“ Murder, murder most foul”. The ghost of Hamlet’s father was bringing to Hamlet’s notice the fact that he had not died a natural death, but had been foully murdered while he was sleeping. The same words may be used with truth concerning the everyday use of our language. Some time ago the Post office received a letter addressed to someone at “Arijaba”. After some clever deduction this appeared to be, rightly, “Harwich Harbour.” How often in speech to the words “going to” in the sense of about to do something become “Gonna”? I am not suggesting for one moment that every person who speaks English should speak B.B.C. English or the stupid blahings and moanings of what is know as the Oxford accent. That would indeed be a tragedy. The individual accents of various parts of the country must not be allowed to disappear as they are part of the English heritage, and there is little doubt that Shakespeare many times poked fun at those “hot potato in the mouth” gentry, but to allow slipshod, careless speech to influence our written English is indeed murder most foul. It is never realised, and I use the word never without apology, that written English is the method of communication between distant persons almost to the extent of three quarters of our time. The last performance of a duty in an office before closing down for the night is to see that letters are ready for the post box. An ability to express oneself in clear, written English is an art which is not gained without one thing - constant practice daily. Not, you will notice, weekly or monthly, but daily. A well written report on a certain situation may earn rapid promotion for a young man. The Chief Executive Officer of the firm must notice at once the outstanding ability of such a person to express himself, to bring forward clearly, concisely, the information required and its presentation in the correct order.
Now to return to “Arijaba”. Why did the person addressing the letter write such a word? Because that was the only way, that is in sound, in which he had ever heard it. To speak well in decent, grammatical English is not, as so many seem to imagine, effeminate. In our English language we have a rich storehouse; a storehouse of never ending delight and to destroy willfully the carefully garnered harvest is indeed murder most foul.
Mr. C. E. Martin
The term “Science”, is a very broad term, and hence, it is inevitable that emphasis should be placed on a particular aspect of the subject. In the earlier days of the school, the majority of the boys who entered were only with us for two years, and the Science which was taught, was applied to Building, so that when the boys left and entered the Building trade, they were able to understand the importance of good building practice, complying with certain fundamental scientific principles.
To the bricklayer - Porosity, Absorption, and the Chemistry of lime were of importance. The plumber wanted to know about expansion, the properties of solder, and the hardness of water. The former was concerned with capillary action and the moisture content of timber.
As the school developed, it was found that the percentage of boys who actually entered the building trade as a craft apprentice decreased, and as a result, had the Science taught, not been modified, we should have found that a boy who was going to be say a marine engineer, was being taught all about the necessity for fitting antisiphonage pipes to plumbing installations, and such a boy would quickly have lost interest.
A change therefore was made, and over the past few years, the syllabus has gradually broadened so that we are now aiming to present to those entering the school, and introduction to the basic truths of Physics, Mechanics, and from now on Chemistry as a separate subject.
We shall welcome next term, Mr. Young, who will eventually specialise in Chemistry in the School, and I have no doubt that this aspect of Science will develop into an instructive and interesting topic.
The new entrants to the school, will take Physics as a separate subject, and during the course will study magnetism and electricity, heat and sound, mechanics and properties of matter. The practical work done will be greatly increased, and for this purpose Room 3 is being equipped as an Electrical and Light Lab., and it is hoped that it will be in use in September.
Mr. E.A. Martin.
THE SOCIAL SERVICES
In the post-war school timetables we have noticed the advent of lessons devoted to the social sciences. Do not be alarmed, we are not launching a new subject, but merely disguising our old friends (or enemies), History and Geography. While we are not launching a new subject, however, we are changing the direction and purpose of the old. As the new name suggests, we are using the subjects in order to give our children a more complete understanding of the backgrounds, and antecendents of the society in which they live. In the past, History has been a procession of dates and battles, kings, and government, learnt by heart, meaningless, and conveniently forgotten at the first opportunity. Most of us could say what happened in 1066, but how many could say what happened in 1215 (see below) (and how many care anyhow!). This type of history bore no relation to the life of the child, or the life he saw around him, yet this need not have been so. In this school, the emphasis has been to teach the development of building. To show the progress of man from his cave dwelling, to his skyscraper, from Stonehenge to Coventry Cathedral. Whilst following this general line, the social history of the period is built to round each style of building. The Tudors built fine manor houses, but what of the people who lived in and around them. How did they live, think, speak, play. How did they overcome the problems of everyday life, problems which strangely similar to our own? The problems of finding a good apprenticeship for young Samuel, how to spend an evening’s entertainment, how to save enough for a rainy day. This approach to the subject has far more appeal to the child., because it is about things which he is already familiar.
In geography too, the accent is in the familiar. As entrants to the building profession, these boys will spend their lives among bricks, stone, wood and glass, metal, and all the many other materials which go to make a modern building. The aim of our geography, is to give the boy the background to the materials he handles. This piece of softwood came from the North of Canada, exported via the new St. Lawrence Seaway, this piece of teak came from the jungle of Burma, the steel for these girders and the ball bearings of this bicycle came from Sweden. This cement was produced locally, this plywood came from Finland, imported over our local docks. The aim is to help the boy to appreciate what he handles, and give him some knowledge of the factors, which have affected the production of the commodity.
And what of the future? The propped expansion of the school, and the introduction of the five year G.C.E. course will give and opportunity for a greater expansion of social sciences. The greater time allowed in the five year course will permit both a more extensive and intensive field of study. Who knows, perhaps one day we shall teach the full range of Social Sciences, and find our timetable including such lessons as Civics, Economics and Commerce.
Answer to question - Magna Carta
Mr. .P. Baslington
SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL