Friday, 24 June 2011

Standing up to speak in class

I just saw a clip of old German film (1950s?) showing a class of 10 year olds in a lesson. It was striking that the pupils stood up in their places to answer a question or read out what they’d written or make a contribution to discussion. I've often seen the same thing in American films.

(Colleagues point out that this was the practice in Russia, too -- with the variation that the pupil addressed not the teacher at the front but the rest of the class.)

Was standing up to speak ever the practice in English schools? Within living memory, even? I don't remember it from my schooldays -- we always answered, and volunteered, while remaining seated.

On the historical research project Social Change and English: A Study of Three English Departments 1945-1965 we’d be interested in people’s memories relating to our schools: Walworth/Mina Road, Hackney Downs, Minchenden.

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