Just read these very interesting posts on an interesting site:
Reminds me of a very vigorous debate and discussion my junior college class (16/17 years old) had so many years ago, regarding the very contentious issue of nature vs nurture. The issue was a particularly sensitive and personal one for my class, seeing how more than half of the 20-odd students came from the seven-year Gifted Education Programme and with a handful of Asean (+Hong Kong) scholars. Adjudicating over the weeks-long discussion (individual and group research, internal discussions, interim and final presentations, debate and rebuttals…) was our General Paper tutor (the class was sort of an English and Sociology class rolled into one), a President’s scholar and at that time, the resident recruiter/interviewer for her Oxbridge alma mater.
This was one of the more memorable discussion topics we had in that GP class; though personally, my favourite was the one on political and social philosophy and systems (I got Plato, Descartes, Hobbes and Locke) and my delving into the grittier aspects of the criminal justice system.
Not that every General Paper class in the country or even my school got to conduct their GP classes in this manner; my class was lucky to have our GP tutor, who was unorthodox to say the least. She steadfastly resisted all attempts by the Department to run the normal weekly comprehension and essay composition drills; at the end of the two years, we submitted only a handful of comprehension and essay work, spending almost all our time on research, discussions and the odd afternoon-matinee movie outings (Thelma & Louise !).
Will always remember Ms. N fondly, who was never meant to be a teacher. She was a President’s scholar with an anti-establishment streak, who was given the choice between serving her 8 years bond in the government intelligence unit or the unlikely option as a teacher.
I’m glad she chose the latter.
[Always remember her defiance and passion. She used to say:
There are only two kinds of people in the world. Queue-followers, who line up docilely in long endless waiting lines outside the Temples of Establishment. Or queue-jumpers, who are throwing molotov cocktails at the Establishment.]
Got carried away reminiscing…
Here’s the original philosophical novel on tabula rasa or blank slate, written by the Avicennist scholar, Ibn Tufail, the Hayy ibn Yaqdhan or Philosophus Autodidactus/The Self-Taught Philosopher.