should be a “means of helping pupils, according to their capabilities, to realise themselves”(p. 8).

Davies believes that positive changes are only possible with the support of both parents and employers and once again, he feels that a compromise must be reached, in the sense that education should prepare both for life and for livelihood. Practically, this means developing pupils’ capabilities as much as possible (as stressed by educationalists) but also equipping them for employment by including practical activities. This approach can have two positive consequences: making part-time education past the age of 14 more appealing to pupils, as the gap between Day School and Further Education becomes narrower, and developing ambition and imagination, two qualities that are highly valued by employers.

If you’re interested in finding out more on post-primary education around the time when this address was given, both in the UK and in other countries, the IOE Library collection includes many relevant resources, which are either on the open shelves or can be fetched for you upon request.

The education of the adolescent, like all other items included in this donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “The rural school in the modern world” by Sir E. John Russell

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of The rural school in the modern world, a paper presented at the 1932 NUT conference by Sir E. John Russell, a known agriculturalist who, among other things, actively promoted international information exchange about agriculture. At the time of this conference, he was also director of Rothamsted Experimental Station (now called Rothamsted Research), one of the oldest institutions in the world dedicated to agricultural research.

Rural school in the modern world

The aim of the paper is to offer advice and practical ideas for teachers working in countryside schools so that they can make the most of the resources at their disposal and create interesting and relevant lessons for their pupils. In fact, the author is conscious of the fact that schools can positively influence changes, but it is important that the needs of ordinary pupils, not only a few selected ones, are taken into consideration. In particular, he highlights two main weaknesses in the average young person: fear of the unknown, which explains why the prospect of travelling and finding employment abroad are not as appealing to the new generations as they used to be, and lack of a sense of values.

In contrast, education in rural locations should help forge characters and develop an interest in the surrounding world and in the deeper meaning of life. At the same time, it should equip the child to respond to the challenges thrown at him/her by Nature. These two purposes, one idealistic, one more practical, are not in contrast and often once the first is achieved, the second one will follow.

Arguably, accomplishing these objectives while relying only on the means of a village school can be tricky, however the author offers plenty of ideas to foster children’s development, chiefly by making use of resources found in nature. For example, children should be encouraged to reflect on the topography of the area in which they live and the different types of soils in the nearby fields, with close observation accompanied by testing of various hypotheses and integrated with theoretical lessons in the classroom.

As well as the natural element, the author is keen for pupils to understand how humanity has profoundly shaped the rural landscape over time, for example by reflecting upon any ruins found in the countryside and making advantage of resources found in local museums. The goal is for children to “see themselves as standing between the irretrievable past and the uncontrollable future, yet able in their own generation to improve their lot and dignify their position” (p. 11); in this sense, understanding the impact that our actions can have on future generations is a key lesson to learn.

Ultimately, teachers want to see children prosper and “realise that they live in an infinitely wonderful world, surrounded on every side by things of absorbing interest” (p. 16).

Sir Russell’s paper is one of several items in this donation focusing on rural education, and this reflects the importance of this area of study among educationalists. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that the IOE collection already holds many resources dedicated to the organisation of countryside schools in the UK and abroad.

More recent items are also available via DERA, our institutional repository of official publications in the areas of children, training and skills; these, however, tend to focus on the issues linked to rural education. A report published by the Commission for Rural Communities in 2013, for example, looks at the challenges encountered by young people living in the countryside when it comes to education and employment, reaching the conclusion that transport, training support and youth services are the main areas in need of intervention. Similarly, the isolation of provider and learner and the costs of reaching remote locations are identified as significant barriers to rural education in a 2002 publication by the Learning and Skills Council.

The rural school in the modern world, like all the other items included in the NUT donation, is currently uncatalogued, although this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT donation: “Discipline in schools”

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 archive boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of Discipline in schools, a report produced by the NUT Working Party for the Union’s annual conference in 1976. This is not only an exhaustive document covering many of the issues involved in the management of children’s behaviour in schools, but also very current, as demonstrated by the fact that the Department for Education (DfE) continues to release new guidance on discipline at least every couple of years.

Discipline in schools

The aim of this report is to identify the factors affecting children’s behaviour, discuss the positive influence that educators can have on it and finally offer suggestions for improvement. The starting point is a definition of school discipline, which can be explained as “the pattern of relationships adopted by the teacher in order to establish and maintain the authority needed by him in carrying out his work as a teacher” (p. 5), thus promoting effective learning, before the focus of the publication shifts to the identification of the various factors that can negatively impact on pupils’ behaviour.

The home environment is highlighted as a major influence, and while the authors of the report are keen to stress that not all children from deprived backgrounds necessarily struggle with discipline, they also point out that families under stress due to financial and emotional issues may not be the ideal setting to prepare children for the outside world. Additionally, it appears that there is a close link between parents’ level of interest in their children’s learning and how well these do in school.

Other factors, however, are independent from a pupil’s home situation and instead related to the school setting. For example, the higher the number of students in a classroom is, the harder it is for teachers to deal with them, so staffing plays an important role in behaviour management. Similarly, the school building has to be conducive to teaching and learning and there must be enough available resources (for example books) to motivate children. Finally, the curriculum itself can profoundly affect discipline, as the authors note not only that children who struggle to keep up in the classroom are more likely to become distracted, but also that repeated failure in school can cause stress in the pupil and lead to indiscipline.

Teachers’ pastoral care duty ultimately means establishing “friendly but firm” relationships with the students, ensuring that these feel a sense of belonging to the school and are involved in any decisions that affect them. Whenever problems arise, it is important to lower tensions as much as possible and have different strategies for intervention in place, according to the seriousness of the incident. Some of the solutions mentioned in the report, for example corporal punishment, are now considered unacceptable and no longer practised, but the majority are still widely used by schools; these may include detention, exclusion areas within the school premises, withdrawal from school, suspension and finally exclusion.

Despite the authors stressing that all procedures should be approached carefully, often with the support of the local authority, they remain controversial steps to take and some have received a fair amount of press coverage in recent times, highlighting once more how current this topic is. For example, as well as the launch by DfE of a consultation on procedures and responsibilities around school exclusion in March 2017, Times Educational Supplement (TES) reported in September that the number of pupils permanently denied readmission to school ‘skyrocketed’ in the last couple of years due to lack of funds needed to effectively support pupils and the tendency by some schools to resort to this means as a way to improve their overall performance. Finally, a report published by Ofsted a few months ago revealed that “unofficial exclusions” were used in several occasions to cope with students with special educational needs, despite this being illegal; in contrast, the authors of our NUT report highlight the importance of giving SEND learners “special and individual attention” (p. 20).

The IOE library is home to many resources on school discipline, all of which can be found using our discovery tool, Explore. Unfortunately this NUT report, like all the others included in the same donation, is currently uncatalogued, however this will be the next step in our project. In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about the contents of the donation, please check our LibGuide.

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Spotlight on the NUT Donation: ‘The New Importance of Adult Education’: Sir Fred Clarke

Last winter we received a wonderful donation from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which included 380 pamphlet boxes containing material published by the NUT itself and many other organisations operating in the areas of education, children and families.

Over the last year, we have checked and sorted these resources, discovering many interesting publications during the process. Among these, we have picked a few ‘gems’ and decided to share what we have learnt about each one.

Today is the turn of an address to the Conference of Higher Education Members of the NUT given by Sir Fred Clarke, the Director of the University of London Institute of Education at Friend’s House, Euston Road London in January 1945.

Friends House

Entrance to Friends House Euston Road. (cc-by-sa/2.0 – © PAUL FARMER – geograph.org.uk/p/1599592)

Sir Fred Clarke was the Director of the Institute of Education between 1936 and 1945, you can browse a list of his published works, including Education and Social Change: an English interpretation  via UCL Explore here and more information on the Sir Fred Clarke Archives are available via LibGuides. A biography was written by Professor Frank Mitchell and published in 1967. Further information on the Clarke Special Collections held here in the Library can also be found on this LibGuide.

The address delivered to the NUT is titled “The New Importance of Adult Education” and Clarke begins by framing the debate internationally, suggesting that the situation that society found itself at the time of the address was in part due to the ‘cultural aftermath of scientific revolution’ (p. 6).

Fred Clarke

During the address Clarke refers to a ‘cultural lag’ whereby society changes its habits at a slower pace than the rate of technical change. Clarke identifies the need for the development of a new culture to alleviate the problems caused by this phenomenon and this would be facilitated in part by the development of universal adult education.

Clarke’s membership of ‘The Moot‘, a private discussion group whose members included T.S Eliot, Karl Mannheim and R.H Tawney reflects the depth of his interest in post-war social reconstruction. Clarke hoped that a ‘new order’ would see the creation of an educational philosophy that ‘maintains and enlarges freedom’ and in this address he argued that a system of education needed to be developed which ensured freedom from totalitarianism in the future and argued that this could not be achieved through school and university alone, it required education to continue ‘well into the adult field’ (p. 9).

Clarke envisioned a society characterised by a shared set of values and a sense of community and achieving this would require some form of continued education for all. He pointed out that there were clear differences from school education in both organisation and provision and argued that this universal and continuing adult education should have a basis in the community – specifically within Community Centres.

Clarke was keen not to restrict the idea of adult education to the technical and whilst praising the civic value of courses in politics, sociology and economics run by organisations such as the Workers’ Educational Association, Clarke was also clear that education needed to supply an element of moral education which emphasised a sense of duty in its citizens.

This broader moral education includes a recommendation for the study of modern languages and literatures and as such demonstrates Clarke’s internationalist approach to education. Moreover, Clarke highlights ‘the bracing and steadying effect’ of the study of the arts and crafts. He paints the picture of the rewards gained from the ability of an individual to go into a workshop after a day on the factory line and engage in an activity in which the individual has total control. This renewed sense of individual control was important in a society that had undergone such turmoil and strain.

Finally, a few short lines towards the close of the speech echo down the years, demonstrating that although society has altered drastically, we still seem to be battling the same ‘cultural lag’ brought about by rapid technical advances, perhaps leading us to wonder whether a renewed commitment to lifelong learning might be due…

We are living in a highly mobile world, we are in constant movement ourselves, and we are exposed to the solicitations of every passing stimulus. There is a tendency to “over-simplify” and “over-bittify” everything […] the level on which we live is steadily getting more and more superficial.’

(p. 12)

If you’d like to find out more about other items received in the NUT donation, please see our LibGuide.

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