History of Prep Education Podcast # 3 – Interview with Mark Johnson

In Episode 3 of my History of Prep Education project, I interview Mark Johnson. Mark (known to all his pupils as MRJ) attended prep boarding school himself aged 6 (!). As a teacher, he taught at Summer Fields for 17 years, becoming Deputy Headmaster, before becoming Headmaster of Cheam in 1998 – a post he …

History of Prep Education #1 – Interview with Rhidian Llewellyn

Last week I began a part-time project to interview retired prep school teachers about their teaching methods. My first subject was Rhidian Llewellyn. Rhidian began his teaching career at Heatherdown. From 1980-1984 he was Head of History and English at Arnold House School in St John’s Wood, London. In 1986 he became Senior Housemaster at …

Paddy Leigh Fermor’s historical imagination

I have previously quoted Arnold Toynbee, whose immersive reading of History allowed him to ‘see’ – through what Iain McGilchrist would call the world’s “semi-transparently” – historical incidents taking place as it were before his eyes. In a similar vein, I love this excerpt from one of Paddy Leigh Fermor’s letters, which I heard quoted by …

Heritage School

Today I visited the wonderful Heritage School in Cambridge. There’s so much I’d like to say about the school, had we but world enough and time, but will limit myself to these select quotations from their website for now. The school is a tremendous example of how it is possible to be original and innovative without necessarily feeling the need to …

The Pedagogy of Perception

Last Friday, I attended a fascinating forum on Liberal Education put on by Benedictus at Blackfriars in Oxford. Its title was The Liberal Arts -Education and Society. Every guest was invited to offer a 5 minute reflection on one aspect of Liberal Education. Anthony Radice, for instance, offer these thoughts on Memory and Liberal Education. I …

Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings

I’ve just finished Gary Lachman’s very enjoyable biography of Rudolf Steiner, which I hope to summarise in a later post. For now I thought I would share a few of Steiner’s rather haunting and childish blackboard drawings with which he illustrated his lectures. Loads more available online of course. (source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2014/03/26/arts/openings-in-tokyo/rudolf-steiner/#.VyDnKvkrKUk) (http://visualmelt.com/Rudolf-Steiner)

Toynbee: How History can enrich perception

Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, digresses to muse upon… “the experience of a communion on the mundane plane with persons and events from which, in his usual state of consciousness, he is sundered by a great gulf of Time and Space that, in ordinary circumstances, is impassable for all his faculties except his …

Sehnsucht – C S Lewis

The German language has a word for the longing that C S Lewis evokes in much of his work: sehnsucht. The Wikipedia article describes it as a feeling of nostalgia for a time that we did not necessarily experience. Here is C S Lewis giving voice to that “piercing joy” of sehnsucht. “Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited …

Primal Trust

I’ve just discovered, and am hugely enjoying, Gary Lachman’s work on esotericism. I’m feeling myself becoming ever more interested in Steiner’s spiritual education and its hopes of resisting the rising tide of materialism. I particularly liked this comment about cultivating a positive disposition towards life: So it would not be an exaggeration, I think, to say …