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College Magazine 1963 (Barry Williamson) PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

College Magazine 1963

EXTRACTS TAKEN FROM 'PROSPECT', THE MAGAZINE OF HUDDERSFIELD TEACHERS' TRAINING COLLEGE, 1963

"On a fair prospect some have looked " (Wordsworth)

STAFF LIST

Director: Alexander MacLennan                  Deputy Director: Frank Barr

Staff: B S Alloway, G Austwick, J E R Bell, A D Carroll, A Cameron, Miss D Comley, W Corns, Miss M N Cotter, J C Davies, R A Evans, J W E Flinn, P B Frankland, W H Green, J Hall, R W Hargreaves, H L Hill, F J B Hodge, J A Lawton, J Pratt, Miss M E Rooker, A Taylor, Miss B V Taylor, J F Topping

INTRODUCTION FROM THE DIRECTOR

By Alexander MacLennan

The present session has been one of development for the College. All of us are too close to the experience for a worthwhile appraisal of what the session has meant to us individually.

The hostel block was occupied for the first time and a personal view is that in the process of changing the hostel pattern we lost something which we must try to retrieve in terms of recreating a college corporate body, regardless of whether we are in the Lindley or Edgerton hostels or in lodgings or living at home. One is very conscious that all attention was lavished on Lindley residents and yet the students in the Edgerton hostels perpetuated the trend which has particularly distinguished our College.

We had a considerable increase in the number of students. It became almost impossible to know individuals in the way that one did in earlier years. Tutors joined the College at different times in the session, so that we as a staff had to come to terms with a larger number of colleagues than in the past and there inevitably came a lessening in the closeness with which we could function informally as a kind of family unit. Yet at the end of session it seems no different from other years. Tutors and students have developed the same quality of relationship and the mutual evaluations have been made about different personalities; their contributions, their strengths and weaknesses and their potential. Maybe it is as well that we are too close to the situation to form objective points of view.

The four-term course was an innovation which, with modifications, we propose to make a permanent feature of the training. Not all students benefit from the same kind of course or the same length of training. We are gradually moving forward to a practice of our precepts and, with more experience, we are becoming able to adapt the training course to individuals and to the needs of technical education. The sandwich course is for us an innovation, although the field work and the idea were pioneered from the College but fell on deaf ears several years ago.

The 'last of the first' Commonwealth Bursarial students complete training at the end of the month. It has been a pleasure to know them and to be together on a project from which nothing but good can come.

Because they are so far from home and have been here for more time than most students, they have all become personal friends to all of us. With my colleagues and my family, I convey our sadness at their departure and happiness for their return to their families. We look forward to reunions with them in their countries and on their return visits to Huddersfield.

Whatever one would say to technical teachers starting their careers is equally appropriate for we who are employed to assist in the education and training of technical teachers. A need is to take positive action to keep abreast of the developments in education and to undertake active liaison with the schools and industries and communities which our Colleges serve. It is necessary to study reports and current literature, to understand how educational and social ideas are being modified and how the changes are influencing the pattern of technical education and the new thinking about industrial training at all levels.

You are fortunate to be entering technical teaching at such an exciting time, with its opportunities for men and women of flexible mind ready to experiment with different ideas, methods, devices and organizations, not only in the ways of presenting technical subjects but in ways of becoming more personally and intellectually adequate to direct and energise the studies of students towards the aims which the students want to achieve.

All of us at the Training College wish you and your families health and happiness in your new careers.

EDITORIAL

By the Editor, Student Ken Wilson

One of the most talked-about aspects of our College life is the lack of continuity caused by the shortness of the course and anything which helps to remedy this is welcome. It is important, for example, that the work done by committees and clubs is not lost to their successors and it is with this in mind that a number of copies of 'Prospect' have been set aside for next year's course in September.

A distinction must, however, be made between handing on factual information and transmitting such abstract qualities as dignity, respect and honour things of which men speak to one another but rarely discuss in print.

We must recognize that, in the absence of a three- or even a two-year course, we cannot hope to achieve more than the most tenuous links with past and future years and, although there may be some community of feeling engendered by a common environment, this is something which arises spontaneously each year and is quite distinct from any continuing tradition.

Until we acknowledge this, we shall go on believing that our Students' Union is something other than a Finance Committee, having, outside this function, neither power nor authority, encumbered by a make-believe constitution and dominated by the College authorities.

We may, indeed, with Masefield say:

"Adventure on, and if ye suffer swear, That the next venturer shall have less to bear; Your way will be retrodden, make it fair!"

But only through doing what is immediately possible can we strive towards that which is ultimately desirable, and surely the first step is to adapt our Union so that it is fitted for its limited task and is not merely an inadequate imitation of other organizations, which have an entirely different function.

LIFE AT T'TECH or CHALK IN ONE'S HANDBAG

By Student M L Hughes

Twelve weeks of teaching practice sadder and wiser, or enlightened and exhausted?

My first class had seven students, ex-secondary modern girls, very weak in arithmetic, and the Head of the Department told me that I should encounter in that class all the problems to be met with in technical education. I had to teach them how to use logarithm tables. According to the Head of the Department, they would probably never understand mathematics but they should at least acquire the manual dexterity necessary for turning over the pages in a ready reckoner in their office careers. Seven anonymous faces, seven wildly extravagant hair styles, blue eye shadow, white ankle socks and seven different arithmetical techniques. I demonstrated a problem on the board and one student remarked "You've done it all wrong, Miss, but the answer's right."

Their broad Yorkshire accents contrasted strangely with their elegant names Gillian, Stephanie, Hilary and Carol. I could not understand Hilary's homework, so she tried to explain: "You see, luv, it's like this " In a book-keeping lesson, I gave them a test and outlined the examination room atmosphere and the necessity for independent work. All was quiet for a while but the strain was too great and suddenly someone said, in a clear voice, "What dost t'a get for t'net profit, Alexis?"

Five hours on a lesson preparation, a lesson of one or two hours' duration, and then a residue of chalk in one's handbag. On the way back to College I pondered on the evanescent quality of a hard day's work. Do all one's mental labours vanish in a cloud of chalk dust?

LIBRARY EXERCISES

By Student J L G (anonymous for reasons which will become apparent)

Arriving here sans teeth

(Yet schoolboy still, with shining morning face)

Did I espy, on scanning study list,

These fatal words: 'Library Exercises'.

What had we here? What exercise could I,

At almost 15 stone, on polished library floor

Successfully perform?

Visions of those hand-springs,

Press-ups by the score,

Arms bend! A thousand things

From last war's hellish mem'ries

Did flash before my eyes

Those rheumy eyes, fit now, alas,

For nothing scarcely more

Than studying 'Plato's Republic'

(Or the elegant legs

Of some passing damsel.)

Yet Time, as always, gently ready

With experienced hand,

Calmed my tortured mind

(But stirred it too, I ween!)

In the fair shape of M R,

That Nausicaa of the stream

Of busy searchers after Grade A's

The Library.

Her voice but let romantic Tennyson

(The Choric Song of Lotus Eaters' fame)

Be my St John:

"There is sweet music here that softer falls

Than petals from blown roses on the grass"

To my relief did croon:

"The exercises are but self-service now applied.

You find the books yourself."

HIGHLAND INTERLUDE

By Student Barry Williamson

Climbers regard the Cuillin Hills in the Isle of Skye as their Mecca. There is little scope for dancing but some have been known to face the rocks and pray.

The rock is gabbro, igneous in origin and very rough. The average life of a pair of trousers is said to be six days. The main difficulties lie in the weather (wet), the names of the mountains (Gaelic) and the opening hours (short).

During Easter, Charlie and I were lucky enough to find that it was not raining when we reached the foot of the Western Buttress of Sron Na Ciche, about 1,500 feet above our camp on the beach in Glen Brittle. Our aim was the Median Ronte, which gives 1,400 feet of climbing onto a spur which comes down from the main ridge.

We located the start of the climb above the screes, tied on the rope and started. Leading out the rope up a narrow crack in the rock, Charlie went up about 60 feet until he was stopped by a slightly overhanging section. At times like this, confidence is required to tackle a hard move; the rope gives no protection; not yet 'warmed up', the climber moves awkwardly and the ground feels to be a long way down. Continuing for a further 50 feet, Charlie tied himself to a chock stone jammed in the crack and took in the rope as I climbed up to him.

I found the second pitch easier. The leading climber is now protected by the rope, since the distance he can fall is limited to twice his height above the second man, who remains tied on below. In about 60 feet I came to a suitable flake, tied on and brought up Charlie, who continued as before.

So the climb went on, over slabs, up cracks and chimneys, along ledges. The rock was steep and increasing height added spice to the climbing, as well as giving excellent views over the Atlantic to Rhum and the Hebrides.

The top was reached in 19 pitches, which took about 3 hours. Pausing only for a celebration packet of dates, we found our way down the ridge to the camp for the usual two-course dinner: Irish stew and creamed rice.